01 Jan

Portland 4T

Happy New Year!

Our holiday celebrations are over, guests have returned home, and house emergencies have been dealt with, so now’s a good time to get back to blogging and to catch up on a few things.

Back in October or November, before Portland broke records for the rainiest December and we didn’t want to leave our house, we had some fun exploring our new city. Through some local friends we had heard about the Four T Trail and decided to give it a try.

4T train 2

The first T is for train. We actually started with a bus, but that’s not part of the official tour. The bus took us from near our house to Downtown, where we caught the light rail MAX train to the Zoo. The Portland MAX is frequent, and clean, and a great way to get around town.


4T train


From the Zoo, we headed to the second T, the trail. This one made me laugh because it almost looks like we’re supposed to walk onto the freeway.

4T trailhead

But no, the well marked trail leads you into the forest. Portland is kind of awesome in that you can be in the middle of a large urban area and still feel like you’re hiking deep in the woods. Well, for a city girl like me it’s a nice change of scenery without a lot of effort and that counts for a lot.


4T trail 1

Partway through the Trail section, hikers are rewarded with a spectacular view of Portland from Council Crest Park. This park was a great find for us since it’s an easy 10 minute drive from our house and has now become a definite stop on our “places to take guests” list.


4T Crest view

From Council Crest, the trail dips back into the forested park. Or, if pressed for time, one can stick to residential streets and knock some time off the trek. We did this, but while the houses are fun to ogle, the streets are narrow and winding and without much shoulder, which meant we really had to watch for cars. We’d not choose the shortcut again.


4T tram

At the end of the trail is the third T, the arial Tram. This ski-resort style gondola shuttles people between the two OHSU (Oregon Health and Sciences University) campuses — one at the top of a hill, one at the waterfront.


4T tram view

Once again, the views were superb.


4T trolley 2

At the bottom of the tram was the Trolley, AKA Portland Streetcar, and the fourth T on the trek. The trolley took us back downtown where we started. Had we not needed to get back home by a certain hour, we would have stopped along the way for some of the great food Portland is famous for. No fear, we enjoyed this interesting way to see the variety that Portland has to offer, so we’ll definitely be doing it again. Summer visitors, you’ve been warned. Bring comfy walking shoes!

25 Aug

Hello Oregon

Hello Mt Hood.

I’ve been to Oregon and back. One of my Army Wife aprons was part of a fantastic show at Hap Gallery in Portland and I wanted to go to the opening reception. I was also curious about the new Quilt!Knit!Stitch! show organized by IQF as a replacement for their Long Beach, CA quilt show. The two events were a week apart and I wasn’t sure I could justify going to one let alone both. But… our family will be moving next summer — to the location of our choice — and the Willamette Valley in Oregon tops our list. So off I went to satisfy my artistic curiosity and to do some location scouting for our next home.


Terry's Studio
This was my temporary home for the first half of the trip. I stayed with my “Quilt Aunt,” Terry Grant and this is her fantastic little studio/guest bedroom. We had a wonderful visit talking about our art and goals. She was kind enough to drive me around Beaverton so I could get a feel for the area, and in my investigation of potential schools for my kids, Terry got to know more about area high schools than she ever wanted to know!


Unraveling, by Kristin La Flamme
Together, we enjoyed Portland’s happening First Thursday and went to a reception for Columbia Fiber Arts Guild in which my friends Terry and Gerrie both had artwork, and to “my” reception at Hap Gallery. Fail/Safe is a fabulous show, thoughtfully curated by Marci Rae McDade and reviewed positively in Willamette Week and The Oregonian. I am honored to have been a part of the show, and especially chuffed since this was the first time someone had come to me to ask for specific art to put in a show. I wish I had taken photos of this gem of a show to share, but I just soaked it up instead. Afterwards, Terry, her husband Ray, and I went out to dinner. Lovely evening.


I've Been Framed
On another day Terry took me to I’ve Been Framed, and electing framing and art supply store on the opposite side of Portland. It’s a warren of papers and paints and who knows what else. We both found treasures we did and didn’t know we needed.


Three days were with my mom, exploring the corridor between Portland and Eugene. I discovered that I’m not at all interested in living in a town smaller than Corvallis (about 55,000 pop) and that I appreciate the influence a large college or university can have on a place like Charlottesville where we live now, and on Corvallis and Eugene, but not necessarily Salem. However, Salem has a fantastic quilt shop!

Guard Frog
Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest is a wonderful place, owned by the same family for three generations. It’s up for sale and I wish I was the right person to buy it. It’s a local fixture though and the right person will come along. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and the stock is fresh and interesting. They have a huge range of patterns and books and activities to engage all levels and interests. I broke my nearly year-long vow not to buy any new off-the-bolt fabric and came home with yardage for several projects. Being a forest, Greenbaum’s has a “frog pond” and when you stack up your fabric for consideration a frog guards it so no one else accidentally returns your bolts to the shelves. Adorable.


Woven hangings and stalactites
Back in Eugene, my mom and I stopped at the Eugene Textile Center which I was happy to see is going strong. It is focused mainly on weaving, but stocks other yarn goodness as well. They’ve also got a small gallery which is currently hung with weavings and these subtle stalactites which I quite liked. I’m sorry that I didn’t take note of the artists names.


The latter half of my trip was spent near downtown Portland at “The Congdo” with my quilt mom Gerrie Congdon. One afternoon I walked myself down to the Alphabet and Pearl neighborhoods. I decided that I wouldn’t want to live there, but I would very much like to be close enough to visit often! In my walk, I came across Cargo which I immediately recognized as a must-stop in any Portland visit. It was a trove of color and texture.


Small Medium Large


Nesting Tables



At Quilt!Knit!Stitch! in Portland, OR 2014
The end of my trip had Gerrie and I at the Quilt!Knit!Stitch! show volunteering at the SAQA exhibit area. I quite enjoyed the show. It was similar to the Festival in Houston, but not nearly as large and overwhelming. There’s lots of room for improvement, especially in attendance and inclusion of local talent, but I think that comes with time and the show will definitely be back next year. I’m excited to see how it evolves.


At Quilt!Knit!Stitch! in Portland, OR 2014
Click on any of the photos to go to my Flickr stream where I have more pictures of individual quilts and exhibits that I enjoyed.

Thank you Oregon, it was a great trip! Perhaps next year I will be attending QKS as a local.