Collective Wisdom

All the Chicks collect books, natch. And, not to brag, but several Chicks have collected nominations and awards this season. However, today we reveal our collections, what kind of stuff we gather, display, or hoard—both fun and dysfunctional. (One lucky commenter on the blog today will receive a nifty, and oh-so-collectible Chicks on the Case lapel pin!)

Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

In addition to all my informal groupings of things that I own too many of, I do have one official, legit collection: PEZ dispensers! (Who knew?!) It started around 20 years ago when I handed out Pez dispensers at Halloween and kept Spooky Sid for myself. Then I bought a few more, I got a few as presents, and at some point it became a thing. Most of them only cost a buck or two, but one of them cost $20 because it wasn’t for sale and my friend was just drunk enough to see that as a challenge. And then there was the rare, vintage King Louie Pez that I paid way too much for — because for some reason I had to have it and I guess I thought it was an investment? It wasn’t. I used to have them displayed on shelves in my office but they’ve been living in my basement since we moved. It might just be time to  bring them back out again!

Cynthia Kuhn

cynthiaSomeone gave me a blank book in high school as a gift, and I started scribbling down quotes. It’s hard to explain why…I just felt compelled to have them. Originally it was mostly lines from stories, poems, and plays, but then it grew to include movie quotes, advertisements, and pretty much anything that caught my fancy. The reasons for collecting the quotes varied: beauty of language, profundity of thought, or just plain hilarity. And when my boys were born, I started recording quotes on a whole new level, sometimes recording whole conversations on a blog that I had at the time. One of my goals this summer is to compile them all into a single file (some are in the blank book, some are typed up, some are scribbled on post-its, etc.). You know, in my free time. 😀 #dreaming

 Ellen Byron


I’ve blogged before about how I collect Christmas ornaments, and make them as well. They’re the perfect craft and perfect souvenir from a trip – until you discover you have twelve boxes of them and no more storage space. I also collect vintage recipe books. I’m fascinated by how food evolves through the decades. But my one truly legit collection is of a pottery called Roseville. It was made between the turn of the century and the 1950s in Ohio, home of Rookwood, Weller, and many other decorative potteries. I fell in love with it when I was poor and it was cheap. I’d grab a piece at a flea market or resale shop for $5 or $10 dollars; I even went as high as $50 or in the case of a cookie jar, maybe more. I’m still poor, but Roseville isn’t cheap anymore. Its value peaked before eBay, but it’s still desirable. My late dad used to joke that I’d retire off my collection. Not even close. But it may eventually pay for Eliza’s college book costs.

Vickie Fee

vickieI’m not sure I truly collect anything anymore, except clutter and dust bunnies. I have a china collection, although it wasn’t all intentional. There’s my wedding china (Monroe by Lenox), and my Christmas china (Holiday by Lenox) that we collected over a few years. Then I inherited my mother-in-law’s wedding china. All the china is currently in our storage unit along with a huge china cabinet that housed them since we don’t have space in our downsized, downtown apartment. For my mom, it’s a clock collection. At last count she had over a hundred on display (not counting the ones that are packed away). Her house sounds like a ticking time bomb, but we’re used to it. And it keeps her busy when we spring forward and fall back. I also spent some time collecting rejection letters from agents with two completed manuscripts I shopped over the years, before the Liv & Di series. Not sure why, but I actually saved all those rejection letters, at least the ones I received via snail mail. Maybe I kept them because they represented little pieces of my broken heart. Or maybe it was because I had invested in a self-addressed, stamped envelope to receive them.

Lisa Q. Mathews

CotC Word balloons

I’ve collected all kinds of things in my life, starting when I was five with those Madame Alexander Foreign Land Dolls. At the time they were $7.00 and I weeded gardens for 5 cents a grocery bag full to buy them. (Don’t ask how many I ended up with. ) I went into a dormant phase while my kids were growing up, because then they were the big collectors. (I still have many of those items in my closets and basement.) But I somehow got hooked on those little Christmas villages with the lights inside–along with all the trees and stone walls and bridges and mirror ponds and, yep, a train. I told myself I was stopping this insanity but then a writer friend moved to Florida and sent me 75 beautiful new pieces, bless her heart. My village started out mostly New England and Victorian-themed, but I’ve recently added city pieces as well–because, you know, urban sprawl. If you look closely, in the glare of the flashing lighthouse, you’ll notice that all the little people are from different eras because I sort of adopt them from tag sales. And the last time I did that, I found a faded newspaper clipping tucked in the box that told the sad tale of a woman in New Jersey who had THREE rooms of Christmas village pieces and charged admission. Hmmm….

Readers, drop us a note in the comments below!

You name it, someone collects it. (One of us had a former pastor who collected vacuum cleaners. He had sold them door-to-door when he was in college and later became sentimental and nostalgic about them). What do you collect, or would like to collect? (Remember, one commenter will win a Chicks pin!)

53 thoughts on “Collective Wisdom

  1. I used to collect bears, most notably the Gund bears. I’d buy one whenever I was traveling and it was always named after the city where I bought it. Except the stop where I bought…well, let’s not talk about it.

    I also have a (small) collection of Madame Alexander dolls, the originals. I used to display them. But one day, after my husband was told he had a dust allergy, we decided to get rid of the dust by vacuuming them, which broke the dried out elastic on two of the dolls. Until I can find an appropriate “doll hospital” and get them repaired, they have gone into a container under the bed.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I went through a phase where I collected Soap Opera Digests and other soap opera related magazines. Those are what live under my bed…

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahhhhh!!! You killed them, lol!! I have some with dried out bands too–I sort of place the heads on a precarious #cocky (trademark violation!) angle. My doll collection is now with my granddaughters. The girls love them but my daughter only brings the out on “special” occasions (i.e. When Nana visits)

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Oh man! You just hit the big time for me. Where do I start?

    I too have a Christmas village collection, Lisa. I have everything for a village accept a school. Or maybe it’s the post office. I have the fake show, the figurines, trees, Santa, everything. Sometimes my daughter wants just that instead of putting up the tree.

    I have most of the White House ornaments. I think I’m only missing 1 or 2 years, Ellen.

    I collect Starbucks city mugs. Working on 2 dozen right now. I even have the set from Italy I found somewhere.

    A $1 casino chip from each casino I visit.

    Cookbooks! I have over 100 of them and still collecting. And cooks illustrated collectors edition magazines. About 40 of those. And yes, I do use them all! Send me your address and request, and I’ll put treats in the mail! My best score was from an estate sale, the French Chef, signed by Julia and Paul.

    I have more kitchen gadgets than I have kitchen, and yes, I use all of them too!

    But my ultimate collection? The one I can’t leave in my will? All the indecent proposals I’ve received over the last 35 years. The latest one was at Malice… And there’s the Bam Cynthia likes in my posts! 😂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hestia, you are a prolific collector! When I was a kid, I collected those little troll dolls/rings, while my sister collected rocks. I was always cooler. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Hello Chicks! I collect notebooks. I only recently realized this when I noticed how many blank notebooks I have in piles around my office. Some I’ve written in, most I haven’t because I’m saving them for something super special (I’m not sure what that will be but I’ll have a notebook for it when I find out!) Most are from Moleskine and Field Notes. Sometimes I buy them because I really like the cover and sometimes I buy them for the layout (reporter’s notebook, Moleskine’s Chapters series from a few years ago, etc). Sometimes it’s the theme (like Field Notes’s Country Fair notebooks from a while back or their recent Dime Store novel editions). And then there’s the good ol’ Mead Five Stars (some with the tab dividers, some with the really convenient pen/pencil holder on the edge). Gotta have plenty of those on hand!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kate, I too love blank notebooks. Apparently some of them are too pretty to write in, or at least I never have. I mostly take notes in reporter’s notebooks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay for all the blank notebook peeps. 😀 I’ll happily scribble away in the spiral school-type notebooks, but whenever I have fancy hardcover ones, I always feel like I should “save” them for something special. (What would “something special” even look like? I have no idea.)


  4. I used to collect rabbits. I still have a few of my collection but have given most of them away. I also collect quotes and, like Cynthia, I want to compile them all in one place…maybe this summer!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I received a starter Fontanini Nativity Set as a wedding present, and each year I add a piece to it, and there are a lot of pieces — angels, citizens of Bethlehem, spice shops, a water well, cats, dogs, donkeys, etc… It’s fun to collect, but I’m afraid that it could get out of hand. I also collect pens — not nice fountain pens, just fun to write with pens for journaling.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. This may sound creepy, but I collect bones. Cow femurs, coyote skulls, deer scapulae, caribou antlers, whatever I find out hiking or, occasionally, in a store. They’re scattered about my yard, and I even have a couple that I’ve painted in bright colors. (Oh wait, this is probably the only crowd that ISN’T creeped out about my collection.)

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve been desperately trying to downsize (hah!) Like Ellen, I adore Christmas ornaments. For awhile my kids also had ornament collections, so we had a separate tree for Madame Alexander and Barbie ornaments. Now I’m sticking with McCoy pottery. And I’ll never give up my Barbies (though they live in the basement now and collect dust). Does it count as downsizing if you just leave them in boxes in the basement?

    Liked by 3 people

  8. One of my earlier collections was pins. (Not that I’m trying to influence the random commenter thing. Well, maybe I am a little.) My grandparents would get them for me on various trips they took. Then I started getting them myself on trips. I don’t collect them as much, except the Disney pins they sell everywhere in the parks. I resisted for about 7 years, but then I started collecting with gusto.

    I also collect Christmas ornaments. I have really two parts to this, those I’ve bought on trips or those I’ve been given. And some of these ornaments go back to when I was a kid. Then, in 2010, I started collecting Hallmark ornaments, which I really need to stop doing since I have two trees in my tiny condo, and more than I will ever be able to display on my trees. Plus I’m out of storage room for them.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I have a huge collection of Ty Beanie Bears and Holy Bears. And, several miscellaneous Ty beanie babies. Most of them are stored in deep drawers underneath a bed. I also have books❣️ Thousands of books I’ve collected over the years. Some are on shelves and some are in boxes.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. When I was a kid, I collected coins, stamps, stickers, and dolls from antique shows. I have mostly Madame Alexander dolls, but I have an assortment of others, all original. I also have some beanie babies.
    As an adult I have collected angels, elephants, wine glasses for a while. I am not actively collecting anything right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also love sea glass. I used to collect sea shells and sea glass on the beaches of Florida when I visited family several times a yr.
      I used to just love walking the beach, listening to the ocean and the waves, and looking in the shallow water or
      On the beach for what I call hidden treasures, aka sea shells, sea glass and anything else I could find.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love to collect different things from aluminium coffee pots, salt and pepper shakers and many more things . I love books and Audio books. Books has gotten me through some tough times in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think collections, at their best, bring us comfort — and books certainly fit that bill! Penny, sounds like you may have a retro collection going on. Cool!


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