Etiquette & superstition: sweaters with buttons

It’s finally sweater weather here in Los Angeles. 62 degrees right now. Don’t laugh. My blood is so thin it’s almost a mist.

ETIQUETTE: If you’re a man looking to snazz up your suit a bit, you might consider adding a cardigan under your jacket in place of a waistcoat. To make this look fashionable rather than frumpy, the Men’s Flair blog says you should follow the same rule as you would a waistcoat and leave the bottom button unbuttoned. There is also a bit of discussion on same blog about whether you should also leave the top button of the cardigan undone, eventually getting to the conclusion that “… some consider this a little too informal, even rakish as the ‘mock waistcoat’ effect is no longer being followed, and the cardigan is essentially playing by its own rules, or rather, the wanton extravagance of its wearer.” Ouch.

SUPERSTITION: If you knit a sweater for your beloved, they will leave you unless you knit a strand of your own hair into the garment. Putting your arms through the arms of a sweater before you put your head through the neckhole will protect you from drowning. This is really easy with a cardigan because a cardigan doesn’t even have a neckhole until you button it up. For even more luck, put your right arm through before the left arm.

If you have a sweater with an even number of buttons, sew an extra button on for good luck, but wait! Don’t sew that button on while you are wearing the sweater because that is very bad luck indeed.

Spring Buck by Rachel Denny; found via The Jealous Curator

Fancy notions, Gilbert and Sullivan edition

You know me. About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news, with many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse. But one thing I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do is count the number of items this neighborhood notions store French General has on its shelves. Fabric and ribbons and antique bingo cards and umbrella charms. Beads and buttons and little bits of chain. There are just too many things. Infinity plus one things.

I’m rather proud of myself for not buying a lot of stuff there, but as soon as I got home I felt the need to offer up a Fancy Notion  here, and now I’m worried that this is my subconscious trying to make rationalizations: “If I get rid of these thing here, I can buy ten umbrella charms.” What am I going to do with ten umbrella charms? Of course, this is what started the blog – the irrational collection of things like ten umbrella charms.

So anyway, let’s not worry about my subconscious and get to what I’m offering today: ten carved wooden buttons.


I don’t know what kind of wood they are. Teak? Monkeypod? Something. the big ones are 1 1/2″ in diameter and the smaller ones are 1 1/8″ in diameter. The quarter is there for comparison; you don’t get the quarter if you get the buttons. You never get the quarter.

If you would like these notions for a project of yours, just write in to the comments section. The first person to write in that can explain why someone would rhyme “animal and mineral” with “modern major-general” gets the notions sent to them free of charge.


I already knew 10 out of 25 of these “useless words” Buzzfeed put together, so perhaps this means I am a magpie. But who doesn’t know what a peen is?

The comments section for the list are predictably terrible, as most comments sections are, but there is one new and lovely word that someone volunteered:

Squatcho! Squatcho is the brave Patuxet guide cloth-covered button on the top of a baseball cap. SQUATCHO!

Published in: on October 27, 2011 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Button, button…

A friend recently gave me two big boxes of buttons. There are a lot of really good buttons in there, but unfortunately there are also a lot of grey buttons, and I just don’t know what to do with them. Grey. I don’t have a very good relationship with grey. I can’t even decide how to spell it. Apparently spellcheck prefers “gray.” Anyway.

I know; they look blue in the photo. Trust me – they’re gray. Grey. Eh. I was thinking about anonymously donating these to the artist Clare Graham, but he makes things out of thousands of buttons. What does he need with less than 100 grey buttons? Ugh. Phooey. These buttons are making me feel inadequate. I need to get rid of them. So they’re today’s Fancy Notions offering. Someone must have a use for them. One of you, perhaps.

You could make a button landscape of a stormy sky. You could become an eccentric collector. You could replace all the buttons on your red coat. You could do a lot of things with a lot of buttons like this.

As always, if you want these buttons, just write in to the comments section indicating your desire for them. The first person with a hint of sincerity in their comment will get these mailed to them, free of charge from me.

Published in: on July 30, 2010 at 11:23 am  Comments (3)  
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Fancy notions #15

Unlike many females, I never went through a horse phase as a girl. I don’t know why, but I just never could get that excited about horses. So why did I go and buy this embroidered horse patch?


I have no idea. So I’m giving it away to the first or most sincere person that requests it in the comments section. As an added bonus, I am going to throw in some almost comically large buttons.

Look how large those buttons are. Don’t you need some large buttons? As noted in Fancy Notions policy earlier, the quarter is not part of the giveaway, but you do have the option of purchasing this set of notions, including the quarter, for a bargain price of twenty-five cents. Your choice.

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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Fancy notions #12

Wow. It’s been over six months since my last Fancy Notions offering. What is my problem? I must have gotten hoisted on my own petards when Fancy Notions #7, my paper napkin collection, was added to the largest (or maybe just best) paper napkin collection in Bulgaria. Well, petards have a way of dissipating, so hoisted I am no longer. I am here to offer some notions.


As you can see, there is a green theme going here. A miniature journal with a bejeweled cover and broken key ring clasp, a fabric applique patch depicting some mushrooms, and three green buttons of various size, shape, and opacity. The quarter is there for perspective; it is not part of the prize.

As an added bonus, I am throwing in a barely used spool of sky-blue thread, because when I was cleaning out my thread box yesterday I noticed that I had three spools of sky-blue thread, and that seems a little excessive. My mom probably gave them to me after she abandoned some project. Abandoning projects seems to run in the family. I have been hanging on to the green flower button for I don’t know how many years, because it is really great, but I am always so afraid to use it on the wrong project that it has just been going to waste. It’s huge. And glittery.


As always, if you would like these fancy notions for your very own, just let me know; write a message in the comments section below rather than sending any emails this time. I’ll send them to the first or most sincere person who writes in. Good luck!

Fancy notions #6

Boy, I feel sillier than a pig wearing galoshes. Turns out that guy who predicted the big nuclear war today is just some nutcase who changes the date of the impending apocalypse whenever it doesn’t happen: “I said June 12, 2008? Oh, geez; I meant 2009. Sorry.” His nuclear baby story is way past its due date at this point. So, sorry if I worried anybody.

Now, of course, I have all of these nuclear holocaust survival supplies lying around cluttering up the house, so I would like to offer some of them to you as today’s Fancy Notions selection:

It’s a collection of white buttons in various sizes and styles, and the buttons fit nicely into a white vinyl Barbie backpack. Buttons can be very important after a disaster; you never know things like this until it is too late. The backpack snaps closed for added security.

I have included a quarter for perspective* in the photo, but you do not get the quarter; just the backpack full of buttons. For those unfamiliar with how this works, if you are reading this and would like the backpack of buttons for yourself, please email me at herndonofsunnyvale(at) The button backpack will go to the first person who writes in with “fancy notions” in the subject line.

*This is a new perspective quarter. After much debate and negotiation, it was decided that the previous perspective dime should be given to former Minister of Fancy Notions Weights & Measures Joaquin as a golden parachute. All executives who are caught misappropriating funds these days seem to get a severance package of some sort, so I suppose it’s only fair.

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