found on the beach

by Kaylah Stroup

The weather here in Cleveland is finally warming up, at least for now. Everyone knows we’ll probably get at least one last surprise snow storm because that’s just what happens here. The warm-ish weather had me aching to get back to the beach. It’s been so long since my last found on the beach arrangement but I am back in action… and kind of completely hooked all over again!

The last few times I had been to the beach it was actually very clean. It seemed like the park was on the up and up! There were new picnic benches, a fancy pants wooden fence, and most noticeably of all, it was clean. This beach that was previously covered in driftwood, and trash was actually somewhere people might want to go again.

Well, winter did a number on the beach. It was gross… but perfect for picking! I found lots of colorful things, and had lots of fun ideas brewing about how I’d lay everything out for photos. While trying to avoid a group of people who seemed to be wandering my way (I had crazy morning hair and was picking up trash, not really in ideal people meetin’ mode) I walked out onto a small breakwall. The gloomy sky mixed with the dark rocks immediately made me realize it was the perfect spot to lay all my colorful finds. It’s been a great deal of time since my last found on the beach arrangement, and this certainly isn’t my largest but the photos are definitely some of my favorites!

A quick found on the beach FAQ

  1. You found all this stuff in one trip?  Sadly, yes. This isn’t even a quarter of it either.
  2. What do you do with all after your done? Normally I toss it in the trash. Sometimes I may take certain pieces with me if I think they’ll look cool in a future arrangement. On rare occasions I leave it as I photographed it. I’m still not sure which side of the fence I fall on here. It’s a bit counteractive since it’s still on the beach after I spent the time to pick it up but maybe others finding it and seeing what an issue plastic is, and possibly getting a kick out of the fact that someone made something colorful and fun from trash, is better than it sitting in a landfill forever. I don’t know.
  3. Do you wear gloves when you pick all this trash up? No, I don’t. These are things that are washed up from the lake, not just left on shore. They’re no dirtier than the sand or water. That’s not to say I don’t sanitize my hands as soon as I get back in my car though…

Kinda sorta obsessed with this shot of the colorful trash with my bright white Palladium boots. I purposely put the white trash at the bottom of the arrangement so my shoes would start the gradient.

In all my beach combing days I’ve never found so many army men and animals in one single trip. Right after taking the photo below I ended finding a little red dinosaur a few feet away. Kind of makes me way to break my “don’t keep any trash” rule. I feel like a jar of beat up plastic soldiers would look pretty darn neat on my shoulder.*** For the time being they’re in my car since I’m hoping to possibly do another found on the beach fabric, and maaaybe postcards? We’ll see. I had a pretty large collection of interesting beach finds stored up for those types of projects but I got rid of it all when I moved because it just seemed weird. Now I’m kind of kicking myself but I guess it just means I get a fresh start on the project!

I want to say that you’ll be sure to see lots more of these arrangements in the coming months but hopefully the park gets back to it cleaning routine once the weather warms up for good.

***I literally had coffee come out my nose when I read over this post and finally caught that. I don’t know why in the world I originally typed “shoulder” instead of “shelf” but it made me laugh so hard that I have to leave it. Brain, what you doin?!

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hello haha narf April 4, 2017 - 1:59 pm

dinosaurs and a monkey and army men?! SCORE!
this is hands down my most favorite of your “beach trash finds” photos. most of these images are frame worthy! in fact, i see three of them that would look incredible framed and in a gallery. great job!

Kaylah April 4, 2017 - 3:38 pm

Thank you so much! 😀

Scout April 4, 2017 - 2:27 pm

Ha! I love the shoulder thing. I figured you just had a weird body-shaped table so you were just referring to a weird piece of furniture you had !

Kaylah April 4, 2017 - 3:41 pm


Alexandra April 4, 2017 - 2:28 pm

Oh those dinosaurs figures are so cute. I would keep those for sure!

Kaylah April 4, 2017 - 3:40 pm

They’re cute to begin with but the fact that they could be from somewhere really far away makes them even better. I like that all of these things have a story to them that I’ll never know.

Beth April 4, 2017 - 6:43 pm

We will be passing through Cleveland in May and is there one park/beach area/shore that you recommend for us when we only have a couple of hours to spare there? Thank you SO much!

Kaylah April 4, 2017 - 10:45 pm

Edgewater is beautiful. It’s nice, clean, and they’re even working on a new beach house.

Have fun! 🙂

Jasilyn Albert April 6, 2017 - 7:47 am

A jar of soldiers would look pretty cool on your shoulder. It’s like the Cleveland version of a parrot for a pirate or something! 🙂

Kaylah April 7, 2017 - 12:27 am


Bethany April 7, 2017 - 3:52 pm

PLEASE do a beach trash pouch!!! I love my adorable skulls and model head pouches. The soldier idea is rad as well – at first I thought it was a typo but then I imagined a tote with a jar of toy soldiers printed on it and it appeals to me!

Kaylah April 10, 2017 - 12:19 am

Hah! I had to read this comment through a few times to figure out how in the world you got to that image but yeah, that’d be pretty rad.

Elle April 20, 2017 - 8:05 pm

I must know what that yellow item is that looks an awful lot like a lobotomy tool?

Kaylah April 20, 2017 - 8:31 pm

LOL. I’m not sure exactly what it is.

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