With Thanksgiving and the holidays upon us, I’m getting excited about get-togethers with friends and family to celebrate the season of giving. But since I’m not a good cook, this means I also start to panic thinking about “what to bring” as a hostess gift – especially on Thanksgiving weekend. Hmmmm…. Bingo! What better “thought” from the Rambos (or any other beach comber) would be to give a gift of shells as a thank you? Doesn’t everybody love shells? My fave part of the whole gift is the packaging so I’ll show you how I easily I made a beautiful coastal package without drilling any holes in any of the shells. I’m tickled with my fall-ish colors I used to wrap up this small package tying seashells as a gift tag and adding beach bling to add that flavor of a coastal feel.
I got this idea from Alyson E. on iLoveShelling Facebook page last year after she saw my post about hundreds of DOSINIAS at Lighthouse beach. She showed a picture of the gift tags, earnings and ornaments she and her daughter make out of them- brilliant. I’ve been collecting them ever since for shell necklacesand gift tags of my own but if you’ve been on the Sanibel beaches in the last month, you’ve seen lots of DOSINIAS again.
Yes, they are just white CLAM shells but I can’t help but pick them up…. just in time for the holidays.
After the shells have been rinsed and dried, write your note with a magic marker inside the shell.
You can use twine, raffia or any other thin string to thread through the hole in the tip of the shell.
I added a beautiful yellow “harvest” SEA WHIP to brown craft paper to start the fall color theme but couldn’t help myself… I had to add something aqua. I just had to so I added aqua raffia as a base to hold everything together then twisted a WORMIE in through the knot of the DOSINIA shell. For this package, I found a similar size DOSINIA to put a cover on the gift tag. I don’t know, I just thought it looked so cute- like a little secret you have to peek inside to see what’s there.
To finish the look, I added an OLIVE shell with the tip missing like I use in making the OLIVE string bracelets and then tied on a SAND DOLLAR- easy peazy since there are lots of holes to choose from- heehee. Lastly I added a wider ribbon to hide all the knots in the raffia. It’s done! I didn’t have to cook a darn thing and my friend will have something to keep after the holiday is over.
Wondering what my “thought” is inside the beautiful package? My friend loves pink so I put one of my photographs with pink hues on an easel along with more beach bling. I think it will make a pretty little vignette somewhere in her house or office. I hope she likes it!
I’m very thankful I can share this love of shelling with you and I also hope this will give you an idea or two of how you can use some of those shells you’ve collected over the years.
I can find seashells everywhere on Sanibel… even at the Sanibel Farmers Market! Seriously, all of these veggies were made by Barbara Walling using different seashells. Dont you remember Barb? I filmed her making other shell art creations a few years back and she is still creating such fun shell crafts. Aren’t these the cutest veggies you’ve ever seen?
If you want to see this in person, you only have a few more weeks since this market is open seasonally from November through April where Betsy, Jean and Sherrill proudly display it at their booth.
You can even find seashell soaps at the market…
Honestly, I’m not much of a cook but when I have guests over, its fun to buy local fresh food and mingle with the island peeps like shellers Mary and Jim that I met on one of the iLoveShelling cruises to Cayo Costa.
But anyhoooo…back to the shelling on the beach. Here is a sampling of shell treasures I found at Gulfside City Park one morning this weekend.
Just after I met Nora, Mac, Dan and Molly (visiting from Illinois) I heard a loud “Whoa!”.
Mac found a SAND DOLLAR laying under some seaweed just like this and then fund a few more.
Then Molly asked me what this unusual bivalve was. It’s a SMOOTH DUCK CLAM. They are so fragile, it’s hard to find one that is not broken- so good finds!
I always say that there are enough shells on the beach for everyone because different people like to collect different shells. Sydney and Lori tom Indiana were trying to find broken shells and shells with holes in them.
They like to find the shells that already have holes in them so they can make jewelry. I love that they were getting so creative! I had to chime in too and told them that I like to collect the OLIVE shells without tips to make bracelets (for my tutorial CLICK HERE) and also explained how to make a seashell mobile too with broken shells. There are so many fun ways to decorate with shells!
PS- I got all my fresh ingredients at the Sanibel Farmers Market to make dinner because it was my turn to host for my book club (we’ve been together for 12 years!). I used some ideas from Pinterest and it was a fun, successful night with my girlfriends. If you like to read, this is my favorite book I’ve ever chosen that every sheller or treasure hunter would enjoy…
This was not just the Sanibel Shell Festival this year, it was a fabulous FestiShell!
There were so many treasures from the sea made into beautiful works of art.
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!
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!
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…
So I hope to see you again next year on Sanibel or maybe even at another shell show.
Until then, I’ve got to get back to my first love… the beach. i Love Shelling!
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!
“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.
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.
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”.
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?
They framed their oddity treasures in a shadowbox.
They framed some of their best shells to make a wall collage in the hallway.
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.
Here’s the bottom of another shell mirror…
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
They call this little heart the WENTLETRAP 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.
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.
Of course there are OLIVE shells in the olive dish.
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
All eleven of these ALPHABET CONES were found within four days of shelling this week along Sanibel’sWest Gulf Drive by Wendy from West Palm Beach, FL. Talk about an eye for shelling! And she even found another one that wasn’t in that bunch. I’d say she is the CONE QUEEN.
She found these FLORIDA CONES and COLORFUL MOON SHELLS too!
But even when she isn’t lucky enough to find all of these CONE shells, she is still having fun picking up other shells with her friends to use as embellishments. Love this- they strung these shells around her straw hat. So cute!
Yes, that hat is awfully cute, but these hats just stole my heart! LaDonna, Carla and Belinda were all sporting their iLoveShelling caps when I saw them on the same beach. Weehooo! Shelling Sistahs!
We had the best time chatting it up when I spotted something pretty nice in Shelling Sistah Carla’s shell bag (you might recognize her name from her comments- Carla Knotts!). She found an excellent LIGHTNING WHELK.
She said she was happy they were already finding lots of shells but even happier just be on Sanibel. It holds a special place in her heart and I could see she wanted to capture every second on that beach and never let it go. She’s not just a shell seeker but a Sanibel seeker.
Then I ran into our local friends Dick and Mary…..
They look like they have golf clubs, don’t they? Belinda said Dick looked like he was the “Golfer of the Sea”. It would be appropriate since Clark plays golf with him every Sunday and both admitted they were better shellers than golfers.
The Golfer of the Sea found a pretty nice SHARK’S EYE….
I was tickled when they introduced me to Ernest Hemingway! Errrr, well, he looks like Papa anyway….. and has even won a look-a-like contest in Key West.
Tom, Linda, Dick and Mary
It was an amazing day yesterday off beach access #7 to find so many shells but the best thing was to meet many new friends and to see a few old ones too (and I dont mean in age! LOL).