Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Free Days

The fourth Friday of every month is the free day for the Portland Art Museum. We hadn't been since we moved here, but I remember it well from our visits when we lived in Seattle. Ann Beha Architects out of Boston designed the renovation of the expansion, an existing masonic temple. I saw her lecture in 2005, around the time this was going up. I like their approach to restoration work, which combines old and new with thoughtful interventions that make a clear distinction between the two:

 Portland Art Museum
The collection is also very contemporary with a great variety of sculptural work, which looks great in this building. Also notice that cute old truck on the left. There were some food carts that evening in the sculpture park (between the old building and the new expansion.) The orange one was a creperie cart. I thought it looked great, and even better on the striped pavement. 

Lan Su Chinese Garden Lan Su Chinese Garden
There was also a free day at the Chinese Garden in Old town on Saturday. September is the 10th anniversary month and last weekend was the "Under the Autumn Moon Festival" in Chinatown. Some of my favorite features include the rock tiles, which change throughout the gardens, and the openings in the garden walls. We also spotted a resting humming bird, which always makes me happy, especially when we were successfully snap its picture!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Portland Architecture: Historic Buildings Downtown

Downtown Portland has a heck of a lot of historic architecture. Before I moved here I was aware that Portland was at the top of the list for LEED buildings (that's a green building certification system) falling just behind Chicago and just ahead of Seattle. Yay for living in green-friendly cities! And I had been to Portland before, visiting when we lived in Seattle, so I knew there were a lot of historic buildings. But now that we live here it seems like every other building in the Downtown area has a historic status. It's very cool.

Historic buildings tend to mean there are some interesting stories of preservation efforts surrounding these buildings. One of my favorites so far is the Ladd Carriage House, which was relocated in 2008. It's my understanding that the Morris Marks House is considering a similar fate. It's no easy task, as you can see in this time lapse of the efforts on the Ladd House:

I'm starting to notice that there are certain historic architects who have several prominent buildings that remain. I've noticed that many of the apartment buildings on our street have similar window detailing to our building, so I'm wondering if they are by the same firm or there was just one very successful window manufacturer around when these buildings went up in the 1930s.

One big firm from the beginning of the 20th century is Whidden & Lewis who get credit for City Hall, the Failing Office Building (gotta love that name), the Postal Building and The Grand Stable Building and Carriage house among other projects. The last two are pictured here, along with the Mackenzie house, a large eclectic/shingle style home on the northwest side of town that we happened by on a walk this week, also by Whidden and Lewis:

Postal Building Grand Stable and Carriage Building, 1887, 1894
K. A. J. Mackenzie House

The Old Church and the Morris Marks House are both by Warren H. Williams and are a quick walk from one another:

The Old Church Morris Marks House

So I am on the look out for other prominent names in early Portland architecture as we explore the city. It's great to have so many buildings of the same era remain to get a sense of the styles that were prevalent and really start to understand how various local firms worked within each of the styles. It's especially fun after our last two years in Chicago. I'm quite happy to have moved to a city that can compare, if on a smaller scale, to the rich architectural history of the birthplace of the skyscraper. Even if the tallest building here in Portland is only 41 floors.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Etsy Treasuries

I made a new treasury today after noticing a handful of these miniature houses in my favorites. I was trying to decide between a Talking Heads reference (that would be "This is not my Beautiful house") or the Tom Waits one that I went with for the title. I know that at least one of the artist featured has an architecture background:
I've currently got 3 treasuries going on Etsy right now. The new one pictured, Doily Dallies, and Cool for Cats (which I know is my Mom's favorite!) I haven't really been following the Etsy forums and updates as much as I once did, but I am thrilled that we don't have to wait for openings anymore. I haven't spent much time tinkering with the new format however. They last as long as you want them too, so rather than delete these I've been trying to keep the theme going and switching out any items that have been sold. You can see a full list of my treasuries here. It's kind of fun to keep it going and find more items with the same concept in mind. So, for the other Etsy people out there how long do you find you keep your treasuries going? And how many have you accumulated? I am curious to find out!

Northwest VegFest

Things have been quiet here in Portland as we're settling in. We are re-familiarizing ourselves with the fact that a bit of northwest rain here and there has a calming effect. Okay, that was all a fancy way of saying not much has been going on the past week or so. Well, there have been more farmer's markets, vegan food, and walks, but you got a sense of that from my last few posts, most likely.

Well this past weekend was eventful. I was somewhat curious about the Portland Pirate Festival happening over in Cathedral Park, but we opted to go to the Northwest Vegfest instead. We were mainly there to try out all sorts of free samples...which was admittedly a lot of great vegan food I already knew about like Chicago Soy Dairy's Teese, So Delicious Ice Cream Bars, etc. But there were also several local vendors including local restaurants Portobella, Vita Cafe and  Prasad. I was impressed with both the deliciousness and the cuteness of their samples. Portobella offered vegan raspberry tart slices (my photo didn't turn out.) Since I've heard they are one of the best restaurants in town I can't wait to check them out. Prasad had raw vegan foods including smoothies and a cheesecake sample. The cutest though had to be the biscuits, sausage and gravy sample from Vita Cafe:

Vita Cafe Sample

It was a great way to learn about some great local (and some national) vegan companies and restaurants. It also gave us a chance to get over to the convention center. Like Chicago's it was filled with some pretty nice art:

Ship pendulum

And is fairly well know for the unusual architectural feature of a pair of glass spires. There was some interesting art around the outside as well, including a "nurse log", Bells from Sapporo, Japan, and ship like banner sculptures (pictured below) which seemed especially appropriate to me on talk like a pirate day.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kindle Cozies in the Shop!

Guess what? My etsy shop now has a knitting section! I finally posted those kindle cozies that I made right before the move. I decided I kind of liked the aesthetic of the mid-move pictures I initially took, and we still have some boxes around, so I used that for the backdrop for most of the pictures.. I really enjoyed making these and I've enjoyed reading (an simultaneously knitting, often) on my kindle since I got it last Christmas. I'm currently in the middle of a large-ish personal project for a friend, but once that is done I will be taking a stab (with my knitting needles!) at smaller cozies with a similar look for cell phones and cameras.

In other Etsy related news, I made a blue and cat themed treasury last week, two of my favorite things.

Otherwise it's just turning out to be a quiet & rainy pacific northwest evening! Oh, also I complained and received a response regarding the ordeal with the flight when we moved here, and I was issued a refund of the pet fee and a e-certificate for future travel. It's something, I guess, and I feel somewhat better about the whole experience although I still would have rather not had to put Lucy through that much more trouble. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Art in the Pearl

Today we walked over to the North Park Blocks to check out the Arts festival, Art in the Pearl, that's going on all weekend long. It's a juried arts festival, so there was a good range of painting, furniture, jewelry, etc. All of it was pretty much way out of my price range, but it's always interesting and inspiring to look. Here were some of my favorites:
  • Kimberly Morris - Woven rugs. My mom has a loom, so I'm always drawn to take a look at this type of work. 
  • Natura Designs - Seed pods, Twigs and other elements from nature set in resin and given a modern aesthetic.
  • Diane Archer - Maps and Anatomy drawings with embedded sample jars filled with found objects from nature. I loved the sense of exploring, finding and collecting this evoked all in one glance. 
  • John Charbonneau - Digital collages with anthropomorphic birds and other creatures investigating astrological issues, getting psychoanalyzed etc. There were anthropomorphic cats too.
Lemonade Stand
There was also a popular lemonade stand shaped like a lemon. I hope we get to see this at other events. 

After strolling through the art show we had a late lunch at The Peoples' Sandwich of Portland. This is the second time we've eaten there, the first time was when we came to town to visit and find an apartment. This time they were out of tofu, but were able to accommodate us by making a vegan veggie sandwich that was very good. We also strolled through the Saturday Market, which had all of the usual vendors, but a much larger crowd than usually, probably because of the holiday weekend.

Finally, as we walked home, I once again took way more pictures than I needed of old architecture. I'm having a hard time keeping up and finding out the names of all these buildings, let alone remembering exactly where we were, but I'm doing what I can to label and tag things properly. Also not pictured below, there's a building with lion heads dotting the cornice!:

Governor Building Old Town
Grand Stable and Carriage Building, 1887, 1894 Chinatown

Otherwise, we're having a kind of lazy, simple weekend, enjoying the fact that our cat Lucy is back to her normal behavior. Hope you're having a good Labor Day weekend!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Really Good Food Friday

Yesterday we had a very good food day. For lunch we went to Sonny Bowl, an all vegan food cart on the northern side of downtown Portland. We ordered two of the regular size bowls. The menu had three items on it and we ordered #1 and #2, so we will have to go back for #3. They were both great, and it was plenty of food; we have leftovers that I am looking forward to.
Sonny Bowl #1 Sonny Bowl #2

Then last night I decided that if I didn't do something with the green beans from last Saturday's Farmer's Market before this Saturday I would feel silly. So I did. Chuck had used basil, also purchased at the market, to make pesto earlier in the week and he used it here to stuff baked tofu, sprinkled with paprika. I cooked up the green beans with tomatoes and spices, and topped them off with caramelized onions. Caramelized onions are just always good in my opinion, so I bought another nice looking onion this morning (along with a bunch of other stuff) to do something with this week. Here's how the meal turned out:
Pesto Stuffed Tofu, Green Beans, Tomatoes and Caramelized Onions

It was at least as good as it looks! I also couldn't resist picking up some more muffins from Black Sheep Bakery at the market this morning, but for the first time since we moved here, I actually didn't take a picture of this Portland treat. We had the Pumpkin and the Apple. I suppose I have to stop acting like a tourist at some point! (It is kind of starting to drive Chuck crazy, I think.) Plus, I seemed to have taken a bunch of architecture and architecture detail photos yesterday all in one day and hey that's supposed to be a daily thing. I should probably try to spread that out more.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oregon Symphony in Waterfront Park

Crowd for the Oregon Symphony

I have a tendency to start yelping again when we move to a new city. I started reviewing some of the first places we visited in Chicago, and I seem to be doing it again here in Portland. You'll notice the last clump of reviews is from fall of 2008 in Chicago, just after we moved there. I wouldn't be surprised if my yelping habits drop off again in the coming months, but for now I am glad I was doing it. Otherwise I wouldn't have found out that the Oregon Symphony was having an outdoor event last night at Waterfront Park!

We showed up after the first portion (a performance from the Portland Youth Philharmonic) which meant our seats were pretty far back. But that was fine, it turns out the park can hold a lot of people and we had a very nice view of the Hawthorne bridge and the mountain, with a nice sunset to watch too. I knit, of course, and so did a woman who was sitting in front of us, her project was bright pink. Really, this event seemed to have it all: puppets, ballet, fireworks and cannons. There was even a sing-along of "New York, New York" in honor of the upcoming Oregon Symphony performance at Carnegie hall this year. Although, Portland seemed a little hesitant to get into that. (Perhaps it was just this crowd, or the fact that we were so far back.) 

Mudeye Puppet Oregon Ballet Fireworks

One of the most amusing highlights of the evening was the group of little girls on the next blanket over. Before the show started I overheard one of the girls proclaiming "I could imagine eating a banana slug!" Throughout the 1812 Overture they covered their ears for long stretches in anticipation of the cannons. They definitely seemed to be having a lot of fun!

To top off the evening we went to home to our recovering Lucy who finally seems to be acting like herself! I've missed her!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lucy's Never-ending Ordeals


Oh my goodness. Lucy has already been through enough! First the surgery to have the bladder stones removed. Then the teeth extractions. Then the empty apartment. Then the flight. Then then unexpected delays of said flight. Then then new apartment. Then the recovery process. That's enough stress for one kitty to last a lifetime!

So Lucy seemed to just be starting to get into some her normal behaviors again, but then a few days ago started acting withdrawn. Yesterday she was acting very uncomfortable and last night we finally found a big lump under her jaw. I wanted to take her in right away, but of course it was late at night when we discovered this. By the morning it had become moist, seemed a little warn, and was definitely visible on the side of her face. Yikes!

We just got back from an appointment with our new Portland vet. What a relief. It was declared an abscess, cause probably related to something becoming irritated when they extracted the teeth. Fortunately it was an easy fix, the vet lanced the abscess and injected her with antibiotics that will last 10 days so we don't have to mess with that liquid (bubble gum flavored!) version, or a pill. She should start to feel better soon, and for good, but I have my fingers crossed. It seems as if it will never end and I'll never get my silly lick-obsessed kitty back! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Architectural Details, More about PDX food & a new look for the Blog

14 Intuit and 760
Intuit Center for Outsider Art and 760 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL
While still in Chicago I had the idea to try to take one picture of an interesting architectural detail every day & started a flickr group based on that idea. Well, with the move and everything, I haven't been doing as well with that project as I had intended, but now that we're more settled I'm going to renew my focus. Both Portland and Chicago are cities with a great architectural heritage. I guess I tend to focus on the old historic buildings or at least we've been fortunate to live in areas with a lot of that stuff nearby. Ultimately I hope to cover both old and new, and may find out a little about some of the detailing differences between regions. And I hope others join me, I would love to get a sense of the architecture of different places from this group! I've found it's a challenge, especially since I don't have a particularly fancy camera and since many of the cool details may be high up and far away. So the group rules for now are pretty flexible, especially since I myself haven't been consistent about posting there. But I do promise I will try to be better!

21 Sullivan Center
Sullivan Center, Chicago, IL
Medical Building
Medical & Dental Building, Portland, OR

I also wanted to brag about the great lunch we had on Monday at the Pioneer Square Farmers Market. The people selling fresh mushrooms cleverly set up a neighboring booth selling mushroom dishes. They were well prepared, yet inspiring, and seemed like food that might be easy enough to recreate at home. We split their vegan dishes, the mushroom miso soup and mushroom salad wraps. Incredibly good. And there were not one but two vegan pastry booths! One had MINT BROWNIES! It was everything a mint brownie should be. We split that too, because there are so many great vegan goodies here we're starting to get carried away.

Mint Brownie
Mint Chip Brownies, Petunia's Pies & Pastries
Mushroom dishes
Mushroom Dishes, Pioneer Sq. Market
Lastly, I just revamped the blog layout. I guess I had been ignoring the new features on blogger for a little while. I am happy to report that they are definitely an improvement. I no longer have to go into the html mess to set up a blog that is a bit wider and can accommodate various widgets in a nice clean way. I guess there's also some fun sharing and rating things at the bottom of each post now, so you can let me know that I'm funny, cool and interesting. Hey everyone needs a little reinforcement, right?