Retired counselor, 341 short stories published by FSU. I have 4 sons, love sharing photography, writing, love travel, sunshine, sea & Grace.
Yes you can!
Are you bored, lonely, have time on your hands, or just want to create? I have the perfect solution for you:
If you are up for it, take a walk trash day morning, or take your car. Its amazing what people put out on the side of the road! I've furnished my beautiful, shabby-chic lanai using almost all thrown away or beach finds (see photos). I've also designed my back yard using flag stones, bricks and other masonry from these roadside finds. I built a fire-pit as well as a 7' x 7' patio and centerpiece.
Are you like me and can't throw away those vases from the flowers you received? Then use them. Fill them with shells, or those shiny beads you get from the dollar store; they also sell shells, different colored sands, stones, Raffia and so much more. Plus their vases and shaped glass dishes are all only a dollar each. I can't throw out gifted flowers once they've died. Most will dry nicely and they look great in my lanai.
Do you have a park or beach you can get to? Its amazing what you can do with the leaves and natural debris you find. I've made center pieces from the torn off barks of Coconut trees which I find strewn on the beach. I've also made designs from curly pieces of bark or branches.
My most amazing find was that I not only was creative, but people actually loved what I made and so I started selling locally and opened an Etsy store, I sold locally in Fairs and Craft Events and I also sold many on Facebook. I use only genuine shore finds to make my art; sea glass, sea pebbles, sea shells and seashore finds. I found that you can buy 7"x5" shadow boxes in bulk and make art using your seashore finds. You don't need an art degree to be creative! (see photos).
I decided to watch Youtube videos on how to pour resin. I got really into it when I found clearance floating glass frames and poured the resin (glass on glass) to make large under water, ocean and shore designs to stand in the window or on the wall. Again using only the natural finds from nature.
I have never had any art training whatsoever; you don't need it. You just need time on your hands and a desire to be doing something. You can find useful tips for virtually anything you chose to make on Youtube, Etsy, and many other online resources to help spark your imagination. I didn't stop there, every time I saw wool for sale I would make chunky scarves and hats. You don't need money to be creative and make things, you just need the desire and who knows, it may make you some money! Regardless there is such a feeling of achievement and satisfaction that comes from crafting and when we are busy doing something and are occupied, we are happy.
If you are lucky enough to be near a beach, then you have a whole host of goodies to bring home and work with. After a storm I was lucky enough to find a life-saver washed up; it was plain white and covered in gouges and looked rough, but I spray painted the 4 orange stripes and filled the gouges with pretty shells; it looks great (see photos). Another great find was a washed up crab pot. I took it home and cleaned it, spray painted it and then filled it with shells, grasses and a few of the dollar store flower. Its now hanging in my back yard and really looks good!
I have tons of shells. Collecting shells not only keeps you fit as you scour the beaches in the early mornings, it also gives you the materials you need to create your own business making shell, sea pebble and sea glass art! I have started my own business doing Shadow Box Sea Glass, Sea Pebble & Sea Shell art, as well as resin Window Art using all natural finds. Give it a try!
Driftwood doesn't just have to come from the beach. I have found great pieces in local parks or along the side of the roads (keep your eyes open there are treasures everywhere)! These pieces of driftwood can be made into several designs or just add great character hanging on the wall.
I probably have collected 10,000 or more shells & 46lbs of genuine sea glass, fossils and shore finds over the last few years, all shells locally and sea glass and amazing shore finds I shipped back from my stay in Dorset; the Jurassic Coast is amazing as there is a 100 yr old landfill that falls into the ocean!
I have decided I will make my own holiday decorations this year. I only have one or two so far. I found an old bottle, sprayed it silver, added a large sand dollar and bow and filled it with some of the strewn sea grasses found on the beach.
Just a few days ago I was walking around the neighborhood when an elderly gentleman came up to me and handed me a beautiful, plucked Hibiscus. (I would rather it had stayed on the plant) but thanked him, came home knowing it had only hours to live. So, I sprayed it with clear gloss, then used (dollar store) kids glitter glue to keep the color on the petals. I put it in a small box I found, covered the box with stuff and its another design.
My favorite find, and something that means a lot to me, (see my hub "Send me butterflies" for the meaning), is a Red Admiral butterfly washed up ashore. It's wings were tight closed and almost all color gone, I brought it home. It was dry and brittle to touch, so I gently massaged it with coconut oil, then, bit by bit, I was able to open its wings. I researched a bit on google to know how to pin it. I then used my dollar store kids glitter glue to add color back into the dried out wings. It is precious to me. Thank you nature!
My neighbor and I went for a walk one trash morning and there was a beautiful lanai love seat out for the trash. My neighbor didn't need it so I bought it home, used sand paper on the white cane back, arms and legs to make it shabby chic, covered the old cushions with some hessian I had found in clearance and it now sits in my lanai. Everyone asks where I got it.
So, if you are bored, lonely, depressed, feeling a need to do something, or just plain have time on your hands, you can create something beautiful from nothing. I wish you joy and happiness in your creations. https://www.etsy.com/shop/HelenLewisCreations
Helen Lewis (author) from Florida on April 11, 2017:
Thanks for your comment Sylvia!
Sylvia on April 11, 2017:
So many colourful creations and so much more to come.
Helen Lewis (author) from Florida on April 11, 2017:
Thanks Helen - I'm glad you enjoyed the hub!
Helen Caddy on April 11, 2017:
Really enjoyed this article.
Great photos, excellent ideas using locally sourced products.
I also like the writing style... Easy to read and very informative.
I would like to see more from this author.