Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book: The Portland Stairs Book

I really only meant to pick up a few knitting magazines today, but I picked up The Portland Stairs Book while I was in checkout. I couldn't bring myself to put it down. I was in love with it from the title alone. Then I saw the photos of stairs all over the city, so many I still need to explore. Also convincing: two pictures of cats and a chart with the location and exact number of steps to climb. This is perfect for me. Now I can see if my counts are correct!

I can definitely see this as a useful tool in planning our weekly walks. No more aimless wandering (well, we weren't completely aimless) we can now reference this book and pick the oldest/tallest/most refined/steepest. Stairs are also grouped nicely into different types: stairs with a story, stairs for sitting, etc.  I especially like the stairs in public spaces section which features grand staircases in theater and government buildings. The author has put a lot of thought into all the different ways in which the stairs of Portland can be used.

There's a section on stair vocabulary, nice for those unfamiliar. For me, this was pretty completely covered in my architectural education so I like that that's towards the back and only a few pages in length. (For more extensive information on the subject, spend time with books by Frank Ching.) The book also features 5 treks with maps. I have a couple of books with this kind of map, and I always wonder if I'll ever actually do one of the routes per the book. Even if I piece it together over time, there is still a lot of handy information in there. You can't ever go wrong with maps.

In case you can't tell I'm pretty excited about finding this book! Even more so since she mentioned the view of the March & October skies as part of the payoff for getting to the tops of the stairs. We've definitely experienced some of that, but I'm hoping it holds up into April so I can see a little bit more of it. Maybe next time from the tallest set of stairs in town?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One Evening Knit: Cable Braided Necklace

Braided Cable Necklace 
I enjoyed the Celtic knot necklace I made on St. Patrick's Day so much it got me thinking about other quick, one evening knitting projects that might be lurking in my ravelry queue. This one is a free pattern: the Cable Braided Necklace by Olga Buraya-Kefelian from her blog Olgajazzy. (I also got distracted while looking at the instructions by a link to a video for her infinite loop pattern, pretty neat idea!) It's made using two strips which each have many little holes for weaving them together. I really like the all white she used in her version, but I had some scrap sock yarn around. I thought I'd see what two different colors would look like for my first version of this pattern. Yep, I really like this pattern so I'm thinking it's pretty likely I'll make this again. Weaving the pieces together is the best part! While I was making it I couldn't help but wonder if it would work as a scarf with larger, bulky yarn.

The Yarn is Cascade Fixation, in Blueberry and Fern. I used the very last of the scraps, making me very scrap happy this evening!

Oh yeah! My Aunt sent me this ceramic button sometime last year.  I really liked it when I received it, but I have been trying to figure out what to do with it for a while now. I thought it was a really good fit for the texture of this yarn and the colors. I also noticed that the original version used a ceramic button by Jenny Potter, whose stitch markers are lovely.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Etsy Treasuries: For Rain Lovers and Chefs

I woke up one morning this weekend and found items from my shop featured in several treasuries!

Let it rain by ModMomME (in the widget above) features a pair of great raindrop earrings, and a vintage vinyl umbrella. I'm not surprised that umbrella has already sold; I guess I'm not the only one who has been on the look out for one.

For even more great rain picks, go over to Etsy to check out Blame it on the Rain by VenBead. Both treasuries feature my raincloud notepad, but the take on the color scheme is different in each!

Another theme that's gotten a double treatment lately is cooking! Secrets of a Restaurant Chef by JSTravelPics is above, I love the artichoke print. While the latter features the greens, Le Grande Chef by PeshtemalShop is more black metals and wood. Both feature my recipe cards.

Thanks to all the Etsy lovers who feature my items. I haven't made many treasuries recently, I'm waiting for inspiration to strike. When it does I hope my treasuries look as good as these do!

Also, only a few more days for the 10% discount in my shop for March. See this post for more details!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Portland Walks: Governors Park

As it turns out there isn't so much of a Governors Park as it is just a natural area, set aside for wildlife and whatnot. Now that I've had time to properly research this, turns out it's just an undeveloped area in the Southwest Hills, set aside in 1894. Our usual Sunday afternoon walk was almost rained out this week, but the sky cleared up in the late afternoon. Not knowing how long this would hold up, I picked something close on google maps that we had yet to see. So our walk was more about houses and views, a perfectly acceptable alternative to a pair of architecture people.

178 or so Stairs View of downtown

I'm getting so that when I see what looks like over 100 stairs somewhere the urge to climb them is very compelling. This week it was about 178, we counted, and that was just to the mid-height level. As we were making our way up the rest of the slope, through the neighborhood I was caught taking pictures. This resulted in being inviting on a wonderful wrap around porch to take some pictures of the great view of the city. They also had a really cool old wooden birdhouse.

Large Modern House Black and Wood house

Once we saw the park (which involves nice trees and sign) we were headed downward again. That part of the neighborhood seemed to have quite a few more contemporary homes than other areas; a few of those are pictured above. The one on the right might look much smaller than the one on the left but don't forget it's on a hillside. It was a couple of stories tall to make up for that compact street front appearance. People in this part of town have some fun things too:

Little Vehicle Disco Ball Greenhouse Sailboats

A weird little tri-wheeled car, a discoball in a greenhouse, and a sailboat mobile spinning in the wind!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Caturday Market Flowers

Lucy & Flowers Flowers Flowers

Lucy doesn't really seem to like it when I put a camera in her face and yet somehow whenever I'm taking photos in the apartment she manages to stick her nose in it. Which is okay because she's adorable. 

Anyway, I made it through the first market somehow managing to resist purchasing a bouquet but we knew that wouldn't last long. Most likely I was distracted by the vegan treats. Mainly daffodils right now, although I was also tempted by the booth selling bouquets of hellebores, and others with everlasting bouquets and wreaths. I might have been satisfied with a simple bunch of just daffodils, but this bouquet seemed like such an interesting choice of colors, purples and yellows, and for only $7!

We also bought leeks this week, a nice salad mix, and split a vegan treat from Black Sheep Bakery. I saw some lovely cabbage and bok choy, which I am going to think about finding some uses for this week so I can maybe get some of those next weekend! We went later in the day this week, and it looked like they were really selling out of goods. I think that means that Portland is really excited that the market is back!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tumblr Finds March: Interiors, Sewing & Cats

I can't believe it's been about a month since I did my last post of Tumblr Finds! I noticed a lot of great interior design images this month, and lots of sewing inspiration, which can kind of go hand in hand. But, I thought I'd end this post with what honestly makes up most of my tumblr dashboard: kitties!

Interiors & Decor


Crib posted on kjerstis lykke, posted on the boo and the boy, on tumblr via Elephant on a Wire
Flour and Grain Sack Pillows from the blog The Style Files, on tumblr via The Architecture Blog
Teapot photo by Hillary Walker Melbourne based photographer, via Le Petit Poulailler

Sewing Projects




And you can always view more of my tumblr favorites by browsing the archives, or checking in at!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Finished Knit: Green Magic Slippers

Green Baby Slippers

Pattern: Magic Slippers by Caroline Dlugy-Hegwer
Yarn: A small scrap ball of Berroco Comfort in Rabe left over from making Chuck's waffle hat in 2009. 

My first successful baby booties! Well hopefully they are successful, we'll have to see how they fit. I think they should stretch to accommodate various sizes. After attempting the Saartje slippers and not being too happy with all the ends involved, I thought this pattern looked simpler. This is knit flat for the bottom, stitches are picked up for knitting in the round, and then it is just a basic garter stitch with a few decreases. It seemed like a good starting place for booties, and maybe I'll try something fancier for another pair. But I don't have much longer the due date is actually tomorrow, so I need to get my knits shipped off ASAP! 

Look how tiny!:

Green Baby Slippers Green Baby Slippers

And it's always nice to send off something green and mossy looking from the northwest. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Knit in Progress: Lotus Blossom Tank

Lotus in progress Lotus in progress

Pattern: Lotus Blossom Tank from The Best of Interweave Knits
Yarn: SouthWest Trading Company Bamboo in Chocolate, purchased at the Fiber Gallery in Seattle circa 2007

This is by no means my first attempt at getting the complicated lace pattern on this project going. I tried in Seattle and Chicago and quickly got lost and frustrated. This time I've got four rows already, within a week of starting it. Once I did the first one I started carrying it around with me not wanting to put it down for much of anything. (it's what I was trying to knit on transit after our walk last weekend.) It takes a lot of attention, but I also think actually getting somewhere with this lace means my knitting skills have been improving!

The pattern technically calls for only 4 repeats but many many people are doing modifications to this project, put together by LicketyKnits. That calls for at least one more repeat. If I feel like I will have enough yarn, I may even go for 6 repeats. Then she doubled the number of decreases called for in the pattern, and increases back up to give the whole thing more shaping.  But I haven't gotten to that part just yet, it starts after the lace repeats. I sorta tried to figure out how the sizing was going by trying it on (pictured right) but it's pretty hard to tell at this point.

So this project got started while I was waiting for new metal needles from knit picks, which I just got yesterday. I might take a little break from the lotus tank to play just a little with the new needles and make a few booties, but I think I'm going to try to finish it before starting any of those socks. Sorry Chuck! But I am very anxious to try all that sock yarn, so that should make me knit this faster!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Portland Walks: Mt. Tabor to the top

Last time we went over to Mt. Tabor Park we didn't actually make it to the top. This time we went up there and back down the other side. On our way down we saw a sign that said "Volcano" with an arrow, so we may have to go back (of course we're going back) to see if that leads to something interesting. But for now I'm satisfied that we've climbed Mt. Tabor, seen the sculpture and the view, and gone back down the other side.

Harvey W. Scott Foothills

The sculpture is Harvey W. Scott, and he is pointing toward the city. We disobeyed his directions and were headed the other direction for some mundane tasks involving a hardware store. 

This time I counted, 94 steps, and that was just one set. (I generally count stairs in any/all stair climbing situations) There was another set of 34, and lots of sloping for a total of about 450ft. I think our walk up to the Pittock Mansion a few weeks back was greater in elevation gain. The view looking toward the city was still pretty hazy; We will have to wait until later in spring for a really good one. The view in the picture above is looking East, toward Mt. Hood, but it wasn't visible either. Still, the snowcapped foothills made me happy.

 Yellow Flowering

We walked through the Montavilla neighborhood to get to our destination (and took transit back, I was tired, as evidenced by my unusual level of difficulty with my knitting on the train.) The highlight for me was the cat house pictured above on the left. A pair of lions on the driveway, and a pair of domestic cat sculptures! Plus more lions in the front yard. That was pretty good, but really I'm still enjoying the appearance of spring. I think the yellow flowering bush was a nice big forsythia plant, really lovely. Also saw all shades of heather, and this neatly hanging, purplish flower, which I have no idea what it is, but it looked great blowing in the wind!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Vegan Shooter's Sandwich

Vegan Shooter's Sandwich

It wasn't long after Chuck saw this Boingboing post about shooter's sandwiches before he had to try out a veganized version. He picked up a Sourdough loaf from Whole Foods and used two roasted portobello mushrooms in place of steaks. A spread was made of almonds, sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives thrown together in a food processor. He also added Roasted Red Peppers and Heidi Ho Vegan Cheese from the farmer's market.

Vegan Shooter's Sandwich Squished Vegan Shooter's Sandwich Squished

It all gets bound up and placed under something heavy (like a box of architecture books) and left that way overnight. (This is what it looked like before, for reference) In the morning you have a very conveniently portable and tasty squished sandwich to unwrap, typically sliced in to wedges like a cake:

Vegan Shooter's Sandwich

We should both have plenty of yummy lunches for the next few days. Chuck's first try at the shooter's sandwich turned out really well, and I could see this becoming a regular meal!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Super Moon!

Last Saturday night was a super full moon, where the moon looks up to 14% bigger because it's closer to the Earth than it's been in 20 years. I thought you could definitely tell and it was very pretty!

Super Moon Moon & Tower
My camera is not especially fancy but I try to do with it what I can. I'm actually surprised I got one picture where you can make out just a little of the cool detail visible Saturday night. We were getting clouds on and off; our morning at the market was mostly sunny, but by nightfall the sky seemed to have committed to cloudiness. That made me assume we wouldn't see much, but I was pleasantly surprised. And I really liked the moon breaking through the clouds. A lot more impressive in person. Maybe when the next super moon comes around I'll manage to have a camera that can do it justice, like these people.

Columbia Gorge Portland Spirit Parking

We ended up looking at it on the waterfront, where the Portland Spirit and Columbia Gorge (a paddle boat) boats were enjoying the moon as well.  It made for a peaceful and lovely evening!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sock Yarn!

Sock Yarn

Chuck: I need socks!
Emma: Buy me sock yarn, I'll make you some.

Repeat that a bunch of times and apparently it gets you sock yarn! I also may have mentioned that elann had some pretty cheap sock yarn that's supposed to be similar to cascade fixation which I've used and liked. I've been wanting to give it try and now I have 8 socks worth of it, so it had better work out. It looks pretty similar so far, down to the excessive plastic wrap even. I'm pretty happy with the colors we got, chuck was nice enough to buy some colors I liked (on the left, mostly) as well as his picks (on the right, blacks, greens grays. Although I think that brown was one of my picks.) The only color that looks a bit different than I was expecting is the wine, which is a bit pinker than I thought it would be...but that's not doing too bad for picking out colors online.

Of course now comes the hard part, picking out patterns and doing the work. I did a search on ravelry for "in my library" &/or "in my queue" &/or "in my favorites" &/or "free" or something like that, and had Chuck look over my shoulder at the results, and these were the ones he was okay with so far:
I think I will be picking out a few Cookie A. projects from Sock Innovation for myself, since many of them were out for Chuck since they had holes or were just a little too girly.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First PSU Market of the Year!

It's nice that we don't have to go very long between markets here, but I missed it while it was gone! It stopped in December and we got a nice Christmas wreath at the last one.

Radishes Hellebores

Lots and lots of nice root vegetables, radishes, parsnips, you could even just smell the carrots as you walked by one booth with stacks of carrots. Daffodils dominated the flower booths, but I was excited about the booth full of hellebores/lenten roses since I just learned about those recently. Also lots of greens, like this Chard, and potted plants including catnip, mojito mint and rubarb starters.

Bundt Cake  Cheesecake

Vegan treats too! Cheesecake and Bundt Cake from Petunia's Pies & Pastries. Her stuff is so irresistible. We picked up brussel sprouts and some Heidi Ho vegan cheeses, which is a new booth at the market this year!  The market is the perfect way to spend Saturday mornings and I'm so glad it's already back!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Apartment: Slow Decorating

Hmm, We might be a little slow in the decorating department. We've lived here about 6 months already and we're still figuring where to hang pictures. Maybe we can argue that we're starting a new "slow decorating" movement, like the one for slow foods. No real reason, other than that it takes time to find just the right spot.

kitchen dining

Last week Chuck hung up some antique oil lamps that he's had since before I knew him. It made me really happy since I thought they would look really cute in this space. We haven't put them up in all our apartments; The Chicago Apartment in particular didn't seem very suited to that type of decoration. Yeah, we're still hanging stuff up. And still have plans for additional stuff, including possibly some shelving above the kitchen sink. It takes a while to get settled and make everything just right!

Roller Girl Portland Calendar

I did a little bit of work myself too. I finally decided and committed to hanging my Roller Girl poster by Leia Bell. The spot is usually not too visible since we keep our bathroom door open, but I feel better that something is there when the door is closed. Plus I think the pink colors are a nice transition between the pastels in the bedroom and the pink tile in the bathroom.

I also positioned one of my Portland Calendars. It only took me 3 months to figure out and commit to the kitchen/dining area as a good spot for a calendar. Now that it's there it seems kind of obvious, my family always kept a calendar in the kitchen when I was a kid. I think it helped me that it was blue this month, it just looked right with the rest of the room.  I still haven't really figured out the location for the Chicago calendar. We need a better desk set up than we have now. Give me another 3 to 6 months and maybe I'll even have curtains to boot!