Jars Full of Memories: My Sand Collection

By May 12, 2008 culture 32 Comments

When I first got married, I began filling a three-ring binder with home decorating ideas. I scoured magazines for anything that piqued my interest—color combinations, furniture styles, craft ideas, and so on. I would tear those pages out of the magazine for inclusion in the binder. That binder was my hope chest of sorts, where the ideas I had collected could rest until we had a home of our own in which to implement these notions.

One of the first pages to be included in my binder featured a sleek, artsy home full of personal photography (mostly large scale black and white pieces). One room had a photo ledge spanning a long wall; in between the photos, the family also tucked in small jars of sand from their travels. Each jar was neatly labeled with the place and date the sand was collected from.

Something about this collection struck me (and stuck with me). I loved the way each jar told a visual story. And it just looked so . . . cool.

my sand collection

Over the past few years, I have actually remembered to collect sand from our own travels. (How I wish I had remembered to do this early on!) Last week I finally got the sand in the jars I bought some time ago. It has been inspiring to implement an idea that I treasured for so long, kept in that binder of dreams. And now I have my own small sand collection that I would also declare “cool.”

jar label

After getting the sand into the jars, I began making the labels. This is the sort of thing I can spend way too much time fooling with. But I finally got those attached. I’m quite pleased with the result!

As I prepped this post, I did a quick search on sand collecting and discovered two new words: arenophiles and psammofiles. Both refer to sand collectors and the hobby of sand collecting. (Who new this hobby had such studious names?! These were not even listed in Webster’s though, or I would have provided a proper definition. You know me!) There are many Web sites and blogs (see posts here and here) dedicated to sand collecting. And I was quite surprised by the collections I found on this site in particular, which look much more scientific than artsy, but fascinating none the less.

Whatever the bent, sand collecting seems to be one more way for people to catalog and mark special places and experiences over the course of our lives. I think that’s another reason why I like this—just one glance at these chubby little jars brings to mind precious time spent with those I love in unusual places.

So do you collect sand? How do you store it and label it? What do you love about it? I’d love to hear.

Post Update (6/18/08): I purchased these adorable little jars at World Market.

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