Sunday, February 28, 2010

Traces of Prohibition

I found this black piece of sea glass right here on the shore in Sorrento. Black sea glass is relatively rare, but was used extensively in the days of rum-running, to hold liquor transported by boats from Prince Edward Island, the first province in Canada to have the Prohibition Act in 1901.

To illustrate the color of this rare black glass, here it is next to the more commonly found beer bottle glass. If you were to hold the rare black glass up to a light source, it will actually look dark green or amber in color though.

Tonight, I'm having a little fun displaying this piece of black sea glass near my newly purchased cordial glasses.

I'm having fun because my good friend Diane just gave me a recipe for making Raspberry Cordial. It calls for a 5th of vodka (100 proof is best), a pint of raspberries and 2 cups of sugar.

Here's the bottle I plan to keep the finished product in. I think the ceramic stopper and contrasting gasket will go nicely with the vibrant color of the cordial.

The recipe says to just add the raspberries to a 3 quart loosely covered container.

Pour in the sugar and the 100 proof vodka.

Stir, cover and place in a cool dark place. Every week for the next 2 months, open the jar and stir the cordial. Strain the finished cordial through a very fine sieve and decant into a lovely bottle. Here's a link to some more information on making this raspberry cordial.

Interestingly enough, our town Sorrento was founded by the famous Portsmouth, NH brewer, Frank Jones. After he died, in 1902, an active member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, acquired his grand cottage and had it torn down, so there would be no trace left of this "King of the Alemakers." Someday, I hope to find a piece of sea glass that was once part of a bottle of Frank Jones Ale. But until then I have to wonder, if indeed, there may be no trace of him left.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Fun Saturday At Home

I made some more Ebelskivers today, only this time I made a combination of savory ones as well as some dessert ones. In the dessert ones, I just made a few blueberry, a few strawberry and some chocolate ones too. I had a little assembly line going and was able to keep them hot in a 200 degree heated oven until they were all done.

Here are the savory ones made with tomato and basil feta cheese. We had help eating them as we had our good friends Diane and Danny over.

Diane made some more pieces of pottery tonight and she gave me a wonderful idea. Our tools were previously scattered all over the place nearby the potter's wheel and I was telling her I always have a hard time finding the right tool when I need it. She just quietly asked me if maybe I could find some raku pots around to store them in. Doh! Why is it I always need help to think of the obvious? Thanks Diane, after you left tonight I got right to it!

Still covered in clay, but I feel more organized already. And when Henri saw what I had done, he looked at me like I was a genius. So I feel better that he hadn't even thought to do this before either. (And yes, I admitted to him that it was Diane's idea.)

Also, I found a place to store our rings when we throw. See the little branch on the birdie there?

And here are some pots fresh from the wheel.

Now that we're a little more organized, I'm feeling more productive already!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sharing Secrets

Sorrento is a tiny peninsula in Downeast Maine with a year round population of just under 300 people. If I wasn't in love with this place already, this 152 page book written in 1995 by a former resident would have sealed the deal for me.

The crab on the cover of that book isn't really part of the picture. It's a crab pin that Henri bought for me a few years ago just out of the blue as a surprise. I've come to associate it with my Dad because he was a Cancer, so I always think of him when I wear it.

This is my favorite purse ever, that my friend Diane just gave me one day out of the clear blue. (And I even make purses.)

These are my favorite two bracelets. I found the pink one on a beach and the aqua one was under $10, but I would have paid more for it, just because it was aqua.

When I bought this pin, I didn't even realize it was a bee, so now when I wear it, it's another piece of jewelry that makes me think of my Dad, because he was a Seabee.

This is the secret compartment I keep my crab pin in.

So what about you? Do you have any little secrets too?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Nest of Driftwood and Mussel Shells

Tonight the wind is howling outside, which means tomorrow may be a good day for beach combing. Taken on a summer day, this picture shows the type of driftwood we often find washed up on shore here.

Here's something Henri and I made a couple years ago. Using a crudely constructed bird house that I picked up at a thrift store for a couple bucks, virtually everything else used on this bird's nest came from the shore. Henri cut and assembled the driftwood to a platform he made out of wooden planks also found on the shore.

It is still is one of my favorites, so that's why you get to see lots of pictures.
Still with me? Or are you bored yet?

Okay, on to the details. These are mussel shells that I layered up for the roof, using my glue gun.

I really love the triangle shape entrance.

This is a sliver from a lobster buoy that once belonged to a lobster man. I found it just like this on the shore. The number on there identifies who it once belonged to. I decided the bird's nest needed an address.

A tiny bit of driftwood for a perch and some unraveled rope strands in an aqua color serve as nesting material.

More shore finds for display on the platform.

And finally, you've reached the last picture.

The wind is still blowing hard outside, and so now I'm off to dream about what I may find on the shore tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Who You Gonna Call?

(Something's strange in the neighborhood, when there's something weird, and it don't look good.)

Ever since we put up fabric panels to partition our new studio space from the rest of the basement, we have noticed a few unusual occurrences while we have been working in there.

Shadows have been seen and doors have been slammed. A cranky presence has invaded our space.

Although you may not believe, or even be aware, there is a theory of why there are so many energies that often make their presence known near the coast. Ever hear of a salt water powered battery? With all the iron present in the rocks combined with salt water in the area, it's no wonder how common place it is around here to have a few personal experiences that leave you questioning your sanity.

Thank goodness for our friend Danny, who through experience has his own method for dealing with the crankiness this energy can bestow.

Today, he made a little visit to our studio space to help remind this energy that cranky just doesn't cut it around here.

I think everything is back to normal around here again. Because I'm quite sure the *dust particles* (also known as orbs in the paranormal world) you see in the picture I took of him right as he was leaving, were apparently going home with him tonight. Sleep tight Dan. And thank you very much!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

All This Because I Wanted An Easel

We've collected so many things over the years that have remained packed in boxes since our move to Maine 7 years ago. Like these. They are old Listerine bottles. Why? Well, several years ago, we had heard that the manufacturer of Listerine was offering up a grand prize to someone who found the oldest bottle ever produced. We spent a good part of our vacation here that year, excitedly driving up and down the coast looking for any Listerine bottle we could get our hands on. We had such a great time, convinced that we were the only ones that even knew about this contest, until we noticed a car with Mass plates was hot on our trail to find them too! Needless to say, we didn't win, but we did learn a little about how to tell the age of a bottle along the way.

We have sort of adopted a new rule in our home, that if you wish to bring something new into the house, you need to find a way to release something else that you already have. And I have been wanting to add an easel to our studio, so that meant I had to think of a way to clear some space for it. So, after looking around, I decided to just add a new category to my Etsy shop where I will offer up a few vintage items for sale.

So this afternoon, we headed out in search of an easel. But I got distracted and took some pictures of things that were calling to me. Like this sign.

And this sign too. I think I was just hungry though. Did you know that in Maine, it's common to make a meal out of just baked beans? Henri still finds that odd.

Oh good golly, I fell right in love with this handpainted tray.

But with a price tag of $350. it quickly brought me back to reality.

Then I spotted this vintage French beauty.

And I decided I had to have her, to add some class to my
new Etsy vintage items. She's for sale over there right now.

Oh, and here's my easel, I just knew I would find it today. And I already brought her home to live with us. She's got a nice brass patina. Nice brass. heehee

Now I just need to find the right canvas for her. Looks like I had better find more things to add to my vintage Etsy store.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Potter Is Born

This is one of several pieces of pottery that our dear friend Diane recently made over at our place.

These are her first six pieces that made it through our recent raku fire.

And tonight was the first time she got to see them, when I brought them to our Monday night stained glass class that we attend together. You can read about the night that she first made these wheel thrown pieces here.

She was unable to witness them being fired the other night, but she still has a few more that she made that we held back from the fire until she can make it back over to our place.

I was so excited for her to see them, as there's just nothing like seeing your first piece of raku that started from a lump of clay. I loved them when I first saw them fresh from the fire. I think she has fallen in love with them too.

While we were at class tonight I thought I would take a photo to show you some lamps that our teacher, Alice, made. I love the color combination she chose, it's almost like an eggplant paired with a pale aqua.

And I believe I see a dragon somewhere in this one. Her work is amazing.

Also at the studio where we attend class I noticed these 3 new paintings that were propped up on the floor against the wall. Alice said they were 3 that her sister recently did.

So much talent in one family.

That's the thing about living in such a beautiful place.

There seems to be an unending amount of inspiration!