Category Archives: Portland

Nature Inspires Art

It has been a gorgeous September here in Portland, OR. Aside from being sick (for the second time this month!!), we’ve been trying to enjoy it to the fullest. Q and I have been going on nature walks every afternoon after her preschool lets out. I take the dog, she takes her little basket, and we walk and talk and collect whatever we spy as pretty or interesting. No picking from gardens allowed!

A friend in the neighborhood has a huge chestnut tree or conker tree across the street from her house. Q and I gathered as many as we could this early in the season. We especially like the ones still in the seed.

Before long, we started creating art with our findings. This brought an idea to my mind and I’ve decided to try it – Random Object Illustrations. For the whole month of October I’m going to try my hand at drawing on found objects. They don’t have to be from nature per say, just whatever item catches my fancy.

I’ve bought new pens for the project, talked my friend Anne into participating in it with me, and even had a trial run with this leaf. If any one else is interested in sharing their own Random Object Illustrations feel free to contact me and we can link up, or if there is enough interest I’ll make a Flickr group.

Flexing and improving my drawing abilities is something I’m always striving for. Having a project ensures that I’ll actually set aside some time everyday for practice. And as we all know, practice makes perfect. Anyone else a total failure at piano?

Speaking of practice, I’m trying to get the hang of dairy and egg free (vegan) pancakes. I made these pumpkin, apple cider, and chocolate chips ones last week and while they were okay I wouldn’t exactly recommend them. Any tips or recipes would be much appreciated! Happy Autumn! Happy drawing! And Happy eating!

Baby Goth, Party Girls, and Rusty Garden Art

One of our little friends had a birthday party tonight. This is what I made for the newly 6 year old with the instructions from her mom that she liked anything morbidly beautiful. Monster High was suggested and we did score a Monster High puzzle at the Dollar Tree.

But I wanted to make something for her, too. Going into my studio this morning, this vinage plaid struck me as perfect and black and blue were like a uniform for me in high school. Very Veronica from Heathers. You know. “Corn chips!” Anyway…

I had this little vampire from some fabric I got last Halloween. There was a really cute mummy and Frankenstein on the fabric too, but the girl said vampires are her favorite, so there ya go. It is lined with the blue pocket fabric as well because the plaid is fairly thin.

I think the sweet lace at the bottom really takes this skirt to the next level. Baby Goth! It was really fun to make and I’m totally happy with it. I wish more off the cuff projects of mine turned out so well!

The girls were giddy with excitement at getting to go to a night-time party. I even did PZ’s hair. I saw this tutorial on Pinterest, but I didn’t curl it first or use any product. Other than needing some blonde bobbi pins, I loved how it turned out and really easy!

Hubs and I were pretty excited about getting 2 hours to ourself this evening without having to pay for a babysitter. Yay! We took a long walk and had a late dinner at the SE Division food carts. Anyone tried that Gonzo place? It looks pretty yummy. This is a sunflower garden art piece I got during Plucky Maidens last week. I didn’t get the artist’s name. The man mannequin I got back in my Buffalo days. It’s been out front forever, but I think the sunflower compliments him. And, of course, our bucket tomatoes! We picked our first red one today!

The weather here has been so beautiful the last few days. Yesterday my friend Jenn Finn and I trekked out to Sauvie Island and spent the day with the girls at the beach. Simply gorgeous! The girls had a grand time playing in the sand while Jenn and I gabbed. It’s been a wonderful week and am looking forward to the weekend.

Less than two more weeks until school is back. Shew!

Quinby 4


Quinby, my “Queen Bee”, turned 4 on the 6th of July. I missed writing about her, but wanted to take this opportunity before I loose my chance.

Okay, so a few things about her you may not know and things I never want to forget.

Her favorite animal is a turtle so her favorite color is green.

She LOVES tinkerbell, fairies, mermaids, and princessess

She dislikes ghosties, bad people, and spiders

Her favorite foods are ice-cream, strawberry smoothies, corn dogs, and pizza

She says, “Guys, listen to me!”, “Mama, let’s snuggle.”, and “No”. A lot.

Her favorite songs are “You are My Sunshine”, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, and “Baby Mine”.

She would rather wear a dress that goes all the way down.

Christmas baby doll, Calico Critters, and tape are her favorite toys.

Her favorite show is Pingu. Over and over again.

She likes playing in the sand, hates hiking (“hiking makes my legs hurt”), wants to swing, ride her bike, and go to Piccolina Resale. When not doing these things she’s “boring”.

She takes after her sister and loves babies and talking to random strangers.

She gets nervous easily in new situations.

She loves to help as long as it was her idea.

My little drama queen has mastered the pout, tears on command, infectious laughter, prize worthy snuggles and hugs, and would rather sing and dance than listen to a word I or anyone else says. “What?”


Birthday Brine

I had a really great birthday yesterday. My friend Jody, her two kids, my kiddos, and I all piled into my car and took off on a big birthday adventure. We ate a yummy picnic lunch at the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls and got a chance to do a bit of exploring with our naked footsies in the cold water after.

Next we packed up and headed off to Hood River’s Waterfront Park. The kids loved the playground there and the beach leant an awesome view of the river. The water was clean and oh-so crisp (i.e. too cold to go in past my knees), but watching the kite boarders, jet skiers, and sailboats go by as well as the seagulls and osprey more than made up for it.

Then it was home again, home again jiggity jig for some homemade pizzas off the grill served up by Hubs and this little yummy for dessert – Raspberry Dark Chocolate Chip Banana Bread and it was good! We ended the night with the girls staying up late to watch SYTYCD with me. My favorite show is quickly becoming theirs as well.

Today, after a nice long walk with PZ (that 6 year old’s got LEGS!), we made pickles! Of course, I haven’t tried them yet, but they look great and were really easy to make. I think I want to try pickling some other veggies like carrots and green beans next.

And the count down begins – only 364 more days till next year’s birthday. As my friend, Nick said, “Another year ’round the sun”. Birthday wishes and hopeful thoughts for the new year! Thanks everyone who made yesterday such a special one for me. Whoo-hoo!

Upcoming Portland Coolness

Just wanted to make sure all the local knew about this upcoming coolness. I’ve never been before, but it looks pretty awesome. See you there! I’m hoping to pick up a couple of fun new-to-me items.

My Birthday!

My birthday was Monday. While I’ve decided I’d be a much happier girl if my birthday were sometime in October, I did have a very nice day. Lazy morning, pleasant jog, lunch at a local cafe with just me and my book, a little resale shopping where I found those cutie patootie vintage overalls pictured below on little Miss Q, and a wonderful dinner prepared by Hubs and enjoyed with good friends, lots of laughs, and a drink or two.

PZ was so excited to be able to blow up balloons all on her own (I tied them.) and then the girls took turns marking faces on each one. I had a gaggle of balloon friends at my birthday party!

My sister got me this great book by Joe Kaufman and Pip’s new book Meet Me at Mike’s. I’ve been loving sharing the Kaufman book with my girls. They’ve always got so many questions!

My friend Anne made this great vase and filled it with beautiful flowers from her garden for me. The yellow lilies have been filling my house with the sweetest perfume each evening. I got some very lovely accessories from the girls from Redux.

But the best present of all was from Hubs, of course. Tickets to see Adele and a night in a fancy smancy hotel! Yay! I also must say the carmel cake I made was delish! Cheers to me and all the other July birthday babes!

Portland Event – Alley 33 Fashion Event

Just wanted to mention this upcoming event. It’s the 1st Annual Alley 33  Fashion Event and I’ll be there volunteering backstage. I hope to see all you Portlanders there. Well, maybe not SEE since, like I said, I’ll be backstage. But at least feel the love from all you Portlanders as you watch and support some great local designers.

Event details are as follows –

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

33rd Ave. Alley/ SE Hawthorne Blvd

doors at 4pm- show at 6pm

Emceed by Alicia Wood

Featuring: R.A.W. Textiles, Make It Good Clothing, Una Rose Clothing, J. Calderon, Amai Unmai, Hello Amelia Designs, Carolyn Hart, Clair Vintage Inspired, Layers Squared, Lazy Lolita Designs, Michelle Is Well, Celeste Sipes, Sylvania, Moonwoods Eyewear, Jitterbuggin’ Designs, She-She Designs, Dress Up Alice Designs, and Sweet Cycle Clothing.

–Sustainability through Support of Local Production–

This is an all ages event with a separate Beer Garden provided by Gold Dust Meridian.

Please come join us as we re-shape the alley of 33rd ave. into an urban runway, bringing high fashion to public space.

Tickets Available starting June 23rd at Alley 33 on Brown Paper Tickets

Fairy Princess Party or Quinby’s Birthday Party #2

Quinby turned three and we had a fairy princess birthday party for her last Saturday. It was nice because it was one of the first smaller parties we’ve done. (PZ always wants to invite EVERYONE. No joke, she actually invited an old man we met on the bus when we were visiting Seattle last year. She was genuinely disappointed and confused when he didn’t show.)

I had the idea to do a wigwam type natural structure in the yard. Hubs made it for us out of our apple tree branches, bamboo, and some scrap metal. We’re growing our peas on it, which I love! I added the parachute we used as a shade for the trampoline last summer. I’m glad to find a second repurpose for this. The structure made a great fairy tea house once I put some tables and chairs out beneath it and is something we can keep up year round.

We made these tissue paper flowers with pipe cleaner stems and dotted them around the yard and food table. I love how big and colorful they turned out.

Hubs and I had a glue gun date finishing up these star wands and making these clothespin fairies. (He did the hair!) Each girl got a different color ribboned wand as a take home gift and I placed the clothespin fairies all around the wigwam and surrounding garden. Right before the little girls went home, I had them search for a fairy to take with them. They hadn’t noticed them before so it was really cool to see how the little hidden fairies put a magical shine on the whole party. It was also cute to see how many of the fairies actually resembled the little girl who had chosen it.

My girls and I made some bubble wands out of chenille pipe cleaners and beads from my stash and I made bubble solution using this recipe.

  • 3 oz earth friendly dish soap (I used Mrs. Meyers)
  • 1 oz glycerin
  • 24 oz distilled water
Add all the ingredients together and let them sit uncovered over night. I put mine into little colored glass jars with cork tops and each fairy princess got to have her own with the bubble wand of her choosing. 
The cupcakes actually were repurposed from the Coca-Cola cake I made for her a few days before on her actual birthday. I made two sheet cakes and had one left over for the fairy princess party. I simply used my biscuit cutter to make cake rounds, put them into flower cupcake papers and put a sliced strawberry on top for garnish. The cake was just as good the second time around!
The food could probably be a post in and of itself. Remind me and I’ll do that later in the week! I got all my mismatched china tea cups and saucers, little rose covered plates, strawberry sugar bowl, lemon tea pot and china serving trays from Goodwill and yard sales a few days before the party. I think all the little three year olds and even the big five year old girls had a great time drinking from the little china cups.
Quinby’s wings (first picture) I made using two wire hangers, contact paper, and flower petals from our garden with two pink satin ribbons to secure them to her body.
When the girls weren’t running around blowing bubbles or daintily (yeh, right!) sipping tea, they played on the see-saw I scored at a garage sale at the beginning of the summer. They also jumped on the trampoline (no wings on the trampoline was quickly established as the rule), made fairy rhythm music on our permanent banging wall, and of course opened presents! I’ll tell you about the handmade ones later on in the week. Over all I think the party was a success. Now, what to do for MY birthday? It’s only a week away!


Resale Finds


I found this adorable romper today when some girlfriends and I left our Littles and went out to a local resale shop, Mama & Papa’s. It says O’Neill Sister’s on the front and the fabric feels like its probably from the 30’s or 40’s. I am totally in love with it, as is Q.

I would love to see a picture of the original O’Neill Sisters. I am imagining a whole line of little ladies all in their green rompers, embroidery covering their bellies. I also found this really cute little vintage bonnet for PZ. She is over the moon and can now pretend play Little House, her current favorite show.


One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure

First yard sale of the season! I took PZ and she had a really good time. This is a small sampling of our haul. I also got some vintage sheet sets, vintage books, a tall, painted vanity for the girls, and a few more toys.

I’m thinking of making a circus “summer” theme on my mantel this week. If I do, besides a banner I’ll need to make pronto, this super cool tin toy will be featured.

I got this great vintage suitcase. I’m thinking of doing this with it.

Some fun “bug” fabric. Pill Bugs are PZ’s favorite right now.

I’m totally in love with this little Wicked Witch of the West, Oz doll and no wonder George has a sad face. I bought this puzzle before I realized it was missing one of the torsos. Still cute, though.

I’m a bit of a sucker for picnic baskets and pyrex. I almost bought another basket, but had to limit myself to just one. I like the closures on this one.

We got this little teeter totter at the first sale we stopped at. I figure when we get tired of it, it’ll make a good donation to Q’s preschool.