Change . . . is in the Air
Words in the Wild . . . Poetry on a Cork

A Little Matter of Semantics


This week, Carole has us talking about ten collections we've had in our lives.  This is an intriguing topic for me, because even though I had a few "collections" when I was a kid (rocks; record albums; movie-star pictures from Teen Beat), I've never really been a "collector."

This topic got me thinking about what it means to "collect" something.

Like . . . well . . . in my kitchen, over all of the cabinets, I have a bunch of chickens.


If you took a look around my kitchen, you might assume I "collect chickens."  But, really, I don't.  They're just a bunch of chickens that sort of . . . showed up . . . over the years.  When we moved into our house, I decided to group them together.  They're more "décor feature" than "collection."  The chickens . . . mean nothing to me (other than a little bit of whimsy in my kitchen).

If you looked a little further in my house, you might also assume I collect . . .


Tote bags.



And, yeah.  I have a lot of those things.  But I don't consider them "collections" either!  They're all just . . . things I like.  And use.


What makes a "collection" -- for me?

First, it needs to Mean Something.


1.  In my family, we bring home a magnet from wherever we happen to travel.  This has been going on for about 20 years, now, and trust me -- our refrigerator is RIDICULOUS covered with magnetic reminders of our travels.  Taken together, these magnets very much represent a "collection."


 2.  Similarly, I bring home a miniature souvenir from each of my trips with my sister.  I keep them together on a shelf in a little cabinet that Brian made in 8th grade shop class.  I love having this quick, visual reminder of some very special trips.  Definitely a "collection."


3.  I have a bracelet (a hybrid of Pandora and Troll Beads) made up of bead-charms that have some meaning to me.  The "R" from my Mom (for "remission"), the turtle (for our lake cottage), a ball of yarn (well, you know), a teacup, my birthstone, garden flowers, etc.  I love being able to wear a "collection" on my wrist.

Second, it needs to be intentional.


4.  While I never meant to collect those chickens in my kitchen, I definitely set out to collect blue transferware!  Ever since I was a very little girl, playing with a tiny Blue Willow china tea set, I have loved blue transferware.  Now, I have quite a nice collection of my own.  Totally intentional, I've lovingly built this "collection" over the years.


5.  Before I was a Knitter, I was a Stitcher.  I loved doing embroidery and sewing.  About the time Tom and I got married (back in 1981!) I had just started to notice decorative thimbles.  When I was picking out things for our gift registry, I signed us up for a little thimble box that could hang on the wall.  I felt a little guilty about it at the time, because I knew that it would be more for "me" than for "us."  But now, 33 years later, two of those little thimble boxes hang on the wall in my sewing room.  And the "spill-over" from my extra thimbles live in my curio cabinet.  Yes.  A "collection!"

Third, it doesn't have to be a tangible, hold-in-your hand object.


6.  As many of you know, I collect "words in the wild" -- words that I just stumble onto out there in the world; words that are meaningful to me in some way.  I'd certainly consider them a "collection!"

7.  Starting when I was young, I've "collected" names-of-places-that-are-fun-to-say.  Chattanooga.  Walla Walla, Washington.  Tallahassee.  Timbuktu.  Kalamazoo.  Uruguay.  Rancho Cucumongo.  Katmandu.  Mississippi.  Marrakesh.  Not tangible -- but still a "collection!"

Lastly, it might just be something sort of accidental; something visual that you're (strangely) drawn to.  One day, you just realize you're just (sort of) "collecting" it -- without even knowing that you are!


8.  I collect wine corks and save them in jars (and sometimes I pass them on to my Dad, who makes awesome cork boards!).  I especially like saving the corks with cool and unique designs or phrases.  Or words.  It started out by accident -- but it's become quite a "collection" over the years.


9.  I have a "thing" for buildings/houses.  I have paintings, drawings, tiny houses, birdhouses, etc.  tucked in --here and there -- all around my house.  I don't know how it happened, or why I'm drawn to them, but "collection" it is!



10.  Same with "grids."  For some reason, I'm drawn to them -- and you can find them all over the place in my house and garden!  An accidental and evolving "collection." 



How about YOU?  What do you collect?  And what makes it a "collection" . . . for you?


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Very interesting thoughts on collecting! I was busily thinking about "how many" makes a collection, but didn't think beyond that like you did to what collecting really means. I'm really interested in why we're drawn to certain things; I'm quite taken with your first grid!


Your house would be a treasure trove of surprises for new eyes.
Your description that a "collection" is something meaningful is exactly how I feel about it. We end up collecting all sorts of things for utility, but a collection has heart. Which reminds me of my tiny little heart collection, too.


I think you are right about collecting vs decorating. For a while we had moose in our kitchen, just as you have chickens. But I never considered myself to be collecting moose, it just sort of happened. I think all of your collections must make your home very cozy and special.


This is a really thought-provoking post for me. I'm not sure I know how I'd answer.


Tote bags - how did I forget that one? I have a collection that is ridiculous. But like you said, they are useful, so are they really a collection? I love those grids!!


You have the most interesting collections. And your philosophical take on these items was so interesting to read!


So interesting. I can't think of any "decor" in my house that isn't also a collection; usually, for me, a collection inspires decor or is used as decor. I've never thought of it any other way.

And, of course, we all have a million collections -- intentional or otherwise, meaningful or not -- silverware, underwear, socks, cars, relatives, friends...

Thanks for making me think even MORE about this topic. I'm also thinking about exactly why there are guilt feelings associated with some of it...


What a great post! And for me a collection is intentional. Though there are a lot of crocks in my house I don't think I collect them, same with the baskets. And really, those grids are fabulous!


Very thought provoking post. I have a collection where nothing is the same but they all have something in common. I have collected things that were either made by or owned by each of the Grandmas on both sides of our family.


Great collections! I love the grids.


I like your spin on the yarn stuff that shows up. I did not mention yarn or fabric for that very same reason. ;-)

I love that you collect words though...perfect!


I love your idea that the collection doesn't have to be tangible - and how about Chattahoochee for your word collection? It's the river that runs through Atlanta and I was born in the county of that name. Love the meaning and intent that runs through all your collections. Truly thoughtful - just like you! (and I'd love to see your blue and white in person!)


So, if you ever make your way west, I'd love to take you wine tasting in Walla Walla, WA (40 minutes from here). You could collect corks for your collection as well ;-)

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