Portland, Oragin

June 22, 2007

I had a wonderful time visiting my family in Oregon (proper pronunciation provided above). Steven and I both got haircuts, visited multiple Powell’s locations, and of course attended my mother’s birthday party. And all of my siblings behaved!

Steven and I have discussed Portland’s predilection for quirky graffiti multiple times, and here is a primo example from the Pearl District:

Can’t you just imagine someone thinking to himself, “Damn, frenchbread is DELICIOUS–I should give it props on the streets!”

And in the bathroom at the Pagoda, the typical denigrating graffiti is replaced with valuable life advice.

What else would you expect of a place that has such glorious decor? I’m talking about the koi ponds in the entrance, complete with real fish and a floating preserved dead turtle. We had to closely examine it to determine that it is not alive, nor is it made of plastic.

And of course, the over-the-top red and gold glitter vinyl seating, paired with the bright patterned wallpaper, aren’t to be missed.

Also pictured is my good friend Eve (also known as Evil-E), who gave me the aforementioned haircut at Grace.

We did a little shopping on Hawthorne and stopped in at The Red Light, because who could resist a place with such an amazing window display? Me-ow!

We found that one of our favorite vintage stores, House, has (recently?) expanded to take over the space next door. Now it’s huge, with even more great treasures. Why couldn’t it have been like that when I lived there? I found myself having that reaction often as we visited old haunts that had improved or expanded since we’d been local. A bunch of cool places have gone in near our old apartment downtown, including a Red Light, a Goodwill, and Living Room Theaters. And I have a much greater appreciation for the lack of sales tax and cheaper prices in general. I suppose it’s a case of greener grass, because San Francisco certainly has plenty to offer.

After reading about the Ace Hotel in the ReadyMade Blog, we decided to stay there one night at the end of our trip. More on that in my next post. It was great!

Using a sliding bookshelf to create a secret room is a brilliant idea, one that I’m determined to copy someday. Our apartment even has a couple of large walk-in closets with appropriately-located doors, so doing this might actually be feasible. I love ikea hacker.

A twofer

June 21, 2007

This is one of the hats that I bought at the Alameda Flea Market, plus the new glasses that I bought at the Capsule Design Festival. Apparently I’m a sucker for buying things outdoors.

I actually want to start wearing my glasses more, but I swear my eyes are especially sensitive to light and sunglasses are necessary for me most days. I need to find some of those clip-on sunglasses or inserts that old people wear. Too bad I don’t still have the ones I had when I was 13–man was I ever a dork.

I’m in Oregon for the weekend, visiting my mother for her 50th birthday party. Her birthday isn’t actually until July 1, but she’s celebrating early with a friend of hers who is also turning 50. Her parents are here, as is my dad’s mother, and all of my siblings. Except for one, who isn’t allowed to stay at the house anymore. But she’ll be visiting for the party and I’ll definitely see enough of her. It’s like a reunion of sorts, though, especially since I haven’t seen my grandfather on my mom’s side in several years.

On the flight in I was excited to be able to see Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens. As the plane neared the airport it struck me just how much I missed the intense greenery of Oregon. Portland is such a lovely town, and I miss it very much. Hopefully I’ll take many pictures this weekend, which’ll help keep it fresh in my memory. And maybe bring some Voodoo donuts back to San Francisco🙂

The Alameda Flea Market, that is. From frequent mentions by everyone from sfgirlbybay to apartment therapy: san francisco, I became aware of this supposed treasure-hunter’s paradise. Since this month was the last time in the original location, and I had been wanting to go for several months, I talked my friends Megan and Julian into driving out there Sunday morning.

In some ways, it lived up to the hype. Located on a former Naval base, it certainly was huge–we didn’t even make it to the whole thing, and I think we were there for at least four hours. I took pictures to try to capture the giant scale, but I totally failed.

The location was also kind of picturesque, in an industrial wasteland sort of way.

I like how the world looks like it’s tipping here, simply because I need more practice at taking good photos.

It was nice to escape the overcast city and get a little bit of sunlight, even though I sunburned the part in my hair. Living in San Francisco, sometimes it’s easy to forget what season it’s supposed to be, so this was a good reminder.

On the other hand, they charge $5 admission (unless you’re an early bird, in which case it’s $15!), and the prices seemed quite inflated. Plus, it seemed like there was a lot of repetition–I can’t count how many booths I saw selling white coral and wire shabby-chic antique furniture.

I did find a few things worth bringing home, though.

A black mid-century magazine rack (marked $10, but got it for $5 at the end of the day).

Delicious must inspect all new items that enter the apartment.

An old (How old? There’s one listed on eBay that says its from the 1970s, so it’s not as old as I thought) Dr. Pepper tray that I got for $2 from the same vendor as the magazine rack, who had it marked at $5. I’m a loyal diet Dr. Pepper drinker, and I can assure you that it provides me with vim, vigor, and vitality.

Again, I hope it meets with the approval of Delicious. She really insisted on being in these photos and my attempts to shoo her away were more trouble than they were worth.

Two little black netted hats/hairpieces, $5 for both, but I haven’t taken photos yet. I love hats with netting–there’s just something so alluring about a bit of net over the hair and eyes. These are perfect to add to my vintage hat collection, and they seem like they’ll be very wearable and versatile. Speaking of which, I need a better way to store/display my hats, any suggestions?

Lastly, a giant bag of kettlecorn, mmmmmm. Yeah, not so giant anymore, but I prefer to think of the bag as a third full, not two-thirds empty.

Overall, a mildly successful trip, and I’m glad I checked it out, but I probably won’t be going back for quite awhile. I’ll stick to the closer and cheaper Alemany Flea Market, held every Sunday within city limits.

June 3, 2007

Important life lesson learned today: Instant Jello chocolate pudding does not set up when made with rice milk. Probably not with soy milk, I’m guessing, either. The Science of Instant Pudding did not have a definitive answer, but it seems to have something to do with the proteins present in animal milk that vegetable-based milks lack.

My pudding liquid tastes delicious, but what can I do with it other than drink it?

For some reason, I got a hankering for a specific pair of shoes. This happens to me often, where I get it in my head that I want something very precise, and then can’t quite find exactly what I’m looking for (at a price I’m willing to pay). In this case, it was a pair of red, white polka-dotted low wedges. After much searching, I found a perfect pair on the Anthropologie website, for $238.

So pretty, but so pricey

Unfortunately, the price is a bit too rich for me and I didn’t want to wait for them to go on sale. But I couldn’t find anything else anywhere that would satisfy my craving, so I took matters into my own hands when I saw a pair of red suede wedges at Nordstrom Rack the other day, for $23.

My canvas

The Supplies:

I already had some white acrylic paint and textile medium, although I’m not sure if the textile medium is completely necessary for this project.

I also used a ruler, a paintbrush, and some hole reinforcers I bought at the grocery store. You know, those adhesive circles that people use when the holes they punched in the edge of their paper tear through.

To make sure that the paint wouldn’t bleed and to figure out the optimal distance apart for the dots, I used the backside of a piece of scrap leather to practice.

That little paper triangle that you see above is the guide I made for the dot distance. I could’ve drawn a grid if the material was more forgiving, but instead I made myself a little equilateral triangle and marked the center of each dot with a white colored pencil using the corners of the triangle. Then I placed hole reinforcers centered around each mark. This was actually the most laborious part of the process.

I mixed the acrylic paint and textile medium in approximately the two parts paint to one part medium recommended on the bottle, and then proceeded to paint. It ended up taking three coats until I was happy with the opacity.

Oh, the suspense!

Finally, after letting the paint dry thoroughly, I removed the stencil, and was left with polka-dotted shoes.

Almost there...r

You might notice that the outline of the dot is raised from the removal of the labels, but I’ve since remedied this by brushing the nap of the suede back down.

Perfection!

Overall, I’m really happy with how these turned out. I intend to spray them with suede protector before I wear them, but otherwise they’re done!

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