Portland in Review

Marriott View

Aaaand we’re back. Hard to believe that I woke up Monday morning on one side of the continent and then I went to sleep at night on the complete opposite side of the continent. Four airports in four different states/provinces and two different countries, and a four-and-a-half-hour time difference later and here we are in St. John’s again.

The trip was GREAT. Doodle and the Cyclist got married and we were so happy to be able to be a part of their beautiful day. The weather was awesome, if a little hot, and nothing went horribly wrong. And I got a new camera out of it.  What more could you ask for?

New camera

When we arrived in Portland, the Cyclist picked us up and took us to the apartment he and Doodle share, where Doodle was in the midst of getting her wedding mehndi done. Mehndi, if you didn’t know, is that lovely temporary henna tattoo that goes on your hands and feet. You can read more about it here.

Henna

We crashed and burned at this point, having been up for what felt like forever, and Doodle went to bed with toilet paper on her arms to protect the design.  This is the next day, when the Cyclist helped her scrape off the dried henna paste with a credit card.  You can see that the design is a bright orange at first, and it will darken over the next few days.

Henna

That first day the Pie and I wandered about and tested out the new camera a bit.  This is a shot of him actually smiling (sort of), which is rare in photos I take of him.  Normally he just looks grumpy.

Andypie

Portland is famous for its many bridges that cross the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.  This is the Steel Bridge, one of my favourites.

Portland

And the Freemont, which is Doodle’s favourite.

Portland

Portland is also an interesting mix of old and new.  I love old business advertisements painted on the brick buildings.

Portland

At this point the other bridesmaids started to arrive, and we surprised Doodle with a dinner at Jake’s with all her female crew from town.

Jake's

Next day we set off for manicures and pedicures in the morning (my first experience, and I may well be addicted now) and then back to Doodle’s place for mehndi in the afternoon. Here is Sam, one of the bridesmaids, getting her henna on.

Henna

What a beautiful job!

Henna

The artist, for those of you in the Portland area, is Wendy Rover of Roving Horse Henna and she was lovely. I think you have to be lovely if you are hanging over someone’s body for the better part of an hour.

Here’s me getting mine done.

Henna

And the final result:

Henna

In case you’re wondering, getting this stuff done is a very pleasant experience. Wendy mixes tea tree oil and all sorts of goodies into her henna paste, so it feels cool and refreshing on your skin, not itchy at all. Of course, you have to leave it on for several hours, and you can’t bend your fingers in case the drying paste cracks. So it makes things interesting when you are trying to do things later on in the day. The Pie managed to shoe horn me into one of his new hoodies (we went to the Nike employee store and took advantage of a deep discount and Oregon’s tax-freeness, hence my full Nike attire) and we got some ice cream to eat in the sun. This was when I discovered that eating ice cream while exposing henna to the sun is a good way to make it all fall off.

Nike'd up.

I also made the mistake of discovering my new favourite store, Cargo Imports. They specialize in new and old Chinese imports. I may have purchased some things. The Pie was particularly taken with the sinks made of petrified wood.

Cargo

And I loved the hundreds of tiny apothecary bottles in a big glass case.

Cargo

And then I had to go and pet a corgi puppy. His name is Winston.

Portland Corgi

Which meant that by the time we got back to the apartment my henna paste was a lost cause.

So this is what it looks like when the paste is scraped off.

Henna

And it will darken, and look lovely and brown.

Henna

The day before the wedding, we took Doodle on her “bachelorette,” which was a tour of three local wineries.

Vintages

This first place was where Doodle and the Cyclist got engaged.

Vintages

This was indeed a tire swing.

Vintages

And an absolutely enormous cookie. I saved half for the Pie.

Vintages

And this is Mount Hood. I’ve been there.

Vintages

Some barrels.

Vintages

And some more barrels.

Vintages

And some vines. No grapes yet.

Vintages

It was a beautiful sunshiny day and pretty much all of us (Doodle excluded) got a sunburn.

Vintages

Then before we knew it, it was the wedding day!

First we had our hair done …

Dosha

… and then our makeup. Doodle of course didn’t need much — she is a very beautiful lady.

Dosha

Here’s a closeup of Doodle’s henna, nice and dark.

Dosha

Then it was off to the World Forestry Center to get ready for pictures and the ceremony itself.

World Forestry Centre

We did pictures before the ceremony to save time, but first Doodle was dressed in traditional kimono by an old friend of her mother’s.

World Forestry Centre

All set!

World Forestry Centre

While she was being photographed outside, the Cyclist arrived with his posse. We ran interference and made him cover his face so he wouldn’t see her before he was supposed to.

World Forestry Centre

Then it was time for the wedding dress.

World Forestry Centre

We all took a turn at the laces, but Sam did it the best.

World Forestry Centre

And then things started to get busy and I had to be photographed as well so this is my last photo of the wedding.

World Forestry Centre

But it was such a great experience. I’ve known Doodle since we were fourteen, so it was really neat to see her all grown up and to see how fantastic she and the Cyclist are together, and to meet all her really nice West coast friends. Sorry, I’m gushing. I’ll stop now.

On our final day in Portland we decided to check out the Portland Pride Parade, and it was a really good day for it. Not hot like the day before, but warm enough that everyone, even those who were scantily clad, was comfortable.

Portland Pride

I must have taken two hundred photos of the parade, which was fantastic. You can see more of them on my Flickr page starting here. It was really nice to see so many religious groups out in support of their parishioners.

Portland Pride

The old cars were something to see.

Portland Pride

Portland Pride

Portland Pride

As were the costumes.

Portland Pride

Portland Pride

Portland Pride

And there were so many colours!

Portland Pride

Portland Pride

Portland Pride

This flag in particular caught my eye.  I am thinking of making a DIY out of something similar.

Portland Pride

And so many loving families out and about. I think this is my favourite photo of the bunch.

Portland Pride

What a great trip. The Pie and I can’t wait to go back!

Thirty Things I Know

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

Twenty-eight years ago today.

Today is my birthday — specifically, it’s my thirtieth birthday, which is a milestone in every woman’s life.  As the Pie likes to point out continuously, I’m no longer a twentysomething.  I’m now a thirtysomething.  When he turns 30 in four months I will be sure to rub it in, don’t worry.

My mother tells me that women only really come into their own when they turn 30.  Thirty is when women begin to become powerful and strong.  I think it’s a good way to approach this milestone.

On the morning of my twentieth birthday, I sat on the floor of Doodle’s dorm room and I wrote myself a letter, taking my future self to task for all the things I hoped to accomplish in the next ten years.  I still have the letter, and today, once I get up the courage to do so, I’m going to read it.  I am pretty confident that I’ve succeeded in most of my tasks.  I know my past self wanted a PhD by 30, but will just have to be satisfied with a doctorate by 31 instead.

Anyway, in honour of my very important birthday, I thought I would be self-indulgent today and let you in on thirty very important things (in no particular order) that I have learned over the past thirty years.

1. It doesn’t cost anything to be polite.

2. Flossing is not just for wienies.  It saves you money on dentist bills.

3. Confidence is extremely attractive.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff (coming from someone with OCD, this is a pretty tall order).

5. Do your best, or else don’t bother.

6. A work-life balance is important.  They won’t fire you for not working overtime.

7. Always pee before you leave.  You never know when you’ll get another opportunity.

8. Fibre is more important than you think.

9. Not everything has to be done right now.

10. Simple food made from scratch is the best.

Also, there should always be time for ice cream.

11. Your age and your weight are just numbers.  Be happy with being healthy.

12. We inevitably turn into our parents.  Just make sure to turn into the best parts.

13. Corgis are awesome dogs.  And it’s not just me and the Pie saying that.

14. You can have four best friends.  It’s okay.

15. Your partner/spouse should be one of those best friends.

Photo by Ian and Jacky Parker
See? Always time for ice cream.

16. People in the service industry have feelings, too.  Treat them with respect.

17. Stupid hobbies are only stupid to other people.  If you like doing it, keep doing it.

18. If you haven’t worn it or displayed it or used it in over a year, you’re probably not going to.  Get rid of it.

19. Never be afraid to either ask for help or to relinquish control.  It may be hard, but it won’t make you look bad.

20. When you bend over in pants, people should not be able to see either your butt or the colour of your underwear.

21. In food photography, obey the rule of thirds and use natural lighting.

22. Always wear shoes you can run in if necessary.

23. Don’t buy stuff you can’t pay for right away.

24. Try to learn something new every day so that you can teach someone else.

25. In the winter you are allowed to sacrifice fashion for warmth.

26. The Green Revolution is not a trend.  Please recycle.

27. “Water-resistant” does not mean “water-proof.”  Especially in Newfoundland.

Rain in the UK is very similar to rain in Newfoundland.

28. The internet knows a lot of things, but not everything.

29. Procrastination is fine as long as it’s productive.

30. It is the smallest details that you appreciate the most: sunlight on a wooden floor, the curve of a smile, a perfect cupcake.  A day on the beach.  Take it all in.

When we lived across from the ocean, I was on the beach every day.

And if today is also your birthday, happy birthday to you too!

Doodle’s Felted Wool Afghan

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

I feel kind of bad.  Here I am, third-place winner for Best Blog About Crafting and I haven’t put up a crafting post in an age.  Sorry about that.  But rest assured I’m working hard on two major projects.  They’re just the sort of long-term ones that don’t make for exciting blogging.

Two people who are very dear to me are getting married this summer.  My eldest brother, Krystopf, ties the knot in early July, and my high school best friend, Doodle, gets hitched in mid-June.  I am making both of their wedding presents, and both of them are blankets.

Doodle and her soon-to-be husband, The Cyclist, live in Portland, Oregon, a place with weather very similar to what it is here in St. John’s.  By that I mean, windy and rainy.  So an ideal present would be one that encourages cuddling and coziness, right?  And we know from previous experience that felted wool is the coziest of them all.

When we were in Ottawa over Christmas, the Pie and I scoured the local second-hand stores to acquire as many genuine lambswool, merino, and cashmere sweaters as we could, in a specific range of colours.  Doodle and I agreed on red, white, blue, and black, as sort of a combination of Canadian and American colours (and black goes with everything).  I wanted to do something a bit different with this blanket, and have the colours sort of blend into each other, rather than have a pattern of alternating coloured squares.  So it’s going to be a bit trickier than normal.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

Here you can see our initial haul (and Gren).  This is the colour scheme I am going with.  You can see that the main colours are represented at the corners, and then they blend through the other colours in the middle.  Like a square colour wheel.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

Now, if you feel like undertaking a similar project, I just want to give you a heads-up first.  A lot of up-cycling and recycling projects are economical and a good way to save money.  This is not one of them.  A 100% wool or cashmere sweater, even second-hand, will run you between $9 and $14, depending on the quality and size, and for this project, we will be using approximately 25 sweaters.  So you can do the math there.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

I felted all the sweaters while at my parents’ house (to take advantage of the fact that they were footing the power bill), and we mailed the sweaters back to ourselves in St. John’s.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

Then I dismantled them.  I carefully cut out all the seams, so all the pieces of sweater lay flat.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

I’m saving the seams.  I think they would make good toy stuffing material.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

Here are all the sweaters, officially laid out in their colour wheel.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

The sweater in the middle will serve as my keystone, if you will, and then I’ll use the rest of it to construct some baby toys for some wee ones I get to meet this summer.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1

Now I have to start cutting out the pieces.  I want to do it more as a puzzle or interlocking oblongs than as simple squares, so I’m going to have to work out some ratios so that all the pieces will fit together nicely.  I will keep you posted.

Doodle's Felted Wool Afghan - Part 1