Summer nights in LA

So much happens on summer nights in LA. This past Friday I discovered the Odd Market at the Autry museum. From June through October, the third Friday of the month.                                                                                                            Since I had renewed my membership, it was free, otherwise, it’s $5.On the lawn at the east side of the museum, activities for kids and a lot of families out on the grass. Parking is very easy, right across the street in the zoo parking lot, since it starts at 6, most zoo visitors are already gone.All kind of food trucks set up shop.This one is advertised as a French Fry truck, but most of the advertisements are for Vietnamese food. Go figure.Me, I had a donut and fried chicken sandwich, because everyone needs a treat from time to time.

There are plenty of vendors, selling, jewelry, clothes, toys and other interesting itemsI bought a cute pair of sunglasses.Most of the booths are just pop up canopies. But some are trucks or airstreams.
This is the most unique one, built on a flatbed.How cool is this owl!!! Hand carved by someone in Reseda.I love this owl. There is plenty of stained glass as well, made by another local artisan.Yes, they sell those new age mystical things. But I kept paying attention to the details. Like the railing made out of pipes and pipe fitting.On the back, sliding glass doors with 100-year-old stained glass from a church in Connecticut. Now sandwiched between thick glass. So it’s hard to see the details, but it does make for a good reflection back onto the grass and the people.The big rides with the tower of the museum in the background.A little storm-trooper, happy as can be.

There are two galleries open during this event. So people get some culture along with the fun. I’m sorry to say that the Deborah Butterfield horse is in storage. I understand museums have more work in storage than out on display, I guess it was time for the horse to get some rest.The next night we were in a local park for a new series of weekend concerts. I hope this event, Noho Summer Nights, grows. The opening act was ok, good voice. Can I just say I am so sick and tired of everybody sharing all their issues, especially depression? Telling an audience out for a fun evening is simply a way of making you feel good while we get to feel bad. Shut up and sing.

Then there was a wonderful Queen cover band, didn’t stay till the end because it was really cold. (that’s June in LA for you). So I didn’t hear Bohemian Rhapsody, but a lot of other good classics.

I’ll be back!

Leah

Summertime and things are slow

I want to be outside where it is beautiful, not inside sewing.So I took a walk and found a patriotic owl.In front of a simple business, I find this beautiful mosaic floor.Look at that Mariner’s compass!This apartment building is right next to the freeway. The sound wall probably blocks the view, which is a good thing. But I can’t help but wonder who put that lovely furniture up there. Without any railing, there is nothing legal about this. And yet, I wonder, do people go up to this roof?Aytan is a very good photographer, I gave him my small camera, unfortunately, the battery ran out too soon.I had to make a conscious effort to get a picture of Shira. She is always in motion.A project I did make. My friend Roberta always has ‘projects’ for me. She of course takes full credit, while I do the work. Does that make her the artist and me just the apprentice doing the work?  Anyway, very cute project for her grandson, a hooded towel. She promises to send a picture of him wrapped in it, will be much cuter than me.

Leah

It feels like a slow year for creativity

I’m still busy creating, but it just feels a little slower this year. That is ok, as long as my hands aren’t idle.

I have been very slowly knitting a pair of socks.I bought the yarn during the LA Yarn crawl. That was back in early April.

I’m beginning to feel twinges in my elbow, so I’ve slowed down, I don’t knit every night. I have signed up to test bag patterns by Sew Sweetness. I can’t share the final product until the pattern goes public. But I will be using this clasp. A first for me, luckily other testers are sharing good advice.

Then there are the quilts in the wild. It makes perfect sense that working with tiles is similar to working with basic squares and triangles. These decorate an outdoor shopping mall. I wonder how many people pay attention to them.  I will probably used them as quilt designs at some point.

Look what I found for donkey saddle bag. A Camel! How perfect is this?? I know, he doesn’t have any hump, so how do I know he is a camel and not a donkey? Look at the feet, a donkey has hooves, similar to a horse. A camel has big flat feet with large seperated toes, makes it easier to walk along the hot shifting sand.

Love both the camel and his saddle bag, and yes, people are welcome to sit on this.

Leah

Quilting as craft, not art.

I know, everyone feels that being an artist is so much better than a simple crafter. That may have been true in the past, but these days, when everyone is an artist – no one is.

I’ve been thinking a lot about quilting. As a craft form it was all about copying and adapting patterns. From Ecclesiastes comes the famous phrase, there is nothing new under the sun. It’s true, which is one of my problems with modern art- if it isn’t ‘new’ it isn’t art.I saw an image of a quilt, I liked it and I set out to both copy and create some new blocks as I go along. Creating new blocks simply means using a very similar pattern and just changing the color placement.  Problem is, I’m not sure I have enough of the khaki background, so I bought some pale yellow and am remaking the blocks. What intrigued me is the chain of blocks that created an interesting sashing. My first attempt with the dark triangles just made everything too busy.Wait! I have that khaki fabric that will be perfect, a very subtle contrast. I’m using all kinds of rulers here, my collection is growing.Now I’m happy. I’m following existing patterns, I’m adapting as I go. It’s not art, it is a beautiful craft and someone will love staying warm under this.My son in law has made this baby blanket. The block is called the January Block. It was designed by Liz Harvatine a few years ago as a block of the month for The LAMQG. This one really caught on and many people have made it. I love how graphic and bold this is. In comparison, look at mine from a few years ago.This just proves my point. Take a pattern, let two people make it and see what happens. Two very very different quilts.  And this is why I love quilting.

Leah

Mementos from my mother

I had a couple of hours in my mother’s apartment. One thing that was very important to me was to bring home some of her old photos. So I took some of those, but then I wanted some tangible objects. This is something my parents owned my whole life. I don’t know where they got it. It is a Saddlebag for a donkey. Clearly, it is from Central Asia, but I have no idea the actual location. So this has to be over 60 years old, and yet, look at how bright and vibrant the colors of the wool are. This always was draped over a footstool. I’m thinking I need to do the same. It has such an interesting, yet simple closure. Loops of handmade rope that are woven together. Here are the individual loops. And here is one of the pouches open. Not clear how much could be stored in here.  Notice that edges of the pouches were bound in leather, the leather hasn’t fared well over the years, unlike the wool. The back is also interesting. A very tight weave, the colors are so vibrant. You can’t see those blue and red stripes because they are under the pouch. Looking at the center section, the front is as vibrant as the back. It was always out on display, which means sunlight. Not direct sunlight, but 60 years of sun should have caused fading. The back side was protected, but really, there is very little on this piece. So along with memories of growing up, and of always seeing this in my mother’s homes, I treasure it for the incredible piece of textile that it is.If you wonder where my crafting talents came from, look no further than my great grandmother Sarah Singer. She knit, and crocheted. I’m not sure if she sewed. She died when I was three, so I have vague memories of her, by then I’m not sure she was creating any more.

My mother owned three afghans she had made. Two were made out of sweaters that Sarah knit for my mother and aunt. When they outgrew them, she would unravel them and make afghans. She made a few from scratch, like this one, that wasn’t scrappy. I wasn’t familiar with this one.I then realized that my grandmother held onto a few of the afghans, this was one of those. Thirty years ago, my mother brought my grandmother to Israel along with some of her special possessions. When she died, my mother kept this in storage. Almost 40 years ago, I crocheted a baby blanket for a friend using this same wave design. I made it in shades of orange, yellow and brown. I don’t have a picture of my creation, but I do love that my great-grandmother and I made similar items.  This is wool, not acrylic, look at the vibrant colors, very little damage, unlike many of my newer wool creations that have already been attacked by moths. What a great color sense she has as well.I made many things for my mother, I didn’t want to bring them all home. But this really spoke to me. Up until the end, this was by her front door, full of bills and letters. It is pieced, not quilting here. I probably did use a rotary cutter, but I don’t think any of this was strip pieced. I like my workmanship, I also like how I have improved since I made this.At 12-14 my mother was in a painting class, these are a few of her paintings. After that period she never painted again. Some of these hung on my grandmother’s wall, but my mother never displayed them.I brought this one home. I think this is one that hung on my grandmother’s wall. It’s the Pied Piper of Hamlin. That story always resonated with me, I think because of this picture. I’m guessing that when my mother brought this to Israel, she took all the pictures out of their frames.

Another item that she brought over was a simple stripped Navajo Rug, in blue, black and off-white. It’s there in her apartment. I told my niece that I don’t have room for this, but it is something of value. I’m sure my grandparents bought it on a trip west. It used to be on their floor, and yet, the colors are still vibrant and it is in good shape. I hope someone else in the family takes it and uses it.Final item, my great-grandmother’s sock darning egg. I know it was my great grandmothers because neither my grandmother nor my mother ever darned a sock in their lives. So not only do I have items my great-grandmother made, I also now have one of her tools. No, I won’t be darning socks either. I did look online, young women are using light bulbs instead of eggs.

That’s it. Until my son in law and I go through the old pictures.

Leah

Memories of my mother

My mother died two weeks ago, that was the reason for my rush visit to Israel. I didn’t see her before she died, lucky for her it was only 10 days in the hospital and it was over. She lived with cancer for 12 years, but she lived very well. I’m glad I saw her three months ago.

Now for memories.My parents, when they were young, very very young.Still beautiful, at one of my nephew’s weddings.At another wedding, with her three kids. Meeting her first great-grandchild, my grandson Aytan. By the time she died, she had nine great-grandchildren and one more on the way. Unfortunately, because of the distance she never met my other four, only saw pictures of them. She loved hiking and was able to hike up until about 2 years ago.She still looked this good in February when I saw her.

Burials in Israel are very direct and basic. Coffins are only used when the body has been traumatized. Otherwise, the body is wrapped in a shroud, put on a simple stretcher under a Tallit, if it is a man and he had one. Or under a simple covering. At the grave site, the body is gently lowered into the grave, all the while the Chevrah Kaddishah – the men from the burial society are asking for forgiveness, that they are being kind enough and gentle enough.

Then the family and friends fill in the grave themselves. This may sound harsh, for me, it was very real and therapeutic. We returned my mothers’ body to the earth, no euphemisms no trying to hide death. Simple accepting it.

We sat Shiva for seven days, another wonderful Jewish tradition, where the mourners, (Parents, children, siblings, so in this case, only her three children) sit on low chairs and people come to share with us. Either memories they had, or ask us about our memories. Sometimes it’s just talk that has nothing to do with my mother. But it is a wonderfully cathartic experience.

On the 7th day, the Shiva ends and we went back to the gravesite to say Psalms.

This is what the gravesite will look like until a tombstone is put on top. Flowers aren’t really common in Israel, these were sent from my brother’s work. But most Israelis don’t put flowers. We put a stone on the gravesite.My father’s grave, right next to hers. He died 33 years ago to the week. This is what hers will look like in a few months.

Then it was back to her apartment, which is in a senior center, where friends from the building who couldn’t make it to the Shiva came to pay their respects. She was well loved.

I brought some items home, among them this: My mother’s wedding ring, this is the ring my she used when she married my father. In the last few years, she really got thin because of cancer and this ring didn’t fit anymore. She wore it on a chain around her neck. I don’t know where my father’s ring which was identical went. I’m sure my brothers will find it at some point. It fits me perfectly. It is a simple yet artistic ring, silver, and copper.

Someone at the Shiva stated things very well: it was sad but not a tragedy. She lived a long full life, she lived it well. She left many wonderful descendants and we will remember her and carry her memory on to our children and grandchildren.

Leah

Cats

Another quick trip to Jerusalem.where I keep my eyes open for interesting things.Pretty entrances.and pretty pots with flowers. The hollyhock is blooming. Here it is May and there is a slight rain, I grabbed a picture of a cat.He jumped down and wrapped himself around my feet. Now you can really see the rain. He followed me down the street, and only stopped when another cat came out to defend his territory.Because my grandson has a ‘thing’ for ‘mingoes’ I had to had to take this picture. Flags are everywhere. Since the US embassy opened not far from here, this is a common sight as well.

Leah

I’m not big on pillows, but…

I am really enjoying hand applique these days. This one has some tiny parts, which might be overkill, but it’s good to know I can do this. Although I’m not interested in more of this. I went to the designers’ website, I wish her well. But one set of flowers like this is enough for me.  Not because of the difficulty, but because this kind of design simply isn’t my styleAppliqued the black circle to a brown background. It came with a tiny print for the back, that just felt too busy for me. Close up of my work. Did I say how good I feel about my workmanship?The paper inside is supposed to dissolve when washed. It worked! I hand washed this with Soak and it melted away.Bought a cheap pillow at Big Lots, cut away the cover and voila! A new cushion. I’m not that big on pillows, but what can I say, my house is filling up with them… I think I mentioned that I was concerned about having enough background fabric. So I bought a new background, it’s the top blocks. I think I like the brighter yellow tone more than the khaki. I know I’ll do something with the blocks I already made. Something else.

Leah

Pillowcases

One of the charity projects that quilt guilds do is make pillowcases for foster children. Many guilds will pre-cut the fabric, so I took a package of 5. I try and make as many as I can that will appeal to boys. Like everything else, there are tons of options for girls, less so for boys.The first one from this batch I made with French seams. Very nice clean and enclosed. I have a five needle serger, which means that not only can I clean the edges, I can also sew the seam at the same time. Since it is a chain stitch I have to weave in the end and use fray-check since that kind of seam can unravel easily.  But it makes sewing pillowcases so much faster.I know, we are constantly being warned, don’t use pins when sewing on the serger.  Well, in this case, I am sewing through either three or five layers of fabric. (If there is a narrow row of decorative fabric, which there sometimes is.) That is hard to hold together so, I  pin. I work very slowly, making sure to remove the pin before it hits the knife. I get it, it’s easier to tell people not to do something rather than explain how to do something carefully. Lucky for me, I’m not a dummy.How cute are these?!?When I finished the shirt, I had enough fabric leftover for a pillowcase.

Leah

sewing factory

The clothes sewing continues, I’m making lovely summer clothes and the weather turns cold.  Oh well.I made a cute dress out of the rayon challis. I’m so glad this fabric is rayon, I might have been tempted to buy it even if it were polyester, and then I would have regretted the decision. I know, soon it will be warm, or rather hot. but it bugs me that on Mothers Day, I have to wear this with a sweater. I’m sure I shared this a few years ago when I made this dress.  I am very impressed with how well these photos came out! So really, it’s more about the photography here. I wish I knew how I accomplished this, then I could repeat it.In the fall I made four long sleeve button down shirts. I pulled the pattern out and made a short sleeve version.Paired with a skirt I made a few years ago.I deliberately took these pictures by the red roses, they work so well with this shirt.

Leah