Today is the birthday of the United States. Tomorrow is my birthday. I joke that I'm one day younger than the US. Some days I feel like it's true!
But not today. Pretty good day. On Thursday my dear sweet husband proposed an impromptu visit to Ventura, just a drive up through Malibu on Friday afternoon, and an overnight stay. I thought it was a good idea myself, and he found a nice room in the Holiday Inn Express on Ventura Harbor. Lots of boats in marinas, the ocean is right out there, and Friday itself was a perfect day. 76F, sunny, breezy. Wow. Couldn't ask for any better.
Traffic was slow through Malibu, at least the southern parts. But the scenery made up for it. My husband had done his research, and found a very casual seafood restaurant for lunch, in Ventura. How casual? The big water-filled trough full of crabs, lobsters and oysters right in the outdoor eating area was a clue. The fried shrimp were adequate, the french fries good, and the steamed king crab legs were yummy. Eating outdoors was very pleasant.
Then we visited Beads of Paradise. I had hoped Sylvia, the owner, would be there, but she was out. We spent a good long time talking to her assistant, and I had fore-thoughtfully (is that a word?) packed almost all my finished pieces that I haven't given away. So we reviewed them together and I got some much-needed feedback. Or should I call it reassurance? I was looking for confirmation that the pieces were both marketable and of sufficiently high workmanship to be sellable.
I got that feedback from Leelee (not totally sure how she spells her name). She was enthusiastic about my design and color sense, and reassuring on the quality of the workmanship. She assured me that they didn't have "anything like this" for sale.
The gallery next door to Beads of Paradise will probably be my first commercial venue. They rent glass show-cubicles 12"x12"x15" for $35 a month, and take a reasonably small percentage of the sale. I will have space to showcase 3 or 4 pieces, depending on size. So in a few weeks I will prepare a display, call and make an appointment to actually meet with Sylvia, and drive back to Ventura to put something on sale.
In the meantime, I'll be agonizing on pricing the pieces. I suspect it's more an art than a science.
For dinner we walked from the hotel to the restaurant row at the far end of the harbor. We picked a Mexican restaurant, where we had moderately tasty dinners. The dessert was excellent, however. But we fled quickly when the live band fired up...we'd taken a table right in front of the stage before the band showed up. Who knew? They were surprisingly good, but way too loud. I did my time as a band groupie in my teens...been there, got the hearing loss, thank you. We could hear the band anyway from our room across the harbor, until they shut down at 11pm. Well, we could hear the bass player and the drums anyway, and occasional snatches of the singer.
Saturday morning we simply lazed about in the hotel room. The Husband read fiction for probably the first time in 6 months, and I beaded on a new project, an embroidered pendant using an ammonite as a cabochon central piece. For some reason I decided to use 15/0 seed beads for the peyote bezel, and it took forever to complete! Boy those beads are teeny!
Then we ate lunch at Marshall's Bodacious BBQ, where I had some really primo tri-tip, and my sweetie had a fine chili dog. The baked beans and chili beans were excellent as well. If you're in the area, seek them out. Casual, but whole tables of California Highway Policemen tell you that this is a good place. Those guys can eat anywhere, they know the best places!
Then we drove home. Slowly. There was much more southbound traffic than we anticipated.
Other birthday goodies include a new, lighted magnifying lamp and a new leather cover for my Kindle. I'm going to take the retired cover and bead it! That ought to be fun. I have to find a beading method that will allow the cover to open out and fold flat behind the Kindle, while being wildly decorative. So all in all, a good birthday weekend. I love how the whole country celebrates with me!