Monday, 6 May 2013

Pale Polka Dots & Pastels / How Are Seashells Made?

Since I moved out of home I have not been able to buy myself any new clothes - otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford to eat - however this vintage dress is fairly new. I got it from my (now) local markets about a month ago, from a girl who was basically my exact age, body size and style and getting rid of all her old clothes. I could have easily made her a very rich lady that day, but I had enough self control to only buy one of her amazing dresses. I chose this one for the amazing collar detail, and the interesting separation of the top and bottom halves of the dress (the top bit is all lace underneath).

I decided to make the collar detail even more interesting today by adding these supppper cute kitty collar clips sent to me by the incredible Ladybird Likes. Ladybird Likes makes the coolest brooches out of old sewing patterns and wooden cut-out animals... you definitely should go and check the shop out!

dress - Thrifted
clips - c/o Ladybird Likes
tights - Ebay
shoes - c/o Sammydress
hat - c/o Wholesale

When I visited the beach last week, I went on a little bit of a sea shell-collecting rampage. They were so pretty, I couldn't just leave them lying around on the beach! #hoarder4lyf

After checking nothing was living inside them, I cleaned all the junk out of them and let them dry. I had planned to do something crafty with them, or something... (if you don't already have the mind of a hoarder, you wouldn't understand the strange urge that makes us collect everything which might be even slightly useful some far-off day in the future)... but then I accidentally left them sitting on this table and went home without them.
Still, I realised that I didn't have a clue how sea shells are created. Are they created by living creatures? Are they made out of living tissue like cells, or are they more similar to rocks? How on earth do they form the shapes that they make?

So I did a little bit of researching. Sea shells are made by sea creatures from the mollusca phylum, including snails, clams and oysters. The shells are not made of cells though - rather, they are made of calcium carbonate, which is excreted by the sea creature in a bottom-up fashion. The shell is actually what is called their "exo-skeleton", which basically means a skeleton which exists outside the body. The shells must be able to grow larger as the sea creature grows, so this bottom-up way of growing works well to accommodate that. The newest part of a sea snail's shell, for example, is the opening of the shell where the animal's head peeks out (the largest part of the shell). The Scientific American has written a really good answer to this question, which I reckon you should read if you are interested in shells (it's also got stuff about turtle shells, which are very different to sea shells).

Hermit crabs, on the other hand, whom I also saw plenty of on the beach that day, don't make their own shells like these other sea creatures do - they borrow the shells that the molluscs make. That's like wearing another animal's skeleton. Crazy hermit crabs.

When I'm older I'm totally going to be that nerd-parent who enthusiastically tries to teach their kids science things when they're on school holidays and just want to build sand castles. Ah well ;)

I hope you're all super well!

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  1. the pink/nude dress is way too cute :3

  2. That shell fact is so cool! I had no idea that the shell was part of the creature itself... how awesome! Though eery to think that a beach full of shells is basically a graveyard of skeletons :p

  3. I love pastels so much! And this dress is fab <3 You look genius :)
    Well, I had no idea shell was part of creature itself, just like the girl comment before. Wow. It's amazing.

  4. Such a gorgeous dress on you! I love the seashell facts!

    xox Sammi

  5. I love your shoes and as well as the seashell facts! I love seashells! :)))


  6. LOVE this longer length and silhouette on you! the dress looks amazing! I always love your thoughtful and interesting writing as well:)

  7. Haha so funny. One day I wondered about dog's whiskers so I googled it and learned a ton! It's funny the things you wonder about when you really start to think. I'm glad you explained the shell thing cuz I had no idea and got really curious after you said you wondered.
    Anyway, about your outfit! I love the unexpected pop of color and funky style of these heels with the sweet, feminine dress. Lucky you that girl was selling her clothes, I'd probably go crazy! I love the collar detail and cute kitty brooches.

  8. Great outfit! Beautiful shoes!

    Best wishes,

    1. You want to follow each other in Bloglovin?

  9. You look perfect. :) And I'm about to be on a SERIOUS budget next year as I struggle to make ends meet as a graduate student.. wish me luck! ;D

  10. You look like a princess! This outfit is masterfully well done.

  11. This dress is perfect Annika. I want your luck to find vintage dresses so perfect.

  12. that dress is so very lovely. i hoard shells and natural things and anything really as well. loved reading your explanation of them! i think i may end up writing a shell poem now...i've been so into combining science and poetry over the past year...

    as always, adore your blog!

    -Emma from little motley (having an international giveaway!)

  13. Lovely outfit!
    Love Elisah x

  14. Hey Annika,
    this is a very sweet Look! The dress is amazing and I love the decoration! So cute. The Tights are amazing too.

  15. Another #hoarder4lyf reporting :)
    Since nearest beach is about 600 km far from my house (and in another country too:) ), when I'm on a vacation during the summer I collect about 50-60 realy pretty shells. I had no idea what to do with them, so I painted some of them white, some black and the rest different shades of blue, and glued them to the white cardboard to create kind of ombre effect. I framed it and gave it to my friend who has house near the sea. I felt good to use some of my stuff to create something for my friends, and...I made some space for other things to hoard :D
    Only thing I regret is not taking a picture of finished piece, but I tend to do that a lot (*facepalm*).
    p.s. those kitty broches are supercute <3

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  17. Love the vintage dress! It so cute!

  18. I love the collar, and the cat collar tips, they're gorgeous!

  19. The dress is really cute and unique! I still adore your sciency (that's a word from now on if it wasn't before) posts, it's so cute! Your comment about the hermit crabs made me laugh. Reading your blog is a really good way to relax while learning for my school exams (high school is almost over, hooray!).


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