My grandmother collected china and, later, rabbits - mainly because, once we knew she liked them (not in real life, but in decorative items), from that point on all of her birthday and Christmas gifts from her numerous grandchildren featured rabbits in one form or another.
My mom collects Quimper pottery, quilts and blue-and-white - china, fabrics and everything else. She collected a whole lot more before moving to a smaller house forced her to be more selective.
My daughter collects Blythe dolls, cool make-up and deer (hard to describe, but very cute). My son has a world class collection of shot glasses, to which I contributed more than a few. My husband collects old Bibles and religious icons, and I'm pretty sure he has every Beatle record ever made.
I'm more of a dabbler than a true collector - somehow I've acquired (many as gifts) a number of china, pottery and miniature cats, several Jim Shore figures (my daughter likes them, too), gnomes, china plates with floral decorations, Christmas ornaments, vintage embroidered silk postcards, other old postcards, miniature cottages, old tea cups and old books (some VERY old) on every topic imaginable. I'm sure I've forgotten to mention some things.
I try really hard not to be a packrat, but it was easier when we were young and moved a lot. The trouble with having lots of storage space is you, well, STORE things! I've recently discovered something that may change my whole concept of collecting - AND save me a small fortune. It's called PINTEREST.
Pinterest, a virtual pinboard, describes the site this way:
Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.
Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.
I'd heard about it, but my initial response was a resounding "meh" - I've got social media covered, thanks very much. But my friend, fellow Romance University staffer and critique partner JENNIFER TANNER joined up and said it was fun, so I gave it a shot. I blame her for my current addiction.
I joined Pinterest less than one week ago. If you check out my wall there, you will find 21 boards, 819 pins and 194 likes. I don't think "obsession" would be too much of an exaggeration.
Not that I plan to continue at my current pace. I gave myself the month of January "off" after completing a 99,000 word novel AND a 15,000 word novella just before the end of 2011. I spent my time working on taxes, reading and - obviously! - playing on Pinterest. Today I'm back to writing, revising and blogging. I'm not quitting Pinterest cold turkey, but I won't be pinning at my current pace.
A little backstory. I'm a very visual person. You can tell me your name a hundred times, but I'm unlikely to remember it until I see it written down. I was always good at that kids' game called Memory, because it's all visual.
As an example of my visual leanings, I signed up with Shelfari back in the day even though many of my friends were over on Goodreads. Why? Because I liked the virtual bookshelf on Shelfari.
See? Pretty cool, isn't it? Much more fun than keeping lists of all the books I read on spreadsheets, like I've done a few times in the past.
So, back to Pinterest. Here's why I like it:
1) It's easy, even for a techno-klutz like me.
2) I like pretty pictures, and it's fun to save them in groups.
3) It's fun to see what other people like.
4) It's not time-consuming. (Theoretically.)
5) It's almost as much fun as collecting the real things.
Here are the two big bell-ringers, though:
6) It's FREE - think of all the money I save by not actually BUYING this cool stuff!
7) I DON'T HAVE TO DUST IT!
I just found a Pinterest blog, which offers lots of tips on how to use it. They also have a Facebook page.
If there's a way to find my most popular boards or images, I haven't figured that out yet. To give you an example, though, I posted this cute picture late last night and it's already been repinned 13 times. It's not rocket science, it's just fun.
Wanna come over and play?