Monday, February 28, 2011

ETSY Treasury

Good Morning Friends.  ESTY has a wonderful feature called treasuries that allows the members to curate a beautiful and fun story using fellow Estian's items.  It is a nice way to say Kudos to the other members and show off the things that personally like.  I created one I really like this morning about summer and the Greek gods and would like to share it with you.  I hope you enjoy

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Please Vote For My Featured Item

Good Morning Friends,  I would like to request your vote for one of my featured items.  It is a handmade sachet mix with a beautiful vintage potpourri holder, shown below.  You can vote me at
This blog is a wonderfully fun site to visit so it will be worth your time.

If you like what you see, please check out my store and my fellow Estian's stores.  It is amazing how tallented these artist are and what wonderful vintage things you can find.  I love shopping there myself.

I greatly appreciated your support and thank you in advance.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Attract Attention to Your Collection With a Beautiful Display

So you now have your collection; it is safe and tucked away in your closet.  Every time someone visits you eagerly tell them proudly about all the work and effort it takes to create this collection.  After your long exciting speech you say, "so would you like to see it?"  Next are those crushing words that so many of us have heard, "Maybe another time, I have to __________ (fill in the blank.)"   Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to force people to look at your wonderful collection?  You know they will love it once they look because others have. 
There is a way to share your collection without feeling like you have to drag people kicking and screaming to view it.  It is all in how you store your collection.  Instead of storing your collection by packing it away create a wonderful display.  Just like in a retail setting, your display is an extremely important way to showcase your hobby and attract attention.  You have put time, effort and care into your collection show it off in the same manner.  I have a variety of collections some are the traditional items and some are not so traditional but most are on display.
My very large collection of postcards are mainly for my business but I do have some personal favorites.  I love sharing my passion for collecting but most people would not want to thumb through boxes of cards no matter how organized I have them.  So I have taken my favorite cards and placed them in a beautiful (but not costly) photo album.  When doing this remember that the acid from old and antique albums will ruin the postcards just like they do with photographs.  There are many inexpensive acid free albums that look antique for sale.  The one that is pictured below is from the Hobby Lobby Arts & Craft Store.  You could also make your own, just make sure that the materials you use are acid free.  Once you have organized your cards in the album simply place it on your coffee table with a nice doily underneath and you will see that many people will pick it up to take a look.


I also love to Rockhound (find and collect gems, fossils and minerals.)  You can imagine how challenging it would be to get someone excited about looking at your collection of rocks.  I have several ways that I incorporate my collection into the everyday decor of my living space.  One way is to have a cabinet and/or a shelf designated for them, but as you will notice in the following pictures that even this simple method has some better, more attractive, ways to set up the display. 

Piece of Amethyst
without a stand


This is the same piece of
 Amethyst with a stand

Since collecting minerals feels scientific I like to display some of them with a science feel.  I thought these spice jars looked like specimen jars.

This simple metal basket was turned into a stunning lamp filled with quartz minerals.

I have too many gems and minerals to display in my living space.  I categorize them and create displays in plastic units with drawers that I tuck away.  This is a practical way of storing them and still be able to keep it attractive in case I have peaked someone's interest with my other displays.
I use simple card stock and Elmer's glue (water soluble) to catalog each specimen
I keep record of where they where and when
 they were found along with any other important information.


Travel is one of my passions and aside from collecting postcards many souvenirs tend to become clutter for me.  I have started a magnet collection in the last few years to remind me of all the places I've traveled to.  This collection is perfect because they are easily packed away if necessary and they take up very little space.  It seems that a person's refrigerator will end up with at least a magnet or two so I might as well make them meaningful.  I have also discovered that the acrylic state magnets, shown, fit together to form a map of the nation.  My new goal is to visit all the states and have complete the map.  Sometimes it is the simple things in life that can bring us the most pleasure.

Collecting antique jewelry brings me much pleasure, but since this collection is more for business reasons I store mine in tackle and pencil boxes.   They now make some tackle boxes in girly colors that are purple and trendy colors; what fun!  By storing the collection in these boxes I protect them from becoming damaged and keeps them well organized.  But I found a wonderful display of vintage jewelry at a local thrift shop.  When making a display like this a person would have to take special care when fastening the pieces to the medium, but it is beautiful. 

My personal experience has been that half of the fun is finding your treasures and the other half is bringing it to life.
Until next time, Happy Collecting!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How I Met The Butterly In The Attic

Most of my fondest memories are of an old Victorian house where I grew up.  It was a big house and one of my favorite rooms in it was an upstairs balcony. It looked like the one I had seen Juliette calling to Romeo or the one Rapunzel had let down her hair from.  Unfortunately next to this balcony was a very intimidating door that opened to "the attic." 

At one time I had tried to open the door and had been unable to reach the milky white doorknob.  My mother watched me stretch for a while and then simply said "Honey, you don't want to go in there.  It is just full of old stuff; it is dusty, dark and no place to play.  I don't even know what is in there anymore."  

Being a small girl and with my imagination growing over months I had visions of this dark dreadful room.  A place where a small child could get lost and never find their way back out.  I also took "I don't even know what is in there anymore" to mean that there was some kind of dreadful man-eating animal lurking in one of those dusty corners.  Starving to death just waiting for the day I would accidently bump into the door hard enough, fall in, get lost and satisfy his hunger.  Why else would a room be called an attic?  So to prevent my demise I would, naturally, run full speed down the hall to reach the safety of my little balcony.  Not to say that I didn't have an occasional close call when wearing slippery socks but for almost a year all was well.  Until that life changing day…
 I was entertaining my friend "Romeo" who was not enchanted with the role he was coerced into playing.  As he escaped the balcony he stopped right in front of the great door of doom.  "What's in there?"  I tried to sound as if I didn't care at all and said "just stuff."    "Mom said that it is dark and dusty in there and there’s nothing to play with."  Romeo's freckled face turned to me with a mischievous grin "what, are you scared?"  Of course I was a sweet little girl but hearing this come from a boy, it was on!  "No! I'm not scared I just can't reach it."  He smiled with his hand on the knob; I was doomed.

The door creaked as it opened, it smelled like my great grandmother's apartment and it was very dark.  The first thing I noticed was that it looked like the rest of the rooms in the house but with more boxes and it was dusty.  I couldn't see where any man-eating animal would be lurking but I kept an eye open.  As my vision adjusted I notice a little window that was glowing with light from the wintery Midwest morning. 
Then! Out of the corner of my eye a fast movement happened so suddenly that even though I was only 4 years old I thought for sure I was having a heart attack.  I knew it; the man-eating animal was going to drag me in deeper and it would all be "Romeo's" fault.  
As my heart slowed and I could feel nothing dragging me away I ventured a longer look.  I smiled it was amazing; in the middle of the frozen winter was a beautiful bright blue butterfly fluttering at the light in the window.  I made my way over to the sweet little creature and watched it sit on the sill with its wings gently opening and closing. 

After that day my mother would help me bring my new little friend a dish of orange slices.  And each day we would spend time going through the dusty boxes of postcards and pictures and she would tell about the faraway places from a time long ago.  We would dress up in old hats and gloves and don the most beautiful rhinestone jewelry.  My balcony was still one of my favorite places but thanks to a little butterfly I found an entirely new world.  One that was full of mystery, fancy parties, faraway travels and the prettiest little things that people wore and used long before I was born.  My life has been full of wonderful discoveries some are old, some are new, but nothing will compare to the butterfly in the attic.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I am...a Deltiologist (postcard collector) Part 1

Yes, a Deltiologist.  It is such a formal name for someone who collects and studies postcards.  Though most people who collect things will need to study and do significant research on what they are collecting and how to find it, clean, categorize, etc.  So, Deltiologist it is but I prefer to just be called a postcard collector.

I have always had a deep passion for travel.  And, like most other children I was limited to the travels that my parents embarked on.  Unfortunately for me this meant that we traveled within the state of Wisconsin and if I was lucky Minnesota.  I adore my home state but my mind was always wondering off on adventures.


In the dead of winter (which for those that don't live in the Midwest lasts 7 months of the year) I would take trips to warm exotic exciting places.  I went to places like Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Miami...NOT.  But with help from travel magazines, National Geographic and my precious postcards I would be able to take imaginary trips to anywhere.  My favorite postcards were what are called "Linens."

Linens came into circulations around 1930 because they developed a method of creating cheaper paper for cards.  They have a rag like textured from all the fibers and publishing companies would print them with bold bright colors.  I loved these cards because everything looked more exciting with those accentuated colors.  For a long time and still today many prefer to collect anything other than those Linen cards because of their "cheapness" but personally I still enjoy them very much and do collect them.

Although I have my favorites, I have always been an indiscriminate collector.  This has advantages and disadvantages; you are just starting out it may be to your benefit to focus on one subject or type of postcard to collect. 

Collections that focus on a specific characteristic of the card are specialized, everything flows and often they can be easily displayed in some kind of natural order.  A person that has a specialized collection also has the advantage of getting to know that certain type of card very well, they know what to look for and what to look out for.  They also have the "thrill-of-the-hunt," meaning that finding their specific card is much harder and when they do the satisfaction is much greater.   There are too many different subcategories of postcards to include all, but I would like to list some to give you a sense of why I enjoy postcards so much.

Collecting postcards based on what is on the back.  Some collections will include only undivided backs.  Prior to 1907 postcards had only one side to write the message on; the picture side.  The back side was only to be used for the address and the postage.  Note: collecting cards that have writing on the front of them from this period is acceptable since that was how they were designed.

Undivided Back
Note that there was plenty of room left on the front to write the message

After 1907 they started the divided back leaving room for a conversation on the backside of the card to preserve the image on the front.  Unfortunately you will find many of the earlier divided backs still have writing on the front of the card; old habits die hard.

There are many collections based on how the card was cancelled.  Briefly; some postcards sent from rural locations were cancelled by hand with a pen, Source Marking meant it was cancelled while traveling by rail, ship or steam boat, fancy cancelation marks are just like they sound - Fancy, and Killer which completely covers the stamp with a black ink.  There are many more not mentioned.  People may also look for specific post offices that are no longer in existence making it more rare.

The US Flag used to cancel the postage

Applied by a duplex handcancel devise

Postcard backs can be ornately decorated.  As publishers competed for a notable backside the card became more and more detailed.  Art deco and Art Nouveau are two periods in which this is commonly seen.
Postcard collections have also been built based on the medium used.  There are many but a few popular ones right now are Real photo, Linen, and Photochrome.

Real Photograph

Real Photograph

Collecting cards based on subject can be extremely broad to very narrow.  There are many clubs and places to swap postcards with others that collect based on subject.  Yahoo has some good online groups.  Currently some of the more popular subjects are:

History of transportation; People are collecting cards related to the rail system, aviation, the automobile

First Car...  LOL!!!


Social events; Fairs and Expositions are and have always been highly collectible


 Collecting cards has become a international past time.  There are many card collectors because this is one collection that is easily stored or displayed.  The popularity of scrapbooking has given collectors many options of acid-free materials to use.  It is very important to store your collection with acid free materials, do not to glue them to anything and to make sure that they will be able to lay flat or in a manner that will not curl the card.  Here are some examples of cards that have been significantly damaged by how they were stored.

I suggest investing in a package of postcard sleeves they come in many different sizes and will accommodate most cards. 

Finding and collecting postcards has become relatively easy since the dawn of the internet.  At one time the only means was through mail order, swap meets, yard sales and auctions.  You had to physically find them but now most are a click away on the computer.  When looking for cards online make sure that the seller has a good reputation.  No one is perfect but if they have a lot of complaints be wary.  Also make sure that the seller’s description is good and/or their pictures provide a lot of detail.  There should almost always be a photo of the backside of the card or a verbal description of what issues it may or may not have.  When I sell my cards I try to always include a good verbal description, a photo of both sides, and a rating or grading of the condition.  But most of all Have Fun!

Our store Butterfly In The Attic currently has 40% off vintage postcards for a limited time.