Monthly Archives: June 2011

Posting daily…

…is hard to keep up with. As a matter of fact, I haven’t been able to do it. I am trying to get back into the swing of it because it has helped me in writing my Cranberry Report column for the Working Waterfront newspaper, published monthly by the Island Institute. Trying to write a daily post on a blog keeps me looking around for what to photograph and what to write. I open my eyes a little more to the possibilities around me. This helps because once a month I wait until the absolute last minute to come up with an idea for my column. The piece I wrote a few weeks ago was just published online, and I had a blast writing it. (Thank you post a day challenge!)

This is the time of year when the ferry gets pretty crowded and my thoughts turned to all of the baggage that gets loaded and unloaded from the boat as we make our way back to the islands. It doesn’t matter if the load is from a day of grocery shopping or from arriving for two weeks of vacation. It still takes effort to keep track of it on the ferry.

If you are interested in reading about “baggage” click here.

If you want to just look at some rosa rugosa, look below.


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The day after the day after

You know how it is the first day you start to feel better after being slammed down on the couch by some achy stomach virus thing? You want to make up for all the time you “wasted’ by doing nothing for three days because you felt so crummy. But after a few hours of activity your body says, “Ha ha. Fooled you. You still feel like dirt!”

Then comes the day after the day after feeling sick. You pace yourself, realize you might not be as far behind as you thought, and if you are, you don’t care because you just feel so happy to feel all better.

Today was that day for me. I made myself go for a walk while it was still foggy this morning, I worked in the studio, I mailed off 3 return packages for clothes I had ordered that didn’t work out, I mailed an Etsy order to Canada, chatted with several people I had not seen yet, (newly arrived on the island) and I tamed half of my vegetable/flower garden.

All in all a great day. It feels so much better to feel better!

(Lupine, phlox, and iris on yesterday’s foggy “almost better” walk.)


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Bravely opening the etch cream

Or as my friend Holly and I like to call it, the “fatal etch cream.”  Wow. Don’t you just love being brave enough to try something that has the words: “Danger: May be fatal,” right on the bottle?  (Well, me neither, most of the time.)

In this instance, the product is a small bottle of cream containing Amonium/Sodium Bifluorides used to etch glass. Sure this matte finish on glass could also be achieved in a tumbler with some sand from the beach, but today I was going for more instant gratification.

I never really thought about etch cream until I took a lampworking class with my friend Holly at the end of February in Rockland. Some of our more creative attempts at making glass beads produced colors we didn’t really like. Virginia Slawson, of Playing with Fire, said, “You know, those could have a whole different look if you etched them.” We discussed different ways to etch glass and the last time I was at A.C. Moore in Bangor I picked up a little bottle of fatal etch cream.

I am not set up to make my own glass beads (yet), so I  love to buy them. One of my favorite glass bead artists is Sue Kennedy of SueBeads. I’m always checking her blog to see what she has added recently to her Etsy site. The beads I am most drawn to are the ones with a matte finish; the ones she has etched.


Below a pair  of  Sue’s etched glass beads with a pair of copper beads I made last week.

I also bought some shiny glass beads in shades of purple. I especially love how the light comes through the beads in front.

But see the ones in the back of the photo above? (I know, they’re out of focus.) Here is a better shot:

I bought these beads specifically to try etching myself.  I’m sure Sue would have done it for me if I had asked her when I ordered them. I had a hunch that I would really like how the lines and colors showed up if I etched them.

et voila! I left two of the six beads un-etched for comparison. Also, if I  ruined the ones I altered, I would at least still have 2 that I liked. The cream took longer to work than I thought it would, and it still makes me a little nervous to use it, but I’m happy with the results.




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Portable plein air Henry

Happy Birthday to our friend Henry Isaacs who celebrated his “landmark” birthday, yesterday,  at the Islesford Dock Restaurant. His children, Olive, Simon and Zoe, and his wife Donna, organized a major surprise party with friends and relatives; some coming from as far away as the left coast.

I really wanted to be at the party. But I really felt crappy with some stomach-y, body ache-y, flu type thing. The irony was that because I felt so lousy, I didn’t move far from the couch all day, which gave me time to make a gift.  Had I felt better I would have been in the studio or the garden. Instead, I sat still and needle felted a “portable plein air Henry.”


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Bronze and copper cuffs

After the bread making, beach combing, and silicone mold making, we got out some bronze and copper clay. Below is a beautiful bronze cuff bracelet made by Angie Karst. We decided to try making more cuffs with copper and bronze.

I made my cuff from copper clay. We used Hadar’s powders, which I had used previously in the original form. The quick fire formula is much smoother and very nice to work with. Why have I been waiting so long to retry base metal clay?

Notice there’s a crack in the bracelet (near my thumb). This appeared as the bracelet was drying. I used bronze clay to patch it and to test how the bronze clay would react on top of the copper clay.


We had our fingers crossed that all three bracelets would sinter;  that they weren’t too crowded.

Post firing, everything seemed to have sintered successfully.

I can think of some new things to try next time. But for a first attempt, I’m happy that this cuff fired successfully and withstood the hammering I did to work harden it.



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Celebrating the solstice

In which Barb and her friends Angie and Marly watch the longest day of the year come to an end at the Islesford Dock.



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Sunday picnic on Baker’s Island

It was a sunny beautiful day with just enough breeze to keep the mosquitos away, but not so much that it kept us from taking Angie and Marly to one of our favorite places.

Waiting at the Co-op for Bruce to pick us up in the Barbara Ann.

It was a little choppy and the skiff is small so Bruce rowed us in to shore one at a time.

Lunch on the “Dancing Rocks” after a walk across the island.

Bye bye Baker’s.

Tomorrow is a day for bronze clay and bread.


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Hanging with Canadians in the Catholic chapel



We couldn’t find the light switch. I have no words.



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Goldfinch = Cuckoo

I spent the day doing errands off island today, but this little goldfinch was back at our dining room window for day number 3 of strange behavior.

He seems to be defending his domain, as described on the Wikipedia site about goldfinches:

“While the nest is being constructed, the male will act aggressively toward other males who intrude into his territory, driving them away, and the female reacts in the same way toward other females. This aggressiveness fades once the eggs have been laid.




He is not crashing himself into the window, but flying up and down against the glass as if to ward off the foe that matches his every move. Sometimes I have days like this too.  I feel so defensive and testy, only to realize that I just I spent the day doing battle with myself.


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Beach rock brooch in silver

Alone Moose Gallery , where I have my work in Bar Harbor, is celebrating their 36th year of business with a show.

“36 Brooches…Made in Maine” will open on Saturday, and I wanted to be part of it as soon as I heard Sherry Rasmussen’s plans for the show last winter. Did I design and make a brooch last winter? Um, no. I am a last minute girl who needs the pressure of a deadline for just about everything I do. (Hmmm…no wonder I like living on an island with a ferry schedule to follow.)

When Sherry e-mailed me last week asking if I was still going to participate in the show, I figured I’d better get going. I actually had been thinking about this brooch for a while, but just couldn’t come up with a design until I sat down at the bench with my metal clay. Since beach rocks are a part of my everyday life, I decided to go in that direction.

The brooch is slightly  heavy; probably more suited to being worn on a sweater or jacket. The pin findings are soldered on, but the two smaller rocks were attached and fired in place in the kiln.

I like the shape of this elongated beach rock, so I decided to explore it a little more.




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