Everything looks better on the beach.  Rocks are shinier and more colorful when they’re wet.  Shells are too, and they don’t have nearly the same risk of funny smells when they’re still by the shore (that only develops after you’ve forgotten them in your trunk for a week).  This shameless deception leads me to pocket no end of beach-y treasures.  They’re always less charming when I get them home.  You’d think I’d know better by now, but I still fall prey to the shiny every single time.

This most recent trip to Maine was no different.  I came home with bags full of rocks and shells and pine cones and sticks and sea glass.  Now admittedly the sea glass is still pretty and will find a home, but the rest of this stuff I could probably live without.  I needed a plan.

Part of the problem is scale.  One little shell is a marvel of nature.  Thirty are an imposition.  Another part of the problem is familiarity.  If you see the same little bit of stuff every day, it becomes part of the background.  If you only see it occasionally, it becomes special again.  So, if you want tiny and you want occasional, the obvious answer is a Christmas ornament.

I started out with these as my supplies:

Then I dug around in the kitchen until I found a few little jars.  These happen to be the ones that saffron comes in at Trader Joe’s, but I’ve seen similar things used to hold fancy salt or single servings of jelly.  If you don’t have some hanging out in your kitchen or your basement or your garage (and don’t want to buy some saffron), you can probably find something suitable in the wedding favor aisle of your local craft store.  A few minutes with a spoon, and a quick knot in a bit of twine, and I had these.

I must admit I’m taken with them.  I may add a tiny tag that says Maine 2012, or I may just write it on the bottom of the bottle.  If you had pretty penmanship and a wood burning tool, you could put it on the cork instead.  It might even be nifty to make one each time you go to a beach and have a whole collection of them on your tree (or on your windowsill if that’s more your speed).

What do you think?  Is that a reasonable amount of beach treasure to have on display?  Would you hang it on your tree, or is it too weird?  Do you guys bring stuff like that home too (or area you all more clever than me), and if so what do you do with it?