The delicate shape of collected shells and a bag of sand can be more than a reminder of your summer getaway. Cleverly used, they can have many beautiful and practical purposes around the home.
A wide-mouthed, spiral nautilus shell can double as a pearlescent vase for bedroom bouquets.
A string of beach treasures casts a dreamy glow on a patio or porch. To get the look, decorate a string of small white lights with clean, dry shells. Tape a 2-foot section of lights to your work surface with bulbs lying flat. Apply a thin layer of epoxy along the hinge edge of a shell, and press into place at the base of a light. Repeat for each bulb. Let dry about five minutes before continuing with the next section.
A half shell was good enough for Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." Can humble condiments require more? Four clam or scallop shells make a summery set of salt-and-pepper dishes. First, run four shells per set through a dishwasher, secured in the silverware caddy. For the base, turn two shells topside up, and hot-glue them together at the hinge. Glue together the other two shells; then lay them face up and crosswise over the base, and glue.
Make waves with an arrangement set in a seashell. The trick is to fit a piece of floral foam inside the shell. Then you can tuck in stems, and they'll stay put. Here, variegated hosta leaves and frilly ferns cup a green-and-white cluster of Queen Anne's lace.You can use a seashell you already have -- the one shown here is a whelk- - or buy one at a crafts store.
Substitute the usual plastic shade of a night-light with a shapely beach treasure. Look for shells with a flat surface that you can glue. Sea biscuits, scallops, and sand dollars all work well. Rinse the shell clean or soak in a bucket of water containing a capful of bleach until the shell just turns white. After letting the shell dry completely, apply epoxy glue to a night-light clip, and then press onto flat part of the shell. When dry, attach to socket.
You can use oversize shells to bring a touch of the seashore -- and a romantic atmosphere -- to an evening at home. We used "lion's paw" shells (Lyropecten nodosus), available inexpensively from online auctions and souvenir shops. Fill a shallow tray with sand, arrange pairs of your prettiest specimens, and place a votive candle at the center of each pair (leaving room for the flames to flicker safely). Set the tray on a low table, and enjoy a quiet drink on the patio.
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