Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wacky Packs, Wooden Spools and Other Assorted Tchotchke

What do you collect?  Nothing? Oh, come on.... Everyone has a collection.  I once had a friend say that she didn't collect anything but memories.  I assumed that she was a photographer, but was later corrected when she told me that she kept her memories 'collected in her head.'  I still wonder if that qualifies as a collection. We weren't collectors growing up.  But, my grandfather had a pretty cool porcelain dog collection that my brothers were given when he passed back in the 70s.  My brothers had a collection of stickers from their Wacky Packs stuck on the back of their bedroom door. (Oh how I would kill to have that door now.)  Remember Wacky Packs?  That huge piece of gum was good for about a minute and lost it's 'taste.'  Then you'd be stuck with a glop of yuck in your mouth.  "Ugg, where is the window?!" 

I first became interested in collecting about 20 years ago.  My sister collected pigs....glass pigs, porcelain pigs, wooden pigs, fabric pigs and so on.   My mother first started collecting Santa Claus decorations when she became a grandmother.  She lived for craft fairs on the weekends as the holidays approached.  She loved the handmade, one of a kind nature of the Santas she gobbled up at these fairs.  Within a few years, she had the most amazing assortment of ornaments and decorations.  She decorated her home to the nines for my nephew.  She called it, "GaGa's Santa Christmas" and it was a wonderland of Santas.  Her Christmas Tree was laden with Santa ornaments. She was an amazing person and never did a thing halfway.  As I type this, I think about how much my own children would have loved to have experienced a GaGa Santa Christmas. My sister and I split up the collection after my mother passed. 

Some people collect because they perceive their items will increase in value.  I see the value of collections as far greater than a financial return on investment. I still use parts of my mother's Santa collection in my decorating during the holidays.  When I unpack her Santas, I tell my kids stories about the grandmother they never knew.  Even though they are teenagers now, they appreciate the stories.  Collections are priceless when they are personal and come from the heart.  They tell so much about the collector.   Perhaps someday, my collections will be cherished by those I leave behind.

My first foray into collecting started while decorating my second home.  Every room had a blue and white theme, from Asian to nautical. I collected everything in blue and white like china, fabric, vases, candlesticks, frames.....all kinds of Tchotchke (aka chachka.)  I still have the best pieces and currently mix them into my current home decorating.  I am amazed at the timeless nature of good blue and white accessories.  Now, I have all kinds of collections.  I collect primitive spools and tools, vintage kitchen gadgets and wooden boxes as well as chenille throws and afghans.  I have a pretty nice collection of primitive furniture as well.  I have a huge collection of lidded Pyrex containers that I use everyday.  Nothing like left-over dinner in a heated covered dish!  Cozy.  

I also consider the 'Idea Files' that I keep to be collections of sorts.  Most of my ideas are stored in sketchbooks. Although I have been known, out of pure laziness, to keep a project file in a shopping bag. I use these "Idea Files" to collect a visual library of fabrics, papers, design ideas, and accessories.  Clippings from my favorite magazines, photographs I take along the way and things that I pick up on my travels end up on the pages of my sketchbooks.  I scratch ideas, collect poetry, song lyrics and fun quotations.  Often I use these sketchbooks for inspiration for my paintings.  They are like little collections of everything that I see and love.  Lately, I have been keeping some of those files on my computer.  It is so easy to create an image file and copy and paste images that I see online into the folders.  Helps save the earth too.....or so I tell myself.

Yesterday, I splurge and bought myself a new sketchbook.  It was marked down at Jerry's and I thought.....what the heck. I will start collecting on the pages for my new projects that I will highlight on my blog.  I already have images and ideas to add to my new sketchbook as they relate to my master bath and bedroom projects.  I decorated the cover with some of my favorite paper.  I will show you that project, in my blog this week.  As I fill the book, I will show you the pages.  It's a great idea if you are working on projects around your house to collect these ideas in one place.

New cover to my sketchbook.
 So....what do you collect?  Do your collections reflect something about you?  Will you leave them behind to those you love for them to cherish? Have you nurtured the love of collecting with a child or a friend?  It is a worthy pursuit.  You are never too old to start.  GaGa was living proof of that.....and now she lives on through my children in the memories I am able to convey as we open the boxes of her cherished collections. 

-The End-  


gail@myrepurposedlife.net said...

I have collected items in the past, but I no long collect anything. I've become more of a minilmalist. Age, I guess.
I collect my ideas online on my computer. I'm not sure what that speaks of... time I suppose. I am always behind in my tasks and chores. Saving the images online means they will always be safe from harm and easily reachable.
However! I love the idea of your sketch book, and it looks great. I just need something quick and eaasy.
good luck on your blog Lesley!

Sue said...

I am the queen of tchotchke collecting. In the 80's it was Precious Moments, in the 90's when my kids were young it was those damn Beanie Babies (need some? I have a cedar chest full). Then it moved into full blown madness with cookie jars, they have their own collection....of dust. :-\

nancy spielman said...

I collect art supplies, other than that...not too interested in collecting! I really don't like clutter and thats what I think about when I think about collecting! Oh yes, I guess you could say I collect Art books!

tofubeast said...

You forgot the Village!!!

I collect Village, odd Barbie adn Barbie like dolls, postcards, pop culture stuff, Disney pins, and old Disneyland related items like hats.

Lisa said...

I used to collect pigs and still have the ones that have a story or special memory. I also collect roosters---unusual specimens. Most recently I have started traveling and have enjoyed purchasing a piece of local art...pottery, glasswork, jewelry etc. I recently purchased a starfish made from island recycled bottles...it's on my cocktail table and makes me feel good!

Lisa Montsion said...

I'd love to see one of your sketchbooks with all your ideas. It would probably be quite inspiring.