Monday, June 30, 2008

Music Monday - 6/30/2008

For a while now I have been thinking about starting a series of posts on my blog. I have the Top 5 series but don't write enough of them to make it a regular feature. So I had to decide on a topic I liked enough to write about weekly. The obvious answer, music. I love music, love to listen to it, write about it, dance to it, and share it. I had planned on sharing a few songs that are constantly stuck in my head right now but then thought, to start this off, I should go back to one of my earliest music memories.

It's 1980, I'm almost 7. My parents decide to have a yard sale and since I'm at that age where I don't need my baby stuff but also am still very attached to it, they tell me I can keep some part of the proceeds of whatever I decide to sell. I don't remember what treasures I sold, but I clearly remember what I bought. I bought 2 albums that, looking back, must have made my parents so nervous and truly signified getting rid of my childish things.

Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedoes (the full album) and Pat Benatar's Hit Me with Your Best Shot (the single). I can still picture the album cover of Damn the Torpedoes. Tom in a leather jacket, holding a guitar, and lots of hot pink. In case it's not as vivid a memory for you, here he is in all his glory:
As weird as it is to think of my 6 year-old self singing about putting another notch in my lipstick case, I, somewhat pompously, think it's pretty awesome that these were the first 2 albums I bought with my own money.   It also makes me happy to be a child of the 70s.  If I were a little younger, my first album might have been NKOTB or Tiffany.

For your listening pleasure:
Don't Do Me Like That (mp3)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot (mp3)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mid-Century Love

Lately, I have been enamored of mid-century design. I just have to figure out how to afford it. Here are two ways to enjoy it for less:

The Postal Service (the mail people, not the band) has just released a set of stamps to commemorate Ray and Charles Eames. The Library of Congress also has a lot of info on them.
Next April, Portland is having a Street of Eames. Yes, I know that's about 9 months away but if you work weekends like me, you might want to go ahead and make sure you request some time off, Something tells me I'll like this so much more that the usual Street of Dreams - those houses are always too big and overdone. These look just about perfect!

And, if you are lucky enough so that money is no issue, these realtors specialize in modern homes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Blog Header Tutorial

A few people have asked about my headers which makes me really happy. I don't have Photoshop or anything like that. I use PowerPoint. All those presentation skills I used at Intel and WaMu are finally useful for something else. And having now made a few, I think anyone can make one. So here's a little tutorial:

First I look for free images I like online. Free is the key because then you can use them without copyright issues.
Then I open PowerPoint, create a rectangle about the size of the header I want, paste the chosen image, and add a textbox.
I have a Mac so there is a program called Grab where you can copy any part of the screen. I use this to make a picture file out of the header in PowerPoint by just selecting the header area and nothing else. This creates at TIFF file but if you reopen that TIFF file and then save it as a JPEG, you can use it in Blogger. I'm sure there is a similar program to Grab on PCs.

Sometimes I just use PowerPoint's autoshapes (circles, rectangles, arrows, etc) to create something. That's how I made these headers.

To look for images, I often choose the "add image" icon and choose the "clip art" option. The Clip art gallery window opens and it isn't that great but at the bottom, you can click on the "online" button and find lots of good images. Once you have imported an image and added it to the PowerPoint slide, you can manipulate it. Some images will let you right-click on them and choose "edit picture" You will get a warning that you are about to convert it to a Microsoft Office drawing. That's OK. It will now be lots of parts of the picture and you can delete the parts you don't like. Or copy and create more of the parts you do like. I did that with this header I haven't used yet. I used stars from one image, the moon from another, and recolored it all. The speech balloon thing is an autoshape that you can adjust and add text. I really liked the stars but wanted more of them and in different places. I broke the image apart and changed it. But be careful, remember it is now lots of small pieces rather than one big image. When you've made your changes, you can select the whole image and "regroup" it so it will be one image again.

Another site I haven't used yet but seems to have lots of good images is Briar Press.

I also use different fonts to make it more unique. Here's the post about sites I like for free fonts.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Weekend Blues

I have to work all weekend and to make my misery even worse, I decided to look around and see what I would be missing. Here's something I really wish I could go to.

Have you ever heard of The World's Longest Yard Sale? It runs 630 miles along Hwy 127, from Ohio to Alabama. I've always thought it would be so fun to spend a day or two browsing. Well, Portland has a big sale too, admittedly, not 630 miles long, but still big.

23rd Annual Eastmoreland Garage Sale

Saturday, June 21st and Sunday, June 22nd

Unofficially dubbed “the Northwest’s largest garage sale”, over 140 homes officially participated last year and they expect a significant turnout again this year.

Around the Sun, a blog suggested by Pascal on my Guide to Portland, has more on this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pretty, Pretty Words

Summer is the season of parties, BBQs, and other events that require invitations. There are so many wonderful letterpress companies out there but if you want to make your own, a nice font is one way to personalize them.

Have you seen this. geoGreeting, a site that uses the shapes of buildings as seen from above to spell out your message.
I think this one is perfect for spring/summer. The Butterfly Alphabet. You can order pictures, posters, and send e-cards. And you can choose the butterfly alphabet
or the nature alphabet

Helvetica is great, so clean and simple. Anything Crate & Barrel uses is good enough for me. But sometimes you need a more decorative font. I love this site. They have so many cute fonts and themes. And they're FREE!!!  I just spent about 2 minutes looking around and found all these.  Imagine the possibilities.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Higitus Figitus!

Guess what comes out on DVD today! My favorite Disney film ever, Sword in the Stone. I know it's not the most popular one and it's so old but that's kind of what I love about it. I love the scratchy pencil drawing animation. I love the humor of it. When Wart is a fish and a squirrel, Archimedes and his hrummmph and grumpiness, Merlin's scatterbrained professorness, but most of all, I love the wizard's duel.

I Do NOT Need These Shoes!

I have been looking for 2 new pairs of shoes.  1) A casual pair of flats that are comfortable but not too athletic looking.  2) A casual sandal, preferably black, with a 1-2 inch wide heel or wedge.  I want to be able to wear it with capris and casual skirts.  

I looked around quite a bit and didn't find anything like those... But I did find these. I have soooo many black dress shoes with cute little details like contrast stitching, buckles, buttons, and straps that I absolutely do NOT need these.  This has become my new mantra, it's the only reason I haven't bought them yet.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Shopping in the Sunshine

Saturday in Portland was such a perfect day, 70 degrees, sunny, blue skies, cool breeze. I wandered around the Farmer's Market for a bit with my new straw bag (only $2.50 at Target) and new Klean Kanteen water bottle (no BPA's here).
Then I headed over to Belmont. I finally made it to Noun and Saint Cupcake. I think I walked around the store about 5 times because I was overwhelmed by the charm of it all. New items, vintage finds, and beautiful jewelry all mixed so perfectly I almost felt guilty buying anything and ruining the harmony of each grouping. But not too guilty to buy a Pea in a Pod dish set from TAG. I love green and recently decided that it would be my kitchen color. The guy working at Noun was so fun, he loved the set and even wrapped it in green tissue to match.
We also talked about the delicious cupcakes and how Red Velvet is a favorite for both of us. And that's just what I bought and ate on my walk over to Hawthorne.  Such a good area for shopping and people watching.  I found so many things I wanted and even bought a few.  I got my mom this cute little bird to brighten up her home.
I bought myself Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and 101 Kitchens. I've been wanting to read the first one for a while and the last one was only $1 and has so many good ideas for kitchens and source guides for buying.
This trip confirmed that TAG is one of my favorite brands. Unfortunately, their website is wholesale only and finding online stores that carry their products is not easy since "tag" is a popular internet word. This Amazon search is the best I could find.

On the way back to my car, passing all the other people enjoying the day, walking by the gardens at the Sunnyside environmental school and park, I wondered if the day could get any better, and then that's just what it did. Some girls in the park were blowing bubbles and a bunch of them floated across my path.

With a smile on my face, I went home, enjoyed some tomatoes and mozzarella, and went out on my balcony to work on my chair. Hopefully I'll finish it this week.

Guide to Portland

A friend who has been visiting and may be moving here asked me for new ideas of things to do in Portland. So much has changed in the 2 years I was away so, lucky for her, I have been keeping bookmarks of links about Portland. Thought some of you might like them too.

Good Overall Resources:
  • Willamette Week A local independent paper with a very useful website for finding events, restaurants, and understanding the population and politics of Portland.
  • Live PDX Another website to search for all there is to know about Portland

Visit/Shopping Guides:

Some of my favorite neighboorhoods are:

A few of my personal favorites:
Outside of Portland:

Goodnight Moon

I spent part of Saturday wandering around Hawthorne and Belmont.  Lots of good finds, not all purchased, but all loved.  One store had several cards and posters by Nikki McClure.  I was reminded of one of them while driving home tonight, enjoying the cool air, looking at the almost-full moon.  I wanted to go lie in a field and be moonstruck.

P.S. Buy Olympia, an online store with Nikki McClure papercuts and so much other fun stuff.

P.P.S. Goodnight Moon was one of my all-time favorites as a kid.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Perfect Sofa Just Got Even Perfecter

This sofa has been flirting with me for a while.  Finally, it's stopped playing hard to get... It's on sale! Recently, I thought I might need a sofa soon but it seems things may have changed slightly. Don't read too much into that, it just means I think I found a roommate who already has furniture. Looks like this will just have to stay a long-distance romance for now.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pack It Up, Pack It In

Do you know Daily Candy?  A great resource for fashion, style, food, beauty, and more.  I could tell you to sign up for the daily email but then what would I have left to post about?

A few days ago, I learned about Jane Marvel bags.  They are just the kind of bag I'm holding in my traveling dreams.  You know the dream, you get an around-the-world trip with a dashing companion, you look glamorous at all times and yet somehow, all your belongings fit in a small satchel.

A few extras, they are vegan, most are under $100, and each one comes with a free gift like a small mirror or eye mask. I really want the Mile High and the Hanging Cosmetics Bag, both in Sunshine.

Yes You Can Play with Your Food

I'm such a nerd for themes. I love Halloween for the chance to dress up. Tonight, I'm getting together with friends to watch My Boys and since it's about a girl, who writes about baseball and hangs out with her friends in a bar, I'm bringing Cracker Jack's and bottled root beer. I've had dinner and a movie parties where all the food had to tie in with the movie. I've always thought it would be fun to have a kebab barbeque and figure out dessert that can be made on skewers. So I was excited for this idea. Dessert sushi! I've made my own regular sushi and it's so easy and fun and would be great at a party, and now I have a dessert option. I think there will be a party in the future!

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Boys

For a long time, I didn't have cable, then I moved to SLC, into a house that came with cable. Since I worked nights, it was very nice to have something decent to watch when I was awake at 3am. So now, I still have cable for the same reason. I think the best discovery was My Boys on TBS. It ran in 2 short seasons (or 1 regular season with a break in the middle since I think all the episodes are considered Season 1). This show is about PJ, a sports writer in Chicago, her brother (played by Jim Gaffigan), and her 4 guy friends. It is well written, the actors have great timing, and they are just witty enough; like you on your best day, not too much, but still something to aspire to.

The new season starts on Thursday! If you are interested in joining my fan club, you can watch some of the old episodes on Comcast On Demand, and I think all of them are on (only works if you have a PC not a Mac. Come on! Get with the times!)

If my suggestion and Jim Gaffigan's humor aren't endorsement enough, would it help if I mentioned that Jeremy Sisto is in a few episodes?

Amazing Handmade Furniture

J Rusten's furniture is so beautiful especially once you watch the video and see the love and time that go into each piece.  

His flickr photostream has even more furniture and other fun things like his safety earphones that he adapted to play music.

More from Indexed

I was looking through some of the older posts from Indexed and just had to share a few more...

This one is called: Why Blind Dates So Often Fail

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Vintage Logos

This flickr set contains logos from an out-of-print book, World of Logotypes. The 70s really created some simple yet beautiful logos using only geometric designs and interesting fonts.

They remind me of a quote I saw on the windows of Design Within Reach in Washington DC. "An interesting plainness is the most difficult and precious thing to achieve." - Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe

The Mountain Shop

Eastern Business Systems


Grafton Productions

Liquid Paper

Found via Dark Roasted Blend, one of the top 50 Blogger blogs.

The New Math

Sometimes it amazes me how quickly I can click from one site to the next and find new, interesting, fun stuff. I was looking at How About Orange, which mentioned the top 50 Blogger blogs. One of them is Indexed, a hilarious, creative blog that uses math concepts to demonstrate the relationship between things in everyday life. I know that sounds scary and you might need to review how Venn diagrams work (easiest explaination I could find, the Wikipedia one WAS scary). But be brave and keep reading. Here are a few of my favorites, not too mathy.

These reminded me a bit of Demetri Martin, and his visual aids, which is a good thing, he's hilarious!

Picky Picky Picky!

I just bought new dinnerware at IKEA. I love it! I'm not too picky about plates but I'm super-picky about bowls. I'm not really a fan of the "low bowl" - that shallow, wide-rimmed bowl that works great for pasta but not at all for cereal or soup, or most importantly, ice cream. So it was the bowls that sold me on this set, the IKEA 365+ set. These bowls sit perfectly in your hand, don't threaten to slosh your milk all over you, and look how pretty they are filled with leftover vietnamese noodles.