Back from Tucson

[caption id="attachment_1191" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption=" desert winter flower"][/caption] My annual trip to Tucson was very fruitful, I found lots of great things.  I found tools, stones, beads, more tools, silver, cabachons, and gifts.  Saw old friends and made some new ones.  My budget was bruised by the increasingly high cost of silver this year.  I'll continue to explore other metals.  One great thing is I can find more unique copper, brass, and bronze findings now.  It makes it easier to use alternative materials.  We hit quite a few shows and oh yes-- the weather this year was wonderful, 70 and sunny mostly every day.  I'm adding a culinary tour of Tucson this year.    My travel buddy and I eat Mexican every day.  This little locally owned place, Mariscos Chihuahua, has a dish I've not had other places, Camarones Ciluchi, seafood or shrimp covered in a wonderful creamy poblano sauce.  There is a demo with Jevon on Youtube on how to make it.

[caption id="attachment_1181" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Camarones Chilici"][/caption]

Our next stop, Mi Nidito, a restaurant that President Clinton helped put on the culinary map.  There is often an hour or more wait, so put your name in & have a margarita.  Always authentic Mexican fare and good margs after a tough day of shopping.

[caption id="attachment_1186" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Mi Nidito, a must eat each trip"][/caption]

The To Bead True Blue show saw some different vendors this year.  Some of the vendors from the Whole Bead show migrated there.  We found some nice vintage ribbon, similar to what sold at a Denver store years ago.  Great colors and lots of unique ribbon.

[caption id="attachment_1190" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="vintage ribbon, To Bead True Blue Show"][/caption]

Another favorite of ours is Taqueria Pico de Gallo, in South Tucson, serving great Horchata and homemade corn tortillas.  We stopped in for breakfast.  The carrots are the best!

[caption id="attachment_1180" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Huevos Rancheros, Taqueria Pico de Gallo"][/caption]

Another favorite is a small Guatemalan restaurant that we are afraid is struggling to stay open.  Please if you are in Tucson, enjoy a great authentic meal at Maya Quetzal, and tell Sandra the Denver girls sent you, it's near the university.  I love the spinach stuffed chili relleno.

[caption id="attachment_1184" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="chili relleno at Maya Quetzal"][/caption]

This neighborhood is near Reid Park, and the To Bead True Blue show.  I love the colors of the homes, the vegetation.  Some fresh juice anyone?

[caption id="attachment_1187" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="fresh oranges, anyone?"][/caption]

Can you find the moon?   Shopping from 10am until 7pm every day with hardly a break works up an appetite.  In-n-out burgers filled that gap.  Try ordering from their secret menu next time-- my favorite the lettuce wrapped burger with the mustard sauce--please open a place in Denver!

[caption id="attachment_1185" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="ok--we strayed from eating Mex--lettuce wrapped burger-find the moon"][/caption]

We made it back for dinner at Taqueria Pico de Gallo and enjoyed fish tacos, another delish dish.  Their version of Pico de Gallo is fresh fruit, in a cup with chili powder sprinkled on it.

[caption id="attachment_1188" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="fish tacos at Taqueira Pico de Gallo"][/caption]

I have an affinity for color and the houses in Tucson are colorful.  Isn't turquoise and purple together great?

[caption id="attachment_1182" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="colorful neighborhood"][/caption]

Last day, lunch with friends who knew they had to take me here--Little Cafe Poca Cosa in downtown Tucson.  Lots of protesters nearby holding signs "We Are the 99%".  The food was fabulous, and the fresh beet & lime-aid--gorgeous!!

[caption id="attachment_1189" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="Lunch only at Little Cafe Poca Cosa, no dinners--fresh beet & limeaide"][/caption]

We did try one new restaurant this year, and the photos didn't turn out.  El Minuto near the Convention Center and the AGTA show has really great Carne Seca and the Albonigas soup is wonderful.  We ended up there twice.  And lastly I have to say, Mexican food is very subjective, these are our personal choices!

Home again to a winter wonderland.  Photographing my purchases, getting ready for a trunk show this weekend at Barbara & Company in Boulder.  I'll have new pearls--new things.  And's snowing again!

[caption id="attachment_1179" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="back home to winter!"][/caption]

The Science of Living Longer and another find...

[caption id="attachment_522" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="Scooter"][/caption] Maybe Scooter has the right idea, curl up, make the world go away.  I have been trying to get rid of a cold and have been camping out daily with reading material, my laptop, and the cats.  This issue of Time magazine has some interesting articles about aging.  The TV show 'The Doctors' talked yesterday about the importance of drinking water & not being dehydrated.  I think curling up into a ball & getting a good rest might be a good idea.  By the way, this is Meka's bed, the female cat of the house, Scooter nabbed it for now.

In Tucson at AGTA, I found a inexpensive scale to replace the one I've had for years that died.  It was $38.25, a bit larger than my old one but weighs items up to 5000 grams.  GemOro, Platinum Pro5000

[caption id="attachment_524" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="GemOro scale, under $40.00"][/caption]

More Tucson finds

[caption id="attachment_518" align="aligncenter" width="293" caption="El Capitan & friends"][/caption] Tucson is amazing--I found this trio at Brad Davis Antiques, at such a good price, I had to send them home.  There were similar statues, much larger, at the African Village as well.  Fedex got them here without much trouble.  The new flat rate shipping boxes with the USPS, postal service is another fantastic way to send your goodies back.  I found a ton of brass chain, stones, and copper this year.

[caption id="attachment_519" align="aligncenter" width="490" caption="chain, rocks, copper"][/caption]

Garagio Studio Coldio

[caption id="attachment_467" align="aligncenter" width="355" caption="Garagio Studio"][/caption] Okay, I made up some words--actually borrowed the word "garagio" from my friend & fellow artist Cythnia,, who has the same deal--an unheated garage studio.  Luckily I have a room in the house that serves as my "bead room", affectionately called the "messiest room in the house" to work in.  My goal is to get heat in the garage next winter, either a large heater, or radiant heat in the floors--wouldn't that be sweet?

The creatures near the buffing wheel are from the summer art class I teach, "Clay Creatures".  We make all kinds of fun creatures during a week working with quarry clay.

Notice the temp--a balmy 38 degrees..........

More of the same

[caption id="attachment_465" align="aligncenter" width="335" caption="February in Denver"][/caption] I was in Tucson for 9 days, and almost considered myself a "snow bird".  Now I'm home in the cold!!  I made this birdbath years ago and it has been outside through thick & thin.  It's on a slight tilt now, need to help that in the summer.  I'm taking inventory & photos of the things I bought down there.  Hope to get to the very warm metal studio today--which is not my garagio studio!  Soon will get back to making some more tear-away sheets.  Thinking warm thoughts....

Exploring Tucson-the African Village

Tucson is so diverse--minerals, fossils, gems, beads, handmade jewelry, handmade beads to name a few.  The African Village offers an amazing selection of art, beads, home decor & food.  The people are super friendly and willing to make a deal.  I was looking for unique beads, but also sculpture & masks.  Here are just a few of the offerings. [caption id="attachment_448" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="Wooden carved shields "][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_454" align="aligncenter" width="378" caption="Stone sculpture, very heavy, very old"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_455" align="aligncenter" width="450" caption="woven telephone wire baskets"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_456" align="aligncenter" width="378" caption="Masks"][/caption]

If you are a collector, it's best to drive a car to Tucson, the sellers frequently have friends traveling, and are willing to call you when they get to your city & make a delivery.  I'm hoping to hear from a vendor who was selling African walking sticks.  He said his friend was coming to Denver & would bring the stick here.  Oh, the fun of Tucson!

Exploring Tucson

[caption id="attachment_441" align="aligncenter" width="378" caption="Gargoyles in Tucson"][/caption] Leaving one of our favorite small drive through restaurants, we turned into this neighborhood to get to another traffic light.  This compound had high cinder block walls, and gargoyles perched atop.  It was a small fortress, with a beautiful iron gate.  I suppose they wanted privacy!

It's been a great week in Tucson, shopping, of course, and taking a class in glass casting. I learned so much from all the wonderful artists here! My friend & fellow jewelry designer and I have the routine down, our 7th trip to shop & take classes.  We have our favorite Mexican food restaurants, and tried a few new ones this year. One is a possible keeper, the other will not need repeating.  Tonight will be our last dinner out, so we'll flip a coin to see which "favorite" we'll choose.  We've been known to board the plane with fresh HOT tortillas.  On Sunday, we'll shop until 3pm when we are forced to head for the airport!  I found some amazing stones to add to my work.