Decisions Decisions. Which Books Would I Not Leave Behind ?

When I read the post Future Challenge: What Are Your Most Precious Books, it challenged me to think about something that I don’t want to think about yet.

Which books  would I take with if I had to move to a much smaller home?

After much thought, I came to the following conclusion.

As most books are easily available today in some form or another and are easy to store in an electronic format, the books to take along must be those which can not be replaced.

With this established I looked at the books in my possession again and the first one that is a not leaving behind book is this one which evoked these memories while paging through its crumbling pages.

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I remember cold winter days on the Highveld. Outside the air is crisp and freezing, the grass is yellow after many nights of frost. The water in the dog’s bowl has a thin layer of ice on top, waiting for the weak winter sun to melt it. Inside, the kitchen is warm and welcoming, heated by the old Aga coal stove in the corner.

Around the kitchen table my mother, sister and I are busy baking cookies to take along on our annual visit to the Kruger Park. On the table lies her trusted recipe book with hand written recipes, notes in the sidelines and many blotches to testify of hours spent preparing meals, baking and preserving fresh produce in her kitchen.

There are  many books which I love to read again and again as I grew up with books and learnt to love reading from a young age. However, if I had to choose, besides my well read and falling apart Bible, I would take this recipe book with me wherever I go. It epitomizes my mother, her character, her love of cooking and baking and the many happy hours spent helping her in the kitchen.

In short it is a symbol of my childhood.

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Button Tin Memories

The button tin sits in a far corner of my messy sewing drawer, waiting to be opened and scratched in for that one button which can replace the missing or broken one on a shirt, or a blouse  in a hurry.While searching for the right button, I started thinking about this seemingly unimportant object called a button and wondered where it all started?

The first evidence of the use of buttons dates back to 2000 B C , when they were intially used as ornaments. Use of buttons as fasteners only developed much later and then only wealthy people could afford to wear them. The number of buttons and the material they were made of became a status symbol of the rich. The most fascinating story about buttons I came across, is that  King Frederick The Great of Prussia, started the practice of  men’s suit coats having non-functioning buttons sewn on the sleeves in the 18th century. The rumor goes that after an inspection of his troops, he ordered  buttons to be sewn on the sleeves of their coats to discourage them from wiping their noses on them!

Read more here:

Here it is, the button tin waiting to yield just the right button for my shirt.

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Is it waiting for eager  children’s hands to open it and play with the treasures inside?

Some of my most treasured childhood memories are of the days, usually in winter, when  my mother took out all the long left behind in the business of life, sewing and mending projects. ( She still darned socks !) Those were the days when we could play with her button tin, while she sat sewing.


We would  open  the tin  with great anticipation  and  the buttons spilled out in a mix of colours and and sizes. Little hands lined them up in rows like soldiers on a march or sorted them  according to colour and  size. There they were, an array of  treasures which could transform a simple hairband into a princess’s crown, or become the eyes on a clumsily handmade doll or teddy. Big round ones could be wheels of a cardboard train, shiny ones became jewels around a smart lady’s neck or coins to go shopping with. They taught us colours , size and the meaning of numbers.

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Maybe one day I can teach my grandchildren the joys of a button tin!


Is it waiting to be used in the next craft project ?

Each time I buy a new dress, coat or shirt which have an extra button, it finds  a place in the button tin untill  I need it.  I love buying buttons and  the  buttons I buy join the others in the button tin untill that day when it becomes the last piece in the puzzle of a craft project be it mosaic, handmade cards, knitted mittens and many more.



Is it waiting to give new life to an old  coat or hand me down jacket?

Lately I have been fascinated  by the trend to wear second hand clothes and found a wonderful velvet coat which belonged to my mother. A few new buttons later and I had a coat which earned many compliments.

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What do you do with all the buttons accumulated in your house?