Thursday, August 15, 2013

Little Treasures

I wrote about our den several weeks ago, pointing out some summer touches I had added here and there.  Today, I thought I'd show you a little collection that hangs on the wall beside our television in the den.  It's a thimble collection (with a few other miniatures thrown in) that I've had for over 30 years.

You may recall that in my previous post, I talked about how this room has a lot of dark elements, which sometimes often makes it difficult to take good, quality pictures in here.  The room has one window, and a door with glass panes in the top half.  This door leads to our screened porch, so there is a roof over this area which blocks out a good deal of the natural light.

Yesterday, I took photos at two different times of the day, and there was a big difference in the way these pics turned out.  I discovered that the best time for taking pictures in here (provided it's a sunny day outside) is between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon.  The optimum time in the winter would probably be a few hours earlier.  The picture above was taken around 1:30 in the afternoon, and it didn't turn out too badly.

This picture turned out pretty good, as well.  If you spotted the black box beside our console cabinet, it's a speaker.  My husband installed a home theater system in this room about ten years ago, and we have six speakers on stands in here (cringe).  Luckily this is a big room.  There was a lot of sighing and eye-rolling from me when he first installed this.  However, I have to admit the home theater system is really nice for watching movies.  But I digress -- back to the thimble collection. 

My mom started this collection for me when I was in high school or college (can't remember exactly).  She saw some in a catalog and started ordering them for me each Christmas.  At some point, she ordered the two display boxes, too.  They're called thimble houses, by the way.  :)  These used to hang in my bedroom in my parents' house, and over the years they've traveled with me to each place I've lived.  When we were first married, they hung in our bedroom; but they've been in the den most of the 17 years we've lived in this house.

With the exception of a few of these that I acquired as an adult, all these thimbles were given to me by my mom.  She found some of them in antique shops or gift shops, but the rest came from her thimble catalogs.

The Wedgewood Jasper Ware thimble was given to me by a good friend many years ago.  Mom gave me the shamrock thimble.  It looks hand painted, doesn't it?  It's hard to tell with the light glare, but the thimble on the end has a picture of a lady and gentleman dressed in 18th century clothing.

The Ireland thimble is Royal Tara, brought to me from Ireland by my husband.

 When I traveled there with him in 1999, I saw the thimble while we were out and about, but I didn't buy it.  Of course I regretted not buying it once I got home, so Mr. Forest Manor got it for me since he stayed in Ireland for two more weeks after I returned home.


Shamrocks are painted on the back side of the thimble.

On the second row, all the thimbles came from my mom except the brass thimble, third from the left.  It came from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., and my husband and son brought it to me when they went there on a cub scout trip.  The second thimble from the left is cloisonne.  I love the thimble with the Pennsylvania Dutch folk art (birds and hearts).

The four thimbles on the left, bottom two rows, depict the four seasons.  There are two thimbles with a musical theme -- treble clefs with sharps and flats symbols.  I played the piano and played in our school band when I was growing up.  :)

It's funny the way something can hang on your wall every day for years, and you don't notice it that often.  But then when I take it down for a thorough dusting and take all the thimbles out, I'm reminded of how these were gifted to me over the years and how they still have special meaning for me.

I've always considered my thimbles to be sentimental treasures -- pretty little items that I enjoy displaying and looking at.  But I did a little research on thimbles, and I had no idea that some out there are very valuable and collectible.  I also had no idea thimbles had been in existence for so long.  One of the earliest thimbles was discovered in the ruins of Pompeii.  It was of Roman origin, made of brass, and dates to the first century A.D.  Wow -- who knew?! 

Over the centuries, thimbles have been made of stone, brass, wood, leather, pewter, silver, mother-of-pearl, horn, bone, and porcelain.  Queen Elizabeth I was reported to have given one of her ladies in waiting a thimble set with precious stones.  Some of the most valuable thimbles to collectors are German-made wooden thimbles and Meissen porcelain, as well as those made by Royal Worcester in England.  If you have any of those, you might want to give the Antiques Roadshow a call.  :)

Thank you, as always, for visiting and reading my blog.  I've enjoyed getting to know so many of you, and I appreciate your sweet comments so much.  :)  Have a great day!!



  1. Your thimbles are beautiful and so many memories for you. They look so well on your wall in the den.
    Thanks for sharing this post with us.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. The way you describe your collection lets me know how special they are to you. I had no idea about the history of thimbles.

  3. Denise,
    I enjoyed reading about your thimble collection! How wonderful that your mother started this collection for you and that you have continued to add to it through the years. I had no idea that some thimbles are so valuable!

  4. You have quite the collection of thimbles. I like the house shaped shadow box. I didn't know they were so valuable. xo

  5. What a great way to display something that has so much meaning for you. My husband collects shot glasses from places we have been, and together we try to collect a Christmas ornament too. It's really nice to have that once a year reminiscing on the latter when we arrange the Christmas tree.

    Your collection of thimbles are lovely!

  6. I collect stuff. All kinds of stuff. I don't know how many spoons I purchased in England, Ireland and Scotland. And I love seeing how others collect and display their treasures. The little treasures are simple reminders of what we love and how we have lived our life. Your thimbles are beautiful and who knew that they had such a history.

  7. Love your sweet little thimble house Denise! The shamrock one is adorable!



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