25 July 2007

Eat, Play, Shop

My friend Anita, art quilter extraordinaire and mother of the delightful and talented Zoe, was in town for a short visit, and yesterday was gurlz day out. Our ultimate destination was the Cracked Pots garden art show at Edgefield. We stopped for lunch en route at Om Seafood on SE Powell at 70-somethingth. I bought crab at the market several months ago, but hadn't yet gotten to the adjacent Chinese restaurant. Anita and I both ordered rock cod; the fish was impeccably fresh, our dishes were tasty, attractive, and well-prepared, and the service was friendly and flawless.

Everything sold at the Cracked Pots show -- bird houses, bird baths and feeders, benches, tables and trellises, whimsical sculptures and what-have-you -- is made from recycled materials. The opposite of flawless, in a way. One artist, for instance, transformed hundreds of pieces of flatware into a single giant fork. Another built a charming tractor out of rusty god-knows-what. (That's Anita in the green top, standing to the left.) Someone else turned old kitchen drawers on edge and called them shelves. I loved it. Edgefield itself is a recycled property, the former county poor farm, repurposed by the McMenamin brothers and folded into their funky yet picturesque hotel/restaurant/pub empire.

I lusted in my heart for several items, including a 12-foot-tall fire-breathing dragon with a price tag of $8,000-ish that surely would have been the talk of Rural Street. But heron sculptures have been calling out to me consistently since we moved to town, so I could easily justify my purchase of a two-dimensional Great Blue. S/he seems perfectly at home by the marshy-looking clump of grass just in front of our porch.

On the way back from Edgefield, we made two more shopping stops. Anita wanted to go to Fabric Depot, where I have no trouble killing time. She found yardage and incidentals she needed for Zoe's wedding, while I picked up a few random items, including Shiva paintsticks, a book on using same, and a new, ergonomically-friendly pair of scissors. I resisted buying a set of plastic, pre-formed, textured sheets (op-art, triangles, ethnic motifs, etc.) specifically designed for stamping and rubbing. I'd rather hunt for random objects, though the animal skin set was actually pretty cool. I did love the bolt of day-glo orange fabric on the display marked "camouflage." In what universe?

Finally, we detoured into Portland Nursery on SE Stark. It was another Anita-driven stop, but it gave me an excuse to cruise the shade house in search of the elusive toad lily, which Grace had recommended for the spot in the backyard from which she'd rescued and transplanted three or four struggling roses. I managed to wrest two variegated tricyrtis from Cornell Farm several weeks ago (long story), but they weren't in bloom, and here were several in full, glorious flower. I bought just one, a different variety from those you can kinda see in the background here, and will plant her, I hope, tomorrow.

So, a very satisfying afternoon. Several relaxed hours with a friend, sunny but not hot weather, a good meal and new restaurant discovery all in one, plus modest indulgence in my favorite kinds of shopping: fabric/sewing notions and plants/garden stuff. The only thing missing was a side trip to Powell's, but that would have been too much of a good thing.

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