Category Archives: Travel

A fine fall day

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A few days ago I had the distinct pleasure of spending a warm fall afternoon wandering around in my favorite city, Chicago. My husband and I both grew up in Chicagoland, but moved from the area over 20 years ago so it’s always exciting to come home.

We took a Metra train into the city, which is part of the fun. That day the Cubs were playing the Pirates at “the friendly confines” of Wrigley Field, and many of the other train passengers were wearing Cubs shirts or jerseys.

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People might joke about the Cubs but they’ve definitely got loyal fans – my mom was a diehard fan most of her life.  And hey, maybe this is the year they’ll actually make it!

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Just a block from the train station is the mighty Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. See those tiny boxes way up at the top? They’re made of thick glass, and the last time I was here I walked out into one and enjoyed the view from 104 stories up – it was fun, and not scary like I thought it would be!

On State Street I noticed that I could see three Chicago icons at the same time – one of the Marshall Field clocks, the Chicago Theater sign and the Marina Towers, so I managed to get them all in the same shot-

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I also couldn’t help but notice a name we’ve been seeing a lot of lately!

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As I walked along I kept hearing what sounded like a parade, and as I came around the corner I saw a marching band performing in Daley Plaza under the watchful eyes of the Picasso sculpture. I think he was enjoying it as much as everyone else!

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horn section

Next I went over a couple blocks to Michigan Avenue, as no walk around the loop is complete without stopping at Millennium Park.

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After the usual silly selfie taken in the reflection of the Bean, I was delighted to see some new sculptures in the park. This lovely series of faces are by Spanish sculptor Jaume Plensa, and are beautifully serene.

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head in the clouds

This one literally has her head in the clouds!

My last stop was the Art Institute, and as I walked through the little park next to it I came upon a photo shoot of a gorgeous model in a wonderful ruffled skirt in vivid red. She looked like a painting come to life!

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By now it was getting late in the afternoon and we decided to head back to the train station to beat the commuter rush. Even though it was only a couple of hours, I thoroughly enjoyed drinking in the sights and sounds of the city I love – hope you did too!

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September in January

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Mother Nature gave us a gift today – a beautiful 60 degree day that seemed more like mid September than mid January! We decided to take advantage of it and get outside, and since we’re just minutes away from Arkansas we headed to the Buffalo River area which is endlessly beautiful. Missouri is gorgeous too, but when you get into the hills in northwestern Arkansas you really know you’re in the Ozarks! We ended up at Steel Creek, which is a state park we hadn’t visited yet.

When we got to the park at the bottom of a steep, winding road we were rewarded with views of huge bluffs decorated with frozen waterfalls like this one.

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Below the bluff is the creek – quiet, shady and very cold at the area where the mountain blocks the sun, and bright and sunny just around the bend.

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There’s a horse camp there also, and we saw a group of riders enjoying the trail and crossing the stream – what could be more fun than that!

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Warm sun, clear skies and driving with my husband through the beautiful blue hills of the Ozarks equals a perfect day off and a great way to shake the mid -winter blues!

 

 

Arkansas getaway

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My husband and I took a much needed mini vacation last weekend and headed down the road to nearby Arkansas, taking our time and stopping  here and there on the way to our hotel. First stop was Eureka Springs, where I did a little bead shopping (Czech glass, yay!) and where we saw two very different deities –

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The Christ of the Ozarks, a seven story tall statue high atop Magnetic Mountain that overlooks the town below, and

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the Goddess of Feminine Cosmic Energy, also known as Aza, or Adora Zelina Astra. Each was equally impressive in their own way!

As we continued on our way to Bentonville I spotted one of my favorite things to photograph – a fabulous abandoned farmhouse-

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It’s hard to explain, but somehow I see a dignified beauty in the skeletal remains of old falling down buildings and always feel compelled to take their picture before they’re gone forever.

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After a couple of days of relaxing (comfy hotel bed – yesss!) we headed back home – but on the way out we spent an afternoon at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and they were right – it’s amazing! I’ll show you about that next time – stay tuned!

Challenge of Color reveal!

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When I saw that Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry was hosting the 3rd Annual Challenge of Color blog hop I jumped at the chance to participate. I was intrigued by the premise of the challenge, which is to create a jewelry piece using color palettes that were created by Brandi Hussey from satellite pictures! The images of places all over our planet are from the Earth As Art exhibit, and are breathtakingly beautiful. The other thing that makes Erin’s blog hop challenges so interesting is that she encourages you to go beyond just the jewelry creation part of it and to actually learn a little something about the topic.

Of the two palettes I received, the one I chose to use is called “Lake District”.

Here’s what I learned:

The Lake District, also known as The Lakes, is a mountainous region of Northwestern England. The area is famous for its lakes, forests and mountains, but also for being the home of poet William Wordsworth and children’s author Beatrix Potter.
The highest mountains in England are in the Lake District as well as the two deepest and longest lakes. Designated as a National Park in 1951, it’s the most visited National Park in the United Kingdom. Something that made it all the more interesting to me is that it happens that some of my husband’s ancestors are also from that region!

Another good thing about this challenge is that it forced me to delve into my stash of “stones I couldn’t resist buying but have no idea what to do with”. This pendant was the first thing I made-

Pretty close match, isn’t it? By the way, does anyone know what kind of stone that is?

Next, I thought I’d try to pick up on some of the dusky pink and rose brown tones. I had a strand of large picasso jasper rounds and two of these striped stone beads that I thought would work well for a chunky bracelet. I don’t know what those striped beads are either, but they have a wonderful silky smooth texture! I bent a couple of little gears to make bead caps for the picasso bead and wired everything together along with a few Czech glass beads.

So there you have it – I managed to use some of my mystery stones, learned about something new and had a great time doing it! 

As I was writing this post I was having tons of computer issues so I apologize that I wasn’t able to include the list of other blog hop artists here – but please click on the link below to go back and visit them all – thanks for looking!

Erin Prais-Hintz    http://treasures-found.blogspot.com

The Challenge of Travel – blog hop reveal!

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I so enjoyed this blog hop challenge! We were instructed to choose a part of the world other than where we live and then create something inspired by it. I chose Africa, because for years I’ve been fascinated by tribal jewelry and love to collect African trade beads. Here’s a picture of part of my collection-

Those beads in the center of the tray are kiffa beads, and they’re the reason why I specifically chose Mauritania as the African country I felt inspired by.

Mauritania is an interesting land of contrasts on the Western coast of Africa, and is bordered by both the Atlantic Ocean and the Sahara Desert. The northern part of the country is inhabited by nomadic Arab and Berber tribes, and by black African people in the southern portion.

Making kiffa beads

African women make the colorful kiffa beads by hand, using traditional methods and very simple ingredients – ground glass, gum arabic –  sometimes even saliva! The beads are made in pans over an open fire. Modern kiffa beads look much the same as ones made long ago. I think they’re so beautiful!

I have a handful of kiffa beads that I’ve been hanging onto for a number of years, and I used them in three separate jewelry pieces for this challenge.  First is this pair of earrings made with hammered brass hoops, batiked bone beads and a couple of small kiffas-

Next is a bracelet with beads that remind me of Morrocan silver,  a large copal amber bead and small kiffas.

The final piece is a necklace made with antiqued brass, czech glass and more kiffa beads, including my favorite – a triangular focal.

Thanks so much for joining me on my little tour of Mauritania – I hope you enjoyed it!

Be sure to visit all the other countries and artists on this wonderful trip around the world!

Monique Urquhart http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.ca/ Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk/ Africa Egypt
Therese Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/ Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.com Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow http://havanabeads.blogspot.com Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek http://livedinlife.blogspot.com Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick http://www.thestudiosublime.com Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.de Asia India
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Beth Emery http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Lisa Cone http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Tanya Boden http://fusionmusebangkok.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.com Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel http://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/ Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim http://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/ Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels http://toltecjewels.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman http://StregaJewellry.wordpress.com Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton http://larendeedesigns.blogspot.com Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson http://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.com Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik http://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.com Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/ Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com Europe Sweden
Kim Hora http://www.kimmykats.com Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus http://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll http://labellajoya.blogspot.com Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle http://jewelsbyine.blogspot.com Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly http://ttedesigns.blogspot.com/ Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld http://www.beadsforbusygals.com Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland http://mistheword12.wordpress.com/ Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman http://somebeadsandotherthings.com Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/ Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/ Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd http://www.apolymerpenchant.com Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price http://greenshoot.blogspot.com Oceania Vanuatu

Around the World

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Would you like to travel around the world? You’ll have your chance this Saturday, Sept. 1st!

The very talented Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry is hosting a fabulous blog hop called “The Challenge of Travel” that will take us to see 59 amazing jewelry artists and  their designs which are inspired by countries around the world. In this challenge we were asked to choose a country other than the one we live in, learn what we can about it and then create something inspired by it.

I’m excited to be a part of this fun challenge, and look forward to seeing what everyone creates.  Here’s a list of all the participants – the fun begins at 7:00 a.m. central time on Saturday – hope you’ll join us!

Name Blog Region Chosen Inspiration Nation
Monique Urquhart http://ahalfbakednotion.blogspot.ca/ Africa Burkina Faso
Niky Sayers http://silverniknats.blogspot.co.uk/ Africa Egypt
Therese Frank http://www.theresestreasures59.blogspot.com Africa Kenya
Raychelle Heath http://abeadloveaffair.blogspot.com/ Africa Lesotho
Joan Williams www.lilrubyjewelry.wordpress.com Africa Mauritania
Sherri Stokey http://www.KnotJustMacrame.com Africa Senegal
Regina Santerre http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com Africa Seychelles
Raida Disbrow http://havanabeads.blogspot.com Africa Tanzania
Kristi Wodek http://livedinlife.blogspot.com Africa Zimbabwe
Sally Russick http://www.thestudiosublime.com Americas Brazil
Melissa Trudinger http://beadrecipes.wordpress.com Americas Mexico
Tracy Stillman http://www.tracystillmandesigns.com Americas USA
Sandra Wolberg http://city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.de Asia India
Tanya Goodwin http://pixiloo.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Susan Kennedy http://suebeads.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Beth Emery http://storiesbyindigoheart.blogspot.com Asia Japan
Lisa Cone http://inspiredadornments.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Tanya Boden http://fusionmusebangkok.blogspot.com/ Asia Japan
Inge von Roos http://ingetraud.wordpress.com Asia Laos
Erin Prais-Hintz http://treasures-found.blogspot.com Asia Nepal
Dee Elgie http://cherryobsidia.blogspot.com Asia Phillipines
Carolyn Lawson http://carolynscreationswa.blogspot.com Asia South Korea
Lisa Stukel http://carefreejewelrybylisa.blogspot.com Asia Sri Lanka
Elly Snare http://themagicsquarefoundation.wordpress.com Asia Thailand
Shelley Graham Turner http://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com Europe Austria
Mallory Hoffman http://rosebud101-fortheloveofbeads.blogspot.com/ Europe Bosnia Herzegovina
Paige Maxim http://www.pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com Europe France
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog Europe Germany
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson http://sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com Europe Greece
Evelyn Shelby http://raindropcreationsbyevelyn.blogspot.com/ Europe Iceland
Holly Westfall http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Ireland
Rebecca Siervaag http://www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Toltec Jewels http://toltecjewels.blogspot.com Europe Ireland
Lee Koopman http://StregaJewellry.wordpress.com Europe Ireland
Laren Dee Barton http://larendeedesigns.blogspot.com Europe Italy
Cindy Wilson http://www.mommysdreamcreations.blogspot.com Europe Norway
Kathleen Lange Klik http://ModernNatureStudio.blogspot.com Europe Poland
Shaiha Williams http://shaihasramblings.blogspot.com/ Europe Portugal
Jennifer Justman http://soulsfiredesigns.blogspot.com/ Europe Romania
Elsie Deliz-Fonseca http://ladelizchica.blogspot.com Europe Spain
Lola Surwillo http://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com Europe Sweden
Kim Hora http://www.kimmykats.com Europe Switzerland
Leanne Loftus http://firstimpressiondesign.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Patti Vanderbloemen http://myaddictionshandcrafted.blogspot.com Europe The Netherlands
Marcie Carroll http://labellajoya.blogspot.com Europe Turkey
Marlene Cupo http://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com Oceania Federated States of Micronesia
Ine Vande Cappelle http://jewelsbyine.blogspot.com Oceania Fiji
Tammie Everly http://ttedesigns.blogspot.com/ Oceania Guam
Alice Peterson http://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com Oceania Kiribati
Elisabeth Auld http://www.beadsforbusygals.com Oceania Nauru
Susan McClelland http://mistheword12.wordpress.com/ Oceania New Zealand
D Lynne Bowland http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com Oceania New Zealand
Denielle Hagerman http://somebeadsandotherthings.com Oceania New Zeland
Rebecca Anderson http://songbeads.blogspot.com Oceania Papua New Guinea
Mischelle Fanucchi http://micheladasmusings.blogspot.com/ Oceania Samoa
Kari Asbury http://hippiechickdesign.blogspot.com Oceania Solomon Islands
Cece Cormier http://www.thebeadingyogini.com/ Oceania Tonga
Emma Todd http://www.apolymerpenchant.com Oceania Tuvalu
Debbie Price http://greenshoot.blogspot.com Oceania Vanuatu

Road Trip!

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My husband and I took a quick  run down to Texas over the weekend and had a great time (when we weren’t getting lost on the highways in and around Dallas)!

One of our favorite places to go is the Stockyards in Fort Worth. After we enjoyed a steak dinner we strolled around for a while in the cool evening air.

Great painted sign in the Fort Worth Stockyards featuring trick ridin’ cowgirls and long horn cattle.

 

 But – all too soon the weekend was over and it was time to head home. On our way out of Dallas we stopped at Bally Bead Co. in Rockwall where I spent a couple of heavenly hours shopping at one of my very favorite bead stores. Here’s a picture of just part of my haul – great stuff!

 

As we made our way back to Missouri we decided to take a more scenic route through part of the Ouachita Mountains in eastern Oklahoma, and we were rewarded with beautiful views and a fabulous sunset..

The sun was setting over the Ouachita Mountains as we were coming home – beautiful!