Sometimes things happen that at first look seems like another challenge to face, but if you look closely you'll see that actually what occurred is the road ahead cleared and you can see much more clearly.
This is what happened to me recently and I am excited about what the bumpy journey this past year has finally led me to. There is something I've been wanting to do for quite a while, but work and stress has kept me from pursuing my dream. Oh, and throw a lack of self-confidence into that mix. Now the timing is right and I'm feeling good about the road ahead.
I read and copied this quote last year, "Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side that you are used to is better than the one to come?"
I don't remember who it's from, but I found it on Aysegul's blog, Turquoise Diaries. I wrote it down and have kept it in my inspiration notebook ever since. Every time I come across it again, I am inspired.
You may have noticed I haven't been around as much as usual lately, but I have a good reason. I've been covered in sawdust, paint, cement, glue and shells. My nights are spent waking up, searching for pen and paper to jot down notes on some idea that pops into my subconscious. You may have guessed by now that I've been wanting to open an Etsy store and with the encouragement of Kat @ Low Tide High Style and Heather @ Simpledaisy, I'm getting really close, like just weeks. I'm just working on my inventory.
Kat and Heather's blogs and their words are a constant inspiration to me. Last summer Kat sent me an email that read, "Rhonda, life is too short to not toot your own horn from time to time! You can't ever get tomorrow back, so you have to live today with everything you've got!" And Heather recently wrote, "Let me know if you ever have any questions about ETSY!!!" I don't think I would have gotten this far without their encouragement.
I also can't leave out a big thank you to my friend Maya @ Completely Coastal, who writes about coastal decor and whenever I visit my mind starts swimming with ideas. Early in February this year she posted some photos of hearts made of pieces of driftwood and a lightbulb went off. I knew what I wanted to do!
As I read various blogs, one thing I know for sure is that many of us love treasures from the sea.
and beach stones
are among our favorites.
These three things all have something in common; each piece has been tossed around in our oceans until their rough edges have been smoothed, leaving us with something along the shore that we cannot resist bending over, picking up and displaying in our homes.
Another thing that I'll add to this list is seashells, but not just your everyday kind of shells. I'm talking about the kind that like a piece of glass or wood or a stone, has been gently tossed by the waves, resulting in a smooth, curvy piece of shell. I've collected these pieces for years and recently I've given them a name — driftshells. Yep, you heard it here first! I have created, invented or coined a neologism —a new word — right here on my blog. After all my years of shell collecting, this is what I want to leave with other collectors — don't walk by that piece of broken shell, pick it up, turn it over, feel the smooth surfaces and admire it just as you would a piece of sea glass. To help you along with this, I've give these gems from the sea, their own word. Maybe my claim to fame will be if this word catches on and it eventually gets listed in the dictionary, with me listed as the inventor. That would be so cool! Then driftshells will be the legacy I leave to the shelling world, lol.
The keyword here is smooth! Just as you wouldn't want to collect a piece of glass with sharp edges, the same can be said of driftshells. If the edges are sharp, it's just a piece of broken shell, if the edges are smooth — it's a driftshell!
Let me show you a few pics of driftshells and tell me what you think…
Aren't they lovely? I think they are enchanting and I am captivated by the organic sense of each one. I keep a small bowl of these by my computer and when I feel tense, I just love picking them up and feeling their smoothness in my hands. They take me back to the shore and I feel rejuvenated.
I think the last piece is exquisite and as I've sorted through my driftshells, I set a few like this aside to make into a simple pendant. Like I said, I've collected these for years and last Sunday I drove three hours round trip to spend the day at a beach near my friend Karen of Essential Beachcomber, picking up more. Thanks for the coffee and conversation Karen, you are a true friend! (My aching back!)
I've decided that these are what I want to design with. There are lots of shell artists out there who create gorgeous mirrors and such with perfect shells, I do some of that, but I wanted something different to be my focus, something that more represents my love of the sea and all the beauty she shares with us. Ask Karen, I'm the one who gets excited when I find something like this…
Let me show you what I've been working on…
The overall size of each frame is 9 x 9-inches and they each hold a 4 x 6-inch photo. They can sit on a shelf or be hung on a wall. The first two are driftshells with a few perfect mini bivalve shells interspersed among them. The last one consists of all driftshells with a perfect Lightning Whelk showcased. I'm going to sell these for $39 plus shipping. They weigh about three pounds each.
Then, inspired by Maya, I made this…
Made entirely of driftshells, the wooden heart I used as a base is 8.5-inches tall and 5.5-inches at its widest point. The majority of the shells used for this piece are driftshell whorls, the inside spiral shape of a seashell and they are harder to come by. The price for this piece is $52 plus shipping (it weighs about a pound or so).
I'm also working on some beach signs made with driftshells and regular shells. If if wasn't raining today, I'd show you photo, but the sun wasn't cooperating. Those will be $19.
Each driftshell used in my work has been lovingly picked up
by yours truly on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
So, what do you think? Will anybody else be as excited by driftshells as I am? Are they different and unique? I need you to be honest, I know everyone won't feel the same way, but is there an audience out there that feels the same way I do about these types of shells? You can leave a comment here or contact me through the email link under my follower list if you have some advice or constructive criticism you'd like to share. I'll take all the help and suggestions you have to offer.
Now for my REALLY exciting news!
My dear, darling friend Jane of Artfully Graced is having her Art At Home show on March 19th and she's invited me to participate! I am so excited, I'm beside myself. If you haven't seen Jane's paintings, you better run right over and see a glimpse of some of her work she'll be selling.
This is the third Art At Home show Jane has held and it keeps growing. For details check out her post at the link below. If you live in Florida or you're planning a visit, be sure to drop by and meet us! Jane lives in Palm Harbor, which is right between Dunedin and Tarpon Springs. There is so much to do in that area, so you can make a day or a vacation of it! Dunedin has lots of fun shopping and great restaurants and Tarpon Springs is home of the sponge docks and the Greek food is amazing! Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island are just minutes away; they are two of our most gorgeous beaches. In fact, Caladesi was ranked as America's Best Beach by Dr. Beach in 2008.
Please share the Art at Home button and link on your blog…
help us get the word out…
Whew…I did it, I finally did it!
Now if you're asking yourself if this is going to change my blog, rest assured — NO! I love blogging about the beach, sharing recipes, telling stories, sharing vintage photos and history and just chatting about what interests me or what I've been doing and taking about ocean conservancy. I adore visiting you all and once I get a new routine down, I'll be right back at it. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm taking a break. I'll be here and there, I just need to figure out a new schedule for my new life, so my posts may be a little simpler for a few weeks.
I will from time to time post photos of my new goodies to get your opinion, but that will not be the focus of my blog. There will be a link to my Etsy store and I will make a BIG announcement once it gets officially opened. Plus, I'm going to be hosting a party for World Oceans Day on June 8th and I'm hoping all my beach loving friends will join in the fun. This will be a once-a-year party, so stay tuned for the details…
Thank you to all my blogging friends who have encouraged, inspired and just made my life better, I love you all! I will probably not be posting again until next week, so that I can take some time to get out and visit all of you. Put a pot of coffee on or whip up some pina coladas, I'll be stopping by!!!!!