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Celebrating a seaside treasure.

LYNN Huggins has written more than 300 books including many craft titles. She lives and works in High Spen, Gateshead, and spends her time scouring charity shops and car boot sales for likely craft pieces to alter!

A MERMAID'S PURSE REGULAR readers will know that I am a great fan of bringing the outside inside. I think Mother Nature is the best interior designer of them all!

You've heard about the dried quilt of leaves on my ceiling; the twigs that line my staircase and the pebbles and moss in my bathroom.

Natural items used as materials for interior decor lend your home a great sense of calm and tranquillity.

This week, I have been for many walks on the beach, and after heavy seas there have been a lot of ray egg cases washed up on the strandline.

I've always loved searching for exciting finds I can use in crafts after a stormy sea. I love the wild, gothic look of them with their horned corners ... it's as though they were the egg cases from alien beasts!

I thought of something I could make to celebrate the beauty and I hope you like what I came up with.

It makes a great keepsake from a holiday, too.

What you need:? Found "Mermaid's Purse". I used the egg case of a ray ? Epoxy glue (or similar strong glue) ? Watercolour paper ? Watercolours ? Calligraphy pen ? Paintbrushes ? Cheap open frame (no glass) What to do: 1. Go for a lovely walk on the beach. Look for a mermaid's purse along the strand line, among the flotsam and jetsam left behind by the waves at low tide. Look for dark shapes among the seaweed. It's a great excuse for a family walk.

2. Create a watercolour wash with blues and greens. Use a largish brush and coat your watercolour paper in a watery coat of paint.

I like to mix blues and greens for a lovely marine effect.

3. Glue your egg case to the middle of your painted paper.

4. When the glue is dry, use a calligraphy pen to write text around the edge of the egg case in concentric rings. You could choose a marine themed poem, or write your own words. I chose to describe the contents that I would imagine to be found inside a mermaid's purse. 5. Frame the finished article and you have a delightful piece of home decor or a gift to share.

If you like, you can add light shells, driftwood twigs and dried seaweed to your picture, or any other strandline finds. If you dry them in sunshine (if they are not already dry when you pick them up), there will be no smell.

For an extra touch of mermaid magic, you can add a light stroke of glitter paint to the colourwash. A delicate white or ivory would be perfect, lending a hint of sea foam.

? I run 'REVAMPD' - vintage inspired craft sessions at The ReVampd Workshop in High Spen. Our classes have been on hiatus this month as I was nursing my dear old mum in Brighton, during her last few weeks with us.

This week I am back in Newcastle after my month away and our classes will resume.

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Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2013
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