Category Archives: coffee shops

Sunday in Helsinki

helsinkiWaking up on a cloudy Sunday morning in Helsinki, in a bed like a cloud. It was hard to get up.

But breakfast, coat and scarf and out we go, walking into the centre of Helsinki. Not far, and not as cold as I had expected, except for the chilly wind coming down the side streets. Mostly foreigners out and about. Shops don’t open till midday on a Sunday in Helsinki, so we were window shopping, then had a look at the one souvenir shop that was open. High quality goods, notable for their difference in colouring to the hotter colours of southern Europe. Misty blues, pebble colours, very restrained and rather sophisticated.

On down towards the water, and Kauppatori Market. Only purchase, a reindeer magnet for my new fridge. (I will have to draw all these fridge magnets!)P1010541 Lovely setting with the old and the new in Boats on the water. We looked also at the major structures in downtown Helsinki, the senate building, the cathedral, and then driven by the wind we went to a lovely old cafe for ‘lunch’. (Not the one with all the foreigners…ours was full of locals.) We had decided to have cake for lunch. Finland is known for great cakes, and we were not going to miss the opportunity to try one. We had seen wonderful berries in the market, and both chose cakes with berries. So I sketched mine.

P1010525A quick look in Stockmans, the major department store, and it was back to the hotel to collect our luggage and away to the airport for our long flight to Bangkok. Not long enough in Helsinki. Perhaps another trip on Finnair and a longer stay next time. Impressions… granite outdcrops everywhere and the pavements made of the same stone. Trees, water. There is a boat tour I would really love to do.


Filed under coffee shops, collage, Copic Multiliner, Finland, sketchbook, sketching, Travel, watercolour

Deus ex Macchina

yamaha Deus ex Macchina is a coffee shop I’ve been to a few times before, but not for a while. This morning we were casting round for somewhere different to sketch and I half remembered a motorbike inside the coffee shop, so we went to check it out. In fact there were three motorcycles in different places around the room. The cafe is attached to a motorcycle showroom and workshop, and it is also known for good coffee and good food. It’s a bit famous, and close to where I live. It is going to be a great winter venue for sketching/lunch, but today it was hot and we had a relaxing morning drinking coffee in the air con.

I hadn’t sketched a motorbike before and it’s not easy. They are such complex machines, and it is very necessary to simplify them, but the proportions need to be right and the bits need to connect up to one another in the right place. Aaagh.

This machine is a Yamaha Scorpio Mousetrap (don’t you love the name!) from 2007, and you can’t afford it. I chose the colour paper to sketch on because it was very similar to the colour of the paintwork.


Filed under coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, drawing, motorcycle, Prismacolour pencils, sketchbook, sketching

Iron Cove in a stiff breeze

iron_cove_boatsIt’s getting close to Christmas.  I’ve been wanting for a long time to go to the Botanic Gardens sketching again, but the traffic was against us. From my place, you have to go right through the city centre to the Gardens. we decided to skip it because of the Christmas traffic banked up everywhere. Instead we went to the little boat ramp at Iron Cove, where I used to go a lot when I used to swim at Leichhardt Pool.  It is just as pretty as ever, though the boats are now tied along the railing, rather than on the wooden jetty which was more picturesque.

It was a hot but cloudy day and it was blowing a gale. I’ve never sketched in such wind. We had to work in pencil because the sketchbook kept giving little inadvertent jumps, resulting in unintended ziggy-zaggy lines. Pen and watercolour were put on out of the wind later. From there we went to the Locantro cafe where they have the best food, though we only had a coffee this time. Then we went to Tim’s to buy some galaktoboureko for my neighbour. Tim’s is wholesale and everything is fresh and delicious. Once every blue moon I buy some as a thank you present for my neighbour :she always insists I have some too. It means I get to eat some without having to eat the whole 12 pieces myself.  And from there to Hoochie Mamma’s for lunch. Another place with great food.


Filed under boats, coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, Iron Cove, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

EDiM5 and the James Craig

Oh boy it is difficult when Every Day in May is  on to keep up with the sketching, the posting, the commenting and the blogging. Several sketches backed up ready to blog, but no time.

Saturday was a day planned over a month ahead. We had arranged for three of us to sketch on board the James Craig. That is the tall ship I went out on just before Christmas. It was a beautiful day, lucky for us, though a bit on the cool side after a while. For a sailing ship, it is amazingly large once you get on board. The thing that is really noticeable is the sheer quantity of rope, and the variety of ways it is used and the different bits of hardware associated with it.

Before we went on board we met at the cafe (Yots) to sketch ‘something sweet’ for EDiM5. I got this small but colourful cupcake, which turned out to be a mud cake consistency.  Yum.

I sketched the lifebelt first. We needed somewhere to perch and also be out of the way of people who were touring the ship. We started out near the ship’s wheel and I now know (now you tell me!) that it is a difficult ship to steer because it is long and it takes 16 turns of the wheel. Not sure if that is from hard- a- port to hard-a-starboard, or whether it is from the straight ahead position.  

My second sketch was a quick one started in pen & watercolour and finished with my blue-grey watercolour pencil. When I got home, I realised that the white thingy-o needed to stand out more against the city buildings so I darkened them. It was either that or darken the thingy-o.

It gave the sketch a totally different look. The buildings, which are across Darling Harbour, look much closer and it looks like a rainy day. It’s only a sketch. The first one is much more indicative of the day though.

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Filed under boats, coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, drawing, EDiM, Heritage Fleet, Maritime Museum, National Maritime Museum, Pitt Pens, ships, watercolour, watercolour pencils

Berkelouw Books

On Sunday morning Alissa and I ended up in a relatively new coffee shop (well, I’ve only been once before), upstairs in Berkelouw Books in Newtown. We sketched the rooftops opposite. I used my green Copic Multiliner SP again, and just used some green watercolour for the tone of the buildings. I enhanced the terracotta chimney pots with some red to get that complementary thing happening, and after all, I guess they are the feature of the sketch.

I ate a very delicious muffin and drank English Breakfast tea. This is the last sketch in my sketchbook, except for another cat one to finish the last half of the very last page. Every Day in May is coming up fast. My new little sketchbook awaits.

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Filed under coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

The Tea Parlour

Last Saturday we had a sketching friend catch-up at the Tea Parlour. I read about it in the paper and it seemed very interesting and high tea was a very reasonable price. We made a booking and when we arrived there we were far from disappointed.

We chose from a range of teas, then out came the scones, jam and cream. They were followed by thinly sliced sandwiches, then a  tiered plate with a multitude of small sweet cakes such as pecan pie.This is Alissa’s sketch of the food, and of the empty plates.  Here’s a drawing of the food done by Liz, and some more of the decor.

We were there for three hours, talking sketching, talking, sketching, and eating. There is soooo much to draw there. I think we’ll be back there very soon.



Filed under coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour

Hoochie Mamma again

On the day after the 2nd zoo trip, we met up in Hoochie Mamma’s to sketch. Love those orange cups. One of our sketching friends was delayed, so we had a walk around Newtown for a while till she called. We then dashed back to Hoochie’s again and the 2nd time I had one of their tall round caramel cakes and it was very yummy, but I didn’t sketch it. Have to have another one then, don’t I?

Since my first visit to Hoochie Mamma I’ve been back there a few times. My friend from the country was here at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (in the same street), first for tests, then for a major operation. I met them the day of the tests at Hoochie’s for lunch. By the time they went back to the country, my friend’s husband assured me that Hoochie’s had the best food around.


Filed under coffee shops, Copic Multiliner, drawing, Newtown, sketchbook, sketching, watercolour