Wow, so yesterday was a fun little whirlwind. We spent pretty much the whole day romping around the Portland Home & Garden Show (minus a break to scarf down some much-recommended Voodoo Donuts – and yes we tried maple bacon – mmmm). The Expo Center here is stuffed with gorgeous gardens, cool green living ideas, and tons of friendly Portlanders. Or Portlandians? Portlandites? Whatever they’re called, the people here are crazy nice. We’ll give you an actual Portland shopping/stuff we did/house-crashing trip roundup once it’s actually complete (today’s our Explore-The-City day) but for now we’d at least tell you about our time at the show yesterday.
It kicked off early with some interviews with the local TV stations at 7:30 am. Despite having been up since 4 (we were still on East Coast time), it was a miracle that we managed to be coherent.
You can actually watch this whole segment below. We’re just proud we didn’t blurt out anything ridiculous and weird on live TV. We saved that for our presentation in the afternoon. More on that in a minute.
Our home base at the show was the Smart Home, a mini-house within the convention center that their crew constructed in about 48 hours (!) that showcases lots of sustainable and green design. Within the solar paneled roof and energy efficient windows & walls, there was also a pretty sweet house full of cool stuff that we wanted to take home. Like this universally designed kitchen (crafted by local cabinet makers) which was anchored by this stellar table (also handmade by local artisans).
Speaking of tables, the living space had another cool one – it’s sort of a quatrefoil made from wood cross-sections. If it would’ve fit on the plane’s carry on bin, we might’ve attempted to sneak that baby off in our backpack.
We also drooled over these pillows that were adorned with polished cork-like wood disks and colorful thread (they were surprisingly comfortable, actually).
We also really loved this display wall, which was made completely from locally reclaimed wood. It totally inspires me to save all of our scrap wood in the basement until we can use it for something this cool.
This Smart Home was just the beginning of the awesome stuff that was constructed in the midst of an otherwise ordinary convention space. One thing that immediately caught our eye was all of the landscaping and greenery. Partially because we’re on the verge of having the spring landscaping bug and partially because, well, it was pretty.
Can our backyard please look like this? Wouldn’t you swear this shot was taken outside? Nope, it’s in the middle of the convention center where they have mood lighting, gorgeous landscaping, and even brick walls and wood pergolas that were build by local vendors and artisans. We loved the big bulb string lights in the shot below, and also really liked that all the chairs at the table were casually mismatched.
Nestled amongst the landscaping displays was this crazy cool prefab home from Ideabox. Our pics totally don’t do it justice, but Sherry and I were about to move in, right there in the middle of the Expo Center.
Of course it didn’t hurt that the whole thing was furnished by Ikea (so a certain light fixture – also in the bedroom! – was already making it feel like home)
The kitchen was punctuated with a few bright green cabinets which added just enough color and fun without feeling like too much (everyone who slipped through with us was going crazy over it).
We were on our own for most of the day (i.e. Clara was exploring the city with my parents, who traveled with us to PDX) but she did join us at the show for a little while. She too was quite captivated by all the sights. Here she is playing landscaper.
And resting on a bed from the Smart Home.
And crowning me as DIY Daddy of the Day.
And taking a faux shower.
Oddly enough, this is not the only Petersik-in-a-shower-at-the-Portland-Home-and-Garden-Show picture of the day. In fact, there are two more.
Sherry update: I’m not prego! Since a few folks have guessed my trench was hiding something: it isn’t. Portland is just cold and rainy. Haha. And apparently my coat isn’t as flattering as I thought.
Yes people, we have no shame. Speaking of which – the weirdness and semi-coherent rambling continued into the afternoon when our blogging seminar started. The organizers of the event invited a few dozen local bloggers so that we could share some of our thoughts on “taking your blog to the next level.” It looked something like this (and yes, that’s a picture of a teenage Sherry’s airbrushed jeans with winking eyes on the buns and me on the toilet). No shame I tell you.
Remember when I said that we blurted out a few ridiculous things? Well, that was all Sherry. Somehow during a little mention of not blogging about things just because they’re “trendy” or “in” – the examples that Sherry pulled out of thin air were “you know, don’t start a blog about being green just because you think it’s a trend if it’s not really something you love and are passionate about – or you know, just because something like being… lactose intolerant might be popular, don’t just start a blog about that.”
Then there was a nice long pause while we laughed about the idea that lactose intolerance was randomly referenced as a hot topic. Other strange suggestions that worked their way in there were “insert Ninja Turtle references” and at some point Sherry said “a pile of crap” while not meaning to refer to dung (she said it in regards to the piles of stuff that we have hoarded in our playroom). But amidst all the weirdness, I think we actually gave some real advice that was helpful. And at the end of the hour we got to meet everyone and chat a little. Once again we learned that Portlandanians are nice folk.
We also got a chance to chat with some of our fellow bloggers afterwards. We even got a sweet “Welcome to Portland” print from these lovely ladies. In true Portland fashion, they put a bird on it.
In addition to being mighty friendly, this city is mighty green too – and, if I may get all Jack Nicholson on you for a moment, it kinda makes me want to be a
better greener man. Like that this guy for instance. He’s Jim of Northwest Cedar Specialties and he rescues scrap wood by dumpster diving at construction sites, home remodels, or wherever (like in the picture he’s holding below) with the construction-folks’ blessing, since a ton of stuff actually gets thrown away. Then he constructs cedar planters from the scrap wood. And how can you not like a guy whose flyer says his reclaimed materials come with “a lot of respect and loving care.”
I was also really into (like kinda too much so) these living walls from Seventh Wonder Gardens. Makes me wish we had a huge sun-filled atrium somewhere in our house that I could blanket with these guys. There’s also a cool time lapse of one of them growing in on their website.
As much as I was charmed by a wall of plants, Sherry was all over this chicken coop. Until we remembered that Richmond isn’t quite as progressive as places like Portland and owning chickens isn’t allowed in our county (unless we have about 4 times as much land as we do). Boo. Maybe someday…
We got a break for dinner (and to upload some pictures from the day) before we had a fun little meet and greet in the evening. I promised Sherry I’d include this photo of me looking exceptionally nerdy. Who walks around a convention with a giant backpack, open laptop, and a giant camera around their neck? Yep, this sexy blogger does.
That’s pretty much the last picture we snapped of the day (great way to conclude, right?) because all of the pics that we took at the meet and greet were taken by the show’s official photographer (they’ll be posted on their Facebook page sometime today) or by the lovely people that we got to both meet AND greet. Fortunately some are popping up on Twitter, like this one from Katy at The Non-Consumer Advocate who helped “Keep Portland Weird” (apparently that’s a popular bumper sticker around here) by asking us to pose next to a bed instead of in the courtyard where we were meeting and greeting. Since weird is practically our middle name, well, this happened:
Seriously though, this was probably the most fun part of the day because we got to chat with some of you guys – and even put some faces to commenter names that we’ve seen time and time again. We were very flattered that any of you cared enough to come see us. It made us even more excited to tour with our book in the fall, which means that we’ll get to see you guys in some other cities too… and maybe even come back to Portland (it’s all up to our publishers where we go, but we’ll keep you posted!). It’s fun here. And actually not as rainy as we expected.
Has anyone hit up a home and garden show lately? Or been to one in the past that they especially enjoyed? If you’re here in the Portland area you can still catch this show through Sunday. And anyone in the mood for another home and garden show can take a look back at what we spotted at our local Richmond show waaay back in 2008.
Welcome to the Pacific Northwest! Hopefully one day you’ll be able to make it to Seattle for a visit too :)
Would love to! I’ve never been but John has and he loved it!
I second that! And we are pretty “green” here in WA also!
Clara’s hair cut is super cute!
Aw, thanks! I was so glad she didn’t cry this time. Can’t wait until it grows up top instead of just becoming a mullet.
Kristen @ Popcorn on the Stove says
Looks like a fun time in Portland! I LOVE that table made from wood cross-sections. Do you remember who made it??
So sorry, we don’t. Hmm, maybe try commenting on their Facebook page to see if they’ll write back!
I saw the same table on HGTV Color Splash w/David B. I fell in love with it as well.
Elements International says
The table is made by a wonderful portland wood studio called Endurawood! We really appreciate the design too and complimented our custom planter with orchids + plants.
Looks like you guys are having tons o fun!
Christina S says
I didn’t know you’d tour when your book came out. I’m there!
Jen M. says
I didn’t know you guys would be doing a book tour either, I SOOOOOOO hope Portland makes it on the list! I wanted to come see you guys at the H&G show but was working (lame). So glad you’re enjoying your time in this beautiful city!!
Katrina @ 'Sota is Sexy says
So glad you had fun! I just moved away from the Pacific Northwest and was bummed I wasn’t able to make it out to hear you speak. Seriously though, you guys work so hard and I’m glad you got a little time away…even if it was a working vacation.
Ooh! And I love that the big white Ikea light of fabulousness was featured! We’re buying one for our new condo we just moved into. I’m OBSESSED with that thing!
Julie @ Table for Two says
I’ve always wanted to go to Portland, sounds like so much fun! Also, I love your trenchcoat, Sherry!! It’s so cute :) where’d you get it?
That was a Banana Republic Outlet find last Easter. Hope it helps!
I was in Portland in the fall for work and my two suggestions for you to check out (besides Voodoo donuts – yum!) are Powell’s bookstore and the park downtown that has all the food trucks. Don’t know what its called but you can’t miss it and someone from the area can direct you there – more food trucks than I’ve ever seen, cheap and soooo good! And Powell’s is a must see – both used and new books, totally overwhelming but awesome!
Oh yes, we’ve seen them both and hope to explore them today!
Portland stole that motto (keep _ weird) from us down here in Austin! You should visit us next! ;)
We hear Austin is amazing and really hope to check it out!
Anne @ Twentysomething Trainwreck says
So glad someone else pointed that out! I was born in Austin but went to school in Portland, and that drove me bananas. Luckily I’m back in Texas now!
I second that! Totally stole our tagline but from what I hear Portland is similar in its “greenness” to A-town. Come play in Austin! You guys would looooooove it!!
I third (?) that! You guys would love Austin! Who doesn’t?? There are a lot of food trailers here as well. Hey Cupcake, The Mighty Cone, Holy Cacao, and many, many more. Lots of parks and tons of outdoor activities. Are you sold yet? (Rather, are your publishers sold yet?? I would love to meet you guys in Austin on your book tour).
Love the trench coat!
Debbie @ Pink Texas Chick says
Yes, Austin is beyond awesome is this home town chick does say so myself! :)
Your trench coat did not make me think you were prego and I too loved that chicken coop. Maybe because I first thought it was a play area for kids. ha!
Book tour… SEATTLE! (I’m starting my campaign early!) There are many of us who just couldn’t make the trek with the little kiddos in tow who are dying to support you guys and say hello… andplus Seattle is super cool. :)
I’m so glad you guys had fun, and have to add that I recently discovered (when trying to rescue and help home a chicken that had hung out at our house all day and then was attempting to roost on the jogging stroller for the night) that at least 5 of my neighbors in my urban neighborhood have chicken coops. NEVER KNEW!
Enjoy your day in the PNW, and travel home safely!
Aw thanks Michele!
Julia @ Chris loves Julia says
Thanks for giving us a complete rundown. Looks like such a good time and makes me wish I lived closer to Portland so I could have joined in, too!
Maple bacon donuts are so very awesome! I went all the way to San Francisco a few years ago to try one. But you guys are awesome. And the Smart House is fantastic. Definitely saving some photos for my home reno inspiration
So glad you guys are having fun! I just wanted to THANK YOU for getting up extra early to post on Eastern time. All of us here on the East coast eagerly await 10am for your posts. Thank you again!!
PS. Please try and include Orlando, FL in your book tour! ;) I’m sure Clara would love to meet Micky and Minnie!
Aw thanks Marissa! We’re doing our best to stick to our usual schedule whenever we can!
Would love to see you guys in Orlando! Maybe at the Parade of Homes or the Home and Garden show?
Would be fun for sure!
“sexy blogger” indeed!!!
kaycee parker says
That looks like so much fun! Thanks so much for keeping us posted, you guys are awesome. I’ve been to Portland a handful of times to visit family, it’s so beautiful! Extremely breathtaking from a girl who grew up on flat-land in Jersey.
Ginny @ Goofy Monkeys says
Looks like you guys are having a blast!
Krystle @ ColorTansformedFamily says
That home show looks way better than the one we had in Birmingham, AL this past weekend. I would have loved to seen all those cool exhibits and products. We did at least have 40 vendors handing out free (junk) food. Tht probably isn’t happening in Portland since they are a little more health conscience.
Cara D says
Looks like you had a great time. Love the cork pillow. It would be easy to make and make a really great art piece if you put them on a canvas.
LOVE that idea!
Sarah MC says
You do have a sun-filled room in your house — your sun room! You could do a living wall there.
Ooh that’s true! It’s not temperature controlled in there so we might have to get creative…
Shelley @ Green Eggs and Hamlet says
As soon as I saw the living wall I had to pin it because I immediately thought, “I must have this in my sunroom.” Mine isn’t temperature controlled either and I live in Colorado (cold winters) so I’d have to get REALLY creative. But I’m super intrigued.
Bahahaha. Sherry, you look like a little munchkin in that shower!
And oh my goodness, I want that backyard SO BADLY. I do I do I do. And a way to rid my yard of mosquitos, otherwise I could never enjoy it. Last summer the record was 19 bites in 5 minutes. Sigh.
Leigh Anne says
Portland looks like a wonderful city, and the show seems to be full of eye candy. I hope you all are having a great time, and I can’t wait to see what projects are to come from the inspiration you drew from your visit. Enjoy your day, and hope to meet you during your book tour!
I’m so glad that you had a good visit to Portland! And, YES, I am totally on board with a book tour stop in Seattle as Michelle says above (it’s where I’m at now)! It’s not quite as nice as Portland, but it’s definitely a fun, unique place worth visiting. :)
I am ALSO an Ash in Seattle, and I second this motion! :)
Meghan Lewis says
We went to Voodoo Doughnuts after meeting you at the seminar, too! That’s an odd little place, but, man, the doughnuts were good!
Isn’t it weird and hardcore yet delicious?! Haha. So glad you got a chance to check it out! And it was so great to meet you Meghan!
Devon @ Green House, Good Life says
Funny that you mentioned green blogs being trendy — my own green blog (started 2.5 years ago as we started designing and building a green house) certainly hasn’t been my ticket to the big leagues (although it did just get me a gig writing for a local magazine!).
The show looks awesome! I wish I could have been there!
Where are those great cork slice pillows from?!?!? Love love love.
Thanks for the update!
Wish we knew! Maybe comment on the Portland Home & Garden Show’s Facebook page to see if they’ll tell ya?
looks so fun! I’m in Canada so thank you for the virtual Portland tour and for keeping us all in the loop on your great adventures. I hope your book tour comes my way :)
Melanie @ Mailbox Journey says
Sounds like it was a success, awesome job guys!
Karen F says
oh, what a fun (and probably exhausting) day!
I’m in love with the couch in the “home” you were in for the day (the couch with the wood disk pillows on it) – any idea where it’s from?
No idea…maybe try asking on the Portland Home & Garden Show’s Facebook page to see if they’ll dish?
Looking forward to your book tour and I have everything crossed that you will come to San Diego! Looks like the home and garden show was amazing, check out the food trucks they are everywhere and yummy!
OMG that looks like the most fun ever! Ooohh new blog idea…how to make your home more green!?
This post is great and all, loaded with fantastic pictures. But…all I have to say is Clara is A-DOR-A-BLE!! :-)
I wish I could have come to see you guys! I hope you hit Washington Park or Pittock Mansion today for the view of the city with the mountain. However, lookds the the view might be covered by the gray:( Better get a BIG Ol coffee!
Maureen @ This (Kinda) Old House says
Glad everything went well! I am really looking forward to your book tour. Hopefully you come to the New York City area. :)
I loved Portland when we visited, glad you’re having fun!
What is the material in the open slats of the pergola? We’re slowly putting some ideas together to redo our backyard (although much smaller in scale than that picture!). The idea combines two the things I’d like – a pergola and fun string lights.
Also, I love that the medallion rug from World Market is included in the show. We just got it for our living room to give you little man a place to crawl around on (well, roll around on for now, he hasn’t quite gotten to crawling. :) ).
It looked like branches or vines tightly woven around the pergola.
I was going to ask the same thing!! I am in love with that pergola. We also are looking for some ideas to dress up our back deck while also getting some shade from the sun.
Ali N. says
AHHH! The pergola (is it technically a pergola?).. anyway the thingy over the patio display, with the lights! I want it
And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Voodoo Donuts on the Food Network, if it’s the place I’m thinking of. Cool! My husband might suggest a roadtrip if I tell him they have a maple bacon donut!
If you’re downtown there is a big elephant sculpture on NW Park st between Burnside and Couch streets. You’d love it Sherry – Clara probably would too. It was nice to meet you guys yesterday – I’m the girl from Alaska from the end of the evening – Sami :). Have fun in our fine city today!
Oh yes we saw it yesterday and loved it!
Jess @ Little House. Big Heart. says
Agh! That looks like so much fun! The Dallas Home and Garden show is next weekend and I can’t wait!
Too bad you aren’t coming down here, too.
Alisha Carey says
That title has a nice ring to it!
I am so glad you all are enjoying Portland. It was wonderful to meet you two yesterday! I was the one who wasnt “doing portland” as well as you ;) I will have you know I enjoyed salt and straw last night!
Thank you for coming here. Now I feel like I’m not as creepy of a stalker because we “know” each other.
Hope you have a wonderful rest of your visit and safe travels home.
You guys were so cute on the video spot! Is there any way we can see you speaking at the seminar, too?
They didn’t get that on video, so sorry!
Portlanders. We are definitely Portlanders. Although, you other ideas did make me giggle. Glad you are having fun. Make sure you check out Powells Books before you head home. You should also take Clara to OMSI, she’d love it.
Have you looked into having chickens as pets? A lot of cities will allow chickens if you name them. Just an idea.
Also, I hope you will add some deep south locations to the book tour. I will mention that Square Books in Oxford,MS has book signs and readings all the time. Just a hint.:)
Haha, love that idea!
Ali Miller says
I’m in MS and would be in Oxford in a SNAP to meet John and Sherry. However, I would be BEYOND surprised if their publisher picked anywhere in MS/AL/LA for them to visit.
Congrats on not saying anything too embarrassing! I think the reference to lactose intolerance sounded endearing. I would have appreciated it anyway and laughed a bit too loudly probably.
I had a question about the kitchen John describes as “universally designed”. What does he (or really the Smart Home people) mean by that? Because I can tell you it’s not ADA (handicap) accessible which is typically what people mean when they use that term.
They used that term although I’m not sure what it means. The oven and microwave were lower but I’m not sure what made it meet that term.
Glad you had fun! I’m so sad I missed it! My little man wasn’t feeling well so I chose to stay home with him! Have fun exploring Portland today!
Aw sorry Lindsey!
Really hope you guys make it to Oklahoma City on your book tour!!! :) Pretty Please!
How fun! Glad you’re having a good time. Oregonians in general tend to be pretty darn nice. If you go hiking here, just about everyone you pass will say hi to you. :)
Oh, I couldn’t wait to read your reaction! And I loved getting to see pictures of what we saw last night (we waited in vain for the chickens to show). We had a fun time, but I couldn’t believe how tired I was after just a couple hours. Hubby deserves big kudos for taking a couple hours off work and driving down and back, but I know he enjoyed it too. I will admit just before we were going to meet you I got really nervous; it is weird that we know all about you but we’re just total strangers to you. Of course you were gracious and it was a privilege to get to meet you! Have a safe and good flight home!
Shame on me. Obviously didn’t read your post carefully; have fun exploring Portland today and a safe flight home tomorrow (or whenever you leave).
Aw you’re so sweet LauraC! So glad to have finally met you!
I can’t believe that lady first called you dorks(even if it is self-proclaimed lol). And then at the end mentioned the others being REAL experts.. as if you guys weren’t! lol I realize you guys started as novices but after a few years, you become somewhat of an expert I think! I think you guys are real experts!! :D And I don’t think you are dorks! Saying/doing dorky things sometimes, maybe, who doesn’t? But overall I don’t think so haha
Haha, she was very cute about it! She loved that we called ourselves that so she asked if we could work it in. She was so nice!
Jessica, I totally thought the same thing. Not thinking too highly of that interviewer, not too professional.
It was SO great to meet you guys! My husband just laughed when I came home grinning from ear to ear and told him you held my baby! Thanks for an awesome experience and hopefully we didn’t nerd out too much on you guys!
Haha, we had so much fun meeting you!
Emily Crawford says
Hi Sherry and John! Loved sitting in on your seminar and meeting you in person. I confused you with a card made here by local Lark Press (it had the anatomy of a bird so it felt appropriate) but us girls in the picture are from Ellinée. We have a lovely blog with freebies and a soon to come website. We hope you like your wall art! I really enjoyed customizing it for you! -Emily
Oh no we were confused! Off to fix that as soon as we can! We’re on the go this morning.
[email protected]'er All About It says
It was so fun meeting you guys! I’ll send that photo your way! Hey, and maybe I’ll put a bird on it!!!
Justin and Lindsay
Tell’er All About It
Haha, so much fun meeting you!