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

2015 78th Sanibel Shell Festival

Posted by on Mar 7, 2015 in 78th Sanibel Shell Festival 2015, Freak Shells, Junonia, Sailor's Valentine, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Shell Art | 21 comments

junonia shell at Sanibel shell festival show 2015

If you found a perfect JUNONIA on the beach the second morning of vacation on Sanibel, would you let it out of your site for the rest of your trip? Not Tim from Ohio! He told me about his treasure find after I met him while at the Sanibel Shell Festival and was able to show it to me since he had it stashed in his pocket. He said he couldn’t bear to part with it yet. LOL

Junonia at shell show

That started off my day at the Shell Festival off with a smile but after seeing beautiful works of art like these, it was hard not to keep that smile going.

seashell flower box

Gorgeous pieces!

Seashell flower bouquet Sanibel Shell Festival

I loved this miniature seashell doll house shell shop.

miniature shell shop doll house Sanibel Shell Festival 2015

Of course its always breathtaking to see the Sailors Valentines.

Rhyne Saliors valentine Sanibel Shell Festival Show 2015

rams horn sailors valentine

seashell sailor valentine sanibel shell festival 2015

My favorite shell exhibit of the entire show was in the “Freak” category. It’s a shell with 2 apertures. Yes, I said TWO openings … its like this shell is a Siamese Twin.  I was stunned and amazed and I still am. It was so hard to get a good photo to really show both openings but you can see on the far left there is an opening with an operculum and then you can see the more obvious lip and opening. Wow! Can you imagine? So cool.

2 aperture freak shell

I had the best time browsing the exhibits and meeting other shellers like Cheryl and Pam (Brett Bailey’s sister) who showed me a very cool juvie MILK CONCH they found at the Sanibel Lighthouse area. But…. Pam didn’t have her shell in her pocket like Tim did (heehee), the shell was on her phone. “Ring. Ring. Ring… Hold on, I need to get my Shellaphone….. Shello?” hahaha

cheryl pam brett bailey's sister

The festival is like dialing a shellafriend….  Shellekelle, me and Christine Florida shell girl had a great time hanging out and catching up. They are such cutie shellooties!

Shelly Pam Rambo Christine Sanibel Shell Fair Festival

It was a great weekend…

78th Sanibel Shell Show Festival Fair 2015

But now its back to the beach tomorrow for some real shelling time and our iLoveShelling cruise to Cayo Costa with Captiva Cruises. So excited because we had some good winds yesterday to hopefully have thrown some treasures up on the island for us. Hope to see you there!

pam rambo shelling trips


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2014 Sanibel Shell Festival

Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Sailor's Valentine, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Sanibel Shell Festival 2014, Shell Art, Shell crafts, Shell Shows | 28 comments

francis tammaro cameo engraver on helmet shell

This was not just the Sanibel Shell Festival this year, it was a fabulous FestiShell!

jingle shell craft flower

There were so many treasures from the sea made into beautiful works of art.

treasure from the sea valentine sanibel shell festival

But not only were there beautiful shells and gorgeous art pieces, I had a blast seeing so many of my shelling buddies… like the Shellucky Luckett Ladies Lois, Ginger, (me), Martha and Janet. They are so much fun!

iLoveShelling shellucky luckett ladies with pam rambo

I also got to talk to the editorial director and craft guru of Martha Stewart Living Hannah Milman along with Dr Jose Leal of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum.

hannah milman with jose leal at sanibel shell museum

Of course I love to see shell art that makes me smile like this seashell box with beach combing Birth Of Venus at the center.

birth of beach combing Venus Heather Strawbridge

This shell box was done by shell crafter Heather Strawbridge…

seashell artist heather strawbridge at shell festival

The miniature shell craft pieces were amazing…

peter gabel miniature shell art craft

This mind blowing miniature shell exhibit won the artistic People’s Choice award for obvious reasons. Shell artist Peter Gabel points out a few details to an amazed Hannah Milman.

hannah milman looking at miniature shell art by Peter

For all of you mini shell lovers out there, you will surely love these sweet creations.

cheryl witten miniature seashell craft sanibel festival

Cheryl Witten got a blue ribbon for this tiny shell flower arrangement.

cheryl witten miniature shell art crafter

While scoping out the exhibits, I ran into Shelling Sistah Diane Parr and her fiancé Eric from New York. So nice to finally meet you, Diane!

diane parr eric visit sanibel shell festival from new york

It’s always fun to see Captain Brian and more shelling friends Lynn (St Thomas), Laurel (CA), and Anne (MN).

laurel ca, lynn vbi, anne mn, capt brian

The sailors valentines seemed more magnificent than ever this year.

karine almir sailors valentine shell festival

Karen Almir won a blue ribbon for her single medium valentine.

karine almir sailors valentine sanibel shell festival

Victoria Ross (Sanibel- right Vicki? ) won a blue for her gorgeous valentine. Congrats!

Vicki Ross sanibel shell festival 2014 blue ribbon

There were so many different shell flower arrangements to be stunned and amazed by. Marvin Hennemann made this one completely out of SEA URCHINS and their pieces.

urchin shell craft with ingredients

Fun piece Marvin!

marvin hennemann ky shell crafter

Every year I enjoy learning about other aspects of shelling.

rachel fields natural pearl exhibit

Rachel Fields won a blue ribbon for her awesome display on natural pearls.

rachel fields natural pearls display sanibel shell festival

This New Zealand shell scientific exhibit won a special merit award for education.

new zealand shells kris roger woods

Scientific Division judge Gary Schmeltz (left) with Roger and Kris Woods (who flew in from New Zealand) pose with the other distinguished Scientific Division judge Harry Lee.

gary schmeltz Roger Kris Harry Lee sanibel shell festival

 I’ve shown some shell art the last few posts so I wanted to show you some of the artists that make these incredible pieces. This is Ruth Bulger with her “You Are My Sunshine” Sailors Valentine

ruth bulger shell art crafter you are my sunshine

Nancy Goes made that beautiful shell necklace

nancy goes 2014 sanibel shell festival seashell artist

Audrey O’Donnell made the fabulous RICE SHELL arrangement

audrey odonnell blue ribbon shell artist

Pam Boynton said she was very honored to have seen my post with a photo of her “Love And Be Loved” Sailors Valentine… especially after reading Skip Collins’ comment “Love and Be Loved is about the coolest thing I have ever seen, well…Shellwise”. She thanks you Skip!

pam boynton shell valentine 2014 sanibel shell festival

I wish I could have photographed and met all of the exhibitors because there were so many more that were awe-inspiring like every single piece by David Rhyne…

david rhyne madame butterfly sailors valentine

So I hope to see you again next year on Sanibel or maybe even at another shell show.

seashell craft flowers sanibel shell festival

Until then, I’ve got to get back to my first love…  the beach. i Love Shelling!

first love shell valentine shell craft

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Seashells And Beach Bling Arrive Shell Festival Week

Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 in Decorate with shells, Lighthouse, Sailor's Valentine, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Sanibel Shell Festival 2014, Shell Art, Shell Shows, True tulip | 21 comments

sanibel stoop after a storm

Heavy winds and rain with tornado watches whipped through Sanibel during the first day of the 2014 Shell Festival yesterday. They had to close the show around 1:30pm because the storm caused power outages throughout the island so the Sanibel Community House was completely pitch dark. What a fluke!

But…. those same whipping winds caused hundreds of seashells to wash up at Lighthouse Beach this morning. Yay!

shelling after a storm on Sanibel

All sorts of STARFISH, PEN SHELLS, DISK DOSINIAS and SEAWEED piled up to form a nice thick wrack line to pick through…

shells and shellers after stormy weather on sanibel

I always love to sift through all the BEACH BLING to see what sorts of cool things from the deep belly of the Gulf Of Mexico make an appearance. I found a gorgeous treasure in this mess of sea debris so I thought you might enjoy picking through it for some CYBERSHELLING too. Get picking by CLICKING on the pic!

hidden treasure shell in beach debris

Did you find this stunning TRUE TULIP too?

red true tulip after sanibel storm

Here’s another CYBERSHELLING photo to check out such an amazing pile of DOSINIAS. After I got home and looked at this photo a little closer, I realized I missed a very cool WORM SHELL, Dang it! Oh well, I hope someone else snagged that piece of yumminess up…

dosinia white clams washed up on sanibel beach

I love to look inside the PEN SHELLS for hidden gems too. This one had a tiny TRUE TULIP laying inside like a precious pearl waiting to be found. Once I picked it out of the PEN SHELL, I realized this baby TRUE was still alive and well protected so I put both together back in the water to hopefully get lodged in the sand.

true tulip in pen shell

It was so much fun to see so much bling and shells wash up at the Lighthouse Beach again… especially for the many shellers in town for the Shell Festival.

morning shelling after a storm on Sanibel

I promise I’ll get back to showing more exhibits from the fair on my next post but I had to shout out about the shelling news at the Lighthouse… and here are my favorite finds from this morning.

Clockwise- a GIANT ATLANTIC COCKLE filled with BUBBLE SHELLS, a BUTTON and a little itty bitty juvie FIGHTING CONCH; 2 juvie FIGHTING CONCHS; TRUE TULIP; CALICO CRAB SHELL; the smallest CARRIER SHELL I’ve ever found on Sanibel; SHARKS EYE; LACE MUREX, oodles of SUNRAY VENUS, SEA URCHIN and then another LACIE.

collecting seashells and beach bling on Sanibel

I have some other great news too… there are spots available for you to join us for Shellabaloo! It’s the most fabulous Shelling Adventure on the planet! Come join us April 24-27, 2014 to experience this awesome event. CLICK HERE for more info.

shelling trip

Okay, I can’t resist…. I have to show you a few more shell pieces from the show. They are exquisite!

seashell design susan lloyd sanibel shell festival

sailors valentine exhibit 2014 sanibel shell festival

you are my sunshine seashells

sea shell art flower

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My First 2014 Sanibel Shell Festival Entries

Posted by on Mar 6, 2014 in Sailor's Valentine, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Sanibel Shell Festival 2014, Shell Art | 47 comments

pam rambo worm shell frame

 I have browsed the beautiful artistic exhibits of the annual Sanibel Shell Festival for years and shared many photos of the show as well. I was even honored to be selected to be a judge for the artistic exhibits a few years ago so it may be a surprise that this was my first year entering an exhibit in the artistic division of the shell show…  yep, I did it!

And I won a Red Ribbon for my photograph of this LIGHTNING WHELK! Yay! I am thrilled! I took this photo of a live Lightning Whelk in December 2013 on a nice low tide at Gulfside City Park. I loved the colors on the spire of this natural beauty and the way the morning light of the sun was just behind it. I snapped a few pictures, thanked him for coming up to shore so I could see him, then I took him out to a little deeper water to give him a bit more privacy. I’m so grateful to be able to capture these images of such incredible treasures of Mother Nature in their natural setting.

seashell photograph winner pam rambo

Unfortunately, I didn’t win a ribbon for my sweet little WORM SHELL mirror I entered. Boooooooo! Oh alright, I’ll try not to be a poor loser but I just love my wormies so much I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed (should I get out the cheese with that whine?). But honestly, it’s ok because I didn’t make this frame for the show any way (errrrr….. thats sounds like an excuse, doesn’t it? heehee). I made this for our shelling friends Jane and John with a photo of them in it because they used Clark as their real estate agent. This fun, quirky wormie frame was their Thank You gift! Jane suggested I borrow it back to enter in the show since she loved it so much. I’m glad I did it but I am sooo not the caliber of shell crafter as most of these artists. They are amazing!

pam rambo seashell frame art worm shells

This was the first day of the show so you still have tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday to see it if you are in the area. I will get more photos of some of the other exhibits to share another post if you can’t see it yourself… but until then, here are just a few more gorgeous pieces of art exhibited in the show…

shell art jewelry

seashell art sanibel shell festival

david rhyne shell art valentine

So stay tuned for more shell crafts, shell artists and scientific shell exhibits coming soon! 

love and be loved shell valentine

Oh…  by the way, after 77 years they decided to change the name from the Sanibel Shell Fair and Show to the Sanibel Shell Festival. It’s all the same show so don’t be confused if you thought there was a second shell show.

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2013 Sanibel Shell Festival

Posted by on Mar 8, 2013 in Decorate with shells, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show | 20 comments

hatsue limoru shell craft

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?

judy mackey shell craft

Can you imagine the patience that it took to design this dazzling trinket box?

seashell trinket box

How did Jan Harper think of making a seashell cupcake?

Jan Harper Delightful

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?

freak fighting conch

Here’s Amy with her husband Bill in front of their display…

amy bill tripp shell award

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?

arrow dwarf triton mary burton

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)?

John Slapcinsky Thorpe Jerry Harasewych

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…

best in show shell david rhyne

Artist Judy Dinnick won best single Sailors Valentine…

judy dinnick shell craft

See? So many exhibits took my breath away. And just take a look at some more amazing creations…

hobbyist peter gabel shell craft

susan lloyd shell craft

cheryl whitten shell craft

gera reid sailors valentine

constance marshall miller valentine

sally arbib sailors valentine

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!

beach bling mary giambruno collage

PS- One more week until we can shell together at Cayo Costa on March 16th! Click on the next image for more info…





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Beach Sea Whip Tips

Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Bryozoa, One-Tooth Simnia, Sanibel Shell Fair and Show, Sea Whip | 27 comments

purple sea whip

While sifting through the BEACH BLING on the east end of Sanibel this past week, I found a purple SEA WHIPS. I’ve collected a few over the years because of their beauty but now I look very carefully at them because at times, I’ll see little surprise hitch hikers on them. Take a closer look…

one-tooth simnia on sea whip

Did you see the two shells attached to two different branches? They practically camo themselves on the branches, don’t they? They are called ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS.

Simnialena uniplicata

On this SEA WHIP I found last week, there are two ONE-TOOTH SIMNIAS attached to this one as well…

sea whip one-tooth simnia

I plucked one of the shells off the branch. Look at how sleek it is.

one-tooth simnia aperture

I never find these washed up on the beach… I wonder why? I’m sure they are there so I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for them. Here is the other view…

one-tooth simnia

Since this is a miniature shell I wanted to show you how big the ONE-TOOTH SIMNIA was in relation to a quarter. Unfortunately, all I see in this picture is George Washington getting comfy with one of those travel roll pillows around his neck. I hope you have better luck focusing on the size of the shell instead of the neck roll. ha!

one-tooth simnia size

I learned to look closely at SEA WHIPS because I saw a few displays in the scientific division of the 75th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show this year of interesting things that find homes on SEA WHIPS. Here is a very impressive display of a WEST INDIES CHANK SHELL EGG CASE attached to a SEA WHIP with the baby CHANK SHELLS coming out.

chank shell egg case

Awesome, right? Expert sheller Marilee describes her exhibit as…

“Egg case of Turbinella angulata    On sea plume (Pseudopterogorgia) Found on beach after storm near Jack’s Bay- Eleuthera Bahamas”

This was an “Aha moment” for me since she left the egg case attached to the SEA PLUME. Now I always look at what’s attached to the SEA WHIPS or SEA PLUMES mixed in with all the BEACH BLING. Thank you Marilee! It was such a pleasure to meet you at the show.

Moralee shell diplay

 I have another surprise to show you on my next post about SEA WHIPS. I found another cool shell attached to them! Until then, take a look at another hitchhiker….a BRYOZOAN COLONY hanging out on this purple lovely.

Sea whip with bryozoan colony

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