Almost 23 years ago I married my best friend. I love him now more than ever.
At the time we were very young (only 19) with limited money so we honeymooned at the local beach. It was still lots of fun for us because we had only moved to Florida from Texas 7 days earlier. During our honeymoon we collected quite a few shells and we purchased the one in the frame above at a shell shop. I loved how it consisted of two pieces that fit so perfectly together. I thought it was the perfect representation of the commitment that we had just made. And we did, and still do, fit so perfectly together.
So, for almost 23 years this little shell has been sitting in a box waiting for the day when I would finally get around to doing something with it. Over time it has held up very well and only has a few small chips to mar its surface. I'm happy to say that our marriage has also managed to make it to today with only a few tiny rough spots itself. Now our little shell has found a permanent home. A place to be displayed where we can see it often and be reminded of the wonderful beginning of the love we are still living. It makes me happy to see it.
I've wanted to stitch on paper for a while and I thought it would be a nice understated way to add depth to the finished product without taking away from the shell and the quote. I think I was a bit hesitant to add too much and mess it up, but I'm learning. I think it still needs something, but I couldn't decide what. Hopefully, I will stretch a bit more with my next project. I hope you can tell that the shell is supposed to be under water and it's surrounded by seaweed and bubbles.
I was inspired by Rebecca Sower's style and wanted to add lots of dimension and texture. I started with a nice colored piece of scrapbook paper, sewed on it with the sewing machine, and handstitched the beads on.
I hand stamped the quote on a piece of muslin. I wanted to add color to the white fibers I used for seaweed so I used watercolors and dried them with a heat gun. I wasn't sure it would work, but I like it. I added some plain white ones to break up the monotony of the blue. I had wondered how I was going to attach the heart and in the end I just hot glued it on.
The frame was what actually kept me from posting this on Monday. It is a Martha Stewart frame that started its life in black satin fabric. I wanted it to look like driftwood so I painted on two coats of gesso. Once that was dry I painted it with tan paint and followed that with brown that I painted on then wiped off with a paper towel. Voila, driftwood. Or at least something that resembles it close enough for me.
(dark color before completely wiped off on bottom portion)
(after wiping off)
I'm giving it to my love when he gets home late this evening. I know the shell means more to me than it does to him, but I also know that he loves it when I take time to celebrate our love. He'll give me that smile that he has whenever something I do makes him feel special. That smile that makes me feel special too.