Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beauties and the Beast

Gifts from the sea. Some a bit surprising at times, some breath taking and some are curiosities. This past week I received a gift from another source but ultimately it was also from the sea. My Aunt Anne searched her attic space for a jar she knew lay hidden...full of seaglass from many years ago. Possibly gathered with her mother, my grandmother and my first seaglass mentor!

Some of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen were contained in a huge jar she presented to me, knowing my addiction to collecting seaglass was a family trait, a tradition and I would cherish the contents. 

But this treasure chest of beauties didn't mean my seaglass walks could take a breather....quite the opposite. It fueled me!

And quite the curiosity I did find!

A rusty appendage attached to its very worn and stained wood spine.
I question, where could this be from, what did it support and am I holding a little piece of history?
Is it a beast or is it a beauty?

Prehistoric, fossil like and with such a personality, I had to bring it home. Maybe it will go back to the sea, maybe it will become another garden ornament, but for now it is telling me a story.

Some of the "beauties" from the sea are nearby. The lavender piece a gift from my daughter and the aqua green are yet another story. So thick & old and luminous, where are they from? Nuggets of this size and color are certainly not from recent times!

Beauties meet the Beast. But what is the saying? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
They are both beautiful in my mind and especially together. All are gifts from the sea!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring Like Weather!

Vernal Equinox occurred today and the weather couldn't be more fitting. Other than a few small crocus, the only thing I have in bloom right now are the friendly, happy faces of the Daffy Dills. A few more days like this and everything is going to pop! 

So happy First Day of Spring to all and let's keep our fingers and toes crossed we will not see temperatures dip at all going forward!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Won't You be My Neighbor!

Garden Expo weekend was quite an experience. I give the Expo Committee a huge congratulations for  job well done. Being a local yocal, I saw many Fairfield people that I had not connected with for many years...and that was an extra bonus for me! I did not run through the halls of my high school, 
but I could have :) sorry, I couldn't help saying that.

Sitting all weekend at the expo could have been long and lonely had it not been for my fellow vendors! So I want to thank my neighbors at the Expo. First, Bruce David Photography.  He is an extraordinary photographer and it was great sharing the space with him!

 What did Mr. Rogers say....won't you be my neighbor? Well, Bruce would "bee" an awesome neighbor. He is a beekeeper, raises egg laying chickens, works full time and then still follows his real passion, photography! He can be found at Bruce David Photography.

My other neighbor was the lovely Ellen Hoverkamp.
 I have been a fan of hers since I visited the Expo a few years ago and came upon her unique scanner photography. I bought a tomato print and love it to death! It lives in my hallway looking out towards my back yard. 

Ellen's botanical photographs appear in a new book, The Natural Companion, written by acclaimed garden writer Ken Druse. I bought a signed copy and can't wait to sit down and read it! Ellen's website is entitled My Neighbor's Garden, quite coincidentally! You can find it here.

Ellen also had a fantastic display. She is a true professional at these things and gave me some great pointers going forward. I know I will invite her to my neighborhood Seaglass Jewelry Party! (TBD).

This was my display on the first morning...sun streaming through the gymnasium windows really made the seaglass and sterling sparkle. I was very happy with the entire look but learned that location, location, location makes a huge difference.

The second day of the Expo we were fortunate to be able to move our table to a better location (thanks Alex!) and business picked up a bit.

Next up, possibly a neighborhood Open Studio or in my case, open kitchen table? Who knows, but there are plenty of beautiful necklaces still available and they are safe and sound until I decide how to progress from here!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gearing up for the Garden Expo

I have been meaning to create a link here for the upcoming Garden Expo at which I will be finally selling my seaglass creations! 

So here it is. The Garden Expo 2012

I am "undercover" though. My decision to embark on this adventure was quite serendipitous. I LOVE that word! I did not plan on making my gems into jewelry...but had it in the back of my mind for forever. Sometimes life changes in the blink of an eye though. Thus, Carol Roche, Seaglass Designs was created and I have been working hard on creating a look, using my graphic design background, my love of seaglass, obviously and much more! To explain though, "undercover" just means my entry for the expo was late and I was asked to share a table with a friend. You will not see my name on the list of vendors but my "tablemate" is Bruce David Photography. Look for us there!

The studio, if you can call it that, has been all about earrings this week. How do you pair one of a kind pieces of seaglass up with each other to create earrings for two ears? I can't call in a dating service! So I have to let my sense of color, and shape relax a bit. Taking a few deep breaths this week anyways!

The earring display was created from a garden piece of driftwood. Had to do a little bug eradication first though! Quite the "Matterhorn" of earring displays...funny, that word serendipitous comes into play again but only a few will make that connection.

Staging, pricing and all sorts of projects seem to emerge from my basement studio to end up in the kitchen. The natural light lets me see what I need to see! I promise I will clean it all up soon!


My marketing and design background kicks into gear when given the right opportunity. This time I couldn't pass up the chance. The Garden Expo starts on Saint Patrick's Day! So, how many people put their noses up at the most common green seaglass pieces? Not I.

I drilled a little too fast and a few too many today. One piece just exploded! The drill was quite bent out of shape, literally. I put a quick order into Gesswein, conveniently for me, located in Bridgeport! I hope to be back up and running tomorrow. Then, on Saturday, selling my seaglass to people who will wear it and cherish it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Cruisin with my Camera

Lordship is waking up! The air is warming and our little hamlet (as I call it) is all abuzz. Walkers, runners, cyclists and in-line skaters are beginning to multiply. Because the flat seaside hugging roads are perfect for all these activities, many old fashioned type bicycle riders enjoy the social, slow, foot brake only models called "Cruisers".

I brought out our newest Cruiser, a Tommy Bahama owned by my lovely daughter for the inaugural ride of the year. This one didn't need its tires pumped so sadly, I left my old favorite in the garage until I had time to do some work on it. Of course, the camera came with me and there was a usual.

I have been eyeing these old wooden beach boardwalks for some time. Something about them intrigues me. So graphic, simple and naturally worn by time and weather.

I guess I am an Ansel Adams wanna be! But at the same time, my new venture into jewelry is forefront in my mind right now. So, back to the house to retrieve my newly made seaglass earrings! Ideas starting to take hold.

The idea was to incorporate the earrings into this post about the beach boardwalk. Sometimes though, ideas fail. Nothing popped other than the weathered wood. Hmmmm. Moving right along to the next idea!

Wind fence, rust and shiny sterling silver & seaglass earrings...what a perfect  combination! I think I have found my spot for many more earring and necklace "beauty shots". I feel like this is my laundry line...where I set them out to catch some rays and dry off.

From to their beginnings at the beach, and now re-purposed as a tribute to nature, I think my seaglass pieces have completed the circle of life!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sign Making & Sally Sitting

Juggling 2 very important tasks takes a little creativity. First, I wanted to make my Seaglass Design sign but secondly, I was also the doggie day provider yesterday! Luckily, for both of us, it was quite nice outside.

I already had a nice wooden sign that was whitewashed for future use... I do save some very useful items that some would have thrown away! All this needed was a quick coat of my "seafoam green" living room color.

Next came lettering the piece. I sketched out the design, replicating my business card and realized Sally wasn't going to leave me alone. So outside we went...Please play, paw? Please? I painted, and threw the ball. Back & forth we went and surprisingly, Sally didn't end up with any blue or green highlights in her hair!

Basic painting accomplished, with Sally asking "are you done yet?" How can anyone resist this little girl?

So we ate my salad lunch together.

Color and distressing were next to make the sign look slightly vintage, cottage-like and to give it some character.

Voila! the finished Seaglass Design sign.

Let's get back to what's really important, where's the ball Sally?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Making a Stand

I guess I should say making a display stand! I am going to be selling my seaglass necklaces soon at a local Garden Expo and I wanted to use natural materials to create a unique, "from the earth" display. I had so much fun (with a bit of frustration) in the process. I had all the materials – from my driftwood collected, a dowel, drill, rocks, coping saw and then some patience :)

Drilling went as expected, I painted the dowel to look a bit aged and thought it would all just fall into place as planned! 

But somehow, the angles drilled weren't quite right. (so re-drill) The balancing of two different driftwood pieces was off. (idea! use rocks as shims or "props" as it turned out) Then how to attach the whole ensemble together so it is steady, straight (biggest issue) and still looks OK?

Doesn't this look a bit like a Foot Long Sandwich? Yikes....NO!!!!! 
I had been collecting some rocks that struck me as subtly colorful and I was considering doing something with them. They were sitting on my windowsill and I decided that they should be a permanent part of the display! Not just a temporary shim. They added color, interest but not enough to take anything away from the real purpose of this adventure.

The next display stand was going to have a base of an awesome piece of driftwood. Sand was still hiding in some of the crevices and added to the mess I had already created.  Although this dowel did not need a shim or any help to stand upright, the rock theme continued.

When I could sigh a sigh of relief that this project was not done in vain, and with the support of Pappa D, my very supportive husband, we brought the stands down to the beach...

Swing to the right, swing out of control! I did say patience was a factor. The wind was making this a lot more difficult than expected.

This shot just defines my seaglass, sand, driftwood & rock connection. They are all so interrelated and so much a part of my life!

Hope to give a link to the Fairfield Garden Expo soon! Would love to see you there!