Friday, April 16, 2010

Beach shell craft hostess gift

                                                   My Max and his little crab.

Every day on our little stretch of beach we collect shells, even if it is just one or two beauties slipped into a pocket. And everyone who travels to visit anyone this summer who lives on the beach will undoubtably do the same thing. It's a universal beach-visit activity. But then what to do with the shells, once the suitcases are unpacked and these sandy, sometimes smelly things emerge? Fill a jar? Fine, but why not create a gift for your hostess or yourself?  Last summer I picked shells and crab legs and stones off of our beach with my son Max, and by the end of the summer we had quite a collection. I had several very plain wooden picture frames on hand and used one of them to made this charming ode-to-summer picture frame.
How to: The plain unpainted wood frame can be bought anywhere. I chose one that had no molded or relief decorations, as it is easier to attach things to a flat surface. There can be picked up anywhere, even second hand at yard sales, keep your eyes peeled. Mine I bought at Pearl Paint in New York for about $13. I carefully washed the shells with soap and water and let them air dry completely. Then I planned out my design, with a crab shell body at the top and used a symmetrical pattern of matching shells at the top. I took the shells off carefully and set them on the table next to the frame, then warmed up my hot glue-gun and got busy glueing the shells in place. Within less than a half hour my project was complete, and just needed to sit and allow the glue to dry completely.
I chose a complimentary photo of a very happy summer moment to showcase the new frame. Doesn't Max look sweet here?

--Monica Forrestall

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