by Sonya Weiss
I'm fortunate enough to live close to the beach. It's not only beautiful, but I get many decorating ideas. Nature provides the decorating items for the simple cost of taking a stroll after the tide rolls in and deposits a treasure trove of shells and sand dollars.
For a quick and easy way to decorate your dining room table-and this looks elegant when you're having a dinner party as well, gather up several large shells as flat as you can find. Bring them home and gently wash them in warm water to remove the sand. If you don't live near the ocean, you can buy shells at craft stores or dollar stores.
Next, you'll need to purchase white sand-you can usually get this from a landscaping company or a craft store.
You'll need either a large square vase or you can use a hurricane vase if you can't find a square one. I prefer the square ones because you can use tapered candles.
Using candle adhesive (I like Stick-Um, you can buy a small round tin for around three dollars at your local hardware store or you can order online), place some on the bottom of the candle or candles. Place the candle in the base. Next, pour approximately three-fourths of sand into the bottom of the vase around the candle.
Using a long utensil such as a wooden spoon, smooth the sand until it's flat, taking care not to push against the candles. Add the shells or sand dollars on top of the sand in a circle around the candles. Moments before your guests arrive, light the candles. These table decorations also make great housewarming gifts.