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Neither of us is good at sitting on the beach. We need chairs (knees) and an umbrella (skin cancer) as well as good books or crosswords, water, and snacks…. We don’t just plunk down on the sand between swims. We wade, look at tide pools, and beachcomb.

I began collecting along the beach well before we started our current travels. In Peru, I found a Fred Flintstone figure. During our three months in northern California, I collected abalone and a few tiny pieces of beach glass, the gems among the shell. At our next stop in Barcelona, thousands of years of occupation around the Mediterranean yielded lots of beach glass, yet the only person I met while collecting was a young woman from California. We shook our heads at the oblivious Catalans, passing up the treasure under their feet.

Since then we’ve walked along beaches in Ireland and Scotland, Italy, South America, New Zealand and Australia. I’ve found cowboy figurines, mini-superheroes, and toy trucks. We’ve picked up lots of beach glass–Jonathan can see beach glass from 20 paces with his eagle eyes.

In Italy, I began to make pendants from beach glass wrapped in wire from the many bottles of prosecco we were consuming. Wire-wrapped pendants can be beautiful, but wine bottle wire isn’t always the best material. I had a lot of fun making do with pliers and what was at hand, but to create something better I had to invest in some beading wire, a few jewelry findings, and a drill. I bought a Dremel.

[A Dremel is a popular brand of multi-tool that is very popular with crafters. If you know what a Dremel is, you know it’s the first step on a slippery slope to a garage full of project materials and 15 kinds of pliers.]

My first design turned out well. I wear it all the time and it’s been a good conversation starter. People ask where I find the glass and when I tell them it is all along their local beaches, they seem truly surprised. I’ve continued making beach glass necklaces, trying out a variety of colors. There are lots of different variations that I still want to make. A few are laid out on the window sill and more are ideas. I frequently get distracted by new possibilities. I made earrings to match the necklaces, then made a detour into bracelets that still needs a lot of development. When we found shells on the beach, I made shell necklaces.

When we found driftwood, I made a wall hanging.

I’m still learning how to wrap a perfect piece of beach glass in wire to make a pendant, though.

One day soon, I’ll set up a website. The slide show below includes projects that I’ve made when not drilling beach glass for necklaces.

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