Tuesday, August 04, 2015


I was browsing VIVIAN  SWIFT's blog this morning.. She showed her earliest watercolors, recording her collections, obsessions. Here - teacups.They reminded me of a quote I'd seen in the Pub Mania exhibit at Musee des Arts Decoratif that really hit home:
"Of all the passions, without exception, that for trinkets is perhaps the most terrible and unbeatable. He who is obsessed. By old furniture is a lost man. Trinkets are not merely a passion, but a mania - an incurable illness. And this evil strikes all classes of society."
Guy de Maupassant
Odd that these antique car collectors should cross my path this morning
My obsessive collections over the last few years have centered on PARIS TRASH.
It wasn't easy leaving them behind in New York when I moved to Paris.
Especially the pretty pastry boxes were a wrench. But you can't take coals to New Castle can you. Have you left precious collections behind when you moved?
It seems a tad ironic that now I Must go out foraging for Paris trash to include in the SKETCH LETTERS I send out each month. Today I ran out of goodies. I'm awfully grateful to the flood of tourists who make it much easier to find nice souvenirs in the department stores.
I've tried asking directly to companies but they simply don't get it.
Can they arrest me for taking free stuff like the paper PERFUME touches?
Admittedly I'm in love with perfume bottles.
Wasn't Andy Warhol a clever duck to paint Chanel No. 5
There must be an element of nostalgia to my perfume obsession. Something to do with gazing at my mother's collection on her dressing table for hours.
Owning them doesn't seem to factor into it, but they do have a seductive magic don't they?
I find beautiful desserts just as seductive, the colors, the shapes...
These are gluten-free from a newish Helmet Newcake shop on 28 rue Vignon 75009 near Madeleine.
I got a lovely haul of souvenirs today I'm happy to report, all going into your PARIS SKETCH LETTERS à toute suite.


  1. I collected small boxes for decades! Not even especially nice materials...just cardboard! Finally, around middle age, I felt their grip loosen and tossed them all! Well, except for one or two "very Special" boxes, which remain.

  2. How great that you collect images and then send them out into the world. Good economic move and less clutter, no? I collect illustrated French children's books and illustrated travel journal type books. Used to collect American children's books but then I ran out of space and had to sell a bunch. Apparently I also collect Prismacolors as recently I discovered that I have way more than I can use! I have nice memories too of my mother's perfume, Chanel #5, of course...

  3. I loved that post of Vivian's also:)
    I wiahed I had been your neighbor in NYC..I would have held onto your treasures till you came home..if ever:)

  4. Wow! Was that afternoon we spent in your apartment in New York really THREE YEARS AGO?? Thank good ness for my collection of vintage Sears Roebuck catalogs…how else would I have found so many nifty styles of slippers?

    I'm sure that everyone who gathers here at your breakfast table is thrilled that you are collecting those bits of Paris that only you would have the insight and the humor, and the gumption to spot as "keepers".

  5. Carol, this post provides an open invitation to the rest of us around the world who have our individual versions of collectionitis.

    In a brief, but powerful recent desire to clear out a bit of clutter from my tiny NYC apartment, I was happy, so happy, to come across some ephemeria from long ago visits to London. it was a joy to discover I'd not tossed some cards, etc., overboard in an earlier de-clutter enthusiasm. Good to keep a foot on the brakes when caught up in de-clutter mode, don't you think?

    It was fun to see some of Vivian's treasures here.

    Your collecting of contemporary valued Parisian ephemera for your subscribers is a worthy pursuit.

    Every time I visit your site, Carol, I do feel the urge to return to Paris. Won't happen this week, but I am sure it will happen.

    You have a great talent for summoning our travelust. xo

  6. That's it!
    One discovers old lost things while de-cluttering!
    Quelle joy.

  7. I'm in a de-clutter mode at the moment, but somehow things just get put into another drawer !! I must be more decisive .

    1. Someone once told me this de-cluttering secret:
      I have yet to ever achieve this. So much fun to look at old trash...

  8. Leslie H12:31 PM

    I'm with you, girl!
    LOVE all the goodies you send out!!

  9. Jane S.12:33 PM

    other people call it "hoarding" -- as for my own stuff, yup, it's difficult to toss. I have to do that now, or else I pay big bucks to ship it all to NC. so I am going through all the collections.
    I am a collector -- nay, a curator! I, also, have collections of business cards, matchbooks, museum cards, rabbits, bookmarks, and paper napkins. not to mention rubber stamps. but you understand, vraiment.

  10. I did got a le petit prince poster from a movie theater and train bleu menus from thé restaurant. I Love collecting such treasures!!!

    1. I snoozed thru Le petit Prince during the heat wave but the drawings are in a gallery on Ile St.Louis and I wont miss that!!

  11. loved today's blog, full of the pretty things so
    many of us collect! I now, can explain to people,
    who wonder why I have shelves full of Commemorative
    cups and inkwells, and a cabinet full of miniature shoes,
    that I have a "condition" called Collectionitis, for which
    there is, unfortunately, no cure.

  12. I love the items you send with your letters and use lots of my "travel collections" in scrapbooks along with the photos. Am using lots of them right now as I'm scrapbooking my most recent trip (your maps are working perfectly in them as we used your blog as one of our travel guides). In addition I collect frogs, wine corks and Christmas ornaments.

  13. I love your idea for a new Vivian Swift book on collecting. I'd happily send her photos of my netsuke collection (housed in a family sized Shinto shrine). Yes, collecting has bitten me several times.

  14. You're outdoing yourself, Carol :)
    I love the opening watercolors , the interior of Dior's and the Warhol Chanels.
    The whole post just seems to sparkle!

  15. I loved Vivian's studies too. Collections -- I have too many of them. So far, never left anything behind but then I'm not moving across the sea and into a small apartment from a house! But think of what you have opened up to since you moved!


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