Archive for August, 2009

Collections, part two


I have been planning to do another “collections” post for awhile now, and two things have made me choose buttons as the focus for this entry.

First, I had the chance to attend an opening at the Beet Gallery here in Portland, where my two friends Ilisha Helfman and Joe Freedman are showing their work.  Ilisha and Joe’s art is incredibly beautiful and wide ranging; between the two of them the media they explore range from laser-cut cards, to handmade paper dolls, to photography (both designing the camera and printing the photos) to knitting, with almost everything in between.  One of Ilisha’s projects even involves creating very very small things, including buttons.

Second, I was fortunate to receive a new lens for my camera as an anniversary gift from S (with assistance from my stepson, G) and it is a macro lens, which lets me take extreme close-ups of small things.


Even though my mother was not someone who sewed (in fact she was the person who cheered when my friend J and I created “no sew clothes” for our dolls, an invention that left J’s mother, a woman who spun her own wool and wove her own cloth from sheep she raised, aghast), she did have a box of buttons and I remember pawing through it from a very young age.

My own button collection began with those extra buttons manufacturers like to provide with new clothes, in case the buttons they sew on at the factory fall off.


Those buttons piled up in various drawers for years, until I started to create a more intentional collection.

Now I look for buttons at garage sales, in thrift stores, and at flea markets.  Since most people have buttons lying around, it’s rare that I don’t find something.

Most of the buttons I have wouldn’t be considered “collectible;” instead, I would describe my collection as eclectic.

Many of my buttons are colorful,




but not all.


Some of my buttons are old,



and some are new.



A lot of them are mounted on cards,




and some are tied with string.



When I haven’t spilled them out for photographing, I keep my buttons like this


and this.


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Home again

Our trip to the Pacific coast of Oregon was relaxing and a lot of fun.  We loved exploring a new part of the country and learning more about our recently adopted state.  However, there is something special about coming home no matter how wonderful the trip.

One of the nicest things about being home again is cooking a good dinner in our own kitchen and tonight we had one of our favorite home-cooked meals: pizza.

As true pizza lovers we have all the equipment that pizza afficionados need.


One essential kitchen tool is a rolling pin.  Mine is all wood and pretty simple.


A steep smooth-sided bowl helps the dough rise quickly and evenly,


and a good cheese grater makes pulling together the final ingredients a lot easier.


I like to make my pizzas on the grill these days, so screens, used to move the fully-dressed pizzas from kitchen to deck, are really useful too.


And then, when the pizzas are ready to eat, a good pizza cutter comes in handy.


This one still has olive oil on it from cutting a still-warm pizza like the one here:


How nice it is to be home again!

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Yesterday we left Manzanita and drove up the coast to Astoria.  We are staying at the Cannery Pier Hotel, which, as the name implies, is right on the river on the site of the former Union Fish Cannery.  The view from our room is majestic.


That’s Washington at the other end of the bridge.

After we checked in to our lovely room, we set out for a walk into town.  The woman at the desk recommended that we walk along the Astoria Riverwalk, part of the national rails to trails program.  The trail is a paved walkway along the Columbia River that now carries a trolley instead of a full sized train.


The scenery was mostly industrial as we passed working wharves and the back sides of fish and crab processing plants.




Some of the sites were rustier than others.




Downtown was an interesting mix of newly renovated and hip spots like the Commodore Hotel, designed  and converted by the Portland-based owners of the very cool and retro Schoolhouse Electric Company, in progress renovation, like the new Bergerson Tile and Stone showroom, where we met one of the members of the Bergerson family,


older buildings,


and thrift stores, where I found a few interesting items like the books on this shelf,


and this collection of recipes that I (seriously) may have to go back and buy later today.



On the way back to the hotel by a slightly different route we saw the remains of a 600+ year old Douglas Fir.


Today we are thinking of going back downtown for the Astoria Sunday Market.

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