Saturday, October 26, 2019

Sol Duc Hot Spring

Now that was a treat. While visiting my son in Seattle he took us on an excursion... out to the Olympic Peninsula where he indulged his hot springs freak momma with a trip to Sol Duc Hot Springs in Olympic National Park. Yes, I'm a spoiled gal!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Quotations... Art Inspiration

There's a little Salvadoran restaurant that I frequent, and have become quite friendly with one of the waitresses. She's a gal from Venezuela, a recent immigrant, who, when we first met, spoke little or no English. She was working hard at learning, and since we'd become regulars at the restaurant we would chat and she could to practice her English.

We had a little start one day, when we went for dinner and found the restaurant shuttered and empty. We wondered how we would find our friend again. Lucky for us it turned out that the restaurant had not really closed, but had, quite suddenly, moved to a new location a few miles down the street.

When we finally caught up with our waitress friend again, we told her that we had been sad when had thought the restaurant had closed and we'd not get to see her anymore, so with the idea that someday we would meet for coffee or desserts we exchanged numbers. Unfortunately, I work days and she works most every night, so despite our good intentions, we never managed to make that happen, but we we've continued our friendship at the restaurant.

One night as we finished dining, she came over to the table, three deserts in hand, sat down at the table across from us and told us that since we never are able to coordinate schedules to have our coffee and dessert date, we would just do it now. She went on to say that her father had a saying... "The special moment is now" and explained that he thought it was silly how people are always saving things, like that nice bottle of wine, or the pretty new dress, or the special dinnerware, or whatever, for an off in the future special occasion, when the reality is that life is short and we should enjoy it now. So that night, even though she was working, she declared that "the special moment is now" and we all had a nice dessert together.

As a person who has always been guilty of saving things for the special occasion, I thought that really was an excellent sentiment, one that I really needed to take to heart. I decided that I would put that quote on few coffee mugs as a reminder, and make one for my waitress friend as a thank you for sharing her father's words of wisdom with us.

I threw some mugs and sprigged on little placard on which I stamped "The special moment is now", and a few weeks later, after they had gone through all the drying, glazing and firing steps brought them to my friend at the restaurant. She was thrilled with the surprise, and quite touched that I had remembered her fathers quote. She even cried a little. I always enjoy it when I can make a piece and share it with the perfect person and make them smile! I also enjoy getting new art inspiration. I can see a series of quote mugs in my future!

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Heart Mountain... a Sad Ghost Town

Another ghost town.... This one has a sad story; the time the United States ran concentration camps where American citizens were incarcerated. Now a ghost town, Heart Mountain, Wyoming was home to some 14,000 Japanese Americans over the course of 3 years during WWII. I won't repeat history here, but you can raise all about it on the on the Heart Mountain site

Not much of town is left, part of the hospital, some old foundations and bits of pipes and wires. We were able to peek in some windows and and try to imagine what life was like in this forsaken place. This is one ghost town I'm glad is gone!/p

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Beader's Paradise

Heading up to Yellowstone this weekend a road sign enticed us to detour through Blackfoot, Idaho to check out the Idaho Potato Museum. From the museum, instead of hopping back on the highway, we continued our way north on the road less traveled. Driving up this country road through potato farmland I spied this great big cowgirl sign. I though the sign was cool, but it was the words that really caught my eye. "Beader's Paradise" Whoa cowgirl! This glass bead maker had to stop and turn around to see what that was all about. It was a bead store, all by itself in the middle of potato country. Truly a beader's paradise; the crowded space was brimming with beads: gallon jars full of brightly colored seed beads, bags of color coordinated bead mixes, trade beads, vintage glass beads, teeny tiny micro beads and some beads in styles I’d not seen before. Stringing supplies. Cases and cases and racks of beads! Quite the interesting find on country road in rural southeast Idaho.

I was pretty interested in how, in a day and age where most of the stand alone bead shops I have known have long been shuttered, this gem of a shop, smack dab in the in the middle of nowhere, actually exists. So I asked the proprietor what the backstory was.

She told us that the shop has been in business for 56 years. Way back then her parents were in a square dance group that needed costumes. Problem was that Blackfoot was small, so none of the shops carried enough of the same apparel to outfit the group in matching outfits. So they started ordering western wear for the group. Problem with that was that the needed to order the clothing in multiples of twelves, so they decided to open a western wear shop to sell the extras. They also began embellishing the western wear with beads. The beads were a hit with their Native American friends, who at the time in 1960's Idaho, were, by law, not permitted to try on clothes or boots in the Blackfoot stores. The store owners became weary of selling clothing, and switched their inventory all over to beads, and the Beaders Paradise was born.

Sadly, this last hold out in a world of disappearing bead shops won't be around forever, the owner is ready to retire. As it is they are only open one day a week. I'll have to find an excuse to go back, sometime when I have more time shop, I'm sure I missed treasures. I did however, find some glass crow beads I've been searching for for a project I've been wanting to do! Lucky me. It's always nice to be so pleasantly reminded of why I enjoy taking the road less travelled!

addendum ... After typing up the story of origins of the shop as it was told to me, I went a googling and found an even more complete history here!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Alfred Lambourne Prize

So I did a show Friday night... The Alfred Lambourne Prize. It's a show all about art inspired by the Great Salt Lake... I did this show last year, and since I am such a fan of the lake and the cause I made a repeat performance.

This year I did a weird(?-compared to to the standard 2-D sort of fare) I made a ceramic bowl glazed with clay from the lake bed, and in it I placed marbles that I made to represent beautiful things about the lake experience; tinted waters, salt sculptures, rocky landforms, sunset skies, moonlit nights, diverse wildlife.

I didn't win, (of course there are lots of visual arts entries, as opposed to the literary, musical and movement categories, so I never expect to win, I just like to participate!) to) but I was totally shocked when during the program the announcer singled out my piece and gave it gave it a glowing description of as an example of the visual arts category. The program had two slides introducing the visual artist who's work was displayed in the gallery like mine, followed by videos, readings and music performed my those in the other categories.

The interesting thing for my lampwork friends...My other thrill for the night came after the program when a fellow approached me making a funny movement with his thumbs... the traditional marble shooting movement. (Which at first I did not get, because we played marbles in a different manner as kids) He was thrilled about my piece because he really liked the marbles, and my piece took him back to his childhood love of marbles. He really liked how I used them to represent the lake.

I was pretty thrilled to find a marble lover at the show, it is always so exciting when my art lets me make connections with strangers. I wish I'd gotten his name, as I would love to send him a marble.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019


Labor day weekend I got to cross an item off of my hot springs list; a trip to Thermopolis Wyoming. I've wanted to go there for quire some time, but it's a little out of day trip range. The spring is large and impressive, cascading over 'waterfalls' of mineral deposits into the Bighorn River. It was very reminiscent of Yellowstone. The spring is located in a state park, and the state operates a bath house with a large indoor tub and outdoor pool where you can soak for free... for 20 minutes (and they say nothing in life is free!). There are also two private resorts with pool and slides.It was super hot that weekend so we just did the short free soak, which was long enough to tarnish all my silver. We also walked the boardwalks and swinging bridge and drove up high in the park where the views are lovely.

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Interesting architecture, street scenes from Kobe and Ashiya...

I was surprised by the flowers blooming in January

There doesn't seem to be much greenspace in Japanese cities, but little gardens pop up in what seems to be the most unlikley spots

And then there are trains... not having much in the way of passenger trains in the US I enjoyed the train stations and travel.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen! A train ride through the rural countryside up to the Japan Sea. A Japanese hot spring town with 7 bath houses. What is not to love? (Especially when you are a hot springs fanatic!) We stayed a quaint, traditional Japanese inn where we were given yukatas (japanese casual kimonos), yukata coats (it was winter!), getas (wooden sandals) to wear as we wandered through town to soak at the seven bath houses. Japanese hot springs are run differently than those in the US. They are segregated, every one soaks in the nude, and you bathe before you soak. A typical bath house has a soaking pool surrounded by bathing stations where you sit on a stool and bathe with a hand held shower head and a basin of water prior to entering the bath. It was fun to check out all the different baths, yes, we soaked at all seven, 6 on one day and the seventh, which was closed that day, the next morning. All had their unique style, some rustically traditional, some more modern, some had both indoor and outdoor baths, some had bubbling pools, waterfalls, gardens, one was actually in a cave of sorts. I wish I could have taken pictures to share! It was a lovely, relaxing day, dressed in out yukatas, wandering town from bath to bath, stopping for the occasional snack, checking out the public foot baths, spring water drinking stations, the straw craft museum, watching people cook hard boiled eggs in street side springs and just taking in the sites. Even the rain didn't dampen our fun... we were damp anyway!

There were lots of ice cream shops along the streets, a nice treat after soaking in hot water!

And crab! November - March is crab season on the Japan Sea. We didn't have crab here, but the next night at Kotohikihama Beach we had he most amazing crab feast!

Eggs cooking in the springs.

Our quaint inn, with the most amazing hospitality. Even the room key was adorable..and the siphon coffee was delicious!

Our innkeeper was really nice, he offered to drive us up the coast to see the Japan Sea. It was a spectacular drive.