Friday, July 3, 2009

Rodent of Unusual Size

Caplin Rous is a capybara; he's huge and strange and interesting. I've become rather fascinated with his species.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seattle-area food and beverage tweeters!

Hey there! For no particular reason, I've decided to make a list of the restaurants, beverage outlets, and other food-related Twitter accounts in the greater Seattle area. Why? Well, I love the way most of them use Twitter. They advertise happy hours, specials, sometimes promote themselves with coupons and other discounts; I just love food, and this is a fun way to get more out of Twitter. So here's that list. If you know others, please comment and I'll add them!

Salty's - Delish seafood
Tidbit Bistro - "where Madrid meets Napoli on Seattle's Capitol Hill"
Fado - Irish food and drink
Mobatta Crepes - Mmmm, crepes
Ivar's - You know who they are! A Seattle classic
Theo Chocolate - No lie: best chocolate in the world
Hale's Ales - awesome local brewery
Redhook - another great brewery
Normski Brewer - a guy who knows his beer
Cafe Rozella - White Center cafe with Twitter personality galore
Cupcake Royale - Tasty cakelettes
Monsoon East - Bellevue restaurant
Skillet - mobile food and damn good
Marination Mobile - a new mobile food truck with great promise
Takotruk - Eastlake street food
Wines of WA - speaks for itself. We have some great wines!
NW Wine Show - More local wines
Bricks of Wine - local wine blogger
Schultzy's - love their fries and great beer selection
Seattle Food Tours - food tours of Seattle? Yes, please!
Food Writer - local food blogger
The Food Life - local food blogger
Frantic Foodie - another local food blogger
Sweets Blog - Local sweets-specific blogger
Accidental Kate - "Food and travel diva"
Johnny Spuds - just opened in Montlake Terrace
Delancey Seattle - "A soon to open Wood-Fired Pizza Restaurant"
TOP Foods - Well, a grocery store, but they sell food!
PNW Cheese - Cheese. Is there a better food?
Blue Moon Burgers - Burger joint in Fremont and South Lake Union
Herb Guy - Proprietor of the famous Herbfarm restaurant
Maria Hines - Award-winning Chef at Tilth
Zeek's Pizza - You'll have seen them around town!
Elliott Bay Beer - Local brewmasters
Fresh Bistro - West Seattle restaurant
Skylark Cafe - Food, bevs and music in W. Seattle
Blue C Sushi - Local sushi chain
Hsiao Ching - Food blogger
Circle Alehouse - Grill and alehouse in W. Seattle
Tillamook Cheese - Oregon cheesery
Trader Joe's - The store with it all
Brouwer's Cafe - Best beer selection in town
97 Bottles - Beer, beer, beer!
Foodista - Local cooking encyclopedia site
Hotwire Coffee - One of our local coffeehouses
Boomnoodle - Noodle-y Japanese cuisine
KuKuRuZa Popcorn - Gourmet popcorn
Feelin Feasty - Restaurant & Bar news in Seattle
Isernio's Sausage - Northwest sausage maker

Edited to add more (and big thanks to Convergence Zone and others for the help!).

That's what I know! Got more? Let me know! And me: I'm @sonya on Twitter. (P.S. That's me with Skillet food in the pic. YUM.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Finished my painting

I can fly!

My first all-acrylic work. I think I could get used to acrylics.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back from Mazatlan

Another great sunset

Brett and I were in Mazatlan for 7 days; it was overall a good time, and we got the chance to visit our friend Ernesto and his girlfriend Suri. We had a lot of relaxing days by the pool, ate a ton of good food, and generally relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. We did have a few less-than-perfect days, but nothing that lasted all that long.

There are some photos from the trip here.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Now what am I up to?

Well, I had so much fun setting up the little Happy Greeting Cards site that I decided to give something else a try.

You might not be too surprised to learn that the Discover channel show "Deadliest Catch" has quite a few fans. So I thought I'd see if there was any kind of market for cards and shirts and whatnot that have some of my photos from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, where Deadliest Catch was filmed. I searched online and found that most of the Deadliest Catch-related stuff was shirts that refer to crabbing and fishing. But there wasn't much with just lovely scenery from Dutch, so I set up this site on Zazzle (a sort of Cafe Press competitor).

I'll be curious to see if it's the sort of thing people are interested in; I imagine there might be a few people who want a pretty photo of crab cages, or of a rocky coastline, or a lonely tree in the snow—on a t-shirt or a hoody, or a greeting card or poster.

Now, I'm not holding out any hope that Phil Harris or Murray Gamrath of the Cornelia Marie will go buy a poster of Dutch; they probably see it too often to want it hanging on their walls. And I'd be really surprised (but thrilled!) if Sig Hansen, or Sten Skaar, or Keith or Monte Colburn of the Wizard (my hubby's fave boat—guess why) wanted a hoody for their sweeties. But maybe some of their fans might.

And maybe not. It only took a Saturday morning to set up, so it's not a huge effort. I should probably get off the computer now, and get back to drawing, so I can add some stuff to my illustrated greeting card site!

Here's the link to the Dutch Harbor site.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring in Seattle

Cherry blossoms in the rain
Originally uploaded by sonyaseattle
Wet. But if the April showers thing is true, then next month will be the most flowerful ever!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A new

Well, here's something new I've gotten myself into.

I was talking to a friend about his wonderful photography, and telling him that I though his images would sell really well as cards. They're cool and dark and kind of gothic; I know there's a market out there for that sort of thing.

So I said I'd do a little research and look into ways people have cards printed and sell them online. This led me to a nice little site,, which does both; lets you upload images for cards, prints, etc., and lets you sell them through the site. The site does all the work of printing and mailing; all you have to do is supply the art.

So I had to try it. I had actually always had the project in the back of my head, for some future time, so last weekend I set things up, and here is my little greeting card site. The art is all my original work, mostly either pastels or drawings in walnut ink, composited with old bits of paper and ephemera just to make it interesting.

I know I'm not going to get rich from this endeavor, but it's certainly fun, and fills some of my free time (which is crazy, because I already have enough to fill my free time!). But hey, I'm doing it anyway. Take a look, and if you have any feedback as to what you might like to see in that sort of format, please let me know! I plan to add many more card designs soon; mostly subtle, antique-y things like the ones already on there. What do you think?

Sunday, March 15, 2009


It's snowing. Again. Hard.

Mina, for one, is pretty excited!

Seeing her tear around in the snow like that makes us feel a little better; our first reaction this morning was more like, "You have GOT to be kidding." But as you can see, she loves it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

What's up? Pikas!

Here's a little something I've been working on over the last few days. These sweeties are Pikas; they are ratty little creatures that have, in this case, wandered out of their usual mountainous region and into the Mississsippi delta. Why? Well, surely you don't begrudge the pika a vacation now and then.

They were actually inspired by a suggestion by a friend's girlfriend, who I met at the West Seattle Art Walk. We were talking about the various odd creatures of the world and she mentioned that she likes pikas. I think they're a nice addition to the lagomorph order, so I thought I'd paint a couple of them. An old atlas I had found made a nice canvas, so I sent these two on a little trip down south.

Look at them cute faces!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Logo designs for ShoreDog

I've been spending some time this week on creating a logo for; it's our local dog-park group. They're just getting started, but they've already done some amazing stuff, and we now have two off-leash dog parks in the works! I'm excited to be helping them out (and Mina's excited that there will finally be dog parks here in Shoreline).

I've put together a small presentation with my initial ideas for their logo. Since I haven't done any logo work for years, I'd love any feedback that folks might have; there's a 4-page PDF here with the ideas I've presented.

Below are the JPGs of each page, but I know Blogger resizes JPGs and the quality suffers. Still, they'll give a fairly good idea of what's on each page. If you have a moment to take a look and leave me a comment on which you like, or what I could do better, I'd be much obliged!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Still employed

Yes, in case you had heard the news, I am still employed. At least, as of today! Who knows what the future might bring.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Still employed

Yes, I still have a job; the actual layoffs won't happen until mid-February. I feel preeeettttyyy safe then, too. They just added one person to our group...they wouldn't do that if they were going to cut any of us, right? But ultimately, none of us are really safe, and everyone is really tense. It's like Russian job-roulette...wheee!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Busy busy busy

I feel like I'm getting a lot done this year, so far. The show at Mission for the West Seattle Art Walk was great; it was a fantastic venue and a lot of great people came. I sold two pieces there, and brought the others in to work for our studio gallery. Folks have been giving me a lot of positive feedback, which has been very encouraging.

I had new business cards printed last week, and have finally done something with my website. The old site was built back in 2006, if you can believe that! I did it myself with Adobe GoLive, which was fine, but it was never all that professional looking. I decided to shop around for a hosted, template-based site for the next incarnation, and after a lot of research settled on a company called "Other Peoples' Pixels." They provide an integrated portfolio design platform which is really easy to use and update. I like it a lot.

Here's the new site: - if you're interested, please take a look and let me know what you think.

I'm also taking an intermediate design class over at SVC, as part of their wonderful "teach a class, take one free" program. I'm looking forward to working on the assignment - a package design project - and building a design portfolio. If all goes well, I can integrate illustration and design and maybe, just maybe, do something different for a living soon. Prepress is great, and despite its craziness, I do like where I work, but I'm really ready to grow and try some new things. I hope 2009 is the year that happens. Right now, I'm doing all I can to make it happen!

The photo above is my Dragonfly drawing; walnut ink and colored pencil on an antique book page.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mission party tonight

I'm in really good company here; too good. The other people showing their work are really talented—I am the newbie in the bunch, and with work I'm not feeling 100% confident about. I wish I'd had more time to prepare some better stuff.

All that said, it should be a great venue and will be serving some good food and drinks, so I'll enjoy that and try and relax about the rest of it.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...!

Lazy, quiet evenings with the family are the best!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Corporate-Speak roundup

So every January I buy some kind of day-planner/calendar book. I get ambitious about writing in all the birthdays, vacation days, and so on. I bring it to every meeting, with a special pen clipped in the front cover, and generally fetishize it...for about three months. Then the novelty wears off. By March of 2008 my lovely Barnes & Noble faux-leather calendar was just a support for the pen, and when I got an iPhone later in the year, it was something to carry so I didn't look like a complete iPhone geek.

One thing I did use it for, though, was the single blank page in the end of the book. That's where, as the year progressed, I wrote down the various silly corporate-speak phrases I heard in meetings and around the workplace. I'm not actually even sure what a lot of them mean (I think that may be the point of many of them), but the way people in a big company tend to co-opt the language fascinates me. So, transcribed from the back of my planner, here are the corporate-speak words and phrases I heard in 2008.

Up-Level - this means to "increase" something. Of course it sounds way cooler than that old word. Use: "Let's up-level the price point."

Change the game - Not entirely sure how to define this. It seems to mean "to make things so new and different that people will react to them in unexpected ways." Or something. It's not just a change, it's a game-changing change.

Leverage - to leverage something simply means to "use" it. But again, "leverage" just sounds so much cooler. Use: "We can leverage those photos for the next campaign since they weren't ready in time for this one."

Laser-Focus - This is what you have to have when 10% of your company has been laid off, in order to try and keep your own job. Or so we are told.

Swirl - not new to 2008, but a classic. It means "lots of conflict and/or discussion about a topic." Use: "There's a lot of swirl around that project." Always seems to me to be a toilet reference, somehow.

Granular - To break something down to its components. Use: "We'll get granular on that project later; for now let's just look at the big picture."

Crunchy - Difficult or complex. Use: "Things started to get crunchy once we got granular."

Revisit - Another more-syllables-means-more-coolness word. It just means "change." Use: "We need to revisit that headline. Let's make it 2 points smaller."

Disruptive - Not what you might think, but rather a good thing. If something stands out in the group, and catches your attention, it's disruptive. Use: "That table tent woul dbe really disruptive if it had a picture of a panda on it!"

Jumpball - the process by which several outside companies compete for the corporation's business.

Homerooms - a silly word for "teams." Use: "We'll organize the studio around a series of homerooms." Next they'll be replacing our cubicles with those one-piece chair and desk thingies.

Parking Lot - A verb (like so many sad, misused nouns). It means to put something on hold. Use: "There's no agreement on the project, so they've decided to parking-lot it for now."

Evergreen - a piece that's used in the stores year-round (in theory - usually not in practice). Use: "This poster with the photo of the orphan children will be evergreen!"

And finally, the most irritating, most pointless misuse of a word for the year of 2008, not just in corporate settings, but everywhere, and the one that most makes me grit my teeth and struggle not to say what I'm thinking each time I hear it:

Around - The word "around" used to mean "on all sides of, in a rotation near, in the vicinity of..." and so on. I think you probably know how it has traditionally been used. But recently, it's been cruelly kidnapped from the realm of common sense and has begun to be used as a direct substitute for the word "about."

There's not "discussion about that project," there's "discussion around that project." You don't "have some questions about what the client requested," you have "questions around what the client requested." There's not "concern about the schedule," there's "concern around the schedule." (Though actually there's usually not concern about [or around] the schedule, because the schedule exists in a reality warp that means you must have it finished two weeks before you actually begin. This of course is not of concern to anyone who matters. Just do it.)

Why? WHY??

Why can't we just say "about"? Maybe we could all make a New Year's resolution not to use the word "around" unless we're stating that "I drove around the block," or "If you look around, you'll see that people are waiting for you to get off your Blackberry and move your damn shopping cart out of the center of the aisle."

Thanks. That would be swell.

Happy new year to all; I'll try to be more tolerant of misuse of the language in 2009. Or not.