This is part of what I brought home from our trip. The rest is small, and in separate bags, and I don't want to remove it or mix it up until I'm cataloging it in the BeadEnCounter software, and I'm ready to label it with its inventory number and put in it storage containers (as described in the post following the link).
Stocking up at Rubyiat, in Ft Bragg & Mendocino, is of great benefit to my budget, as Darwa and Ruby, the owners of these two shops, give a steep 50% discount when you purchase over a certain amount, or do wholesale. I also stopped at the Rock Stop in Philo again. Except for the Rubyiat stops, though, I was extremely circumspect this year.
I did get some unique pieces this year at a busted-down, old-fashioned rock shop just north of Cloverdale on Rt 101. We stopped by after a drive to Ukiah, where bead stores were, well, a trifle disappointing. There is allegedly a store called Beads N Stuff there on State St, but I'll be darned if we could find it, google maps or not. It just wasn't there, unless you were supposed to get in through the roof.
Bead Fever is a nice small shop with a Native American focus. I did find a wide selection of different lengths and colors of bugle beads there, which makes sense for Native-American beadwork. Otherwise, they have a small selection of just about everything. I'm guessing they're a lifeline for local beaders, who are otherwise a hundred miles from larger towns with more shops.
Anyway, back to the rock shop outside Cloverdale. Don't blink as you go around the curve on 101 or you'll miss it on the east side. The owner was outside cleaning off...rocks, when we arrived. Just hosing them down and putting them on some broken-down display tables that had seen better decades. About 4 decades ago, that is. I wondered how many more he could cram on there without the whole shebang collapsing.
Inside the shop, more of the same. There were signs outside about a "SALE!!" but he told us he was only there a couple of days a week, and this wasn't one of them. We just happened to catch him in and since we were there.... Everything inside was dusty, crammed together with little organization, and mostly unavailable to someone in a wheelchair. Much of it was raw rock. Most rock shops have a modicum of polished pieces to tempt the buyer but this shop seems to think we all have polishing wheels and rock saws at home. And X-ray vision to see the gems inside.
The picture at the top of the post is the last one before I send my camera out for service. I thought it was my fault that I couldn't get consistent, good pictures. Turns out the Canon Powershot line of cameras is prone to problems with the CCD chip inside, and Canon is going to fix it for free, even though it's out of warranty. But I won't have the camera for a week or more, depending on the UPS diligence, so no new pictures for a bit.
So, let that be a lesson. When you think it's your own incompetence that is preventing success, it might be the equipment! I'm looking forward to getting it back in working order. Who knows what might show up then!