Its my Birthday

I will be celebrating on the weekend, yes, another year around the sun.

I already got my gift from Joel, a beautiful pair of earrings. Yes, I chose them myself from a wonderful website, Raintree. They have popped up on my IG. I so prefer to go to a wonderful craft fair, look, try and see. But that is not allowed in CA. So I am thrilled that I was able to support a small business in Vermont.

What a beautiful presentation.

Sapphire in pink gold. Yes, I pulled out my macro lens to capture this.

These kind of details can only seen with this kind of lens. Ah the workmanship!

The facets of the gem, the meticulous work in gold

enough with the pictures. I will love wearing these. It is indeed an exquisite birthday gift.

Now the redesign gets fun

The painters are here, they are amazing, the prep work begins.

Yikes! this wasn’t the color we talked about. Well, George explained to me that an unpainted surface needs a primer, rather than white, he went with a deep blue.

The top has one coat of the final color, I am breathing easier.

Much easier! wow is that gorgeous! it makes the tile around the fireplace pop, it shines! Once the wallpaper is in, it will make the blue of the paper look amazing. The one thing I do have to do is replace those 4 knobs. Will work on that.

Breakfast room painted in the champagne color, it has a lot of pink in it. Yet, it reads as a nice southing neutral to me. Tying the two rooms together, this cabinet was also painted blue. You really can’t see it, I could see when the doors were put up against the blue wall, there is a slight difference. George didn’t do the dark primer on these doors, they are slightly brighter. I have a very sharp eye for color.

This is what you actually see, it really ties it all together and I can’t tell you how much I love this.

This is the before of the breakfast room.

Here is after, yes, I need to rehang pictures, but I’m cogitating on that right now.

Remember the kitchen? I hated this awful dirty yellow. Another friend told me she had done something similar, I bet her didn’t look this dirty. I thought, we have painters here, we’ll just add in the kitchen. Of course this turned out to be the biggest part of the paint job, we had a lot of things to move, it took the whole week to put up a new ‘skin’, sand that skin and then paint.

First of all, this was the texture beforehand, this is inside a cabinet with glass doors. So, I just asked them to paint the new color, not sand, I HATE this kind of wall finish, it is cheap, it is ugly it is awful. Now inside the cabinet, no one will see it, but this was the whole kitchen, and on top of that the awful yellow.

Here is a smooth wall, 1000 times better!

I need to put some of the decorations back, but I do want to wait. I feel like I had too much stuff. Right now I am just enjoying a much nicer, cleaner kitchen.

Working away

I made the mistake of trying brioche lace knit. For me knitting is supposed to be relaxing. This isn’t, but I’m trying to power through.

Initially I was using yarn I had on hand. That didn’t work well, two different types of yarn. So I went back to my LYS and bought the same brand, red yarn. That helps, I’m still waiting for better needles. Hiya Hiya has a very good set of interchangeable. More on them when they finally arrive!

Meanwhile, at the same time I ordered a cord key.

In the past I had a set of Knitpicks interchangeable. Awful, in the middle of a long lace row, the tip would disengage from the cord and I’d be left with a mess. I liked Knitpicks Palatte yarn, but even their yarn isn’t that great.

Anyway, a friend on IG shared this little tool, I bought one for a friend, when I went back to buy one for myself, most were sold out, so I’m really glad I got this, now just waiting for the needles…

It is very slow knitting, at least I’m getting good at fixing mistakes…

I know, looking at images of cross-stitch isn’t that interesting, which is why FlossTube channels tend to be very boring. I have found one or two where they actually share some good information. So if this is boring, stop reading now.

Have I been making mistakes??? Yes a ton of them, a lot of frogging is happening and I can’t always reuse the thread. So hopefully I have enough since this is a kit. Sure I can always buy more DMC, but I don’t want to.

See the two flowers? I had to frog both of them a number of times!!!

I’m really trying to follow the charts more carefully! I promise. Interesting, these two sets of leaves are much easier than those flower. Guess what there are two more sets of flowers to come…. But I am actually really enjoying this. The slow methodic work is wonderful for my soul.

And now I hear of a few young women I know who are pregnant, and that means baby quilts! Which I love.

I love sewing for little girls

The dress was easy enough to make.

But then I moved on to the hat, not hard to make, but…. I’m concerned about the size.

One thing I did was pick up some fake flowers, flowers make everything better.

This was one sprig that I cut up and pulled out the glue gun, that big leaf? Its covering the other stems.

I was concerned that the hat is too small and the dress might be big.

Yup, hat to small, but I think, because of the flowers she loves it. The dress is perfect!!! A tad long, which is good, cuz this little weed keeps growing.

She wanted the hat on!

So happy, yup she came and gave me a huge hug.

Put on her pearls and now she is Maggie!

I will get more fabric and make more dresses, not so sure about the hat, I’d need a better pattern. Nothing wrong with this pattern, just too small.

Treading water

One week melts into the next, not much happening. Oh wait, I met a friend for lunch!!! That was lovely. Otherwise, I miss the days when I could go out and explore. So crafting it is.

I finished the February section. I am loving this soooo much! I am getting better, counting really helps. Yes, there still are some minor mistakes, I am not a robot. No one will see them, and if someone does – good for them. As you see I went beyond the blocks in a few directions. I’m not the only one, others are showing their work on IG and are dong the same. One of the things I love so much about this is the variety of design – rather amazing.

Its back to this project, and even here, I can feel my improvement. Once again, I really need to pay attention.

Yes, this one is simply mirror image. Makes things a little easier when I move from one side to the other, I can look over and see what I have already done.

My local LQS Candy’s Quiltworks is having a sale. I went in and bought some fabric, not for a quilt, I’ll show you soon. Turns out she has quite a selection of Cosmo embroidery thread. This is from Japan and I’m using it on the SAL. Using DMC on the Ephrata project. Are these any different? Is one better than the other? I don’t know, but I bought some for another project I have in mind. Can you tell that I am beginning to accumulate more things for cross-stitch…

I bought fabric, the watermelon is for masks for my grandson. His dad will make them. I hate that kids are forced to wear masks, but he has to in school. he also loves watermelon. When I picked up my middle grandson from his preschool he said he hates being there because of the mask. Breaks my heart. So we went off to a new to us park and I set them free. They immediately found other boys (some wearing masks) and had a blast, running, climbing, chasing. Just being boys.

Oh the second fabric? I will make a dress for may granddaughter. Now that she is walking, wearing dresses makes sense. I have to go buy new patterns, I got rid of all of the ones I used for Shira.

The slow transformation

First of all, my good friend Bruce has resurrected his old blog. Gay Patriot. I owe a lot to this blog, when my son came out as gay, I needed help, because he was somewhat conservative and I knew -the ‘Gay community’ is one of the most cruel out there. So Bruce and Dan, were a great source of knowledge and comfort. Dan, being local, became a very good friend, and yes I have had the pleasure of visiting with Bruce and his husband John. Turns out, that relying on social media to get your opinions out, isn’t a good idea. Bruce has been banned from Twitter more times than I can count. Somehow he manages to crawl back. Old media (funny how we define old) like blogs are a much healthier platform. I’m enjoying mine, even if I only have a handful of people who read it.

The remodel is progressing, slowly. It always is slow, with covid – it’s even slower. The tiles stick out, there was no way to remove the brick, so they were put on top. but what to do with the rough edge? Before there was a narrow strip of rounded wood. But this is much thicker.

Here is the solution and I think it works well, They reinstalled the strip of wood and simply grouted the rough edges. First of all, no one will be staring at this, they will look at the front of the fireplace, and yet, if someone sees it, it is finished and complete.

Next, the electrician came by to put in the boxes for the new sconces. The sconces are very heavy, so reinforcement is necessary. The painter is coming next week, part of his job will be patching up these holes.

Here is the old table in the breakfast room. It is actually too big for this area. I found it in a store that sold unique furniture, I fell in love and wanted it, even if it is a little big. But it is gone, sold to a young man, who hopefully will enjoy it for many years.

I have a dining room table, we can always sit there when there are more than 6 people.

New table arrived. Yes, it is midcentury modern! Me who doesn’t really like mid century modern, and yet, this one is beautiful, and so much smaller! I have to get used to it being smaller.

As you can see, this table seat 4 comfortably, 6, not so much. The chairs haven’t arrived yet, and they are quite big. Too late to only order 4.

I already have the chandelier that will replace this, it is very large, but it is white, so hopefully won’t be too overpowering. Not installing this until the painting is done, and then this too will be sold or given away. It came with the house from the previous owners, nice, but I doubt I ever would have bought this myself.

This is what the living room is looking, I’ve been emptying all the cabinets and shelfs in preparation for the painters. I still have to remove a ton of stuff from the kitchen… I’m not painting the cabinets, just the walls, but a lot of items will need to be moved.

We have the fairy house Eyal painted, trying to hang it on a tree. And guess who is running away with it.

Give it back!!!

Lets hang it here!

And wait for fairies!

A lot of cross-stitch

Have I already shared this? I don’t remember. I finished this piece. I went online to see where Thermes is. So there is a tiny nothing village in Greece by this name. It is also a name given to a number of resorts in France, that makes more sense, seeing that this book is a French book. Either way, I did enjoy this.

Side by side, I’m not sure are staying in this location, but they are on the wall now.

While waiting for the second section of the SAL, Februarys’ chart, I ordered and started another project. This came with some rather cheap looking Aida cloth. No thanks. So I have that linen I bought for the SAL. I have an idea for most of it, so I took the remains of the fabric, made thread tags and got to work.

I will have less than an inch on either side. So, no framing, I will probably make this into a bell pull, which means that I will sew on a backing, which I can do, even with less than an inch on either side. Oh, and using my magnifying glass, this is not a problem to embroider.

This craft is new to me, one of the things I learned is when sewing over two, always started next to a leg. What this means is that in the lower left hand corner of the square, you want the warp thread to be on top of the weft thread. Sorry that is all I’ll say, I don’t have a picture, but boy it makes a difference. some people say the stitches lie smoother. What I also find, is that counting the empty spaces, it helps me to know I’m in the correct position when I look for that leg. Often I have made the mistake of starting a new area and then finding, I’m off the grid, this really helps me stay on grid.

Its’ February! The second chart is here!

I am so happy to be back to this project. LOVING it!

I can feel that I am getting much better. Practice does make better, nothing btw, makes anything perfect.

This is a 2021 Sew Along, and I have finished the 20. I’m following the hashtag #MFESAL2021 on IG, it is a lot of fun to see how others are doing. There is someone who is using colors very similar to mine. She is way ahead of me, at least halfway done with this section. And I thought I spend a lot of time on this. I should be grateful that I am doing other things as well, like spending time with grandkids.

We can eat outside again!

Yeah, Governor Grusom is getting scarred, the recall efforts are mounting. Or maybe it’s because there is a new president in the White House, either way, politicians suck.

But at least a few more people in CA can win an honest wage. So after being cooped up in this city for too long, it was time to take a drive. The destination? Try and find the remains of the San Francisquito Dam.

We took the long way, because why not go for a drive. I’m sorry I didn’t get pictures of the snow, on the low mountains. It was there.

We ended up in Lake Huges. There is no more lake here, even Elizabeth lake is shrinking to nothing. But here we were in a small western town, a little over an hour away from our home in the big busy city. If the bikers like the Rock Inn, then it can’t be all bad, so in we went for lunch.

No seating inside, but there is a large patio and second story balcony. Did I mention a western town, well hamlet. Full of the western feel here.

The Hurd family moved here in the 20s. 1920s’ a hundred years ago. The location was postoffice, general store and gas station. Even an hotel. It burnt down, so in 1929 it was rebuilt with local rock. By the mid 70s ownership changed, and today, it is the local bar, hangout and a stop for bikers.

I’m not sure if this was part of the hotel, or is just a private home right now.

All over town, as in every town in CA, people are out eating at restaurants, regardless of weather. Lucky for the Inn, people always stopped in for food and were free to sit outside and eat. Yeah, one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while, because I simply haven’t bought food from anywhere but the supermarket in a while.

I was dressed appropriately in winter gear, Joel had to pull out his emergency sweatshirt. The good old University of Bologna we bought when visiting Erez there 19 years ago…

Across the street, a memorial post, I didn’t go to check what it was.

Along with the bikers, looks like a local antique car club stopped here for lunch. Btw, there were also couples and families out enjoying good food and good company.

We drove the length of San Francisiqito Rd, and couldn’t find the remains of the dam. We did find this lone Ostrich, must be left over from the days when Ostrich farms were a thing. We did see an alpaca farm, I’m hoping they at least turn their fleece into yarn.

As for the remains of the dam, never found them. there is a power plant, water coming in big pipes from the CA aqueduct. Maybe that is the location of the old dam, but we couldn’t enter there. And clearly, although everyone is happy to blame Mulholland for the failure of the dam, no one in the government of CA will take responsibility or even leave a marker for this sad piece of history.

Rather amazing, not far from suburbia and modern towns, there are these wonderful little western hamlets.

The Work begins!

Here is the fireplace before the renovation. I’ve always hated it.

Cleared everything out, and threw a lot of stuff away.

Here are the tiles! Handmade, irregular, and greener than they look in this photo.

Julio prepped over the brick and has started laying down the tile!

A mockup of the arch. I got very concerned at this point because this isn’t the image that Samantha shared with me. Well, there is a reason why we pay big bucks for a designer. She came over and cleared everything up. Yes, this is part of the design, but it is more than this.

End of day one. Btw, that tool in the lower right corner is a laser level, kept everything on the straight and narrow.

One of the elements is that the arch comes directly from the tiles on the side, that is very important.

Here you really begin to see that flow.

Almost done! Just a few holes to fill. Btw, the blue of the painters tape is the color the wood will be painted. Yup, it will be that bright. I’m working with Samantha the designer – we are going bold!

I LOVE the irregularities in the tiles, both in color and shape. Here we are before the grout. You may notice, there was a slight arch on the fireplace opening – Julio maintained that arch.

Look at this! Spectacular!! It came together beautifully. Onward to the paint and wallpaper.

The fruits of Plenty, January done

I am finding Cross-stitching so relaxing. I have been working for hours a day on this.

Making a lot of progress. I admit, I have been making mistakes. Some of them are frogged and replaced. Others I have left in place. No one will see them.

I have been watching Floss-tube. Cross-stitchers who have a channel on You Tube. I have to admit, most of them are quite boring. Boring is what makes cross-stitch so relaxing. But every now and then I will get some wonderful information. So these floss tags are a useful thing. I tried watching someone talk about them. 30 minutes of nothing, which is the problem with most You Tube videos. There is a hook that makes you watch. A hook that could be shared in a minute and the YouTuber drones on and on…

So watching Shiloh, she talked about how to make these as well as how to cut and use the thread – in less than three minutes.

I was even able to go and work outside! Ah, January in Los Angeles.

Yes, I am enjoying my QSnaps. But my larger one is on my other project and I was using my 6″x 6″. Which means I would have to move the frame. So another thing that Shiloh mentioned was this flexible frame. Yup, I ordered the frame and am enjoying it just as much as the QSnap.

I have finished January!! As you can see, I went a little further. February is only two weeks away, before long I will back at this project. Meanwhile, since this will take a whole year to finish, what I need a project back. So to the sewing machine and my fabric stash I went.

And here it is! Quite large enough to hold the pages without them being folded or wrinkled.

Yes, I dipped into my bead collection to make a zipper pull. This is a pomegranate bead I’ve had from Israel for years.

And now, back to my previous project. I know many Cross-stitchers have 40 or 50 projects going. I can see having two or three, but I won’t become a mag-pie.