Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Local Specialty

We read that the local cuisine in Bruges included Mussels and Frites, so we sat down at the most appetizing restaurant we could find and ordered our own pot to share.  The presentation was beautiful and the the taste was amazing!  Even if it is a bit touristy, be sure to try this dish when you visit Bruges.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bruges Modern

Highlights question of the day: Who can spot the error in this photo?

We saw this interesting appendage attached to a lovely historical home in Bruges.  I know for sure this would not fly in Portland!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bruges and Buddha

After savoring local mussels stewed in wine, a brewery tour, and some fine chocolate, we sat in the Market Square in Bruges to do a little sketching.  I used the ginger infused Buddha chocolate we purchased at The Chocolate Line for scale, and for a reward after my work was done!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Amsterdam: City of Bikes and Buildings

Bikes, bikes. bikes.  Almost hit by a few, and nearly bought one to ship home.  We're loving the simple black Dutch city bikes we see everywhere. Forget the carseat, mothers prop their blonde-headed children up on a tiny seat on their handlebars and wheel them to school.  A few stow them in the wooden cargo box on their long-framed courier bikes.  We love the simplicity and functionality of these commuters...if only pdx would ditch the fixies and go Dutch.

Today we took a canal cruise to get a new perspective on the Amsterdam skyline.  The mix of traditional stepped gables and modern glass creates a beautiful juxtaposition.  One of our favorite styles was the ornamented bell gable. Incredible details and enviable craftsmanship made us drool.

We learned that the oldest buildings in town were constructed at a deliberate slant with hoist points at the gable to aid in the process of getting large goods (furniture) to the top levels.  Most homes here are extremely narrow and designed with steep, winding staiways to save valuable real estate.

Tomorrow we head to Bruges, Belgium and we're excited to drown ourselves in handcrafted chocolates and small-batch beers.  Cheers!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

We Made it!

We're here in Amsterdam, fighting to stay awake so we can adjust to the time change.  We were ready to get our beauty sleep at around 4pm, but knew we needed to power through so tomorrow we'll be on a normal schedule.  Our B&B is located at the SW end of the Vondelpark, which is Amsterdam's equivalent to New York's Central Park.  I spotted these bold, oversized bird houses decorating a tree at the entrance.  If only I had a yard...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Next Stop: Amsterdam

We're about to take off on our journey.  Follow the adventure with us!  We'll be updating Fig Notes with discoveries along the way.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wood + Cake

I just spotted this cake over at In Style Weddings.  I might just have to try and recreate this on a smaller scale at home.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DIY In My Future

We're contemplating a move next month (don't worry, we'll still be in pdx) and I'm already swimming in fresh ideas for our new space.  I just saw this DIY on Design Sponge, complete with video instructions.  I love it.  Now I just need to find the right fabric...

On the Boards: Portland Dental Office

Fig Studio is helping one of our local dental offices spruce up a hand-me-down space.  The client bought the practice from another dentist and with it came a quintessential early '90s palette of teal and pink.  Our goal is to create a budget-minded strategy that requires only a 3-day weekend of down time.  It is critical for office operations to go on as usual and to use materials with low/no toxicity and odor. 

Stay tuned for the results!

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Know You Love Us!

Rain schmain.  This is why we live here! 

Friday, September 11, 2009

New @ Frank James

I'm kind of loving this Dust Bowl Skirt at Frank James...to bad it is now sold!  Have a happy weekend, and don't forget to patronize your local establishments!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I created this small garden of relics near the window in our condo.  A collection of memories from the wedding and our favorite cooking herbs mix to create a faint gesture of outdoor living.  Our view of Portland's West Hills is obscured by a stew of warehouses, Victorian residences, and mid-century high-rises.  I long for a bit of outdoor space, but for now, I'll take a few square feet near the sill and cultivate my own little nursery of possessions. 

The remains of my bouquet

Escheveria from our centerpieces planted in a wooden bowl from Uganda. A gift from a dear friend. 

Ring bearer's aspen round

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

15 'till 22

We're patiently waiting to get on that plane.  15 days until an amazing 22 days in Europe.  We believe that experiencing other cultures and visiting those places we've admired in our glossy magazines is the only way to truly experience design and space.  Think of it as continuing education.  Our itinerary includes large, small, and mid-sized cities, all with their own unique culture and pace.

Before Jeff and I got married, I told him that I was in fact George Bailey.  I wanted to see the world, experience new places and languages, and make a difference with design.  I may not want to build skyscrapers and bridges, but, in my own little way, make an impact with the knowledge I have...help guide people toward responsible choices and good design.  Step by step, I'm reaching my goals and in 15 days I'll have met one more. 

You can experience our trip with us via Fig Studio.  We'll post photos and stories from our adventure in nearly real time, so be sure to stay with us!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Happy Weekend

Image taken at Butchart Gardens, Victoria, BC

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fan Tan

I'm loving Fan Tan Alley in Victoria. I wish I could have packed those bamboo ladders in my suitcase. I half expected to see Dumbledore walk round the corner

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sea Cider Farm

We didn't have a car or a bus schedule, but we still managed to make our way to the somewhat rural Sea Cider Farm on the Northwest side of Victoria Island, BC before the sun set on our vacation. I'm a huge cider fan and have brewed my own concoctions for the past three years. Guggenheim wedding cider was well received at our big event and I hope to make another excellent batch this Fall.

A beacon at the end of our long journey, the farm sit perched atop a hill overlooking the sea. A young orchard lined the road leading up to the tasting room and amazing outdoor deck.

We chose to sample the long flight of 9 organic ciders along with the cheese plate for two. The impressive array of colors, from dark amber to crisp straw, gave me plenty ideas for my fall batch. Brewing cider is an art, and there is no wrong way to reach your final product. Sea Cider Farm experiments with old Tennessee whiskey barrels, pear varieties, and yeast options.

I can imagine a beautiful reception in this tasting room...

...maybe for a future anniversary