Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sweet September and thoughts on collecting

The famous gourd pyramid at the Country Living Fair is something to strive for! I'm building a very small version for my porch table. My pumpkin patch did not provide for something as stupendous as this.
 Next year, I am going to plant the entire hillside in front of the barn with Ornamental Gourds. Aren't these gorgeous?

  The fair was GREAT! We had an absolutely fabulous show, signing books non-stop and selling more lithographs than I have EVER sold at any show. My paper gardens were a success as well but I did not sell my favorite one, weird. James and I participate in 20-25 art festivals each year, as I have done for over 25 years. It can be very exhausting. But some shows are simply a pleasure to do. This was  just such a show. I never had a chance to leave my booth, so the only purchase I made was this antique bird cage that was luring me from the booth across from ours.
 I hung it on the bathroom wall above the claw foot tub.
 The fair was filled with wonderful artists, craftsmen, and antiques. The crowds were enthusiastic and loaded down with treasures. It got me to thinking, when I came home, about how many collectors of art, antiques and curiosities,   are out there in the world. Nearly everyone that I know collects something
or MANY somethings.... a good rule of thumb is: if you have more than 3 of IT, then IT, is a collection.
Collections are as varied as individuals. I have a good friend who collects HOUSES.. she has 7 of them!
I collect  many things....like...
Both outside AND inside the house.
I have often  discussed my collections on this blog and today will continue to lure you into the world of "collecting stuff".

Wooden birds are one of my favorites... also birds nests,  bird cages, old bird prints, feathers and broken eggshells. 

I had found this wonderful old bird dish which I hung on the wall. At some point it was knocked off and broke into 5 pieces. I loved it so much, I just glued it back together again and it now sits atop a cupboard with a wee wooden bird inside. 

 I don't mind the cracks, I just see the birds.

 Little Birds sit upon shelves, window sills and mantles..

 along with pewter tea sets, teapots, creamers.

 I could use a different tea set every day, and that is fine, for
I dearly love tea.
  I find these vintage items to be quite lovely. They connect me with history and a way of life that is  foreign to us in this high tech world in which we live. I like the beauty of the vessels and the simple ritual of pouring tea, which it represents.

Why do we collect things? Perhaps it is an appreciation for
design, form and beauty. Maybe you actually put your collections to use. I have many old watering cans, and I use them all.
The salt galzed stoneware pottery in the old cupboard above is not antique,  but created by talented artisans who have kept alive the method of throwing stoneware, the old way. I really appreciate artists who work in traditional ways to keep old crafts alive.

These tiny stoneware goods are no bigger than 2 inches, most are much smaller. Can you imagine the patience it takes to create these tiny treasures? I love that! No wonder I collect them.


 At last count, there were 70 antique baskets in this house.

 Again, baskets were an indispensable part of life in Early America, the "paper and plastic bags" of the day.

 The difference being, they were hand made, attractive, and lasted a lifetime...or longer. When I look at an old basket, I see the skill that went into weaving it, the peaches it carried, the eggs it gathered, the laundry it held. It is truly a thing of grace.

Miniature baskets are the sweetest.

Psanky eggs.

 Think about this- someone takes a humble egg, blows out it's insides , and then spends countless HOURS with a stylus,waxes, dyes, and a small flame, to create intricate and delightful designs upon aforementioned humble egg-shell. Why WOULDN'T you want to have a collection of these delicate and fragile artworks??!! 

Sewing implements

Sewing baskets, pincushions, needlework items are fun collectibles. 

Threads, needles, pins, darning, embroidery hoops,,, these represent the delicate work of  a woman's hands. Whether she was sewing the family clothing, or darning socks, counting tiny stitches in her pieced quilt, or exercising her creativity with an ornate sampler... It was the work of her hands that provided so much for her family. Every woman had a sewing box,  from the farmers wife to the Lady of the Manor.

  Some may consider it  materialistic to collect so many things, what  a lot of unnecessary junk, they may think to themselves. But I don't care. Some folks love  travel and eating out, some women love jewelry, clothes, new cars, and having their hair and nails done. I don't care about any of that. I am...  a collector.
Collecting helps the economy- I am serious!  Just think of all the self-employed artists and craftsmen, small antique businesses and entrepreneurs we are supporting. I am one of them! If folks did not collect my books or my art, I would be out of business.
I also collect  fuzzy things. 
This is Sasha.
 I want to hug them,  kiss them, cuddle them, indulge them with their favorite treats , love them and give them a good home. 
This is Peepers, a very undignified name. 

I have known SO many cats in my life. I guess you could say I've Collected them. They are all unique, just like we are,  Just like our collections are.
 I hope you are a collector too. 

   Just a word about my birds... I lost 3 beautiful hens to a predator while we were out of town. It just breaks me up when that occurs. One of them was raising 10 baby chicks.  
To my dear departed Demelza, Esmeralda, and Baby Mavis, may you dwell in the land of Heavenly feathers with all my other lost lovelies.


  1. You also collect kindred spirits, loving spirits, dear one.As always,
    I am in awe of your collections. I
    remember June Hennage, (she and Joe
    were collectors of grand antiques)
    saying, "It has to speak to me"... I
    guess that is what happens when you
    spy something that pulls at your heartstrings...it speaks to you...
    saying, "make your home mine..."
    Jeri, we were born under the same collecting sign...both our homes
    house so many similar"irresistables"
    but you, my love, have the great gift of discernment and knowing...
    Autumn Blessings ~

  2. what a fabulous collection. I would love to be this type of collector. Instead I am a hoarder...books, papers, old clothes, odd socks, plates etc.

    I do like to mend where ever possible as well; including things as daft as my old (at 10 years, positively antique) mobile phone. I was delighted to find a good clean "mended" the non working buttons.

    We drive an old car, mended from salvaged bits. I have a bike that I have owned for 20 years. We have purloined tables and chairs from friends who are throwing them out. Sadly I don't have space to add collecting to the hoarding. But I do know what you mean about the connection with history.

  3. I am a collectaholic too. But you top me, your collections are beautiful!

    I know what you mean about manning the "booth". Last weekend I did a quick circle after we got set up. Some vendors weren't even open yet. I saw one craftsman who made broches out of silver spoons. He cut very detailed designs in them. Wish I could haven gotten back to get one.
    I think I spy Rowe potery in the big crock with deer on it??

  4. I am a fellow collector and I so appreciate that you are a women who works with her hands, an honest woman who works the land and can go inside and wash her hands and pick up the most delicate of lace or paper and make a thing of beauty with it. I am proud to call myself a woman within that group, a woman who appreciates the beauty around her in animals, flowers, the land, her home, gives of herself, and much more. Thanks so much for sharing this part of yourself with us. Judy

  5. Jeri, What wonderful collections you have. I suppose one could say I collect books. I love books....old and new. Oh and bookmarks. I like to think if I loan out a book I have the perfect bookmark to attach. So glad to hear your fair was successful.

  6. Oh Jeri!
    I could wander through your home for hours... Thank you so much for this beautifu tour of your collections.. I love them all.. I love that you support the artists, and I am so honored to have my work in your home.
    I too, would rather buy from craftsman and artists than a retail shop.. One day, when my pockets are full I shall do just that..

    I love your antique bird cage.. You know, it looks real familiar, from my childhood, does this mean I am an antique ? Good grief! The eggs, amazing.. I always wanted to give it a try, but I believe it would require more patience than I have. I love all your birds.. and that broken bird plate you lovingly put back together.. I think it just adds more charm.

    I am so happy you enjoyed the fair and your sales were so good! I knew they would be.. Makes it worth all the hard work you have put into everything..

    Thank you so much for your most welcome visit and kind words about Moonbeam.. Yes, Beverly has quite the farm, really beautiful, and is such a dear lady.
    I had to laugh yesterday when I saw the video of Dot her goat.. Had no idea there was such a thing as a fainting goat!

    Ok, fences, I don't think there is a better fence builder than you.. Really...who carves animals on the tips.. I LOVE your fence.
    So good to have you home..

  7. Wow, you have wonderful collections! I used to collect lots of things but as I get older, I want less - just a few wonderful pieces of each. Psanky eggs - I took a class once and they were so much fun to make. You don't blow them out because then they wouldn't sink in the dye jar. But eventually the insides dry up. If you ever get a chance to take a class - do - it's wonderful. The egg just keeps getting covered up more and more with wax since you start with the lightest color of dye and keep going darker. By the time you're done you've forgotten exactly what you design is and when you heat the wax and wipe it off it's like Christmas! I did some quilt patterns on eggs after I got back home. They were fun to have in a small egg basket. Are you going to be at the Country Living Fair in Atlanta? I'd love to meet you if you are. I'm going on Friday. Here's to collecting!

  8. I am so sorry to hear about your hens. I love your collections, we collect the many of the same things.

  9. Your collections are fabulous Jeri ! I love your lovely animals ! Poor little hens and baby...

    I collect porcelain mugs, decorated with fruits or flowers. And the series of porcelain "fèves" (beans charms) of the Tree Kings cake, french tradition of Epiphanie, on the themes of Venice, art, animals, etc..... And as you, the eggshells of birds, feathers, Autumn leaves...
    Thank you Jeri for show us your fantastic collections.
    Autumn is coming in 3 days, the most marvellous season for me.
    Nice Autumn Jeri,


  10. I just knew all of you were collectors!
    Patti, that is "Wisconsin Pottery" but I am familiar with Rowe.

    Oh Penny, I think that cage is from the 30's, but you are not an antique, just a collectible. My farm fences don't compare with Bevs... but my garden fences are pretty special.

    Whimsey, Yes, I will be in Atlanta, see you there!

  11. I think we have at the least, some of the same collections. I love baskets too and miniature ones. I see you have several native american ones as do I. Coyote got my peacock last week and I am afraid to let my turkeys out. That is part of living in the country. Glad the show was great. I had no idea you did so many shows each year. That is truly hard work and dedication!

  12. A hen's life is short, no matter what--but they do seem to enjoy themselves tremendously in the time they have. A good lesson for us all!

    I'm helpless in the presence of old kitchen utensils (preferably with red or green handles) as well as vintage linens. I don't even bargain with the sellers. And don't get me started on lambs of any sort, lol!

  13. I always enjoy my visit to your blog....yes I collect, a lot of the same things as you and then you can throw in cats and angles,teapots,tea cups, Brambly Hedge being one of my favorite, to much to list. 3 outdoor cats and one old one in the house.Would love to have chickens but can not stand the thought of dealing with what you just had to.So sorry for the loss, but glad the fair and the signing was good.Wish I had seen this sooner, I'm not that far from Atlanta.

  14. NO! NO! Baby Mavis was attacked? Oh it just kills me....

    This summer, a cat or maybe even a FOX came into our yard TWICE and decapitated two sweet bunnies and left the remains once on my doorstep and the other in my lovely boxwood garden. My heart breaks for these innocent creatures.....

    JERI DEAREST, so good to have you home, but twice as delightful to know that you were so successful at the fairs! I am hoping that if people SEE my work, they too will love it. Etsy was so slow this summer but I hOPE will pick up. However, I am learning to not put all my eggs into one Etsy basket. One of our local art guilds which is actually a book/paper arts and LITERACY center is having an art fair and I was told I could join in. I am waiting for more info to be sent to me so I can be a part of it and see if people would enjoy buying my art for the holidays.

    I am SO LOVING working with paper. SO MANY FABULOUS THINGS TO DO!

    Welcome home dearest. Anita

  15. Sweet friend,

    You do NOT even know how profound your comment this morning is for me. I am learning that it is totally acceptable and FINE if one day I produce and create, and another day I just IMAGINE. THANK YOU; it means a lot to me as I transition from being a busy TEACHER to a stay-at-home artist/writer wannabe.....LOVE! Anita

  16. I loved seeing all the treasures in your photographs! Treasures indeed! lovely last days of summer to you~

  17. I love all your collections and you arrange them so well making them a part of your home. I am also a collector collecting miniature musical instruments, birds in all colors, shapes, and sizes, tins, normal size instruments and yes I am a retired music teacher.

  18. I used to collect things, but now... I think I just try to keep my head above water. Maybe once the kids go off to college I'll look around and realize I have collections, I just wasn't paying attention?

    Sorry about the lost birds. We have 25 growing chicks ourselves. Well, they're almost full grown, but not quite, so I'm not sure where that places them exactly. We definitely have a rooster, but right now he sounds like a drowning cat. He'll get the hang of it eventually! We have such a battle with the predators out here. Coyotes roam in huge packs, foxes, but the worst have always been the raccoons. I swear, I never knew they ate chickens!

  19. Dear Jeri - I just discovered your wonderful blog. Your art work is exquisite. Spent a couple of hours just browsing your posts and works in progress. Such talent and how generous you are in sharing your work and how you go about creating. God Bless You. I certainly will be following you...

  20. Somehow ALL your beloved collections look JUST RIGHT. Not too crowded, not overdone, just right.

    A glimpse into your personality.



  21. Wonderful post!
    I was trying to remember the name of your blog the last few days...I knew I had signed up to follow but it hasn't appeared in my reader...I did a search of all variations on Garden gate because that was all I could remember, finally, I scrolled the list of blogs I follow and it jumped out at me...I'm happy to have discovered it again...I reloaded it as a blog to follow. Hope it shows up now.
    I like what you said about collectors and loved seeing all of yours.
    Mama Bear

  22. Jeri, I love your collections! Especially the miniature pottery. But also that carved tree with the wooden birds in it on your shelf. I suppose that is one of a kind??

    You are not alone in mourning your hens. We were just on Martha's Vineyard where a woman named Nancy Luce lived in the 1800's who buried her deceased hens in caskets and marked their graves with carved stones. You can read about it on Susan Branch's Blog : http://www.susanbranch.com/nancy-luce-marthas-vineyard-famous-people-chickens-as-pets/

  23. Oh how I wish I could have attended that show. It sounds like it was so much fun and I'm so happy to hear folks are still purchasing things. Woo hoo!
    Love all your many beautiful collections. Such treasures.
    I'm sad the hens were lost. Poor little things. I hope the wee ones will be ok without their mama.

  24. Hi Jeri,
    Thank you so much for wandering over and leaving such kind words.
    Don't you just love that song.. Oh yes, I would have really enjoyed the music at the art festival..
    Of course I had to watch the video again just now.. I will need to remember which post is was as time passes so I can come back and watch.
    I wish you a beautiful week.. Working on a few more winter mice.
    They have got into my head and I can't get them out yet.. haaa.

  25. Dear Cousin Jeri,

    So sorry you lost your dear hens! It is so sad when that happens.

    Congratulations on your huge success at the Country Living Fair!

    Your collections are great! As you know, we collect many of the same things you do! I too would rather find a wonderful old treasure than have my nails done! I am sure I would ruin a manicure and polish anyway with all the things I do in the garden and about the farm!

    Your cousins,
    Diane and daughter Sarah and Tillie Tinkham the seamstress mouse at the Corgyncombe Courant



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