Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shellophilia: Incurable, but treatable (Gosh, I hope not!)

Guest post from an incredibly talented artist, and very good beach girl buddy,  Chris Anderson Chenault.  Enjoy!

.....It is said that there is only one hobby that is also a recognized mental illness; bibliophilia, the compulsion to collect and store books...

Evidently, the members of that think tank have never met a hardcore sheller!

We can't help it.  Somehow, any time we get near a sea shell, it inexplicably follows us home.  In advanced cases, this behavior has been known to expand to include other categories; such as "flotsam" and "jetsam". Oy

Spending hours and days on the beach with one's chin on one's upper chest and eyes trained on the sand/rocks/pebbles/driftwood/dune grass isn't such a bad way to experience nature.  And when the weather is foul, spending comparable hours prowling the offerings of obscure flea markets and little-known shops can be equally rewarding.

Ah, the thrill of the treasure hunt!

We sneak back into the domicile lugging suspiciously bulging objects in plain brown wrappers.  When inquiring minds in the household cast questioning looks our way, a feasible response is always at the ready: It's for "A Project"!  (note the capital A and P)

I believe the clinical term is "justification".....

Now comes the pressure of producing the proof of the "The Project".    Easy!  We're preparing for the next holiday!  Every year our island home features a big Christmas tree covered in shells, most of them gathered from our own beach.  The white on green with little (non-flashing) lights is beachy and forest-y at the same time.  Which suits me just fine, since our local forest come right down to our local beaches.

Some our ornaments are:

  • oyster shell with pearl added
  • Sand dollars with mono-filament line through the keyholes
  • finger starfish with silver thread through bead caps on one end
  • tropical whelks lightly dusted with opalescent sparkle
  • restaurant scallop shells (why waste them???)
  • Local cockle shells highlighted with pearlescent acrylic paint
  • The obligatory Dungeness crab claw accents with gold
  • Fragments of coral
How many ornaments?  In this case, nothing succeeds like excess. We display literally hundreds of these, but they store compactly in a document box during the other eleven months.  Seashells are delicate and tough at the same time, and grandchildren have been known to chew on sea stars.  I love that our ornaments are intended to be manhandled by our little guests.  Anything that is pokey or treasured is hung out of reach.

Seashells are beautiful tied to gift packages, and a garland of sea stars is perfectly charming above a doorway or among the folds of window treatments.

A very happy holiday season to all, and God Bless us, every one!


Blogging Friends, wishing you lots of luck finding beautiful sea shells (and flotsam and jetsam!) for your upcoming holidays.   Looking forward to hearing about all of your projects;  for ornaments, sea shell trees, table scapes, gift wrapping ... Will be looking for ideas to share!

Here are a few of Chris's other creations at Caron's Beach House:
All inspired by her life on an island in Washington State!

Hand Painted Sea Glass Floats hiding among the sea grass

And here's the details!,-beach-cottage/Detail    14 x 22 indoor/outdoor pillows with hand painted sea stars

More Starfish Pillows!
 19 x 19 Hand painted orange or green starfish on pretty indoor/outdoor pillows

Great Blue Heron Beach Cottage Pillows,-beach/Detail


Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Love the ornaments -what a nice tradition!!

sealaura said...

those ornaments are so pretty. I wish my tree was bigger. also the pillows are so gorgeous. between you and sallybythesea I am in pillow bliss.

K&B by the Sea said...

I've never seen a Christmas tree decorated with seashells - I love it! It's so unique and charming :-)

Love the pillows, especially the one with the glass floats in the sea grass.


Beach House Living said...

I completely agree on the shell tree.
We have dozens of shells on ours and I haven't grown tired of it yet.

Tybee Bound said...

Being for South Florida we always decorated our trees with shells, and starfish. When my kids were little we would find the shells on the beach and the kids would either paint them or glitter them then hang them. We kept ours out all yr long just putting them on our other plants in the house. I still have them out now at my new house in GA.

Kathy W. said...

Love the shell tree!! Looks like alot of the ideas we have incorporated on our Christmas tree!! Thanks for sharing!!

Simple Daisy said...

Love the seashell ornaments!!! So very cute! :):)

Arabella said...

Beautiful shells and article!

Drawn to The Sea said...

Nothing more charming than a coastal Christmas, is there?

Unknown said...

I'm so happy to know my disease has a name! Now I can justify my obsession!


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