This Year’s Trip to California

Every year, about this time, I try to make a trip to California to see my parents who live in Cambria. For those of you who do not know, Cambria is on the coast about half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It has a rocky shoreline that is known for it’s “moonstones” which are actually ocean washed pieces of quartz. The whole beach is crazy with agates and jade as well as jasper and smooth chunks of sandstone and occasional bits of sea glass.

My parents are both rock people. My mother is a geologist with a mind like a trap and a keen eye for spotting the unusual amid the piles of ordinary. She has collected lovely and odd rocks her whole life. Her favorites will always be those with at least one perfect quartz ring around them. She wears one around her neck that her father had mounted for her when she was a child. Even he knew her love of rocks was innate. My father is a geophysicists; a MARINE one to be specific. How rocks form is more his business, but he compliments my mother well when they are out and about staring at the ground and poking things with their toes.

The weather this trip was ideal. I drove the 700 miles there with my eldest daughter, Dsay and my aged Golden Retriever, Amelia. There has been a lot of smoke in the air from regional forest fires but the air in Cambria was clear, for the most part. In between spending time visiting, we went to the beach to collect what we could, allegedly for the new rock tumbler my husband had given me for our recent anniversary. Instead, i mostly collected rocks that are just perfect the way they are.

California Rocks

These are a variety of stones, from granite to jasper with some shell and sandstone as well. My thought is to arrange them into necklaces with perhaps a more interesting stone as the focal point, perhaps not. It’s hard to decide. They feel good between the fingers; cool and smooth; very calming.

California Gems

While we were there, we also visited my favorite antique shop in Cambria. They have a wonderful collection of stone beads as well as stone specimens and ore samples. These beads I brought back as well. Maybe I will incorporate them into my stone necklace idea, maybe I wont. First, I need to unpack the boxes and boxes of stone specimens that my parents gave me from their own collection. I hope to share a few of those with you soon as well. Big things are coming! I can feel it.

Sugar Pine Cones!

Nature can be very inspiring. Every year, my husband and I go to Sugar Pine Ridge, about 20 miles outside of La Pine, and collect a few pine cones. It is like an Easter egg hunt for grown ups. You have to get there right after the snow melt if you want the newly fallen ones before mold and rot set in.


I am arguably the “Queen of the Cones”. I think it’s the boots that make this outfit, no?

Fire Season is Upon Us.

Two Bulls Fire  6/8/2014
Two Bulls Fire 6/8/2014

Every summer in Central Oregon, we are plagued by at least one major forest fire; usually several. This season is off to an early start with the Two Bulls fire, just outside of Bend, Oregon, We knew something was amiss when the moon last Saturday night was glowing an eerie yellow. By the next day, the air quality was so bad we were nearly coughing all the way back to Beaverton! Of course, as is usually the case, this fire was man made. No word yet on whether or not is it arson, but given that it was two simultaneous fires, I have my thoughts that it was.

Two Bulls Fire From Bend
Two Bulls Fire From Bend

The New Wood Shop and California.


Cambria California.
Cambria California.

We just came back from a whirlwind trip to central, coastal California to pick up an entire wood working shop generously donated by my father (who decided to find new and less detail oriented hobbies).

What a trip! We drove down there (8oo miles) in two days from the Portland, Oregon area. After spending 4 days being stuffed with rich food and soaking up as much sun as possible, we drove back to La Pine in central Oregon in one day; 16 hours….whew.

The shop took an entire day to disassemble and pack and only about 2 hours to unpack and inspect.

It is not all reassembled or set up yet, of course. My husband already HAS a wood shop, so it will be a long process to decide what goes and what stays, but I am sure that in the next year or so, there will be lots of good things coming out of all this.

While I was in California, I took advantage for the rock shops and coastal shore lines and brought back a large number of new goodies.

You should expect to see a lot more in my shops these coming months as well.

Montana del Oro