17 July 2010

Summer is the Season of Handmade

Mention the words "local" and "handmade" in the same sentence, and I'm likely to show up to whatever is happening. That was the case today when I learned earlier in the week about the supa summa craft market at the Flying M Coffeegarage in downtown Nampa.

Nampa, you say? Yes, let's go for a walk around downtown Nampa and see what we find. Did anyone else grow up with an 88 cent store in their town?

I saw this sign and immediately recalled the worn hardwood floors and the tinkling bell of the store that graced a corner of the small Oregon town I grew up in. Of course, the store longer exists, but it's still fun to see a vestige of days gone by.

Around the block, I stopped in to check out the wares on display at Urban Shed, a large consignment shop with contemporary and antique finds.

It's the building as much as the contents that will draw you in. Far in the back, I found a small glass dish to catch my keys and sunglasses when I step in the door at home.

Across the street, it was the handmade jewelry that attracted my attention at the Brass Razoo Boutique.

And once I was there, I was drawn in by the artful and clever displays of both furniture and clothing. By the time you reach the back of the store, you won't feel like you're in Nampa anymore, but a chic boutique that has recently garnered national attention.

I like the eclectic heartbeat that downtown Nampa has. I've seen traditional downtowns struggle in every area I've lived in, and it's encouraging to see this growing revival of boutiques. Sure, you can find both the hip and the ordinary, but more importantly, you can support local and handmade.

Some places to check out on your own walk around downtown Nampa:

Brass Razoo Boutique
115 13th Avenue South

Flying M Coffeegarage
1314 2nd Street South

Retro Connection
1305 2nd Street South

Urban Shed
120 13th Avenue South

The White Pine Boutique
1306 2nd Street South

06 July 2010

So...I moved to Idaho

So, last month I moved to Idaho. Boise, to be exact. And I've been giving myself some time to adjust and do all the little things one must do when relocating and starting a new job.

A couple weeks ago, I finally went out to start exploring my new environs. I had seen the Boise Depot poised along the edge of the bench plateau on earlier trips to the area, and I wanted to get a closer look. I thought it might be an appropriate way to introduce you to my new city.

Completed in 1925, the Union Pacific Railroad Depot was a key element in the design of a grand boulevard into Boise. It anchors one end of the boulevard, while the state capitol building marks the opposite end.

I was particularly attracted to the Spanish Colonial architecture and red tile roof. It's not a style you see often in the Pacific Northwest. The surrounding grounds are beautifully landscaped, and the pond below the waterfall and rock grotto has the largest koi fish I have ever seen!

In some ways, the interior reminded me of being in the main hall on Ellis Island, although on a much smaller scale.

I've already been scouting out local events and nearby places to visit. And though I've spent a fair amount of time travelling through Idaho on my way to other places, the state itself is going to be full of new adventures for me.