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Saturday, April 4, 2009

What do you collect?

As I've mentioned, 99.9% of everything we own has been packed away in moving boxes for the past year and two months. To say we miss all of our pretties is an understatement. Everything we have tells a story, and we miss that connection to our past. I've been so ingrained in the remodel that I haven't had time to even think about unpacking and where things will go. But, I am finding that I have more and more moments of excitement at the thought of unpacking all of our treasures! As my sister Patti keeps telling me, it will be like Christmas over and over and over! This has got me thinking of all our collections. Having been an antiques dealer I have many collections! A couple of my vintage/antique (we go by the general rule it has to be 100 years old to be called an antique) collections are:

~white ironstone
~hotel silver
~hotel silver flatware
~green yellow ware
~horn handled knives
~tortoiseshell boxes and frames
~metal birds
~horn and sterling magnifying glasses
~white coral
~alabaster grapes (in creams and off-whites only)
~oil paintings
~horn carving sets
~mercury glass
~zinc roof finials
~marble urns
~French confit jars
~small green ginger jars
~japanese fishing floats
~French processional crosses
~blue and white ginger jars

Today in our travels we were lucky enough to find two new additions! This gorgeous American horn and sterling carving set. It is marked PAT'D MAY 7th 1878. We love the beading around the cuffs. They are in perfect condition and we paid $27!

This sweet little piece of coral... $5!

So, now it's your turn... I would love to hear about what things you collect. You can list all your collections, your top-five favorites, your biggest... any way you want to play is fine by me!


  1. marykay9959@gmail.comApril 4, 2009 at 9:25 PM


    This is only my second time to comment, but I read all your posts. Your home is coming along beautifully. You and your husband should be so proud of all you have accomplished so far. And your sister is absolutely right - all your wonderful pretties and collections will feel like a delightful find all over again. Years ago my husband, son and I had most of our belongings in storage for six months while our new home was being completed. When we finally unpacked it was SO fun to see everything tell our story again in new surroundings.

    As far as collecting goes, some of my favorites are:

    Boxes - wood or metal but mostly I love old wood boxes. My recent great addition is a gorgeous old humidor with a silver clasp on front. I had been eying it for two years at a local antique shop. I finally offered a low price for it and was astounded when the dealer accepted. One of my other favorites is a very old metal bread box that sits on top of my kitchen cabinets.

    Ironstone - I just recently got on the ironstone bandwagon and love it. The creamy color looks great against my dark kitchen cabinets.

    Barley Twist Furniture of any kind. I have a few pieces here and there throughout my home.

    Cut Glass. Most of my collection was inherited from my husband's aunt.

    Books - the older the better.

    Well, thats my short list of things I like to collect. Thanks again for the great blog!!

  2. Joan-- I WANT that coral you found today !!
    I have been trying to find a piece like it for years and as many times as I have been to Hawaii I haven't been able to find a piece that is reasonable-- so it can be my birthday or Christmas present--- Okay ???
    Love you both, Mama

  3. Ohmygosh - mercury glass, tramp art, birds' nests, quilts, old Mexican pottery, English children's ABC plates and cups,hooked rugs, pique assiette, majolica,stone fruit, Mexican fruit banks,good old advertising signs, vintage swirl tourist pottery, Mexican retablos and santos....... old marble or stone books(usually bibles but not always) . What fun for you all! Did you get that last email about our common paths? I promise I am not a stalker...... Have a great time unpacking!!

  4. Mary Kay- thank you for your very sweet comment. Congrats on your new humidor- it sounds beautiful with the silver clasp. I have a piece of cut glass, a bowl (I believe it is American Beauty?) that was a wedding gift to Dan's grandparents. I love barley twist tables. Oh yes, you can never have too many old books! Thanks so much for playing and telling me about your collections! And thanks for reading my blog!

    Mama- Now I know where Patti gets it!! But at least you're not asking for my hotel trays!! Yes, I think it might make a lovely new house warming gift for your new home!

    Ann- I used to collect the tin ABC plates (I think they were American?), oh and I forgot I have some large stone fruit too! I've seen those marble books before- cool! Yes I did get the email and I'm so sorry... I think I wrote the response email in my head and then thought I sent it!! I do that a lot! Look for email coming your way, but until then... we were less than a mile away in Big D! Small, small world! Thanks for playing; love your collection list!

  5. uh...let's see. Oh yeah. Teenagers and dust bunnies.

    Does that count?

    I do love ex votos and milagros and santos...I have a collection of amateur oil paintings. Gasoline numbers. Used to collect old babies feeding plates (gave most away). Also have a collection of maps and globes. Love ironstone...have some. Also love those silver hotel domes (what is their real name?)

    ...and plants, specifically tropicals.

    Your collections sound lovely...and better than mine! You professional you!

  6. I used to collect loads of different things, but when I moved to the UK, I sold everything I owned. When I moved back to the US, I had nothing (much) and had to start from scratch. Here's what I collect:
    * kitchen copper, but just pots and pans now.
    * bone or french ivory cutlery
    * books, with a unending source of free books, it's impossible not to.
    * antique tea tins.

    That's all I am collecting... for now!

  7. Beautiful house & what you are doing to it! I am envious. I love your countertops in your kitchen. Exactly how I would do mine. Also appreciate your pound puppy! She is adorable!

  8. Linda- Well, lets see if they count... are the dust bunnies vintage or antique?!!
    I do have several Mexican silver hearts- are those the ex votos or milagros? Or neiither?! What are gasoline numbers? And I too LOVE globes... I've been fighting collecting them for years! We call the silver domes 'meat domes.' Thanks for playin'!

    Meg- Was it sad to sell all of your collections or freeing? Oh, I love, love love bone cutlery- I'll have to go back and add that to my list! I also have a collection of bone/horn salad servers (not old!) but a collection! And tea tins are fun- we used to collect Huntley & Palmer English biscuit tins.

    Alex- Thank you so much for leaving us a comment! We greatly appreciate your compliments. Ella is the sweetest girl! She's been promised a pound-sister after we move in!

  9. When you send Mom's new house warming gift, you can send mine too (the huge silver soldered tray I have been begging for!) I think all your friends would agree with me, as you have TWO of them!
    My new collection are grandbabies.
    The very best thing I have ever collected.

  10. Patti- Okay, I will send a tray if you will send me Stella!!! Deal?!

  11. It was incredibly freeing to sell/give/donate everything I had. It made me realize that "stuff is stuff", and that aside from photos, I could probably find almost everything again. As for the photos, when I moved back, my computer with all of my pictures on it was stolen, so in the end, I didn't even have those.

    All of that being said, after two years back in the US, I have managed to accumulate a small houseful of things again!

  12. I have a husband who is, shall we say, averse, to collections. I do manage to collect books. I buy books like some people buy shoes (ahem, paging Imelda Marcos?) Dog hair and teenagers abound as well. . .

  13. I can't wait to see your house all finished and decorated Joan. It'll be like Christmas for me, too! :-)

    What do I collect? Vintage pressed glass, vintage dishes, vintage botanical prints... I sold a bunch of my stuff before our move, and until we finish creating new places to put things, I just can't start or work on any collections right now. :-/

  14. Oh don't get me started. It seems I'm constantly finding new and wonderful things to collect. My old favorites are tea cups/saucers and teapots. I love anything in the way of old silverware, plated or not. I love soup tureens and all kinds of tarnished metals. And wonderful old linens and lace and trinkets I can use in my crafts and scrapbooking. Old glass bottles. Blingy fun foo foo vintage things (what category do they fall under?).
    Like I said, don't get me started!
    Great post. I want to see pictures of all you've collected! Boy! That would be a fun post!

  15. I like this.... rather than listing what we collect, we can tell you what we WANT (from you!)... and since your giving away things... I'll just take your new house and trade you mine!! lol. Love, Jenny

  16. Hi from Virginia! This is my first time commenting, but I have been enjoying your blog for quite some time. You and your hubby have been through so much with your renovation. It's coming together beautifully and I anxiously look forward to every step of the way. That said, I picture the two of you sipping a glass of wine at completion saying that it was a labor of love and so worthwhile.

    OK, yes I do collect.

    Antique blue and white china (it has to be very old and I can read the backs like a pro now)
    Staffordshire figures
    Tureen lids
    Maine coastal paintings
    Old oil paintings (mostly landscapes)
    Old sunset paintings
    Beautiful picture frames
    Staffordshire dogs/spaniels
    Some lustreware
    Dog figurines (mostly cocker spaniels) Hubely, etc.
    Interesting old statuary for our garden
    Decorating books (I have too many!)

    I am 49 with an empty nest. Our children are away at college. My taste has changed a lot over the years. Our house is comfortable, but I tend to lean toward traditional and slightly formal decor. I dream of remodeling our kitchen...but alas, with three in college, that may have to wait!

    Great question. It made me stop and think about my collections and how they started. After so many years, I find I still love all of my special pieces. I love to be surrounded by beautiful things!


  17. Meg- thanks for the answer! I was thinking that was what you were going to say! I try to keep in mind that we are only caretakers of our things... that they will go on to lead another life after they have lived with us.

    Kathy- Ouch... a husband who doesn't embrace collections?!! Thank goodness for your beloved books... oh, and the dog hair and teenagers too, of course!!

    Sandra- hi!! I've really had a pull toward clear glass in the last several years- it's funny how things get ahold of you!! Vintage dishes are a fun one, do you actually use them or hang them?

    Karen- "all kinds of tarnished metals" sounds wonderful! Oh yes, old linens! Just something about old linens. I have a new friend here who has a fabulous shop and she sells lots of antique monogrammed linens. I will have to do a post on her and her shop soon!

    Jenny- Too, too funny!! I almost thought you didn't inherit the "I WANT everything you have" gene from your mother! I feel better now!

    Margaret from Virginia- hi there!! I'm so happy you like and read our blog AND that you made a comment... thank you! I read your comment aloud to Dan and the whole time we are both nodding our heads in agreement! Every time we go to Costco, we buy another bottle of Veuve so I'm thinking it will be a 'week' of celebrating!
    I loved your list! So many similar things... I gave about ten Staffordshire pieces to my cousin (hi Prissy!) when we left Dallas. We too, do mostly landscape oils, mirrors, picture frames and old statuary for the garden! I have been fighting collecting pink lustreware for years now! Love it, but don't need another collection!
    I too have really seen my taste change over the years. Right now I'm finding myself going back to some things (i.e. brass and all my blue and white) that I had put on the sidelines. The constant evolution is interesting! I too think it is so important to be surrounded by beautiful things. I think it has the power to change your life.
    Thanks so for your list and playing along!

  18. Good mornin' Miz. Joan...and Ella too. :) We are having crazy/cold New England type weather here today...brrrrr. Nothing like a cup of coffee and my bestest blogs to start the morning. My favorite thing to talk collections! With the wonderful thrift stores and yard sales around collections are always changing. Brown and white china...beginning to love the blue and white again after years of saying I was sick of it. White platters and white creamers/pitchers. Silver compotes and well, just about anyting silver. Mexican pottery, bird prints, engravings, dog figurines, tole painted clocks and small tins, tureens, small paintings...just about any artwork I see...I love and old. And old tattered rugs. I collect way too much and go through spells where I try to just unload a bunch of it and not be so attached to my stuff. Around here, it's easy to pick right back up. Every year I say I'm going to narrow my collections down to a few really good ones...never seems to happen. Oh...and lambs...I love lambs. :)

  19. Do I sound like a hoarder or WHAT? Heeeeee. :)

  20. Hi S/S! It's been a wild winter for you hasn't it?! I always had the best luck antiquing in B'ham, so I can only imagine the estate/yard sales! Do you ever make it to the Scott show in Atlanta? You have a fun list of collections!This post has been fun for me because everyone is reminding me of things I forgot I had!! Like I mentioned earlier I too am going back to my blue and white!! Isn't it funny how things change like that? I agree about the old and new art work. I have this one painting that Dan & I bought several years ago when we lived in Portland, Oregon. We went to a church art sale and everything was really b.a.d. except this "one" oil painting of a mountain in Washington; it was as if the muses had been with this artist for this one painting and I would venture she has never painted another masterpiece! But this painting is so realistic- it looks like a photograph.
    I don't have a collection of lambs, but I have one fabulous concrete one that was a fence finial from a farm. I bought it in CT at a 'Trade Secrets' event that was held in Bunny William's front yard (An Affair with a House)!!!!!!!! I even met Bunny too!!! (you can kinda see him in the photo on the sidebar- the one with the two french doors in the red room... he's on the table in the lower right. Sorry, I know you've asked... I just can't figure out how to make the photos enlarge... Me not very computer smat!!) (that's Bast'n talk in case you were homesick!!)
    No, you don't sound like a horder...I come from a long line of horders and I know one when I see one!!!!!
    Thanks for playin'....stay warm today!

  21. Hi there! I've been in love with your wonderful blog for a little while now and have gone back to the beginning as I love your "look what I found today" posts. It's almost like antiquing myself. I just had to post on this subject.

    I have collected things since I was a small child. I had a special box under my bed where I collected special cards from my grandmother and various bits and baubles. That box has become a house and is now filled with......

    Ironstone Although to be honest I collect all manner of old white dishes. If it's yellowed and crazed all the better. I know some people whiten their ironstone, but for me I feel I'm robbing the piece of well earned age so my pieces remain as found.

    Coral Every time I buy a piece I say OK. That's it. The absolute, very last piece. And then......;0)

    Matte white pottery I am trying to curb my purchases to only vases at this point.

    Monogrammed silver

    Alabaster lamps

    Antique Christmas books They have to be red or green. I love to stack these around the house on nightstands and occasional tables at Christmas. I have several copies of A Christmas Carol as it's my absolute favorite.

    Silver trophies

    These are just to name a few. My husband tosses the word hoarder around a lot.

  22. hi Shanna!
    loved reading what you collect! I'm the same with the ironstone- the more crazed and used/loved the better. And I've said that very same thing in regards to coral! I've fought the urge to collect the matte white pottery- I do love it, but always tell myself I don't need one more collection! Tell your husband you are a "collector" and not a hoarder!!!


Welcome! Thank you for leaving a comment; you have no idea how much your comments inspire me to keep writing- I appreciate each and every one. Comments are moderated by me prior to publishing on the blog, so if you don't see your comment post immediately it will be posted as soon as I receive it and read it. joan