Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the abundance of conspicuous consumption or to take up arms against it in minimalist extremism....
See, Shakespeare has a quotation for everything. (By the way, tomorrow is the 397th anniversary of the Bard's death. Lift your goblet of wine to his memory and mutter, "Out, damned spot! out, I say!" Some people will think you're crazy, but the rest of us will get it.)
Back to Hamlet. I'm not the indecisive Dane (well, at least I'm not a Dane), but my answer to the question of to buy or not to buy is moving back toward the middle.
When I CASEd Laura Bassen's card, I commented that I needed the Uniko set she used. Reader Karen asked this very legitimate question:
"I LOVE the card you made, yet I am curious why you think you need the flower set when you made do with what you already had. In your quest to simplify and purge unused sets, it makes me wonder."
Good question, Karen.
I rarely buy sets based on what other stampers use, and I never buy with the intent to directly copy someone else's design work...though there is nothing wrong with doing so as long as the copyist isn't making money off of someone else's creative idea and acknowledges the source publicly if necessary.
In this case, however, I had never seen the Uniko set before and really liked it, not just because Laura used it brilliantly but for its own sake. I love the lightness of the outline flowers and the size variations, and really believe they will enhance my smaller collection nicely.
Besides, I need some new stamps. After two years of austerity and purging, I'm feeling the need for...refreshment. Yes, that's the word. Refreshment.
Basically, I'm bored. Here's why.
My whittled-down stamp collection is lovely and manageable and--most importantly--used. Every stamp I own has seen ink and been used enough to justify its cost. There's still a little dead weight that needs to go, mostly sets I bought because I felt that I should like them...Papertrey's Simply Jane, for instance. I still used these sets (every single blessed stamp!), but I didn't enjoy the experience. A few other stamps need to go because they were trendy at the time but look less appealing to me now, although most of these have already been ditched.
But by far my biggest issue with my current collection is over-use. Some of my older stamps (Papertrey's Beautiful Blooms and Green Thumb come immediately to mind) are still wonderful, but I've used them to death. Used. Them. To. Death. Last time I pulled out Beautiful Blooms, I thought, "Oh, man. Really? I have to use it again?" I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of them, but it's also definitely time to try some new flowers.
Finding balance between the burden of conspicuous consumption (when you have so much stuff you don't know what to do with it) and minimalist boredom (when you don't have enough to interest you) is tough. Our culture encourages spending, and those darn stamp companies keep puttin' out cool stuff that is soooooo tempting!
Several years ago, I found myself with way too much stuff and it was stifling creativity. I spent more time organizing and shopping than stamping. I reined in the conspicuous consumption and severely limited purchases for over two years while at the same time purging a whole bunch of stuff.
I'm a whole lot happier and more creative now with less, and can't see myself letting things get out of control again. In fact, I've limited storage in ways that make it pretty much impossible for me to go all pathological hoarder again.
The set point for each person, however, is different. Some of you would come to my new and improved stamp space and say, "This is all you've got?" Others would say, "Wow, how'd you get so much stuff?"
The challenge is finding your own balance and maintaining it for your own mental and fiscal health.
That's what I think.
Now it's your turn. Please share your thoughts on "to buy or not to buy" and how you maintain balance or don't.