Sunday, December 06, 2009

the comfort of collecting



once again this weekend, i sought and found comfort in my craft stash. hours were spent making things by nearly all family members. sabin and her big sister spent several hours making monocules© on friday evening. on saturday, big sister raided the fabric stash to make a table runner for her mother and a pillow for her grandmother for christmas. i continued work on some snuggle quilts for my nephews. and it was all possible because we had all of the stuff right here, at hand - fabrics, clay, yarn, embroidery thread. when inspiration struck, we could immediately get down to work. and i felt justified in my pack rat ways.



and i looked around the house and realized that it's filled with collections of things. of course, i knew this, but i'm not sure i've thought that much about how much comfort and contentment those collections bring to me on a daily basis. from baskets of smooth stones to books to a collection of old (and new) cameras to the books that fill our bedroom and our dining room to the well-stocked perfume shelves in the upstairs bathroom. we're surrounded by our collections of things.



husband and i got to talking about the collections and what they mean. and why we have the drive to collect. husband has a tendency to explain everything through evolution. and he thinks collecting is the modern manifestation of the hunter-gatherer instinct. we don't need to hunt for our food these days, so that instinct manifests in other ways.  i know that i am constantly on the lookout (hunting, if you will) for interesting old locks and counting machines when i'm in the flea markets. and i gather interesting fabrics even when i don't necessarily know what i'm going to make of them - because i might need them for something or other one day. we indulge our hunter-gatherer instincts all the time.



collecting and acquiring is something we've discussed a lot as we try to decide how to approach our year of not buying things. one of the things we're thinking about is that we will only buy second hand (except socks and underwear, i'm sorry, but those have to be new) for the next year - at least for ourselves. sabin, on the other hand, will have to have new shoes and clothes, as fast as she's growing. but me, i can easily go a year without adding to my shoe collection and it won't hurt a thing. we don't have a fully-formed plan as of yet, but we're getting there. and we will undoubtedly find ways to indulge our inner hunter-gatherer and keep our collections dynamic. because the fact is that they also make us happy.

what do you love to collect?

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i wanted to thank you all for your great insight on the photo of the last post. i'm really happy to see new people coming out of the woodwork. on friday, i'll let you know who has "won" the entirely subjective competition for the best thoughts on the meaning of that photo.

19 comments:

Polly said...

i move house too often so i gave up on idea of collecting things other than books, I can't seem to separate from my books or say no to new ones, it'll be a big problem if i try to implement a year of not buying

but i started a nice collection of angels some time ago, because they are very krakowian, especially the wooden ones, but also clay and stone. i think i may go back to collecting angels once i settle in one spot for longer

Elise said...

and what a wonderful stash you have ! thanks for sharing with us and I hope the week ahead brings you much more !

Ju said...

Oh I love this post. Appreciate things you have and what a great idea the year of not buying things is. I might start with a month first.
Funnily enough, I posted today something my husband wrote about our beloved dinner table.
Great taste in books you guys have.

kristina said...

ooh, that basket of yarn! I collect more than I realize - books, yarn, fabric, cameras...

Snap said...

I collect too much! Books, yarn, and recently -- salt and pepper shakers! It all started with a stuffed toy chicken my hubby bought for me -- who knows why and then there was the chicken pitcher and then the chicken salt and pepper shakers and now I've added teddy shakers and birds in a nest shakers. I remember my mother shopping for shakers every year as a gift for one of my much older cousins. Small, interesing little things! Someday I'll post about them!

Meredith said...

Your lovely yarn stash gave me a visceral yarn craving... and I already have too much! I tend to be a packrat about certain things, too -- although during this waning moon at the end of the year, I'm clearing my life and trying to get rid of things I haven't used or needed in a year. Managed to clean out the pantry today, whew! And it feels wonderful :)

Classic Independence said...

Books are required for survival, so the house is full of the ever-evolving book collection; I also collect decorative papers and stationary of all sorts, stickers, examples of currency from other countries, movies, music, vintage dresses, and paint and other tools for furniture projects or collage-making.

An Open Heart said...

Hi my name is Shannon and I'm a collctor...of too many things... little porcelain elephants, horses, dogs, frogs, birds and now angels, witches, fairies and wizards. I have oodles of books, fancy papers, candle holders, Christmas decorations, china pitchers, tea pots, silver plate chalices, platters, trays, pedastal candy trays, and photo frames. Beads and various other craft items, stationery and pens and pencils......see, too many things.

I come by it honestly, my Grandmother had a salt and pepper colletion of 1700 sets when she passed.


S

Tom Bailey said...

I do not collect many things... but when I do it is a ton of things. I collect quotes and sayings though.

I am connecting for the first time to your blog and I really like it.

Best regards,
Tom Bailey

Andi said...

Those fabric colors are so vibrant and beautiful and I love the book shelves. I grew up a military brat and continued moving around a lot as an adult so I try to limit my collections. But I do have an ungodly amount of scarves, glasses and books.

heidikins said...

I collect books and shoes and bedding and spices and cook books and buddah figurines. I have no explanation for that last one.

xox

Bill Stankus said...

One of my favorite adages: "A person collects for the first part of life and then spends the second half getting rid of things."

Kamana said...

shells, books, earrings probably top the list.

i love that you have a label for"husband and his theories"!!!

berfin said...

Oh Dear;

At least you are an organized one.. Every morning I wake and believe in a simpler life but it never happens because of my collecting addiction: yarns, needles, canned food, fabrics, wood painting, dictionnaries, the little prince in all possible languages, cat food :)

Protege said...

Love the colours in the two top pictures.;) What do I collect? Magnets. Those you buy as souvenirs and put on a fridge.;)
xo
Zuzana

Kim said...

I found this post during my daily reading: http://almostfearless.com/2008/06/02/the-10-unexpected-costs-of-owning-things/

I don't consciously collect things, but I am building up a collection of weird clocks. I just like them :)

Magpie said...

Last night, I called up the stairs to my 6yo, to tell her to go to sleep. She yelled back "I'm working on my collection". Of what, I'm not sure. But there are many of them.

My mother once mounted a bunch of old skeleton keys on cork, and framed it. It's still in the living room at her house...

Kim: said...

Books. It's not even a deliberate thing -- it just seems to happen. I've learned that I can guage how anxious I'm feeling by how many books I've recently bought. Buying books is better than Xanax for me. (I think. I've never had Xanax.)
:)

gypsy said...

What an interesting discussion! I collect books as well, quotes, ephemera for art journaling, earrings, empty spice jars & watercolor paints.