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When life hands you lemons…

“When life hands you lemons, say — I like lemons, what else you got?”
~ Henry Rollins

I’m back from my trip to sunny southern California. It was beautiful, and I had a wonderful time with my friends. The show that I was planning to do did not pan out as expected …. apparently, there were permit issues and the event was cancelled moments after we arrived to set up. I was beyond let down, as I’m not really in the position to take extended vacations like that unless they’re working vacations. In addition, this event took place on Mother’s Day weekend, which is typically a big day for craft shows and festivals. With that said, this last minute cancellation translated to a pretty big loss for me.

Village Grind, Wrightwood CA

Fortunately, my hosts have connections! Allison creates wonderful handcrafted soap and polymer clay jewelry, which she sells at a local coffee house called The Village Grind. She gave them a call to see if they’d let a few of the displaced vendors set up our wares on their deck, and they graciously agreed. It just so happened that they had an event planned for that day — their “Hedonist Days” event, which was a full on toga party.

They had singers and bands, and even a bellydancer. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and the friendly, tight knit community showed up in full force. I had a few good sales (which at least helped me to recoup a portion of my travel expenses) and I met so many great people! Seriously, I cannot say enough about our kind hosts Greg and Linda, or about the people of Wrightwood. It is a beautiful town with a friendly, vibrant community. If you’re ever in the area, I strongly encourage you to stop by and check it out for yourself ; and if you do, be sure to pop in to the Village Grind — they have fun events and music all the time.

As you can tell, I quickly fell in love with this beautiful mountain town and the awesome people who live there. I’m considering heading back down in July for their Mountaineer Days Festival. I’m undecided at the moment, but the event that I’d originally gone down for has been relocated and rescheduled around the same time, so it could work out. I would certainly welcome the chance to visit this town again.

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Day Trip and Daydreams of Jerome AZ

“House of Joy” Bordello Boutique

I recently took a road trip through Arizona. One of my favorite stops (besides the Bead Museum) was the town of Jerome. It’s an old mining town, build along the cliffs overlooking Sedona and the Verde Valley. The town has a colorful history. In its heyday it was a bustling mining town, and a hotbed for drinking, gambling, gun fights and brothels (that’s the “Reader’s Digest” version — you can read more here and here ;).

balcony at the House of Joy

Around the time of the Great Depression, the mine was nearly tapped out and ore prices dropped dramatically, so people began leaving in great numbers — in the 1920’s, the town’s population dropped to a whopping 50 people. In 1952 the mine officially closed down, leaving Jerome a ghost town.

Connor Hotel

It was rediscovered in the late 60’s by a group of “counterculture artists” (hippie freaks?) who moved in and began to restore the old buildings. They revitalized the town, and over the years it became a haven for artists, writers and musicians. These days it’s a little touristy, but not obnoxiously so. The quirky town is filled with great galleries filled with original art and craft. It’s a beautiful place with a funky, colorful vibe — an old west gambling town turned artists’ haven.

We only spent a few hours there this time, but that was more than enough time for me to fall in love with the place.  I moved away from Arizona over 15 years ago, and despite the fact that I still have family there, I’ve never really wanted to move back. This visit to Jerome made me re-think that. I doubt I’ll be moving back to the southwest any time soon, but if I did, this is where I’d want to be. I’d love to open a quirky gallery/bead shop in one of the funky old (haunted?) buildings, and enjoy the panoramic view of the sunset over the Verde Valley every day.

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A Quick Hello

Oh hi, sleepy blog! I still think about you from time to time, but I’m taking a full course load again this quarter so “thinking about it” is about the best I can do right now. Won’t be taking as many classes come Spring, so hopefully I’ll be able to pay more attention to this blog then.

Until then, please enjoy these photos from a recent road trip to the Skagit Valley. We went up to the Cascades to check out the bald eagle migration, and while we were there we also discovered huge flocks of migrating swans. Gorgeous, aren’t they?

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Day Trip to Whidbey Island


This past weekend, Robb and I took a road trip to Whidbey Island. We used to take road trips all the time but now that money is a bit tighter and gas is pricier, we’ve been trying be get creative with our travel plans. We’ve been taking shorter trips that are more affordable and a bit more spontaneous. Whidbey is only about an hour away from Seattle (including the ferry ride from Mukilteo) so it’s a convenient getaway spot. The island is incredibly scenic and offers great hiking, restaurants and art galleries.

Our first stop was the town of Langley, which has lots of public art and quirky shops. Sadly, it seems as though the current economy has had a serious impact on this colorful community. Many of the galleries that we remembered from previous visits had been closed down, and the downtown area had a lot of empty storefronts. Several of the stores that were open were staffed by shopkeepers with a furtive, hungry air that made us want to hurry on. I hope this was simply due to the fact that it was grey, and early in the tourist season. Or maybe it was just an off day? I hope so — Langley is usually more vibrant, and it seems to showcase the island’s creative talent well. I’m crossing my fingers that things will start looking up around there soon. 

Our next stop was the Bayview Historic Corner, which seems like a great community space. They had interesting art and craft, which was nicely displayed. The environment was inviting, and the little restaurant there smelled great. We also noticed that it’s a hub for some admirable community projects.

We didn’t linger too long, as we wanted to hit Coupeville before it got too late. I’ve heard great things about the
the Coupeville Arts Center over the years, so I hoped to find tons of galleries there.

As it turned out, Coupeville was pretty sleepy. By the time we finished our lunch most of the shops were closed. I would’ve been more disappointed, but the sun made a sudden appearance, so we were content to soak up some UV as we strolled around and checked out Coupeville’s public art and historic landmarks. Some of my favorite things about this beautiful waterfront town are the gorgeous old Victorian and craftsman style homes and Rosie the whale . Seriously, how can you not love a flying whale skeleton?

Our last stop on Whidbey was Greenbank Farm , which is another community project. This spot features wine and chocolate tasting, a yummy cheese shop, and of course, galleries. We got there just at closing time, so we didn’t get the full Greenbank experience. However, we did find the Rob Schouten Gallery , where they were kind enough to keep the doors open.

Some of my favorite pieces at this gallery were paintings by (I think I’ve got the name right…) Jarina Moss. These used intricate spirals and dots in joyful colors that reminded me of tiny mandalas, or datura designs. What I found most interesting about this artist, is the fact that she used to be a dentist — lots of left/right brain action going on there!
It was also fun to hear Rob’s wife, Victory talk about his art, and the process and inspiration behind it. She was friendly and informative in an inviting, low key way that made it comfortable to explore and ask questions. Because of this, we were able to really look at the work there, and I fell in love with the print pictured here (did I mention that they offer layaway?).
It was a lovely ending to a pleasant day … and a great reminder as to why we like Whidbey so much. We don’t get out there as often as we’d like, but it’s always a great time when we do.
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Happy day

Robb’s been on my case lately about being a workaholic (I think that loving my job makes this ok) so I gave in and took a rare day off. It worked out fabulously, as yesterday was a gorgeous day for a road trip! We took a leisurely drive up through the Cascade mountains, stopping at antique stores and art galleries along the way. Many were closed, but we did get to see some cool art, and met some odd and interesting folks while we soaked in the beautiful weather and great scenery.

It was a really nice day, spent with one of my favorite people in the world.
When we got home, I discovered that Imaginestudio included my work in an Etsy treasury :

this is my first time in a treasury, and Imaginestudio does exquisite work, so I was all kinds of flattered and happy. It was a lovely ending to an already sweet day.
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Diamonds on the soles of her shoes…

My to do list is trying to swallow me whole this week, so no long rambles today … Instead, I offer this pic of some lovely mocs we saw on a recent road trip.
They’re antiques, done in “lazy” stitch (LOL, what a misnomer!) and a sweet example of traditional beadwork. Not sure if these are plateau or plains work? Either way, I love these old time colors — check out that greasy green & the Cheyenne pink. IIRC, the red beads are old Venetian whitehearts as well
I’m intrigued by the fact that the soles are completely beaded. I wonder what it would feel like to walk in these shoes?