Monday, May 29, 2006

Collections = company or clutter?

My dad has often said that when he comes to my house he feels like he's in some kind of gift shop. In truth, my living room does resemble a combination bookstore, music store, rag doll/teddy bear shop with a sprinkling of photographs and small mementos picked up from my world travels.

A few years ago I sat in my rocker and made a list of all the things in the rooms, where they came from, and the memories associated with them. It was a Friday evening, as I recall. I had music on, candles lit, and plenty of lovely memories to keep me company. I think I wrote for a couple of hours straight, there is so much here! Some would call it clutter. I prefer to think of it as company =)

Here are a few pictures to illustrate what I'm talking about. The first picture has photos of my Grandfather's 99th birthday, my mother's 75th birthday, and my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. The table shawl comes from Florence...a gift from Kaitie. The two figurines are presents from Sandy Bent, the music box is from my parents, and the little books from various friends.

The second picture is of three rag dolls (from a much larger collection. The center doll I bought in a boutique in Winchester because she reminded me of my Grandmother Aastrup...I guess it was the material of the apron most of all that makes me think of her. I named the doll Thora after her.

The third picture has a collection of small animals that I've found on various trips. The llama I got this past December when I was in Peru, the two lions I bought in South Aftrica's Kruger National Park, the mouse I got in D.C. at the National Cathedral, the brass bear comes from my mother (I think), the loon I got in Maine, and the turtle (that you can't see very well at the far right) I got on Grand Cayman Island at the turtle ranch. The elephant is a found object that fit in with the collection.

Almost all the furniture in the room is antique (handed down from grandparents like this dry sink) or hand made (my dad) so there is no particular theme or style to the room. To me, it's just homey. This last picture has a collection of old books surrounded by pictures of (l to r) my grandfather and my dad as a boy, my parents a year ago Christmas, and my father's parents many years ago. The items (l to r) are a box from Switzerland, and round box from Russia, a small plate from Peru, a pill box containing a piece of wallpaper from Louisa May Alcott's home in Concord (a gift), a square tile painting from Playa del Carmen, Mexico, an incense holder from Lake Titicaca in Peru, a round box from Norway, two spoons from Russia and presiding over all a fan from China.

The last photo shows a collection of family photos--some from Christmas cards, some from graduations (Julie's 8th grade, Kaitie's 8th grade), some from weddings (my Kellogg grandparents at Lauren's wedding and my Astrup grandparents at their own, I think) and one of me with David and Julie. They sit on the first piece of furniture I bought as a working woman in Michigan, covered by a shawl that I bought in Russia the first time I was there.

All these things/photos have glorious memories associated with them. I've been lucky to have traveled extensively in the past 30 years (my first trip to Europe was 30 years ago in June), visiting nearly 30 countries and five continents. I adore traveling. If I go for very long without going somewhere, I get restless. This year was extraordinary in that I had two great trips within six months of each other. That is rare...usually I am lucky to get one in a year.


Sunny said...

Your lovely home reflects your lovely life. Your lovely things are irreplacable MEMORABILIA. Can't place a price tag on memories. Soon, you'll have another one. Patty hopes to see you while she is out there. Please have someone take a pic of you guys together and post it on the blog for me. Maybe Debbie or someone will join you.

Patty said...

I loved seeing all your treasures. they all seem perfect together. Clutter is stuff with no connection to us, just things we buy because we wanted them at the moment with no emotional connection.
You have gifts and remberances tied with lovely heartstrings !