I can always remember as a young child going to stay with my aunty and uncle and being kept entertained with a large old highly decorated sweet tin absolutely full of beautiful unique buttons. I used to be set the task of trying to match as many of the buttons up as I could. It used to keep me quiet and entertained with some highly individual beautiful buttons being stored within its confines. I used to lay on the rug in front of the fire sorting the buttons and examining each one and admiring them for their beauty. Any clothing that was sent to the rag and bone man always had its buttons chopped off and restored to the tin to be recycled at some future date on some home produced garment either a dress or a knitted cardigan or jumper. You didn't always have a choice way back then it was a home creation and only very rarely a tailored dress - this was down to cost more than anything else - times that seem to be coming back. Times were that girls were well prepared on how to run a house and cope with anything that was thrown at them and were taught the rudiments of sewing and knitting at home. But then remember there was no T.V. and it was a way of keeping you entertained. Practical interests that had a large part to play in keeping your family fed, watered, well dressed and warmed.
I have a button box, an old sweet tin full of buttons that have been derived by chopping off clothing to either replace it because have lost a button or buttons or I have bought buttons to use and then never used them. Its not as grand as my aunt's button box but one to dream away the hours with like when I was a small child.