I've always been a bit of a collector, possibly influenced by my interest in museums. As a result, I've ended up with lots of small collections of unusual things. They are all fairly invaluable, I just collect them because I like them and I find them interesting. I thought I'd start sharing my little collections on the blog, and I'm starting with my alpine house box collection.
I have three alpine house boxes, which all came from charity shops. They were all very cheap, between £1 and £2. They are extremely kitsch and old fashioned, and not to everyone's taste, but I think that's part of their charm.
This is the smallest box, and it is just a tiny box, lined with red fabric. I like how much detail it has despite the small size, with the little window boxes and window panes.
I think one of the reasons I like these boxes is because I was obsessed with the book Heidi when I was growing up. Her life in the mountains sounded so idyllic and I loved the idea of living in a wooden chalet, tending goats and walking through wild flower meadows on the mountainside. These boxes are a little reminder of those daydreams.
This is the medium sized box, which is in the best condition of the three. It has hardly any space inside because it is a music box, so most of the inside of the house is taken up by the mechanism. The mechanism still works and it plays a pretty, tinkling tune when you open the lid.
The music box mechanism says "Swiss made", and a little internet research revealed that these boxes were tourist souvenirs from Switzerland in the 1960s and 1970s. I love finding out the stories behind the things I collect. You can still buy very similar music boxes as souvenirs today. I like that mine have a bit of history to them, though.
This is the biggest of the boxes, and it is also a music box. A past owner has overwound the mechanism though, so it doesn't work very well. This box has the most room inside, and it looks like there used to be a drawer in the side of the house too, although that's missing now. I might try to get a replacement made, as this would make a good jewellery box. This is the only one of my little houses to have an upstairs window, and a chimney. I especially like the little log pile at the front, and the shingled detail on the roof.
These houses remind me a little of dolls houses, and the Playmobil chalet I had growing up. I think a lot of people get a kind of childlike wonder over miniature versions of real life things, and I definitely have that with these! They aren't particularly useful but they make me happy to look at, and I like that I have enough now to make a cute little village on my shelf. I don't think I'll be collecting any more alpine houses though, unless I get a considerably bigger house myself!
Do you collect anything?