Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Scream, We Scream, We All Scream for...Earrings!

Every family has road trip traditions, right? Ours - finding fun ice cream shoppes along the way. No matter what the season. Here we are, in Sausalito, a couple of years ago. It was Spring Break. It was cold. But that didn't stop us from getting some scoops and enjoying the view of The City!

Ice cream has come a long way since I was a kid. I remember going to Thrifty's when scoops were fifteen cents. Yes, I'm that old! And the flavors from which you could choose were basic: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, mint chip, and bubblegum. There may have been a few more flavors - butter pecan comes to mind - but not too many. Combinations were had by getting more than one scoop with whatever flavors you wanted to combine. And the ice cream tower teetered precariously on your cone while you ran your tongue from one flavor to the next.  Gone are those days.

Ice cream flavors now are dictated by what's in season and bound only by the creativity of the ice cream maker. Think stawberry-pink peppercorn, wild fennel, roasted barley, and olive oil chocolate sea salt. As far as my boys are concerned, the funkier the flavor, the better. Once I picked up ice cream scoops while the boys were napping in the car. D looked at what I had chosen for him and, with disappointment oozing from his eyes, lamented, "Mommy, I like the creative flavors better." I had gotten him burnt caramel.

Perennial favorites...and definitely our top two picks in the Central California area...

If you're in the East Bay, don't miss Ici in the Elmwood District. That's a strawberry-pink peppercorn and candied blood orange in the photo.

Or, if you're in Santa Cruz, checking out Penny Ice Creamery is a must. They now have two locations. That was the pluot sorbet I had the last time we were there.

So, on our 10-day camping trip, we hit a handful of ice cream spots from Eureka to Santa Rosa. And the colors inspired this month's earrings of the month for my subscribers. Think icy stones and copper cones. I'll post photos soon, but I needed to get this write-up done and out the door. Enjoy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Skies at Blue Lake {Earrings of the Month}

Late, late, late and - hopefully - worth the wait. I had put off my July shipment, hoping that I would master a wire wrapping technique for my subscribers. But, I wasn't happy with the results. Boo. So, I found inspiration in the skies overhead at Modoc National Forest and whipped up some creations that reminded me of those dramatic colors and clouds. Sorry for the delay, ladies!

We take a 10-day camping trip every summer, starting with a few days with my in-laws at Blue Lake. And, though we go every year, I am always astounded by the clouds. I don't know if it's the altitude - or what - but the clouds there are unlike any I have ever seen before.

When I mention it to my husband, every year, he just shrugs. "That's what I grew up with. I don't really know what you mean." Fine. 

This is what I mean: cotton candy clouds. These are the clouds that little kids draw on their papers in kindergarten. They are bulbous and so, so white. We don't have these clouds at the coast. Or, at least, they are very rare. While we kayak or canoe around the lake, I always look up and play I Spy in the formations. 

This year, in addition to the fluffy cotton candy clouds, we also had ominous, grey clouds that were stunning as well. They moved in quickly and blanketed the entire horizon. 

I wasn't too thrilled with the five inches of rain we got in less than twenty-four hours, but the clouds were pretty.

For my catch-up earrings (these should have been for July!) I created one-of-a-kind pieces with freshwater pearls in shades from white to indigo, neon blue apatite, golden pyrite, grey labradorite, and crackly blue matte glass beads. I didn't photograph all of them. I hope the gals enjoy these, despite their tardiness. They'll be in the mail tomorrow!