A fun Harvest Fair in Balboa Park!

A very fun Harvest Fair and Marketplace could be enjoyed today in Balboa Park!

The San Diego Floral Association hosted this annual event–which they call Birds, Bees, Flowers and Trees–at the Casa del Prado’s outdoor courtyards.

During my walk through Balboa Park, I lingered at this autumn festival to look about and meet some cool people.

This is what I discovered…

The family friendly event provided many educational opportunities.
Vendors had all sorts of unique crafts and art for sale.
Representatives from the organization Senior Gleaners pose for a photo. They’ll pick your fruit and donate to local agencies that feed the hungry. Or you can volunteer and help pick fruit!
Ikebana International had a table with some beautiful flower arrangements.
The San Diego Audubon Society was present. We talked about local estuaries, lagoons and feral parrots in my Cortez Hill neighborhood!
I learned there’s a College Area Community Garden in a canyon near San Diego State University.
These cool folks in costume were representing the San Diego Costume Guild!
The San Diego Beekeeping Society was showing this hive of bees. Hundreds of people around San Diego County keep bees. Many are hobbyists.
If you happen to come upon an injured parrot, call these friendly ladies at SoCalParrot.org. They perform urban wild parrot rescues.
The San Diego Floral Association had lots of helpful and interesting information on display.
The colorful Harvest Fair included a “Flower Power” floral design competition!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A cool Car and Bike Show in City Heights!

A very cool Car and Bike Show was held this afternoon in City Heights!

The event took place in the outdoor community gathering place on University Avenue just east of Interstate 15. If you’ve ever driven by, you’ve probably noticed all the sculptures and murals and the circus tent. Yes, that place!

My friends at Love City Heights put on this show, which featured not only amazing cars and bikes, but vendors and artists and food and music and a bunch of great people!

I took photos as I walked around enjoying myself. Read the captions!

Perfect day for a car show in City Heights! (Okay, the weather was a bit hot.)
Cool cars parked near some outdoor sculptures that were created earlier this year by City Heights residents.
Check out the awesome new mural on a shipping container painted yesterday by GMONIK!
One of my favorites!
Are these the coolest bikes you’ve ever seen, or what?
The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition was present, fixing up bikes! They have workshop in a corner of this City Heights lot.
Smiles appear at the KNSJ radio table!
All sort of crafts were for sale by vendors under the outdoor Fern Street Circus tent.
You see that beautiful blue pillow by The Urban Art Shop? It’s mine now! (According to their website, they are located at 4201 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92105, United States, Northern American Continent, Earth, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Virgo Supercluster, Universe, Third Dimension.)
These smiling faces belong to the Speeding Crow Pressing Co. They make custom apparel and goods!
Artwork created by Andrew Greyeyes. He has also painted murals in City Heights!

If you want to see two fun, very colorful City Heights murals painted by Andrew Greyeyes, click here and here!

A cool Car and Bike Show (and a new GMONIK mural) comes to City Heights!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

The extraordinary reopening of the Mingei Museum!

Three years of construction at Balboa Park’s House of Charm is completed. The reimagined, redesigned, greatly enlarged Mingei International Museum, which occupies most of the historic building, has finally reopened!

The multicultural Mingei Museum, whose focus is crafts and design, opened its doors to the public yesterday. To celebrate, admission to the upstairs galleries will be free during Labor Day weekend through Monday, September 6.

I slowly walked through the new spacious indoor pavilion that occupies the ground level. The ground floor will always be free to the public.

A big seating area invites visitors to relax. Several large glass cases display colorful museum pieces. There’s a nearby gift shop and café, too. Through one door anybody can go outside to sit in a beautiful courtyard at tables under shady umbrellas. (That might become a favorite place to read and write!)

The second floor’s main galleries are approached up stairs through the House of Charm’s tower. As you head up the steps, look up. You’ll be wowed by renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture chandelier! (Lights in the stairwell walls cast intricate shadows, which one guide at the museum said he really likes!)

I walked about the upstairs galleries and admired the many exhibits. I particularly like folk art. I laughed at some pieces, stood in wonder before others.

Artwork handcrafted by “ordinary” folk from all around the world often feels more powerful and authentic than so-called fine art. Because its creation typically flows from human experiences that are unique but universal. Folk art represents what day-to-day people consider desirous or meaningful in life.

By the way, if you’re an artist in San Diego seeking inspiration, or if you want to do some art research, there’s a huge library on the second floor! The Frances Hamilton White Art Reference Library features a specialized collection of over 12,000 books!

I took some photos to provide a taste of the new, more-extraordinary-than-ever Mingei International Museum.

Next time you’re in Balboa Park, you definitely need to check it out! And make sure to venture outside on the second floor, to enjoy amazing views of the Plaza de Panama!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Valentine’s Day love in Balboa Park!

Love could be seen everywhere in Balboa Park today!

On signs, on banners, on balloons, on surprising canvases, even on hands! But mostly on the faces of those passing through the park on a sunny Sunday in February.

Perhaps that’s because today is Valentine’s Day…

Many vendors set up in the Plaza de Balboa near the Bea Evenson Fountain had love-themed crafts and goodies for sale.
Two love birds on a banner, beside the Balboa Park Visitors Center front door.
A heart-shaped balloon in colorful Spanish Village.
Artist Susan Mae Hull of Studio 23 was creating beautiful Valentine’s Day cards in Spanish Village Art Center. I noticed her delicately brushed images include animals from the Chinese Zodiac.
A henna tattoo artist on El Prado could put your heart on your hand. (Or maybe you can wear your heart on your sleeve.)
Artist Jean Pierre made all sorts of colorful hearts and had them for sale near the International Cottages.
One of Jean Pierre’s many bright hearts.
Love balloons could be found everywhere!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Thousands of origami cranes help heal San Diego.

A large display case inside the Japanese Friendship Garden’s beautiful Inamori Pavilion contains “one thousand” colorful origami cranes. They were created by members of the community from March through July of 2020 to help reassure and heal San Diego during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.

A sign in the display case explains: “In Japanese culture, the crane is a symbol of longevity and happiness. The one thousand origami cranes were originally popularized through the story of a Japanese girl, Sadako, who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during World War II. She soon developed leukemia and began making origami cranes with the goal of making one thousand, inspired by the senbazuru legend…”

According to Wikipedia: “The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years.” You can learn more about the ancient Japanese senbazuru legend by clicking here.

People throughout San Diego actually contributed over 2000 paper origami cranes for this very powerful display. Many hopeful hands worked together to help us all get through an extremely difficult period.

If you’d like to be moved and comforted by these “one thousand” cranes, head to the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. The Inamori Pavilion can be found in the Lower Garden.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Many colorful birdhouses in Santee trees!

Look what I spied yesterday! As I walked along the San Diego River Trail in Santee, a bit west of Cuyamaca Street, I came upon two sycamore trees that were absolutely filled with small, very colorful birdhouses!

I noticed that names and dates were painted on the base of many houses. It appeared to me some were created in May of this year. Others were dated 2018. I don’t know whose fun project this was. If anyone knows, leave a comment!

The nest boxes–some are very tiny–have been very creatively designed and are like small works of art. I’m not sure whether any birds have used them. It does appear spiders like them! These wonderful little birdhouses dangle like ornaments from branches that are a few feet from the San Diego River Trail where many people walk and ride bikes.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Handmade face masks for sale downtown!

If you need face coverings during the present coronavirus pandemic, today I discovered that handmade face masks are for sale downtown! They are being produced at Sante’s Tailoring located at 1150 7th Avenue, #1.

As I walked up Seventh Avenue, I saw a table covered with all sorts of colorful face coverings for sale, and met Luzney, who works in another of the building’s suites. Luzney’s Flowers and Gifts at 1150 7th Avenue, #2 has seen a sharp downturn in flower sales, as hotels are empty and weddings are put off during the COVID-19 crisis, so she’s helping to sew these cloth masks, too!

I learned from Luzney that the cotton, washable face masks will be for sale at this location Mondays through Fridays, from 9 am to 2 pm. If you live or work downtown, or just need some cool face masks once the countywide May 1 public face covering rules come into effect, either swing on by, or you can call their phone at 619-231-9898.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Finishing a 19th century quilt in Old Town.

Today, when I stepped into Threads of the Past in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, I found several ladies working on quilts. One beautiful quilt in particular was spread out before them, and on top of it was a small very old photograph showing two sisters from a century ago.

I asked a question or two and jotted a few quick notes. I didn’t really achieve a perfect understanding, and some of what I’m about to write might be incorrect!

I believe the spread quilt and another folded beside it had been pieced in the late 19th century by two sisters, Gertrude and Mabel Raymond, who were school teachers in National City, and who are now buried in Greenwood Memorial Park. The old quilts had been found by a family in their attic, and brought to Threads of the Past to be completed.

One of the quilters I spoke to was working on a modern “Sanitary Commission” quilt, which will be auctioned off on the Fourth of July. The fabric squares were designed by local school children. (You can glimpse a bit of their artwork in the second-to-last photograph.) I learned that there are only six authentic United States Sanitary Commission quilts from the Civil War known to exist, and was told that if you see those words on an old quilt at a rummage sale or swap meet, buy it!

Walk into Threads of the Past and not only will you see historic quilts hanging on the walls, but you’ll learn something new about that big colorful quilt known as History, and you might find skilled quilters working to preserve it!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Making beautiful candles in Old Town.

Today I watched as a father and his son made beautiful candles in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

The father, Paul, is the owner of Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop. His son is a super friendly young man named KC.

This talented family has been making candles by hand for three generations. I learned their business has been operating for about 38 years (including a period at Knott’s Berry Farm) and has been located in Old Town now for about 24 years.

For a few minutes I watched as Paul used a special carving tool to cut and curl back soft wax as he made an elaborate, very beautiful, multicolored candle. He told me he had about 8 minutes to complete the task, before the wax cooled and hardened. After carving a well at the top of the candle, he dipped his finished creation in clear wax, then a hard glaze.

Sometimes he’ll add shells or figurines to these decorative candles, to make them even more fantastic. I also learned that these fancy many-layered candles, which begin modestly as a solid mold, can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to create!

Outside the shop, tourists and curious passersby were watching KC dip taper candles. He’d dip each group of wicks, which are suspended vertically in a circle, about 30 to 35 times, depending on the outdoor temperature. He was careful not to leave the forming candles in the hot wax for too long. After the candles grew in girth to the correct size, he removed the excess wax for future use, and used scissors to cut the candles free, as you can see in my last photo!

Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop is located in the historically and architecturally important Sessions Building, which was designed by renowned San Diego architect Richard Requa. Learn more about it here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Christmas Around the World at Balboa Park.

Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.
Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.

Christmas on the Prado is being held today in Balboa Park. The event, while not nearly as large as December Nights, is special to many in San Diego because it is primarily religious, celebrating the birth of Christ.

This afternoon I wandered randomly about the International Cottages, seeing what I might see. Most of the cottages were open for the event and many contained Christmas trees and unique decorations.

I photographed a variety of crafts and beautiful displays, which are said to represent Christmas Around the World.

People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.
People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.

Making paper Christmas tree ornaments at the House of Norway.
Making paper Christmas ornaments at the House of Norway.

A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.
A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.

A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.
A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.

Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.
Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.

Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.
Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.

A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.
A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.

Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.
Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.

A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.
A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.

Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.
Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.

Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!
Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!

A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.
A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.

Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Happy needlework at the House of Germany.
Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Joyful needlework at the House of Germany.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!