Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Little Wine or Maybe a Lot

This week is our sojourn to Napa, CA. We are always on the quest for new and interesting wines and different wineries. We like the small family owned wineries as they have a little bit more personal feel. First stop on our list was Jessup Cellars. Oh my, what wonderful wines. I recommend making a reservation for a tasting as you get personalized treatment but you can just walk in also. I think the tasting fee is $20.00 but if you buy then it is waived. They are very liberal in their pourings and in fact will pour more wines than what is on the tasting list. We've been wine club members for over a year and love all the wines we have received but my favorite is called Jewel which is a red wine blend. Of course that would be the name of my favorite wine. They don't have any for sale right now but they do have the other red wine blend called Table for Four which is really good also.

Yesterday we ventured out again after doing a little grocery shopping. We cook our dinners at the condo vs. eating out each night as we do have a full kitchen. First stop was Hope and Grace. We found this little boutique winery last year and I just love their Chardonnay. They also just released a new Malbec which hubby liked. Then onto to Peju. We visited them about 4 years ago and haven't been back as we were trying others out but decided to go back this year. What a change in the winery. They have made some beautiful changes in their tasting room. We had our tasting in the marble room. Floors, countertops, everything was made of this wonderful green, brown marble. They have some wonderful sculptures outside also.

Today was an interesting day. My turn to drive us around and I thought I would take the Silveraldo Trail and hit some of the wineries up to St. Helena but I took a little detour. Yes, it was planned the moment I knew I made a mistake, I decided that this was the new plan. We went into the hills, around corners, up and down until we finally came to a lake. Don't know the name but took a few pictures anyway and then headed back toward Rutherford and came upon another lake...took more photos and continued on until we found a winery that looked interesting. It became our first winery stop of the day.

Rutherford Ranch was a pleasing surprise. We tasted several of their wines and then decided to join their wine club. They had the best Old Vine Zin that we have tasted in a while. So we had to buy a few. Knowing that we were going to get our first club shipment later in September that's all we purchased but the wines are very drinkable and affordable.

Walking around St. Helena was fun. We had lunch at a sidewalk Italian cafe and did a little shopping. Found a cool toss pillow all embroidered with California regions, hit up another shop called Findings that had some funky jewelry (yes I bought something) and then headed back down Hwy 29 towards home.

We just couldn't stop with one winery so found another one on the list that was along the way and recognized it as a sister winery of the Frances Ford Coppola winery that we are members of called Rubicon Estate. The Coppola's  purchased it in '75 from Inglenook Estate which was world renowned. I was so disappointed in the Rubicon wines since we love the Coppola wines. The people at the winery are very nice, the grounds are gorgeous but the wine was very pretentious. Heavy, dry and not drinkable unless you had some really heavy food which we did not. Tastings are $25.00 and you get to try 5 wines. I really don't recommend this winery if you are just out having a good time and wanting to try some good drinkable wines.

Tomorrow is another day so hopefully we will find some fantastic wineries and if not I'm sure we will have a good time trying.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Soup Anyone? Bead Soup That Is

I finally got all my mail delivered from the post office from being gone for a week and wow, what I had waiting for me. I got soup. Bead Soup that is. I am participating in a Bead Soup Blog Party organized by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things. We got our partner assignments, shipped out a few beads along with a clasp and focal piece and now we are to make something out of the soup we received. Here is mine.

We must think alike as I also sent her bronze findings and chain to use. I love the blues in this group as there are some Blue Aventurine, some ceramic and crystals along with lots of other pretties. I'm totally in love with the Green Sheen Obsidian cabachon and at the bottom is a Malachite cabachon. I plan to wire wrap both real soon but not for this challenge.

My partner for this challenge is Christie from Charis Designs. Feel free to visit her blog and her ArtFire studio. If you would like to see what I send her, visit her blog post HERE.

I still have a lot to do before we leave on our next adventure. We will be in Napa for a week. This is our annual trip but we moved it from March to September so that we could enjoy a little warmer weather and to actually see grapes on the vine. Most of the harvest starts after we leave but that's okay we have fun just visiting the wineries, shopping and eating. I'll have to get to work when I return to finish up making something out of all those wonderful beads but until then I can stew on it for a bit. LOL.

Have a great day and I'll try to remember to take some photos of the ArtCharms I'm sorting tomorrow. The theme was Woodstock and the Groovy 60's. These charms are going to make a great bracelet. Oh the anticipation.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camping in the Trees

Well we are camping where there are trees but I just happened to have made some trees....gem trees that is. I will show you a picture but before that I have to tell you that they are not finished, no roots yet and they haven't been mounted on a rock. I also made a new tree that I'm going to call a Charm Tree or maybe a Memory Tree, humm I guess I haven't made up my mind yet so if you have any suggestions let me know. The purpose is to hang charms or pictures or I guess anything you want off the loops. Might be a little hard to imagine without anything on it yet. I already have an Earring Tree design but you could use it for those also.

Here are the other lonely trees without there bases.

One of these trees will be donated to the Harvest of Hope auction to benefit Mary Bridge Children's Hospital and a couple will be sent to the gallery in Oregon. If you are ever passing through Lincoln City, Oregon and want to check it out, it is called Rock Your World on Hwy 101. They've been open since May 31st and so far the trees have been doing really well. Here is their Facebook page if you want to find out more about them. http://www.facebook.com/rockyourworldgallery

Now a couple of camping pictures. One of our spaniel Buddy and the other is me holding Leo.

Buddy's favorite place in the whole motor coach is on the front dash. He will even ride up there when we are traveling down the road.

Leo's favorite place in the coach is anywhere I am. I swear he just follows me around like a little puppy...no pun intended.

Have a good day everyone...tomorrow we are off to the beach for the day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Wonders of Camping and Crafting

We decided to take off for a few days and go camping but since I had some much to do I brought all my jewelry and gem tree making supplies to keep busy. I usually get so bored while we are camping as I'm thinking about all the stuff I could be getting into creating while at home. Problem solved, just bring everything. I didn't bring everything but I have a box of jewelry stuff, a box of art supplies and a box of gem tree making supplies. Who knows what I'm going to have to pack if we Winter down in Arizona. I'll have to start thinking about that soon so I can get all organized.

Anyway onto to the pretties. Everything has sterling silver findings except for the bronze chain necklace and earrings. I love the bronze metal but sterling still sells best. These will be up in my ArtFire studio soon but if you see something you like just e-mail me or leave me a comment and I'll quote you a price.

  • First we have an Aquamarine bracelet with sterling silver spacers and small freshwater pearls. I just love this color of blue and it isn't that watered down bluish green that you normally see. 
  • Then we have about a 20" pearl and agate necklace made with sterling silver links. I wanted something neutral that would go with most everything but not just all pearls. I guess you might say it is an updated pearl necklace. 
  • My favorite, bronze links in an asymetrical design with Picasso Jasper. The earrings match. Necklace is about 36" in length and perfect to wear doubled. 
  • On the bottom row is a delicate Love, Faith and Hope sterling bracelet with light pink crystals and freshwater pearls. I thought this might appeal to someone that would like to honor a friend who has gone through Breast Cancer. Perfect colors and sentiment. 
  • Fluorite nugget double bracelet. This one is not for the faint at heart. The Fluorite has small sterling silver beads between them with an extra large sterling toggle clasp. If you need some healing spirit, this bracelet is guaranteed to make you feel better if not physically then mentally.
  • The Pink Botswana necklace I took apart and re-did it by hand knotting between each bead with grey silk. An instant classic and so now with the light pink champagne color and grey tones.
I'm kind of jewelry'ed out now so maybe tomorrow I'll get out my gem tree supplies and crank a few of those babies out.

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Bead Soup Party Time

I'm a sucker for these Bead Soup Blog Party's. I just love getting to know new people through their blogs and seeing what they create. There are a whopping 363 participants this year...WOW, I know I'm going to be busy visiting blogs in September. We just got our partner assignment today and mine is Christine from Charis Designs Jewelry. She also has an ArtFire Studio so if you want to pay her a visit, I'm sure she would be tickled pink.

I've already started a pile of beads but want to get more input from Christine on her likes and dislikes before shipping it out to her. If you aren't familiar with these bead parties. This one is hosted by Lori Anderson at Pretty Things blog. There is usually one large bead soup per year with several in between. This one is by far the largest that I've been a part of. So, Lori partners all of us up, then we contact our partner, find out what they like to work with in regards to beads, colors, metals, etc., ship them an assortment along with a fancy clasp and a focal bead or pendant. Once we get our beads soup from our partner then we have until a designated time (September 17th) to make something with it. Then we post pictures on our blog and talk about our experience. Oh, we also visit all those other blogs to see what wonderful things they have created. I can tell I'm going to be busy.

If you would like to take a look at my Bead Soup post from last year....here it is.
This one was from this past Winter 2011 and so far has been my favorite.
This bead soup was from this years Fairy Tale/Spring bead swap.

There has been so much more going on that I've been losing track of days...I know, how can that be but really it does happen. I taught a Gem Tree class at Shipwreck Beads yesterday to 3 great people. If you are interested I teach at least one class there a month. Here is the link to their web site Shipwreck Beads.

Today was my dad's 75th birthday and we did a BBQ for him with family. Talk about rushing around to clean house this morning. Ugg and two dogs that just wouldn't quit bringing in leaves and twigs. Food turned out great thanks to hubby and his wonderful grilling skills and the house didn't look too bad either. Now I have a somewhat clean house I'll have to tackle laundry and all the other stuff tomorrow that I've been putting off.

I'll leave you today with these pictures of my students and their wonderful little gem trees.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Be Blessed.


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