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!

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Hotel, shops coming to Santa Fe Depot!

Today I learned a very big change is coming to downtown San Diego’s historic Santa Fe Depot!

This morning, after noticing the building’s exterior is getting a new paint job, I spoke to a gentleman outside the Amtrak office and asked if he knew whether the new owner still plans to renovate the building. I was surprised to hear that this year there will indeed be a major renovation of the building, including the opening up of an interior stairwell that will lead to a small new hotel and shops on the depot’s second floor!

I asked if there were plans to develop the depot’s old forecourt by Broadway, where there are tile benches and a broken fountain, and where streetcars picked up passengers arriving by train a century ago, but he knew nothing concerning that.

He and I agreed that it would be a amazing if the large Santa Fe sign atop the historic depot were finally lit up at night, adding more character to San Diego’s skyline. I’d heard a couple years ago during an architectural tour of the Santa Fe Depot that lighting the sign was a project that might lie in the future.

This all was news to me!

Very cool news!

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!

The holiday season is coming downtown!

Holiday season decorations now line the streets of Little Italy.
Many festive holiday season decorations now line the streets of Little Italy.

It’s the week of Thanksgiving. Winter is coming.

I enjoyed a long walk this morning, knowing that a big storm is headed our way. The next couple days will be wet!

What did I see?

Signs of the coming holiday season are popping up all around downtown San Diego!

The City Ballet will perform The Nutcracker at the Spreckels Theatre.
The City Ballet will perform The Nutcracker this year at the Spreckels Theatre.
A nutcracker guards the lobby of the Westgate Hotel.
A nutcracker guards the lobby of the Westgate Hotel.
Beautiful holiday gifts are beginning to appear in some downtown shop windows.
Beautiful holiday gifts are beginning to appear in some downtown shop windows.
One of several elegant Christmas trees in the lobby of The Sofia Hotel.
One of several elegant Christmas trees now in the lobby of The Sofia Hotel.
The Salvation Army will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate again at Golden Hall.
The Salvation Army will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to the less fortunate again at Golden Hall.
Buon Natale!
Buon Natale!

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!

Old Town readies for Dia de los Muertos.

I had a half hour to do whatever I pleased before work yesterday, so I got off the trolley at Old Town and took a short stroll around the State Park.

I noticed some of the shops and restaurants are already getting ready for Dia de los Muertos. A few skeletons and skulls greeted me!

The very popular Day of the Dead event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park will be celebrated on November 1-3, 2019.

That will definitely be a fun weekend!

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!

More cool street art in South Park!

I seldom walk through some neighborhoods in San Diego. My last walk through South Park was several years ago.

This morning I headed from Golden Hill up 30th Avenue then Fern Street. As I passed through the heart of South Park my camera found a bunch of cool street art I haven’t previously seen!

Some of this colorful artwork, including a few murals, seems new. Some of it I might have missed during that last walk…

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!

More cool Comic-Con stuff . . . one week to go!

Cool banners promoting upcoming The CW television show Batwoman have been hung along MLK Promenade for 2019 Comic-Con!
Cool banners promoting upcoming The CW television show Batwoman have been hung along MLK Promenade for 2019 Comic-Con!

After work today I walked around San Diego looking for new Comic-Con stuff . . . and look what I discovered!

Preparations downtown are about to go into high gear!

(I swung by the Amazon offsite, too. Nothing interesting has appeared since I posted two updates here. I’ll keep my eye on it in the days ahead.)

One week to go until 2019 Comic-Con!

A sign in front of Super7 indicates it's just 7 days till SDCC 2019.
A sign in front of Super7 indicates it’s just 7 days till SDCC 2019.
I stepped inside Super7 in East Village and learned they're stocking up and almost ready for Comic-Con! They'll also have a booth inside the San Diego Convention Center.
I stepped inside Super7 in East Village and learned they’re stocking up and almost ready for Comic-Con! They’ll also have a booth inside the San Diego Convention Center.
Look at all this cool stuff on their shelves!
Look at all this cool stuff on their shelves!
Some Crank Yankers posters have appeared in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Some Crank Yankers posters have appeared in the Gaslamp Quarter.
Gaslamp shops are beginning to put Comic-Con wares in their windows.
Gaslamp shops are beginning to put Comic-Con wares in their windows.
City Pizzeria welcomes Comic-Con'ers!
City Pizzeria welcomes Comic-Con’ers!
BAIT on Fifth Avenue had this awesome Gundam Universe mural painted on their storefront last night!
According to a clerk, BAIT on Fifth Avenue had this awesome Gundam Universe mural painted on their storefront yesterday!
More of the cool Batwoman banners that will greet those who attend 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!
More cool Batwoman banners will greet those who attend 2019 San Diego Comic-Con!

UPDATE!

I spotted a third Batwoman design…

IMG_3766z

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!

Very strange creatures lurk downtown!

Alligators have been sighted in downtown San Diego!
Alligators have been sighted in downtown San Diego!

This morning I spotted several very strange creatures lurking downtown.

Some appear dangerous.

Chili Dog blast off!
Chili Dog blast off!
For this frog's sake, I hope they don't turn the heat up slowly.
For this frog’s sake, I hope they don’t turn the heat up slowly.
This might be Kingpin. Or perhaps Skull and Crosspins.
This might be Kingpin. Or perhaps Skull and Crosspins.
This peculiar creature responds very strangely to caffeine.
This peculiar creature responds very strangely to caffeine.
Godzilla and his pals from Monster Island haven't arrived in San Diego yet, but they're on the way!
These caffeinated creatures haven’t arrived in San Diego yet, but they’re on the way!

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!