The Life of Toronto Innkeepers

During the summer we operate Toronto’s only Boat Bed and Breakfast and then in the winter we cruise south to the Bahamas where we spend a lot of time beach combing searching for sea glass and other beach treasures.

Diane and Ted in the Bahamas

Diane and Ted in the Bahamas

It all started a number of years ago while we were cruising in the Bahamas.  We would anchor near one of the 750 islands of the Bahamas and set off for an afternoon of exploring and beach combing.  After years of collecting shells, coral rock, sea glass and sea beans we vowed to find some way to use and display these beautiful natural sea treasures.

Every sea glass jewelry piece is one of a kind.

Every sea glass jewelry piece is one of a kind.

Before I continue I should explain what sea beans and sea glass are. Sea glass is naturally produced by the ocean from pieces of glass from broken bottles, which are rolled and tumbled in the ocean for years until all of their edges are rounded off. The seaglass used in all of my jewelry is authentic – it is not man-made or cultured but rather picked from the beaches in the Bahamas. Since it is real sea glass it has some imperfections -which of course gives it it’s charm. Organic sea glass comes from the ocean however it can artificially be produced by putting glass in a specialized tumbling machine for hours but that is not considered true organic sea glass. Sea beans are hard, buoyant seeds that comes from trees and tropical vines from rain forests around the world that travel ocean currents and wash up on the beaches. Most popular are sea hearts, hamburger beans and purses.

Driftwood air plants created by Ted

Driftwood air plants created by Ted

In 2015 I started experimenting with making jewelry out of some of the many sea beans and seeds that we had collected on the beaches in the Bahamas. While at anchor and with limited tools I started to explore ways to create jewelry with these sea gems that I had collected. In fact I found so many sea beans they I was referred to by friends as the “sea bean queen”. At the same time Ted started creating a different type of beach treasure using sea coral, drift wood and air plants.

At the end of the winter we had collected a large plastic container of sea glass, beans and seeds which got tucked away in storage for the summer while we were busy with our bed and breakfast in Toronto, with the idea of someday making something with treasures.

Sea glass jewelry

One of many original sea glass pendants created by Diane

While in the boat yard in Fort Pierce, Florida in December 2015 I decided that a good New Year’s resolution was going to be to make something with all the sea glass and improve my basic jewellery design skills. I went on Amazon and bought books, tools and jewelry wire. By the time the wire arrived I had already read the books twice and was anxious to try my hand. Within days I had created a dozen unique designs and with encouragement from friends and my husband, within two months I had made over one hundred pieces of jewelry each as unique as the sea glass that come from the ocean.

Business card holder

Business card holder made by Ted of shell and air plants.

For us this is a hobby and a passion inspired by the ocean we cruise with our boat. Ted’s art is on display at the Boatel and I wear a different piece of my jewelry every day.  My hope is to participate in a craft show back in Toronto, perhaps even at the Waterfront Artisan Market. As a busy Toronto bed and breakfast innkeeper  I am not sure where my future is headed as a jewelry designer. One thing is for sure –  I have discovered the love of creating something beautiful from these lovely gifts that come from our oceans.

While staying at the Boatel please ask us to show you our collections of jewelry and ocean-inspired art. To learn more about us read our blog post about how the Boatel started.


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About Diane Greene

Diane Greene stepped off the corporate treadmill in 2004 for pursue a life of traveling and adventure. 10 years later she is still operating Toronto's only Boat Bed and Breakfast and travelling with her husband on Boatel, their 65 foot trawler in the US and Bahamas during the winter. Diane has three wonderful children and 3 grandbabies. Diane loves photography, travel and scuba diving.

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