Portland, OR: Be Still My Crafting Heart

comments (4) June 9th, 2008     

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MichaelaMurphy Michaela Murphy, contributor
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With high expectations, we descend the stairs of the Doug Fir Lounge into Crafty Wonderland.
Thats Knittn Kitten co-owner Rome Church in the background and on the counter is the prototype of her chic and cool Knittn Kitten purse.
Thats me wearing a Rome Church original: her amazing crazy-quilt skirt.
Wonderland crafter, Tamara Stevens of Allegra B Designs and her extremely fabulous handmade bags.  I LOVED the one in the deadhead sketeton and roses print.
Crafty Wonderland founders Cathy Pitters and Torie Nguyen pose with Craft Stylish contributors, Susan Beal and Jennifer Worick.  Susan is carrying future crafter, baby Pearl.(left to right)
Cathys son, Levi Pitters and his wow-za Aliens With Afros line.
Check out this hysterical t-shirt by Monsieur T.  Its a skull and cross baguette!
Much to our delight, Bombshell Vintage was right across the street from Crafty Wonderland
This unique and lovely eyelash necklace by Stephanie Simek screams: Happy Birthday Jen!!!
With high expectations, we descend the stairs of the Doug Fir Lounge into Crafty Wonderland.

With high expectations, we descend the stairs of the Doug Fir Lounge into Crafty Wonderland.

Photo: Michaela Murphy

Oooh yes, Portland is the oh, so sweet land of crafty goodness! I had been looking forward to the trip from Seattle all week long and my high expectations were exceeded, my wallet drained, and I felt completely rejuvenated and ready to face Monday. Now, that’s a great weekend! My crafty sidekick, the hilariously funny Jennifer Worick and I got up at dawn and headed south. We had an early appointment to check out Knittn Kitten. Co-owner Rome Church had graciously agreed to meet us before she headed out on a trip up to Canada with her mom, co-owner Ethel Stark.

Quite frankly, getting up at dawn on a Sunday is the one thing that might put a cramp in my craft game. That I woke up so willingly is measure of how great this craft thrift store is. Plus, the next best thing to discovering an amazing craft shop is turning on a good friend to it. Jennifer loved the Kitten and she made out very well. There was table after table of vintage fabric, beads, and trinkets for her to sift through. Walls lined with bookcases of vintage craft books to pour over and display racks full of retro linens and laces that made us swoon. While there were still more shelves brimming with knitting and embroidery supplies, old-school sewing notions and crochet projects.

Rome had thoughtfully pulled out some of her own projects to show us. The first time CraftStylish visited Portland and the Kitten was last March and Rome showed me some of her work then:I was completely blown away. Rome is a great example of a "Sistine" crafter, someone who can take practically any project no matter how simple and turn it into a marvel of complexity and astounding detail. Her current projects are true to form:they are fantastic, imaginative and whimsical. If you ever get the great chance to stop by, be certain to check out her work—it is really something special. So, truly Jen and I could easily still be there, thank god for our families that Rome had travel plans. Finally, we dragged our bags full craft finds to the trunk and then bounded over to Crafty Wonderland.

Log-Cabin Chic
The Jupiter Hotel, home of the Doug Fir Lounge and host to this great crafting showcase, has the kind of cool factor that instantly raises your own cool-stock the moment you walk in the door. What I really liked about the whole vibe though, was how friendly it all was.
And the Crafty Wonderland set-up is very accommodating: Jennifer and had a delicious brunch in the upstairs restaurant before we descended into the crafting log-cabin cavern of the Doug Fir Lounge.
Crafty Wonderland is a great many things and in particular it is… well…aptly named, for it is a wonderland of craft. It is also inviting (every single person I met was so warm,) awe-inspiring (row upon row of tables teaming with beautiful handmade goods) and relaxing( I don’t think I have ever used this word to describe a craft show before but oddly, the entire time I was there I felt more and more like staying to explore.)

An Exploration of Wonderland
After ordering an aspirational wonder woman t-shirt from Trusty Sidekick, I purchased a lovely pendant (made out of scrabble tiles) from Little Lilly , bought several wicked cool t-shirts from Monsieur T, treated myself to a gorgeous copper and enamel pendant by Orange Peel Enamel, found an adorable homemade summer top by Sue Bradbury, and experienced immense vicarious pleasure from watching Jennifer shop.
We chatted with Craft Wonderland founders Cathy Pitters (she is headed out to Renegade Brooklyn next weekend. Look for Bossa Nova Baby) and Torie Nguyen (She and hubby Quentin are expecting their first baby in Sept) and then Susan Beal stopped by with baby Pearl for us coo over .
Susan introduced me to fellow jewelry maker, Teresa Sullivan, who was presiding over the ‘make and take’ table. It was great hanging out and talking with her as crafters gathered around her table making nifty beaded hair ornaments and embellishments. On our way out, I spied Cathy’s eleven-year-old son, Levi and his wonder booth Aliens With Afros. Levi sells homemade cards and t-shirts featuring iconic wonders like Mr.T, Elvis and Darth Vader. I snapped up a few of his awesome cards and an “I Pity The Fool” Mr. T, t-shirt. Really, how could I resist?

Until We Dropped
As we loaded those purchases into the car we realized that we were right in front of a very fetching store, Bombshell Vintage. We popped in and were delighted to find some great retro style clothes and jewelry. Two doors down from Bombshell we happened upon Redux, a cool collection of different jewelry and accessories by some fantastic artists. It was at Redux that Jennifer found the ultimate birthday gift for herself: a delicately lovely and beautifully bizarre necklace with a false eyelash pendant. The necklace birthday purchase was a delicious cherry topping to our perfect Portland Sunday. Rumor has it that the Portland Chamber of Commerce has set forth a petition to have us back—they needn’t bother, we will be.

posted in: crafty wonderland, Portland

Comments (4)

GrammieB writes: WOW!!! so much to read so little time! LOL
What fun!
Posted: 7:23 pm on June 10th
walkinthewoodsllc writes: Yeah-WOW - what a day! Looks and sounds like such a blast ... one likely followed by a very *sound* night's sleep.
Posted: 8:46 am on June 10th
Jen_W writes: That day was an absolute dream. Thank you, Michaela. Thank you, Portland!
Posted: 2:52 am on June 10th
madeline_mcrae writes: Wow! This sounds like it was so much fun. Thanks for all of the pictures. I would have missed not seeing that eyelash necklace! I want to hang out with Craft Stylish too!
Posted: 11:26 pm on June 9th
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