Saturday, November 05, 2005


They say if you have three of anything, you're building a collection. I have many, many collections and I invariably wonder at some point what got me started.

For instance, I have a large collection of cow items. At one point my kitchen was virtually covered in cows. And yet, I have no conscious memory of when I bought my first cow collectible. It seemed to mushroom overnight. And after friends and family found out about my propensity for black and white cows, the collection grew exponentially at every birthday and Christmas. I finally had to declare a moratorium on cows, took down all but the best and packed them away. But I still feel that itch when I happen across a unique cow. And I still buy an occasional cow that I just can't resist. Why cows? I have no idea.

I collect doll houses. I remember the start of that one. As a child, I always wanted a dollhouse and never had one. On a whim, Mother gave me several miniature furniture kits one Christmas. I very much enjoyed creating those tiny pieces of furniture and then I needed something to put them in. So I bought my first dollhouse kit. Then my second. I now have five dollhouses, numerous vignettes, and boxes full of furniture bought on sales at Hobby Lobby for future use when I get around to building the half-dozen dollhouse kits and dozen or so roombox kits that are still in boxes under my craft table. My guest bedroom has been dubbed the "house room", because the walls are lined with houses in all scales. I have more kits on hand than I will probably ever have time to build and yet I invariably drag in another kit whenever I happen across a good sale. (Maybe it's not only dollhouses I collect, but dollhouse kits?)

I have a very odd collection that I didn't even realize I was amassing until my sister-in-law pointed it out to me. I love desks. Full size. Dollhouse size. I just love desks. I have my antique birds-eye maple drop-leaf desk that my parents bought for me in Victoria about forty years ago. I have my antique oak desk in my study, purchased several years ago; a lucky find at the Round Top Antiques Fair. I have an oak student's desk that I use in my bedroom as a tv/dvd/dvr stand. I have a quaint oak drop leaf desk with built-in bookshelves that stands in the upstairs hall and holds my collection of turn of the century Amelia Barr books (that's another collection story for another time). I have custody of my mother's antique drop-leaf walnut desk. And I'm providing housing for my father's mahogany desk, which will eventually go to live with my brother. But for the moment it's desk number six in a single family home. No matter how you look at it, no house holding two people really needs six desks. But I can't help it. I love desks.

I'm currently working on a dollhouse vignette of a study with a genealogy flavor. I already had a mini computer desk for one corner and until last night was planning to use my mini oak rolltop desk in the same room. But it just didn't feel right. An idle search through a miniatures site last week gave me the answer. In yesterday's UPS delivery the perfect mini-desk for the project came along. A mission-style pecan desk with built-in bookshelves. My only regret is that I have not seen its full-size counterpart. I'm a goner if I happen across it.

What inspires collections? Something speaks to your inner self. My inner self could use a twelve-step program. I'm not out of control (from my viewpoint--others may disagree), but I have as many collections as Carter's used to have little pills. (Didn't they finally go out of business?) I have stores of books, yarn, glassware, family memorabilia, Christmas ornaments (that I haven't used in years, by the way, thanks to marauding cats and puppies), cats and puppies, and God knows what else. Within my miniatures, aside from the growing pile of kits, I have sub-collections of miniature pottery, mini hand-made sweaters, mini glassware, and the list goes on and on.

I guess at some point I will have to decide who will inherit my assorted treasures. Or maybe I am just setting myself up to have a supplmental retirement income in the distant future. I trust EBAY will still be there when the time comes. Or maybe I will just sit on my cloud with my harp and watch my poor heirs struggle to figure out what in the world the old lady was thinking.


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