Tag Archives: postaday 2011

Lucky with Irene

We lost power on the island for 36 hours, and had some rain and more wind than we usually get at this time of year, but Irene took a track inland to the west of us and we only had a few small trees and branches come down on the island. Without power, we had no internet, and so I didn’t post anything to let friends know we were all doing fine.

A few people were getting grouchy on day 2, without power, but for the most part we are well served by the Bangor Hydroelectric Company. They have come out to the island, by boat, in some pretty dicey weather in the fall, winter, and spring to make sure the islands did not have to go too long without power. It was probably our turn to stand near the end of the service line as there were so many others in the state with far worse problems than ours.

Anyway, all is well and  Bruce and I are counting down the days to our son’s wedding on September 10th. There is still a lot to do, so I’ll post a few photos of the fog burning off last Friday morning as I took the mailboat off the island to get provisions before the storm. The I’ll get to work on my long list for today.


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Making progress on work…

…at the pace of a periwinkle.



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Kiln back in action

At last! It’s not like I’ve been waiting for a repair, or anything like that. Summer is just so full of good things that there is hardly room to work or breath. But, I’ve managed to do both lately.

While firing a batch of silver clay pieces, I got out the bronze and copper clay for the first time since June. With the current high price of silver clay, I felt less constrained with the base metals. My goal this week, with all three kinds of clay, was to come up with some birds for a little show on Sunday at the home of my sister-in-law Karen and her husband Hugh. Birds play a big part in our lives and it’s going to be fun to see what several friends have made for “Island Birds,” at the Smallwood’s house on Sunday, August 8 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and the various birds will be for sale. Jim Bright has bird carvings, Karen and Hugh have paintings, Rick Alley has paintings, Joy Sprague has photographs, Jeri Spurling has bird-inspired floor cloths, and I will have some birdy beads on necklaces and earrings. This could be the year I start my Christmas shopping early!

Silver pieces out of the kiln and headed for the tumbler:

Bronze and copper pieces ready for the kiln. It’s such a different firing process from silver. Everything above went easily into one load. Whereas the pieces below required two loads. My fingers are crossed that the first batch wasn’t too crowded, and will have sintered properly.


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Pretty much a perfect day

That’s what I had today. Though, I thought I was going to be off kilter when I slept in and felt it was “too late” to go for an early morning walk. I went anyway and was rewarded with a cloudless sky, ospreys calling overhead, and the tide low enough to walk most of the way home on the beach.

At the water’s edge there were two herring gulls and a smaller gull I had not seen before. He looked like he wanted to hang with the other two gulls, but as they were snubbing him so he followed a parallel path to the one I was taking. From what I can tell it was a Bonaparte’s Gull.

As I got back on the road, my timing was perfect for an unplanned visit with my friend Amy, who was out running. We both tend to feel a little overwhelmed by people in the summer, so we each stick close to home and don’t see as much of each other as we would like. The chance to catch up with each other this morning, before our day really started, was a bonus for me.

My morning of work in the studio was productive, and as I worked on an alternate stringing of a beach rock necklace, I was thinking how the Thai silver beads from Kate McKinnon’s sale would work in perfectly with the new design. Et voila! When I went to get the mail, after lunch, my little package of goodies from Kate had arrived. Fresh energy for me as she clears out old stuff to make room for fresh energy in her own space. (More about this tomorrow, since I have to spend most of the day off- island and a girl just has to blog about something other than fighting the crowds of people arriving in Bar Harbor for the 4th of July.)

At 3 p.m. I headed into my garden to get the rest of it ready for planting the remainder of the veggies that have been sitting in their little 6 packs, waiting. The slugs have eaten the zucchini plants but not the cucumbers. Go figure. I ridded the garden of a few dozen snails and a few of those nasty tiger slugs, planted what I could, turned on the sprinkler and called it good.

I  had plenty of energy to make a triple batch of granola after dinner, and took the time to reflect on what a good first day of July this has been.

P.S. As I was taking photos of my new goodies from Kate, at the dining room window, I looked up to notice there is a bud on my night blooming cereus plant! That scrawny looking thing has never blossomed and I’ve had it for 6 or 7 years. Yup, it was a darn good day.


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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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