Monday, December 11, 2017

Glass Lace

Doreen sold me this button last month and I'm just nuts about it. Who's Doreen? Well, I mention her all the time, but if you don't know by now, Doreen is a friend and fellow button connoisseur who sells all styles of vintage buttons online through her button outlet: "Buttons From the Attic" on Etsy. This clear button resembles a shard of glass, shaped like a fancy snippet of Alençon lace. It's not glass, however, but a see-through variety of Bakelite (apple juice). Etched with a stripe and carved leaves, there's a jewel-like quality to this very queenly button.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee

Saturday, December 9, 2017

My Special Occasion Button

I was saving this button for a special occasion on this bloglike an anniversary or a holiday, but sometimes you just have to say, "today's the day!" So here it is. This garish oddity is unlike anything else in my collection. Size-wise, this could be a brooch. It's definitely a button. The Bakelite base is a rare tone of mustard that's carved into a sort of scalloped platter bearing a fiery orange (Bakelite) bead. A widely drawn-out button from the 1920's, there's something almost Egyptian about this one. Picture it on an exotic blouse, perhaps designed by a long-ago designer such a Florrie Westwood or Jean Patou. Truly outlandish.

-Sherbert McGee 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Solid Rock

If you need to throw a rock at someone (or something), but there are no available rocks around, here's a button that could take down a diplodocus. The thing is downright HUGE. Moreover, this is a Bakelite button from the 1930's, probably from an excruciatingly chic fur coat. Thickset and mightily stylish, it's a two-tone button in butterscotch with chocolate stripes that wrap all the way around. Truly substantial in terms of girth and glamour.

-Sherbert McGee  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Creamed Spinach to the Rescue!

Brace yourselves, kids. Here's a pair of buttons that nearly knocked the wind out of me when I found them while Bakelite hunting this past summer on one of my Great American road trips. Notice the strange details and peculiar markings. Made of "creamed spinach" Bakelite, these quirky wowzers present finely whipped hurricanes of yellow set in darkish bright green Bakelite for a visual result that seriously flips my brain. What's more, these buttons are double-cut, meaning they're carved in one style on the bottom and another style on the top. See how the upper surfaces are etched-away, revealing the ring-shaped undersides. I reckon these incredible buttons go back to the year 1929. Models of the art deco era, they are truly something else.

-Sherbert McGee    

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Renown in Brown

There are brown buttons and then there are brown buttons like this hot humdinger in a buffed hue of scrumptiously chocolate Bakelite. A large coat button from the 1920's, this dreamy chunk of vintage plastic boasts all the stamps of an ideal Bakelite button with curves to spare and a bumpy mound of interesting carvings that resemble a deep imprint of leaves. Most impressively, this decidedly perfect button scores a 10 out of 10 on its smooth and luscious shine. A sweet antique, worthy of applause.

-Sherbert McGee  

Monday, December 4, 2017

Bakelite, Double-Dished

Here's the dish! A multi-layered biggie, this button's foundation is a cherry platter in tested Bakelite with a creamed corn plate above it, also Bakelite. Pinned together with a metal stud, this art deco button likely goes back to the late 1920's/early 1930's. Boldly simple and simply bold, it's a stacked illustration of exemplary Style! Notwithstanding a bit of wear on the metal component, this button's a tip-top dish indeed.

-Sherbert McGee

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Winter Blues

Here's a pair of buttons meant to ward off the winter blues. The cold season is fast approaching and I'm bracing myself for the guaranteed ice and the inevitable gloom. Hewn out of deep blue Bakelite, the rarest of all the Bakelite colors, today's post features an elephant staged on a shapely art deco motif with stylized carvings at play. Pretty enough to counteract a blizzard, these old charms are at rest now on my window sillpoised to fend off the looming chill and my wintry woes.

Visit Doreen's online store

-Sherbert McGee

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Gary Cooper's Cufflinks

At first glance, I thought these Bakelite buttons were a pair of old cufflinks. As it turns out, they are actually buttonsthough hardly your everyday shirt trinkets. Strangely angular and sliced twice at one side for an art deco effect, they have the look of stylized hammer heads. Somehow handsome in their abstract slants and curves, these would've trimmed a suit with dashing aplomb. Circa 1925.

Gary Cooper was a movie star of the highest ranking and a debonair knight of the early Hollywood film scene. I was recently watching TV during the wee hours when one of his biggest movies, Morocco, came on (also starring Marlene Dietrich). Inspired by the picture, I did a little research on the film's chief hero. Starting with silent films in the 1920's and then into a steady stream of talkies, Cooper famously played men of action: unruffled cowboys, soldiers, sailors, adventurers and gallant husbands. Owing to his on-screen charisma, he's widely considered a "God" of classic American cinema (though not quite to the extent of Valentino). So there's a little bit of history for you. The Tom Cruise of yesteryear, Gary Cooper was one of the original Dapper Dan's of the highfalutin Jazz Age. His death in 1961 caused a national lament and a fathomless pileup of broken hearts.

-Sherbert McGee  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Abalone Mahoney

If I wasn't so into Bakelite, I could easily see myself collecting buttons made out of abalone. Iridescent and fishy, the stuff's caught my eye ever since I was a kidback when I got hypnotized looking at one of my grandmother's mother-of-pearl brooches. At any rate, here's a unique button that delivers up both of the coveted riches: Bakelite and abalone. The Bakelite is a prime example of faux tortoise, or rootbeer, with six clefts cut into the border for a design that really gets this button popping. The abalone centerpiece is a five-petaled daffodil that shimmers in a supernatural tone of perfectly perplexing purplish silver. From the 1920's and very much a rare wonder.

-Sherbert McGee    

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mister Imperfection

It's cracked in the middle. It bears ugly splotches. It's a little misshaped and it gives off a jaundiced vibe. But for all that's wrong with this poor unsightly button, there's plenty of good to appreciate as well: It's tried and true Bakelite. It's a sturdy keepsake from the 1920's (marked with all the ancient scuffs of a reckless flapper). It's an art deco button, evidenced by the way the three leaves curl up the sides like stylized tendrils. It's a one-of-a-kind treasure. Moreover, this button reminds me of a poem I wrote many years ago, titled Mister Imperfection. And here's how it goes...

Mister Imperfection

I’m the dud of misdirection.
Call me Mister Imperfection.
See the crack on my pagoda.
There’s no bubble in my soda.

Look at me, another dent—
Like rhino-prints on wet cement.
Now every failure seems as though
I’m drowning in the undertow.

Perfect men are nicely painted.
I am faulty, chipped and tainted.
See the scratch on my toboggan.
There’s no logic in my noggin.

On the fritz and out of whack,
If nature ever sends me back
I’ll raise my voice and question God:
Are you the one who made me flawed?

Look at me, another scar—
Like fractures on a Mason jar.
Now every failure seems as if
I’m falling off a higher cliff.

I’m a Greek with no Apollo.
My piñata must be hollow.
See me wallow through correction.
Call me Mister Imperfection.

-Sherbert McGee