Birthstones are gemstones representing the month you were born. The origin of gemstones as stones of protection is biblical in nature, and until 1912, there were disagreements as to which stone represented which month.
Then, Sears, (yes, THAT Sears!) published a list and it seems that settled the argument. There haven’t been many changes since then.
Diamonds are known for their strength, being scratch resistant and on the upper end of the Mohs scale for hardness. Their natural color is clear, and other colors are created by the presence of impurities. Diamonds are most common in engagement rings, although this hasn’t always been the case. In the 1940’s DeBeers, a diamond manufacturer, created the tag line, “a diamond is forever” and the idea of a diamond as an engagement ring was born.
Alternative birthstone: Clear quartz, white topaz, white sapphire.
The New England Made Show has come and gone in a blink of an eye. 2 months of preparation, eleven (yes 11!) new lines, and tons of preparation are over. We're exhausted, exhilarated, and excited! Thanks to the newest members of our MARTINI Jewels family!
A Silver Lining, Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Acadia Image Arts, Bar Harbor, Maine
Blue Moon Artisans, Clinton, CT
Blue Sky Trading, Ludlow, VT
Coast & Country, Rockport, MA
Desjardins Jewelers, Beverly, MA
Dog Days of Pine Point, Scarborough, ME
Hole in the Wall Studioworks, Raymond, ME
North Country Wind Bells, Round Pond, ME
Pen Bay Medical Center, Belfast, ME
Village Boutique, Wells, ME
The Wharf Shop, Sag Harbor, NY
Whimsical ME, Saco ME
As always, we thank our longstanding customers for their continued support:
Eastport Breakwater Gallery, Eastport, ME
Nancy's Gifts, Rangeley, ME
Penelope's in Maine, Ellsworth, ME
Rockywold Deephaven Camps, Holderness, NH
Southport General Store, Southport, ME
Stonehome Jewelers, Ogunquit, ME
It was a whirlwind three days. As a small business, and I mean really small business, we so appreciate all of the support and affirmation. It is our goal to meet and exceed all expectations. Now enough of this happy talk - I've got to get back to the bench!!
My husband travels 42 weeks out of the year. 42 weeks! I may see him one or two weekends a month, not usually any more than that, unless he's on vacation. This week, he had two trips back to back, one in Key Largo and one in Miami, and he had enough miles in his account to get me a free airline ticket to join him. I honestly can't remember the last time I took a week off and it was much needed - my soul is refreshed and I'm ready to take on the world!
It's been a great week!
Imagine - waking up and going to the gym on my time. I have actually managed to hit my FitBit goal three days in a row!
Going to breakfast when I wanted to
Laying on the beach and burning my lily white skin.
Dining at my leisure.
And getting to see my husband every night.
But that's not all - I have been revamping my website, getting new products online, listening to podcasts, photo shopping pictures, doing all the nuts and bolts of having a business that's not always possible when I'm in my studio. Would love to have you take a look. If you find a typo within the next two weeks, I'll send you a gift certificate for $50. That's right, 50 smackers. If two people find the same typo, first person to comment gets the reward. Thanks and happy hunting!
View of the pool from our hotel room in Miami.
Patiently waiting by the pool for his meetings to end.
View from the hotel restaurant in Key Largo.
First time I crossed the 10K mark! Go me!
Neither one of us are particularly tall, and the mattress on this bed came up to my hip. No lie. Getting into bed was not my most graceful moment.
Okay, this blog has nothing to do with jewelry. Not even an iota. So if you're checking out this post thinking I have some revelation about jewelry, move on. Mainly, this post is to show you, dear reader, why I should not be allowed past Yarmouth. Because after that, everything in Maine is just out of reach. But I digress.
It all started with me going "up to camp", located in the very rural area of Bowerbank, Maine. Mostly known for a lot of American flags and access to Sebec Lake. As I was only going for the weekend, I spontaneously invited my daughter, Michaela, to come with me. She accepted in a heartbeat. If only she knew......
It starts to get complicated. This past Saturday was Michaela's dad's birthday. He passed away a few years ago, and she asked if we could make a side trip to visit his grave in Lincoln. Maine, of course. Sure, no problem. So if you're looking at a clock, picture camp being where 10 o'clock would be, about 3 hours away, and the cemetery at 12:00 o'clock, also about three hours away. We leave from Portland, make the trip to Lincoln without a hitch. Visit for a bit, reminisce, do a little emotional eating consisting of McDonald's fries and chocolate shakes, and then get ready to move on. So now we're trying to get from 12:00 to 10:00 with no idea how to get there, and hopefully not having to backtrack too terribly far. I Google Maps the location of the camp. BIG MISTAKE.
Google Maps lulls you into a false sense of security. I mean, they have satellite, right? And they're a humongous company, they have all this high tech stuff to make sure you get where you're supposed to be, right? WRONG. You've heard that story about how you can put a frog in a pan of warm water, and just by heating it slowly, it never realizes it's being cooked and doesn't jump out? As this story progresses, imagine me as the frog, and the water is heating up.
We go south a bit then west, makes sense. We're talking about her dad, Nana, his family, etc. Trip is nice, weather is beautiful. Google is directing us this way and that, not a worry in a world. Then she (Google) tells us to take a right on some road. We go right past, not even seeing it. She tells us to make a U turn. Okay, head onto this random road. It's dirt, not pavement. Okay, not a big deal. There's a pickup truck coming towards us. Okay, so there's traffic. Good. On we go.
So, it's pretty much a two lane dirt road, pretty dry. We're going along and we take a sharp turn past this little camp and start heading up some hillier areas. See that there's a lot of bare areas. Ok, I'm thinking. We're on a logging road. Again, not terribly concerning. I mean, there are logging roads up north that are used as regular roads. And if you've seen logging equipment, there are those tractor trailers that have to get in there to load the trees, and skidders, and trucks to haul in the skidders. Hey, this girl lived in Lincoln for 10 years, she knows a logging road when she sees one. If those big vehicles are coming in and out, then I can too, right? Google wouldn't steer me wrong, would she? YES, SHE WOULD!
After we go by these harvested areas, we're on a more narrower road. And it seems like everything is a dog leg. Go 1/2 mile, take a hard left. Go 1.4 miles, take a hard right. We're going over handmade wooden bridges. Still, I'm not terribly alarmed, I mean we have one of those bridges heading into camp. But the grass is getting thicker on the center part of the road. And the bushes are getting closer. A lot closer. They're scratching the sides of the car.
Still, trying not to freak out. We're going about 10 miles an hour now, sometimes there's deep ruts filled with water that we have to go through. Sometimes I have to avoid big gullies. And big rocks. At one point, I stopped and asked Michaela to move a rock because I wasn't sure the bottom of the car was going to clear it. And then we see the sign.
BRIDGE NOT SAFE FOR TRUCK
Shoot. I'm thinking. (If you know me, you know that "shoot" is not really part of my vocabulary, but I'm trying to keep it G rated), but there's no bridge in sight. Which is good, because there is absolutely NO PLACE TO TURN AROUND. Onward. Sometimes, we'd be going down a hill and it stopped being a road, and turned into granite ledge. No lie, I am internally FREAKING OUT. Maybe a little externally too. Then we see the bridge.
It's a wooden platform . It's at the top of a slight incline. No sides, but it has timbers on either side, about 6 inches high. I'm looking at the bridge, trying to calculate if my car is narrow enough to get over it. Or will my tires go over the side. And it's about 6 feet down to the gully. I look at Michaela. "Ready?" She nods, and I GUN IT, figuring if it's going to collapse I want to be on the other side. Success. We stop and take a minute to take a few deep breaths.
Still we are traveling these crazy roads. And Google is saying "take a left on Back Neighborhood Road" "Take a right on Dow Road" Then it becomes quite evident. WE ARE NOT ON ROADS!!! WE ARE ON ATV TRAILS!!! Google decided to take us up and over a mountain as opposed to directing us on paved roads.
When we finally pop out of this trail, I asked Michaela to take a picture. You can't even see the trail. There are signs with arrows, and signs showing pictures of trail riders pointing to the direction we just came from. No person in their right mind would go in there with a vehicle.
Which leads me to talk about my car. It's a Mercedes GLK 350. 2011. Bought it at an auction.They actually stopped making them. Picture a little wagon type. But it has all wheel drive and I have to say, if I were driving a Mini Cooper, or a Buick, or a Camry, or many many other types of cars, my car would have had to have been towed out. This car, had my back. Especially when Google Maps didn't. My poor little city car, (and this city girl) may never be quite the same.
So a big THANK YOU to Mercedes Benz for making a car that can take you places you shouldn't even think about going. AND a big raspberry to GOOGLE MAPS. THANKS FOR NOTHING.
#MercedesMudding #LoveMyMercedes #MercedesSavedMyLife #GoogleMapsSUCKS #YouCan'tGetThereFromHere #AnATVTrailIsNotARoad #WhatWereYouThinkingGoogleMaps #OnlyInAMercedes
So, for many of you that know me and my business, I disappear shortly after Christmas, and reappear in the Spring. No, I'm not hibernating! The month of January is to recuperate from the busy winter show season. I don't spend a lot of time in the studio, but I have my design journal always handy. I draw and mull and design. February, I turn to the studio, and start to create. Some designs are Meh - while others are Oh My God! This is the start of creating my wholesale line that I take to New England Made, the wholesale show that's practically in my backyard.
Without a doubt, this show was one of my best ever, and I'd like to give a personal THANK YOU! to all those shops that have elected to carry me in their store for the very first time. If you find yourself in their neck of the woods, stop in and say hi. These nice people are committed to carrying hand crafted, artisan-made products, and I couldn't be more thankful.
Something Purple - Amesbury, MA
Freeport Durham KOA - Durham, ME
As an artisan with a full time day job, every minute of my day is scheduled. Wake up, get up, seize the day. Work, work some more, walk the dog, yoga, computer, bed. Repeat.
Except...for the last two days. Wind and rain storm blew through Portland two days ago leaving many without power. I'm one of the fortunate households, I have power. It's my studio, though. Cold. Dark. Powerless. Leaving me powerless.
Being without power has forced me to stop and assess the rest of the season. If it's the first week of the month, it must be Bangor, Maine. Next week....I have no idea, better check my calendar. All I know is that I have a show every weekend for the next 6 weeks. On top of a regular job. Note to self...get some vitamin C. And I'm feeling stressed. How to make more inventory if I can't turn on the lights? What if I don't have the perfect items for my customers? What if? What if?
Nothing I can do...this is Mother Nature forcing me to rest up, Sometimes it takes something major to make us take care of ourselves. Let's all remember to do just that....rest, relax, be present. Stop worrying about the future, and let's just enjoy the moments. No matter how small.
I know you're all familiar with the tourist-y part of Portland: DiMillo's - the floating restaurant, cruise ships, whale watches, and lobster rolls. I'm here to take you on my neighborhood walk, and show you a side of Portland you may not know.
Meet Kylie, she came along for the walk.
See the political sign with the five languages at the top? Nice effort, but did you know there are over 40 languages spoken in the Portland public school system? Crazy, right. This guy's going to need a bigger sign!
Our sidewalks are brick. New brick, old brick, flat brick and bumpy brick. All of it treacherous in the winter.
We are diverse! Portland, Maine ranks third in the United States - so wear those rainbows proudly!
If you've driven in Portland, you know parking can be a challenge. And our meter maids don't cut anyone any slack. So, put your quarters in and set your timer.
We love art - from the Portland Museum of Art to the Danforth Inn (shown), art is as vital to our souls as lobster!
Unfortunately, our vandals are very creative. Two fences that could skewer you like a shish kabob and still they manage to deface a beautiful building. Sad.
Shameless promotion of mARTini Jewels, but I feel the message is appropriate. Explore!
No matter how small the square footage, we love our outdoor gardens! You can always find a little treasure around every corner.
Portland's interpretation of a car horn. Ha!
We have a homeless and heroin problem. No city is immune, and I wish we had the answers. Recently, our public trash cans have had sharps containers added on the back for needle disposal. Our neighbors two doors down had a break in while they were home. Scary stuff.
Portland has a lot of waterfront open to the public - this is East End Beach, (dog friendly!) and it's adjacent to the park. Beautiful at any time of year! And yes, I've been there in the dead of winter. Dogs don't concern themselves with temperature.
So that's my city! Good and bad, I love living in Portland. If you find yourself in my vicinity, give me a shout and come visit my studio!
My studio is located at Open Concepts Studio in Portland, Maine. It's such a cool little spot, I share space with painters, glass blowers, fabric artists, neon artists....the energy is palpable. We all have our own individual spaces, but the walls are only half height, so you can see who's coming and going. Most of the time in my space, it's me, or perhaps one of my assistants and me, and of course the latest Netflix binge watching episodes; I don't usually have many visitors. Sometimes a client, but not terribly often.
So I thought you might like to see a snippet into what a jewelry studio looks like. I only took a few pictures, and believe me, a lot of cleaning went into getting the studio ready for just these few pictures! It's unbelievable how things get so messy in such a short time.
Anyway, the first picture is my workbench. My husband built the bench for me, and then, later on a second one. This is where I spend most of my time. You can see my assortment of pliers and cutters, hammers and mallets, notebooks where I keep my jewelry "recipes" and in the front, a piece of silver that has had discs cut out the the steel block next to it. To the left of the pliers is my disc cutter. I sandwich the silver in the disc cutter, put in the corresponding steel punch and give it a whack with the brass hammer. Great for taking out frustrations!
The picture below is another view from my bench. In the back, in all of those boxes are different fonts that I use to stamp charms, bracelets, and navigational coordinates. In front is a dapper - I put the disc in a concave spot in the block, choose a corresponding dapper, and can make the disc concave or convex. In the front are pieces of silver that I'll either use to make jewelry, or melt down, depending on the size of the silver.
The last picture is where I keep my "little pieces" - jump rings, head pins, silver beads, split rings, etcetera, anything that I need to make pieces. I bought these great glass spice jars and use them to keep everything small. It's great to put my hands on the things that I want right away.
I hope you enjoyed the little "tour", if you're planning a visit to Portland, feel free to call me and stop in!
I welcome your questions or comments!
It's almost craft show season, the time when we artisans pack our vehicles, haul our displays, wares, and assorted paraphernalia to the local gym, parking lot, field, etc. in the hopes of selling enough goods to make enough money to buy more supplies to make more goods to sell so we can buy more supplies. Crafters, artists, artisans, whatever you want to call us, we're the hardest working people I know. Work all week so we can work all weekend. One of the things that make it all worthwhile (besides great customers and high sales!) are our neighbors, those people next to us - in the next tent, in the booth across the aisle, in the neighboring area, who look out for each other. They offer to bring you something to drink, you watch their booth while they run to the rest room, they whip out their spare change when you've forgotten yours. After five plus years, these people become your family. You look forward to seeing them, they're your consistency. Meet my family:
On The Table Coasters:
Vera and Ashley Wainwright are the funniest mother/daughter team I've ever met. They make these fabulous coasters from Ashley's original photos, and also from maps. Have a special location? You can have coasters or trivets made that reflect that original area. I had a set made for my husband for his camp, and he loved them! And you know how hard it is to find something special for guys!
Talk about a firecracker~ here's a woman with four (!) beautiful daughters and a husband who still manages to travel the craftshow circuit showcasing her amazing talent. Tracy is a watercolor artist whose art features children and animals, with a unique perspective. You'll love her work.
This is Colleen Macklin, owner, designer, creator of Seamack Design. You may think one jeweler introducing the world to another jeweler is counter intuitive, but I believe there's room for us all to be successful. Colleen is deep into the healing powers of stones, she creates chakra mobiles and jewelry. I just think it's pretty. www.seamackdesign.com.
I hope you've enjoyed meeting some really talented and genuinely nice ladies - please visit their websites and support local arts and craft!