Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Some inspiration

From the newest Lonny magazine (October/November 2010)

Yummy pink with framed Polaroids:
Textiles, textiles:
This should be my bedroom:
This is a hotel in Florence, Italy. I love how the Italians use ribbons on their drapes:
Ahhh! I LOVE this room for girls and grown up girls:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Awesome Austin Texas (with a toddler)!

Last week the whole family flew down to Austin for six days of sun and fun (well, Hubby had to work for most of it). When we lived there a few years ago, before we had a kid, I knew a different kind of Austin, one where the margaritas flowed past 7 p.m. bedtime. This visit, with a toddler in tow, I wasn't sure what we'd do for fun. Rest assured, there's plenty for kids and their parents. Here's my little guide to Austin with a toddler:

1. Flora and fauna: With new and interesting species of birds, bugs, and other critters all around, Olivia the toddler chattered non-stop about the cool sights and sounds of nature. We saw turtles, frogs, grackels, geckos, and all kinds of beautiful flowers and plants that don't exist in the Pacific Northwest.

(View of the Colorado River along the train route.)

2. Zilker Park: Ride the charming green Zilker Park Zephyr through the trees and along the paths of Zilker Park. Plan ahead for times and tickets on weekends and when the weather is nice. There's also a great playground right next to the train with a variety of play structures and a super-cool music creation area.

(At Deep Eddy Pool)

3. Swimming: Rent a motel with a pool (we stayed at the totally groovy Austin Motel, which has a spacious and relatively quiet pool area). There's really nothing more interesting to a toddler than water. In Austin there are other options than a chlorinated pool, we loved wading in the cool waters of Deep Eddy, a historic pool on the banks of the Colorado River with water supplied by the river. Of course Barton Springs is incredible too, but less manageable for young kids.

4. Toy Joy: Easily the coolest toy store in town. A little spendy, but with a variety of small trinkets toddlers dig, such as a vast array of rubber duckies.

(Making "tamales" at the "In My Family: En Mi Familia exhibit)

5. Austin Children's Museum: ACM's large, open space is perfect for little ones on the run. For me, it was nice to be somewhere that I didn't have to worry about Olivia breaking something or someone. We went on a weekday afternoon when it wasn't crowded. That was crucial, since friends tell me that the weekends see an overwhelming number of tots. Check out "In My Family: En Mi Familia," a wonderful and creative interactive space inspired by the art of Carmen Lomas Garza.

6. Hot dogs: After the Children's Museum, visit Frank, located just a few blocks away on 4th and Colorado. They serve fancy Chicago style dogs (veggie dogs too!) but to a kid, even a fancy hot dog is still a hot dog. I think Olivia's favorite part was the vintage phone booth complete with a 10 cent rotary phone.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Women on the verge

I'm loving these photos by Alex Prager. (She's a part of MoMA's New Photography 2010 exhibit.)

So many images about the conflicting realities of being a modern woman. Love it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Portland food carts: An explosion of food made in trailers!

Yes, yes, we're all aware* that Portland loves to eat food from souped-up travel trailers instead of eating indoors like everyone else. Me, I've been more than a bit skeptical of eating from a kitchen on wheels. I dunno, I barely survived food poisoning once, I'm not willing to tempt fate (or room-temperature mayonnaise) again.

So it was with great trepidation that this weekend, I ate my first cart meal: a "Mississippi Bowl" from Native Bowl at N. Mississippi and Shaver. It was incredibly delish; a vegan bbq sensation of rice, fake bbq TVP, spicy bbq sauce, and topped off with cold coleslaw. And even better, the next day? No food poisoning!

Today, emboldened by my strong stomach and curious about what other culinary delights are out there, Chris and I ventured to the North Station food carts at N. Greeley & N. Killingsworth. We both decided to try Korean street food at the bright pink trailer housing Yogio. I went for the "paper and scissors" combo that included thin veggie pancakes with cabbage and thin sauce and a variation of the Korean dish dokpoki that included hot and fat noodles with vegetables in broth. It was good, but no Mississippi bowl.

I have to say, for the rest of the warm weather this summer, I can see more cart meals in my future. It's kind of addictive: after dinner we rode bikes back to the carts to try out the handmade ice cream.

(We were just voted #1
“World’s Best Street Food” by CNN/Budget Travel.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Post-modern wedding rings

The wedding ring is a loaded object; how many pieces of metal are infused with so much hope, expectation, love and a lifetime of dreams? That's why I'm in love with Portland artist Erin Rose Gardner and her jewelery that investigates the meaning of this most significant symbol. (She's also the winner of the 2010 Oregon Arts Commission's Artist Fellowship.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gorgeous Design (without killing a single tree)

I'm kind of in love with the new online magazine Lonny. It's got all of the best parts of dearly-departed Domino (which is no wonder since the editor is a former staffer at the magazine), but without killing any trees since it's online-only. Here are just a few of the gorgeous images:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Before and After (Or How Long Landscaping Really Takes)

I think there's a desire--no doubt encouraged by HGTV shows--to have a complete landscape transformation in hours or days. This is possible, with a lot of money, but for the rest of us, redoing a landscape takes time and patience. When we moved into our house 2.5 years ago, the landscape looked like this:Yes, completely empty. We hired my brother-in-law, who's a landscaper to help us create garden spaces in the front and back yard. The most expensive part was the labor, including sod removal, bark mulch and soil application and rock placement. Here's the yard right after we put in all of the plants.

And this year:

Since we bought small plants (1 gallon or less) t's taken a while for them plants to fill out and not all of them enjoy the full direct sun during the summer. But overall, I think the front yard looks lush but not overgrown.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My Poppy Garden (No vegetables allowed!)

This year, instead of using my large raised bed for planting vegetables or other practical plants, I planted a whole box of flowers, specifically poppies. I long for poppies when I see them in other peoples' yards and this year, I wanted my own. Early in the spring I put in six different seed packets to see what would actually come up. Here are the varieties I used from Botanical Interests:

And here's the result (two months later):

Because most poppies are short lived, I also put in nasturtiums and sunflowers to make sure there were flowers for the whole summer.

One thing I would do differently: plant fewer nasturtiums, find medium-sized plants to go along the front of the box. Who knew that poppies would grow over three feet high?!

Now I have many many seed pods for decor and as a source for seeds to plant next year.

Here are more pics of my flowers and their names:

Bread Seed Organic Poppy
Papaver - somniferum

Shirley Single Blend Poppy
Papaver - rhoeas

Peony Poppy Double Blend
Papaver - somniferum var. paeoniflorum

Iceland Nudicaule Blend Poppy
Papaver - nudicaule

California Poppy - Orange
Eschscholzia - californica

Flanders American Legion Poppy
Papaver - rhoeas

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Outside Bed Part III

On my other blog, I wrote annual outside bed posts, but since that blog is on hiatus, I'm posting pic of my current outside bed. It's a bed roll from Urban Outfitters on a pine frame made by my husband Chris. That boy is handy! And since we have killer squirrels in the yard and a never ending rainy season here in Oregon, I wrapped the bedroll with thick plastic and then covered it in white canvas. Pretty fab, no?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Refurbished Ikea Chairs

A friend gave me these IKEA chairs and we've had them outside for two summers now. For some reason, they were attacked by a crazed squirrel. The attack left both chairs with scars, to wit:

But, thankfully they had covers that I could remove to sew new covers. Here they are:

First I cut the old cover along the seams and used those pieces to cut pattern pieces out of paper. The fabric is a laminated cotton, which is not water-proof, but I'm hoping it's at least squirrel-proof.

(Fabric on the right: "Big Blooms" by Kaffe Fassett for Westminster; Fabric on Left: "Little Folks" by Anna Maria Horner for Westminster.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

DIY Toddler Kitchenette

My hubby Chris created the cutest toddler-sized kitchen created entirely out of recycled and re-used materials. Here's the before and after:

BEFORE: A humble bookshelf from an estate sale:

AFTER: Voila! The cutest darned toddler kitchen ever!

Here's how he did it:

Step 1: Gather the pint-sized kitchen hardware. We found the metal bowl used for the sink at an estate sale and Chris found the faucet, knobs, pulls, and plexi-glass at The ReBuilding Center in Portland. The hinges are new though. Total cost: about $8

Step 2: Get to drilling. Chris cut out the sink and faucet holes.

Step 3: My contribution: paint. I primed and painted all of the surfaces with leftover interior paint from our house:

Step 4: Oven and sink area. Chris installed a shelf on the left side (oven) and cut out the doors with the cut-out for the plexi-glass in the oven door. (I found mini-kitchen items at Goodwill including a set of plastic dishes and a tiny muffin pan all for around $11.)

Step 5: Late night paint-job. We painted the top burners with acrylic paint.

And that was it! Chris did all the hard work, and Olivia loves it.