Sunday, 23 February 2014

Collections or What May be my Longest Post Yet

What makes a bunch of stuff a collection?  How many must you have?  Must the collecting be deliberate?  My mind was wandering, as it often does.  We ladies of leisure like to contemplate things.  While watching the snowflakes accumulate, and letting my mind dwell on the idea of accumulation, I began to think about the sorts of things I accumulate in my home.

Digression #1:  Yes, we have snow at the moment, and it looks like this:

I have several deliberate collections in my home but I also have some accidental collections.  You need only know me for about five minutes to find out I collect books.  There are books piled in every room of my home, on floors and tabletops.  My running joke is that it's time to stop collecting books and start collecting shelves.  Hilarious, isn't it?  I also collect beach stones and candles which you will frequently find mixed in with my books.   I am particularly fond of a pile of books with a pile of rocks on the floor in front of it.  It wasn't meant to stay like that, but my very sweet cleaning lady has put up with it for a month now.

Digression #2:  Yikes, the carpet looks kind of pink in this photo and it definitely isn't. 

My accidental collections include coffee mugs, though not the type often collected with cute sayings on them.  I fall for pottery or hand painted ceramic mugs and I have far more than I need.  Surely some day  I will have a coffee party for 20 people.  And then there are the throw pillows.  My ex hated throw pillows so when I became a single woman I happily accumulated masses of them.  I do fall for textiles and have a small collection of shawls as well, draped over furniture so I can enjoy them as they are rarely likely to be draped over me.  The colours in my spare bedroom, which is not really properly decorated yet and needs pictures on the walls, are richer and brighter than in my living room and bedroom so here is where the brighter throw pillows go.  You can see I am not too fussy about neatly folding my blankets.  They are called throws.  So I throw them on the sofa.

Digression #3:  Some say throw pillow and some say toss cushion.  Which do you say?

Digression #4:  None of the wall paint colours in my home were chosen by me.  I moved in 6 months ago.  Most of them are working for me so far.   I am not sure about this spare bedroom.  The colour is a bit more chartreuse than it looks in the photo.

My collection of jewelry and scarves is semi-deliberate.  I didn't think of it as a collection until I realised that I enjoy the jewelry more as a display on my bedroom dresser than as something I actually wear, and that I am prone to buying scarves because I am mad about textiles and fall for colour and pattern.  I have tried to edit the collection down to scarves I actually do wear.  A few which I don't wear end up draped around my home in the same way that shawls do.

Digression #5:  That mirror is too small but I love it.  I have a theory that if I can grow the pothos long enough I can make a big trailing green leafed frame around the mirror and visually enlarge it. In about ten years from now I'll let you know how that worked.

Digression #6:  I took this photo several times and even used the tripod and it always looks slightly out of focus.  I give up. ( No, I don't actually-this photo is finally better )

And then there are the houseplants.  While to me a home is not a home, nor is it properly decorated without plants, I treat them more like a collection than decor because I am prone to holding onto the stragglers and strugglers, convinced that I can save them.  I buy itty bitty plants when a skilled decorator would buy large ones.  Some plants are easily propagated and if I prune such a plant I am compelled to stick that pruning in a jar of water and then before I know it I have another itty bitty plant.  In a corner of my kitchen, where the light is very good, I mix the strugglers in with the showpieces.  At the moment there is even a dead one there, which I am mourning.

Digression #7:  That flooring is cork tile and I think the previous owner of my home was high when she chose it.  At least green and brown colours work with plants.

I deliberately started to collect carved wooden elephants.  This collection has sort of gone nowhere since I only buy them in thrift shops.  I don't have the means to travel to exotic places and buy them as souvenirs.  So I have two.  I feel that I cannot yet call this a collection.  In my mind, a collection begins at three.  Did I invent that rule or is it a real rule?

I have had  much more success with my folk art Saint Nicholas collection.  I have my  guidelines for what I want when I buy one, and mainly I look for carved wood, though at least one of mine is  faux wood-look polymer clay and one is actually paper.  I also have a deliberate collection of ornamental birds.  I like them simple in shape and design and crafted in wood or metal.  This began as a Christmas collection but I have decided to leave them out all year and they are well scattered around my home which seems sort of appropriate for birds.

The final collection I can recall is one of coloured glass vessels.  I usually pick them up in thrift shops and have learned to inspect them carefully as I don't want painted glass.  In the summer I display a group of them on my mantle while a few others are placed throughout my home year round and one or two are used on a regular basis.

The rule of collections is to display them grouped together but clearly I don't do that with all of my collections.  Rules were made to be broken and I love breaking them.  

It must be noted that if I could, I would probably collect cats.  Since there are a few reasons why this cannot and will not happen, my Sophie is quite content to be the only one.  In order to make it up to me, she contributes generously to the collection of cat fur which can be found throughout my home.


  1. Thank you so much for the sweet comment you left on my blog! I really appreciated it! <3 I like collecting things, too, by the way. It allows me to control something. It's hard to explain, but there are so many things in life that are beyond our control, you know? So, I feel like gathering, arranging, etc. is cathartic. =)

    - Anna

    1. Thanks for visiting me here! You are probably onto something with the connection between collecting and being in control of something. Gathering, arranging ( or in the case of some of my beach stones, piling and dumping ) really does feel personal and powerful. Every day I am making the statement, "I put that pile of stones there and I want it there." LOL

  2. love this post!!
    can i come to your coffee party were we sip the hot stuff from your collected mugs? ;-)
    (actually i was in your area 24 years ago)
    it is beautiful how your "collections" add to the "gemütlichkeit" of your home. it looks warm and cosy and feminine. and you are only 6 month there.
    the fluffy square things i call sofa pillows. and the the addiction with books i solved with a membership at the local library. still have a lot that i cant give away. i surround me with plants too, when i come in homes which have no plants i think something is wrong. I inherited two collections of collectors' cups, but I do not display them - but utilize. not every day - but very often. and my husband is collecting stones, at the river bank in front of the house and at our hiking tours.
    the roll around everywhere in the house and make me nuts when cleaning :-)
    (sorry for the crappy english. if you like visit me:
    wish you a happy week!

    1. Your English isn't crappy at all! Your blog is beautiful and I have added it to my blog roll on bloglovin'. Being new at this I am not sure how to translate the text so I just drool over the beautiful images.

      You most definitely can come to my coffee party. As an introvert who only pretends to be extroverted, it will most likely only be you though, as I much prefer one on one visits with friends and only host a larger party once a year.

  3. i love collections and have quite a few myself! i actually love your books/rocks decor, i think it makes a home feel cozy and lived in!!

  4. Thanks for stopping by. I love my rock pile too, though I actually scooped up all the rocks today and put them in a garden trug. I was feeling guilty because the cleaning lady comes tomorrow. Maybe I will dump them all out again when she's gone!

  5. I think we are all drawn to something, and whether we consciously define those items as collections, that's what they are. You have a warm, inviting-looking home, minimalist chic never has that homely welcoming vibe. Books, pictures, textiles, plants (though I am an utter failure at keeping house plants alive...) and a cat (I fare better with these and have a collection of four!) - these are the elements of a cosy home, I think. xxxx

    1. Thank you. No, I cannot do or live with minimalist chic. I am horrified by it actually. LOL

  6. The only thing I seem to collect nowadays in scrapbooking supplies! My son has the 'book bug' but only buys books he wants in his collection otherwise he reads on his kindle. I think when he moves into his own home one day he is going to collect cats (live ones) as his Dad grew up with a Mother who hated cats so he does not like them much either and my son LOVES cats.

    1. I suppose I definitely do collect art supplies too. It's good to break away from your favourite things and try something new. I have attempted to carve some of my own stamps, with the stamping being inspired by the scrapbooking and card making people.

      I would say I only buy books I want to keep too. But that ends up being all of them. In fact, I cannot even build up any credit at the second hadn book shops because the number of books I buy in a year that I decide not to keep ends up being something like three. I have the makings of a crazy cat lady but am saved by not having the means to collect cats! And no tolerance for more than one litter box.

  7. Oh Shawna, we are so much alike in many ways! I love collections. I love this post and your photos of collections. I agree with Curtise completely (and I adore English cottage culture above all) - all these things AND cats create a welcoming, warm home! Otherwise, it is only a place to sleep, really... But we are all so different. I know that for some, my home is too much! :) I will make a post about some of my collections too. Don't know when exactly, but I will do it. Your home with all these collections is adorable! And I love the floor in the kitchen, but that's maybe because I am high! :))))


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