Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Museum Day

The highlight of the California Science Center is a 24-foot-long transparent tunnel through a 188,000-gallon tank that puts you face to face with 1,500 horn sharks, swell sharks, giant sea bass, wolf eels, bat rays and other fish swimming in a kelp forest. There are 11 ecosystems highlighted, with lots of hands on exhibits at this museum. Seems like a cool place to take kids (and there were plenty of them there).

We actualy went there to see the 'Mummies of the World', a limited time exhibit. It is a previously unseen collection of 150 mummified humans, animals and artifacts from over 6,000 years ago to the 11th century. Yeah, it was kind of creepy. But for someone who can't tolerate any type of gore, blood, or anything spooky, I actually withstood it quite well. It was pretty crowded, so perhaps that helped. I'm sure if I was alone in there, I would have high-tailed it outta there pretty quick! It was interesting to read about each mummy and where they came from. We then saw the IMAx movie Mummies 3D: Secrets of the Pharaohs about the royal tombs of Egypt, which was really cool. It is hard to fathom such ancient history.

Right next to the Science center is the Natural History Museum.

There are amazing diaramas of both African animals and North American animals, about 20 of each . They really are beautiful and quite impressive. Hardly anyone there either, which was a bonus (at these exhibits).

Waterhole near the Tana River, Kenya

The E. Hadley Stuart, Jr. Hall of Gems and Minerals displays more than 2000 spectacular specimens. I found this particularly interesting seeing all the stones in thier raw form, many which I use in my jewelry designs. Chad was so patient as I looked at each of the 2000+ stones. I loved this exhibit!

This chunk of Flourite was found in Azusa (same town where I keep my horses).

A five-carat, blood-red diamond is one of just three in existence, and it is on display at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. The Kazanjian Red has quite a history. It was discovered in South Africa in 1927, stolen out of the Netherlands by the Nazis during World War II and recovered by American soldiers. The diamond is on loan from the Kazanjian Foundation, which raised scholarships for needy students.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Downtown LA and Queen Mary Bead Show

I've been trying to kick the jewelry making back into gear. So I made a trip to downtown LA to get some supplies and inspiration. Although very interesting, it is not the best area. We started out in the fashion district and went to a bunch of stores around Maple and 8th, but all they had was junk. I've been to this area once before, and thought the same thing, but figured it had been quite a few years, so I wanted to check it out again. Found nothing that I wanted there, so back to the jewelry district. I went to my favorite wholesaler up there and of course found plenty of beads I couldn't live without! However, vintage equestrian findings were what I was in search of and found nothing. No surprise.

We talked to this interesting guy out in front of his house. He is a iron sculpture who lives in the Arts District near the Barker Block lofts. He used to live in that trailer on top of the building. He says the area is getting alot better, but I still wouldn't want to walk around alone.

In case this picture is too small to see...the signs read "Legalize LA" and "Immigration Reform Now!" Notice the line of hoopties on hydraulics that happen to be driving by in the foreground. I cannot get through LA without getting fired up about this. I am not anti-immigrant, but I am anti-illegal immigrant. Illegal is illegal plain and simple, it is breaking the law.

I got a laugh at this older man's jacket.

"ARROUND THE CORNER" need I say more?

Whew! The next day, there was a bead and gem show aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach. Cool! I had never been on the Queen Mary, and admission to the jewelry show included admission to the rest of the Queen Mary. I found some cool box clasps, and some nice turquoise strands. Chad even got something! An anciet silver amulet from Tibet. We put it on a leather cord, and it looks really cool. Afterwards we had fun exploring the old luxury cruse liner imagining what it might have been like when it sailed across the atlantic in the 1930's.
We then enjoyed happy hour in the harbor.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bridle Rosettes

My friend Kacy over at All Horse Stuff got me interested in finding out more about bridle rosettes since they resemble my beloved intaglios. I really love these, but like intaglios, the vintage ones in good condition can be quite pricey. Here are my two...the green one was my grandmothers, which was made into a pin, and the other I strung on a choker of vintage pearls.

Bridle rosettes, the traditional decoration on bridles for driving horses, have a very interesting history. In ancient Egypt they were used to attract the evil eye to the adornment and spare the horse from harm. They surfaced in the U.S. around 1880 as the "Victorians" (late 1800-early 1900) liked their adornments and felt superstitious enough to still want protection from the evil eye. The Victorian era brought forth rosettes with the colorful die cuts used then and calling cards, under thick glass domes. Companies started using them for advertising as did presidential candidates. Most rosettes were made in pairs with the second being a mirror image of the first and measure around 1 3/4". Production of bridle rosettes stopped in the 1950's but started up again in the 1990's. Very few antique pairs have survived over the years. At best you can find a single rosette that is in decent shape and a nice pair is a great find that brings top dollar. Many have been converted into jewelry by converting the backs to pins or pendants.

Show Stable Artisans has a beautiful selection of bridle rosettes:

Fox on the Run Bridle Rosette $235 by Etsy seller shinybycharlotte (she has a bunch of beautiful ones in her ETSY shop)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stable Spotlight - Redgate Farm & Leslie Burr Howard

Redgate Farm is where one of my idols, Leslie Burr, operates her business out of along with partners Timmy Kees, Chris Cawley, Molly Ashe Cawley and Gabriel Coumans. Howard began training with famed hunter/jumper legend George Morris at a young age at his farm in New Jersey. As a junior rider, and just 15 years old, she won the 1972 ASPCA Maclay Finals at Madison Square Garden. In 1983, riding her eventual Olympic mount, Albany, Howard was the American Grandprix Association Rider of the Year, and Albany was Horse of the Year, a feat he repeated in 1984. 1984 was a golden year indeed for the pair then went on to help the USET capture the team Gold medal in Los Angeles. In 1986, she won the FEI World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden, on McLain and was voted the American Horse Shows Association's Equestrian of the Year. She had another great horse loaned to her in 1992, when she took over the reins of the famed Gem Twist for injured rider Greg Best. The two won Horse of the Year. In 1994, Leslie again represented the U.S. at the World Equestrian Games in The Netherlands. She rode Gem Twist and Charisma to a 1st place tie in the USET Show Jumping Championships at the Bayer/USET Festival of Champions in Gladstone, NJ.

In 1996, Leslie again represented the United States at the Olympic Games, riding Jane Clarks Extreme. The U.S. took the team Silver Medal in Atlanta. By 1997 Leslie had been honored by USET with the Whitney Stone Cup, and won the world’s richest Grand Prix event, the du Maurier Ltd. International at Spruce Meadows in Calgary riding S’Blieft. She represented the USET and won the first Samsung Nations Cup Series that year.

Her accomplishments have continued to place her high in the national standings, earning the Team Silver Medal at the Pan American Games in 1999, leading the USA East Coast FEI World Cup League in 2000, and winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Calgary Since 2005, riding Youp, she has won the highest number of Grand Prix events on the Florida circuit, as well as the Chrysler Classic Derby in Canada.

Her list of highlights could go on for pages! Parallel to her love of competing is her love of teaching, Leslie’s influence can be seen in the rides of some of today’s top Show Jumpers, including Kent Farrington, Molly Ashe Cawley, Christine Trible McCrea, Judy Garofalo Torres, Nicole Shahinian Simpson, Lisa Jacquin, Marley Goodman, Mary Shirley, and Debbie Dolan.

Redgate Farm is a 67 rolling acre farm in Newtown Connecticut. Redgate consists of three 20 stall barns, two of which are operated by Burr Associates and the third operated by Astor Place Stables with trainer Robert McNeel.

Redgate Farm, designed by Bruce and Kimberly Travis, has a total of 32 grass and sand paddocks, an all weather outdoor sand ring, indoor ring, and two grass Grand Prix fields.

The fields are world class training facilities with numerous natural obstacles including progressively sized ditch and Liverpools, double Liverpools, open water, step bank and Southampton Bank, Devils Dike, and Hickstead Slide.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Often when I'm designing a necklace or bracelet, I spend just as much time designing as I do looking for the perfect clasp. To me, a clasp is more than a functional device; it's an integral part of the piece, whether or not it's in view. I go out of my way to find interesting ones in a variety of styles, sizes and materials. I've spend as much as $50 for a clasp I couldn't live without. Some I find them at trade shows, and others at online stores. And I love discovering things in little bead shops whenever I'm traveling.

My favorite are box clasps made with vintage buttons or intaglios. Box clasps are two-piece clasps that open when you push down on the exterior lever of a wedge-shaped piece of metal (tongue), compressing it so that it slides out of the opening. Push it back in the groove and it clicks into place.

I also love to use toggle clasps. One section of the clasp is formed into a circle or other shape with an open center. The other half is a thick bar that attaches to the components at the other end. When you insert the "T" into the circle extends past the circle's edges to hold the jewelry in place.

Floating Social Media