Thursday, March 31, 2011

{etsy find: antique maps}

We're going to take a bit of a hiatus from my photography-exploring explosion around here and get back to some more artsy things and ideas that I love picking up from those around me.

Today's find is an artist who turns vintage maps into beautiful animal prints to share and sell. Being a lover of maps, myself (for who doesn't love exploring somewhere new with nothing but an idea and a beautiful topo map?) I love the simplicity and ingenuity of these prints.

I discovered Jason Laferra's shop through artsy-geniuses Design*Sponge and Going Home to Roost. But despite that it's probably been over-posted by now, I couldn't help but share them with you. Aren't they beautiful? It makes me want to dig out all my old maps and see what kind of things I could create....

See more prints at Jason Laferrera's etsy shop.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

{eagle creek}

After romping around Monday morning (or rather, walking serenely, as one tends to do in a Japanese garden...) I spent a little time shopping downtown and would have spent more time there, since it was so cute, but I drove my car and there is literally no parking downtown. Next time I plan on taking the fabulous public transportation that runs like San Francisco streetcars throughout the city.

But with more time to kill in the day I decided, on a whim, to do a little hike. A coworker of mine had mentioned Eagle Creek trail at work the other day, so I thought I'd give it a go, since the weather was relatively nice (meaning it was not currently raining, but still overcast). It took me about thirty minutes from downtown to get to the Columbia River Gorge, a place I know I'll be coming back for its amazing beauty.

Apparently I didn't know about the bear warnings, or the parks pass permit needed to park, or the fact that car break-ins happen often, but even if I did, I doubted it would have deterred me. Instead, I gaily hiked two miles in and back to see the famed Punchbowl Falls. It was a short hike, and an easy one, but each step was literally so much more beautiful than the last that I didn't want to turn around. But with the approach of darkness, and rain, and the possibility of my car not being there when I returned, I regretfully walked out again.

The trail itself winds its way up the gorge, literally on a ledge that is so narrow in parts that you have to hug the wall so you don't drop 250 feet into the gorge. Being that I'm afraid of heights, you'll believe me when I say the views were well worth the vertigo. I hugged the mossy walls, weeping with water, and even though it was wasn't raining, I found myself completely soaked by the end of the hike. I walked under waterfalls and through waterfalls and over waterfalls. Eagle Creek is a veritable wonderland of waterfalls. Every ten feet there's another gusher, even prettier than the last. It practically begs you to keep walking forward, because you know there will be another one just around the bend.

Alas, not knowing I was going on a hike, I wore the most useless outfit ever: jeans and a t-shirt. And a ski jacket. And my expensive camera that I desperately try not to get wet in this climate, but which seems to always get wet, anyway. I did have on hiking boots, so that's a plus. I may have looked like a drowned rat, but at least my feet were dry.

The photos I took hardly do the hike justice, but here they are for you to enjoy, anyway.

More photos here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

{japanese gardens}

My last day off work was only two days after I arrived, and I feel like I spent most of the day cleaning my apartment and wallowing in the recent departure of my family. From there followed four days of work, until I got another day off yesterday.
Determined to do more than stay inside all day (and Tanner tells me I'm not allowed to wallow, anymore) I planned a number of things to do outside, and fortunately the weather cooperated and kept the rain at bay. (Though it was still overcast, of course.) I hopped around town for most of the day, and even got in a little hike in the gorge (though that's a post for another day.)

Today I'm sharing how I spent the morning: I visited the Portland Japanese Gardens, taking in its lush beauty and perfect symmetry, giving a peaceful feeling of serenity, calm and balance as I walked through its running streams and carefully placed stonework. High above the city itself, it offered views of downtown Portland, and I'm sure you'd be able to see Mt. Hood on a clearer day.

Here's my journey into the gardens.

See more photos here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

{diy: kitchen fork hooks}

Today's post is a fun little project I whipped up in no time at all, and it adds a little bit of funky flair to your kitchen. I got the idea of using forks as hooks from JJEvansenArt on etsy, but rather than ordering a pre-made fork rack, I thought it would be fun (and cheaper!) to make my own.

What you'll need:
Old forks

First, by hand or with the pliers, bend the fork into a curved hook shape.

Then use the pliers to bend the two inside tines criss-crossed toward the two outside tines. This will make a space in the middle of the tines so you can effectively hang your forks.

When finished, hang your forks directly on wall, or mount on a rack, by nailing them through the space in the center of the tines. Hang mugs, measuring cups, aprons, coats, etc!

Enjoy your new creation!

Friday, March 25, 2011

{it's just another manic monday....}

Monday was my first day of work. After a long night of nightmares, I went in early and met the assistant manager, who spent a lot of the day showing me around and helping me meet employees. I definitely felt a bit out of my element, being that I didn't know anyone, or how they ran things here, or even where things like phones were located. But I got through the day, feeling more or less exhausted and like a deer in the headlights. First days are always hard.
Fortunately, I still had my family in town, and it was a great relief to see them waiting to pick me up at the end of the day. They had gone to Mount St. Helen's for a day trip, and though it was apparently overcast all day, the museum was worth the drive.

We spent the evening playing games and watching movies, and it was a comfort to have them to come home to after feeling overwhelmed at work all day.

Tuesday, sadly, was the day my mom, uncle and cousin flew home and left me by myself for good. I had work again quite early, so I had to say goodbye before I left. It quite difficult for me, and for the rest of the day I was a bit of an emotional train wreck, despite my best efforts to keep positive at the store. Coming home to an empty house was worse, and I spent a quiet night alone, wishing, not for the first time, that Tanner was there to keep me company.

The rest of the week has gone by much better; I'm slowly fitting myself into the system, and though I don't feel much like a manager yet, I feel like I'm gradually connecting with people and feeling a little more at home here. I know it will take time, and I'm trying not to think about the fact that I miss North Carolina and its people so much it makes my heart break. I'm such an introvert that to be shoved out of my element takes a lot of effort from me, though I'm trying my best. I love having a small, strong core of friends, but it does take me a long time to make those friends. It's days like these I wish I were more of a social butterfly, or that I could emulate Tanner more often, who makes friends so easily.

Wednesday I had the day off, and though I walked around outside a bit, I didn't make the effort to go into the city again quite yet. Instead I comforted myself by doing some organization around the house, trying to make it more and more like home.

Yesterday I got the chance to do some small visual projects at work. I felt a little more in my element with something productive to do all day, rather than feeling idle and useless. I still feel the need to prove my worth here, and I don't think I've done that yet. At any rate, organizing and visualizing makes me feel more at home, and it helped me bond with a few more of the employees, too.

The week is almost over, so I think I've survived it. Each day gets a little easier, and I'm holding out that I'll someday feel just as comfortable here as I did on the east coast. I can't deny that despite this beautiful locale and the jealousy of my friends back home, I would still rather be with them anyday. It's so hard being far away and alone and starting over, and I don't know how people do it. I, fortunately, have Tanner who will be joining me in a few months, but even that short time seems like an eternity. But there are good days and bad days, and even though the week has been hard, I've found some moments where I've been laughing and enjoying myself and thinking, this will get better...

I promise I'll have some photos of the apartment up soon, now that it's finally coming together. Stay tuned, and know that I love and miss you all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

{west coasting}

On Sunday we made plans to go to the beach. Obviously you can't move from one ocean to the other without giving it a good look-see. But our plans were dashed when we realized it would probably be pouring and uncomfortable the whole time we were there.
We had breakfast and pondered more options, and mom made herself friendly with the neighbors, asking for fun things to do around the area. What did they tell us? Go to the beach. So go to the beach we did.

It was an easy hour drive to Cannon Beach, and we spent a lovely afternoon exploring the west coast's mystical, foggy shores. East coasters would hate it, because we're used to white, sandy beaches, hot scorching sun and hundreds of scantily clad people sunbathing and swimming. Having never been a fan of those things myself (I'd rather be out to sea than standing in the hot sand and wistfully staring at it) the allure of the Pacific was rather fascinating to me. I loved the fifty degree temperature, the towering cliffs and the magical feel of it all. It was refreshing and even though the clouds obscured the sun for most of the day, it was still beautiful.

We explored the coastline by foot and then got back in the car and ventured into Washington, looking for more beaches. While venturing we ended up driving back and forth from Oregon to Washington numerous times, making me say to Tanner later that we visited "five states today!"

After crossing another bridge (I forget which state we were in by this point) we stumbled across a lighthouse, by accident, and climbed its 163 steps to the top to take in an expansive view of the Columbia River. It started raining by then, so it was much more overcast, but the view was worth the climb. At the bottom again we read the plaques detailing Lewis and Clark's expedition and imagined ourselves explorers, too, traveling from one coast to the other and drinking in this wild, new wilderness.

We drove home again when the sun set and spent the evening watching movies. Monday morning starts my first day of work, and, as usual, the anticipation is causing me to have first-day-of-school nightmares and mini panic attacks, not withstanding that my family leaves Tuesday and I will officially be on my own.
But for now, we were together and enjoying time spent in the area and with each other.
Here's Sunday's photo recap!

See more photos here.
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