Saturday, October 6, 2012

My Favorite

This is my favorite. Right now, when the light is so perfectly golden and the grey of winter has not yet come to stay; and the air is still warm but chill in the morning. I love the canning and roasting of tomatoes when the smell of garlic fills the house. I love the way it is now not just acceptable, but almost mandatory to knit and bake.

Fall is my favorite.

Japanese Gardens, Portland

More catching up. Summer is never quite the hang-by-the-river experience that I am longing for. I dream of cookouts, and margaritas. The reality is somewhat more hang-by-the-watercooler, if we did that sort of thing at work. Actually, it is hang out by the computer and design stuff, or hang out by the printer and make tees. In less cryptic terms: work. Summer is busy for a screen print shop. After August it cools down a bit, and we have time for more life in our lives. Sometime late August we made it to the Japanese Gardens in Portland, where I  had been wanting to go for a while.

The gardens are billed as 5.5 acres, and 5 separate garden styles, and I thought that they would take up more of the day that they did. It is possible that a more leisurely walk through would be possible if you go with just your honey. Not so much with your honey and a twelve year old, for whom life is about what is next. Always, what is next. I tried to explain about the Zen.  Twelve is not a very Zen age.  The gardens have Zen covered though.

After the gardens we walked over to the rose test gardens which are equally stunning in a pleasantly down the rabbit hole kind of a way. They are also free, which is nice, and judging by the lots of people, seem to be The Place To Be in Portland on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Oregon Jamboree 2012

Playing catch-up now to show you these beautiful photos of the Oregon Jamboree merchandise booth. Our friend Dave * caught the last of the evening light and the evening crowd. You can't see the thousands of people, or feel the extreme heat of the day here, though I remember both clearly.

A shot behind the scenes on the first day.
I still have trouble believing the number of people with the foresight to buy sweatshirts in the heat.

Be sure to click on the photos to see them larger.
* Photos courtesy of Basset Studios

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Denim Obsession

I have been meaning to write this post for quite sometime now; thinking of denim, and composing bits in my head. Having just re-read Zero History, I feel prepared to write it, perhaps thoroughly. Unfortunately, and probably not in the tone of William Gibson, which is how I hear it in my head.

Fan image ( I think) of Gabriel Hounds logo from Zero History
The content of Zero History is the entire sum of my knowledge of Japanese denim. I feel that I know the theory, though not the reality of the thing. I think that I understand a bit of the obsession which  seems to underlie so many things Japanese. The continuous search for the "perfect" pair of jeans (aka: the perfect pair for me) and not just the perfect pair, but several pairs, and readily available please; is a task in which I know that I am not alone. The perfect pair being NOT stretch (no spandex please, not even that stupid 1%,) NOT skinny (this looks good on exactly 2% of the population,) NOT distressed ( I am so sick of faux patination in lieu of quality.) Low waist. 501 Originals with the rise about 3 inches lower? Jean styles being the trend besotted things that they are, finding even a single pair that matches this description is approximately hopeless, and increasingly frustrating.

I can't help but feel that such a thing is available to those much more on the bleeding edge of coolness than I shall ever be. Perhaps those who live in cities like London and Tokyo, and who frequent high quality denim bars.

So, in my exhaustive (ing) search online, in desperation I typed in "custom jeans." I found this.   I live in fear that this new discovery will somehow disappear, and that I will be relegated to chasing my dream again. I suffer from a sort of desperate desire to order enough pairs to last my lifetime.

My new favorite jeans.

My first pair of custom jeans was based on measurements cobbled together by repeatedly pulling on my favorite ripped jeans and measuring, and laying them out, and measuring again. They are a thing of beauty. They are a lightweight 10 oz denim, very soft, and deep dyed: the least expensive (They start at $40) jeans on (click Custom Jeans - FIX measurements.) The sit low on my waist, and fall just short of hitting the floor when I wear flat shoes. I wear them constantly.

When I had worn and washed my first pair enough to have a good grasp on the fit, I ordered my second pair. They are an inch smaller in the waist, as the waist band tends to stretch with wear, and an inch or so longer in length for wearing with heels. The fit is great. I wasn't happy with the wash ( I think that I chose the light blue scrape wash) it arrived a very 90's sort of sky blue.

 I panicked for a few minutes and then over dyed them using this tutorial with this result. Much more acceptable.

Until I master the cosmopolitan and/or cash factor required for secret label japanese denim, I will revel in my own perfect-for-me denim, and work my way up to a custom classic trench coat.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Small Town Parade

I love small town parades.

Let me be precise.

I live in a small town.

Unlike some people who most likely do not live in small towns themselves, I do not romanticize the smallness of it.

I do even love my small town all that much. I do not love the one crowded grocery store, or the overwhelming likelihood of running into acquaintances while dashing in for a carton of milk. I do not love the lack of convenience, or lack of movie theater. The schools are not great. I like anonymity and diversity. Both of these are in short supply in most small northwestern towns.

Moving on.

There is something about our small town parade, perhaps like a thousand others nationwide (I can't be sure.) I look forward to it. Year after year. We walk down to the end of the crowded street (I do not love it enough to actually stand IN the crowd) and wait with anticipation for the police car to wail it's siren and begin.

In case you couldn't read the sign. I enlarged it for you. I am good like that.

It is much like Stephen King is narrating in my head. The way he writes each character, making them so full of humanness.
Best politics ever. Cleaning up after the horses.

Like the act of choosing to walk or ride down the middle of the street; not glamourous, just people really; simply to be seen, makes them so... human.

I want to grin, and wave and clap, "I see you! You are seen!" And I do.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Swantown, Olympia

My hubby and I took our anniversary trip a bit early this year. Ok, a month early. Blame Living Social. We decided to take a break from our usual coastal explorations, and headed to Olympia, WA. We stayed at the Swantown Inn B & B. Swantown is a lovely Victorian, with great Craftsman details, and I forgot my camera. I got in a few shots with my old, old phone. Let's see what Photoshop can do.

Olympia feels kind of rock and roll to me. In the style of a 90's grunge band. We hung out in a record store, and bought a Jack White Album, and Norah Jones latest. A dark break-up album that she wrote with Danger Mouse. There were some great thrift stores, and there may have been a flannel shirt purchase. There was even a jam band. We listened for about 3 songs. Sorry. Jam bands are kind of boring. Even good ones with saxophones, and flutists, and a lead guitarist that looks like Jesus.

There were also street kids hanging out in the warm rain, coffee, and there were bookstores. Olympia's vibe may have been influenced by my choice of reading material. A novel about a rock station with Vampire DJ's. Maybe. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snow Day


This was our view this morning. 20 minutes south, and 20 minutes north of us, they only got a light dusting, but right here in this little pocket of a town we woke up to 6 inches of snow, easy. The light is amazing. The fire is cozy. Tomorrow we will probably have to think about going back to work, but for now, we are just rolling with it.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 Embroidery

Here is the extent of my Christmas crafting. A bit of embroidery. These were really my first embroidery projects, and I was pretty pleased with how they turned out. The samplers are from this pattern by Alicia Paulson. She makes lovely patterns which include very detailed instructions including a really wonderful tutorial on framing your needlework.

I altered the color schemes form the original to coordinate with their new homes. The first is mostly rose shades and blues, and the second is in brighter cherries, coral, and greens to match an old-fashioned afghan that lays at the foot of my parents bed.

You should be able to click on each to see them larger.

These next little embroideries were inspired by something I found on pinterest, and made for a couple I happen to like a lot. I know that they are available on if you are not inspired to make your own.