Monday, February 27, 2012

“There is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” — Martha Graham

What is it about a person that can look at a sandy beach

create a sculpture from the sand.

Start with a blank canvas


and take the vision of their mind's eye & paint it in a picture.

The creative genius in a person has always captivated me. I especially admire the artists that are daring enough to make a living at it. It has to be a be a God-given gift to look at a blank canvas, a slab of marble, or an cast-off piece of wood and create something even more beautiful out of it. Or maybe it's just the kid inside who never traded the wonder of  his crayons & coloring books for the more mature things in life.



Jon Hatch 
sees this


creates this.

The Hatch Gallery is located in in the Historic Placida Fishing Village. Jon Hatch is an artist who takes nature's cast offs and  recycles them into one-of-a-kind driftwood art.





Click here to see more of Hatch's creations

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always ourselves we find in the sea. - e.e. cummings

Sally Lee By the Sea is one of my daily stops in  blogville.  This seaside blog emanates all things beachy & coastal.  Get your daily fix of ocean-going  home dec, shopping, beach crafts, & travel all brought to you by mother/daughter team Marie & Liz.  I love the print boxes they are featuring today as shell displays.  In my own home I have re-used the print box/shadow boxes from my own childhood to display my best "keeper" shells on my living room wall.  A  coat of Caribbean blue spray paint gave them new life & is a nice tropical background to show off every shell & beach combing find.  

My display changes with the ebb & flow of tides of new shells, give away's, & thrifting finds.

The pride of SWFL - junonias line the top (sadly, none of which I have found). Bobbers, old bottle bottom, & a shell belle made by my mom are all considered worthy of display in the box.

Sunrise tellin (originally from the Bahamas but via a garage sale to me) & little horse conchs (aka candy corn) from SWFL beaches.

Another GeeGee (my Mom) creation - little shell critter bird in the buttercup bath.

My replica Sanibel Lighthouse stands in front of a  thrift store mirror.  It all makes for a sweet display.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling (Stooping) upward in the night. - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (added TEB)

On Friday February 17, 2012 - 700 Sanibel Stoopers set a Guinness World Record on Bowman's Beach - Sanibel Island, Florida.

 Whether it's education, athletics, business, or hobbies; everything we pursue in life has it's pinnacle of success.  Runners have the Boston Marathon, world leaders have the Nobel Prize, B-level celebrities have Dancing with the Stars. I'm not a very competitive person. The only award I ever won as a kid was 2nd place in a 50 yard dash when I was 10. In high school I kept a pretty low profile.  As an adult I have been pretty satisfied to keep my hobbies & interests on a casual level except for beach combing.

Shells are my passion.  Finding them, learning about them, making things with them, & collecting more of them has been a pursuit of mine for many years. There are awards in shelling - that's what shell shows are for.  Unfortunately, my mermaid mosiac was 5 inches too wide to enter into the Sanibel Shell Show.  My dream of winning a Sanibel Shell Show award ribbon was dashed. There are other shows but my heart was set on the creme de la creme. What I lack in competative spirit I make up for in flexibility & resilience.  The opportunity to be a Guinness World Record holder called & I answered "Heck Yeah!".  I was to join 700 other passionate shell lovers doing our official stance known as the Sanibel Stoop. But why wait for 10am Friday morning when there is a minus .07 low tide at 3am?  

Enter my partner-in-shelling crime Shellbelle.  You would've thought we were a couple of 12 year old kids who couldn't sleep the night before a Disney World trip. Why wait? We left Englewood at 10pm Thursday night & pulled into Blind Pass on Sanibel Island at midnight.  After spending an hour or so on the sand bar & shell pile we headed over to Bowman's Beach hoping there wasn't a locked gate closing off the parking area. There wasn't and we took the first parking spot right up front.  We wheeled our beach carts the 1,000 yards out to the pitch dark beach crossing 2 small foot bridges & a long sandy path.  Setting up our little (not a camp site because that is highly illegal) area with our chairs, lantern, & tarp on the ground we proceeded to drink hot coffee from one of the 3 thermoses we brought and deciding which way to go on the beach- right or left. We wiled away the wee hours of the pre-dawn morning shelling both directions, listening to the birds, watching the moon, stars, & finally the sun rise.  

As the morning progressed a  steady stream of Sanibel Stoopers started filing on to the beach.  Shellbelle & I had not pre-registered so we made our way up the beach to stand in a humungous line to register & get our names officially in the record books.  It all got a little too hot, claustrophobic,  & chaotic in the staging area for our sleep deprived sensibilities.  The organizers were trying their best to instruct the Stoopers & keep confusion to a minimum but it was tantamount to herding cats.  Shellbelle & I left the line & walked back to our little not-a-campsite. Who needed their name in the Guinnuss World Book of Records anyhow?  Well, I do! That's who. I came to play!  Leaving Shellbelle to enjoy the beach I scrambled back to get in line.  After getting my name offically on the Guinness list I stood in another line with all the other 700 Stoopers because Guinness rules dictated that all participants had to enter the record setting area at one time. It was all over in 30 minutes.  We stood up straight from our "hiney's hovering" position to wave wildly to the helicopter taking our picures over head. So this is what it feels like to be a World Record Holder.... sweet.  I promised Shellbelle my new title wouldn't change things between us. I'd stay the same simple humble beach comber that she had always known & loved.

Champions are willing to pay the price to be at the top of their chosen endeavor.  In our case it was dark, dewy, & cold but we enjoyed a wonderful low tide on Bowman's Beach.

The Wonder Wheeler beach cart makes not camping on the beach so easy.

As the sky lightens up the early bird  beach combers start to arrive.

Bowman's Beach at sunrise. Our Sanibel Stoop trip was blessed with nice weather & no rain.

The lines were long but needed.  When setting a Guinness Record there are lots of rules that have to be followed .  All participants had to sign in & sign out after the event for their presence to count.

Every record setting event needs an official t-shirt.

Shell sistah Pam from iLove patiently waiting in line.

Heading to the record setting spot

Bloggers are always taking pictures.  That's the back of Capt. Brian Holaway's head & Pam.

Getting ready to assume the position.

We get last minute instructions & are told the helicopter is on it's way.

One, two, three, STOOP!

And hold that Stoop for 30 seconds to insure we don't get disqualified for any non-stoopers (also know as Stoopid)

Blogger Capt. Brian of CB's Observation's on the Water snapping some fotos from down under.

Looks like a massage table or an on-site Chiropractor would have been a good idea.

Are we done?

The helicopter takes a victory lap around the jubliant  World Record holding Sanibel Stoopers.

A good blogger has an eye for the photo op & this stooper in a caution vest was irresistible.

Pam is great at chatting it up & getting all the details.

What a fun day & great blogger friends to share it with. (L-R) Me, Capt. Brian, & Shellbelle

A Guinness World Record & a big honkin junonia... my work is done here.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday morning sunrise on Bowman's Beach.

Friday, February 17, 2012

This line is heading for the beach to set the world record. 

Sunrise on Sanibel. Shellbelle found a hunk of junonia.

Good morning from Bowman's Beach on Sanibel. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Let the Shellabration begin!!

The truck is gassed up, my gear is packed, & all I'm waiting on is for my shell sistah Shellbelle to arrive.  We are headed south to Sanibel to be a part of the group of Sanibel Stoopers going after a new world record for the most shellers on a beach doing the Sanibel Stoop at one time.  I'm going to attempt to do some mobile blogging throughout the day for those of you that won't be with us :( 

You'll be missed but be assured Shellbelle & I are committed to the cause - Making the Planet a Better Place One Shell At A Time!

Cute cartoon that only beach combers understand from the Boca Grande Beacon newspaper.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Night, the beloved. Night, when words fade and things come alive. When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again. When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


I love the sounds of the night. My best thinking, mulling over, & creative processing is done at night.  Over the years I have tried & tried to adjust my body clock to being a morning person.  Truthfully, there just isn't enough coffee on the planet to make it happen.  My most recent job required me to be at work at 6am which meant I had to get up at 4am to ensure I was showered & ready for work.  It was a painful experience.  (the job & the getting up early)  I'm just one of those people that comes alive after dark.

 I discovered night time shelling out of necessity.  I worked all day & by the time I finished my domestic duties at home - well it was dark.  One night there was an especially low tide at 10pm.  I hadn't been shelling in forever because my daylight hours were being dedicated to earning a living & wifely chores. The hubby had already watched CSI & was sleeping in his chair.  Dude,  I'm out of here. As I pulled up to an empty parking lot on the beach, two night time shelling benefits became immediately apparent - a parking spot right up front & no parking fees after sunset...woo hoo!  As I walked onto the pitch dark beach I stopped a moment to let my eyes get adjusted to the dark.  The stars seemed to pop out of the sky. The sound of the waves breaking was louder at night.  Even an occasional bird cry punctuated the night time quiet on the beach.  My flashlight got a bead on the shell line & I realized another benefit of night time shelling.  I had the entire shell line to myself...another woo hoo!

So I've been hooked ever since.  I know it sounds crazy to folks that are used to doing everything on the beach in the daytime.  (Yet another benefit of night time shelling -  you don't have to wear sunblock at night) Shelling at night or in the early morning challenges all your senses. Things look different in the dark or by flashlight.  Everything gets very surreal.  My buddy Momma Gee & I were on Gasparilla Island last night laying on the sand stargazing while her boys Brother Dubya & Brother Gee  were exploring the low tide line.  At one point it felt like we were up-side-down hanging from the earth & we were falling into a sea of stars.  We could hear the boys further down the beach calling us to look at some dead fish they had found (reality check).  Walking down the dark beach towards the sound of their voices our path was suddenly lit up by a huge full moon rising from the east.  My heart spoke quietly "I will always do this". Yup, I will.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
Having a good flashlight is a must.  We follow each other by our beams as we slowly explore our way up the beach.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
Bro. Gee loves his net.  He scoops up fish, shells, & marine oddities to take a closer look.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
The tide was especially low & the visibility was pretty clear .

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
I am the official treasure inspector.  Cries of "Ms. Karen, Come look" are music to my ears.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
Bro. Dubya found a dried-up red fish left behind by a recent algae bloom of red tide.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
The red fish have a set of teeth set back in their mouth for grabbing small bait fish.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
Red fish teeth  are a cool  find.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
We found lots of sharks teeth in the shell crush too.

(Credit:  Bro. Dubya)
Stargazing on the beach.

(Credit:  Bro. Dubya)
We are laughing because the sudden burst of light from the  flash almost blinded us. 

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
Lots of interesting things to look at around the rocks.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
Momma Gee's hobby is photography.
You can see more of her fotos at her blog 
Life As I See It.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
The moon is peeking out from behind the sand dunes.

(Credit:  Momma Gee)
Night beach combing is all about reflections.  The moon across the old Boca Grande railroad trestle.