Jun 7, 2012

I Collect: Stefanie

I love the Internet. I was doing a little googling the other day and came across this fabulous blog by fellow collector Stefanie. Having been inspired by Lisa Congdon's "Collection A Day," Stefanie decided to blog about collecting everyday for one year. Quite and ambitious feat. 

I collect: Many, many things, but my largest collection is vintage elementary school books from the 1930s-1960s.  I also collect vintage toys.

Its been going on for: I got my first school book in 1984, but I've really been collecting them seriously for maybe 10-12 years. I have somewhere around 500 school books. As far as my toys go, I've been a toy collector for nearly 30 years. I am a toy designer by profession, so this sort of goes with the territory.

I look for additions to my collections at: Mostly antique malls/ flea markets. Although I've bought things on eBay from time to time, it sort of feels like cheating to me. I prefer the joy of the hunt!

When I find one I feel: Excited! But I have to keep photos of my various collections on my iPhone, because I can't tell you how many times I've bought duplicate books- it's so hard to keep them straight, and there are so many! Now, it makes it easier to look at my photos to tell what I have.

The star of my collection is: My near-mint set of Scott, Foresman Dick and Jane books from 1951 & 1956. (There is actually one I don't have, but it's a 6th grade reader, which isn't as desirable, so I haven't been in a huge hurry to finish the collection)

The oddest piece in my collection is: If you count all of my collections, I think I'd have to either go with my 1867 wooden patent model of a steam valve, or perhaps my diddley-bow... that's a little one-stringed musical instrument.

A way my collection has gotten me into a tight situation:  I guess the tightest situation my collections have gotten me into is my blog. A year ago, I came across a fellow collector who posted one of her collections every day for a year. Although it was a fun blog, and she had some cool stuff, I thought my collections were more interesting, and I decided I could do a similar blog. I decided to post one of my collections every day, Monday through Friday, and then feature another collector each weekend. I'll tell you, it's been a tough year. I've decided to suspend my blog on June 30, when my blog reaches one year old. It's been really stressful (but fun!) to document my various collections because I tend to do it one day at a time instead of all at once. So, nearly every morning, I'm setting up stuff, taking pictures, editing the photos, and then putting together the blog entry. As the year has progressed,  I have created  'special days', like Toy Tuesday, and School Book Friday, and I also added Orphan Wednesday, where I feature my 'unique items' that don't fall into the 3 or more rule. 
I'm really glad I did it. It's given me a chance to document the extent of my collections, photograph everything, share it with the world, and learn a few things to boot. But doing a daily collector blog is not for the faint of heart. I plan on putting everything into a book when I'm done. I also am thinking seriously of thinning my collections out substantially too. I'll definitely keep my books and musical instruments, but I'm willing to part with many of my other collections.

Some other things that I like to collect are: vintage toys and games, musical instruments (mostly stringed), ephemera, books. You'll just have to look at my blog to see the different kinds of things I collect!

My family and friends think my collection is: My husband wishes I'd dust a bit more, my kids roll their eyes (they are all grown, and none of them are collectors), but my friends think it's awesome.

I've received a couple of honors for my collections: in 2000 I won the Judges Trophy at the Ventura County Fair in California for the best collection (school books). I was also featured in 2004 in Playthings Magazine (a trade publication for the toy industry) as their collector of the month, again, for my school books. 

My gallery on Collector's Weekly: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/user/stefdesign

Thank you so much for sharing Stefanie!