Category Archives: beachcombing

Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal

Just in time for the summer: The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal, a Crafty Beachcomber publication, is on sale.

For a limited time, you can purchase it for $8.99.

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal is a beach lover’s companion and a journal-keepers best friend.  Stocked with pages for diary-style note taking, any beachcomber can journal daily findings, adventures, the weather and more.


  • List your favorite flotsam and jetsam.
  • Sketch, draw or paint pictures of your beach treasures on the sketch pages or in the margins.
  • Keep a list of your favorite beaches, beach vacations and bucket list for your next adventure.
  • Manage your shell collection with the sea shell life list featuring common shells from around the world.
  • There are also pages for sea glass and sea pottery finds.

Some sample pages:

This Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal makes a fantastic birthday gift. Also great for Mother’s Day and graduation presents.  But get it now before the price goes back up. Purchase it on

Happy journaling!

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal

Are you a beachcomber?

Do you like to keep track of things, like …

  • the shells  you found on a certain day
  • who you spent the day beachcombing with
  • the other cool things you found on the beach, like a sea bean or a toy
  • your favorite beaches and favorite beaches to comb
  • your bucket list of beaches you want to visit

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal is a fantastic new journal created by me, Eileen Saunders aka the Crafty Beachcomber, just for you.  2-the-ultimate-beachcombers-journal-cover-1

This journal is a 6″x9″ paperback. It fits easily into …

  • your beach bag
  • a zip-top plastic bag to keep it dry and sand free at the beach
  • a standard tablet cover for safe keeping

This comprehensive journal has dedicated space for …

  • beachcombing diary
  • sketch pages
  • a coloring page
  • an info section on things that can wash up on the beach
  • a place to log in your non-shell finds
  • sea glass log
  • sea pottery log
  • a shell life list consisting of common N. American sea shells from coast to coast
  • a beach life list and a beach bucket list, and
  • there’s a section to record what you do with your booty

If you can find a better Beachcomber’s Journal, buy it. If not, buy this one.

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal makes a great gift for your beach-loving friends who love to keep track of their stuff.

Now, if you are like me, you take photos of what you find and send the pictures to friends, family or your online social media of choice.  What I think would really round out this Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal is to make a photo book each year to compliment your dairy.  While I do not have a coupon offer for any of these photo books here today, follow me on Facebook at the CraftyBeachcomber for some special money-saving coupons to make your own photo book.

With Christmas and Hanukkah just around the corner, head over to Amazon right now to order your copy of my new book: The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal. Thanks!

S is for Sand dollar

There is a wonderful sandbar that forms from time to time around Siesta Key.  You can walk out there and shuffle around sometimes ankle deep in the water.

One year we took off to the sandbar because there were so many people out there collecting something. To our surprise, we found an abundance of sand dollar tests on top of the sandbar.  Whole, white sand dollars. So we collected some, too.


Sand dollar

Over the years we have ended up with a lot of them and I now use them for crafting, making Christmas ornaments that I sell on my Etsy store, Crafty Beachcomber, or give as gifts. I’m working on some new ones now for this Christmas season.

White sand dollars are the remains of the dead critter. The test or skeleton. If you see a sand dollar of another color, typically green or blue, it is alive and should be left alone.  One day, however, there was a person on the beach collecting green (live) sand dollars and setting them on the beach to dry out. Along came a lady who started throwing them back into the Gulf.  Live sand dollars really shouldn’t be harvested. And throwing them back can be dangerous to the sand dollar. The impact of hitting the water could kill it so if you see someone drying out live sand dollars and feel they need to be put back, gently place them back into the water a distance out. They will find the strength to shuffle under the sand for protection.

If you find some perfect sand dollar tests, check Pinterest for the perfect way to display them or for crafting ideas.

S is for Sea

We all grew up hearing about the 7 Seas but there are many more than just the 7 from ancient times. There are also 5 ocean regions and within each ocean are many additional seas. Seas are also landlocked in many continents.

Did you know there is really no consensus on the definition of SEA? That’s what I read somewhere.

I thought I’d just list the seas around the world here but after looking into it, I think I’ll just pass you along to Wikipedia’s List of Seas.

Then I thought I’d do an story on everything SEA, like SEAweed, SEAgull etc. But, again, the list is long, so I’ll send you to another website for an exhaustive list of words that start with SEA. It includes words like seam (sea+m) but many others in the SEA theme I write about.

If you are a beachcomber you know several of our favorite SEA words: seashell, seashore, seaglass, seabean, seabird, seaweed, seahorse.




S is for Starfish

I love Starfish!!

They come in so many colors and sizes, are so incredibly strong and can regenerate limbs. How cool is that?

Here are 2 starfish stories…


When the boys were younger and we lived in Florida, we had a salt-water tank for their aquatic project with 4-H.  We could catch and raise several species of sea critters from the Gulf of Mexico and the Sarasota Bay, then release them back into the wild and catch some more. The kids seined in the Bay with other 4-H-ers for specimens.


The bottom of the tank consisted of small shells and sand and there were a few large pieces of rock and coral (found on the beach) for critters to hide by or in. Someone found a huge whelk shell with a hermit crab inside. This thing was big; about the size of my iPad. We decided to keep it for a little while and observe it. We also had a few urchins (2 types), snails, a crab and some other things. Later, one of the kids in the group found a starfish so we added it to the mix. After placing it in the tank we all got ready for our home-school club’s Christmas party and took off. Arriving home hours later, we found the starfish had been attacked.


Sea Star missing 2 arms

It was missing two arms, one gone, the other sitting at the other end of the tank. Lucky for that starfish we lived close enough to the water to get it to safety. I can’t remember if we took it to the beach or put him in the canal across the street from our house. Starfish have interesting bodies which provide them protection from predators but they can break off their arms when threatened. Perhaps that’s what happened and the missing arm became dinner for someone in the tank.


One year, late in the season, we took a family trip to Apalachicola, FL for the weekend. A storm had passed through the days before which is always exciting for me because I love comb the beaches after a storm. The wave action brought on shore a ton of shells, sea cucumbers, horseshoe crabs and starfish.  I photographed a lot of them but my favorite was of a starfish. I have since used that one (an edited version) as my branding for CraftyBeachcomber on both the Facebook page and the Etsy store.



I love starfish!! What’s your favorite sea critter?



S is for Seashell

Oh, the beloved seashell.

Inside lives a sea critter

for a short time

before leaving it

into the wild sea

to get picked up by another

or moved by the currents

and tossed by the waves

to end up in someones hand

and displayed on a shelf

to evoke a fond memory

of a day

at the beach.

Seashell, by Eileen Saunders (c) 2016


photo (c) 2016 Eileen Saunders

How many seashells do I have in my collection? Thousands I suppose. I’ve given them to people as gifts, sold groups of them to crafters, made decorative items with them and display them in jars in my house. I found the book Florida’s Living Beaches: A Guide for the Curious Beachcomber by Blair and Dawn Witherington and challenged myself to find one of every shell listed in the book. I lost count but my check marks reveal that I may be missing about 20 from my collection.

I am now downsizing my collection, keeping at least 2 of each kind. My kids call this the Ark Collection. I still have jars on display with a variety of shells that won’t go into the Ark. What is left will go into my Etsy store for crafters to purchase and donated to some schools for science classes.  But I can no longer store in boxes what needs to be enjoyed by others.  I have jars of memories to look at.

P.S. I highly recommend the Witherington’s collection of books on living beaches and seashells.

S is for Sea Shell.

Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal

I am so excited…this book, my book, will soon be published.

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal includes journal pages, information on things that wash up on shore, a sea shell life list, favorite beach vacation journal pages and more.

The brain child of me, a beachcomber who keeps lists, this is my ultimate journal. I love to write about what I’ve found, what I’ve collected, where I was and the other things I saw on my beachcombing days. I have even drawn my journal as I scoured the shoreline or sat in my beach chair. I’ve sketched the birds on the shore, the shells I found, the boats out at sea and more. And this journal includes some pages for you to draw on, too.


Probably the cover photo

The Ultimate Beachcomber’s Journal is a book for you to log your beachcombing adventures.

I’m working on the cover this week so bear with me…it’ll be available soon.

Where? On Amazon and through my Etsy store. Keep track of my progress and when you can order your copy by following my facebook page: CraftyBeachcomber.

Happy Beachcombing!


Sea Grape Recipes

Did you know you can eat Sea Grapes?

YES, that tropical plant with the purple grapes (or green if you see them only in the Winter while in FL) is a real fruit producing plant. The grapes are ripe enough to harvest in the late summer. Otherwise known as Cocoloba uvifera.Sea Grapes eileensaunders

You can make Sea Grape Wine, Sea Grape Jelly, Sea Grape Jam, a syrup to drizzle over ice cream or simply pop them in your mouth as a snack.

While I have never eaten them, I hear they are a yummy treat but are pretty seedy so beware.

Please don’t pick them from the beaches because this plant is protected by state law and planted for beach erosion control. It’s even against the law in FL to pick them from private property without the owner’s permission. But, lucky you, you can grow them in your yard for your own enjoyment and consumption.  The plants are not frost hardy so if you get frost in your area, you can pick up some already-made jelly at a variety of historical society offices and visitor centers throughout the state.

sea grapes

Ok, so if they’re really seedy is it worth making jelly, etc.?  Why not?

It’s just like making any other jelly BUT, you need to soften the fruit and squeeze it through cheesecloth before you can add the other ingredients and pour the final product into canning jars.

Here’s how:

Collect only the purple grapes, but remember, do not take them from public lands.

Wash and place in a pan. Cover with water and boil until soft. I’ve seen recipes for 30-90 minutes. Just watch your progress and add water if it evaporates too quickly in the boiling process.

Here’s the workout:  Once the grapes are soft and you can mash them or they feel like they’ve loosened from the seed inside, put the grapes into a cheesecloth and squeeze into a bowl.  Be patient, it may take a while to get a lot. Squeeze a small amount at a time to get all the juice available.  You can also use a potato masher to squeeze out the juice. When done, toss out the seeds and skin. Measure the juice.

For every cup of juice, you’ll need to add 1 cup of sugar but not yet. Some people like to add a little water, perhaps to make the total an equal number of full cups.  Ok, now put the juice into a clean pot and add the sugar. Boil briefly then ladle into prepared canning jars.

Put the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, let cool, chill and enjoy.

VARIATION: There’s another variation for those of you who like exact measurements and pectin. It also calls for butter. I’ve used jelly recipes with butter and didn’t like it.  When chilling, the butter rises to the top.

8 cups sea grapes

4 cups water

5 cups sugar

1 box pectin

2 limes or 1/4 cup of juice

1/2 tsp butter

Put the grapes in a pot and cover with water. Boil for an hour or until the seeds separate from the skin. Drain and mash.

Squeeze through a cheesecloth. Add water for a total of 5 cups of juice.

Put the juice back into a pot, add pectin, butter, lime juice and boil.

Add sugar, bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute and pour into jars and put lids on the jars.

Put lidded jars into a hot water bath for 10 minutes, cool, chill, enjoy.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

That’s one recipe. For a sea grape wine recipe try this one: Sea Grape Wine.  If you want jam, then once you separate the fruit from the seeds, puree the fruit and continue with the jelly recipe.  The difference between jelly and jam is the liquid only (jelly) vs the presence of solid fruit (jam). And, for a simple fruit syrup, this one looks good: Fruit Syrup

One day I will make some but first I have to grow a sea grape tree.  See my gardening blog: for information on how to grow and care for a sea grape tree.

Beachcombing 2015

This was edited to reflect the latest stuff that washed up in FL (12/2015)

Here’s what I have found on the beach this year, 2015:

Here’s what others have found on the beach this year, 2015:

1. large piece of Galileo rocket on Fort Lauderdale beach,

2. pieces of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket wreckage in the Bahamas,

3. an old WWII era M122 Photoflash Bomb near a St. Pete beach,

4. 15 pounds of cocaine on Galveston beach, and then more the following week

5. giant blobs of oil on Padre Island,

6. icebergs on Maine beaches,

7. 12 pounds of marijuana on a North Carolina beach,

8. Japanese glass floats on Alaskan beaches

9. swarms of beached critters at various times of the summer: man o war, red crabs, mystery creatures, seal pups, alligator and more.

10. war bomb on Singer Island. It was detonated

11. Bustello coffee

12. wine

13. ramen noodles

14. dog food

15. laundry detergent

16. message in a bottle

And, the year’s not over. What will you find?