Many “forces” drive me to combine and share words. Earlier this week I reread an article “Remembering the Good old Days of Collecting Antiques,” and on the 2nd in Plymouth Notch, Vermont, I bought yet another candle holder, this of handcrafted pottery. Seems I buy candle holders and miniature Christmas trees when they inexplicably “speak to me.” I have no idea why. While trying yesterday’s purchase in many spots around my home, Jiminy Cricket said, “Ray, you must share your collection on Shunpiking with Ray.” So, here it is.



Oh, another prompt was a friend introducing me to these LED battery operated candles. Years ago in the Connecticut shop we tried battery operated, and they lasted two days. Since then I have had electric candles in each front window, but bothered that candles have electric plugs on them. And, then one year when the electric rates escalated I kept them off, but in the windows.


Now I have these in the windows coming on and off all by themselves – and no cords. Check these out — I bought when on Amazon Prime – must have sold out in their warehouse, so a tad more with shipping from the vendor.

and, turning a tad around and to the north, I “have to look at this” so sad – NOT

A project “on my list” for years has been to document my treasures in words and images, and leave notes in each room so the kids do not put in a dumpster things they may not realize have value. But surrounding myself with “things” is not so bad because those things trigger pleasant memories. The article in the November 6, 2017, issue of Antique Week (I was a big advertiser in pre-internet days – selling about $1,000 in books each month) hits some of those key points. Before I share my “flickering flames” I want to give you some quotes to ponder. These quotes mirror many thoughts and conclusions I have shared on how “things have changed.” In years past there were “antique rows” (and clustered book shops) “where dealers understood the concept of critical mass.” With “the advent of the internet … suddenly collecting became buying. And while the size of collections increased because of the expanded market, the fun started to drip, drip, drip away. … treasures that we never even knew existed are now just a few clicks away.  The world has become keystrokes away, and we delight as a child with packages arriving at the door.” Buying “the old fashioned way [we] remember the year we found a treasure … the name of the town where we found it … we recall on that day we added something stupendous to our collection.” With the internet “are we buyers? Are we accumulators? Or are we collectors?” (I invite you to read this article on my thoughts about collecting.)  Concluding the Antique Week article:

…longtime professional in the field … told me that we would best divest ourselves of our collections because our kids don’t want our stuff, just the money it might bring. But the romantic in me thinks that maybe we should hold on. In the end, what we really have is our memories. And, if our time on earth is brightened by a collection, well then, so be it.  The last three sentences are the KEY – I could not have said it better.

But you have been waiting to see my 115 “Flickering Flames.” Don’t ask how many matches it took to prepare this post. I have (at this moment) the following different candle holders and candles: Porch – 19; Kitchen area – 44; Dining Room – 28 – Formal Living Room – 9 – Informal Wicker Parlor – 9; Hallway – 6. READY?


My first comment on memories (not even mentioning the RLI Millennium plates mounted above, or the “book alikes on the left – more on them later) — see the candles in the “sunburst?” A recent purchase in Manchester, Vermont. A friend and I stopped in a high end consignment shop – nothing under $300 – except this metal holder that was but $17. Not the price, but it “spoke to me” – thus providing a “thing” to prompt the wonderful memories of that excursion and dinner out. Remember, these images are all a tad yellow – hey, after all they are candle light.

Now, above my sink

and, a close-up (yes, the pumpkin is an unlit candle)

On my “island.” The triple in the center is amazing. I walked into the Millerton (NY) Antique Center during a RLI trip, and there it was – $25 – no thought necessary (actually, if you “need it” price is not a consideration). I can walk you around the house and show you treasures from this shop. The glass pair came from the Frank Lloyd House gift shop during a Road Scholar trip in Buffalo, NY – just too perfect. I could not figure out the holders on the outer ends. Look like tree stumps, sorry, forget which shop (but think another trip to Millerton). The Christmas Tree candles in them? Well, just came from the Strawbery Banke gift shop during the trip weeks ago. and are “perfect” in the tree stumps.

The holder below really got me started. My first Road Scholar trip after loosing Cathy was experiencing the The Vanderbilts’ Great Camp Sagamore. That was before I started this travel blog. These bronze candleholders where on each table in the dining area, and I had to have them. About $100 each in the gift shop – I have two, one in each of the north big windows in the kitchen area. But, the memories — and the start of a quest.

and, concluding the room.


Moving into the dining room, I have not yet set the table with my German Festive Red Christmas plates with green trees – soon. But, as you look around the dining room, I invite applications from diner guests – I am becoming a good cook. Oh, the green glass candlesticks – made in Williamsburg, but I found at the Fort Stanwix National Park gift shop in Rome, NY, when heading to a program in Canada, October, 2011.

Gary and I were “filling in the map” one day near Cape Ann, and stopping in shops for things for his home. No luck for him, but I got this massive pillar candle holder – yes, it prompts memories of our day together.

not sure which shop the three green holders below came from, but the holder in the wine bottle (bottle from my stay at the Mountain View Grand in Whitefield, NH) I purchased from a sutler at an event at the Fort at Number 4. Now, in the front the possibly faux pewter  candelabra is my “traveling” finery. Used during diners in front of “44” during concerts, and heading to the Fort at Number 4 for holiday meals – hey, no electricity there in 1750, and limited lighting.

and, on the outside wall

remember, diner applications considered.


I spend much of my time “working” and relaxing on my porch – almost four seasons depending if below 20 degrees.

See the Yule Log? In eighth grade I cut up birch logs, drilled holes in them, decorated with greens, made a trailer for my bicycle, and started pedaling. I lived in the country – half mile or more between houses. I later wrote an essay for English class, “You want to buy a Yule Log, Lady? $1 per hole.” Was successful, but I remember the house (not the lady’s name) who said, “you have an endangered species on your log – do not use that!” Memories !!!

moving around the porch – group of three cost (with four fascinating glass pieces) but $5 for 7 items a month ago at Colony Antiques. The cut stone pair on the window sill – Sugar Hill Sampler – Sugar Hill, NH – from a noted artisan.

Not really a candle, but a no thought needed purchase when found at a farm shop with the base in Massachusetts off Route 2. Of course, RLI wooden cut out below – recognize my room?

hallway – wall candelabra were Cathy’s — mirror was in the little colonial home I purchased in 1990 (BC – before Cathy – but after D)


this is my room that looks like a library, but there is not a real book on any shelf.  I was told years ago by a book seller friend that the best way to create value for a collection is write a book about it. Long “on the list” is to do a booklet on my book alike collection – something Cathy and I enjoyed building, and most pieces prompt memories of the purchase and what we were doing. Hard to find something new, but still looking — book to come someday.

and above the mantel – my painting is another whole story – the Oxbow on the Connecticut River – noted artist – more memories. Invite yourself for dinner for the stories.


and, my informal “wicker” parlor on the south side of the front of the house.

above are two simple glass candle holders that a neighbor gave me a few years ago. the others in this room are Trench Art – made during WWI by soldiers utilizing spent case shells.

remember I said I also cannot resist miniature trees? Well, they do have to “speak to me.” Click to expand this panorama below that I created this past week for the rear page of THE WALPOLE CLARION.

Guess that is it — remember – collect to have fun, collect for the memories, and if you like it – just buy it.

Catch you soon, as always, yours, RAY – Your HOPELESS ROMANTIC

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous Musings. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Carolyn says:

    Too awesome. Great display and commentary!

  2. Betty says:

    Oh, I learned a new word as well – sutler! Always an education with you, Ray!

  3. Chris Burchstead says:

    Love the bottle brush trees, Ray! Do you light all your candles every night? I’m not allowed to play with matches.😕

  4. William Moses says:

    Another delightful tour. Your collection of candles are interesting. Collecting is truly for Memories, fun or just because an item strikes you at the moment. Fran collects Salt & Pepper Shakers. Some bring memories of trips, some were just for fun and a few are (maybe) antiques. Thanks.

  5. Another wonderful essay, Ray! I collect for the pleasure of collecting and the memories that adhere to those items. I have had to limit myself, due to space and resources, but what I do have brings me great joy. Many of my Christmas ornaments came from trips, were made or given by special friends, or are heirlooms from my grandmother and great-grandmother. Thanks for sharing the photos of your beautiful home!

  6. Parker Sherwood says:

    Well I remember the lovely Camp Sagamore bronze tree candle holders on each table! Unfortunately no longer available in the camp store. Does anyone know of another supplier, or the manufacturer’s name? I’ve been searching for years!

    • Ray Boas says:

      Thank you for asking. When I bought my pair I do not remember any packaging, but I remember being told they were made in Canada and in bronze. Looking carefully at one now for you, the tree trunk is threaded and with a nut secured to the root base. On the trunk, cast in the bark, is “(c) NELLES 1992” — pretty sure that is it. Sorry, that is all I can add. Yours, RAY

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