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Kumihimo in the Pines

Richard and I snuck off to Flagstaff to escape the heat for a few days over the 4th of July holiday. We left early Sunday morning and stopped in Chandler to have breakfast with Richard’s sister, Carolyn. After that we hopped on 17 and headed North.

For lunch we stopped in Jerome. If you haven’t been there, make it a point to go. It’s a former mining town turned ghost town turned artist colony. Perched precariously on the side of a mountain, its quirkiness is visible from a distance. Brave the switchbacks to get a closer look at this charming town of 378 residents.

Get off I-17 at the Cottonwood exit and follow the signs for 89A and Jerome. Once up the hill there’s plenty of free on-street parking and a couple of free community parking lots. The town is very walkable assuming that you don’t mind steep inclines and lots of steps.


Joanna’s art gallery used to be in the lower level of that building on the corner.

Joanna used to live in Jerome so she had lots of great tips for us. We stopped by to visit some of her friends and peered in the window of her former art gallery.

Her three recommendations for lunch were The Mile High Grill for burgers, Quince for green chile, and Grape for salads. We went to the Mile High, split a burger and enjoyed the view. After lunch we walked up the street to Jerome’s bead store – Knit 1, Bead 2. As you might guess from the name, they have both knitting and beading supplies.

After Jerome we took 89A back down the hill and followed it into Sedona, up through the Oak Creek Canyon, and on to Flagstaff.

In Flagstaff we stayed at The Starlight Pines Bed & Breakfast. (Flagstaff’s most romantic B&B… We stayed there on our honeymoon, too!) The plan for this mini vacation was to just relax, enjoy the cool weather, and to bead a bit: Mission Accomplished!

Monday morning started with yogurt parfaits and orange french toast in the B&B’s dining room. We relaxed around the house most of the morning and then wandered into town in the afternoon. Following a recommendation from the innkeeper, we went to Diablo Burger for lunch. It’s a tiny place with mostly outdoor seating, but the burger was tasty and totally worth the wait.

Even though we brought bags of beads with us I,of course, had to buy more beads in Flagstaff. Amima’s Beads on Route 66 offers a nice selection of Czech seed beads, fire polished, and crystal. Wanting to play with my new marudai, I picked up four colors of Czech size 11/0s so I could make another “continuous beads” braid like I learned at Bead & Button. Richard spotted some red copper cones that I just had to have so put back the blues I had selected about found some coppers and reds.


Back at Starlight Pines we brewed a pot tea and settled on the porch – Richard with his chain maille and me with my kumihimo.

What a way to spend the afternoon! The weather was great! High 80’s and breezy.

Endless iced tea…

The original plan for Tuesday was to drive down through the Oak Creek and spend the morning at Slide Rock State Park and the afternoon hunting for bead stores; however, Monday was so great we decided to try to repeat it.

Breakfast was fresh fruit and a delicious cheddar souffle. After that it was off to visit the other two bead stores in Flagstaff: Dave’s Beads & More and Thunderbird Trading Company. Both specialize in Native American style beading.

Joanna had loaned us a picnic basket stocked with dried figs and white wine so we were on a mission to find the best cheese in town. Everyone we asked pointed us to the New Frontiers grocery store. The cheese monger there was quite knowledgeable and very helpful. She helped us select tiny portions of 8 different cheeses. She also hooked us up with some marcona almonds, hazelnuts, local honey, and crackers. We also picked up some roasted garlic and pickled peppers from the olive bar.

What a feast!


Interesting fact about Richard:

He makes the best cheese plates in the entire world. If we spot a cheese plate on a restaurant menu we never pass it up, but honestly, I always prefer the cheese plates Richard makes. Also, since I started Weight Watchers he’s become spot-on at eyeballing an ounce of cheese (3 points). Note: Way more than 1 ounce on this plate!

Feeling a bit like a lush after downing half a bottle of wine with lunch, I set up my marudai and enjoyed the quiet clack, clack of the tama.

Here’s a video of me braiding… (This is our first attempt at video. Have patience with the editing or lack there of.)

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