I’m just in the mood for seashells this morning. I have them everywhere in my house so I thought I would write about them. Come with me, to the sea . . . Musica (must click today!)
Sea shells are one of nature’s wonders . . . bleached white, scrubbed by salt and sand, or hot pink, or translucent yellow, or baby pink, they are wonderful to look for, find, collect and display ~
Way out there is where Joe and I go clamming, when the tide is low, because what’s inside these seashells is a wonder of nature too! We stand in salt water to our knees, we dig around with clam forks and bring a bucket of fresh clams home to steam up for dinner.
Here’s where we walk, next to the water, listening to the waves and the gulls, we scan the water’s edge for shells, sea glass, any beautiful thing that comes our way. It’s how we “busy” ourselves so we don’t hurry home too soon. I’m sure, even if you don’t live near the ocean, you have been there and know what I’m talking about. ♥
They are so beautiful it is tempting to bring them all home.
There are so many things to do with them: display them on windowsills, fill glass lamp bases, spread them in baskets, scatter them on the picnic table, line them up on bookshelves . . .
You can use the bigger ones as serving bowls for summer dinner parties . . .
Our porch fountain is much prettier and even seems to gurgle better with a few shells in the water . . .
The perfect place to display tiny shells is in a glass hurricane lamp with beach sand in the bottom. And it won’t blow out on breezy summer nights and it brings memories of carefree beach days to the table ♥.
Or just pile them in wild disarray, colors shapes and sizes mixed together in all their natural glory . . . like little miracles, every single one of them.
A small saucer of shells on the porch is a nice way to greet visitors in the summer…
You can make little flower arrangements for your table.
And even write on them . . . with a special memory of a day at the sea or a quote, or . . .
. . . you can do what my girlfriend Siobhan did and dip the edges in glitter and send a dated Christmas message to your friends and family. This is one of my all time favorite ornaments, it’s got my two favorite things: nature, and people I love. Perhaps you’d like to make these yourself, but you have no access to clam shells. I can fix that, I’ll bring the ocean to you!
And if you call Louie, you might need some delicious clam recipes! This I can do for you too! These two recipes are from my first book, HEART of the HOME.
You might look at that recipe and say, YUM, but “I can’t open clams.” If so, but you’re feeling adventurous, you can learn, here’s a video by an expert clam shucker. But if not, then I need to give you a couple of recipes where the clams open themselves. You can make this . . . my dad’s favorite, and probably mine too! We love it with garlic bread!
Or make Steamers, from my AUTUMN book, just wonderful!
If seafood has always “tasted fishy” to you, please try again, life is short, you can’t go through the whole thing believing that seafood doesn’t taste good . . . a hundred million people can’t be wrong. You know it’s good for you, and I promise, fresh seafood never ever ever tastes fishy. That’s the hallmark of fresh fish. And if you don’t need the shells, but still want to try something wonderful . . . choose another of my favorites: fresh Codfish ~ it’s sweet, mild, and delicious, with lemon juice or tartar sauce . . . I promise, you are in for a treat. And if you already love seafood, but you’re too far inland to find it very fresh, let me remind you . . . lobster dinners and ice cold oysters on the half shell! You can get them too. And have a taste of the sea no matter where you are.♥
Or, just make cucumber sandwiches and dream a summer day at the beach with your book and your best friend.♥
Happy Day Girlfriends, xoxo, your pal for life, Susan
I have lots of shells too. I live on the North Carolina coast so I have lots of shells from here. It’s funny how you can go 50 miles or so down the beach and find different shells. I also have sharks teeth. I really love them as the are thousands of years old. I didn’t find many shells when I lived in Hawaii because of the reefs that surround the island. But I’ve also lived in Okinawa and have lots of shells from there. My daughter and I learned to scuba the first time we lived there. Also having no reefs around the island the shells wash up on the beaches and in the tidal pools. I have square glass canisters filled with them and more around the house. I love them and can’t have too many. I can find sea glass but have never found a red or green piece. But that’s ok there’s always tomorrow! *L* Have a great weekend all.
We have tons of green and blue-green glass, you will have to take a little trip for collection purposes!
I just wanted to say I loved reading your “Willard” a few moments ago..
So many happy thoughts and I so appreciate you sharing them with all of us!!!!
Happy Summer, keep packing for the big trip!!
How did you know? 🙂
Good morning Susan. i have just finished eating some Potato Heaven and a mug of tea while reading your wonderful blog. I think I want some fish for dinner! I enjoy collecting seashells and so did my mother. i inherited hers a while back and have been using the larger ones in some windchimes. I drill holes in them run a cord through the holes and layer them between driftwood and attaching windchimes at the bottom. Its been a way of giving her shells to family members. I like the idea of Christmas Messages. Thanks for another great idea! Looking forward to your new book.
mmmmmmmmm, how I love Potato Heaven! Also love your chimes.
It could be a fun contest – a personally autographed shell.
Oh Susan, I love this post about Seashells! My sister, Suzanne, and I are Seashell freaks. And, here is another youtube video with wave sounds
youtube.com/watch?v=8UpUtZpqZ1w . This video was filmed (but not by me) from my favorite place on earth, Sanibel Island, Florida. My husband and I got married on Fort Myers Beach (also in Lee County), Florida and we try to get to Sanibel to visit as much as possible. One of the best places there to look for shells is Bowman’s Beach. According to the history, years ago Bowman’s used to be a Nudist Beach. I have jars, jars and more jars of seashells from the seashore and I wish I could share my photographs of them with you and all the girlfriends. Your shells that you have shared in the photographs are Lightning Whelks, Giant Heart Cockle, Periwinkles (I think), Jingles, Scallops, Fighting Conch, Arks, Turkey Wings, Augers, Moon Shells, and Shark Eyes just to name a few. My favorite shells are Banded Tulips, Alphabet Cones, Babys Ears, Keyhole Limpets, and Lettered Olives (which is the South Carolina State Shell). Here are links for two shell guides, a foldout in pdf foldingguides.com/PDFs/Product24FlaShells.pdf and this one is a website that gives approximate sizes by showing a penny beside the shells mitchellspublications.com/guides/shells/articles/pictorial/ . One of our favorite things to eat when visiting Sanibel is Rock Shrimp. They are amazingly delicious but tough on the fingers to get out of their shell. Thank you so much for sharing bits and pieces of your idyllic life with Joe and the kitties on Martha’s Vineyard.
I also live in SC and very often when I’m beachcombing someone
will say to me, “if you like shells, you should go to Sanibel.”
Well, 2 GFs and I went at the time that there was a hurricane
on both sides of FL. This was about 3 yrs. ago. We had to go
to the dollar store to buy buckets for our shells. They were so
pretty, white, pink and wonderful. Someone told us that it
hadn’t been that good in 10 years or more. I know we were
greedy. Everyday we’d get back to the motel and sit on the
porch playing with our shells. People would walk by to see
what we were doing and make all kinds of comments. But we
NEVER, NEVER, EVER keep anything that is alive. Throw them
way back and say “God bless you ! Have a nice trip !
All this beachy talk is making me recall so many great childhood memories I’d long forgotten… and SO making me long to live near the water AGAIN. I am SEA-green with envy of all you lucky coastal-dwellers! Please enjoy it all the more for those of us who can’t be there… but badly want to be!!
Hey Julia in SC!
Hurricane Charley that made landfall near Sanibel in 2004 changed things there forever. It took out almost all of the Australian Pines along Periwinkle Way. We were scheduled to vacation there just a couple of weeks after Charley hit, but they were only letting full time residents over the causeway then. We did go back in 2006 (our 25th anniversary) and in 2007, but it just wasn’t the same. When we visited in 2006 they had a Red Tide and when we visited in 2007 they had Red Algae. I will always love Sanibel though. I have found so many shells in one visit that we had to ship them home. I am in Georgetown County, SC part time.
I loved every single bit of sea shells and everyone’s comments…I’ve missed the last few posts….so anxious to know what the approximate eta is on the pre- ordered “Fine Romance” ?
Until it actually arrives we can’t be 100% sure, but we know it HAS to be here by September 1 at the very latest. We really expect it earlier. We are having a few boxes shipped ahead for those first book signings just to be sure.
SOOOO E X C I T I N G ! !
I absolutely love seashells and drive my family crazy looking for shells at the beach every time we go. I have shells I found on the beach in Thailand that actually have gold on them that you would think had been painted on but it is natural. I love nothing better than a display of seashells and am pretty sure I got that from my Grandmother who had a basket of shells displayed in her house. I am pretty sure that she had bought most of them as we don’t have the kind of shells on the west coast that she had but I spent lots of time looking at them and admiring all the different ones she had. I have four seashell displays in our master bath and stenciled seashells on the wall around the bathtub and I love it. We also love seafood and fish and you are so right it is only fishy when it is not fresh.
Is that a Pismo Clam shell I spy with the Oceano poet’s verse? Love it! I remember walking the beach in the 80s when all these tiny baby Pismo Clams were freewheeling, tumbling in the froth as the waves washed upon the shore, what a sight to see. It was probably after the big storm in ’83 that broke parts of the pier–the year my son was born, so there I was, preggers, walking amidst the storm wreckage taking pics to document the damage. Many years later I found someone selling a picture frame (on eBay, natch!) made from the wood pilings of the pier that had been washed ashore during that storm. It had a reproduced photo of that same pier during a 4th of July celebration in 1879 or so, amazing! Now it sits in MY bedroom so I can see & remember everyday. Thanks for sparking those memories and for sharing your seashells!
Thanks Susan for bringing me back to my childhood in Rhode Island. We used to dig for quahogs but I’m one of those non-fish eaters other than shrimp – love shrimp. But the smell and sounds of the ocean will always be in my soul even here in the cornfields of Indiana. Each part of the country has its special smells and sounds and looks. We are so lucky to live in a country where we can experience so much of the world. Have a wonderful day and I’m counting the days to “A Fine Romance”.
My nana showed me your sea shell pictures. They are beautiful and nice. I like clams just like you. I’m 7 and live by the Pacific Ocean!
Hello Anthony. I just love seven year olds, I am so glad to see you visiting my blog! Give your Nana a kiss for me. xoxo
Just got my kiss! 🙂
How darling. I love being in the middle of this one! 🙂 Thank you Patty!
Loved this! I have seashells all over my house, too, from Florida and North Carolina, to San Diego and here in the Pacific Northwest! I have some I found with holes already drilled in at the top (from seagulls, I think) that I strung up with beads in my craft room window! I also like to write on the underside of some of them, where I found them, or group the special ones together in a larger shell with a little tag with the name of where they were found. I like the idea of putting them in Mason jars, too. I should do that as I’m running out of places for them all! And I discovered sea glass recently, too, and have begun collecting that as well! LOL! I Love the ocean and would love to live near the beach again! My earliest memories as a child are picnicking at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego, where I was born. Your early morning walks through the woods to the beach sound heavenly…..
Looking forward to your Willard next week!
Laura from WA
P.S. BTW I Love seafood! 🙂
I love seashells and have them all over our house here in Florida. I have your ‘Summer’ book on my coffee table right now with a few shells on top of it. Sweet Southern hugs, Diane
I love shells and have them scattered all around my house. Coming from the Beach area in Southern Cal I collected quite a few. I also have a sand collection some I collected but most from my friends thru the years.. A girlfriend asked me what I wanted when she went to Hawaii years ago and I, being funny, said sand from the beach as that’s probably the closest I will ever get to Hawaii and she being funny did and that sentence started my collection. Everyone thought that was cool and started bringing me some anytime they went somewhere on vacation. Some times with shells and sometimes a Rock, like from Malta. I have dirt from Japan. They couldn’t find sand. Coral from Hawaii and sand from England. Some sand from MV too. I used to tell everyone that when they get an empty canister of film fill it with sand for me. So I was thought of a lot. 🙂 I mean how cool is that? 🙂 Haven’t gotten any since moving here and everyone went digital, but that’s OK I ran out of space to put it so some is stored in a box now while the best is sitting around for me to enjoy. Thanks for posting the sound of the waves and Seagulls flying. A sound I haven’t heard in years. Music to my ears. 🙂 Looking forward to Willard.
They could do a 60 Minutes about you and your collection of the world’s earth!
I haven’t told you lately that I love your blog! I have just so enjoyed all the conversation – so fun. Where else can I have such great experiences without leaving home – and learn so much from all of you!? We are having a rockin’ & rollin’ thunder & lightening storm w/lots of rain. I love it. Reminds me of my youth in Iowa . Colorado doesn’t get these kinda storms often.
Happy to have you here Cathy! I know how you feel!
Seashells are one of my favorite things – for the very reason you stated – an absolute miracle & treasure from the sea. I also have seashells around the house & they give me a sense of peace. But you must pick them up and touch them every once in a while – so that the magic flows through your veins. A very special note to share: July 12, 2013 welcomed the arrival of my first Great Grandchild – a boy – Felix Solman Martin Johnson – weighing in at 7#7oz. – my first grandson’s beautiful baby boy – and so very healthy – my grand daughter in law did a marvelous job of delivery. Our family is filled with joy and thankfulness. I am so happy I can share this with you. XXXXOOOO Pat
I’m so happy to hear it Pat. Congratulations to you and your family! Felix! This my second new baby named Felix! It must be the new “Michael”! I feel your joy right through this computer! xoxo
Congratulations, Pat!! What happy news to share!! You definitely put the GRAND in great grandmother!! ♡ Felix is a lucky little one!
How wonderful, Pat! I am so over-the-moon with my first grandchild, I can hardly imagine what it must feel like to meet your first great grandchild! Enjoy every moment!
Your blog was a perfect ending to a wonderful ❤ day. This morning my girlfriend and I picked lavender on a mountainside farm (NH) with magical vistas — think small-scale Sound of Music (♪which we had playing in the car of course!). Next, lunch overlooking the river and then some antiquing along the way home. Ahhh. I was so inspired by the beauty and camaraderie of the day, I re-arranged my seashells (and rocks!) which can be found on my mantel shelf, in bowls, under glass, in jars, etc. Once again, your blog hit a very familiar chord (with so many of us). ☼
Kindred spirits … all!
One of the greatest pleasures for us when we are near the ocean is the availability of wonderful fresh seafood! My mouth is watering, Susan! And we just don’t have an ocean trip planned for the near future.:-(
I think you need to put that on your calendar Nellie!
I “informed” my husband – and oldest daughter – that it was past time for another trip to the ocean.:-) She apparently enjoys traveling with us!:-) I don’t think it will happen this year, but with the direction to “save my money,” it should be in 2014. Following that “direction” will be the difficulty.:-)
🙂 there’s always something Nellie!
hi susan….we are having an incredible time here on the Island. Can’t decide what’s been the best, but right up at the top is the seafood. We have been to all of the right places and eaten the freshest catch of the day we could find….The Net Result ( in the pouring down rain which made it even more fun), Menemsha Fish Market..where we not only picked out our crabs and lobsters, but actually picked them up with our bare hands!!!…let them cook our choice……and then gobbled them down while sitting at the beach discussing the filming of “Jaws”….and The Black Dog Tavern where I had the steamers…..my first time..not my last!!! I think going to the Episcopal church for lobster rolls was our favorite…the lobster was out of this world, extremely generous portions and such nice people…., and the pie!!! OH…. the pie!! I am going to have to walk back to Missouri to try to burn up all of these calories!!! It has all been worth it for sure!!! I see your list of book signings is growing….Midwest? Missouri? St. Louis?……very exciting and getting closer each day. Off to the beach to find that special shell….a perfect souvenir of the perfect vacation!!!! thank you for the great post today….just perfect timing for me….you know..with all of that dunking and swooshing and slurping……. 🙂 love, cindy
I know, all the dunking, swooshing and slurping, exactly what you are saying! It poured yesterday! We went to a “picnic” that ended up all indoors! What is with the sun this year? It’s not 6 am yet this morning, I hope you get a peek at some blue sky today. So glad you’re enjoying it!!
it’s sunny out!! YAY!! headed back to the beach and then some golf and then the hunt for more devine seafood…Edgartown we think….beautiful place…. xo
You are doing your vacation right!
Hi Susan & girlfriends! Love this post & all the comments from everyone about shells & beach & seafood! My bathroom is decked out with shells & beach cottage framed prints. I have an adorable mermaid swimming above the shower carved from wood & painted in sea glass colors. She dove into my hands while I was browsing a sweet boutique in LaJolla several years ago. I live in the high country of Arizona~~~but~~~I will always have shells & beach memories in my home:0). Thanks for the ideas for decorating. Can’t wait to read Willard. Excited about the new charms! Getting closer to book day!! It’s all just too good~~~.
Have a beautiful Sunday tomorrow.
You remind me of my Palo Alto, CA girlfriend who has a “Martha’s Vineyard room” in her house, filled with beach glass and pictures of the sea. Happy day Linda!
My family and I are going on vacation this week to Southern California; our return trip includes an overnight stay in Arroyo Grande. If only your shop was still there! I can’t wait to listen to the sea gulls, watch the waves and have some delicious fresh fish. I grew up near the ocean and now live only 2 hours away from it, but there’s still nothing like sitting on the sand (or playing in the tidepools if there are some) digging around for shells or seaglass. Can’t wait to get there!
If you’ve never been, take a side trip to Avila Beach Laura Ann. It’s right off 101 about 5 mi north of Arroyo Grande.
Our daughter and family of 5 just went to Avila Beach (camped at Pismo)! She says they’re retiring (their youngest is 10!) there, or at least staying for 2 weeks a year! They loved it! I need to go see it, I’m retired, maybe in November, after SLO!
Perfect. It’s right there!
Joan if you are going there in November, try to go to Pacific Grove, its not far from there and you will see trees just festooned with Monarch butterflies heading to Mexico. they stop there on their way to rest. but every tree there is covered literally in butterflies, its an awesome sight.
Yes Avila here I come! And, yes, Pat (OR), the Monarch’s are amazing! We happen to be there the day of the Children’s Parade – all dressed like butterflies! My GF & I were cheering with tears in our eyes – children, marching bands & butterflies – a glorious parade!
Love all this talk about the ocean, shells, seafood, etc. I can almost smell the ocean breeze even here in the very hot San Fernando Valley.
Makes me want to go watch one of my favorite movies, “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.”
Happy weekend Susan!
oh I love that movies Lisa, one of my favorites. I simply adore that kitchen there.
I love the bedroom with the balcony overlooking the ocean. I would love to live in that house, ghost and all!!
Oh, me too, Pat! Love that kitchen! And Mrs Muir’s bedroom with the telescope and that view…
I love this post. The shells are such a comfortable and interesting thing to look at around the house. I absolutely love that your town has a beach and shells and gardens…..and also snow! You’ve got the best of both world:)
Thank you so very much for taking the time to write about how things look and smell and feel and taste (food!!). I always feel as though I was sitting with you as I read your words.
Good luck in all you do.
Colleen from Philadelphia area
Thank you so much Colleen! Have a wonderful day!
Wish I could go seashell hunting hereI Michigan we just have zebra muscle shells.
My sister just moved to Flordia and spends her days combing the shore she is making
Cool windchimes also .Lots to do with seashells! I plan on visiting just for shells ! Lol
How nice of your sister to move to somewhere good for beach combing!
When we were motor homing all over the country I decided only to include a single
choice item as a special reminder ………there were just more shells than I could pickup, so it became a pretty pink conch from Cabo San Lucas, a jet black piece of flint from Valley Forge and a brown speckled Scallop from Martha’s Vineyard — and the one from Maui, “Oceania “… My Mermaid ..high maintenance, but worth it!
Ah, I live in the midst of shell country. My egg cartons overflow – yes, if you live near the sea save your empty egg cartons for your guests to pack their washed/bleached shell treasure to take home on the plane with. They work great.
I’ve accumulated so many that i had a dump session in my garden and now have a lovely shell “mound” and, of course, ever now and then whilst out there I tend to spot a “favorite” one I have to bring back in.
Your wonderful “sea” blog is perfect timing as there is a LIVE FEED from the ocean bottom/deep near you going on – so COOL. Go to OKEANOS EXPLORER and check it out. Happy summer everyone:) judi
Here on the island some people crush clam shells and make their driveways out of them.
Can’t get over all those glorious shells you find a short stroll from your home. The beach at the Santa Cruz boardwalk used to have shells, not so much anymore. As a child, loved looking for them as well as pieces of driftwood. But I’ve since discovered Cambria and what a treasure Moonstone beach is! I have yet to find an actual moonstone on the beach but that makes the beach combing all that much more fun. My father gave my mother a moonstone necklace on their honeymoon 🙂
I have some stones from the beach right beneath the White Cliffs of Dover. Growing up my mother used to sing around the house…”there’ll be bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover…” So it was very moving to stand at the end of the pier, looking at those white cliffs and listen to Vera Lynn sing this song, (Courtesy of a portable CD player (pre-I-pods).
So I’m potentially changing dates for my next trip to England for next summer. Just learned the special Diana exhibit at Althrop, which includes her wedding dress, is closing for good at the end of August 2014. It would be sheer providence to catch you at a book signing at Hilltop. Sounds like you are hoping to do a signing in Blighty based on some of your past comments.
So glad the summer seems to be passing quickly (not good with the heat, with you about the rain; ever so thankful for A/C) but yet making the most of the less blistering days, getting out gardening and enjoying the blue skies. But alas, soon that blessed book is going to be at my doorstep and the magical kingdom that is England will be at my fingertips. Huzzah!
P.S. Still hope that someday a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary, featuring one Miss Susan Branch, will be on the docket!
Don’t you just love Vera Lynn? White Cliffs of Dover is one of my favorites. We took a cd of her music with us to England, coals to Newcastle, for the drive and it was perfect.
Just googled your reference of “Coals to Newcastle” and learned that Vera Lynn is still alive at 96!
Tom Jones is also a favorite. What’s up pussycat?
Loved seeing all your shells. I have been collecting seashells since I was a little girl. My grandparents lived on the bay in Wildwood N.J. we always found the best shells in winter time or after a good nor’easter. I have a tree decorated with nothing but gifts from the sea. my kids and I would find starfish and dry them out along with all sorts of shell. We would use a dremmel drill and put a small hole in them and thread with fishing line, put a tiny bow on and hang them on a small tree for our den. I have shells from all over. I collected sea urchins and stacked a small one on top of a larger one stacked on top of an even larger one. I used a black marker for eyes, tied a christmasy ribbon around the neck and made a little hat from left over felt. I stand this family of”snow-urchins” around the seashell tree. Looks pretty cute, if I don’t say so myself. I also have a wreath made from shells on my front door in summer. And basket and bowls tucked everywhere around the house in summer. There is sooo much you can do with shells. Loved listening to the sound of the sea. Can’t wait for my vacation in Maine and FRESH seafood!
Have a great week.
Just loved listening to the sounds of the sea…..if you close your eyes…..you can almost be there…..ah relaxation!
Looking at your collection of seashells, spurred me to get into my craft closet and unpack my box of shells. And there was, my very old conch shell…..I have had it since I was a child, and actually have not seen it in years. Well, it is as beautiful as it was when I was five…..( yes, I have had it for many, many decades…LOL) and the first thing I did was hold it up to my ear….and listen…..to see if the sounds of the ocean were still inside.
And yes, they are still there….like a little miracle……the sounds of the ocean inside my shell………how is that possible? I don’t know, but it is pretty wonderful.
Thanks Susan, for giving me the brain spark to recall so many memories of fun…..those spent on the lakes in Michigan, in California playing in the Pacific…… the Jersey shore……and the beaches of Florida ……happy, funny family adventures I have not thought of in a long time!
Happy Sunday girlfriends!
Susan, thank you for making me aware of Gladys Taber. I am reading my first book of her’s “Stillmeadow Road”. A wonderful read. I look forward to reading more. Do you have a favorite ?
It’s hard to say, but I think I was most inspired by Best of Stillmeadow.
I just LOVE your blog, Susan! Thank you for brightening my days!
Thank you for being here Susan!
Such a lovely, fun post! Even tho I live in the “cornfield” of central Minnesota, I love seashells. We walked the beach in Florida earlier this spring and I couldn’t resist bringing home a few . . . even the broken ones where you can see the spiral inside. Amazing!
I can’t wait until tomorrow for Willard!!!
Took me awhile to get out my seashells as they had to be handled carefully, admired, & then I tried to remember when & where I got them! Love this inspiring blog! Looks like a patriotic beach cottage here now! Just can’t seem to put away the stars & stripes! I need to play the seaside “musica” again, have a lovely Monday GFs! xo
This is a little bit of heaven. You know what you’ve been doing, Sue. You’ve been gently prodding me with reminders of all the things I love, making me think, “Why aren’t I doing more of that?” until you’re blasting me out of my rut and making me plan a trip to the ocean. (Oh, the ripples you send out!) It will be just a little detour on our way to somewhere else in September, but it will be enough to last me until next time. It’s been five years since I’ve seen the ocean and my heart beats faster just thinking of it! Thank you for this lovely, virtual trip to the sea and for reminding me about the things that are important. I can’t think of better pastime than collecting seashells. xoxo
Of all the people I know Janie, YOU should see the ocean…five years is too long, and it’s going to wash your spirit with beauty! Happy for you! Write when you get home!
You’re a good influence on me, Sue. I love how you said, “…wash your spirit with beauty!” It does that and I’m ready for a good washing 🙂 xoxo
I know it will be wonderful for you! Have fun!
Hello Everyone…I’ve been away for a mini vacation helping Angela at the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Middletown, OH (she sold her lovely homemade coasters and did very well)…..we had a blast. I have to admit I am an obsessed collector of shells, rocks, etc. My very first trip to FL was like an adventure and scavenger hunt on the beaches…we (Mother too) took back bags of shells and they now are scattered around flower beds, baskets in the bathroom, and also in a barn in IN. I was “forbidden” (Dad) on the next trips to even think about bringing home a shell?? Really, have they met me!!!! I am now more selective and when Angela and I visited in Feb. I think only one “rolled” shell came home. I had a girlfriend that brought me back a Conch Shell from the Bahamas…..they are just a special gift from the Oceans and God. I also remember a small lizard that was inside one of the bags of shells that thankfully we found on a stop while we were still in FL lucky for the little guy he would have turned into a “popsicle” if he wouldn’t have surfaced until we got to IN (Winter)…..haha Susan, do you bake your fish, scallops or fry?? I’m not a big lover of fish; but, always loved fried clams (so I’m wondering is there a way to bake them so they still are delicious)….I bake Talapia and it is good. I saw/smelled so much fried foods at the festival this weekend til I was nauseated…..in IN most of the restaurants fry their seafood and since I can’t have it I just stay away from ordering it. Thanks for this blog I adore seashells and probably should go to a meeting (Seashells/Rocks Anonymous) at some point according to my family?? Have a Great Week!!!
I just read the recipe for the clams and saw “bake”….guess now my question is about baking fish?? thanks.
Yes you can bake fish .. we often bake cod. I also put any kind of fish in about an half-inch of boiling water on top of the stove, put the lid on and steam until it’s just perfectly flaky done. That’s the very healthiest way, no butter or oil, plus it keeps very tender. Serve with lemon juice, or go wild and have tartar sauce.
Thanks Susan, I will try the steamed fish….this low fat eating isn’t very interesting/fun, and there are times that I feel left out especially going to events where the air smells like “fair foods”. I appreciate you responding with your suggestions.
Apples are fabulous, I eat lots of apples. Icy cold pineapple and watermelon. Carrots too. Celery with a tiny bit of peanut butter, yum. Fresh steamed fish and roasted vegetables, like asparagus and green beans. Garden tomatoes, sliced, salted and peppered and balsamic-ed on crisp greens. A big fat artichoke, with as little mayonnaise as you can stand, but no deprivation. The only way to it is through it. Another thing, no dinner after 4 or 5, if you can do it. Those fair foods have absolutely no brain fuel in them, no power, no get-up-and-go, nothing for energy, for clean blood, for strong bones … I’m on a roll, can you tell. (And it’s not a cinnamon roll!)
I’ve done fish [sole is my favorite] in the oven [in a foil “packet”] with vegetables, a pat of butter, fresh ground pepper & a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon juice over all. Turns out really well, a “one-fish” meal and only a plate and silverware to wash! Not completely fat-free & not fancy – but very good & easy. I’m all about easy. :>)
Thanks for your support and suggestions…I have been watching what I eat for so many years and have no problem “cutting back” and I have for over 15 years. Once I got this 1 gallstone last Fall and was told to cut all “fats” from my diet too that just seemed to be the worst punishment to me!! It isn’t that we eat fried foods; but, everything “good” has fats in them…the fudge at Christmas, pies/cakes, popcorn at the movies (minus the butter always), on and on……I agree with you and eat as healthy as I possibly can. My family tells me I am going to become a “lettuce leaf” and be attacked by bunnies when I go outside. Now, my pity party is over and one positive that helps me through the tough times is this….eating a fatfree diet will keep heart disease at bay and that my friend is the icing on the proverbial cake!!!
Just back from Charleston with side trips to Hilton Head and Sullivan’s Island. had the most amazing Pimento Cheese Cheeseburger on Sullivan’s. Don’t want to know how many calories were in it though 🙂
Not many shells in SC unless a storm blows through-fortunately, we had mostly sunny beach days! Always manage to find one nice shell to bring back to Texas. We do a fresh caught shrimp dinner while at Hilton Head–a trip to Barnacle Bill’s is such a fun experience. Live music, fresh seafood and lots of local veggies. May have to add MV to my wishlist though-nicer shell hunting! And clams and linguini it is tonight for dinner. My favorite.
Susan, I’m so excited! We vacation each year in New Hampshire at the lake and will be there when you come to Innisfree Bookstore in August! I’ll actually be able to meet and thank you in person for all the creative ideas and pleasure you have spread over the years! I love the summer but here in NJ we are experiencing another heat wave……even the gardens are wilting! …but those Jersey Tomatoes love it! Looking forward to meeting you!
Perfect timing Vicki! See you there!
Some of the girls I taught with and I go to our condo every summer for a few days. We were there for five days and for five days it poured the rain (Biblical proportions!). We had a great time though and managed to go out for seafood every night. I love anything that comes out of the ocean and this post is making me very hungry for the beach!
Different topic: Will your itinerary for the book signings be published? I hope to get to one! Looking forward to “A Fine Romance!” A friend came in this weekend (for Antiques Roadshow–they came to Knoxville on Saturday. So much fun!) Lois has been served many things from your books over the years but didn’t have any of the books. She took ALL of mine home to read and is now on mission to get a set for herself. I’m getting mine back next week. It was hard letting them out the door but she’s trustworthy….I’m sure she is….Yes! She is.
what a bunch of pretties
love the idea of writing on the shells
and under the candle(:)
What a wonderful Summer post with all the sea shells. You are right Susan, I would not be able to live without my seafood, fresh seafood. In fact, I go for fresh steamers at least once a week. I would go every day that is how much I love them! Gee I’m hungry…. 🙂
My 2014 Heart of the Home Wall Calendar has just shipped! What joy!
I’m looking forward to A FINE ROMANCE. I’ll be over the moon when that news comes. Thank you Susan. XOXO
The Postman delivered the 2014 calendar today. We love it. My ten year old and I read every month. We couldn’t put it down. Thank you Susan. XOXO
So happy to hear that Arlinda!
Enjoyed seeing the pictures of all the shells. I recently bought some shells to go in the glass bottom of my tea light holders for our family room at the cabin. Don’t live close enough to the water to collect many shells. Just catching up with the blog. My sister from New York was here for a week and I took her to a local tea room to celebrate her birthday. We had fun tasting the teas and eating lunch that included scones, lemon curd, and a white thick cream. I have forgotten what they called it. Made me think of you and your trip.
Probably clotted cream or Devonshire Cream. YUM!
Well this lovely post is quite timely as we have left landlocked Colorado for Miami Beach for five weeks. Every morning when I wake up I find a fresh croissant and a seashell on the counter left by my husband. I’m being gloriously spoiled. ( He is an early riser. I am not. I’m always admirous of your four in the morning – pottering around your house – getting your day started posts….Some day I will get there. 😉 )
Joe gets his cup of tea, the way you find your croissant and seashell. But the favors go both ways! Have fun!!
I too have seashells everywhere, one piece of abalone on necklace from teen years found at Carpinteria Beach. As far as the tastey goodness inside some of the shells, my husband just returned from a trip home to Natick, Mass for his brother’s funeral. He feasted on real “big belly fried clams” and sent me a picture with every meal he had them. He has been here in So Cal for 30+ years and we have traveled “my” state high and low and have yet to find those like you lucky folks in New England. He was treated to sailboat ride out to MV after the service~he found MV again , perfect I n all respects! You definetly live in the best of both worlds, MV and So Cal!
And soon we get to drive through all the wonderful places in between!
“Keep your face in the sun and your toes in the sand.”
Shells are wonderful, but I live near the Oregon coast and shells sometimes are hard to find. We have LOTS of agates though and I have jars and jars of them. There is nothing like going to the beach and spending time near one of the biggest wonders of God and finding a small little gift just laying there waiting for you to take home and treasure. Your beach looks like an agater’s paradise. I have always wanted to visit Martha’s Vineyard that gives me just one more reason to go.
Keep adding up those reasons!
I am sitting in a beautiful little cottage by the sea in Delaware! I love shelling, but alas this isn’t the year to find them here! So thanks for sharing yours! I’m looking forward to your new book!
This post, and the one previous to it, made me think of something you so sweetly reminded us of before … that “the best things in life are free”. Couldn’t agree more as we have jars of shells, sea glass and heart rock “souvenirs” from beaches all over. Just returned from CA where we stopped at beaches from north to south to collect more. Thought of you on the Central Coast and the beautiful beaches of Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay and Pismo 🙂 Then 3 weeks ago as we were driving from Prescott to Phoenix we watched for the BIG moon when all of the sudden … VAVOOM … there it was coming up over a mountain! WOW … What a sight to behold on a clear desert night … and out of my mouth comes “the best things in life are truly free” … something my kids hear more and more! Thank you for your enduring wisdom and inspiration. Happy Summertime!
“It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine … it’s summertime!” ~Kenny Chesney
Susan… is there a name for the beach with the small beach houses looking out to Ireland? I would love to visit it during my stay on the island 🙂
If I told you I would have to kill you. Or to put it another way, if I told you Joe would have to kill me. Or, to put it another way, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, three can keep a secret if two of them are dead. I will whisper it in your ear when I see you.
LOL understood! No pressure 🙂
Your post was a nice virtual day at the beach! Love it!
Hi, Susan…..LOVE your new curtains!!! They are very pretty and airy as you say!!
Everything looks so nice…..have a wonderful visit with your friends from Calif.
It is very hot here…..they will love the great weather at Martha’s Vineyard!
Take care…. Loretta/Calif.
Susan…….thank you for this lovely article on seashells. The photos are gorgeous and I loved it all. At our last Book Club I moderated our discussion on “Gift From the Sea” by Anne Lindbergh. We brought various shells to look at and at the end of the discussion I pulled out my box of shells and had everyone choose one or two. I told them that when they held their shell they would remember all of their friends in the club or if they had a friend who was going through a bad time to pass the shell on to her so that she knows someone is thinking about her and that she has a good friend who cares. It was a special time for us.
Yes, I’m a few days late and a blogpost short of being timely with this comment, but comment I will! I’ve been otherwise engaged because my project (among other projects) this week has been sewing a quilted wall hanging of a singular … you guessed it … seashell. Everything I sew is coastal related, but this one is very special because of all the hands-on, tactile, olafactory experience I’ve had with seashells. (As opposed to the mermaid and the octopus quilts.) Although I have seashells in almost every room in my southern Cal home, I poured over the pictures of your shells so very carefully. Thanks for continued inspiration. And yes , now I’ll get back to my shell …
That’s rather good timing!
Thank you for Willard! You remind me of all the wonderful things that life is about. I lost my Son in the Spring. It has been a crazy journey since then. I have wonderful friends who have come to stay and make me laugh again. I live in Eastham between Nauset Light and Coastguard beaches, so I know of what you see every day. It is such a magical place! These things remind me every day that life goes on and can be enjoyed in spite of sorrow.
thanks again, Cathy
So very sorry Cathy. I have a girlfriend who lost her son also, just a year ago. It’s a journey, a difficult one, I can only imagine. My heart is with you. xoxo
Oh my heart aches for you….my son died eleven years ago and I spend a lot of time counseling other bereaved parents so I feel your pain. I am drawn to the ocean and to all the treasures walking the beaches hold for me. Water is a healer, shells and sea glass are soothing to my soul when I touch them. Be well Cathy, take care of yourself and know that your pain will soften in time.
So very sorry about your son, Cathy. I know Nauset well – many wonderful memories there. Its beauty is really staggering. Sometimes nature can be comforting when nothing else can – I hope the sound of Nauset’s wind and surf are that for you.
I am eagerly awaiting your book: Our own UK trip begins September 15! We are spending 4 days in Edinburgh, 4 in Grasmere, a week in a Cotswold’s cottage (!!!) and 5 days in London. I am over the moon with excitement. Deciding what to do is sheer pleasure, but the packing part has me stymied. Any tips??
Plan for rain with a light raincoat with a hood, and some sweaters. If you need Wellies, you can get them there ~ they have lots of cute ones. Here are two little tips: if you like a washcloth, bring it. If you rented a cottage and you like ice cubes, tuck in an ice cube tray. Odd, but true. You are going to the most fabulous places!! Enjoy!
Oh thank you! I would have never thought of the ice cube tray. I just dug one out and threw it into my “Get Ready” drawer. Maybe I will purchase a pair of Emma Bridgewater wellies: now there’s a real treat!!
Why not, I say!
I pre-ordered your book, will it have one of your fancy, schmancy cut up book marks in it??? Will you be coming to Port Huron, Mich. for a book signing?????? OH HOW WONDERFUL THAT WOULD BE!!!!!
The preordered books will all come with signed bookplates, but there aren’t enough of the bookmarks for all of them. I’m bringing those bookmarks to book signings — but I also gave a link for a special bookmark for everyone who couldn’t get to the signings to print out. Do you have a favorite bookstore in Port Huron?
I DO!!! Barnes and Noble! Our town is on the border of Michigan and Canada on the shores of Lake Huron.. A lovely place to visit in the fall wouldn’t you say??? 🙂
Perfectly LOVELY, and would love to.
Well, YAY!!!! How do I help make that happen!!??!!
My email address is: email@example.com if that is an easier way for you.
I put it on our list to try for. It’s all going to depend on how far we can get in how much time! But I’ll try, and if not this time, then in the future. Thank you for the suggestion!!
I love this blog…….
I love the new Willard this morning…….fabulous!
I love everything about you and what you are doing…………..
And the fact that you brought all of us friends together……
Keep going Susan…you have a great adventure ahead of you…..
You and Joe across the country! It will be “fun” every moment!
Be safe and I know you will keep in touch with all of us!
Loves from my Island to Yours, Susan xo
Oops! forgot to add this!
Will you be sketching and taking photos of your trip across the USA? How interesting that would be to turn into your next book…..So many of us would love to see that too!!!!!and so would people from out of this country!
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..did I plant a seed, Johnny Appleseed?
I’ll be sure to blog as often as I can! I hear that little seed, I better get a new diary!
Glad you’re here Susan!
Hi Susan, just adding my comments for you blog. I read it every day and enjoy it so much. Waiting patiently for A Fine Romance. I, too, love England. In fact, I went in May and June and was hoping your book would have been available. Keep up the good work. –Maegie
It will bring back memories for both of us Margie!
Maybe in the future , can write a book about where you live .
You could show your home during the seasons and your favorite places on the island and where you and Joe like to walk.
Sometimes, the most special places are right at home.
Love your blog , reminds me of my home in Nova Scotia!
I might just do that one day Violet! I feel like I kind of write about it all the time, but maybe a more detailed account.
Just finished filling bowls with shells and placing them through out the house! Loved your blog about shells and the recipes. It’s clams casino tonight! Looking forward to your new book. I pre ordered so can’t wait for it to arrive. Hoping it comes before we leave for the beach in September. Want to spend hours with it as I sit on the beach! Have a wonderful tea celebrating the royal babe!
Hope she has it soon. She must be so ready!
I belong to The Daughter’s of the British Empire. We had a royal baby shower and the gifts were donated to a local women’s shelter in honor of Kate and William’s new arrival.
Lovely thing to do!
Susan, the new Willard is perfect for a hot steamy summer evening read on the porch ..I so enjoyed it. Thank you….I so hope you come to a town near me
Ohhhh, how my sister and I enjoy Willard, and all aspects of your website, your books and calendars. I just ordered both of us your new book — our birthdays are two days apart and we’ll both have fun celebrating life, while reading A Fine Romance!
I too, am a shell seeker. I yearn for the seashore and live on the Lake Michigan Shoreline, which is also lovely, but lacks my treasured seashells. Which brings me to a question regarding the book on your blog. Can you tell me more about the book Sea-Shore? I’d sure love to add it to my library!!
Enjoy the rest of your summer…perhaps one day we’ll meet. I’d sure love that!
Until then, Nan
The Sea-Shore one of the “Shown to the Children” series of illustrated books from England by Janet Harvey Kelman — I’m guessing from the 30’s or 40’s, but it has no publication date on it. Hope to meet you too Nan!
Susan, Would it be possible for you to put the bookmark of the girl at the beach again,(that matches the screensaver that is up on free stuff) I would so like to have it for my summer bookmark. I have the screensaver up for the summer, and love it. This is one of my favorite paintings of yours. I don’t live anywhere near an ocean, but looking at this, fills that void.
I’ll try and find it and post it soon Verla.
Yum! I love seashells, but none around here.
I am here at the beach house of my childhood, back to take care of an ailing mom. Sad times. I took time out to read your Willard. It made me smile and it brought back many lovely memories. Thanks for helping me remember and for the love and the smile. Mary
Happy you could be here. And there. xoxo
That is a great picture of you! Eating by the beach is heavenly. 🙂
Just read the news-The Royal Baby is on it’s way! so very excited, and I know you are too!
I’m looking for that news . . . I heard they were in the car, destination unknown, about 4pm yesterday afternoon, but I haven’t heard anything since.
Hello Susan – Just read your Willard. I always enjoy them, as well as your blog. I have 2 copies of your new book on order: 1 for me, 1 for my sister who also loves your books, blog, etc.
I read you will be making a cross country trip to promote your book. If you will be heading through the Chicago area, perhaps you can reach out to Anderson’s Bookshop. They have two locations in the western suburbs of Chicago. Their website is: http://www.andersonsbookshop.com/
I called the store and they said to have you or your publicist call the Naperville store M-F during the day.
I don’t have any affiliation with the bookstore, but I know they are an independent, family run company and I’d love for that kind of store to get yours / our business! Safe and happy travels, Jill
Thank you for calling them, it’s a big help, then they realize that they will have people show up for it. We hope to go there, Anderson’s is one of our favorites! Thanks so much Jill!
I love your Blog, so friendly, I feel you are my friend in USA. Love the ‘taste’ of the sea – Salmon for dinner tonight, I too enjoy the look and feel of shells – must arrange a coastal break soon. Many interesting comments here, reading them is so interesting (however do you find the time with all the other things you do?)
I used to collect interesting beach pebbles and give them to my hubby to carry in his pockets, until I realised he was quietly disposing of them as we walked along!
Bad boy! 🙂 Hello friend in the UK!
Love your newsletters and all your comments! With a trip to England planned for next year, I’m looking forward to reading “A Fine Romance.” Knowing your love of all thing ‘Beatrix Potter,” I’ll provide you with a link that I know you’ll enjoy. A couple built a beautiful playhouse for their daughter, with both interior and exterior displaying Ms. Potter’s style. Enjoy! houzz.com/ideabooks/14596490/list/Birdie-s-Nest–Storybook-Style-Makes-for-a-Marvelous-Playhouse
Too cute, thank you!
Bliss……..morning coffee and susan branch blog… just bliss. I happened upon comments on calendars and when I looked at this year’s options…my heart stopped…. I could not find the desk calendar that organizes my life!!!! Oh please, say it isn’t so………….please tell me you will be making them!!! I need to immediately return to the blog on sea shells to calm myself……till I hear from you I will be sending up some dart prayers!!! Love all that you do!!!
I hate to say it, this is the problem with licensing … you have zero control about what stores the products go in or when they are discontinued, which is what has happened to the blotter. Not the way we wish it to be. BUT, although this year there won’t be one, the folks who make my wall calendar want to do a blotter for next year. So we have hope. Very sorry!
Just finished my Willard. It makes my day to read them! So excited for you and your new book. I recently bought my stepdaughter The Summer Book and told her how much it has influenced my life. I love the Twine idea! May have to steal that! Have fun on your upcoming trip. xoxo
Steal away Sherrie! Thank you!
By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea………I L-O-V-E seafood. We just returned from Seattle and just had to make a special trip over to West Seattle to Alki Beach to a place called Spud. Their fish, as in fish N’ chips, is so fresh, so sweet. Eaten with a dash of malt garlic vinegar is heaven! I wish we had more time to search for shells on the beaches but we had a train to catch back East. What an adventure that was! I like your idea of sand and shells in a large glass container with a candle. I’m going to make one of those. Thank you for the great ideas…..
Making me hungry for Seattle and for fish n’chips!
What a beautiful post, lots of ideas for my shell collection- I even collected some from Chappaquidick when we went there in 2001! Lots of love from Therese in England, where we are still basking in the joy of Baby George’s arrival, xxx
CONGRATULATIONS to you and your darling country! xoxo
I see a lot of small shiny yellow shells on the beaches on the Vineyard. By any chance do you know what those are? They’re so pretty. I’ve often wondered.
They’re called anomia shells, or jingle shells … people make chimes out of them, because they tinkle together in such a pretty way.
I loved reading about everyone’s seashell stories. I have been collecting shells for 50 years and I’m still amazed there are so many available. I have one large sea clam about 12 in.wide filled with so many small shells that I have been from friends
who have traveled.
I have to admit I buy my bigger shells wherever I can find them.
I spent my dream vacation with my youngest daughter on Sanibel Island, Florida, wading in the salt water and collecting beautiful seashells! I’m now in my 60’s, but I’ve been collecting shells since I was ten years old. To me they’re more fascinating than precious jewels. It amazes me that the Creator chose to give the most elegant of dwellings to the most humble creatures of the sea. Seashells also showcase the limitless imagination of the Master Designer!
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Thank you so much for sharing your sea! I LOVE it too and grew up near the Pacific Coast. In our Sierra Mountain home, I have two rooms dedicated to the sea and still decorate all rooms with shells and such, right after the Fourth of July.
I too love Beatrix Potter and have been coveting your figures. Our baby girl ‘bonzied’ them off her dresser at about six month’s old (she’s now 37) and I have longed for them ever since. I found two of them on a girl’s vacay…LOVE!
They are so fun to collect, to find, like little jewels when you see one!
Susan, Dear Susan, I am a collector of the very magical and wondrous sea shells. I don’t live near the ocean but when I go it’s what I do. My favorite place to go is Pacific Grove, California. (Monterey). You may know it. I have collected millions of shells from there. I say millions because that the truth! I find teeny tiny pin head or smaller size shells. I’ve collected them over many years and will continue. I will send you a picture one day of the bottles I have. I have lots of big shells that my aunt collected from Hawaii in the 30s and 40s. Such a gift. I love to sit on the beach and smell the salty air, hear the seagulls, watch, listen and feel the waves. I know you are so grateful for where you live and you share that with us every day. Thank you for that. Love all that you do!
Thank you back Melissa! It’s a wonderful way to spend a day!