Love My Collections- They’re “Food for My Soul”

This week will be kind of a “cheat week” for me. I’ve been fighting a low-grade fever which has impacted my ability to focus (aka “thinking and writing!) As would be expected around Valentine’s Day, the most recent prompt for the 52 Ancestors challenge was “love.” Now, Valentine’s Day is probably one of my most-disliked holidays; reserved for the young and the “newly in love.” Therefore, I will be writing about a different kind of love—my love of collecting!

Growing up, there never was a lot of extra money. But my mother truly believed in what she called “food for the soul.” These were the things that made being alive worth living. And, boy, did we collect! My mom subscribed to the “if one is good, a hundred is better” school of collecting. She also loved sets. I must admit I suffer from that affliction as well. Which is why I really struggled with the decision to end my subscriptions to a few dollhouse magazines. I have EVERY issue of two national magazines from their beginnings in 1976 through 2017. (I’ll save you the math – that’s approximately 984 issues! Anyone want to buy the collection???)

A portion of my miniature magazine collection.
I actually indexed every article from 1976-2002.
Too bad I used Microsoft Works – now defunct!!

I wrote extensively about the bond between my mom, minis, and me on this blog, back in 2014. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my various book collections. You might wonder what my first collection was.

Honestly, I can’t remember. I was always collecting dolls and related miniatures. I also collected stamps for a bit. After my parents divorced my father would take us (four girls) for a month during the summer. He instituted the “hobby” rule – everyone was to choose a hobby to work on (in their rooms) at least one hour a day. Genius! What a way to guarantee at least one quiet hour each day! Of course, I still have the albums!

My stamp collection. I especially love the contact-papered file boxes!!

I vaguely remember a time when I collected potato chips. I’m serious! I had come across one with an interesting shape. This was waaaaay before the ease of “phone photography,” so sadly, I don’t have any pictures. It was also before you could sell just about anything to anyone on eBay. At some point, I decided collecting greasy smelly food was disgusting (probably when the chips got moldy!) and gave that collection up.

Some of my collections have been thrust upon me – the slides, the “historic” family photos and documents, the linens from 1938 and before. And some I am “holding” for others (one of these days you folks really have to get this stuff!) – my brother’s GI Joe collection, my sister’s Dawn dolls, two full Rubbermaid containers of Kitty Cucumber and Lucy & Me figurines from the 1908s. (Those belong to my girls – a failed attempt to infect them with the “collecting” virus. Pretty sure they’ve already told me to let those go…)

I made this Scherenschnitte angel
a couple of years ago.

Whoops! Almost forgot about the craft-related collections!! Three drawers full of scrapbooking materials… at least 20 books of Scherenschnitte templates. At least I use these items occasionally.

And finally, although I’m sure I’ve left out a few collections, I’d like to present my paint-by-number collection. I was going to get rid of these, all painted during the 1970s, but I came across an article that said these iconic art projects were experiencing a resurgence. Seriously, the Smithsonian even created an exhibit about them in 2001!

Most of the pictures below were taken at my mother’s house while we were clearing it out in 2012. I have a feeling the paintings are still there, which means Meg and Andy will be expecting me to remove them someday soon!!!
Still Lifes

Blue Jays

This little gem graced my mother’s bathroom for years!
It’s been laying on my bathroom counter since 2013, waiting to get hung!!

I made a brief foray into the worlds of painting on wood and pen and ink drawings. I don’t seem to have a photo of the wood pictures, but here’s a catalog listing! I did paint the top two scenes shown on the page.
The portrait of the little boy below is the “prized” item in my collection. I chose to paint this 16 x 18 picture as a tribute to the little brother we waited so long for! Yes, it looks nothing like my baby brother Dean, but I think of him everything I pass by this picture. It was quite an ordeal to complete. I messed up the left ear and actually wrote to the company. They sent me the ear section printed on tissue paper so I could repaint it!!

The Dilemma
I am now 64. I have read the articles about downsizing. I suffered the pain of clearing out my mom’s house in 2012. (Not just emotional pain – I couldn’t stand up straight for a week after my nephew and I cleaned out her attic!) I have watched Marie Kondo. I know what to do. I’m going to do it. Maybe. Partly. Sort of. These things still bring me joy (not sorry, Marie!) and “feed my soul” when I see them. Give me time. I’m working on it!

This is the 7th post for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. This year, I am focusing on telling the story of “Our Stuff.”

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