Monthly Archives: November 2012

IAA Craft Fair day 1

Well, actually these first two photos are from day  -1.  Kaitlyn and Barb wisely leave the island at 11:30 to take advantage of the high tide. (Along with some lobster fishermen …)



The view from my bed at Jim and Harriet’s. 6 a.m. through the skylight. Hello Venus!


My hopeful breakfast buddy, Balor:


The “Islesford Triangle:  Kaitlyn Duggan Pottery, Island Girl Seaglass (Jane Moran), and Barb Fernald Jewelry.




More tomorrow!


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38th Annual Island Arts Association Holiday Fair

Come on down to Bar Harbor on Friday or Saturday and feast your eyes at this fun fair. There really is something for everyone here. I love seeing so many of my old friends whether they need to buy jewelry or are just stopping by to see if I remembered to stock up on the holiday wrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Where: Atlantic Oceanside (used to be Atlantic Oaks)        119 Eden Street      Bar Harbor

When: Friday, November 30th.  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.    and    Saturday, December 1st. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Free admission. Food sales benefit heating costs at the YWCA in Bar Harbor.

Here are a few of the pieces I’ll be putting out tomorrow:

(Gotta remember to pick up peanut butter cups….)


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Pretty light inside too

Not only is November light beautiful at the beach in the afternoon, it looks pretty good inside my studio, too. Just look at the shadows cast by tiny beads on my bench, calling me to sit down, be creative, and enjoy.

And that’s just what I’ve been doing. Enjoying my work. Making that final push before the holidays and feeling more energized by the deadlines than frazzled. I don’t know if I will still feel this way after Thanksgiving, but for now, I’ll take it.

My focus has been on beach rock and sea glass necklaces. Today I sent 8 of them to the Center for Maine Craft in Gardiner, Maine. Just in time too as they have a big promotion going on in the gallery for “Black Friday “and “Small Business Saturday.”

Events: Mark your Calendar!


Black Friday: November 23rd 9am-8pm
After a long, early morning of shopping come by the Center and “Grab a Hug & get a discount”!  The Center staff will have a bowl of Hershey Hugs marked with discounts – 5%, 10%, 15%, or 20%.  Grab a Hug and get a discount off your whole purchase. *

*Can not be combined with any other discounts or sales.
Small Business Saturday: November 24th

Small Biz Sat

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide. Last year,

over one hundred million people came together to Shop Small® in
their communities on Small Business Saturday®.

Come support the Center for Maine Craft and its over 300 current artists with work on display.  Put your name in a RAFFLE for a Center Gift Certificate!  Also, don’t forget a purchase receipt gives you a discount coupon for local businesses in downtown Gardiner!  A double benefit for going small and going local!

If you are traveling up or down interstate 95 or 295 in Maine after Thanksgiving, this stop is right on your way. It’s the only place I know of where you can get gas for your car, pee, get something to eat, and shop for some great craft work made by my fellow Maine artisans. Sounds like a wacky combination, but it’s really a great idea, and it’s a beautiful gallery.

I photographed the work I sent, but after it was in the mail and I checked my photos, I questioned the backgrounds I used in my haste to get to the Post Office before the mail went out at 11 a.m.


This combination of sea glass and beach rocks also includes some of Sue Kennedy‘s beads. I really love the way her etched beads compliment the rough sea glass. (If you want any of Sue’s shiny beads etched, you can just ask her and she’ll be happy to do it for you.) Can you spot them below? There’s a sweet disc with frit (bumps of glass) along the edge on the right side of the photo. (It’s right next to a cream and caramel colored bead that I actually made myself in a class 2 years ago. Yes, I wish I had the time and set up to delve into glass bead making, but it’s not to be right now. Good thing Sue makes such beautiful beads!) The white egg shaped bead with the dots is also one of Sue’s.


I hang on to most of the wacky beads I’ve made myself because I never know when they might come in handy. Like this experiment with translucent polymer clay covering a copper bead. (It’s the center bead.)


I like to use this necklace design with the smaller pebbles and handmade fine silver beads:


That is sterling silver-plated Beadalon cable between the pebbles.



Oy! Time to leave this nasty background color behind. What was I thinking??  Here’s a longer (37″) necklace combining the beach stones, some sterling chain, freshwater pearls, and some flat disc fine silver beads I made.


A more symmetrical piece with beach rocks and fine silver:


My favorite thing to do is to combine the fine silver beads I’ve made, with the beach rocks I drill and the handmade beads of others. Below, two ceramic beads made by Keith O’Connor really work with the granite pebble and the lines in the silver beads: (I buy Keith’s beads at Beadin’ Path in Freeport.)


More examples of sea glass, silver, and Sue beads:


When I have all my beads spread out in a mess on my workbench, I sometimes see combinations that would not have occurred to me. Here are fine silver PMC beads with a copper clay bead that I have patina-ted.



I’m ready to go back to work in the studio after a walk with my sweetie. I have a show on the last day of November and the first of December in Bar Harbor, and another show on December 10 in Boston.  I still hope to get my Etsy shop up and running again…But more about those later. Time to capture the last of the afternoon light.


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3:45 p.m.

I love the light in November. It starts to get dark pretty early on the coast of Maine, but you just can’t beat the angle of the light in the afternoon. Today, when I took a walk to the old Coast Guard station, I was a little surprised to see the sun going down so soon. It was only 4 p.m. when I got home. Time enough to start dinner and go back to work in the studio!




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Good times at the flu shot clinic

There’s never a dull moment on Little Cranberry Island. To liven things up at this year’s flu shot clinic, the “Spin Your Body Part” option was put into play. Yes, indeed. Instead of getting a boring old shot in the arm, you could spin the arrow and have a new choice for where you would get your inoculation. On my turn at the game, the arrow spun to NECK.

Good times! (Nurse Sharon seemed to really enjoy our new approach.)

This unfortunate fellow came for his first ever flu shot, and the spinner picked….you guessed it!

Seriously, it was great to see so many people show up for their shots. Thank you to Cindy Thomas and Denise McCormick and whoever else helped to set it up for the town. Thanks so much to Sharon Daley for being such a good sport, coming out to the islands on a Saturday, and for administering truly painless inoculations. (No matter where they went.) And thank you to my faithful photographer, Emily Thomas for going along with my Saturday shenanigans.

Okay. Here are the real shots for Sharon’s boss and for David’s other daughter Rachel:


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The follow up

In my first afternoon of using the disc cutter  I learned two very important things I want to remember for the next time. The first lesson was that,  between this step…

…and this step…

…I sure wish I had taken the time to drill a little hole in that indentation I made with the center punch. Then I would have had a usable piece from the first cutout. It’s so tiny, that it’s almost impossible to hold while drilling a hole in it, so it becomes an unusable scrap. With a hole in it, it would have become a nice little mini washer. A decorative element for a rivet.  Live and learn. I ended up with a number of these before I thought about taking the extra step to drill them first.

I felt especially wasteful when I thought how handy a mini washer/rivet collar would be in silver as a nice little contrast to some copper earrings.

So, not such a big deal, but a lesson learned for next time.

The other lesson came from overconfidence and not paying attention. “Hey, this is an easy tool to learn to use. I’m whizzing my way through all of these cuts.”  I  remembered to use Bur-Life to lubricate the punch each time. Even when I used the wrong end of the punch….rut roh…

This could have been a costly mistake. Bur-Life or not, one end of the punch is made for cutting and the other end is made for hitting with a hammer. When I put the punch in upside down, the dull end was trying to cut the metal and the sharp end was being hit hard several times with my hammer! It was really hard to separate the punch from the metal sheet, and crossed my fingers that I hadn’t damaged the cutting end of the punch.

Phew. The punch still cut the next piece. I hope I never do that again. Though, I might not be the only one who has ever made that mistake. Rio sells replacement punches.

I hammered and patina-ted the copper and brass pieces, and I hammered, oxidized and hand polished the silver pieces and ended up with a nice collection of components to work with. (I didn’t get a shot of the whole batch, but you can get an idea from this.)

Here are a few of the earrings I made from my own discs.

I think I will get a lot of use out of this new tool!


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New tool!

I recently bought a Swanstrom disc cutter.

If you have one of these you know it’s not a low budget item, so I thought about it for a while before deciding this was something I would use a lot. Much as I love to shop and buy components from other people, I also really like to make my own. I especially wanted the ability to cut discs from brass and copper so I could patina them, and use them in earring designs.

The learning curve was not too steep. I spent a pleasant afternoon working my way through various sizes of discs and familiarizing myself with my new tool. I quickly learned it was better to start with the smallest disc and work up in size. (It is too hard to center the hole in smaller and smaller pieces, which is how I tried it the first time around.) I spent the extra $57 for the Center Positioning Die set. That seemed pretty steep to me, but I still bought it and I’m glad I did. It will pay for itself in time saved when cutting out a series of washers. Here is one of the progressions:

Oh yeah! I was on a roll! I dug out my silver scraps from the days when I cut all of my shapes and interior designs with a saw.

I know. They were kind of a fun design, but I got so tired of sawing and filing edges and going through all of those grits of sandpaper to polish them. And PMC was so much less expensive when I put these pieces away….Now they have some new life!

Here are the pieces I cut in my learning curve afternoon.

I have more to say about what I learned and some photos of how I finished the components. But, it’s getting late and I already stayed up way too late last night to hear Obama and Romney speak when the results were in. So off to bed I go and, as they say in France, “à demain!”


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Voting on Little Cranberry Island

It’s election night and I’m sure I’m not the only one will be glued to the TV to watch the results come in. In the Town of Cranberry Isles we have two polling places: The Neighborhood House on Islesford, and the Community Center on Great Cranberry Island. I’m not sure of the actual number of registered voters, but I think it’s around 130 for our 5 island town. When I arrived at the Neighborhood House to vote this afternoon, there was no line. My cute little mother-in-law was there at the same time. After announcing our names, and being checked off the voter list, we were given our ballots and we stepped into the voting booths. Ann stood in the booth with the vertical stripes, so I occupied the booth with the horizontal stripes. If a third voter had shown up at that moment, they would have been the island version of a waiting line.


I asked how the turnout had been so far and learned the day had been busy. Plenty of voters and 42 absentee ballots.


I wish we still had the old wooden booths that we used to use to vote. They had great doors with springy hinges and they felt solid. I’m not sure when the old booths were built, but when you stepped inside you had a sense of connecting to history. Among the “modernized” accoutrements of the island polling place there is still one connection to the past.

This ballot box has been used for many many elections:

Bruce stopped in to vote before coming home from  a day of hauling traps. In his lunch pail, he brought home two of these guys for dinner.


Most any day I will say I love where I live. Today, especially, I felt privileged to live in this island community in a country where I have the freedom to vote.


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