Holy Cowrie- I’m shocked at how long it’s been since I’ve published my last blog post! I think this is the longest I’ve gone between posts in 8 years but it hasn’t been because I haven’t been conchsumed with seashells. I’ve found shells at Bowman’s Beach …
And Gulfside City Park beach (notice that amazing lemon yellow LEAFY JEWELBOX)…
And Blind Pass Sanibel (finding so many color variations of the FLORIDA FIGHTING CONCH)
And hanging out with my girlfriends Janie and Sandy on the West Gulf beaches.
I even took a trip up to Virginia Beach to see my family. It was just what I needed… a big dose of family with a recharge of seeing my dear friends and childhood beach I grew up on. I was thrilled to find a few RAZOR CLAMS (we always called them RAZOR CLAMS but I think they are actually AMERICAN JACKKNIFE CLAMS) that matched my new bracelet my friend Wendy Miller gave me (Heart Of Dolphin Designs…and of course my long time favorite silver shell bracelet by Congress Jewelers)
And then…. there’s been the Shellaboratory. I’ve been working every day trying to get our shells back in order and doing some remodeling. The floor is done (sneak preview of the shells I painted on it ) but all our shells still need to be sorted again. “Why” you ask? Because it looked like a shellnado whipped through the shellab after the shelldazzling of…..
Shell Love Bug! I’ll take that shellnado any day- she was so worth it. I hope you get to see her soon- check out her new tour date schedule updated periodically by going to ShellLoveBug.com or CLICK HERE
Shell Love Bug will be a shellebrity at The Celebrity Island Dinner for the fundraiser for our fabulous Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island at Traders October 3. Remember a few years ago when I dressed up as Shelly Temple hahaha (click here) ? Yep, this is the same event but unfortunately, the event sold out very quickly this year… although…. you can still play a part of the event.
Wanna show some love for Shell Love Bug? Help spread the shelling love …. give Shell Love Bug a “tip” as a donation to the Shell Museum. Shell Love Bug spreads the shellove of seashells and so does the museum.
Let’s all help out by shelling out a few clams for either Shell Love Bug or any of the other “shellebrity waiters” to raise some beach bling for the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum CLICK HERE
PS- You just might see her shellivanting around the islands this week ;)
My heart is all warm and shelly after receiving 3 boxes of seashells this week to reimburse the shells used in making the hearts and flowers for Shell Love Bug. I’m pink with gratitude to Melanie Herrin who sent many gorgeous ROSE PETAL TELLINS. I know these precious shells aren’t easily found and I would have never asked for them if I wasn’t in a pinch (as I explained in my blog post Seashell Repurposing). So I’m grateful she sent them to help finish creating Shell Love Bug. Omigosh and she sent other shells I needed to replace … FLORIDA SPINY JEWELBOXES and SAILORS EARS. Melanie also made a JINGLE SHELL bracelet to be sold at the next Sanibel Shell Festival in March to raise money for the Sanibel Community House- so very sweet! Melanie made a few shell creations for the Shell Love Bug box as well. What a “sweetheart”.
Sweet, Sweet Marie McDermed. She and her sister have kept me going through the years, for sure. Marie sent a huuuuge bag of SAILORS EARS that will replace all of the ones used from the inventory of the SCA Shellcrafters.
And she took so much care in separating ( left valves from rights valves!) and bagging so many different color COQUINAS to replace what was used in the hearts. Marie, I’m a lucky girl to know you.
Linda Gammon is so clever! I couldn’t help but smile seeing sooooo many beautiful coquinas for Shell Love Bug. I smiled at feeling grateful but I also had to smile seeing the clever packaging in which she thought to send her sorted COQUINAS.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to these dear givers who donated these shells to help with finishing putting together this shell car. I had the idea of making a mobile seashell art piece of the first annual National Seashell Day so I turned a car into a Sailors Valentine… but I didn’t have all the total 20,000 shells in the Rambo Shellaboratory. I’m grateful to the folks who donated shells (and helped glue shells) while creating Shell Love Bug last month and to these lovely contributors Melanie, Marie and Linda who have made it easier for me to get things back in order. I can’t thank you enough!!
I’ve also been scouring the beaches looking for purple COQUINAS this week and I had lots of great luck so I think that’ll do it for replacing shells. Yay!
Seashells are wonderful souvenirs reminding us of the best vacations of our lives after getting the healing dose of beach therapy.
Most shellers keep shells in bowls in the family room, near the computer and decorate in every room like friends Dick and Mary.
Lots of us collect shells for plans of shell crafting to make frames, ornaments or to decorate the house like Jane…
Yes… I get a little shelloony and create extreme spaces like my Shellaboratory.
But more times than I can count, I’ve been asked the question “What can I do with all of the seashells I’ve collected while visiting Southwest Florida that are now packed away in boxes in my closet and garage never to be seen again?”
I completely understand how that happens. I had hundreds of unfinished projects that I collected supplies to complete but all got put on the back burner for years (ahem… my shell projects took over!). Last summer I cleaned out those old projects I really wasn’t passionate about any more then donated them to good homes that could use the supplies. Whew. I feel so much better to have the space for projects I’m more passionate about and I feel like I helped someone else along the way.
So this brings us to the biggest seashell project of my life…. Shell Love Bug! The biggest mobile Sailors Valentine on earth. Now THIS is what I call passion. haha
This was a wonderfully huge shell project but I had to complete in a very short time. I could have never finished shelldazzled this car if I had to glue all of these shells myself in 34 days so I had to recruit lots of friends to help. I never would have had thousands of ARK shells and COQUINAS in our personal collection of shells either. Most of the various shell species were from us- (the Rambo shellaboratory collection) but it wasn’t enough. Lots of friends generously donated shells to the project… like Leroy (check out my blog post about this amazingly generous man CLICK HERE), shell jewelry artist and dear friend Wendy Miller, the sweet and giving Johnny Lorren and oodles of other long time shellers. I am also very grateful for some of the talented ladies at Sanibel Shell Crafters who brought shells to get the job finished in such a short period of time. The Shell Crafters make shell crafts all year long to sell at the annual Sanibel Shell Festival each year to raise money for the Sanibel Community House. So to get this car done in this short time, I promised them I would return their shells so it wouldn’t take away any funding for Sanibel Community House (which is under construction right now).
Sooooo….Wanna help? So here it is… I’m sending out an S.O.S (Saving Our (unused) Seashells) !
We all save our seashells but some times they end up never being used for anything and put in the closet. Here’s a way to do something with those saved unused seashells. I’ve been able to replace most of the shells I “borrowed” … but…. we need to replace hundreds of color sorted COQUINAS – especially ones with purple insides which were used for the hearts on the car. Clark and I had oodles of them but it didn’t come close to replacing them and they will take too much time to find. So I have an idea…. if you are one of those folks who love COQUINAS and have collected them over the years but have them stored in the closet or they just don’t work in your space any more… Would you like to donate them? If so, could you send them to Shell Love Bug? She would be grateful but the really cool thing that would be happening is that you would be helping with the finishing of Shell Love Bug. You would be a part of the whole project like a patchwork quilt and repurposing beautiful shells!
If you would like to donate COQUINAS, please make sure the shells are clean and in plastic baggies sorted by color. It would be really awesome if they are separated by left and right valves too. Did you ever have any idea how much work went into shell crafting? haha Yep. We had to clean, dry and sort by color, size and shape for all of the shells that went on Shell Love Bug. Truly, there was a lot of love that went into making her come alive. If you can help, thank you!!!
Errrrrr…. I hate to ask but…. We need to replace the ROSE PETAL TELLINS as well. I know they are precious! But just in case you have the ROSE PETAL TELLINS in that closet too… could you send them as well? But hold on, I have one more request… if you have any of these shells and they make you happy as a clam, please don’t send them just to give back. Only send them if you are not using them, will never use them in the future and it would make your space happier knowing they went to a good home. I created Shell Love Bug to shellebrate the joy of seashells, shelling and to spread the shell love… not to ask you to give up your sweet seashells.
My friend John at Qwik Pack & Ship on Periwinkle Way on Sanibel is receiving the shell packages for Shell Love Bug. I’ve known John as long as we’ve lived on the island and he has handled all of our shipping for us throughout the years. He’s so happy to help finish this project with us too so remember any time you need to ship from Sanibel, John is the guy to call 239-472-0288.
Clean and sorted COQUINAS, ROSE PETAL TELLINS. Also to be replaced… clean white one inch (ish) ARKS, SAILORS EARS (aka CHANNELED DUCK CLAM) and JEWELBOXES can be sent to or dropped off at…
Hold the shellphone….
UPDATE: July 16, 2016- Shell Love Bug and I have received enough ROSE PETAL TELLINS, SAILORS EARS and JEWELBOXES !!! Yippee! I’m so grateful, thank you!!!
But if you still have COQUINAS or white one inch (ish) ARKS, we’re still collecting them so you can send to…
UPDATE: Im so sad to hear that my friend John has temporarily closed Qwik Pack n Ship due to health reasons. My heart goes out to John and his family for a quick recovery. If you used his services for shipping please be patient at this time for his recovery. Our thoughts are with him.
PS- Ive had many requests to show more photos and details of Shell Love Bug and I’m so sorry I haven’t gotten to that yet. I promise I will… I think I completely exhausted my being. I’m going to take it slowly for a few days to recover from non-stop rocket speed. No worries, I just need some beach therapy…. which reminds me. I LOVE our shelling cruises together and finally secured a few dates so I hope you can join me!
After thousands of hours, over 20,000 shells, over 65 volunteers, over 60 tubes of glue and millions of decisions… Shell Love Bug has graced the world.
This 2005 convertible Volkswagen beetle is the ultimate symbol for the love of seashells and shelling… hence the name Shell Love Bug. Most of the shells used to make this shelldazzled masterpiece are from our personal collection and the Sanibel Shell crafters but there have been oodles of shells donated by other obsessed shellers like us. We’ve made the biggest mobile Sailors Valentine on the planet!
How did Shell Love Bug happen?
When Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau had the brilliant idea of officially making June 20 of each year National Seashell Day to “shellebrate” this wonderful hobby of collecting shells, I was abshellutely thrilled. This is a day every sheller gets to share this passion for shells with friends, family and everybody they know… however they want to even if you can’t be doing the Sanibel Stoop on that day. You can give gifts made with shells, have a dinner party with shells as centerpieces, make shell paintings, send homemade shell cards ….whatever makes you happy to share the love of shells.
So the VCB asked me if I had any ideas to make a big splash on the first ever annual event to make it really fun. Errrrr…. Well heck yea!!! I pitched a few ideas… swing and a miss. haha Then it hit me…. yes… it’s gotta be a car. A car covered in seashells. They liked it! Y’all, I can’t tell you how over the moon shell I’ve been to work with the people in this community to create this car…. Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau, so many of my shelling friends and a few talented ladies at Sanibel Shell Crafters. We only had 6 weeks to shelldazzle this car… but when shellers step up, things get done. It was truly a community project.
There are soooo many amazing stories I want to tell about “her”… the different shells she has, the people who helped, the glue, the shell crafting, where and when you can see her (CLICK HERE for next week’s schedule), whats gonna happen to her… and on and on. I promise, I will try to get you all the information. But first…..
We’ll be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning at 7am with Ginger Zee (This was June 20, 2016) ! Make sure you tune in to ABC or set your DVR to watch the live broadcast…. with Shell Love Bug!
To keep up with Shell Love Bug and her tour- ShellLoveBug.com. Remember she’s brand new so there’s not much info on her yet.
UPDATE! Check out this awesome time lapse video and Making Of Shell Love Bug.
Shell Love Bug! Our secret seashell sculpture is almost ready to be seen by the nation on Good Morning America with Ginger Zee on June 20, 2016 at 7am to help shellebrate the 1st annual National Seashell Day.
Remember this “clue” I gave you a couple weeks ago with me along side of this 2005 VW convertible bug? (CLICK HERE to read)
Well… we’ve “shelldazzled” the entire car with local seashells. Can you believe it?
It’s turned into the biggest SAILOR’S VALENTINE on earth. OMG!
Here’s where I’ll be the shellmsman for Shell Love Bug to make her first tour shellpearances …
The Shell Love Bug Tour! …
Monday- National Seashell Day June 20, 2016 – Sanibel
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Bailey’s General Store
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
Tuesday- June 21, 2016 – Cape Coral/North Fort Myers
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – The Shell Factory & Nature Park
1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. – The Yacht Club
Wednesday- June 22, 2016 – Downtown Fort Myers
10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. – Twisted Vine Bistro
11:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. – The Edison & Ford Winter Estates
1:20 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. – Alliance for the Arts
Thursday- June 23, 2016 – Fort Myers Beach
11 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Love Boat Ice Cream
12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. – Lynn Hall Memorial Park
I can not wait to show you the ultimate symbol for the love of seashells and shelling I could think of.