Last Friday, I was in the midst of making soup for my stuffy nosed Mouse, doing pockets of work, and straightening the house when I finally decided to do something with the handful of shells I collected when I was on Martha’s Vineyard. Both Chick and I are treasure collectors when we are at the beach, and by the end of the summer I am left with tiny distinct piles of tiny treasures from all of our adventures at the shore. Sometimes, I choose to keep just a few to add to our display on a shelf or I dump a handful into our Anchor Hocking shell jar.
Occasionally, though, I’ve collected a handful of shells, which need to be kept together in their little shell family. Like, this time, on the Vineyard, when I collected small eroded pieces of quahog shells, and my friend Maddie told me that those were wampum. I had remembered learning about wampum as a kid. Native Americans used the inner, twisty part of the quahog shell to make beautiful purple beads, and when the colonialists found out that Native Americans valued them, they began collecting any and all bits of quahog to use as form of currency with the Native Americans. As I was collecting wampum and also thinking of my family far away in New York cleaning out the last bits of my grandparent’s home, I couldn’t help but think about the value of things, and how it is so liberating to love what we love because we want to. And, not because we are told to.
On Friday, I decided that I didn’t want to toss my precious wampum and other little Martha’s Vineyard treasures into the big jar with the rest of my shells. But, I also didn’t want the dang pile sitting on my counter any longer. I had been cleaning around it for the past two weeks, and they really needed a home. So, in a quick, crafty moment, I transformed two tiny jars into two colorful, simple display containers for some my beach treasures and also a little lonely collection of marbles.
I cleaned and dried the lids, and then used two coats of acrylic paint. By simply coating the jar’s lids with color, my new display feels purposeful and complete, and now both collections have a home.
This is a nice way to give a home to tiny little collections of things that you wish to display. Plus, you get to eat marinated artichokes and diced pimientos! Bonus!