Sunday, November 22, 2009

An Intro to My Blog and a Look at Shells... Yup. Shells.

Hi and welcome to my blog! I decided to start this blog as a place to share my crocheting and crafting projects. I will be offering free patterns, tips, techniques, and hopefully, as I progress through this process, quality pdf. patterns for sale as well.

I hope to follow the theory of "quality over quantity". Every post I make will hopefully have some body to it. I don't want to bore you! Oh, wait. I probably already have bored you with these two introductory paragraphs... So now on the the real topic of this post. Shells!

My family and I took a vacation to Pompano Beach, Florida this summer. The hotel stank (in the literal sense as well as the figurative sense), and the beach wasn't all that nice. One redeeming quality was that we had a pool almost entirely to ourselves. Which was nice. Another redeeming quality is that the beach was rife with numerous shells. Nothing fancy at all, but shells none the less. I had a feeling they would be perfect for crafting.

So I waltzed out onto the beach with my plastic baggy and began picking up shells. I knew I wanted to embellish some sort of crocheted item with them, but how? Thankfully, nature had provided nice holes in some of the shells. Great! Ready made beads. But others had no holes. Well, drat. Now what?

I did a web search and came up with many many suggestions that ranged from buying a diamond tipped drill bit (gracious - I'd rather have a diamond ring!) to filling the shells with hot wax and banging away with a hammer and nail. Hmmm... Hot wax is a no go for me (I would be making an emergency trip to the hospital), and I was not forking over money for a drill bit. So I improvised.

I have a brick pathway outside my house so when I got home the shells and I, along with some sticky putty, a hammer, and some smooth nails, made the two foot trek from the door to the bricks. I experimented with whacking at the shells different ways. I found that the best way for me to get a hole in a stubborn shell is to fill it with some sort of putty (same concept of wax minus the danger),  place it concave side down on a hard surface, and bang away with your hammer and a smooth nail. It's free and it's easy. I then used a bead reamer to file away any rough spots on the inside of the hole.

I should warn you though that you will go through a bunch of nails. The tough shells wore the tip off of my nails and I went through three before the banging session was over. Did I mention that it is a good way to get out pent-up frustration? Take it out on the shells!

All the work was well worth it though, and here is the results of my labor:

The moral of this post? Next time you're at the beach, pick up some of those shells and make something fabulous out of them. :)

I'll see you next post!

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