I was eating out in NE Portland recently, and while the food was good, the lighting made much more of an impression. The row of individual bulbs that hung overhead were like nothing I’d seen before. They looked like a modern take on an edison bulb and were glowy and perfectly suited to their exposed fixtures.
I couldn’t help asking a few questions and taking a few photos. Continue reading
In Portland, there is no shortage of talented and creative folks making beautiful and useful products. These are a few of my favorite things made right here in Portland. Great for gift giving!
Gorgeous hand-thrown mugs, cups, bottles and more from Mazama Wares. If you’re local, you can stop by Mazama’s open house at their North Portland studio this Sunday, December 21st for the best selection.
Covet-worthy chopsticks from Hank by Henry— handmade from untreated hard woods and free of chemicals. I can’t resist red, but the subtly metallic versions are really lovely, too. I first spotted these at the holiday gift shop at the Portland Japanese Garden, where they’re selling individual pairs and boxed sets.
This handcrafted mixer from RAFT Botanicals makes a very chic and tasty mimosa when mixed with prosecco. And it’s delicious in soda water with lime, for a fizzy agua de jamaica. I’m also a big fan of their smoked tea vanilla syrup. Can’t decide on a flavor? They have a gift box with mini versions of all three and don’t miss their recipe archive for inspired drink ideas.
Delicious jams with a savory twist from 3 Little Figs. These versatile jams are great with biscuits and the like, but are also fantastic on a cheese plate or grilled cheese. The citrus and smoked salt is my absolute favorite.
This Grayling necklace is clearly for someone very special. Like all of Grayling’s pieces, it’s handmade at their NE Portland shop. Not only is it gorgeous, it cleverly converts from a short to a long necklace.
All things cozy yet refined feel very right now. Here are a few items that strike the perfect balance:
- I can’t wait to get my hands on Flavor Flours— an exploration of non-wheat flours by baking genius Alice Medrich. This has “new favorite baking cookbook” potential written all of over it.
- I want to wear these wide-ish leg, cropped, pleated and pinstriped wool pants everywhere and with everything this fall.
- I cannot tell you how good this Smoked Tea Vanilla botanical syrup is. I’ve been putting it on vanilla ice cream, in my earl grey tea and chai lattes, whipped with heavy cream for desserts, in hard cider, ginger beer and whiskey. This would also be a win on a sweet potato or baked into desserts like pumpkin bread. It has a few simple ingredients that mingle together to give you a smoky-sweet and complex, yet subtle flavor. Handcrafted by two amazing women in Portland, but also available in Seattle, Denver, New York, and online. They have two other delicious flavors, plus a gift set of all three if you can’t decide (great present!).
- The folks at Kate Spade Saturday have nailed it with this gorgeous Colorblock A Satchel. I love the black/rosewood color combination. It’s rich and sophisticated, neutral enough to go with everything, but not at all boring. And it’s the perfect medium size.
- These homey stoneware plates are both pretty and rustic. Their simple design is elevated by thoughtful details– the eye-catching design around the side, and the 1″ lip that helps make sure you’re dinner stays put while you’re cozying up on the couch. They’re made in Portland by Kati Von Lehman and available only on Provisions.
It’s been a long, productive summer in my flower garden. As usual, I learned a lot and didn’t get quite enough time just sitting on the patio staring at the beauty of it all.
This year, I learned:
- How important it is to keep cutting your flowers. It helps plants look tidy, but it also makes a big difference in keeping the blooms coming.
- Overwatering is almost as bad as underwatering. I have floppy echinacea, and blanket flowers that almost didn’t bloom, because I got a little carried away with the hose.
- Bee balm, creeping rosemary, goldilocks black-eyed susans and zinnias all proved themselves worthy of their new spots in my NW garden.
One last thing, this book provided valuable information and inspiration on what to grow and how to pull together a pretty bouquet like this one.
Happy end of summer!
The Flower Recipe Book came out last spring to all kinds of rave reviews. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up this beautiful and affordable (under $15!) hardback book and read it cover to cover. It definitely delivers on how to structure a better bouquet. But maybe even better is the “ingredient chart”– it’s a ready-made shopping list for choosing plants for your cutting garden.
The ladies of Studio Choo borrowed the recipe construct and artfully applied it to flower arranging. For each bouquet, they offer a list of flower “ingredients.” Then they walk you through each step to create their sometimes sparse and sculptural, but more often lush, modern arrangements. Plus, there are lots of stunning photos.
Two summers ago, I started a cutting garden in my backyard. I love the idea of growing most or all of the flowers I need for bouquets throughout the growing season. I was hoping this book would help me fill in my flower garden, as well as create better arrangements from what I grow. It did not disappoint.
I found the ingredients chart towards the front of the book to be super useful as a sort of pantry list. I took stock of what I was already growing and compared it to their suggestions. It turns out I have lots of base flowers and secondary flowers, but need some more focal flowers, base foliage and textural “bits.” Such useful insight! And better yet, I’ll know exactly what to do with the flowers once they’re growing in my garden.
Congratulations, Gina! This lovely calendar from Print Smitten is on its way to you.
Thank you to everyone who entered! While it may be too late to enter to win, it’s definitely not too late to get one of your own.