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Ok so I may have taken some creative license with the title today, but I was trying too be cute (can I still blame it on vacation?). Anyways…

A couple of years ago while in Zanzibar, Lainey, budget-savvy that she is, let me in on a budget-friendly vacation secret on how to get “free” souvenirs when at the beach… collect sea shells!! Being inspired by Lainey, I picked up a lot of interesting shells and coral (already dead of course) and started my shell collection.

I have collected shells from every beach I’ve visited since that trip and do 1 of 2 things with the shells when I get back.  If I have collected enough, I will run up to Hobby Lobby and get a glass container (go when they are 50%) and will write on the bottom with a sharpie the trip the shells were collected. Currently these are collecting on a shelf in my office, but I think they’d go great on a small shelf in a powder room (maybe a future house).

glass jars

If I collect too many shells (i.e. Zanibar) or not enough to warrant a glass jar, then I will add to the small compotes I have scattered around the house. These have shells and sea glass from Boston, Hilton Head, and Cancun.

overflow sea glass

As you all know we just got back from the paradise that is Hawaii and while the beaches in Kauai and Oahu were more rocky than shells, we were able to get some cool shells, coral, and some sea glass.

To transport our finds home, we used the bottom of a water bottle, paper towel, and ziploc baggie to protect and keep everything together.

travel1 travel2

Once I got home I soaked the shells in a 50/50 water and bleach solution for a couple of hours and then set them out overnight to dry (I rinsed them off in between).

cleaning

Then to get the shells to shine, I rubbed some Johnson’s baby oil on and put them in my recently purchased glass jar ($2 at Hobby Lobby). Voila! An easy and inexpensive way to remember a really great trip!!

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I’m not one to get super theme-y with my decor (I prefer a hodge podge of stuff) so I’ll probably never have a “sea” or “ocean” themed room, but the shells are a part of my life’s narrative and they are tied to some really happy memories!

~Emily