Flamingos

I have enjoyed using Sew Kind of Wonderfuls’ curved ruler. The sisters are constantly adding patterns. So when they asked for pattern testers for their flamingos, I jumped at the opportunity.I went through my stash and found all kinds of pink. I can’t imagine making them out of anything but pink.I’d love to say that this is an easy pattern, it isn’t. There are quite a few mirror image blocks. So I messed up, a lot.I love te colors of this one.Right now I see imperfections, that is the problem of working in such detail. But once quilted, I’m sure I won’t notice anything anymore.I tried to play with more orange on this bird. that one stripe is just jarring. But it too will remain.These are big birds!Using up most of the leftover fabric I put on borders.

Unfortunately my machine is in the shop. I’m very frustrated, the needle threader broke and it would cost $250 to replace. Really Juki?  That is a quarter of the price that I paid for! I’m so tired of companies (not just sewing machines, my ice maker is broken as well) that charge outrageous prices for replacement parts. So I will have to thread this the old fashioned way, by hand.

At least they are sanding down the throat plate so my threads won’t break anymore. I can’t wait to get the machine back so I can start quilting this baby. And yes, it is a baby quilt, I just found out that my friend is getting her first granddaughter! Yay! This quilt will have a home soon.

Still making things

Many of my recent posts are about no idle feet, I’m out and about, but what about my hands?

No worries, I’m still busy making things.Like this round box for my friend. This is the second time I’ve used this pattern as well as Annies soft and stable.Roberta likes pink.Whats not to like?I am in a little bit of a funk with my knitting. I’ve been very slowly knitting away on a shawl of no particular pattern. So if it is very successful, it will still be a one of a kind. I’m using up the last of the Koigu yarn I bought many, many years ago. I’m not thrilled with the color combinatibn, but hey, I’m using up old yarn. How old? At least 10 years and it has some breaks in it to prove it’s brittleness.Finishing it off with some lace. If I run out of the red, I will switch to the grey. This really is just a haphazard project. I also won’t know how well it functions until it is off the needles. For all I know it will be a very awkard shape.Still sewing clothes. Now that the weather is hot, I’ll be making some more summer clothes I can wear right away.

There will be seperate posts about my quilting. At the moment that is really the craft I love the best.

Busy Weekend

It’s amazing how much there is to do here every weekend. I set out on Saturday to see a small California Pottery show.It really wasn’t very large. Mostly antiques with a very big emphasis on Bower Pottery. I was immediately informed that what I’ve been buying is a new iteration, new owners, even if many of the designs are similar.I’m not a collector, so although I enjoyed looking, I wasn’t buying.I’m glad I can share a picture of this rabbit with my friend. She does the rabbit-rabbit thing at the beginning of each month. At $600, a picture will suffice.For me, an owl, I’m wondering if that deep green turquoise is one of the glazes that is too toxic to make today?How about this crude unglazed owl?There were a few contemporary artists, I would have loved to buy this totem pole.Instead, all I could afford was a nice new coffee mug.

If you think Pasadena was a quiet, sleepy town on that Saturday morning, think again.Although it was 90 degrees, all the cyclists were out, Green street was blocked to traffic, clearly, some people came prepared.I’m amazed that I caught this shot.Oh, and inside the convention center, there was a girls’ dancecompetitionn. On the convention center floor, where I’m used to seeing vendor booth there was a stage and lights. It was fun seeing the girls in their shiny costumes.

Then On Sunday, it was time for a belated mother’s day hike with my boys.There was construction on Sunset Blvd. so we couldn’t go up Kenter Ave, we went up Mandeville Canyon instead and entered the fire road from here.Very helpful people on this trail.Three miles up and we are looking over at the Nike Missle site on dirt Mulholland, you can’t drive there, it’s a hike.Ok, I was using my telephoto lens in the previous picture. It’s not that close. But one of these days it would be worthwhile to hike from the valley to the city and Uber back. The reason I’d go that direction is because it is downhill most of the way.

After

 

 

Walking as exercise

I’m not getting any younger. My doctor says I need more exercise, he is right and at some point, I might even go to a gym. Right now I’m using my stairs as aStairmasterr and getting out and walking the local hills.Here I am, going up Sunswept St. The hills have turned golden, it looks like I’m far from the city.I’m right above Carney’s on busy Ventura Blvd.I often wonder if the city would allow these steep winding streets to be built today, probably not. It is fun to see the funky creativity up here.The more modern gates I see, the less creativity. Some carpenter had a lot of fun here.There were quite a few trucks up here, people are refurbishing their homes. Well not everyone. A doorway to an empty lot.I always stop for arrested decay, I think this may have been part of a gate mechanism.Here you can see the slope of the street. I guess you can call this recycling, patching together a car from many parts.A few days later, I was off to the Northwestern part of the valley. A large lovely park, O’Melveney Park. What used to be a private ranch with a lot of old fruit trees. Many people out hiking and enjoying this park which was gifted to the city years ago.It’s not quite June, but we are getting the marine inversion layer already. An old crabapple tree.A thistle. A lot of plants are blooming and the poison oak is out in force. That probably has to do with the rains we’ve had.This is what I call very good design! Water that is reachable by adults, people in wheelchairs, children and dogs!

So yes, this is a very enjoyable way for me to get my exersize.

 

 

 

 

Downtown at night

I’m usually downtown in the daytime, giving tours and seeing people using the share bikes.

But sometimes, one needs to go at night and how vibrant things can be when darkness falls.With the long days of spring and summer, six pm isn’t exactly dark. Grand  Park runs three blocks from the Music center up on Grand Ave, across Hill and Broadway down to City Hall on Spring st. These days many fun activities take place here. A food fair, both booths, and trucks, bars and entertainment took place this weekend. So we hopped on the subway and went to explore. There was a Mariachi band.Chinese dragon dancers. I really didn’t take any pictures of the food, we had some great middle eastern food. It was just fun walking around and people watching. LA is a real melting pot, no cultural appropriation – rather cultural sharing, everybody bringing their traditions and making them all American. This scene made my heart melt. Although it was pretty cool, the kids had no problem running through the fountain. A mom in her wheelchair got her daughter to push her and have her join the fun. I heard her say: this is the best Mother’s Day ever, I haven’t had so much fun!So what is George Washington doing in this park? He didn’t originate here since the park is only a few years old.I love the fact that once upon a time, this is what school children in Los Angeles did. Along with the women of the chamber of commerce.  This must have been in storage for a while, so nice that he is now part of a very busy park.I love the ‘new’ tradition of taking prom pictures at iconic sites in the city.  In front of Disney Hall.One girl took her date’s jacket, this other guy was much smarter. Along with his bright red suit, he wore a polar bear fur coat. Well, probably not made from a polar bear, but he was the only one who wasn’t freezing.But young women will put up with the cold to be beautiful. Can’t blame them, it’s all part of youth.Here is a cute couple, and yes, I am coveting her dress.Golden sunset lighting the Broad. My favorite part of this museum is the building itself. And there you have some California gold.

We continued down Hope street and down the Bunker Hill steps. I tried to capture some more pictures, but with the fading light, they didn’t come out well. We craned our necks up and Joel even saw someone going down the glass slide! The pyramid atop the library is beautiful when viewed from above.What I did capture was the lights in the fountain that runs along side the stairs. Light can make water so much more interesting.

As we walked along, some young men wished me a Happy Mother’s day. Earlier in the week a man in an elevator complimented my outfit and overall look. What can I say, I love this city!!

 

 

Hawaiian Applique

I think I mentioned that after finishing one hundred blocks for the Splendid sampler, I didn’t want to crowd them all into one quilt top.

There are many traditional quilting techniques that I want to try. One of them is Hawaiian Applique. I decided to combine the two.Hawaiian Applique uses the method of cutting out a snowflake from paper that is an eighth of the pattern. Once transferred to fabric and unfolded one gets a traditional snowflake, except the images tend to be tropical plants instead. Traditionally these were made on a white background with a solid color for the flower. Batik material is wonderful for this, the weave is much tighter than your average quilting cotton, there is no right or wrong side of the fabric and it is beautiful.There will be a class in July! Except I will be out of town, so I’m reading the instructions that come with my patterns and of course, going to You Tube. One tool that was highly recommended is the button hole cutter. When cutting the shape, one is cutting through eight layers of fabric, for those tight inner cuts, this little tool is amazing. Scissors and rotary cutters are also involved, but I have found this to be the tool. Slow but accurate.No skimping on the preparation, after cutting and laying out, everything is basted down with thread, pins aren’t enough. I got creative here and used two fabrics on one pattern.Instead of traditional square blocks, my center is a rectangle, so on each end, I cut a block in half.Practice makes better, not that anyone else will notice, but I’m seeing the stitches and the points aren’t great. I’m using Aurifil 80 weight thread, it is almost invisible, it also breaks a lot, even when coated with Thread Magic. It often gets those knots, that sometimes can be removed and sometimes not. So I cut my thread shorter, I try to untangle it during the sewing and I put up with breaks in the thread.Planning out the layout. I have to confess that I really haven’t done any math yet to see how this will fit together.The rest of the blocks are traditional squares. Hibiscus, you can see the upper left corner is already appliqued down.Once the quilt is finished no one will ever see the back, so I’m showing it here.There are plenty of patterns available, finding a pattern someone else did is fun. This is the block I’m working on currently, there are slits in this block that she didn’t incorporate.You can’t see them here since I haven’t started the actual applique. Cutting the slits was done with that wonderful button hole cutter.There it is! There are two per flower. I can see that my stitching is improving as are my points. For me this kind of handwork is so meditative, I am loving the process.The center layout is done! I don’t know how many blocks of Hawaiian applique I will make, or what the final layout will be. All I know is I am enjoying the process.

 

 

 

 

Another Quilt show

There are three quilt guilds in the San Fernando Valley, the oldest at 35 years SFVQA. The Valley Quiltmakers Guild and of course The Valley Modern Quilt Guild.  The first two guilds share a show every May, Quilting in the Valley. It was high time I went.One of the first quilts I saw was this Storm at Sea. I had to take a picture, it is so different from the ones my mini group has made. What a wonderful pattern! So many options.I was immediately drawn to this quilt, I am making my own version of a Hawaiian quilt, I even see some blocks I have in common. I studied this carefully.
I paid close attention to her points and the quilting. I’m happy to say my points are getting very good. She machine quilted this. Unlike the next one.I much prefer the effect one gets with hand quilting on a Hawaiian quilt. I was planning on doing that anyway, this just reinforces my decision.There were many lovely quilts, I was drawn to the ones with applique. I am finding needle turn applique very soothing. So who know, I may do more in the future.There were quilts like this one, which took my breath away! It is wonderful to go to a show and simply be inspired by someone else’s work. Even if I have no intention of making something similar – How could I?Just look at the detail! And it is also hand quilted.This was made in honor of the quilters mother – now that is a tribute!Zena Thorpe has been making exquisite quilts for over 30 years. Just look at those circles! Perfection.Another example of her work. All done by hand, every single stitch.Wow, once again, not somthing I am aspiring to, but I love admiring this. Sorry, my camera wasn’t in sharp focus, so you can’t really see the tiny even quilting stitches – trust me, they are.I not only had a great time at the show, I went ahead and rejoined the SFVQA, they even had my old card from the 1990’s when I had joined the first time. It’s been over 20 years since I’ve been to one of their meetings. It felt like going home. There is an overlap among the guilds, so I know people.  It just felt right to be back.

Later in the week I went to the Valley Quiltermakers guild, this guild meets in the morning. Another lovely group, there is a lot of overlap among the guilds. I find it very pleasant to be among creative friendly quilters.

Pasadena gardens, part II

It is worth showing you what some of the house look like.This is just the pool house, maybe guest house.This house wasn’t on the tour, it was across the street, it is the famous Blacker House, built by the Greene brothers. I had the pleasure of getting a  tour inside about 10 years ago. The present owners are dedicating their life to restoring this masterpiece.One of the reasons why this house is so familiar to many is the front doors. Yes, these are the doors from the original Back to the Future movie. At the time, twenty-six years ago, no one cared about Craftsmen houses, the house was in terrible shape, but the front door! It seemed so futuristic, so it has become part of movie lore.The back of another Greene brother’s house.This is the side of the house, look at the wonderful use of local rocks in the two story fireplace.In the 1950’s this outdoor fireplace was added.The garden is incredible, there is a pool and some lawn, but most of it looks like this. 110 years ago, when the house was built, they would have had only lawn. Something tells me that the Greene brothers would probably highly approve of the new garden.A smaller home was a renovated midcentury. We were invited to walk through this home, but not take pictures. To be honest, the home was more impressive than the garden.In Pasadena, an outdoor fireplace will get plenty of use.Water features are another must have.One type of plant that thrives here is the cacti and succulent. There were plenty of examples. This is a very unusual unique one, I’d love to buy one somewhere.Most of the cacti were in containers.The container is often more interesting than the plants.I will finish with this 100 year old wisteria vine. Two months ago it was covered in white blooms, which are rare.  The trellis is original to the garden, I’m thinking they have had to reiforce it through the years.  Just look at the size of this!!!  May it live for at least another hunderd years!

 

 

 

 

Garden tour in Pasadena

It’s spring, it’s time for garden tours. Sort of like home tours, but only of the garden. Pasadena has some amazing homes and estates, luckily many of them have a real interest in gardens. I’ll be breaking this post up, not in any particular order. I’m starting with roses.A number of the gardens had very impressive roses, give them water and they grow extremely well in Southern California.I really had to edit down my rose pictures, don’t want to bore you to death.Also, in the case of these flowers, they also had a lovely scent. Something that has been bred out of so many rose hybrids.People around me knew all the names, there are serious gardening people on these tours.Me, I love gardens but I’m not a horticulturist.Sometimes a rose is a very simple thing.At the Wentworth house, concrete was reporposed back in 1995, long before it was popular to do so. Here, a traditional use as paving stones.Also used for a patio and pillars. The whole property used to be covered in concrete….  yeah, I don’t understand some people.I tried to capture other decorative elements from the hardscape.This reading fellow is part of the house.The tiles are embedded in the walkways.Love the lion.Many of these gardens have outdoor rooms, this must be the original chia pet.Metal sculpture as a planter…… as part of the fence…… or a lamp.

More to come tomorrow.

 

 

Quilt of Valor, finished

Another quilting project is done. I’m grateful to have a back yard, folding tables and plenty of room to spray baste my quilts outside.Here is my basic quilting plan, unify the trapezoids with circular quilting, do a simple figure eight in the diamond shapes, outline everything else. Moving from block to block this took time.  When making scrappy quilts, fine detailed quilting will get lost. That is what solids are for. But I think you get the overall feeling I was going for here.I love the quilting, it is what really pulls the whole thing together. I have been having problems with thread breaking. At this point, I need to bring my machine in for service since I’ve tried all kinds of threads. They are very specific about what can be on the label. Quilt of Valor, room for the recipients name, names of the people who pieces and quilted it. In this case, one and the same. And the state I am from. So nothing fancy back here.Good thing Irene is paying attention to the details, we also need to make a bag or a pillow case to hold the quilt.It’s not easy getting a photo on a windy day.I succeeded! I love how the curved quilting adds to the feeling of waves since this block is called Ocean Waves. The colors are clearly patriotic red, white and blue, but I think would even please someone who doesn’t like such a brash choice.  We are asked to use those colors, I was happy to do so, but I like the richness of my fabric choices.Bright sunlight makes the quilt transparent. A few artistic shots.The quilt inside the pillowcase, with plenty of room to spare. Irene and Ruth are working away on their quilts, soon enough all three will be finished.