The theme this month for Scribbit's monthly writing contest is 'Collections'. I thought I'd create a list... and thereby tie it into the Thursday Thirteen Challenge this week.
1. Insects ~ I originally started collecting insects to use in my classroom. I taught elementary science to 4th, 5th and 6th graders for four years. Each trimester, the students were required to do a science project that accounted for 25% of their grade. In the fall, 5th grade students did traditional insect collections (or suggested variations: photographs, illustrations, live habitat, etc.). Since then, I've continued to add to my collection and display the colorful specimens in shadow boxes. My daughter even has a collection of her own!
2. Lapel Pins ~ While attending the NASA workshop, we attended seminars to familiarize ourselves with each of the major projects at JPL. The scientists and engineers facilitating these teacher training seminars gave each of us lapel pins to commemorate the project... Stardust, Cassini, Discovery, Jason, Mars Surveyor, Topex/Poseidon, etc. Thus, the beginning of my lapel pin collection. Now, I collect pins to commemorate our vacations, memorable times in my life (OSU), and some are gifts from friends/family. They are placed in a shadow box... but I've yet to find a place to hang them.
3. Prince Albums/CDs ~ I've loved Prince since Jr. High and started buying his albums through Columbia Records Mail Order (remember them?). Since then, I have tried to obtain every track he has released - whether on LP, 45, or CD.
4. Pine Cones ~ I am a naturalist. I love the outdoors. I love nature. I love learning about the natural world around us. Many of my biology courses at Oregon State were in Cordley Hall... within which is an impressive ornithological collection. I enjoyed spending a few moments between lectures admiring this collection, marveling at the diversity of the planet. When I started teaching, as with insects, I started collecting pine cones and other natural specimens to use in my classroom. Many of which are now used to decorate my home.
5. Christmas Tree Ornaments ~ While on vacation, I always purchase an ornament to hang on our tree as a memento of our trip. I try to avoid the 'touristy' type of ornaments, however, and attempt to find something that is more representative of the region/state.
6. Finishers Medals ~ What runner doesn't collect and display their finishers medals? I have just 4.... Haulin' Aspen Half-Marathon '06 (a cow bell!), Portland Marathon '06, Eugene Half-Marathon '07, and Circle the Bay 30K '07.
7. Seashells ~ Another collection inspired by early naturalists. I used to accent my collection by purchasing shells at gift stores until I learned how many of these are obtained. As with insects, I now only collect those which I've been lucky enough to discover that have washed ashore due to natural circumstances. I also collect sand (in small jars or film canisters) from all over the world. Comparing samples and looking at them beneath a microscope is a great learning activity.
8. Bird Nests ~ And yet another.... I've been lucky and a couple of my nests have the remains of robin egg shells. I even have a hummingbird nest, an egg, and two real hummingbirds that I've put together on a small wreath with silk flowers (they are small enough that their feathers conceal the blemishes - both were found lying on a trail and died of unknown causes).
9. Autographs ~ I don't think I'm alone here... when presented with the opportunity, I enjoy meeting famous people and I will politely ask for their autograph. With one exception (Seeing Stone Phillips from Dateline aboard a Horizon Air flight and asking for his autograph while we all waited for our luggage), I've only had these opportunities at book signings or author talks where an organized signing took place. Some of the talented people I've met are Jane Goodall, Bill Nye, Barbara Morgan, Kenny Moore, and Buzz Aldrin.
10. Handkerchiefs ~ I can't actually take credit for this one... my grandmother recently gave me her handerchief collection. There are 18 handmade handkerchiefs displayed in a myrtlewood shadow box that her second husband made for her. In the collection, there is a silk handkerchief over 100 years old that features hand embroidery made by her grandmother, several organdy handkerchiefs with hairpin lace, and a 75 year old handkerchief holder (like a small hand purse). It is a beautiful collection and one I'll cherish always.
11. Photographs ~ I love taking pictures. We purchased our first digital camera in Aug of 2002 (Canon Powershot G2) - just before our daughter was born. Since then, the quality of my photograhs has increased ten fold! We have over 8500 images! I love the digital format as it allows me to see the image I've captured immediately and thereby make any necessary adjustments. I enjoy reading the articles in scrapbooking magazines about photography and would love to someday take a class to further my skills. We just upgraded our digital camera (Canon Powershot S5 IS) and I look forward to exploring its new features. Many professional scrapbookers rave about the Canon Rebel or Nikon D2X but I seldom used the special features of the Powershot... so I know I wouldn't utilize them on the Rebel. We had been very happy with the G2 so we figured the new version would suit our needs perfectly.
12. Scrapbooks ~ While most people with digital cameras today fail to do more than download them onto their PC, I scrapbook them. Initially, I would print out the images I wanted to use to tell a particular 'story' (Baby's First Tooth, Christmas Eve 2004, or Hawaii Vacation 2002) and then I would take them to the scrapbook store to purchase papers and coordinating embellishments. I've since evolved and I now create my pages digitally... much faster, less messy, and less expensive. I have over 20 albums... most of which are completed but a few are in-progress. I generally scrapbook chronologically but have recently begun to create more thematic albums. I also enjoy creating albums for friends & family as gifts. As an avid scrapbooker, it's no wonder I collect photographs.
13. Family Stories ~ This may seem like an odd thing to collect. I organized a family reunion for my Dad's side of the family a few years ago. As planning was underway, I wrote to everyone and asked that they take a few moments to write down fond memories they had of growing up, family traditions they recalled from their childhood, memorable experiences or adventures their parents had shared with them, etc. Some submitted a brief paragraph written by hand, while others gave me lengthy narratives typed out in an essay. I encouraged them to send photographs to accompany their stories. I spent many hours with my grandmother going over our genealogy and gathering factual details about my ancestors. I then compiled all these stories and photographs into a Family Legacy Album, a collection of scrapbook pages and stories that I archived on a CD for everyone attending the reunion. As you can imagine, this was a huge undertaking and is still in progress. Surprisingly, only four of my relatives contributed to the project, therefore there are many holes or dead ends in the story.
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