More pictures from the Enchanted light forest.

Sure, my camera shook, it created a blur, but what a beautiful one.

How cute, a couple on the light bench under another light. There is something about light in the darkness that makes things magical.

Walking under the stars.

A glass mosaic hut out on a little lake. A friend in Chicago posted images from the Arboretum there. This is a new trend in gardens in the late fall. It much be much colder at night in Chicago, it is fun to see people all over the country enjoying these light shows.

The light changed on these shapes throughout the night. It was fascinating to watch.

These are simply die-cut metal shapes. With lights within, at times, there were lights projected on them.

In some cases you could spin the orbs, thereby creating incredible shadows on the ground. I have to say, it created a moment of vertigo. Light is a very powerful element.

Plain old lights on the street.

With a Christmas tree.

Blurry, but the neighbors are putting up a lot of lights this year. Thankfully I am seeing more Christmas lights than Halloween lights. The trend is reversing! I love lights, but the Halloween decorations tend to be dark and macabre. The Christmas lights symbolize bringing light and goodness into the world. Give me that any day.

Speaking of Christmas… Aytan is obsessed with Christmas. With all the issues he has to deal with, now is not the time in his light to deny him some pleasure. Unlike old Europe where Christmas time was dangerous for the Jews, here in America, all are welcome to enjoy the times and the symbols. Meanwhile, Europe is back to it’s roots, there is not time there that is safe for Jews anymore.

Since we are leaving for New Zealand next week, I won’t be around for Hanukkah, so am beginning to give out the gifts. Westley did this 350 piece puzzle by himself!

I need to learn how to upload videos here, not through You Tube, I have a very cute one of Cam with a crane that is taller than him.

The joys of grandchildren.

Quilt update

I’m not a speed quilter, so this quilt has been growing slowly.

Most of the paper piecing is done, except the center. I had a few mishaps that necessitated replacing some of the patches. I can’t say I loved making this, I have issues with paper piecing. It is so hard to get the patches right.

Putting the blades together. I chose bright yellow for the center star.

It’s fun watching this grow.

I am going with this shape, it won’t be a square. Putting on the binding will be harder. But I’m up for the challenge.

Now I have the ‘lovely’ chore of pulling out these paper – not something I look forward to doing.

I pieced the batting from leftover batting. It worked!! I didn’t have to break out new batting.

Oops, which cutting the batting I cut into one of the outer patches and I had to replace it. At least it wasn’t a center pieces.

I got very lazy, it was cold outside. So instead of glue basting. I used safety pins. It worked out just fine.

I do enjoy quilting on a smaller quilt.

The quilting is going quickly and I’m enjoying it.

Enchanted Forest of light

It’s time to take advantage of what is offered around us. I bought tickets for this outdoor light show. Sorry if this bores you, but there will be more than one post. It was so beautiful.

I’m familiar with Descanso Gardens in La Canada, best known for it’s camellias, Azalleas, tulips and roses. But what to do in December? Although we have plants that bloom or are simply beautiful all year round, November/December is a little sparse

Since it gets dark early, why not put on an incredible light and sound show. And that is what they did. So we dressed up warmly and went out to see the sights.

These first images are simply lighting the forest. These trees do make for a wonderful spooky backdrop for the lights.

At times it reallyiq the camera that is fighting to figure out how to process this light that creates these very other worldly affects. And yet, there is something the camera simply can’t capture.

It’s not just lights, they have some fog machines going, it all makes the atmosphere surreal.

On the trees, the colors are mostly blue, green and turquoise.

We walked into aliens! Not really, many of the kids had necklaces made of ornaments. I hope no one lost a kid, it was quite dark.

In some cases the sources of light are right in front of you.

Blowing out the Bokeh, turning the light into orbs. and the people on the path into shadowy figures.

Red lanterns through the leaves.

Different area have different themes. Love the use of the simple paper Chinese lantern.

A ring of fire on a screen. Unfortunately, the scene changed to something much more boring after this. I have no idea if this ever returned or the computer program is always coming up with new and different images.

More anon.

Thanksgiving

I love the Jewish holidays, but there is something very very special about Thanksgiving. It is so American.

The turkey in the brine. Yes, I’ve been told that Kosher turkeys don’t need to be brined because salt is used in the koshering process. I brine mine anyway and won’t stop because they always come out so moist. I also don’t put stuffing in the bird, just some aromatics, onion and maybe an orange.

Two instantpots working hard! The sweet potatoes were quick and easy in the pot. I made two servings of stuffing in both pots. I should have only cooked for 1 or 2 minutes. I did brown afterwards in the oven. Remember only to make one box next year.

I’m not into taking many pictures during celebrations. So this is the only one from right before dinner. Btw, aren’t these plates great? Got them in September at Big Lots, like my daughters in law – I love finding a great deal

These two always sleep over so mom can start her Black Friday shopping. I think Dad enjoys spending time with her alone, she is all about finding deals, he is all about spending time.

Every time these two sleep over, we make pancakes. This year is special, pumpkin pancakes. This will become a tradition.

Aytan and Shira made cookies of turkeys with Oreos and candy corn. I have a weakness for candy corn, so I kept them! But don’t want to eat them all on my own, so they made their way onto the pancakes.

Yummy!!!

On their way here, they each made their own crown.

Shira at Disneyland, she is amazingly photogenic.

Blurry picture, she now has pierced ears and got Minnie earrings!

We visited with an old friend from Israel. He came from Miami and was complaining about the cold. Unlike Miami, yes it gets cold here.

Cold enough that the skating rink at Pershing Square makes sense this year. Usually people have t-shirts on and it’s close to 80 degrees. The people on my tour on Saturday were from Seattle and they laughed at us for being cold. The couple from San Pedro didn’t, although it looked like they dressed for the cold, the woman was freezing.

I snapped this image mainly because of the shoes. Elegant woman walking her dog, look at those heels. Yes they are thick, not stilettos, but are at least 3 or 4 inches high. Oh LA, you never cease to amaze me.

Maccheroni Republic is a wonderful Italian restaurant across from Grand Central Market. I wonder if they use this for deliveries or just for show. What they do do, is hand make the pasta, they have even acquired a small building to do so.

The flour, the pasta.

Sorry about the glare, it is very cool watching him make the pasta. There is really excellent Italian food in LA. So many places are making things as authentic as possible.

Multi colored pasta, hanging out to dry.

Did I have Italian food for lunch after my tour? No, I had grilled cheese from DTLA Cheese in Grand Central. There wasn’t a line there, so I went up, told them I’m sorry for them there isn’t a line, but happy for me, and I ordered lunch. Other people were being from them, but not crowded.

The whole market was a zoo! Glad to see downtown full of people and alive during the holidays. I think the rest of my tour-goers found other places for lunch. I do love giving these tours.

A night at the opera

I’m not an opera fan, I prefer the modern iteration – the American musical. But when a friend has tickets for the Magic Flute, and offers them to us at the last minute. You better believe we are going.

First dinner, we need dinner and everything around the music center is probably booked and full. So we go for our tradition – well our after walk tradition…

We have tacos! Went to Guisado’s in Echo Park. Btw, there is now a branch in Burbank. Will have to hike near there sometime. Funny story, there was a family of five at a table near us, kids ranged from teenager to what looked like an 8 year old. Nicely dressed. Sure enough we see them at the opera and both of us laughed – they wondered about us if we too were heading to the Music Center. So that iconic LA evening, tacos and opera is something that people do.

I had to snap a picture of the skyline at night.

What a gorgeous image. The Christmas tree in Grand Park with City Hall in the background. I love how I captured this couple in front of the tree.

The newly refurbished Music Center Plaza. Honestly, I could watch these kind of fountains for a long time.

I actually took a lot of pictures of this scene, I’m just not sharing them all.

With all that light behind me, of course I’m pretty dark. Later a woman commented me on my coat. I really need to wear it more this year. I made it 8 years ago. The pattern is no longer available. I always get compliments. Of course I told her I made it, got to milk it while I can. She was so impressed and asked to touch it. Yes, feel free, I’m proud and I love it when people recognize my work.

Bathed in purple.

On the podcast LA Meekly, I learned about this guy. In the summer he is outside the Hollywood Bowl. In the winter he is here, with his puppets and singing away. A real Los Angeles institution. Not a great voice, but boy does he persist!

The only place left where everyone still dresses up nicely – the opera. I do feel sorry for the person who had to sit behind this mohawk. Wasn’t me!

Did this person know that Mohawks would be a big part of the costuming? At least he could take the hat off during the performance.

There were a few costumes from 1950s’ productions on display.

So now I need to speak about the Opera. It was a wonderful experience to go and see opera, since the last time we saw opera was a small production in Santa Barbara – which to be honest we enjoyed more.

I read up on the libretto, fairy tale, Egypt, mysticism. I watched some of the famous songs on YouTube. This wasn’t that. This was opera meets Monty Python. The set was stark, the costumes were dark and bland. The cast was young and not quite as powerful in their voices as one would like.

The scenery was all done with animation projected on a blank white wall. There were four ‘cutouts’ where the characters appeared, three up high on the wall, one on the stage. So there wasn’t a lot of intimate interaction between the characters. I guess this is the way modern opera is done.

As I mentioned, the animation was very reminiscent of Monty Python or Yellow Submarine. Funny, when we saw Anastasia they used a lot of video graphics to change the scenery, but it was bright, it was colorful, it was uplifting. My feeling here was anything but uplifting. Why is it that modern interpretations have to be such downers and so dour? Guys, life is good! The theater was full, there were young children who’s parents are spending a lot of money to introduce them to the arts. Why so dark and dismal?

Enough with the rant, I could go on for hours about the dark side of our culture. Luckily, in many ways there is brightness and light. But that would be for a different post.

Shawl finished

It’s done, it’s not great, but wrapped around my neck it will be fine.

It didn’t really become a half circle, it’s a wonky shape. Here is a picture right off the needles, no blocking yet. Oh and sweater season arrived, I made this sweater years ago and still love it.

I was sure I had a shawl pin!! Must have gotten rid of it. And last weekend I could have bought a couple of lovely pins at Stitches Oh well. this is just a pin, Problem is the shawl falls over it. We’ll see what happens after I block it.

Before blocking, shape sin’t quite right.

Everything is scrunched and bunched. Time to get out the mats, wire and pins.

This is a very weird shape. Since it will be wrapped up around my shoulders and neck, it probably doesn’t matter.

Uh, oh, what am I seeing here?

Dropped stitches!! Urgggh. Once it’s dry I’ll simply pick up and close that hole.

I thought I’d enjoy working with lace-weight yarn. I was wrong. It’s back to sock-weight for me for shawls. Life changes.

I wove in the lose ends, I fixed the hole. It’s somewhere in this top section of the shawl. I can’t find it, and alll scrunched up on my neck, I doubt anyone will.

Now for the beauty shots.

It is an awkward shape, but crunched and bunched it works just fine.

It keeps my neck and shoulders warm, which is why wool is so amazing.

Those little bumps are from the pins. They will probably disappear soon. The whole shawl will gradually creep back to it’s original size. Blocking is something that has to be done every so often with lace. But knowing me, I’ll let it go.

One side view.

And the other. I’m glad this project is done. I might make a smaller shawlette next. We shall see.

Stitches Pasadena

This is the second year for the Stitches show here in Pasadena. About 20 years ago they had the show in Burbank, that was my entry back into the knitting world after a long hiatus. That show went away, clearly the organizers realize that having a presence in SoCal is important.

It was a much bigger and better show this year. They claim to be about all fiberarts, but knitting is still king. There were some booths that had quilting or weaving, but most of the vendors were all about the knitting. If they want to be multi-craftual- they have to work harder next year.

My big purchase was a new swift. I’ve been using the old fashioned clamp on a table kind for almost 20 years. I even had to replace some of the twine at some point. So The Oregan Woodworker was there selling their handmade table swifts. I have seen this style of swift, I love supporting a small company. So here we are, out of the bag. Oh yes, it comes with it’s only handmade bag.

Putting it together. Each one is made by hand. When putting the pieces together, I am told to match the dots. The dots are simply marked with a sharpie. Did I say each one is handmade?

Here it is, assembled and on the table. I’m not sure why I chose this setting for my pegs, this will lead to problems…

Can you see the problem? The skein isn’t taut enough, foolish me, I didn’t rectify that until a little latter, but then it was too late.

I started winding a ball. So far so good, but then, it wasn’t good, the yarn kept getting tangled. The free end got caught in the middle.

So I moved the pegs and pulled the skein tighter. But the yarn was already tangled, so it wasn’t smooth sailing.

This is as far as I got, you can see the rest of the skein in the background. That part ended up a mess in the trash. Btw, I don’t need a lot of this to finish my shawl, and I don’t think I’ll be keeping the rest of this ball. It will go into a donation pile very soon.

A friend is now in the yarn dying business, so I bought a skein from her. The only yarn I bought.

I started making the ball. Another problem, once again, it’s not the swift, but when I put this skein on the swift I noticed that there were some kinks. Yes indeed there were kinks. I ended up having to cut the yarn, at that point I couldn’t put it back on the ball winder.

Here we have the ball, you can see I finished winding it by hand.

I did buy a pattern. I have to say, if they didn’t have a sample of the sweater there is no way I’d buy this pattern. This is the one of two images. It doesn’t show much, the other is the back of the sweater, which I will not be making, since it’s open lace. If you are selling patterns, get better pictures. Sure, she probably has nice images on Ravelry. I was told to leave Ravelry – it’s no longer about knitting its about politics. So I buy patterns elsewhere and at shows, lucky for this designer, this booth had knit up some of her projects, otherwise, I wouldn’t buy based on this picture.

As to yarn, I’m going to New Zealand, I’m taking the pattern and knitting needles with me, I’ll buy the yarn there.

Fall in Southern CA

My neighbors aren’t putting up as many decorations. So we are mostly looking at what Mother Nature has to offer

Look, it’s mid November, we have trees changing color! Most trees just turn brown and drop their leaves, but look here, some yellow and orange.

See, leaves turn brown and drop off. At least there is one here with some very interesting yellow.

Most loose their green, (chlorophyll) become yellow or brown and fall. But I found one that has just a tinge of red.

Another one with a little more of the yellow and orange.

Orange!

Time to find color in other places. These Canna last a long time, I think I shared the exact flower a few months ago.

Not sure what this is, but every fall it has these wonderful dark ruby red flowers with bright yellow stamens! Yay!

Some of the dropped Magnolia pods are tinged in red. I guess they stayed on the tree long enough for that to happen.

My pumpkins are still out, nice to see others have their as well. How cute is this funky wrinkled one amongst the ‘normal’ gourds?

I think I’ve seen two houses that decorate for Thanksgiving. I wish the inflatables were up! At night they won’t be that visible. And it’s night by 5:30, I miss longer brighter days.

In fitting with the theme of fall and fall colors, we have a red cat. Notice the large gps on his collar. Guy can go outside, but he is on parole.

I know, this is a winter cat. Well, a little orange on his face. He too has a GPS, probably the Tile. Not quite as cumbersome as his buddy. Well, at least they get to go outside. We have too many coyotes roaming our streets, like literally, our streets, not the periphery. So I hope that an owner does not find their gps next to a pile of bones. I’m not against letting cats out, I am against the idea that coyotes have more rights on our streets than we do.

And now, for a ‘quick’ project

Last year I bought this pattern:

I’ve admired it for a while. I like Dora a lot and am very impressed with how she has built her business. I’d seen many versions online so wanted to give it a try.

At the same show, I bought a package of Cherrywood fabric remnants. Cherrywood dyes the most amazing cottons, somehow or another they end up with a suede feel. No I didn’t check to see what size the quilt was. Turns out that most of those fabric remnants are simply too small for this pattern. Oops, I’ll have to find another project for that.

The elements within the sections are just too big. So now I have decided to go into my stash and use fabrics I have on hand. No buying anything new for this project.

I enlarged the outline sketch and colored it in. Oops, everything will be reversed.

Looks like I’ll be using a bunch of Batiks, but I must combine them with other fabrics.

At this point, I think it was still going well, but then I made a mistake (trying to follow a backwards schematic)

Are you seeing a change? Mostly in the small slivers of white and taupe. I literally had to rip out most of what I had done and start over again. So I wanted more contrast with those slivers, since I’m working with what I have on hand, I didn’t have enough fabric to make them all the same, nor did I have enough fabric to make them very different. Oh well, I think it will be fine.

So far, so good.

Its’ working! I did find a mistake in the light slivers, but I won’t point it out and I won’t fix it. I bet I’ll be the only one to see it anyway. There has been so much ripping out going on here!! I get it, Judy Niemeyer does a ton of work creating the templates for the fabric patches. I’m on my own here and in some cases, I’m worried about not having enough fabric. I’m probably being a fool in regard to that. But sew and flip – I often done cover the patch completely. My stiletto seam ripper is working overtime. It also has to do with the fact that I’m rushing and impatient. After the slow hand appliqué.

It will be fine, I’m liking what I’m seeing here.

The shawl is growing, I knit half with one needle and added another needle so I could sort of stretch it out and see that it is still ok. Then again, I’ll be blocking the heck out of this, I’ll make it work.

Finally, my son sent me this picture. See the stripped knit elephant. I made this for a college friend, 10 years ago. His name is Pilpel – which is Hebrew means pepper, it’s also a play on the word Pil – which is elephant in Hebrew. I’m so thrilled that he is doing so well. I love it when I have a chance to see my old creations out in the wild.

On a downtown tour, not my own

I signed up for a tour downtown, not my own and not with the Conservancy. This was a food tour of downtown. I guess you could say this was a Busmans’ holiday. A tour guide taking a tour of her own tour.

Except it was different, sure there was history and buildings, but really it was about the food. Which is why I don’t have any pictures of the food….

Really, I didn’t take pictures of the food. Instead I took some pictures of places I usually talk about. Well, I don’t talk about the Biltmore, but I can’t help but take pictures in this hotel. Look at all the textures!

The tour stopped 7 food locations. We were told that each place would be a tasting, not a full meal. I don’t know, maybe I don’t eat much, I was sooo stuffed by the time we were half way through. We started with half an almond Croissant.

A griffin head at the Biltmore.

I love the Biltmore ceilings, well, I all the Biltmore. Just had to point the camera up.

Then it was on the Grand Central market, where I was introduced to Horse Thief BBQ. I’ve passed this place often and never stopped. I will stop again, this was really good BBQ. Sam said people from Texas agree, well who am I to argue with Texas?

We also had grilled cheese from the cheese shop in the market, I learned that DTLA Cheese, is owned by the granddaughters of The AltaDena Dairy company, one of the first in the area. I love when a family tradition continues through the generations. I have bought cheese there, this was the first time I ate their grilled cheese. Yum!

I had to take this picture What a robe! Is it a house robe, or his clothes. It was very unique, didn’t look bathrobe at all. As I look at the picture, I can see how he matches the coffee display perfectly.

There are so many interesting outfits out and about in downtown, when can capture a picture I do.

I’m trying to understand the combination of the good luck cats and what looks like a Hindu God. LA is such a fascinating place, a true melting pot.

Speaking of the contrasts of LA, I didn’t take a picture, but to me this scene captures LA these days. Down on 3rd and Main. The city was busy repaving Main st. So a lot of heavy machinery. The large parking lot was rented out to a movie shoot (which was happening up on 6th st), so the lot was full of trailers, food service and people. Right next to the lot, on a small strip of sidewalk is a tent city of hobos… This is what we’ve become. Oh and speaking of hobos, they set another fire in Balboa park, right by my kids, so for now the city has removed them, let’s see how long they keep the park clean. It’s become a place that I won’t walk alone, and I love the bird sanctuary there.

I love the Neon signs in the market.

Our next stop was a Mediterranean restaurant, it was Ok, I’ve had much better. By then I was stuffed! The portions weren’t small at all. We still had three more food stops!

I love this tribute to Jonathan Gold. I’m so glad it is right here at the Grand Central Market. LA’s best food critic ever. He helped put so many local ethnic food places on the map. Mostly mom and pop establishments. Unfortunately he died of cancer a few years ago. He is sorely missed.

Our next stop was Guisados in the Spring-Broadway arcade. I think Jonathan Gold helped put them on the map, the original location in Boyle Heights, they now have 9 locations, and let me tell you – their Tacos are amazing. They are hand made on location and the filings are really unique and very flavorful.

A mural in the arcade. Finally the arcade is full! They tried to copy Grand Central market, didn’t work, so the restaurants aren’t stalls and its’ working. This is part of the Japanese restaurant. We didn’t taste anything here. We did have a slice of real Pizza Margherita at Pizza Napolita. Really, the best, award winning pizza, just the dough, sauce, mozzarella and basil.

This is The Million Dollar theater, still decorated for Halloween. Of course we walked through the Bradbury, but I have enough photos from there, for now.

Our final stop was Botega Louis, we needed dessert. And no, it wasn’t the macarons. It was the beignet, which really is a donut, even round like a donut – but oh so good!!!

I was stuffed, I was so stuffed, but very very happy. I really do enjoy exploring the city, doing it through food is a great thing indeed.