A homemade gift

Staff ~ The Truro Daily News
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‘Sometimes you don't know what they really look like until you pick them up'

Amanda Steeves, left, and Parri Patton display a couple of sun catchers they made from beach glass. The women spend much of their free time during the summer on the beach so that they can create these items, as well as earrings, rings, pendants, bookmarks, charms and Christmas tree ornaments. They were one of close to two dozen local crafters on display at the annual Festive Craft Market held this weekend at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus. Lynn Curwin - Special to the Truro Daily News

BIBLE HILL - With the holidays quickly approaching, it's common to see craft fairs popping up in one's community.

That's where about 2,700 people were this weekend - the Festive Craft Market at the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus.

As exhibitors at the market, Amanda Steeves and Parri Patton featured a number of their creations made from beach glass.

"During the summer I go to beaches with my family and search for pieces," said Steeves, who lives in Bible Hill. "My boys, who are nine and 11, and my husband all help. Everyone is excited when we find something special."

The Christmas tree ornaments the women, who own A Day at the Beach, make bring back memories of walking along beaches during the summer. They use beach glass and pieces of pottery found along the shores to create ornaments and several other items.

They do most of their sales online but do attend a few craft shows during the year.

"When I signed up for the first small craft fair I put something about it on Facebook and people contacted me about buying items. We've been doing this about two and a half years now," Steeves said about the Bible Hill market that's been on the go for more than 20 years.

Judy Smith, one of the organizers for the market, said the weekend went over well and the weather co-operated.

"We had an above average Saturday and a good Sunday," she said as booths were being dismantled at suppertime on Sunday.

"Christmas decorations were popular, and we had an excellent bake shop that was popular. All the vendors mentioned they did very well."

She said one of the things a couple of the crafters mentioned was about the customers.

"It was interesting - they commented on how friendly the group is that shops here compared to some of the other craft fairs they set up at," she said. "The crafters really enjoy coming here."

For Steeves, she first got into making items with beach glass after attending a class in Quispamsis with the intent of just a few things, but it "snowballed."

She said that pieces of white, green and brown glass are quite common so it is more exciting to find blue, red, yellow or rose.

One of the most unusual pieces, which is now part of a necklace, is an orange colour with yellow stripes through it.

"I really wonder what that came from," she sais.

Pieces of broken pottery are also used in the creations.

"Sometimes you don't know what they really look like until you pick them up," said Patton. "You see plain white and turn it over, sometimes to find more plain white but sometimes to find a beautiful pattern."

The women both work at other jobs during much of the year. Steeves is a school secretary and Patton is a teacher, but they spend much of the summer walking along the beaches of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They look for isolated beaches because it is rare to find anything unusual on the most-used ones.

They make pendants, charms, ornaments, glass markers, earrings, bookmarks, sun catchers and rings - with rings being the most difficult. Although the shape of the glass is left just as it was found, wire must be twisted and curved around the pieces to make jewelry.

"Amanda can make several rings at once," said Patton. "I make one and I'm done for the day."

More information on the women's beach glass creations can be found at adayatthebeach.ca or on their Facebook page.

Organizations: Dalhousie Agricultural Campus

Geographic location: Bible Hill, Quispamsis, Nova Scotia New Brunswick

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