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Collecting seashells on the beaches of Sanibel, Captiva and the world

Shellabrating Seashells In Fashion

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Decorate with shells, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show | 28 comments

seashell wedding dress

Sanibel and Captiva fashion divas strutted the runway yesterday in gorgeous gowns, dazzling dresses, stunning scarfs and sassy shoes all embellished with our favorite accent…. SEASHELLS!

sea shell wedding dress

It took two months for Melinda Graham of home decor boutique Surroundings to make this wedding dress adorned with JINGLES, BUTTON SHELLS and white land shells. I would have loved to have gotten married in this dress (especially if I could have ever fit into the tiny size)! It is so incredibly lovely. She even designed flower girl dresses…

brides maid dress with seashell

She embellished the flower girls’ flip flops as well!

brides maid flip flops

And the flower girl head pieces are laced with shells!

sea shell head piece flower girl

Melinda won first place for this seashell couture gown as you can imagine. Look one more time at the details…

seashell embellish on satin

Second place winner went to Marianne Kanzius in a dress she made from complete scratch then added seaglass beads and shells…

2nd place shellabration sea shell dress

 Look at these delicate details. So sweet…

seashells and sea glass embellish dress

There were more than a dozen other dresses adorned with our beloved seashells to Shellabrate the 75th Annual Sanibel Shell Fair and Show this week. Susan Berg opened the show with a shellacious start…

seashell fashion show

Long time shell enthusiast Ethel Sinow wore a vintage Lily Pulitzer dress and jacket accented with a seashell handbag…

Ethel Sinow lily pulitzer

lily pulitzer seashell top

The Shell Island Garden Club made this beautiful shell scarf to match the rest of Edie’s shell lined dress…

seashell scarf shellabration

dress adorned with seashells

Check out all of the other shelltastic stunners…

seashell dog collar with matching dress

shellabration fashion show

Seashell design dress Sanibel

Mary Buck seashell cloak

jingle shell hoodie

shellabration seashell cover up

seashell embellished dress

seashell fashion show models

sea shell fashion show shellabration sanibel

Oh! I almost forgot to mention that my dear friend Jane donated one of her fabulous shell mirrors to start the show with an auction item. She too is amazing, isn’t she?

janes live auction mirror

Thank you to the models/designers Susen Berg, Ethel Sinow, Karen Tempority, Mary Buck, Harriet Witt, Barb Kapinus, Mary Bates, Canstance Mara, Kerry Trapp, Marianne Kanzius, Floral Artistry, Shell Island Garder Club, Ding Darling and Melinda Graham for sharing your love of shells. Peace, love and seashells!

fun bride with shell wedding dress Sanibel


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Mystique Of A Freak

Posted by on Feb 26, 2012 in Freak Shells, King's Crown, Lightning Whelk, Pear Whelk | 34 comments

freak lightning whelk curly tail

Ahhhhh Freak Out! Le Freak. C’est Chic. Freak Out! … Remember that song? Wouldn’t you freak if you found this FREAK LIGHTNING WHELK?

freak lightning whelk

Martine (from my last post) introduced me to her Periwinkle Park neighbors Ron and Lucienne because they too love to shell. As soon as I saw their picnic table loaded with shells, I spotted this LIGHTNING WHELK. I freaked out when I saw the curly tail on this guy!

freak lightning whelk seashell

What’s a FREAK shell? As I understand it, it’s a shell with an abnormal structure, albinism, dwarf, giant or some sort of growth defect or maybe even a strange color pattern. This is Lucienne proudly displaying her FREAK WHELK…

Lucienne Sanibel freak shell

After I calmed down about the curly tailed freak, I spotted something else. Another freakin’ FREAK?

freak lightning pear whelk seashell aperture

Looks like a PEAR WHELK, right? I know, but I don’t think it is (although I could be wrong). I guess it could be a left handed PEAR WHELK with a strange apex but I what ever it is, it’s a FREAK! In my humble opinion, I think it’s a LIGHTNING WHELK that is a “Knobless Wonder” in a WHELK version instead of a HORSE CONCH. Look! It doesn’t have the spines that LIGHTNING WHELKS normally have. Believe it or not, they had two of these they found the same day.

freak lightning pear whelk

Lucienne’s husband Ron was especially proud of this huge, beautiful KING’S CROWN he found as well. Wow! gorgeous…

Ron large kings crown sanibel

 Even this one looks like it is a little unusual (not to mention the size of it!) because of a second row of spines…

Kings crown apex

I wouldn’t consider this one to be a FREAK but this LIGHTNING WHELK had a slight bend to the base (or what I like to call the “tail”). And look at the color on this baby- fabulous!

lightning whelk shell bend

 Look at all these beauties!

jar of seashells lucienne ron

 I asked Ron and Lucienne where they find their best shells. They told me they love to shell in the bays around Sanibel in their homemade kayaks. Yes, you heard that right. They made both of these beautiful kayaks!

hand made kayaks

Thank you for sharing your treasures, Ron and Lucienne. I had an incredible time drooling over your incredible shell collection… especially those FREAKS! I’m still freaked! It’s hard to say what causes mollusks to have abnormal growth patterns like “Curly Tail” but there could be many reasons including lack of food, healing after damage by predators, water quality (red tide maybe!) or who knows…. it could be just in the DNA. Whatever it is, i LOVE FREAK SHELLS!

freak lightning whelk shell on kayak

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Bicycle Built For Seashells

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Decorate with shells | 24 comments

seashell bicycle basket

This is what a Sanibel bicycle should look like!

Martine seashell bicycle bike

Martine (Quebec) loves to ride her bike to the beach to collect shells on Sanibel as a sort of therapy. She says when she is on the beach she gets into a ZEN type feeling that clears her mind like cultivating a bonsai tree. That’s so true, isn’t it? After she returns to her little piece of paradise in Periwinkle Park, she cleans up her treasures to add them to her bike with clear silicone. There’s even a JUNONIA on there!

sea shell bike basket

And to her planters…

seashell planter

 And to her “welcome” sign (heehee)…

Go to shell sign

She organizes some her shells in the trays you get for veggies and party platters. Great idea!

organizing seashell trays

Martine also introduced me to her Canadian friend Lucienne (Ottawa) who loves shelling. Shelling Sistahs!

Lucienne martine love shelling tee

I will show you some of the FREAK shells that Lucienne and her husband Ron found on my next post so stay tuned! Until then, I’m thinking I need to add shells to my bike basket too. Thank you, Martine, for a lovely morning in the park.

bike basket shells

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i Heart Captiva Island

Posted by on Feb 22, 2012 in Beach Hearts, Decorate with shells, Flat Zigzag Scallop, Junonia | 21 comments

i heart captiva island florida

I love Captiva Island. I love that an artist made shell beach art like this piece at the entrance to Blind Pass beach. Beach artist, Robert from NJ, made it for his wife for Valentine’s Day. So sweet! Obviously, I haven’t been there in over a week so I missed it. Shame on me! But thankfully he has been grooming it to keep it clean and neat for a whole week for her.. and for us so we get to enjoy it as well.

I have another reason why “i Heart Captiva Island”….

roma's junonia

 Roma (MI) found a JUNONA!

Roma Michigan junonia captiva

She said it was one of the first shells she found this morning near the jetty rocks. It wasn’t completely whole but it is perfect to wrap for a JUNONIA necklace.

roma junonia captiva

 And that’s not it! Sara W found two (!) JUNONIAS at Blind Pass in the last week at Blind Pass as well. It’s so weird they are broken at the same exact spots but then again… perfect for necklaces! She posted this on iLoveShelling facebook page

junonia cobs

Jessica (NY) found a piece of  JUONIA too. Maybe part of Roma’s or Sara’s?

jessica seashell captiva junonia

 Here’s Jessica with Steven and Kathryn this morning on the shell mound this morning…

Steven, Kathryn, Jessica ny shelling captiva

 John (NY) was working the pass side of the jetty and filled his shell bag full of FIGHTING CONCHS.

John Ny fighting conchs captiva

 I had no idea the huge shell pile was back (and has been there for several days) and full of goodies! How did that happen and I didn’t hear a thing about it?? Mother Nature loves to play hide and seek with the seashells!

captiva shell mound

 I found an assortment of treasures right away…

variety of Captiva shells


flat scallop zic zac

While I was checking out everybody’s finds and the big shell mound, Robert was collecting more PEN SHELLS for another shell art project. We look forward to your next master piece!

Robert shelling for beach art

 beach heart

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Yesterday’s Surf Advisory

Posted by on Feb 20, 2012 in Baby's Ear, Lion's Paw, Sargassum | 27 comments

Sanibel beached nutmeg

After hearing there was a surf advisory with high SW winds yesterday, I couldn’t wait to see the beach filled with seashells and cool Beach Bling.

cloudy morning sanibel lighthouse

 Shawn from Kansas was in perfect Sanibel Stoop position so I figured he had already found some goodies…

collecting shells Sanibel island

 He found a nice mix of shells. I looove that LACE MUREX with the link top…

shawn seashells

After talking to him, we realized that I had met his mom a few weeks ago, She’s Shelling Sistah Karen from that special day “When Shelling Worlds Collide“. Hi Karen! Now I met your son Shawn!

shawn kansas with sanibel seashells

 Massachusetts girls Kristin, Chloe and Haley were having a blast finding PAPER FIGS, SEA URCHINS and STARFISH. Most of the STARFISH were alive so they went back to the water but there were a few dried in the high wrack line. A souvenir!

Kristin, Chloe, Haley girls sanibel beach

 I didn’t see many shells on the pier side of the Sanibel lighthouse but there was plenty of SARGASSUM. This is a type of seaweed provides a rich environment for marine animals like SEA TURTLES.



paper fig egg cases

Low and behold, I found a BABY’S EAR turned upside down in the bling…

upside down babys ear

 And just to get my heart racing, half way buried in the sand I saw the ribs of a LION’S PAW. I reached down to dig it out … and came up with a broken piece. That’s ok! Where there’s a broken piece today, there may be a whole piece tomorrow.

piece of lions paw sanibel

 We’ve had so many beautiful calm days for weeks and weeks. This is a wonderful thing for most people, right? But for us shellers, give us some messy weather! This wind was a start but maybe just 2 days back to back of high west winds… then it can go back to perfectly gorgeous island weather. Am I being too selfish?

low tide sanibel

 PS- The DOLPHINS and PELICANS were playing this morning too!

dolphin pelican sanibel gulf

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