Thursday, May 7, 2015

Portland, Ho!

Last year I went with a group of sewing friends to Santa Fe, New Mexico, which you can read about here and here.

This year we decided to head to Portland. Portland is a great destination for folks who love to sew!

I was only in Portland for three days, so I couldn't quite squeeze everything in that I wanted to see, but I did pretty well!


We stayed at the Hotel deLuxe near the Pearl District. (It is actually located in a neighborhood called Goose Hollow.) When I was in Portland for a couple nights last fall (for work), I stayed at their sister hotel, Hotel Lucia, which is in the Pearl District. The Pearl District is a very nice place to hang out. It is the home of many nice restaurants, shops, Powell's Books, and Blue Star donuts (which I hear are much yummier than VooDoo donuts). Both hotels feature a classic movie theme, with an ambience of old world elegance. While Hotel Lucia is a bit more central, its rooms are smaller.

The hotel staff at the deLuxe were gracious, lovely, and accommodating to our entire group. I couldn't have been happier this hotel! (Well, maybe a bit happier if the breakfast had been complimentary and the room had a mini fridge. ;) But I was happy with the hotel's restaurant, where we ate most breakfasts; some in the group had other meals and drinks here, as well.)

Two of the room keys

Margy was my roomie and it was so good to see her again! I loved the jewelry she laid on the bureau. Unbeknownst to her, I took a photo of her little pile on the first day and on the last day. It was mesmerizing!

Margy's Baubles, an ever-changing art exhibit

The hotel's Do Not Disturb sign which may, or may not, have come home with me <ahem>

Georgene and Margy, with Ann photobombing in the center.

Lovely Margy

Some of my best photos were blurry, such as a series of Margy swanning down the street! (With Nancy, Patti, Rosie, and Jan bringing up the rear.)

Crafty Shopping

Of course the main reason for these trips is to hang out with friends! It's wonderful to see friends from last year and to meet new friends. But my next favorite activity is to do some shopping, both sewing-related and otherwise.

Portland is a mecca of great shopping for the crafty-minded. I was in Portland for 3 days, so I did not get to see everything that I wanted, but I plan to come back. I was happy when DD1 chose a university in Oregon, so I think I can squeeze another trip here before she graduates next spring.

Here is a run down of some Portland's crafty delights! (Note: I didn't make it to Fabric Depot on this trip. Next time!)

Pendleton Woolen Mill Store
It's easy to get confused by all of the stores related to Pendleton! There are the regular Pendleton stores, with clothing. There are the Pendleton "home" stores, with items for your home. There are Pendleton outlet stores. And then there is this store, the Woolen Mill Store, which carries things that make a sewer's heart go pitter patter.

This warehouse-sized store carries Pendleton fabrics on the roll, in flat folds, and in bins where you buy it by the pound. It has their wools, their silks (yes, they have silks, too), their cottons. It has trims, purse findings, wool rovings. Etcetera etcetera etcetera. Don't be confused by the confusing information, and check out this store, which is located in the industrial area of nearby Milwaukie. We took a 20-minute cab ride to get there and it was well worth it.

Mardel (right) surveys the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store

Who doesn't like a palm tree made from wool roving and brown craft paper?!

I had to give Mr Sheep, the store's mascot, a test ride!
Mill End Store
It might be easy to confuse the Woolen Mill Store with the Mill End Store. They have similar names and they are about one mile apart in the industrial area of Milwaukie. But the Mill End Store has no relation to Pendleton. It is located in another large warehouse, in what used to be a fabric mill.

I had been told that the Mill End Store is a jobber, and I love jobbers, but that is not true. Mill End is an independent brick and mortar fabric store that reminds me of fabric stores from days of yore. They feature a large inventory covering all of the bases - they even have a sizable ribbing section! Mill End has all of the categories of fabric that you expect, and at reasonable prices. Members of my party found lots to buy here. I made a beeline for the ribbing section and bought ribbing in two shades of blue. While I was getting it cut, I spied some wool remnants that were folded on the cutting table. They had just come in (possibly from a jobber) and hadn't been priced yet. I snapped these unique puppies up—they are one of my favorite things I purchased in Portland (which is not technically Portland).

And I didn't even make it into the yarn room!

I chatted with the owner of the store, who also does their buying, and she is lovely!

We walked from the Woolen Mill Store to the Mill End Store, as we didn't have our own car and didn't want the cab to wait. It's an easy 15-minute walk over flat terrain.

Just a bit of Mill End Store's inventory

The three wool remnants that I scored

A novelty dress form that Rosie found and let me purchase. Thanks, Rosie!

Josephine's Dry Goods
Sewers in Portland and beyond were saddened to hear when Josephine's closed about 2 years ago. Then, about a year later, they re-opened in a new location and with a new owner. This is a very small store filled with luxury fabrics. A large group, like the 10 of us, filled the store quite nicely.

She also carries wonderful notions, like the Japanese sewing needles that Susan Khalje likes and that I purchased in Puyallup.

I was ogling a double-sided cashmere coating, but I did not buy it. Other in our group definitely did their best to support this small business. In fact, I didn't even see Mardel's purchases, as she had them shipped directly home! Also note that Josephine's is located about one block from one of Portland's most famous eateries, PokPok. I had made reservations for dinner at PokPok, so we were able to combine fabric shopping and food in a single cab ride!

Liana and Margy in Josephine's Dry Goods

The Button Emporium

Note: The Button Emporium has since closed.

I am not a button collector (I tend more towards zippers and other hardware, myself), but I was very curious to check out The Button Emporium. We arrived, again as a group of 10, and immediately headed in different directions. I didn't realize that this shop also carries a large, very reasonably priced, selection of ribbons and trims. They also carry supplies like Bohin sewing needles, hooks, eyes, and, yes, lots of buttons! I bought only a few trims here, but it was a very nice shop!
Lots of reflection in the store window

Another window display for The Button Emporium

My purchases

Knit Purl
A very nice yarn store in the Pearl district. I bought some lovely yarn here, which I can't show you because I've shipped it home.

Pearl Fiber Arts
Full disclosure: Pearl Fiber Arts was closed when I was in the vicinity, but it looks like a very nice store and the window display amused me.

Window display for Pearl Fiber Arts. The polka dot "knitting needles" are about 3 feet long and these yarn balls are larger than most cats.

This seems like a good place to insert a random photo of a yarn-bombed statue of an otter in the Pearl District

Inspiration Shopping

I think I actually like inspiration shopping (also called snoop shopping) even better than crafty shopping!

Once again, Portland does not disappoint.

I'm sure that I missed many delights, so please fill me in if you know of a great shop that I missed. I didn't catch the name of every shop that I visited and enjoyed, but these definitely bubbled to the top.

Physical Element
One of the first things I do when I am about to visit a new city is to search for clothing stores that sell the sorts of things that I like. For example, I like Trippen shoes and Rundholz clothing, so I'll google "Portland Trippens" and "Portland Rundholz". This is how I learned of Physical Element.

Physical Element is a small store that has very nice clothing. They carry many brands I know and love, and a couple brands, like La Stampa, there were new to me. I highly recommend a visit!

Margy took this photo in Physical Element

Changes (aka The Real Mother Goose)
I give credit to finding this store to Ann, who led the rest of us there. Oooh, I loved this store!!! It is chock full of wearable art. I didn't buy anything here, but I came sooooo close. (And Margy did find some nice things.) They also have a shop at the Portland airport, which I hope to check out when I fly home. (That's right, I haven't left Oregon yet, though I have left Portland.)

Near to Physical Element, I found garnish. Garnish's owner designs clothing and jewelry and has them made locally. I admired a necklace here, but Mardel bought a beautiful necklace that she wore the rest of the trip and Margy found some earrings.
Margy took this photo in garnish—I am holding one of their necklaces. The thing about Ann: her fabrics are gorgeous, and she's pretty gorgeous, too!

SaySay Boutique
We stumbled onto this very cute store, right next door to a very yummy Mediterranean restaurant. Nancy found a beautiful purse, but I came away with a skirt. Yes, I could have made the skirt, but it was reasonably priced and used a great fabric!

Margy sent this photo of me wearing my new skirt from SaySay. What was the subject line of her email? "butt". LOL

Portland Art Museum Gift Shop
The last shop that warrants mention is the gift shop for the Portland Arts Museum. We visited the museum on the final weekend of the Italian Style exhibit, which was pretty great. Photos of the exhibit itself weren't allowed, but you can buy the book that goes with the exhibit, Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945.

After the exhibit, we wandered into the museum's gift shop and what a wonderful shop that turned out to be! It's not large, but it's well curated. I saw a woman trying on a beautiful necklace. I told her she should buy it, and she allowed me to snap a photo. It turns out they had a second one, so I bought one, too. And then we got to talking. I noticed that we had the same purse in different colors (I purchased mine at Artistry in Fashion last year). She gave me her card and it turns out that she's an artist! Noble Golden makes paper weavings, and they are beautiful.

Noble wearing her new necklace

And here is my new necklace!

A few other goodies I found at the museum gift shop

Alas, no actual photos were allowed of this amazing exhibit and the shop was out of the accompanying book, but you can buy it on amazon using the link above.

Outside the museum they have a sculpture garden

I loved this "Cousin It" sculpture! I walked around it, looking for the face, but there isn't one.

Now, who does this color scheme remind you of?

Thanks, Rosie, for taking this lovely picture!

But Mardel's paparazzi photo cracked me up!


I am not a foodie—I have many issues when it comes to consumables—but I researched Portland restaurants for our group dinners. I also looked into some good choices for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. But frankly, Portland is so full of great restaurants that it seems almost impossible to choose a bad place to eat.

I mostly include this section so I can remember these places!

I've already mentioned that on the afternoon we visited Josephine's Dry Goods, we had dinner at PokPok. PokPok is quite well known and has been written up many times, so getting in can be tricky. They've published a cook book and you can also find some recipes online. (Margy's last blog post had some info about that.)

The group seemed to enjoy the meal and the exotic cocktails. Margy particularly enjoyed a cocktail called "The Khing and I" which featured ginger syrup—before she'd finished the first one she'd looked up a recipe on her iPad. One of the big highlights at PokPok is the wings, which you can order either spicy or not-spicy. Now, let me just say that if you are a vegan who does not eat flour, sugar or most grains, this place is not for you. I knew that going in, but I didn't want to deprive my foodie friends of a Portland gastronomic delight.

Pic at PokPok, taken by Ann

Piattino's won't take reservations, particularly on a Friday night. It's a small establishment and I wanted to go anyway, so we made sure we got there on the early side. I had a large salad, but most folks in the group favored seafood of some kind, particularly the mussels. A very good meal.

Photobombing Liana's pic of her drink

A bit blurry at Piattino's (Photo from Patti)

We stopped at Habibi because we were shopping, it was late, we were hungry, and it was next door to SaySay Boutique. This has to be the best felafel I've ever eaten and I've eaten a lot of felafel. I'd go back in a heartbeat.

Garden Bar
This is one of those places where you can order a salad off the menu, or they can make you a custom salad, with the greens, toppings, and dressing that you like, perfectly tossed. This is my favorite sort of lunch place and, in fact, I ate there twice.

Veggie Grill
On my last morning in Portland, I met up with one of my Nutritarian friends who used to live in San Francisco. It was so nice to see Chel after many years! She took me to Veggie Grill for lunch and it was delicious! She's so lucky to have such a great vegetarian restaurant nearby!

Cheryl's on 12th
One morning we decided to have breakfast away from the hotel and I chose Cheryl's, partly because we needed a place that was open early. When I read the yelp reviews, there was particular mention of the Portuguese Fried Rice and Patti, who ordered it, said that the Portuguese sausage was quite good. Liana had the blueberry pancakes drizzled with lemon curd and, boy, that did look yummy. We were there on the day of the Kentucky Derby and the staff were all wearing hats. It didn't knock my socks off, but it was a nice place to have an early breakfast.

At the end of the weekend, before people start leaving, we like to gather for a little show and tell.
My show and tell

Photographing my show and tell

Lots of interesting information

Margy is trying on one of Georgene's Mycra Pac coats. I covet this coat!

And, at this point, I was quite ready to crash and call it a day. It was the end of another great weekend!

The End!