There are several reasons we decided we wanted to buy our home in El Cerrito. One of those reasons is the plethora of amazing, old timey, time-forgot shops that exist in El Cerrito. There’s Pastime Ace, home of the largest and most comprehensive light bulb collection I have ever seen. And not far from Ace is the Old West Gun Room. Of course, I’m pretty far from a gun enthusiast, but I can’t help but a feel a rush of delight every time I drive past its Disneyland-esqe facade. Fans of the music preservationists Arhoolie Records will enjoy their retail store, Down Home Music. I bought a compilation of B-Movie soundtracks there when I was 17-years-old and it’s been a love affair since.
And across the street from Down Home Music, there is possibly the greatest gem of them all. Featuring a sign that proclaims simply “Buttons,” the strangest, loveliest little time warp awaits you. Run by the sweetest little old lady, she and her husband were button wholesalers once upon a time. He has since passed on, but his legacy of button bounty are still with us.
I went in there recently to get some buttons in a very particular and hard to find color. Have you noticed how certain colors just do not exist in modern buttons? Like a nice grass green or a hearty ochre yellow? Frankly, any color outside of red or navy blue is either impossible to find or disappointing. So when I needed buttons for this navy blue dress with threads of turquoise, yellow, red and orange running through it, I knew I had to go to Exclusive Buttons.
I found two options. The photo doesn’t do justice to the yellow ones. They are a really great shade of yellow. They went really nicely with the yellow in the dress, but ultimately I decided to go with the turquoise, as the collar on this dress made it look a little too “waitress uniform” with the highly contrasting buttons. Ok, and check out those prices! So charmingly affordable.
More on this dress later. This is the first sewing project I have embarked on since the move. My sewing room still isn’t finished, but the luxury of having an actual dining room provided a temporary workspace.
I also picked up these amazing gigante green carved buttons. I’m thinking I might use these for a coat someday.
There is also a case filled with buckles and various specialty buttons at the front.
Lastly, I will leave you with some photos of the various walls of buttons. All arranged by color. These are clickable if you’d like to zoom in for a better look. If you’d like to read a little more about the store, my friend Jenny wrote a story about the place on the Craft blog a few years ago.