Archive for September, 2010


Seashell Mailboxes

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Sanibel Seashell Mailbox

I went shell hunting on the streets of Sanibel and Captiva… literally. I want to start using some of my shells to cover my mailbox so I needed to get some inspiration. The creative shell crafters that made these mailboxes gave me the perfect nudge to get started on my own. My friend Jane (from my post Jane’s Seashell Frames) made this first one and the last one but I don’t know the other artists. Maybe this will inspire you too! (?)

Dolphin seashell mailbox

Turtle and Shell mailbox on driftwood

Mailbox with turtle on top

Shell craft mailbox with turtle

Captiva seashell mailbox

Pen shell mailbox


Not Coral, Not Shell?

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bryozoan colony

Clark found this weird piece of ..errr….uhhh…. well I really didn’t know what to call it for a few days. It feels hard like concrete but very light in weight and it’s about 2 inches long. I asked a lot of people and most thought it looked like a piece of worn coral or sedimentary rock… and it does… sort of. But it looks like it has worm holes, bits of shell and formed bubbles inside which seem fossilized or something so it was still a mystery.

Another view of piece of Bryozoa colony

Then…..Ta Da! Dr. Jose Leal, director of Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, knew the answer. A piece of BRYONZOAN COLONY. He said “This is actually a worn piece of a bryozoan colony; bryozoans are colonial animals unrelated to corals, but which form superficially similar calcium carbonate structures (read more on” I clicked the link to read more on BRYOZOA and it sounds similar to SEA PORK (a zooid colony) with a little calcium carbonate added (for flavor- HA!).

Here’s another picture of pieces of bryozoan colonies by my blog buddy Carla Barone (shelling Queen of Little Hickory) who took the cool video of a live WHELK. She found quite a few pieces!

Bryozoan colony picture by Carla Barone

Categories : Bryozoa
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Sanibel Lighthouse Rainbow

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Sanibel lighthouse rainbow

Can you see the rainbow? No, not the beach umbrella … the real rainbow. It was so pretty with the golden sea oats but the rainbow didn’t show up as well in the photo. Maybe the next shot you can see it a little better but it’s just a piece of it.

Sanibel lighthouse beach and rainbow

Ahhh. I just love a rainbow (doesn’t everybody?). There were only a few shells on the beach and the water was really rough but the shells are starting to come in. I know this because there were shellers snorkeling out by the sand bar and I met one of them. He showed me CONCHS, COCKLES  and a PEAR WHELK they had found about 15 yards out in the water.

Twins Taylor and Madelynn with their dad (St Louis)

See how rough the gulf was at Algier’s beach earlier today with a few shells.

Front Row Shelling


Beach Trash Talk

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Trash Tree Art

Today was Ocean Conservancy’s 25th Anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup. In honor of this world wide affair, Clark and I went out this morning to collect trash on the beach while checking out the shelling. Somebody must have gotten there much earlier to pick up most of the trash at Turner Beach (Sanibel side of Blind Pass) to turn it into a piece of art. It was so whimsical and silly, I have to believe it was intentional that it was done for this project. Hopefully, “they” (we didn’t meet the artist) made sure it got put away before they left.

Trash Tree art

While we were walking the beach, we met Darlene and Eddie enjoying every minute on the beach shelling and celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary.

Shell hunters Darlene and Eddie (Vero Beach, FL)

We are very fortunate that we don’t have that much trash on our beaches to begin with. I think most people that walk the beaches of Southwest Florida pick up any litter while they walk. Most of us have shell bags so it’s never a bother. This next picture wasn’t made on our beach but I thought it was so wild and clever, I had to share it. It was done for the coastal cleanup by Anke at Beached Art. Check out this piece of trash ….. art. She found all of this trash in 20 minutes on her beach. Yikes!

Anke's Beached Art

Categories : Flotsam, Sanibel
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Captiva Flotsam

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Captiva Flotsam

I never really payed much attention to the weeds, sticks and oddities that washed up on the beach until I saw this old tree root… or whatever it is that washed up at Blind Pass. It made me think about what Prudence of Flotsam Friends makes with all of this beach “trash”.

Flotsam friend by Prudence

Beautiful, huh? I can’t imagine what she could make with all of the crazy roots of this one today. Isn’t it funny how this tree root looks a lot more interesting now that you take a second look?

Captiva Flotsam close-up

Categories : Blind Pass, Captiva, Flotsam
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Shell Bag Half Full

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Shell bag on Sanibel

Joe Anne and Deborah from Brunswick, GA didn’t want me to take their picture on Algier’s Beach (Gulf Side City Park) but didn’t mind showing all of their shell bag treasure. They scored with FIGHTING CONCHS, LIGHTNING WHELKS, CALICO SCALLOPS and MUREXES. They weren’t the only lucky ones. They told me that a couple from a neighbor city in Georgia found a JUNONIA just minutes before we got there.

Carol and James (Waynesville, Ga)

James did find a JUNONIA! It was a broken one but the core was still in tact and it was the first time in 35 years of visiting Sanibel that they’ve found even a piece. I told them about  the necklace that Kathy from Salt Lake made with her similar piece of Junonia in my post  Junonia Necklace .

Kathy's junonia necklace

Last night's Sanibel causeway sunset