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Thursday, December 23, 2010

another lovely portland christmas.

every year come september, I start to get excited for winter and christmas in the pacific northwest. strolling in downtown portland, dropping into the always lovely benson hotel for a spiced cider and a little tree-gazing...
[christmas tree - benson hotel - downtown portland or].
[christmas tree - benson hotel - downtown portland or].

then heading down to the pearl district, where it seems that the lights on the street trees twinkle the brightest.

[pearl district trees - downtown portland or].

ah, christmas in portland. sigh. however did I live without it for so long?
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Monday, November 29, 2010

an icy gift from a lovely Thanksgiving snowstorm.

thanksgiving 2010. my cousin samantha flew up to portland for our second annual 'rebel thanksgiving', so called because we skip the family chaos and spend the week in peace. it snowed on the monday [a near miracle for portland metro in november], then stayed below freezing for four days. leaving behind gorgeous scenes like this:

[ice fountain.]

[ice fountain].
not to mention our own bit of slipping and sliding in my hilly neighborhood.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

fabric wall art for my office.

one of the myriad of benefits to working for myself is that my office is in an upstairs bedroom with a gorgeous view and floor to ceiling french doors leading out to a small balcony. even though it's an office, since I basically live in there all day, I've done a lot to make a sanctuary for myself. it's the one room in the house that's all mine so I am able to chick it out to my heart's content.

I've painted it my favorite shade of grey-blue, added fringed lamps, a terrific hanging pendant, and now some wall art using more yummy fabrics from the incredible whole 9 yards store in downtown portland.

[close up].

[I know these look crooked but I swear they're not].

the chain is from a line of jewelry findings called industrial chic, and the hangers are [I believe, window] hardware from the wonderful rejuvenation in downtown portland.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

don't get scared now: halloween earrings.

I bought the skulls to go in the middle of my Halloween cobweb + flower brooches but they were too small so I made some Halloween earrings instead! tied a little of the leftover cobweb fabric at the top for a hint of girly glam.
[skull earrings for halloween].

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

metallic copper [recycled!] paint.

portland, oregon has this great city program called metropaint, where they take portlanders' unused paint and recycle it and mix it into new colors. anyone can go in and buy a gallon of their paint for only $8-$10. it's 100% recycled, low voc and super thick, what could be better?

in addition to some basic colors, they occasionally mix quarts of some really lovely metallics. you never know what they're going to have on a given day. I picked up some copper and painted my fireplace surround with it.
[copper painted fireplace surround].
 I love the contrast of the metallic copper against the matte stone tile.
[copper painted fireplace surround closeup].
and of course, being in portland, some natural decorations are a must!
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

autumn drive.

autumn is my favorite season, without exception. here in the pacific northwest we see glimpses of it in late august, but she really starts to strut her stuff around the autumnal equinox.

yesterday we were hit with a 'let's go on a big drive' bug, so we made our leisurely way down hwy 26, dubbed 'sunset highway'. with the headlights pointing west and the fleeting scent of woodburning fires in the air, we passed through forests and over creeks with magical names like nehalam, tillamook, & clatsop.  interspersed with the deep green of cedar and pine I glimpsed what will surely be flaming oranges and reds before October goes.

once we reached the end of the sunset highway, the question had to be answered: north or south? it had been a while since we'd been to Astoria, so north it was. 
[view of astoria bridge from astoria column].
I love visiting Astoria. I love the Astoria Bridge, the Astoria Column, and gazing at the mouth of the Columbia River where she oh so reluctantly gives up her freedom and joins the Pacific.

[liberty theatre, downtown astoria].

[crossing the astoria bridge].

[crossing the astoria bridge].

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

lovely + a little spooky halloween wreath.

halloween was always a fun holiday for me as a kid. we lived in what is now a truly frightening part of Los Angeles. but back then, in the 1970s, it was safe for just the kids [no adults allowed!] to go out by ourselves. armed with a ratty old pillowcase to collect our loot, we'd run through the neighborhood, making stops back at home base to unload the haul. then we'd race out again.

now that I'm an adult I still love halloween, even if it doesn't hold the thrilling terrors it used to. though now I see it as a great excuse to decorate the house. last year, I had this idea of making a black wreath and I finally did it yesterday.
[the fixins].
the house next door to us in the old neighborhood was widely considered to be haunted, as it inexplicably sat pretty far back on its lot, with a lot of huge old trees in front of it. I can just picture this wreath hanging on their front door. except it would have real skulls on it of course.  brrr.
[in the sun so you can see the furry spider-leg on the cobweb fabric; gross and fun!].

[1] medium sized grapevine wreath
[1 pkg] soft plastic skulls from Michaels [or any craft store]
[1 can] black spray paint
[1] floral stem of purple cloth flowers
[a few strands of] scrap fabric
[way less than 1 roll] floral wire or craft wire

1. spray the grapevine wreath with black spray paint
2. wrap scrap fabric loosely around the wreath, tucking it in and around the branches to secure it
3. cut flowers off the the floral stem and tuck into the wreath where desired
4. poke the wire through back of skulls and twist ends around wreath stems to secure
5. if desired, take another piece of scrap fabric and tie it around the top to use as a hanging device

this wreath project was a lot of fun. I toyed with the idea of putting glitter on the skulls but decided against it. they're just wired on so I can always remove them and add the glitter if I change my mind. for now, I kind of like their multi-colored bony shades.
[close up].
counting the days till october 1st so I can hang it on the front porch.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

cynthia's own semi precious necklace.

I couldn't resist. you remember I recently made a semi-precious necklace for my precious friend? it made me so terribly sad to ship that beauty away, so I ended up making a similar one for myself.

another trip to let it bead in downtown portland? check.
(close up view).
the fixins': 2 sizes of gold filled chain, cloudy citrine, sunstone, tiger's eye, smoky quartz, 2 shapes of aquamarine, and lepidolite.
(cynthia's semi-precious necklace).
this one was a long one for me, about 26 inches total. I love it. held back a couple of extra citrines for matching earrings.
right now I'm into placing the beads year I'll probably rip the whole thing apart and make it structured!

never said I wasn't flighty.
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Monday, August 16, 2010

a semi-precious necklace for my oh so precious friend.

so I have this friend. she's amazing. we've been friends for over 25 years, since high school. we live far from each other, but thanks to a shared and enduring love for Barry Manilow, we meet in Las Vegas every year to swoon at his concert. what does this have to do with a necklace?

for a few years now, I've been making jewelry and wearing it during these Barry pilgrimages. my friend always comments on my necklace or my earrings, saying she'd like me to make her a necklace. since her jewelry style is very classic and elegant, and mine is a little funky, I always thought she was just being kind. she's lovely that way.

well, that may still be the case, but recently she gave me a specific list of semi-precious stones and some sample necklace pictures, so she was in for it. she was getting a cynthia creation whether she liked it or not.

off I went to let it bead in downtown portland [sigh, I so love this store]. here's the raw materials of what I started with [citrine, lepidolite, iolite, sunstone, & smoky quartz], along with some delicate gold chain...
(the makings).

and here's what I shipped to her today...
(the necklace).

some closeup views...
(the necklace). 
(the necklace).
the citrine was by far my favorite stone; the cloudy yellow is gorgeous. I machine-sewed a fabric pouch, wrapped the necklace nice and tight and nestled it's hoping she loves it as much as I loved making it for her.
(handmade fabric pouch).

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

embossed thank you card.

this was my first item that I stamped and embossed. It's a thank you card I gave to my cousin after a visit to her home. 

embossing was an interesting and semi-painful experience but I love the result. the owl is stamped on transparent paper, embossed, then cut out and adhered to the card. 'thanks' is also stamped and embossed. used one of my favorite papers, BasicGrey's Figgy Pudding, as the main paper inside and out. the leaves are cut out from Cosmo Cricket's Nature Walk paper, and hang over the edges of the card.
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Friday, August 6, 2010


somehow today didn't go the way I anticipated. I got very wrapped up in a work project that didn't really mean very much, and when it didn't perform the way I wanted, I behaved badly. I really hate when I do that and wonder why I can't stop and breathe through it.

and then something ordinary happened. I took the cats out in the backyard and watched them laze in the sun while I did the same, and suddenly the other nonsense melted away. we were at peace. the garden and the dragonflies were too. bliss.
trying to hold on to this feeling.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

lovely office pendant.

using my favorite fabric [which also adorns the tops of the roman shades in my office], we made a hanging light pendant. stiff metal screening from a home improvement store was wrapped into a cylinder shape, which we lined with thin parchment to disperse the light. next we covered the whole thing with the oh so lovely fabric.  when the light is on, you can see the outline of the metal. a touch of the unexpected...a little feminine, a little rough.
(cyn's office pendant]
the only down side is that it hangs over an easy chair behind me so I don't get to stare at it all day.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I'm starting to notice a trend in my posts so far...purple. while I enjoy that color, I wouldn't say it's my favorite, not by any means. anyone who knows me well will instantly conjure up 'blue' if asked. my home is filled with varying shades of blue: my home office, guest bath, master bath and bedroom, even the exterior paint and a good portion of the garden.
(even when it's fading blue, I love it)
the only solution I can arrive at is that there's something going on in my subconscious. or perhaps it's just pure coincidence. makes me wonder what else is rattling around in there.  shudder.
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Monday, August 2, 2010

yummy Oregon marionberrys.

marionberry season is wrapping up here in the Pacific Northwest. named after the Oregon county in which they originated, these are probably my favorite local fruit. ultra sweet and firm, they rarely last in my house more than a couple of days...we pop them like candy.

the picking season is only a few scant weeks but for me the anticipation begins every spring. i'm already thinking about next year's crop...
(oregon marionberries)

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

tree of life necklace.

I crafted this elegant 15" necklace to feature pearlized smoky-lavender-colored beads, ending in a lovely pendant of stylized leaves. dangling from the clasp end is a sweet Tree of Life charm.

so lovely to celebrate the coming we join nature by surrounding ourselves in richer, moodier colors and rediscover feminine loveliness.

handcrafted of sterling silver hand-twisted links and finished with a sterling lobster clasp.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

cobweb brooch (no. 1 & no. 2) to celebrate Halloween.

I know it's only the end of July, but here in Portland that's when the light starts to change ever so slightly & Fall begins to show herself. And I start to think of Halloween. I don't know when it became such an enjoyable holiday for me, except that we've spent the last couple of them visiting family in Boulder and that's been such a treat [pun intended].  So here we go...

a twist on both the lovely brooch and a Halloween item... the flower is handmade from two rich purple Halloween fabrics, mounted on a semi-sheer purple cobweb fabric and finished with purple pearlescent beads. I wear mine as an accessory to my witch costume, and also just everyday to celebrate the season.
(no. 1)

and another...
(no. 2)

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

lovely fabric panels.

the result of my trip to the amazing Whole 9 Yards upholstery fabric store a few weeks ago. these fabrics bridge the gap between two walls painted different colors [grey/blue meets smoky corn yellow]. the fabric was simply stapled around the canvases, and I put one in an unglassed frame. perfect! and they achieved exactly what they were meant to.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

green glass magnet army.

just couldn't stand that my whiteboard magnets for class got my hands dirty and were hard to pull apart...oh who am I kidding? I couldn't stand that they weren't pretty so I had to fix that. for use in the esl class that I help teach.

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