The Stuff of Life


I don’t think of myself as a collector. To me the term implies a conscious hunt of items of a certain quality and financial value.  My collecting is really an accumulation of things that make me smile or remember something or someone fondly.

(Some of my Napoleonic collection arranged with books and china)

Here is a sampling of what I collect: shells, oyster plates, blue and white china, Napoleonic artifacts or mementoes, books (like any decent English major) Victorian silver spoon warmers, which must be seen to be appreciated, antique samplers sewn by children, yes handbags (but we won’t go there) and more china.

(The candlelight at night brings out a glow in the blue and white porcelain)

What is key about collections in decorating is that they reveal something of the heart of the inhabitant.

My shell collection, oyster plates and silver Victorian spoon warmers, which are in the shape of shells, speak to my love of beaches and the ocean.

(The other day, I came home to find one of the plates broken on the floor. The culprit -a small earthquake or Lily?)

(Lily looking rather blue!)

The Napoleon collection, I inherited from a family friend. Every time I spot one of the pieces,  I’m reminded of  reminded of her passion for Napoleon and especially his great love affair with Josephine. Their love letters are definitely worth a read.

Some objects are more theme-than object oriented. I love reading biographies. My antique samplers are windows into the lives of the young women who sewed them. The verses and background that they embroidered tell me something about their lives and interests.

This is  favorite sampler that I purchased in London. It was embroidered by a nine year old girl in 1837.  What I love about it is that it depicts her village church and her home.  The canvas also contains whimsical flowering trees and vines, birds, bees, deer and an array of dogs.

I like to place like objects together, because I think it has more visual impact than those scattered throughout the house haphazardly. It’s as true with china as it is with any collection.

I also like to create vignettes, which incorporate parts of my collections. I arrange these objects by shape, color, texture, or whatever pleases my eyes. I also like to balance them by visual “weight” and scale. I play with the groupings and change them when I feel like it.

What ever you collect, be sure to enjoy the hunt!


Tag along as I share musings on everything from family to business, which will hopefully inspire you and stir the mind. I am happy that you are along for the journey. Here’s to Living Lively!


  • Lisa DeNunzio
    July 11, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Thats what I love about ‘antiques’ or older items. They give you such a sense of the past, how people lived and who they were. Fascinating.

    July 11, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    ARE the large silver shells the spoon warmers?NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING!
    I have one of YOUR NAPOLEON PRINTS…………and YOU know our ELLIE has some of his wallpaper!
    IT’s GOOD to always have your eyes OPEN when shopping!!!!!!!!!!!

  • debbie
    July 12, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    hi Jennifer ! if you get tired of the elephant clock or the coral and shells I get first dibs ! love everything !
    xo Debbie

  • Jennifer
    July 13, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    I’ll be sure to remember that you get first dibs. Great to hear from you!

  • Jennifer
    July 13, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Talking about Ellie…I bought some of my oyster plates from her. Let’s get together for lunch in August.

  • Jennifer
    July 13, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Lisa, I so agree with how you feel about antiques. Loved hearing from you!