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!
On your marks… Get set! It’s time for Shell ‘N Tell! Our last night together at Island Inn Sanibel for Shellabaloo 3 was one of my favorite evenings because I got to see everybody’s exshellent shells they collected throughout the week and to see how well they did for their Shellinger Hunt. On the first night, I gave each sheller a scroll with a list of shells and Beach Bling to find throughout the week to display their fave finds and listed items on the last night for Shell ‘N Tell. The day before the festivities began, my kitty Dustie helped me prepare their scrolls…
I was so amazed and tickled at all of the cool shells in awesome displays for our mini shell show! Here is Lou (FL) with her trays with SHARKS TEETH FOSSILS, the SANIBEL SIX, BEACH BLING and a MACULATED BABY’S EAR (you can see it better in the first photo).
Can’t you just see the fun Donny (Port St. John, FL) was having by that smile? Ha! That’s true beach treasure!
Love, love, love how everybody showed their different display styles and different shells and bling like Marie (Kansas).
See? Look how sweet that SAND DOLLAR is encircled with OLIVES, CONCHS, AUGERS,WHELKS, SLIPPERS and white clam shells. I love the red vegetation too!
Martha (AR) made a simply elegant display!
She added some beautiful greenery to her shells and cool Beach Bling items of a TARPON SCALE, piece of CORAL and a metal stake. LOL I just loooove the humor of shellers!
Cathy (St Augustine, FL) had some awesome finds!
See that big green thing in the middle top? That is part of a PANCAKE SAND DOLLAR she found at Cayo Costa. Such cool stuff! And dont miss the beautiful color of the LIGHTNING WHELK bottom left…
Oh Angela (Windermere, FL), you are so cute! It’s amazing to see how many different varieties of shells you found…
OMG Jennifer (Ottawa, Canada)! You found so many big beautiful shells!
Marisa (Ottawa, Canada) wasn’t sure if she was going to love shelling or not when her mom Jennifer asked her to come with her to Shellabaloo at the Island Inn. By the end of our shelling week, she looked like she was just as “into” finding shells and beach treasures as every body else. And look at the great ones she found!
Annette and Jim (IL) were so much fun to hang around with for the week. And they had some great luck finding some awesome shells too…
As you’ve probably noticed, some the Shellinger Hunt items listed were… “Find 10 KITTENS PAWS then display them in a COCKLE SHELL.” and “Find a dozen JINGLES and display them in any large BIVALVE shell.” Since I loves me some Beach Bling, They had them find 2 pieces of Beach Bling as well. Annette found 2 OPERCULUMS!
Jim found an OPERCULAUM as well and did a nice job of … “Find 5 DOUBLE COQUINAS with different colors”.
Nancy (San Diego, CA) had a gorgeous display with her very cool ARROWHEAD SAND DOLLAR she found while snorkeling at Cayo Costa.
She found 2 gorgeous LACE MUREXES and SHARKS EYES as well.
Trish (CO) added some doilies to spruce up her already beautiful display…
Her husband Gregg had some oh so fab shells too!
Here are Gregg and Trish’s shells combined to make a gorgeous display with flower petals added for color. Fabulous!
After being overwhelmed at seeing everybody’s shells all at one time, I tried to take my time and look back through some of the shells again. I got back to Gregg and Trish’s display and looked again at the WHELKS. OH MY GOODNESS! “EVERYBODY COME HERE!” I shouted. Look what Gregg found!
It’s a RIGHT HANDED WHELK!
*UPDATE: Oops! After lots of research and talks with Dr. Leal, we’ve come to the conclusion that this is a KNOBBED WHELK…. not a right-handed lightning whelk.
He had no idea it was special and just put it in his favorites pile along with all the other WHELKS and CONCHS. Yes! It should be in your favorites pile! We went to the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum at the beginning of our shelling tour where Dr. Jose Leal had mentioned to us that the LIGHTNING WHELK was the only left handed gastropod in our area. It is extremely rare to find a RIGHT HANDED LIGHTNING WHELK.
But back to the Shellinger Hunt results! The winner was based on points scored from each of my questions and treasure hunt finds listed on the hunt rules. Thank goodness Super Sheller Clark was there to help with the judging because it was very close. Drum Roll Please…..
Congratshellations! The highest score is Lou!
Thank you Sealife By Congress for generously donating an amazing prize of a stunning silver JUNONIA pendant on a silver chain!
On the first night, I had announced the winner’s prize of the necklace and let everybody get a glimpse of what the Shellinger Hunt winner would receive. Do I look excited or what? hahaha It’s from my favorite jewelry store. Thanks Jessica (from Hillgate Communications) for the photo!
Lou was a happy, happy gal to wear her new fab JUNONIA necklace.
Our 5 day shelling adventure brought a group of kindred spirits together for a shelling trip of a lifetime. We started as shellers and bonded as friends.
Clark and I thank Island Inn Sanibel for organizing this unforgettably shellacious event and hope to be announcing dates for the next Shellabaloo very soon -you will be the first to know. We’re already looking forward to Shellabaloo 4!
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. Okay… but please disregard who many times I say “uuummmm” – geez Pam! I should have edited that out but…. I didn’t have time. Bleck! I’ve got to get more used to being in front of the camera instead of behind it- LOL
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.
It sure was a roller coaster weekend… literally. Hurricane Irene was rolling along the coast wreaking havoc and causing lots of trouble. My family and friends in Virginia Beach are fine (some with no power still, but fine) and I hope you and yours that were in Irene’s path are okay as well. I spent most of my time glued to the weather channel wrenching my hands so I took a 45 minute drive to Bonita Springs on Saturday to meet my Shelling Sistas Carla and Kelly at Barefoot Beach for some well needed shelling time. The welcome wagon was there to greet us in the form of a GOPHER TORTOISE…
He was even so friendly to hang out with Kelly for a bit. How cute are they!
The tide was pretty high when we started our treasure hunt but there’s always something fun to find on the beach.
Carla spotted a couple of SHARK’S TEETH and fossil piece of a mouth plate to a PUFFER FISH….
I only found one little SHARK’S TOOTH but was happy to find any!
Carla came across this PEN SHELL with such a colorful EGG CASING attached to it. It looks like a beautiful flower blossom!
I am a little confused which egg sacs these are because of the color but I think this maybe a TRUE TULIP EGG CASE that just was formed. Take a look and see what you think. I’d love a positive I.D. so if you can help, please help us learn what it is. Here’s a closer look at this beauty….
Carla walks this beach probably as much as I walk the Sanibel beaches so she has a keen eye to find the goodies like the SHARK’S TEETH, EGG CASES and this perfect empty LACE MUREX …
Did you notice her necklace? Yes! She found that big honkin tooth and made a necklace out of it like she did for the oh-so-cool piece of sea glass she gave me. I love it Carla!
Kelly was soaking in the beauty of the day every second….
I was thrilled when she brought seashells she found from Puerto Penasco, Mexico (aka- Rocky Point) to share. Thank you Kelly! Now remember, these are shells from Mexico NOT Florida…
Seashells from Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco, Mexico)
I didn’t get a picture of all her treasures our day on Barefoot so she sent a photo of her shells from the day…
I know these don’t look like great shells to most, but these were my favorite finds on Saturday- CORAL, WORMIE, SHARKS TOOTH, a piece of a LION’S PAW (!), a tiny OLIVE with beautiful color and pattern and a SEA PEARL.
Since I was so distracted by Hurricane Irene, I didn’t get to show you another shelling sista I met last week on the beach in Sanibel. It was so nice to meet you, Desiree! I love your hat!
She said she bought a cheapy hat and embellished it using hot glue with shells she found on Sanibel. She said it was a snap to make since the ribbon was already there to glue the shells to. It’s the simple things that make life fun, isn’t it?
I have some pictures of Blind Pass from yesterday evening at low tide that I won’t probably get to post until tomorrow but it’s just an FYI…. there are shells there. You have to look in the water right at the edge of the small drop off. Good luck! In the mean time, enjoy a few more pics of Barefoot Beach…
I always love to see what other people do with the shells they find combing the beaches. Sharlene found these DOVE SHELLS on a beach near her home in Puerto Rico and she decided to make them into earrings. They look great…but then I think she could make SEA PORK look good too, right? She also made a simple but very cool necklace out of an AUGER. I might have to borrow your idea, Sharlene.
But then I’ve said that before, haven’t I? After seeing Kathy’s Junonia Necklace(my post last year) and other inspirations like Sharlene’s necklace, I’m reminded that I was going to make a great necklace too out of my shells but this is as far as I got. I bought waxed linen to thread some shells to hang from my fabulous necklace to be. It’s still sitting….. waiting…..
That’s okay. One day. But until then, I want to show you a few other finds from my weekend. There were a lot of live shells in the water around Middle Gulf Drive but there were a few good empty smaller shells like the ones Mark and Rene from Miami found…
This is a beautiful RIBBED CANTHARUS Mark found along with a BANDED TULIP, OLIVES, a NUTMEG and a CONCH.
Right after I ooooed at that orange CANTHARUS (I consider that “candy” too), I found a TINTED CANTHARUS…..
Since it was a full moon on Friday with negative low tides, I thought we’d have a little better shelling this weekend along the middle beaches of Sanibel. Maybe I should have gone to Blind Pass but we had rain and thunder on and off all weekend so the minute I hear thunder…. I know there’s lightning somewhere. Yikes! That’s when I stay off the beach!
The shell pile on Captiva is moving to pile up under the Blind Pass bridge.
While shelling under the bridge, I met Gwen from Connecticut. She makes jewelry from SEA GLASS and shells by drilling holes in them. I’ve made seashell decorations from shells that already have holes in them (like my sand dollar and starfish garland) or with hot glue (like my Santa hat) but I’ve never drilled holes in shells to string or wire into jewelry or decorations. So here ya go… meet Gwen! She’s going to tell you how to drill holes in the SEA GLASS or any shell!
Isn’t that fantastic? Thank you Gwen! I can’t wait to try it. Here’s the rest of the group that was there with us.
Do you see someone familiar in there ? In the middle is blogger and shelling sister Kaybe from The Essential Beachcomber. She came to Sanibel for the day from Englewood and I saw her find this yummy bright orange TURBAN shell. You don’t often see TURBANS this color so it’s always a real treat to find one.