I don't have any pictures of it looking lovely and new, with it's neat little drawers and cute wooden handles. These, now, are the only pictures I have of my favourite button box. I could try to put it back together again to give you an idea but the seams and joins are all rotten and it only wants to fall apart.
The gruesome discovery was made yesterday evening, as we needed to get into the thread box to sew on a new button to a pair of Tom's trousers. The thread box seemed a little dusty, and looking a little closer, we saw that the button box was in a bad way. We had no idea just how bad until we got it out.
The boxes were underneath one of the seats in the bus. Damp is one of the biggest problems we have to deal with - moisture collects in the air so easily when you all live in a small space, and over winter when it's too cold to open the windows or doors, mold spores start breeding. Normally we're hot on their heels and deal with damp before it gets set in - this is one of the only patches we've found from this winter, everywhere else faired better than last year.
But this is the kind of rapid growth mold, the sort of stuff that can do this kind of damage in a few weeks, not months. We don't know whether something got spilt down there (most likely) or whether it is condensation (this box was right beneath the vent so not so likely) but either way, this wasn't like this the last time we went under the seats. Just about everything else is stored in air tight bags or clear plastic boxes, all of which are mold proof.
Apart from a few buttons that have a light green dusting, all of my buttons have survived in tact. Typically, most of my buttons are wood or other natural materials so they would be favourite fodder for the mold. I'm very relieved that they at least are fine. They will all get a very warm wash though.
This button box has sentimental value, making this loss all the more sad. It was gifted from an ex-boyfriend of mine, after I'd spent months and months coveting it, and he's someone with whom I have remained good friends. For nearly 20 years, this pretty little box has homed all of my buttons and kept them safe wherever I've travelled. The gold Liberty mark is barely visible now under the green mold, this isn't the sort of box I can afford to replace. I don't even know if they still make them.
I could try cleaning it but there doesn't seem much point - the mold has worked it's way through the fabric covered cardboard walls. The cotton lawn fabric is too fine to survive such damage and the board is too damp to hold up to anything. The box is well and truly dead; such a sad way for a special box to go.
I guess it's now time to find an old tin for my buttons.