Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Behind the scenes at the museum

With its multitude of collectible items, Dove Cottage doubles as a museum as well as our home! In fact, we keep telling visitors that we ought to charge them entrance fees!




Due to serious lack of space (Dove Cottage is after all just a two up, two down, with extended kitchen and bathroom), some of our collections - vintage cameras, Expo 58 souvenirs and Pre-1973 Barbie dolls and their clothes, to name the most space invading culprits - had to be curbed.

I know I really shouldn't have rekindled my vintage paperback collecting as there is no shelf space left ...

At least, most of our kitchenalia collection is actually being used, though not the soaps and washing powders!


While my ever growing collection of brooches does not present the same problems, as they are small enough not to encroach too much on our space, they do present a problem of their own: that of decent storage.

At first, when I didn't have quite so many, empty cutlery boxes lined with satiny fabric were a great solution. But the number of boxes grew and grew, and - although I'd grouped the brooches by theme - it was hard to find what I was looking for, especially when getting dressed in the morning.


For a while, a 1970s round orange plastic jewellery box I found at a flea market last year, with separate compartments and a removable tray, was a godsend. It was my plan to put my current favourites in it, rotating them every couple of weeks or so. But guess what: it didn't happen.



Meeting the brooch lady and a couple of rainy holidays in Wales meant even more growth in my collection, so that I had brooches lying around everywhere, which made me, the eternal Ms. Organized, break out in a sweat!

I had dreams of a storage unit, with shallow pull-out drawers which would hold all my brooches, but the actual thing has so far proved to be elusive.


A couple of week ago, one of Jos's friends, who is re-organizing his coin collection, asked him if we could use some shallow polished dark wooden drawer boxes. They were perfect but unfortunately there were only three of them, but hey, it's a start!



Two of the boxes were pre-lined with velvety dividers. The third one was empty, so I lined it with a  piece of red felt bought in a haberdashery shop, which was almost exactly the size of the drawer.



Then, on one of our recent charity shopping trips, we stumbled across these two plastic filing units, with four drawers each. Not exactly what I had in mind, but they will do for now. Especially as they were priced at only € 2 each.



I gave them a good clean, lined them with felt, and spent half an hour or so every evening after work filling them and rearranging my collection in the process.

They actually don't look too bad and kind of match the jewellery box which now contains my modern brooches.



This also created the perfect opportunity to count them, so that I now have an exact figure (300 at the time of writing) instead of the rough estimate I've been bandying about.

On Sunday before last, we drove down to a nearby village, where a friend, who is one of the biggest - if not the biggest - collectors of Expo 58 memorabilia, was having a small exhibition.



The weather was still gloriously summery, giving me the chance to dress appropriately for this event, in this handmade cotton 1950s dress I found for € 2 at Think Twice back in August.



The buttons were replacements as I didn't like the original ones, but they are in keeping with the dress's age, as they came from my stash of vintage buttons. The brooch is modern, but I love its quirky retro feel, and they match the dress's buttons perfectly.



I wore my charity shopped King Louie jacket again, to which I pinned two hair clips in lieu of a brooch, but I took it off after the photos were taken, as it was far too warm for a jacket!

The cute little wicker handbag was the perfect finishing touch!



The Expo 58 exhibition was in one of the rooms of a local history museum, and contained quite a few rare items alongside the more obvious and commonly found ones.


In passing, I'd had a little peek in one of the museum's other rooms, which looked intriguing, so we took the opportunity to visit the rest of the exhibits.

As this was totally unexpected, I didn't have my camera with me, so you will have to make do with photos taken with my phone's camera.

There was a room full of china in all shapes and sizes and another full of devotional objects.

I was quite taken by the ornate clock on the mantelpiece (bottom right), which reminded me of a similar one owned by my maternal grandparents.


The first floor had some antique fashion displays, with lots of lacy garments and the most gorgeous little tapestry handbag.

The attics were a true treasure trove of kitchenalia, as well as the contents of an early 20th century village shop, the display of soaps being very reminiscent of Dove Cottage's, only on a larger scale.



We'll have to go back one day and pay the museum a more extensive visit.

In the meantime, there is of course our very own little museum to enjoy!


34 comments:

  1. That dress looks lovely and the buttons are perfect with it.
    300 brooches! That's incredible and so neatly stowed away, too. I think you should offer to exhibit your collection at Expo 58.
    I'd love to see more of your Barbies! xxx

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    1. I've been planning a post on my Barbies for a while now. I'm sure some of those late 60s, early 70s outfits would be right up your street. xxx

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  2. I loved looking at your collections, and now I've seen how you used the felt :). It's all very well organised.
    The kitchenalia is great and you have the most wonderful collection of brooches.
    I love that tapestry bag you featured, especially the clasp. xxx

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    1. If you've got so much stuff, you need to be organized, lest chaos takes over! xxx

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  3. The Barbies! Those are the ones that intrigue me the most.

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    1. Post on the Barbies coming up soon, Tami! xxx

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  4. Wow, all the beautiful things! I'd love to have a poke about myself! But don't worry, I won't be sneaking around without your knowledge, just ignore the bumps in the night ;

    I have no words to express how much I love your dress xxx

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    1. Thank you Melanie. You're always welcome to come and have a poke. I wouldn't even hear the bumps in the night, as I'm wearing earplugs ;-) xxx

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  5. I like your new storage solution for the brooches-I should do something similar as they're taking over. I don't dare count mine!

    I'd pay admission for a tour of Dove Cottage. That has to be the prettiest wicker bag-ever.

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    1. Of course if you'd ever make it to Dove Cottage, you'd get a free tour! I had to do something about the brooches ... xxx

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  6. That dress is gorgeous! Wow I am in awe of your brooch collection.

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  7. I'm in love with your brooch collection, and now it looks even more fabulous in its pretty storage!. It's amazing how a difference it makes!.
    And your Barbies collection looks really cool!, and those soaps!!
    Your dress is gorgeous, I love those buttons you added and the matching brooch!, and that cute handbag!. So nice that it was warm enough to go out without a cardi!
    besos

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    1. Thank you Monica. I'm really pleased with how I've organized my brooches. It's so much easier to find things now ...

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  8. you definitely should take entry fee for your house - you can open it for public once a week ;-D
    alone your brooch collection has so much to say about the latest history as all the booches are symbols of the time where they were created.....
    trés chic ensemble in blue and brown - a light hearted elegance, fitting the event!
    huge hugs! xxxxx

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    1. Thank you Beate. You'd never have to pay entrance fee, though. You could say that the brooches are a potted history of fashion! xxx

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  9. Oh I am in love with your brooches. So many... great. And these Barbies!
    All is really lovely. You look amazing in this dress, Ann.
    You should offer a public guided tour ;)
    big hug Tina

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    1. Thank you Tina! The brooches are a collection that just happened. I keep finding gems at flea markets, and before I knew it there were ... 300! xxx

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  10. I hear you on the storage issues, we're having difficulty with our ever-expanding collections too! Wow, on the 300 brooches, that's impressive. I gave away many of mine for my wedding, as favours for the female guests.

    I love the 2 Euro Think Twice dress, it's very nice on you! xx

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad we're not the only ones having storage issues. Giving brooches as wedding favours is quite a nice idea. I wouldn't be able to part with mine, though ... xxx

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  11. When I last counted my earring collection (about 18 months ago) I, too, had 300! It is probably more now...

    I would so love to see your entire collection of brooches and I think your storage ideas are brilliant. One of the best ways I've seen brooches arranged has been in charity and vintage shops where they are pinned on cushions but of course you'd need a heck of a lot of cushions for 300 brooches!

    What interesting things you and Jos collect. Are the soap powders and things still full of the original items or is it just the packaging?

    The dress is lovely on you and what a wonderful pattern it has; the brooch looks perfect with it even if it isn't vintage.

    Loved the museum...
    xxx

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    1. What a coincidence about the 300 pairs of earrings, but being 18 months ago, I'm sure there'll be many more ... The cushions are a great idea. When I'd just started collecting, I pinned them on one of those cushiony memory boards, but I soon ran out of space. The soap packagings still contain the original product, and some of the soaps still smell! xxx

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  12. Those brooches! As a child I'd spend ages collecting sparkly brooches from jumble sales, so I'd get lost in your collection for hours. I love the new to you wooden coin drawers and those plastic drawers look so very 70's. That exhibition looked amazing, and those Barbies, wow! Can I see a Skipper in your photo too? xxx

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    1. Well spotted, Claire, there are several Skippers in the photo. I have all available hair colours and many different editions. Her clothes really are the cutest, some of them mini versions of the Barbie outfits. I guess I should do a post on them some time ... xxx

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  13. Good storage makes life so much easier doesn't it?
    I think I could spend hours looking at your collections, the Barbies in particular, and the brooches. I only collect one thing - charity pin badges and these are all in one box, so not too much of a storage issue at the moment.
    xx

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    1. I'm afraid I was born with what I call the collecting gene ... Once I start, I can't seem to stop. I stopped the Barbies, though, as they take up so much space. Not to mentions all their clothes! xxx

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  14. Aaah, that outfit is lovely. The brooch and buttons match so well.

    At this rate, you could start your own social history museum - your soap powders look like a mini version of the displays I saw at the Museum of Brands in London.

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    1. Thank you Mim! I'm a bit of a Robert Opie fan, so that's a big compliment! xxx

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  15. The brooch display/drawers must make it quite easy to find the one you want on any given day. I too have resorted to the plastic drawers for my sewing fabrics, threads ,etc. I originally wanted all vintage wooden boxes, but the prices of the boxes and the layout/display were not working. And I share my sewing room with my 28 yr old daughter - she's not organized. Until she moves out, I will make do just to be able to find the items I need for art quilts, regular quilts or penny quilting. Plastic bins and stackable drawers it is.
    Ann,.. how long have you been collecting? It looks marvelous! -- Mary

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    1. Thank you Mary! Must be frustrating having share you room with someone who's not organized ... I have been sort of collecting all my life, but the brooches are quite recent. I started picking them up at flea markets, but then I met a lady who's in her 80s and is selling her collection. She had over 3000 brooches, and I buy some off her regularly. xxx

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  16. Those wooden boxes from Jos's mate are perfect for the overspill of your brooch collection. But having so many, how do you possibly choose every morning?....I am hopeless when confronted with extensive choice. I really like your 50's dress the collar is fabulously styled.
    I'm coming to Belgium soon for a day trip! I gather they speak Dutch in Bruges, or should I say Brugge, not French? xx

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    1. It's such a pity he didn't have more of those boxes ... I admit it's not easy to make a choice, although it's easier now I've got decent storage. Brugge is in the Flemish part of Belgium, so yes, they do speak Dutch. Brugge is pronounced with the "u" from the French Bruges, then the "gg" sounds a bit like the "ch" in the Scottish loch, and the "e" is pronounced like a short English "a". Two syllables. I hope this makes a bit of sense ;-) When will you be going? It's a pity it's only a day trip, or we could have arranged a little meeting! xxx

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  17. You are serious collectors! I can only imagine how much you have been learning about history through your passion of vintage... Thanks to you, I had a couple of ideas how to organize my jewelry collection - it needs some rethinking.

    I love this dress on you, and the buttons are just perfect, as if they've always been there! <3

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    1. I'm glad to have given you a couple of ideas on organizing your jewellery collection, Natalia. That's what blogging friends are for! xxx

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