Monday, March 29, 2010

blog #393 >> an exciting week

Well, it turned out to be a pretty exciting day.
The transformer across the street blew out at work (NW Media @ 11th & Ankeny) and the downed power line caught on fire. It got so hot that it actually burned a hole in the street, and it was so bright, it was like looking at a welding torch. When the firefighters poured the foam on it, you could actually see it boiling. The sound of the electric current just buzzed through the building and you could feel it come up through the floor. They let it burn for about a half hour, waiting for it to burn off the ground, and we all had front row seats out the office windows. It was an exciting day, but not a very productive day. After they switched off the power we were without lights, telephone, and internet.
We had to call it a day.

And then last night there was "The Mystery Boom" that was heard all across S.E. Portland. I heard it, but at the time I just thought the down stair neighbors were goofing off, and since there was no fire in the hall, I figured it must be fine. I didn't realize EVERYONE heard it.
You can read more about that here and see the map here.

I wonder what will happen tomorrow?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

blog #392 >>getting ready to plant

Well, I officially have spring fever. I am ready to be outside in the sunshine playing in the dirt and mud.

My dad stopped by this afternoon and tilled the garden patch for me and I'm ready to start planting things in it.

I even have everything plotted out where I want it.

And I've decided to buy all my seeds from Landreth's this year. I'm very excited to try some of these. They're really not that expensive and they carry LOTS of heirloom seeds. The Landreth Seed Com. (since 1784) is the fifth oldest corporation in America and they've sold seeds to every president from George Washington to Franklin D. Roosevelt. They've even sold seeds to Napoleon Bonaparte's brother Joseph. And if their seeds are good enough for Napoleon's brother, I'm sure they'll be good enough for me. (See more of their history here.)

Here are some of their seeds I want to try:

Fairy Tale Eggplant:
2005 All America Selections Winner. This is an eggplant like no other in the world. An eggplant has not won the All America award since 1939 and this one was bred to be the perfect container plant. The beautiful dwarf plants, 18-24 in., have soft green foliage and bright lavender flowers and produce eggplants in 55 days. The fruits grow in clusters of 3-5 and should be harvested when about 4 in. by 1 1/2 in.. The fruits are elongated with lavender skin streaked with white stripes. They are quite sweet and bitter free.

Sparkler White Tip Radish:
Also known as Scarlet Turnip White Tip, bright scarlet skin with white bottom. Sweet and juicy.

West India Burr Gherkin Cucumber:
This cucumber is actually a separate species, but it is the original gherkin for pickles and relishes. Introduced into the US from Jamaica in 1793, it probably originated in Africa. Vines produce ovoid, shiny green, 2 3 in. long fruit covered with large, prickly burrs. Taste is very distinctive.

Rattlesnake Pole Bean:
Dark green pods mottled with purple. Fine flavor. Seeds are tan with dark brown, coloring similar to a rattlesnake. Vines grow to 10 ft. Pods are 7-8 in.

Tom Thumb Lettuce:
Sometimes confused with Tennis Ball. Introduced in 1830, this lettuce is an English heirloom. Heads are very small, approximately 5 in., with crinkled green leaves. Flavor is sweet.

And also these ones:
Danvers Half Long Carrots
Royal Oak Leaf Lettuce
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
Feverfew (for my headaches)
Chioggia Striped Beets
Parisian Pickling Cucumber

...and they sell Vintage Flower and Vegetable Seed Packets.

I can't wait to order some!
(Carrie, if you're out there and are reading this... Let me know if you want me to order some seeds for you when I order mine. They have some fantastic Hubbard Squash!)

And I've already got the strawberries back in their patch.

I'll be dreaming of compost tonight.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

blog #391 >>Catching Up

I apologize... I've been such a slacker blogger lately. I suppose there are times, I spend all my time blogging about everything I want to be doing, and then there are times I spend all my time doing what I want to be doing. Unfortunately, I've realized that all I've really been doing lately is wasting time on Facebook and watching old re-runs of The Avengers '67 on Netflix. So I think it's time to go back and blog about better things I should be doing. But first, I think I'll blog about everything I've done, even though, I'm sad to say... it's been pretty lame.

First we have Facebook. I spend way too much time on Facebook even though I limit my number of friends to 30.

(Vintage Facebook Advertisement found at SuperPunch by Moustafa Khamis. (Also see Hamlet as a Facebook Newsfeed also found on SuperPunch.)

And then I discovered this gem of a retro British television show call The Avengers '67. It features a dapper fellow with a swanky side-kick, and together they are an unstoppable crime fighting duo. Plus, he's got bonus points for having an umbrella as a weapon.

Hmm... I also made these button cookies. Recipe here.

And um... saw the creepiest spider I've ever seen in my life while changing the light bulb on the front porch.

Alright, that's all for now, I've got to get back to watching television. LOST is on tonight!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

blog #390 >>The Antique Show at Expo

Alright, so The Antique and Collectibles Show at the Expo Center was kinda a bust. I mean I did see some really swell stuff, and it was fun looking around, but everything was WAY over priced. Don't those vendors shop around before pricing their stuff? And since I mainly shop at junk stores and second hand stores, their prices seemed even more preposterous. I think you could buy most anything I saw there for half the price at any of the local antique malls in either Sellwood, Troutdale or almost any vintage store you find. In fact it seemed like it was mostly the local vendors there who had the best deals.

I remember I saw this one booth that had all vintage sewing supplies. She had yards and yards of vintage fabrics and boxes of vintage buttons, and patterns and yes, even trimmings. I'm such a sucker for the trimmings. So I start to look at her prices and about collapsed! $10 for a vintage pattern, $3 a trimming, and $1-$3 PER button! I didn't even have the courage to dig through the fabrics. I realize that some of you may be reading this thinking, "Theresa, those prices are totally fine, that's how much you'd pay for some of those things new!" All I can say to that is, that may be how much YOU might pay for those things, but I'm no spendthrift! I value what little money I have, and I really look for the best deal possible. I never even pay full price for a spool of thread at Jo-Anns! That's why I cut coupons and shop at "The Bins." I NEVER spend more than $5 a pattern, and at $5 it had better be a pretty great pattern, that is (or looks) like new and still has the instructions and is the right size. For patterns of the quality she was selling, I expect them to be a dollar. Like these fabulous patterns I found at the booth across the aisle. They're adorable, they're the right size, they still have the instructions, and they were only a $1! (I also saw someone selling patterns for 50¢ in the next building but they were all 70's and 80's.)

Well, I realize I'm perhaps overstating the "they were over priced" bit. They were really overpriced, but there were some good deals in there too, if you really wanted to dig. It's just that they were few and far between, and you'd have to really know what something is worth to find it. But in the end I suppose the real worth of antiques is how much some one is willing to pay for them. If you really love something, than I suppose however much you pay for it, is now what it's worth to you.

So instead of heading out to The Antiques and Collectibles Show at the Expo, I would suggest saving your $7 admission and $7 parking and sparing your poor feet the blisters of walking through miles of overpriced booths, and instead head to one of these local sellers:

Mike's in Estacada
(My favorite second hand store, just don't touch his signs!)
Read more here.

"The Bin's" a.k.a. The Goodwill Outlet
(This is a shopping experience only for those who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty.)
Read more here and here and here.

The Troutdale Antique Mall
(Voted best antique mall in Portland, I think it's 3 years in a row, but it might be only 2. Anyhow, visit them, see how great they really are, and make it 3!)

The Monticello Antique Marketplace
(This is the shabby-sheek antique mall, and I normally either don't find anything there, or I find LOTS of great stuff.)
See the bedroom set I found there here.

Stars Antique Mall in Sellwood
(I don't make it out this way very often, which is surprising since it's about 15 minutes from where I live. But I always see some cool stuff there when I do go.)

Deco to Disco on Hawthorne
(I drive by this place everyday on my way to work and just oooh, and ahh, and everything in the windows. Also Sputnik Housewares is located inside and she always has some really neat things.)

And obviously, I couldn't get out of there empty handed.
I did end up buying these two amazing vintage dresses.

This one was $10 at one of the booths that had a little vintage clothing. I does have some rust on the inside from a wire hanger, but I think I can replace that panel since it's just the lining. Plus it fits perfectly and still had the original tag on it.

This vintage suit was a bit more spendy, but at $30 it was still the cheapest 40's suit I've ever seen, plus it was in my size... well, it is slightly too big, but I can easily take in the skirt a little. And I LOVED the bow.

Also, Lulu's Vintage was there, a very nice seller I met and you should check out her site here.

Alright, that's all for now.

(One more thing... HOLD ONTO YOUR BAGS TIGHT! My mom bought a little girl napkin holder, and in passing the bags around it got dropped and smashed into confetti before she ever even made it home. We felt terrible! Fortunately, however we had seen another one, an exact replica of the one she bought, in one of the other booths. It stuck out in our minds because the other one we saw as $14 and we paid $6 for ours. Well, it took me a good long time to find that same booth again, but I managed it, and we replaced it for her. She was a very cute little napkin holder after all. But we learned a very valuable lesson... HOLD ONTO YOUR BAGS TIGHT! Especially if they contain anything fragile.)

blog #389 >>The Amazing Bins

Ah, yes... another trip to "The Bins."
I really do love "The Bins." This time I made the trip with my sisters, which made it all the more fun. Carrie had never been there before, and it was such a joy to introduce her to this unique shopping experience. Essentially, it's dumpster diving meets shopping, and she loved it! Between the four of us we had quite the cart of spoils, four carts in fact. And it's even more fun going with others because you can find things for them and trade. And when you find that (unbelievable, strange, weird, I'm not even sure what it is thing) you can show it off.

All of us out in the parking lot with our loot.

Carrie and her cart full o' treasure.

And last but not least, the lovely tea tray from my grandma's 85th birthday tea party the same day at Lavender Bleu.

It really was a great day!

Monday, March 1, 2010

blog #388 >> Black Velvet

What do leopards, Jesus, Elvis, unicorns and really creepy clowns all have in common? They are all commonly portrayed in velvet paintings. Yes, velvet paintings.

I'm happy to say that I am now the proud receiver of one of these exquisite art pieces.
Bud, was gracious enough to bestow upon me one of his magnificent works, a black velvet "Evil Maria Robot" from Metropolis, for collecting some sticks for his frames. Had I known I was being paid in artwork, I would have looked harder for some better sticks! And the "Evil Maria Robot" is way cooler than any bull-fighting matador.

If you are interested in seeing more velvety artwork, I'd suggest visiting the Velveteria in Portland, Ore., but since they're closed, you'll just have to visit them online.