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Friday, November 13, 2015

Beachcombing Around the World ❤︎ The Story behind Wandering Mermaid Sea Glass and Seashells

Believe it or not, all the seashells and sea glass I use in my bottles and other items in my ETSY shoppe was collected by ME from all over the world! I never buy any shells or sea glass and I believe that keeps the magick in my bottles and makes every piece I create all that more special! 

Beautiful sea finds from collection

I try to organize by sea treasures, but it is difficult!

My box of seashells that I use for art works

I always pack up my beach-combing treasures from wherever I
am inside a zip-lock bag and label it so I know where it is from
when I need it.

Lots of shells, glass an treasures of the sea ❤︎
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Here is a world tour of my beach combing!

ENGLAND
My favorite place in England to collect both sea glass and seashells is in Falmouth, where I spend time every summer.  Last summer I spent a lot of time at Porthtowan, which I loved and found some great shells! 

Porthtowan, England

Porthtowan Beach

Unfortunately, while strolling the beach looking for seashells and glass,  I also found a lot of jellyfish!


Lots of jellyfish washed up on the beach made
beach-combing a tricky stroll along
the sea's edge

But the quaint little beach town was adorable and very beachy. I loved it.




Some great finds after a day of beach-combing!


I always have good beach combing success at Swanpool Beach, where I find very tiny pieces of sea glass, which are my favorite.

Swanpool Beach


And Swampool is also great because they have nice beach snacks and a fun mini-golf course we ALWAYS stop at!

We always have a big group and play some mini-golf before
we leave for the day.

In the mini-golf course, there is a large water trap! -which is
actually a little sea inlet across the street from the beach.

A deal!

I love the little beach huts and always take time to sketch them
in my journal.
Swanpool as the sun goes down.

Stopping to have tea and a snack with my son before
heading home from our long day at the beach ❤︎

Whitby

Heading north we always spend a day or two at Whitby, a magickal and mystical beach town infamously known as the place that Dracula arrived when the ship he was traveling in from Romania docked at Whitby Harbour.


Because the beach at Whitby is well visited, it is a bit difficult to do much beach combing, but the sea treasures I find always seem to be magickal!


SCOTLAND
Last summer, we had a few weeks in Scotland where I found a bounty of seashells and sea glass on just about every beach I visited

A mermaid work-of-art at a gallery in a small
town in Scotland near Argyll

An all day visit to Ostel Bay proved full of great beach-combing!  

Ostel Bay
Taking the days beach-combing treasures back to the house
we were renting, I laid them all out to dry for a few days.
 A big job!
I always pull out my favorite pieces to keep for myself and
add to my special collections. I particularly love sea glass
in the shape of a heart, like the dark green piece on the
far left side.
Trips to Tighnabruaich and Lochgilphead were fabulous too! 

Drying out more shells from a day out
beach-combing ❤︎


AUSTRALIA 
Venus Bay, Australia
When I lived in Australia, our friends had a beach house in Venus Bay, and I LOVED going there. The beach-combing was amazing and that is where I collected hundreds of my favorite little seashells that are spiral to a point and have unique stripes on them. I love these!

I collected hundreds of these tiny spiral shells when visiting Venus Bay.
I love the way they have unique striped markings on them.


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA 

Whenever I am in Northern California, I like to visit Mendocino and go to Sea Glass Beach, of course! It’s an amazing beach, very blustery and almost always windy and cold there, but I bundle up, get on my hands and knees and start collecting some of the amazing sea glass that washes up there!


Stinson Beach

I have to say the most exciting beach-combing find is when I find a perfect sand dollar. They are so delicate, it is nearly impossible to find one whole and undamaged.  Last year on my birthday, I was staying at Stinson Beach for the weekend and found several while strolling along on the beach at twilight. Sand Dollars are so special, I almost never use them for my works of art. I love them too much to part with them!

Lucky Sand Dollars from Stinson Beach

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Spending half my life on the beaches  of Malibu and Pacific Palisades, I know the beaches well and where to find the best beach shells and glass. 

Malibu Pier

I almost never visit the beaches during the busy summer, but when autumn arrives and the beaches clear up, I am there strolling on the sands collecting treasures from my favorite beaches.

A good days work!

HAWAII
Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

On my last trip to Hawaii we visited the island of Oahu, and I have to admit I did not have a very successful time beach-combing. When I used to go there decades ago there was lots of amazing shells, glass and lava rocks, but the islands are so busy now most of the beaches are well picked over.

The best places to find sea treasures in Hawaii is in
secret hideaway coves.
On Maui, Hawaii, and Kauai, I have several secret, out of the way spots that are just little look-out spots or places to sit and watch the sunset, and those are the places I find the best shells and sea glass when I visit Hawaii. But there is a warning!!--It is thought that Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, gets angry if you take any beach treasures from the islands, and will bring bad luck to you if you take anything, besides the fact it is now illegal to collect there, so I now only admire the beautiful tropical sea things I find on the beaches there.

My Studio

I do my best to organize my shells by color and design

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Hunter’s Moon



Tonight is October’s full moon, The Hunter’s Moon, named for the time in autumn when the fields have been reaped, or harvested, and Native Americans thought it a good time for night hunting by the bright full moon before winter settles in. Keeping with the autumn season, October full moon is also known as the Dying Grass Moon.


Tonights full moon will be a Super Moon, which is when the moon is closest to the earth. The Super Full Moon is an amazing time to do a spell and use the power of the Moon to help guide you in whatever you are striving for. This will be the last Super Moon of 2015. 




To celebrate tonight’s full moon, I decided to re-design the cover of my Antiqued Moon Journal. I found some Dresden Foil Paper Charms at one of my favorite stores in Berkeley, California called Castle in the Air. I decided to use the crescent moon paper charms on the new-re-designed cover. What do you think?



Saturday, August 29, 2015

Antiqued Book Sea Themed Cover Papers



There are several different papers I like to use for the covers of my Ship’s Log, The Sea, Mermaid, and Beach Lover’s Antiqued Journals, and there are just too many of them to show all of them in my ETSY Shoppe listings, so here are some some samples of the lovely papers I have to choose from. I buy more all the time 
so if you have an idea of what you want, just let me know! 

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These papers are really beautiful, often with special little details, so please ask me   any questions you might have about your favorite design. Some papers are playful, some are elegant, but all are unique and are perfect for any beach themed book for a wedding, special event or just something special for you ♥︎

Perfect papers for Antiqued Ship’s Log

"Red Tide Celestial Map"

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"King of the Sea"

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"Blue Waves"

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"Pirate's Treasure Map"

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"Lighthouse"
 Perfect papers for Mermaid, Sea, and Beach Lover’s
Antiqued Journals

"Seashell Beach"

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"Seahorses"
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"Beachcomber"

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"Red Coral"


Please mention the paper name when requesting it for your own journal, or let me know what your theme is, and we can find something perfect together!

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Antiqued Books for Beach Weddings



Since my heart belongs to the sea (as does every mermaids!) I find nothing more beautiful, than a special event by the sea. The ocean, sand, and every treasure that comes from the deep blue sea are all a part of my soul. Therefore, I LOVE to create items that celebrate the sea. I’m so thrilled that my creations have often been a part of someones’ seaside wedding or special event. 

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Many people have used my Ship’s Log, Beach Lover’s Journal and The Sea Antiqued Journals as their wedding Guest Book. I’ve decided to start photographing them and sharing them with you!

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This is the smaller size Antiqued Journal (4-1/2"x6")
that was used as a guest book for a Pirate Themed
summer wedding ♥︎ I love just that theme!


There are several different papers I like to use for the covers of my Ship’s Log, The Sea, Mermaid, and Beach Lover’s Antiqued Journals, and there are just too many of them to show all of them in my ETSY Shoppe listings, so please take a look at the other samples of the lovely papers I have that you can to choose from.
http://mermaidcottage13.blogspot.com/2015/08/antiqued-book-sea-themed-coverpapers.html

❤︎

Monday, June 8, 2015

New Papers for the Antiqued Spell Book

It has been seven years since I created my lovelyAntiqued Spell Book, and I am finally out of the dozens of gorgeous antique red flower papers I’ve used for the cover all these years! 



I am constantly looking out for more of that paper, but in the meantime, I have done endless research looking for some lovely new papers! - And here they are!


Twilight in the Witch’s Garden



For the photo in my ETSY shoppe I chose my favorite paper, which I named “Twilight in the Witche’s Garden”. It is a lovely pale blue color with tiny stars throughout and a hint of the wild plants and magickal herbs growing in every witch’s garden. 


The back cover has a mysterious silhouette of a castle among the starry twilight sky. 

Lavender Magic


A beautiful lavender to violet tinted paper over a magickal flower garden among shimmery stars


Haunted Medieval Castle


A hauntingly eerie yet beautiful paper which is heavily antiqued and has the faint image of the great hall inside a medieval castle. Is that a man walking down the pathway? Or a ghost….


Antique Rose Garden


A ghostly pale rose garden pattern with light antiquing and a lovely ethereal quality. 

And, of course, there is always solid black paper!

If you would like to purchase one of my original Antiqued Spell Books, please visit my ETSY website:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/49011530/antiqued-spell-book-journal-wicca-book?ref=shop_home_active_9

...and don't forget to choose your favorite cover paper from the drop down menu ❤︎

Please remember that the sheets shown above are Full Sheets, and will be split in half, for the Spell Book. One half for the front cover and the other half for the back cover. If you would like a sample of what your book will look like with your favorite cover paper here, please contact me through my ETSY shoppe and I will work up a sample and photograph it for you!


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About Me

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Courtney McNeil began studying painting and illustration in 1985 in London, England. Not one to stay in one place very long she continued perfecting her love of the arts while traveling the world studying painting and illustration in Europe, Hawaii, California, and Australia and eventually graduated cum laude with a BA in illustration and continued on to do her graduate work at the Royal College of Art in London, England.  A few years later she added to her creative interests and studied letterpress and bookmaking at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. After receiving her undergraduate degree she began work at the Getty Museum in Malibu for almost a decade which allowed her to study and work among some of the most famous classic works of art in the world from Vincent Van Gogh to Manet. Teaching in the galleries of the Getty started her career in Art Education. She has been teaching painting and drawing to young artists and adults at the Davis Arts Center since 2006.