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 . . .
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?