July 03, 2010

She Sells Sea Shells...

You're walking down the beach on the first vacation you've had in God knows how long. You pick up every pretty seashell you see. There are a couple of broken conch shells, a few of those shells that look like snail shells, and maybe even a sand dollar or two. You rinse them off in the ocean and stash them in your beach bag. Once you’re up at the house (or condo, or hotel), you pull them back out of your beach bag. What the hell are you going to do with them now? You place them back in, and they stay at the bottom of your beach bag until your back home. You might even leave them in there until you are no longer able to justifiably leave the beach bag out any longer.

Well, friends, I have a little solution for you. It comes, in part, from the inspirational piece of artwork in the 1995 movie, Man of the House. Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ character searches, with his mother, to find shells to place on a fisherman’s net they have hanging in their home. Eventually, after many long walks on the beach, they complete it, and it is beautiful.

The net becomes a piece of living, ever-changing art that reminds them of the special times they had together on the beach. While it might not be as easy to nail up a fisherman’s net in your living room, you could do something like this for your front door.

I collected shells over a period of about a year, and after I had accumulated a substantial amount of shells, I took a trip to the Dollar General. There, they have wreaths made out of some sort of wood-like material for - you guessed it - a dollar. With my shells and glue gun by my side, I sat down and glued every beautiful shell I had found onto the wreath. Now, I have a beautiful piece of art to hang on my front door during the summer months (or maybe even year-round, if I feel like it).

If you don’t have a Dollar General near you, or if you can’t find a wooden wreath there, try Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Both of those craft stores will have a Styrofoam wreath, which would be my second choice. They may have prettier wreaths, you'll just have to check. The Styrofoam would be my second choice because the shells are all different shapes and sizes, so you want something that would be ok to look at if it was visible from behind the shells. Also, before you start gluing, wrap some wire around the top of the wreath, and make a little loop, so that you have something to hang it with.

This is a simple and quick idea that can be an ongoing project over the years. Each year, after a trip to the beach, you and your family can add a few more shells. The beauty of this wreath is that the more you build on top of it, the more beautiful it looks. For years to come, you will be able to look at this piece of art and remember the peaceful walks you spent on the coast.

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