Archive for seashell decor

how to make a seashell sea glass mobile

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…

drift wood in high tide wrack line

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!

seashells strewn on the beach sanibel florida

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!

broken sea shells drift wood

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!

broken sea shells for coastal mobile

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…

seashells drift wood for shell mobile

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…

tying seashells with twine for mobile

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!”

how to make a seashell mobile

And I’ve always loved shells with perfectly drilled holes in them. They are perfect for this project!

tying twine to sea shells with hole

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.

island seashell mobile strung with twine

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!

how to add sea glass to seashell mobile

I wanted to keep it a simple beachy look so I didn’t overwhelm it with shells or SEAGLASS.

broken seashells and sea glass mobile

I think that broken piece of JUNONIA steals the show anyway- LOL!

seashell mobile close shells

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.

how to make a seashell sea glass mobile

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coconut flower vase seashells

As I combed the beach early this morning at low tide, I found a beautiful brown inside shell of an old coconut washed ashore.

coconut on the beach

As I picked it up, I could feel sea water spilling out of the hole so I held it upside down to drain the coconut of everything inside. Ohhhh. Cool BEACH BLING.

coconut beach bling

Aha! This could be an awesome flower vase! When I got home, I rinsed it inside and out with fresh water then cut some leaves and flowers from my yard. I filled it with fresh water, arranged my cuttings in the opening, then placed some miniature shells on an art-glass plate to keep it from rolling. Voila! A naturally beautiful coconut flower vase.

coconut on bed of seashells

 While I was going bananas over coconuts, Becky from Sarasota was getting wooed by WHELKS…

Becky seashells sanibel

Look at all the LIGHTNING WHELKS she found right by the Sanibel fishing pier… not to mention that orange BANDED TULIP and NUTMEG.

sanibel fishing pier hand of seashells

It was so nice to meet you this bright beautiful morning Becky!

yellow sunrise sanibel shelling

Seashells in planter dmm

Decorating your yard with seashells is just as much fun as decorating the inside of your home with shells. I showed you how our friends Dick and Mary decorated the inside of their house (Tips To Decorate Your Home With Seashells) but now, hold on to your boot straps because the outside of their home is just as fabulous.

Urn with seashells dmm

They pick up all of those big beautifully broken WHELKS and CONCHS to fill their outdoor urns and pots to decorate their poolside patio. They look maaaw-vilous! That’s exactly why we pick them up too and call them our “yard shells”.

poolside seashell vessels

You don’t have to always put plants into your “planters”. You don’t have to water shells! Well, except if you want to make a vase out of a HORSE CONCH.

seashell flower vase

And you don’t always have to put tools in the toolbox. Put seashells here too.

seashell tool box dmm

Okay, are you ready to see the “seashell garden”? It is a 22 feet long area filled with shells they found on Sanibel. I can’t even imagine how many WHELKS, CONCHS, OLIVES…. oh you name it, it’s in there.

row of seashells dmm

seashells by pool dmm

Here’s a view looking straight down and I’d say this was a typical view of the different shells. Unbelievable, right?

seashells in the yard

They dry the shells after they wash them outside in a somewhat shaded area. This was a new batch they found.

seashells drying

In the last month, we have had an unusual amount of MANGROVE SEED PODS wash up on the beach. Mary decided to bring a few home to see if they would root. Three weeks later, they are sprouting.

Mangrove seed pods sprouting

 Now let’s move into the garage where they store and organize all of the other shells and beach bling they find before it gets placed in the yard or house. Only in my dreams, could I be this organized. And before you ask… Yes, this fine cabinet is in their garage.

seashell cabinet

Their sand is even organized.

organized beach sand

 They both were laughing and couldn’t wait to show me this jar of beach combing oddities. Yep, they found a kid’s retainer in the surf and picked up to add to their collection of oddities. LOL

beach combing oddities

 I hope you enjoyed the visit with Dick and Mary as much as I did and hopefully you got a few more ideas of what to do with your shells you find. In case you missed Part One showing the inside of their house… CLICK HERE

horse conch on table dmm

 

 

 

Sep
19

Tips To Decorate Your Home With Seashells

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dining shell basket dmm

“What do you do with all of the seashells you collect?” Haven’t you been asked that question every time you tell someone you love to collect shells? I’ve been asked countless times and I’ve asked other shellers so I’m guilty as well. I think we all are interested in getting ideas of what to do with them from other people who love what we love… seashells.

Dick Mary Fatima seashells

Our friends Dick and Mary love shelling and love their seashells and beach bling surrounding them in their beautiful home. Join me as I show you their seashell arrangements… with the help from kitty Fatima.

Fatima kitty with seashells dmm

 This is a perfect example of what I love about Dick and Mary in the photo above…. there are no rules. They find so many beautiful shells on the beach but they also love to buy shells if they see one that strikes their fancy and they don’t mind mixing them. Most of those shells in the bowl (that Fatima is admiring) were found on the beach by either Dick or Mary but some, as Mary says with a laugh “I found that one too…. in a store”.

Alphabet cone display decor

 When it comes to ALPHABET CONES, they don’t have to buy a single one. They found all of the ones in the glass vessel on Sanibel and Captiva. Wow! Piling the same shell in any type of vessel is my favorite way to display my shells as well. They found all of these baby HORSE CONCHS too. Wouldn’t you love a bowl full of candy by your bedside table?

bedside candy dish dmm

 They framed their oddity treasures in a shadowbox.

Seashell wall art dmm

They framed some of their best shells to make a wall collage in the hallway.

Hallway framed seashells dmm

Framed seashell display dmm

framed starfish dmm

 This is the top of the very first shell mirror Mary made but the mirror is so big, I couldn’t get the whole thing in the photo. Again, she mixed bought shells with beach found shells.

Seashell mirror top dmm

Here’s the bottom of another shell mirror…

bottom shell mirror dmb

They displayed their “knobless wonder” HORSE CONCH (the spire doesn’t have those pronounced bumps normal horsies do) right at the front entrance with a striking vase of PAPER FIGS.

knobless wonder with figs

knobless wonder with figs

They call this little heart the WENTLETRAP trap…

Wentletrap heart trap

This wire bowl has a beach found key chain, pottery pieces, sea glass, driftwood and other beach bling along with a bought object d’ art. See? Mix and match, just do it.

beachcomb objects dmm

 Mary was a doll maker a number of years ago so on the shelves of her glass door cabinets she displays the things she loves mixed together.

sea urchin bowl display

 Of course there are OLIVE shells in the olive dish.

olive dish with seashells

 Remember I showed you the OYSTER shell mirror on my post Ordinary Oyster Turn Extraordinary? Mary made a plant stand out of them.

Oyster shell plant stand

I still have so much to show you! Like how they use their shells in the garden and by the pool and how they organize all of their shells. But, oh my. I’ve run out of time so I have to break this post into several so… hang on! You won’t believe your eyes at how many more shells they have and what they do with them. So for Part Two… CLICK HERE

sea life still under glass dmm

 

 

Blue Ribbon winner Barbara Walling

I started thinking about summer projects this week so I revisited some of my blog photos for inspiration. Bingo! The 74th Sanibel Shell Fair and Show was last month … and it gave me a great idea for both me and you. I thought I’d find out some of the secrets of shell crafting so I asked how 2011 Blue Ribbon and Judges’s Special Award winner Barb Walling made her “Dandelions” piece. We will get to learn every detail of how this piece was made by the artist herself!

Barbara Walling shell crafter

Barb was gracious enough to invite me over to her Sanibel home to see where the magic begins. She first showed me how she organizes her shells that she picks up off the beach after she washes and dries them.organized shells

She categorizes each box or drawer by the shell name. This one is the SEMELE which she uses as the base to the dandelion and most of her shell flowers.

Semele seashell drawer

From here, I’m gonna let her tell you how everything else is done. Sit back, relax and let your imagination roll…

YouTube Preview Image

How ’bout that, huh? Here’s a close up of the SEMELE she talked about ……

Semele seashell drawer closeup

….and the CROSS BARRED VENUS

Cross Barred venus Seashell

This is a dead PURPLE SEA URCHIN that washed up on the beach with some of it’s spines still attached.

Crab shell, Urchin, Fig and Sponge

This is a close up of Barb’s SEA URCHIN spines. That’s a lot of SEA URCHINS!

Sea Urchin spines

Thank you so much for the shell craft lesson, Barb! Can’t wait to see what you create for next year’s 75th Anniversary of Sanibel Shell Fair and Show.

Barb Walling ribbons

Apr
28

Imperfect Seashell Creativity

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Reading book on beach

I needed a little shelling pick-me-up yesterday since I’ve had “technical difficulties” in the blog world the last few days. Since the gulf has been a little rough caused by south winds, I thought I might find some goodies at Blind Pass.

Sanibel bare beach Blind Pass

The Sanibel side of Blind Pass was …well, empty of shells. Where’d they go?

Captiva beach erosion

I ran over to the Captiva side to find the beach with even a bigger drop-off than last week. Looked like nothing to me. There were a few people working the ledge but I decided to go back to the east end of Sanibel.

Bob Lucy Linda Captiva

On the way back to the parking lot, I met Bob, Lucy and Linda sorting their shells in the back of their car. I can’t believe they found all of these on that ledge I showed you. It looked bare to me.

blanket shells

Shame on me for not looking a little harder at that ledge. Look at these beautiful shells… and especially that large, perfect LIGHTNING WHELK on the left.

Sanibel beach

The surf was kicking up around the east end of Sanibel but the beach didn’t look like it was piled with shells. Then I started focusing on the wash line a little bit better since I learned my lesson and missed so many at Blind Pass. There were actually some nice shells…… and nice folks.

Sanibel shell Muriel

I met another Sani-Belle on the beach!  I met some of the Sani-Belle sisters and mom Mermaid Ella in January at Blind Pass (Click HERE for the post) so I was tickled to meet sister Sani-Belle Muriel too.

scallops, cross barred venus baby ear cockle

Like I said, there wasn’t a huge wrack of shells on the beach but she was still happy with what she was finding. I guess so! Look at that nice size BABY’S EAR! In her hand from left to right is a SCALLOP, a CARDITA, another SCALLOP, that big beautiful BABY’S EAR, a CROSS BARRED VENUS and a COCKLE.

Mermaid on the rocks

Mermaid Ella

This picture above was taken of Muriel’s 92 year old mom in January when I nicknamed her Mermaid Ella. I wanted to show you this photo again because most of the shells that Muriel and the other Sani-Belles collect are “materials” (that’s what they call the shells) for frames that Mermaid Ella makes. She showed me this one……

seashell frame by mermaid ella

Isn’t that beautiful? Shells don’t have to perfect to be beautiful. Imperfect is just as beautiful if you look at them in a different view like in this frame. This just makes me smile. And I also smile thinking of some other artists that make beautiful decor and jewelry from beach treasures…. perfect or not.

 Endless Sunner is so clever to design wine charms from seashells with holes in them…..

seashell winecharms

Tresor le Mer creates gorgeous pieces of art from beach treasures that someone else might consider to be beach “litter”…..

Tresor seawhip frame

Aptly named, An Imperfect Shell gives us that feeling of just coming off the beach in every design she makes….An Imperfect Shell

I love photography so I love to see how other artists capture the art of seashells. The Coastal Collection presents imperfect seashells in a whole new light….. sepia toned.

Coastal Collection

I also have another artist friend Rhonda from Shellebelle’s Tikihut that collects “drift shells” to make beautiful art frames too.

shellebelle's drift shells

So before I frown again and an “empty” beach, I’m going to remember Mermaid Ella and these other artists who get excited to see bits and pieces of shells on the beach. This is exactly what gets their creative juices flowing for their shellicious decor and jewelry. Thanks yall for the pick-me-up I really needed!

Val's iLS ornament

Val xo