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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Last Day

I  was up fairly early once again—didn't sleep well most nights since I think our Temperpedic bed has spoiled us. We were both up and dressed by 7, so I suggested we hike on the grounds and Matthew suggested going down to the waterfall. Not being ones to rush into anything, we started with coffee. Connie and Greg were still sleeping, but woke before we left, so Greg came with us.
 
  Bob offered us some walking sticks, which really helped with the mud and steep climb down—and getting back up. I'm definitely not a hiker by nature—my short legs had a hard time, even though they have steps leading down the hill. I had to take it one at a time and go pretty slow. The area is beautiful, and we stopped periodically to look up into the trees hoping to see a sloth. Bob said we might see a wild pig and some monkeys, but maybe we got started a little too late (around 8) because we didn't see any wild life....unless you count centipedes. The waterfall was worth the trip and I felt like I walked off some of the dinner from the night before.

We had to then pack up everything and leave. I am so impressed with what Bob and Bea have done there—building a home not only for visitors to enjoy, but also for orphaned animals. Bea showed us Geronimo, the wooly opossum they've build a home for. She's raised him since he was little and goes in to feed him twice a day.

They have several large shelters for animals to use when they need it, plus the huge bird sanctuary, which only has a few parakeets at the moment. Everyday Bob puts food out for the wild cawatis that live around the property. He says he's not sure they're there, but the food is always gone later. Bea has a huge heart and her life story is very touching, which prompted us to give them a donation towards their critter care.
We expected a house to stay in, but ended up in much more. We've used VRBO before, but the house is left with no supplies, which is normal. Bea brought us tamales, juice, and milk the first night since we hadn't had a chance to shop, but the next morning bacon and eggs arrived on the table by the pool. They're very generous with everyone and everything and are the kind of people that make the world a better place.
 And have I mentioned the sunsets? 

 And my one art photo:
 
They're planning on selling the houses and part of the property, about 2 acres, then building another home down the hill from this one. We saw a realtor when we were there, so it's already on the market.
We had about a 3 hour drive to our motel, again the Adventure Inn, which I've now decided is an adventure in trying to sleep...but our GPS sent us on a wild goose chase and we were nearly 4 hours into it when I suggested putting the airport into the GPS instead of the coordinates we'd been given, then we were able to find the hotel. Costa Rica is known for having no street signs or addresses, so it's a bit difficult to find places. We finally arrived and got into our rooms, went to the bar for drinks, then made a decision about dinner.
We drove over to where there were a few restaurants, since it was Christmas and we weren't sure what would be open.... Sakuro, the Japanese place mentioned in our guide book was open, so we decided sushi sounded pretty good. Everything was pretty pricey there, and our waiter suggested having the chef make a large boat or bowl of sushi for us to share. I asked how much it would cost, and he shrugged and said he didn't know...it was up to the chef and what he prepared. Well, it was very good with a good assortment of sushi and sashimi....and cost about $200! Merry Christmas!
We said our good-byes to Connie and Greg since we had to be up very early and they don't leave till 4 pm for Seattle.
Neither Matthew nor I slept much at all last night—it was extremely windy and loud all night, plus the room wasn't very dark. I was up before the 6 am wake-up call and into the breakfast room by 6:15. I was anxious to check the flights to make sure we were getting out of there today, which looked promising. As I write this, we're on the plane almost into Phoenix, which is good news, but the plane we're catching from here to SFO is coming in from Newark, where they're having a huge storm and flights are being canceled or delayed, last we heard. Let's hope we make it home on the day we planned for a change.
Julian has been good about emailing me about the cats and how things are going. Since it's been raining most of the time we've been gone, I don't think they've been outside all week. Farwell will be so pissed...he loves the rain and refuses to stay in even when it's pouring. Fancy will just be plain pissed that we've been gone.

 Home now...made it through with no problems and even got to the Phoenix immigration first because we were in first class and off the plane first, then to our luggage and through customs among the first again.   The cats are happy to see us andn we're happy to get back into our own bed tonight and sleep!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Eve


 I was actually up and dressed at 6 am yesterday, which is a first. I sat outside and read a little and knitted a little.  By the time Matthew was up, about an hour later,we'd decided to try to get to Manuel Antonio, a popular park and reserve about 45 k from here.  Unfortunately,by the time everyone was up and ready, we called and it was already full to capacity.  We decided to go to the reptile park where they have many venomous snakes and lizards and other lovelies.  We were there on feeding day, so got to watch the little white rats get swallowed up by many snakes in various colors and sizes.
 After spending time there, we drove in a new direction for us, but got about halfway over the mountain and decided San Isidro looked too big and maybe too far away to get to, so we stopped midway at a restaurant on the top of the hill with a beautiful view of the valley and river running through it for lunch. 
The food was great, and I ordered something--shrimp and vegetables with mashed potatoes--that could tide me over till dinner.  We'd made reservations at Citrus,which we'd seen the sign for down the hill in Dominical.  They were offering a 7-course dinner for $39 each and allowed us to reserve a table without their usual 1/2 deposit since when Matthew called, we were out near the pool without our credit card handy.
  The reason I mention this is we left here with plenty of time for our 7pm reservation, but when we got to the sign and read the fine print below, it said Citrus was actually in another town 32k from there...about 20-25 min.  We thought we'd be 5 min early, but after missing the turnoff as we raced down the highway, we were 35 min late.  The owner was extremely gracious and welcoming and the dinner was phenomenal. 
  Every one of the 7 courses were perfect--and we each had a choice of either shrimp or beef.  I had the latter and it was excellent and perfectly cooked  with a reduced sauce with cranberries.  Other courses included tuna tartare with mango carpaccio, warm vinegrette salad with goat cheese on toast, pate with carrot jam, and strawberries with a wonderful sauce for dessert.   I wish I'd asked for a menu because there was more to each plate.  Portions were large for a tasting menu and we were happily stuffed when we left. 
 Today is our last day in Dominical....Matthew and I are going to try for one last short hike before showering and packing....

Thursday, December 23, 2010

HIKING IN HUMIDITY

 Yesterday, Wed, we decided to have a light breakfast, then go for a hike on the property here. We walked down to the end of their property to the river, which was partly downhill in the mud, but we all made it without slipping or falling, so we thought it a great success. I'm not sure how far it is in miles...like probably not more than 1or 1.5, but it felt like much more, especially given the hunidity and the uphill walk on the way back.
costa rica2 049
We really didn't see much of interest, other than leaf-cutter ants, which are huge and carry large pieces of plants which they then chew and make into an edible fungus. There are zillions of ants in Costa Rica and we saw many.  We did give them the right-of-way.  Here they're carrying flower pedals...you can't see the ants since what they're carrying is bigger than they are!
We've seen more interesting animals just by sitting around the pool or walking up the few steps to where the car is. They have white-faced monkeys who visit at least once a day to steal bananas while their horses roam (well, they're often in the stables, but if Bob and Bea are not home before they all get into the stables, they roam—which was a problem when they waltzed their way through their downstairs garage area yesterday and ate 6 mangoes, leaving gooey mango drops all over the floor). Toucans abound here too and they're interesting and noisy.
costa rica2 025

  We rewarded ourselves after the hike:

And enjoyed a beautiful sunset:
costa rica2 045
We ventured out for dinner to a local place which was on the water, so we made sure to get there for sunset.  The food was so-so--we're pretty spoiled.  I had tuna, which actually was good.
costa rica2 059The drinks were the best however.
So today we decided to venture into Hacienda Baru reserve for a hike, which is only about 4 miles from here. We figured they'd have some interesting birds and animals we haven't seen, so we were looking forward to the walk. We chose to do the $6 per person rather than the $35 one which included a hike up a tower for a view with an optional zipline. Instead, we walked through the reserve to the ocean, which took about an hour, but saw no animals and hardly even birds. Oh, we did see cutter ants again....
We walked back the way we came, which was all we could do, but then got to the divided path and decided to walk a ways into where the signs said we could see monkeys, coatis and caiman, which are like small crocodiles. We saw some coatis when we first started on the path, so we had high hopes, but after another 45 -60 minutes, we had only seen more f'ing cutter ants, so we turned around and headed back. By then, my feet were so done! But I did forget to mention the best thing we saw at Baru...fortunately, just before our walk, Matthew asked someone who works there about sloths, and he pointed one out way up in a tree in the front parking lot near our car. I also liked the butterfly farm they have there, which was before the long walk.
We decided to stop at the fruit stand on our way back to the house where we had coatis come up to us within a few feet to see if we had food.  We could have just stayed there all day and been entertained!   


beggar!
Matthew wants to drive 1.5 hours to another reserve tomorrow. Originally, he tried to sell us on a tour that starts there at 8, which means leaving here around 6:30 am and ends at 4:30. it does sound interesting since they take you on a boat ride in the mangroves, then to the reserve where no motorized vehicles are allowed. But after today, I don't think I can handle that long a day on my feet. He's now hoping we'll drive there and walk into the reserve instead of taking the tour. I haven't committed....but it's doubtful. I know for a fact I will not be wearing my hiking boots again on this trip.
We returned to the house after shopping for food and relaxed by the pool. The sky was overcast, and it didn't feel that hot, but we did have a beautiful sunset. We stayed in for dinner—Matthew grilled the other half of the beef we'd bought, Greg made 'smooshed' potatoes and sauteed mushrooms, and Connie made a salad. You guessed it...I stayed out of the kitchen till cleanup time.
The connection for Internet is weird for this computer—Bob says others haven't had problems and have actually conducted business online when staying here, so I have no idea what's going on. I can get onto aol, but not comcast. It does work better in the morning. Last night I spent hours trying to get my comcast to work....and it never did.  So no pictures right now....I'm sure you're dying to see the half dozen I took of the sunset.
Ah morning...couldn't sleep past 6 today, so now the computer is cooperating and I can add pictures and even read comcast. 
costa rica2 068

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

photos...for some reason, they worked through Flickr today. Tomorrow...who knows?

Here we are about to take off on the ATVs with Bea..as she's giving those last minute instructions.  They actually feel really safe and balanced, unlike motorcycles.  and we went on some heavy-duty hills and through mud and streams of mud and water that day.  Our shoes took at least 24 hours to dry, and it helped having the sun make an appearance yesterday so we could put them outside to dry out.



This is the meal we were served by the family.  The pork wasn't really to our liking as it was much fat, which we're not used to.  Bea loved it.  you can see the homemade tortillas the oldest daughter made for us, to which we added housemade cheese.

costa rica2 025       costa rica2 004Everyday the horses arrive at the bananas for a treat on their way to the stables.  They roam at night and come back during the   day.  The white one shows up first---he's the largest, but is the least dominant, so has to get up here fast for his treats since the others will push him out of the way.  He was very sweet.  That big black dog has made himself comfortable in our home.  His name is Vadar and he's a lab....awhile ago, he found Bob and Bea's house with their pool and went for a swim.  They found his owners on the other side of the mountain, so returned him, but after 3 more dips in their pool, they all agreed he wanted to live with Bob and Bea since the others didn't have a place for him to swim. 


Below is Connie, comtemplating the day or just admiring the view from the pool.  

Yesterday we had lots of action here--monkeys were flying around the trees making lots of noise, a couple of toucans made an appearance, and butterflies were mating on the grass, which fascinated Matthew.  We went down the hill to the bank, grocery store, and to lunch in a local place.  And I can't believe I didn't take any food pictures!  I must be slipping.  We're heading out today for a hike, so will hope this works againn later.  I couldn't  get anything to work last night and was totally frustrated.

Monday, December 20, 2010

ATVs and Ticos

So I wrote this with high hopes of adding pictures, but this connection is too slow, so nothing is coming on.  I'll do it later in the week before we return home, hopefully...
We had an awesome day today, but I'm beginning to think I shouldn't leave home (or the condo, house, apt. hotel we're staying in) without rain gear. Bea invited us to join her on an excursion to some Ticos' homes—native Costa Ricans who are friends of theirs. She was delivering Christmas tamales to two families who live in the mountains up and around from here. We thought it sounded like a great experience, one not to be missed, so we all agreed to go.
First, the men had a crash, pardon the expression, course in how to drive an ATV. Connie and I only had to worry about hanging on from behind them, and we were off. Bea led the way, then Matthew and me, then Connie and Greg on theirs.
Bea gave last minute instructions—like don't hit the accelerator by mistake when going down the hill....

We got about 10 min away from the house when it started drizzling. Bea stopped and asked if we needed jackets, which she'd brought, so Connie and I said yes. Matthew and Greg had hats on, but Connie and I did not... And by the time we arrived at the first house, about 15 min. later, we were all pretty soaked. We weren't invited into the house, so stood outside with the mother and her two sons and talked. I hae a picture of Kendel, who is seriously adorable, in front of his house and gardenk but no pictures want to load again. Neither he nor his mother spoke any English, so Bea translated any questions or comments we all had. We stayed for about 30 minutes, then got back on the ATVs and headed farther into the mountains.

I'm unsure how far we went or how much time we spent on the ATVs, but I do know it never stopped pouring on us the whole time. By the time we go to the second family's home, we were soaked through to our underwear and our hair looked like we'd just stepped out of the shower. The dad and one of his daughters was there, so we sort of chatted with—he also spoke no English, so Bea translated—while his daughter started making fresh tortillas after putting wood in to heat up the stove.
The process in make the dough and press out the tortilla, quickly fry it in the pan, then put one side against the grill where the fire is for a few seconds. They were delicioso! Her mother and sisters were on their way home, along with some sons—they have 9 children! And we got to meet about 6 of them. They served us a lovely lunch of a sweet drink—sugar-water and warm milk, fried pork which was mostly fat, so we sort of took little bits of that, tortillas and cheese. Then they also served us sweet cookies for dessert.


One of the boys, Elias, who has worked for Bea and Bob, ate also, but we never really saw the rest of the family eating. Their farm provides them with everything they need to sustain them—chickens, cows, horses, pigs, turkeys, and fruits and vegetables. The father works the land and has help from several children, and some of them work elsewhere and help financially. Elias, who is 26, has been to New Jersey a few times for work landscaping. They told us many from Costa Rica go to NJ to work.
 Our cook, one of the older daughers, is behind me on the left, the youngest is in stripes in front, and the young lady in green is going into 8th grade and is expected to be the one to get to college because her grades are so good. The other children will probably not go past 6th grade since they have to provide uniforms and transportation for them and they're needed on the land. You can see what I found sleeping under the hot stove....he's only 4 months old, and we all had a chance to hold him.
This family was so lovely to us...by the time we left, we were communicating through pictures in our cameras, and they brought our dry shirts for Matthew and Greg to wear back. Connie and I added plastic pants Bea had brought for our drive home, and one of the girls helped me dress since it was pretty tough getting them on over my wet ones. We had hugs and Feliz Navidads all around as we left, and the mother told Bea to tell us that if we come back to CR, we're welcome there anytime.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

pictures of costa rica....and commentary, of course

This is the view tonight just outside the house--in the forefront is the infinity pool and beyond is the fog coming in over the canyon from Dominical.  On a clear day, you can see the ocean...which we could see about 10 min. before the fog rolled in.  Still warm, but not too hot. 
The next shot is our visit to Bob and Bea's house tonight just as the sun went down.  Bea rescues animals and one she's had since he was 8 days old (just like our Farwell)....he's a kinkajou who sleeps in their closet during the day and comes out tonight for his buffet, which she prepares and sets out on the counter.  Our cats would be so jealous--they're never allowed on our counters!  He started by drinking some Coke, then went to his mixture of soy protein powder, vanilla, and some other ingredients, two plates of fruits, and some chicken pate.  She said he also likes salami.  He was quite taken with Matthew, but what kinky-Jew isn't?

Hoity Toity

 I don't ever want to return to flying coach after getting her via first class. Oh, the comfort of it—beginning with not waiting in line to check my bag, getting on board first, being served a drink while the rest of the passengers got on, being offered treats and drinks throughout the flight....and then going into the special lounge on our 3 hour layover in Charlotte where we had free wi-fi, free coffee and juice, muffins, cereal, etc. Oh, and comfortable chairs.
And on the second flight, while the other passengers were coughing up credit cards for crappy snacks, we were served a choice of Chinese chicken salad or hot chicken sandwiches....and then later served warm brownies after the lunch had been cleared. Oh gawd....how could I possibly return to coach hell? And should I mention the seats on the second flight? They had buttons that moved a foot rest to the exact spot my short legs needed and buttons that moved everything else on the chair so if you wanted to lie down and read or sleep, no problem....and with so much room, the person behind you didn't even notice. Oh, liked that separate light next to the chair you could use if the lights were all out and you wanted to read without using the bright overhead one. And did I mention the warm brownie?
Travel is so much harder now with all those lines and TSA crap (oh, and first class doesn't have to wait in those lines either—they just put you ahead of everyone else), so flying with style is well worth it....although not sure how we can afford it every time, but I'm willing to figure it out. I try not to act like a hick whenever possible, so I didn't get out the camera to take pictures of us in first class....but who knows—maybe I'll do it on the way home. I'm hoping it's not a one-time only experience.
We're now on our second day in Costa Rica. We spent the first night at the Adventure Inn not far from the airport and outside the city of San Jose. It's a cute place, well decorated with a great staff. Our room was in the front—large with 2 queen beds in it and free wi-fi. What we didn't realize till too late was we were outside the hotel's sign which went on bright, then off, then on...all night. I was hit with jet lag while we were talking to the car agent before dinner, so went to the room and laid down a bit. Matthew came in and we headed downstairs to have a drink and snack, which turned into dinner since we didn't want to go back to the room, then return in an hour or so.... By the end of dinner, I was falling asleep again, so we just headed to the room. Since there was a light between the beds, I crawled into the other one to read, figuring I'd move when I was ready for sleep. On the bed with me was my very large suitcase and some of the stuff I'd pulled out of there earlier, but I had just enough room for reading. At some point, maybe 2 seconds after I started 'reading,' Matthew looked over and I was sound asleep with my glasses on, holding my book in the air. He came over and removed the book, then thought he'd better remove my new glasses since I could easily break them if I rolled over on them....and still I didn't wake up. So apparently, there I was still with my hands mid-air holding a nonexistent book at 8:30 pm! Anyone who knows me knows I never get to sleep before 1, so this is particularly funny. He even checked to make sure I was breathing!
If this had been reversed, I would have pictures to post of Matthew fast asleep, but fortunately for me, he doesn't think that way.
Today we took the local bus to the town of Alajuela to their central market. We thought we'd pick up food for the house we're renting, but nothing really appealed to us there except for coffee beans and creamer so we'd be set for the morning. We figured we'd go to a market in Dominical when we arrived here and get some breakfast foods. Our friends Connie and Greg came in at 1 pm, and we picked them up at the airport and drove the 3 hours to Dominical. They were as exhausted as we were yesterday. We stopped at a roadside cafe for lunch



—a set meal of rice and beans, plantains, salad, vegetables, and a choice of shrimp, pork, chicken, or beef. Connie and I had chicken, Matthew had pork, and Greg had the steak and all 3 were good.



We didn't arrive here till close to 6, so it was already dark. We called Bob, the owner of the house we're renting, and he came down the hill in his ATV so we could follow him to the house....which turned out to be up a deadly steep, unpaved, pockmarked hill. We had to use the 4-wheel drive to get here.
Bea and Bob moved here 12 years ago after coming for a vacation. They were here 3 days and decided to chuck their jobs—or retire—she being a nurse and he a fire fighter in Yakima, WA (where, coincidentally Connie is from). Actually, he promised her a horse if she agreed to move here, and she readily agreed. Bob designed this house and had it built—and it's quite incredible. The Elliots are upstairs in the master bedroom with a king-sized bed and huge table in there, the master bath has a walk-in shower and a jacuzzi tub and walk-in closet, a separate laundry room with another bathroom and shower...the living room and kitchen are sort of a great room, with a huge kitchen fully stocked with everything you need, including an espresso maker. They provide coffee and since we hadn't had time to shop for food, brought over juices and tamales, butter and a loaf of bread. Off the living room, you can see the infinity pool just outside, and beyond that is a view we couldn't really see since it's dark...
Matthew and I are downstairs which you get to from either side of the house outside...it's like a condo with a kitchenette—microwave, coffeemaker, 2-burner cooktop, mini refrigerator, and toaster oven.
It has its own private full bath with a great walk-in shower, a queen bed, and good-sized closet, a stacked washer/dryer, and all the kitchen necessities. Oh they have a TV upstairs and down and wi-fi upstairs.
Bob and Bea are a story unto themselves....starting with how she rescues animals. They have 6 dogs, mostly rescues, a kinkajou who visits in the evenings, which we're invited to come see one night when he's there, and several other animals, both during the day and nocturnally. They have a turtle pond and many frogs and toads like the infinity pool so hang out at night. We were greeted by one when we got here along with a giant gecko in the main house. Then one of their dogs came by to introduce himself. We have no curtains on the windows, so should be up pretty early, but outside we can hear crickets and other night crawlers. Bea tells us to watch for the white-faced monkeys who have recently started stealing their bananas off the trees. Oh, and the 6 horses they now have roam through in the morning on their way to or from the stables. They run wild at night within their land. He originally bought 200 acres here, but has sold off some to people for homes and has dedicated 120 for a reserve.
Can't wait for tomorrow to see where the hell we are! Not hell for sure...more like heaven!
And then....woke up to this:   oh, could only get one to upload...more later.  picture lots of trees and greenery....

Definitely not a sunny day. I opened the windows (they all have screens, if not curtains) to hear the bird noises. We have bananas growing right outside the window and Bea says the monkeys come get them, so I laid there and waited to see if they showed up at 7 am....but maybe it's too early for them. I fell asleep around 11, so 8 hours is an hour more than usual, but I figured going to bed earlier is going to be the week's plan since I'll probably wake earlier with the sun...if and when it makes its appearance. I think this is probably the best scenery I've ever witnessed first thing in the morning. The best way to describe it is lush. We're surrounded by greenery on all sides with a view of the ocean and Dominical on one side from our apartment, which is the view from the pool upstairs. So far, wow~!
And pictures will be inserted just as soon as I figure out how to get them uploaded since they're giving me trouble today....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shows this weekend....

 Two days of shows--lots of talking and showing my work.  It's fun to get the feedback and have people find just the right piece--textile or jewelry--they love or love for someone else.  And I sold out on bookmarks and almost sold out on ornaments.  Whew.....
 I have a few pictures of my displays...the second set were in someone's home today.  After getting inspired by Louise's pictures of her open studios yesterday, I ran with it and spread my things throughout the house.
Saturday at Farallone View...just a 6' table, a hat rack, and my hanging thing.

The family room--my friend Carole checking out the beaded lariats and cocoons on the mantel...and Kathleen Smith's painted pillows were colorful and beautiful on the sofa.....

rayon chenille scarves--woven and yummy--so soft
cocoons hanging everywhere, but not noticed much.  This is her entryway.
my goofy painted ties and recycled wire vase with earrings and bracelets..and I always come up one half of a pair of earrings short from the trip in the car.  Will seach tomorrow...it's somewhere.
Scarves, felted bags, and woven shawl in the family room.
Can't believe it--battery went dead before I could take any photos of the jewelry in the kitchen.  Even though 3 other people were selling jewelry, that's what most of the attendees wanted to look at.  I did sell one clutch bag and a rayon chenille scarf.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One holiday down....

One obligatory Thanksgiving picture:   Garret was sound asleep...the beer bottle was added by someone who shall remain nameless, but he was so zonked--and this was before we ate dinner--that even several camera flashes didn't disturb him. 


Okay, I lied--one more picture.  Everyone knows I don't cook anymore...well, like for the last 25 years, but I do make the twice-baked potatoes on Thanksgiving.    Oh, maybe I should find the picture of the turkey to give Matthew equal billing for all his hard work...

 So now I'm up to 3 pictures from Thanksgiving.  He glazed the turkey with reduced apple cider which was pretty, but too much work and unnecessary.
 
 I took the weekend off from creating more for the art shows, which also means quieting my head from designing the next project.  I shopped instead!  I went to the gem and jewelry show on Friday when everyone else seemed to be heading to the malls, though bought less than usual.  I only want unique beads I don't already have or things I need to finish projects, like spacers.  I did buy myself two presents--a rose-gold chain and a pair of Helenite dangling earrings that are a vibrant, gorgeous green.   I rarely do that since I make jewelry--duh--but both were irrestible. 
 Yesterday I did my annual shop-till-you-drop in SF at the Concourse, one of my favorite things to do.  Lennie came with me, and she was a good shopping buddy.  If there had been a test, she would have gotten an A.  But I no longer do any grading....  and that's what I am most grateful for this year--being retired from a 35-year career and allowing my brain to play and create art in the form of textiles and jewelry as the mood strikes me. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Crab Season!

 We love fresh crab right off the boats--it's one of the many perks of living on the coast.  We've waited all week to get them since the fishermen postponed the actual opening day to let the critters get larger.  Times have really changed when you think about it--we prefer farmer's markets for buying fresh produce right from the grower, some of us even have food growing in our own backyards, and we also prefer going to the harbor and picking out our own fish or seafood. 
 And then there are those who still eat canned and frozen and worst of all, fast food.  Admittedly, many people don't like to look their dinner in the eyes before the meal....
So better not look to see what's coming next....

Cooked and ready!  I'll never be a vegetarian, right?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Musings on Open Studios

 I've been writing this blog in my head since last week.  Why is it that many people can be involved in something, but only a small few do all the work?  And what is it about those few that keeps them going when others just show up for the fun part? 
 I guess this has always been my nature, until I get tired of being the idea person and workhorse, then walk away.  I did that at work when any new program was introduced--I was always the one to offer to try it (mentoring 2 times, advisor to new teachers, grade level advisor, creator and sole planner of Enrichment Day at the elementary school), when I moved to the coast I started a chemo cap knitting group in my home, which lasted a few years until I got tired of never knowing how many were going to show up, and now I've started this artists' group, which is up to 55 members, 23 of whom participated in the Open Studios and 3 1/2 of whom did the work.  Actually, we had two halves, so that could be considered 4.
 I realize we didn't know what we didn't know so it was hard to delegate some of the responsibility, but I did try.  I had 3 people in charge of advertising, for example, and one started working on the flyer, but had to stop when she left town, and only one other volunteering to get the poster done, though we needed help with how to proceed.  Thank goodness Doug picked up the ball and ran with it; otherwise, nothing would have gotten done.  Only a few people took posters and passed them out to businesses and who knows how many ran the flyers to give out or even emailed them out.  Communication seems to have broken down in this group--I feel like I always have to ask and not getting much back.
  Someone suggested we do the Open Studios in May too....so when we debrief this one, I want to be prepared to list everything that's needed to get done for it and have it understood we all share the work.  I'm not so sure I'll use my home for it again since I had hardly any traffic from the signs and posters.  Almost everyone who attended here came because they knew the artists.
 I did sell some weavings--one red shawl that I had a hard time parting with and two short cocoon jackets--which are like shawls with sleeves.  I priced them pretty inexpensively, considering most handwoven garments sell for much more.  But I'd rather see someone wearing and enjoying what I make than have it hanging in my closet.
I should have taken more pictures, but I forgot and when I did, it was a little too crowded to get the whole thing. 

The textiles were on the far left side of the table and also hanging.  I have no idea how to show the jackets at the shows where I can't hang them.    No one bought any rayon chenille, which is my favorite since it's so soft and luscious.
I think the most fun part of the day was having long-lost friends show up!  I had a few surprises, like Gloria from high school days whom I hadn't seen in 14 or 15 years. 
I have plans to attend a bead show in Oakland today, but I'm my body is not feeling like it wants to move very fast or leave the house.  It almost feels like I "worked" yesterday!  Heaven forbid....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Two more days and I'm still working...

Since I took the time to get pictures of new work that will preview this Saturday, I wanted to see how they look posted.  The first one is a Kumihimo beaded necklace.  I did this one with a blend of beads, rather than one or two colors only...and I like the look.  I'll make more, but not right this moment...Then made a few bracelets and some earrings.  I didn't crochet the wire for these, so they're so of "ordinary."   Well, not a problem since many people like this look rather than the artsy one.

This picture doesn't show the shapes of the lampwork glass...some are square, some triangles, and some round. 


The red here is a bracelet, and the white/pink is a necklace.. I realize it's hard to tell in pictures.
And this last one is made with the Italian wire mesh, but it's hard to see....the large beads,which are some gemstone I don't remember--story of my life--are enclosed in the mesh.   I did do a couple of simple necklaces with the mesh using mostly single glass pendants, which don't take much imagination, but are stunning nevertheless.   Sometimes that old KISS method is the best...