Shopping Locally

Dear Liza,

Even though I made some gifts, there is still a lot of shopping to be done for Christmas! Faraway friends and family receive, and we received from them, edible goodies from companies like Harry and David, The Fruit Company, and Nut Cravings.

But for those closer to home, we have wonderful local shops to enjoy. Mix Tape is a vintage shop that has been on SE Belmont for years, and has just moved into a bigger place!

We were sad to see Noun, at the corner of SE 33rd and Belmont, close last year as its owners moved on to other things, but Mix Tape has moved in and made the most of all the new square footage.

Mix Tape has a more 80s vibe, which isn’t my favorite era (I missed a lot of it, being inside cuddling babies) but has real good vintage boots, clothing, jewelry and even VHS movies!

And just a block down Belmont, the space that Mix Tape left is being filled as Belmont books, run by Joe Witt, expands. He’s not quite all set up yet, but there’s a lot to see!

Further south, Hawthorne Street has a lot of shops, too. Tender Loving Empire, Presents of Mind and Asylum are full of goodies, and books, many by local authors. Sadly, there were so many shoppers that the small shops just didn’t feel Covid-safe, so we headed out into the fresh air and home.

With Omicron making even small gatherings feel scary (again), it is looking to be a quiet, home-bound holiday. Stay safe, and we will get together when we can.


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