Tag Archives: Portland

As the page turns… in the real Portlandia!

Go ahead and judge this book by its cover.

Go ahead and judge this book by its cover.

Grieving is hard. It’s long. It does you in. It doesn’t end. Some days getting out of bed is the most courageous act you can imagine. And accomplish.

I already know I will be grieving Blaine the rest of my life. You have no earthly idea how much I miss him. Just to exchange one more glance, I would give everything. To see him smile. The universe for one more hug. The chance to say goodbye.

In what now seems clearly a survival strategy, I actually managed to finish the book I was working on when Blaine left. I dove headfirst into a deep and consuming project. Not only were the words my responsibility, but also the design and layout. And know this: when the author does the layout, the words seem never to be finished. Catch that typo. Use a different turn of phrase. Put in that cool thing you forgot. So it takes longer than it takes. (Credit to an old friend, Paul Nyrczinski, for that aphorism: “Things always take longer than they take.”)

But it finally got printed. And delivered to us. You can see a video of Joyce and I opening the first copies here. And we have a real live website and everything, look here.

Since the shipment of three pallets with 2,500 books arrived, we have embarked on a marketing campaign so we can sell the books and recover our costs. Yes, we self-published. It’s our very own necks on the line.

So far, in addition to purchasing the book from our website, you can buy it in a growing number of retail locations. Powell’s Books, for example (all stores except the one at the airport)! Did you know you can order from Powell’s online and pick it up in a store without any shipping cost? Or you could buy two books and they would be shipped for free!

The book is also available at a number of New Seasons Markets. Multnomah County Library has it (OMG, all copies are checked out right now, they better order more!!). Other bookstores like Broadway Books, Reed College Bookstore. Quite a few quilt/fabric stores: Cool Cottons, Fabric Depot, Pioneer Quilts, The Pine Needle, A Common Thread, Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest, The Cotton Patch.

And soon it will be in Made in Oregon. And who knows where all. We are relentless in our marketing efforts. By the end of this, we should be able to write a book about marketing a book. Not that that’s never been done. 🙂

We are proud of our book. We think it will appeal to a whole lot of people:

  • people who live in Portland and want to discover what they don’t know about their home town
  • people who visit Portland (or want to) and want a tangible record of their experience that goes way beyond a phone full of selfies,
  • quilters who have always wanted to see quilts in a leading role, and
  • every person not in the above categories

So we think you might fit in there somewhere. Check it out!


CKC #4: Strawberries are here! Strawberries are here!!


Okay, tonight illustrates why we live at location, location, location! Do you know that we live within easy walking distance to a whole boatload of awesome eateries? We are within a 10-minute walk of very decent Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Middle Eastern, pizza, and a nearly endless variation of Northwest cuisine and other American flavors. And that’s not counting the food cart scene at Cartopia. We are on the surfeit end of the culinary spectrum here in inner Hawthorne.

So it was a hop and skip without even a jump to get tonight’s meal at Grand Central Bakery. I had my usual turkey chutney sandwich because I was too tired and lazy to look at the menu because if I had I would have ordered the shrimp roll seasonal special goddammittohell, Blaine had grilled cheese and Ric forgot he’s not overly fond of their grinder, which he ordered and then remembered goddammittohell. Which is too bad because he likes everything else.

But tonight’s real headline is this: Kruger’s Farm Market next door to Grand Central has THE FIRST OREGON STRAWBERRIES OF THE SEASON! They are not nearly at their peak performance, but they taste so much more like real strawberries. It’s like watching the trailer of a really awesome movie that opens in a couple of weeks that will be like the most amazing thing you ever experienced so you wonder if you should be getting in line already.

The Oregon strawberry season exists to teach us life lesson:  we need to savor every morsel because time flies and opportunities are lost if we don’t seize the day and live in the moment so we better catch it while we can because we will turn our back and it will be gone in the blink of an eye. Oregon strawberry season is worth intercontinental travel and I am not even kidding. Even if you don’t plan to take the Portlandia tour, you really might want to come visit Oregon just to experience our strawberries.

Yes, you actually have to come here to eat them because they are rather delicate and fragile so they don’t travel well and their shelf life is very short, not just because people grab them as soon as they arrive on the shelf.

So our meal was topped off with fresh berries. A very happy ending. And a preview of coming attractions.

Oregon strawberries

Fresh Oregon strawberries

My Cinderella Story for March Madness


The idea and general design for this quilt came to me in a dream. Seriously. Fortunately, I remembered it when i woke up. For once.

And then Blaine helped me with the important details. Like what the brackets are all about, what seed plays what seed in the first round, etc. etc.

Basically, it tells the story of an entire March Madness tournament, from the first round to the championship game. And has fans in the bleachers and watching on tv.

It was really hard to get everything right. In fact, I’d have to say it was probably the most difficult quilt I’ve made to this point. I had to figure out the pattern and how to make it all fit, and of course rip out and resew it in quite a few places.

It’s called Cinderella Story because the lowest ranked team in the weakest bracket ends up taking it all. You can follow the story in the quilt pattern. It’a a really big quilt, so I couldn’t really figure out where to hang it to get the whole thing in one frame, but I did include it in the adventure Joyce and I undertook to depict my quilts in iconic Portland locations. Maybe there’s enough showing to give you the general idea.

Ric and Blaine are at the Rose Garden at this very moment watching the second round game of the 2012 NCAA tournament between Indiana and New Mexico!

Last week, it occurred to me that it would be cool to put the quilt on display for the tournament, I emailed the Rose Garden and someone there was kind enough to reply quickly, but had the disappointing news that there are so many NCAA rules about what can and can’t be displayed that they were having to remove lots of things. So I told her thanks and that I would just consider it the NCAA’s loss. 🙂

But I’d like to point out that in this year’s tourney, there were two near-Cinderella stories in the first round, with two #15 seeds knocking off #2 seeds.

So maybe there will be a Cinderella story for my quilt. Maybe, just maybe, despite the odds and NCAA rules, someday my Cinderella will be invited to the Big Dance.

Quiltlandia: Share the Rack


The name, of course, is a play on Share the Road, a bumper sticker frequently on display in Portlandia, where bikes pretty much rule.

There is a sorta interesting backstory about this bike shelter. The Hawthorne Bridge was closed for repairs for a seriously lllloooooonnnnnngggggg time a few years ago, seems to me it was closed for a year and a half or maybe even two years. Soon after we got our bridge back, however, a movie crew took it over for a few months to film a number of scenes from the movie The Hunted. Our patience had worn very thin so there were a number of complaints from the Portland citizenry. To placate the public, the movie company promised to build a covered bike shelter on Hawthorne Blvd. as a kind of “thank you” gift.

This is that very bike rack.

I used several prints from the periwinkle blue and green Pretty Bird fabric from Michael Miller. I think this would look especially fine on a tweenager’s bed.

Share the Rack: Quilts AND Bikes

My Showroom of Quilts. Please make this idea go viral.


My quilt show flyer

I’m somewhat known for having big ideas. Many would call them outsized. Unreasonably proportioned.

I have tried and tried to reign them in. I really have. And actually, I have learned to keep more and more of them to myself. So as not to drive everyone around me crazy. In fact, I have publicly promised my co-workers to propose no more new ideas. I have clearly outstayed my welcome on that score.

But sometimes my ideas can be so rewarding. They actually work. Which makes it so hard to give them up entirely.

One of my latest ideas was spurred by our office’s recent adoption of four-week sabbaticals for those of us who have worked there for seven years. Since I’ve put in 15 years, I was one of the first (if not the very first) to sign up.

We had to submit a plan for the goals – both professional and personal – for our month away. True to my nature, I promised to pursue three rather ambitious and lofty goals. And my plan to achieve those three ginormous things was approved by my boss.

That’s when my trouble began.

One of my goals was to plan and produce a show of my quilts.

Mind you, I’m kind of self conscious about showing anyone except close friends and family my quilts. Most people I know have never seen them. I am very afraid of the quilt police. What was I thinking, pledging to put on a show? In public and all?!?

Even if I overcame that apparent contradiction, how was I to pull this off? Where on earth would I do it? My quilt habit is costly enough just buying fabric, I can’t afford to rent a space that has a lot of blank walls and good lighting… like a gallery or something. I fretted over this for several weeks before the solution presented itself to me. Here’s how it happened.

One day in late July while pondering my dilemma, I walked past the mattress store across the street from my office building and noticed a “We’re open for First Thursday tonight” sign on the door. Suddenly I had it:  I should have my quilt show at a mattress store, I can lay my quilts out on the beds!!! No walls needed!

And what if I did it at the mattress store on a First Thursday, the evening all the galleries in the Pearl District (my office neighborhood) open their doors for art shows, inviting people to come in and have conversations with beverages while looking at the art, etc.  BedMart would provide a place to show my quilts, my quilts could bring people in so more potential customers are mingling among mattresses. A total win-win, am I right?!

A few days later, I went in and described my idea to the manager. I figure, what’s the worst that can happen, she says no, right? I tell her about my sabbatical and what I promised to do and how I need a place to show my quilts and I’m thinking it might be challenging to lure First Thursday goers into a mattress store without an artistic attraction so maybe it would be a great collaboration.

She immediately grasped the opportunity in my idea and said, “That’s a wonderful idea, we would love to do that, you want to do it in August? Like next Thursday?”

Well, I won’t really be ready in August, that’s when my sabbatical is, how about First Thursday in October?

“That would be great, here’s my card, let’s keep in touch.”

I’m acting all calm but inside I’m screaming in a very high pitched tone: “A-W-E-S-O-M-E !!!!!!!!!!!!!”  I’m so not used to things being this easy.

So it’s actually happening. Twenty-five of my quilts. And some other quilted thingies I’ve done. And some cool and fun activities to engage you.

First Thursday in October! October 6th. 6 p.m. to whenever it ends. BedMart at NW11th Ave and Glisan St. in Portland’s Pearl District. It turns out to be the very night of the 25th Anniversary of First Thursday!

I would be really really thrilled and excited if you came.

And I’m thinking I need to make this idea go viral. Bed stores can be awfully boring looking…. like acres of, lets face it, fairly butt-ugly mattresses. What if the quilters of the world talked to the managers of the bed stores in their towns and arranged events like First Thursday.

Or maybe the events could be ongoing, like a week long or something. Or maybe permanent installations… quilters could show and sell their works, quilt lovers and art appreciators and everybody everywhere would be inspired to make their mattress and bed purchases at those stores.

Lots of details to work out, yes, but we can make it happen, am I right? You know I am.

Let’s do this.

No wonder I keep getting new ideas. They’re so much fun!!!

It’s almost 30 hour day!


Tomorrow is the premiere of an event, the likes of which the world has never seen: 30 hour day.

No sleep. All for charity.

A bunch of really kind and creative and brilliant and geeky people in Portland are streamcasting a telethon. A streamcastathon, for lack of a better word.

For 30 straight hours. No sleep. To raise money for charity. It starts at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18th and runs til 10 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19th.

I’m really excited about this, and I’m one of the people on the schedule around 10 p.m. tomorrow night. I would love it if you tuned in and watched, made a donation, bid for an auction item, and generally just became part of this awesome community for at least part of 30 hours.

Some of the money will go to Free Geek, where Blaine makes his second home! Hope you can stop by!