I went to Italy. It was summer. Everyone says don’t go in summer. It was hot. They are having a heatwave. The heat has been likened to hell. There were millions of tourists from everywhere. It was a sea of people. Everyone said learn […]
I have been very lazy about writing my blog. I really don’t know why…. it is especially annoying because I have a lot on my mind. Tomorrow is Father’s Day. I always find Father’s Day gifts a problem for my husband, Don. We have three terrific grown children and grandchildren too. They all love him like crazy, just like me! But, they would agree getting a gift for him is tough. Don is the type of guy that just goes and buys himself what he needs or wants. At Christmas, he will pick up a few things he needs instead of telling us. Gift giving is frustrating to say the least. My Father’s Day gift is this blog about a gift he made for me….
We have a big backyard with a swimming pool. Right now that isn’t too great, due to the drought. On one side for as long as we have lived here was a old wooden patio cover that was completely covered with ivy. In fact, ivy was what kept it up. This ivy was a complex ecosystem that supported many families of rats, mice, birds, raccoons, opposums, bats and a beehive. We all had an agreement, stay away from each other and we will get along great. Yes, even the rats. They are nocturnal! When my daughter Jackie was small she thought they were black kitties out scampering on the fence. I don’t think we told her the truth until she was about 25 years old. Needless to say, we just stayed away and all was fine. Until, we actually had one day weather event. It rained and the wind blew for one whole day!! The patio cover ended up in the pool with all the ivy, the nests, the hive and bunch of dead stuff that I really don’t want to know what it was. It also landed on our fountain and broke it too.
Don cleaned up a horrific mess. He ripped out the rest of the ivy and cleared the back side of the yard. We both did not realize how much space had been lurking behind all the ivy.. What to do? What to do? We both did not want another patio cover and with the drought loomimg in the future we didn’t want a lot of thirsty landscaping. Don turned to me and asked “What do you want?” Without thinking, I said “A Folly!” Don replied with the only sensible response, “What the hell is a Folly?”
I am an Anglophile. I love everything about England. I especially love English literature. I love PBS and watch all The Masterpiece Theater Presentations. My favorite is Jane Austin’s Pride and Predjudice. My favorite scene is when Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy are in the Folly. That is where he proposes and she turns him down. Elizabeth Bennett tell him off. Great scene!! I just got back from England and visited Chatsworth House, which of course is Pemberley.
We don’t live at Pemberley or anything that remotely looks like an estate. In fact, we live in a California Ranch built in 1955. Adjustments had to be made. Don and I looked at Follies and garden houses on Pinterrest and on line. Finally, we decided to just go for it! I explained that Follies really had no purpose except to have fun and show off. In the Victorian days they made the single men sleep in them that they wouldn’t ravish the young women. Maybe, our son Jordan should sleep out there when he visits it might encourage him to get married!
We started with a stain glass window that we had bought at an estate sale to sell in my antique booth. It did not sell and somehow it got cracked. So, we dragged it home and it became the focal point of the Folly. It is eye shaped and came from The United Methodist Church in Hillcrest CA. It is about 100 years old and features tulips. Don was really getting into the Folly now. He became a man possessed. The roof line was steep with a lightening rod on top. The walls were made out of lattice. Escondido is very hot 6 months of the year. We had to have air circulation. We went to a marvelous sale in Santa Barbara and bought a chandalier. And, in it went and I hung multicolored votives all through it. Don found old doors from Hungary. He paid too much but they are perfect.
We decided its main purpose was to entertain. So we put a bed inside with lots of comfy pillows. Perfect for reading or a nap.When our grandchildren are here they play house. When we have company they always end up laying or sitting on the bed gossiping and having fun. Everyone who see the Folly smiles and laughs. Maybe it does have a purpose. All I know is I love my Folly and love all the love and creativity Don put in every detail. Happy Father’s Day My Darling Don I love you…..PS God Save The Queen
Once upon a time, I had a very magical visit to Louisiana. It started off with going to my daughter Jackie’s college graduation from LSU and spending time with her and my two granddaughters, Kaylee age six and Farrah age ten. These are very magical […]
I have wanted to go to the Tucson Gem Show for years. My boss and friend Al, has asked me to go every year but I have had an excuse lamer than the dog ate my homework! This year he went ahead and made the reservations at the hotel and told me to grab a friend because we were going to the Tucson Gem Show. Our group included Al (fossil nut), Al’s brother Norbert (The Charmer), Sharon (friend, coworker, jewelry nut and Elizabeth Taylor lookalike) and me (Just Nuts) driving from San Diego in Al’s car. The other brother Reinhart (The Intellect) drove in from Albuquerque. An unlikely group but it worked.
The Tucson Gem Show is not one show, it is over 40 shows spread all over Tucson. The main show is at the The Tucson Expo Center. We never made it there. I saw and did so much that I will have to see that next year. Maybe. I have been shopping in gift shows, antique shows, souks and bazaars but nothing prepared me for this show. The dealers spill out of everywhere. Every hotel room is a showroom. They take the furniture out of there and put in tables to display their wares. Sometimes, the vendor would keep the bed in the room! Honestly, I have never been in so many stranger’s hotel rooms in my life.
The vendors are from all over the world. The wonderful things that were for sale boggle the mind. The first thing I notice is the large fossilized sandstone panels leaning against the side of the hotel parking lot. Unbelievable! I knew that I was like Alice in Wonderland and have fallen down the hole in to a wonderful, curious world. I also knew that 3 days was not enough and was plotting my return. And I have not seen anything yet! There are vendors selling minerals, fossils, gemstones, beads, carvings, crystals, finished jewelry, meteorites and treasure. Treasure is everything else. Treasure is stuff that you did not know that you needed but now you have to have. I did not bring enough money.
The first night we had dinner with Al’s friend Brock from Fossilogy. Brock is a young guy who has created his own company removing fossils from stone and recreating the dinosaurs for museums, collectors and businesses all over the world. Brock was very gracious answering all of our amateur questions. Think about it for a moment. Brock chips every bone, tooth and part out of a large rock, then he has to figure out what the dinosaur looked like and put it together. Before he can put it together he has to build and weld a metal structure to support the dinosaur. This takes years sometimes to construct. Unbelievable! There are dinosaurs all over Tucson. Wonderland.
Saturday morning we got up early and out we go. The boys are going fossil hunting. Sharon and I are meeting Kerith Graeber to go bead hunting. Kerith and her husband Cal own a Fluorite Mine. Kerith know a lot about gemstones. In fact, Kerith knows a lot about everything! Kerith brought along her friend Pat who is a gemologist. Kerith has been a long time customer and friend to Canterbury Gardens. She graciously agreed to be Sharon and my guide to the bead show portion of the Tucson Gem Show. We set off in her car and drove all over Tucson going to different shows. Many of the shows are wholesale and you have to register to even get in to shop. So, you have to come prepared with all your business paperwork. The Tucson Show has a website that tells you everything you will need. If you are a crafter, amateur paleontologist or are into crystals there are plenty of places to spend your money.
Kerith introduced us to the different bead dealers she has dealt with over the years. As Sharon and I would touch and ooh and ahhh over exotic beads of every color, Pat and Kerith would tell us if the stones were real. It is hard to know what is a good price and what exactly am I buying. A lot of the beads are dyed or color enhanced. That is ok but you should know what you are buying. I write on each bag of beads with a Sharpie Pen what it is because I will never remember what I bought tomorrow! Sharon and I were so lucky to have Kerith and Pat to shepherd us around like lost, drooling sheep. Next year I hope to be better prepared. I brought some projects that I have been working on that were missing elements. Since I love to craft repurposed jewelry, I thought I brought enough stuff. I should of brought all my projects to find different elements. Tucson is where you buy for the whole year and make some great contacts which we did thanks to Kerith. What made this show so different from a wholesale gift show was how nice everyone is. I mean these people are passionate about what they do and take the time to answer all questions. I learned more about fossils, gemstones and minerals then I thought possible. They have become treasure for me. I never knew I needed them in my life but now I have to have them.
Saturday night we had dinner with Kerith and her husband Cal. I learned a little about mining fluorite. I had no idea how difficult and dirty mining minerals can be. They don’t even know what they have until they clean and process the minerals. It was so interesting and makes me understand why gemstones are so precious. We all had a great time. Sunday we got up early and Al showed us the Pueblo Show and gave us a crash course on minerals. We stuffed in as much as we could see before we had to head home. It was not enough time but I am not sure my brain could take in much more. My wallet could not take much more either.
My favorite story: We were in gem wholesale show and Sharon walked up to a table piled up with loose gemstones. Sharon bent over and picked up a rather large stone, turned around to talk to me not realizing 5 Indian gentlemen swarmed behind her and told me that she thought the price on the sign was very reasonable for a stone that large. I told her to put it down the gem before she lost her hand! I had to tell her they were precious gems and sold by the carat!
In closing, I recommend the Tucson Show to everyone. It is a living museum where you can touch (ask first!) and everything is for sale. If you think you don’t care about fossils, minerals or gemstones you will after a trip to the Tucson Gem Show. These people will make you fall in love with their passion, the history of what they are selling and especially their treasure. See you next year. I am saving my money!
Thanks especially to Al and his brothers. They were great companions.
When I decided that I wanted to do a blog on thrift store shopping I looked online to see what thrift stores they suggested on Yelp. I was so surprised to find that none of the thrift stores that I frequent were not […]