A piece a Week – Mama time out in Portland

Friday finally came and I was so tired and the thought of getting on a plane was exhausting! The family dropped me off at San Francisco International to board my flight in time – you know to allow for the security and all and once I was through all that it was time to relax!!! 
I got out my knitting and waited for the announcement to board the plane to have a nice little nap before my friend picked me up around 10:30 at night. It was worth getting there in the evening though we all managed to chat until 1 o’clock in the morning, so it was a late night! 2013  was the last time I had visited Portland!! 
After a bit of a sleep in we headed out to brunch and a bit of shopping at vintage store and my favorite shoe store Imeldas. And shopping in Portland is so much fun as I love the clothes plus the bonus is having no sales tax, especially when buying shoes!!
Waiting in the rain for brunch at Roost
So the first stop was Harlow in Hawthorne and I enjoyed the Mercy Blues for Brunch – sitting on top of herbed polenta were two poached eggs, steamed kale, black beans, corn and slow roasted tomatoes with a creamy chipotle cashew hollandaise, paprika and scallions with a side of avocado. Now that is what I call a wonderful start to the day – I paired it with the kombucha on tap, my favorite Yerba Mate. Sure if I am living in San Francisco I can get a brunch like this but Portland is my haven for food! I love how all the cafes take a responsibility to serve ethically and sustainably and most importantly locally!! I never eat brunch in Mountain View the offerings are very slim.
After brunch we headed out onto SE Hawthorne Boulevard for some shopping and finally scoring some gifts, a book at Powells and I found some boots then it was time for dinner at the Block and Tackle. We had a plate of fresh oysters which were divine followed by an amazing roast vegetable salad with a yoghurt curry dressing. My friend and I shared the most amazing Black Cod that melted in your mouth and an Octopus dish in a chowder broth – going out and experiencing food like this is what I live for. 
Dinner at the Block and Tackle – cocktails, oysters and seafood

Sunday we headed out to brunch at Roost – yet another delicious brunch with their ‘eggs till 2’ menu with smoked trout, eggs, onions on a thick toast with a creamy sauce – just look at that, this is how I get the inspiration for my own cooking at home!

My what an amazing way to start the day!
Bloody Marys all around with our brunch
What trigged a mama vacay away was a trip to see the Italian Style exhibition at the Portland Art Museum. What an inspiring exhibition especially for me to see the designs from 1945 to present day and to see the influence Italy has had on fashion. From the most beautifully designed dresses, to the fabric design and textiles, to the weaving mills with the knitwear and cashmere, the shoes (of course!!) and the exquisite beading and detailing. Filming in Italy with such classics as Roman Holiday were featured as well as the Alfa Romeo Spider and a Vespa – an original Vespa, one of only 3 left in the world. 
Just outside the exhibit 
Hanging outside the exhibition reflections on a sculpture

Traveling around Portland in style with my friends listening to 80s and wandering around every store with the same 80s mix is what this weekend was about. No I didn’t bring home any 80’s fashions unfortunately, as I have been there before!!

Nothing like the 1980’s
For my last dinner with my friends family was at Dick’s – a little innuendo is always appreciated and a lot of fun. We had burgers and fries, I enjoyed a salmon burger and very tasty sweet potato fries that are air baked. And these guys had Kombucha on tap too – Portland to me is a foodie lovers paradise. For dessert I enjoyed the Paleo Parfait and was ready for the flight back home. The pic below is in the back streets from the main drag in the Sunnyside neighborhood – I found lots of little sculptures in the street and a mandala painted on the road, my people!

Happy to drive this roundabout! 

Farewell to Portland and hopefully I will be back soon maybe to get another tattoo – a wonderful respite from the Bay Area craziness and back to a creative heaven where people care about the earth, their food and a slower pace to life.

At the airport – art and a piano playing, aaah!

This weeks ceramics pieces I made at home and glazed in class – a couple of succulent pots and small sauce bowls. The kids bought me a succulent from the market this weekend and it fits perfectly.

Multi coloured ceramics
Monday was a day off school so we went looking for a USPS mailbox! They are rare creatures indeed, I looked it up on USPS and found this one. 
Hello Mailbox, nice to meet  you!

Oh and Monday night I had planned a night out on the town at my favorite restaurant in Mountain View Xahn check out the presentation and the feast we had. This is the vegetarian tacos, papaya salad, vege buddha rolls and smoked salmon on prawn crackers. This spread is what is on offer for Happy Hour and I am always happy with the Lychee Martini at $5 each it is the best way to spend a couple of hours with the ladies.

Xahn for happy hour is the best!

A Piece a week – this week an A line skirt, starting off somewhat easy!

As part of a creative exercise this year I plan on getting through my stash of fabrics making a piece a week. I was inspired by a post on meet me at mikes a post about a year of ethical fashion. This pledge about what to wear is what I will try and live by this year.

For the project here is the pledge…

If I’m looking for things to wear I will only:
a) Buy from ethical makers or
b) Buy second-hand or
c) Make it myself  or
d) Wear things I already own or
e) Borrow or swap garments with friends
This is my first attempt at the year of ethical fashion project. This is fabric from my stash a wool suiting I found in Portland and a velveteen fabric sample from FabMo. When I was in Morro Bay there were a couple of cool vintage stores and I found a skirt that I used the pattern to make this skirt. My pattern making skills are a bit rusty I must say but I think the combination of fabrics is pretty cute. The zipper is a bit tricky and it is possible to see some puckering from my lack of practice and fear of the zipper. I promise I will face the fear this year! Practice makes perfect & hope I can see it happen. 
My first project for the year – an A line skirt 
One down and another 51 pieces to go!
The topless skirt wearing ‘lady’ which I will have to wear as an outfit soonish! But this post here is another inspiration for using up fabric in your stash. I cannot believe the amount of fabric and clothes I have accumulated that are not worn and I still love the fabrics so with a bit of deconstruction I can hopefully have some new pieces that I can say I have sewn by the end of 2014.

Portland – a mummy vacay away!

After all the craziness of final weeks school I planned some time away to visit my friend in Portland, Oregon. This is a place where I could move to tomorrow with it’s amazing food and lifestyle. It was such a place of dreams where I could buy vegetarian food with a depth of flavour I had never experienced before, eaten ice cream with strawberry balsamic vinegar and pickled strawberries and eaten sustainable sushi with tasty cocktails as well. I have to say the cocktails have to be some of the best I have tried with local artisan gin called aviator and this incredible ginger liqeur my friend used in the cocktails at home. Well the dream had to end and now I am back to reality with the everyday but my inspiration has been with cooking my daily meals with the hope to replicate something of what Portland has to offer! I have a few pictures of the highlights of my vacay away…

Gonna take you for a ride on a big jet plane…

Natural Selection desserts – the first restaurant I visited in Portland, a vegetarian heaven

Oh yeah – the Portland Naked Bike Ride

Drinking cocktails with my friend – a Linoncello cocktail for me! 

Lobster Ravioli with Marscapone – dreamy!

Super fresh Rice Paper Rolls with a dipping sauce – perfect with the truffle oil fries on the side (I was hungover that day!)

Mother’s in the city – my brunch frittata with feta and olive goodness

An ice cream treat after I had my tattoo below – this is a Salt and Straw combination of flavours

My tattoo from the wonderful tattoo artist Cody at Scapegoat tattoo

A bowl of sustainable sashimi at Bamboo – something sushi fantasies are made of
At Portland airport – a fond farewell

My new favourite shoes for the season by FLY London – I love shopping in Portland with no sales tax!

Busy as a bee – the preXmas posting

Alice bands with FabMo Yo Yos – yarn wrapped series 1

Alice bands with FabMo Yo Yos – yarn wrapped series 2

Alice bands black with FabMo Yo Yos

Alice bands with buttons and bling – yarn wrapped series 3

Yarn wrapped bracelets – yarn from Yarnia in Portland

Detail of the bracelets – vivid colours!

Upcycled Corian sample magnets – ready for the boutique

Eco Deco for your tree 

Upcycled laminex samples for decorating and such

Ash making sure that the tree is not for sale!

As there is a Holiday Boutique this week at my sons school I’ve been collecting my stock and adding some new upcycled materials from an amazing source right here in MV – FabMo. The selection of fabric is amazing but the thing is, what do I do with it? As I do not have a sewing machine at the moment (working on that one, one day I hope to source one!) So Yo Yo’s came to mind as I had some colourful silks that were really wanting to be used. As my daugther’s hair is always in her face I thought some Alice Bands might be a nice addition to the collection. I’ve been teaching sewing to the kids at school so with that inspiration I decided to try some hand sewing 🙂

The bracelets are from yarn I sourced when I was in Portland – a shop called Yarnia a DIY yarn store. I bought many cones of yarn when I was there and since they have been used for scarves, shrugs and now bracelets. As I had a theme of upcycled materials I decided to use them in this collection. The yarn at Yarnia is mill ends which the store then blends together for custom cones or readymade with the help of the staff. What a wonderful idea for yarn that would just end up in landfill.

The square Corian magnets are also from FabMo – again a bunch of samples that I’ve glued pictures to and then varnished. Lovely to add to the fridge for a bit of nature in the kitchen.

The Eco Deco’s for the tree are from FabMo and made from Laminex samples – I decided that I enjoy nature so why not hang it on my tree – hey they can be hung where ever you please! Still another great way to use materials that would just end up in landfill.

They will be up for sale this week at the Holiday Boutique on Thursday 17 November from 12:30 to 6pm at Stevenson PACT Elementary in Mountain View. 

Our first adventure out into Portland

Muffin in the Portland Japanese Gardens 

We ventured out into our first adventure into the chilly weather of Portland – the first stop the Portland Japanese Gardens. Being in such a beautiful garden, it was so relaxing – though we were on more of a mission looking for little icons & sculptures in the garden with the kids.

All aboard to Portland…

View from the Coast Starlight train at breakfast – nice!

We went on our Christmas holiday to Portland – via train with the children… mmmm! Our start was delayed by a couple of hours due to rain & it was 11pm by the time we were on our long ride up the Pacific North West. Still it was a journey that is worth doing once 🙂