Anyone who knows me well, knows I am a collector. Some of those would say that I collect too many things. At times I wish I could narrow my focus, but all in all, I think my interests are too numerous and my personality is too complex to be less. I enjoy being surrounded by things that are important to me; they inspire me. I connect with interesting items; I study them and absorb energy from them. Only another collector would truly understand this. Collecting encompasses hobbies, interests and passions. In this forum, I will share some of the stuff I collect with you.
I have a few criteria for the items I collect. >First, they must not be expensive. Most have come from auctions, yard sales, garage sales, barn sales, the local dump when it’s allowed to ‘pick’, church rummage sales, flea markets and the like. Sometimes off price stores, mail order sources and country stores yield some great surprises. Discovery is half the fun. Our entire home is furnished almost entirely with items found this way, as well as those I’ve inherited or made, and in some instances, found by the roadside. >Second, I don’t want to collect items I will not use. Everything I have needs to be functional, as well as have an aesthetic appeal to me.
I design and build dollhouses and furnishings, and I have a collection of them, naturally. Many of these are depictions of children’s stories (Goldilocks and the 3 Bears, Little Red Riding Hood) or whimsy (a Faery House in a tree stump). There’s a strong British presence, cottages, 2 Tudor styles and a castle in the works. My most recent is a Nantucket Whaler’s Cape style house with lights and glowing fires.
I love books and I read all the time. Well-illustrated children’s books are high on my list, old or new. Arthur Rackham is my all time favorite illustrator and I’m always looking for something he’s done. Cookbooks fascinate me. I rarely use them to cook by, but read them like novels and take inspiration from them, then go off and create my own versions of interesting sounding recipes. I especially enjoy the books with a lot of narrative, essays and memoirs.
I’ve been collecting old linens in relatively good condition; vintage tablecloths, dishtowels, napkins, handkerchiefs and the like since I was in grade school. Since I was taught to sew by my mother and grandmother at a young age, fabric and textiles have always caught my eye. I only pick up pieces at bargain prices. I don’t mind mending or removing stains. I use them, so, again, I don’t want to feel guilty about using something in perfect condition. I have often re-purposed trimmings from otherwise ruined items as well. I’ve reused hand crocheted trimming and finished a bed ruffle. Old lace from ruined petticoats edges pillowcases.
Picnic baskets come in a lot of shapes and sizes. I use them frequently and am always looking for sturdy, practical old baskets form many reasons.
Old dishes and kitchen tools fascinate me. (Please see my blogs on granite ware, blue willow and blue and white dishes if you are interested in more about these.)
Metal water cans are rugged and last for generations. As proof, I have the cans that two of my Great Grandfathers owned. This has inspired me to pick up a few others when I see them ‘going cheap’ at yard sales.
In my family, I tend to be the curator of old photos and family lore. I am an avid scrapbooker so I am always on the lookout for important and relevant family history items and information. I record as much as I can for future generations so that they will know ‘where they came from.’
Being a storyteller at heart, I am also a story collector. This is a dying art form I fear and hope to do my part to allay the extinction of this ancient form of communication.
So, yes, I collect things that I love. If you understand this concept, you are probably a collector also. If you don’t, that’s okay. We need you to balance the rest of us out and keep us from going overboard!