Mrs Santa Dress How-To

Presenting My Mrs. Santa Dress

Mrs Santa Dress How-To

All dolled up in my Mrs. Santa dress–unveiled below!

You may remember my desire to make a big green velvet Christmas dress this year–I even had a pattern picked out! However, after an extensive search (at three different fabric stores) I couldn’t find any green velvet, and after a look at the calendar, I realized that realistically, I wasn’t going to have time to sew a dress anyway. I was quite disappointed–until I brainstormed a way to make the most Christmassy gown I could ever want, using a dress I made a few years ago!

Mrs Santa Dress How-To

Mrs. Santa dress: before!

About six years ago, I wanted to make a big red Christmas dress, which I did, using a pattern I cannot find, either in my sewing stuff or online, but I believe it was a Vogue pattern that must be out of print: boatneck, big swingy skirt, defined waist, bracelet-length sleeves. While I wore the heck of it that year, it was never quite right: I should have taken up the shoulders, and I chose a polyester crepe fabric (partly because it was inexpensive, partly because it was the perfect color) that was a little too stiff.

Mrs. Santa Dress How-To

Mrs. Santa dress: after!

But! If I took it to a tailor (who fixed the shoulders for $20) and hot glue-gunned a little fake fur around the edges–voila! I’d have a perfect Mrs. Santa dress! After I rummaged through my closet and found a black patent leather belt and heels, my course was set.

Mrs Santa Dress How-To

Out on the town as Mrs. Santa at the Rum Club!

You can see the end result, and I’m quite proud of it! I wore it to a party and out for holiday drinks with my best girlfriends, and let me tell you: it is a lot of fun to dress as Mrs. Santa–I got a big (and mostly positive) reaction everywhere I went.

I’m pretty proud of my ingenuity (or is that insanity?). It took me less than half an hour to glue the trim on, and I got a re-branded, very distinctive dress for less than $40!

Do you have an ideal Christmas outfit? I’m still dreaming of a White Christmas-type dress (basically my Mrs. Santa dress on steroids). Post it below!

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Totino's Christmas

How to Prepare for the Holidays

Totino's Christmas

Bonus tip: have some Totino’s in the freezer.

Well hello there! It’s been more than a month since my last post, and I missed you all so much. I’ve been busy working on GeekCraft Expo Seattle (watch for me on New Day Northwest next month) and spreading the word for The Doubleclicks, but I am so glad to be back writing for me.

So . . . what’s new? Anything big happen in the last month? Looks like Nazis are a thing again. I found myself wondering the other day–will Captain Germany end up coming to America and defeating the Orange Skull? Comics gallows humor, folks. My main takeaways from the election: I need to get involved in (or at least be aware of) local politics, and I need to get my news from credible sources rather than Facebook.

But that’s not what I came here to talk about–what are you doing to get ready for the holidays? I love, love Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I’m looking forward to spending this time with my family, without stressing out too much. Here are my suggestions to prepare:

  • Roast a chicken. Really! It’s a simple, elegant dinner, but even more important–you’re going to need a lot of chicken broth in the next two months. Make it and freeze it now.
  • Deep-clean the kitchen. Ugh, I hate this part. But it is necessary. If you’re anything like me, you’re going to be cooking a lot and having people over. It’s going to be easier if you clean out your cabinets and fridge. One, you’ll have a good idea of what you already have (so you don’t go buy more molasses and miss the bottle in the back), and two, you’ll have room for everything you’re going to buy.
  • Count your dishes, plates, and silverware. I recommended this last year and didn’t follow my own advice. Then when I was setting the table for Thanksgiving, I realized I was missing two forks! Don’t be like me. This year I went to Replacements to replace a chipped plate and those two forks. If you’re not compulsive like me and don’t care if your pieces match, head over to Goodwill or a thrift store and stock up.
  • Envision your holiday gifts and projects. Now is the time to start putting together your Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa gifts, especially if you plan on making a lot of them, like I do. Jo-Ann Fabrics is having great sales right now–I got a bunch of wire-edged holiday ribbon for 50% off, and felt was on sale, too. I can’t get into what things I’m making this year (or I’ll ruin the surprise), but I will put together a post about the jar gifts I made last year. Also, there’s always my White Christmas cross stitch. I would love to see pics if anyone is crazy enough to make it!
  • Plan your Thanksgiving menu. I put this last because for most people, Thanksgiving doesn’t require a lot of planning–people tend to demand the same treasured recipes year after year (like my brother with green bean casserole). But you can usually slip in a new appetizer or salad. No one eats salad on Thanksgiving, they won’t care.

What are your holiday prep secrets? Post them below!

Happy Wednesday! GeekCraft Expo Seattle and Food Porn

Snickers Cake

Oooh . . . Snickers!

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope you’re having a good week. Those with kids probably sent them off for the first day of school (*sniff*), but in any case, the last day of August always feels like the end of summer to me, even if it isn’t technically (that would be September 21).

But no worries. There’s tons of fun stuff happening this fall, in addition to Halloween! And Thanksgiving! Here we go:

Geekery

The Doubleclicks, Portland’s beloved folk-geek sister band, is everywhere this September: Dragon*Con in Atlanta 9/4, as a guest of nerd podcast supreme Geek in the City 9/7, in Portland for Rose City Comic Con and at Dante’s 9/10, then at the Portland Mercury‘s “The Undisputable Geniuses of Comedy” show at Revolution Hall 9/16–plus “Snakes on the Radio” tour dates in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Get the Doubleclicks’ tour schedule!

For many of these shows they’ll be pairing up with actor/comedian/musician Lucia Fasano, who Kickstarted her debut album, “Radio Silence,” through Doubleclicks Records, the band’s new record label! Not only did it fund in one day, but with seven days to go, it’s 187% funded!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/luciafasano/lucia-fasanos-debut-album-radio-silence/widget/video.html

The Doubleclicks are no slouches: they recently posted an amazing cover of Hamilton‘s “History Has Its Eyes on You.”

Remember GeekCraft Expo PDX, the amazing craft fair featuring handmade geeky goods by local artisans? Come on, I posted about it constantly. Well, we’re proud to announce that we’ll be debuting GeekCraft Expo Seattle December 10 and 11 at the Seattle Center! Right now we’re looking for amazing exhibitors to submit their applications by November 18.

The Portland show was incredible–as someone who has worked a lot of comic book conventions, I was blown away by the quality and originality of the crafts. Plus, the show is free to the public and family friendly. What’s not to like?

Speaking of comic book conventions, Portland’s Rose City Comic Con is next week! It’s been so exciting to see this show grow . . . and grow over the past few years. It’s an excellent show with some pretty high-profile guests this week–John Cusack, Stan Lee, Denise Crosby–and it showcases the best of the comics scene, so go!

I’m especially excited because with the influx of awesome comic book creators to Portland, we’re hosting back-to-back dinner parties, and going to some fun events as well. A multiple Eisner-winning creator actually contacted my husband to “reserve” a dinner at our table, so I was very flattered.

Finally, a shoutout to my husband, Scott Allie: the final issue of his series with creator Mike Mignola, Abe Sapien, is out today. I got a chance to read Abe Sapien #36 early, and all I can say is it’s a fitting end–and beginning?–for one of Hellboy’s most interesting characters. If you don’t have a local comic shop, order Abe Sapien #36 from TFAW!

Food Porn

But Elisabeth, where’s the food porn? Oh my goodness, readers. I made the best cake yesterday. It was my brother’s birthday, and every year, he gives me a birthday cake challenge. I’ve done a peanut butter cookie dough cake, a chocolate malt cake, and a 100 Grand cake, but the Snickers cake by Brown Eyed Baker he chose this year was the best. So fun to make: salted caramel sauce! Nougat filling! But damn, it was delicious. Here’s another pic:

Snickers2

So what are you up to? Post below!

Last Gasp of Summer: Free Things to Do in Portland

Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park

The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden at Grant Park in Portland. How have I never been here?!? From left: Ribsy, Ramona, and Henry.

I don’t mean to stress you out, but there’s only four more weeks of summer. Summer vacation, that is. At least, school starts for Sid August 29 (what the heck happened to school beginning after Labor Day?) and with our final weeks flashing before my eyes, I realized I needed to make a list. Of course. So here’s my curated list of free things to do in Portland this August.

Fountains

On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than getting blasted by Portland’s fountains! This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think the best ones are here:

Downtown Portland

Salmon Street Springs
Waterfront Park, Naito Parkway at SW Salmon
The classic. Large, right on the waterfront, plenty of firepower (waterpower?).

SalmonSprings

Sid and his friend Ernie enjoying Salmon Springs Fountain last summer!

Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain
Keller Fountain Park, between SW 3rd & 4th Ave, Market & Clay
The large concrete structures make this a fun one. I got in trouble in the third grade on a Bible study field trip by walking through one of the waterfalls, fully clothed. In retrospect, I would have been in much more trouble if I had been naked, right?

Teachers Fountain
Director Park, SW Yamhill & Park Ave
This is a new park and fountain. Not a lot of excitement, but great for toddlers and small children. Also good for foot soaking. Near Nordstrom.

SE Portland

The Rose Petal
Stark Street Island Park, SE 106th & Stark
I have never been here, and I cannot help but wonder what SE Portland did to be denied any close-in fountains. Am I missing something?

NE Portland

Grant Park Fountain
NE 33rd Ave & US Grant Pl
This is also the location of the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden–and they’re part of the fountain! I will be going here immediately.

Holladay Park Fountain
Holladay Park, NE 11th & Multnomah
I have not personally been here, but the Portland Parks & Recreation site says, “The fountain has programmable nozzles and valves on several plumbing loops to create a playful atmosphere of surprise trajectories and timing sequences.”

Woodlawn City Park
NE 13th Ave & Dekum St
I played at this park with Sid during the first year of Trek in the Park (in 2009!). Four-year-old Sid highly recommended the water feature.

NW Portland

Jamison Square Fountain
Jamison Square, between NW Kearney & Johnson, and NW 10th & 11th Avenues
Extremely popular, was near a good ice cream place last time I visited.

N Portland

Dawson Park Fountain
Dawson Park, N. Stanton & Williams
I don’t wanna wait–for our lives to be over . . .

McCoy Park Fountain
McCoy Park, N. Trenton & Newman Ave

Suburbs

Beaverton City Fountain Park
12500 SW 4th St, Beaverton, OR 97005
Oh, this fountain is a lot of fun. The streams of water are so high! Plus it’s right across the street from the library.

Lake at the Commons Interactive Fountain
8325 SW Nyberg St, Tualatin, OR 97062
Full disclosure–I grew up in Tualatin, and they built the Tualatin Commons–referred to by my brother and me as the “fake lake”–while we were in high school, closing a major road and screwing up traffic. All for a lake you were not allowed to swim in, ringed by restaurants that would open with great aplomb and then slowly wither on the vine, quickly replaced with other venues that would soon do the same, mostly because–they closed the damn road and no one could see them while driving by! Ahem. The fountain was still pretty fun. Also, I think the wine bar finally stuck.

Tualatin Commons Fountain

Tualatin Commons Fountain. The only good picture I could find (from Wikimapia) was apparently taken on a cold, rainy day. Typical!

Movies

I’ve always loved the idea of Portland’s free movies in the park. Movies under the stars, where I can cuddle up to my husband and bring a lavish picnic! I think I’ve been to exactly two, and one was an accident. But I am determined to go at least once this summer. Depending on the location (either public park or private business), there’s usually pre-movie entertainment, and the films start at dusk (around 9 pm).

Here’s the full schedule from Thrillist, with my picks below.

August 3:
Office Space
Pix Patisserie / Bar Vivant (2225 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214)
This isn’t exactly free, as you will not be able to resist Pix’s exquisite desserts or excellent selection of wine. Mike Judge’s genius ode to passive-aggressive (leading to aggressive-aggressive) ins and outs office life, starring Ron Livingston. Opens at 7 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 6:
The Goonies
Wilkes Park (NE 154th & Beech)
You’re not too cool for this movie. Go see the source material for Netflix’s Stranger Things. Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 14:
Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens
April Hill Park (SW 58th & Miles)
I’m going to this one, by hook or by crook! Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 18:
Jaws
Elizabeth Caruthers Park (SW Moody & Gaines)
True story: I lived on Martha’s Vineyard, where this movie was filmed, for several years. Pretty much every middle-aged denizen of the Rock was an extra in this movie! Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 20:
Best in Show
Sewallcrest Park (SE 31st & Market)
This movie gives me life! If for some reason you haven’t seen it, click the title for the trailer (I linked to all the trailers in the titles). Opens at 6:30 pm; movie starts at dusk.

August 31:
Rocky
Pix Patisserie / Bar Vivant (2225 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214)
ADRIAN! Opens at 7 pm; movie starts at dusk.

Multnomah County Library Locations and Events

I renewed my relationship last year with the Multnomah County Library last year after almost 20 years, and I’m so glad I did! There are 20 branches in the Portland area, and they’re all full of wonderful things for you–and the vast majority are free.

Did you know that you can put a hold on any book, DVD, or most any other library material online, and they will deliver it to your local branch? It’s amazing. Do that.

There’s still time to complete your Summer Reading game board, open to babies, children, and teens! There’s even a Bingo version for adults. Win prizes and read amazing books for free!

The storytimes at the library are wonderful–much better than the weak “singalong” class I paid for through Portland Parks & Recreation. There are events for babies, toddlers, young children, and families!

Want to brush up on your computer skills or get tech help with a device? Get it for free at the Multnomah County Library’s computer and technology classes.

Need your resume polished? The library has you covered.

Other events (and I’m just scratching the surface): arts and crafts classes that include making seed balls and an “all-you-can-make” art bar, book clubs, citizenship classes, and lectures and author talks that include a one-hour cheese class, a talk on Vanport, earthquake preparedness, Etsy basics, free-range poetry, and much more!

There are literally dozens of other fascinating events at the Multnomah County Library, see all of their events here!

Phew! I feel much more in control of my life with this list. What other free things have I forgotten? Post them below!

I Am Alive–Just Barely

GeekCraftLogoGahh, I’ve missed blogging! I have so many posts in my head (A Gentleman’s Cocktail Party! Donut Brunch! Free Summer Activities!), but I’ve been swept up in promoting GeekCraft Expo PDX and various other projects, which has put my personal writing on the back burner.

But! GeekCraft Expo PDX is this weekend (free to the public!) June 11 and 12 from 11 am to 7 pm at the DoubleTree at Lloyd Center, which means I’ll be able to resume my strange musings next week. Until then, a peek at what I’ve been up to:

GeekCraft Expo PDX. RSVP and come see some amazing handmade geeky crafts by local artisans! We were on Fox 12 Oregon’s Good Day Oregon this morning, check out the videos here.

GeekCraft Expo Kickoff Party. Tonight from 6 to 9 pm at Bridge City Comics! Free beer (for those 21+) from Hop Valley Brewing, music by Kielen King, and prizes from Dark Horse Comics, Bridge City, Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, Guardian Games, the Hollywood Theatre, and Portland Retro Gaming Expo!

I’ve also been helping Portland’s fantastic geek-folk sister duo, the Doubleclicks, spread the word about their upcoming 30-city tour! See the full schedule here. Check out their tour video below!

So if you’re in the Portland area, come out tonight and next weekend to see some awesome stuff, and tune in next week–I should have more ridiculous things to write about.

Celebrate GeekCraft Expo PDX at Bridge City Comics 6/10

Hey guys! Here’s an update on GeekCraft Expo PDX, which I am helping to coordinate. We’re throwing a party Friday, June 10 with free food and beer and prizes! Come on out and have a fun evening at Bridge City Comics.

GeekCraftPartyWhat: GeekCraft Expo PDX Kick-Off Party
Where: Bridge City Comics, 3725 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
When: June 10, 2016 from 6 to 9 pm
RSVP on Facebook

GeekCraft Expo founder and comic book writer Daniel Way (Deadpool, Wolverine: Origins) invites you to celebrate the debut of GeekCraft Expo PDX, Portland’s nerdiest craft fair, at a special kick-off party at Bridge City Comics June 10! This epic bash will feature free beer from Hop Valley Brewing Co. (for those 21+ with valid ID) and complimentary snacks, as well as music by sci-fi DJ Kielen King. In addition, every attendee will take a spin on the prize wheel, loaded with goodies from Dark Horse Comics, Hollywood Theatre, Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade, Guardian Games, Bridge City Comics, and Portland Retro Gaming Expo—while supplies last! This is an all-ages event.

“This being my first ‘official’ visit to Portland, I’m really looking forward to getting my nerd on with PDX’s legendary geek community,” said Daniel Way. “I can’t wait to open the doors on the inaugural GeekCraft Expo PDX!”

“I was intrigued when I first heard about GeekCraft Expo,” said Bridge City Comics owner Michael Ring. “Handmade geeky crafts? I love it! And I was especially honored when Bridge City Comics was asked to host the kick-off party. I jumped at the chance to work with this crew!”

GeekCraft Expo is an Etsy-Meets-Comic Con craft show that has traveled to 16 cities across the US and Canada. Its Portland debut, June 11-12 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland, is free to the public and will showcase local crafters and artisans who create jewelry, plushes, artwork, and more inspired by comics and pop culture. Interested in exhibiting? Apply by May 17. Interested in attending? RSVP on Facebook.

Who’s coming? I want to see your faces!

Happy Monday! So Much Geek Stuff

GrandmaSarah

I love this picture of my Mom and Sarah!

Hello everyone! How was your weekend? Did you celebrate Mother’s Day? I had a lovely day–I got to sleep in while Scott dressed and fed Sarah and took her for a walk, and then we met up with family for brunch. You know it was a serious brunch because they had cocktail shrimp and, yes, I ate a lot of them.

Guys, there’s so much geeky stuff going on–both in general and for me personally. I’m actually missing seeing Captain America: Civil War this weekend because I have a geeky craft meetup I’m organizing the same day. The mind boggles! But let’s get to it:

Geeky Stuff

Where to begin? GeekCraft Expo PDX–a curated, handmade geeky craft show–is coming to Portland June 11-12 at the DoubleTree Portland. The Facebook event is here. The website (listing 15 other GeekCraft Expos in the US and Canada) is here. All exhibitors are pre-qualified to exhibit as makers at Rose City Comic Con 2017 (while space allows). The extended deadline to apply is May 17!

To celebrate, we’re hosting another GeekCraftUp at SCRAP PDX, an amazing nonprofit organization that accepts craft materials donations and is committed to be creativity and recycling! We’re meeting from 4-7 pm May 14 (this is why I’m missing Civil War, dear readers), and every attendee will receive a bright yellow Avatar: The Last Airbender reusable bag from Dark Horse Comics with a couple of goodies inside (while supplies last), plus we’ll have some amazing raffle prizes, including a print signed by Hellboy creator (and recent Grand Master Award winner from Spectrum) Mike Mignola!

Mysterious GeekCraft Expo-related event TBA! Could it be a kickoff party (it might be a kickoff party)? Might it be at a super cool location (yes) with awesome music, (uh huh) prizes (of course), and more? Stay tuned for our announcement!

In other news, Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men have finally reached my X-Men comics entry point, Inferno (the Madelyne Pryor stuff)! I cannot wait to listen to this week’s episode. My only complaint is I cannot do anything else (like type) while listening to them–their program is so dense (in the best way) and full of trivia, insights, and sheer passion!

Also, The Doubleclicks, Portland’s geek-flavored folk-rock sister duo, are leaving on a giant summer tour beginning in June, gracing 28 towns and two countries with their sweet-yet-snarky tunes.

Phew! That’s all I’ve got for today. Stay tuned for more fun stuff this week!