Thursday, July 30, 2009

The New Antiquarians

While I have never chosen to live with a mass of things--no matter how interesting--I am always fascinated with people who have the energy, imagination, and patience to be avid collectors and who display what they have accumulated with panache. Creativity never ceases to amaze me. And after seeing the article on The New Antiquarians in the Home section of today's New York TIMES, I'm tempted to get into the closets and see what I've hidden away that should see the light of day. It's like coming back from a trip to Paris or Milan--being besotted with the sense of style and fashion--and then trying to pull it off in Ames, Iowa. But the challenge is fun. What do you have that might make your tablescapes or bookshelves more interesting?

My friend Janet keeps her Christmas ornaments out all year long--stored in huge glass containers. They look fabulous. Think about it and enjoy the process.


  1. While not a collection, I love to use ordinary objects in offbeat ways...for instance, I keep my makeup brushes in squat little yogurt jars. The jars, brought back from Paris, originally contained fresh farm yogurt purchased on market day. Each time I reach for my blush brush, I am reminded of pinch-me-am-I-really-here?-mornings on the Left Bank in my wee hotel room.

  2. Recently I dug out some old candy jars and adding hard candy to them for show. The colors are so pretty and I am making sure to put candy in them that won't tempt me.

  3. I recently found a set of two ornate Antique Victorian bookshelves real reasonably priced at a Garage Sale. I display my collection of the Hardcover books on one, from "Editors of Victoria",& the other holds the Victoria magazines,C-d's,& Cassettes.Since some of the Victoria books are smaller, I decoupaged the backing of the shelves with cut pages from a few extra Victoria magazines, so my favorite Book & magazine collection is displayed, and all in one area.--Valery

  4. I love jewelry, but sometimes I like to display it more than wear it. I have the pearls my Dad bought for my mother on their 25th anniversary in a display case with their picture from the 20's. I put other pieces in arrangements where I can see them every day. Each piece reminds me of someone I love such as one aunt's earrings on handwork made by my grandmother. One display cabinet in our bedroom is what I see each morning when I wake up. Jewelry sparkles next to family pictures. Antique lacework made by my husband's great-great grandmother is layered with a blue jeweled hat worn by my mother-in-law. Tiny white gloves worn by our daughter on Easter along with the bracelet she wore make me smile.

    I like to keep displays simple and uncluttered, but adding jewelry gives that extra sparkle I love. I am so happy you are back to share with us again. Jean

  5. I loved your comment about the Christmas ornaments out all year. I have a special Victorian angel Christmas tree topper that resides on my living room end table all year. It belonged to my grandmother, and seeing it there reminds me of her. She was a true southern belle and lived her life with elegance and grace. She is the one who first introduced me to Victoria in 1987, and she is the one who gave me the ongoing subscription as a Christmas gift each year. I am fortunate to have a few other things of hers that I treasure, including a beautiful set of Waterford crystal, an organza apron that she made, and a cookbook that she had painstakingly written detailed notes in about which dishes were good, which would go well with other dishes, which ingredients to put more or less in, etc. Those are true treasures from the past that I love to display because they evoke memories of the things in life that matter most.


  6. Hello Nancy,

    My father had a antiquities store. And I always love old things. Too nice!