Romantic Necklace with Stamped Molten Solder

molten stamped stained glass necklace

I’m finally, finally getting around to adding my jewelry to my Etsy page! I made these in early Fall, then didn’t put them up for the holidays. Partly because I ended up getting swamped with orders (most were non Christmas orders but at Christmas time!) and partly because I’ve had foot surgery – on BOTH feet! First the right foot a week before Thanksgiving, the left foot two days after Christmas. I’m still on crutches and hopping around with two damaged feet.

So… my jewelry! I’ve been dabbling with my lead-free stained glass solder, stamping it with rubber crafting stamps while the solder is fully molten. It’s a quick process and so rewarding! If you try it, use the red, rubber stamps not the clear silicone ones. For this necklace, I’ve used printed images from John Waterhouse and it reverses to a gorgeous piece of stained glass – it can be worn either way! I’ve added real amethyst beads and a pewter plated chain. It’s for sale on Etsy. I’ve others with broken pottery bits mixed with some steampunk gears.

Class: Stained Glass Leaf Necklace


stained glass leaf pendant by anna harding

Just in time for Fall – my stained glass leaf necklace class.
September 25th, 6:30-8:30.
Location: Frill – Gifts, Home Decor & More 
36 E High St East Hampton, Connecticut 06424  (in same building as Subway).
$35.00 per person. All materials provided.

In this class, participants will cut, solder and patina their stained glass leaf and choose a necklace in a plating to match. Attendees will go home with a finished piece of jewelry. A variety of glass colors, patinas (black, pewter, copper, antique brass and silver) and different chains to match will be offered, as well as some bead embellishments. The stained glass is lead-free, so even older kids are welcome! Class is limited to 10 people.

Perfect for the fall season – to wear or share!

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Multiple Colors in an Invitation Box

Lately I’ve been making glass boxes with multiple colors for the tops and sides. I was always afraid to do them this way, but they’ve come out great! I think my hesitation stemmed from my thought that they wouldn’t be “serious” enough of the occasion, but now I feel they enhance the invitation and make it known that this was a special occasion. A box that shouts, “Look at me!” in a good way.

stained glass bat mitzvah giftstained glass wedding invitation box

Art Nites Painting Event

Dogwood acrylic painting

I’m now finally teaching Art Nites Painting events! I had wanted to get into this for the past two years, bought $1,100 worth of easels, paint, canvas, brushes and aprons. Now, it’s actually happening! I’ve done my first two classes, which turned out great, and I’m on to more.

The Moon and the Monocle (in Willington, CT) is the location for the upcoming event, on March 31st starting at 6pm. The three hour class is $25.00 and includes all materials. Participants will leave with a finished painting!  If you know of someone who’s interested, they can register here

Lessons Learned from the Naked Cake

naked cake with fresh fruit

I’ve been asked to make another naked cake for two weeks from now! Here’s my first one above, made last summer. Well, technically this was my third one, I made two in preparation for this one and brought them in to work for comments and taste testing. I had made two versions: one completely from scratch and the other used a recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor. The cake mix won! Obviously I added my own touches to the recipe, because that’s just what I do 🙂

I learned a lot from making these cakes. While they save you some time in decoration they have their own unique issues.

  • You MUST bake each layer so that they are the same color when they come out of the pan. Easier said than done! This means they can’t be on two different shelves in your oven, or they come out lighter or darker and this shows. You can see that my 6″ layer on top is slightly darker than the rest. It’s hard to gauge when baking because you can’t see the sides of your cake.
  • Try not to sugar your fruit on a hot day. This cake was done in July and the fruit was sweating as I was putting it on. I had made them the day before and left them on the counter. I had read NOT to put them in the fridge as this makes them get even more condensation and sweat further. Good advice!
  • I tried a few versions of the sugaring that I found online. In my opinion the best was warm water and unflavored gelatin. Just drag the fruit or leaves through it, and then into superfine sugar. I didn’t have superfine, so I put regular sugar into my food processor and whipped it around on low. Don’t use high, you might end up with cotton candy!
  • Filling: if you’re going to use a preserve for a filling you need to decide whether or not to let it drip out. On Pinterest I see ones where they let it just drip completely. If you don’t want it to come out, make sure to pipe a dam of frosting to hold it in.
  • What to use for fruit? I found the best were smaller fruits. I used grapes, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries and red currants. I used sage, grape leaves and vines and raspberry leaves from my garden. As an artist, I look for different shapes and different colors that still relate to one another. My favorite part of this was the sage leaves, the cascading currants and the grape vines trailing around.

It’s fun to create this type of cake. At first I was nervous that it wasn’t going to look good, but as soon as I started to put the fruit on, it magically came together and looked great. Have fun creating one – and I’ll post the next one after it’s made!

naked cake by Anna Harding


Victorian Building Loses to Cheap Junk from China

stafford springs victorian
Maple Grove Inn / Parley Converse House

This beautiful Victorian/colonial house in Stafford, CT was demolished Monday morning. When I drove by in the morning it was standing, by the end of my workday it was a pile of rubble. I had known it was going to be torn down since winter and felt so sad over it. Such a gorgeous building, it deserved to be preserved and cherished by the town. I drive by every day on my way to work, musing about how nice it would be to have a fabulous bakery and tea room residing in it. Unfortunately I didn’t have the funds or really enough experience to make that work.

The colonial house had been built in 1816 by Parley Converse, one of the founders of the local wool mills. It received a Victorian renovation in 1870, then became a restaurant in 1930s, lasting up to recent times. The building was over 5,000 sq. ft. There had been efforts to save it, including a Facebook page but they failed.

It was in very good shape and had served upscale French cuisine. From the story I remember hearing, about ten years ago the owner would only sell it to someone who would renovate it. The listing read, “Turn key opportunity with a little elbow grease and paint….All equipment in place and inventoried…includes period moldings, ornate stairway and porches, 5 marble and 1 slate fireplace.” The new owner did fix it up, and rented it out as a restaurant again. My husband and I were so excited to go to the new Italian restaurant. We get there and were terribly disappointed! Whoever did their “decorating” should have been shot! They ripped out the ornate trim in the seating area and gave it all the personality of a Subway sandwich shop. Awful. In the hallway you could see some marble and a nice stairway, and the front parlour was intact, but only being used to store boxes. The food was okay, but not great. So sad. The restaurant didn’t last long but that wasn’t due to the economy. In fact another restaurant within walking distance was thriving – and even added on in recent years. Oddly enough that place has an ugly exterior but nice decor and the food is excellent.

According to what a friend overheard the owner was tired of trying to rent it out to places that couldn’t make a go of it and he felt it was the building’s features that inhibited his ability to find a viable tenant. So he decided to demo it and put up – a dollar store! When I told my boss what was about to happen, she was nonplused: she said, “That’s the town with the race track, right? They’ll be happier with the dollar store.” Grrr….perhaps she’s right. The townspeople didn’t put up enough of a fight to save it: people will move on, forget all about the beauty of their town, let people come in and replace it with ugly concrete and steel boxes…and cheap junk from China.

Save the Maple Grove has this video and several great pics on Facebook:

Finding the Purpose of Art


Recently I went with my husband to Washington D.C. to visit friends. We were on our way to the National Gallery of Art, primarily to see the Albrecht Dürer exhibit. We passed by the Mall and saw hundreds of people dressed in white running to piles of what looked to be bones, grabbing a handful and placing them on the lawn. Interested, we took a closer look. They were, of course, fake bones, made of recycled cardboard: egg carton-like material cast into a variety of bone shapes. From their website is a brief synopsis:

One Million Bones is a large-scale social arts practice, combining education, hands-on art making, and public installations to raise awareness of ongoing genocides and mass atrocities in places like Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Burma. For the past three years we have been collecting 1,000,000 handcrafted bones for a three-day installation event on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., June 8-10, 2013. The installation will exist as a collaborative site of conscience to honor victims and survivors, and will also serve as a visual petition against ongoing conflicts and a resounding call for much need and long overdue action.


We watched and read about the project and moved on. We saw the amazing Dürer exhibit and then went over to the west building to see the Edvard Munch show and then browsed around. One of the rooms had just 4 large paintings by Thomas Cole, The Voyage of  Life. I found the scenery depicted was fabulous (though the angels were too much) and I loved how he handled the clouds. Steve was particularly struck by the series and asked me for my phone to photograph them. As we walked back toward where we parked we were just about at the bones again and I wondered how far they had gotten while we were inside. Steve was talking about the Cole series and saying how sometimes he doesn’t like the art for the imagery but more for the meaning. I was thrilled! This is what artists throughout time, all over the world have been trying to get across! Artists have used many forms of media to produce something that inspires and moves you emotionally. This clearly was what the One Million Bones project was all about. The chance to bring a message to the general public in a format that transmits the message in a powerful way.