Jayne Barket Lyons lives in Minnesota with her husband and five children. In addition to blogging at Adventures of Accumulation, Jayne takes care of her family and works as an Independent Watkins Associate. We talk about her career as a collector and the wonderful blog that showcases her work.
ephemera: How did you first become interested in collecting?
JBL: My life as a collector began when I was a teen in the 1970's. Matchbook covers and postage stamps were among my earliest collections.
I come from a family of collectors and accumulators. My father was a collector, and one of his hobbies was collecting 16 mm films. We had a 24-seat movie theater in our basement, which was equipped with a large screen and a projection booth. Dad had a number of feature films, as well as short subject films like The Three Stooges. When my parents entertained, dad would always end the evening with a movie. Later he went on to own and operate a movie theater at our local shopping mall.
My mother got me interested in bargain hunting and accumulating things. As a teen, I would tag along with her to thrift stores and garage sales. My father passed away when I was sixteen, and mom was left to raise six children. Hunting for secondhand finds was a great way to provide for a large family.
My siblings have also been involved in collecting and accumulating. One of my brothers was a junk dealer who would find a number of treasures when cleaning out attics and basements. Two of my brothers collect sports cards and memorabilia, while another brother has a collection of McCoy pottery. My sister still has her collection of Madam Alexander dolls.
Ephemera: Talk about your blog. What inspired you to create it?
JBL: A few years ago, I had another blog entitled House Painted Red: My Country Home in the Burbs. The chief focus of that blog was home decorating in the American Country style. I provided links to retailers who sold country décor, and I posted photos of how I decorated my home. I also wrote about some of my favorite secondhand finds. I liked the blog, but from the beginning I wasn't sure exactly were to go with it. Earlier this year, I began searching for blogs similar to mine, when I came across a few dealing with collections, yard sales, and secondhand finds. These blogs inspired me to change directions, and Adventures in Accumulation was born. My husband Ed, who is not a huge fan of collecting, came up with the title for the blog.
Adventures in Accumulation is about the numerous things I've acquired through the years. I enjoy blogging because it gives me an opportunity to brush up on my writing skills, and enables me to share my little piece of the world with others.
ephemera: What challenges or obstacles do you encounter as a collector and as blogger? How do you overcome these challenges?
JBL: Lack of storage and budget considerations can be a huge challenge for any collector. The things I collect are generally not too costly, and don't take up a great deal of space in my home. At times I do get tempted to spend a little more than I should. My husband jokes around about his 'cubic feet' rule. He doesn't care what I bring home, as long as the same amount of cubic feet goes out to thrift stores, etc. I find that rule impossible to follow, but he is a good sport about it.
I'm discovering that blogging about my collections and things is a great way to keep track of what I have. When my children are older they may want some of my possessions, so I figure the blog will provide them with some information about where, when and why I purchased something.
The other challenge I face is the frequency of my posts. Ideally, I would like to post to the blog every day, but with five children I find it difficult to do. I'm sure over time this will change.
ephemera: Yes, I can understand; I've been plugging away for almost five years on this blog. That's more than 1,200 posts, but who's counting? What are some of your favorite posts? What are some of your favorite things that you've accumulated?
JBL: I especially like the posts that are tagged 'sentimental journey.' In these posts, I share stories about my life as I tell about my junk. Ephemera are probably my most favorite things to collect--paper dolls, postcards, valentines, ticket stubs from concerts and sporting events, old magazines, pamphlets, postage stamps, sheet music. It's funny; all the years I've collected ephemera in one form or another, I didn't realizing how much I enjoyed collecting paper until I started the blog. I especially love the vintage postcards I own. The photos and artwork are appealing to me, and the inscriptions may reveal a story of their own.
JBL: Right now Adventures in Accumulation is a labor of love and a hobby. I obtain quite a bit of self-satisfaction from doing it. I certainly would like to continue the blog for years to come, but right now I'm not able to visualize how it will evolve.
Readers will note that I try to provide background information on objects I write about. For example in my post Jayne's 1940 Almanac, I tell a little bit about Dr. Jayne, and I also provide readers with links to learn more. I am a non-practicing Librarian, but I still enjoy doing research and leading others to information. I will certainly continue to do this in the future.
Ephemera: Thank you, Jayne.