Gifts from the Sea

Gifts from the Sea
Scour the shore at low tide, or dig out your old seashell collection, and put those finds to good use. These projects allow the shells' natural beauty to shine through, while enhancing everything from a tote bag to your tabletop.

Embellish a Tote Bag
A plain canvas or linen tote bag looks new and fresh with the addition of a few shells along the top edge. Limpet shells, which suggest little cone-shaped hats when found intact, often break in such a way that they become easy-to-sew-on rings like these. You can use any similar shell that strikes your fancy.
Arrange the shells in a design that you like before beginning to sew, then stitch each one into place with upholstery thread, pulling tightly to secure them.

Trade in the usual plastic wrap for one of these easy, elegant bowl covers to protect the food at your next cookout or picnic. Buy linen napkins (or hem some fabric scraps sized large enough to fit over your serving bowls) and attach assorted seashells to weigh down the edges. It's best if the shells already have holes worn into them, but you can use a small drill with a very fine bit if necessary. Then, using upholstery thread, sew a shell onto each corner and one in the middle on each side, finishing the stitch close to the hemline.
Scalloped Edges
Add a dainty, decorative flair to pastry by pressing a small, ridged scallop shell into the dough's edges. (Thoroughly clean the shell before beginning.) Try this technique on any type of pastry, from pie crusts to turnovers. It's an especially nice touch if you'll be serving a meal at the beach.



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