A Frozen Mantelscape

The world outside our home is frozen hard. A cold snap has turned our formerly slushy side-roads into outdoor ice rinks, and even the once-soft snow has become crusty and dry.

As I packed away the last of our Christmas decorations, a few days ago, I pondered what to do with our fireplace mantel. I wanted something different from the regular assortment of knick-knacks that rotate up there through the year. Something that gives a gentle nod to the season, without being too obviously themed.

And then it occurred to me: Glass. Its transparent, icy countenance was just the way to bring a bit of the outside in, without feeling too cold about it.

As I started rummaging about for clear glass containers to use, I was surprised by the trove I had to choose from. Pitchers, bottles, candle holders, and vases showed themselves in abundance so that I had to start questioning my hoarding tendencies.

Some, like the couple of milk bottle-styled frappuccino bottles I dug out, are part of a grand scheme I have for a themed birthday party, down the road. There is a bulb holder that once housed some hyacinths that didn’t make it past Year 2, and a sweet, little medicine bottle (perhaps?), pictured right, that I picked up in London’s Camden Market many moons ago. There’s also a tall, thin, angular glass tube that was a toothbrush holder in a vintage overnight case I bought years ago. There are pretty ones and plain once, cheap ones and some that may hold the littlest value.

It was fun to see, as I put it all together, how otherwise mundane objects became something worth looking at as they were displayed together, en masse.

Perhaps that’s why Dorothy Draper, the first professional interior designer (she started her company in the United States in the 1920s) said, “If you are collector, let other people share your pride and joy. Don’t sprinkle your collection out of sight in a meaningless jumble. Notice how groups of small objects, when they are well arranged, become important and effective. Remember that repetition is a form of emphasis. Collect what you will, but see to it that you arrange your hobby to its best advantage.”

I don’t know what she’d think of my humble attempt, but style is subjective, right? And if it makes me happy, nothing else really matters.

Is there anything that you collect that you don’t actually mean to?

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  1. Your glass bottles are lovely. My mom collected clown figurines. They were quite ugly.

  2. L-A, this is lovely! Warmed my chilly Alberta back-to-school Monday.

    Yes, we collect hippos, entirely without meaning to. Last Christmas when a friend gave us our nth hippo, we named him The Last Hippo. (Hey, that would make a lovely companion title to The Last Unicorn, eh?) My aunt collects owls.

    And I collect, and sometimes use, pretty stationery!

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