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Faux Kintsugi


I had a recent Kickstarter for Calamityware that arrived, and sadly one of the four plates arrived broken.  I absolutely adore Calamityware and using some slightly off-center tableware, so while the company’s customer service replaced the broken plate, I still had four pieces of a broken plate that I didn’t want to just throw away.  Enter Kintsugi.

Well, faux Kintsugi.  And let me be clear, this isn’t in any way, shape, or form, the traditional method of Kintsugi from Japan.  The traditional method uses a lacquer called Urushi and if that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s derived from a plant with the same allergic compound as poison ivy.  Being someone who is pretty badly allergic to poison ivy meant the traditional method was off the table.  I joke about being able to break out in an itchy rash from just looking at the stuff, so using a lacquer that has a long cure time, and then sanding said lacquer, well, no thanks.  I also read stories on reddit about people getting rashes and ohh goodness, no, nope, no thank you.  (One bad episode as a kid in the summertime that involved steroid cream and not being able to bend my legs for weeks was plenty enough of that nonsense, thank you).  Anyway, I’ve got a reel on Instagram that follows the whole process (here), but basically it’s epoxy with gold mica powder for color.  The seams between the pieces aren’t flat, but I actually like the feel of the bumps outlining where the broken pieces were mended together.  Of course, epoxy isn’t food safe, despite the kit I purchased from a large internet retailer saying it was (it’s not, it’s SO completely not), but that doesn’t mean I can’t use it as a candle plate, saucer for tea, water-catcher for plants, and so on.

  • Lessons learned:
    • My first seam, I didn’t hold long enough, so it bubbled out funny when I released and realized what I had done.  Patience.  Stay the course and let it cure completely, but not too long.  The seam does need to be dusted with mica powder to get a good shine.
    • Cleanup is easy with acetone or isopropyl alcohol, but it will dull the finish of your lines.  Also a good sharp x-acto blade will work for cleaning up epoxy.
    • I should’ve marked the spots where there were gaps and tiny slivers missing – it would’ve been easier to add a little extra epoxy there before fitting them and then adding more after.
    • Use way less epoxy than you think.  Seriously, unless you want a thick line, use less, way less.  And do a new mix for each seam, working/curing each seam one at a time.

Class Photo

I can recognize one face in this one, that of my husband’s grandfather Doede (Douglas) Jaarsma.  He’s sitting inside the sluice, third of the boys from the left, just next to the older man standing on the left.  There’s a small handwritten X just below him.  I’m assuming this is either a group of employees or school boys, and I’m leaning towards the latter since there’s only one man in the group that looks older and is presumably a teacher.  Doede went to a technical high school and became a blacksmith.  These boys all look to be either in their late teens or early 20s, so since Doede was born in 1911, this was probably taken somewhere around 1930.  A couple of the young men do have wedding rings, so it’s possible this was taken as late as 1941, before Doede himself was married.  To me, the trough structure looks like some kind of mill sluice, meant to direct water to a water wheel or sawmill possibly – it’s a little odd since the Netherlands is SO flat, especially in Friesland where this was likely taken, I can’t imagine how/why water would be first carried up so high and then brought back down.  It’s a pretty interesting photo!

Valentine Greeting – c. 1910

In the ongoing publishing of these Maher Postcards, I think this should be the final card, and I saved it for this post, because, well, timing.  There’s no date and it didn’t have a stamp or postmark so it was either hand delivered or put into a larger package delivered to Lee Maher whose name appears on the back.  I’m guessing this falls in the same time frame as the others, so 1910 or so.
The back is really nice in comparison to other cards.  It has a little leaf design and notes that it’s “Whitney Made, Worcester Mass.”  The stamp square also says it’s once cent for domestic mail and two cents for foreign.  It’s a shame that it’s a little beat up with part of the front design torn away over the years, but again, for over 100 years old, it could be worse!

Holiday Card 2023

This was the annual holiday card for 2023, and hopefully everyone has received theirs by now!  Lots of lessons learned on this one, and the screen and ink just didn’t cooperate with me, so this was frustrating, but the results are pretty great and hopefully don’t show how I very nearly scrapped this and didn’t even do a card this year.  There were four screen printing passes on this card – two for the front, one for the message inside, and one for the information on the back.  My husband had spent two years in Portsmouth, UK as an exchange officer with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and I got to visit a few times and see exactly this gorgeous view out of his apartment window.  The structure on the right is the Spinnaker Tower (wikipedia link) and the colorful sky in the background is the sunset that can be seen when it’s not raining (England, you know..).  I found out after printing that square cards require extra postage since the machines can’t tell which way is up – rectangles sort perfectly in their machines but squares get bumped out for hand stamping, so it was an extra 20 cents of postage.  Lesson learned folks, don’t send square cards.  The back is printed with a little info about the tower and husband’s work overseas, and my name and the date.  These went out REALLY late, so I put a more New Year’s style greeting inside.  I may play with this design later and do a linocut since I do love how it came out and I think it might lend itself better to a linocut, honestly!

Darling Baby Postcard – 1909

Yet another in the set of Maher Postcards!  This features, “To Darling Baby” on the front with a heart made out of roses and clover surrounding the heart.  It’s pretty heavily embossed.


The postmark stamp on the back is 9 September 1909.  The only other identifying mark is “Printed in Germany” on the left side.  The card was sent to William Maher at 113 Aldrich Ave in Buffalo, NY, in care of BA Maher (his father, Bernard).  William appears to have been born on 17 August 1909, so he would’ve been only one month old at the time this was sent.  The message reads, “Hello baby, wish I could see you.  I hope mama & Brothers are well.  From Aunt Nell.”  Aunt Nell is likely Bernard’s sister Ellen.  I’m still not sure how my grandma came into possession of these cards, but they’re such a neat capsule of communication to the family who left home in PA and went to Buffalo, NY.

Open Print Exchange 2 – Prints Received

Updating this post to show my prints received!  These came a few months ago, but let’s be honest, the holidays are hectic enough, and it just didn’t make it to the blog till now.  The next exchange is already kicking off, so it’s good to have these posted.  There’s a really great variety of prints here with different printmaking methods and a range of styles.  Really love these!

The prints, top row, left to right:
“Blue Hour” by Villia Maria Jefremovas – Open Print Exchange Link
“Happy Robots Family” by Annika – Open Print Exchange Link
“Untitled” by Heather Hartz – Open Print Exchange Link

Middle Row, left to right:
“Zigzag” by Maja Denzer – Open Print Exchange Link
“I love snails” by Dana Bjorum – Open Print Exchange Link
“One owl” by Jessamy Harvey – Open Print Exchange Link

Bottom Row, left to right:
“Quiet day in the harbour” by Lino Lord – Open Print Exchange Link
“Entangled Geometry” by Louise Ockenden – Open Print Exchange Link
“Untitled” by Kate Jenkins – Open Print Exchange Link

Jaarsma Siblings

Tucked into an album of modern photos from roughly the 1960s-1970s was this photo that was clearly older than the rest.  On the back is handwritten, “Douglas Jaarsma,” presumably by my husband’s grandmother since it looks like the same handwriting I’ve seen on other photos.  Doede “Douglas” is the second in from the left with what I believe are his three older sisters.  From left to right, all four are, *I think*, in this order – Gettje (Grace), Doede (Douglas),  Klaaske, and Oepkjen (Audrey) being the oldest on the right.  The photographer’s name is at top, A de Jong, Sneek, referencing the town of Sneek in Friesland, Netherlands.  As far as a date, Doede was born in 1911, so if he’s maybe 4 or 5 here, it was probably taken around 1915-1917 or so which would make the oldest sister, Oepkjen, about 10.  Klaaske was the only sibling of the four in this photo to remain in the Netherlands.  Gettje came to the US and lived not too far from Doede, and Oepkjen went to Ontario, Canada.

I couldn’t find much about the photographer without doing A LOT more work, but he regularly had advertisements for his studios in Leeuwarden, Heerenveen, and Sneek (link to BIG ad in the Leeuwarder Courant from 1916).

Rusty Reuben Radio Gang

I did a pretty decent job last year scheduling out blog posts for once a week, and while I missed a few weeks at the end of the year, here’s to a new start this year!

First up is this photo card for the Rusty Reuben Radio Gang, including a group photo at center of Ted, Ickey, Freddie, and Tex, and individual photos around it of Betty Lou, Rusty, Barbara, Jean, and Uncle Jim.  Rusty Reuben was the stage name for Harry Edward Brest (1907-1994).  His obituary is posted online here, and has a load of information about his life and family.

As far as the other people in the group, a magazine posted here mentions that the, “cast comprises Ozzie Gile, Elmer Peabody, Tex Richards, Tex Hart, Ickey Pepin, and Freddie Stone.”  It seems like the lineup of other performers switched up fairly often though from other newspaper articles.  In the photo, the girl at top center, Barbara, appears from census records to be the daughter of Rusty and, I’m assuming, Jean, since Edward’s wife’s name was Genevieve.

The majority of the newspaper results come from about 1932-1939, and if grandma saw them, I’d imagine it would be when they were doing larger tours later in their career, which may have been when she picked up this card.  She would’ve been in her early 20s in the late 1930s, so that fits pretty well.  Just a neat piece of ephemera that grandma loved enough to tuck into a scrapbook!