Button Memories: with Amy Palanjian of ReadyMade!

Happy Monday and Happy August! I’m excited to bring you another Button Memories interview with a fellow lover of all things handmade Amy Palanjian from ReadyMade Magazine!
Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff)
Hello! My name is Amy Palanjian and I am a NYC transplant currently living in Des Moines, Iowa. I’m 29, I love to ride my bike, walk in the woods, bake bread, granola and crackers from scratch and eat as many meals as I can outside. You can learn more about me at http://www.thethingswemake.blogspot.com/

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I work as the Deputy Editor of ReadyMade magazine (http://readymade.com/blogs/readymade), which is the reason that I’m living in Iowa (Meredith, which publishes ReadyMade, is based here). I write and edit stories and blog posts, help keep things running smoothly and try to supply as many treats to my coworkers as I can.

Why buttons?
Buttons have always reminded me of my Grandmom Palanjian. I’m not sure whether she really had that many of them, but I am convinced that she’s the reason I’m so aware of them. I love thinking of them outside of their original purpose—whether made into shoe clips or used as embellishments on the bags that I make or even strung onto a ribbon for very pretty gift wrap (which Anthropologie did very well last Christmas).

Do you collect them? If so,
I don’t, but now that I’m living in a house—and not my teensy nyc apartment—I just might start!

What was your first memory of buttons?
For some reason, whenever I think about buttons I think of my grandmother on my Dad’s side. I’m not sure whether she even had that many, but I do remember playing with them in her sewing room while she did needlepoint and worked at her sewing machine. My other favorite button-related memory was a trip I made to the most organized, and amazing, button store in NYC about two years ago with a friend. She was looking for buttons for a sweater she was knitting and that store was incredible. Each type if button was in a small cardboard box with a hand written label, many times with the material and the origin, on the front. It was a little intimidating because the shop owners are very serious about what they do, but it’s definitely a destination if you’re a button lover.

Did you grow up with: Button Box, Button Jar, Button Tin?
All of the buttons in the house that I grew up in wound up in my mom’s red and white gingham cushion topped sewing box. It wasn’t particularly organized, and they were often tangled with the thread that was also in there. But I always knew where to find it—on the bottom right side of the cabinet above the washing machine.

Where is it now?
It’s still on that shelf!

What/who inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature, even the simplest things like a wooded path or lightning bugs hovering over a lawn on a summer evening. Lately, since I’ve only been in Iowa for a little over two months, I’m practically in awe of nature—I think my brain had adjusted to the concrete of the city and it’s going to take me some time to realize that all of this green (corn or otherwise!) is my new environment. Other than that, I’m inspired by my online community of bloggers and photographers, by my crafty “real world” friends who make me amazing things like knitted blankets and hand sewn cards.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My first quilt. It is the least well executed of the 5 quilts that I’ve made, but I love having it near me because the craft has become so integral to my life. Plus, the color and fabric combination is particularly fearless, which is always a nice source of inspiration!

Amy, thanks so much for sharing your button story! I love your memory about the red gingham button box, and remembering every detail even it’s location! Check out Amy’s Things We Make and the blog at ReadyMade.com. Have a button story to share? Email me at atomsatwork@gmail.com!

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