Not 85 C

Monday morning I usually have errands to do in the Southcenter shopping area.  Last week I saw more than one report about 85°C Bakery Café, a famous Taiwanese bakery opening a shop there. This is its flagship store in the Northwest.   So I decided to make it my first stop and I was armed with my small sketch kit.

King 5 news coverage  

Seattle Times coverage

My plan fizzled out.  The store was closed due to a power loss.  I sketched the outside from my parked car.  I’ll try again next week.

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Dolce Si’

Yesterday I joined Urban Sketchers Tacoma at Dolce Si’ Sicilian Bakery & Café for a sketch outing.  The owner was very gracious and even offered to let us join a private monthly Italian get-together with live Italian music.  As a result, there were a lot of Italian speakers coming in and out of the cafe.  It was a delight to witness the exuberance with which they greeted each other.

The very first thing I noticed when I entered the cafe was an amazingly crafted swan pastry.  I bought one just to sketch it. Frances called it “Cream Puff Monster”  Roy called it “Puff the Magic Dragon’s apprentice”.  It sat in the middle of the table I shared with 4 other sketchers and at least a couple of us drew it.  It went home with another sketcher so we didn’t eat it!  I did still eat one of the bakery’s wonderful European creations, less whipped cream, more fruit!

Roy is ready to help eat it after we've sketched it.

Roy is ready to help eat it after we’ve sketched it.

I again channeled a Michele Cooper-like montage (or Gabi’s small, medium, large spread across the double page from his 10×10 workshop).  The medium section was the counter top with flowers and a plush pup.  Since the day was still sunny, I wandered around outside this large Point Ruston complex and found a view out on Commencement Bay.

I next used my pocket sketchbook to draw one of the otter sculptures near the cafe.  It started to rain, of course.  So I positioned my drawing board at an angle over the book in order to keep sketching so I could at least finish the drawing.  I do very much like otters so was happy to discover four such sculptures!  I forgot to take note of the maker.

We shared sketches at the outside tables under an overhang, though it had stopped raining.  The group photo has 22 people but there are at least a few missing.

More photos here:

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Sew Expo 2017

Yesterday I went to Sew Expo.  I almost didn’t go but I’m glad I did! For the past many years I’ve been going at least one day of the 4 day event.  Since I retired, I go on Thursday, opening day, and I go early.  There are still a lot of people (nearly all women!) but fewer than the weekends by far.

This year I registered for only 2 “1 needle seminars”. These are just 45 min presentations.

“Crafty Chris” presented on hand embroidery.  I already know how to do embroidery and I use period medieval stitches almost exclusively.  Luckily, they are also some of the most commonly used stitches.  Chris’s seminar was a perfect blend of information for the beginner as well as updates on new products and techniques for the more experienced. Chris does free, drop in, crafting sessions at all the Pacific Fabric locations.

I went straight to the Pacific Fabrics booth to use the 20% off coupon for a couple items she covered.  I am very excited to try Transer-Eze.  It is “a water soluble film that needles well” and can be used in an ink jet printer!  I have many patterns I’ve bought or drawn myself that will lend themselves to being printed!  Such an easy way to transfer the design.  It’s available at Pacific Fabrics in Washington state and also  here, but there is no info about it. Reviews on Amazon are mixed.   I’ll make a comment to this post about the results of my test.

Lois Hallock gave a talk about sewing ergonomics.  She is a Mechanical Engineer for Boeing!  I am going to apply her suggestions this weekend in hopes I can eliminate the sore muscle I get in my back almost immediately when I start sewing.  This was perhaps THE most helpful seminar I’ve ever attended at any Sew Expo.    Her website:

In between, I walked the aisles full of sales booths.  So much fabric!  And I did not buy any this year.  I call that incredible restraint.  I laughed out loud when I saw Pacific Fabrics has a Marijuana print fabric!

Pacific Fabrics always has a beautiful display.  This year it features their exclusive “Nostalgic Washington” design fabric by local Lantern Press

I found a new charity sewing project.  When I went to the website this morning, I discovered their location is only a few blocks from where I live!  However, the FAQ says they do not want drop-offs. If you follow the link to “download the pattern” you have to sign up for a mailing list.  It took about an hour to get the email that then led me to the link to download the pattern.  And then the connection to download was a bit slow.  Perhaps it is effected by volume from Sew Expo! That would be good.

Now that my sewing machine has been fixed and cleaned, I can start on some new projects.   I also dug out the basket of unfinished embroidery projects.  Most of them are my SCA heraldry!

A few more photos:

Update (late evening):  I’ve used the Transfer-Eze and, so far, it works great!  One of the reviews on Amazon complained that it left a sticky residue on the needle.  I had no such problem.  I’m not sure I have any means to do a transfer on black fabric, either.  Once the project is completed, I’ll do another addendum about how the wash out went.

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Fifth Anniversary

Today is the 5th anniversary of the first time I went to an Urban Sketchers sketch outing.

On 2/26/12 I joined the group at an outing at the Stimson-Green Mansion.

I didn’t do any urban sketching today but I did go to Social Watercolor at Daniel Smith.  And I painted a sketch of an urban sketcher friend!  I drew from my own photo and it almost looks like her….

I had just retired a few months before discovering Urban Sketchers.  I knew instantly that was something I wanted to do.  It’s been a wonderful experience that has added fun, purpose and meaning to my retirement.  I’ve made new friends.  I’ve gained new skills.  I’ve been to new and interesting places.

By way of a comparison, here is one of the sketches I did on that first sketch outing.  It was done with watercolor pencils.  I didn’t have any actual watercolors but I’d taken a class about colored pencils so brought them along. I drew constantly in my youth but had not put pencil to paper to draw in about 40 years.

This is one from a recent outing to the same location.

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Joining forces at Wintergrass

This was the 4th year running that Urban Sketchers Seattle Friday group sketched at Wintergrass, the bluegrass festival in Bellevue.  However, this year we were joined by a few sketchers from Tacoma!  In fact, most of the sketchers were from Tacoma.

missing Gloria, who left early

missing Gloria, who left early

For some reason, this year I wasn’t that interested in sketching musicians jamming in the hallways.  So I took the skyway across the street to sketch “Fiori” the glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly in Lincoln Square.  Behind the spikes of purple glass is a glass panel waterfall that stretches 3 floors high.

I did find one group jamming away and made a quick sketch in the pocket Stillman and Birn Beta.  Both Frances and Beverly sketched this group from opposite sides.

Beverly, in purple, in the background

Beverly, in purple, in the background



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New Ikea

This was the day for which we’ve been waiting!  The new Ikea store opened this morning.  It was built on the site of the parking lot of the old store.  It is 2 stories and is 399,000 square feet.   It has Washington’s largest rooftop solar array on the roof.    More info about the store.

The store was closed on Tuesday to prep for the opening today.  During that closure, local non-profits were invited into the old store to take housewares for their clients.  The value was about $57,000!

I thought I would be late and miss the opening ceremony as I left home later than planned.  Not only did I easily find parking, I still had several minutes to wait, even though my arrival was 10 minutes after the scheduled start!  I lucked out.

There were opening speeches and flag raisings.  I was rather disconcerted that only us grey haired folk put hand on heart during the raising of the American flag and the singing of the national anthem.  None of the young store employees I could see or even the invited guests did so!

After the American flag was raised, the Swedish one was and a local Swedish folk group sung the Swedish national anthem.  I did a rather unsteady video.

While I waited, I sketched in the background of the area for the ceremony. There was no ribbon cutting.  As is supposedly Swedish tradition, a log was sawed for good luck. I added in the store manager and the mayor sawing the log as it barely took a minute!

Since I was there and the line of people waiting wasn’t too long, I decided to take a look around.  Everything seemed larger:  the cafe, the warehouse, the number of carts.  They even stock bicycles now!

all the carts!

all the carts!

I had the feeling of the warehouse in Indiana Jones!

I had the feeling of the warehouse in Indiana Jones!

Afterwards I sketched a corner of the new, 2 story building. For both sketches, I used the Stillman and Birn softcover Beta pocket sketchbook (continuing to be inspired by Gabi’s workshop).

Lots more photos of the new store:

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The big pen

After our sketching outing, I drove the few blocks to the Frye Art Museum to see the exhibit with the big pen that I wrote about recently.   Yup, it is big!

And there was a baseball in the end of it.

And I sketched it on display.

More Photos:

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Sketching bouldering

It’s been 3 years since Urban Sketchers Seattle were last at the Seattle Bouldering Project.  Most of those sketching today hadn’t been there before.  I had been on that first outing and today discovered they’d added a cafe to the layout.

Staff gave us a safety briefing prior to letting us loose.  He said, “most of bouldering is falling” as he warned us to stay well away from the walls!

As I did last time, I headed for the children’s wall.  It has more handholds and crawl spaces.  Also much more noise.  I’d forgotten that as well as my earplugs!  The kids were a little slower on the wall than adults upstairs.  I just waited for another child to make the climb to add to each sketch of a climber.

Next I joined the line of sketchers on the second floor balcony to sketch the climbers from above. For this one I remembered a lesson and drew a quick, gestural line of the climbing figure which I then filled in.

Sharing out sketches

Sharing out sketches

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Unusual art

This blog is usually about my own adventures in sketching.  Today, however, I want to tell you about something rather unusual in the world of drawing.

Vashon Artist and Cartoonist, Jim Woodring, has a very large dip pen with which he makes very large drawings.  It’s 7 pounds and 5 feet long.

unaccredited photo from the Frye web page

unaccredited photo from the Frye web page


It’s interesting to see him in action with the pen on last night’s Evening (a local TV show).

I knew I’d seen this before.  Gabi Campanario, “the Seattle Sketcher”, did a column about Jim, way back at the beginning of 2011.

Now there is a exhibit of the drawings done with the large dip pen open at the Frye  through 4/16

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Foss again

After two beautiful days of sun and relatively warm weather, it was just too much to ask for it to continue for our sketch outing to Foss Waterway Seaport museum.  We’ve sketched there before.  Though it is a large place with many artifacts, it just does not interest me that much.

Dee is dwarfed by this massive whale skull!

Dee is dwarfed by this massive whale skull!

But today I was interested in seeing the whale skeleton I’d heard the students at a local high school had assembled as a class project.  The “Stadium High School Articulation Team” put together this Humpback Whale!  It hangs dramatically from the ceiling and creates an equally dramatic shadow.

Once I finished it, there was still quite a bit of time left.  I wandered about trying out different compositions of collections in my head.

Shared sketches and group photo.

more photos:

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