Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Just back from my honeymoon

My husband and I spent a slightly delayed honeymoon (we were married in May last year) in St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands. For seven days and nights we enjoyed warm weather in the low 80's, and could see the beach from our room.

If you have been thinking about a getaway vacation to a tropical island, I would recomend St. Croix. It was my first time there, but I met some friendly and wonderful people, and saw some breathtaking sights. The first full day we were there, we hiked to the tide pools from a trail by our resort. Actually, we ended up taking the long hike, putting a mile and a half on our trip to the pools. We also took the steep trail down to the road, which leads to the rocks. I'm not trying to brag here, mind you. I'm not usually a hiker but I'm active and do enjoy nature. This was intense. Either you're sliding down this thing on your behind, or you're walking slowly down backwards, grabbing clumps of tall grass. We made it down, and it was all worth it. After a careful walk along sharp rocks, with waves crashing over our feet, we made it to the tide pools. It was something like a scene out of The Princess Bride.

We were so enamored with this little piece of paradise that we had to go back. On the last full day of our stay, we hiked out again. This time taking the short trail and a path with a less steep slope. We stayed hours, enjoying the warm water and chasing around the fishes. I even got a couple decent pictures with my lil camera, which I put in an underwater aquapac bag.

On the way back we saw the most breathtaking full rainbow, it was coming right up out of the water...I felt like I was in a care bears movie!

When we weren't lounging on the beach, we were exploring the island. We had a very pleasant walk through the St. George Botanical Gardens. They had some interesting plants and trees, some looking like something right out of a Dr. Seuss book.

Sugar mill ruins were scattered throughout the islands, we got to check out some overlooking the north shore. Quite a view indeed.
By night we got to check out some great live music, because the Ryan Montbleau Band was in town. They rocked the island for a full week, and I saw many of the same faces night after night. I met some very friendly people, and had lots of space to hula hoop most nights. One show was on the beach at sunset, and that was just incredible.

Overall, my husband and I had the time of our lives. I'd love to share some tips based on things we experienced on this trip.

1. Rent a car. Taxi's are expensive on the island and unless you're going to spend the entire week on the beach, you'll spend what you would have spend on a rented car anyway.
That brings me to
2. Do not use Centerline car rentals. We had a very bad experience with them. Because they do not accept visa cards with the word "debit" written on them, they left us high and dry at the airport. But they still managed to charge $500 to my husbands debit card (go figure) forcing us back to reality during our honeymoon, as we had to call the bank and deal with all THAT while on vacation. Fabulous.
We were able to get a last minute car through AVIS and dealt with a very nice lady, Ingrid.
3. Breakfast is a hot commodity on the island. The Colupmbus Cove Restaurant on the north shore is awful. If you like cold breakfast with a scowl, this is the place for you. Another restaurant on the north shore, Spratnet, was fantastic, but out of the 3 times we drove there, they were only open once (even though their sign says "7 days a week, open 7am").
4. If you are physically able, check out the tide pools by the carambola beach resort. Wear keens or other waterproof shoes with a solid sole, and pack water and some snacks.
5. The tide by the Carambola gets rough. Be careful, especially if you plan on bringing children.
6. In Christiansted, visit Lolita Restaurant. It is a health food bar with a raw/microbiotic selection of food. I have to admit I was a little skeptical but it was fantastic! All fresh ingredients. The soup was so tasty, and the raw "lasagna" was out of this world, prepared right in front of you by a lovely english gentlemen, Jonathon. The ambiance incredible as well, lit just enough, with a dolphin fountain in the center surrounded by exotic plants.
6. Take lots of pictures!

Now that I'm back to reality I'll be getting back to my regular droppers on entrecard, and should have some beady goodness to share with you soon!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Retro Swirls

I've been wanting to do a swirly bracelet for quite some time now. Before the holiday rush I sketched up a pattern in my bead pattern software - kind of like a "paint" program with a built in stitch graph. At first I was planning on listing the bracelet in my etsy shop, but sometimes the universe has other plans for us. I spent WAY much more time on this cuff than I wanted to. I made the mistake of starting with a thread that was a little thicker than I should have used. It worked, oh yes, but at a price. I broke a good 3 or 4 beads, which means having to weave back through again to add your bead and hide the thread. Because I took a while to make it, AND because I broke some beads, I'll be keeping this one (oh *darn*) and filing it under "learning experience".
I may use the pattern again to make another, in different colors no doubt, but this red, gold, and black "Retro Swirls" bracelet sits comfortably on my wrist...right now, as I type actually!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Something for ME!

As I delve deeper and deeper into my art, I find myself making less and less items for myself. Custom orders, gifts for friends and family, and keeping inventory up to date all takes a good amount of time and effort. Occasionally though, a special event will prompt me to make a set to match an outfit. New years eve was such an event. My theme for the night was pink and brown, my entire outfit revolved around that. Having no pink and brown jewelry in my wardrobe, I just had to make something to match, didn't I?
I wove this choker with silver lined brown delicas and pink opaque toho seed beads. Delicas aren't usually the greatest for netting, but I find when I mix them in with tohos the drape comes out just lovely. I finished it with antiqued brass wire guardians, and an antique brass lobster clasp. It feels great on, I'm really happy with how it turned out.

The earrings I struggled with to be honest...I took them apart several times before getting it just right. I originally was going to do a fringe type dangle earrings, but things just didn't turn out that way. I ended up with a fan dangle (not a fandango). They match the necklace superbly, and have a wonderful swing to them. I used opaque brown, matte pink, and metalic pink toho beads, along with metalic brown bugle beads. They were finished with antiqued brass earwires. I'm looking forward to wearing them for years to come!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm still here!

I'm aware it's been TOO long since my last post, so I wanted to check in and say HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my readers. I could give you a bunch of excuses as to why I haven't been posting, but instead I'll just tell you that I've been spending some much needed time with friends and family. 2009 was brought in with a bang, surrounded by smiling friends and great music. It was quite magical.

Soon enough I'll have a plethura of beaded goodies to show off, as I've been a busy beader this past month (the spirit just hasn't moved me to do a photographing session). I've made a chakra pendant for a dear friend, a woven bracelet for another...both of which I gave to them before photographing (oops). I also made a netted necklace for my new years eve outfit, with earrings to match, 2 netted heart necklaces, several pendants, and some rings. When I can pry the beads and needle out of my hand I'll take some pics, I promise!