Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Portland Walks: Rose Test Garden

Carding Mill Crown Princess Margareta The Shepardess

The roses are in bloom! I guess that's why the Rose Festival is happening right about now. We just became members at the Portland Art Museum & the Portland Japanese Garden recently, and we spend a chunk of our weekend enjoying that fact. We caught the very end of the Rothko & John Frame Exhibits, and I decided that this is now one of my favorite paintings. It's hard to find any good pictures of it online, but I really like the texture given to the railing. 

Anyway, The Japanese Garden is right next to the Rose garden and it's really easy to get distracted by roses on the way. I found on this trip that I was partial to the English roses. I don't know a lot about roses, but the ones pictured above are named (from left to right) Carding Mill, Crown Princess Margareta, & The Shepardess, and were all labeled English. I especially like the shape of the Shepardess, very round, but all the blooms seemed to be hiding beneath the leaves. 

Rose names are always fun. These are Scent-sation, Shockwave, & Easy Does It. While I was taking pictures, Chuck went off and bought me a peach flavored snowcone. It's been a long time since I've had a snowcone, and I'm not sure I've ever had peach. It was very good.

Scent-sation Shockwave Easy Does It

We have plans to head back to the Japanese Garden (which will surely mean a detour in the Rose Test Garden again) for at least the next two weekends. Next weekend there's a Ikebana Exhibit, and the following weekend a textile exhibit begins. If it's anything like the one we saw last year, you shouldn't miss it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Portland Events: May 25th - 28th

Ferris Wheel 

Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba will be at Al's Den for a residency, free & will be at 7pm every night through May 26th ( Sat.)

KINK at the Waterfront with Alabama Shakes, Vintage Trouble & Everest, Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Sunday, May 27th, 5:30pm, $20 in advance/$25 day of show, includes admission to the Rose Festival's City Fair.

Rose Festival CityFair, May 25th - June 7th, Friday May 25th is Free Admission day, with fireworks at 10pm, Regular Admission is $5 for everyone 7 yrs old+

Bill Plympton Day, Screening of Adventures in Plymptoons at the Bagdad Theater, 3pm & 7pm, Saturday May 26th, $9 adv., $11 day of show

Last weekend of the Rothko & John Frame Exhibits at the Portland Art Museum, Extended through the 28th, with John Frame in attendance from 1-2:30. Hours and admission information here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Events: NW Animation Festival


I got to play with Coraline! I also got Bill Plympton's autograph and quick sketch of a dog. I am so glad I happened to find out about the animation festival. We'd been meaning to go see something at the Hollywood Theater and I just happened to see this on their calendar a few weeks ago.  We bought the 2-day passes, which were cheap at only $20 in advance. Laika, the Portland-based studio that worked on Coraline, gave a presentation the first night that ended in a crowd of us on stage patiently waiting for our turn to look at the puppets, some of the replacement faces, and an armature. I think the number of puppets used in the film was 29, but the studio used rapid prototyping to generate tens of thousands of replacement faces, switched out for each frame of animation. 

We got to see almost 60 animated shorts. The selection was incredibly diverse, global, and interesting. There weren't any among the selections that I disliked, but I had some favorites. Of course I loved this one about a woman looking for her lost cat, Pushkin. We've been saying the name since we saw it, and I realized that I already called Lucy "puss-kin" from time to time. Now I'm thinking that's going to be an even more common nickname for her: 

Another favorite was Bottle by Kirsten Lepore, a stop-motion animation on a beach. It's also a love story. Impressive, cute, pretty, and clever:

A few other favorites included the Academy Award winning short, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It's available for download from itunes for $1.99. It's set in New Orleans, with Oz-like references to Hurricane Katrina. The very first film, The Maker, impressed me, and the dark but very pretty Birdboy was another favorite. And that's just my short list of favorites. I'm already looking forward to next year!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Rhododendron Garden 

The week before last I was reminded there is a rhododendron garden here by following PDX Pipeline on twitter (& more specifically on instagram.) As soon as I saw their pictures I realized that the rhododendrons would be in bloom and peaking soon. I had definitely noticed they were peaking around town. A little internet research proved that was correct, Mother's Day weekend is a big weekend for the rhododendron Garden. They have a plant sale, prize winning rhododendrons on display, and most of the park was in bloom. 

Rhododendron Garden Rhododendron Garden

They come in all colors and sizes. I certainly don't remember all the names, but a few, like the Blue Peter Rhododendron, Lem's Cameo, and Double Date stood out. The labels at the plant show helped a lot, but it might to take me a few more visits to put all the names with faces. We were amused that several of the rhodies were displayed in beer bottles

Wood Duck Mother and Babies Wood Duck

There's also a lot of water in the garden, attracting various kinds of water foul. I was really excited to see wood duck for the first time. We even got to see a whole family, although the mother was quick and busy, with her ducklings struggling to keep up. Informational signs also indicated the bufflehead is a regular. It's an interesting bird that I'd really like to see sometime. Of course there were geese all over. They didn't seem to be too bothered by people, although I did elicit a lazy hiss from one by just walking past its resting spot. Oh, and a couple of sleeping ducks who were very cute. They'd drift apart and then wake up just to paddle closer together, then go back to sleep until they drifted apart again. 

Dove Tree Rhododendron Garden

The park has a few other interesting plants other than Rhododendrons and I'm sure it would be a very nice place for a visit at almost any time of year. I was particularly taken by the dove tree. At first glance I thought it just had the occasional lightly colored leaf, which looked strange enough, but I quickly realized there were  strangely shaped white flowers. There were a few other flowers that I have yet to identify, but they were all very pretty. And there were ferns throughout the garden, including a few growing through a wall by the water. 

It's a very pretty garden, and there should still be plenty of blooms for the next few weeks. It's worth the visit regardless, and only costs $3/person. We also did a little bit of exploring on the Reed College campus nearby. Very pretty, but I didn't get to take any pictures because I'd filled my camera with Rhododendrons, and forgotten to bring a back up SD card. I guess that's just a reason to go back sometime soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hometown Visit: North Market

One of the best things in Columbus is the North Market. It's been around for a very long time, but the current location opened in 1995 in a renovated warehouse. There are permanent stalls inside, and on summer weekends farmers set up outside.  The new building has a great rooster sign:

North Market Jeni's North Market

Jeni's Ice Cream is still there of course, and doing very well. After our trip I found out it's being distributed nationwide, including to Zupan's Markets here in Portland. I might have to check out if they carry any of the sorbets next time I'm near one. Her flavors are amazing and creative. She now has a case full of very fancy ice cream treats, pictured above, like ice cream sandwiches with macaroons, and terrine. Plus she came out with a cookbook recently. Very cool to see her doing so well.

Coffee Pastaria

It was delightful to find it hasn't changed much since we moved away. Most of the vendors I remember are still there, including Pastaria, with all the same dishes. I used to get the Pasta Arribiata, which has anise seeds in the sauce. It's very good. The day we visited we stopped for good coffee from A Touch of Earth and treats from a new booth, Expressly..., with vegan baked goods. 

One unfortunate change we did notice is that one of our favorite vegan friendly soup places, Benevolence, is no longer operating. They ran a small booth (where Expressly... is now, at least there are still vegan baked goods in the same spot!) in the market and a separate shop around the corner. Their soup was amazing and I'm sad that they are no longer around. We ended up eating at our other old standby in the area, Barley's Brewing Company. They have a really nice space with tin ceilings, and the veggie burger & fries are very good. Okay, now I'm hungry.

Portland Events: May 18th - 20th

Suddenly it's spring, the weather is nicer and there is so much stuff happening every weekend. It will probably stay this way until winter. Here are a few things I think might be pretty interesting this weekend, some (all? I don't know if that's possible) of which I'm planning on doing.:

Kenton Street Fair Bunyan

Irvington Home Tour, Sun. May 20th, 11am-5pm (w/a lecture at 1:30pm included in the ticket price) $20/person.

NW Animation Festival, Fri. May 18th & Sat. May 19th, 7pm-11pm, Hollywood Theater $15/one night, $25/both. We have tickets for both. The schedule is here. They'll be showing the Oscar nominees, Work by John Frame who currently has an amazing exhibit at the Art Museum, making of LAIKA's next feature, and Bill Plympton will be there Saturday night. (They just aired his couch gag for the Simpsons a few weeks ago, did you see it?)

Kenton Street Fair, Sun. May 20th, 10am-6pm A great reason to visit this north Portland neighborhood, and it's historic Paul Bunyan Statue.  

Free Monthly Showcase at Mississippi Studios, Sat. May 19th, 9:30 doors, 10pm show with Wild Ones, who we saw open for Y La Bamba last year at Doug Fir Lounge. They were good!

And Luz Elena Mendoza of Y La Bamba will be at Al's Den for a residency for the week starting May 20th. It's free & will be at 7pm every night from May 20th (Sun.) to May 26th (next Sat.)

And of course the Farmer's Markets are in full swing. We will surely stop by the PSU Market as usual!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hometown Visit: Clintonville & German Village

Cup O Joe Book Loft

The German Village is a really pretty area south of Downtown Columbus. As a kid my family went to see all the plays at Schiller Park, usually two Shakespearean and a Musical every summer. We's take a picnic. In college my friends & I spent a lot of time at the Book Loft (above right) & the Cup of Joe next door. The Book Loft was just as I remembered, tons of rooms with different music playing in each, new and used books, and lots of fun to explore. And Cup of Joe was definately the best coffee we had while we were in Columbus. They even carry vegan treats from Pattycake

German Village pattycake, yummy kitty cutout cookies

Actually, that might be the first place I knew of that had Patty Cake baked goods in Columbus. Their story says they started in 2003 in a Cup of Joe, and they didn't open their store front in Clintonville on North High street until 2005. This was the year after we moved away! Now it's an important place to stop when we visit, along with Whole World (though we missed that on this trip, since they were closed on Monday.)  I also noticed that Clintonville now has a vegan friendly hair salon in the same area. Not bad, nice to see vegan stuff doing well in the Midwest, especially in my hometown. Anyway, Pattycake Bakery has an adorable sign now, and was serving up these adorable cat cookies, aren't they great? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hometown Visit: Columbus Commons

Columbus, Ohio is my hometown. We were back for a visit last month to attend of my cousin's wedding. My parents moved to Chicago at almost the same time that I did a few years back. As a result I hadn't been back since around the time of that move. We were long overdue for the usually drive around town to  check out how things have changed. The Ohio State Campus always has so much construction going on, but on this trip there seemed to be more than usual throughout the city.

Columbus Commons Columbus Commons

The demolition of City Center in 2009, Columbus's downtown shopping mall, is certainly the biggest change that has happened since we moved away. I remember when the mall was built in 1989. It was really big deal. Since Lex Wexner resides in Columbus Ohio, it of course had all the limited brand stores, including his recent acquisition an Henri Bendel. I still have a skirt I got there, which was probably deeply discounted, that I will likely never get rid of for nostalgia's sake. (A lot of development in Columbus involves Lex Wexner, they are currently building the Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State, for example.)  The mall was in a state of decline for a long time, mainly due to the fact that several larger, suburban malls were constructed. City Center could no longer draw suburbanites into the somewhat neglected downtown. 

City Center Columbus Commons

Shortly after the demolition was proposed, there was a plan to develop the site for a housing project. It looks like there has been some attempt to get some housing downtown since with left, with a few tower projects nearby. But in the end they have turned it into a large park called the "Columbus Commons." It has a carousel and amphitheater; both feel a bit small for such a large site. Also, unlike many good urban parks, the buildings surrounding the site are not much to look at. In the picture above you can see the old, no longer open, Lazarus Department store building. Either side of the park in the other direction has a view of parking garages. Occasionally there's still signage from the mall, and the covered connector space next to the Ohio Theater was maintained. Now it will take you between the Commons and the State House lawn.

Still,  The official grand opening is later this month, and it could be nice to have a downtown event space in the summer. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Crafty Wonderland Super Colossal Spring Sale is Tomorrow!

I know it's been insanely awesome weather-wise this week and there are tons of great outdoorsy things to do in Portland, but if you start to feel like you might be getting a little too much Vitamin D for a portlander & you're tired of squinting, you should stop by Crafty Wonderland's Super Colossal Spring Sale tomorrow:


Here's a little preview of items I'll be selling, my booth will be near the main entry!:


Stop by and say hi! Or get there early for a chance at the Goodie bags, really early. People are there earlier than I am as a vendor, it's crazy! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Crafty Wonderland Goodie Bags

I dropped of a bunch of gift tags for the Crafty Wonderland gift bags this week! There will be 50 packs of 3 fold over tags in two colors, finished with a bit of coordinating scrap yarn. I'll have just a few at my booth to sell as well. Here they are in process, packaged up and in a box:


And Crafty Wonderland put together a cute video about the Goodie bags:

Get there early on Saturday to get a goodie bag!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chicago for a Day: The Field Museum

Admissions at the Field Magnifying Glass

If you've followed my blog for a while you may have come to the conclusion that I'm mildly obsessed with the Field Museum in Chicago.  I even cried a little when we went to see the 3D movie The Story of Sue (the most complete T-rex fossil) a few years ago. She had such a hard life! She died when she was only 28, had broken ribs, three holes in her jaw from an infection, arthritis, and many other injuries and issues. In addition to Sue, the Field Museum is just a really nice (huge!) space that's packed with tons of information.

Anyway we were in Chicago last month briefly to visit my parents before heading to Ohio for my cousin's wedding. We had about a day and I really wanted to visit my favorite museum, especially since they had an exhibit on Mummies (which ended April 22nd.) It was a small & dark exhibit so I don't have pictures, but it was neat. Some of the mummies had not been on display since the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. It also has me convinced we need to make it up to Seattle to see the upcoming King Tut Exhibit at the Pacific Science Center.

Sapphire Necklace Hall of Gems Etruscan Jewelry

We managed to visit the Hall of Gems, The Evolving Planet & some of the North American Collection, focusing on the Northwest Coast. Above are some pieces from the hall of gems. From left to right: An Edwardian carved sapphire pendant with diamonds set in rose gold, Sunlit diamond & fringe pendant with heliodor, and lastly Etruscan gold jewelry. Many of the pieces in the hall of gems were designed by Chicago jeweler Lester Lampert, they have a nice slide show of the one-of-a-kind works. (Which actually reminds me, somehow I came across this story recently that a Portland jeweler, whose place of business I walk by often, won designer of the year in an industry competition. Neat, and very pretty piece!)

Diamonds Trilobites

Just outside of the Hall of Gems was a display of meteorites. The magnified vile above was said to contain 5 billion year old diamonds, extracted from the Allende Meteorite, "the best studied meteorite in history." The diamonds may just be powder now, but that's still awe inspiring. Lastly the fossils in the evolving planet exhibit are always great, and that exhibit is so full of information. I always hope I'll someday memorize it all, but at least I can learn a little more each time. We watched a cartoon explaining the use of name Apatosaur over Brontosaur, looked at all the variety of trilobites, and learned that the Field has one of the largest collection of tetrapod fossils.

And before we went to the Field we had a nice brunch at another favorite, The Chicago Diner. Perfect day, except for the fact that I didn't not have any room left after my brunch to have one of their amazing milkshakes...and they had mint milkshakes on the menu that day, which sounds fantastic. I'll have to remember to make a point of just going for a milkshake next time I visit!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Knit Wedding Accessories

Charles in his knit tie Me at Jill's Wedding

My cousin got married last month & we went back to central Ohio for the first time in several years. More on Columbus & the wedding later, but first we wore some hand-knit accessories! When I told Chuck he had to wear a tie he said he'd prefer a knit one. I showed him some yarn in my stash, but nothing seemed right to him, so he decided to  buy my some yarn. We went over to Knit Purl & he picked out some very nice Rowan Creative Linen yarn for me to play with! And then we had some beer at Bailey's Tap Room.:


I wore a leafy headband, which can maybe seen in the picture above (from my cell phone/twitter) a little better. It's a prototype, I'd like to start making some to sell in the shop but I still need to work out some small issues. Maybe by this summer I'll have it figured out!