Saturday, August 31, 2013

2nd Annual Challenge of Travel:: South Portland, ME

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel - Staycation Edition, hosted by the lovely Miss Erin Prais-Hintz of Treasures Found! Thanks for stopping by!
Miss Erin challenged us to make something inspired by where we live - welcome to SoPo as we fondly call it! South Portland is on the Southern Coast of Maine, a suburb of Portland, Maine's largest city. SoPo was a blue collar bedroom community for a long time. It's a bustling community of approximately 28,000 people. We have five elementary schools that were renovated or rebuilt at the turn of the century (it sounds so long ago when said that way), two middle schools and one high school (home of the Red Riots) which is currently undergoing a $40 million renovation (it's a lot further along than the facebook page indicates). I work as a secretary in the Superintendent's Office and, when my kids were growing up, I was on the School Board for 9 years. My husband and I both grew up here and are proud graduates of SPHS (and members of the class that created the Zoo Crew)!
 Spring Point Light on the left and Bug Light on the right
It's home to three marina's one of them the largest service marina in the State of Maine. We have two lighthouses - Spring Point Ledge Light on the campus of Southern Maine Community College (it's a beautiful campus - can you imagine looking out your classroom window at a beautiful bay and its islands?) and Portland Breakwater Light, affectionately known as Bug Light because of its small size. Bug Light sits on an 8 acre park which was formerly two ship building yards during WWII. My grandmother Dorothy Bowring was a Rosie the Riveter during WWII at one of the shipyards.
 Fisherman's Point at the far right end of he beach and a lifeguard chair looking to the left of the beach
SoPo has two public beaches, Davis Beach (it's a public beach most don't know about; it's accessed by a stairway on private property, and where I find most of my pottery shards) and Willard Beach (three if you count the beach that appears at low tide beside Spring Point Light). Willard is in a nice little cove, I didn't realize I didn't have good shots of the whole beach, I'll have to work on that. I spend a lot of my free time walking these beaches picking up my treasures (sea glass, heart shaped rocks, pottery shards), though sadly, not too much time this summer (insert sad face). My favorite time to walk our beaches is fall, winter and early spring - winter especially, it takes a hearty soul to spend serious time on a beach in Maine in the winter. It's peaceful, and mostly mine. Willard Beach is my favorite place on earth! My Uncle Chick was the lifeguard there for 38 years and it's the beach my mom and dad met on. My husband and I spent lots of time there when we were kids and I took my kids several times a week when they were growing up. It's small, but beautiful!

The Greenbelt Walkway is a paved, six mile trail that extends from Bug Light in the east to the Wainwright Recreational Complex in the middle of the city. Year round folks can be found walking, running, biking and skating along this beautiful  trail. It's part of the Eastern Trail System.
 Photo from the SP Land Trust websiste with the old bridge and gazebo (the gazebo has been replaced too)
We have a very active Historical Society, located on the grounds of Bug Light Park, and a very active Land Trust ensuring that we continue to have beautiful green space (there are more than I'm going to list here). Hinckley Park in the central part of the city has walking trails and two ponds that my boys fished in every summer. They and their friends would grab their pop-up tent, poles, backpacks full of snacks and entertain themselves for hours! Clark's Pond in the western end of the city is where residents cut ice blocks in the winter months before we had refrigeration. Several years ago a walking trail was built around it. In the heart of the city is Mill Creek Park. It's beautiful, and it's difficult to believe that it was formerly the city dump. It has a pond we call the Figure 8. Until a few years ago there was a beautiful bridge across it - I miss that bridge. Many brides walked across that bridge to reach their groom at the gazebo on the other side on their wedding days. Three of my four children had their prom pictures taken at Mill Creek Park. The city hosts summer concerts on Wednesday evenings - ending each summer with a concern by a local band, Motor Booty Affair. Motor Booty is a 70's tribute band - the park rocks out to the boys from Planet Funktar each summer, it's a blast. Mill Creek Park also hosts our annual Art in the Park each August. For the most part the weather is lovely for this beautiful day for artists to sell their creations (last year - not so much). New this year are family movies on a big screen on Thursday evenings at Bug Light Park. I haven't been, but I've seen friends' posts on facebook about the fun they're having. Thomas Knight Park is at the end of the road which connected to the old Million Dollar Bridge, which connected South Portland and Portland across the Fore River. It was replace in the late 90's with the Casco Bay Speedway Bridge. It caused quite a bit of controversy when it was built, but I think we're all used to it now.

There are many, many more things I could tell you about our beautiful spot on the earth, but I think you came to see what I created too! So, I present - "Second Time's a Charm":
Why Second Time's a Charm, well this isn't the necklace I set out to make several weeks ago.  Let me just tell you that raw polymer clay touching metal that has been colored with alcohol inks (and is unsealed) is a disaster, as is rushing to fill bezels (can you say over-fill and air bubbles). You must add your resin slowly so that it has a chance to settle. That perfectly domed bezel that you rushed to fill will inevitably run over the edge of the bezel - trust me. It's another post altogether.....
So, last night (yes I'm ashamed to say I was so frustrated from the first attempt I waited 'til the last minute to create my piece) I went with the K.I.S.S. philosophy. I hauled a boat-load of stuff out of my studio to the dining room table, but went with simple instead.. As I said earlier, I spend a lot of time on the beach. I have LOTS of sea glass (unfortunately the vast majority of it is craft grade, not jewelry grade) and pottery shards (as well as heart shaped rocks and tumbled pieces of brick...and driftwood). I had pulled several pieces out of my collection a year or so ago intending to make a necklace, so that's what I finally did. I like it a lot and I think I'll wear it later today!
I used copper foil and soldered the pottery shards with a sterling silver bearing solder and connected the pieces with  jump rings. The textured, base metal chain (I think I got it at Michael's a while ago) reminded me of rope as did the sterling silver toggle clasp. Not bad for a last minute decision.
So, grab a cuppa' and hop along to see what the other artists have created! Have fun and thanks for stopping by! A great big thank you to our hostess, Miss Erin Prais-Hintz! I haven't yet figured out the Linky tool, so 'til I do visit Miss Erin's blog for the list of participants!