Hi, my name is Shellbelle and I'm a shellaholic.
I've not been shelling for 14 days.
Trust me, I'll never get my 30-day
In February, my dear friend Maya of Completely Coastal and Daily Vitamin Sea, wrote on one her posts, "Did you know that attaching shells to objects such as frames, mirrors or pieces of furniture is a practice called Coquillage?"
Maya said she had never known that and I must admit that I had never heard of that either and heck, I'm always gluing shells to stuff! She writes that, "Coquille is the French word for shell and the art of Coquillage goes back to the Rococo period of 18th-century France when the shell motif was popular as a carved decoration."
I really liked this new word Maya had taught me and it kind of stuck in my head. Then I was reading "back" on some posts a new blogger friend had written and I came across this question, "What Exactly is Cottage Style?" Marie of Sally Lee by the Sea wrote, "Technically speaking, Cottage Style isn’t really a style. After all, a cottage is meant to be lived in, to be enjoyed, and is usually the recipient of all the cast-offs from the real home."
Note: Marie found a great article on Cottage-style decorating that she writes about. Very informative, so be sure to stop by and read her entire post.
AND then I was visiting Kathy over @ Native Mom and she wrote, "Now I'm thinking that if your house has an official name, it's not a house it is a home."
Can you guess what's coming? Yep, you got it, I've decided to name my new humble abode and thanks to these three ladies, from this day forward it shall be called
Now I realize that this is a very pretentious name for my new digs (which in actuality is a duplex not a cottage), but hey, whatever floats your boat, as those of us who live near the shore often say and this name floats mine. Most of you know that when I moved to Georgia recently, I downsized and downgraded my living quarters, but in the words of Maya Angelou,
"I can be changed by what happens to me,
I refuse to be reduced by it."
I refuse to be reduced by it."
So, now that the name has been decided upon I thought I would show you a few of my coquillage pieces and other seashells in my new home. Mind you, I've only been here for less than two months, so I have a lot to do. As I paint, repair, find some new furniture, carpet and such…I'll be showing you the transformation and asking for a lot of advice.
First, when you walk in the door and look to the left, you'll see my seashell display case. In here I store my absolute favorites, well most of my favorites anyway. I broke two of the glass shelves shortly before the move, so a trip to the glass store is on my list of many things to do. This collection contains shells I picked up at the beach, shells picked up at a seashell store and those shells sent to me by friends from their favorite beach. I especially love the ones sent my friend Michelle, all the way from Africa when she was serving in the Peace Corps.
Hanging to the left of the display case is this:
This was a project for a Flora and Fauna of Florida class I took in 2005 at Saint Petersburg College. I loved it so much, I've had it hanging in my house ever since.
Each shell has been tagged with its common name, its scientific name and the family it belongs to in the Phylum Mollusca (mollusks). This piece has really come in useful when visitors want to know what kind of shells they found, I just refer them to the wall. By the way, I got an A+++++ for this project!
Then on the coffee table, instead of a book, is this
small basket of shells:
Here's a closer view. The little Florida dish belonged to my mother. I love vintage souvenirs from beachy places and have a small collection. I'll save that for another day.
Okay, here's a couple of coquillage pieces. You've seen lots of shells in vases, but I like actually gluing them to the outside of a vase. This first one is filled with vintage-style silk flowers I bought at Michael's a few years ago. I'm trying to incorporate my love of seashells and roses in my new place. Before my bedroom was all rosy (with a few shells, of course) and other areas were "shelly." Now, anything goes, so it's all going together.
This next one is empty, I usually have this on my little dining table in the front window, full of coral and other sealife, but it also looks lovely filled with wildflowers.
A few closeups to show you different angles:
I made these both in 1999, they've been washed numerous times and have held up exceptionally well. Don't let anyone tell you to use a glue gun when working with shells, they snap off and you can forget about being able to give it a good washing. I use Goop — the one made for plumbing, it forms a flexible seal, is waterproof and obviously holds for years and years.
Note: I set both of these vases on top of a seashell mirror that I'm working on to take the photos. I like the effect and will be keeping my eye out for a few smaller round mirrors.
Here are just a few of the vessels holding shells that you'll find around my house. They are useful for lighting during a power outage, a romantic evening, taking outside for the patio tables and they're just darn cute.
This one is filled with "sand" from Sanibel Island. Actually this is what you get when you scoop up a few handfuls of crushed shells there and if you look closely you'll find absolutely perfect teeny, tiny shells. I have four just like this. The jars are from a chicken chili I bought last winter to have on hand. They were on sale — Buy One Get One. I wanted the chili anyway, so I consider these containers were FREE, plus I love recycling with a purpose. Cost me nothing to pick up the shells and I found those little glass tealights at Goodwill — 6 for $1.39. Total cost of each one? Less than a quarter! Four beachy candles for less than $1.00, doesn't get any better than that!
This container is for forcing Amaryllis bulbs, but I love the shape and the top holds a tealight perfectly. The "sand" in this one is actually crushed abalone shells, I love how it sparkles in the light, it's like nature's glitter.
Then sometimes simplicity is nice. The sand in this one is actually sand, yes really it is. The sand is from the beach by my old house in Florida and the shells were all picked up there.
There you have it, a small peek at just a few of my shells, believe me there are thousands more! I've been beachcombing all my life and my mother was just a addicted as me, so you'd think I really don't need any more, right?
Well, trust me, if you stop by and I'm not at home, I've probably…
Have a beachy day, if only in your heart.