Little Altars at Home

window sill

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while will know how much I loathe housework, but these are strange times! Today found me actually wanting to give the bathroom a thorough going over!

As I was putting things back on the windowsill, I realised that every item has a special memory or significance to me.

Left to right:

There is an Umbrella plant, that I grew from a root cutting given to me by a dear friend who I see only rarely nowadays. She is currently staying somewhere in deepest India, unable to return home due to the transport system in that country being under lockdown. The glass bowl it sits in, has been with me since I got married in 1972, nothing special, not beautiful, but it has become an old familiar friend.

In a little pot next to it are some honeysuckle cuttings, waiting to see if they grow roots, so that I can give some little plants to my daughter as requested.

The fish shaped little dish holds a bumble bee that sadly died in my bathroom, I know Little Miss M (7) would love to see it, so I am keeping it for when she is able to come into my house again.

The clay dolphin was made by Miss E when she was about 8. I took her to some wonderful sculpture and stone-carving worshops when she was being homeschooled.

I bought the brass incense burner with the Ohm symbol when I was travelling in 1994 and visiting Buddhist communities all round the world – such powerful memories. It reminds me of chanting in the echoing valleys of the Himalaya Mountains.

The scallop shell was given to me by my neighbour, who is a diver, and brings me yummy scallops in the summer. The shells it holds all come from the beaches of my beloved Pembrokeshire, collected on my month in a treehouse by the sea.

Sea glass, collected on my local beaches, in times gone by.

A collection of tiny white pebbles – there is something so beautiful about them.

The twisted piece of wire with beads: this was a spiral Christmas decoration I had been making with my grandchildren

christmas trees, wire and beads

One of them sat in the bathroom, and after the twins came to stay – I found this one had been just too tempting to resist – I rather like the resulting tiny wire sculpture.

The jam jar has more honeysuckle cuttings,

and the shell on the right was given to me by my Mum when I was a teenager.

A whole lot of family, friends and memories on that tiny windowsill.

Do you have similar little collections about the house?

42 responses to “Little Altars at Home

  1. That’s really amazing!! So many special things… πŸ˜πŸ’™πŸ₯°

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  2. Pingback: Inversion – Travel with Intent

  3. happyblogger42

    Omgosh what wonderful memories all on one window shelf, such treasures.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. lovely. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I too have lots of things which remind me of people I have loved and admired or of places and events. I hadn’t thought of my shelves as altars before but you are quite right to call them that. I have just been spring – cleaning which of course involves sorting through things and moving them around so I too have been wandering down memory lanes rather a lot recently. I tell myself they are not clutter but signs of a rich and interesting life!

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  6. Indeed, how easily one builds up little altars like this

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  7. Most of my memories are in two old suitcases (the cardboardy kind with metal locks and straps) and every now and then I take everything out and consider if I have some other place to keep them…occasionally some thing end up in an artwork…

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  8. I love this! I don’t have many things out, but there are a few treasures scattered around the house. I love your special memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful post! All those memories on one shelf with lovely bits and pieces collected here and there. Yes, I, too have memories scattered around the house. Some are gifts, and some I have collected.

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  10. Some great memories, I can tell. And they are perfect for triggering our imagination and keeping us happy. I especially like the christmas decorations you were making.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I haven’t lived in this house, or indeed in this particular version of my life, long enough to accrete that kind of memory-collection. I had to shed so much when I emigrated to Australia, and somehow, I haven’t built it up again. However, I do have my ‘household gods’: a beautiful blue stoneware vase from one of my sisters, with some of the artificial flowers from our wedding; two silver-covered ikons, one Russian, one Greek; two heads of the Buddha, one in silver and one in stone; a photograph of my parents together on a beach in Africa in their 30s, laughing and impossibly glamorous; my mother’s silver-backed mirror and her cut-crystal scent bottle. Meaning, history, memory and emotion all tied up in a collection where I can see it every day.

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    • I do love the way you describe things Kate, saying so much, so well in just a few words. I too have different ‘versions of my life’, some I hardly recognise now. But I have never moved countries – what a process that must be. It sounds as if you have distilled all you need into your collection of treasures.
      I once (about 20 years ago) had a guy in to do some ‘space clearing’ both physical and energetic. My house has always been a mess of memorabilia and art and craft projects. He wandered round in silent tutting, trying so hard not to show judgement. Then he looked into my cupboards, I am sure he was expecting to be crushed in an avalanche of stuff. To his great surprise, they were all neat and tidy and ordered. His comment was ‘Ah! you wear all of you on the outside for us all to see, what you see is what you get’. I quite liked that!

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      • Moving countries – and hemispheres – was perhaps the hardest thing in terms of paradigm shift that I’ve ever done (although having cancer was worse in physical and emotional terms). I had to distil a busy, full, single woman’s life down to 5 cubic metres. There was very little ‘big stuff’; one piece of heirloom furniture and the rest was the treasures: books, pictures, linens, glass, my mother’s silver. This core has dressed my home ever since, wherever it might be.

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  12. Murtagh's Meadow

    Oh what lovely memories. And I love the twisted spirals too

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Yes, lots here too. It’s lovely how the smallest thing can spark the biggest memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. How lovely! Yes, I have a house full of bits and bobs with memories attached! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a lovely collection of memories. Interestingly I have a collection of clear glass items on the window sill in my en-suite each of which holds a special memory but then there are collections of things like that all around my house. Perhaps you remember the collection of cards on a bookcase I shared when we were doing the photo challenge. I have often reflected that virtually all my ornaments are there for sentimental reasons so my house could never look like one of those you see in a Homes and Gardens magazine. But maybe that doesn’t matter.

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  16. One day, when I do some housework, I might find some joy in it too πŸ™„
    Meanwhile, I keep finding little treasures and memories in unexpected places usually things related to my Mum and Dad in some way. When we eventually move and I have to sort out the girls’ rooms, I’m guessing I’m going to come across lots of memories there in amongst all the dross.

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    • Ah! a woman after my own heart – to find joy in housework is a rare thing for some of us.
      Finding all those treasures is a mixed blessing sometimes. When I moved house, a friend of mine was helping me with the packing (now that’s a true friend!) she suggested I have a box of things to keep, a box of thinigs to chuck and an ‘I don’t know’ box. This was invaluable, even though we needed several boxes for the latter, it speeded up the process no end. By the time the first two categories had been dealt with the ‘I don’t know’ boxes were easier to whittle down.

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  17. I think it’s safe to say that all my window sills are like that! What lovely memories and stories and well done on doing some of the loathed housework.

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  18. Messages! How strange this just popped up here today, for I am using this time to finally go {struggle} through my darling mother’s boxes, and I am finding so many things to treasure. I was planning to minimise ornaments and trinkets of any kind in my tiny cottage, I hate dusting, but now I am finding myself creating tiny arrangements and vignettes all throughout the cottage. Things that belonged to my Great Grandparents, things I have never seen before, some I love, some I really don’t like, but for now they all bring me a strange sort of comfort in these alien days. A much needed hug from the past. Sorry for going on, but this was just the thing I needed to see at this very moment.

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    • Please feel free to ‘go on’ as much as you like Deb.
      I am so glad this post hit the right note for you. I thought I was cleaning the bathroom, but obviously I was doing so much more than that. I am glad I followed that drive to do it, and then push to post about it
      I love your ‘hug from the past’ thought – yes, that’s how it feels. ❀
      And now this feels like a hug from you to me and me to you, in common understanding across the miles. A hug linking St.Davids and Dorset, and that gives me a wonderfully warm glow. πŸ™‚

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  19. What a wonderful collection of memories from just a little nook. I was having a rare thought the other day about doing a major clear out. We have lived in the same house and garden since we bought it in 1988 and everything in the house, garden, attic and studio feels like it holds important memories. I know the memories are in my head and the objects that act as a trigger are often hidden away in a dark corner, but even so, the idea of dumping what would be so much is somewhat frightening. Some day we will take the bull by its horns, some day . . . maybe 😊

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    • That is a long time of stored memories.
      I moved house when my children were teenagers, we had ony lived in the house for 8 years but clearing it out to move was like going through a museum of our lives. It made me think that every time we went for a walk or to the beach the four of us brought things back into the home as little momentoes. I could hardly believe the amount of stuff that we took to the tip, and left out on the pavement for people to take away if they wanted it.
      Good luck!

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  20. Love it! What a beautiful collection of memories.

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