Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The weather has been nice lately, which has allowed me to check out a few more food carts and happy hours around town -- as well as the first iced coffee of the season on Saturday at Fresh Pot (and a second at Cup and Saucer). I've been inspired to try some new dishes at home, too... so now, an homage to this week's food.

On Thursday, it was crepes from Perierra Crêperie food cart at the "Cartopia" pod of carts on Hawthorne.

Some of Portland's best food (and cleanest dining locations, often getting 100% on health inspection scores) is on wheels. Food carts often have one specialty--Czech food, waffles with toppings, twelve different types of French fries--and tend to cluster in pods or parking lots complete with picnic tables, canopies: the works.
I got a turkey, brie, cranberry spread and arugula crepe.

Friday, a vegetarian meal: Moraccan chickpeas with quinoa, lemon garlic sauce, and boiled brussels sprouts, carrots, and turnips.

Saturday I found myself helping with an all-day Easter Egg hunt and spring celebration at Mississippi Treehouse, where I teach my toddler art classes on Tuesdays. Shawn came and spent the day wandering through the street's vintage clothing stores, hoping to serendipitously find a suit for our wedding. The egg search wound down just in time to take an afternoon walk in the gorgeous 70° F weather and stumble upon Casa Naranja up the street. I get it, "Orange House," but it bugs me because Naranja is Spanish for orange the fruit--and not the color, no?

[Una bicicleta anaranjada y la Casa Naranja, ja, ja]

The back patio was covered with sand and seating involved your choice of wooden or rope chair swings. Fun!

[Casa Naranja, your sangria makes up for your lack of foreign language skills.]

Alright, off to make dinner ;)


Thursday, April 21, 2011


In recent posts I have been alluding to a special event happening today, and truly, it is a secret I have been keeping for MONTHS until the news was officially released to the media, which it finally was tonight! So...

Anyone watching channel 8 or KATU news tonight (at least those of you in Oregon) probably saw me on television!


For all of you non-Portlanders: Every year Portland has a three-week event known as the Rose Festival, complete with Rose Parade, Rose Queen, a new rose variety bred in honor of the festival, a carnival and other special events, and a commemorative poster and limited edition wine label every year. It's a big Portland holiday of sorts.

This year, I was the artist chosen to design said wine label.

[The President of the Rose Festival and I unveil my wine label design]

With the Rose Festival coming up next month, the official media unveiling of the wine label design was tonight in Southeast Portland. It involved the Rose Festival President and I literally pulling a curtain off a blown-up version of the design for news crews, followed by a networking party and wine tasting of the limited edition Rose Festival wine from the Festival's winery sponsor, Oak Knoll. My label design, based off a painting I did in the fall (chosen in a December contest open to students and alum of OCAC), will appear on three limited-edition varietals of wine from Oak Knoll: a Pinot Noir, a Pinot Gris, and a Rosé of Pinot Noir.

[Too pretty to drink; a Pinot Gris, Rosé, and Pinot Noir]

After the unveiling of the design, the president of Oak Knoll Winery presented me with one each of the varietals bearing my label (that was a nice surprise!), and I signed a few dozen other bottles to be auctioned off.

A couple hundred cases will be available over the summer to collectors and a few select stores around Oregon (I believe Fred Meyer and the Made in Oregon chains).

It was an exciting night, the first of a few events surrounding the wine label, and I am happy to finally share my news with you! This is my first product design, and it was such a joy to see bottles of wine with my artwork on them.

Snag a bottle if you see them, Oregonians! ;)

Now preparing for what is supposed to be a beautiful Earth Day tomorrow; I will be running a recycled craft booth at the Earth Day Fair on Mississippi Ave! Drop by and say hello (and make one of five projects out of a cereal box, haha).



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brunch, Wine, Tulips: North Willamette Valley

I decided to take a mid-week day trip and explore the North Willamette Valley.

[The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, one of our stops]

This started with an hour drive south to McMinnville, OR.

After passing by the Evergreen Aviation Museum (home of the infamous Spruce Goose), I ended up at The Crescent Café in historic downtown McMinnville for brunch.

[Foreground: caramelized banana pancakes with house-made maple syrup and marionberry jam.]

The Crescent is one of those places that is famous enough from word of mouth that they don't need a website. They had rave reviews in the rating worlds of yelp, urbanspoon, and tripadvisor, so we checked them out... and their famous caramelized banana pancakes. Their claim to fame includes the exclusive use of local ingredients, baked and prepared in-house. The only thing imported is the blood oranges, which they squeeze for their juices (and mimosas).

[Left: Blossoms and grounds of Yamhill Valley Vineyards. Right: picnic area and grounds of Stoller Vinyards]

I had a groupon to use at Yamhill Valley Vineyards just down the road, good for a tasting and two bottles of wine to bring home.

[The hill to Yamhill Valley Vineyards]

[Tulips! Tulips! TULIPS!]

Last stop... the annual Woodburn Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival!

The acres of colorful flowers found on the grounds of the farm are iconic in Oregon tour books, so I couldn't pass up seeing them during peak season.

Now just preparing for a big event tomorrow... the nature of which will be unveiled tomorrow ;)


Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Semi Silent Sunday

[New shoes from a street sale at Ether for an extra special event happening on Thursday... more on that later!]

[An attempt at a s'more made with two Thin Mints]


Friday, April 15, 2011

Art Challenge Painting #4

Art Challenge canvas #4 of 4!

Click to see paintings one, two, and three.

And there we have it! The title of the series is "Macaron, Deconstructed"

My favorite Parisian dessert broken down to three of its simple ingredients.

All will be on view during the month of May in Portland's Village Gallery of Arts, opening reception Friday, May 6th, 7-9 p.m.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Art Challenge Painting #3

Art Challenge canvas #3 of 4.

With 1 and 2, do we see a theme forming?

All four will be done soon and displayed together at the Village Gallery of Arts in Cedar Mill, Portland, with the canvases of 99 other Art Challenge participants from around the States in the month of May!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Art Challenge Painting #2

Installment #2 in May's four canvas Art Challenge, an exhibit I will be in at a local gallery.

Almonds. Anyone catching the theme of the series yet?

Speaking of nuts, some unsalted peanuts out near the bird feeder yesterday sttracted a Scrub Jay and several Steller's Jays visiting.

So beautiful up close, and so much larger than the Blue Jays we used to get back East.

I do love seeing lots of little bird friends at the feeder, especially during the rainy winter months.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Class of Meriwether and William Inspired Journals

I've been busy preparing for a bookmaking workshop I will be teaching this week. While I'm used to my weekly classes with 4 to 8 kids, this workshop will be with a class of 25 third and fourth graders!

[My take on a Lewis and Clark Journal]

A local elementary school wrapped up a Read-a-Thon in March and decided to give the winning class (the one that clocked the most hours reading during the month) a prize of... ::drumroll, please:: a personalized bookmaking workshop taught by yours truly!

The winning class is studying Lewis and Clark (so neat to be studying them while living in Oregon!). What would Lewis and Clark be without the dozens of journals they filled with maps, sketches, and notes? In honor of the "writingest explorers of their time" (to quote one historian!) we'll be binding faux leather journals by hand, just like Lewis and Clark used.

We'll even be making the faux leather, which could get messy! Aside from the one anachronism, we'll be using largely 19th century materials like elk bonefolders, twine, beeswax, and awls to be making authentic pocket-sized blank journals.

I am thrilled to be bringing this type of hands-on history and craft to our public schools, and hope I can provide more similar workshops to the community in the future. Just working on carving out my little niche...


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A (Semi) Daily Painting

Alright, pardon my non sequitur. This painting is not the second installment in the Art Challenge of four canvases I posted about yesterday, but another, slightly larger painting on panel I completed (?) today.

[2011, acrylic on panel, 8" x 8"]

Although it would go with the egg rather nicely in a foreshadowing, narrative sense... hmm.

That's it. Next project: a whole show of eggs and hammers. No one steal it. :)


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A (Semi) Daily Painting

The other day, I realized that we are well into the first week of April, and I have four art shows coming up in May (plus one in June) that I am set to show in. Gulp. I've been spending so much of my time working on curriculums for the kids' art classes I teach that it's been easy to forget about the whole "being a practicing artist" thing...

So time to switch gears and get some painting and binding done every day!

One show in particular opens the first week of May at Portland's cooperative Village Gallery of Arts. The exhibit is an annual show they hold called the "art challenge," in which 100 participating artists are given four 6" by 6" canvases to paint (or collage, or build off of... any medium is acceptable) during the month of April under a self-imposed theme.

Here is my first canvas...

and no, it won't be hatching into a chick in the next three canvases.