Thursday, August 20, 2009


I have been on vacation all this week and have truly relaxed and enjoyed it! I had a mental list prepared as to what I had hoped to get done while on this vacation and as usual haven't completed nearly enough on the list. Oh well... I think I needed the relaxation part.

Last weekend, my husband Mike and I experienced the "empty nest" scenario. My daughter Amanda left on Friday to spend the weekend with my brother Marc and his family in North Carolina. Amanda lives at home with us. We also have two sons, Adam, who is married and lives in Benton, Maine with his wife Amber and our grand-dog Ella, and Chris, who goes to Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.

We went with Amanda to Boston to get her to the airport because this was her first trip to North Carolina and only the 2nd airplane trip by herself. After getting her on the plane, we ventured into the tourist section of Boston to walk around Quincy Market and the other interesting shops in that section. We couldn't have asked for better weather and really enjoyed the day.

The next day, we decided to check out coastal Maine and went to the Pemaquid Fort area to see some crafters at a yearly fair that they have at the fort. Again, it was a gorgeous day and the drive along the coast was amazing. I would love to have a place by the ocean!

On Sunday, we got up early and headed over to the driving range owned by my in-laws - A&M Driving Range, right in Winslow. My father in law has been having some health issues and my husband has been helping him out at the range quite a bit this summer. Mike needed to get the weekly mowing done and I went along to drive the golf cart with ball picker upper so that the golfballs wouldn't get eaten up by the mower.

I hadn't driven the golf cart with the ball picker upper (I'm sure that there is a more professional name for it but this describes it better) since last summer, so I needed a short refresher. Mike backed it up for me and all I had to do was get in and take off. I was working on the first 75 yards so that Mike could mow, when my father in law showed up. He seemed surprised but pleased that we were there working so early on a Sunday morning. Mike stopped to talk to him but I kept making my circular swipes picking up golfballs so that Mike could get further along on the mowing before we had customers.

I was starting to feel a little like a Nascar driver behind the wheel of the golf cart and getting a little too cocky when I made a turn and misjudged the width on the ball picker upper and ended up running into the metal screened fencing that my father in law puts up on the outer edges of the range so that the balls won't go into the tall grass on either side. How embarassing!! Of course I had to do it just when the boss shows up....

I stopped the golf cart and then was fumbling around trying to remember how to put it in reverse. Of course, Mike had done that part for me at the beginning.. Just as my father in law was approaching on foot, I remembered that reverse was just under the seat near my calf and put the cart into reverse and away from the fence. My father in law was chuckling as he came up to me. I made some comment about finding it hard to get good help and started on my way again!

He walked around to the wetter sections of the range picking up the balls with a homemade picker upper and tossing them in my section so that I would get them on the next swipe. I've gotten the cart stuck in the wetter sectons in past years, so I've learned to stay away from them. He would look up and smile each time I made a pass thru and I couldn't help but think that my husband was as cute as his dad and he has the same joking nature!

After we started getting customers, we had to stop, but I had managed to get the first 125 yards picked up. The rest of the mowing had to wait until it quieted down again. You can pick up balls with the golf cart because of the screened in protection (it gives the golfers a target), but you can't mow.

My father in law treated us to coffee for Mike and a cappuccino for me and it was another great day! As much fun as it is to drive the golf cart and ball picker upper, I do think I'll stick to jewelry making!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mom's Favorite Dangle Bracelet

This bracelet always sparks special memories - crazy, happy and sad whenever I wear it. It was almost two years ago now that I put my first one together. You see, being a jewelry maker gives you certain perks - you get to keep all the demo's and "test drive" them. I put most of my jewelry through the test because I am always wearing something that I've made and many of my jewelry pieces match my clothing - another perk!!

I had seen something similar while on a routine treasure hunt to The Beadin Path in Freeport, one of my favorite places to spend an hour or two! One of the clerks had this cute bracelet with multi colored beads of various shapes and sizes on a chain link bracelet. I was just getting into my copper phase and thought - hmmm. I made a mental note for the next shopping trip because I had already reached my spending limit for the day.
The crazy memory - a couple of weeks later, we were planning a trip to Springfield, Massachusetts, to visit my son at college. We had to conveniently pass through Freeport enroute - I love it when that happens! I pursuaded my husband to stop briefly while I flew through the store buying the necessary components for the bracelet in my head. I had brought my jewelry making tools and a sectioned off paper plate (imagine that); well it's a long ride to Springfield from Winslow - 4 1/2 hours to be exact...

I kept to my promise of a brief stop and hopped back in the truck, eager to be on our way. I laid the tools out on the bench seat next to me and placed the paper plate on my lap. I dumped the contents of my little paper bag into the different sections of the plate and started making my bracelet. It consisted of assorted colored resin beads placed on head pins, some having copper spacers or swirls, and then wire wrapped onto the copper chain. I had to plan out the design as I went along but really liked it as it was taking shape. A toggle clasp finished it off. I had to stop from time to time when I started to feel a little nauseaous from the ride; I'm not one who can even read while driving, but sometimes you have to live on the edge!

Well before we arrived in Springfield, I was wearing the bracelet and matching earrings and just feeling slightly dizzy.

The happy & sad memory - my Mom, being my biggest fan, was the person that I took all new creations to for an honest opinion of each piece. Of course though, she liked them all and did have quite a collection of her own after awhile. I don't know if she would have said anything negative about a piece of jewelry or not.

She was always encouraging and had this infectious smile. She would get this twinkle in her eye while she said how much she liked it. That's what she did over this new creation. The twinkle was magnified this time and I asked her if she just liked it or did she mean that she would like to have one. She smiled and said that she would like to have one. Unfortunately at this point, she wasn't even able to put her own jewelry on without help from one of us or an aide, which we did whenever she asked. She was now a resident of a local nursing home due to several serious medical conditions over a period of seven years, and only 73 years old. I promised her that I would make her one for Christmas and she was thrilled.
This was in September of 2007. She passed away on October 4th, 2007 and I never got to make her the bracelet for Christmas. I think of her every time that I wear it. The memory of her smile brings a smile to my face while the loss of her is still very painful. She wasn't just my Mom, she was my best girlfriend!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Surf n' Sand Bracelet

This has been my biggest seller to date, but not through Etsy, yet!! This bracelet is currently featured in the catalog and on the website of a company called Femail Creations. It has been quite popular, if I go by the purchases made by them.

Femail Creations offers a variety of things from jewelry to signs, t-shirts, things with funny sayings, or gifts for encouragement or support. They offer gifts to celebrate and inspire!

Bring back cherished memories of a perfect day at the beach with these lovely linked Swarovski crystal channels in the colors of the surf and sand, complete with a silver starfish charm.