Tag Archives: postaday2011

One morning in Maine

As in yesterday morning, which started out incredibly foggy and then became clear before noon. Not bothering to look through the view finder (it was a quick walk and the mosquitos were starting to gather), I held my camera low to take a random shot of fog droplets on the grass.


As a photo on its own, it doesn’t interest me much in color or composition. But when I crop it down to a small section, the pattern of drops gives me some ideas for metal clay work this afternoon. Camera as sketchbook.





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Images from the long weekend

Early a.m. beach walk.

Jewelry dropped off at Winter’s Work.

Surprise party to congratulate Fire Chief Richard Howland on completing his training.

Joining the grill team at the annual 4th of July picnic. The town field was too wet this year, so the picnic took place at the Neighborhood House.

Too pooped to stay up and write more. Happy Independence Day!


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Only out of necessity…

…did I travel to Bar Harbor for groceries, two days before the 4th of July. Holy instant crowded summer scene! The trip was tempered by a very manageable number of customers in the hardware store, and by scoring some 6 packs of annuals on sale at Sunflower Farm on route 3.

There are plenty of activities happening on the island tomorrow and Monday, so I’m not sure when I will get a chance to further explore the possibilities of the goodies I bought from Kate McKinnon’s excellent sale last week.


I know exactly what I want to do with some of those triangular Thai silver beads. The rectangular earwires will convert to earrings in minutes with some of my own silver dangles. As for the other bits and bots, who knows how they will come in handy, but they will.

Could I have made these pieces myself? Yes, of course. But sometimes it stirs up the creative energy to add someone else’s components to the mix. One of my all time favorite beach rock necklaces has three fine silver beads that were made by Kate. Though I make plenty of beads myself, Kate’s beads were just the shape and size I needed at the time to complete this particular necklace. (This is not the greatest photo, but you can spot the beads at about 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 8 o’clock.) I’m glad my friend Donna Isaacs ended up with this necklace, because I get to see it quite often. And I’m going to toot my own horn here (not comfortable for me to do) and say that the necklace looks FABULOUS on her!

I have a batch o’ things I plan to patina, next week, including these brass paddles.


Kate added little surprise goodie bags to the orders she sent out from this recent sale. Eventually I’ll use the seed beads, and there are plenty of other little treasures in there that I haven’t even taken out of the bag.

Below, a seed beed mix in a blue and gold colourway. These are for a project sometime in the fall. (After our son’s wedding on the island in September which is a whole ‘nother story of future doings.)

I’m just not quite sure what to think about the word “colourway.” It reminds me of the word “henway” and a lame joke.

Henway? What’s a henway?

Oh, about 5 pounds.



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It worked!

I had a great Memorial Day weekend, spending time with friends, baking, and even dancing to a steel band in the fog on the Town Dock. When I did get into the studio, it was super clean and organized, so I got right to work on repairs that had been hanging around for months. These are items that I did not make, but that people asked me to restring or repair, “whenever I get to it.” I’m delighted to say I cleared my bench of 5 necklaces and 3 pairs of earrings, all in the name of studio clean up.

In taking care of this business, I restrung a necklace I had made for my mother. It was a mixture of blue glass beads interspersed with a number of small sterling silver beads that had become quite tarnished. I used to toss those silver beads in a jar for “someday,” and pull out fresh shiny new beads for repairs. With the price of silver, (today $37.70/oz) I have not purchased new silver beads in a while, so it was time to face the dreaded clean up of tiny silver beads.  Have you ever tried removing tarnish from a 4mm bead with a polishing cloth? Hand cramp city. I remembered hearing about removing tarnish from silver by placing it in a pan with aluminum foil and something else. I had saved a little tutorial about this from a Beading Daily update I received by e-mail earlier this month. I followed the directions given by Beading Daily editor Jen VanBenschoten and it worked pretty well. Later, after the polished beads were back in place on my mother’s newly restrung necklace, I looked on the internet for more information about why this process works. I found the explanation I was looking for on SciFun.org. I love having this kind of information at my fingertips  just as much as I love not having to hand polish all of these tiny beads.

Before: (If these look clean to you, I suggested clicking on the photo to enlarge it!)


I had stopped wearing this little necklace because I dreaded hand polishing the thin-linked chain. The shiny chain in the middle is for comparison:

Three little bits that were sitting on the windowsill in my kitchen, just waiting for this day:

Those bubbles mean business! Though, this worked better the second time, when the beads weren’t touching each other.


Ta Da!

And Ta Da!

The tarnish removing technique didn’t hurt the freshwater pearls at all. I did wonder why the little saucer beads between the pearls did not get clean (click to enlarge). Then I realized that the pearls kept them from coming in contact with the foil, so the chemical reaction did not work so well there. Still, it was a huge time saver. This trick is good to know.


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Colorful birds

are providing some nice compensation for the incredibly gloomy weather we have had all spring. (Yes, I know it could be worse. We don’t have flooding or tornadoes to deal with.) Yesterday the high temperature for the day was 48°. (That’s 20° below normal for this time of year.) The sun was out on Sunday for an hour or so, but it was gone before it set.

Waaah, waaaah, waaaah. Before it’s time to call in the waaahmbulance, I’ll tell you about the cool bird activity which has been taking place regardless of the rain, fog and cold weather.  There really is something to see any time I look out my window. We finally have a few pair of cardinals on the island and two of them frequent our bird feeder. Even when I don’t get a sighting, I can hear them singing most of the day. When they come to the feeder together, they do something I have only seen cardinals do. The male brings seeds to the female, and feeds her.


Pretty darn sweet.

Most people on the island keep track of the birds. Some more than others. My sister-in-law, Karen, arrived from Baltimore on Thursday and she has seen tons of warblers, already.  I can’t identify them like she can, but I did notice a Magnolia Warbler and a Myrtle Warbler (aka Yellow Rumped Warbler), before she got back to the island.

Watching the warblers is not as easy as looking out the window at the bird feeder. They hop around from branch to branch eating bugs and barely staying still for more than a few seconds. This is a good time of year to see them, with the leaves not all the way out on the trees. Karen keeps her binoculars handy most of the time. Today she stopped over to borrow some yeast and to play a quick game of Banagrams. At one point she picked up her binoculars and looked out the window. “There’s a Chestnut-sided warbler.” He stayed around and jumped along the ground for a bit so I could get a good look at him.

As Karen left, she looked again at the tree tops and said, “There’s a Blackburnian Warbler!” I had never seen one before and it took me a while to see him for myself, but I did.

Our Postmaster, Joy, has bird feeders galore and half the birds on the island stop by at her Post Office feeders. She had not yet seen the Rose Breasted Grosbeak, who kept me company last week, when she decided to add some black oil sunflower seeds to her feeder. (She has been spoiling the birds with her “meaties,” the already-shelled variety of sunflower seeds.) She figured the Grosbeaks liked opening their own seeds. I got a call from her on Monday. She confessed to successfully luring my Rose Breasted Grosbeak away with her fresh, unshelled bird seed. I might have missed the Grosbeak if I hadn’t had an equally colorful visitor to take his place on Sunday.

A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was enjoying the orange I had put out, in hopes of getting some of Joy’s Orioles to visit me.


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Having trouble remembering…

…the last sunny dry day.

I guess it could be worse…


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In yesterday’s mail…

…these sweet little ceramic beads I ordered from LeAnn Weih at Summers Studio. LeAnn and I are blogging buddies. She makes ceramic beads and pendants, and also works with bronze clay. I especially love her birds and I finally got around to ordering some from her.  There’s nothing like knowing you won’t be able to get something, to make you want it even more. I scored the last three birds LeAnn had in her Etsy shop. (LeAnn is about to move and her Etsy shop will be open again when she is settled in her new home.)

LeAnn’s beads look even better in person, and I really like the extra detail she puts into her packaging.

Having opened the box yesterday, at the end of a very tiring off-island day, I only looked long enough to admire the beads but then went on to fix dinner. I didn’t look any closer because I knew I would be checking them out in my studio this morning. When I took the beads out of their box this morning…surprise!

LeAnn had included an unexpected little collection of green/blue beads. How did she know these colors were my favorite?                    THANKS LEANN!!!

Up I went to the studio, to deal with a bead table that looked like this:

I ended the day with a much tidier workbench, several pairs of finished earrings and some necklaces I hope to finish tonight.

Since I have linked this blog to my FaceBook page, I noticed that the thumbnail photo that shows up on FB  is the last one I post on my blog. So, instead of advertising my messy workspace, I’ll end the blog post with this raven who watched me as I walked by this morning in the fog.


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Missing a day here and there

I did well keeping up with the Post a Day challenge until last week. I missed a day.  Then I missed another day yesterday. That’s life. The only one who might beat me up about it is myself, and I can’t be bothered with that.  Today I was visiting my mom off the island and yesterday I spent the day trying to pull my June Working Waterfront column together. I got it finished, but it took all day. I was lucky to have some colorful company just a few feet away.

The computer I write on is in our dining room. One of our bird feeders is just outside the window. This handsome rose breasted grosbeak stayed at the feeder most of the day. A bright spot on a gloomy rainy day.

This has been one of the wettest, coldest springs we’ve had in a few years. The forecast is for more of the same tomorrow. That sounds like spend-the-day-in-the-studio weather to me.


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Tiny beads ready for action

Out of the kiln and out of the tumbler.

The Pez beads have shrunk  about 12%.

The next step is to oxidize the beads to darken the recessed areas.

I did not oxidize the heishe beads, since only the edges will show and I want those to be bright.

After hand polishing the oxidized beads, the higher areas are bright silver. These beads are ready to go!


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Found some!

By tomorrow, these will be on their way to becoming earrings.


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