The Decorista recently wrote a post about decorating your shelves. It had lots of great tips, but the style just didn’t work for me.
Maybe my shelves just need to be as cluttered as my mind, but I like to have actual books to read on my book shelves along with my knickknacks.
Books I have enjoyed and books I am wanting to read, sit right next too vintage and antique novels. And family heirlooms sit next to pottery by local artisans and interesting pieces I picked up at the local thrift store.
Not only do each of my shelves tell a story, all of the items have their own stories to tell- a peacock fan that was already an heirloom when my grandmother owned it, a set of big cat nesting dolls that belonged to the late wife of a family friend, A book called “Cotton is King” that I found in my grandparents’ basement which someone once used like an old family bible, and an old wooden truck that was my husband’s when he was a child. All of these memories are displayed on just one shelf.
I have one self that is devoted almost entirely to the things of my childhood. A clown doll I had as a baby sits in front of the book of nursery rhymes that I always read when we went to visit my grandparents. I can still quote all of “A Frog He Would A-wooing Go.” That shelf also has my collection of vintage L. Frank Baum books, which I loved reading as a child, and still occasionally re-read today, right next to my Shel Silverstein books. Those poems still spark my imagination.
Of course, not everything on my shelves is about my childhood. I have a shelf with vintage cameras. I love taking photos. Ok, cameras and old books. Old books are beautiful. Why can’t we make them like that anymore? I feel like if we went back to crafting truly beautiful books people would start reading again.
I also have a fairly large stack of bibles on my shelves in several different translations, mostly KJV which is what I grew up with, but also New American which is the translation of choice for the Catholic church as has some books in it that the protestants took out. That’s something I learned when I joined the Catholic Church a few years ago. That stack of bibles sits next to a beautiful piece of pottery by local artist, Joe Smith, a vintage mirror, and a cute little ceramic fox that just happens to remind me of the taxidermy fox that sits in my mom’s living room that was trapped by my grandpa.
Of course that couldn’t be any more different than the shelf below it, where Yoda stands guard over toy tractors, including a couple that were hand made for my husband by my friend Dave. This is also the shelf where most of my more modern books live, books that I have just finished – like The Oracle of Stamboul, or that are on my to read list like The Traitor’s Wife. It’s also the shelf where most of the books I am drawn to read again, like American Gods, The Vampire Chronicles, and C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy.
I also have a shelf that is mostly full of memories. Among other things, it contains a photo of my first cat, Flash, the rose I carried at my sister’s wedding, and the trophy my husband won in a tractor pull where one of the dual wheels fell off after he finished. I also seem to have a lot of Willow Tree angels on my shelves. They were all given to me as gifts at one time or another and hold a special place in my heart.
So, what do you keep on your shelves? Are they simply full of books, do you have other items that mean something special to you? What stories do your bookshelves tell?