Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Week at the Beach

If you are familiar with my jewelry, you might think that I live at the beach.  Sadly for me, you would be mistaken - but I do live within a couple of hours of some of the best beaches in Florida, and just ended a wonderful week at one of my favorite little beach towns -New Smyrna Beach.  Situated just below Daytona, this east coast barrier island is home to surfer dudes and other laid back folks.   One road traverses the length of the island.  Take it south and you will come to a little known treasure:  Cape Canaveral National Seashore.   

If you have ever wanted to see what Florida looked like before paradise was paved, this is the place to go. No houses, no condos, no burger joints. Just natural shoreline that goes for miles - all the way down to NASA. They say this is a great place to watch the shuttle lift off. It's also one of my favorite places to collect shell shards. There are gazillions of them - and many have spent hundreds if not thousands of years sloshing around in the ocean, where they have lost their original shape, but gained texture and patina that makes each one a tiny work of art.

Early morning sunrises and sunsets are my favorite time on the beach - I'm not into baking in the sun during the heat of the day. Instead, I spend my time indulging my jewelry passion using my most recent beach finds:

Just after sunrise is a wonderful time to take photos.  I wanted to capture the wet sand and foam to give that beachy look to the shots, but to do so I had to risk getting everything wet.  With one eye on the surf I worked as quickly as possible.  Every few minutes I had to grab it all and run as a big wave came rolling in. 

This attracted the attention of a few snowy egrets who had been watching the early morning fishermen, hoping they could grab some bait or a small fish.  They decided that I might have something good to eat on the plate that held my necklaces. I let them think what they wanted, and used the opportunity to get a close shot.  These little guys have beautiful pure white feathers, accented by black and bright yellow on their beaks and legs.  Form is definitely following function - they have to sneak up on small creatures in the shallow water, so their feet blend in with the sand, and the black legs and beak disappear in the water. 

Later that day as I was walking in the classic "sheller's stance" (head down, looking intently at the sand and not watching where I was going) I almost stepped on this pair of ghost crabs, who were quite perturbed that I had interrupted their little tryst. 

Well, the week is over and even though I have a mild case of "sheller's elbow",  I also have lots of memories, pictures and shells.Time to get busy!


  1. I've never been to that stretch of beach..., and from the picture it looks like the entire beach consist of shell shards! Wonderful!!

  2. I am SOOOO glad you stopped by my blog. I had not yet found's wonderful! And now I am a follower. Your jewelry is both beautiful and unique. I have seen nothing like it anywhere. I see that you have an online store, but do you sell it to shops? There are a couple of fabulous coastal gift shops around here who may be interested...

    It's been years since I visited New Smyrna...think I will need to make a trip soon.
    Your photos have started my thought processes for the I want to sketch (and not clean my house for tonights' guests!).

    I'll be back for a visit, soon!
    Jane (artfully graced)

  3. Oh wow, so glad you visited my blog so I could find yours. what a wonderful beach that is, can't wait to show my husband so we can head on over there. All those shards look like heaven to me as I can't resist collecting them when I visit beaches. Your work is beautiful and I too wonder if you sell any locally since I missed you at Cedar Key. I hope to meet you in person one of these days since we are practically neighbors. I'm laughing at the sheller's stance and elbow, the elbow probably not being funny, but I can just see you walking along on the beach.

  4. Thanks for the nice comments - I have my work in one shop in Weeki Wachee - it's called the Giggling Mermaid. I'm working on a line sheet that I can send to other shops - would love to have just a few to sell to.

  5. Look at all of those shells! and your jewelry is so pretty. I have had sheller's elbow and my husband has had it too using a net. It sounds so funny, huh? I'm so glad I found your blog.

  6. Your work is beautiful. What a wonderful beach. Thanks for sharing!