Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I See Sea Shells

Someone commented on a blog the other day that seashell decor was over done -  she preferred to see beach houses that weren't decorated with shells.

I live in a beach house.

I decorate with shells.

Maybe it is cliched, but we live in a beach house for a reason - we love the beach and EVERY shell in our house has a special meaning.

The glass jar full of shells and the orange conch shell were my 30th wedding anniversary present - not the normal gift, but special to me.

Seven months before our anniversary, Steve was invited on a surf trip to the Maldives - literally half way around the world from home.  

He excitedly made all the plans, paid his deposit, arranged for one month off from work (before he was a full time artist) and as the time grew closer we realized that he would be gone for our anniversary.

He asked what I wanted him to bring me as a gift and I asked for shells.

The glass jar sits on a shelf in our bathroom filled with beautiful sand from the Maldives and shells he found on different islands.

The large conch shell was a trade- a fisherman wanted Steve's binoculars and Steve said he would make the trade for a beautiful shell.

These shells might not look like much - at present they are sitting in a drawer - but they come out for display periodically.

We found the large sand dollars on the left while driving on the beach in Costa Rica.

All the tiny shells in the middle were collected by KC and me on the beach in Kjerringoy, Norway at the home where my grandmother was born.

The sand dollars on the right, the snail shell and the larger shell were gathered over time on our morning beach walks.

The shells on display on a bedroom shelf also have meaning.

Steve found the large snail shell in front of the orange conch shell while walking back up the beach from a long surf session -  if I ever move it, he notices right away and asks where it is.

The large starfish and the conch shell were purchased (I didn't want to risk our special shells) as table decor for a  family party and they serve as a reminder of that special day.

A shelf in the bathroom holds more special memories.

The container of sea glass is a 15 year accumulation of morning walks on the beach - every piece is from our beach.

The piece of coral is another favorite find of Steve's.

It might look like a lot of shells, but it is just 3 spots -

the garden . . .  bathroom shelves . . . bedroom shelves.

To some it is cliched, but to us, it is simply memories on display.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Find me at these great parties

Cedar Hill Ranch - The Scoop

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Tuesday's Treasurers

Coastal Charm - Nifty Thrifty Tuesday

Cozy Little House - Tweak It Tuesday

A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday

Our Home Away From Home - Tuesdays At Our Home


  1. You are amazing .......
    Your love for shells is amazing
    and the stories are wonderful .
    I grew up in a part of Holland at the beach .
    That part of Holland is called ZEELAND
    ZEE= sea LAND= country
    I have loved shells all my life and I was always collecting .
    I was surprised each and every time what the beach presented .
    You inspired me to make a blogpost about my dutch shells !
    Thank you my friend !

  2. I LOVE your shells! Always have! I, like you, have shells all over my home in a seaside town. A jar of seaglass on the porch collected with my kids, a nest filled with shells of my dad's from his time serving on Guam, a load of shells from before we were married and used to visit Florida each summer, a large conch my mom didn't want anymore, but I still remember the day when I was 7 that we bought it together. So we shouldn't decorate with shells???? That reader obviously needs to make a few more memories!

  3. Heck, I live in a French stone cottage and I DECORATE with sea shells! WHY? Because I LOVE THEM. Funny how some comments are made.....this is a place to uplift and support. Not a place to criticize. I LOVE YOUR COLLECTION and we envy you living by the beach! And what a fabulous gift. The collection I have sitting in a white alabaster bowl in my studio were also given to me by my husband, who bought them for me on a trip to Maine; there was a place called, MOM AND POP'S sitting on the side of the road, overlooking the Atlantic; I hope they're still there. My favorite is a pink shell that will always remind me of Ruben.


  4. You know hun, you do not need to explain your decor to anyone, if they don't like it then that is just their issue...LOL I love all the memories you have with these shells, I use them as well as a small touch around my home and I am no where near the beach but just because I LIKE IT. lol Thanks for sharing your shells and their awesome memories. ~hugs~ Have a blessed day. :-)

  5. Having a home near the beach is a blessing. There is no better way to enjoy that blessing than looking at and collecting sea shells! We have a vacation home in Florida and when we return to our "real" home I look at my beach treasures to remind me of my favorite place! Isn't life about finding joy in the little things anyway? :)

  6. You have the most gorgeous collection of sea shells! And I love the meaning and memories behind each one. If I had such beauties, I wouldn't be storing them away in a drawer no matter what time of year. Beautiful displays!!
    Mary Alice

  7. How beautiful that they hold such memories Carol - and the sea glass is just gorgeous - can't imagine my morning walk including sand every day of my life - you're so lucky !!!
    Have a wonderful day!

  8. Love all your beautiful shells. I say decorate with what makes you happy, it would be to time consuming to keep up with trends all the time, not to mention expensive.

  9. Carol,
    You have a fantastic collection of sea shells, I think it's wonderful that you're able to collect so many of them yourself at the beach. All the shells that I have, which aren't that many are purchased from beach-side stores. One of the things on my bucket list for this summer is to go to the beach, I've been telling my family that I want to go collect some sea-shells for myself, with my own hands, not to just purchase them. Hopefully we will get to go the last week of September, that is the plan anyway.
    Love your large sand-dollar, how awesome that you found it.
    Have a wonderful week!

  10. Your shells are gorgeous! I don't live on the beach (on that is a dream of mine also) but I decorate with shells anyway! They remind me of trips and dreams and special times. I don't think a shell is a cliche at all.

  11. Carol,
    People crack me up sometimes with their comments!!! You have a beach house and of course you will have special shells as part of your decor. I do not have a beach house and I have a lot of special shells we have collected over the years on trips to the beaches. I love the memories attached to all the shells I have. I love everyone of your beautiful shells and I love that you have made them part of your lovely decor in your beautiful beach house.

  12. Carol - the shells and the cobalt blue glass are a beautiful combination!

  13. My shells are very special to me, too! Gifts from friends, found in special places, filled with memories... Over done my foot!

  14. Your shell collection is just beautiful, and I love how you've displayed them. Special memories are never overdone no matter what we use to bring them to mind. Whatever makes us smile is what we should decorate with. You've done such a lovely job with your shells. Oh to walk on the beach every day... how wonderful!!

  15. I loved hearing where each shell came from and the special memory it has for you.

  16. Ummm...And WHAT crazy person said that shells were overdone at a BEACH HOUSE? Helllooooooooo---Don't you wonder what HER house looks like? Cows because she lives in Wisconsin-complete with cowhide rug? Rodeo ropes because she lives in Montana and has a corral? Peach colored walls because she lives in Georgia? Okay, okay- I quit!

    I love shells-always have-always will. I even make shell macaroni for mac and cheese. It's a sickness-the love of shells! xo Diana

  17. We could have written this post together! Oh, how I love shells and they are in every room of my house. I haven't traveled a lot to collect mine...most are from right here in Florida but they are every one special to me. It's my MOST favorite things to do....shell seek! I love your beautiful collection....it makes me smile REAL BIG! Sweet hugs from sunny Florida!

  18. Carol,
    It is so nice that all of your seashells have a special meaning for you. Oh, I don't know what my kids would do without the ocean, they love it so. I still have a few shells from when I was growing up. I couldn't part with them. Every sea shell is different and unique in its own way.

    Happy September!


  19. I can't see how any look is 'over done' because we all like different things. Each to their own, the world would be a boring place if we all liked the same things.
    Personally I love shells and will always use them because, like you, I often collect them myself. Your stories and collections are wonderful !

  20. I love the special memories that come with your shells! We have a little collection of shells in a jar that we've collected on beach vacations. I think they're great little momentos! (And I have the same #1 and #2 metal boxes-love them! :)

  21. What a special collection of beautiful shells. They're beautiful to look at, but even more special because of all the memories. You do a great job displaying every one of them.

  22. If you can't decorate with beach shells in a beach house I don't know where you can! It looks so authentic and warm and I love the fact that you have stories with all your shells. You have a talent for display too which makes me jealous.
    Hope you're doing well, I'm having such a hard time keeping up my blog life. Hopefully now that summer is over it will be easier but I feel so behind with my blog friends....:(

  23. Carol, with each new post of yours that I read, I realize that we are much alike in many ways. Shells are pieces of art from Mother Nature. I don't live near the ocean, but I did grow up near the Gulf coast. Through the years when at a beach, I picked up shells every time they've presented the opportunity and kept the ones that were special to me. I idid the same with rocks. Sadly, I've few here at home because when I retired I left my box of shells and rocks with my teaching materials. I don't often regret decisions, but at times I wish for a few of the things I left behind when I retired.

  24. I also live by the sea and I love decorating with sea shells I have a large collection that I use in my summer décor. I love all your shells and how you used them to tell your story. Great pictures!

  25. nothing wrong in decorating with shells, or whatever else you like. It's your style and your house. I personally love shells...I grew up in a country that is 90% surrounded by sea water. The orange shell is so different and really makes a nice statement

  26. Ok so I am gonna sound a little Italian here but like my pop would say...tell em to go scratch!! What do these people know and how the heck can you lump design into one format?!?! You know what is funny, I bet some of these folks don't even live on the beach! Ha! I love the meaning behind all of your beautiful shells...so pretty and all of the stories are so touching! Hey I collect rocks! Love this post friend! You have a great week!

  27. I love the look of shells massed together, but I also have a few collected keepsakes too. Love what you have done with yours! You have continued to be a busy little bee while I was away! Big things ahead for you. Good luck with the Etsy project!

  28. Love your sea shell collection. I have shells on display and I live in Ohio. They remind me of the wonderful trip we had to the ocean in Florida.

  29. Hello

    Just don't seem to have the time to blog at the moment very busy working 6 day weeks, but love this blog and like you, live by the sea and have shells etc all over our house and each has a memory attached. So when I get time you have inspired me to do a similar blog.

    Annie x

  30. I love all of your shells and that they have such special meanings! I do not have many shells sitting around at our beach place (mainly space issues), but I have old prints of them on the walls! Shells are the best part of the beach!

  31. I love seashells- especially the ones with memory and meaning :)

  32. I love sea shells too! And I love collecting sea glass even though I have a jar full but each piece is different....right!... recently we moved to Singapore from Dallas Texas and I collect these whenever we head for the beach!

    Love all your decor....for me I can't imagine a beach house without shells!

  33. Well, you have some beautiful collections and I think it looks fabulous. To each their own. I think a beach house should be full of sea shells. Enjoy your treasure.....

  34. It seems natural to decorate with shells on the seaside and with lavender in Provence! I also use small unfussy shells that I find on the nearby beaches and I also have some sand I brought back from a trip to the Caribbean!

  35. Carol, I love the shells. The memories are the important part. Sylvia D.

  36. Hi. I was stopping by blogs in hopes of getting some help on a Martha Stewart Contest....I've been nominated and I was trying to get Votes to help Win...if you have time I would love to see you come by my blog, Vote and also enter in a giveaway for your support!! Your able to vote 6 times in a row daily until Sept. 13th!! I would greatly appreciate it!! Thanks so much!

  37. I believe in collecting and decorating with what you love. It is your home, not a fashion magazine, and the only one you need to please is you. That said, I love that all your shell have a story and signify a special moment in time for you. Beautiful! Keep making memories.

  38. I love that there are stories behind all of your treasured shells! Seashells are lovely to decorate with and even more so when you actually live on/near the beach. Your beach glass collection is my favorite though! I have found a few pieces over the years. I would love to live on the beach so I could walk on it every day! What a blessing...:)

    Life On Willie Mae Lane

  39. I don't think shells are cliched at all! If I lived in a beach house, I'd have several displays of seashells, too. I think yours are even more special since they have meaning and memories attached to them. I have some beautiful shells - some of which are special to me, as well - and I love displaying them in my home in the summer.

  40. I think it must be some kind of law that if you live by the beach you must have sea shells in your house. You've got a beautiful collection. Mimi

  41. Personally, I think that beach houses should have sea shells. I find it weird if they don't. But that's just my opinion :)

  42. I never get tired of seeing your amazing knack for display and creating vignettes of beauty in every corner!

  43. Carol,

    They're all exquisitely beautiful, with their own story and special significance, and placing them where you can see them reminds you of times in your life that are marked in your memory and nestled in your heart. Thanks for sharing your lovely collection.


  44. I have a pet-peeve people who tell other people their are "rules" they should go by in something they are doing. I scrapbook and I've read so many things that say you should do this or do that this way, same with decorating. I say it is your home you do what you want.

    Great pictures of all your home's lovely things.

    If I had a home by the beach it would have sea shells. I live in a home in the country and one of our 2 bathrooms is decorated with some sea shells because I love the beach. Some of our best ever vacations have been at the beach. I have a picture of a bicycle on a sandy beach, a jar of shells (some we collected at the beach), and a couple other things. The shower curtain is striped but it all blends together.

  45. opps I meant there not their although I could have said their rules :)

  46. it's really different if the shells are purely used for decoation and when it's really part of the entire house.:) a have bottles full of seaglass in my place which i pick up everytime we visit out favorite beach

  47. I LOVE THE BEACH. I have a camper at the beach but if I had a house at the beach, It would be decorated with shells, and all other nautical things! shm, Even my house in NC has some shell decorations. Love your blog! Found you from your sweet comment on my post. Have a wonderful weekend!

  48. I think your shells look fabulous and I love that you have a personal connection to your shells. I never believe that things are "in" or "out". I just go with what I like as I know you do.

  49. Carol, I adore your shells and even more so because of the meaning they have to you and your husband. I'm sure the person who made that comment would rethink their words after reading this post. They are a beautiful and special part of your home!


  50. Thanks for saying hello - It is always wonderful to see who finds us. I love your Lulu! And your colours in your little cottage makes my heart sing.

    Love Leanne NZ

  51. I love seashells and sea glass, and I don't think it's cliched....you live on the beach! Very nice vignettes, and I don't think they're overdone. I like how you have the sea glass displayed!

    BTW I love the vignettes in your header, especially the second one (although I love them all...)

    Thanks for your kind comments, Carol. They mean a lot!


  52. Shells in a beach house are authentic.

  53. a gorgeous collection, love all your photos!

  54. I am so glad you posted your shells. I love, love, love sea shells and they do take on very special meanings! I have a collection of shells my mom spent a lot of time collecting over the years from the beach of Lake Michigan. This touched my heart.

  55. Your blog is incomparable. I have checked out many but this is very impressive tips which will help in clearing doubts about ARE Camper Shell. I will refer it to my friends. Thanks and Keep updating.