Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cathedral City Art Festival Continues

The art festival was organized by Dave Stanfield, whose studio, D &R Photography is located a few stores from where the festival was presented. Dave specializes in digital photography and computer-generated graphic art. He worked tirelessly to put on the festival. During the day, he had snacks for artists and the first night, he put on a buffet for all the participants. During the dinner, awards were given to the fine art artists. The festival was a success due to Dave's awesome organizing and promotional skills. Yeah, Dave.!

The Artist on the left is Dave Calver and his wonderful work has appeared in magazines from Esquire to Newsweek. His work has a fun, whimsical quality to it that I liked very much like the Buddhist monk playing golf.

This is a photo of Stephen H. Dean working on a clay sculpture that was commissioned by a restaurant in Alaska. The saloon girl will be cast in bronze, according to Stephen. He is from Alaska but has moved with his wife, Cynthia, to the desert and is in the process of getting established here. He is a remarkable sculptor and has over 30 years of experience. Currently, he is focusing on stone sculpture. You can reach him at eathblings@gmail.com

A photo of Dean's work in wood of the face of Jesus.

Another sculptor who works exclusively in wood is Robert E. Reeves. He is a contemporary
sculptor and creates functional art like fabulous wooden chairs that are so different and so modern. I love his chairs. Wow. All of his work is beautiful and you can imagine the hours of work making each piece. You can see more of his work at http://www.robertereeves.com/

Directly in front of our jewelry tables, Sharon Roberts showed her photographic note cards and pictures. Sharon is a great nature photographer and she travels around the country finding interesting shot of everything from beaches to sunsets. You can reach Sharon to buy her cards and photos at http://www.sharonrobertsonphotography.com/ . Her work is wonderful and her prices are really reasonable. I bought a card photo of Ruby Beach, Washington and one of the desert with palm trees and clouds reflected in the water - so lovely.

William Webster, an artist, who paints not only paintings, but paints on jeans and coveralls was also there. You can see hios work at http://www.williamwebster.info/

I met a lot of artists and a lot of nice people who came to the show. One woman in particular, I'd like to mention is Marian M. Smith of Malcolm Mousekowitz - clothing and accessories for infants and toddlers. Her work is fantastic. Beautiful clothes for beautiful babies - check out her site at http://www.malcolmfortots.com/

I had thought I'd taken a photo of every exhibiting artist, but I didn't and I'm sorry to leave out anyone. Next, time, I'll be more organized. I was trying to take pictures and sell our jewelry so I was a little like a spinning top. For us, the festival was a total success and we'd do it again in a minute. You can see our jewelry at http://sistersjewelrydesign.etsy.com/

Authentic sea glass - surf tumbled and found in Mazatlan, Mexico. Oh, I forgot to include friends who supported us at the show - some I have pictures of and some I don't. Oops. Ann and John Mitchell came by and Ann bought a pendant. Thanks Ann!

Here's a picture of our friend George pointing out some art work - goofing around really. Bob Rahm in the gray tee shirt goofs with Rich Kerlin who is trying on earrings as a prank. Thanks guys for coming to the show.
Now we are busy making jewelry and planning our trip to Oregon where we will do two shows. Can't wait. Next - some notes on jewelry making - or the fun and frustration of jewelry making or ........

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day One - Art Festival Cathedral City, California

This is a picture of me standing with a group of people. This shot was in the Desert Sun Newspaper, in Palm Springs. Friends called me when they saw the shot and said, "You're in the paper, you're in the newspaper." Well, if you can call seeing a side view of me in a white sleeveless shirt "in the newspaper," then there I am chatting away.

Steve is sitting at our booth. We made the mistake of using flowered cloths for our tables and the jewelry got lost. On Sunday, we switched out the cloths for plain burgandy and the jewelry looked much better. This was our first show and we made a bunch of mistakes, but we learned a lot.

As you can see, the pendants and the earrings look much better on black velvet.

Key holder bracelets. Great for a house key and slip it on your wrist and off you go. Or use it for the gym key or your tiny credit cards like the grocery store ones and leave it in your car for when you shop. Despite the flowery tablecloths we sold a number of pendants, bracelets and earrings. And we met some great people - buyers and other artists. My friend and hairdress Drew Scott (I call him Scott), first told me about the show and how to enter. So when we arrived to set up I was so pleased to see that his space was close to ours.

Scott took 3rd place in the juried paintings - and this was also his first big show. And over the two days, he sold a number of his great paintings over the two day event. Scott told me that he loves painting and working with different mediums to create his art. You can find his website at http://www.artbydesign.vpweb.com/

Next to Scott's space was Ted L. Reynolds. His work took first place in the show. I love abstract painting and Ted's work is really interesting.

Next to Ted's space was Gerry High (pronounced Gary). Gerry is a noted Palm Springs artist and he also has his own gallery on line at http://www.gerryhighartgallery.com/ Gerry spent some of his time painting which drew a crowd to his booth. He is a good artist and a really nice person. I liked him alot.

The artists were all great and interesting to talk with and compare notes. We learned a lot from other jewelry sellers like Pat Newman with her Dichroic Glass Jewelry.

And JoMarie Anton who has been selling Native jewelry for twenty years. JoMarie's space was right next to ours so we got in a lot of good gab time. And her jewelry is awesome. I don't know why I didn't get a picture of JoMarie, but maybe she was talking with someone or selling. I'll see her again and post more about her later. You can see more of her work at http://www.nativedreamlodge.com/ Check out her lovely necklaces, you'll be glad you did. Then way in the back corner was Kendra of Culbertson Designs. Kendra likes to work in pearls and she was great in giving me some places to buy pearls. One place she suggested was Quartzite in Arizona. I'm dying to take a trip there and see all the rocks, fossils and gems. It is supposed to be one of the biggest rock and gem shows in the world. I think that the big show is in the winter, but I'll find out and report back. These are aqua quartz earrings with sterling silver lever back ear hooks.

Okay, I've got to go now. It is 114 degrees today here in the desert. I've got the air on but it is still hot as Hades outside. Took Dylan to the dog park and stayed too long so now I've go a bit of a headache. Tomorrow, I'll post more about the other artists at the show including a sculptor from Fairbanks, Alaska who sculpts life-size horses out of stone.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Visit to Solvang

The morning after the jewelry show, we went into Solvang for breakfast. Solvang is a sleepy little Danish town nestled in the Santa Ynez valley. The streets are lined with Danish styled buildings and tourists fill the sidewalks. There are numerous Danish bakeries scattered all over town as well as restaurants featuring Danish smorgassbord cuisine. It is definitely not a place to visit if you are on a diet. I'm always on a diet, but I told myself I could start again on Monday.

My sister Julia said we had to try Aebleskivers. So off we went to the oldest Danish restaurant in town that features Aebleskivers which are round balls that tastes like a cross between a muffin and a doughnut. Aebleskivers are made in a special cast iron skillet with round circles like a muffin pan. They are delicious.

Here's the recipe -

Danish Pancake Balls
2 cups buttermilk2 cup flour2 eggs1 Tsp. Baking powder1/2 Tsp. salt, 1/2 Tsp. soda, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 4 Tbsp. melted butter
Separate eggs and beat whites until stiff. Mix all other ingredients together and beat until smooth. Fold in egg whites quickly.
Heat 1 tsp. vegetable oil (or butter) in each cup of the pan. Pour batter into each cup (1/4 " from top of cup) and turn when bubbles appear around the edge. Use a knitting needle or fork to turn and turn 1/4 way over, wait for bubbles then make the last tour completing the ball. Allow time for the center to cook. They are traditionally served with butter and raspberry jam. (You can probably order a pan on line from any of the specialty shops in Solvang.)

After breakfast, we walked around the town, popping into gift shops and souvenir stores. We avoided the fudge store and the Danish cookie stores. Some of the shopkeepers wore authentic Danish costumes which was fun to see. There is a museum of racing and a museum of Solvang's history as well as a museum dedicated wholly to the works of Hans Christian Andersen. Hans Christian Andersen wrote more than 160 Fairy Tales which have been translated into more than 100 languages. The museum is operated by the Ugly Duckling Society, a non profit organization created to "foster appreciation for the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen." You can go to their web site by following the link below -


It is a small,lovely museum and one worth visiting if you are in Solvang. Great for kids.

Here's my sister Julia as we walk the streets of Solvang. We caught up with her husband Gary and mine, Steve, on the way to look at one of the windmills. The men are standing in front of two buildings that are good examples of old Danish architecture.
From there, we walked up the street to see the old hotel that was recently bought and refurbished by the Santa Ynez Chumash Tribe. The hotel was renamed and is now Hotel Corque. The facade is still typical Danish, but the interior is elegant modern. http://www.hotelcorque.com/ click on link to see the gorgeous interior of this hotel. It looks like a great place to stay in Solvang or while visiting the surrounding wine country. I was impressed. They also have new restaurant called "root 246." We didn't eat there but the food I saw looked delicious and we'll definitely dine there next time. They claim that the restaurant is all about locally grown ingredients and they boast that the only freezer in the restaurant is for ice cream. How fresh is that! Check out the restaurant at the above link.

There is so much to do in Solvang and the surrounding valley. Take a wine tour or ride bikes, find art in the neighboring town of Los Olivos - http://www.losolivosca.com/ You can golf, go swimming or visit the Chumash Casino Resort which is also a showplace. I wanted to go to the casino, but we needed to start our drive back to Palm Springs. Just as well, I didn't want to leave the money we'd made at the jewelry show at the casino which with my luck is what usually happens. I'm not very lucky at gambling. Oh, well, I'm lucky in love and with having a wonderful family and great friends. Anyway, we said our goodbyes and after getting Dylan Thomas in the car and we headed home.

Coming down the valley and then past Santa Barbara, we had the Pacific Ocean on our right. Surfers were on the water and people lay on blankets on the sand or walked along the edge of the water. I wanted to stop at every beach to look for sea glass. We didn't stop but as the ocean scenery rushed past the car window I thought about sea glass and dreamed of sea glass jewelry my sister Shirley and I could create.

You can find our sea glass jewelry and other pieces at http://sistersjewelrydesign.etsy.com/

Coming next - We show our jewelry at the Cathedral City Art Festival - (our first art festival!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Solvang - Our First Jewelry Show

We left the desert on Friday the 10th at around noon and drove north to Solvang. To my sister Julia's house it is about a four hour drive. As we drove the temperatures got milder and dried brown tumble weed landscape gave way to green hills. When you live in the Palm Springs area, you forget that so many wonderful trees and plants are growing just beyond the desert. We drove the freeway and then took the new 210 across the San Fernando Valley and dropped down into Oxnard where fields of vegetables and strawberries grew next to blocks of housing development. Hitting the coast highway, we could see the ocean and I felt my spirits lift. The smell of the sea and the blue green of the ocean call to me like nothing else in nature. I know, you're thinking so why live in the desert? It's a long story, we'll get into it another time. To be fair - the desert can be a very dramatic and thought provoking place.

(shot of pool at Marmal Radziner Prefab House in Desert Hot Springs)

We pass through Santa Barbara and head up into the central Valley where Solvang is located. My sister Julia lives in Buellton which is a sleepy little town just outside Solvang. I think her little town's claim to fame is the Andersen Split Pea Soup Restaurant that sits just off the freeway as we turn to her home. The first night we get settled in and catch up with my sister Julia and her husband, Gary. Lots of talking and good food. When we finally stumble off to bed, to our joy, we realize we don't need air conditioning. We can actually use a blanket. And when we walk our dog, Dylan Thomas, we're actually a bit cold. After weeks of triple digit heat, we're loving the cool night air. Loving it.

The next morning was cool too. We walked Dylan Thomas down at the River park and the chill set him to shivering (his coat is cut short for the desert). Here he is with my husband Steve in our desert house.
And you can see how his short hair cut He's a standard poodle. A skinny one, I might add.

After breakfast, we started setting up for the show.

Here's Steve starting to unpack the boxes of jewelry. I would have helped with this, but I had to take the pictures.

We had four tables filled with our earrings and pendants.

My sister Shirley created most of the sea glass pendants and wrapped them in sterling silver wire. They are very pretty and look lovely on a ribbon, a sterling chain, a leather thong or a silver collar. Versatile and unusual. The fourth table held our Walk About bracelets which are bracelets with a key ring jump ring that you use to attach your house key and then you go walk about. I use mine for walking the dog, going to the gym or just running next door - anytime I don't want to take a bunch of keys I slip on my Walk About Bracelet.

Walk About Bracelets are made with vintage and new beads, wooden beads, charms, key ring holder and stretch cord so they fit all sizes.

We were set up and ready by noon. The show was set for 1-4 pm. So we had some lunch and waited and waited and waited. One o'clock came and went. Then it was one thirty. I started to panic. "What if no one comes," I asked as I checked the front window for the umpteenth time. "They'll come," said my sister Julia. "Don't worry," said my husband Steve. Easy for you all, I thought to myself. Returning from my front window perch, I saw why they weren't worried.

They had started drinking! And here they are raising their Mojito Cuban drinks in a salute! I couldn't believe it. They were supposed to help me sell the jewelry and they were already drinking the guests refreshments.
(A Mojito is a wonderful drink - cool and refreshing.)
Cuban Mojito recipe
the original authentic recipe from Havana Cuba
1 teaspoon powdered sugarJuice from 1 lime (2 ounces)4 mint leaves
1 sprig of mint Havana Club white Rum (2 ounces)2 ounces club soda
Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a "collins" glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You'll want about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime. Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler (a long wooden device pictured below, though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn't available). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda (you can also stir the club soda in as per your taste). Garnish with a mint sprig.
They were drinking. Dylan Thomas was relaxing by the table. And I was a nervous wreck. This was my first jewelry show and my helpers were drinking and the guests hadn't arrived. I was besides myself thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" Finally around two o'clock, the guests started arriving. We passed out refreshments and the ladies started looking at jewelry. The mojito drinks worked their magic. And the jewelry show was a hit. We laughed and talked and sold earrings and pendants.
Fifteen women friends of Julia came to the showing. I think they all had a good time, I hope they did. They were all great women. We all chatted and looked at earrings giving opinions as to what looked good on who. Our show was a hit and we sold a lot of earrings and pendants. The jewelry show party was a huge success. Lots of sales and lots of great feedback. Many thanks to Julia's friends and to my sister who helped make it a great day.

It was about five when everyone left. I was exhausted. We cleaned up and then I sank into a chair and had my first Mojito of the day.

Coming next a quick visit to the Danish town - Solvang.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Neskowin Continued

The above picture is a wooden totem sign that marks the entrance to Neskowin Park which is also a parking lot for day beachgoers. This huge fish is a recent addition to the town as it wasn't there when we were children. It is a great symbol for the town's name as Neskowin is a Native American word meaning "plenty fish." The tribe that lived in this area had plenty of fish to eat. They say at the beginning of the 20th century, Slab Creek was so full of fish the water looked black. I don't know if this is true or local folklore. I do know my father caught quite a few trout in Slab Creek many summers ago. We ate them fried for breakfast. Yum.

When we started going to Neskowin as children, there was still the old Neskowin Hotel built in 1895 that towered above the campground where we stayed. I wish I had a picture. When I was really little my Mom said we stayed at my great-grandmother's house on South Beach.

The house, no longer in the family, still stands today.
It was a lovely old beach house with a veranda that looked out to the ocean. The old campsite - trailer park, where we stayed is also gone, replaced with a generic looking motel. Progress, is often needed and it is hard to stop, but there are places in our memories that are so wonderful that the new will never quite match up or be as loved. Thankfully, we have memories that give continuity to our lives.

My sisters, brother and friends spent many summers at Neskowin Beach. It was never crowded and the beach had sand running uninterrupted from the bottom of Cascade Head through Winema Beach, to the edge of Nestucca Bay. The sand was thick and rich with dark grains. Dunes, like small mountains, lay between the campground and the sea. Wild sea grass grew thick in the dunes and made an excellent place to play hide and seek or to sunbath on a windy day. In August the sand was so hot it burnt the soles of our feet. We didn't care - we were children and we were free with miles of beach to play on. Myself, my sister Shirley and Julia and my best friend Colleen. We might look cold, but not tired, not ready to leave the beach. Happy, carefree days.

On rainy days, we hung around the big camp lodge and painted tiny beach rocks with faces or made collages with driftwood and sea shells. We always did art projects on those rainy days at the beach. Then we'd haul all those treasures home and Mom would display them in the house or out on the patio.

(Still making art projects from sea shells, sea glass and sea rocks, after all these years.)

Early on, we learned from our parents that art was important and an area we could purse to express our talents. And I believe that those rainy beach days influenced my sister and I. Later in college, Shirley majored in Art and jewelry design. I majored in Theater Arts, (not quite jewelry, unless you include costume design and set design.). And now these many years later, at the beach in Mazatlan, Shirley and I found that special connection again as we walked the beach and carried home pockets filled with sea glass. Here are just two of the gorgeous sea glass, beach glass, pendants Shirley has made this year. Sea glass and freshwater pearls. (Pendants and earrings available at http://SistersJewelryDesign.etsy.com)

This weekend, we are taking our sea jewels on the road - to Solvang. Our sister, Julia, is hosting a jewelry open house to show off our work. Everyone is invited to come - 491 Meadow View Drive, Buellton, California - 1-4, July 11, 2009.

Coming next - The Solvang Sisters Jewelry Design Show