Oyster Shell + Sweetgrass Napkin Rings

If you think of materials that represent Charleston then sweetgrass and oyster shells are probably on the top of that list.  When I was at dinner a few weeks ago I thought about how cool it would be to mix the 2 together some way (I was totally inspired by Haley’s necklaces & earrings she made with sweetgrass for SEWE).  I thought that napkin rings could be such a simple way to add a lowcountry touch to a dinner and started planning…

Oyster Shell + Sweetgrass Napkin Rings

What you’ll need:

  • 2 small oyster shells
  • Clear sealer spray
  • 2 Sweetgrass napkin rings
  • Goop

This is a fairly straight forward and easy craft to put together and I had mine done in just a few minutes after work.  I bought my 2 sweetgrass napkin rings at a antique shop in Charleston with Taylor a few years ago, but you can find them all around the area.  I picked out 2 of the smallest shells I had in my shell inventory, which were leftover from the NYE oyster roast.  Flat shells are key for this so there are multiple points of contact between the shell & napkin ring for the liquid cement to attach to.First things first, I wanted to seal in the tops of my shells and give them a glossy finish, so I sprayed my clear sealer on top.  I really like the inside of oyster shells and wanted that side up,  so that’s the side of the shells that I sealed.  You could definitely do the other side too!  I also love the look of natural things, which is why I didn’t paint anything, but you could also customize by painting the shells.

Let the shells dry, then bring them back inside.  Now all you have to do is attach the shell to the napkin ring.  Figure out where you want the shell to be placed and apply a good amount of Goop to the napkin ring – enough to securely hold the shell, but not too much where it’s coming off the sides.

Press the oyster shell on top, then let the cement harden.  Repeat for your other napkin ring.  I leaned the napkin rings up against the side of my Cricut while the glue was drying so the shell stayed upright and wouldn’t shift around.Once they’re dry and the shell is securely in place, you’re done!  Just put a napkin in it and set your table! I’m really excited about how these turned out and can’t wait to make more when I get my hands on more sweetgrass napkin rings.  I imagine a huge dinner table set with these out and it makes me happy! It’s the little things, haha.

Did I mention this was totally free? Yup – this cost me $0.  I had everything on hand, and it only took ~10 minutes total for a cute project. Those are the best kind of crafts in my opinion..

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Oyster Roasts

It’s prime oyster season and although I can’t eat oysters, I’ve attended and hosted my share of oyster roasts.  Are you going to an oyster roast and you’re not sure what to do?  I’ve got you covered.  There are a few things you might want to know beforehand…

Oysters only in the trash

Most oyster tables have a big hole in the middle with a trash can underneath.  That trash can is made for spent oyster shells, not the trash (bottles, paper towels, etc), so put the cans in the recycling bin and keep the shells alone in their trash can so they can be recycled too.

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Bring a knife and glove

Let’s be serious, most people in the lowcountry have their own oyster knives,  and will bring them to an oyster roast.  If you don’t own one, look to your local food store or online.  I bought these wooden ones from Amazon, and personalized them using black vinyl and my Cricut Explore Air™ 2.  Now we won’t lose them, and they’ve already made it through 2 roasts!

PS – If you’re a newbie, you only wear 1 glove on your non-dominant hand when shucking to protect it from being cut by the sharp edges of the shell.  If you’re hosting, it’s great to have them on hand because this will be the #1 thing that people don’t bring.

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BYOB

Unless it’s a big, public oyster roast that has a bar, bring your own beer or wine.  I’m sure the host will provide some, but let’s be serious, it’s rude to show up empty handed.  Champagne really complements oysters, FYI…oysters-05

Eat early if you’re not an oyster fan

Fun fact: I’m allergic to shellfish which means, yup, I can’t eat oysters.  Funny considering I love to craft with the shells, right?  Well even if you’re allergic, oyster roasts are such a big part of lowcountry life in the winter and they’re still fun!

Roasts typically include some other food like chili or BBQ (or a nacho bar if you’re cool like my friend Michelle), but if you’re not sure, eat before so you won’t go hungry!  Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way.

Last tip – if you have an oyster shell loving friend, save the shells for them!  They can be cleaned and crafted with, and I’ve got plenty of oyster shell crafts.   Otherwise like tip #1, let them be recycled and put back in the beds!

Now enjoy the oyster roast!  I promise they’re fun, even if you don’t get to eat the main course.oysters-01

This post includes affiliate links, so I get a lil kickback if you buy from them.

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Hermosa Jewelry

Haley is one of Hunter’s friends from college and I had the privilege of meeting her a few years ago.  She makes beautiful jewelry and I’ve even been gifted some pieces by the Huz.  Haley was the perfect entrepreneur to finish my local gift spotlight for Valentine’s Day, and this one is for anyone looking for a special something for their lady.

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What’s your company’s story?

I started making jewelry when I was 12 years old after inheriting a large box of costume jewelry.  I have always been intrigued with how things work and putting things together.  My mom started taking me to the local bead store to purchase beads and materials that I could combine with the vintage costume jewelry.  I began gifting my designs to my friends and as I got older, I caught the attention of the ladies at the law firm I worked at after school.  One of the lawyers had a jewelry show for me when I was 15 and that is where I realized that I could make money from a hobby that I thoroughly enjoyed.   I started working at a bead store and continued selling my designs through high school and college.  My senior year at the University of South Carolina, I won acceptance into the USC Technology Incubator, where I received funding and resources to grow my company.  That is when I knew, this was going to be my job after college.

I renamed my company from Designs by Haley to Hermosa Jewelry in 2009 after receiving my grant from USC.  I wanted to create a brand and it was time to upgrade my logo and name.  “Hermosa” means beautiful in Spanish which is just what you feel when you wear my unique designs.  I studied International Business, Marketing, and Spanish and studied abroad in Seville, Spain for a semester.  I wanted to incorporate my Spanish influences and Hermosa ended up being the perfect name and appropriate meaning.

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What style of jewelry is your favorite?

My favorite styles that I make are the one of a kind large statement necklaces.  I don’t like to dress like everyone else, and so I use my jewelry to express my own individual style.  I also love my Convertible necklaces made with magnets that you can connect to wear different ways and lengths.  I love creating pieces that are versatile and multifunctional.

Where can people buy your jewelry?

I sell my products at my studio and showroom in Mt. Pleasant (1304 Erckmann Drive, Suite D Mt Pleasant, SC 29464), local and regional events and home shows, select boutiques and specialty shops, and online at hermosajewelry.com.  You can also find Hermosa Jewelry at these retailers or come to an upcoming event.

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If you’re looking for the right piece, Haley has put together some suggestions for every woman…

For the classic girl: Pearls

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For the minimalistic girl: Delicate necklaces

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For the fun and outgoing girl: Tassels

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For the outdoorsy girl: Horns

hermosa_hornWant to learn more? Find Hermosa Jewelry on Facebook, Instagram or email Haley!  Plus you can use the code KELDER15 for 15% off until midnight on February 13th!  Now you have no excuse not to spoil your lady…

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Birdseye Bow Ties

It’s pretty clear that I love Charleston and all of the local shops and entrepreneurs in the area.  In the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday, I wanted to spotlight 2 local companies that have created their own beautiful, handmade products.  Since women tend to think ahead, we’ll start with some gift ideas for men 😉

One of Hunter’s co-workers wore a Birdseye bow tie to their holiday party, and Hunter loved it, so I reached out to the owners to talk to them over beers at Hometeam and learn a little more about their unique, wooden bow ties!

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What’s your company’s story?

Birdseye Bow ties is a 2 man operation run by Josh Zalabak and Jon Ivey. We are both passionate woodworkers who use any free time we have to build an array of furniture, frames, and of course, bow ties. My (Josh’s) wedding in October of 2016 prompted us to look into wooden bow ties as an representation of my interests, as well a cool and unique groomsmen gift.

What Jon and I found upon searching for wooden bow ties though, were numerous examples of bow ties that were flat pieces of wood, cut to shape, and then wrapped with a fabric knot. We thought these bow ties looked odd, as they had no dimension to them, and the knot was a different material than the rest of the tie. Unsatisfied, we decided to see what we could come up with ourselves. Luckily for us, we started about 10 months before the wedding, allowing us to work out A LOT of kinks. The response to the ties from everyone we showed them to was overwhelmingly positive, so we decided to run with it, and here we are!

How did you come up with the idea of wooden bow ties?

The idea of wooden bow ties was originally conceptualized by the desire to have the woodworker side of me (Josh) represented in my wedding. Little did we know, there were already a number of business out there who had thought of this! However, being the impossible-to-please woodworkers that we are, we had to find a way to make a better looking wooden bow tie!

We think we’ve been able to accomplish just that, by steaming and bending the wood. That allows us to create the loops that a tied, fabric bow tie would have, as well as a knot that is actually the same material as the rest of the tie. Both of those conditions were very important to us when we started making the ties. We used Jon’s experience with steaming and bending wood, that he gained working with a mentor of his, a world renowned canoe builder.

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How many prototypes did you make before coming up with your process today?

It took us roughly 6 months to get to the process we currently use. In the course of that 6 months, we probably made and trashed over 100 bow ties as we determined the size and shape we liked, as well as the thickness of the wood, and the types of wood that would work best for us.

When was Birdseye Bowties officially launched?

We began making the bow ties in January/February of 2016. Our first opportunity to sell the ties came in late November however, at the West Ashley Holiday Farmer’s Market. After that, we had a booth at the Holiday Market in downtown Charleston throughout December 2016.

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Which bowtie is your favorite?

We love them all! And we often find ourselves telling people that our favorite is the one they’re looking at. Since each piece of wood is so different from the next, they all have unique qualities to love. BUT if we had to choose…

Josh: Walnut Butterfly, because walnut is such a beautiful, dark wood, and the Butterfly is the classic Bow tie shape.

Jon: Birdseye Maple Batwing. A narrower bow tie style with our namesake wood, Birdseye Maple.

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What’s your favorite place to eat in Charleston?

Josh:  My wife and I love Leon’s Oyster Shop on Upper King st. All of their food is amazing, but especially the chargrilled oysters and the fried chicken!

Jon: Pane E Vino. Great Italian food!

How would you spend a day off?

Josh:  These seem few and far between, but in the summer we can be found at the beach every opportunity we get! If it’s a day off alone though, chances are I’ll be doing some kind of woodworking.

Jon:  Spending time with his wife and twin, 2 ½ yr old daughters!

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Want to learn more? Find Birdseye Bow tie on Etsy, Instagram, and Facebook, or email them!

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Office Update

Guys. This was like 2 1/2 years in the making, but our home office finally got some love.  It all started when Hunter scored a great shelf for only $10.  We got it in to the office and I finally had a place to put our things (and get them off the floor)!

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It only took over 2 years to finally put up some of the sports display pieces I did back in 2014.  I also got my books out from the bath tub (Hurricane Matthew preparations) and they now have a home!  I bought 4 baskets from Target for the bottom shelf to store / hide some of the packaging & shipping supplies for my shop.  I also used half of the middle shelf to hold my wine glass inventory.office-update_08office-update_05office-update_06Medal display | Trophy plaque display | Trophy Bookend

With the shelf full, I kept going.  We moved my Cofc diploma and Hunter’s Clemson print to be above the new shelf, I hung a volleyball frame on a small wall and found a good spot for my framed Pro Bowl jersey.office-update_12

Full transparency – we haven’t hung the jersey shadowbox yet… We need to add some framing wire to the back to make sure it’s sturdy enough to stay on the wall. Baby steps.

office-update_13Then I turned my attention to the desk area.  I had some really great framed prints & art that had been waiting for a home on the wall so I decided to do a little gallery wall above the desk.  There were 2 nails already in the wall, so I hung 2 pieces and sort of winged it as I picked spots for the others – not the recommended way to make a gallery wall, but more of the “impatient & wine fueled Kelley way.”

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The Town Serif print | Mini Oyster Shell wreath | Elizabeth & Co Oyster painting | Sharks teeth canvas | Bushel and a Peck signJ Fletcher Charleston print

I used 4 stackable kids storage bins to house my oyster shell inventory.  I have the shells sorted by size and the open front makes it easy to grab what I need, plus the natural wood is just pretty.  You can also see the stack of boxes for shipping on my trunk – not sure what to do with those, so they’re staying as is haha.

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The last big project to tackle was the closet and remaining items still laying on the ground.  Our office has been home to our childhood boxes, anything sports related, my crafting goodies, misc home decor, shop supplies and packaging materials so there was a lot of stuff to go through and organize.

I bought 2 larger stackable bins and put them in the closet to hold my random knick knacks, and went through a lot of the other plastic bins to clean out anything that could be donated or thrown away.  There’s still a lot, but it’s a more organized chaos than before haha.

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There’s still some work to do, but this is seriously the most effort I’ve spent making it nicer since we moved in.  I wish I had a before picture, but it’d be pretty embarrassing as to what the room looked like for years…  Hopefully it won’t just be the chaos room much longer!

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