Monday, January 13, 2014

Faeries And Tiaras And Dragons, Oh, My!

The beginning of a new year always puts me in the mood for list making, so the blog may get overrun by lists these first few weeks. Some have already gone up, like the Reverse Bucket List last Monday, and even a few in December. If you look back to the beginning of this blog (last February or March), I started it off with a bunch of lists, too. What can I say? I like my lists.
Today I’m thinking about my collections. I’m a BIG TIME collector, and I’m very enthusiastic about the things I love. A friend once told me that when it came to me, there was never any doubt in her mind about my passions—I wear them for all to see, whether on my body, my vehicle, or on the surfaces in my house. I took that as a compliment! Luckily for me, my husband is pretty indulgent and doesn’t mind that our house has been overrun by faeries, dragons, books, tiaras, Harry Potter merchandise, and the like.

How about you? Are you a collector, or do you prefer a more streamlined, feng shui vibe in your living space? Does clutter drive you crazy? Or do you like every surface to be covered by things you love and enjoy? Tell me in the comments!
For me, a certain amount of clutter is okay as long as everything is in its proper spot. I don’t mind full shelves or table tops as long as it’s an orderly sort of chaos. But throw down a book bag or purse where it doesn’t belong, or drop a pile of work paraphernalia on my kitchen counter, and you’ll hear about it. What sorts of things do I collect? I’m glad you asked. . .
Tiaras: I’ve had a princess fixation for as long as I can remember. My driving ambition from the time I was very small was to either be a princess or Miss America, whichever one afforded me the fastest route to a crown of my own. (I was banking on the royal blood, though—it seemed so obvious to me that I had the good stuff running in my veins! If only the rest of the peasants would recognize my regality, I’d be on my way to the throne in no time.)
My grandmother’s favorite story about me as a child involved a day trip to Knott’s Berry Farm (a theme park in southern California, for those of you who are unfamiliar with it) when I was four. I, of course, went to the park in a frilly sunshine-yellow dress, frilly white socks, and my favorite white patent-leather Mary Janes. In a park full of roller coasters, dirt trails, a place to “mine” for gold, and water rides. Naturally.
Anyway, while washing our hands in the restroom, an older lady approached us and said to me, “Aren’t you a pretty little princess?” I turned right around to my grandmother, hands on my hips, and demanded, “How did she know I’m a princess?” My grandma laughed and laughed. I absolutely did not get the joke.
At the age of ten, I finally realized a small part of my dream when I was named Little Miss for my hometown, complete with crown and sash. My favorite days were “appearance days” when I got to dress up in a long frilly dress, and my crown and sash, and go wave to the crowds or cut ribbons for store openings. Barring an appearance day, I was content to wear the crown around the house, and even shared it with my dogs and cats, though they didn’t seem to appreciate wearing it the way I did. Unfortunately, that particular crown was not made to withstand the sort of use I made of it and it fell apart after a few years.
As I got older, the whole beauty queen thing lost its appeal to me a bit, so I never ended up pursuing that route to another crown, but I’m still holding tight to the princess-by-blood dream. In a pinch, I'd consider marrying into a royal family like Duchess Catherine did (the British royal family being preferred), but since I'm too old for all the eligible heirs to pretty much any throne in existence, that's probably not a viable option. (My husband reminded me to insert here that I am also already married. Ah, well.) In the meantime, I've discovered it is really a wonderful thing to be a grown up with (at least some) control over my discretionary spending. Now I just buy the darn things myself!
My crown and tiara collection is growing slowly, and I love every one of them. Of course, if I could ever manage to win one from Sabrina York’s drawings, it would take pride of place in the house. (Hint, hint, Sabrina! LOL) I can tease her since Sabrina is a friend of mine, and I do, constantly, especially since she came up with the greatest promotional idea for an author ever, giving away crowns to get people to sign up for her newsletter. Brilliant! I’ve been so tempted to steal that idea and use it myself, but if I’m honest I’m not sure I’d be able to part with any tiaras when the time came to award a winner. It’s probably safer if I figure something else out, all around. But if you haven’t joined Sabrina’s newsletter list yet, or read any of her amazingly-hot-and-awesome books, hie thee to her site without delay, grab a book, sign up for the newsletter, and you can thank me for the tip on Facebook. Believe me, you won’t regret it! She’s fabulous.
Faeries: I have a deep affinity for the fae. Gorgeous gossamer wings, beautiful features and lovely hair, often crowned with a tiara (see above!), pretty little dresses, and magical abilities… what’s not to love? I’ve been collecting faeries for years, and not just faeries themselves. My backyard is a faerie haven with a faerie palace sitting above a waterfall, lots of little houses for them to live in, tiny bridges and walkways, a wishing well, and a gnome or two to keep watch over the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, we also have a mischievous family of raccoons who come to visit on a regular basis, and they seem to think all my trinkets were put out for their own amusement. They delight in tossing them thither and yon and generally making a mess of things, but my patient husband goes out and puts everything to rights again for me. Until the next visit, at least.
Inside, there are also faeries galore, as well as a crystal ball or two, and recently a lovely family of dragons moved in. Dragons are a new collectible for me. I resisted their lure for quite a long time, but I finally had to give in. They are just too cool. I adore them. I collect the friendlier-looking medieval/fantasy variety--the ones with pretty wings and who are often accompanied by faeries or wizards, or holding crystal balls or gems in their hands. They still have fierce faces, but they’re not too scary looking. My dragons would allow a rider to climb on their backs and soar over a deep blue lake high in the mountains, and are of course masters of their own sort of magic, just like the fae.
Speaking of the fae, if faeries light your fire, be sure to check out the amazing Urban Fantasy Young Adult novels my friend Anthea Sharp writes, which include the Feyland Trilogy and her new series all about the Fae Guard (beginning with Spark), a continuation of the world and characters she
developed for Feyland. They’re slightly futuristic and involve both the faerie realm and role-playing games in a super-fun mix that will leave you breathless for the next installment.

Harry Potter: No discussion of my passions and collections could possibly be complete without Harry. Everyone who knows me knows what a completely obsessed Harry Potter nerd I am. I love all things Harry, from the books, to the movies, to fan-created content like WizardWrock, plays and musicals (can anyone say Starkid, Ministry of Magic, Swish andFlick, or Hank Green?), and crafts and artwork. If the impression from above indicated that my house is full of crowns, dragons, and faeries, they don’t hold a candle to the Harry Potter related items. And I’m not even close to finished.
Books: I hesitate to create a “collection” list that includes books, movies, or music, because to me those are not optional, “collectible” items, they are as necessary to life as food and water. (i won't even get started on my shoe collection!)
Nevertheless, considerable space has been given over to the books in our house. Each of my three kids have their own bookcases in their rooms, which are overflowing with their favorites. My husband and I have two in our room! We also have a large family bookcase in our upstairs loft for books we all enjoy, as well as for all of my research books, writing tips and publishing related books, and classics. I keep my English and other language dictionaries, encyclopedias, and thesauri above my desk, and the kitchen counter is home to several large stacks of To Be Read books I can’t wait to dive into.

Green Bay Packer Stuff: I LOVE football, and I especially love the Green Bay Packers. One of the best trips of my life was a one-week road trip to see the Packers play live at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The majority of the Packer gear in our house is in the form of clothing—jerseys, jackets, hats, etc., though I do have a plush Green Bay football that says things like, “Go, Pack, Go!” when you smack it against your palm, a Brett Favre figurine, and a miniature replica of the custom-engraved brick my honey and I own and which is located somewhere on the wall at Lambeau Field. It commemorates our trip there. We also used to have a custom license plate on our car that said CHZHEDS, but I have since changed that one out for a Harry Potter related one instead. It has a frame around it that says, “My two favorite teams are Gryffindor and whoever’s playing Slytherin.” I’ve seen all sorts of people taking photos of our plates and suspect the pictures exist somewhere on Pinterest or Tumblr, which makes me smile.

Eclectic, right? LOL I know. My interests are all over the map. You should see my music collection.  And while this is not a conclusive list of the things I collect, it represents my favorites. Now I’m dying to see yours, so be sure to list them in the comments, and have a happy collecting year in 2014!

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