Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Portland Playground

Today I had the pleasure of spending my afternoon and evening on the streets of Portland, OR. I didn’t have a plan in place, so I typed “fabric shopping, Portland, OR” in Google. One of my search results caught my eye--Bolt Neighborhood Fabric Boutique. “Neighborhood,” “boutique,” AND “fabric” in one name? This store had to be good. So I hopped the hotel shuttle and headed the way of 2136 NE Alberta. 

At the risk of sounding dramatic, I’ll say that my journey lead me to so much more than a neighborhood fabric boutique. It lead me to some much needed rejuvenation. 
It was a plan-free day. I day with limitless possibilities. Just some time for me. No obligations. No deadline. No worries (beyond the usual). Just me time. What a blessing!
Here’s how my happy time was spent. 

Highlights: Opening the door and breathing in the pure fabric joy. Meeting store owner, Gina, and her kind helper. Buying fabric, oilcloth, bindings, burlap, thimbles, patterns, and even chalkboard fabric!

Stop #2: Close Knit

Highlights: Being inspired by the shopkeeper to take knitting lessons as soon as I get home. Buying puffy yarn made from baby alpacas. Watching my yarn be wound into balls. (The shopkeeper said it was like yarn on a ferris wheel.) 

Highlights: Chatting with the gals running the store. Perusing the books in the shop. Buying a couple of those books. Discussing the joys of marriage and wonderful husbands with a fellow customer. Being inspired by display pieces (like the one above). 
Stop #4: Collage

Highlights: Chatting with fellow scrapbookers who are in town for CKC. Buying new stamps, a paint marker, burlap butterflies, and delightful set of bitty box drawers (for possible use in a future issue of CK). Being inspired by a banner made up of some of my crafting favorites (burlap, baker's twine, and washi tape)--yum!

Stop #5: Frock

Highlights: The store owner unlocking the door and inviting me in, even though it was clearly after their business hours. The quirky, comical, and clever merchandise. Finding a fun new sweater that’s very Portland. 

Highlights: The display of doughnut chotchkies that greeted me as soon as I stepped inside the door. The super sweet shopkeeper. A small gallery of art from local artists. The shelves of “blind boxes,” like the one below, which you open to discover what toy surprise is inside. 

This sprinkled doughnut came from my blind box. I chose to switch him for this jelly-filled chocolate doughnut--a nice surprise offered by the shopkeeper. 

Highlights: Seeing (and purchasing) adorable supplies from one of my favorite crafty ladies, Kata Golda. Taking time to enjoy the vintage store displays. Admiring the window display. 

Stop #8: End of the Road, 900 NW Alberta

Highlights: The stunning church on the street corner. The Alberta market where I was able to wet my whistle. The bus bench outside the market that kept me dry until the cab arrived. The nice cabbie who picked me up.

Notice a pattern in all this? Yes, I probably spent a little too much $, but that’s not it. Nope, the pattern is the people. From the shuttle driver who dropped me off at the beginning of my journey to the cabbie who picked me up at the end and everyone in between--the people in Portland are incredibly cool and kind. Such a relaxed and big-hearted population of creative people occupy this crafty, boutique-lined streets. 
What a great way to start my weekend. I simply can’t wait to meet more creative ladies and gents tomorrow and Saturday at the CKC scrapbooking convention. Hope I’ll see you there.