A walk in the neighborhood

Sometimes I can have wonderful experiences without photo documentation.   I decided to walk in the hills, but in an area I hadn’t walked before. I parked near the hills and headed up. It’s the old part of Studio City, the hills with interesting old homes.I did a double take, a barn quilt up on the garage. Not something I see often. Right after I took this picture, I saw a woman picking her roses in the front yard. I went over and asked her about the barn quilt block. We spent a good half hour talking. She was so thrilled that I recognized it for what it is. Her name is Denise, she is originally from North Carolina, where she saw these barn quilts. She now owns her grandmother’s house up in the Blue Ridge Mountains where a larger version hangs on a barn.

We talked quilts, she showed me some that she had made. She showed me how she is raising monarch butterflies. She is growing milkweed all over her back yard to attract the butterflies. She took  a large netted cube, put in a lot of milkweed leaves and a few eggs and already has 3 chrysalis. When they emerge, she gives them a few hours to dry off and lets them leave, they usually stay with her for about an hour.

Then she showed me the baby squirrel that is enjoying all the droppings from the many bird feeders.  We went a few doors down to her neighbor, who wasn’t home, but who is quite a quilter. We probably belong to the same guild, I’m going to look for her at the meeting.

I didn’t take any pictures, we just chatted. It was so nice! I find, that give someone the chance and they will be very open and friendly. No, there was no request to stay in touch, it was just a nice exchange between two people.I went on my way, looking and admiring the old houses. I love this iron partition. It’s an old house, the details in the woodwork are things that haven’t been put on houses since the 1950s. I wonder if the TV antennae still works. With so many people cutting the cable cord, an antennae is a useful thing to have.No more barn quilts. Denise said she was hoping neighbors would follow her example, but no one has. People find other ways to decorate, Stained glass is big.This is a beautiful example, peacock and roses.A little English cottage!I couldn’t find a trashcan anywhere to disposes of this litter. I agree, Philippe’s French Dip sandwich is amazing. Worth the trip downtown, but why throw the box on the ground???

A nice walk on a hot Saturday morning, I need to explore these hills a little more.




Last week was frustrating. I’d wake up every morning to my blog being hacked. Then there were emails back and forth with my hosting company. New passwords, new settings, all would be well until the next morning…  Wash and repeat.

So some of you saw some posts that are gone, others noticed the silence. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this time it works. I lost all of last weeks posts and rather than repost, here is a recap. I made a jeans skirt. Maybe because I grew up Orthodox in Jerusalem, owning a jeans skirt is a must-have in a wardrobe. I hacked a shorts pattern I had, because I liked the pockets and the front placket. I guess that means I really know what I’m doing after all these years. On t the next skirt, made from Kaffe Fassett solid, or yarn dye cotton. Very lightweight, perfect for a gathered skirt. I need more of these two colors, sure blue-greens look great on me, but so does this.

Another hack, no pattern here, just gather at the waistline and put in a zipper and a waistband. Maybe because the fabric is so flimsy, it felt like the waist grew. So another hack. I simply sewed and serged the side seam all the way up into the waistband. Is it elegant? No, will anyone ever see it? No.Here I am in my me-made wardrobe with the best  accessory of all, an adorable grandson!!!  His first ride on the train at Travel Town. Btw, he actually does smile, just not so much for the camera. These days he always smiles when he sees me- what more can a grandma ask for!

I wore this outfit all day, I was downtown in the evening and stopped into a little local coffee shop. The very hipster barista admired this outfit (without the grandson). She was even more impressed when I told her I made it. I heard a podcast discussion recently about do women put on makeup for men or other women. As a woman approaching 60 I can say, I dress nicely and put on makeup to look good! I love it when someone compliments me. To me outer beauty is important – I’m not hiding my age, but I’m trying to look my best for my age.I started a hand applique project. I am in love with the Appliquick method. So when I saw an image of this owl, I rushed out and bought the book. It is an embroidery book, something else I enjoy doing, but my plan is to applique this owl.I went to Kinkos and had the image enlarged on the blueprint printer. No taping paper together. Well worth the $8 a sheet.The green background has more green than khaki in it, oh well, cameras.A lot of progress has been made. There is repetition in fabrics, it unifies the image.

Hopefully, all is well now and I will be posting regularly, rather than dealing with hackers. I love sharing with you and hate the idea that someone is stealing my little online journal.


Another finished quilt, well, it still needs a label.

You may remember those scrappy blocks I was making a few months ago, well, I kept plugging away at that project.I did my usual spray basting as well as using mono-filament to anchor down the blocks. This gives me the freedom to jump around and quilt at will.Working on my trusted Juki, I wanted a unified background. So I quilted these round shapes. They cross the lines I had quilted before, making that completely disappear. The blocks are very hard edge, so a soft background is very complimentary. I did some ruler work on the grey blades, that was it for the ruler. I simply outlined all the chains of blocks and left them unquilted, in order to give some dimension.

I completely understand people who send their quilts to the longarmer and ask for an all over design.  A finished quilt is always better than just a top. Since I do my own quilting, I really want the quilting to work solely with my piecing and to highlight things that all over quilting can’t.A basic theme in design is repetition. Most of these squares are pretty much the same pattern, simply changing the placement of the colors.  Once again, I left many triangles unquilted. In this case I mirrored the red shape. This is the only block where I did this, I came up with a different quilting pattern, but do not feel the need to take out this quilting, simply because it is different from the rest.Another thing, every scrappy block has a solid fabric somewhere. So here the border isn’t solid, so it may be a little harder to see the quilting. I did dot-to-dot. this became the theme. The center block is always different.But, the 1.5″ squares are often filled with the same pattern, so that one repeats all over.So dot-to-dot was used often. Btw, I understand that Angela Walters is selling rulers, I bought a few and really like them. But two years ago when I took her Craftsy class on dot-to-dot, it was all about free-hand quilting. Now she is teaching it with the rulers. I totally respect her need to sell rulers, I feel that some ruler work is nice, but not everything. The old free-hand works just fine for me.I am very very happy with this whole quilt.One design element from modern quilting that I love, is  lack of borders, it really speaks to me. So in order to achieve that I faced the quilt instead of putting on binding. Here I’m hand sewing the back side. How cute is my needle holder? Yup, from Etsy.  There are many tutorials on You Tube about how to achieve this easy binding. I did use the background fabric.Because, it has a way of peaking over the edge, by using the same fabric, it’s invisible.OK, here we go! The finished quilt! I’m very pleased with this, although I won’t be keeping it. I hope to put it in a quilt auction my guild is having and if it doesn’t sell than a lucky friend will get a gift.The backing is a fabric that a friend gave me, I didn’t have to buy any fabric. Actually, the only fabric I bought for this quilt is the yellow background.And now to finish off with an artistic shot. I love the way this quilt came out.


Rayon, Rayon, Rayon!

International Silk and Woolens has some really lovely rayon. I couldn’t resist this one, the plans are another Libby shirt.Side by side, the rayon on the left is heavier weight, which makes sewing it a little easier.I guess I found another pattern I’m happy to make more than once. I’m finding that is what happens with shirt patterns, dresses, not so much.Look at those buttons! Little jewels on the shirt. Yup, this pattern in rayon is a winner.

Meanwhile, I wasn’t happy with the neckline on the flowly rayon dress. That fabric is so light and airy – like a voile, which is why the neckline simply wouldn’t hold it’s shape.

I know, people will say I should have made a muslin. Had I used actual muslin, the neckline would have been fine, but all the little gathering would have been too boxy. I don’t happen to have the exact weight of this rayon in a throwaway fabric. So I winged it, and came up with something of a solution.Not great, but it works and I’m more comfortable wearing this without it dropping off my shoulders. I simply removed the bias band, and put in some  gathers. I probably could have only ‘eased it’, like one does with a sleeve cap, but I just wanted it done.Being a little higher up on my back works better as well.

There is no science in this kind of sewing, it’s trial and error, as long as I make it work, it’s all good.


Summer sewing

Our summer really starts in July and goes through October, so sewing summer clothes now means I’ll still have plenty of time to wear them.This time I went to International Silk and Woolens, look at the incredible rayon I found!  I love the feel of rayon, sewing with it is a challenge, worth it for the end result.I bought another pattern from Sew Over it, the Marguaritte dress. This time I downloaded the ‘take to printer’ option and headed over to Staples. The whole pattern cost me $25, which isn’t cheap. But then I don’t know how much it costs when I print and paste at home.  This is a very lightweight rayon, which added to the issues.Cute, with my new crocs, yes crocs. Guess what, these darn things are comfortable, and look, even cute!My big issue is the neckline, sure I’m supposed to make a muslin, but I don’t. Had I actually made it out of muslin, the neckline would probably lie flatter anyway. So it’s a little too wide.The keyhole in the back looks ok on the models, but not great on me. Maybe because the fabric is so light, it usually just droops. Originally I used facing on the neckline. The pattern called for it to be interfaced, which I did with very light interfacing. It was all wrong, and no I didn’t take a picture. I put the project down and came back a few hours later, removed the facing and used bias binding instead.If I ever make this again, I will make the neckline smaller but will probably keep the bias binding. Btw, how do you like how perfect my nail color is with this dress!The sleeve caps are fun, honestly, I’m wondering if I should have avoided the interfacing altogether. Yes, I used very light interfacing, but because this fabric is so light, it probably would have been better without.A fun, cool, summer dress, one I could never find in any store.My dress is new, Joel’s shirt is about 5 years old.  We do make a cute couple!


A shirt for Joel and pillowcases

Every summer I try to make Joel a Hawaiian style shirt. Since I’m getting good at this, I should probably make him some long sleeve shirts in the winter.I’ll admit that I found the fabric on sale at Michael Levine’s, sure it has birds and butterflies, but the colors are muted and I like the spacing on the print. I did some fussy cutting, made sure to get a lone bird on the pocket.Back view.And on the model!  He loves these shirts, I did tell him he can retire some of the shirts from 5-6 years ago…

Every month at the Modern Quilt guild, I pick up a package of pillowcases to be assembled. I really like that they go to Foster Kids. I also like making the boy patterns, because I’m sure there are less of them.This time I wised up. I have a five thread serger, which sews the seam and overlock at the same time. I don’t get a chance to use this much. Last time, I sewed the top band on my regular machine, then did the side seams with the serger. Hmm, why not just serge the whole thing? As you can see, I had some problems with the seam, the thread broke, I had to go back to my regular machine to fix it. Such mishaps occur all the time when sewing.The back side of the seam is a chain stitch, so it is really important to secure the ends, otherwise, that seam can unravel easily.So there is one step that I do with a hand sewing needle, I pull the ends back and then I secure them with Fray-check.  This is the top, I don’t want lose threads. On the bottom seam, which is inside the pillowcase, I just use fray-check.One of them is trying to escape!  So in the package, everything is cut out and ready to assemble. For the pillowcase on the left, it came with a pink strip. There is a tiny pink dot in the stars. I know boys, on pink strip and they won’t take that pillowcase. So I substituted with blue.I went into my stash and made a very girly pillowcase.Six more to donate, I think this year I have made 13 or 14 pillowcases. Each one matters.


Judson studios, the new studio

The new studio is just half a mile away from the old one, like a good Angeleno, I drove.Here is a fascinating project on one of the tables. I just adore these colors.Right now it looks like grapes, but who knows?OK, a bird is taking shape, look at the eye! This looks a combination of fused and traditional painting.There was a fellow, Sean, who was painting the background for these panels, here the face is being painted. This is the Wyoming commission. The old Studio is where the old style painting usually gets done, but these panels are so large, a lot of the work is done is the bigger brighter modern studio.These are the three completed panels, well images of them. Very traditional German style Stained Glass.Getting an explanation about fused glass panels. Behind her are the enormous kilns, they were lowering the cover while we were there. Probably to fuse more of these panels.This was mid-air, once the top covers everything, they turn on the heat and let the fusing begin, once it all melts together, they let it cool for probably 24 hours, to anneal the glass, so it won’t shatter.I should have asked what they do with a panel that didn’t come out right…. Maybe the new panels were in the kiln.I’m wondering how they use these shapes, so many questions!Three images of projects on the wall. On the right is that wonderful Church in Leawood KS, the amazing structure and an image of the glass window.

Right next to it is a project they are working on right now for San Francisco International airport.

The lower project is a private commission.Here is a view of the SF Airport project from the back, from outside.And here it is from Inside. I know that stained Glass started in Europe, but what can I say, the bright intense Southern California light illuminates this like no other. In order to achieve these colors, different metals are infused into the glass, for more info about that, step next door into Bullseye Glass, where they actually manufacture the glass and the frit. Well the manufacturing doesn’t happen next door, but this is a great place for glass and classes.This is what I’m talking about with the light in Los Angeles, how intense the colors reflected on the concrete floor are. It will be interesting to see what this looks like in the more diffused light of San Francisco.

Every second Thursday of the month, Judson Studios offers these tours.  I highly recommend if you are able to go do so! There is nothing like seeing true craftsmen creating beauty in this world.


Back to Judson studios

I haven’t been able to go on the once monthly studio tour this year. My Thursdays were tied up. So now that it’s summer, I went. About 3 years ago I had visited their studios, then just last summer, I had the opportunity to visit the new location in South Pasadena. Honestly, I could probably take their tour every few years, since they are always working on something new. Over the entrence to the original building is this terra cotta tile, We Can. This was the motto of the USC art school when it inhabited this building.  It is a great motto for the family owned company. They take all kinds of jobs, from very small to very very large. They do traditional stained glass as well as a newer method of fused glass. These glass chips have been in the windows for close to 100 years.  You can see the effect of gravity on lead, the formation is bowing out. That is what happens, which is why a lot of the work is restoration. The glass is fine, it’s the supporting lead that desintigrates. Very traditional stained glass. start with a design, today this is done on a computer. Then map out how it will be constructed and cut out the glass.The paper has been cut, and traced onto the glass. It takes a lot of patience and experience to acurately cut the glass to match the paper templates.

This will be a large installation in a private home. Since in this case it’s all straight lines, they use zinc instead of lead. Here these shapes are being created and soldered.Final product, these chunks of glass will seperate larger octogans of different colors. Just creating those glass chunks took a lot of work. Just like at the glass workshop at Forest Lawn, Horse nails are used to hold the glass in place. Here a restoration is taking place, that’s the old glass on a table. He is taking rubbings of the old lead and then removing it. The glass on the table just needs to be cleaned and releaded. I’m thinking OSHA would have a cow,  looks at this room. It’s a half basement, there is no air conditioning, just fans, and very basic tools.  The photo in the background is from a recent job,  The Resurrection Window for a church in Leawood KS. It is because of this project that the new studio was acquired and a whole new world is opening up. This is a commission for a church in Arizona, very traditional work. Another large project has been ongoing for over a year, with more to come. There are monks in Wyoming who are building a monastery, by hand. They have commisioned these panels for themselves. Three are complete, at least 3 more are in process. Once they are installed, the only ones who will see them will be the monks themselves.The Judson trademark is on every piece of work.Many great saying are painted on the walls, next post, the new studio.





Family vacation

In our busy lives it hard to get all the kids and grandkids together. It took a lot of planning to find a date and a location. We ended up going for the weekend to a resort near Legoland. A great time was had by all. The pool and the splash pad were loads of fun.The playgound wasn’t large, but was very different from the ones at home. Westley is becoming quite the climber.This got the biggest workout of all.Some people sat and relaxed.Enjoying time with the Aunt.And others treated it like a roller coaster ride.We did go down to the beach, most of the pictures I took there are on my son’s camera, so I have to wait for him to share.Two gorgeous smiles, with Westley no so sure in the background.Reading books before bed.We made it to Legoland.

Went on a couple of rides and saw the aquarium. The one ride I wouldn’t go on is one I took pictures of.First you go up.Ready for action!Yup, then you get tossed! No thank you!Princess Leah with Princess Leia, I always tell people that my name is like the princess but I had it first. Not only that, I’m still around and she is gone. Oh well, at least the Lego Princess is doing just fine. I like how our hair almost looks the same, just mine isn’t in those silly buns.


The Iliad Bookshop

I remember years ago visiting the Iliad Bookshop when it was on the corner of Vineland and Lankershim blvds in North Hollywood. It always has been a wonderful used bookstore. In looking for the link for their homepage I was reminded why they are named Iliad, not because of the great Greek story, but because they were located next door to Oddessy Video. So the name was a play on words. About 10 or 12 years ago they lost their lease and moved further east to Cahuenga and Chandler Blvds. A much larger space. I have often driven by here, why it took me so long to walk in, I don’t know. Probably because I’ve been seduced by online stores, as well as the Kindle and even the ability to check out ebooks from the library.

I finally rectified that mistake. I went in. First of all, the exterior is beyond wonderful, look at these books. These are just a few of the murals on the outside of the building.The interior is so gorgeous!!!!Do you see the pile of books on the floor? While walking by, I saw a paperback by Josephine Tey, I have read a number of her books and really love them. The Daughter of Time is her most famous, debunking the story that King Richard III was an awful person. Anyway, she died in the early 1950’s, her books are still in print. But how fun to find one of them here, perfect for this weekend when I will be sitting next to a pool and don’t want to read on my Ipad.Like all good bookstores, they have cats, I saw at least two. They do allow small dogs on leash into the store, but do ask that people give them a chance to corral the cats if need be.There is a Disney section and a very large section about every aspect of the film world. From biographies, to manuals on filming or how to get into the business. Of course aside from a very large room dedicated to fiction, they have every other topic you can imagine. All very well laid out, it’s not just a jumble of books.If I were still designing fabrics, I would have grabbed all three of these books. I actually already one book on fabric from the 50s, these are an incredible resource. They don’t have a lot of craft books, but boy did I luck out.Look what I found on the $2 table! Yes, I love an excellent book on quilt history, this is one of them. What a great example of early 20th century Crazy quilt. My mother had plenty of art books, really good ones, to ship them back here from Israel would have been quite a chore. And to be honest, as much as I love art, I have more of an affinity to crafts these days.These three will be part of a birthday gift for Eyal, so what if they are gently used, they are gorgeous books. They have quite a collection of beautiful childrens’ books, I will be back.

Outside on the sidewalk they have boxes of books for free.  This book was published in 1978, which means that many of these Painted Ladies in San Francisco may not be standing anymore. Once again, for me, this book is an inspiration, in color and design.

Have I mentioned how much I love Los Angeles?  So many treausres right in my backyard.