Copycat Collector

 When the due date was near, our Quills of Faith Writer’s Group gave a Tea-Party-Brunch-Baby-Shower (can you say that five times fast?) for our revered writing mentor, Cindy McCormick Coloma. In lieu of games, we each brought our favorite teacup or mug to use and tell the story behind its specialness – in fifty words or less.

A fitting and clever writer exercise we’d all enjoy.

Owning a sizable collection of cups and saucers, I opened my curio cabinet to decide between various teacups. Which had the best story? What about that delicate cup of Grandma’s? Or the antique chintz charmer I bought in Alaska? I considered several, enjoying their cool smoothness in my hands, remembering how they came to be mine.


Then I realized that many of my collections started because someone I knew collected it first. The teacup bought on an Alaska trip reminded me that my sister-in-law collected chintz long before me. In fact, I recalled once buying three pretty, patterned cups and saucers for her in an antique store in Woodland, California.

The plan was to give my sis a set every Christmas for the next three years. Only, that’s not what happened. I gave her the first one as a gift, then accidentally displayed the others, adding to them on occasion, until it became a full-blown collection.

A similar thing happened when I bought my niece a pink lustre plate for Christmas. Extremely attracted to this piece, I sensed the danger of another accidental collection about to materialize. And multiply. Since there were many months to go before the holiday, I wrapped that baby in a box and hid it in my gift cupboard.

Danger alert averted.

Or so I thought. Until I found three more pink lustre plates in an antique store in La Pine, Oregon. Those pesky plates persuaded me to take them home and soon showed themselves off on my wall, whining for a fourth plate. I dug it out of the gift cupboard and added it to the arrangement. Gorgeous.

Plate that Started It All

Great. Now, I collected pink lustre, too. And was in need of a gift for my niece.

What did that say about me? Was anyone’s collection safe? Did I have to copy everybody’s coolest stuff? I hoped not. Perhaps there was another explanation.

Maybe I just shouldn’t shop so early for Christmas.


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8 responses to “Copycat Collector

  1. Laurie

    Love it. Of course, you got me interested in flow blue. Dang! And now I can’t afford it and time is so precious, I don’t even get to look. But once I found a plate in Alturas or Canby – beautiful (of course, I bought it). But when I got it home, it was lonely. Later, I found a matching (think bold and underlined and italicized here) smaller plate in Roseville. Bought it – and now I have two. I have others, too, but not as pretty. I do have a couple of pieces I would love to find more of – not flow blue – but I no longer look. Cute story – Blessings on the quilt project. Have you started cutting it out yet? What size are you going to make? Have fun!

    • Cathy Elliott

      The flow blue was MY influence? Oh-oh. And I don’t even collect it. But now that you mention it, that IS beautiful stuff….

  2. Nancy Bailey

    Sooo, where do you plan to pitch this clever story! Good job my friend and so honest! Love ya

  3. Cathy,
    Loved this little tale of chintz and chance. Very honest. There is always a story behind the story and this one brought back lovely memories. Most of my china I inherited from my Nana and now sits on my antique sideboard instead of her built-in china hutch. I’ve sipped from these tea cups since I was old enough to hold one, about three.
    My dear lady, we must go antiquing one day and take tea.
    I’ll bring the lemon curd, you just point me in the direction of a quaint & cozy curiosity shop.


    • Cathy Elliott

      Kathy, I would adore such an outing with you. I can tell you treasure the legacy moments in life. Let’s do it! Thanks for dropping by my blog. I still have the teacup note card you sent several years ago. It’s lovely. So a teacup story is right up your alley, no? 🙂

  4. Pamela Elliott

    Hey Cathy, Always so fun to read your blogs, especially when they evoke fun memories. I seem to want to find homes for old frames with dirty glass and worn out prints. It’s magical to transform them into something pretty just by taking them apart and cleaning them up. I always have frames now for Colby’s artwork or some old family photo. The pear painting Carrie did got the coolest frame of all. Such fun. Love you so much.

    • Cathy Elliott

      Pammy, that sounds like a perfect recycling effort, to be politically correct. 🙂 Thanks to you, I was okay with framing my antique pastoral picture with a totally new frame and fresh mat. And it still looks marvelous. And I just ordered matting for an Grandma & Grandpa’s wedding picture, using the gold, oval frame you gave me a couple years back. It’s going to look great! Really, you should start a design firm. I’m always impressed with your ideas. Love you mucho!

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