No posts for the last week means I was on vacation. A relaxing week was spent in a casual, tropical setting among kind, creative people and a laid back attitude. Love that.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands on Florida's Southwest Coast is a fabulous place to visit. I almost hate to talk about it to others for fear of making it popular and crowded. It is a tourist destination, having been listed in many 'top beaches' lists in books and magazines and the Travel Channel. The islands are chosen for the reasons I mentioned and the fact that the beaches hold an incredible bounty of shells! Beach goers are constantly walking along the coastal waters bent over searching for beautiful specimens, causing islanders to name this posture 'the Sanibel stoop'.
During our trip we are treating to the typical island scenery - colorful shops and restaurants, houses painted in candy colors, many with pretty mailboxes and signs carved and painted with the creatively personal name of their home (Pair-a-dice, Sea-renity). For nature lovers, wildlife is abundant. We have spotted American Bald Eagles, who thankfully are no longer endangered and nest behind the local Dairy Queen), alligators, armadillos, dolphin, and scads of tropical birds. Local nature centers provide information and tours, by foot, kayak, or boat. Art lovers can visit many galleries, the communities' BIG arts, local theatre, and annual art and craft shows. World famous artist Robert Rauschenberg resides here.
The crafty person in me sees the shells as free craft material with unlimited potential. I share this with a large contingency of artists and crafters on the island who meet for a weekly shell crafters club meeting and crafting day and help put on a well known Shell Fair every year. There are shops around the island that sell all the supplies one needs to make shell covered boxes, mirrors, holiday ornaments, shell animals, jewelry and more. And if you don't find the shells you need or want to add different types, they sell those too. Shell crafting is a terrific family craft. While I created a mirror with both found and purchased shells, he covered a box and made shell buddies by gluing on google eyes.
I'm glad to be back (kind of), and am relaxed, refreshes, creatively inspired, and ready to start gluing shells (and more mosaics - but more of that another day).