The Happiegrrrl Eastern Migration Thread


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 10, 2018 - 06:19pm PT
Yup - it's that time of the year again.

I headed away from the Joshua Tree area(I actually spent the majority of the time in Yucca Valley, working on my craft and marketing(and getting trolled on Supertopo political threads), to be honest.

Stopped at a Gem and Mineral Show a bit south of Barstow, and now am bivying in the bright lights of Primm Casino World. Do the helicopters slow down with their hovering at some point in the night???

As usual - frayed shoestring budget, and this time it's...well, yeah. So will post some "Pleeze buy my" pictures and links later.

The van is probably running fine, but I always worry about every little sound until I am about 1/3 way in, or out, whichever. I have a ways to go before that. It started making a little bit of a chugging sensation a few weeks ago, when accelerating lightly. Doesn't do it if I push a little harder. But of course the Google suggestions as to causes were so varied I wouldn't know where to begin, and cannot afford to go for one after the other going "well, that wasn't it..." So - starting off a little nervously.

I'm going to be heading through Utah for the frt few weeks, taking my time and doing some touring. This time, I will head through St. George, and then instead of going through Zion, will head north just before there, and edge easterly after a while, going through Green River for a rock show on 3/23-25, if things work that way.

It was hard to leave Joshua Tree, but I just can't stay in the desert when it gets too warm, with Lucas. Last year I left on 3/5, because I wanted to tour in Utah(which was fantastic, and why I am doing it again) but it was SOOOOOO hot. Every day by 2pm I was just desperate for some shade and ice cream, with neither to be had. This year it is cooler, but I need to be past Utah before it starts to be too hot. I miss the spring blooms, but will just have to take all your words and pictures for them.

So - here comes the Pleez Buys. As always - please do not think another thought about it if this is causing you any consternation. I do not want any pity party purchases(well, okay, I wont decline them, but keep it to yourself if that's what you're doing). From what I have learned - my things are actually very nice.

Enough people say the chalkbag they have from ClimbAddict is the best one they've ever had, that I have accepted it as a fact. You have to like a little flash, for them to be your style, but in these days of stuffed animals unstuffed, fleeced and hanging from a harness backside, my ones are actually more like chalkbag haute couture.

Here's a picture of one or two, and the link, is at
Celedon and Gold Paisley
Celedon and Gold Paisley
Credit: Happiegrrrl2
Breakaway Blue - also available in Brown Color Combination
Breakaway Blue - also available in Brown Color Combination
Credit: Happiegrrrl2

And Jewelry. I spent a fair amount of time working on new wire wrapped pendants this winter, and have some that are kind of nice for guys, I think. I also have a bunch more stones to work with, so will be continuing to add as I travel. Right now, everything is in the shop, but maybe I will post new ones as they come out. Here's a couple, and direct links. Of course there are many more at

Jasper Wedge, an pretty cool shaped stone, purchased form a shop in MO...
Jasper Wedge, an pretty cool shaped stone, purchased form a shop in MO with a focus on supplying Native American bead and jewelry crafters
Credit: Happiegrrrl2
Sonoran Sunset Jasper stone, purchase in Quartzsite, AZ from the man w...
Sonoran Sunset Jasper stone, purchase in Quartzsite, AZ from the man who personally dug up the rock and cut and shaped this beautiful stone
Credit: Happiegrrrl2
Succor Creek Jasper&#40;Picture Jasper&#41;.  Stone bought in Quartzsi...
Succor Creek Jasper(Picture Jasper). Stone bought in Quartzsite from a dealer. Have three others, and one new that I just bought today at Stoddard Wells, and that one the man dug and shaped.
Credit: Happiegrrrl2
A wonderful elongated oval Jasper stone, purchased in Portage WI at a ...
A wonderful elongated oval Jasper stone, purchased in Portage WI at a shop that had bought a dying man's inventory, as a way to honor their long-term relationship and make sure his legacy was passed along. I got four pieces from that collection, two ovals
Credit: Happiegrrrl2

Oh - and let the slagging and good wishes begin!
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Mar 10, 2018 - 06:33pm PT
These "pilgrimage" threads never disappoint... Thanks for one of the best laid out and quite possibly the longest running troll series on the Taco. Safe travels!

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 10, 2018 - 06:39pm PT
Thank you Russ, although I swear I am not trolling!!!! I would actually have to secretly have the funds for the gas, for it to be a troll. Believe me....I don't. Nonetheless, I bought a whole tanks worth in rocks today.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Mar 10, 2018 - 06:50pm PT
Every time I go slab climbing, I feel like your van.

Accelerating lightly.


Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Mar 10, 2018 - 06:54pm PT
Happi...That van looks familiar...Who did you buy it off of..? Just curious...
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Moab, A sailboat, or some time zone
Mar 10, 2018 - 07:00pm PT
Oh no....youíre posting more beautiful things.
I canít stop myself!

Safe your Travels With Lucas.


Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 10, 2018 - 07:01pm PT
It was purchased in 2012 from a couple who live in Middletown, NY. They have an autistic son, whose probably a mid-teenager by now, if that is a clue.

Those people had it for only about a year though. They purchased it to do a trip to Utah one summer.

The people before that were an older couple who used it for summer vacation traveling and took wonderful care of it.

I am not sure if they were also from Middletown, but for some reason I think pretty close to there if not.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
moving thru
Mar 10, 2018 - 08:15pm PT
Best wishes and beautiful products! Safe journeys. Lynne

Trad climber
Redwood City, CA
Mar 10, 2018 - 08:31pm PT
Beautiful work!

Social climber
Mar 10, 2018 - 10:53pm PT
hey there say, happiegrrrl... happy safe travels!! and hugs to lucas...

prayers for your jewelry to 'catch the eye' of a good buyer...

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Mar 10, 2018 - 11:10pm PT
The pilgrimage is quite the tradition. There must be some way of monetizing the interest in your travels. Maybe a vehicle break-down pool?

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Mar 11, 2018 - 12:05am PT
Happi...My uncle , in upstate New York had a similar van...that's why i asked...

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Mar 11, 2018 - 12:21pm PT
Safe Travels!

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2018 - 07:58pm PT
rottingjohnny - The people at my mechanic also thought the recognized the van, as one they had done the maintenance on for years. They asked about the original owner, whose name I didn't know, and tried to look the VIN # up in their records for those people, to see if it was the same van, but the system had purged after a set number of years.

As for a break-down pool - I don't want to jinx my van, but it is wheezing a little. The trip west in fall went absolutely fine. Not a scare he whole way. But in the last month, Penny seems to have aged a little....

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2018 - 08:21pm PT
Yes, I did. and do, do the wire work.

I purchase stones that I think have an especially beautiful pattern, and for the frames, I try to take a Mission approach; complimenting the stone without detracting.

If a stone is pretty but not reeealy nice(which all the ones in this thread are), then the framework will be more gussied up.

These are all copper, oxidized with Liver of Sulphor to give the antique patina. I do have some pieces in sterling sliver as well(and several stones calling for silver, which I need to stop being afraid to do, and get them worked. Several sweet pieces of turquoise I bought this trip - two from a man who dug then and shaped them himself.

FWIW - a lot of people who do wire weaving like to show off the wrapping skills and the stone is secondary for those people. Of course, some do have very nice stones, but more often than not...factory-mined in 3rd world countries, imported and dstributed. I can't always buy from the miner, or even the lapidarist, but it's special when I can.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Mar 11, 2018 - 08:58pm PT
john hansen

Mar 11, 2018 - 09:28pm PT
I agree with Locker that this is some really nice and intricate weaving work.

Was wondering about the technique to get the wraps around the wires and how every third or fourth wrap goes around the next outside wire.

How do you have room to work in there, is the wire like thread,, or do you put the wraps on before you put them all together?

I suspect it is a continuous process.

Probably a trade secret...
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 11, 2018 - 09:48pm PT
Happy trails Happiegrrl, living your dream on your own terms, on your own courage. As always you have my utmost respect and fondest wishes.


Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 12, 2018 - 05:45am PT
Fine looking work there, Happie-G. I can see why you like stopping in places like Quartzite and hanging with the rockhounds.

Trad climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 12, 2018 - 12:14pm PT
Was wondering about the technique to get the wraps around the wires and how every third or fourth wrap goes around the next outside wire.

How do you have room to work in there, is the wire like thread,, or do you put the wraps on before you put them all together?

I suspect it is a continuous process.

The start is to cut the number of wires you will use for "base wires." You cut length of wire long enough to be bent into shape around the stone(once you have woven thinner wire around them into the design pattern), plus extra for the bail, any decorative frou frou you might do, and for the back. Some say measure the circumference of the stone, and then cut base wires at three times that length.

Straighten out the wires, to have the best chance at a smooth, even look in the finished piece.

Cut a looooooooong length of weaving wire, which will be thinner in diameter than the base wires. It's like putting a prussik on a climbing rope - you don't use climbing rope size cord for the prussik; you use a thinner one....)

Usually, you start by wrapping the thinner, "weaving wire" a few times around one of the base wires, to secure it in place. You can incorporate that as part of the design(the usual method), or unwrap it later and chop it, and tuck the end in against the base wire(careful, to not have the end sticking out and becoming an annoying pokey thing or catching on things and becoming loose).

Now you have the weaving wire on just ONE base wire. When it is time to add another base wire, you hold it in the non-dominant hand, as best you can in the place you want it to be, and wrap the weaving wire around the second base wire. Add base wires in the same manner when the time comes....

At this stage, the base wires are all straight. They have not been shaped into the form of the frame around the stone yet(well, sometimes they are, but that's for people who have more experience)

Weave around, in between, up and over, down and under, around or whatever the base wires to create your pattern.

When you have the length desired, then you shape it around the stone to be the frame. Then, you have to make it stay in place when you are no longer holding it with your hands. Usually that means wiring the two curved sides together in some way. You have to consider the bail before doing that, which will affect how you join the sides together.

Then, weave the bail. Or do the work on the back, whichever will come first(Just like in climbing, the answer to that is "It depends.")

Here is a picture of one of my backs. They are all different. I'd like to say that I always make them this pretty, but that would be a lie, though I now do try to make more beautiful backs. I have some that look a little bit like alien beings, and you can go to my shop and click through the listings to see the backs on each piece, and get a chuckle... Every listing has several pictures, and one will always be of the back.

Back Side
Back Side
Credit: Happiegrrrl2

If you did the bail first, then you end with the back. If you did the back first, then you make the bail Ir sometimes, you make the bail and the back simultaneously. It depends....

When I'm done with the wire weaving work, I try to make sure the wire wraps are even, moving them to be evenly spaced, smoothing out a teensy little wave here and there. Usually, you're pretty much stuck with the placement before this, but one can always try. So, the trick is to be thoughtful and purposeful when DOING the weaving. Also, the wire has it's own memory of how it wraps, and it's good to work with that natural movement. That helps reduce potential for kinking the wire. If you get a kink, you have to "unroll" the wire, apologize to the wire for kinking it(yes, important) and then pet it to smooth it out. Otherwise, that kink is going to be set, and it will end up being visible to the maker forevermore, even if everyone else insists they can't see it. Kinks are also going to be weak points, and because they leave SOME mark of having been there, no matter how genuine your apology and how nicely you petted it smooth, will be "part" of the design, whether you want to admit it or not. Best is to, like I said, follow the wire's natural bend as you work, and try to avoid kinks in the first place. It's likely the wire will still get stuck under your seat, or hung up SOMEWHERE, and then you don't need to apologize. But you DO need to stop tugging on the wire when it is obviously hung up on something, before you get the kink so tight it is like a little microknot.

Yes, the wire is alive. At least it is for me. As the pieces are alive when complete. Although that life is not of the same type we consider life to be as sentient beings or even that which we give to plants. It's like, as a climber, you understand what it means when Muir said "The mountains are calling, and I must go." You have hear the mountain speak. It is alive in that way.
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