I Dig the Beach, the Sand, the Sea, and of course the Shelling!
As many of you know, I am totally in love with the beach. I dig the beach, the sand, the sea, and of course shelling.
Hubby’s work often brings us near beaches.
We are so blessed that Hubby’s work often brings us near beaches, usually on the Gulf of Mexico, but also the Atlantic Coast. Naturally, we take every advantage of being near the coast and visit the beaches every chance we get. There is just something about kicking off your shoes and walking in the sand along the water’s edge. (I’ll tell you what that “something” is in an upcoming post.) Beachcombing is so much more than looking for shells. It’s warm sand on your feet. the smell of salt in the air, and the relaxing sounds of waves crashing on the shore. Its pure refreshment and the shells are Lagniappe. (Lagniappe is a word well used in Louisiana, it means “extra”, “more”, like a bonus. Lagniappe is like gravy, the potatoes are delicious, but the gravy….) So shells are like gravy.
The Shelling Stoop
Almost every person you see walking on the beach has their head down. They are not hanging their heads in shame, but are looking intently for whatever treasures the sea left in the sand. Some people refer to it as the “shelling stoop”. It is the chronic condition of bending over, with heads down, looking at the ground. It very common among beachgoers, especially shellers and the sea always delivers its gifts to those whose who are looking for them. Like God’s mercies are fresh every morning, so are the gifts of the sea. Every day is a new day on the beach. Each time I walk the beaches there are different gifts waiting to be discovered by obsessed shellers like myself.
Avid Shellers have Methods for Treasure Hunting
Avid shellers have methods for treasure hunting on beaches. Some walk in the edge of the water looking for tumbling shells, that have been washed in with the tide and out again as the waves recede. Others walk the tide lines, paying special attention to the wrack lines. Wrack lines are the line of debris left on the beach by the high tide. Wracks are usually made up of seagrasses, driftwood, feathers and sadly litter. It’s also where you can find amazing shells. Shells gathered from the wrack line must be carefully inspected to make sure there are no live creatures residing in them. It’s illegal to collect live shells, and care must be given to check them. If you find a live shell gently return it to the water. Throwing them into the sea can injure live crabs living in the shells.
I have my own strategy of treasure hunting on the beach. I want to explore every inch of the beach, hoping to find that next awesome treasure so I start in one direction near the water and come back along the tide line. Hubby wanders aimlessly, zigzagging his way around with absolutely no method to his madness. One thing is for sure, whatever path I choose, its bare feet in the sand, a shell sack in my hand and head down looking for whatever the sea has for me that day.
In search of the perfect shell
I am always in search of the perfect specimen and almost always fill my shell bag with shells with projects in mind.
However, I am not discriminating when it comes to shells. I keep whole beautiful shells, and broken shells as well. I think there is a certain beauty in their brokenness and have projects for them as well.
It makes me think of our Heavenly Father, who sees us in all of our brokenness and loves us anyway. He sees value in us, in spite of our brokenness and never tosses us aside because we are chipped, cracked or broken. God holds us near to Him, and loves us so much that He sent Jesus to restore us.
Often I see broken shells and I keep them and make things of them that remind me our brokenness and our need for restoration by God.
Beauty in Brokenness
This is one of my “Beauty in Brokenness” projects. I love the shapes of shells, the swirls, and spirals and crowns. I spray painted them white and glued them to a white wooden heart and its hanging on the wall in my beach decorated 5th wheel camper.
What to do with all the shells you collect?
So what else do you do with all the shells you collect? Every beach has its own “regular” shells that wash up, but every day there are new surprises. I enjoy collecting and crafting with them and the truth is there are so many different types of shells that the crafting possibilities are endless.
Shells can be displayed in a glass container and used as decorations for shelves or tables. They can be glued to almost anything, mirrors, flower pots, etc, turning everyday items into beach decorations.
Smaller delicate shells can be used as jewelry, while larger shells can be used as small planters. You can see some of my handmade items here at my Etsy Store
The next time you get to a beach, take time to soak in some sun, relax in the cool waters and keep your eyes open for treasures. You never know what treasures the sea will bring you.