Every Seashell Tells a Story

November 9, 2019

Every Seashell Tells a Story


I shared with you recently that I was getting a little nostalgic while completing a tiny do-it-yourself project to turn seashells from my “days by the water” childhood into napkin rings for use at Gumbo Cove. The post (below) was called Natural Beauty.

It was a simple little project, but I’m irrationally pleased with it. I wanted to bring a little of Gilchrist, Texas from the late 70s to Gumbo Cove in Bay St. Louis in Mississippi right now, and that goal was achieved.

Happiness is a glue gun and a project I can do in a few simple steps
Twine just goes with seashells, don’t you think?
Gumbo with Seashell Napkin Ring
The finished product alongside a big bowl of gumbo; the moon snail shell just fits right in

Gumbo is a family treasure, seashells elicit childhood memories, and these napkin rings made with shells we found 40 years ago bring echoes of the past into the now. What stories will they tell in another 40 years?

As I’ve said many times, it’s the little things.

Update: DIY Napkin Ring Instructions Added to the Comments Below

How flattering – a Glover Gardens follower on Facebook asked for instructions on how to make these napkin rings. I’m not usually known for being good at crafting, so I’m inordinately pleased. 🥰 Instructions are now included in the comments below the post. And watch out, this little success might turn into more crafting being shared on the pages of Glover Gardens. Hmmm…that does kind of go with recipes, gardening, poetry, memoirs and travel…doesn’t it? It’s that multifaceted thing.

5 thoughts on “Every Seashell Tells a Story”

  • A Glover Gardens follower commented on the Facebook post linking to this story asked for instructions on this DIY project. Here goes:

    Seashell Napkin Rings

    * 12 bases for napkin rings (see #1 below)
    * Natural-colored jute twine
    * Spray varnish, shellac or polyurethane
    * 12 Shells

    * Glue gun
    * Scissors
    * Container for the completed napkin rings (disposable foil-metal loaf pan, small shoe box, etc.)
    * Newspaper or paper sack

    1. Get a base for your napkin rings, a short cylinder with a surface to which shells can be glued. I ordered mine from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M125WYF/ . These are actually a rather cheap-looking set of napkin rings, but perfect for attaching the shells.
    2. Go on a seashell hunt, either from your own collection, at the beach, or by purchasing them. Pick out 12 shells that are about 2-3 inches in size, sturdy, and attractive. I chose a variety, but it would be quite attractive to use all of one kind of shell.
    3. Dump out any sand that remains in your shells, taking a moment to remember what a great time you had when you found them. Rinse them, if necessary, to make sure they are clean. Let them dry before the next step.
    4. Spread your shells on newspaper or a paper sack, outside, and spray a generous coat of shellac on them. When they are dry, turn them over and spray the other side. When the second side is dry, repeat this step and let the shellac dry.
    5. Set up a work space and protect it with newspaper or a paper sack. Gather the napkin ring base set, shells, twine, glue gun and scissors, and have your container for the completed napkin rings ready. I used a disposable metal loaf pan; a small shoebox would also be fine.
    6. Heat the glue gun. Make sure it is in a safe place and be careful not to burn yourself or create a fire hazard.
    7. Take a napkin ring base, add a small amount of glue from the glue gun, and attach the end of the jute twine to the base. Then wrap the twine tightly around the base until it is completely covered. Cut the twine and glue the second end even with the first end. (The shell will cover these glue spots and the ends of the twine.)
    8. Choose a shell and fit it to the napkin ring base, now covered with twine, to determine the best points to glue it. Since every shell is unique, it will be different for each of them. Add the glue from the glue gun and attach the shell, holding it firmly to let the glue set.
    9. Place the shell napkin ring in the container, carefully arranging it in a way that supports the just-glued shell.
    10. Repeat for each of the 12 napkin rings.
    11. Use the napkin rings when you serve your favorite family recipes, remember great times of the past, and be ready to make new memories.
    12. Take a picture and share it on social media somewhere – your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Leave a note here, too! Or on the Glover Gardens Facebook post at https://www.facebook.com/GloverGardens/posts/1197439123790495 .

    The cat checking out the project at the spray varnish stage

    • Hi Kim, I’m your neighbor on Nextdoor. I visited your site and see we share so many of the same passions. You certainly picked an unique home here in The Bay.
      My frosted Mason jars with fairy lights were not very successful so I switched to Mandarin lip balm for one of our homemade Xmas gifts….I’ll let you know.
      I am a word lover and write often. It’s almost a compulsion. I also dry and press flowers and create pictorial gardens with my gems. I’d upload some but tech is not a passion, lol.
      I look forward to talking/writing with you and welcome to a woman with multifaceted interests from another.
      Maggie Luke King

  • Just beautiful, Kim.
    I think that’s a project I’ll copy with my kids!
    As we both love quotes and Brené Brown I can only comment with:
    “We’re born makers, we move what we’re learning from our heads to our hearts through our hands.”
    Which fits also your WS exercises.
    Greetings to the US from Europe

    • Jan, thank you so much! It was great to have you in the Storytelling workshop last week, and even better to get to know you a little. I love the quote you’ve left here, and look forward to learning more from you as you use your natural storytelling skills. And remember, I’m looking for guest bloggers!

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