Camp "Rock"

The Fresno Gem and Mineral Society that I am a member of hosted a weekend retreat up at Camp Sierra here in California.
I had never been to Camp Sierra before. If you are familiar with California it is located between Shaver Lake and Huntington Lake. There is a teeny-tiny sign pointing to a small road that leads to an even smaller one lane road that leads into camp. There are cabins tucked in among the trees...
 There is no shortage of wildlife... Look deer! TWO OF THEM! Get my camera QUICK!!!
 Let me get a close up.....
Ok, in my defense... I was NOT wearing my glasses. There was a few little roads/pathways that led to someplace spectacular I'm sure. Not even thinking I wore the wrong shoes.... Sperry's. Yep, boat shoes. Slippery, no tread, boat shoes.
 I did manage to find a lot of beautiful flowers to take photos of without falling down....to much. *wink*
 There are signs that say your not allowed to pick the vegetation.
Which is fine because I swear there was poison ivy very close to every.single.flower I saw.
 The dandy-lions were almost the size of a tennis ball! I sooooooooooooo wanted to pick those and bring home the seeds and blow them all of my yard.
The weather was just perfect for a fabulous, relaxing time spent with delightful people.
 Here was a pathway that led up to an outdoor chapel...
 There had been a wedding the prior weekend.  Sweet.
The last day of the retreat we had breakfast in the dining hall. It was an old and charming building and the food was cooked by a professional chef and boy could you tell! Yum.
During the weekend retreat we had several small classes of wire weaving. I liked the weave of this piece, but I didn't finish the piece until I came home so I could GLUE it. What can I say, I'm a gluer.  I glued the section of beads and then felt the piece was missing something, so I glued a metal flower at the top. 
  I also managed to snag some time working on the Lapidary grinders. A.K.A. genies. I was lucky enough to be able to jump on a machine when someone was a "no-show" for a session. I didn't have any slabs to work with but found these sitting next to the trim saw-- I asked if I could have them, and of course the answer was "yes" because here they are! The two bottom ones I was told are amethyst.... oooooh-ahhh-lovely! They are not finished yet. I like to use the first three grinding wheels on the genie the best as they really knock away a lot of the stone and help you get them into a shape... the last six wheels do more of the "polishing" of the stones. These free form stones are needing a little more work done to them before I polish them... But it was FUN getting them to this point :-)
There was even a large saw that they had brought up and they sold and cut Geodes... I bought a few, here is one of them.
One evening, I learned how to play the game, "Mexican Train." Lets just say, I'm now addicted to the game. We stayed up super late playing and laughing, it was so-much-fun! What a great weekend, filled with great people... and lets not forget... great food. The work that went into making this weekend retreat happen was incredible. It seemed to be well organized and flawless. What a great experience, I can't wait for next years event! 
big hugs,


Wire Wrapping

Even though I'm super busy doing a million and one things lately, I've started taking wire wrapping classes again. I really didn't get into it the last go around due to everything else taking my attention-- this time I'm actively trying my best to keep focused and follow through with actually going to the classes... I'm enjoying learning how to do it, although like all things I create, it's super tight! Here is the beginning of my first project...

It isn't bad to have it wrapped tightly, it actually makes it look really good when it is finished-- but you just better make sure you don't want to move the wire because it is locked. In. Place. The stones I'm playing around with are not the cutest, but you have to start somewhere right?
I've got a lot of Cabochons to work with, some I've made myself and a lot I've bought from various places. The nicer stones I'm saving for when I get really-really good at wire wrapping. Here is my first cabochon all done....
 It's a process, finding your comfort zone--- things you like, things you absolutely hate. I like the idea of adding a bead at the top of the bezel, I think I'll keep working on that...
 I really don't like the curly-cues of the wire ends. Everyone does it--- but it doesn't mean I have to like it! I'm sure over time I'll find another way of doing something with the ends so that I'm happy with it. Here is an attempt at something random. I created this with a mother of pearl large flat bead and some small vintage round mother of pearl beads. I like how it turned out. (even with the curly-cues)
 This one I opted not to have any curly-cues at all....
 Here is a bead that I wrapped... calm on one side...
 and cray-cray on the other side!
I have a LOT of beads, so I figured I'd pull some of those out and wire wrap them. These ended up being really small, they are all a little bigger than the size of a quarter. 
 I've bought myself all the supplies a person needs to really get into this latest crafting faze I'm trying to dive head first into.... like most things, the buying of the materials has been super fun... the actual making stuff... not so much because you actually have to work at it!!!
big hugs,



Treasure is starting to become bountiful again... Can you tell I've been searching for cabochons and rock related things?
I've been going to meetings at our local Gem and Mineral club. I have no idea what any of these rocks are called, but I'll play around with them in my wire wrapping class none the less. This piece below is silver with a cabochon and a long pearl. There is a piece missing which will be any easy fix when I cut/polish/fit a stone for the piece. *sorry it is blurry*
 I always buy religious items....*sorry another blurry shot*
 Silver is everywhere for pennies...
 ahhhh...  buttons, my kryptonite.
 I got all this below for only $3.00... One bag is full of beautiful crystals, another bag is full of clear glass beads..
and the bread bag? That was filled with a bazillion strands of beads.
Strands upon strands of seed beads and plastic coated larger beads. I had to have them... if nothing else they look cute in this jar. *wink*
Still more rock related items....

I think these rocks have been dyed.

This old tin was filled with marriage, birth and death certificates .50¢
 I also got a huge lot of fabric... all this shown below was only $10.00. I looked up the small scissors online, they alone were $25 bucks when bought new... they are still in pristine condition.
 I went to Morro Bay's city wide yard sale -a few weeks back- and bought the following. The corner shelf $1.00, the glove hand mold was $5.00 and the ruler was .25¢ (etsy has them for sale for $30) The lantern was .25¢ and the blue/beige vase was $1.00. Those two things will go out in my pirate yard.
 A box full of jewelry... $5.00
 another $5.00....
 The two large teeth (I think are Buffalo teeth) and the small beaded Indian were tied together according to my friend whom I bought it from. It was all chucked in the $5.00 box...
Actually this little beaded treasure is an American Indian spirit doll. If you look closely you can see the leg and claw of an animal that represents legs on the doll. Obviously one is missing. If I had to guess I would think it came from the Zuni Indians....
 I'm always a sucker for old photographs and super old ephemera. All of this was $3.00...
 This box of clay tools was only .50¢
More strands of beads... some are mother of pearl (my favorite) some are rock related... and the clear beads I'm going to hopefully-one day make some snowflakes with.
Well that is my big haul from the past few weeks. I've been extremely busy with "who knows what" but it seems to keep me from doing the things I want to do!
big hugs,


My New Pup-Pup

For Valentines day I got myself a new puppy...
Our two year old Belgium Malinois, Akira, had to be put down. Our Veterinarian ran so. many. tests... and just couldn't find out what was causing her to be so sick.... blah. Anywho, I figured I would rescue a new dog because there is such a need... and so-- here is my new puppy, Nisar. Getting a photo of an energetic puppy is hard.... cute butt huh?
 Nisar is a Beauceron.
 Not a German Shepherd, but a French Shepherd.
 Beaucerons ears can either stay up or stay down... I told Nisar to have "up-ears".... he is working on it.
After a long day selling at a local craft event, I went to our local animal shelter to look at the dogs. I got there thirty minutes before they were to close. I did my award-winning-gold-medal-speed-walking through the rows and rows of caged dogs... I felt heart-sick passing each one but I was on a mission to find "my dog." Nothing.

My husband had finally caught up with me and I advised him that I was going to go into the cat and kitten building to look at the cute cats since they didn't have "my dog." Inside the cat/kitten building they have a small enclosure that you can take a puppy into and play with it to see if you want to take it home. Well, there was a young couple in there playing with a puppy...... I peeked over the small wall and there was MY DOG. Gasp.... I played it cool as a cucumber..... long story short. I got the puppy! I was the last adopter of the day-- they stayed open late so I could do all the paper work right then and there. The sad part was I had to leave my puppy there (it was a Saturday) until Monday  afternoon when the puppy would be neutered. See the green tattoo on the belly? All animals get tattooed once they get neutered so there is no question in the future if an animal has been spayed.

It ended up being a blessing that I couldn't take my dog home with me that day as my house wasn't ready. I needed to fence off our pool, buy puppy food and lots and lots of toys...
 This little love bug loves stuffed animals.
 Ah, here is a good photo... only because he got tired!
I named my puppy Nisar after a sad love story from generations past. In the early 1900's at the Edinburgh University a distant relative of mine named Cissie met Nisar and the two fell in love. Nisar was from India and was going to school at the University to become a doctor. Nisar was a son of a rich Indian family and had been accompanied by his manservant/valet/ chauffeur while  going to school in Edinburgh. Nisar was smitten with Cissie and asked her to marry him. Cissie's father refused to let her marry Nisar because of the color of his skin and because he was of a different faith. Nisar knowing that they would never marry, was content in just spending long hours in her company. Every day, Nisar's manservant would take all of Nisar's monogrammed silver to Cissie's family's home. There he would set the table and serve the two afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and preserves along with a variety of home made cakes and pastries. The two spent many days together enjoying each others company until Nisar's time at the University was up and he had to return home. As far as I know Cissie never saw him again, and never married.
I wouldn't know of this love story had it not been for this little engraved silver sauce bottle holder with the name Nisar engraved on it. I know that last names are usually engraved on silver so it can be passed down to future generations with the same surname, so I'm not 100% convinced this was his first name.... In the 1980's my grandmother was moving out of her home into another and this was on a chair with other things she no longer wanted. I was told to take what I wanted, and this little beauty became mine. Along with the story behind it as well. (it looks slightly odd in this photo because I just polished the heck out of it)
At the last afternoon tea the two shared together, this little silver piece had been left behind. Was it left behind on purpose by Nisar? Or, had Cissie taken it without him knowing about it- to always remember the man she loved and would never marry? Had Nisar gifted it to Cissie to remember him by? So many possibilities...

I have had this container for about 36 years. I'm sure Nisar and Cissie would find it funny that I treasure this little sauce holder. I've used it to hold pencils and pens and now it holds my ever growing collection of crochet hooks. I would love to find out more about Nisar. What ever became of him? Did he ever fall in love again and marry? Did Nisar become a doctor when he went back to his country... so many questions.
Sooooooooooooo... if anyone asks me, "Where did you get the name Nisar for your dog."....they are going to hear all about the love story behind the name.
big hugs,