Sunday, December 11, 2011

ReCap of the TRIS Craft Show

Last week's show was not a great one for me. I did make a little money, but overall, it wasn't a sea glass crowd. (I was not able to attend because of a change in hours at my job, but this is my hubby's description of the show.)

That's not to say the show was not a good one overall. Foot traffic during the show was steady, though not overwhelming. There seemed to be very few periods where the traffic appeared to be sparse...and that is a great sign for a first year show!

Several vendors looked to be quite busy and the crowd seemed to appreciate the opportunity to purchase quality handmade goods. Despite being a bit slow at my table, I did have the opportunity to talk about sea glass with a few people who never experienced it before. These people never noticed sea glass on the beach before, and are excited about keeping an eye open for it on their next trip to the ocean.

Several people went through the "Pure Sea Glass" book that I always have with me at shows, a few had questions about rarity and I did hand out several dozen business cards. The show gave me the opportunity to say hi to a couple customers that have purchased from me in the past, one of which was actually wearing the necklace she bought 2 or 3 years earlier!

My hubby also had the chance to speak with several members of the EtsyNJ team, many of which he had never met before. Several of the Etsy team seemed to have a very good show.

Overall, it was not a bad show, in fact, it is one that I will hope to do again next year. The show's promoters did a great job getting the word out, and the community responded with a nice turnout! There was a great deal of help available to vendors during the set-up and breakdown. And most importantly, the selection of handmade items was very diverse and of good quality.

Congrats to the promoters of the TRIS show...a job well done!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Final Craft Show of the Season

Tomorrow, I will be attending the 1st Toms River Intermediate South Handmade Craft Show. Wow, that's a mouthful.

I think this show should be a very fun show to do because they are limiting the show to handmade vendors only. And there looks to be a lot of media support for the show. There has been radio coverage promoting the show, it's been all over Facebook and there will be several members of the EtsyNJ team in attendance.

I'm really hoping that the show promoters are able to keep this show re-seller free, us crafters can always use another quality handmade show in Ocean County for the month of December.

The Intermediate School is located at 1675 Pinewald Rd in Beachwood, NJ and the show will run from 10am - 4pm. I personally may not be able to attend because of prior work commitments, but my sons and hubby will be there to sell sea glass jewelry creations (hopefully, I can sneak away and attend the last few

So if you are in the area, and have some free time, stop in and say Hi to the EtsyNJ team members...and check up on my table and see what is going on. I'll be checking my blog during the day, so feel free to leave a comment, reporting on how my display

Have a great weekend! 'til nest time...


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday- Cyber Monday Blog Special

The holiday shopping season is officially upon us and to celebrate the season with my blog followers, I've created a special discount for you to use if you make a purchase from my shop between today and the end of the holiday season.

I've created several new items that will work their way into my shop over this weekend. Some of them are already in my Etsy shop. But a couple are being introduced here for the first time. If you see one you like, email or convo and I'll set up a reserved order for you.
And don't forget to use the special code BLG11 to receive a 10% discount and free shipping!

'til next time...


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Creating One Product and Selling Another

It's funny. No matter how you figure what you area of your business you believe you need to focus on, your customers always know best.

I've been working on building up my necklace inventory for my upcoming craft show on December 3rd (Toms River Intermediate South, in Beachwood, NJ) because that is my best selling item at shows and also in my Etsy shop. And as I'm looking through my sea glass collection for pendant quality pieces, my shop gets wiped out of earrings- not that I'm complaining. (actually, Yay I made an online sale!)

Just when I thought I knew best, my customers strongly have me focusing on another project because they have made it a glaring weakness in my shop inventory. So it's back to the drawing board, going through smaller pieces of sea glass and marking off the area I'd like hubby to drill holes while I check the inventory of earring components.

While I search I lay out a plan to replenish my earring inventory, I hope you enjoy the images of a couple of my latest sea glass necklaces and one of my favorite pairs of earrings that are departing for the desert of Tucson, Az.

'til next time,

Friday, November 11, 2011

Yesterday's Trip to the Beach

Hi everyone, it's "the hubby" (as I'm often referred to) reporting on yesterday's sea glass hunting trip to LBI.

I arrived at the beach about 25 minutes prior to the height of the low tide. It was a sunny afternoon with little wind and the temps were in the high 50s- low 60s. Walking around with a light sweatshirt was quite comfortable.

I went to my favorite stretch of beach on LBI, an area that includes a block long stretch I call cobalt beach (because I have found 10x more cobalt sea glass in this area than any other beach I've set foot on)

As soon as I hit the beach, I noticed the tides were cooperating perfectly. The ocean was pulled well back from where it normally is at low tide, and I thought that I should have brought my waders with me (note to self, bring my water boots or hip waders next time)

As I walked towards the water, I looked to the north and got very excited. There were huge stretches of shell beds that were laying just above the tide line and by huge, I mean some were 30-40 feet long and over 10 feet wide. It was a sea glass hunter's dream.

So I made my way down to the water and preceded north towards the first of several shell beds. The adrenaline rush began when I was about 10 feet away because I knew that I would be spending most of my time on the beach in this small area because the beds were deep. It was about this time, I considered running back to my truck to get one of my sand pails because there was no way I was going to be able to carry the treasures that were waiting for me.

So everything was perfect- sun shining brightly, HUGE stretches of shell beds, with the ocean gently lapping at the bottom of the beds (acting more like a lake than the ocean) and I was the only one on the beach. The only problem was someone forgot to invite the sea glass!

The conditions were absolutely perfect and there was nothing. I went from bed to bed going north, turned south revisited the beds and headed further south to "cobalt beach"- surely there would be a bounty waiting for me there. As always there tide at CB was perfect, the shell beds laying exposed in the sand and every few minutes the water would get into the bed , shifting the shells and pebbles around. But there was no sparkling pieces of glass to be had.

In all, I did find about a dozen pieces of glass that were in various stages of what I call "under-cooked" (meaning they needed more time for the ocean to finish her job on the glass) I did find a nice piece of Coke-bottle glass, very thick and probably quite old. However, it had recently broke in the ocean and had a jagged edge. It will go back into the ocean (in an area where swimmers do not frequent) I also found a couple of sand dollars, and a few small shells for a project that I'm working on for Robin's shop.

This year has been a huge disappointment- between the dune build-up and local townships moving sand around to protect the beach (and burying the glass), the hurricane that arrive at high tide and pulled much of the dunes into the sea, further burying the glass and a very disappointing fall season, where there were no shells or glass to be found anywhere on the beach.

Yesterday, the conditions were perfect and everything a sea glass hunter wants to see was present- except for the glass. Officially, the full moon occurred last night, so maybe the glass was a bit late to arrive.


til next time

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Upcoming Craft Show, Full Moon, New Creations

Wow, the end of another year is creeping up slowly.

I'm attending a first time craft show on December 3rd. The show is being held at the Toms River Intermediate School in Beachwood. I'll have several new items with me for those that have beach-loving family/friends on their holiday gift lists, along with my Etsy inventory and several pairs of earrings, bracelets and necklaces that have been recently created.
I'll be adding images of new creations that may not make it into my Etsy shop before the final craft show of my 2011 season, so if you are looking for a piece of holiday jewelry created with sea glass, check back often to see what is hot off my crafting table!

Tomorrow, November 10th is the the full moon. On the east coast, we've had some very rough seas that have been hammering the coast line (the already battered coast line) and with the arrival of tomorrow's full moon, the tides will continue to wreak havoc on the beaches. For a hardcore sea glass hunter like my hubby, it should offer the potential to find some nice pieces of sea glass and who knows what else...?

Hubby is excited that the temperature is not yet frigid, and he'll be getting to the beach a few times over the next 3-4 days to see what the tides are leaving behind. Here's hoping the sea glass is plentiful on every one's favorite stretches of beach.

Posted above, are is my latest necklace creations, along with with a Patriotic sea glass bracelet. Enjoy!!

'til next time,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Craft Show Results- Upcoming Sea Glass Festival

Earlier this month I did my first craft show of the year, the Beach Plum Festival. This show has been on my "A" list of shows after a few good outings.

Considering the economy, this year's version was pretty good. The weather cooperated, and there was a great deal of foot traffic wandering about. My booth was packed most of the day, as the locals had plenty of sea glass stories to share with me.

Sales wise, it was by far the lowest number of sales at this show since I began vending here. It seemed like people just were out enjoying the nice day. They spent a few bucks to sample the beach plum ice cream or beach plum muffins...but clearly, the economy has forced people to cut way back on their spending habits and I saw many people leaving the show empty-handed.

In previous years, the customers at this show began buying gifts for the holidays and it seemed like that wasn't happening this year. Those that visited my booth also didn't seem to have or want to spend the money they had. In fact, if I didn't offer customers the option of paying via credit card, I probably would have lost 5 or 6 sales.

In all, it was a pretty okay show...certainly not a waste of time. Plus, I had the chance to enjoy the beautiful day, while speaking and sharing sea glass stories with with very nice people.

Not a bad way to spend a September Sunday afternoon.

'til next time...


Friday, September 9, 2011

First Craft Show of the Year

After doing several craft fairs/shows for the last few years, it's hard to believe that the Beach Plum Festival at Island Beach State Park on Sunday, will be my first show of 2011.

As much as that surprises me, it's even more shocking to know I do not have another show booked for the rest of the year! Hmmm, I might have to do something about that.

So since the hurricane, the hunt for beach glass has been quite disappointing. Unfortunately, the hurricane came in near high tide, and wreaked havoc with the dunes. By tearing up the dunes and dragging the sand down the beach and into the surf, the hurricane essentially buried anything that was stirred up by the rough ocean. Had it come in during low tide, the high winds and rough surf would have tore apart the lower part of the beach and probably uncovered sea treasures that have been buried for a couple of decades.

Oh well...we were lucky the damage wasn't worse...very lucky.

If you're in the area of of lower Ocean County, NJ and have nothing on your calendar for Sunday, stop by Island Beach State Park.

'til next time...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Q & A on Seaglassing

Between work and my youngest son's extended baseball season (yes, he's now playing a summer/fall season for his 4th team of the year) it's been a long time between blog entries.

Over the last few months, we've been asked several questions about the "where, when, hows" of sea glass hunting. My hubby has mentioned that yesterday we had 3 different emails asking info about sea glass hunting when a hurricane is coming. So here are the many questions, and our answers.

Because of the impending storm, we'll go with these questions/answers first.

-Would I consider going out during the storm looking for sea glass? No absolutely not. Visibility will be poor, the winds will be unforgiving and you will be risking your life. Stay indoors until the brunt of the storm has passed.

-(with a hurricane in the forecast) When is the best time to look for sea glass?
I would go out prior to the storm's arrival and after the storm has clearly passed. Depending upon the strength of the tides, I would consider checking out the beach after the peak of high tide, and just before, during and after low tide. I would consider the same process AFTER the storm has passed, especially at low tide.

-Are there specific areas you will go to and will you be kind and share them? Yes, there will be and no, I don't tell anyone where our "special" spots are (they haven't been too special lately) Actually, anywhere that you have found nice pieces of sea glass in the past will probably be a good place to check after the storm has passed.

Final thoughts on this storm... If you do not have a profound respect for the ocean, then you really have no business being on the beach just prior, during or just after this storm. The sea reclaims what it has left behind, and has no problem grabbing you if you happen to be there. If you don't understand the tides, their habits and histories, please stay off the beach until it is safe.
We live on the coast, and we are concerned about the damage this storm may bring. As sea glassers, we are excited about the prospects that the ocean might stir up. The potential of finding sea glass that has been tumbling around the ocean floor for several decades is exciting... but the damage to the dunes and beach front homes can be devastating. If you are planning to go smart and be safe!

Other questions that we've received during the last couple of months...

-Where is the best location for sea glass? While we've never been there, word of mouth indicates the best sea glassing areas is "Glass Beach" in Fort Bragg, Ca. Glass Beach was at one time, a garbage dump. We've been told that the garbage was dumped on the beach, set on fire, and the tide took what was left. We have been shown several pictures of the surf, and the amount of glass (and the amazing colors) is breath-taking. (the top image is from Glass Beach and the photo is taken by Jef Poskanzer)
Puerto Rico has some great areas that often yield some incredible finds. Researching an area's history will often lead you to areas where you may have success. One such area exists in Puerto Rico, where a glass factory once existed. This companies specialty? They made beer beer bottles. Red sea glass is very rare, but in this area, it is found more frequently.
We've also never been to the beaches in northern UK, but the beautiful pieces that are found there are usually found in the areas where glass factories existed decades ago.
The Great Lakes have been a very "hot" sea glassing spot recently and the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware beaches have also been "hot spots" in recent years. History also shows that by the time word-of-mouth gets to you about a hot spot and the time it takes for you to get there, everyone else will be there too. The best hot spots are those that you find yourself (that's why we don't spill the beans on our little hot spots) The spot that my hubby calls "Cobalt Beach" is a small stretch that frequently turns up pretty pieces of cobalt sea glass. It took him about 6 months to bring me to the supposed little hot spot, but we did find 6 pieces of cobalt blue sea glass that day, along with more than 50 other pieces

To answer most of the usual questions... I like to go out shortly after high tide, while my hubby prefers low tide. Despite the competition, I like going out during the warmer summer months. Hubby prefers the late fall, winter and early spring. Because of the brutal winds and cold temps in the winter, the amount of time he can spend on the beach is limited and he hits specific locations that have been successful in the past. In the summer, I just go wherever and stroll the surf. When we go to the beach in the summer (to swim, sunbathe)usually produces common color sea glass, but my favorite piece in recent years, a very old piece of deep teal, was found in the surf... so you just never know when and where a beautiful gem is going to wash up.
The potential for great finds increases with the impending storm this weekend. Please be safe, be prepared, and go out to the beach with a partner after the storm has passed.

'til next time...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Where Has All the Sea Glass Gone?

Could it be possible that the supply of sea glass has dwindled down to an occasional find?

The summer has never been a great time to find sea glass, as there are so many more
people who are also hunting for ocean treasures. But it has really been a challenge to find anything worthwhile for the last 4-5 months.

I'm sure that the beach erosion work that occurred in LBI this past winter hasn't helped matters, as many pieces of sea glass have probably been buried- some possibly forever. Areas of LBI that were once my secret sea glass "goldmines" have now seemed to be totally void of sea glass. The section I call "Cobalt Beach" presented 3 small pieces of cobalt sea glass back in late February/early March, along with a handful of various colors of sea glass. Since that day, I have only found 2 pieces of "undercooked" glass that went right into the trash because the edges were far to sharp to consider putting back into the ocean.

This summer, I've yet to find any jewelry-quality pieces of sea glass and for the most part, I've only come across the common "Heineken" greens and the "Budweiser" browns and finding those common colors have been few and far between. Heading to other New Jersey beaches have proved futile also.

Perhaps the unofficial end of summer (Labor Day weekend) will bring about some good sea glass hunting opportunities. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed seeing a couple of my latest creations with some of my "old inventory".

'til next time...

Upcoming Shows- The Beach Plum Festival, Island Beach State Park, NJ Saturday, September 11.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

New Summertime Creations

It's been a while since my last blog entry. Hope you like a few of my
newest sea glass jewelry creations!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hunting For Sea Glass? Today is the Day!

If you enjoy getting out on the beach in any weather to hunt for sea glass, then today and tomorrow are prime hunting days!

The full moon this weekend is a special we haven't seen in a few years. The moon is currently closer to the earth than it has been in quite some time and this full moon is considered to be " a spring tides" or Perigee moon.

Remember your science classes back in elementary school? The teachers always mentioned that the moon affects the ocean tides. Well this moon will be responsible for a little higher high tides, and a much lower low tide. And while I have always found very good pickings after the high tide when the moon is a Perigee, it's the low tide that I am truly excited about.

The last time I went out during a spring tide's moon, the ocean had eerily pulled back some 20 or 30 feet from where the waves usually reach! I was walking around on the sand where normally, I'd be about mid-thigh deep in the about sea glassing opportunities! I came home with about 150 pieces of sea glass that day and it would have been so much more had it not been soooo cold and had low tide not occurred so late in the day.

So this afternoon, I'll be on the beach with my sons about 30 minutes before low tide, enjoying a semi-warm sunny Saturday, and waiting to see what the Perigee moon does with the tides. Hopefully, we'll come home with a few ocean gems today.

'til next time...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Going Shopping for New Supplies

Saturday morning I woke up earlier than usual. After my cup of coffee and a quick scan of my emails, I decided it would be a very good day to do a little "shopping" for some new focal beads for my jewelry creations.

"Shopping" for sea glass is something I look forward to, especially as the weather starts to turn away from winter and head towards spring. So on this sunny Saturday morning, I was off to a place where the prices for sea glass are the best....FREE!

It was still a bit overcast as I arrived at the beach, but as the sun climbed in the sky, the clouds quickly disappeared. The entrance onto the beach was proof of how hard a winter the NJ coast experienced this year. Heavy machinery had been moving sand around, trying to create new support dunes to keep the high tide away from the expensive beach-front homes.

Heavy machinery, moving sand from one place to another and any type of general repairs to the beach are often a tell-tale sign that today's shopping isn't going to be a very good one. As I looked up and down the beach, I knew that today's "shopping" trip was about to turn into a nice stroll up and down the beach and anything I found would be a bonus.

The beaches I encountered on Long Beach Island on Saturday were basically flat. One straight shot from the surf, right to the dunes. All of the fall preps that were created to protect the dunes were eradicated by the combination of rough seas and a brutal winter. Despite the efforts of of the city workers moving sand to shore up the dunes, much of LBI's dune barrier that protects the beach front homes are quite vulnerable to one good storm as we enter spring.

Flat beaches are terrible for sea glassing on LBI because the tide has very little trouble reclaiming anything it has left behind. The area of beach that was to the north of where the sand shifting was taking place did have a few decent collections of shells that tides had left behind. I was hopeful that there would be a few sea glass gems in the mix since my foot prints were the first on the beach, but there these shell beds were basically void of sea glass.

With the exception of a couple of undercooked larger pieces, only a couple of small Budweiser brown pieces were located. The nearby jetty yielded a well-weather, much older brown piece that looked almost red from a distance. After walking north several blocks, and only finding a couple more pieces- both older and nicely weathered, I turned back and decided I would try my luck to the south.... only to realize this was not going to be my lucky day. The beaches were absolutely flat and garbage, no shells, no nothing. At least the walk was invigorating and I can say that my 75 minute beach walk was a bit of a workout.

So I came away from my shopping spree basically empty-handed. What I did find were pieces that I can't use for my handmade jewelry creations, but they were older pieces that have spent a great deal of time in the ocean and the best part is... the price was right : )

'til next time...

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Winter Day at the Beach

For early February, it was sort of a nice day on Thursday. High 30s, sunny and little wind. Considering the recent weather, and several high tide warnings over the early part of the week, I thought it would be a good time to take a stroll on the beach. So off to one of my favorite hunting spots on LBI.

It's amazing to me how different the beaches look every time I visit in the winter. During the summer, there is little change in appearance. But come the winter, you would swear you are standing on a different beach, even on a week-to-week basis. Yesterday's trek was no different...I was a bit stunned at how exposed the beach looked. The dunes in front of the houses were built up, but the beach was basically flat, allowing the waves a clear run at the dunes.

Flat beaches are usually not very good for sea glass hunting, especially when the high tide is way above normal. The flat beach, combined with a rough tide, usually means the sea glass ends up back in the water, rather than on the beach. And yesterday, with a small 2 block exception, this was exactly the case... clean beaches- no shells, no driftwood, no garbage, and no sea glass.

The small exception was several 8-10 foot wide "shell beds" that didn't make it back into the surf as the tide left. Most of the shells were broken pieces, and in a few of these beds were several pieces of sea glass. And interestingly, I found several pieces of sea glass as I walked from one bed to another (they were spaced out approx a 30 second walk from one another) In all, I found about 20 pieces of sea glass in that short span of beach and absolutely zero pieces anywhere else.

As I turned to make my trip back home, I stumbled upon a large piece of bright green sea glass, not more than 4 or 5 feet away from one of my footprints (yes, my feet were the first to travel along the high tide line) and remembered what a more experienced sea glass hunter told me years ago... always pay attention on the return trip, you're almost sure to find a few hidden treasures you missed on your first pass. By the time I had made my way back to the very first shell bed, I added another 15 pieces to my findings for the day.

Every day on the beach is a good day, some are better than others...
but I wonder how many pieces I would have found that day if there had been shell beds all along the beach, instead of just those 2 short blocks. Regardless, it was a very good day.

'til next time...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sea Glass Plans For the New Year

I have to admit, I'm not sad to see 2010 go.
Despite decent sales during the holiday season and a possible upturn in the economy, 2010 was one tough year. Overall, online sales were way down, the craft fairs I attended were often handicapped by rain, high winds or ungodly heat. Even the ocean added to the woeful year by holding back it's supply of sea glass. And I always seemed to be on the wrong part of the beach at the wrong time.
2010 even had the audacity to give us a end-of-year kick to the "groinular" area with a last minute blizzard...sort of a "here's mud in eye" way to end a miserable year.

So as I trudge along in early 2011, I find myself proceeding cautiously with my game plan for the year. I'm not convinced that economy is turning around nor am I sure that consumers are going consume the way they did prior to our little recession. I've been going over my list of craft fairs and some of the late winter/early spring shows will be dropped. I hope to add a few shows in the summer and early fall in/near the beach resort areas and I have always wanted to attend the Sea Glass Festival as a vendor, and I'm hoping that this is my year.

Last year ended on a strong note, so I enter 2011 cautiously optimistic that this year will be better. Heck, I even found a dozen pieces of sea glass on the beach this morning (one or two pieces may turn out to be necklaces) Maybe it will be a very good year.

Have a happy and prosperous 2011!

'til next time...