Sanibel has had so much rain in the past month, we’ve had flooded streets, yards and parking lots. Now that we have had a few days of sunshine, we are finally drying out. It’s so refreshing to be on the beach without the threat of a thunderstorm and to enjoy the site of shells and beautiful skies.
I’ve found mostly shell crush (broken shells, bits and pieces), drift shells (smooth beach worn shells) and Sanibel’s most common shells (CLICK HERE for the top six shells) but they remind me I should start some shell craft projects using the same shells that are on our beaches in SW Florida all the time.
I’ve always wanted to do a frame like this as friend Rhonda makes …
But after having lots of home improvement projects this summer, all I want to do is enjoy walking the beach to unwind and to admire all of these beautiful shells (broken or not!) and the landscape that surrounds them. Beach therapy is the best therapy on the planet.
It’s hot on Sanibel Island in August and September so its the time of year when I try to organize the Rambo Shellaboratory by sorting shells we’ve collected in the past months and try to find room to display them. For months, our shells and bling we found in Okinawa, Japan sat on our dining room table while I tried to find the time to photograph and research all of the ones we couldn’t identify. I even wanted to do another post about the beach bling we found (like Buzz Lightyear, Jeanne!) but life happens and things get away from me when we return from a big trip like that. So now that its scorching hot during the day, I feel like staying in the air conditioning so I can enjoy the shells we’ve already collected instead of collecting more. Today I added a few shelves in the Shellaboratory so we can enjoy looking at our loot and share those precious memories Clark and I had while combing the beaches on that far away land we explored for weeks. I love it!
If you were keeping up with the weather on Sanibel, we’ve been watching Tropical Storm Erika in the Caribbean since we were in her path for a few days. Since we live on an island, we pay close attention when we are in the pathway for any named storm, but fortunately Erika fell apart and is no longer threatening us. That’s not to say that we don’t have some wicked skies…
Clark and I only got a few minutes on the beach before we heard thunder in the distance but we did find one or two treasures.
This morning I went to Sanibel’s Lighthouse Beach to see if anything washed up. I ran into Tam Tam and Don shelling along the pier side of the beach.
They found some awesome shells! Tammy posted this photo on iLoveShelling Facebook page of her incredible LIGHTNING WHELK and this very cool medium sized HORSE CONCH.
And best of all…. Kristen (instagram @_salt_life_ ) found a JUNONIA at Lighthouse Beach! Shellzam! She tagged this photo on iLoveShelling Instagram page. Congratshellations Kristen, it beautiful!
We should have still have some really bad weather this week so I will probably still be “seeking shellter” by sorting and being a Shellab Rat but if I have any news on shells coming in from this weather, I’ll let you know!
Just in case you missed my other post about The Shellaboratory, check it out CLICK HERE
Join me on a Shelling Adventure! For more information and dates CLICK HERE.
Do you see what I see?
Thousands of purrfect KITTEN PAW SHELLS!
These sweet little KITTIES washed up on the sand bar at Blind Pass yesterday waiting to be adopted (errr I mean collected) for a good home. Here Kitty Kitty Kitty Kitty!
Aha- And I know what I “knead” to do with them. I love this idea!
Charlotte P. shared a photo of her KITTEN PAW creation on iLoveShelling Facebook page and said…
“My two nieces, my sister and I collected kitten paw shells at Blind Pass this past June. They were so plentiful, that we just scooped handfuls of them into our shell bag. I made these 9-inch trees using about 460 shells each. Now we will always remember our fun summer day every Christmas! …use Michael’s stryo cones, sort shells according to size. I used the largest on the bottom. (The shells that are still hinged together are too thick. Also, the really curved ones don’t work either. ) Shove the shell into the cone until secure. Take it out, insert hot glue and jam it into place. Repeat about 459 or so times!”
CLICK HERE to find the link to her post on iLS Facebook page…
Our kitties PuppyCat and Dustie are already in the holiday spirit dressing in ShellElf hats to match their mom so I’m sure they would love to help me. They love craft time.
Wanna scratch around in the sand to find a few KITTENS PAWS too? Lets go CYBERSHELLING! Click on the next image to enlarge…
Want more? Take a walk on the beach with me to see the shells, waves, water and listen to the jingle of the shells against the surf…. and be amazed at the oodles of KITTENS PAWS (and itty bitty orange ROUGH SCALLOP I couldn’t resist). Here’s a video! (sorry if the vid looks a little “fuzzy” right now- I hope it clears up)
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.
As I combed the beach early this morning at low tide, I found a beautiful brown inside shell of an old coconut washed ashore.
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.
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.
While I was going bananas over coconuts, Becky from Sarasota was getting wooed by WHELKS…
Look at all the LIGHTNING WHELKS she found right by the Sanibel fishing pier… not to mention that orange BANDED TULIP and NUTMEG.
It was so nice to meet you this bright beautiful morning Becky!
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.
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”.
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.
And you don’t always have to put tools in the toolbox. Put seashells here too.
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.
Here’s a view looking straight down and I’d say this was a typical view of the different shells. Unbelievable, right?
They dry the shells after they wash them outside in a somewhat shaded area. This was a new batch they found.
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.
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.
Their sand is even organized.
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
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