Girl Talk Thursday: Collections

Hi, my name is Beth and I collect a lot of stuff. I’m deathly afraid that someday I’m going to be a candidate for Hoarders because I can’t seem to get rid of my stuff and I can’t seem to give up my collections. And now, I have a daughter, so I don’t see the reason to get rid of some of them because she is a girl and she might want these someday. Yeah, I know justification when I see it. So, what do I collect?


I’ve been collecting dolls since I was about 7 years old. My grandmother gave me my very first Madame Alexander doll that year (Austria) and then gave me at least two a year until I was 13 (maybe 12, I’m kind of fuzzy about precisely when the family blow up happened). I have a lot of country ones (Brazil, Spain, France, China, and so forth). I have a Bride. I have a few from Little Women (an original/old school Beth in a fluffy pink dress). But I also have age dolls (figurines with ages). I have Ginny dolls and clothes and accessories. I now have two American girl dolls with some clothes and accessories.


My husband would say there’s no rhyme, reason, or logic to my book collections, but I think there is. There are certain authors whose books I automatically buy when they come out, in hardcover. Jasper FForde, for example (though truth to tell, my best bud bought the last two at signings he was doing near her home, no I’m not jealous . . . much). I collect cookbooks. When I travel, I try to find a cookbook from the place that I’m in. I have some really interesting cookbooks as a result. My favorite is likely City Tavern Cookbook: Two Hundred Years Of Classic Recipes From America’s First Gourmet Restaurant. I went there with a group of academic friends, had a wonderful time, and bought the book specifically for the recipe for Thomas Jefferson’s Sweet Potato Biscuits. I have some great collections of children’s books and writing books. Also, knitting, quilting, and general craft/art for kids books. My office is nearly over-run with books. Seriously.

craft projects

I don’t collect supplies; I collect projects. For example, I found patterns for quilts for my kids that I want to make. I found some of the fabric. Then I pursued the rest of the fabric. When am I making the quilts? Likely not for a couple of years. Ben is heavy into character bedding and I figure Katie will go through the same thing before she’s willing to sleep under a quilt made by mama. I have cross-stitch kits that I put together — the pattern, the floss, the yarn — ready to stitch. Enough so that I could never buy another one and be stitching into my 70s, I suspect. I have yarn and needles for projects I want to make set aside for the projects. Yup. They’re collections. Seriously.


Many of my friends will not be surprised to discover this as they’ve been commandeered to send me postcards when they travel. I don’t like them pristine. I want them to have been mailed with a note about why this postcard. It’s lots of fun and I have some great cards from great friends. If you’re going somewhere cool and want to send me a postcard, I won’t say no :).


My master closet looks like a toy store exploded in it. I find things I think my kids will like, I buy them and put them in the closet. Then, I wait. I always have something to bring out if the kids are anxious or having a tough day or if I desperately need them to be engaged, I have things I can pull out. I do need to do some toy rotation so that they’re not overwhelmed by stuff.

So, yeah, I collect a heck of a lot of stuff. If you want to see what others are collecting, head over to Girl Talk Thursday and find out!

Wordless Wednesday: The Crafty Edition

Some of the projects I’ve been working on:

Made from Moda Bake Shop Custom Camera slipcover pattern. The fabric is from a charm pack from JoAnn’s.

I know I bought the fabric from JoAnn’s in the baby section about five years ago, but I’ll be darned if I remember who makes it. It was first used to border my Uncle Brother’s block on my mother’s memory quilt (long story on the name).

This is M’Liss Rae Hawley fabric from a fat quarter pack I bought at a quilt show last winter.

This is Lorna’s Lace Shepherd Worsted in Sage. The pattern is the Umbilical Cord hat from the original Stitch-n-Bitch. I adore this yarn. It’s super, super soft, knits like a dream, and is completely washable.

Fun with Ben

Today, I was dropping off a portrait of Ben that was done by my friend, Deb Stonebraker, Stonebraker Art, at Michael’s. She hasn’t put the portrait of Ben up yet, but if you go into black Labs, Sam is the third dog in the first row. I ordered the frame a couple of weeks ago and since it was supposed to be finished tomorrow, I was wondering why I still had the art. At any rate, when I dropped it off, the framer said she could have it done in less than an hour, so we decided to wander the store.

I’m the first to admit that I am not art mom. My family or origin was not arts/crafts oriented in terms of things that could, potentially, make a mess like paint, glitter, glue, and so forth. My mother sews; I had one of those “toy” Singers when I was little and I seem to recall sewing myself clothes so I could match my paper dolls. It wasn’t pretty and thank God no one took pictures.

Anyway, yesterday, in my efforts to shuck my title as the most uptight mother in the world, I decided to give a cute art project I’d seen online a try: Footprint Butterflies. After a few moments of “Oh God, what am I doing?” we got into it. I painted Ben’s feet with a paintbrush and he did his thing and we have three wonderful butterflies for Mother’s Day gifts. He wanted to paint something, too, so I held Katie on my lap and let him paint the bottoms of her feet, and there are three smaller butterflies with Katie toes on the wings, so adorable. But I digress.

The point is that I was never one that was allowed to actually look around in a craft store, so I’m a bit stunned with myself that I just let go and let Ben wander the store. I didn’t try to direct him, too much. There was a little of me going okay, can we look at some other things now when we’d spent about 20 minutes looking at shovels, rakes, sifters, and trucks for a sandbox (or oversized ant mounds as those are known here). We wandered down some aisles that didn’t capture his interest — the paintbrushes and paints — BORING!!! He was thrilled with the model cars, which I explained were special puzzles that he would get to do when he’s a bit older. He was also completely engaged in the kid craft aisle and the Crayola/book aisle. We found the plastic animal section and spent some time ID’ing the various animals.

He loves felt and when we got to that aisle he wanted some new “felts” and I had been planning to buy some anyway (to stock up for some future projects I have in mind), so he picked out some colors that he likes and I picked some and we added those to our small collection of things. He ended up buying a monarch butterfly from the plastic animal section and a small shovel along with his new felts.

When we got home, we went for a “nature walk.” This means we walked around the neighborhood looking at all the neighbors’ front gardens and compare them with ours. We’ve determined that my roses are very pretty, but that several neighbors also have very pretty plants that maybe we should plant somewhere else in the yard. He also saw a dog that was not Sam or Peyton, a kitty cat, and a snake “like No Feet.”

One thing I can assure you, while I will happily link to craft ideas that I find online, it is unlikely that I’ll be originating any myself. I’m just not that confident yet.

And now . . .

for something a little different. Normally, I post reviews on Wednesday. However, today, I’m sick; Ben is sick; and, we’re really just hanging on by our fingernails around here. So, instead of my planned review, let me point my “crafty” friends to a wonderful group that is working on some fantastic projects.
Craft Hope is an organization that works to bring something special and handmade to children who otherwise might not get something of that nature. Right now, they’re working on dolls. I’m the first to admit that my dollmaking skills may be questionable, but I think I’m going to give it try. I hope that everyone else considers, if not this project, then another project of theirs when it comes up.

A tip of the hat to BabyToolKit for pointing this out to me. Here’s hoping this cold blows over quickly and we’ll all be back together soon.