The Gift of Quirky

While my collections aren’t quite Borgin & Burkes, they do at times,  verge upon creepy with pinch of unconventional, an edge of steampunk and a notch of practicality. Sometimes, I even surprise myself with things that appeal to me.

Fortunately, when it comes to gifts, my family totally understands me and my quirks.

Meet the doll boy, who does not yet have a name.

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There are several curious aspects to this doll. He appears to be made of vulcanised rubber (gutta percha) which was invented in the mid nineteenth century. On the era of his clothes and the toy plane in his hand, I’d call this doll Edwardian, but incase you missed it, he’s wearing a fez, so that makes him what? Turkish? Even that being the case, he was originally made and exported from Japan. According to the internet ‘made in…’ began in about 1915 but prior to 1921, Japanese products were mostly labelled Nippon perhaps making him a doll of the 1920s. The closest example I can find on the internet is a doll from a 1901 shipwreck though it is not of Japanese origin.

My other, slightly quirky presents can be found below.

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What every girl needs. Old books. A child-sized cobblers’ shoe mold and literally a pair of handles.

Hope you all had a merry Christmas, or Festivus, or holiday. Joy to all!

Object Memories

I’ve spoken before about the stories of objects and my struggles to let things go because of their associations. Because of who owned them and who they were important to. And perhaps proving I’m not a complete hoarder, I do and try to have a clean out from time to time.

I’m thinking about having a market stall soon, to clear out some clutter and my mother is pitching in with some of her own things.

Today though, she handed me Grandma’s sewing kit to sell.

I gasped.

Mum sighed, ‘I know. And look, the handle.’

Grandad had fixed the handle. He was practical with ideas to make things better. He was a fixer. It was Grandifcation.

I took it home and stared at it. I remembered Grandma using it. I unpacked it of things Mum clearly didn’t intend to dispose of and I knew Mum hadn’t opened it. She couldn’t. She’d let the sewing box go, but the rest was too much.

Grandad died in 2004, Grandma in 2012

It’s still raw.

What was left in the sewing kit was unremarkable and yet these buttons and spools of cotton panicked me. I feared they were important to Grandma and I did not know it. There were two dried rose buds and I wondered if they were from a wedding. Should I keep them?

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This is the hardest part. Trying to reconcile objects with heartache. Trying to convince yourself that the memories matter more.

But it’s hard.

The next person who inherits these things will know even less, will care even less. And while this is life and perhaps even how things should be a lump forms in my throat and my eyes ache with unshed tears.

Strangely, Grandma was the most unsentimental person I’ve ever known but knowing that doesn’t make this any easier. Though, Grandad was the opposite. They were an odd couple.

I miss them.

I miss them muchly.


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Hoarding Broken

When I was seven, I stood by a basket of toys for sale.

My grandfather said I could pick one and being the sort of person that loved everything, and despite the fact they were essentially identical, I ran my hands through them for some time as I decided which one I would take home. These days, you’d barely call them toys – they consisted of a pair of googly eyes attached to a strip of dyed sheep’s skin and they ‘crawled’ along when you stroked them.

I took the one with a google missing from its eye. The little black dot that rolls around beneath the plastic dome. I took it because it was different. I took it because I didn’t think anyone else would appreciate it.

Maybe this explains a lot about the kind of things I collect and save now.

Perfection in imperfection

Stories in scars.

Beauty in broken.

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Chipped all over and glued back together in three places, this plaster girl with a distant gaze and great eyebrows asked me to take her home.

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On the left, the dome-girl with no hand. Top right, a mouldy watercolour to be cleaned and reframed. Bottom right, a print (circa 1910) in a damaged frame.

I don’t necessarily restore the pieces I save. Broken is more honest.

Sometimes, broken is better.

Follow the Green Rabbit

I’ve been blogging for three years and in that time, I’ve never found a gravatar image. I always intended to find an image for my WordPress self, I’ve contemplated using my Twitter avatar but that never seemed right.

I’ve thought about using this little guy:

Walle

He represents a lot of who I am and I almost share his name. But, you know. Copyright. As connected as I feel to WALL-E, the image was not my own.
Then, Ra and I had this conversation:

Conversation

Of course, she thought of it because it was such a Wallyish thing to think. But I had not seen the bunny and pink was not my colour.

Ra had seen him though. When she found him, she sent him to me – rendered in both pink and green. He was mine if I wanted him.

It was love at first sight.

My husband said he was my bunatar.

He left the room and came back a moment later. ‘You should call him Pat’

‘Get it? Pat Bunatar’

The green bunnyI love him, Ra. Thank you.

 

A Little Love

I feel the need to write a Valentine’s Day post. Not sure why, because I pretty much believe Valentine’s Day is commercially exploited to make people believe love is proven by a trinket.

For an optimist, I can be such a cynic.

For a collector, I can be such a hypocrite.

A recap of my thoughts on Valentine’s Day can be found here – Can’t Buy Me Love and Socks and Underpants.

 

My absolute favourite things my husband has given me often reflect how well he knows me. One year for my birthday, he gave me this card:

Celebrate

On the inside it says,

‘Celebrate like someone forgot to lock the gate’

Underneath that, he wrote:

‘Some may say the gate has been unlocked for some time.’

 

Happy Love Day.

Extra Ordinary

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Find the ‘extra’…

I don’t own a single album of David Bowie, so the devastation I felt upon his passing seemed disproportional. A similar dichotomy happened only days later, with Alan Rickman.

Extraordinary strangers. People who I’ve glimpsed through the world’s eye with their extraordinary talents, while they undoubtedly continued with their ordinary lives, viewing themselves as unremarkable and simply creating, working and living.

I’m drawn to this humbleness. Not those who bask in their success but wonder at it, are confused by it and possibly curse the attention it brings.

I follow The Bloggess. I cannot claim to know her but she gives so much of herself on her blog and in her books that it is difficult to not feel connected. She wrote this post about David Bowie and Alan Rickman (among others) which I marvelled at not simply because I felt exactly the same but because she does not see herself among them. She is among them. She is extraordinary.

She’ll never read this.

Wil Wheaton and Anne Wheaton are extraordinary. They are good people and I would happily say I adore them. I feel delighted that they share their lives on social media because they make me laugh but they’ve dealt with enough nonsense for Wil (at one time or other) to post instructions on how to be respectful, and for Anne to quit twitter. Just before she quit, I sent her a direct message.

Twitter comment

She didn’t read it.

If she did, it didn’t make any difference – I didn’t expect it would. I am one of hundreds upon thousands of people waving my arms around her.

She’ll never read this either.

These are five people who have touched my life without their knowledge, be it by their humour or sensibilities or genius or grace, or they’ve simply shared a part of their life. There are many others. Writers, artists, creators, comedians – people I’ve found on Twitter or Instagram or WordPress or TED talks. Often not famous. There’s a part of me that believes if the world were smaller, we’d be friends. With some, I already am.

I am thankful for these connections – however large and worldly, or small and obscure.

Extraordinary strangers. Those who are likely think of themselves as quite ordinary but are remarkable. Not necessarily in a Bowie way, or a Rickman way, but in their own way.

And if you’re sitting there reading this thinking I’m not talking about you. Why not? Life is extraordinary . The mechanics of a purring cat. The brain. An opening flower.

Ordinary and extraordinary are not mutually exclusive.

The only thing that limits us is our perception.

Housekeepers’ Guide to Hoarding

How can one keep their house neat and hoard stuff?

It’s a great question and I’m here to help, with Wally’s Home Hoarding Tips.

Firstly, where possible, use the floor indirectly. One should restrict their collections to shelves and shadow boxes, whatnots and tables. This will probably be difficult if you hoard pianos or tractors, and confusing if you hoard doorstops but it’s a great general rule.

Limit your collections to low activity areas. A cluttered kitchen is a great look but if it’s all over your work surfaces things are asking to be broken. Also, it’s difficult to make dinner.

Baskets, old suitcases or retro industrial tubs are your friends. These are endlessly useful for storage and offer the impression of neatness. Storing magazines in an open old suitcase is neater and easier to clean around than simply stacking them beside a chair. Think how awesome your vinyl record collection will look and how easily you can move it to a different room.

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Anyone for chess?

Bowls, bowls and more bowls. Seriously, get some bowls. The wooden variety are the hardiest, but any bowl will do. I don’t know why things in quantity look beautiful together. For those non-hoarders amongst you they are also awesome for life’s clutter. We have a bowl for emptying your pockets of our keys and phones and small change. I have a bowl for mail and receipts that need to be sorted.

Have I mentioned bowls? Bowls, people. When I tackle some sewing, I throw the loose threads in a bowl, when I’m picture framing or crafting my way to something resembling art, I throw the off-cuts and scraps into a bowl.

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Rubbish never looked so good.

[To reassure the non-hoarders, I don’t keep the afore mentioned off-cuts and scraps. I recycle all that I can, and I have a bowl for that too. Rubbish in the bowl does make it to the bin when it’s full but it looks awesome in the meantime. Am I right?]

Anything looks neat and intentional when it’s contained within a receptacle.

*ahem* Sorry. Unintentional rhyme.

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Old watch parts in a bowl

It doesn’t have to be a bowl per se, pick something to suit your decor. It doesn’t have to be expensive either, I’ve found my bowls for a couple of dollars each at our local flea market.

I’m a lazy duster. I dust when I can write my name in it. I call it clean dirt and dusting is only fun if you can see where you’ve been. But. But, if dust is something that bothers you and is something you would obsess about weekly/daily/hourly, I recommend glass fronted cabinets for your collections.

To be clear with some terminology. One thing is one thing, two things are two things and three things (or more) is a collection. Objects display better in odd numbers (generally), so if you if you have two similar things, I recommend finding a third. Unless we’re talking about objects like salt and pepper shakers – pairs of things are counted as one.

You may conclude after this I’m either a bad housekeeper or a bad hoarder.

I know where I’m placing my bets.