Monthly Archives: July 2013

Two red vehicles and a red hat

“How do the cars get out to your island?” A fairly common question from people who might be visiting the island for the first time. My morning mailboat ride gave me the perfect opportunity to answer that question with a blog post.

The ferry was unloading supplies at the Islesford Dock Restaurant, as the Beal and Bunker barge pulled alongside to unload these vehicles at the island’s ramp. (The car and truck were driven onto the barge from the ramp in Northeast Harbor.)


David Bunker pushes the barge with the Double B, while his son Justin maneuvers the winch that lowers the barge’s loading ramps to line up with the concrete ramp on the beach. Lots of ramp stuff going on.

IMGP5068 IMGP5069 Same barge, same loading ramp, same father-son team on a very different day:

IMGP3435 To answer the question, “How do you get ice that is 6″ thick off a barge?”


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A couple of drop offs

Today was one of those days where I couldn’t seem to get out of my own way. All I noticed was what I didn’t get done rather than what I managed to do. Pricing and dropping off (mailing) work to two galleries is not nothing, but I thought I would be putting more time in at my bench this week.  I have to spend both Wednesday and Thursday off the island so that means no solid working time until Friday. Well, no need to call in the waa waambulance. I’ll just post some photos of what I managed to finish and get myself off to bed early. Tomorrow is a new day and we can only live them one at a time, right?

The necklaces below (along with 9 pairs of earrings I did not take time to photograph) went in the mail today to Red Dot Gallery in Deer Isle, Maine. I almost forgot to photograph them, so the photos are rushed and the price tags are already attached. D’oh.

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The second “drop off” was to Winter’s Work, right here on Little Cranberry Island.  Again I rushed through the photos, and I did not take time to photograph the earrings I priced.  Summer is just crazy busy.

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Off to bed for me!


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34 years ago today…

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4 p.m. ferry ride on the last Saturday in July

A gray morning turned into a spectacular afternoon and my usual boat ride home went right through the middle of a race of International One Design sailboats. Not such a bad commute.

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If I hadn’t missed my hair cut appointment last week…

…I wouldn’t have rescheduled it for today, to be followed by a drive from Bar Harbor to Ellsworth for a recall maintenance appointment for my car at the Subaru dealer.  I wouldn’t have needed to ask for the “courtesy van” to drop me off at the grocery store. If I hadn’t taken the courtesy van, I wouldn’t have needed to call to be picked up again.  If I hadn’t needed to wait for 10 minutes in front of the store for the van, I would have missed the sight that “Mr. Overalls” passed right by without seeing. He never even turned his head to look!



You may well wonder what it was he missed. When I watched this car pull into its parking spot, I was going to ask the driver if he minded if I took a picture of his car. Then I decided I would rather just wait and take the photo after he was inside buying who knows what for groceries.

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Once back at the Subaru dealer, I anxiously watched the clock wondering if the car would be ready in time for me to catch the 4 p.m. ferry back to the island. The drive to Northeast Harbor takes about 25 minutes if you don’t run into traffic. On a Thursday in July, I would allow myself at least 40 minutes to be able to get to the boat in time to unload the car and then park. The maintenance person handed me my keys at 3:27. The next boat leaves N.E. Harbor at 6 p.m. so I knew I wouldn’t be totally stuck. But we had dinner plans and I had really hoped to catch the 4 p.m. ride. There was nothing to do but drive and not look at the clock. I would either make it or I wouldn’t. In the weird zen like time warp that happens to me when I completely let go of worrying about catching the boat (which I think I have only accomplished 3 times since living on the island for 37 years), I pulled onto the dock in N.E. Harbor at 3:50. I had not been speeding. I had even been stuck behind 2 different cars going way below the speed limit. No way should I have been able to catch that boat with plenty of time to unload, park the car, and even make a stop in the ladies room. And yet I did.


Once I was back on the island, around 5 p.m., Bruce started to tell me about seeing a pretty strange sight from his boat today. I listened to his story of a sea gull grabbing a  piece of discarded lobster bait  from the open mouth of a seal who thought it would be a good snack. “Pretty strange,” I agreed. I then showed him the photo of my strange sighting from today. He replied instantly with a quote from the 1962 classic thriller, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? with Joan Crawford and Bette Davis:    “Oh, Blanche? You know we’ve got rats in the cellar?”

The universe lined up for me today in the strangest ways.


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Working to get ready to work


One of the things I like best about being a jewelry designer is making my own beads. It doesn’t matter whether they are made from silver, copper, bronze, polymer clay, stone, or glass. I find the most satisfaction from using beads I know I can’t get anywhere else. I often combine my own beads with beads and findings made by other crafts people I’ve come to know through blogs and through Etsy.



Drilling rocks, waxing and then buffing them takes time. So does drilling sea glass, though when the glass pieces are drilled the beads are finished. No waxing or buffing needed. Enlarging the holes in fresh water pearls also takes time, though I’ve learned to speed up that process considerably by using the same drilling technique I use for rocks and glass.

Drilling rocks and glass sounds like tedious business, but I actually really like to do it. A lot. There is great satisfaction when I drill from the opposite side of a stone and connect successfully with the first hole I’ve drilled. I think of how I would like to use each rock as I place it into the dish with the others, waiting to be cleaned up and waxed. So much possibility! I enjoy spending time on the beach looking for specific shapes colors or sizes of rocks, even though I already have boxes and boxes in my studio that would take me years to drill.

I also like to listen to books on CD while I work so I’m able to keep up with my “reading.” (Currently listening to “The Falls” by Joyce Carol Oates. I think it could be a bit of a slog to read but I am enjoying listening to it. A few books that stand out for me as excellent listening are: “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese, “The Lotus Eaters” by Tatjana Soli, “American Dervish” by Ayad Akhtar, and “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles.)

Factoring in the usual distractions of an island summer, this is what two days of drilling  looks like for me:

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That would be 42 beach rocks, 50 pieces of sea glass, and 75 pearls of assorted size. I can’t wait to start working with them but I will have to. Tomorrow is an off-island day for me. Haircut, visit with Mom, groceries, and time at the Subaru dealer for a catalytic converter recall. But on Friday morning, don’t call me because I’ll be busy at my bench!


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One of three

I am one of three jewelers I know whose mothers have a birthday on July 22.  I’m not sure if that’s auspicious or not, but I would bet that all of our mothers are well accessorized. Happy Birthday Mom!

Before stopping at my Mom’s in Bar Harbor to prepare a lunch of popovers and cold melon gazpacho with lobster, I took an early morning drive to Bangor to check in on my neighbor Kaitlyn and her 4 week old son Bode,   (pronounced Bo´dee) who is one of three of Islesford’s newest citizens.

Bode and I planned and plotted his escape from Eastern Maine Medical Center and it looks like he can pull off this caper on Thursday.  (Can’t you see those gears turning? )

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Don’t worry Bode….you can bring your favorite girl with you, of course.


Can’t wait to have Bode and his parents back in the hood.


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Arrived in yesterday’s mail…

…goodies from Petra Carpreau who lives “across the pond” in Exmoor, North Devon UK.  I have been admiring her work for many months now. If you haven’t looked at Petra’s Etsy Shop, Scorched Earth,” be sure to click on the link. I don’t think you will be disappointed!

Petra doesn’t have a blog, but she has a Pinterest page showing a great  collection of work that people have made from her wonderful creamic components.

Last week I decided it was time to buy some of her pieces to inspire some of my own designs. Check out what I ordered! She is a lovely sociable person when it comes to ordering from her. I felt supported by her enthusiasm!

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I really love the black lines in the crackle design of these drops. All of her pieces are just begging me to attach a simple ear wire so they can become cool earrings as soon as possible.  But I’m going to take a little time to design my own ear wires that I hope will enhance the drops and make the earring designs just a bit more original. Photos to follow if I ever manage to get a little more time in the studio. It has continued to be the busiest week of the whole summer for me. I feel like I am going a million miles an hour from one thing to the next. I just need to step back, breathe, and remember that I can only handle what I can do in a day.


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It’s been such a busy week…

…and it’s only Wednesday night! I’ve been packing in the activities as much as I can and still trying to keep up with making one of a kind jewelry pieces. Last Friday night I dropped off a few necklaces at Winter’s Work next to the Islesford Dock Restaurant. Sue has an amazing collection of Maine crafts in this sweet little shop. Anytime you come to Islesford you don’t want to miss it. I must check in tomorrow to see if any of these pieces sold:

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On Monday I took a great little book arts workshop for 5 hours at Chapter Two Gallery in Corea, Maine. I have a whole post I want to write about that experience. It was wonderful. But the week before the workshop, gallery owners Rosemary and Garry Levin asked if I could bring in more necklaces. Here is the selection of necklaces I left with them just before sitting down to some book learning:

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So far, I’ve been finding enough of a balance to avoid feeling overwhelmed by summer like I usually do. On Monday night I went to bed at 9 and didn’t wake up until 9 on Tuesday morning. I don’t do that very often, but it sure is so restorative when I do. Hmm…It could be that at age 60 I’ve finally decided that getting enough sleep needs to be a priority. I can’t run on fumes like I used to be able to do at age 40.

What do you need to make a priority to get through the summer?


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What a great way to end a hot day…

…spending 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Islesford Sand Beach. Water temperature about 57°. Ahhh…. I sure feel fortunate to live here.

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