Sunday, March 4, 2018

USk KC March Sketch Crawl

Time for Urban Sketchers Kansas City sketch crawl. This time it's The Plaza. Wilma and I always like going to The Plaza to stroll around and see the interesting high-end retail shops. The architecture is unique. If I had taken architecture classes I could explain it better. The trip info claims it "reflects a distinctive Seville Spain theme". I'll go with that. We are encouraged to make and wear name tags with the USk KC designation. That sure makes it easier to identify who we are in a crowd and makes it easier to strike up a conversation.

I found the top of a parking garage with a 360 degree view with an edge wall the right height to hold my gear. It was sunny and jacket weather, so it was a nice outing. Met a sketching mom with pre-teen daughter who came up after I was settled in. Both were sketching.

Ground zero for this outing was The Unity Temple. I don't know it's background or affiliation, but this was a great place to meet. After we sketched, we met up again to show and talk. They put is in a small theatre-type room, which worked great. Then many of us stayed to eat at Eden Alley, who specialize in vegetarian and vegan cuisine. A bit expensive, but great food. I had a Chickpea Rancheros, which was spices and a bit of heat. Plenty of flavor and texture.

This group is the best-run USk group I've sketched with. The pull off the sketch crawl, I think four volunteers were involved, and they are always researching future places to sketch. Those who attend I find to be very approachable, even if their large number is a bit intimidating. I'll be attending more sketch crawls.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Another Batch

Many years ago my daughter-in-law made me a batch of aftershave for part of a Christmas present. I found that I really liked it. It doesn't have the strong heavily-perfumed presence of commercially made aftershaves. Many months later I needed a refill and she said it was easy to make and gave me the recipe. It was a recipe of rough proportions and left room for interpretation, but it worked!  Now it's what I use most of the time. 

I found that recipes vary a great deal in the liquids used, and the ratio of essence oils to the main liquids ranges all over the place. I kept with the pine needles and eucalyptus essence oils. So many to choose from. Maybe the next batch will have a change.

The use of rum intrigues me. It's in the shaving soap I just bought, too. It must be part of the heritage of men's toiletries. I don't really go for rum drinks. Rum and coke tasted good when I was in college but not so much now. So I don't have any emotional ties to the rum smell, but I do like it in shaving products. I may research that more.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Urban Sketchers KC February Sketch Crawl

Well, I actually missed this month's crawl due to the bookbinding class I was in. I'm not complaining, but I did want to go to the Roasterie Factory coffee shop and roasting factory. I've wanted to see their facility for years. So, when my class was over Saturday, before I drove the 60 miles home, I went there by myself and did my own sketch crawl. I love the plane on the roof but didn't feel like going outside in the cold to sketch it. A hot coffee and PB cookie sounded much better while I sketched.

I love the coffeehouse environment. Mid-afternoon Saturday they had quite a crowd. Retail shop with gift-type items. Factory that gives tours. Cafe.  I just wish they had a place to set and see the plane. The Roasterie sells coffee nationwide now. I've watched them grow over the years. Several restaurants in Topeka now use them. They do good work.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New Frontier

While in KC for the bookbinding class I decide to check out a new donut shop; Donutology. I ran into them on-line because they now sell coffee from The Roasterie, where the sketch crawl was this month. I had my donut and coffee before class and didn't have time to sketch. After class I just had to go back and sketch. Since I was there, I decided to finish the sketch inside while having coffee and another donut. That extra donut is a secret, though.Mum's the word.

In addition to the traditional pastry offerings they let you choose the donut/frosting/topping/sprinkle combination and have a creation that stuffs a donut cone with ice cream (I think I have that all right). They have individual glass-bottle milk, in flavors that include cotton candy. Very creative.

I had the good fortune to meet and talk with the man who put one of their donuts in space! I was familiar with the story from reading their website. They have a looped video that shows the story. A customer close to the display told me the man who did it was right there beside us, and introduced me. We had a nice chat. They thought the weather balloon would go up and come down within 10 miles of the launch site and they'd be done within an hour. Wrong! The weather balloon with the donuts and camera and GPS transceiver went to 97000 feet. The flight lasted three hours 47 minutes, and landed 273 miles away in another State. The jet stream had fun with it. The GPS froze up and didn't thaw out until it landed. Quite a story. I'll be back.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Another bookbinding class

I love bookbinding! I'm in the learning process, and every class I take has something to be learned. No two teachers do things the same way, and they each have their own take on the subject. So, when I recently found out Kansas City was holding a two-session weekend class, I signed up in a hurry. It was this weekend and well worth it!

The host organization is the Print League of KC, which is a recently-born community printing organization.They recently got their start with the help of crowd funding and have a nice facility with a few presses (don't ask me what, because I haven't learned printing yet).  They also offer classes to pass along the skills. The instructor for this class was Thayer Bray, a local artist who is an accomplished book binder.

We learned three book structures over the course of two 3-hour sessions. There's just something soothing about working with your hands and a few tools and some paper. We learned how to use a vintage paper cutting machine. Cuts such a clean edge. Intimidating, but once you understand how it works, it's an enjoyable tool to use. I love the atmosphere in their shop, too. Creative energy everywhere, and the aroma of printing ink and machines. Industrial meets art. Today we had a snowstorm hit while we were in class. Nice to watch, slick to drive in.

Here's a picture of the class projects, being inspected by our household's local feline, Cosmo.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Too Good To Be True

Cleaning the shower has proven to be the toughest task. It takes strong chemicals to get it partially clean. That's been my approach for years. I have heard of the white vinegar/Dawn blend for the do-it-yourself approach. It sounds too simple. It can't work well. I kept up with the harsh chemicals until one day when we ran out. Then I remembered the white vinegar/Dawn. A quick Google search yielded a recipe. I mixed some up last weekend and tried it.

The smell is a bit weird. Not harsh like chemical but not like perfume. It squirts out thick and it takes some work. I left it for 30 minutes. Then, with a little elbow grease, the softened scum cleans right off! I wouldn't have believed it. The glass doors clean up great, and a water-resistant residue is left behind to keep it clean longer. Note: I had to touch it up with a Windex-type cleaner to clean a little soap residue off.

I read about heating the vinegar after I used the first batch. Maybe the second batch I'll try it. The two ingredients seem to react and pressurize the squirt bottle. It leaks out some. Maybe this stuff is best mixed as you need it and not kept around. I'll know in time. This stuff will be my go-to for the tough scum.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Cold One

The middle of the continent has been cold today, and for another couple days to come. Nothing like what the east coast has had lately, but cold, nonetheless. I haven't managed to keep the woodpile restocked. So, it was time tonight to restock. That takes the wheelbarrow and a lot of cloths.

Last winter I was finally tired of getting cold while shoveling the driveway, so I bought my first pair of insulated bib overalls. I've always wanted a pair, but I'd look and the high price and just keep walking. After the past few cold snow shoveling workouts I had my justification.

 Tonight was the first time to use them, and they performed marvelously! The outside temperature was 5 degrees F and with a 17 mph wind the wind chill was -14 degrees. With my biking balaclava and a hood pullover, heavy expedition-style gloves and heavy coat, I was comfy. I always like the challenge of getting the layers right for the temperature at hand. No need for a base layer since I'd be working and could just go inside if I get cold.

I love the cold, as long as you can dress for it. I took a 4 mile hike on the Landon Trail this past weekend, right after the snow hit. Trudged through 4" of snow to get to the Wakarusa River bridge. 20 degrees F. It was a nice time to be hiking.