Sprucing Up the Digs

While hunting for a light fixture for our little workroom corner the other day, Barry and I stopped at a shop that my friend Robin recommended a while ago - Seek the Unique. We loved the store - they had a great selection of interesting finds, fair prices, and a super friendly staff. We didn't find a light fixture there (I think School House Electric will be our source for that), but we did come home with a vintage wool blanket and an old tool display board that we've hung in our living room area. And since I'm showing you new things around the apartment, I might as well mention the old maps we picked up at Blake (yes, Portlanders, the denim shop) for ten bucks. We needed something big to fill the space above our dresser until we find the right piece of art to invest in, and they work just fine.


LA and Back... Thank God

I was in Los Angeles for work a couple days ago, and I can't tell you how glad I am to be back. I'm not going to rant about the city itself, but I'll admit that the little slice of downtown where my boss and I go several times a year isn't a very happy place for me. I'm trying really hard to get over what gets into my head every time we go there, but so far, I've been unsuccessful at dealing with some pretty nasty feelings that surface every time we make a trip to LA.

We go to Los Angeles to buy clothing for the boutique where I work. All day long, we're working in showrooms surrounded by representatives of clothing lines and buyers from other boutiques located all over the west coast. For the most part, these reps and buyers look a lot like one another: long, straightened blonde hair; lots of make-up; some plastic surgery on the face, lots on the chest; tight, revealing clothes; crazy high heels... you know, like your average gal from Portland. Ha! My boss and I stick out like sore thumbs while we're there. If I put on ChapStick I feel made-up. You may remember that the last time I was there I split the butt seam of the pants I was wearing, so I wore my pajama sweat pants for an entire day in the showrooms. We are not your average fashion market attendees.

Anyhow, the strange thing is that even though I'm not fond of the look that is so prevalent at the fashion market, even though I'm really turned off by processed hair and plastic surgery, even though I like a down-to-earth, natural look, once we've been at the show for a few hours I always start to feel really bad about myself. Which is crazy. Crazy. I know. On a daily basis (when I'm not in LA, at least) I think about the fact that I am so content with my life. I think of how lucky I am to have the amazing family that I have, to have a job that I like, to live in an awesome city, to be healthy and strong. And in the list of things I value most, how I look (or how anyone else looks) doesn't even come into play. So why is it that when surrounded by women who are actually visually unappealing to me, I start to feel so bad about myself? Huh? I need a good shaking. Can you relate?


Diversion Five: The Knitting

About four years ago, I started knitting a lace rib cowl that I'd seen on The Purl Bee, intending to give it as a gift in my family's handmade holiday gift exchange. I started it, got several rows in before making a mistake, and pulled the whole thing out. I repeated that process around fifty times (seriously, fifty is not an exaggeration) over the course of several years - sometimes several times in one day, sometimes with several months in between retries. Finally, I came to terms with the fact that I wasn't up for seeing this pattern through. So I pulled the yarn out one last time and with it I started a basic little knit 2, purl 2 rib on my circular needles. But that project took a back seat to other things and eventually the beginning of my simple little cowl got packed away. Recently, while looking though a tool box full of art supplies, I found the project, which wasn't more that a few inches long. Our long, dark winter nights seemed like the perfect time to finally see this thing through. So:

There it is. I wish I'd had the gals in my old Long Island City knitting group to help me with a stretchy bind off, but I found one tutorial on-line that worked fine. On one hand I feel satisfied for finishing up something that lingered for far too long and I kinda don't want to see another knitting needle for a long time. And on the other hand I've got a crazy itch to start another knitting project.


Diversion Four, Subset of Diversion Three: The Cooking from the Books

Another book that I recently got out of the library was one that I heard about first on Shari's blog - An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler. I'm enjoying the writing and I've been quite inspired by her simple, practical cooking suggestions. Before even finishing the book, I dove into putting the chapter called "How to Stride Ahead" into practice. Once a week for the past couple weeks, I've filled our oven with several pans and trays full of all sorts of vegetables: beets, cauliflower, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas, Brussels sprouts... and I've roasted away. I love the idea of conserving time and energy by doing this all at once - it made a week's worth of dinner preparation so easy and pleasant. We ate hearty and healthy all week long using the roasted vegetables as side dishes or as ingredients in pastas, purees, soups, and curries. For dinner last night, we had a frittata with Brussels sprouts, leeks, bacon, and cheddar with a side of roasted root vegetables. A few nights before that we had a yummy curry with the roasted cauliflower I'd made a few nights before. We've had pureed yams with pork loin, and a pasta with a sauce made of the trimmings of the vegetables I've roasted. I'm totally hooked on this book.


Diversion Three: The Books

The Multnomah County Library System is one of my best friends. Recently, I've been borrowing the Best American Short Stories from the Best American Series. I'm usually a reader of novels, but I've been enjoying the pace of short-story reading recently. I can pick up the book while I've got dinner in the oven, or when I get home from work before Barry, or while I linger in bed in the morning, and read an entire story. I'd often spend little moments like these at the computer, but the books have been far more cozy and satisfying than the keyboard recently.

Have you got any books to recommend? I'll have another tomorrow...


Diversion Two, Part A: The Camera

I go through phases of strong interest and strong disinterest in using my camera. The light in Portland on New Year's Day sparked the start of an interest phase after I'd gone weeks without touching my camera. Over the next several days, I'll share some of what caught my eye.


Diversion One: Technology

One of the things that's kept me from getting new jewelry in the sulu-design shop and from posting regularly on the blog is a new computer (goodbye eMac, hello 2012!). I'm psyched that we got it - the idea of being able to FaceTime with our families thrills me (you computer-savvy people do use FaceTime as a noun and a verb, right?). But I don't take easily to new things, particularly new technological things. I'm crazy intimidated by some new photo-editing software Barry got. I feel like I'm never going to get comfortable with it. It's taken me hours to upload and edit the photos I took of a few earrings and necklaces along with the shots that I took on New Year's Day. It would have taken me a half hour with the old program. I know I'll get used to our new program, I know I'll get used to a new mouse that has me scrolling all over the freaking computer screen when I don't mean to at all, and I know I'll get used to not having a delete key that moves the cursor forward, but right now I feel like a helpless moron. So.

Instead of doing a shop update, I stopped by Betsy and Iya with several new pieces. The pieces above are there now, along with several more earrings and necklaces. The pieces below are available by e-mailing me at sulu-design@hotmail.com. For now, that's as close to a shop update as I'm getting.


Happy New Year!

It's been a while, friends. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Barry and I recently returned from our trip to see my family in Cleveland. It was awesome - so, so good to spend a nice, relaxing chunk of time with my family. And today we started off the new year right with one of my favorite new year's traditions - an early morning, ridiculously long walk with cameras in hand. We made it over to J & M for a delicious breakfast and followed it with a perfect first day of 2012.

I haven't been around the computer much. Around three weeks ago I mentioned something here about listing new earrings and necklaces in the sulu-design shop. The jewelry is made, but it may be a while 'til I get around to posting it. My attention is taken with other things now. I've picked up some knitting again, gotten myself into a few good books, been enjoying spending time in the kitchen, and found a renewed interest in my camera. I'm sure I'll be back soon with more on some of that. Until then, I hope you're well. Thanks for checking in.