Dear Design Mom, I am in the midst of finishing my basement, and want to decorate it with the letter T (our initial) and b&w; pics of the fam. I want to find some cool letters and need to know where to look. I don’t want to just buy all of them, as I would like this to sort of be a collection. What I need, are ideas of where to look. You have to know oh wise one! — R

I love this question! The challenge of where to hunt is really at the heart of putting together any collection. As far as alphabet letters go, I have a few recommendations:

1) Seek out any flea markets or antique fairs within driving distance of your home. Make it a weekend hobby.

2) Troll ebay regularly.

3) Check the home sections of stores like TJ Maxx and Ross.

4) Let your friends and family know about your collection. When they spot the letter T for sale as they go about their business, they’ll pick it up for you.

5) If opportunities for hunting are few and far between, some surefire sources to start your collection are Anthropologie and Gauge. Tip: Gauge is expanding their product line and will have a new website up in a couple weeks, so check back for even more options.

My last advice: be patient. Great collections often come together over years.