It took about twenty hours or so to glue all the tiny littorina on the background. As I said before, this does not include sorting time. The sorting is a tedious job but it makes creating the valentine is much easier if you prepare ahead of time. Having to stop just to find a shell can be frustrating. I also sort more than I need as well as adding a few shells slightly larger and slightly smaller than the target size. When I finished the Sailor’s Valentine this afternoon, I was really shocked. It had taken so many hours for one part that I thought the next part would take some time.
After the glue dried overnight, I lightly marked the center of the valentine. To give myself a reference for the pattern, I used the numbers on the rim. Remember the sides were numbered for placement of the edge pieces. Using the even numbers, I marked four half circles. This is where the heliacus and bee hive shells were going.
Laying out the heliacus and bee hives, I started measuring the shells for the pattern. I love paper plates. I can write on them, use them as a sorting plate, play around with shell design. When I’m through, the plate folds in half and I can pour them back into the storage container. Anyway, I drew my half circle. While placing the shells on the plate, I laid a duplicate pattern. The two sections had to look identical. I did the same with the bee hive shells.
It sounds repetitious, but I repeated the process in the box. The dry fit allowed me to adjust the shells for a perfect fit. I also placed all the shells that comprised the remaining pattern into the box. When I was satisfied with the dry fit, I started on the opposite side. I glued the heliacus, then bee hives. After completing the two sections , I could work in the space between the half circles. In this area, I laid red and brown nerites along the wood. I angled turquoise limpets in the corners. The tiny yellow cup shells formed a bright circle in the open space. I followed this method all the way around. Before placing the larger star, I moved the tiny starfish around until I liked the placement. Then, working quickly, I glued the tiny stars in. Before the glue could dry, I glued the larger starfish in . I did this because if I needed to adjust the tiny stars I could do so without damaging them. The turquoise cup shell flowers also needed to be placed before all the glue was dry.
This is the finished product. I know we shouldn’t toot our own horn, but I think this is beautiful. It turned out exactly as I envisioned in spite of the bumps I encountered along the way. All of my concerns about the colors blending too much has gone out the window. All the shells say look at me. The turquoise was just the right pop of color needed.
I have my new box ordered but it’ll take at least seven to ten days for it to arrive. Again, it’s a front loader but at least I am more comfortable working with them now. It’s also larger than the valentine box I just completed so my other pattern will slip right into it. Of course, just like this one, there will be bumps that create panic. But I’ll work through them.