We've arrived at the final coffee table post. The previous posts can be found here
This time there are more non-button items here! There are rocks and shells (collected from Brighton and the Natural History Museum shop), photos of strangers, a minimalistic wood Madonna sculpted by my grandfather (he was incredible with his puukko), and a huge key that used to open the workshop where the men of my paternal side of family worked when their business was still small. The big faceted black glass buttons were most likely on a fur coat once - I'm glad the buttons were saved, the fur I wouldn't have worn anyway.
Mother of pearl buttons have always been among my favourites. These big ones, like the black faceted ones, are from my maternal side of family, early first half of 20th century I'd guess, if not older. Four have shanks, the one with four holes has a more detailed engraved pattern.
Sometimes my grandmother would use the Swedish word pärlemor for mother of pearl, and it took me ages to understand what it meant as I hadn't studied any Swedish when I first heard the word and I'm not sure if I even realised she was using a foreign word as it wasn't all that common of her to do so. The Finnish word helmiäinen has nothing to do with mothers, just pearls, and the word helmi bears no resemblance to the words pearl or pärla. I'm simplifying a lot here, but Finnish is a relatively young language (in its written form especially) and for a long time many words were loan words, so one keeps running into half-Swedish/English/German words in old postcards and writings, and some linguistic detective work is required to decipher the meaning.
This embroidered silk handkerchief is disintegrating quite severely, but it still has Saima's initials. I've had this for a long, long time - I don't really know why it was originally given to me, but probably to make dresses for dollhouse dolls. I'm glad I knew not to cut this up back then.
The thread is something I've rescued from London in exchange for a little money. Those labels are just too irresistible, and all things are simply better in miniature!
I don't know what this brass ruler is meant for, but it was just too darling to be left behind when I spotted it at Spitalfields Antique Market. Old tools are one of my weaknesses.
Rescuing worthless things is another one. This little pen and long ago dried up bottle of gold ink used to reside in my mother's cellar sewing room. She had a small plastic drawer unit where her sewing threads were stored (sorted by colour, naturally), and in one of the drawers were these even though the ink had dried up a long ago, and this was also long ago. For me it was The Treasure Drawer among all the other treasure drawers.
Nowadays my mother sews in the room that used to be mine and not so much in the cellar anymore, and her threads are much more numerous and stored super professionally. She has always approved of my collecting habits, even when they were silly (how many popsicle sticks is enough, really?), probably because she's incurable herself. Inspired by this series of mine, she also blogged about her own accumulations and shared a plethora of pincushions. I expect there will be more accumulations to follow in her blog as well as mine.
Remember my grandfather's rock and sand collection? This fossil was also his, and it's gorgeous. I somehow think this used to lay on a window sill near the phone at my grandparents' house, but my memory is sometimes quite imaginative, so I don't really count on it anymore. I don't know a thing about fossils, so I don't know what this should be called or even what type it is. Do you? I know my readers have a massive communal knowledge of all kinds of curious things, so maybe this is one of those things you can help me solve!