I love this week's question! BTT asks: "What items have you ever used as a bookmark? What is the most unusual item you've ever used or seen used?" I love it because I love bookmarks. I've collected or, more precisely, accumulated them since I was a child. Most of mine aren't terribly old or rare or anything – just things that have caught my eye or that have been given to me over the years. Some of them I inherited from my mother. Some I picked up while traveling – bookmarks make excellent souvenirs.
I like to make my own bookmarks, too. The computer and home printer have made that really easy – you can have a new, unique bookmark for every book you read. And I love finding bookmarks in the used books I buy. On our trip to Texas last year, I bought a copy of Ellery Queen's Blighted Dwellings in a used book store, and inside I found this homemade marker – pressed flowers someone had laminated and tucked away. Very sweet.
I'm not sure I've ever used anything extremely unusual as a bookmark. But I've certainly used all kinds of things to mark my place in the books I read – not just "official" bookmarks, but slips of paper, Post-It notes, pieces of yarn, feathers, Metro passes, old dental appointment reminder cards, nail files, paper dolls, wine labels, candy and gum wrappers, playing cards. My aunt used to cut the pictures off Celestial Seasonings tea packages to use as bookmarks, and I still have a number of those.
Right now, I'm reading a couple of Christmas themed books, so I'm using two vintage Christmas bookmarks. One appears to be from about the 1930s and says it's from "Miss Groves and Miss Staudt." Possibly a gift to an honored student from two admiring teachers? And the other is a home-made marker with a drawing of Santa and a "Merry Christmas" greeting – it was in a batch of old ephemera I bought years ago.
And one of my very favorite bookmarks, and one I use quite a lot, is this one. Not sure where I got it, but it has some wonderful advise:
If you're looking for more info on bookmarks, I've got a little list of links to favorite websites on my sidebar (just scroll down – OK, farther down). I always especially enjoy the Forgotten Bookmarks site, which has photos of some of the strange and "heartbreaking" things people leave in books.