Monday, October 31, 2011

Captain's Quarters

Happy Halloween!

I loved the humor behind the addition of the coins to the corners of my "Captain's Quarters" sign. (Sorry for the poor quality of the picture.)

This pumpkin is now on our front porch with a silly face on it.

Ready for trick-or-treaters . . .

Sunday, October 16, 2011

What do I do in the winter?

Now that the sailing season is over, we move into an off-season routine. For me it's either "sailing season" or "not sailing season" and it's nice to be able to be ashore now for a while after a few intense months.

For the last several years I have participated in the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts "Open Door" session. It is the last session of their season, Columbus Day Weekend, and open to Maine residents only. Hopeful students apply and attendance is done by lottery. I have been applying since 2000 and have been fortunate enough to be selected several times and to participate in several different studios; Fiber, Clay, Writing, Blacksmithing, and Metals.

This year I was in the Metals Studio learning how to make little bronze boxes. The weather was the best I have ever experienced while there (in the 80s and I didn't even need my sleeping bag at night!) and the food, campus, people, and creativity were all as usual - outstanding!

We started by making simple rings so we could get the concept of rolling metal, making impressions on that metal, bending it into a circle and soldering it. My first ring was steel stamped with our son's name and two starfish. I decided to fill the letters of his name with solder so it would stand out against the bronze. I have worn it ever since I made it.

At the end of the weekend, each studio cleans up and presents what was created. Everyone does a walk-through to admire all the work. Here is a picture of what I displayed:

Starting in the lower right corner and going clockwise; a piece of copper with a snowflake imprint, a piece of bronze that was trimmed off a project, an oxidized bronze ring with a stamped wave design and the word "ocean" inside, the "Kai Zander Thomas" ring (not oxidized), an oxidized bronze ring imprinted with a bump pattern with the word "balance" inside, another curled trim piece, and finally the piece I really went there to make - a bronze box.

The box is roll printed with a story design starting at the solder seam. There is a sun followed by a bird followed by a two-masted schooner under full sail, followed by stars and a crescent moon, followed by the sun, a bird, a schooner, stars, and moon, followed by the sun, a bird, a schooner . . .

Inside I steel stamped the words love, dream, life, schooner, ocean, hope, and sky. Along the inside ring of the lid I stamped "Haystack Open Door 2011 BGT". And I topped the whole thing off with a bezel set beach rock that I found this summer during a lobster bake. I've always admired the bezel set and am thrilled to have finally done one!

The bottom rim of the box is steel stamped with a wave pattern that shows both on the top of the rim and on the bottom of the box. If I had it to do all over again, I would have steel stamped the edge of the lid as well but I attached the inside ring before I thought of it.

A slightly closer look at the box.

Our instructor Alan Perry wearing the apron we all signed as a "thank you".

Our teacher's assistant, Kathy Binns, excited about the tote bag we gave her as a "thank you".

The inside of my cabin. My bed was the one way in the back.

The outside of my cabin.

The nature trail started a wall's thickness away from where I laid my head each night!

The trail led to this beautiful beach where I went for a swim before heading home.
Can you imagine going for a swim in the ocean in October in Maine! It was heavenly!

Overall, I really enjoyed myself and am thrilled to have learned so much. Being taken care of so well by the staff at Haystack (the food is amazing and there was always a HUGE bowl of popcorn each night) after taking care of our guests all summer was rejuvenating. The weather couldn't have been better and I headed home ready for the off-season.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

An on-board raffle in honor of September 11th first responders

A guest came aboard our September 11th, 6-night cruise this year with a mission and a plan. Marc didn't have time to get a hair cut before his cruise and, with hair longer than normal, decided that he had the perfect idea for a way to raise money for a foundation that means a lot to him. He offered raffle tickets to everyone on board. The tickets were $10 a piece and the winner won the opportunity to cut his hair. On board. However they would like! He went further and set an amount that, if met, would require him to go to lunch on Saturday in town after returning from the trip . . . without a hat on! He also matched each dollar raised from the sale of the raffle tickets.

The money raised was donated to the FealGood Foundation. Their web site states: "The primary mission of the FealGood Foundation, a non-profit organization, is to spread awareness and educate the public about the catastrophic health effects on 9/11 first responders, as well as to provide assistance to relieve these great heroes of the financial burdens placed on them over the last eight years.

A secondary goal of the Foundation is to create a network of advocacy on 9/11 healthcare issues. We not only advocate for Ground Zero workers, but show others how they can advocate for themselves and help others through grassroots activism."

I, unfortunately, didn't win the chance to cut Marc's hair but lots of people ended up getting a chance to weigh in on how it should look. Jay's name was drawn and, acting on a pact he made with another guest, Joe, he set to designing the final coif; Jay directed and Joe cut.

Marc before the cutting began.

Joe grabbing a clump of hair for the first snip.

It's too late Marc, you can't have it back!

By the end there were several people involved in the styling.

The finished product.

This photo really just doesn't do justice to how bad this haircut looked. There was one tiny pony-tail sticking out of the top of his head as well as two little braids, one on either side of his forehead, neatly tied with dental floss (one colored with red Sharpie)! And, despite the 1/4" minimum length stipulation, there were several nearly bald spots in the back!

Overall, this was great entertainment for a foggy morning . . . and all for a good cause. I can attest to the fact that Marc actually did donate the $400 raised because he sent the check to me first as a matter of confirmation. Thank you, Marc . . . good work! And Marc thanks everyone that supported the hair cut raffle!