April 2008

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If you are like me, and your crafty eyes are sometimes too big for your crafty stomach, and you’ve got more fabric and do-dads than you’ll ever use, and you happen to live in the Portland area, give them to Knittn’ Kitten! It is your local fabric, bead, and craft supply thrift store.  

I just donated this rather large tote full of fabric, plus a few new and vintage patterns that, despite my eagerness at the time, I know I will never ever make.

Even if you don’t have anything to donate, the shop is certainly worth a peek.  They have a very interesting inventory of inexpensive crafty goodness: patterns, stickers, great yarn (lots of wool), fabric, and many many notions.  They also have some vintage clothes and bric-a-brac for the home, a little of everything.  Though, I must say that my favorite bit has got to be the vintage linen room.  Were it not for the fact that I’m not buying anything until June, I’d have gone a little nuts in there.   

The store is owned by a lovely mother and daughter team, Ethel and Rome.  A real gem – check it out!


A sense of humor is very important.  Take this photo for instance.  I know that I don’t actually look glamorous, but I can pretend that I do, even in this get-up.  Get-up, now that’s an expression I’ve never typed before.  It looks a little funny.  Anyway, I call it my John Travolta outfit.  It reminds me of the white suit he wore in Saturday Night Fever, minus the mud stained bottom and paint drips, of course. 

I wore this a couple of weekends ago when I was helping the dear hubster take off the vinyl siding that the previous owners put on half of the house.  A little FYI here for all you home owners.  It is much better, and cheaper to pay to have the whole house painted than put vinyl siding on half of it.  I swear

As I was saying, it was awfully cold outside (the weather not matching the orginal forecast when planning this monstrous task), and I knew that this outfit would keep me warm and free of icky debris.  It did the trick, while also slowing traffic in front of our home.  Here is a simulated dialogue:

“Oh my gosh honey, slow down!  But not too much, we don’t want to call attention to ourselves.” 

“What on earth?  Is that a man or a woman?  And what on earth is it wearing?”

“Crap, I think it saw us, speed up, speed up!”

Back to that sense of humor.  Had I not been graced with a very healthy one, I would not be able to laugh at myself while wearing this outfit,  cope with life’s difficulties, or write blog posts about Hans and Sven. 

Life is good!

Meet my little friend Hans.  I used to think that the only people who owned these were the cute, but a little kooky, old ladies at the grocery that, now that I think about it, may take their make-up tips from guys just like him.  Their lips are rosy and they apply a bit too much rouge.  And I do mean rouge – ladies of a certain age don’t call it blush.

But now I am one of them, minus the rouge.  It started with Sven, my terra cotta gnome bought at IKEA with my friend Sarah.  She looked at me like I was nuts.  You want to buy that??  I did indeed, even if she and several other people since have found a strong resemblance between him and the male anatomy.  He’s cute, and I like him.  Besides, I’m a big girl.  I can take it.

So, two more facts you may not have known.  I have garden gnomes, and I name them.  Kooky!

A funny fact about me: music makes me cry.  Every time I listen to Old Blue Eyes sing the song “New York, New York” the tears start ‘a’ flowin’.  You see, I’m kind of silly this way.  Maybe it was all of that music in the womb.  It hard-wired my brain to create profound connections between songs and my tear ducts.   Sometimes it is a memory that triggers the tears.  Other times, it happens on the first hearing and is far more mysterious: the voice?  the notes?  the instruments? Pianos cerainly seem to play a role.

These are the individual songs that will guarantee at least a welling in the eyes and why I believe it to be so.  There are other songs that I cannot recall or have yet to hear.  I also left out artists like Peter Gabriel, Chet Baker, Maria Callas, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong (especially together), Beethoven, John Coltrane, and Mozart.  Ooh la la!  Listen to them in my company and watch me ride the rollercoaster. 

1. “New York, New York” Frank Sinatra.  I am speculating here, because sometimes it is hard for even me to tell, and I’m the one doing the crying.  I think it was Frank’s gumption.  The guy knew what he wanted and went for it in the biggest way.  His Way!

2. The National Anthem.  Okay, this one is easy.  It may not be popular to say right now, but dammit, I am a patriot.  I have traveled to quite a few foreign countries, and while they were all lovely, none suited me so well as this one.  I am very proud to call the United States of America my home. 

3. “Fanfare for the Common Man”  Aaron Copland.  Good golly miss Molly!  The finest tribute to everyday kind of people.  I get misty just thinking about it.

4. “A Song for You”  Leon Russell.  The long-haired, bearded god of seventies song lyrics.  The opening piano just kills me.  “I love you in a place where there’s no space or time.  I love you for my life – you are a friend of mine.  And when my life is over, remember when we were together.  We were alone and I was singing this song to you.”

5. “Georgia”  Ray Charles or Willie Nelson.  Either singer brings on the flow, something about that long pause before singing Georgia a second time at the beginning.  Though I am not from Georgia, this song is about home.

6, 7. “Blue Sunday” and “Indian Summer”  The Doors.  More love songs.  The dreamy voice and music, the lovely lyrics, ahh…

8. “Suite Bergamesque”  Claude Debussy.  My view of the world comes into sharp focus when I listen to this.  Being alive feels absolutely glorious!

9. “The Song is Over”  The Who.  Parting is such sweet sorrow, yet so wonderful, too.

9. “After the Goldrush”  Neil Young.  For me, this is the most beautiful representation of the end of my childhood.  Everything I do has a consequence. 

10. “When I Think of You”  Janet Jackson.  I have the most joyous memory associated with this song.  I attended a high school football game with my friend Nancy (last name???).  She drove this ginormous bomber of a station wagon, and we sang this at the top of our voices on the way home.  Good times.

11. “Elderly Woman Behind a Counter in a Small Town”  Pearl Jam.  Eddie sings sweetly.  A reminder to stay in the present.

12. “Fire and Rain”  James Taylor.  A mourning song, goodbye to all that can never be again.

13. “My Cherie Amour”  Stevie Wonder.  His voice and the lyrics are lovely as a summer day.

14. “Blackbird”  The Beatles.  Moving from Denver to Portland, I became the bird that learned to fly and see, and, yes, I had been waiting all my life.



Gregory and I first saw Jamee’s work when she set up a table on Last Thursday on Alberta Street six years ago.  I was enchanted by the rendering of the most mundane objects: sneakers, a handbag, and house plants.

Unfortunately, or rather fortunately, I had forgotten my check book at home and was seriously short of cash.  I asked Jamee if she had a card or e-mail address, so I could contact her later.  She gave it to me, though I really don’t think she expected me to – people looking at art can be rather flaky!  Well I did, and shortly after, Gregory and I ventured over to her place to check out her work.  I loved what I saw and bought two paintings on the spot.  Thus began our wonderfully artistic friendship.

We later commissioned her to paint a portrait of us on our wedding day from a photograph.  She did a marvelous job, but much to my dismay, it is one thing to look at paintings of strangers, but it was rather creepy to have us in public like that, so it remains safely displayed in a closet for our eyes only. 

Jamee is very, very talented.  She can work on any scale, paint people, a highway overpass, the aforementioned handbag, a pastoral landscape, or scuplt a dress, all with equal aplomb.  What is most lovely, however, is Jamee.  She is a truly kind person who loves making art.  I am proud to have her work displayed in my home.

I own all of the art on this page and more.  I can’t help myself!  If you’d like to see all she can do, visit her website: www.jameelinton.com.  There’s lots of information about the various places where her art is exhibited, including television.  Go Jamee!


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