Tuesday, April 29, 2014


 What we collect reflects our personalities. 

As we go about amassing our collections, we study, view, review and handle them. Some collections even continue to have a life. Such as wearing the art deco jewelry and vintage clothing, using grandmother’s china, engaging old tools, reading first editions, or playing with our childhood toys and games.  (I personally enjoy playing the original Monopoly & Clue Games. Their boards and tokens are far more pleasurable to touch and there is something to be said about the scent that is emitted from their boxes. It’s like breathing in the scent of an old book. Takes you back to simpler time.) Most of all, collectors are emotionally involved with them. And that, more than anything, characterizes the true collector.

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, “The hunt is on,” you scan your local newspaper for a listing of garage and yard sales. You have your list of must haves for your collection. You map out the best route to get to as many as you can, and off you go. The anticipation and optimism of the hunt can be exhilarating. It’s all about the joy of possession. Then, if and when you decide to have your ‘find’ appraised, you may experience triumph or disappointment. But no matter the value, it is now yours to do with as you please, and that’s the beauty of ownership.

While you go about happily finding things that were part of your past that may have gone astray, you are actually building a museum about your personal life. There is something very satisfying about a personal, individual museum. Your collecting also offers generational bonding. The things you have saved, cherished and preserved, will be passed onto the next generation, who will in turn, keep your history alive, adding more dimension to the family’s heritage as time goes on.

Our family museum is an eclectic array of collections from the different stages of our lives. Because of what was able to be saved over the years and why,  resulted in putting together small tableau's of our life. It is simply amazing that as I was creating these displays, the museum almost reads like a mini autobiography. Here are a couple of pictures and the stories that go with them.

Keith's interest in the Untied States Space Program has been with him since he could remember. He saved only two of the many rocket models he had when a child, and when we moved to Florida, he was thrilled to have a license plate with a picture of the space shuttle blasting off. 
I was crazy about shoes. When I could, I bought designer shoes by Charles Jourdan and Maude Frizon, now both vintage shoes. I guess because of their superior construction, they have lasted many decades. How unfortunate for me that I can no longer wear them, but I certainly can look at them and recall my more fashionable days.

So as you go about collecting, displaying and preserving your past and present possessions, remember to record all the information about the item. Take pictures and write your memoires. It's fun, engaging, and historical. 

In Monday's post, I presented a listed of collections and tomorrow I will write about two of them. 

Next Post: Americana & Art


Monday, April 28, 2014

Antiques: Desirable Ownership

What is an antique? According to Wikipedia, it is an old collectable item. It is  desirable because of its age, beauty, rarity, condition, utility, personal emotional connection, and/or other unique features. It is an object that represents a previous era or time period in human society. It is common practice to define "antique" as applying to objects at least 100 years old.  

The Hunt is on . . .  Antiquing is the act of shopping, identifying, negotiating, or bargaining for antiques. People buy items for personal use, gifts, or profit. Sources for antiquing include garage sales and yard sales, estate sales, resort towns, antique districts and international auction houses.
Be it hobby or a business, those who wish to start their own collection of prized antiques should first learn about the many different facets of antique collecting. Here are some tips that may be helpful.

1.) The most common feature of antiques is that they are remnants of the past. Their age may provide collectors with a good idea of their worth. The first thing as a general rule of thumb is to take their age into consideration.
2.) The time period on antique items is to target pieces that have been made on or before the 1830's. The reason for the year is that after the 1830's, most items were being mass-produced and therefore may have a selection of items that can be considered as prized antiques. This is not to say that items after that period aren't valuable. It is just that they may have different criteria for judging their value than earlier pieces.
3.) Focus on a certain type of antique to collect and then gather information as well as additional knowledge on how such pieces are being judged for their value. For example, if you are fond of collecting antique vases, then you should only concentrate on collecting vases first before proceeding to other items. This will help make the beginner focus first on gaining knowledge about antique vases and how they are valued.

4.) Another tip is to seek the help of other experienced collectors especially when they come upon new items to add to their antique collection. Ask for input as well as suggestions as to how best to go about a new collection. Expert collectors may provide you with tips that they may want to share and impart some wisdom that you may not be able to get from books or any other source. Such expert advice could prove valuable as you begin to amass a sizable collection of antiques.

5.) Most importantly, whatever you collect, make sure you take every step in take great care of your treasurers. There is a plethora of websites that give excellent advice and have conservations and display products to sell. Part of enjoying antiques is preserving them. Don’t forget that!

Our Family Museum is filled with collectibles. When an antique is considered so after 100 years of age, our things have about another half-century to go. But for what they are worth, their sentimentality is priceless. Our children’s museum is filled with their treasures which are precious to them for the worth they hold in memories of childhoods and young adult years. As like our collections, theirs will become more valuable with time. However, our family has a proud heritage and our Grandparents Museum is filled with antiques, not necessarily as defined as antique, but none-the-less, very dear to us. These two pictures are of my parents possessions, and they are priceless to me. And there is more on the Grandparents museum to come.

As this post is an introduction to antiques, here is a brief list of categories I will cover.

Americana (America’s Culture); Art (collectors & artisans);                        Books (book-worms & bibliophiles); China & Porcelain (fragile & delicate);   Coins (numismatics & collectors); Collectibles (nostalgic & cherished);         Dolls (one of America’s favorites); Guns (proud collecting);                     Jewelry (period & styles); Knifes (mankind accomplishment);                  Military (prideful deeds); Miscellany (unusual collectibles);                       Models (ageless collectors); Other Stuff (creature collections);                Political Buttons (hobbyists & scholars); Railroad (engineering collections); Sports (cards & autographs); Stamps (collectors & philatelist);                    Toys (sentimentality collectors); Watches & Instruments (mechanical art).

Tuesday’s Post: Collectibles


Friday, April 25, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Photograph Albums

 Creating photo collections takes time, so do it in stages. As you go through the photos, ask yourself these questions: Do I recognize the person? Do I find the photo of the subject(s) flattering? Do I like the person? Do I have fond memories of the event? Do I  have more than one copy of this photo? Have a family member or friend assist you. It can actually be fun as you reminisce about old times, cry a little bit over lost friends or family members, and look back at the places you lived and visited, etc. And cackle all you can when you deep-six some images of yourself that you would rather not bestow on posterity.  

As you create your photographic album, try not to eliminate the accidental, the blurred the botched, faded and crumpled photographs. These images document ordinary life and are windows to the past.

As we are now in the age of the download and the hard drive, the photography book is currently thriving as a medium, making the old-fashioned photo album a thing of the past. Yet, many people still desire a physical object that can be held, paged through again and again, and shown to others. Today, the photo album has given way to the self-published photo book, an online publishing phenomenon that means you or I can create our own album using preordained templates and printed from digital files.
The thing about digital is it allows us to take many photos cheaply and then view them on a PC or TV, making it possible to have a whole family archive on a single flash drive. But what happens to stored images when computer systems change? A picture is always a picture, a digital image is
just so many 0's and 1's. So what happens in years to come if computers can't "read" today's
binary notation? You make digital back-ups of old photo albums to preserve them for future generations. Too often photo albums are lost, damaged, or dispersed. With digital media, a person's many descendants can all  have a copy of old photographs.    
Still, the photo album survives. They have an integrity that digital storage cannot capture.

Goesel Family Albums
The process of creating an old-fashioned, hand-crafted albums is an abiding desire to tell a story with photographs which will keep album-making alive. When you hold a photo album, you sense that you are in possession of something unique, intimate, and meant to be saved for a long time. As you turn the pages and look at the images, you take in the maker's experience, invoking your imagination and prompting personal memories.

So as you find packets of photos in drawers and boxes throughout your home, spend a few minutes recalling the moment. Then preserve them. And for those digital images, once they are edited, don’t forget to look at them.
Here are a few pages of photographs from my family's albums. 
Charlie at Walt Disney World, FL
Tiffeni & friends by the pool
Lizzie's long-ago pictures
In a future post, I will offer
suggestions & products for
archival storage.
Keith's Navy Days

Next Week’s Posts: Antiques



Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Baby Books

Keith's Baby Book
Lizzie's Baby Book
The humble Baby Book has become a passing fashion. Sometimes fancy bound volumes, some inexpensive, others cheap, baby books went mass market in America beginning in the 1910s and only became more popular  over the succeeding decades. But in todays fast pace world, there is a new trapping of parenthood – the baby blog. This new form of the baby book where mothers, and they are almost always mothers, record random thoughts about their babies, from the mundane, to significant moments, to the wondrous details of infancy. Be it book or blog, they contain useful information, keep track of things like height, weight, language, illnesses and immunizations. However, once the baby had grown into a healthy child, the book and/or blog isn't needed.
Keith's Statistic's

Lizzie's Feet

Why did baby books appear around the turn of the 20th century? Well, partly because parents could finally count on their babies surviving. Sanitation improved, medicine got better, and infant mortality rates dipped sharply. As parents kept all this information on their children, it help show how families thought about the health of their children; which measurements were thought to be important, which diseases were concerns, and how these things changed over time. But as much as the books were about medicine, they were also about culture, especially when they included photographs revealing aspects of home life, such as baby clothes, furniture and activities. 
How do we know these  things     a century later? From historians who gathered, saved, and researched the history of babies in modern America. In time, few were intended to be keepsakes passed on to generations. "Most persons regret that the little items of babyhood, so interesting to the parents at least, pass into oblivion," reads the introduction to 1889's "Baby's Record: a Twofold Gift for Mothers and Children." Many baby books were only partially completed and sadly, few have been saved.
"The book is not intended to be a family record, but an individual one, which will form a part of the outfit of each newcomer in the household, and which can afterward to given to the child, to be preserved as a source of interest and entertainment for himself and his own children in after years."
Both my husband and I have been fortunate to still have our baby books. And because we were both born in 1950, the books are quite similar. Keith's was better attended to than mine, but both are preserving our babyhoods. Do you still have your baby book?  
Excerpts from, "The Hidden History of Baby Books," by Carolyn Kellogg of the Los Angeles Times; Nicholas Day, author of, "Baby Meets World," and Janet Golden, historian at Rutgers-Camden.  
Next Post:  References FYI



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thanks for the Memories - Scrapbooks

Lizzie's Modeling Book

Scrapbooking is a method for preserving personal and 
family history in the form of a scrapbook. Photograph, 
autograph, stamp, sticker, wedding, baby and more
are subjects for scrapbooks. Do you have one or
several? And where are they now? There are many in
our family museum, but sadly not on display because 
of their sizes. 

Tiffeni's Betsey McCall Scrapbook

History of Scrapbooking 
                                                                        From Wikipedia
  In the 15th centurycommonplace
  books popular in England, emerged
  as a way to compile information that 
  included recipes, quotations, letters,
  poems and more. Each commonplace
  book was unique to its creator's
  particular interests.

  Additionally, friendship albums and school
  yearbooks afforded girls in the 18th and 19th
  centuries an outlet through which to share
  their literary skills and allowed girls an
  opportunity to document their own
  personalized historical record previously
  not readily available to them.

Pictures for Modeling Composite
The advent of modern photography began with the first permanent photograph created by Joseph Niepce in 1826. This allowed the average person to begin to incorporate photographs into their scrapbooks. They also often included bits of memorabilia like newspaper clippings, letters, etc.

Modern scrapbooking in the United States
Marielen Christensen of Elk Ridge, Utah, is often credited with turning scrapbooking from what was once just the age-old scrapbook hobby into the actual industry containing businesses devoted specifically to the sale and manufacturing of scrapbooking supplies. She began designing creative pages for her family's photo memories, inserting the completed pages into sheet protetors collected in 3-ring binders. By 1980, she had assembled over fifty volumes and was invited to display them at the World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City. Marielen and her husband A.J. authored and published a how-to book, Keeping Memories Alive, and opened a scrapbook store in Spanish Fork in 1981 that remains open today.

Charlie's Scrapbook
Charlie's Homeschool Projects
These days, scrapbooking can be done in so many ways. You can use beautiful colored paper, stickers, drawings, photos, and so many other supplies. Scrapbooking is like a visual diary, capturing all your creativity, thoughts feelings, and memories in a book.

Next Post: Baby Books


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thanks for the Memeories - Greeting Cards

Greeting Cards for Mom/Daughter/Sister/Wife/Friend . . .

How many days and reasons are there to give that special (see above) person
a greeting card?

Let us count them according to that great little Hallmark Cards Datebook:
for January through December Birthdays; for Valentine’s Day; for Easter;
Mother’s Day; and all other holidays you celebrate.
 Birthday Card & Letter from
 my sweet Mother-in-Law
1970 Birthday Card
from a Friend
For the hundreds of cards I have received over the past sixty decades, most likely hundreds of those cards have gone by the wayside. I can’t remember exactly when I started to save cards; perhaps it was after I got married and became a mom. All of a sudden (not literally) those cards seemed important to me. Here are a few that I want to share with you.   

1999 Birthday card from
my adorable son Charlie 
    What cards have you 
    saved over the years?
    And why have you
    kept them?    

    Probably for the same reason
    I have; they make me smile.
   Remember the good times.

2003 Birthday card from my
lovely daughter Tiffeni
   Cherish the memories.

      There are many creative ideas as to what to do with
        greeting cards. By simply surfing the web, the
      information there can be overwhelming.

     To make your research a little bit easier, I recommend 
       visiting these two websites:               
      “Putting old greeting cards to use”
     “What to do with old greeting cards.”

Also, check out Google Images to see a plethora of ideas on what to do with old greeting cards. It's amazing!

Next Post:  Scrapbooks