Sand Dollar Ornaments

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sand Dollars make great ornaments, if you don't break them.  Growing up, we had various sand dollars on our tree, from plain white to ones with something festive painted on them.  Yesterday I tried to be an artist.  First I painted one red, and then tried to paint a sea urchin on another - they look horrible.  Then, I stumbled upon the Bald Head Island Emblem used for the island.  And, for some reason I could paint it well enough to know what it was.  Take a look.

Bald Head Island Emblem adapted
So, I then decided to try it on some sand dollars.  I know what it is, and I think at least my family will too.

Bald Head Island Sand Dollar Ornaments

More Ornaments on Reindeer Edward Teach

Merry Christmas Y'all!


Hunt, Gather, Shell, Fish

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December in Coastal North Carolina has been lovely.  And, this weekend is no different.  Lucky for me, I have spent most of it on the water.  Success in finding shells and trout was in order, and so was capturing some great moments.

Banks Channel

Shell Bounty

Sunset at the Masonboro Jetty.

Visiting Pelican; perhaps to steal our trout.

Jetty Rocks with sunset hitting them.

Intracoastal Waterway

I hope your weekend has been as enjoyable wherever you may be.


Shelling on Bald Head Island

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

This looks fake, but it's not!  What a shelling week!  

I love Bald Head Island (BHI).  But, it's more than love.  There is an ad in Bald Head Island's Magazine, Haven (which I don't think has published a new issue in over 6 months), that says:  "Do you believe a place can have a soul?"  That's exactly how it feels.  Or, maybe I just am in tune more with my soul while I am here.

One of my many favorite things to do on BHI is shell.  Growing up visiting this lovely island, I remember shells being almost everywhere.  My siblings, cousins, and I would find sand dollars daily, right out on the beach from my Mimi and Grandaddy's house, which was on Silversides.  As I have gotten older though, it seems more difficult to find shells.  Until now.  I think I have it figured out, but it takes a lot of work, exploring, and exercise.

On Sunday Morning, I headed out to West Beach.  I had some good luck here this past summer, so I tend to start out there.  We passed some nice folks from Richmond who gave me 3 sand dollars they had found on South Beach.  Crazy!  I haven't found a decent shell on South Beach since Mimi and Grandaddy days.  But, this is where they are.  And, they are white.  I say white because many times when you find sand dollars, you find them brown, still alive although dying.  Not to worry if you find them this way, you can't save them.  But, they are going to stink.  And, it's tough to get them looking the natural white color that the ocean gives them.

Where West and South Beach meet on Bald Head Island, there is an obvious erosion problem.  There always has been.  The old clubhouse had to be torn down because it was sitting in the Atlantic.  It is continually maintained, which is a completely different topic to discuss, by groins that stick out into the Atlantic to prevent additional erosion.    

BHI Groins - now covered because of "beach re-nourishment".

There are approximately 10-12 of these groins that start on South Beach and end where West Beach starts. It's also where the mouth of the Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean, so you can imagine the water is a bit tumultuous.

Amazingly enough, sand dollars have been washing up here all week, and it's like finding a treasure every time!  Sunday, I found 19, Monday I found 15, and yesterday I found another 15.  I found a few on East Beach as well, but if you want sand dollars, go to the groins.
Sand Dollar 1.

Sand Dollar 2. (I speak to every single one I find)!

Don't you love when you can almost imagine how the ocean situated this treasure?

Recently removed from it's bed - the currents here are unrelenting.  But, I promise to decorate or give away brillantly!


One of my favorite ways to find Sand Dollars - seeing the star and digging it (carefully) out!

Bird tried to get the goods behind the star - not gonna work.



New, but lovely.

If I hadn't found this today, it would either be whiten by the sun and ready for me to find, or broken.

This one has been washed ashore for a while now - you can tell by the skeleton being obvious - very fragile!

Atlantic Ocean and a bit of the Cape Fear washing over...beautiful!

Each one is more perfect than the last!

Think that orange on it is result of Cape Fear River.

Another bird or crab tried to poke into this lovely you didn't.

I find loads of sand dollars with the lower edges cut off - my theory - a crab!


I love them all.


I looks like a bird tried to break the shell; they must be tasty as I see this often.


You will be taken care of now.

Will turn your hands jaundice.

I love each the same.  

Love you, Sand Dollar!

Yes, I took a picture of every sand dollar I found, but I won't keep boring you with the pictures, although I do think they are beautiful.

Sea Urchins were popular on Bald Head too, but mostly on East Beach, where I found them almost in clumps at the Point at Cape Fear.  I have spent much of my time this week cleaning them, but they are gorgeous and perfect to decorate with for Christmas!

What a BOUNTY - thank you Bald Head Island!

Sea Urchin Stars - gorgeous and where the Sea Urchin Star Design was born.

Check out my designs, if you haven't here.

Happy Shelling!


Gather: Best Hand Cream

Monday, November 19, 2012

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is a luxurious formula that nourishes, protects and revitalizes the skin. Honey, almond and coconut oil are blended with 20% Shea Butter to help heal dry, dehydrated hands. Jasmine and ylang-ylang leave a delicate and comforting aroma on hands (Source:

Hands down (pun intended), it's the best!  Seriously.  Coming from someone who has long suffered from dry hands and eczema, I have tried every hand cream.  I think the best trait about L'Occitane is that it doesn't leave your hands feeling oily or gooey (technical terms).  So, it isn't so irritating to reapply after washing your hands.  It's enjoyable.  It is isn't overly scented either; the scent is subtle and fresh.

L'Occitane has stores across the nation.  You can find it online from a variety of sites as well.  Dermstore offers free shipping, but you may have to wait 1-2 weeks for it.  There are 2 prices for 2 sizes.  1 oz. for $10, and 5.2 oz. for $28, order it here.  And, these prices are fixed; I've never seen this lotion go on sale.  But, the 5.2 oz. size will last you a season, unless you too become mildly obsessed.


2 Degree Comfort Zone

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Finding the perfect winter balance:  starting with these... 

I am only comfortable in 2 degrees.  I'm either hot or cold.  And, around this time of year, I am always cold.  It may only be 55 degrees outside, but I'm sorry, it feels much colder than that.  I live on the coast, and as we lucky people who are lucky enough to live at the beach know, it always feels colder on the water.  And, damp.  The kind of damp that shoots right to your coldness.  One good thing about the fact that we are having an actual fall and what looks like a very cold winter, is knowing the cockroaches are going to die.  And, for those of you who call them Palmetto Bugs:  they aren't Palmetto Bugs, they are cockroaches.  The population of this most disgusting insect has been so dense this past year because (based on a highly intelligent theory I have created) we didn't have either a fall or a winter last year; we had a lovely extended summer/spring.  And as enjoyable as that was, it didn't kill the cockroaches.  Total tangent, my apologies.  My intention here is to pass along some fantastic products that have helped me survive my constant cold nature and bring me back into my 2 degree comfort zone during these damp and cold months.

Smartwool Socks: 

These fantastic wool socks are $20.95, slightly pricey for a sock and highly worth every penny.  Smartwool Socks come in a variety of thickness, designs, and sizes.  They have boot socks for boots, or if you are like me, you wear them without boots for an extra layer.  They last forever.  And if your feet get wet while braving the elements, you won't suffer from hypothermia or early exit, because wet wool still warms.  It is great for those of you who enjoy shelling and fishing even out of your degree comfort zone.  They have free shipping if you spend $75 or more!  See there selection here.

Patagonia Pullover:  

 A Patagonia Pullover Fleece has been a constant staple in my winter wardrobe (well, I should be honest - I wear them year round, just not outside in the summer).  It is made from 51% recycled fleece and who doesn't want a kangaroo pocket to warm your hands all the time.  It goes with almost everything and keeps you warm.  And, if it's really cold you can layer over it!  It retails for $119, and those of you who love Patagonia like I do know it rarely goes on sale, although Great Outdoor Provisions and REI sometimes will have a sale out of the blue.  I love this winter white, but I kind of want the gray this year see it here.  (My sister stole my other fleece's so I am always in the market for a new one).

lululemon Turn around jacket: 

I not only love the outdoors, but I also love to run.  And, how many times a year do I not run because it's cold?  Way too much to mention.  When I first started my career as a runner, one thing always helped me get out of the door, and it never was the knowledge of knowing how good I would feel after.  It was cool running gear!  With this reversible jacket,  and it's stretchy cuffs, I would be excited to get outside.  And, obviously from the looks of this jacket, it is way more than a running jacket.  I would put this on to shell and fish!  Or, stay warm at a football game.  It is steep in price, $198, but lululemon pieces (yes, I call them pieces because they are a fashion piece for my wardrobe in addition to being so fully functional), but they always cover shipping.  You may have a lululemon in your city, but we all know if we step foot in the store, we will leave spending much more than $198. Check out more pictures of this jacket and features here.

With this outdoor gear, I can be assured to remain in my 2 degree comfort zone and not miss any activity!


Sport - Bouquet Catching; Hunt,Gather - Bouquets

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My record is 8-3, what's yours?

Tapped: The Gazelle, this was my 5th Career Catch


The reaction after I have caught my 8th bouquet (out of 11)? 

Person who isn't me:  "Congratulations, Margaret!  I guess you will be getting engaged soon." 

My response:  "Oh, this is my eighth." 

Person who isn't me:  "What?"

Me:  "Oh, this is a new sport I created."

Person who isn't me:  "What?"

Me:  "'s fun to make bouquet catching a sport.  Everyone is emotional.  Why shouldn't they be.  Some are thinking:  if I catch this, this could be my big break, and I could meet the man of my dreams after I catch this mangled, once beautiful grouping of flowers.  So, I just flip my shoes off, get in that short-stop ready pose, and come out of no where.  Oh, shoot, did I just give up my strategy?"

Person who isn't me:  "What?"

Sit down.  This is Bouquet Catching in a nut shell.  (And, a sport that ages you sister who is married is still sad she can't participate - in your face marries ladies!!)!

So besides being the Bald Head Island Hermit, I am also a rabid bouquet catcher.   Being somewhat of an athlete, playing multiple sports growing up, and running races here and there, I must say, I haven't quite enjoyed a sport so much since I wore my lucky heart necklace playing t-ball.   It is exciting! 

This past weekend, I had the honor of being a guest at a wedding on Ocracoke Island: an island, surprisingly, I had never visited before.  And, believe me, I will be back...maybe tomorrow.  Not only did I find 2 Scotch Bonnets (my first ever!); I caught the bouquet.  (Or under-handling stole it from some lovely ladies who have no idea about, or how to play this emerging sport.)
Here's the play by play:  I'm off to the side in a fun conversation.  The bride gets on stage.  In my head my brain is thinking:  Wait.  That's the bride.  That's a grouping of flowers with a silk ribbon around it....that's when it hit me.  The heart pound, the awareness of everything around me is recognized, my shoes are all of sudden off, and I'm on the edge of the dance floor.  The maid of honor is obviously the target; amateur!  So, I sit on the back of my hammy's with short breath, waiting not so patiently - or patiently, I don't know what patient means.  The bouquet's in the air; it's not in the air.  Why?  Because it's in my hands.  The maid of honor got a  rose.  I got like 20, and a couple Hydrangeas and 3 tulips, maybe some green other stem stuff.  I take a picture with her to make her feel better.

Where did that bouquet athlete come from?

Frequent experience.

Y'all got a flower each.

I have the bouquet.  I have a man.  I love my man.  I may love my new bouquet more than I love my man.  I don't catch the bouquet for a wedding.  I catch it because now I am EIGHT for ELEVEN, and I can be 99% sure that I have the BEST record for bouquet catching in the world.  That makes me a world record holder.  And, even though I was presented as a debutante in 1996 and I'm 35, which makes me officially on the market for 17 years without a bite, I will probably be the world record holder forever.  Because, let's face it, I have another wedding next weekend.  And, no one will catch that bouquet but me.  Not because I want to get married, but I've got to get 10 catches before I do! 

Don't threaten me.  It makes me better.  in. your. face.


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