The best time to find lots of shells on the beaches of southwest Florida is after a storm coming from the Gulf Of Mexico – which is exactly what happened last weekend when Tropical Storm/Hurricane Hermine came through.
We never know exactly when or where the shells will start washing in after the storm leaves town but theres nothing more fun than hunting for them high and low. This is also the time to meet lots of other fun-loving shellers on the hunt for those amazing treasures that roll up on our beaches.
… And in the water when it calms.
… And anywhere in between.
Errrrr but wait. There may be something more fun than searching for them… Finding them.
This type of excitment is exactly what happened at the Sanibel Lighthouse Beach by the fishing pier last weekend. It’s what we shellers wait for and dream about!
Earlier this week the seas calmed from the storm and the shells weren’t as easy to find so Clark and I headed south towards Marco to explore the outer islands by boat.
OMG Super Sheller Clark hit the shellmongus jackpot… 2 gorgeous HORSE CONCHS! Thank you Tropical Storm Hermine for stirring up the Gulf Of Mexico just a tad without doing any damage to anything or anyone. You left such beautiful gifts of the sea for us.
I surround myself with seashells. I have shells and beach bling in every room of my house, my yard, my car, my pockets and even my dreams. So now I wear one around my neck as well. For my birthday this year, Clark bought me the sweetest little ALPHABET CONE necklace from our talented friend Wendy Miller.
It truly feels like a simple walk on the beach with the juvie cone shell, a small piece of driftwood wrapped with my fave color turquoise (amazonite) and a leather cord.
Since I’ve had sooooo many compliments and questions about my necklace, I thought I’d introduce you to the artist… Meet local jewelry artist Wendy Miller!
Clark and I had such a great time shelling with her last week at Blind Pass because she gets excited about finding the same types of shells we like. For most shellers, finding a FLAT SCALLOP is an amazing find but she also loves to find the cutie little KITTENS PAWS, colorful CARDITAS (she uses as clasps), orange SCALLOPS and she is especially crazy about finding the perfect piece of driftwood.
Each piece she makes reflects her love for beach combing. Like you and me, she not only receives shells as gifts from the sea, she told me she receives inspiration from the sea every time she walks the beach. Isn’t that why we all love shelling so much?
Like each beach day and every shell, each piece of jewelry has such a unique look and organic feel. Love that!
If you want to check out some of her other beautiful beach art pieces, her website is called Heart Of A Dolphin you can see by CLICKING HERE
This is why I surround myself with what I love.
My heart is all warm and shelly after receiving 3 boxes of seashells this week to reimburse the shells used in making the hearts and flowers for Shell Love Bug. I’m pink with gratitude to Melanie Herrin who sent many gorgeous ROSE PETAL TELLINS. I know these precious shells aren’t easily found and I would have never asked for them if I wasn’t in a pinch (as I explained in my blog post Seashell Repurposing). So I’m grateful she sent them to help finish creating Shell Love Bug. Omigosh and she sent other shells I needed to replace … FLORIDA SPINY JEWELBOXES and SAILORS EARS. Melanie also made a JINGLE SHELL bracelet to be sold at the next Sanibel Shell Festival in March to raise money for the Sanibel Community House- so very sweet! Melanie made a few shell creations for the Shell Love Bug box as well. What a “sweetheart”.
Sweet, Sweet Marie McDermed. She and her sister have kept me going through the years, for sure. Marie sent a huuuuge bag of SAILORS EARS that will replace all of the ones used from the inventory of the SCA Shellcrafters.
And she took so much care in separating ( left valves from rights valves!) and bagging so many different color COQUINAS to replace what was used in the hearts. Marie, I’m a lucky girl to know you.
Linda Gammon is so clever! I couldn’t help but smile seeing sooooo many beautiful coquinas for Shell Love Bug. I smiled at feeling grateful but I also had to smile seeing the clever packaging in which she thought to send her sorted COQUINAS.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to these dear givers who donated these shells to help with finishing putting together this shell car. I had the idea of making a mobile seashell art piece of the first annual National Seashell Day so I turned a car into a Sailors Valentine… but I didn’t have all the total 20,000 shells in the Rambo Shellaboratory. I’m grateful to the folks who donated shells (and helped glue shells) while creating Shell Love Bug last month and to these lovely contributors Melanie, Marie and Linda who have made it easier for me to get things back in order. I can’t thank you enough!!
I’ve also been scouring the beaches looking for purple COQUINAS this week and I had lots of great luck so I think that’ll do it for replacing shells. Yay!
Happy Mothers Day to my mother, all of you other amazing mothers…. And let’s not forget the magnificent Mother Nature too!
When I get to spend a gorgeous morning on the water with a bunch of happy, silly and extremely fun shellers… I am over the moon shell! This little shell scrabble tile art started the day off with so many warm and fuzzies… Thank you Janet for making this for me!!!
We even had a birthday party for Lynnda. Briggs, Lynnda, Craig, Laney, Ken and Katie came all the way from Nebraska to spend their time together doing what they love. Such a fun family shellebration!
We had another birthday shellebration too! Super Sheller Sawyer and his mom Melissa from Minnesota found all sorts of cool shells and beach bling.
Sawyer found this awesome dried STRIPED PUFFER FISH (aka PORCUPINE FISH or BURRFISH). After I identified it for him he said “They should call this place Treasure Island… it’s full of cool treasure”. Be still my heart.
Arriving on our Captiva Cruise to the secluded island of Cayo Costa on our iLoveShelling Adventure is always such a treat to begin with.
It was a great day to hang out with Diane and Valerie from Ohio
Seeing all the different variety of shells and bling they found.
This gorgeous day was a fun getaway for Connie (Ohio) and Al (Iowa)
To find a few of their favorites like dried STARFISH, SEA URCHINS, ANGEL WINGS, LETTERED OLIVES, a SPECKLED TELLIN and lots of colorful JINGLES.
Alyssa from Pittsburg was happy to find her favorite too…. candy! haha A teeny little orange juvie HORSE CONCH.
Such pretty day for Rabon to find a several large SUNRAY VENUS doubles- love that smile.
Gail from Kentucky is definitely living right…. Chillaxing. Or shall we say Shellaxing? ;) es
It was a special day. We didn’t find the hundreds of SAND DOLLARS that we did last time but I feel very fortunate to have been able to hang out with such a fun group of shellers- Thanks y’all!
I still have more Shell Festival photos to show you and catching up on showing Sanibel beaches- stay tuned for more Shell ‘n Tell!
Every year, the first week of March is always exciting because the Sanibel Shell Festival comes to town. This 2016 year was a trifect-shell-a for me.
1. – The show was fantastic.
Fun to see Carol Strange sharpie these beautiful shells.
Kelle Covington’s shell encrusted ukulele.
Marti Gorun’s gorgeous seashell mirror.
2. – Fun to hang out with shell friends and everybody at the show was exceptionally happy and chatty.
I had such a great time hanging out with Rachel (we learned so much from her last year about Natural Pearls) and Master Naturalist Shelling Guide Captain Brian Holaway.
We are such a colorful group! The girls just gotta have fun in psycheshellic colors with Kelle (she made the awesome Ukulele) and Shelley from Naples. Thanks for sending this photo Kelle :)
Bill Jordan is a hoot! He’s also an amazing artist with his SAILORS VALENTINE and pocket watch valentine.
Speaking of SAILORS VALENTINES… David Rhyne won Peoples Choice Award in the artistic division of the show.
You have to see the close up of this one because of the detail of the basket weave. The basket and the circle weave are made of SEA URCHIN SPINES.
Another amazing VALENTINE by Judy Dinnick.
This one by Gerda Reid.
Oooh shell la… so many stunning pieces!
And then we come to #3 of the trifectshella – The shelling was awesome!
Rachel found a JUNONIA on the east end of Sanibel about a mile from the Sanibel Lighthouse and her Aunt Margie found an amazing SCOTCH BONNET in about the same area.
Not bad I’d say for a couple of days of beach combing.
I’ve run out of room on this post and lots of cool shells to show you.. and more cool shell people. So stay tuned for more photos of the scientific division of the Sanibel Shell Festival.