poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘collections’ Category


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In this age of “simplify, simplify” I cling to my collections. I collect paintings of poppies, tomatoware, botanical sculptures made of tin, books by various authors, and so on. I believe that collections are part of our identity; the things we collect explain elements of personality and history. Collections are probably a remnant of our ancient need to explore and understand our environment.


I think other animals share this need to collect. Many rodents collect and hoard food and nesting materials. Some of this behavior is practical, ensuring plenty in lean times. However, I think some animals have a more frivolous need to collect.


Recently, we moved the library in our house to another floor. Moving the contents of an entire room is a great opportunity to sort and clean. We have had mice in our house on at least three occasions in 40 years of our lives here. So I was not surprised to find a little mouse hoard in one hidden corner of the room.


I was surprised at the contents of the hoard: one bright pink blood pressure pill, one pale pink cholesterol pill and one pale pink button. A mouse with a colour preference!


Scan_20200224 (2)


all my best,


Written by jane tims

February 24, 2020 at 11:24 am

decorating for Christmas #4

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Decorating in our house involves some cleaning and maintenance since I do not keep up with housework through the year. One of the things I do for Christmas is shine our basket of glass floats.




Glass floats were once used to keep the edges of fishing nets buoyant and you can buy new floats as well as antiques. They are beautiful and come in many festive colours. I consider them a Christmas decoration because of their beauty, because they remind me of stained glass and because my Mom and Dad gave me at least one of the green glass floats in my collection. I used to keep them on top of the piano, but I have copied my niece who keeps hers in a basket by her wood stove. When I visited my niece a few years ago, I drew her collection of floats and wrote a poem about them.



glass floats


the fog’s still glow

penetrates glass

and air incorporated

an age ago


weightless, flamboyant

on salt water



glass inflation

tethered by hemp

on an ocean

whipped to froth



Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

December 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

in winters past

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Cold here. Last week we reached a low of -25 (degrees Centigrade). As I watched the weather statistics I saw that the record for coldest weather for the day had been in 1973. The date whisked me back to my first winter in university. I barely recall those days, but I do remember hurrying back and forth across campus from class to class and the brown scarf I knit that year to keep my face from freezing.
To remember other cold weather, I just look at the winter garland of children’s socks and mitts strung across our chimney.
The red socks and little blue mittens hanging there were knit by my grandmother almost sixty years ago. We would have worn them on many bitter days spent in the cold Alberta winter. I remember my Mom wrapping our heads with multiple wool scarves, held in place by safety pins (long before the days of fleece and high performance fibres).
The green glove on the line warps me forward in time to the 1980’s when my son was in elementary school and the three-fingered Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were all the rage. I knit three-fingered gloves for him for three winters, as fast as they were lost. The single green glove on the chimney line is the only one that has survived.

When the days and nights are cold, I still knit. Today, I knit socks to keep me warm both during the knitting and the wearing.
Cold weather? Bring it on! I have knitting needles and a skein of yarn!

Copyright 2015 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 12, 2015 at 7:25 am

going for a walk

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Among my prized possessions is a set of old fashioned walking toys.  Made in Hong Kong of hard, painted plastic, these three charmers walk without the benefit of batteries or electricity. Put them on an inclined surface and just watch! Their little legs swing in synchrony and carry them along.

As they walk, they make a tiny clicking noise. Sometimes they fall over before they reach the end of their path, but usually they forge on to the end.

The Mother Goose and Three Little Pigs were a gift from Santa about fifty years ago. The clever black cat with his red ball was added to my collection later.

This year I am going to include these fellows among my Christmas decorations, a small celebration of Christmas Past!

Do you have any of the toys from your childhood Christmases?


Copyright 2014 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

November 28, 2014 at 7:00 am

Tomato Ware

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One of my favorite collections is my odd set of bright orange-red Tomato Ware dishes.

Tomato Ware

They are usually marked ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ or ‘Made in Japan’ and were made in the late 1940s and the 1950s.  Two of my pieces are marked Maruhon Ware (with a K surrounded by a circle).  Maruhon Ware was made from the 1920s to 1950s.  ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ means the piece was made from 1945 to 1952.

maker's mark

The pieces in my collection are shaped like tomatoes (I have one set of salt and peppers shaped like long peppers).  They are glazed pottery, coloured in an over-bright green and an orangy red.  Most have green leaves as decorations, clasping the base of handles or teapot spouts.  My collection is in good shape, the only flaws being a large chip out of the spout of one teapot and a broken handle on one creamer.

Tomato Ware teapots

three Tomato Ware teapots (the green apples and the larger salt and pepper shakers, 2nd and 3rd from right, are modern pieces)


I have:

2 jam pots

2 cups/tumblers

3 teapots (one marked with the K surrounded by a circle)

3 pair cream and sugars

1 pair cream and sugar with a tray, and one lone creamer

1 set of salt and peppers

1 set of salt and papers with a tray

1 set of salt and peppers on a tray with a basket handle  (belonged to my mother)

1 lone salt shaker

1 set of pepper-shaped salt and peppers

2 tea cups and saucers (both marked Maruhon Ware)

Mom's salt and pepper shakers

The dishes are very bright and provide an accent color for my very green living room.

Tomato Ware collection a


Do you have any pieces of Tomato Ware?


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

February 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

dazzled by dresser jars

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Dresser jars have always been an interest of mine.  You often see them at antique stores and at auctions.

My Mom had an iridescent peach-colored dresser jar with a glass terrier on top and a pink-colored dresser jar with a young deer.

My collection of dresser jars is one of my favorite possessions.  The collection includes several dresser jars of a type made in the 1930s to 1950s (by the Jeannette Glass Company).  They are all round, made with clear or iridescent glass.  They were used as jars for women’s dressers, to hold powder.

I have four young deer (or ‘Bambi’) dresser jars, two iridescent peach-colored, one pink and one clear…

'Bambi' dresser jar

three swans, one green, one blue-green green and one amber (the swans have a cut-glass base and a hollow in their backs to hold lipstick)…  I also have a clear swan, top only…

green swan dresser jar

two terrier dog dresser jars, both peach-colored and iridescent…

terrier dresser jar

and one poodle dresser jar, peach-colored and iridescent…

poodle dresser jar

This year, I added an elephant dresser jar made of clear glass to my collection.

elephant dresser jar


Do you know of any other designs in this type of dresser jar?


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 25, 2013 at 7:45 am

collecting glass animals

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Today, I cleaned my collection of glass animals.  Cleaning them takes a long time since I don’t clean them often.  I wash each piece in soapy water and air dry it on a towel.  As I work, I enjoy their sparkle and I think about how I got each piece.  Since most of them are second-hand, I think about the unknown people who owned them before me.

Most of the animals in my collection belong in one of three categories:  covered dishes, candle holders and dresser jars.  A couple of the pieces belonged to my Mom.  A couple of them are pieces she gave me as gifts.  The rest, I found over the years at antique stores or auctions.

some glass animals

The covered dishes are mostly hens or chickens…

hen dishes

My favorite hen dish is a funny round chicken in clear glass…

clear hen dish

I also have a rabbit in this collection…


and a duck…

clear glass duck

I have a few glass birds of various colors.  Each bird has a berry in its beak, and a hollow in its back to hold a candle…

glass birds

I’ll show you some of my dresser jars in the next post.

Do you have a hen dish among your dishes?

blue hen dish


Parting the Collection



to collect: to gather together

these prisms

of glass and light

took a lifetime

what will become of them

when what becomes of me?



collect: a short prayer

from a mouth like dust


I bid for each

between Limoges and Occupied Japan

with a steady hand

and a palpitating heart




feathers pressed into glass

bird in the house

at the window


cut crystal

edge of flight

from the menagerie


ruby swan

amethyst bee

topaz duck


glazed eyes



lenses rise in your throat

siliceous gasses

burst from your beak

as a berry


past and future



shards of glass

shared among

my daughters

do not understand

the meaning

of collection


do not know

a Sybil

rises in your beak



Published as ‘Parting the Collection’, The Antigonish Review 95, Autumn 1993


blue glass bird with berry in its beak


Copyright  Jane Tims  2013

Written by jane tims

January 23, 2013 at 7:36 am

Happy New Year from the 1910s

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Happy New Year!

Once, in the 1910s, special wishes were sent on New Year’s Day via post card.

Today, I want to put these old post cards to good use again, using them to wish you the best possible in the coming year!!!!

three New Years post cards~

1912 post card~

worlds of cheer post card~

fireside wishes~

wishes from two red birds~

Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

December 31, 2012 at 7:32 am

toasting marshmallows and singing around the fire

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I hope you had a lovely Christmas Day.

For me, Christmas is not just a single day, but a celebration lasting until Epiphany (January 6).  So, I keep all my decorations up until then (including the tree if it doesn’t get too dry).

One of my favorite decorations is my set of Buyers Choice carolers.  These two are enjoying Boxing Day, toasting marshmallows and singing by the fire.

singing by the campfire


Copyright Jane Tims 2012

Written by jane tims

December 26, 2012 at 7:20 am

Merry Christmas from our mouse!

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Merry Christmas everyone!

I spent some of today making a small celebration for our mouse.  Years ago, I painted a black mouse entryway on the wall at the foot of our stairs.  I always keep a little stuffed mouse beside the painted hole.

Tonight, he has his own Christmas tree (with a tree skirt and a working string of lights) and a wreath over his door.


mouse Christmas


Merry Christmas from our mouse!!! and from us!!!


Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

December 24, 2012 at 7:03 am

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