accumulator seriali - part 1

an ongoing series about obsessively collecting various old things - paperiaarre.com

My dearest reader,

I've decided to tell you everything. Well, at least all about my collecting. I've decided to call this journey Accumulator Seriali. On every Saturday (for the foreseeable future, with the sad exception of Sad Saturdays, which will sooner or later happen, sorry about that in advance!) I'll share sneak peeks and stories about the various and numerous things that have come to my possession. 
 
I'm not about to run out of vintage things to share any time soon, but fear not, this blog will not turn into a hoarder's diary; I've also planned lots of bookbinding and mixed media posts for your enjoyment. A couple of tutorials are penned on my schedule, too. If you have a tutorial request in mind, now would be a great moment to let me know! I'm thinking something quite easy to approach and to adapt to your own needs and designs. But if you're thinking something very specific, super difficult or top secret, I'll see what I can do about it anyway. Now, back to the accumulations... 
 
The only way I can really begin telling the stories of my collections is by telling the stories of my family first. Because, obviously, this thing runs in the family. Big time. My brothers seem to have avoided these collecting tendencies, but maybe it just means those features are then more condensed in me. I've written about my maternal side before (for example, here), but here's the shortest possible version: crafty women in many generations before me = unfinished textile projects, fabulous sewing supplies and tools and tidbits; an amateur photographer = albums filled with amazing photos; traveling grandparents = sand and other stuff. Also, the best bookshelves and cupboards in the world came from my grandparents' home, but I'll focus on the smaller items, since I'm not really collecting bookshelves or cupboards (it's only because of lack of space, though).
 
The habit of saving _so_many_things_ is naturally one formed partly because of both war-time and post-war shortages, but I'm fairly certain my ancestors have been collectors forever. The family on my father's side seems less of a treasure cherishing people (of course this is the girly me talking here) and more hoarder-ish. We're talking about saving all the keys that open nothing, because one could file it into a key shape that would open something or other, and there was this big box full of bent nails that one could straighten and use later. The nails were all rusty when they were finally thrown away after decades of storage. 
 Life International magazines from the early 1960's, part of my collection of random old things - paperiaarre.com
My grandfather passed away some years ago and my father is now emptying his house. I personally saved a seven inch stack of Life International magazines from early 1960's from the attic (in a small, quite un-international, town in Finland). It's not all man-on-the-moon stuff, it's mostly plain and boring news, but someone has decided they're worth keeping, so I can't let them be thrown away at this stage when they've already been safe for 55 years. Feel a self-destructing pattern forming here, no? I'm so grateful the rusty nails were thrown away when I wasn't there to see it - I certainly would've come up with the idea of using them in some art project and lugged them home with me. That's what I'm doing with all the keys my father keeps finding from every single room of the house and knows not to throw away anymore.
 
I separate my collections into two parts: the pretty ones and the family ones (I'm not saying family stuff is ugly, it's quite the opposite). Naturally I'm constantly looking for great vintage materials I can use in my mixed media work. I have a nice-ish collection of vintage lace (could be larger, could be more varied) and a nice collection of vintage photos (lots of photos I'll never use, but enough of those I know I'll use), but those are collections that need active tending to - I need to find more stuff to replace the stuff I've used. That's not a bad thing. A bad thing is if you have a collection of material you're afraid to use. Of course I have favourite items I save for something extra special, but I know that extra special will be made, some day. 
 
The family heirlooms can sometimes leak into the useable materials, after careful consideration. My maternal ancestor-ladies made and bought more lace than it's sensible to keep in the save forever box. That box needs to fit into my life, after all. Most of the family things are save forever things that are just passively owned and frequently admired, but there's a big lot of stuff I've gathered so I could set up a vintage shop on Etsy. I don't know if that's happening any time soon, though. The perfectionist in me needs to plan for a good while more. I'll try to fix up Paperiaarre first...
 
The passing of grandparents has caused a flow of lovely little things into my life. I'm sure they would all be more than happy about how thrilled I am about their buttons and keys and rocks. I doubt anyone else in the family would care much about these things I find treasurous. Just today V admired a trilobite I remember my grandfather having in the entrance hall. Memory is treacherous, though - I constantly question whether I remember the story of an item correctly or have I built a story of my own to fill a gap I don't want to be there. This series of blog posts will hopefully become a record of some sort for my most loved little things. The first, very important, thing for the record:
 

small list of things I collected as a young child

  • rocks (they made holes in my coat pockets)
  • bottle caps (just because my big brother collected them)
  • stamps (not very eagerly)
  • victorian scrap (album after album after album full of them)
  • popsicle sticks (unbelievably lot of them, at least a full shopping bag filled to the brim)
So, quite early in my life I showed great promise as an avid collector and I hope to do great things in my later years. What are the stories behind your collections and your plans for the future? Leave a comment below or share a photo on Intagram (don't forget to tag me @paperiaarre)!