Must-have ingredients of any coastal kitchen

Whether it’s the place you call home year-round or your vacation spot – so much of our family life takes place in the kitchen. And like any setting, a coastal style home décor can make any space feel inviting.

Here are some key ingredients every coastal kitchen should have – a place that will always feel peaceful and give your guests a sense of relaxation and feeling right at home.

Coastal colors

You always want to go with the colors of the key elements in a coastal setting; colors that are inspired by the sand, sky and many tones of the water. Blue always works – as it checks so many individual boxes. Whether darker shades or softer tones – it’s the must-have color for any beach setting.

It’s not a bad idea to pair those blues with white color schemes – giving it a vivid pop of color – or perhaps more muted tons with complimentary shades of gray or yellow.

Types of tiles

When done correctly – tiles can be the star of your kitchen and when it comes to beach themes, the same rings true. Coastal designs afford you with the perfect opportunity to create backsplashes full of character and with lots of materials and colors to choose from. Do – however – be wary of choice paralysis! Shades of blue, green, gray and tan can help recreate rolling ocean waves. Various stones and treasure tones can help you craft unique mosaics. Whichever way you go – don’t be afraid to get creative!

Colored appliances

Using colored appliances is one of the most under-appreciated and under-utilized means of adding color pop to your space. Just one colored appliance can take your kitchen from just another coastal design to giving off a strong undertone of shabby chic. The colors – especially retro colors like beach blue, turquoise, mint green and gray can add a tremendous amount of contrast to your kitchen and give it that little something extra.

Never be afraid to use wood

No coastal kitchen is ever complete without the perfect wood accent. In fact, many designs today take their inspiration from drift wood that’s tumbled through the ocean, or that furniture that’s withstood years of beatings from the sun, salt and wind.

Simply put, unfinished wood that looks rough, raw and white washed can really bring your space together and give you a truly authentic, grainy look. If you’re going more modern, then polished wood floors and cabinets can help give you a greater sense of sophistication.

Four beach themed design tips

There’s nothing quite like the enjoyment and sense of relaxation someone can get from the beach. The good thing is – when it comes to your house, you don’t have to be on the beach to at least partially enjoy all the benefits of the serenity of the experience. Many people are choosing beach themed décor and you’re likely reading this post because you’re strongly considering doing the same.

Here are some tips to help enhance that beach theme in your house.

Finding art

The best art isn’t the stuff on paintings. It’s the stuff you just find. When you’re seaside, be sure collect a few pieces from the beach to bring home and use. It could be driftwood, pebbles, sea glass, shells – rocks – whatever you might find. Even better – you can use a lot of these materials in conjunction with each other in order to make some really wonderful accents and pieces.

Soft lighting

One of the main features of any theme is your lighting. And believe it or not, lighting isn’t always affected by electricity and sunlight. Sometimes it’s the overall tone of the room. Usually beach themes are bathed in soft lighting. This is why you see colors like white being the poster child for coastal interiors – because it spreads light. From the curtains, to facing mirrors at windows to boost the amount of light coming in – there are a myriad of things you can do to boost the overall look, feel – and yes – brightness of your space.

Colors of the sea

Choosing colors for a beach themed room is relatively easy because all you need to do is look to the beach for inspiration. Light, lazy blues, white and grainy browns for your sand… yellow and bold color juxtapositions in the sky. Our general rule of thumb is that the more crisp the color, the better. While it’s good to go earthy and authentic (we’ll get to that in a second), it’s the snap of clean, bold white sheets or tablecloths that can really bring your room together.

Getting grainy

Beaches are sandy, rocky and often give off an authentic, weathered feel. Beach décor is an interesting design scheme largely because it allows extremes like snapping colors and drift wood/rocks to exist in the same space and make each other better. Don’t be afraid to go with the worn look on many of your furniture selections and accents. It’ll give an organic, authentic feel to your surroundings.

Good luck with your new décor! Nothing beats the beach!

When is the best time to go shelling?

One of the best aspects about shelling is the individualistic experience of it all – being able to tune out the outside world and enjoy something so rewarding at your own pace and at your leisure. But we want to give you a friendly warning – sooner or later you’re going to want to start raking in the bigger hauls! And getting those bigger, better hauls means being more efficient and tactical in the way you approach you shelling expeditions.

And that’s what we’re here to talk about today – when the best times are to go shelling in order to find the best possible shells.

Right after a storm

Storms are always a little more intense on the coasts, especially down here in the Florida Gulf Coast region, but they can be a boon to shell seekers everywhere. Storms cause oceans to churn and when oceans churn you get stronger tides and you’ll see more things that get washed up on a beach. Among those things are shells, which means not only a better selection, but better quality shells as well – which commonly get dug up from the ocean floor and make their way to shore.

Easterly winds

Storms aren’t the only things that can bring shells ashore. High winds are also a big help. When mother nature cues the winds eastward down here, you’ll notice a stronger tide and a more forceful, favorable tide. If you get out to the beach during low tide on those windy days, you’re sure to find the kinds of shells you’re looking for – in addition to some pleasant surprises as well!

Offseason months

We’re not the most sports-centric blog, but believe it or not, shelling follows a very similar pattern to baseball season, except flipped on its head. Colder, winter months – from November through March – are usually the best times to go shelling. The winter months are best because of #1 and #2 in this blog. There are higher winds and there are more storms in the winter months, with thinner, colder waters. That means larger shell piles to peruse to find the kinds of shells you’re looking for.

Shelling is really a recreational activity at heart – so the best time is always the time you just feel like doing it. But if you want to find the good stuff, focus your efforts on these three occurrences and you’ll find just what you’re looking for!

Shelling tips to get back into the swing of things

It’s January now, but soon it’ll be February and you’ll be thinking about your vacation. Or you live down in the Florida area like we do and will be taking great relief in the fact that the weather is warming back up again. Either way – it’ll be time to hit the beach again – and for our inner shell nut – it’ll be time to let loose!

But like anyone who’s good at anything in this world, it’s always important to slowly work our way back into things – and that’s what we’re here to do today! Here are some shelling tips that’ll help you get the new season started on the right foot!

Where should I go shelling when I’m on vacation?

Well honestly, it depends a lot on where you’re shelling. If we knew where the best shells would be all the time, I know a select few would probably have all of them! And honestly, even if I did and was unselfish about it – it’s kind of taking the fun out of things. Shelling is like a treasure hunt and finding that missing piece or that long sought after shell; that’s the best part about it!

Tides

Look at the tides for the days you’ll be on vacation. Usually your best times to go are about an hour before and an hour after low tide. If you need to find local tide charts, you can find them easily online.

Moons

Why is the moon so important? Because the moon often has a dramatic impact on the breadth of the tides. Full moons generally have the greatest impact, while crescent moons have the least. But when the Moon is at it’s moodiest is when you can find some of the most exotic shells.

Knowing what you’re looking for 

If you’re after a certain type of shell – there are a ton of helpful resources online that’ll not only help you identify the shell, but also provide you with charts and maps as to where those can be found. Hopefully the shell you’re looking for is close to where you’re vacationing.

Don’t forget to clean those shells!

Cleaning is a major part of a shelling experience that’ll bring the highest degree of satisfaction. It’ll help shells maintain the color and from there – it’s really up to you how you display them or use them in crafts. Just be sure to get the salt and sand off and dry them properly.

Good luck! Peak shelling time is right around the corner!

Why the beach is best in the winter

People often associate the summer with being the best time to go to the beach, but we’re here to tell you that the winter offers just as much, if not more opportunity on the coast – especially down here in Florida.

In fact, many of your favorite activities are still available to you and at less cost and with a whole lot less hassle. Here are some of our favorite things to do in the winter at the beach and why in many ways – we prefer it.

It’s peak shelling time – Believe it or not – the winter time is often considered to be the best time to go shelling at the beach. It sounds, a little counter-intuitive, right? But alas, it’s not. There’s a lot less traffic on the beach in the winter months, which means a dramatically increased selection.

It’s actually not all that cold – Here in Florida, it’s never really ‘cold’ in a meaningful sense, with average temperature steadily lingering in the mid 69’s to mid 70’s, making it the perfect time to get some much needed rest and relaxation.

Gorgeous sunsets – Sometimes it’s overstated, but there simply isn’t a better time to take in the sites and sounds of the Florida coasts than the winter. While the summer heat can add in the haze of humidity, the atmosphere in the winter is crisp and clear in the winter months and around every corner is a picture perfect moment just waiting to happen.

The holidays – From celebrations, shopping deals and bonfires – it’s all there. While a beach Christmas isn’t for everyone – it’s certainly something that should experienced in life at least once.

Smaller crowds – Summer time is always beach time for most people, but the winter is so full of opportunity to avoid the throngs of people. You don’t have to make reservations at popular restaurants, wait in long lines, jockey for towel space on the beach, nothing.

So there you have it – don’t underestimate what places like Florida can offer you in the winter! Do you have any winter time activities you like to take part in at the beach? Leave a comment below!

Crafting Christmas Ornaments out of seashells

The holiday season is upon us and if you’re anything like us, it’s one of your favorite times of the year! And not only is it fun to give gifts and do all those holiday related activities with your family and friends – it’s a great time to craft. In our specific case – it’s an awesome excuse to craft our own Christmas Tree Ornaments.

And what else would be using? Shells of course!

Now your options are really limitless in terms of how, where why when and how you make seashell ornaments. I’ve seen large, ornate, polished ornaments, I’ve seen them adorn trees strung together and I’ve seen stand alone, simple shells placed inside the tree. What style you use to make yours with is up to you – and that’s what makes it fun and worthwhile – especially if you value individuality and uniqueness in your family’s Christmas tree presentation.

All that being said, there are some basic tips that can get you off on the right foot – tips that we’re here to discuss today. Here are some things you can do to make a great Christmas Tree Ornament out of seashells.

Let’s jump right in!

Step-1 – Be sure to clean your shells and take any debris and dust that’s accumulated inside. It’s also not a bad idea to bleach your shells if you have a chance. This will help take off any grayed or off-colored appearance that your shell may have. Once you’ve soaked them, let them dry completely.

Step-2 – Once they’re dried off, use a small drill bit (you can get one at any crafting store or even hardware store) to drill a hole into the part of the shell that you’re looking to thread the ribbon through that you’ll use to hang your ornament.

Step-3 – From here – you can get as creative as you want! Some people like to put a bow on the back of the shell to give it some extra pop and others just prefer to thread the newly drilled hole and hang it like any other ornament – saving the bling-bling for the body of the shell itself. For those of you who choose to go the full-blown bow route – steal some fishing line from somewhere else in the house and you can quietly use that within your ornament to serve as the hanger. This way – all the focus will be on the flash, style and substance of the bow and shell – and not how it’s hung from the tree.

Step-4 – Here’s the fun part! Now you can decorate your shell. You can use fabric roses, lace, more strands of ribbon, glitter – literally anything you want. If you’re looking for some inspiration, we certainly recommend heading over to sites like Pinterest – which has lots of interesting patterns you can deploy. So long as you have a glue gun – you can make practically anything!

Our takeaway tip would be that if you want to give your ornament one, final more earthy touch – to spray it with polyurethane to help seal up the shell’s pours and go with a more natural look. Yes – it’ll take some of the ‘pop’ away from the ornament, but it’ll also ensure that the shell looks nice and balance – and will also last longer.

Enjoy your holiday season and we’ll see you back here next month!

Shells as accents

We make no bones about it – we’re in the seashell collecting and decorating business, so it’s our job to get you excited about all the great décor that shells can bring to your living space. This month, we’re going to tighten up that focus a bit and talk a little bit about the many ways shells can be used to take those under the radar accents and make them that much better. You’d be surprised at some of the ideas that might be right under your nose that can take your beach-themed space to the next level

Let’s jump right in!

Shell candles

One of the most under appreciated uses for certain conch species of seashells is using them as candleholders. And yes – you heard that right. You can pour wax into the shells themselves and create spectacular looking decorations that can compliment any table setting – but even better – can be used in windows. They’re simple, sturdy, safe and stand next to no chance of causing any kind of a hazard.

And oh yeah – they look great.

Plant pots

One great way to accent any display is to use plants and flowers. Now imagine instead of using simple pots and vases – that you used an actual shell. Now while we wouldn’t recommend this solution for bold centerpieces, they make incredible accents. And what makes them even more fun is the bold colors that plants have- and the bold colors that shells have. Put the two together and you can add an incredible amount of pomp to almost any setting.

Light covers 

We recommend this more for say – Christmas lights – but if you really want to bring the intricate shapeliness of a shell to life through light- there’s simply no better way. Shells can often be applied to Christmas lights via simple adhesives. And those shells can take even the most menial colors and patterns – and make them pop all the more ferociously in even the simplest of spaces.

Bottle covers

Everyone loves the classic concept of the message in a bottle. Imagine bringing that to life with a cork fashioned with a shell! Not only will it make those bottles seem more earthy and authentic – but they make the bottles actually, well – useful. It’s easier to get the tops on an off and depending on what you want to put in them you can organize them simply – either through the shape or color of the shell itself.

Do you have any cool ideas as to how to use shells to accent your space? Let us know in the comments below!

What makes shelling so great?

Like a lot of people who get into shelling, we can’t really hide our problem. We really, really love it to the point where we’ve turned a hobby into a business. But the business alone isn’t why we do it. We do it because we love it.

And we think you might love it too. It’s more than just something to watch your kids do at a beach; it can be a hobby that can serve as a shared experience to create memories that will last forever. There’s so much to do, explore and the open-endedness of it all is what makes it so much fun. It can simply be whatever you want it to be.

So why do we like shelling so much? Why should you? Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about this month. Let’s jump right in.

Treasure hunter syndrome

Sand, mud, rocks, seaweed – you can see seashells everywhere. You can go every day and the landscape you combed yesterday is completely different from the one you traversed the day before. Some days you see nothing. Other days, you find a mother-load of great shells effortlessly. It’s fun and always ever-changing. 

Each shell is its own unique piece of art

The great thing about shells is that they’re all different – every single one of them. They can be used as stand alone pieces, they can compliment things in your house, they can be centerpiece art all on their own – the possibilities, interpretation and story behind each one is unique, interesting and valuable.

All the things you can do

One of the best things about shelling is that it’s not just A THING you can do, but it’s HOW you can do it and all the things you can do WITH the shells once you’re done. It’s a romantic night combing the beach with a spouse. It’s great to shell in solitude and just be left with your thoughts. It’s enjoyable in a completely different way with children and grandchildren.

And it’s not just who you do it WITH, it’s what you can do afterwards. Shells can be great décor. They can be bookends, paper weights, they can hold pens and pencils, coins, plants… they can be used to adorn mirrors, lamps, coffee tables – or if you’d like you can even make jewelry out of them. Some people use them as unique utensils in some cases. So long story, short – the possibilities of the who, what, where, why when and how are virtually limitless.

Seashell crafts that will make your summer memories last

As summer winds down – so does our shelling season. But what’s just getting started is the time to craft with all those shells you collected! The fall and winter are great times to create crafts, goods and other nick knacks that can help you remember the fun times and memories you created over the summer months. Whether its with family, friends or even your spouse – it’s a great time to make something special to share with those who matter the most.

Seashell ornaments

Nothing warms you up or makes you look back at those summer memories quite like seashells – and nothing will do the trick quite as well as making an ornament out of your seashells. They can be great gifts as well for your loved ones or the people who have shared in those memories with you.

Key-chains

With kids headed back to school, key chains are a nice add-on to a backpack or (feel the dread) – as a keychain for a first car. Then again – you’re worth taking care of, too! They make a nice accessory for your bag or tote as well!

Garden pots

Nothing can make your gardens pop in the grayer weather quite like a seashell adorned pot. They look incredible in the summer and during peak beach weather – but they can serve a purpose in the offseason as well!

Seashell Jewelry

An especially fun project to do with young kids – making jewelry can be a great bonding opportunity with your children. But don’t be fooled – it’s not just for the kids. You can add beautiful chains, add good-sized shells like mussel shells and create some truly beautiful pieces.

Shell wreath

Look if you’re in Florida like we are – or in another coastal area where maybe you don’t get a lot of snow and not as much cold – you always have to get a little creative in how you celebrate the holidays. And one way is to create a wreath out of seashells. We usually recommend mussels and clam shells just because they’re the biggest, but this can be done with just about anything.

What kinds of creative ideas do you have? Share them below!

5 ways you can decorate using seashells

Part of the challenge for us shellers isn’t so much how we get and find our shells – but what you use them for once you get them. Today, we’ve got five decorative ideas as to how you can use your haul once you get it. From settling a room with a lot of pop to making busier places seem more relaxing, shells can fit a variety of needs – of which we’ll share with you today. Let’s jump right in!

Being a little more shelf aware

You can add a little coastal flavor to any room by decorating them with shells – discovered and otherwise. Especially when they’re added in baskets, as book ends or even as stand alone decorations, shells can add a pretty finish to almost any room.

Beautiful borders

Seashells tend to come in earthy tones – so especially when it comes to lighter, friendlier accents, shells can help keep a picture frame, mirror or border grounded by adorning them with shells. They can certainly add flair to any wall accent you have.

Desk sets

Nothing can take the edge off the workplace or home office like shells can. Whether it’s adorning your lamp with them, filling decorative jars or even using them as catch-all bins and baskets for the clutter our busier clients are bound to accumulate – they can take your productive spaces and give them a more relaxing or even a more edgy feel.

Toping it off

A new trend among more creative shellers has been to adorn bottle tops with shells. And they’re surprisingly practical as well – especially when you’re looking to give some added pop to your liquor cabinet or pry that pesky cork out of the top of a wine bottle. Attaching them is easy and it can add either a more modern, dynamic look or give some classical gravitas to your setting 

Bedside cameos

Shells can be used in all sorts of ways – from practical bowls for things like earrings, bracelets, cellphones, hair ties and the like – to just plain, old making your otherwise boring bedside décor pop a little more. Especially popular in beach side homes, shells can help bring your sleeping space to life!

Good luck and happy creating!