Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Buttoned Neck Warmers!

I've been busy since I returned from my 12-day cruise through the Sea of Cortez and Puerto Vallarta; just got back on Monday and already making fun gifts for my loved ones. Knitted neck warmers are very practical this time of year, and I love these ones; they're super-soft bulky-weight acrylic.
Best of all, each neck warmer is embellished with one of my handmade ceramic buttons! The scarf pictured above is for my dear friend, Joy Woodman. I made the one pictured below for myself:
It features a cool grungy-style glazed handmade button:
Finally, a neck warmer for my mom:
It's super-comfy and features one of her favorite buttons, a sea-blue spiral:
I'm really excited to announce that another store has just picked up my buttons and is offering them for sale:
1060 South Coast Highway 101
Encinitas CA 92024
Phone: 760.436.9973
If you're not familiar with The Black Sheep, it's a terrific store well worth checking out. They offer gorgeous yarns, beads, and now my buttons! And the classes... well, they're guaranteed to nourish your creative spirit. Check it out here: The Black Sheep
I hope you all stay warm and toasty this winter. In Idyllwild, we're expecting cooler temps this Thursday with snow and freezing rain. Oh, joy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

12 Days in Mexico on the Statendam!

My parents (pictured above) and I just returned from a fantastic trip through the Sea of Cortez and down to Puerto Vallarta on Holland America's Statendam cruise ship. It was 12 days of sightseeing and sweating (a bit) in 90-degree heat with a surprising amount of humidity... not to mention, eating WAY too much yummy food and staying up late for evening entertainment. We all gained weight, but we're working on that little problem this week. No big Christmas dinners planned for us next week!
I have a "thing" for pelicans, and the Mexican Riviera is blessed with many. They like to hang out of the fishermen's boats and they appear to be ungainly and endearingly clumsy (to me); however, once these big guys take off in flight, they soar with agility and grace. In a V-formation, just like geese (I didn't know that until I saw it).
I didn't get very many closeup photos of pelicans but I thought I'd share the following:
We also enjoyed photographing Mexican folk art and since we were in Mexico for the festival for Guadalupe, there was much public art and folk-art to enjoy, such as this huge painted skull:
Mom posed for me next to a beautifully painted sign outside a restaurant; I believe this was in Loreto: 
 Gotta love this painted dog skeleton:
And my mom, at 5-feet 11 inches tall, dwarfed by the more-than-lifesize skeletons on the street:
While on board the Statendam, we enjoyed delicious cuisine and I'm ashamed to admit, we indulged FOUR times a day! After a hearty breakfast and a yummy lunch the last thing we needed was afternoon tea, but that didn't stop us from taking part in that delicious-but-deadly European tradition:
And here's why we staggered off the ship this morning:
Anyway, back to the art. I took lots and lots of photos in each town we visited, including Cabo San Lucas, Loreto, La Paz, Guaymas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We visited small chapels and huge cathedrals. I love religious art, and this lovely angel was begging to be captured:
In Puerto Vallarta, they use small stones and concrete to fashion lovely mosaics in the sidewalks along the malecon. I couldn't help but note their similarity to such street art found in Santorini, Greece.
I love photographing animals, too, and I couldn't resist snapping a shot of this darling little dog (Freddie), embraced by his owner at a table next to ours in a Puerto Vallarta restaurant:
Here's a shot of the cathedral in Puerto Vallarta, where they were celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe with music, prayers, and many colorful flags:
Perhaps the highlight of the trip for me took place in Cabo San Lucas where I was able to cuddle a month-old baby lioness. It was a dream of a lifetime for me to hold an actual lion, something I have always longed to do, yet never thought I would have the opportunity to achieve.
I was very sad and angered, however, to return home and, after some brief online research, discover that the so-called fundraising this outfit is undertaking for lion rehabilitation may be a total scam. Now, I have not done enough research on this topic yet to state with any authority whether or not this is legitimate fundraising or a scam. All I know is that many people online seem to think that it's a ripoff, and that lions are not actually benefiting from the profits generated by these endeavors.
All I can tell you from personal experience is this: There were two young cats, a month-old lioness and a four-month-old lion. They were kept in a cool enclosure with plenty of water and ventilation. I was able to cuddle the little lioness for about two minutes. She was alert until I held her, and then she snuggled down and went to sleep. She seemed of a good weight and her coat looked good, and her eyes were bright. I saw no evidence of disease, ill treatment, or lack of nourishment. Was she drugged to keep her calm and sleepy? I have no way of knowing.
So I'm not going to pass judgement on this situation until I've gathered a lot more information. I never judge until I know all the facts, or as many facts as can be known. I hope that this was a legitimate operation, but if not, well, lesson learned.
In any case, this was a lovely trip and my parents and I enjoyed our time on the Statendam very much!