S is for Sea Glass

One of my favorite things to search for on the beach is sea glass.

Sea glass tells a story like no other common beachcomber’s find. According to Pure Sea Glass by Richard LaMotte, kelly green, brown and white are the most common colors of sea glass.  Kelly green, brown and white area also common colors of beer and wine bottles. White most likely represents clear soda and milk bottles.

So where there’s alcohol, there’s probably a good story. A party on a boat, a ship christening celebration, an afternoon fishing with buddies.

Sea glass also comes from municipalities which used to dump glass into the sea. Glass is made from sand so why not send it back where it came from. I believe there were other reasons, though, the glass was dumped.

Sea glass could also start out as windows, kitchen glass, or anything else glass from homes and businesses that went down in a hurricane.

Sea glass is fun to collect and I encourage you to do so.

S is for Sea Glass

Keep Calm and…

What a fad: Keep Calm and ….

It was originally a saying from the British government as a morale booster during the second World War.  “Keep Calm and Carry On” showed up on propaganda posters but because it was never really circulated on a wide scale, it didn’t quite catch on.  Back in the turn of this century someone found some remaining posters and now the saying is everywhere. The issue of trademark has arisen but I haven’t found anything yet to indicate the US or the UK have definitely deemed the saying trademarkable so it just keeps on keeping calm. Many an entrepreneur on both sides of the pond has decided what to Keep Calm or how to Keep Calm and are cashing in on this now-popular phrase.

In the jolly ol’ spirit of things I’ve come up with my own, and yes, mine do have something to do with the coast and the beach and just my life’s interests.  Hope you find them enjoyable.

Can you add any?  Comment below.

  • Keep calm and put your toes in the sand
  • Keep calm and stare at your seashell collection
  • Keep calm and watch the surf(C) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and beach comb
  • Keep calm and surf
  • Keep calm and play with your seaglass
  • Keep calm and fill your beach bucket
  • Keep calm and sunbathe
  • Keep calm and bird watch
  • Keep calm and kick the sand
  • Keep calm and smell the salt air(c) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and drink wine
  • Keep calm and catch a wave
  • Keep calm and swim with the dolphins
  • Keep calm and dream of summer
  • Keep calm and enjoy the waves
  • Keep calm and enjoy the sand
  • Keep calm and pretend you’re on vacation
  • Keep calm and protect the turtles
  • Keep calm and protect the nesting shorebirds
  • Keep calm, you’re almost at the beach
  • Keep calm, you’re almost at the lake
  • Keep calm and sit on the dock
  • Keep calm and watch the sunset
  • Keep calm and watch out for sharks
  • Keep calm and fish on
  • Keep calm, it’s just a hurricane(C) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and coast
  • Keep calm and keep swimming
  • Keep calm and float on
  • Keep calm and enjoy the salt spray
  • Keep calm and drop anchor
  • Keep calm and moor your boat
  • Keep calm and shuck an oyster
  • Keep calm and paddle
  • Keep calm and float with the manatees
  • Keep calm and Ukulele on
  • Keep calm and Hula on
  • Keep calm and boat on
  • Keep calm and sail on
  • Keep calm and sway with the palm trees(C) eileensaunders
  • Keep calm and soak up the sun
  • Keep calm and make a sand castle
  • Keep calm and seine on
  • Keep calm and catch a fish
  • Keep calm and crawfish on

Need a t-shirt with any of these sayings?  Let me know, I’ll whip one up for you on my Etsy store, Crafty Beachcomber.

Beachcombing 101: Carrying What you Find

**disclaimer: I am not paid to endorse any of the clothing or supplies in this story.  I am only sharing my thoughts on what I think are great beach combing duds.

Beachcombers come in all sizes, shapes, philosophies, and goals.  Finding the great items along the shore are, to some, an art; to others it is luck. Some people specialize in sea glass, while others only want shells or drift wood or pottery shards.  We all have the same goal of finding something, but what we do with it can vary.  A man in Pensacola, Florida catalogs and stores everything he finds in boxes in his garage.  A lady in Sarasota picks up broken shells of all sizes and makes wonderful pieces of art with them. A family in California sells their findings on the internet for people to use for their crafts.  I display some of what I find in my house and use the rest for crafts and jewelry.

Beachcombers, however, all have one thing in common: two hands.  And when those two hands are full of great finds from the shoreline, it is a bit difficult to move on and continue combing the surroundings.  As tacky as it may seem to some, many beachcombers carry a plastic grocery bag to the beach with them.  These bags are rather large so they can hold a great amount of beach shells, glass and other findings.  They’re also waterproof.  We each have our way of doing things and our favorite containers to carry. Here are some ideas.

THINGS TO CARRY:

My favorite thing to carry and load up with beach finds is an 8”x10” drawstring bag made of quick-drying fabric.  Instructions follow to make your own or you can order one from my Etsy store: Crafty Beachcomber. They’re on back order right now so please email me through my store for a custom order.   (c) eileensaunders

I have asked a few of my friends who are “professional beachcombers”, like me, what they carry when scavenging the beaches. Jody Diehl, who owns Beach Treasures and Treasure Beaches.com, has to travel a distance to the beach so she keeps things simple and lightweight. Jody says she mostly uses “her pockets but usually uses great big to-go cups or large baggies.” Check out her website to read her beachcombing adventures or find her on Facebook at One Shell at a Find.

Maria Conger, who lives on Mobile Bay, doesn’t have far to walk to her Bay beach but frequents the other Alabama Gulf Coast beaches.  When asked how she carries her goodies, she replied, “We have used our sweatshirts for unexpected finds.  Just roll it up with the goodies inside and carry by the sleeves.  Plastic grocery bags, of course, because, they are light weight and plentiful.  We have used plastic cups we found on the beach and my husband even dug a cup or two from a trash can.  We washed them in the gulf of course.  Today we are using plastic bags and small buckets recycled from Easter.  The tricky part is where to put the delicate items like sand dollars.  That is why we bring a plastic bag and a bucket.  It is very hard to carry delicate items for a long time in your hand or pocket.  I can’t count the number of times I have found crushed seashells during clothes washing. One time, while pottery hunting, my husband insisted on using a huge paint bucket.  Of course, it got so heavy we couldn’t carry it all.”

Sea glass collector, Karen, who owns GlassBeachSeaGlass on Etsy, can usually be spotted filling an empty Thanksgiving Coffee bag with sea glass and beach rocks.  She can get about three uses out of it before needing another, which is fine since it’s her favorite coffee brand. Karen says it fits perfectly in her hand and, since she collects smaller items, can fit a lot into it. “What’s hilarious is that the seagulls are always certain that the coffee smell is something they need. So if I dare walk away from that bag they pick it up and try to make off with it. I’ve had that happen twice. My entire day’s collection scattered once again all over the beach. I usually get that bag 3/4 of the way full and then it seems like that’s the time when I want to get back home. Also, I like the smell.”

THINGS TO WEAR

If you aren’t a “bag person” and like to make quick trips to the beach for salt-air therapy, shorts or a skort with cargo pockets are great.  Regular pockets tend to be shallow and the more items you put into them, the greater chance you’ll lose something when you bend over to pick up the next cool find, or when you sit down on your beach chair or car seat.  Cargo pockets are big, have 3 sides and a flap that snaps the pocket shut, holding your beachcombing booty inside.

My favorite clothes for beachcombing are cargo pocket skorts like the Rip Stop Skort from LL Bean.  Lightweight, it is comfortable to wear on a hot day.  There are other cargo pocket skorts around to try.  Be sure to find one with large side pockets. My favorite has always been the cargo skort from Fresh Produce.  They’ve changed their design this year with a smaller side pocket but if you have access to one of their outlet stores you may still find this great item with the larger pockets on the sale rack. The fabric dries quickly, too. But, any cargo skort will do.

My favorite beachcombing outfit

My favorite beachcombing outfit. Note the large cargo pocket.

If shorts are your thing, I want to recommend Calvin Klein Jeans Utility Shorts.  The style for shorts this summer (2014) is too short to include cargo pockets but the folks at Calvin Klein Jeans solved that by making perfect length cargo shorts that also roll up shorter and are secured with a button tab.  They are really comfortable and look great on.  The cargo pocket is deep.  These come in a dark blue, orange and white.

There are plenty of other great beachcombing cargo-pocket bottoms but these are my favorites.

A long walk on the beach may force you to use both clothes with a deep pockets AND the drawstring bag or container of your choice.   Nothing wrong with that; you’ll be able to collect more, and look fashionable doing so.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR A HOMEMADE BEACHCOMBING BAG:

  1. Find a lightweight piece of waterproof or quick drying fabric
  2. Cut it to 26” x 13”
  3. Fold over a quarter inch on each end and sew a seam
  4. Fold the whole fabric piece in half, inside-out, lengthwise and run a stitch on one side from the fold to the end. On the other side, run a stitch from the fold to 2” from the end. It would be great to reinforce the stitches with waterproof seam binding tape over the edges to keep them from fraying and keep the stitches from weakeningCAM00911 (1)
  5. Fold over the top edges and run a stitch one inch from the top leaving the “rope holes” open on the one side.
  6. Feed a cord/rope through one hole and out the other.  Clamp the ends together with a plastic spring-stop toggle-cord lock and tie a knot at the end of the ropes.CAM00912
  7. Turn the fabric outside-out and enjoy.

Find me on facebook: Crafty Beachcomber

 

The Crafty Beachcomber

I’m combining forces with this blog and my new Facebook page, “Crafty Beachcomber“.

For the past few years you’ve been reading of my adventures along the Gulf Coast and other beachy places I’ve visited and lived. I have written about hurricanes, salt water fish tanks, “Beggar” the Dolphin from Sarasota, sea glass hunting in Hawaii, giant Lego washing ashore on Siesta Key and more.  Now I want you to enjoy the projects I’m constructing with my beach finds. I will post them through this blog as well as keep up the usual coastal stories. Hopefully you’ll learn how to make a few things with your beach finds or maybe you can send me a note to share with my readers about what you make.

crafty beachcomber banner2

If you aren’t already a subscriber to this blog, please sign up to follow it.  Find Crafty Beachcomber on Facebook and LIKE the page.  I also have an Etsy store, The Crafty Beachcomber, that I hope you visit.

Thanks for joining me and I look forward to entertaining you with my coastal addiction.

Coastal Ideas on Pinterest

I live along the  Gulf Coast and love all things coastal.  So I’ve been collecting things on my Pinterest page that are Coastal Inspirations.

Some people pin an enormous amount of items and I wonder if they’re really pinning for themselves or just randomly what they like that day.  I prefer to pin what I like and what represents what I’d realistically like to have, make, do or visit.  So, my pin board is not a large collection; only about 100 pins but it reflects what inspires me.

I also love Starfish so I have a separate board for everything Sea StarHope it inspires you.

Seaglass Beachcombing on Oahu, HI

Gary and I traveled the road from Waikiki to North Shore twice during our recent trip to Oahu.  My goal was to beachcomb.  But along the way we also stopped at roadside stands to try new foods like Poi, a Spam sandwich, Pineapple gum and real Hawaiian Shave Ice.  We saw lots of sites including a famous blow hole, a Macadamia Nut farm, shrimp farms, the wind farm, a classic old grocery, the Sugar Mill ruins, dormant volcanoes, birds we don’t have here in the Southeastern states.  We could even smell the volcanic soil as we drove along the coast.

The beaches where we stopped included a few scenic pull-offs (some with a beach, some not), Sandy Beach, Waialee Beach, Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay Beach, Ehukai Beach Park where you find the famous Banzai Pipeline and, of course, Waikiki Beach.  We also stopped at Sharks Cove to swim.  On our second trip up that road we caught the Vans Surf Competition in progress, thanks to a big swell forecasted that day from a storm off of California’s coast.

Sandy Beach HI, my favorite spot for sea glass and the best spot for body surfing if you know what you're doing.

Sandy Beach HI, my favorite spot for sea glass and the best spot for body surfing if you know what you’re doing.

Surf Competition

Surf Competition

We collected sand from 4 beaches.  They are all so different in color and texture; from grey to orange the sand was also fine to granular.  The most grainy being almost like corn meal and difficult to walk on.  

We found a few shells but mostly coral.  I found two Slate Pencil Sea Urchin spines (my bonanza for the trip), several Limpets, and what I think is a Serpents-head Cowrie. Glass was more plentiful at Sandy, Waialee and Sunset than the rest although for a whole day beach combing I found about the same amount I’d find in places like Sanibel or at Turtle Beach on Siesta Key in FL or Fairhope Beach here in Alabama.  What I did notice was that the glass is much smaller…most of what I found was pebble sized, although there were 4 large pieces, two being the bottom remnants of  a bottle (one in brown, one in white) and very worn.  And, I collected more green in Hawaii than anywhere else I collect from on the Southeast beaches.

Back at home, the sand we collected is distributed among 4 different clear Christmas ball ornaments, labeled and ribboned and hanging on our tree.  I also purchased 4 unique bottles with cork stoppers from Michael’s Craft Store, used glass paint pens to label them and filled each with sand to display around the house.  I have other sand from places I’ve lived or visited (Lido Key and Siesta Key, FL; Gulf Shores, AL; Ocean City, MD to name a few)  This idea is all over Pinterest but I’ve had my bottles way before then. 

Beach sand in labeled bottles on my bookshelf

Beach sand in labeled bottles on my bookshelf

I have a small green-tinted bud vase from Pier One holding my Hawaiian glass, shell and coral finds and a beach-themed photo box holding our other collectibles from the trip.

My Hawaiian Beachcombing Finds

My Hawaiian Beachcombing Finds

As far as beach combing is concerned, remember that the tide carries what it wants.  One day it might be a lot of shells, one day sea glass, other days algae.  You may also get nothing.  Because someone wrote a blog about their great finds doesn’t mean you’ll get the same when you travel to that place.  I learned that a long time ago, but the way some bloggers write about their experiences, you’d think it’s a daily occurence of great finds.  But do know this…what ever you find, you found it.  The adventure, the experience, the time was yours and should be memorable.  I had a blast. 

Can’t wait to go again.