Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Royal weddings

Most of the time I only buy thimbles to document trips, but fairly recently something caught my eye and I just could not pass it up. There is an area on 19th street in the Houston Heights that is full of antique stores. I like to peruse these stores from time to time for anything that might catch my fancy. One day I was looking inside a jewelry case and came across a thimble that made me laugh out loud. I could not believe that thimbles were used to document events, specifically nuptials.
That is right, nuptials, and not just anyone, but Princess Diana and Prince Charles. The first time I saw this thimble I simply noted that it existed but it never crossed my mind to purchase it. Then a couple months went by and I was back in the antique store. The thimble was still there and I just could not pass it up. So I purchased a small white porcelain thimble with the happy image of marriage and an inscription on th opposite side that said ' The Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales'. This started my wedding portrait thimbles. The next one I picked up when in Wales. It is a thimble with the face portraits of Fergie Duchess of York and Prince Andrew. Too bad it wasn't a wedding picture also.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


This March I spent about three weeks in England for work. After the three weeks, Matt and I took a trip to Europe, stopping in Paris, Brugge, and Amsterdam (briefly). 
Brugge is a beautiful, idyllic town in Belgium. During the middle ages Brugges was on of Europe's most prosperous cities. It has beautiful canals that at one time served as a great trade network through the Zwin channel. At around the 15th century this all changed, mostly due to the siltation of the main canal, and Brugges became a sleepy town compared to its past. Now it is designated as a World UNESCO site. There are three things that made Brugge so wonderful- 1) the beer, 2) the chocolate, and 3) the overall culture (I think officially it is lace, but hey I am not a tourist book). Matt and I had a great time there, we drank delicious beers (there are over 800 beers in Belgium), ate some wonderful meals (even the street frittas (fries) were delicious. 

(Tip: If you go try the fry stand on left when facing the bell tower, apparently they are the best).

My main point is not to make this a travel blog, but to showcase my thimbles. In this case the thimble from Brugge really has nothing to do with the city. I just like frogs and I also liked that on the thimble the Flemish spelling of Brugge was used. My other thimble was something I purchased not because I actually saw the statue, but because it was so iconic and I just found it amusing to see it as a thimble topper. It is a small porcelain replica of the Manneken Pis (Dutch for little man urinating). In order to get to Brugge from Paris, Matt and I had to take a train from Paris to Brussels, then from Brussels to Brugge. So I did spend a brief 2 hours in the Brussels train station. (An aside: I love the European rail system and only wish the US could have something as sophisticated).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why thimbles?

Brief history of thimbles.
The earliest known thimble to be documented was found in Italy at Pompeii and has been dated to the 1st century AD. Originally thimbles were used to protect the thumb as needles were being pushed through fabric or leather while sewing. Over time, however, other uses and mythologies have arisen. One such myth is that the thimble could be used to measure the size of a spirit. Hence the phrase ' A thimbleful'.
I have always had a small fasination with thimbles and have been collecting them since I was a little girl. It mostly began because thimbles were small, cheap, and easy to find. As I got older I started to notice how unique these little collectibles could be (sometimes one is more unique than others). I started focusing on the material they were made of and the variation on shape and decoration. I never thought I would continue the collection to adulthood, but on about every trip I find myself searching for unique thimbles that I can purchase to not only document my trips, but also add to the whimsy of my collection. The funny thing is that I don't display these thimbles and I don't have some thought in my mind that they will be worth anything. They actually sit in a box in my closet. I am not even sure how many I have, in fact I have not looked at the entire collection in years.
So a few months ago I started thinking it might be fun to go through my thimbles and document them. Along with being able to show my thimble collection, I can also try to jog my memory, answering questions such as: where did I get it from?, what year?, and any other relevant information. This is sort of my experiment in time and also a celebration of a popular souvenir and collectible.