Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Seeing Friends

There are a few places that we always have to go to when we come to the Pacific Northwest. Like when we go to San Diego, there are a few Mecca points that we just have to touch on, as much to remember as to actually buy anything.

Once in a while a new place gets added.

One of those places is now Daniel Smith's Art Supply in Bellevue.

The main reason is because there is an Asian-Western fusion brush painting class being taught in this area, and the instructor has people buy their equipment from Daniel Smith's. They're supplied by Paragon Imports, which brings stuff right in from China, and the prices are pretty good. Better than Oriental Art Supply's. If I buy from them here, and bring it back with me, given that Southwest still allows two bags per person, then I save on the shipping as well.

The best thing was that when we went there ourselves, yesterday, they were able to let me feel the papers they had, and really see the qualities of what it was they had there. I got to touch the Jin Pi and see the slender curls of green fibers on the Green Line. Paragon's description of the paper only said that it was for a more rustic look, not that the paper had green fibers scattered all throughout the paper. I got to actually see the sheets of gold fleck Jin Pi, and find out that a single sheet was nearly as big as a bath sheet. HUGE pieces of paper that, which would be easy for me to make into smaller sheets for cards or other things.

Okay, I did make a few New Years cards. A very few. But the great good things I realized were the following:
  • That I get to experience all of a painting on each one
  • That each one takes very little paper or paint
  • That mounting these small paintings is Dead Simple with a big jug of water based wallpaper paste
  • That acid-free card stock is good and solid
  • And that I can mail them for the cost of first class postage for a letter, not the full weight of a protective tube and all that
  • When someone gets them there's a good chance they can put them in a standard 5x7 picture frame for a few dollars at the nearest Bed, Bath, and Beyond
  • That an envelope for a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" costs half that for one half the size
  • Or, heck, if I really want to spluge I can cut the paper to 8x11
  • Basically, I can feed my art urge on the really cheap

Really, really cheap when a $2.50 piece of paper is nearly as tall as I am. It's nearly as much paper as is on the ten sheet rolls, which cost $10 but are a lot easier to handle.

I also got to dig through all their brushes and I found the flow brush I've wanted for a while. There are three basic brush types; hard or bamboo and orchid brushes that are good at the blade-like strokes, flow or combination brushes that usually have a strong core and softer bristles to do petals and leaves, and detail brushes that can do the really fine line work the most easily. I now have a medium quality brush of each type, along with the dozen or so low quality brushes I've been using in each of two or three sizes. Yes, I haven't even unglued my good Orchid and bamboo brush yet, and I just bought my first good flow brush.

These aren't the best available, but I'm finally getting to a point where I think I can actually use "good" brushes to good effect. We'll see.

But I got to go there and get rolls of the paper I really liked from them before, and get the giant sheets of the specialty paper. They said that they usually only sell them in bundles of ten sheets from the mail order business they do. So being able to get just one or two sheets of each was something that I could do by walking in, and I was glad of that.

Also, by going there, we got to see the Indian grocery store and bakery across the street that we would not have otherwise seen. It was packed and we wandered through and were both in the minority. I was soooo tempted by the Tetley tea bags and the Indian style yogurt... but we were hitting Trader Joe's next. So we ended up buying nothing there, but hitting the bakery where I got a cream and mango cake with egg in it, and John got a bag of hot, crispy things that were really spicy.

We met up with old friends at Trader Joe's. It was funny to see them there, but it was fun, too, and we got to see their 13-year-old daughter we'd last seen when she was seven. Quite the difference and definitely a teenager.

The Bel-Red Trader Joe's was not that well stocked, but we also had a huge store of stuff from my Oakland trip and from our Albuqueque trip, where we'd actually brought along a cooler. I was sad to see no more sipping chocolate on their shelves, and couldn't find the gingerbread bake mix either. But we got more mayonaise, and a few things for our stay here, including a dessert and some blueberry sparkling juice, and chewy Gingeroo cookies. I miss Gingeroos.

I didn't buy any tea. I'd brought cheap English Breakfast from home. The Tetley's got me thinking, and I knew that there used to be the British Pantry in Redmond.

Dinner was great. Isabel made a beautiful homeny, polentta, and black bean casserole with salad, and John took us all out for ice cream at Cold Stone, afterward. He'd gotten free cups of ice cream from asking about a mistake from last time, and he used them. So everyone got their ice cream.

Jet and I got into making Japanese crysanthemum modular origami, and so he and I made an ornament for crimini and niherlas and their son, N. and granny liked it enough that we made one for granny and grandpa, too. That was a lot of fun and with a little practice, Jet gets really precise with his folds! I was very impressed.

I slept in really late. Late enough that everyone went off to church while I was still asleep. I got up only a little while before they got home, and ate some breakfast and did a little catching up on my internet stuff, including a letter exchange with niherlas.

We all had a little lunch, played a bit, and then headed to Redmond.

And, sure enough, when we tried to find the British Pantry, before getting to Niherlas' house, we found it! It was open and doing a brisk business, as usual, and they had boxes of loose leaf tea in the back with expiration dates in 2010. I'm not exactly sure if that recommends them well, but it was good enough for me. I bought one of the PG tips and one box of Typhoo. I also nabbed three Flake praline bars, but held up on the Hob Nobs as incandescens had just sent me a wonderful supply of them. I ended up being seduced by a steak and mushroom pie that did fine in the freezing interior of the car while we went to play with N.

We arrived a bit after 3. Jet presented the little origami decoration, and the adults got good talking time in over tea and tissues, while the boys did some sneaking around. Both of them are into the art of trying to sneak up on their parents... *laughs*

It was really good to catch up again, eventhough nearly everyone had a cold of some kind. *laughs* It was good to hear about what they'd been doing and were up to.

They talked and played for a while, as we talked and caught up. Then they got to play some video games with their Wii system, and then the Men went out to find some meat. Sadly, all the teriyaki places they knew of were closed Sunday night, so they got pizza instead. And it was very good pizza indeed! The kids' margharite was just basil, tomatoes, and cheese. The combo was piled high with Stuff. John bought one that was half red peppers, goat cheese, and sundried tomatoes and the other half was sausage, procuetto, and sundried tomatoes as well. They were both lovely together, and the crust was astonishingly good.

After dinner, we did some card games, Uno and then one round of the Monty Python Flux. Which, as usual, ended rather unexpectedly.

Then one more Wii game after N.'s bed time and it was amazing how quickly five hours could go.

As we were leaving crimini and N. gifted Jet with a robot stuffy! Jet loves his Seltzer stuffy, which he keeps with him everywhere and sleeps with every night. So he said that he liked his old one best, but would now sleep with both.

So it's been a good, if short day. It's supposed to rain for the next few days and I'm glad of it, it should take care of all the snow and most of the things we wanted to do weren't outside for a lot of it anyway. It might also make the Pike Place Market rather less crowded if we wanted to do some real shopping anyway.
Tags: friends, travel

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