|Elephants on Parade
A friend of mine mentioned she had been asked to participate in a "White Elephant Sale". She, being a professional organizer, said she had no unwanted clutter to take to a White Elephant sale and would have to buy something especially for the purpose! I, having more than my fair share of clutter, joked that if we lived closer to each other, I could have found her a whole herd of elephants, white or otherwise!
But the one elephant she couldn't have is this one:
|My Father's Elephant
He's carved out of wood and painted black. He's battered and cracked, his paint is flaking off, he's missing a tusk, and his tail broke off (I have it stored in a container). But he belonged to my father and my father is supposed to have sat on him as a small child (which, if true, makes the elephant over 100 years old). I brought him with me all the way from Sri Lanka and he stands guard at my front door (he usually faces the living room; I just turned him sideways to take the picture).
I hadn't set out with a plan to collect elephants. The brass item with three seated elephants is actually a stand for a carved brass bowl, representative of the begging bowl carried by Buddhist monks (I removed the bowl for the picture) and is a very traditional decorative item I had bought on one of my return visits to Sri Lanka; it was bought from an antique shop owned by my stepfather's friend. The blue and white elephants were gifts from my mother, because I do collect blue and white china. The larger, red, hand painted wooden elephant was also a gift from my mother. The smaller painted wooden elephants were bought by me.
I display the majority of the smaller elephants, along with some other bits and pieces, on a wooden display shelf unit:
|Wooden Display Shelf Unit
|Paper Lined Shelf Unit
It took 3 sheets of 12" x 12" paper (the 3rd sheet was cut in half and taped to the full sized sheets). The photo was taken in the evening when the light was not as good, but the paper is lilac with a light green pattern. The grid keeps it all in place:
Just about every item displayed is special to me. The green glass bird on the upper left was a gift from an aunt. There is another, tiny, clear glass bird, as well, in one of the square spaces, which was given to me by another aunt, when I left my parents to attend university - aunt said it represented the baby bird flying the nest! The glass Snoopy-like dog and 2 smaller dogs were a gift my mother sent me, from Hong Kong, when she was teaching there and I was in Wisconsin, attending college; originally the puppies were attached to the mama dog with gold chains, but the chains broke and the mama dog and one of the puppies have also broken their tails! I've had the two tiny porcelain Siamese kittens, just below the glass dogs, since I was about 10 years old - originally, there was a mother cat and 3 kittens. The three tin hearts were bought from a little shop in Wisconsin (there was a time when I collected heart-shaped items). The creamy carved snuff bottle was a souvenir I purchased in Taiwan, when I was there in 1974 - I purchased it with "lucky money" given to me during Chinese New Year. The little wooden Paddington Bear was bought at a swap meet (yes, I used to collect teddy bears, too, at one time).
Some of daughter's little collectibles have also made their way to the shelf unit - a Hello Kitty, two characters from the anime Hamtaro, and a little Vietnamese dancer statue given to her by one of her friends.
It is hard to declutter and streamline when everything is full of special meaning and of sentimental value!
Do you have collections of items with sentimental value? If so, do you display them? If you were asked to participate in a White Elephant sale, would it be easy for you to find something to take to it?