Archive for Decorate with shells
I’ve never been disappointed after beach combing any of the beaches of SouthWest Florida. There’s always something new to discover whether it’s a shoreline filled with shells, beautiful shore birds doing their own beach combing, sea life playing a game of hide and seek in the Gulf Of Mexico or finding lots of different BEACH BLING in the high tide wrack line. If I feel like I have to collect something from my day of beach combing, but I didn’t find the perfect shell… I love to sift through the bling and maybe look for a SEA BEAN or find a beautiful piece of DRIFTWOOD…
Even if most of the shells strewn along the shoreline are broken, they are still beautiful to me… especially if they have holes naturally drilled in them from other mollusks or cracked open from CRABS looking for a meal. I will pick up a broken FIGHTING CONCH in a heart beat if I feel like I need to get my shell collecting fix. I always have ideas what I can do with them!
I bring those beach beauties home and save them in a jar until I’m ready to make something with them. I’m so ready for a craft project! How about you!
I spilled that jar of broken shells out on a work table along with one of those long pieces of DRIFT WOOD, a spool of twine and a pair of scissors. I’m going to make a SEASHELL MOBILE … Sanibel Island style!
This is so easy, y’all! I picked out the shells I want to use and lined them up just how I wanted them to hang from the DRIFT WOOD…
I cut 4 pieces of twine almost double what I needed for each line just to make it easy to tie each piece as needed. I’d rather have it too long than to have to redo the whole thing for being too short. Then I started from the bottom by tying the heaviest ones first…
Most long time shellers would never pick this broken FIGHTING CONCH up but for some reason when I saw it… it spoke to me. It said… ”I would be sooooo easy to tie on a string for a mobile, Pam!”
And I’ve always loved shells with perfectly drilled holes in them. They are perfect for this project!
Once I had them all strung, I then tied each shell string to the DRIFTWOOD. I didn’t do any fancy knots… I just tied a double knot because twine has a way of holding together especially when the weight keeps them in place. I tied one long string to the ends of the DRIFT “STICK” to use as the hanger. Voila! I had a shell mobile.
But…. hmmmmm… something was missing. It was still cute and islandy but it still needed a little bit of color for my own taste. So I got out some of my SEA GLASS and started tying the twine around the SEAGLASS with a knot to secure it, then tying the ends of the glass twine around the mobile twine with a nice secure knot… then cutting the excess off with the scissors. It worked!
I wanted to keep it a simple beachy look so I didn’t overwhelm it with shells or SEAGLASS.
I think that broken piece of JUNONIA steals the show anyway- LOL!
I think it’s sweet, simple, raw island. I love it! It makes me happy. I love to collect broken shells to make something beautiful … just like the OLIVE BRACELET. So if you ever feel disappointed in your shells finds, take a second look at all of the beautiful things that are surrounding you on the beach. Maybe some of the shells or bling that you normally pass by will start speaking to you as well.
It’s the small things in my beach life that I seem to get most excited about. When I found this tiny juvie GAUDY NATICA (Colorful Moon), I literally laughed out loud because it was just a perfect beautiful baby. And then I said to myself… “Self? Why don’t we find more juvie GAUDY NATICAS on our beaches?”. We find baby SHARKS EYE all the time so why wouldn’t we see more baby GAUDIES. Things that make you go Hmmmmm.
But my attention quickly changed when I saw Noah (Fort Myers) filling up his bucket on a nice shell pile right at the entrance to Bowman’s Beach yesterday. He walked right over to me to hand me one of his shells after seeing me collect a few too. I told him the shell he gave me was called a JINGLE shell so he repeated it once… then quickly found another and another to share them all with me. Each time he said “JINGLE!” How sweet! Thank you Noah, you are an excellent sheller.
We only found a few of those nice shell piles on the beach but the water’s edge was holding a few more goodies. Clark emptied out his pockets and put them in his shelling backhoe to show me what he found from his walk from Blind Pass to Bowman’s Beach.
We started out at Blind Pass Sanibel and in just a few minutes I pulled these lovelies out of the the surf line…
Susan (Sanibel) showed me her favorite find of the day… A ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER! How lucky! I rarely see them on the beach so I would call that ultimate BEACH BLING…
Speaking of ultimate BEACH BLING, some creative soul made this cool BLING art sculpture. Yes, it’s cool, but I don’t want to encourage anybody to make tall sculptures or sand pits in the summer (May through September) because they can be disastrous for SEA TURTLES. They can get trapped or disoriented by moving around them or they can get stuck. So please be aware of nesting SEA TURTLES.
But if you can’t keep that inner artist trapped inside you while you’re on the beach, just make a flat design like this beautiful SEASHELL MERMAID made by artist Christy and her creative daughters Baylee and September.
It was a beautiful weekend finding beautiful treasures…
Come on! Come shelling with us on Wednesday June 19th!!!!
We are taking a shelling cruise to Cayo Costa June 19, 2013 at low tide at 1pm so I’d love for you to join us! Call 239-472-5300 and tell them you want to be on the iLoveShelling cruise or CLICK HERE for more information. It’s so much fun!
I’ve had many people ask me about my OLIVE shell bracelet that I’ve shown in some of my photos. I’m tickled that you like it… because I made it! I missed the string on my wrist from Thailand so I decided to make a Sanibel version because I loved the sentiment that came along with my original simple string….Remember, every day is a gift. It’s just like tying a string around my finger when I had to remember something when I was a kid. My “Sanibel Shell String” version also reminds me to remember to look for the not-so-obvious treasures and simple wonders the day can bring. Everything doesn’t have to be grand to be good. Don’t get me wrong… I like grand too (LOL) but I love the things that I overlooked in the past and then when I finally see them- WOW! It’s been there the whole time and I never realized how cool it was. A simple pleasure. So when I would show photos of my hand displaying some of the treasures I found on the beach and it showed my Sanibel Shell String, I noticed a few comments that yall would like to know how to make one too. I’m thrilled!
So I made a HowTo video! Since it’s been raining here in Sanibel and all of Southwest Florida, I made this video to show you step by step on how to make a shell bracelet too! It’s easy! Go look through your boxes of shells… I’m sure you have an OLIVE with a missing tip and follow these same simple steps I took to make mine…
PS- I did forget one thing- before I give one as a gift, I soak the bracelet in hot sudsy water for a while then rinse it to get as much of the wax off the string as I can. If you don’t do this, the string gets too lose on your wrist and you have to retie it. WAIT! ALSO! DON’T FORGET! Sign up to win your own shelling vacation to collect your own OLIVE shells and other treasures! CLICK HERE to win!
I love making shell crafts! It’s been a few months since I’ve had a shell project to get my hands on … so the last two days I’ve spent being very excited to be actually making a shell frame as a gift to a special couple. If you don’t already know what my long time fave shell is… it’s the WORM SHELL! And I loooove making things with WORM SHELLS because no two are alike and they are just so stinkin’ whimsical they make me laugh. The thing is… I don’t find them often any more so when we find even one on the beach, it’s such a happy day.
The ones that have a funny sideways twist? Even better!
Then there are the days when I feel like the stars and planets have lined up in perfect harmony when I find this many WORM SHELLS in an afternoon…
After soaking them in a bucket of 1/4 bleach to water over night, I rinse them off with fresh water then lay them out to dry. Okay, I’m gonna tell the truth… some times I’ve left them in longer than overnight… errrr….. some times I forget I have them soaking in the bucket but remember after a week…okay, okay!… maybe 2 weeks later or longer. But by being so, ummm, “scatter brained”, I now realize it doesn’t hurt the WORM SHELLS. If they are greenish or grungy white, it just makes them sparkly white. If they are the tan/brown color ones, they stay that pretty color but just brighten up. They aren’t needy… just another reason they are my favorite shells!
So I took some of my cleaned, sorted WORMIES and started hot glueing them to a painted white frame I scuffed up with sandpaper. My project was under way!
To me it’s like doing a shell puzzle or shell mosaic. You have to keep trying different shells that will fit in the right place to fill the blank space. And I get to go shelling all over again…searching, searching for the perfect treasure. I hot glue one at a time, hold it until it sets up, then move to the other side to make sure it dries completely before I disturb the glue.
When the frame is completely filled with shells, I feel happy to have accomplished such a fun project but even more, I am heartfelt to be able to share this with the people I made it for.
It was a “Welcome to Florida” gift for Cheri and “Hubby” (her nickname for him on her blog) from Virginia who just bought a home in Fort Myers! Cheri is the blogger behind the Shelllady so after meeting them years ago on the beach, I knew they have always dreamed of having a home near Sanibel. Their dream has come true!
We all know Super Sheller Clark is good at finding shells, he’s also good at finding homes too. Since he helped them buy their new place (which within 4 hours already has a seashell theme), last night we shellebrated with them for now being new Florida residents. We went to our favorite Sanibel restaurant… Traders! Most birthdays and get-togethers we celebrate at Traders, but this was a biggie. Of course it was a delicious meal but it was very special to be able to share in the day of such a big part of their lives.
Thank you so much Cheri and Jimmy for letting Clark and me be part of this amazing decision! Congratshellations!
Every beach I went to this week (before it starting raining) seemed to shout “JINGLE SHELLS!” to me. I’m not the only one who has seen gobs of JINGLES. Remember, Barb was picking them up too last week…
So now that it’s been raining for 2 days, I figure this is the perfect time to think about sorting, organizing and displaying some of these treasures I’ve been picking up lately…. JINGLES! Who doesn’t love a JINGLE!
I’ve now started a “Jingle Jar” that I bought from Home Goods. Yeah, yeah. I know it’s really, really, reeeaaaally tall and I need a oodles of JINGLES to fill it up. But JINGLES are very common to find on Sanibel so I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble filling it all the way to the top by the end of the summer…. Maybe.
When I find different ones, I love to sort shells by color so I’m always tickled when I find them sand color, bright orange, charcoal black, snow white and mellow yellow.
The bright orange ones make great accents to any display in smaller jars everywhere in my house… especially by my fave ANGULAR TRITON find from our January trip to Turks And Caicos…
The black ones look so handsome together just laying in a dish…
I am going to make time for shell craft projects the summer (hopefully on rainy days like today) because when I thought about organizing my JINGLE SHELLS, I always get inspired by thinking about Jane’s JINGLE SHELL frame I featured at the top of this post. Here’s a close up of her precious piece with her darling family…
Jane loves to embellish anything and everything with shells! Somebody was going to throw out this old lantern but Jane rescued it and encrusted it with JINGLES and other shells. It’s a gorgeous accent lantern now for her seaside home.
She even adds shells to the edges of her plain cork coasters to make them adorable cork coasters! She lined one with BUTTON SHELLS, one with KITTENS PAWS, another with different CLAMS and of course one with JINGLE SHELLS. She is the glue gun Craft Queen!
And other people do fun things with JINGLES too. Remember this “Jingle Cat” I showed you from the 2012 Sanibel Shell Show last year? LOL It still makes me smile!
So okay, what I’m trying to say is this…
If you aren’t finding the larger shells on the beach, don’t get disappointed. It’s the perfect opportunity to look at the other beautiful shells that are right there in front of you on Sanibel that you might not otherwise see. So many people overlook JINGLES. They are precious! And when it’s cold or rainy or you are stuck inside, get that box of shells out of the closet where nobody can see them and get these beautiful treasures displayed! Even if you arent as crafty as Jane, you can easily put them in a jar, dish or vessel to always admire them. Every day you will be brought back to that memorable trip to the beach.
The 76th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show has taken my breath away yet again. Each and every year I’m overwhelmed with the scientific exhibits, talented shell artists and creative minds that contribute to this show. Honestly, how did Judy Mackey have the vision to make this award winning seashell crown… perfect for the highest of the mermaid queens?
Can you imagine the patience that it took to design this dazzling trinket box?
How did Jan Harper think of making a seashell cupcake?
Did Amy Tripp do the happy dance for a week after finding this ultra FREAK FIGHTING CONCH she added to her blue ribbon for the “Color Your World” theme exhibit?
Here’s Amy with her husband Bill in front of their display…
And I had even more questions… How long did Mary Burton shellebrate after she found this ARROW DWARF TRITON off West Gulf Drive on Sanibel that she entered in the “Single Self Collected Sanibel Captiva Shell” category?
And how happy do you think Charlotte Thorpe is to win the Conchologists of America award presented by judges John Slapcinsky (collections manager for the Malacology Department at the Florida Museum of Natural History) and Jerry Harasewych (Curator in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian Institution)?
Okay, so now you see that these exhibits were oozing with talent. But wait, more talent! David Rhyne’s double Sailors Valentine won Best In Show this year…
Artist Judy Dinnick won best single Sailors Valentine…
See? So many exhibits took my breath away. And just take a look at some more amazing creations…
And last but not least, I saw this piece by Mary Giambruno that was called “My Beach Bling”. Oh how that warms my heart! Who doesn’t love some good BEACH BLING? What a fun show!
PS- One more week until we can shell together at Cayo Costa on March 16th! Click on the next image for more info…