Monday, March 31, 2008

Paihia, New Zealand - March 31, 2008

I made it to New Zealand, and unfortunately left my travel log at the hotel, but all I can say is it has been a beautiful trip so far. Flew into Auckland, had the best latte of my life there. Then drove up to Paihia (hub of the Bay of Islands) the first day. Yes, NZ is as beautiful as the rumors. Lots of rolling hills, cows, sheep, beautiful beaches and ocean. Tropical warm weather. Good company. Very friendly, hospitable people. On the way up to Paihia, we took a driving detour to Sandy Bay via the Tutukaka Coast. Upon arrival in Paihia, we checked out some of the local bars, and decided that Monteiths is our new favorite beer. We sat on the deck of the Aquarium Bar and watched the fishermen pull up with a 400 lb. marlin. It's a pretty quiet place, met a couple from Pacific Beach in San Diego.

Our first full day in Paihia, we took an awesome cruise around the "Bay of Islands" and tracked down a pod of dolphins. At 8 am we departed from Paihia Wharf. We were able to lay down on the bow of the boat and hang our heads off to get a close encounter. The dolphins were a foot away from our cool! The clear waters range from turquoise to deep blue. I took loads of pictures of inlets, coves, and the gorgeous coastline while touring around on the boat. We were dropped of at Urupukapuka Island, the largest of over 140 islands in the bay. We took a nice hike up to a lookout point where we could see a desolate beach on Urupukapuka Bay and sheep grazing on the hillside, then had a nice lunch at Otehei Bay and then it was onto a different boat and off the see the Hole in the Rock off Cape Brett. We were able to pass through in our boat which was cool. We then cruised through the other islands for more spectacular views on the way back to the wharf, even spotting a seal resting on a rock. We capped off the day with drinks a green mussles with our new Aussie friends, Mick and Julie at 35 degrees south. A beer led to many and next thing you know I was dancing with a girl from Cosivo.

Today we drove down to Taupo, and will be here for four days. Loads of horses, cows and sheep pastures on the way down. There is so much to do and see and the time goes by so fast!!! Hopefully I will get my notes and write more soon.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle"--Winston Churchill

What a wonderful day so far.....I had a lesson this morning to get my last fill of riding before my trip to New Zealand, and Kylie was stupendous! If I was trying her to buy her, I would have bought her today! I think that was the best she has ever been. Not a cloud in the sky, 70 degrees, it couldn't have been better. I hope this is a taste of what's to stop New Zealand.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A strange stillness dwells in the eye of the horse...

"A strange stillness dwells in the eye of the horse...
a composure that appears to regard the world
from a measured distance...
It is a gaze from the depths of a dream."

~ Hans~Heinrich Isenbart

Earthy and Elegant Necklace

I wanted to post my newest necklace creation...Trinidad - smokey quartz, spiney oyster shell, faceted turquoise briolettes, Hill Tribe silver charms & toggle clasp. This will soon be available for sale on my jewelry website I am including information about the Thai Karen Hill Tribe . I love to use their components in my jewelry.
The Karen (or Kariang) People, along with other hill tribe minority groups, first appeared in northern Thailand between two and three hundred years ago. They are a relatively recent addition to the ethnic and cultural mix compared to Thailand's 800-year history. It is believed that they originated in Tibet or southern China. Racial memories and oral traditions about bitter cold could possibly place their origins as far away as Mongolia and the Gobi Desert. The Karen People lived a semi-nomadic life, migrating about once every seven years after exhausting the land with their swidden (slash and burn) style agriculture, which some groups continue to practice today. The Karen are not a single hill tribe, but a collection of related tribes with similar lifestyles, customs, and languages. The known Karen groups can be roughly divided into four groups: The Sgaw, the Pwo, the Kayah or Red Karen, and the Paduang. Most picture long-necked women with brass rings or coils supporting their heads when Karen Hill Tribe is mentioned, but this practice is limited to the Paduang, one of the smaller tribes.In the 1920s and 1930s, the Kuomintang recruited various hill tribe groups, including Karen People, to raise cash crops, specifically opium poppies, to generate funds for the Chinese government-in-exile. The practice proved so lucrative that many hill tribe groups continued to produce opium and heroin even after the Kuomintang abandoned them.In 1969, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej launched the Thai Royal Project, with the aim of transforming hill tribe economy from one based on illicit drugs to one based on food agriculture and handicrafts. The project has been very successful and has significantly reduced the number of opium fields remaining in northern Thailand. The Karen were very fortunate and received the art of silversmithing. As part of the Royal Project, skilled jewelers were sent into Karen villages and taught the first generation of Thai Karen silver jewelry artists. These techniques were passed down the generations and now, they are so successful that the world of wholesale hill tribe silver begins and ends with the Karen hill tribes involved with the Project. Each piece is hand made and unique. Even where a mold is used, the silver is still poured or hammered by hand. All kinds of silver products are manufactured by the Karen: silver beads, rings, earrings, bracelets and relief art. Karen hill tribe silver is categorized as fine silver, being 95% to 99% silver content, whereas sterling silver contains 92.5%. Karen silver beads are the most popular Thai silver item sold or purchased. The silver beads come in various sizes and designs, and can be used to make bracelets and necklaces, or sewn onto clothing in the manner of Karen traditional dress. Regardless, each piece of silver jewelry sold, whether a set of silver beads or a Thai Karen silver ring, benefits the tribe as a whole and sustains them without having to resort to opium cultivation.

Mazzy on Easter

Here's another picture from our visit on Easter

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter

Chad and I went to see Mazzy this morning, she is getting so big. She is 22 months old and BEAUTIFUL! It was a gorgeous day out. Her new pasture mate is a Smarty Jones filly - 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, not too shabby.

God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses. ~R.B. Cunninghame Graham, letter to Theodore Roosevelt, 1917

Saturday, March 22, 2008

For my mom....

If I Had My Life to Live Over - I'd Pick More Daisies By Nadine Stair
If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time. I'd relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I'd have more of them. In fact, I'd try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I've been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.

Precious Metal Clay

"Metal clay is a unique material, a new technology that allows the artist to form pure gold and silver jewelry in an organic, tactile way unlike any other tradition they may have previously known. Fire in the form of a torch or kiln transforms this wonderfully malleable "clay" into solid silver or gold. Polished steel tools are then used to burnish the precious item to a gleaming luster. Imagination completes the process, turning a beautiful object into personal adornment." - Lora Hart. I am just starting to explore this medium and am having a great time creating with it. I have taken two classes so far to learn PMC techniques, and I cannot wait to take more! In the last class I took, the instructor tripped on the way to the kiln dropping the bowl of our creations, and it was all reduced to dust when it shattered on the floor. It was devastating to see 8 hours of hard work go down the drain, however, it forced me to go home with the techniques I learned and remake my pieces. Here are a few of the things I have created so far.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mary Ann Radmacher quotes

"Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. " (introduced to me by my BF)

“Begin each day as if it were on purpose”

“Consider calling it a challenge rather than calling it a crisis.”

Floating Social Media