Friday, July 30, 2010

Kitchen Sink Memories

A common kitchen sink. What could be memorable about that? It’s just a functional part of all of our homes. Mine’s not beautiful or special. It’s not made of the latest high tech material. It’s just a plain old kitchen sink that has ten years’ worth of nicks and scratches.

I've been spending a lot more time there than usual, since my dishwasher has been broken for the past week, and I'm washing all the dishes by hand these days. Today I looked around and noticed how I’ve made this area of my home a spot that’s filled with things that are meaningful to me. Maybe that’s why I don’t really mind spending time there. I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the things in this everyday workspace that make it uniquely mine.

I bought this shabby chic birdhouse at my favorite flea market. It serves no purpose other than to make me happy. I just think it’s kind of cool. I especially like the old tin ceiling pieces that are used for the roof, and it reminds me of the hours I’ve enjoyed roaming the aisles at the flea market, looking for treasures. Half of my house is furnished with things I’ve found there!

The shells are from the beach where we vacation in North Carolina. They remind me of baking-hot summer days, of glaring sunshine and cool water, of crashing waves and screeching sea gulls. I remember early morning walks with Fred at low tide, and sunset walks with the whole family, trying to squeeze every minute of fun out of our too few days at the ocean.

Outside my window, I watch the birds at the feeders hanging from a post that Fred made for me. All throughout the year, the sparrows, cardinals, and finches jostle for sunflower seeds and swoop and dive and put on a show for me.

This old milk bottle was from an antique store in West Virginia. Fred and I picked it up on a camping trip years ago, and it makes me think of that relaxing weekend, when we took the time to just wander around and spend time together. It also makes me think we need to do that more often. The bottle is filled with sea glass that I gathered on Cooper’s Beach, near Rockland, Maine, two summers ago when we rented a cottage for the whole family. It brings back memories of fog horns, loons, rocky beaches and fields of lupines. It makes me vow to return to Maine …soon!

I have a collection of heart-shaped rocks from all over the country. I search for them when we travel, wherever there is a stream, creek, river, or ocean. This one is from the Pedernales River near Austin, Texas. My daughter brought it back for me when she went to visit her fiance’s family for the first time, last Thanksgiving.

I love having a bouquet of flowers by my sink. They brighten my day and make me smile.

 These pink hydrangeas are from my yard and are one of my favorites.

 The Queen Anne’s Lace grows in the fields surrounding our home.

Back side of vase
The “bloom” vase is from Vail, Colorado, where Fred and I visited last fall with our good friends, Betty and Paul, from Texas. It’s a great reminder of a beautiful place and good times with lifelong friends.

Fred and I collected these bottles on our vacation to Oak Island this month. We spent a fun afternoon in Southport, North Carolina, browsing the antique shops to find containers for my new sand collection. Yes, you heard me right - I’m going to collect sand. I want to have a bottle full from all the beaches I visit.

So far, I only have Oak Island, but this gives me a great excuse to go to lots and lots of beaches, to add to my collection. I just wish I could get samples from all the beaches I’ve visited in the last 30 years – I’d have quite a collection!

The largest bottle in this group has been in the family for years and years. It was my grandmother’s laundry sprinkling bottle, made from a ketchup bottle and a cork stopper with an aluminum sprinkling top. My inheritance from Gramma Romaine!

I often grow rosemary and basil on my window sill. The basil plants last a couple of months, then usually die off, but the rosemary can last for years, if I treat it right. This basil plant is growing in a pot that I made when I took a pottery class with my son Matt when he was in high school. It was a nice thing for us to do together, but his skills quickly surpassed mine. This pot is about as good as I ever got – I did a Maine coastal scene in the underglaze, so it reminds me of one of my favorite places, and of good times with Matt.

I got this little starfish/sea glass ornament when my mom and I spent two weeks in mid-coast Maine last summer. It’s a memento of a really special time together.

I put all these doodads around my kitchen sink for the same reasons we put family photos on the refrigerator. It connects me to the people I love and to memories of happy times, and it helps me to focus on what’s good in my life.

“A multitude of small delights constitutes happiness.”
Charles Baudelaire


  1. Love all those "things" which together form a relaxed cozy homey feeling when we are at your house.

  2. Wow Leslie - I just visited my first beach/ocean ever! I came home with a bottle of water, a bottle of sand and a bottle of shells. You have given me inspiration of what to do with them! :)


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