I've tried to only collect things that have a purpose - like these Crown Lynn bowls and cast iron pots. I use them all the time. Some of them are Creuset and some of them aren't. I got the frypan at a garage sale in 1987. My flatmates thought I was mad - none of us had a clue how to use cast iron. I've built up the rest since then.
Today I cooked our dinner in the biggest pot and stewed fruit in the next smaller one. The teensiest pot has been brilliant for turning out an individual rice pudding when required, or for turning rice bubbles into a Surprise!! breakfast under the lid.
And yes, I really do manage to keep those shelves looking tidy like that all the time.
When I make muffins tomorrow with that stewed fruit, I'll mix them in the biggest bowl. It really is a whopper. I nearly died of happiness when I found that bowl in a dusty warehouse full of crap. It reminds me of Nana's enormous china bowl, and I think she had some smaller ones like mine.
Sweeney's building up some collections of his own. Generally, they're strewn throughout the house - Hot Wheels, pieces of train track, figurines of small farmyard animals that fit perfectly into your instep on cold mornings. A nice one that he's only just noticing is his collection of Maurice Sendak books. I started stockpiling the Pierre series and Alligators All Around when he was really teeny, and of course one of his first books was Where the Wild Things Are. His dad would read them to him when he visited - lovely rhymes and the opportunity to use a range of voices and growls. And the icing on the cake - one of us found the stories with French text, but Sweeney couldn't bear it when we'd read them - he thinks French is just silly.