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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

I woke up on Sunday morning, the last morning of Craftcation, and wandered down to the lobby. The decorations were coming down, the things were all packed up, pop up shop closing, and oh I just felt so sad. Just like last year, a few days in and I was finally getting into the swing of it all! I guess it’s a good sign when they leave you wanting more, right?

I left Craftcation wanting more, but I also left it with a plan! After the amazing “post Craftcation plan” workshop led by Tiffany Han late on Saturday, I felt like I really had a handle on what I wanted to accomplish in the upcoming weeks.

A plan.

It does all boil down to “make shit happen in a big way” but thanks to Tiffany’s amazing workshop, I feel like I have the tools to actually do it.

*****

Captain Sexypants and I made plans to stay an extra day in sunny Ventura, so after bidding farewell to some new friends, I zipped over to the local Amtrak platform to await his train, Americano-for-him and latte-for-me in hand. Because I am nothing if not the best girlfriend on the entire planet, right?

An Americano for him, Latte for me.

Waiting is hard.
Waiting...

Even if it only took about ten minutes for the train to get there once I settled in.

Pulling in to the station!

And then the world was complete.

He arrives!

People should take more trains. There is nothing like seeing your best darling walking towards you across a train platform, and the feeling of bouncy anticipation you get when they get closer, and closer until finally you can throw your arms around them and shower them with 3 days of saved up kisses.

Happy Happy All Together, The End.

We are nothing, if not cute.

And terribly predictable.

Well caffeinated.

The rest of the day passed in a blur of beach walking and long lingering coffee shopping. It really was too short, but exactly what I needed. I have been feeling so terribly burned out by it all, lately. I’m feeling better now. A few days away was pretty much exactly what I needed!

I had joyful reunion with Princess BonBon von Fluffypants von Schnitzeltoes, Admiral Mittens, Duchess Honeytoes von Crankypants, Professor Oliver Plumpypants, Charles Bukatski, and That Mr. Tinklebritches, too.

Vacations are good for everyone.

*****

So there are some big changes coming down the pike for Honey&Ollie Designs. New website and e-shop. Really exciting new designs and an entirely retooled collection on the horizon and of course, to have new stuff we must start saying goodbye to old stuff! I’ll be doing that with a fantastic clearance sale. I’ll be opening that up to my mailing list with a special coupon code, about a week before I open it up to everyone else, so if you want to get up to 40% off on things you may have been stalking, you can sign up here for my mailing list and get the goods before everyone else!

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Stopping for rocks

Stopped for a break in Quartzite Arizona on our way home from Scottsdale, and this water tower was particularly picturesque. So were the tents upon tents filled with rocks, gems and fossils. We managed to get away safely, but not before a couple of ammonites stowed away in the trunk. I didn’t manage to get any other pictures here, I was too busy drooling over All. The. Things.

We were in Scottsdale for the big fancy Arabian Horse Show that they have every year about this time.

Statue

horses15

horses12

horses11

horses10

The Cap’s sister had some horses in the show (not pictured) and we wanted to show our support for her amazing endeavor. It was a truly amazing show, as you can see from the shots above. The horses are like poetry, so graceful and slender, sleek and shining. Their handlers moved them around the ring so expertly, and it was truly a thing to see! These are all in the yearling class, so just babies, really. They did great, considering that they’re basically toddlers!

When I was a little girl I had all the Breyer horse models. Arabians were totally my favorite. Well I outgrew them like most little girls do, but going to the horse show put me right back there and for a little while I was 12 again and delighted with all things horse. The show is HUGE. It has riding exhibitions and competitions, several rings, both indoor and outdoor, and tents full of vendors who are selling all manner of riding gear, jewelry, art, and photography. We were only there for one day, and have decided that next year we’re coming back for several because you just can’t take it all in, in a day. The show is open to the public and it’s worth the ticket price!

It wasn’t all horses in Scottsdale, either.

We found a British pub with the most fantastic fish and chips, and people shooting pool!

A simpatico place to land

Fish and chips? Delish!

The British Open Pub – so friendly and the food was really amazing. As I said, the fish and chips were great, but we also had some spicy beer cheese dip with pub chips that was kind of memorable. Really the cheese dip might have been the culinary high point of my whole year. We sent our friends back there for lunch today, and they liked it so well they went back for dinner!

Sadly, I have no pictures of the incredible sausage and beer place we visited on our second night, Brat Haus, but trust me, if you’re in Scottsdale and you want some great local and craft beers, this place is well worth visiting. It’s a few blocks up the street from the pub. Do what we did. Have your fish and chips and cheese dip, and a Guiness, then move up the street and have a flight of craft beer and finish the night off with some artisan sausages. Then stare longingly up the street at the Sugar Bowl ice cream shop, and wish you had room for a sundae. Roll on home. You’ll be so glad you did!

Alas, we had a less than stellar experience at the place next door, The Salty Senorita, but, you can’t win them all.

One high point of my Scottsdale adventure (not a culinary high point, but, an experiential high point anyway), however, was this.

Waffle House!!!

All my life I’ve heard of the famous Waffle House. I’ve heard stories about how FEMA used them as a model for disaster preparedness and I really wanted to try it! In fact, “eat at a Waffle House” iswas on my bucket list! So we headed over to a Waffle House in Scottsdale, or Tempe, or one of the little towns that are all mushed up against each other in that vast metropolitan sprawl, and we gave it a try.

Untitled

I have to be honest and say that Roscoe’s still wins for waffles in my book, but, WH was not bad. An enjoyable breakfast experience with great servers, eaten with fun people and the waffle was pretty good. Plus, they’ve got about a million ways to eat hash browns. I will probably go back there on road trips.

Achievement, unlocked!!

It makes me laugh that what I found most memorable about my trip was food, food, food, and some rocks, with surprise bonus horses thrown in. But then, this is me, so it’s about right.

Now we are home (we had to stop for sushi on our way back) from the Sonoran desert and our saguaro adventure. The desert was breathtaking. I’d never been before.

Almost home

Tired.

Who shot first?

And ready for Crafted in the morning! It was a GREAT trip!

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I have to admit, both Captain Sexypants and I were a little freaked out by going to Revere. We weren’t sure what to expect, thought maybe a ton of people would have a lot of experience and we’d be the class dunces… there was a lot of anxiety in the way. This is why we got up to the Bay Area and ultimately went camping with like, only half of the stuff that we needed which is totally unlike either of us. We’re great planners and organizers. You might call me a little OCD on that one. Cap is actually less mental but even better at logistics, so between the two of us, you can just imagine… We have All The Things. But this time, the anxiety about the class made us wing it a little.

That wasn’t actually a bad thing as we both discovered. Kind of freeing to shrug and just handle it.

But I digress. Before the woods, there was class.

Filed

We were taking Fabrication 1, which is pretty much the most basic course you can take at Revere. You learn to saw metal, file, work with precision. You learn about the basic tools on a jeweler’s bench. Fortunately for us, they teach this class like nobody in it knows a darn thing (even though quite a few of our fellow students actually had a bit of bench experience). The premise being, well, even if you know this stuff already you don’t know it their way and you might have gaps. So they just start at A and work to Z. Very thorough. I liked it.

I lost my fear fairly quickly. Or rather, I was terrified the whole time, but I just did the stuff anyway and by the time class was over, it was all gone.

I learned some things. Like, when you buy saw blades for your jeweler’s saw, it’s good to buy them by the gross. I snapped 18 on my first project.

Clamped

I discovered that tools are neat! Clamps are cool. I discovered that I am not, actually, automatically an idiot when a tool is put in my hand and if that tool is sharp, or hot, or dangerous, I’m actually quite able to handle it, thanks very much. A solder torch or grinding wheel does not have to turn me into a wilting violet. I didn’t know this before we started, actually, and had some doubts.

Competence is awesome.

Before and After

I learned how to take a flat piece of metal and work it to a state of mirrored perfection. Bend it, shape it, cut it, file it, heat it, connect it… to make some of my own tools and adapt others. THe class is taught in a logical progression – skillsets building on skillsets, projects progressing in an order that draws on everything you did the day before. By the end of the class, you have put it all together and you are able to make stuff. 3 days to learn a handful of the basics. A lifetime to master them.

This was a super fast moving class and we didn’t have the time to actually finish our projects. Some folks did, of course, but it wasn’t the focus of the class. The earrings above will never be all the way cut out, though I’d like to finish them. They remind me of tiny in-progress Death Stars. I’m actually planning to ding them up a bit, add a crazy patina and wear them as is. Yes, I’m a geek.

Brass - my first solder attempts

I was the most terrified of soldering. But amazingly, I found it to be really easy. Precise, painstaking and to be approached with the proper safety considerations of course, but not hard. The torch didn’t explode. It was okay. I didn’t set the lab on fire (an actual worry.)

Sterling silver ring

And then? The world opened up.

in progress

A huge shiny world that exists beyond beading, beyond metal clay.

Okay this is gonna sound weird, maybe, but, metalsmithing made me feel connected. It made me feel tied to something far older than myself. These skills and techniques have evolved and innovations are always forthcoming, yes, but people have been working metal and smithing it for about as long as we’ve had fire.

Captain working

There’s such a body of work to draw upon, and such a vast collective unconscious tied to this craft… well tapping into that pool is pretty humbling and profound and joyful.

14k gold ring

When I was sitting at that bench, applying tools to metal, or fire, or whatever, I felt like I had come home. My whole body was resonating with one word.

YES.

I am so unbelievably grateful for the 3 days I spent at Revere and I am SO excited about going back in the spring for more classes, when their Open Study sessions open back up. Because I want more of that world expanding, ancient skill tapping, expert instruction.

Oh so tired

Next time, though, I think we’ll work on getting more sleep. That kind of intensive brainfill is exhausting!

How did we feel when it was all over? Aside from all that joy of learning and the exuberant squee over all the cool stuff we can do now?

Smug. We were maybe a little smug. We drove up in our duct taped car, without half the stuff we needed, survived a massive skunking (another story entirely) on Day Two, got ourselves to the class on time via a sort of unfamiliar BART system (it’s not actually unfamiliar, but I hadn’t ridden it in years and the Cap’n hadn’t EVER, so…) and darn if we can’t make rings and cut metal now.

Wicked

yes, I’d say smug for sure.

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