I love sewing boxes and tins of buttons, because they are unwitting time capsuls for domestic divas of a bygone era. Pictured: what I found among the buttons in a rusted cookie tin other relatives did not see worthy to keep for themselves. Thank you God for the vision to see beauty in what others cast off! Yeah, the buttons were pretty wonderful too (after a good washing), but it's the other bonus bits that get me excited. The old keys that once locked up something important, the glazed clay marble that belonged to Uncle Larry when he was a kid, the 1953 wheat penny that never got spent because it was forgotten among the buttons and (now) rusted brads that Grandpa dumped into the tin because it was handy.
At other times I have found paper pillboxes holding collar buttons, a deck of well worn cards, fragile corked "test tubes" of tiny buttons, tattered books of rusted needles (never used) and a beautifully lithographed matchbook. What does my sewing box say about me? Bone crochet hooks only used for repairing snagged sweaters (no time for crocheting), small unicorn decorated tin with pushpins (forgotten), packet of large needles once bought for teddy bear making (now unused), a couple of bundles of elastic (?), gold plated stork scissors I can't bear to part with because they are pretty, but I also don't use them and similiar "treasures" that are entombed for someone to discover when I am pushing up daisies. Don't even get me started on my sewing machine cabinet! I am a sucker for spools of thread in colors I may or may not use, but buy at estate sales because of the wooden spools and beautiful metallic paper labels, scraps of gold lame', batting, Wonder Under, cut up dresser scarf (only part of the embroidered design was used) all stuffed away. All forgotten because I have moved on to other projects.
Can't throw them out though. They may be useful someday. If not to me, then someone else. :)