Always finding new Gems

LA isn’t easy to live in these days. Our city government simply doesn’t care, the mayor is MIA. The vagrants have taken over every corner, graffiti is everywhere, its the bad all days. I’m noticing that this past year is bringing the worst out of people everywhere, shootings all over the county, so I can blame our government reaction to the wuflu – but that just makes me hate the more.

After our hike we went looking for a taco stand. Not in Santa Clarita, if you want good Mexican food you do not stay out in the burbs. So we drove back to the valley and I Yelped, we found ourselves in an area I’m familiar with, but apparently not that familiar. along the main street its just bland store fronts, but go park in the back, and a whole incredible Paseo.

All the walls are painted, tables and chairs abound. People are out in force.

We are always trying to save old buildings, I love it when someone takes newer blander buildings and puts the effort to make them more interesting.

Like here, putting up a set of old shutters that probably don’t even cover a window.

There is a lot of tile mosaic here as well. Some compared this to Olvera Street in downtown LA, the difference is there are plenty of services here for the local residents. Its not just cutesy shops. I tried to find some info about when then was created, don’t know. But I love that Panorama City, a neighborhood most people (not Hispanic that is) avoid has created this wonderful hub.

This very much reminds me of Puerto Vallarta or even La Boca in Buenos Aires. I will be spreading the word, because people think they have to travel far for this kind of experience – you don’t.

A number of these directories are around the plaza. It was Sunday, so some thins were closed, yes, there appear to be Covid closures but there also were plenty of businesses open. We never made it to whatever place I found on Yelp. But there was no lack of food. We got Tacos at Taqueria Jerez, the lingua – yes that means tongue was nothing like the Jewish stuff I ate as a child – it was beyond amazing.

Sculptures, murals and a large play area. As we sat waiting for our food, another non Hispanic woman started talking to us (she was Korean). Asking us how we found this place. She was from the city, she used to bring her boys to practice at the ice-hockey rink next door. She had just been to Grace Community church, the one that defied our awful government that approved open strip clubs – but not churches. Anyway, we had one of those wonderful conversations that I used to have and hope to again. This is what is so lovely about LA, people are friendly, people talk to one another. of course no image of the food, we inhaled it so quickly.

Here is a realistic mural.

They have the angel wing wall as well as butterfly!

I LOVE how they used these glass circles to enhance the mural!

More tile.

Fun fountain.

Of course there is no Mexican plaza without a religious store with the Virgin of Guadalupe front and center!

Another Sunday hike

It appears we will never run out of new places to hike. This time, Pico Canyon Menrtyville just outside of Stevenson Ranch – a lovely suburban community in Santa Clarita.

What remains of the town, it is shut due to the wuflu. I don’t think we could get into the house, but we couldn’t even walk the grounds. I wonder if someone lives here, it looks like a beautiful home.

That truck looks new. I know this small area has been used as a film location. Further up the road we learn that this ‘town’ was there because the first commercial oil field in CA was developed here in the 1870s. I’m lazy, but I think Gilmore down in the city, near the La Brea Tar pits was drilling earlier. but he wasn’t part of something called Chevron.

The one room school house still stands.

The information about the school, even in 1932, this area was extremely remote, now Magic Mountain is just down the road.

Yes, they kept the outhouses.

Rusty old equipment, I love this stuff!

part of the hike was along a dry river bed, I bet water runs through it when it rains.

In the canyon, a lot of greenery and even some Aspens.

This was the site of Oil well number 4, with a few plaques and a notation that this is an historic site. Nice!

Can’t resist images of old rusting machinery.

I especially love this cog-wheel. Up till this point, the road was paved, then it wasn’t and it got pretty steep

We kept going, this is one of those Panorama photos, completely distorts everything. Yes the hills close in are this impressive. But you can’t really see the whole Santa Clarita valley, with all it’s development. Looks so far away and tiny, it is much closer. I guess I should just take rather pictures.

Next post, I’ll share all the beautiful wildflowers that bloom in the spring. Although many of them are probably just domestic flowers that escaped to the canyon. It was windy, and other hikers were out as well, thankfully, not a one was wearing a mask.

Progress

I have really gotten much better at this cross-stitch. One thing I’m realizing is that sticking to one color for a while, ins’t a bad thing.

The center of this octogon is complete in the navy. Now to add in the lilac blue.

Here it is. I think I will continue to fill the outlines and the navy first, it simply gives more reference points in counting. Last time around, there were plenty of counting mistakes.

Original on the left, new project on the right. I do like the crisp white with the blues. Two things to notice, the white is a smaller weave so the whole image is smaller and tighter. I’m fine with this, the coverage is better. Now, if you are bored, feel free to enlarge and find the mistakes, in the original. They were corrected this time around. Of course, if you say, aside from the color and size I see no difference – now you know the appeal of cross-stitch, only the stitcher sees every single little mistake.

The quilt is growing, in the past I’d be very particular about each block, this time, I have a basic idea about how I want the colors to move and I just wing it. It is working out great!

I know that in the diagonal corner from the dark green I want deep blue purple. So I am now working up towards the center on the final row. Yes, I am loving this!

Me and the kids and a niece.

Grandkids with cousins.

restarting the #mfesal2021

This is the hashtag on Instagram for the Modern Folk Embroidery Sew along. I have been using it since January. The designer Jacob has liked my work. He was upset for me that I made that bad mistake with the fabric. He wondered if I could piece something together. NO WAY! that is why I quilt, I am happy to start over.

I impatiently awaited the fabric and more floss. I chose a whiter even weave. This time 36 per inch rather than 32. I was informed that 123 Stitch only had two skien of the light blue, and they didn’t know when they’d get more in. Luckily, when I last visited my local quilt store, Candy’s Quiltworks they had all Cosmo floss. So I ran over there, and sure enough, they had plenty. I bought probably more than I need, just in case someone else buys out the rest.

I had to wait until morning to start. What restraint. Also, Luckily I printed the first section, January, for some unknown reason I didn’t save the PDF. So I can’t open this in my Pattern keeper program, but I am happy to use the paper pattern.

I’m addicted! The last three months of working on this SAL as well as other projects, my stitching has gotten so much better! I made some pretty bad mistakes on my first try. I’ll probably show them at some point. One thing I’m doing now I trying to get the top layer of the stitch flat. Something I learned from the many Floss-Tubes I’ve been watching.

New on old. I think I would have been happy with something lighter than my original, but not necessarily as white. Its’ ok, blue and white are classic. I’m not sure you can tell, the white sample is just slightly smaller. I’m sure I’ll be able to show that more as I go along. Oh and yeah, I’ve already had to frog a little here and there, I need to pay more attention to the actual counting.

And now, grandkids. This little guy is turning 5 in a month and is all about sharks. He wore this shark hat all day.

Really enjoying grandma and me. Here she is in the dress I made her.

She loves bubbles!

Three little girls eating a snack. This is as good as it gets, getting the three of them to look at me is like herding cats. They all have a good time, that is what matters.

Started another quilt

I had been on a hiatus from quilting, enjoying cross-stitch instead. And then I got horrible news, a very good friend has that awful brain cancer. I’ve known a number of people who had it – in every case, cancer won.

She doesn’t want to talk about it, she doesn’t want to talk period, so I’m making her a quilt, sending my love and support that way.

Here is the pattern, I actually went and bought a pattern. The geometry grabbed me here, it’s a play on Ocean waves. I bought it on a whim a few weeks ago and I’m glad I did.

This is the basic block. I did pull out my specialty rulers, specifically Deb Tucker. The instructions for the square in a square in the corner, in the printed pattern, waste a heck of a lot of fabric. Also, her ruler helps me cut the elongated triangles.

Combining four blocks make up the basic block pattern, and then there is the play with color.

This is considered in my mind – one block. I love it when playing around with a grouping of one block makes such a definite bold graphic statement.

As you can see, 36 blocks will make 9 big blocks. I am loosely using the color scheme, I think my colors will be a little less regimented. Although, being big bold pieces of fabric, that will dictate how the fabrics will look.

There is always enough of a breeze on the side of my house, so that it is rare to get a flat image! I could have used my design wall inside, but then there is the problem of lighting.

First spring flowers from my garden, I so adore these roses! as well as the other orange flowers that are blooming now.

The grandkids are adorable! Look at these two sharks!

At the beach with these two.

It was a little chilly, but hey, look at the kids, look at the beach!!!

Huge OOPS! but life goes on.

Month 4 of the modern folk Embroidery SAL dropped and I immediately started on it. I knew last month that I have a big problem, in my excitement to start, I held the fabric the wrong way.

I fooled myself that it would all work out. Here I am realizing that it won’t.

I’m not halfway down the project, I doubt I could get the two row in and have any fabric left over. I really want to frame this nicely. So guess what is happening. I am stopping here, I ordered more fabric and more floss and I am going to start over. So be it. I’ve learned from Knitting, if you are bothered by the mistake, go back and correct right away, otherwise, it won’t stop bugging you. In this case, I simply won’t be able to finish it. So back to the beginning. Meanwhile, I made plenty of mistakes here that I would have lived with, but I am so much better no, so the new project will have less mistakes. Not saying there won’t be any, there will be less.

I have this project to work on and I’m loving it. I put my initials in. If this survives 50 years will anyone know who L.K. is? Probably not, but for now, it is here.

How about this squirrel?

I should have ironed this, or at least steamed it, I didn’t. One thing I’m doing now is making sure the top part of the cross is flat. This is something I’ve learned from some floss-tuber on You Tube, my work is improving and I’m loving it.

This is the last quilt I made in a class in 2020. At Road to California. I’m at a point where I don’t need to keep every quilt I make. Even if I designed and did all the work. So a friend just had a granddaughter, and I shipped it off to her, but first…

I wanted to put the babies name on, in cross-stitch of course. Why I started from her last name and moved left, I have no idea, what I chose a complicated alphabet – dont know either. So This didn’t get far.

The original label as well as the name. Turns out her kids honeymooned in Hawaii, so this is extra special for them. I love it when things work out that way.

Much better choosing a small simple font. I am happy.

Best Passover!

It probably helps that last year we were with one son and his family. We tried the Zoom thing, it was awful. So this year, at my house, all of us were together!!!

I wasn’t trying for a group picture of all of us. At least all three grandkids, I love how chaotic it all was.

Funny faces and oops, I cut Cameron out of this one.

I love how goofy they all are. Yes both granddaughters and I are wearing dresses I made.

Eyal is getting squeezed out there.

And now, Tiger takes front stage.

Oh yeah, switched out and got another couple in the picture. Then we gave up and went inside for the Seder. The kids were having so much fun, running around, being wild, crazy and loud. Sooo happy to be with all their cousins. They have seen two other cousins at a time. This was the first time in over a year that all of us were together! What a blessing!

Just a few of the images during the Seder, Einav was a little overwhelmed by the crowd, she sobbed when Uncle Elk tried to pick her up. Luckily Eyal is very happy on his uncles lap.

The other side of the table was a little quieter. and the other grandkids were back running around outside.

I bought the Geranium dress pattern, it has many sizes and is a very good pattern. I also bought the extension pack, so there will be dresses with sleeves, or a collar or some other embellishment.

Snaps are such a pain to put in, it will be buttons or a zipper next time.

Trying to get her to stand still for a picture is also impossible. Dress looks great on her, there will be more.

I survived!

A visit to the Brand Park last week was very nice, so while the weather is still cool, it was time to go back and hike those mountains back there.

There are three trails… which one do you think we chose? Yup the steeped hardest one. This should have been a warning at the beginning of the trail. At this point, all was lovely.

I was relaxed enough to turn and take pictures of the valley…

… as well as Glendale and Griffith Park beyond.

I was even able to stop and smell, I mean photograph the flowers. These little purple things are tiny. In a few weeks, they will just be dry powder puffs.

Then the fun began, the path got steeper and steeper, both sides of the path were sheer drops and my fear of heights kicked in big time!! A group of high school rangers came by on their way down and were very supportive. Other people going up were kind and encouraging. Meanwhile, I could look over and see another path, that was steep, but not as steep – why did we choose this one!!!

No images of me panicking, I don’t need documentation. close in you can see the easier path, and beyond, downtown, I’m always getting images of downtown.

Almost to the top, the ground leveled off. A lovely Armenian gal took this pano picture. Most people on the trail are Amenians, most of Glendale is Armenian these days. Lovely people, hardly anyone had a mask on the trails and no one was a nasty Karen- unlike our hike across the way in Griffith Park. All the hipsters from Silverlake and Echo Park hike there and they are nasty. Give me kind Armenians any day over the hipsters.

Made it to the top, seven sisters (I think there are seven trees up here). People in CA hike with kids on their backs and dogs in tow. Its’ what we do on a lovely Sunday morning.

That scary climb up? Just half a mile but 800″ of elevation, at what felt like 70 degrees of incline.

So going back down, we took the long route. A nice wide road, close to two miles, but who cares, I’ve had enough of the scary stuff.

Isn’t this beautiful? Trees and bushes along the road, as well as a lot of nice people. By the time we got down to the bottom we met a young couple who were trying to figure out which way to go – take the longer easier road! You will get to the top, see the same amazing view from up there but won’t kill yourself on a steep climb! Thank you ma’am they said, as they took my advice.

Updating a pattern

I know, traditional Quaker cross-stitch would have been one color, maybe two, I’m adapting a new pattern to multi color. Unfortunately I couldn’t load this into pattern keeper, but photocopies work very well.

The original pattern offered 4 colors, all shades of the same color.

I’ve just started, using all kinds of color.

Lots of color! Coming from a quilting background, I am trying to repeat colors across the whole piece. Right now you can see a riot of colors, but repetition is already happening.

In the original, this was two colors, one for the border, one for the interior. I even broke the flowers up.

Here I tried to show some restraint. only two colors for the border and two for the interior. The only ‘new’ color here is the dark teal, the others all appear elsewhere in the work.

My best friend is moving to AZ. I am very sad. Happy for her, she will be near her grandkids, but yes I’m sad. So she gave me a bunch of fabrics, this time batiks. I made an new project bag for this one, because very soon in about 10 days, the April section of the SAL will arrive and this will be shelved for a while.

Used two different fabrics. Btw, these are old, very old, how do I know? Because there is a difference between the front and the back of these batiks. The dye didn’t saturate the back as much.

For the first time in over a year we ate indoors in a restaurant in LA (we have eaten indoors elsewhere in CA and NV) not only that, the waitress gave us plastic straws with our water without us asking!! This recall Newsom is having its affects.

Yup, I became a paying member of the Babylon Bee and they sent me this mug! I love it! What I love even more is that Joel is using it!

Go BEE!

Another finish

I’ve been very busy with my cross stitch. I work on the Fruits of Plenty, every month when a new section comes out. In between I need another project. I have just finished the first one.

This is Ephrata, I ordered the kit from someone on Etsy. It came with an ugly Aida cloth. So I had this large piece of linen, I intended to use it for the SAL, and this piece was left over (Didn’t use it for the SAL, but that is another story). the colors of the thread on this background aren’t great, but they wouldn’t have been great on the Aida, I think it was also overdyed yellow.

I signed my name with the year.

There are two lines of the brick color, I simply followed the chart. on my own, I would have scattered more brick in the piece. Oh, another thing, this came with the threads cut, so there were a few full skeins but most weren’t. Yes, it is DMC, which is a good thing, because I ran out of thread in the yellows.

Not much leeway on the sides. I knew that going in. This means that there is no way I can frame this. But just looking at the shape, it is more of a bell-pull. So off to Etsy I went and looked for hardware. There isn’t a lot, most is metal, and expensive.

I found these laser cut wood. they come in a number of sized, they weren’t expensive. They arrived within a week. They are from FripperiesMP, I highly recommend them.

I but on a backing, I interfaced the backing so the piece would have some body and weight. I am very pleased with the result. Right now it hangs in my workroom. It may end up being gifted.

I took a very small break from cross-stitch and followed the video instructions to make this tomato. I had bought the printed fabric over a year ago. the video really helps, Collage Quilter. Basically, I cut out the pieces of fabric and glued them on the background. She gives the dark, medium and light areas. Not hard to figure out, but it helps when trying something new.

One great suggestion was to use the reverse side of fabric, especially in the highlight area, because having the red hue ties it together, stark white or even off white might just not look that good. Although, years ago I took a class on painting flowers, the instructor said – the highlight is white, the shadows are black!! In order to get a three dimensional feel – that is a must. She had a very good point, but rules are meant to be bent, especially since I’m working with fabric, not paint.

I cut out the tomato, notice how the edges are not scalloped anymore! glued it to a background fabric. Next, a border and quilting. Then, I have 5 more vegetables to go. I’m not making one quilt, although I couldn’t, I will make individual pieces and figure out what to do with them later.