Artsy Cards

Dear Liza,

Everyone likes to get cards for Valentine’s Day or their birthday, and I am no different. I am luckier than many folks, however, because I have so many artists in my life.

My friend Ruthie Inman makes cards every month for her patreon supporters, and she made me a special card for my birthday this year. It is just like her: lovely, unexpected, and sparkly.

Auntie Bridgett made me a Valentine card, showing her beloved bees and hearts. For my birthday, she bought one of Dawn Panttaja ’s cards. Dawn does wonderful collages for her line called Lost Dolls. This one looks like something from historic Portland.

I have been getting wonderful artsy cards from Auntie Bridgett for so many years, I have a whole file full of them!

Here are a few of my favorites.

And here’s the last one for today!


Grandma Judy

Very Merry Cash and Carry

Dear Liza,

Pretty wintry display

Auntie Bridgett’s art gallery, SideStreet Arts, opened its pre-Christmas sale and show this weekend, and it is delightful!

Artsy Christmas ornaments

Grandpa Nelson and I walked over to the gallery on the way to the movies (we saw “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”) and then stayed longer afterward to walk Auntie Bridgett home in the rain.

Chayo Wilson’s textured ceramics

The Very Merry Cash and Carry show is fun because it has different rules. Usually, when you buy a piece of art from an art gallery, you need to wait until then end of the show (maybe a week, maybe a month) to take the art home. This is because the art has been arranged carefully and if one leaves, the others look lopsided or incomplete.

Melody Bush’s Excavated Books are amazing

But for Very Merry, people are buying for Christmas presents and want to take the art home right away, so the walls are hung FULL of art. When some leave, the walls are still pretty. Also, artists bring extra work that is kept in the back room to fill in the spaces.

Alicia Justice shows her Krampus

On Friday there was a good turnout and lots of sales! We also got to visit with Alicia Justice as she made some of her felt dolls, which are beautifully detailed. She showed us photos of her Krampus dolls, which always sell like hot cakes. Krampus is an evil monster that deals with bad children… sort of the anti-Santa.

Kat Mistry has new work being displayed in a new glass jewelry case to keep it safe. She also has a new raspberry beret, which is very adorable.

Kat Mistry’s new beret


Grandma Judy

Art Pop-Up

Dear Liza,

Our color box neighborhood

This weekend we got to meet some more Portland artists!

Auntie Bridgett and her new umbrella

Auntie Bridgett and I walked through a light rain to Dona White’s house and met her, Kass Battin and Bobby Mathews, and had a wonderful chat while enjoying their art. The art looked especially fine hanging against the bright wallpapers.

Dona White with some of her work

Dona White paints in many styles; abstracts, figures, and a wild, fun Impressionism.

Bobby Mathews paints people, animals and country scenes with a light, humorous style. Some are taken from old family photos and others from visits to farms that surround the Portland are.

Bobby Mathews and “Ladies in Hats”

Kass Battin is a woman after my own heart, a quilter. She and I chatted for quite a while about sewing machines (she has a fine Bernina) and fabric shops ( we share our love of Cool Cottons). I loved her use of bright colors contrasted with black and white prints.

Kass Battin and my favorite quilt

We enjoyed our visit very much, and headed out into the nearly clearing skies and made it home in time for lunch.

Sunlight through leaves


Grandma Judy

The Little Church

Dear Liza,

The Little Church

Our first house in Portland was at the corner of SE 29th and Pine Street. One block up the hill stands a building that was clearly built as a small church…. steeply peaked roof, one main room, high pitched ceiling. It seemed deserted, with no one going in or out, the only lights coming on with timers.

We wondered about this little church. Who had built it? How old was it? Who owned it now and what were their plans for it?

Well, yesterday, we got some (only some) of our questions answered. Auntie Bridgett was walking home from the SideStreet Arts Gallery and sent me a text. “The little church is open! Wanna come?” Of course I did!

Outside, I found a sign advertising an Eclectica Sale. Inside, I found Auntie Bridgett chatting with artist Catherine Rondthaler. She told us what she knew about the church, and it goes like this.

Up until five years ago, she says, it was an operational church, although Catherine doesn’t know what it was called. The attendance at the church was dwindling, and the building was sold. The young man who bought it planned, with his girlfriend, to refurbish the building as a home and live there. But the relationship fell apart and he lost interest. He is out of town a great deal and was having trouble getting anything done.

Artist Catherine Rondthaler

Catherine stepped up, volunteering to get the building to a point where it could be used for community events, but in the meantime, using it as a studio. Towards those ends, she is selling lots of delightful trinkets she has collected over the years, as well as some of her prints and other folks’ paintings.

We found all sorts of little things for Christmas stockings, and while I was taking photos, Auntie Bridgett found my prize! A vintage top hat that folds flat and springs up when you hit the brim, just like in the old movies! It fit me perfectly and…well, let’s just say it came home with us! She also found a wonderful orange briefcase for herself, into which we put all our treasures.

Classy dissident me in front of Catherine’s dissident flags

We walked home to rest up for our next adventure. More about that tomorrow.


Grandma Judy

Gearing up for Christmas

Dear Liza,


Yesterday we spent all day, in one way or another, getting ready for Christmas. First thing, Auntie Bridgett and I walked out in 36 degrees F to go shopping. Hawthorne Street, just a bit south of us, has so many wonderful, locally run shops! Asylum, Kids at Heart, Tender Loving Empire, and Memento all have really interesting items that tickle my funny bone. We had a good time choosing special things for our special people.

When the lunch bell in my stomach started going off, we knew it was time to get home. Leftover chicken and cheese made for delicious burritos to keep our spirits up.

Miles and the new tree

Then, the three of us headed off to the big quest of the day: The Christmas tree! Last year, we drove all over town looking for a lot we liked…and finally found a small lot at Belmont and 48th. We went there first this year.

We usually get a Noble Fir, but standing very tall and shaggy, was a Nordman. This was a new type of tree to us, but we liked the height and slightly careless look , so we had the nice fellow tie it to Miles’s roof and took it home.


Sneakin’ in the tree

Our new garage is narrow and pretty full, so it took some real maneuvering to get it in and upstairs…but once installed, it fit perfectly. Grandpa Nelson put up the lights and I brought boxes of ornaments in from the garage, for Sunday’s decorating.

After resting a bit, we wanted to go visit the Open Studio of our friend Nicole Crucio, who makes ceramics. We met her at an Art Show this last summer, when we were headed for Silver Falls. Nicole’s studio is in southeast Portland, in her basement, with a good sized kiln and lots of space. We enjoyed looking at her vases, plaques and paintings.

Nicole Crucio’s work by the fire

She shared her show the her friend Jeni Lee, who does wonderful acrylic paintings with raindrops!! These capture the beautifully atmospheric conditions here in the Northwest and feel cool and welcoming.

Jeni Lee and her raindrop acrylics

At Nicole’s, we also met her dog Stevie, who is very sweet and loves to show off her tricks. She does a figure eight between Nicole’s legs, rolls over, and dances. She was fun. We also ate some cookies from the Morsel Code Cookie Company, baked by a lady who wants cookies to taste good but be less bad for you! Amen to that. Very tasty, indeed.

Nicole and Stevie, showing off

Back home, Auntie Bridgett started the wrapping g of the goodies we had bought on Hawthorne ….coming to you, heading the San Diego for kidlets there, and some staying here in Portland.

Tomorrow, we decorate the tree!!


Grandma Judy

A Song for Fun

Dear Liza,


Your Mommy or Daddy can teach you the tune for this silly re-write. The Song is called “My Favorite Things.”

(Read the captions!)

First Verse:

And artists

And baseball with Pickles

Beaches with grandchildren, giggles and tickles

Kittens in fl’wer pots

And wrecks by the sea

These are the things Portland’s given to me!

Second Verse:

Art found on sidewalks and up on a tower

Hearing the voices of love’s greatest power

Old friends and new friends


And pinball for fun

All of these just since the summer’s begun!


Ghosts and mystery!

Creepy History!

Yummy food and wine….

I’m up to my eyeballs in Portland, my friends,

And I want to say…

It’s fine!


Grandma Judy