Thursday, May 31, 2012

Santa Barbara Tide Pool Treasures

It seems my jewelry career has been put on hold lately with so many school activities, household obligations and making plans for summer activities.  It's all good and my creative juices will just have to be bottle up for awhile to age like fine wine. I am enjoying this time with my little guy and I'm  goin' with the flow.

This last Tuesday, a caravan of parents, first graders and teachers journeyed up to Hope Ranch beach in Santa Barbara to enjoy the beautiful weather and explore the tide pools.  We were fortunate to go to this private beach as one of our teachers just moved there and will sadly not be returning to our little Ojai school next year.  The kids had a surprise waiting for them at the shore....they each were given a beach bucket filled with a sand shovel, flower lei (and real grass skirts for the girls), seaweed snacks, goldfish snacks and a beverage.  Thank you Mrs. Stovesand!  We had a fun day of exploration and treasure hunting.  The kids saw shore crabs, hermit crabs, sand crabs, star fish, sea anemones, limpets, mussels, lots of seagulls and a few other creatures which names escape my memory at the moment.  During lunch we even spotted some dolphins! We came home with a nice collection of sea glass and shells as souvenirs along with tar covered feet. And I found a bunch of rocks with holes in them... my favorite.  I love to use them to tie onto gifts with ribbons or hang with leather cord for necklaces.  I might even play with aboriginal type dot art on them for wearable art. The adults had as much fun beach combing as the children. Below you can see some of the bootie we brought home... and made a little art display for daddy. 

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.  
~Isak Dinesen~

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Amazing Beverly Black Harris

Beverly Black Harris celebrated her 90th year on March 1st.  She is by far, the youngest 90 year old I have ever meet, seen or heard of.  She was born in 1922 in Maricopa, California.... her father was an oil driller and her mother was a writer.  She spent her early teen years during the depression living in one room with her mother and father in Los Angeles.  She married at sixteen and had four daughters by the age of 26.  She worked the gas station my grandfather owned, cooked, cleaned and sewed all her daughters clothes.  While her daughters were growing up she also managed to act, sing and design costumes for the local theater.  At 36 years old, she was a grandmother and now has a total of 9 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.  When anyone has been in need, her house has always had an open door ... for a day, a month or a year.  She was married more than 50 years until my grandfather passed away.  She is also an amazing artist... paints and draws ..... donating her time and artwork for local fundraisers.  She survived cancer ten years ago and hasn't sat still since.  She still plays the guitar and sings with her 95 year old boyfriend, Monty.  She is a strong, loving, spiritual, creative, beautiful, talented woman whom I admire immensely.  I am lucky to call her my grandmother!

Beverly at 12 in Los Angeles during the Great Depression

Beverly at 14 in 1936

Beverly's glam shot

We celebrated her birthday last weekend in Ojai.... 

Beverly and daughters

"A house needs a grandma in it. "
 ~Louisa May Alcott~

"If nothing is going well, call your grandmother. "
~Italian Proverb~

**Ojai photos courtesy of Jeff and Beth Underdahl....thank you sweet cousins!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Winter Holiday in London - Conclusion

Day Three -
My last day in London was spent at the British Museum.  Again, there was so much to see that I barely skimmed the surface.  I made a bee line to the ancient gold jewelry of the Minoans and Mycenaeans, then through the sculptures of the Parthenon into ancient Assyria, Egypt and Mesopotamia.  Of course, this is where I always go, creature of habit that I am.  This time I took photos and notes.  There is a special energy in these rooms which I cannot explain but is definitely awe inspiring.  After browsing the antiquities, I had a fabulous lunch in the upper atrium cafe which included the most beautiful caesar salad I've even seen then off to browse the fabulous bookshop.  As I was leaving I walked quickly through a room filled with Native American antiquities as I was late for a meeting....Ohhhhhhhhh....had I known!  There are so many more treasures yet to see.  Maybe someday I will live in London for a time just so I can see every inch of this magnificent museum.  I ended the day with a visit to a  dear high school friend who is a full time resident in the UK and her delightful business partner and friend .... a great end to a lovely trip.

I took more photographs than I can share here but here are some highlights....

atrium at British museum

gold & carnelian necklace from Cyprus 1400BC

Minoan earring from Crete 1850-1550BC

Aphrodite 2nd cent. AD Roman

flying eagle necklace from Turkey 1400BC

goddess Hathor 1400BC Egypt

Nebamun, Hatshepsut & daughter hunting the marshes 1400BC

Egyptian limestone game "mehen" 2890BC

Egyptian faience necklace

Assyrian limestone letter and envelope 1850BC

funerary headdress & necklace from Ur 2500BC

Pheonician carnelian & gold necklace from Tarros Sardinia 500BC

Hellenistic oak wreath from Turkey 350BC

"If you are truthful you will have as much gold as you want."
~ Greek proverb ~

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Winter Holiday in London - Part Three

I'm on a roll so I better keep going!

Day two -
I enjoyed a scrumptious English breakfast (after 12 hours of sleep!) and headed out to the Victoria & Albert Museum which is filled to the brim with incredible arts and crafts.  I went straight to the jewelry room and spend nearly three hours in there!  It's a very sexy room of hot low voltage lights, glass, chrome and black paint.  The gold, silver and jewels dating from ancient times to the present all glowed in the intimate space.  I was in heaven.  I sketched and took tons of notes.  Then, I walked the halls and enjoyed the exquisite miniature portraits (pre-photography days), happily happened upon a hallway filled with Beatrix Potter's sketches and watercolors of gardens and animals, then to the extensive Asian galleries.  I had lunch in the museum cafe which is the most delightful I've ever experienced.  There were three 19th century lunchrooms with different themes.  I got lucky and found a table in the "Blue and White" room which was covered with wood paneling, stained glass windows and blue & white hand painted tiles depicting all the goddesses and muses one could  think of.  I felt like I was back in the Belle Epoque.  I  barely skimmed the surface of the V & A and I was there ALL day!  When I left the building at closing time, exiting from the Underground.... I ascended into night skies and millions of white twinkle lights!  I had walked right into an evening carnival with a carousel, ice skating rinks and tons of couples and families drinking hot cocoa. I stayed awhile and enjoyed the revelry then headed down the road to Harrods for shopping and a little sushi dinner in the food court.  There were so many people out and about one would have thought the holidays had just begun instead of just ending!

19th century Indian gold necklace

V & A courtyard

Islamic textile

19th century dress made in India

V & A cafe

entrance to the V & A

If you are also a jewelry fanatic, or just lover of art, the V & A has a great website where you can search for what interests you.  Check it out and click on the link below!

If you are looking for a chic affordable (in the off season) little hotel with a nice restaurant and a tres chic bedroom and toilette, I stayed at the Apex City of London Hotel, two block from the Tower of London.