Holy Cowrie- I’m shocked at how long it’s been since I’ve published my last blog post! I think this is the longest I’ve gone between posts in 8 years but it hasn’t been because I haven’t been conchsumed with seashells. I’ve found shells at Bowman’s Beach …
And Gulfside City Park beach (notice that amazing lemon yellow LEAFY JEWELBOX)…
And Blind Pass Sanibel (finding so many color variations of the FLORIDA FIGHTING CONCH)
And hanging out with my girlfriends Janie and Sandy on the West Gulf beaches.
I even took a trip up to Virginia Beach to see my family. It was just what I needed… a big dose of family with a recharge of seeing my dear friends and childhood beach I grew up on. I was thrilled to find a few RAZOR CLAMS (we always called them RAZOR CLAMS but I think they are actually AMERICAN JACKKNIFE CLAMS) that matched my new bracelet my friend Wendy Miller gave me (Heart Of Dolphin Designs…and of course my long time favorite silver shell bracelet by Congress Jewelers)
And then…. there’s been the Shellaboratory. I’ve been working every day trying to get our shells back in order and doing some remodeling. The floor is done (sneak preview of the shells I painted on it ) but all our shells still need to be sorted again. “Why” you ask? Because it looked like a shellnado whipped through the shellab after the shelldazzling of…..
Shell Love Bug! I’ll take that shellnado any day- she was so worth it. I hope you get to see her soon- check out her new tour date schedule updated periodically by going to ShellLoveBug.com or CLICK HERE
Shell Love Bug will be a shellebrity at The Celebrity Island Dinner for the fundraiser for our fabulous Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island at Traders October 3. Remember a few years ago when I dressed up as Shelly Temple hahaha (click here) ? Yep, this is the same event but unfortunately, the event sold out very quickly this year… although…. you can still play a part of the event.
Wanna show some love for Shell Love Bug? Help spread the shelling love …. give Shell Love Bug a “tip” as a donation to the Shell Museum. Shell Love Bug spreads the shellove of seashells and so does the museum.
Let’s all help out by shelling out a few clams for either Shell Love Bug or any of the other “shellebrity waiters” to raise some beach bling for the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum CLICK HERE
PS- You just might see her shellivanting around the islands this week ;)
Although the speakers, entertainment and work being done to help save the world (and I’m serious- they truly are helping folks around the world), it was time to get outdoors, take a boat ride to the secluded island of Cayo Costa and enjoy this amazing part of the planet.
And find some treasures!
I’m thrilled it was a beautiful day to hang out with them and thank them for their work. Most of y’all know that Congress Jewelersgives $25 gift certificates to all shellers on my iLoveShelling cruises but you probably didn’t know Scot Congress is a Rotarian too. He’s very generous to the shelling community but he’s also very generous when it comes to his Rotary Club so everybody on this Rotary cruise got a $25 gift certificate as well. Yippee!
Everybody was excited about that and to find shells and fellowship… ahem… SHELLowship.
It was especially fun to hang out with some of the Rotary Youth Exchange studentswho, by the way, were having a blast. Really, do you think they were having fun? LOL
The strength and possibilities that one group can do is so encouraging.
Okay so talking about encouraging… Dr Todd Golde – Director for Center for Translational Research Neurodegenerative Disease (in other words… he’s a guy trying to find a treatment for Alzheimers- pretty big deal I’d say) and the other phenomenal speakers at the conference were given thank you gifts from the District President Pete Doraugh… he chose to give them Pam Rambo Shellography! Wow, pretty humbling because again, its such an unbelievable honor.
Okay, I know everything here isn’t exactly talking about shells or the beach but these things are very important to me and most of the time y’all enjoy the same things I do. So I want to share another Rotary service project they accomplished over the weekend. Ive talked many times about CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) because we’ve rescued countless birds and other wildlife on the islands while out shelling that we’ve taken there (to read them- CLICK HERE) … so this is way cool. If you’ve ever heard about Ozzie The Bald Eaglehere in SW Florida, you know that this BALD EAGLE was injured and taken to CROW for his recovery. Well, he is ready for is next phase of recovery so he needs to be in a bigger L shaped cage to strengthen his wings and practice flying hard lefts and rights. Rotarians to the rescue! They cleaned and re-sanded the cage to make sure everything is fresh and new for OZZIE the celebrity EAGLE we all fell in love with after watching he and his mate Harriet care for their EAGLETS on a webcam. We didn’t get to see OZZIE while we were there since this is a very delicate recovery but just to be able to help get his cage ready was really awesome.
So now you see that so many things on our islands blend together and our shelling community bonds us in so many more special ways than just walking the beach. Oh and I didn’t even mention that Melissa Congress (I’veintroduced you to before at Congress Jewelers) is the President of the Board Of Directors at CROW? Isn’t that crazy how our lives intertwine so much?
But the most important reason that this was a particularly amazing weekend for me was because my husband Clark (Super Sheller Clark) was responsible for putting this whole conference together as the District Conference Chairman. I don’t talk too much about this part of our lives (maybe one other time CLICK HERE) but Im very proud of him and the good man he is. Whoop whoop! Way to go honey!
The weather outside is delightful. Our Sanibel Island mornings have been cool and crisp with the afternoons in the 80s- perfect holiday weather to share with peeps visiting from Boston like cutie little sheller Raquel with her dad Jeff, mom Jackie and brother Adam.
They showed me their favorite shells they found near Gulfside City Park beach then named each one since they just learned the shell names from talking with other shellers on the beach.
This is how the beach brings people to together… I had met sweet Beverly (Maine) and her daughter Carolyn (Boston) just a few minutes before meeting Raquel’s family… which they had been ones to share some of the shell names with them. It’s such a close and wonderful shelling community!
Then I saw Carol from Sanibel Seashells shop walking with a group of birders on the beach with binoculars, books and a clip board in hand. They were volunteering for the Sanibel edition of the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Bravo! They had already counted lots of birds in their count circle but leading the count in numbers were SANDERLINGS, LAUGHING GULLS, WILLETS and RING BILLED GULLS. So cool.
I stood with them a few minutes as they counted a few adorable little SNOWY PLOVERS then we turned to the gulf to see a SURF SCOTER sitting at the edge of the water. How odd! We rarely see SURF SCOTERS on Sanibel and there I was with a bunch of birders to see an uncommon sight … and then to realize it was injured.
One of the Bird Count volunteers Katharine (Vermont) quickly ran over to secure the SCOTER then rushed it to CROW (Clinic for Rehabilitation Of Wildlife). Great job Katharine!
Which reminds me… I found out that the SANDWICH TERN that we rescued on our Captiva Cruises shelling trip had been released. Yay! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for MS. SCOTER too.
The day seemed so serendipitous which is why I love this next photo. Here’s birder Katharine rescuing the SCOTER with a volunteer bird counter holding a bird handbook. Then there’s Jackie from Boston witnessing the rescue who learned shell IDs from Beverly along with her daughter Carolyn… from Boston (in the far background). Shellendipity!
Oh and PS- Guess who is getting in the holiday spirit… my fave shelling captain Brian Holaway. He decorated his boat with SEASHELLS and STARFISH lights for the Captiva Boat Parade. So cute!
The Holaway Holiday boat…
I’m in the spirit too so I’m off to make my SAND DOLLAR cookies for Christmas. Remember these? Everybody loves these cookies and they are so easy. (CLICK HERE for my post on the SAND DOLLAR cookies… but just in case you might no know, any time you see that I’ve highlighted and bolded words in my posts- I have linked to another page for more information – happy linking!)
“Every beautiful shell from the sea is a treasured gift” – I’ve said that countless times after admiring the amazing architecture, color and patterns of shells and bling that have washed up at my feet while taking a walk on the beach. I feel like I receive another wonderful gift when I meet folks who appreciate those same awesome gifts from the great Mother Nature.
Nicole, Dennis, Jesse and Sophie from Oregon gave me that gift last week… which was being able to hang out with this is one awesome family!
The moment 5 year old Sophie’s feet hit the sand, she barely had time to look up as she picked up one fascinating shell after another.
She already knew lots of the shell names too since she and her family had been studying up on the types of shells they might find on this very special Make-A-Wish trip to Sanibel.
The whole family told me they loved seeing all of the live creatures on or around the island… like DOLPHINS, MANATEES, TURTLES and the BIRDS but I think Jesse especially liked the ALLIGATORS (Ack! haha) in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and little critters like this HAIRY CRAB on the beach (maybe its a Pilumnus sayi ?) .I’ve seen lots of these little hairy guys in the SPONGES lately.
Jesse pulled these shells and beach bling aside to show me that his favorite finds from the beach were the smallest of treasures. Dont you just love that his faves are the tiniest ones?
Nicole and Sophie picked out a few of their favorite beach treasures … trying to just pick the best of each species (from a massive pile of shells they collected- haha). It wasn’t easy for them to pick just a few!
As I oohed and aaahed over Dennis’s SCOTCH BONNET, ALPHABET CONE and GAUDY NATICA, Nicole told me that picking out a few shells and arranging them makes each one just a special as the moment you found them. I couldn’t agree more. Together we made a masterpiece (with an ANGEL WING butterfly Nicole arranged with WORM SHELL antennas- heehee) using their favorite shells and beach bling collected on their trip.
These are special peeps whom I will have special memories with for a very long time.
Last week was a little chilly but they didn’t mind a bit- They are so stinkin silly and fun!
I hope they look back on their Sanibel trip as Spectacsheller!
I know I will… as I feel like I’ve been touched by an ANGEL.
A big THANK YOU to Make-A-Wish for making it possible for Sophie and her family to come to Sanibel, Florida.
We found WHELKS, BABYS EARS, WORMIES, CONCHS and lots of SEA URCHINS on our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa … but Jeff (from VA) got a head start of everybody else. He started shelling on the low tide mud flat beside the dock at Mccarthy’s Marina before our Captiva Cruises boat even left for the island! He spotted something on the bar then came up with 2 LIGHTNING WHELKS and a PEAR WHELK. Love it!
We arrived on Cayo costa to grey, overcast skies…
But the sun started peaking out just in time to shine on the shells. Amy from Kansas City quickly found 2 SUNRAY VENUS clams with both sides still attached. It was a SUNRAY VENUS kinda day!
Trish and Bill (FL) were having the same luck with FIGHTING CONCHS on the bayside where the boat anchored.
As I walked around to the Gulf side of the island, I saw Elizabeth and her Gramma Linda (Nebraska) working the high tide wrack line where all of the miniatures were hiding.
Elizabeth said she saw a BUBBLE SHELL so then started to focus on finding a WENTLETRAP. Yes! She found one along with a whole host of other sweet minis like this FALSE ANGEL WING, teeny tiny juvie CHESTNUT TURBAN, CERITHS, WHELKS, CONCHS and even tiny dried SEA URCHINS.
Sarah from Fort Lauderdale found a few nice chunks of COQUINA LIMESTONE to use as display for the different shells she found on her trip.
Sasha and Brooks (IL) found a few treasures to fill their shell bucket but I was thrilled for Sasha that she found a beautiful FLORIDA CONE.
I was tickled to see Becky and Wade on the cruise! They are amazing shellers who love everything about the beach and end up sharing most of their shells since they have so many. They are always a delight.
They couldn’t resist keeping the gorgeous double SUNRAY VENUSES. I don’t blame them… look at those colors!
There were some very cool WORM SHELLS that Ellen and Chad (Ohio) found but they found SUNRAY VENUSES as well and the one Ellen is holding up has an incredible color pattern- the color was as magenta as her jacket!
Jeff and Lisa found even more treasures to add to Jeff’s finds at the marina dock and they were also happy to receive $25 gift certificates from Sealife By Congress.
Yes, once again everybody on the iLoveShelling cruise received a $25 gift certificate to trade for a sterling silver charm or to use for anything else in their store. Thank you Sealife By Congress!
It was really fun to see Candace and Ken (MO) again (Candace helped me solve the Texas Longhorn mystery!) in her cutie tee shirt and she had strung a SUNRAY VENUS on a necklace with a silver charm similar to my DOSINIA necklace. Warm and fuzzies, I tell ya.
But hold on, we didn’t just find shells… Sisters Cissy (Asheville, NC), Debbie (Chapel Hill, NC) and Karen (Charleston, SC) had great luck finding shells (the top photo with the BABYS EARS) but they also saw an injured bird that needed rescuing. Carolina Sisters to the rescue!
They hurried back to the boat to tell Captain Skip who grabbed a towel then hurried to the beach to find it. He found a SANDWICH TERN unable to fly because of an injured wing so he gently gathered the bird in the towel to keep her secure then headed back to the boat to call CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife).
As soon as we got back to the dock, CROW volunteers Jaclyn and Ryan were waiting with a carrier to get Miss SANDWICH TERN safely to the clinic for medical help and treated ASAP. I called today to see how she was – she’s gaining weight and healing her wing but she still needs a few more days to recover. Get well quickly, Miss BLT! heehee
Here are the awesome rescuers…
See? Shelling is ALWAYS an adventure. You should join us on one of these exshellent shelling trips with so many other fabshellous shellers. I just announced new dates through May 2015… CLICK HERE for the new dates and more info…
I was so honored to be asked to be a celebrity waitress for the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum fundraiser, I figured if I was going to get folks to shell out lots of clams for the Shell Museum, I’m not a “celebrity”, but I can be a Shellebrity! So I pulled out boxes of shells and a hot glue gun then embellished a “little girl” dress (from the costume store) and curly top wig with STARFISH, SCALLOPS and ARK shells.
I was so tickle that the event was hosted at my fave Sanibel restaurant Traders, so we showed up early to hang out with the other waiters to get some advice of how the night should go. It was fun to see Krista Fogelsong and Clay Miller from NBC-2there too. I’ve run into Krista shelling Sanibel and Captiva (with her shell bag filled to the top!) a few times so it was fun to catch up and grab a yummy bite to eat together. Here’s Shelly with Krista and Alison Dry of Cips (photo courtesy of the Shell Museum)…
Then we got to “work” waiting tables and asking for donation tips. Thank you Ron for starting off the night with my first tip! For big tips, I gave out Shellollipops…hahaha
Okay, I really don’t believe I did this… but I sang and tap danced for tips. Ack! I wouldn’t do this for many people or organizations … but for the Shell Museum? I love that place! I had to! LOL (Dont worry, I had on a pair of shorts with that dress- yikes! it was sooo short)
For Shelly’s singing and dancing, Melissa and Scot Congress of Sealife By Congress, were very generous and donated big. Thank you so much!
Omigosh, are you really ready to see me (ahem… Shelly) sing and tap dance? But first I have to admit…. I DONT KNOW HOW TO TAP DANCE! But what would Shelly Temple be without tap dancing??? I had to learn a few steps so Susan Scott of The Enchanted Ballroom on Sanibel was kind enough to give me a lesson and made it very easy for me. Thank you Susan- you are a life saver!
This is my dress rehearsal (LOL) in my shell-station/art-studio/garage called the Shellaboratory (as my friend Tiia named it). Get ready for some silliness, folks. I’m sure you can guess the song I sang, right?
Here’s Shelly Temple singing and dancing to… “On The Good Beach Sanibel”…
It was a shelltastic night that raised lots of money for the most educational shell museum in the world. If you want to donate to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum too, CLICK HERE and tell them Shelly Temple sent you!