Weekend Wonder: Collection

Weekend Wonder: Collection

I used to love collecting stamps. I think it came naturally to me as soon as I learned about letter writing. This stamp collecting habit got even more pronounced, as I learned all about different countries and cultures. No wonder I ended up falling in love with another hobby: writing to pen pals.

My first real pen pal (not the classmate that got assigned for a school assignment) was from Germany. I was 15 then. She was 14 and “handed down” to me by a school friend who was no longer interested in writing to her anymore. We still keep in touch, over two decades later, even though the letters have become mostly holiday cards.

And yes, believe it or not, my good pen pal isn’t on Facebook. And, she doesn’t seem to have email either. We’ve never met in person but our letter writing friendship had been magical.

I developed other pen friendships, from Toronto (Canada), Santiago (Chile) and Michigan (USA), as well as other places. However, none lasted as long as my friendship with my lovely German friend.

I don’t write as many snail mail letters anymore. And, my stamp collection has gotten lost in transit (between moving from different countries).

But, I continue collecting, even though they’re mostly “accidental collections”. As in, I didn’t really set out to be a collector of any of them. But, I am enjoying adding to the collections now, whenever I can.

Some of the things I love to collect:

1. Anything that has birds or owls in them. Not sure where or how this started. And, I didn’t really think I would go and keep growing this collection. But now, I am getting addicted. And for some reason, I am fascinated with bird cages too (but not collecting them at the moment).

New addition to my shelf: Decorated birdie!

2. Books. Well, okay, maybe I knew I would be someone who’d amass books. I’ve loved reading long before I started going to school. So, this is probably inevitable. I don’t have fancy expensive book collections (though I do have a handful that I treasure, such as a vintage, illustrated copy of Persuasion by Jane Austen, bought at a lovely secondhand bookshop in Cambridge, England). But, most of my books are your average commercial paperback or hard bound books. Partial to collecting art/craft books, beloved YA and children’s books, artists and writers biographies, favourite classics, and writing books.

Day 60/365 (2013): February Nonfiction Reads

3. Dice. This seems like an unusual one. In fact, I didn’t even realise I had a collection until recently when I started re-organising my home office and putting stuff together. Realised I had about a dozen different pieces of dice. The only thing missing are my multi-sided dice. Yes, folks. I was a gamer. A long, long time ago. In college. Heh. And no, I don’t have a photo of my dice collection yet. No photos of my gaming days either. :)

4. Art and Craft Supplies and Gadgets. No surprises there, right? I didn’t really start out with this until in my early adult years. Mostly started in my mid-20s. However, over the last couple of years, especially while working full time, I have managed to put a pause on this. Partly because I have stopped making art or doing any crafts. But now, it is well and truly back with a vengeance. I don’t even want to know how much money I have spent in updating my stash recently. But, I am having fun with it all, so… :)

My Watercolour Set

5. School and Office Supplies. My love for these things started while I was still in school. I loved collecting school and decorative stationery. That’s why Back-to-School stuff was something that excited me. And yes, my mum even helped in this by encouraging me to set-up a small school supplies stall in front of her old shop, just before school started. Whatever I sold in that stall, I get to keep part of the profits. Loved being surrounded by pads of paper, notebooks, and pens then. I still do now. In fact, there was one night when my husband told me that I was talking in my sleep and saying something about getting more staplers. And strangely enough, I do remember the dream. And yes, it had something to do with decorative staplers. Obsessed much?

Day 22/365 (2013): My journal & some pens...

6. Cameras. Although I loved photography for as long as I could remember, I would have never started off thinking I would be a collector of all things photography-related. It was one of those hobbies that just seemed way too expensive. Especially back in the days of analog-only photography. Yet now, I have a growing collection of cameras (not all cameras featured yet in there) – both analog and digital. And, I am loving it. Yes, even the ones that no longer work.

Camera Collection: Kodak Instamatic Camera

7. Shoes. Uhm, well… Yes, me and shoes (just a small sampling of my shoes). Something about them. I have a particular love for chunky heels and boots. And lately, coloured shoes. I don’t think I have an extra-ordinarily large collection. But, yeah, it’s big enough. And, for some reason, my choice of shoes often get a lot of attention. Even got introduced in my talks in the past as the “social media change maker with killer shoes”. It was funny getting approached later by the event participants, just because they were curious about what my shoes looked like. Heh. Well, now that I work from home, I am sadly not able to wear my lovely pairs as often as I used to. But then, I am now getting accustomed to being able to work bare-feet. Maybe just as well my shoe-buying has gone down a bit. It has been replaced with my art supplies-shopping instead. :)

Red Shoes - oh, how you make me happy! Sunshine from @WittnerShoes . :-)

8. Skills and Experiences. Yes, an intangible collection. But, I do see myself as a skill-and-experiences collector. That’s why I love attending classes and workshops. Trying out new things. Self improvement. Professional development. I love travel. I enjoy different cultures. I scrapbook, journal, and blog. It’s all part of collecting life skills and experiences.

What about you? What do you have in your collection?

P.S. – Looks like I wrote about the topic of collections in March of 2008. Wow. Exactly five years ago. What are the chances?! Interesting to read everyone’s responses back then. I wonder if anything has changed? For me, that teapot thing is still somehow around, but definitely not as much.

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  1. says

    Loved your post, Shai. Can relate to every item, except shoes. I never have any room for shoes it seems, and my mom was Imeldific enough for the whole family! I used to collect things with ducks (similar to your birds), but I stopped now. I still love patterned paper/fabric for applique style craft and origami, different types of craft scissors… probably should just say art/craft stuff like you did. I collect letters, cards from worldwide snail mail too, but I hardly write to now as well. Had a lovely fraulein as a penpal too, and she still sent holiday cards up to 3 years ago. I met her though, when she was in Sydney 7 years ago! Some years ago I built a massive collection of well-made and detailed mini Disney figurines: I can fill two balikbayan boxes with those! Sorry I think I just blogged in your comment section 😉

    • says

      Hey, no need to apologise, Pen! Loved reading about your collections. Would love to see some pics of them someday. And lucky you for meeting your penpal. Pity you’ve lost touch! Any chance of reconnecting?

      • says

        I guess there’s the idea of easily reconnecting now that we’re FB friends, but funnily enough we haven’t spoken for a while! Might drop her a message soon :)

  2. Mel W says

    I was an avid stamp collector when I was younger. I have clear memories of carefully cutting up envelopes and then soaking the part with the stamp attached in a bowl of water. When I started travelling I began a fridge magnet collection and then somehow ended up collecting tea towels too. Now I seem to just collect fabric and yarn, although even that has slowed down somewhat over the last couple of years.

    • says

      Ah yes, the bowl dip! Didn’t know how to do that in the beginning of my collection, so I ruined a lot of stamps, Mel. Do you still have your fridge magnets and tea towel collections?

      • Mel W says

        We have the magnets all over our fridge, although some have fallen off over the years and broken to the point of being unsalvageable. The tea towels are all in daily use as we decided there was no point keeping them in a box where we could see and enjoy them.

  3. says

    You and I collect a lot of similar things (i.e. books, letters from penpals, office supplies). As I did in 2008, I still collect postcards. There’s an obnoxious amount of gelpens and craft supplies in my closet. I also collect stamps, stationery, Brian Andreas prints, Disney movies, Tokidoki figurines, and some other miscellaneous things :) The thrill of a good hunt for a collection never gets old!