Pretty pencils and colored stylus pens. I love sharpening new pencils and having them at hand to do sums at bill-paying time or keep track of knitting stitches. And oh how lovely it is to choose a pink, lavender or aqua stylus pen to write a card or note to a loved one. Green for spring. Red for Christmas. Lavender in those deep sultry months of summer. Brown during the dying off days of Autumn.
Stickers. Vintage sticker booklets are my favorite, especially the old packets of flower stickers I used to buy in the Five-And-Dime as a teenager and which I can still find in some stores. And I love the Dover cat, dog, and children stickers. When I use them on letters I tend to write notes over the stickers in bubbles... giving the characters something to say to the recipient before they even open the envelope.
New notebooks and pads of paper. What promise they hold within their pristine crisp pages. I particularly love those with floral covers, vintage designs, or ones that look like old school composition tablets.
Quirky reading glasses. They appear in random places around the cottage. Rhinestone, polka dot, lime green, cats-eyes, or Marian-the-Librarian. Something to suit every mood or mode of dress.
Greeting cards and Stationery. Pretty cards, funny cards, poignant cards, sporting everything from fine art to campy vintage photos with crazy captions. (Two old ladies on a porch swing: "Ethel, is it butt naked or buck naked?") And I will never live long enough to send out all the note paper I've purchased over the years. An over-abundance sometimes makes it difficult to choose ... but it's a lovely problem to have.
Pretty paper napkins. As much as I love using my vintage linens, I do love all the beautiful paper ones there are. Bright blue with bunches of cherries, pale green with drooping magenta tulips, or cheery yellow with vintage seed catalogue ads.
Soaps. Scented, embossed, oval, square, goat's milk, egg-shaped, round, French-milled, pink, ivory, lavender, pressed with flower petals or oatmeal.
Hats. Straw, canvas, large, small, knitted, woven, brimless, and a few that look as though they need landing gear.
Fans. Paper ones, lace ones, laser-cut cedar ones, vintage ones, and flowered ones. Round fans that fold into a little metal holder and card fans on sticks with advertisements from years past.
Clocks. Alarm clocks, bedside moon-glow clocks, wall clocks, loudly ticking clocks, broken clocks, tiny clocks, clocks that look like they belong in train stations and clocks with images of cottage roses or schooners in full sail.
Picture frames. Wooden, metal, antique, miniature, ivory, glass. I would rather have my family photos in frames scattered around the cottage on various shelves and surfaces than stuck in a shoe box.
Baskets. Flat-backed ones that fit against walls or doors, flat bottomed ones that hold vegetables and fruit, square ones that hold magazines, and all the other myriad shapes for pencils, yarn, toys, Easter eggs, dishtowels, sewing notions, potholders, Christmas gifts, shoes, story books or guest linens.
Dish towels. Striped ones, vintage ones, plaid ones, floral ones, flour-sack ones, and ones with a loop to hang from a hook.
Yarn. Sock yarn, shawl yarn, baby sweater yarn, mitten yarn, yarn that makes patterns so I don't have to think, yarn that feels like a lanolin-soaked sheep is cuddled on my lap, yarn that smells of sweet hay, yarn that I buy on sale or yarn that I scour, card and spin myself.
Knitting needles. Hand-me-downs, yard sale finds, bamboo or ebony needles, plastic needles with soft points, or metal ones that click and clack as I work.
What is it about small, useful (or useless) items that speak to us and keep us from passing them by? Is it the touch of them? The look of them? Their servicability? A feeling or memory they evoke? Whatever it is, I seem to be a slave to their beckoning from shop shelves and thrift bins.
"One wooden spoon doesn't really do it for me.
But collect fourteen of them and then things start to get interesting."
I totally get that.