Dogue

It seems appropriate, after my last post that D will be for dogs, because I do have a few dogs of the non-living variety.

One day, I hope to own one of the living variety but currently, I work too much and we need fences. My parents have a gorgeous little Jack Russell Terrier mix who brings me joy in the meantime. As do these little ones…

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The dogs I like tend to have a certain look. Top: Bought this one in an op-shop in the UK in 2013 – he’s quality but home-made. The others are market finds, usually a few dollars each, the middle dog is the tallest at 15cm tall (or 6 inches in old money).

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The gruff bulldog on the left is painted plaster, circa 1920. The terrier at the bottom right is a nice quality Sylvac copy.

Also, you may notice, my dogs like living in amongst my books.

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Collecting Collections

I collect things I like.

This exactly.

“But what kinds of things do you collect?”

Things I like.

“Are you being evasive?”

No. Just intentionally vague.

Which is different.

*Awkward silence*

I have an affinity for dog ornaments.

“Okay! So, you collect dog ornaments.”

Only ones I like.

“I’m starting to see your point.”

I happen to have a lot of candlestick holders too.

“Because you like them?”

Exactly.

I have a lot of things I didn’t intend to collect.

 

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Top centre candlestick holder is one of my favourites due to the counter balance.

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You don’t realise how many of these things you have until you bring them together…

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.

Ancestry Obsession

Sometimes, I toy with the notion that I would have been a great detective. You know, had the opportunity knocked. Had Sherlock Holmes needed a Wally instead of a Watson. Had Poirot been the sort to hire a sidekick. Had both those characters been real outside of my mind.

I love a mystery. I love a story. I love the stories of objects.

This bring me to the Bible of Jesse Wallis. I’ve mentioned before that I have a collection of old Bibles and prayer books. Not because I’m especially religious but because they are so tactile and so treasured. I think of the hands they have touched as they were passed through the generations.

Of course, I bought it at a market and although it’s not in the best condition, it’s dated 1847. Pleasingly, when I got it home I found it was full treasures – two receipts from a saddlers dating 1895, a bookmark and a love token probably dating from around 1915.

 

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The inscription on the inside cover tells me it was gifted to Jesse by a clergyman. The back of the book lists the date of his marriage and the births of his children.

How can I not ask more questions? How do I contain my curiosity when I possess enough information to know more?

[Insert timelapse of my computer-based research frenzy]

Like many colonial Australians, Jesse was a convict. More unusually, he could read and write. His records say he was 5’3” and was born in Berkshire. At the age of fifteen he was found guilty of arson and received fifteen years transportation. His convict record was exemplary – his report card is blank – instead Jesse states he’s innocent of his crime. He received his ticket of leave within five years (like parole) and was pardoned in ten.

Curiosity feeds curiosity.

What of his family? What happened to them after he was transported? The detail of his records allowed me to trace his family back to England and the 1841 UK Census. A search on his father revealed he too was convicted with his son and received transportation for life! I traced his mother to the 1851 Census and she listed herself as a pauper and a widower. I could not trace his brother.

The receipts contained with the Bible pertain to Jesse’s daughter, so the Bible remained within the direct family for at least two generations.

This is what happens. Whenever I have an object that peeks into another life – I must explore it. What happened? How long did they live? Often I struggle to stop.

Once, such research allowed me to reunite a photo album with its family. I once found a book belonging to a friend’s great grandfather. I observe the movement of objects. I recognise the history objects contain and I protect them until there’s (hopefully) another person who values that too.

This is weird, right?

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.

 

Safety in Numbers

A list-post. One of my own invention.

“Things I have in unexpected quantities”

It’s not that I intend to collect things, but sometimes I find myself gravitating towards similar objects. They’re accidental collections. They are things I have many of and it’s, shall we say, unusual.

We’re not talking dinner sets here. Or napkins. Or chairs. Or bowls. Or cushions. Or socks. We are talking normal things at crazy, random levels.

Like these:

  • A bowl of billiard balls. Several sets of them, all together. I do not own a billiard table.
  • Dice. Many, many dice.
  • I lost count at 50+ dog ornaments. Keeping in mind, some of these are in miniature.
  • I also have similar levels of cat ornaments (some of these in miniature).
  • Ornaments (often animals, sometimes figures, sometimes vases).
  • Things in miniature (often animals, sometimes figures).
  • Pictures. My walls are covered in pictures. And I have places where many lean against walls where they hope to be placed. I am hopeful of this myself. I also have a staggering number of frames I intend to restore,  an equal number that require pictures and some that need glass.
  • String lights. I have four sets now. I seem to buy a set a year from a market as people clear their Christmas clutter and I make it.
  • Candle holders, like those you may associate with ol’ nimble Jack. I find their form aesthetic and who knows why. I don’t use them, but if there’s a blackout, I’m sorted.
  • 4 Bibles, 4 prayer books, 2 hymn books, 2 sets of rosary beads. It’s not that I’m especially religious, but I love objects with meaning. Those that are touched and loved and used.
  • Book ends. I love books, so perhaps this isn’t that strange.
  • Doll’s heads. I’ve never been into dolls, but seem to want to ‘help’ those missing pieces of themselves.
  • Salt and pepper shakers. Often kitsch in style. My aunt helped me to appreciate these quirky objects.
  • Old stationary objects like typewriters, inkwells, rubber stamps and propelling pencils. [Now, who thought for a moment, I was talking about things that don’t move?]
  • Things that are green. Seriously. My liking of objects can be entirely dependent upon this. I often have a conversation with my mum that goes along the lines of  ‘Oooh, I like that.”  and Mum’s all unsurprised, ‘Well, it’s green, isn’t it’.
  • I hoard sewing stuff and stationary and fabric. Because you just never know when it will come in handy. Some of it may be useful when I’m aged 93.
  • Glass domes.
  • Hour glasses.

Better stop. I keep thinking of things to add. I’ll probably think of another five more as I drop to sleep tonight.

Anything you have in crazy quantities?


nanopoblano2015darkDay 29 of Nano Poblano!

[That’s Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo]

One day left!

 

Marketeer

20151122_195835 (2)Opposite to a normal Sunday, we had a stall. We sold things rather than bought them. Though, I might have wandered, and I might have also bought things, but generally, we sold things.

I bought another picture, sans Hitler, This one was an oil painting, circa 1900, with a European-ish lake and a boat. Unsigned. It’s fairly generic, warped and cracked and I intend to reuse the beautifully simple frame and hide the original picture behind the new one.

20151122_195753I also bought a doll,

I liked Barbie as a child, but never took to dolls generally – I gravitated more towards things that were squishy and huggable. In recent years, I’ve collected a few dolls, mostly in pieces, usually broken, and/or unloved – but their face. I can’t walk past their face. Unlike Barbie, they’re often hand painted and unique.

This one is a little like Téa Leoni, and now that I’ve viewed her this way, she will be nothing else.

What draws you to objects?


nanopoblano2015darkDay 22 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.