Monthly Archives: March 2012

New necklaces posted on Etsy



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When a rushed photo is better than no photo

On Friday, I was looking for something to combine with the weathered strong blue of the copper beads I patinated last week. I remembered seeing a length of silver-washed copper chain stashed away in my studio. It was from an impulse purchase at Beadin’ Path several years ago.

The links are quite thin, but the color and texture were just what I was looking for. I found a way to make the pieces work for me by separating them and combining them with glass beads, pearls, and the patinated copper.

I finished the necklace, and took some hasty photographs. The wind was blowing, and the sun was low in the trees, so the light was intermittently bright. I did not bother trying to filter out shadows. I was in a hurry  to see friends who had just arrived on the island for the weekend. I wore the new necklace…

…and then my friends bought it!

I’m glad I bothered to take a few photographs before I rushed out the door. The lighting may not be great, but I have a record of a jewelry design I really liked.


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It was still close to 80º in Northeast Harbor…

…when I got on the 3:30 mailboat to head back to the island.  I looked over to the next float to see 4 boys daring each other to go in the water.



Nate! An island boy after my own heart. We share the experience of knowing what the ocean water feels like in March.

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Spring, day 2

I began my day with another walk to the old Coast Guard station. The 45° temperature at 7 a.m. felt like it wouldn’t last. I’ve never felt such soft air, first thing in the morning, in March, in Maine. By noon it was 73° which sets a record. I can’t believe it’s supposed to be as warm or warmer tomorrow!

On my walk the sun was blindingly bright, making me think I should try to get going earlier while it is still behind the trees. (Progress not perfection… I should give myself credit for getting out two mornings in a row, when I feel so out of shape I don’t want to move.)

The song sparrows were nice and loud, cheering me on.

A pile of rocks in the branch of a dead tree cheered me on.

At the end of the road, low tide, more brightness.

I spent the rest of the morning on phone calls, putting away laundry, and gathering together anvils, hammers, wire, and beads for my visit to the Ashley Bryan School. Shira Singer, friend and art teacher had asked if I would come in to help with a wire working  project among the older students. I had a fun time and I hope the kids did too. It was pretty sweet to hear the sound of three hammers on anvils flattening coiled copper wire. It sounded like a jewelry studio!

Yay Shira! Thanks for wearing one of my beach rock necklaces!

I ended the afternoon with my friend Cindy and a trip to the Sand Beach around 3:30.  Time for the March dip! The air temperature had dropped to 65° but the water was a balmy 41°.

Same bright sun on the afternoon side of the island.

I ended the day with a little lobster wrestling.

Does this guy look like he wants to use his claws on me or what?!



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Dingle dangle day

I celebrated the first day of spring with a long walk this morning and a long walk this afternoon. In between, I put together some earrings with some of the patinated pieces I finished waxing yesterday. (The weather was so nice, I decided to go out rather than take time to take additional photos for listing these on my Etsy site. Maybe tomorrow morning…)

Copper metal clay beads with tearaway texture, russet red patina, fine silver disc, ceramic disc, sterling silver head pin:

More russet red patina on brass paddle beads, sterling silver head pins and beads:

More brass paddles with ocean blue patina, enameled headpins, sterling silver and glass beads:

Brass leaves from Beadin’ Path, verdigris patina, enameled head pins, patinated head pins, s.s. beads, glass beads:

Ceramic beads topped with copper bead cap treated with mix of Persian indigo and laurel green patina; copper headpin with same patina mix:

Bronze clay bunchberry leaves with chestnut brown patina, s.s. beads:

Stamped copper rings, brass discs, treated with ocean blue patina, freshwater pearls:

Earrings below from a few days ago. No patina pieces, but a pair of the cool enameled fluted bead caps made by Sue Kennedy at SueBeads. The Über handy, Über useful enameled head pins are also made by Sue.


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Patina play

Treating base metal pieces with solutions to develop patinas on the surface is how I spent a good part of my time over the weekend. I started by cleaning the pieces to make sure there was no grease on the surface.

I melted the ends of silver wire and copper wire to use as head pins for earrings. Later I would I hammer the copper wire to get a flat round surface which I would then color with a patina. But first, I cleaned the head pins by throwing them in a rotary tumbler with a little water, soap, and steel shot, to make sure they were ready to receive the patina. Goodness gracious…

I use patina solutions from Shannon LeVart of Miss Ficklemedia. After buying Shannon’s pieces for a couple of years, I decided to buy her tutorial and some supplies to try it myself. Her instructions are excellent. So is her work. Definitely check out her Etsy site. 

We had temperatures in the high 50’s today and it was sunny. The patinas had developed for more than a day so the timing was perfect for taking the batches of patin-ted pieces outside to spray with Permalac to seal the colors.

The pieces I am most excited about are the beads I made myself from copper and bronze metal clay. The patinated background with raised  designs came out just as I hoped. I especially like the russet red.

Tomorrow I’ll apply a layer of preservation wax over the lacquer and then hand buff each piece. After that the beads will be safe to wear against clothing and skin, and it will be time to make some jewelry. Sometimes I think about just making and selling beads. No matter what material I’m working with, I usually end up thinking about making beads with it. Barb the bead maker. Yeah…. Meanwhile I have plans for all of those brass paddle-shaped pieces in the first photograph. I didn’t make them, but I patina-ted them and they will end up starring in a great pair of earrings. That’s a story for another time.


Happiness is a handful of handmade head pins!


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There really are leprechauns living on Islesford!

Happy St. Patricks Day!


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Etsy at last!

Well, it’s a lot easier to tell someone else to take an hour a day to keep up with their Etsy site than it is to do it myself. I took the photos a while ago, but didn’t get around to listing things until this evening. I have yet to make it a part of my routine.

I did learn something, though. That is to “pin” my newest listings to Pinterest. Then someone else might see it and re-pin it to their pinboard. I still don’t get how it all works, and how people find you to follow you, but I know it’s another way to put yourself or your work out there. Free advertising is never bad. I’m afraid to look too much at Pinterest because it could be yet another thing to keep me away from the studio. (“Could be?” who am I kidding. Of course it is!)

Here are the items I listed on Etsy tonight:

The last pair of earrings, with the purple patina, have already sold. Cool beans! Thanks Karen! If that isn’t a sign to get to work on all of the pieces I have ready to patina, I don’t know what is.


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String me along

Today was a cold rainy dreary day in Maine. Great for working in the studio, but the light was lousy for taking photographs. Obviously.

I had a necklace, strung with beach rocks on knotted waxed cotton, that needed to be restrung. I wasn’t satisfied with the way I had finished the knots on the clasp, and I wanted to incorporate some silver discs.

I was much happier with the results above. Knotting cord or string is so different from using crimp beads to finish off wire. I find it challenging, but I learn more about it every time I do it.

Once I come up with a result I like, whether on a necklace or an elastic bracelet, there is one important last step to use on any knot.

Glue. Always add a drop of glue to any finishing knot. I especially like this glue by G-S. It has a needle applicator which makes it extremely easy to apply to a small area. I’m never without it in my studio.



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Art? is everywhere

Most days, after spending a day off island and catching the 3:30 boat home, I walk into the house around 4:15.  My routine is to put away whatever groceries I purchased, start to make dinner, listen to phone messages, then sit down to have a cup of tea while checking e-mail, FaceBook, and blogs. In considering a post for my own blog after an off-island day (especially a day where I have not managed to pull out my camera) I am sometimes faced with the choice of posting nothing or posting something kind of lame.

A few months ago, on a snowless winter walk,  something caught my eye.  I took a photo and saved it, just in case I needed it for a day such as this.


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