Friday, February 13, 2015

Riding the Rails in Joseph, Oregon

Last fall we had a family trip in Eastern Oregon.  The little town of Joseph is a hidden gem full of surprises, with some fun and unusual things to do. 
I think my favorite thing was the Railrider trip. An ingenious former bike shop owner, Kim Metlen, built these lightweight cars that you peddle on abandoned railroad tracks.  This route had us riding 6 miles to the Terminal Gravity Pub in the town of Enterprise, and then returning back to Joseph.
The scenery along the way was so beautiful, and peaceful!  We saw lots of cows, white tailed deer and open fields, plus a few abandoned railroad cars.
Our son Bryan, organized the trip, and it almost looks like he's sitting on an old horse and buggy.
The cars are lightweight enough for two people to lift them off the tracks so we enjoyed a beer, and split some yummy Nachos at the Terminal Gravity Pub.
You don't want to overdo the spirits since you have a 6 mile ride back, uphill with a 1.5 grade. 
This was so much fun!  I can't wait to do it again!
Ironically, as I was writing this post, a show on OPB, Oregon Field Guide,  http://www.opb.org/television/programs/ofg/segment/railriders/was airing a segment on the Railrider cars - talk about serendipity!
2015 opening season for this fun activity starts May 22nd, through Oct 4th, three rides daily F-M. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

More Tiny Trailers, Girl Caves, and a Step Back in Time

Last Saturday, my 'partner in crime,' Barb, asked me to accompany her to the annual Junk Salvation, out at the Hillsboro, OR Fairgrounds.  Vendors come from all over with Vintage goods, antiques, and re-purposed items.  We got there as there doors opened, and a long line had already formed into the parking area.  
I was hoping to see more Vintage Trailers at the show, since I love to see how people have renovated these timeless gems, but I only found one.  It seems like there's lots of interest in Vintage Trailers and Tiny Homes, with the whole downsizing, minimizing movement. However, I found this cool website which featured a Vintage Trailer classified section - messynessychic.com where there is lots of eye candy for the renovated trailer lover
Meanwhile, this trailer captured the ambiance of the day - the flamingos, the Tiffany Blue, the melamine dishes.  Unfortunately, there were no palm trees in sight!
Above, I love how compact this camper is with the table turning into a bed for more sleeping, and the kitchen area so accessible. This set up brings back a lot of memories of camping with my family on trips to Lake Shasta and Lake Almanor, in California. I also love the idea of using these renovated trailers for a girl cave, office, or guest quarters.

My friend Barb with her 'Vision Board' trailer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Vintage Style Jewelry - Channel Your Inner Lady Mary

After the Holidays there's always a bit of a letdown.  Things run at a hectic pace from Thanksgiving through New Year, with parties, activities, family gatherings etc. Although, once the calendar turns to the New Year, it's nice to turn a new page and catch up on everything that didn't get done the past two months!  However, things can get a little dull in the dead of winter, when it's sometimes hard to even get outside for a walk!
One bright spot in the US, is that the captivating PBS series, Downton Abbey is back!
I've been having fun channeling my inner lady Mary with thinking of, and designing some Vintage Style jewelry. 
Honestly, I don't know how anyone in the Upper Class Edwardian Era got anything done, since all they seemed to do was change clothes for meals and their various activities. Dresses of the day draped the figure, and were broken by pleats and sashes.  Empire waists, kimono sleeves, and beaded dresses reflected the influence of the Orient, on the fashions of the day.  Figures of nature, flowers and animals had a huge influence on the jewelry of this era.
Rubies, Sapphires, and diamonds were big for those who could afford them, until synthetics became popular in the 30's.
Diamond cuts and architectural styles found it's way into all styles in that era, including jewelry.

See these designs and more at my https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlueArtichokeDesigns






Monday, November 17, 2014

Wrigley field

My husband is a huge baseball fan.  It's in his DNA; when his mom was alive, they would bet on who would win the World Series. I don't think the stakes were very high, it was just one of those special links between the two of them.

I'm an artist and don't totally 'get' the sport thing, but after 33 years of marriage, I have an allegiance to the Oregon Ducks. Also, since Portland has has the Hops Baseball Team, I've come to enjoy baseball games, as well, so when we were in Chicago and had the change to see a Cub's game at Wrigley Field, we took L train out to the game. 

I loved that it was baseball with lots of history!  The field is actually green grass, and the outfield wall is covered in ivy. The area surrounding the ballpark is residential streets with bars and restaurants that have been there for decades. I guess to the locals it's called 'Wriglelyville.'  We had dinner at a local bar across from the field, called O'Malley's.  The waitress said that it's closed off season, but from what I could see, it was thriving 'On Season.'  I ordered this crazy concoction, called Irish Nachos.  I think it could safely be called 'Heart Attack on a plate!'  It had waffle fries, avocados, tomatoes, hamburger, tomatoes, peppers,and a crazy cheese sauce. If you are crazy enough to order this delicacy, you will definitely want to share!

All in all, it was a fun night. We met tons of friendly Chicago natives,who were more than willing to tout the features of their amazing city.


Chicago is really fun place, with very friendly people, and I can't wait to return!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Re-purposing an Old Birdbath with Succulents

Last year I replaced my old cement birdbaths with colorful ceramic ones. The new ones seem to have held up better, in part because you can easily remove the bowl and store inside when it freezes. However, I was stuck with two old birdbaths that no longer held water, and was looking for a creative solution to enhance it.
 I put one in the front of the house where I get a lot of afternoon sun, so I knew that I needed plants hardy enough to withstand harsh summer sun.  It's been especially hot this summer in Portland, and we were out of town quite a bit, so regular watering would be a problem also.
I ordered succulent cuttings from two ETSY shops, and both arrived wrapped in newspaper.  As I planted my fledglings, I wondered how such tiny, spindly plants could thrive enough to fill in my bowl. There was no need to worry, however, since in no time they took over the space and doubled in size.  
.  Best of all, they seemed to thrive in the sun, and on my intermittent watering schedule!
This what they looked like in early July, and below is what they look like now.

  I figure I have another month or two before I'll have to bring them inside.  I don't have a daylight basement, so they will either winter on a covered porch, or master bathroom.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lunch in Sisters, Oregon

We were on our way to Bend in Eastern Oregon, for a reunion with Dear Husband's college friends, and stopped for lunch in Sisters, Oregon.  Sisters has always been a favorite stopping place for me, mainly due to the Sisters Quilt Show, which is held every year in July.  Even if you don't quilt, Sisters in a quaint town, with some unique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and of course Llamas!  Since we had our little Harper along, we had to find a dog friendly place, and happened upon a charming restaurant called The Open Doorhttp://theopendoorwinebar.com/.
It was a lovely day to sit outside, so we chose a spot in the courtyard and checked out these very cool little 'sheds' that display the work of local artists.  I want one of these in my backyard, please!
 Lunch was so yummy.  Rick had a 'sandwich' on flat bread with Pesto, turkey, bacon (of course), red pepper, avocado and the best balsamic dressing, drizzled over.  What a great idea for an easy summer meal!  I made one the following week with pesto, shrimp, spinach and Parmesan cheese!   So easy and yummy!
The restaurant inside looked cozy and cute too, but that will have to wait for another day!
Walking by The Stichin Post, http://www.stitchinpost.com/,the big quilt store in town, started me thinking about making a simple, small quilt again.  This is one that looked like an easy and cute pattern to start with:
 Sisters is worth the stop if you heading East in Oregon!


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Route 66, Albuquerque, NM

When we were in Albuquerque, I couldn't help thinking about that quintessential TV Show with the theme song, "Get your kicks on Route 66."  One of these days, it would be great fun to drive the whole road, (as much as possible, since some stretches have been paved over), but last month, we did experience the highway, which in it's heyday ran from Los Angeles to Chicago. There are now breaks in the road, but it was once a destination of roadside attractions, endless restaurants, hotels, and Neon signs. 
Route 66, paved in 1926, was the conduit from the Rust belt to the Sun Belt, with hundreds of thousands finding their way to the California sun during the great depression.
In the 80's Route 66 was replaced by the interstate freeway, which displaced many businesses along the iconic route.  Even though many of these hotels and restaurants have been sidelined, there's till lots of fun places to stop along the route.

   

We especially liked this fun '66 Dinner' which not only had great diner food, but lots of nostalgic touches.  
You could imagine yourself back in the 60's with the decor and music!
There's a few modern touches like neon, and a few 21st Century menu items, but this is the place where burgers and shakes rule, and it's worth the calories!

 
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