Palm Desert

I went to visit a friend in the desert. Had a lovely lovely time.

She lives in Sun City, we went out early enough in the morning to walk by the golf course. We saw golfers in the distance, somehow a ball managed to land right near us…..

Somehow This area manages to recycle and use water for all this grass. I’m not a desert lover, I’m ok with the desert plants but I do love the green.

Last time I was here, Sunnylands was closed. I’m happy to say that this time we were able to visit. Sunny lands . Only the public gardens, for the house tour one needs to order tickets far in Advance. This was the CA home of the Annenbergs, in keeping with the midcentury modern home – the visitor center at the gardens is in a similar style.

Here is the view from the back. Most of the gardens are desert and native plants. Once again, I do love this large expanse of grass. I did see families enjoying the grass with their kids. Green is so soothing.

This is more like it, barrel cacti and Palo Verde trees. As well as a few reflecting pools. It didn’t take long for me to take off my jacket, although in the desert, nights and mornings can get cold.

We walked through the maze, no they will not have large hedges growing here. This is for meditative purposes, to be honest, we walked through to the center, then stepped over the greenery to get out.

A lot of the garden looks like this. Cacti and succulents come in many sizes shape and colors. Standing back brings forth a very pleasing image. Beyond the fence and the trees is the largest portion of the estate. That is where conferences happen. One of these days, I’ll arrange to take a tour.

Now you see it, the monarch butterfly, not the tree stump.

Now you don’t. Nature is amazing at both disguise as well as bright scary warnings.

A fan palm.

A giant asparagus stalk reaching to the sky! Well really the flower stalk of an agave.

A river bed, created out of plants. Kudos to the designer of this garden, so much to see, so many different types of settings. What a gift, the garden is free to the public. You know that maintaining this takes a lot of time, work and effort. Kudos!

Hearts and Love!!!

Two quilts at the same time

You know I’m working on my red and white quilt.

I’m pleased with this as a frame for the compass.

I started building the white background. Once again, using Deb Tuckers’ rulers as a guide to get those angles right.

I think this will work!!

So far so good with the hand appliqué, sure if you look closely there are some wrinkles. This is where the quilting will come in and smooth everything out.

Meanwhile, I needed a simpler project for my Tuesday sew day at Quilts n Things.  

Something simple, like a Lone star made from a jelly roll.

Jordan Fabrics  has wonderful tutorials on YouTube as well as a print out. I recently bought the 2.5″ strip cutter for the accuquilt, so I got busy diminishing my stash – just a little.

Strips cut and put into bundles.  Next at the shop I sewed groups of three together and cut diamonds.

I started sewing them together.

I’m noticing that my diamonds aren’t as random. At some point I re-watch the video. For now, I’m very happy with this result. Oh, and the seam ripper got a real work out. Of course it did, most used tool in my sewing room.

Since it is such a scrappy star, I actually like that the colors aren’t that random.

Very nice looking and now for background.

I chose this purple grunge. Lana immediately said it looks very Indian to her. She is so right, I am getting a very Indian vibe not only from the purple but from the other colors. 

It will be three weeks before I get back to the store, so I am going to concentrate on this and finish at home. The Red and white will just have to wait. I have a recipient in mind and I want this done sooner rather than latter.

Hanukkah oh Hanukkah!

We got Hanukkah out of the way early this year, now I can enjoy other people getting ready for Christmas while my shopping and decorating are all done.

We got together on the last night with the whole family. This is before the mayhem. Gifts all in order and wrapped. Grandkids having fun with markers and sticker. Boy do I love Dollar tree!

Just look how busy they all are. I understand that some of those markers got on the table instead of the paper. Which is why I am very careful to only buy the washable kind.

We enjoyed a great meal, Yishai actually made a massive amount of potato latkes. Of course we didn’t finish them all, he had plenty to take to work.

Eyal got a little squirmy, he just wanted to get to the gifts.

Gathering together to light the candles.

Lighting the candles. Yishai found the perfect ugly Hanukkah sweater, it’s got those two sided sequins, so the lights can light up.

The fun begins, opening the gifts.

Everyone was very excited.

Aytan and Shira got some great toys.

This was the year that Eyal really enjoyed opening the gifts. I’m sure he’ll enjoy the toys, but this year, it’s all about tearing off that paper.

These two love lego. It was fun finding a basic lego kit, nowadays everything is geared to build a specific item, rather than just handing them blocks and just letting them be creative.

Our adult gift exchange included a lot of games, something the older kids really enjoy. They need to get together to play all these games. Joel got a lava lamp!

Janet told us that a relative of ours had the original distribution rights. Which explains why I never heard of him. He must have made a fortune and didn’t want relatives coming out of the woodwork after his money.

This is what I got, a hybrid of coloring books and diamond painting. I’ve already started, relaxing and fun.

I wish I could say that I’m over all those holiday carbs, but I’m not. I guess I’ll have to wait until after the new year for that to happen.

Creativity in process

So here is a peak into how I design a quilt. I showed you the inspiration, I created the center, this will be a medallion style quilt.

Next up, based on the Alaska blocks I started recreating blocks in different sizes.

I understand why people like buying patterns, I feel that way about sweater patterns. Let someone else do all the hard work. But with quilting, I love the ‘reverse engineering’. Figuring out on my own how to design blocks. Btw, don’t Google (or in my case use Duck Duck Go) to figure out how to make an octagon.  I’m sure I can do it with my compass. The first post I saw said divide the square in 3 and connect all dots. Wrong!  That isn’t what I did here, but whatever I did, didn’t work out.

I’m sure there is an easier way, but I pulled out Deb Tuckers rulers and arrived here. So It’s all good. This is a 12″ block, which I think might be too big. Back to the cutting board.

I decided to use colors close to my final red and white, just so it would look better next to the center compass.  10″ isn’t a standard size, once again, fiddling with Deb Tuckers rulers, I think I have it down.

Why I love the design wall, it makes a difference.

I like the size of the 10″ block, I feel it works well, not too small, not over powering.

This is called designing on the fly. I like what I have here, I have no idea how I will fill in the sides. I haven’t even measured that open space. I’ll figure something out, that is part of the fun. Putting a puzzle together, one that provides warmth and comfort.


Honey bear was gifted to mom to be Masha. Along with some adorable dresses. Yup, the bear was a hit.

Look what Maria made, that is all cross stitch. I love having talented friends!

I love Christmas

Last week someone pooh-poohed people saying Merry Christmas to one another, rather than simply saying Happy Holidays. I informed her that as a Jew in America, I love having people wish me Merry Christmas. Unlike Europe, where Jews really had to hide during the Christmas season. Unfortunately – Christmas season in Europe isn’t the problem for Jews anymore, it’s all year round.

So in my love of Christmas I am sharing the many Christmas Trees and decorations I’m seeing. I do have to say, that most of the muzak Christmas music gets old within a day, but some stores are sharing lovely versions – which I also enjoy.Pershing Square has put up both a tree and a very large ornament.Central Library not only has a tree, that had an event full of robots! I was giving my tour, so couldn’t just stop and admire all of them. Plenty of kids and families were! I had to hide off in a corner to give my schpiel it was so crowded.A Christmas tree at the top of Bunker Hill Steps.And of course, the Bradbury building has many lovely decorations, this is just one of them, on the elevator cage.

I spend Tuesdays at sew days at Quilt n Things in Alta Dena. I got there a little early so I could walk around through the neighborhood.I love old fashioned peanuts decorations. Notice the bunny hiding among the lavender. I think he is permanent. Christmas in So Cal! Bright and sunny. A fabric bow on the fence, instead of an inflatable snowman, we have these metal ones that light up. Notice, the red geranium is blooming away, adding to the colors of the season.This would be so much better viewed at night!Simple decorations, I need to walk around and just take pictures of the homes. So many styles.Like this Victorian that hasn’t gotten around to decorating for Christmas, but still has a skeleton leftover from Halloween. Or maybe he just sits there year round?

I always have to start a new quilt

I seem to be on a mission to make classic quilts. Well, the colors are classic, I put my own twist on the patterns.  Last year I made a red and white quilt, except it also had black. At one of the quilt meetings, Arlene Arnold informed us that black was a very hard fabric to dye. So until Aniline dyes in the late 19th century, they didn’t have a lot of black fabric. So what about all those widows in black you ask? They would take old dresses and over-dye them. They were probably more muddy brown than black. But what do we know about what people wore 150 years ago? We know what we see in the movies. Which is all well and good, but they aren’t wearing authentic clothes from that period.  Recently I heard someone say she wishes she lived back 80-100 years ago – cuz judging by the movies their clothes were amazing….  I’ll just say here, she is young.

So this whole preamble is simply to say, I want a red and white quilt. I am happy to use all shade of red and if it’s a print, it’s fine if there is white in the red prints. The background will be solid white, no white on white prints.

I was immediately attracted  to this quilt made by Laundry Basket Quilts, it is called Alaska. I really like it, but I want this as my jumping off design inspiration, not to make this quilt,

So for the center, I’m going with an oval Mariners compass. Luckily I have a template in Judy Mathesons’ book.

Paper piecing for the win. It is beginning to take shape.Yes, I am more than happy to use different shade of red. My background is a solid white, I will be playing with a lot of prints in red.Almost done, need to piece the center.

I love the curved look one gets without using curves, storm at sea, or the corner blocks in ‘Alaska’ do this, something I will try and replicate.

I enjoy having a basic idea, rather than recreating and exact quilt.

Busy, busy, busy

I shared the quilt with the Valley MQG. It’s getting a lot of admiration. Soon it will go to it’s rightful owner. I know she really isn’t expecting something like this.

A knitting friend is expecting a baby girl soon. Shower is next weekend, I had to get busy quickly.This is Honey bear from Funky Friends. A free pattern. I made it once before as a gift for someones first grandchild. I think it got lost en-route, because I never heard a word about it. This one I’m personally handing to the mom.Funky  Friends Factory designs the best toys!! I have bought many of her patterns, the fox, the cat and even an elephant I’ve yet to make. Since this is going to a baby, I not only embroidered the nose, but the eyes as well. There is no such thing as security eyes that a baby can’t remove. The ribbon can be removed, it’s just an extra touch. View from the top.and from the bottom. If the label falls off, oh well, that is fine.

I had a big holiday party this weekend.  I’ve been having it for ten years now, some people have been coming that long, some were new faces. It was about 25 people, my strategy is, I make a big pot of chili, some meat and potatoes, green bean casserole, because I don’t make that for Thanksgiving and a large store bought Lasagna. I ask the guests to bring appetizers and desserts – it works out really well.

No pictures. These days the only reason I’m on FB is because of some groups I follow, I haven’t posted in months and won’t post anymore. I’m on Instagram and I do share some of the same things I share here.  For me Instagram is about creativity, the moment someone goes political – they are gone.  Twitter for the breaking news – that platform is a cess-pool of ugliness, I put up with politics there, I’m also very selective about who I follow.   The people I  follow some very honorable people who share very good information. Everything is a compromise.

We had a discussion last night about how bad social media is. A college professor had some horror stories about how things have changed in the 15 years she’s been teaching. I met many of these people through blogs – but that is very different than social media.  We certainly live in interesting time.

For me this party is about being present in the moment with friends, no need to document it expect this one thing:

I love the friends who brings me Single malt, and not just any single malt, a really good one! He doesn’t even drink the stuff! I like how my window decals have cast this shadow on the wall.  Btw, I have hardly made a dent in last years Glenfiddich. I’m not a big drinker, Joel doesn’t like Scotch at all. Luckily my oldest son does, so next weekend, at the family Chanukah party I know what I’ll be serving.


I love Thanksgiving, not sure if it’s my favorite holiday, because to be honest, all holidays should be special. But I really love it. All Jewish holidays center around food and a lot of other stuff. So it’s nice to just have the food and guests of course. This year it was just the family – since we are growing (13 of us) I’m fine with that.No pictures of food this year, let’s just say we gobbled like turkeys. So after the meal, it was time to get pictures. Here I am with two sons, one son in law and oldest and youngest grandchildren.Shira, as the only granddaughter ruled the roost. Here she is reading to her cousins, then she declared it was cousins day and all adults were kicked out of the living room.You can clearly see the genetics here! Some of the adults complied, they were happy not to be surrounded by their kids.Mickey is always a winner in this house.

By 7:30 everyone had left, some for home some for shopping. They left behind their kids – it’s part of the tradition, parents go shopping and have a chance to wake up late. Grandsons stay here and have a blast.Another tradition on Friday, walking to the fire station. Why do the grandparents look so happy while the boys don’t?If Cam looks a little uncomfortable it’s cuz he is, he wasn’t so sure about being way up there, all alone, sure his brother was on the other side, but with all that equipment he couldn’t see him.West was much happier, look he even wore the right shirt for the occasion. I love our Fire Station, no. 78, whenever possible they love welcoming the neighbors in.The gorgeous weather in the mid 70s meant we took a hike. This time up in the Verdugo Mountains just off La Tuna Canyon. See, even in So Cal we get some fall colors.Along the path there were areas with large oak trees and shade.Someone is making honey. We had already started out climb at this point.Looking down on all those boxes. This wasn’t even the high point.This is as high as we got. That is the 210 freeway, with La Cresenta in the foreground and La Canada off in the distance.Something has to be done about fire abatement in this state. Fire is natural, but seeing the devastation up north in Paradise, it’s not natural. We as humans are stewards of the earth, and that means clearing brush, thinning forests and controlled burns. Don’t tell me that people should live in those areas – where should we live? On Mars?

Last year there was the Creek Fire, it started near Sylmar and burned through Tujunga and La Tuna Canyon. 30 homes were lost, horses were killed but no people were killed. A year later and we see the results of that fire. Nature is resilient, this tree was burnt, but the core wasn’t destroyed and after some rain in the winter, which ever trees can, are coming back to life.Not all can, many of the hills are bare, and there are areas like this that are just dead. But literally a few feet away, and the chaparral is growing just fine. Fire follows it’s own rules, it can cut quite a path of destruction, and on either side of the fire path – it looks like nothing happened. What I can’t show in pictures is the smell, not as bad as a new fire. But there was a real smell of burnt wood as we walked through these areas.

I’m happy to say that many people were out hiking, or biking. Southern CA has a real outdoor active vibe to it and I’m thrilled we had plenty of company.

Grillwork at Greystone mansion

I was taking pictures of the details. I missed taking a picture of the floor, which is very distinctive. I was concentration on metal grills and tile.This one really caught my attention, I have no idea who made these cast iron grill covers. But this one, with what looks like ears of corn, reminds me of the cast iron fences at the Banning House in Wilmington CA, as well as the Cornstalk hotel in New Orleans. A closer look shows that it probably isn’t corn, but that’s what I see.No two grills were alike, this is a much more stylized version- more Art Deco?Another one with that bold graphic feel.
Very ornate. Much more in the Beaux Art or Art Nouveau feel. Yes, I was getting down on my knees as the crowd milled around, taking these pictures. I told you, I really like the details.The bathrooms are where the tile is. Back in those days, the shower stall was it’s own little room. In order to ventilate, there was a lovely metal grill over the glass door. Here is an example. Once again, they were different in each bathroom. All of these are above the bathtubs. Plenty of space to create these panels. You can tell that the green and red shower and bath are in the same room.The grey Greek themed bathroom. At this point I don’t remember who’s it was. Boy? Girl? Who knows, but the tile artists sure had a lot of fun in this house.This was from one of the boys bathrooms. Sea theme. I guess I should have gotten a better image of the mural. But I didn’t, I went for the tile. I also have no idea how old the mural is. All the tiles look original – that was how bathrooms were tiled in the 20s and 30s. Even more modest homes had lovely tile. The mural looks much more modern.OK, this isn’t from Greystone, it isn’t tile. But I had to include it somewhere. This is a painted plaster foyer in a building downtown. I love when the old buildings maintain their public artwork.Here is the exterior of the building.  Most of the building is rather plain, and yet, they did decorate the entry way.


The lure of fabric

I don’t like polyester, but when it looks like this, crepe, knit, gorgeous print and with a lot of body, I can’t say no.This is the same pattern I used for my previous knit dress, with one change, a shorter sleeve with a bell cuff.

I was hoping to make a different pattern, but I hadn’t bought enough fabric. So here we are. I think I need to shorten this dress. Clearly these black tights are a no go. I was being lazy, I had on a different dress and just didn’t feel like changing the tights.The shoes would be cuter without the black tights, but sometimes it is what it is.This is one of the few good side views that I have gotten!Good back view.Oh, and the lemon tree is full of lemons!Ok, I’ll shorten the dress!enough of the dress! This is what is really important.