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Archive for October, 2009

It was a warm sunny day following what had been a freezing and rainy weekend. The white caps on the waves were stunning. I had never seen the tide so far up on the shore. My daughter, now a little tired of sea glass hunts, was curious to go to the beach. It’s fall now. We don’t take warm “beach days” for granted or assume later or tomorrow or next week will offer another day up for the hunt.

We climbed the sea wall, literally, up and down five or so times as my girl is enjoying her new found physical confidence. I slipped on a wet rock and she told me her secrets, “Don’t walk where the rocks are dark. They are wet.” She was right. I tend to stay on tiny pebbles with bits of sand. She runs for the big rocks.

She was rejoicing in her new found ability to spot white pieces, greens, browns, to point out the gems I had walked past that she spotted. She wanted to know how many pieces I had in my bag and was pretty sure, whatever the number, she had more. I slowed down my sea glass hunt to allow her more abundance. I didn’t stop hunting but slowed my pace. She was delighted. “See this green you walked past?” and she would show me her pieces. She would let go of the sharper pieces and could believe, with a more full bag, there would be enough without grabbing “uncooked” sharp pieces. Is the key to not being greedy or fretful in anything to have enough to begin with? And where does that leave those who don’t get their fair share from the start? It is easier to let go when one trusts they have enough and there will be enough. But even children do this more easily only after filling a bag. Like a kid on Halloween who can share her candy only after the bag is more than half way filled up, when to share doesn’t mean dividing half the bounty but giving a way one or two percent.

Anyhow, we found rocks and shells and cool shaped and colored leaves on the shore but we left those behind. It was a sea glass hunt. The water was calm. The sun almost setting. There were no warm sunny spots we could warm up in. But the changing colors of the sky made up for the coolness. After covering the beach, we sat under the stairs in her hide out area and opened our bags.

“Want to trade?” she had asked.

“Sure,” I said.

We pulled out the pieces we couldn’t part with knowing we had to save some gems for the trade or we wouldn’t have anything to bargain with. She pocketed a big green bottle bottom and I pocketed an almost identical size and shape, but purple in color one.

We each put out the pieces we were willing to trade. I had two look-alike browns and she wanted to trade. I gave her one for the matching mother daughter set. That day, the browns were large and soft and warm. We both had many pieces but these particular brown ones had half circles with several lines. Two pieces, almost the same, so sharing was fun.

Catch of the Day: The realization that even when it isn’t fall we have no idea ever how many laters or next weeks we have. When it’s not a scary thought it is a liberating aha “that’s why we’re supposed to be in the moment” feeling. And that’s how it felt that day, under a beautiful sky with my girl. I can get caught up in what I should or could or might have been doing. I’m glad I didn’t let the worried brain take over. I’m glad I didn’t miss those exact moments spent exactly as they were.

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I usually despise holiday shopping and music and decorations before Thanksgiving so you can imagine how I feel doing it BEFORE  Halloween. But this year, people are shopping EXTRA early, spreading out costs and already buying holiday stuff.

So, if you are a craft person you also know you have to start making items early. Holiday fairs (for selling or buying) come earlier and earlier. This year, I am making several styles of holiday trees than ever as well as my traditional angels and glass ornaments. 

What’s fun about these is you can use gold coated copper or colorful craft wire. That can be fun. While I try to use recycled sterling silver almost exclusively in my jewelry it is fun to play with other colors of wire when making ornaments. It’s also fun to see how the trees look with different glass and crystal beads. I love how the white milk glass below looks too but I’m not sure I can part with these precious pieces.

What are your favorite handmade and unusual ornaments?

Here are some trees. 1 tree2 tree3 tree5 tree4 tree

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An easy and fun sea glass craft is the making of book marks. One reason I like them so much is that they are practical and make great gifts. Almost everyone reads something. Plus, they use smaller pieces of sea glass and look nice with beads or charms. They are not always easier than pendants to make because you are using small glass. However, they are more forgiving than pendants because if the wire doesn’t end up EXACTLY at the center when finishing off the bale it doesn’t ruin the look the way it can with a pendant.

What you need:

book mark finding (the ones with jump rings already on them are handy)

craft wire

sea glass

(beads are optional)

You wire wrap your sea glass and can hang it from craft wire to the jump ring on the bookmark or coil the wire, twist it, add beads or some charms. See below for some samples. The best way is to practice and get comfortable bending the wire, figuring out which gauge (thickness of wire) you like working with (I like 22 gauge some people like thicker or thinner). Here are some samples of recent work available at the Hingham Farmers Market on Saturdays and/or the Coop in Hingham during the week.

1 bookmark2 bookmark3 bookmark4 bookmark6 bookmarkYou can see that sometimes I hammer the sterling silver wire at the bottom and other times add a small peace charm. Sometimes I use more than one piece of sea glass in a bookmark. The wire, I find, can be more expensive than the actual bookmark finding if I use too much. So, for me, learning to use less wire is one of my crafting goals for the fall and winter and 2010. I am a huge fan of recycled sterling silver (like the green aspect, the cost and the texture of the wire) and I need to conserve how much I actually need in any piece.

 

Anyhow, have fun making your own sea glass bookmarks. Mine sell for $7.99 to $12.99 depending on how much silver I use, the color of the sea glass and the condition it is in, if I add crystal or sterling silver charms. It’s nice to have one item at least at a reasonable price point for customers who like sea glass but can’t afford or don’t know what color/style the sea glass lover in their life enjoys.

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This is a rare week for me. I’m doing something I’ve only done a few times. I’m looking at and working with sea glass I did not hunt. I’m wondering who is the woman who hunted these pieces? I know she loved sea glass and shared the passion with her grandchildren. I know she treasured pieces in all sizes and colors because I’m holding a bag of her gems. The whites are so thick they look frosted with sugar. Some are so worn they have almost returned to the earth in the form of pieces which could easily be mistaken for rock.

I see a few browns darker than the colors I tend to find on the beach. A blue which is not as dark as cobalt or as light as sunflower but which is distinct and weathered catches my eye. But it is the soft and different shaped greens which are so perfect. One looks like a dinosaur tooth, another with a pattern which may have once been on a sugar bowl, a glass covered butter dish or part of a fancy pitcher.

Where did the woman who gathered these hunt? Did she have a daily beach she visited or did she seek out sand all over? Did she like to go alone or did she wait for visitors? Did she find all of these pieces herself or did others, knowing her passion, give her pieces? There is a delicate nature to the pieces she chose. Was she a tiny framed woman or big-boned? Did she have a quiet way about her or was she a strong distinctive force? I only really know she loved sea glass and her loved ones loved her enough to know it and remember fondly hunting with her. And, that shared passion is enough to know and makes me feel I’m looking with the ghost of someone at some of their old photos or memories, working with something beloved to them from another time.

Catch of the Day: This one, on dry and, my cat finding the one rectangular sliver of shade on my sandy beige colored rug where she can sleep. Most of her body is i the shade but her face and head are bathing in the warm rays. This cat was once unable to relax, fearful and skittish, she now loves affection, follows me like a dog waiting by the bathroom door and hopping into bed. She too has been transformed by time and love.

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