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Today Steve and I drove south to Monterey to visit the aquarium (very cool). We wandered through the exhibits, touching the sea stars and gawking at the jellyfish. Then we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant overlooking the bay, so we got to watch gulls and sea otters while waiting for our food. It started raining during lunch, so we decided to skip the 17-mile Drive to Pebble Beach and Carmel. Next time! California has been lots of fun, but I’m ready to get back to my studio and work on some spring jewelry.

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Mendocino County

This morning we drove north from San Francisco on 101. The landscape looked like something out of a painting with lichen-encrusted trees and a smattering of wineries. After crossing over the range of hills separating the valley from the coast, we drove through a redwood forest which is surprisingly dark and chilly in the middle of the day. We stopped by to meet Tom Boylan‘s studio nestled in an idyllic setting near Mendocino. He graciously let us pester him with questions and I stocked up on his beads and an ornament. Then we headed up the coast to Fort Bragg’s Glass Beach to look for sea glass. It used to be a bottle dump and, among the piles of common clear, green & brown glass, we found rare colors like red, pink, cobalt, and champagne. It was awesome to find glass that had been pummeled against the rocky coast; some pieces were smooth almost to the point of being spherical. The glass from the Delaware River is hardly ever that smooth, but the colors are better in my opinion. After lunch at the North Coast Brewing Company and coffee at Starbucks, we headed back down the coast.

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The city by the bay

Steve had a conference this week in San Francisco, so I tagged along and went shopping. Bead shopping, that is. I had seen General Bead’s website before visiting the store, but I didn’t realize they have an entire floor of Czech glass and also carry my favorite lampwork beads by Tom Boylan – well worth the trip. The Godiva shop in Union Square was giving out free samples and Britex had some lovely hand-dyed silk ribbon that I plan to use in necklaces. For dinners we ate at Cafe Tiramisu (crab & lobster ravioli with basil & mascarpone sauce with lemon & raspberry panna cotta for dessert) and Tommaso (gorgonzola/pear/pine nut pizza). It makes me want to eat out every night. Forever.

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Steve and I spent the last 5 days in sunny Bermuda. What a gorgeous island! We found plenty of sea glass in between beach bumming and restaurant hopping, so look for some new jewelry featuring these frosted wonders.

We also got to check out some of the attractions like the Unfinished Church in St. George’s with its stone columns and gothic arches. It was almost finished when a hurricane destroyed much of it, so only the walls remain with a grass carpet and the sky as the roof – a photographer’s dream.

I would write more, but I am getting ready for my studio open house this Saturday and there’s a lot to do before then! I’ll post new designs on my site next week if they don’t sell before then.

More pictures here!