Monday, April 6, 2015

Seashell Art by Rachel Elizabeth


As a follow up to my post of 5+ DIY Seashell Crafts, which you can find here, I wanted to share some of the other seashell creatures I've made, with you. You can easily make these yourself with whole and/or broken seashell pieces. All of the seashells I use are collected by myself legally, or given to me by others. 

You can find the directions on how to make these by checking out my other post, 5+ DIY Seashell CraftsIf you make a seashell creature of your own, please post a picture of it here. I'd love to see them! Have a wonderful day!





Baby sea turtle coming out of egg




Little shorebird

Bird in nest

Baby sea turtle coming out of egg


Friday, November 21, 2014

A Poem For Mothers of Boys

On November 19th, we found out that my sister is expecting another little boy. After this joyful news, I went looking for a lovely poem about boys to share with her and could only find a bunch about how much of a hassle they are with a little, "wouldn't have it any other way", at the end. I found that to be pretty sad, so I decided to write my own poem. It's nothing amazing, but it captures what I can't seem to find online. Mothers of boys, this is for you...

Little men of my heart,
You are not trouble or stress
You are not injuries and mess 

You are superheroes and dragons,
Racecars, t-rex, and modified wagons

You are shirtless summer days 
And snow fort winters

You are clubhouse builders, 
Complete with splinters

But above all else,
You are the pillars of my Motherhood
And the love in my veins 

You are the masterpiece of a lifetime
And no other's the same 

You have made my world complete,
One by one and brother by brother 

What an honor it is to be your Mother

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Fireplace Makeover: Painting Tiles

Gotta love the 90's hunter green!

The look might appeal to some, which is perfectly fine, but it doesn't fit my particular style. Had the tiles been black, charcoal, chocolate, etc. I probably would've left them alone, but I just couldn't handle that green. After looking for replacement tiles and what it would entail to change them out (quite a bit of work), we decided to give paint a try.

My house is loaded with good quality oak, which I can't complain about; however, there was just way too much of it, so I broke up the oak in some places, the mantel being one of them.

Speaking of oak, check out some tips for working with oak without painting it all white, here.

Now, let's get started on the makeover!


1) To start, the Mr. sanded the mantel lightly with a fine grit sanding bar to take the shine off. After sanding, I washed the mantel with a teeny bit of dish soap and warm water, then allowed it to dry completely. Make sure no residual dust is on the surfaces.

2) I primed the mantel with one coat of shellac based Zinsser primer ultimate stain blocker; quart size was enough. It's very important that you use a primer with stain blocking, otherwise the yellow in the oak will seep through into the white paint.

A tip for cleaning brushes after using this primer: Murphy's Oil Soap and warm water. It takes a good scrubbing and working in with your fingers, as well as several washes, but it works!

3) Once the primer is completely dried, I began painting the mantel using a good quality brush. I personally like Purdy brushes. I used a quart size of Behr premium plus interior satin enamel paint, but had it tinted in the Benjamin Moore color, White Dove. 

Between coats, I sanded and cleaned so the finish wasn't rough to touch, or appear rough to the eyes.

Fireplace mantel was near completion here, but had company from out of town, so I redecorated it for a couple days before continuing my work.
I apologize for some of the poor quality pics. I did this project long before I ever thought I'd have a blog; a mistake I've learned from!


The tiles surrounding our fireplace do not get hot at all with a fire burning, so I didn't use heat resistant primer, paint, or top coat on them. We did, however, use heat resistant paint on the metal surrounding the opening because that does get hot, which is noted below in step 5.

1) I sanded the tiles with a sanding bar to take off some of the shine. I didn't spend a ton of time doing this, though. Then I wiped the tiles down to make sure the surface was clean to accept the primer.

2) Using the same primer I used on the mantel, I began priming the grout first, then the face of the tiles.

3) Once the tiles were all primed, I began painting the tiles with a quart size of Behr premium plus interior/exterior hi-gloss enamel, in the color Cornerstone. Like the mantel, I sanded lightly and wiped clean between coats for smoothness.

4) Once painted, the tiles were a shade of cream that reminded me of banana pudding next to the white mantel. It was missing depth and character. So I grabbed some darker paint I had leftover from another room in my house. I believe it was actually the color on the wall the fireplace is on (Butternut Wood by Behr). If you don't have leftover paint in a darker shade like that, you could always have a sample size tinted in the color of your choice. You will only need a small portion of even a sample size. 

I took a VERY small amount of the dark and mixed it with some of the Cornerstone paint in a disposable bowl to create just a slightly different color. I then dipped a crinkled up wad of paper towel into the mixture and lightly blotted it on. Make sure you don't have too much paint on the paper towel; it should be a very small amount. You can blot the towel on cardboard before taking it to the tiles to be safe. If the paper towel begins to break down or becomes too saturated, get a new one to use. 

You should end up with a look like this:

5) During this time, the Mr. removed the metal from around the opening (the brass) and spray painted it with Rust-Oleum High Heat black spray paint. If you don't want to have to remove the metal, you could paint it where it sits using the brush-on version of this paint. 

6) Once the tiles were completely dried, I applied a top coat of  Minwax Polycrylic clear satin. I prefer the satin look so it appears more like ceramic tile than glazed tiles. If you would like it to be high gloss, Polycrylic come in clear gloss as well.

All Finished! What a difference! The new look really brightened up the room!

I absolutely adore makeovers like this; dramatic change, little cost and effort!

Until next time...create away!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

5+ DIY Seashell Crafts

Spring time is approaching, and for those of us who live in areas with snowy winters, it brings much anticipation along with it! This is the time of year I start preparations for my vegetable garden, flowers, outdoor projects, and of course, summer vacations and beach visits! One of my favorite activities to do on the beach is shelling...and then finding uses for all the wonderful treasures I collected.
I created a list of some of the crafts I've done using shells, but before we start, I just wanted to say, please be sure the beaches allow seashell collecting before taking anything. Many places do not allow collection of shells, rocks, etc. for conservation of the natural habitat. There are usually signs listed at the beach, but if you aren't sure, you could look up the information for that specific beach before your visit.
Now the list!

1) Colorful broken pieces as filler

How many times have you come across a beautiful dash of color in the sand, only to find a broken piece of shell? Well, don't throw it back in the sand just yet! If you find many pieces, you could display them in a dish, vase, or bowl as a filler similar to glass beads or river rocks. I adore my collection of lovely shades of purple, pink, and cream!

2) Seashell and driftwood mobile

One beach my family visited had miles of seashells every morning for a far as the eye could see. Most of the shells were the same type, just different sizes with some color variations. The majority of these shells had holes in them from predatory snails, sea stars, octopus, and squid drilling or chiseling away at the shell to get food...My 9 year old told me that interesting fact; he's always keeping me in the know when it comes to animals :)

I was able to collect a lot of shells from that location; because of that and the size variations, I was able to create a gradient effect with the sizes and amount on each strand that I hung from the driftwood. I really like the way it turned out!

  • Using fishing line, I strung the shells largest to smallest from top to bottom. There are 7 strands of shells. Each strand increased in shells moving from right to left. There are two strands with five shells on them because I ran out! I simply adjusted the spacing a little on those two strands to keep the gradual angle flowing.
  • Then, I tied the strands of shells around the wood. The Mr. helped me with the next part; he suspended the wood with fishing line attached to two small hooks he placed in the ceiling. He tied the mobile in place while I stood back making sure it was straight. 
Can anyone else see the angry raincloud face in this pic? The arrows look like eyes, the stick looks like the mouth, and the shells look like rain. I don't deny that my imagination is pretty out there sometimes :)

3) Make creatures

More broken shell pieces! Take a look at broken shells...could one be a fin? The body of a fish? An eye? It's amazing what you can find when you tell your eyes what to look for. If you are on the hunt for whole shells, the broken pieces probably won't interest you because they will be nothing more than an incomplete shell. But! If you were to be on the lookout for fins, eyes, bodies, etc. you might be surprised by how many little treasures you'll find!

I created this little fish when I was sorting through the interesting broken shell pieces I collected on a vacation. One piece stood out to me because it resembled a fin so much. I began searching through the bucket for a body, eye, dorsal fin, and suddenly, I had created this darling little guy. Some hot glue, burlap, and a frame made this little fishy become art!

  • After washing shells and drying them on a towel, I began playing with and arranging shell pieces until I put together what I wanted to make.

  • Next, I hot glued the fish together and gathered the supplies I would need for the frame.
  • Carefully, I took the glass out of the frame and set it aside (wouldn't be needing it). I took the back of the frame off, flipped it over, and cut a piece of burlap to fit (leave a tiny bit of an excess edge all around). Next, I applied Elmer's glue to it. I smoothed out the glue, then applied the burlap.

  • Next, I applied a thin strip of hot glue to the edges and folded them into it. Be careful not to burn yourself! Also, try not to add too much bulk or it won't fit back in the frame. I added a little too much bulk and had to trim one end with a heavier duty pair of scissors. I applied glue to the edges of the newly cut end as well so the burlap would stay put, and not fray further.

  • Then, I hot glued the fish to the burlap and placed it in the frame.

4) Start a new tradition: Have a family beach collection

In a bowl, vase, jar, whatever you'd like, begin placing one of your favorite shells from each beach your family visits. After a while, you will have a nice little collection.

5) Christmas ornament memento

Write the beach and year on one of your shells and make a Christmas ornament out of it. If your vacation included other families, make one for each family as a Christmas gift. Our family went on a large group vacation last summer, so I made an ornament for each family. Along with the place and year, I also wrote a memorable quote from our vacation. If you want, you could also add a bow or other embellishments to give the shell a little something extra.

I apologize for the poor quality of this pic. I made these before I decided to start a blog, and this is the only pic I have of them in a group...Oops!
+ More ideas
What have you done with seashells from your vacations? I'd love to see them!
Until next time...create away!