Monthly Archives: February 2013

A day of this……

…Sourdough bread lesson on Saturday….



(Fabulous bread made by sweet expectant mama Kaitlyn Duggan above and happy new mama Lindsay Eysnogle below)



…led to a Monday afternoon of this:





Kaitlyn decided it would be a great idea to carve our own bread-rising bowls so she can add them to her bisque firing tomorrow night. Sweet! Thanks Kaitlyn! It was really fun to extend our bread baking endeavors to a related creative activity. Can’t wait to make the next batch of bread with these to see how/if the patterns transfer to the top of  the loaves.







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Fold forming…first attempts






Finished pieces below. Paired to show front and back.




I’ve been wanting to try this technique for a while, especially to make some of my own leaves out of brass and copper. I knew I wanted to patina them. As I was preparing a bunch of other components to patina, I tried folding some 24 gauge metal, hammering it, and then opening it. Of course I wanted instant gratification, so I stopped with one fold, cleaned up the edges and then textured the open surfaces with hammers and a stamp.

Next time I will take the time to anneal the metal after the first fold, and try a few more folds.



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The lid comes off the soup


Earlier this week I received  my bead soup from Lori Anderson. It was all wrapped up in a very cute little bag that Lori had crocheted herself. Clever gal that Lori! It was full to the brim with cool stuff. Look!



I am so happy to work with these colors. This photo doesn’t do justice to the periwinkle blue of the glass beads that Lori made herself.  (Lamp working is one of those techniques I really wish I had more time to learn. Lori’s beads are great!)  The dyed jade beads in the center are such a rich magenta color. They are also faceted in a very pretty subtle way. The pewter jump rings are twisted wire, very bright with a lot of texture. I love working with silver metals. Woo hoo! Check out those shell shapes of the Thai silver beads. Sweet! The silver hook and eye clasp also has a nice twisted texture and a very solid weight to it. The yellow/green dyed jade beads are such a cool shape. I know I’m going to have some funky fun with those.  The ceramic focal is gorgeous, and I’ll admit it also scares the heck out of me. I hope I can do it justice as I’ve not worked with anything that size before. But that is what the Bead Soup Blog Party is all about. It’s a chance to think outside the box and work with things that just may not be in my comfort zone. It’s a perfect opportunity for creative growth as a jewelry designer, and I’m happy for the challenge! I’ve also never worked with sari silk, but I like the idea of reusing something that had such a different life before this.

You may have noticed there was also a little purple box that was not part of “the soup” unless I wanted to include it.  This is what was in it:



The house/firefly pendant, made by Martha Easton, looks ceramic but it’s quite lightweight. I think it is polymer clay. It has a cream colored flowery texture on the other side. (I forgot to photograph it, duh.) It will make a lovely little pendant. Last but not least, the brass flower shapes are just the kind of thing I have been working with this week. I’ve been either cutting out my own copper and brass pieces to patina, or texturing stamped out metal shapes, like the flowers above, to make my own mark on them before I add patina. I can’t wait to put these little babies on a steel block and have at them with a hammer or two!

Thank you Lori! You are generous and clever and amazing. Yes, in case you missed this information from a previous post, Lori Anderson is the person who created the Bead Soup Blog Party. This party is the 7th one, and it is the largest yet. Over 500 crafty people of all levels are participating in the exchange and  challenge, and they are blogging about it.  Lori has writtena book called, “Bead Soup,” featuring 32 projects. She has also written an e-book about creative blogging called, “Follow the Path.”

The first BSBP reveal is on March 30, the second reveal is on April 6, and the third reveal (that’s the one I’m in) is on April 13.  I’ll post a list of all of the people in each group with a link to their blogs on the reveal dates.  It’s fascinating to hop around all the different blogs and see what everyone has done and what their partners have done. Oh, and just in case Lori doesn’t seem busy enough…she also has a 10 year old son named Zack, and she is participating in all three Bead Soup exchanges and reveals!  Rock on Lori!


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Happy Valentine’s Day

Islesford streetlight. Slow exposure "drawing," red photo shop color.

I love to love Valentine’s Day.  I am so extremely fortunate to be happily married* to the love of my life.   One of the most fun and simple things we’ve done for each other is to leave notes around, throughout the year, especially when our busy schedules keep us from seeing each other much. When I have deadlines, I tend to go back to work after dinner, leaving traces of my work and tools around until I pick them up in the morning. Sometimes those traces evoke notes from Bruce like this:



or this:



My all time favorite note and Valentine is from 21 years ago. Bruce woke me up and told me to look out the window in 5 minutes:



Best. Valentine. Ever. Though, he came up with a pretty close second this morning. I walked out of our room to see his iPad propped against the stair railing with Dean Martin singing, “That’s Amore!”  It’s like I have my own private “Valentine Bandit.”  Somewhere we still have one of the bandit’s fliers from 1978 that proclaims: “It’s not only ONE day!”

Hearts are everywhere in nature, reminding us to open up our own heart and spread some love. Little gifts from the universe. Keep an eye out! Just yesterday as I was driving away from my mother’s assisted living facility,  this white snow heart in the middle of a gravel pit called out to be noticed. Such a simple thing, but it made my day.


Sidewalk snow in Portsmouth, N.H.








*happily married is not perfectly married. Thank god there is no such thing. Just so you don’t think we’re so full of schmaltz and sticky sweetness that you would gag if you ever met us, here’s a little piece of reality from my most recent Cranberry Report in the “Working Waterfront.”


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Whoop Whoop! Time for Soup!

That’s soup with a capital “S” as in Bead Soup Blog Party. I had so much fun doing this last year for my first time, I made sure to sign up again for this year’s BSBP. There are over 500 of us participating, with three different reveal dates.

I am super psyched because my partner this year is the Bead Soup queen herself, Lori Anderson. I call her the queen because she is the originator of the Bead Soup Blog Party. She has done an amazing job matching people from this country and around the world. I can’t even wrap my head around figuring out how she manages it. To read more about the BSBP click on this link.

Lori’s hopes  for all of us who participate in this blog hop:

:: To trade beads
:: To design outside your comfort zone
:: To get to know someone new (or better!)
:: To show your work to the world via your blog
 : To kick start, revitalize, or continue blogging as a way of self-expression.
I sent my package of goodies to Lori today. I already know, from following Lori’s blog that she has a 10 year old son named Zack. When I went to the post office today, our postmaster Joy was totally into making sure there was an interesting assortment of stamps on the box in case it was something that might interest Zack. (Joy is a fellow Dip-of-the-Month Club member, too.)
I’m not supposed to show what I’m sending because I want it to be a surprise for Lori. When I receive her package, I’ll post photos to show the “soup” she sent. Meanwhile, here is a hint of what is coming her way…in a box that is loaded with cool stamps.
Pixel soup 3
Pixel soup 1
Pixel soup 2


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Back to it

I was only without an internet signal for 4 nights, but is seemed like a lot longer. Of course during that time I though of a bunch of photos to post and thoughts to write, and I missed checking all of the blogs I’ve become used to seeing every day. The few times I went somewhere else to pick up a signal, I used the time to catch up on essential e-mails.

Here are a few photos from the day after the storm. It was beautiful, sunny, and I got out on cross country skis for the first time in years. I feel so fortunate to live in such a beautiful spot.












Double click on the image below to see signs that spring is on its way.









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Quick storm update

Wow. No photos even! Our internet receiver for the island was knocked out in the storm last night. There are hopes to have it back in service by Tuesday. We’re lucky to still get a signal at the Neighborhood House through the Islesford Library, but right now the L. is closed and the building is unheated. I’m writing from a very cold room, but grateful that we have kept our electrical power throughout the storm.


No record snowfalls on the island though we did get about 14″. It’s hard to tell because there has been so much blowing and drifting. One house on Great Cranberry Island clocked the wind at 112mph around 2 a.m.

Maybe I’ll make sure to get to the library tomorrow for more of an update. They have heat and are open from 1 to 3 on Sunday. It will probably be a record crowd!!

Hope everyone survived the storm okay.


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New tool, new learning curve

I have this habit of buying tools I think I need, and then setting them aside. This is because I am either  daunted by a new learning curve or the tool was an impulse buy and I can’t quite remember why it was so important that I had to have it. I bought this riveting tool in December and just got around to giving it a try yesterday. Silly me. The learning curve was not steep at all and I’m sure I will find the tool quite useful.

Ha ha. I was thrown off by having the staple on the right side of the page when I read through the instructions.


The recommendation was to set the tool into a vise. Hey, I had one of those. Bought on impulse. Never used. Until yesterday. (Yes, I’m an impulse buyer. But I  eventually use 95% of these tools at some point. It was so satisfying to need a small vise and just happen to have one on hand.)



If you’re thinking of getting one of these, the vise helps a lot. I can’t imagine trying to use this tool while holding it in my hand.  The right side of the tool has a punching mechanism and the left side sets the rivet by flaring it. This device is designed for tube rivets. An assortment of open end and closed end tubes come with the tool.



As with any rivet, the length is the key. Too short and there won’t be enough (rivet) metal overlapping the hole to keep the rivet in place. Too long and the rivet will bend, causing an improper fit between the two pieces being riveted. Here are my first attempts:

The very first rivet is the one at “3 o’clock.” I was in such a hurry to get going I didn’t take the time to make sure everything was seated right or lined up before I screwed down the flaring tool. The flare is ragged and off center.



On the back side, at the “9 o’clock” position, there are marks from screwing down too hard. Part of the learning curve: knowing when to stop. At 3 o’clock you can see the results of a rivet that was too long. There was too much metal to flare properly and the excess hangs out leaving a rough edge. The rivet at 6’oclock looks like it is properly done. (One out of three at the beginning. Not too steep to learn.)




From trying this tool and from having made my own wire rivets, I have to say that I like using solid wire rivets better for attaching two pieces of metal. But, you will notice that most of my attempts with this riveting tool were to set a decorative rivet in one layer of metal. I like the look of this eyelet creating a finished hole. I plan to make and patina a number of different base metal “doo-dads” to combine with silver. I think having a mixed metal eyelet in the piece will add that extra bit of detail I’m looking for.



As long as I get the length of the rivet right. In the case of the piece on the right, below, the rivet was too short. Not enough metal to make a smooth even flare. (The front looks okay because the rivets come with one end already flared.)




One of the attractions of this tool is the ability to easily line up very small pieces of metal and punch a decent sized hole in it. I end up having quite a few small discs around from using my disc cutter. The pieces above are 18 gauge which is thicker than I would usually work with in this case. But it’s really hard to hold a tiny pice in place to drill it with a flex shaft or Dremel. The pieces get too hot, even with lubricant on the drill bit.   So, this tool is perfect for making holes.





I realize now that I could have bought really good hole punching pliers for 1/3 of the price of this tool. I know that’s what I’ll use it for the most. So, to get my money’s worth, I’m going to have to be creative in thinking of all the different ways to use these nice brass tube rivets. That doesn’t sound like such a bad thing after all.

Meanwhile, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, Bruce has the generator running to test it out. Gas cans are filled. Slow cooking spare ribs are about to go in the oven.  I’ll get bread from the freezer to go with the lentil soup I’m making for tomorrow night. It’s so weird to hear the blizzard warnings and predictions of 2 feet of snow. Beal and Bunker boats are running today but the 5 p.m. commuter boat is canceled. We won’t count on any boats running tomorrow!

I’ll be sure to post pictures if we don’t lose power. We’ll still have our generator to use, but if the power’s off the internet signal is gone. Stay safe everyone! Find your skis and snow shoes!



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The delayed post: In which Flat Stella visits Bruce in his workshop


My husband Bruce is a lobster fisherman. In the winter, he takes all 800 of his traps and buoys out of the water to repair and repaint. He also builds new traps to replace some that are too old and bedraggled to repair. When this work is done, he will attend a few conferences in March, do some work on his boat (which is also hauled out for the winter) and then start all over again for the new season.

I was hoping to get a shot of Flat Stella with a lobster, but the season for my easy access to these crustaceans falls between the end of March and the beginning of December. A visit to the shop was the next best thing.


Stella is helping Bruce with the “fid;” a tool that helps him splice the ends of rope. In this case he is attaching “bridles” to the end of the lobster trap. Before the traps are set, Bruce will attach the buoy line to the bridle.


Stella checks out a pile of traps with bridles attached. Bruce’s next step will be to install the interior  pieces of the trap known as heads, where the lobsters crawl in and can’t get out.


“So this is where the lobster goes in!”



“Can you find me?” Stella enjoyed a game of hide and seek. (You might have to click to enlarge!)


Too late to help with painting the buoys, but these are nice and shiny.


And that’s it for Stella’s visit to the shop and to Islesford. Right now she’s enjoying some time in Oregon.


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