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.
Want more information about Shell Love Bug? Visit ShellLoveBug.com
Need help identifying any of these shells or others? Check out my Seashell Identification page…
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!
New dates! Check it out CLICK HERE
Wow – all these weeks have passed quickly – it has been a wondrous time working on this incredible project. If anything ever represented SANIBEL this is it!!!! I moved here for the shells, so any time I get to handle them – even if I’m not the one picking them up on the beach – is a privilege. Yea Pam for thinking this up and recruiting such super people to help out! It is truly FABSHELLOUS!!!!
PAM- I love, love, love your “Shell Love Bug” creation. You and all of your helpers really out did yourselves. It is beautiful! I can’t wait to see it next time I come to Sanibel. Is it going to be permanently on display somewhere? I see the schedule that you posted but what about later? Also did you put any kind of final protection coat or clearcoat on the shells before you glued them on the car? All the different design areas on the car are really awesome!
Shelling Sister Susan-Panama City, FL
Hi, Pam. We tried to catch the Shell Love Bug!!! We drove down to Bonita Springs last Friday, but you had already left. Do you have a new schedule? My friends are here from upstate NY (we actually all went on one of your shelling trips to Cayo Costa awhile back) and they so want to see the bug before they leave Wednesday. So, if you have a showing, please let us know.
Thanks so much.
Love the Love Bug! I’m on my way to Orange Beach this morning with my 4 grandchildren. Finding these specific shells will be a fun activity for them! I’m traveling to sanibel the last week of July and will deliver them then. Hope I can see the love bug when I’m there. I’ll be watching for updates.
Pam, are you able to let me know your i love shelling cruise schedule for the last week in August? We’ll be on Sanibel Island from August 27 – September 3….
I so want to go on one of your cruises, but Captiva Cruise lines and Sea R Creatures cruise lines don’t have anything scheduled out that far. I keep checking your posted dates on your blog and emails, but nothing has changed yet…
I know it’s a “hit or miss” chance you’ll be planning to sail on either cruise line between those dates, but I’m being optimistic here!
Hoping to go shelling with you in 2016!
rats! I’m just gonna miss you! I just posted 3 new dates ( http://www.iloveshelling.com/blog/iloveshelling-events/ ) but couldn’t get a date to line up with Sight Sea-R for August…. I’m going to double check. If I don’t get back, its because it wouldn’t work out for either my schedule or Sight Sea-R
LOL…as soon as I posted my comment, I looked at your schedule again and there were new dates! I hope you’re able to schedule something, but if not I totally understand.
If nothing else, maybe I’ll see you on the beach doing the Sanibel Stoop!
P.S. Love the Shell Love Bug!
Hi Pam! My family is visiting Sanibel Island from the evening of July 10th to noon of July 11th. I’m the only one that is interested in shelling (hence the short stop) so I’m hoping to make the most out of it! Could you recommend the best places to find larger shells? I know on your youtube videos that you prefer smaller ones but I’d really love to get my hands on shells with openings from 1-2 inches or even larger! I’m from the center part of Texas so absolutely no experience in shelling whatsoever but your videos make me so very excited!
Details on jewel boxes, please. Size of sailors ears? Will try to sort Coquinas.
Hi Marie! Oh thank you my dear! The white spiny Jewelboxes – but they dont have to be spiny. The worn ones are the ones we borrowed and about an inch-ish. Any size sailors ears. Again- thank you sweetie!!
Small batch of coquinas and big bag of sailors ears are on the way. My local shipper laughed to hear I was sending shells from Kansas to Florida.
I bet! He’s thinking the world has gone mad… Hmmmm…. I’m thinking he may be right! Haha But Shell Love Bug thanks you so much and so do I. Xo
Shout out to Marie in KC! Fellow obsessive sheller in KC maybe we could meet up sometime for a coffe and KC shelling fix/talk.
Sounds good…I am in Mission.but currently under the weather.
I just found your website, and I think we must be related! LOL! I love and completely identify with your passion for shelling. I will be visiting your site often!
Our family just returned from a week on North Captiva Island. We found many of the same shells you find on Sanibel. I can’t wait to return to that area and shell some more.
I’m not sure how many I have of the shells you are looking for. But this is a good excuse to go thru the boxes and see what I can send you. What a good cause!
We are flying home on the day of your August cruise so unfortunately we can’t make it – ugh!!!! Hopefully there will be one when we are back in February.
I was also wondering if the car will be on display somewhere. I guess Lee County owns it and it would be fantastic to see in when we come down in August.
Hi Pam, this is off the subject, but I’m wondering what your thoughts are about the water release from Lake O? I’ve been hearing that there is toxic algae and that the beaches are not OK for swimming right now. I just booked a two week trip July 14 to the 28th. Do you think it will be clear by then or what are you hearing about the water around Sanibel? I was told that people can get very bad sores from going in the water. Thanks! Sherri from MN.
Oh Sherry, I’m so sorry but I don’t know. Honestly, I’m a little off kilter – I’ve been cooped up working on that car then all the hoopla. I haven’t watched news, been to the beach (other than to Cayo and that was beautiful) or anything else- I’m tied up right now trying to recover. but I can’t believe it’s that bad or I would think I would have heard about it. But then … I’ve barely seen the light of day. Please visit mysanibel.com – if there are any warnings the city would have to announce it. Again, so sorry I can’t help you sweetie.
Thanks for teaching me so much about shelling with your great site! It’s become a passion and has taken me to some wonderful places. This week, I brought my “Sanibel Stoop” all the way to Australia and was rewarded with some teeny little wentletraps when I least expected it- in the “coffee grounds”, just like you said! Thanks!
I loooove that! That makes me feel sooooo good that I had anything to do with you enjoying a day on a beach half way around the world! Thank you so much for your sweet note :)
Mailed a small box of coquinas off to the Shell Love Bug today. Hoping to find out your September cruise dates soon. Meanwhile daydreaming of Sanibel.
Yay! Shell Love Bug thanks you so much (and I do too!)
I’m new at collecting shells and creating decor with them. I’m live in Michigan 6 months and just started living 6 months in Naples, FL. Looking forward to whatever you have to offer to make my experience better.
Just missed you at the 81st Annual Shell Festival this past spring and purchased your adorable book which has become a conversation piece in Shellanguage on my cocktail table! Was disappointed as I was hoping to get a signed version only discover you had already done so! Hope to meet you next year!
Was hoping you could share what product you used to seal the shells on your amazing Shell Love Bug. I know through experience, almost all shells will lose their color when exposed to direct sun light. I would be most grateful!
Your friend in seashell sisterhood,