Confessions of a Collectaholic

in collections, musings, my home, quote, thrifting  3 comments
May 12 2009
My vintage ribbon

If you are a collector, let other people share your pride and joy. Don’t sprinkle your collection out of sight in a meaningless jumble. Notice how groups of small objects when they are well arranged, become important and effective…

Collect what you will, but see to it that you arrange your hobby to its best advantage.
-Dorothy Draper

Aunty Voon was my nanny from the time I was old enough to speak till I was about seven. From the time I knew them, there were always piles and piles of yellowed, hardened newspapers everywhere: hallways, front porch, corners of rooms, courtyards. I remember them already yellowed and this was the late 70s! The story was that her hoarder husband, Uncle Voon, collected every daily paper since he was old enough to read, hoping to one day sell them and make a mint.

Yellow retro bicycle with yellow sunflowers, via Flickr: JasonTromm

Yellow bicycle! via Flickr: JasonTromm

My sister has a retired engineer friend. He’s super handy and somehow has ended up with 500 broken, run-down, rusted out bicycles – I forgot to take photographs in my jaw-dropped condition! But he’s got a kind heart. He does them up now and then and gives them to Amish boys.

My grandfather liked collecting old day-planners… never used. And torchlights, all with functioning batteries. And huge nail-clippers. But the most interesting thing about him was that Gong-gong collected memories. He would go out to his mahjong hangouts, have lunches with friends and then in the evening, return home and note with painstaking detail every minutiae of his day. Where he went, how much he paid to get there, how far the drive was, directions to every place. How much he paid for lunch, what else was on the menu of the restaurant, how much things cost… this was a daily exercise for more than 20 years. I think he was doing all he could to keep his faculties. (Worked too, until cancer took him away when he was 86 – considered to be a good ripe old age, in Malaysia.)

These were the type of people I used to label “hoarders”.

I’ve come to realise now… that we are all, hoarders… collectors, gatherers. At the very least, like bower birds, dragging bits and bobs that catch our eye into our little nests.

(Aren’t these nests spectacular??? These nests are built by the male birds, who steal bits of bright blue from houses, courtyards, restaurants etc to attract their female counterparts. And they ONLY ever steal BLUE! Not pink or green or yellow! When my blue pegs from the line would go missing we’d know that there was a bower bird nest somewhere near.)

I think it’s important to acknowledge that be it a collector, a hoarder, blue bower birds… there are reasons for their inclination. Uncle Voon thought he could sell a newspaper of significant meaning one day and make his fortune that way. John repaired those bicycles to give away to Amish kids who couldn’t afford them. Bower birds drag in these shiny (and often blue!) items to make a beautiful home, to lure a mate and well… prolong their species.

Don’t we also have our reasons for collecting what we do? Our hobbies? We, the interior-home-decorating nuts, the book-lovers, the baking-and-cooking-loving people. Don’t we like collecting what attracts and inspires us?

I collect, I confess. And I don’t think I’m alone by a long shot. Celebrity interior designer, Nate Berkus collects a piece of rock or shell from every vacation as momentos. Martha Stewart collects.. well.. everything… but her jadeite fireking collection is second to none.

Martha Stewart's jadeite collection, a screenshot taken from a podcast

Martha Stewart’s jadeite collection, a screenshot taken from a podcast

I thought I’d end this musing with a guilt-free show of a few of my collections:

I collect books…

My books after being colour coded

My books after being colour coded

Nicola by Loui Shabner now graces the creative home of Kim from Desire to Inspire!

I also collect vintage ribbon

My vintage ribbon

My vintage ribbon

I use them (sparingly!) when wrapping special gifts, scrapbooking and bookmarks. I don’t actually find pleasure in collecting something I never actually use!

What about my pretty collection of art glass

My yellow art glass collection

My yellow art glass collection

Brooches

I talk about my 50s brooches here. But I have a few more…

Little girls’ frocks

Hannah's little girl frocks in her walk in robe

Hannah’s little girl frocks in her walk in robe

Not really a collection, but it makes me feel happy gazing into my little girl’s walk in robe and see the pretty, vibrant, sweet frocks all lined up.

Paper napkins

Only part of my evergrowing paper napkin collection

Only part of my evergrowing paper napkin collection

This I have to blame my MIL for starting. She knew of my love for sparrows that started way way way back to my teens. So she started buying me paper napkins with birds on them. Discovering how far paper napkins have come, I then started to see ones I did like, more vibrant ones. So started the hobby. I have fun selecting which to use during dinner parties, birthday doos and picnics.

My love for children’s books is well documented

… like here

Stationery

Small selection of my stationery

Small selection of my stationery

Who doesn’t like to collect art?

My small but growing vintage floral art collection

My small but growing vintage floral art collection

My Favourite Things by bijou kaleidoscope by Hannah

My Favourite Things by bijou kaleidoscope by Hannah

Prints from calendars on our guest bedroom wall

Prints from calendars on our guest bedroom wall

My bird collection from Etsy

My bird collection from Etsy

My favourite vintage bird pic, in our blue bedroom

My favourite vintage bird pic, in our blue bedroom

And of course, I collect china

Part of my beloved Johnson Bros collection

Part of my beloved Johnson Bros collection

My beloved china cabinet with my favourite china pieces

My beloved china cabinet with my favourite china pieces

China in the other beloved china cabinet

China in the other beloved china cabinet

(Incidentally, don’t you just love what must be a treasured collection of antique 1880’s Coalport Indian Tree china against the watermelon of the walls in the first photo?)

This, I’m not so proud of… but I do have many bags

My guilty bag collection

My guilty bag collection

I also thought I’d add some inspiration from Flickr:

An awesome (and highly inspiring, must be copied one day) pez collection

Eggs:

Teapots:

Vintage pencil sharpeners:

What collections do you have?

Anything quirky?
Like 50 year old lipsticks? ;)
Do share!

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