I think it is important to give of yourself and your time to your community. As an artist, I prefer for the contributions that I make to be in support of art and culture or at least to be artistic in nature. Our town sits on the Allegheny River and we have a bike path/hiking trail that runs along the river. The organization that supports this bike trail recently asked a number of artists and craftspeople in the area to decorate birdhouses that will be auctioned off in April as a fund raiser for this cause. The birdhouses are all alike and were made by a local company. They stand a little more than a foot tall. Unfortunately, the wood was rough and the birdhouses are somewhat rustic. Mine had a very rough roof--too rough to even consider sanding down to smooth. This presented a problem when it came to deciding how to decorate my birdhouse and how to turn the liability of really rough wood into a positive. I settled on making my birdhouse a seaside cottage with weathered siding and I covered the roof in seashells. Since the roof is hinged on one side, I could not run the shells to the hip of the roof. Everything you see is painted on the birdhouse except for the shells.