I found the old Challah cover

I made this over 40 years ago, and I’ve never washed it. Which is why it is completely stained. Sure I could wash it, but part of me doesn’t want to. This is all handwork – otherwise known as blackwork, but with green.

Each letter was filled with a different pattern. My eyes were young then, this is a simple white fabric, not even weave- and yet, I was able to count the threads to create the perfect patterns. I’m sure I was using my stitch Bible at the time – an old book from Coats and Clark – back when they still existed and their threads were manufactured in America. I also hand sewed the triangle border.

Signed my work, but not the year. That is ok, these days I’m caring less about signatures.

Old and new, side by side.

From another angle. This past week in Synagogue, during the sermon I leaned two very important things.

Bezalel – was tasked by Moses and God to build the tabernacle in the dessert. He oversaw all of the building and the wonderful crafts used to decorate it – from woodwork, metal work and fiber-work.

I should have known this – just from reading his name but I never paid attention. Bezalel means in the shadow of God. When the Jews created and art school in Jerusalem in the early 20th c. it was named Bezalel – unfortunately – it went woke a long time ago. My son has a wonderful metal plaque – from the old Bezalel showing all the crafts they taught there. I’ll have to get a picture.

The other thing was, that many times in describing Bezalel and his workers the word wisdom is used. Unfortunately that was translated to skill. No, those of us who seriously work with our hands are doing so with wisdom from God. There is a holiness in the creation – unlike modern Art today – which is all garbage. Which is why I love the crafts, that is where God given creativity still exists. Of course, the wokeness had permeated the crafts as well, but that won’t survive, unlike my stained challah cover that has and will. Not saying my kids will treasure it – but clearly I have for over 40 years.

A friend gave me a bunch of her old shawls and scarves that she hasn’t used in years. they were quite musty – so out in the ‘sun’ they went. I’m trying to remember what the sun looks like. Anyway, that wasn’t enough, so I washed them with Soak, a wonderful hand soap for crafters that doesn’t need to be fully washed out. I’ve been wearing these ever since. there were double the number of shawls – they are going to Good will.

St. Patricks Day

I’m not Irish, I have plenty of holidays of my own. We have friends who used to have a St. Patricks day dinner every year – Jewish like us – but he loved to smoke meat. So home made corned beef, boiled cabbage and tasteless soda bread it was. Oh and beer or other Irish whiskey. But the lockdown put an end to that, and I’m sorry, simply because getting together with friends was fun.

So this year, on the 16th I’m with my grandsons and I asked them if anything is happening. Westley proudly tells me that he checked on Google and it turns out that leprechauns love to eat wild flowers.

So, we went to the Greenbelt, what was originally meant to be a tramcar railway – but now thankfully is a lovely walking, jogging, dog walkway surrounded by green. Yes, they are plenty of flowers this time of year. Of course one will always find the dandelion, CA poppy, ice plant flower, daisies and other flowers. This was just the beginning, we filled the bag! One reason is that Cameron pulled some plants out by the root – oops

Here is the house they built. Look at that ladder and shoot. I hope the picture of the dinosaur that Cam drew doesn’t scare away the leprechaun. This is what happens when you limit screen time. As in, no TV, tablets are used for reading or for checking things out on google. These boys spend a lot of time being creative – it is wonderful.

Cam loves wearing his soccer uniform, even when there is no soccer. It may be hard to see, he made a little tray with a handle and is filling it with flowers.

Not sure what the water bottle doesn’t, but look at all the decorations. The doorway even has a popsicle stitch frame.

Stuffed to the gills.

An added welcome note.

Written by the first grader – expected spelling mistakes.

I called the next evening, so what happened? Well, the leprechaun had visited their school and made something of a mess – leaving green footprints.

At home Abba had gone off to Costco, so the house was empty, upon his return there was a mess around the house, the number of flowers had decreased.

Also, he wrote on the note that his name is Sparky!!!

On Passover I’m going to explain that when Elijah visits, they have to look very closely and see that some of the wine in his glass disappears!

Completely different holiday, someone finally got around to getting rid of their pumpkin, well not exactly getting rid of, it is outside the trash can.

Making a ‘small’

I work on very large projects, in all of my crafts, from knitting, quilting and now cross-stitch. So every once in a while it is fun to make a project that goes very quickly. In Cross-stitch, they call this a small.

Heart in Hand has a series of Tiny Towns. Apparently they had a new town release at Nashville Needle Market. I was interested in their owl Patriotic Tiny town. I would been happy if this was a PDF download, but no it’s a paper pattern. Turns out it comes with 3 tiny buttons. so that it why.

I had a scrap leftover. So lets’ see if I can make this work. I made a crease for the center (which is marked on the pattern. And I counted out 80 stitches on one side. making a large hole every 10 stitches, just to make the counting easier, it fit. Woo Hoo! I can go ahead and start.

I looked through my cotton threads to find colors, The dark blue and white are actually what the pattern calls for! That means with all my projects I am building up quite a thread collection. This one is going very very quickly.

Yup, there was a mistake or two, but who cares. Its’ lovely, it’s a cute town. After I pulled the threads to cut the top and bottom I worried that I may have cut it too close. I am making the drum, and I remembered most of what I learned from Vonnas’ You Tube. Just be careful with the sewing and it will be all right.

Lets get artistic with the camera angle.

Perfect fabric for the top and bottom. If you look closely you can see the three little buttons in the centers of the whirligigs. Yes, those button do add some pizzazz. I didn’t put this into MarkupRXP, I just worked off the paper pattern. It was small enough and simply enough to do it that way.

The making of the drum. Thankfully I know how to use a compass, it took a few tries to get the bottom and top sizes correct. I attached the bottom by machine and started filling with both fiberfill and walnut shells.

I sewed the top on by hand, you will see in the next picture there is one final row of stitches to finish the top off.

Here we go, I now have to decorations for the 4th of July! I’m open to more. I like the idea of decorating for Independence Day!

Also, I’ll be making more smalls, they go quickly, they are fun!

I’m a lumberjack and I’m Ok…

Among the many blessing this past year is the Minyan, the religious community we now belong to. I have met amazing people. People I can really connect with.

So Sharon, Traci and Ido come to the minyan. Ido has severe autism, he is one of the first to figure out that although he can’t speak – he has acquired language and he can type. As a young adult he does have some minor verbal communication. He wrote two books, with one finger on the computer – because he can’t type with both hands. Ido in autism land which is about his experience in the autistic world, the second is a novel and is an easier read. In Two Worlds. For a while he had a blog, but now, not too much writing there.

So a hobby that Sharon developed a few years ago was Lumbjacking, he started a ‘club’ in his backyard. the lockdown took its’ toll on the that, but when invited to lumberjack, I jumped on the opportunity.

Sharon and Ido sawing. Btw, they supply all the neighbors with firewood. All the neighbors and the local tree trimmers know to call Sharon if there is a felled tree, he has quite a collection by now.

Here is the set up, a log ready for slicing. This is oak, it it was very hard for me to saw, the grain is very dense, so we put a new log in- cedar.

There is a whole pile of these circle, I guess some end up as fire wood, but they do chop wood as well.

Lets take a look at the saw. This is an antique lumberjack saw from Oregon. there are people who go around and find the old equipment and bring it back to life. Sharon explained all the reasons for the different teeth and that the blade gets thinner towards the top. He is an engineer, he explains things very very well.

The handle isn’t antique, but how beautiful. I know there is a reason why this is bowed, it is also quite heavy – which helps saw the wood.

Note the bottle of oil, before every cut, one must oil the blade.

And yes, it is very hard work.

There is the wedge I sliced off, right by my food. When I say I, mean Sharon and I.

Of course I’m smiling, what an experience!

It came home with me, it will probably dry out and crack, otherwise I’d have to soak it in something, but who knows, I might put it in my close anyway – it is cedar – it does repel moths.

Sharon then demonstrated how to use a single user saw. This one is for competitions, and came all the way from New Zealand. The way he got into this is watching Lumberjack competitions and deciding this is something he want to do.

Then on to chopping wood. He did it with an axe. He and Ido go out to a ranch and chop wood. in one year they chopped 4-6 cords of wood, which is a lot! Then the ranch sold the wood to a Pizza restaurant, that wood was oak- which burns very hot and is very good for pizza ovens – in one year they used it all up. I forgot to ask if the family went to eat the pizza.

Sharon went easier on me, I used a wedge and a mallet. and let me tell you, it’s hard work!

I did it, it wasn’t easy, but I spit the wood.

The winner photo! You can see the wedge sunk into the wood and the two pieces came apart very easily. think this might be cedar as well which is very hard to burn.

There it is!

A wonderful afternoon, of course we sat and chatted, along with the wood work. Such a blessing to get to know such wonderful people. The loss of ‘old’ friends due to the lockdowns is fading. Yes, one can make new friends at any age and it is worth it.

I miss having a good LYS -local yarn store

There is a yarn store half a mile from me, I do shop there occasionally, but it is mostly what I call- the Unicorn poop store. 99% of the yarns are very colorful hand dyed yarns. It is nice to have some of those, but some basics are nice as well.

So, often I have to order yarns online which can be a real problem.

I am making a mosaic patterned shawl. And here is the problem, choosing colors online doesn’t allow me to see that the value of these two yarn is exactly the same so it’s not worth the work.

So I went back and ordered a black yarn – just to get major contrast

Here you can see the new project next to the old, you are seeing the contrast!

The pattern pops, which is what is needed.

There was an option to make the whole shawl with just two colors, I opted for the third color. First of all it it really tones down the black, by introducing the green. Second of all, initially I was meant to skip two rows with the green, as you can see from the first section, it is just too tight. So the green is now knit every row, but the increase will only happen every 4th row, we shall see if it is enough. If it isn’t – so be it, not frogging.

Another issue with buying yarn online – this yarn is very crunchy. Which is good for the mosaic patterning, but it is very scratchy, we shall see how it will be to wear this.

I am enjoying the project, so I will knit on.

Then there is the cross-stitch.

Yes, it is a sampler, and guess what – there is an owl! And this is where I start the owl.

I’ve changed colors here, I’m working with silks I have. I think the owl was meant to be darker and grayer, my grey is light purple and I’ve placed it in an area that should be darker – oh well, my owl is different.

Yes, he is a funky looking owl.

also, this past weekend was Needlework expo in Nashville, I’ve been looking at new pattern releases and I’m slightly underwhelmed. Don’t think this means I haven’t been buying patterns, I have, just not the brand new ones.

For Purim, Aytan wore his flying squirrel costume and LOVED the farm animals. Here he is literally using a baby goat as a pillow while other animals congregate around. I guess they like his calm energy rather than wild 3 and four year olds.

At the Beach

I was getting ready to go to Synagogue when the word went out – there is no power in the building. Turns out that local vagrants set a fire that damaged a power pole and line. Remind me again why it is so ‘compassionate’ to have these people just out on the streets, in this case, actually invading a private parking lot. For all the money spent on repairs and cleanup – they could have built tent cities long ago. I don’t want to hear about their rights – mine have been so curtailed over the years – but that is ok – because I”m the Tax-payer.

So instead, I joined the boys and the grandkids and off to the beach we went. Yup, I’m dressed for the North Pole.

At first there was sun, sunshine is always lovely.

Poor Yish, despite having a booster, I wish he hadn’t – it didn’t help in any way. He got covid and he wasn’t feeling great – this is 6 days in, I’m not worried about him being infectious. Turns out that natural immunity is the best, something we’ve known for 4 thousand years. And the infectious state is only at the beginning. But our overlords had so much fun locking us down like communists – they will never give up the power or the lies.

Making sand castles is always great.

Look, he built a tower with his candles.

Look, Abba and Einav have the same color!

Yoch found two large, as in very large turban shells. One of them has the door closed.

The other had its’ creature half way out – ugh – so ugly and so understandable where sci-fi images come from.

Another angle. it’s a little hard to see, but his door is attached to him as well, when he goes back inside, the door will close. both were thrown back into the ocean.

The innards of a conch like shell.

Two small turbans, empty of course that came home with me.

Atop a wonderful smooth round rock that got this way because of the sea and the sand. We also saw a lot of beach bricks – sort of like beach glass, but large pieces of brick that get polished smooth. I think Eyal took some home.

Two cuties on the beach. As cold as I was, it is nothing compared to what is going on in the San Bernardino mountains. the snow level is unbelievable., towns are buried, no gas, no groceries, very few ways to get down the mountain, if at all. And our dictator Grusom is off on some private vacation. The Assembly is no better, this is what happens with dictators – they don’t care in any way shape or form. And no, I don’t believe they were legally elected, they have controlled CA for so long now, it’s all a show to have elections. And of course, let people die in the snow – they don’t care. and they will simply deny that maybe all of this has halted the drought – they will never give up on that power grab.

Knitting another hat

What happens when the dog eats your new hat??? Yes that happened to the hat I shared just a few months ago. No, not my dog, someone else’s puppy. Oh well, knit another hat.

I ordered some yarn from webs for a different project and I don’t like it at all. My local LYS (local yarn store) is the unicorn poop capital of the world – it is very hard to find basic yarn there.

My friend Diane dyes yarn! I know what you are thinking – isn’t this in the category of unicorn poop? Well, this does fit the bill, but for a hat, it is perfect. Next big project I will confer with Diane and get some solid colors.

This is gorgeous. I sent her a message asking for a skein of yarn in blue/green/purple and let her choose herself. It arrived two days later! She has great taste and knowledge of color, I knew I could trust her.

but what hat pattern you ask? I have a book I bought years ago with plenty of different styles, I chose this one. Designed by another friend from the old knitting group I used to go to.

I got to work immediately. Look at beautiful the yarn is in a ball. That is not always the case.

The pattern is a chevron and that helps distribute the colors so they don’t pool

I worked very fast, because although it has been a very cold wet winter, it will probably end very soon.

It is done, it is lovely.

I no longer have a selfie stick, I was too lazy to set up the big camera – so here we go, a few mirror shots.

A little blurry, slouchier than the original, but I am very pleased and will be very careful around puppies in the future.

snow in the mountains and more Balboa Lake

Snow on the mountains, green green grass and what looks like a swamp. And yet, I am still in the San Fernando Valley.

Usually there is snow on the far right mountains, but not that low. And the mountains to the left – never have snow. Although, I don’t say never, because this is what CA does, every 20 years or so gives us massive rain and snow.

Luckily the clouds weren’t too low. Yesterday they just sat right on the mountains, so couldn’t see the snow.

The result of all the rain? huge trees fall, one right near me across a Main Street, they did get that one removed quickly. Since this is in the park, it might sit on it’s side for a while, yes it did fall on the path, so maybe not.

This is why they fall when the earth gets too soggy – very shallow root system.

from another angle.

Loving the deep green moss – if I squint enough am I in Ireland?

Must cherish this, because very soon it will all be brown.

I title this one, Puddle reflection and man with dog.

Ducks in a pond, except it is a puddle that will probably dry up soon.

Squirrel and duck, then he came towards me – probably looking for food. I’m keeping my distance – for all I know he is rabid.

Two pairs of geese in the marsh, aka another puddle.

Pigeon with feather leggings. I don’t know why, a whole crowd swarmed me, because someone else walked by and threw them crumbs. This was the only one with feathers on his legs. Go figure.

Challah cover, finished

Me, being me, I had to add to the design. So here we have 4/5 of the seven crops of the land of Israel. Lets’ say the side borders are both wheat and barley, or maybe just wheat. Then we have a border of pomegranates, of course I added another large one. Then I put in grapes and olives. Missing, are the fig – I couldn’t find a pattern small enough – and the honey- which actually represents dates, not honey bees. I could have found dates, but they’d probably look like the olives.

I need a border, so what better way then to make a patchwork border. In that wonderful stash I bought a few years ago I found these hand dyed pieces of cotton – perfect color.

A braided border, like the Challah that will be under this cover. This is before I backed the work.

and now, close ups.

I love the details. I love the sparkle in the fabric.

Can’t help but share the details.

With the Challah board.

The board was made 30 years ago by a couple at our synagogue – I use it every week. The sad thing is that way back when, the wife found out that I was a Republican – without asking me anything – she jumped to the conclusion that I was against abortion and cut me out of her life. Funny thing is, in those days I was a lot more pro-choice than I am today. Also, she was in her mid 30s and was so adamant against having children – because her career mattered so much more. I wonder how she feels now – since her career days are coming to an end – does she regret that that is all she had? No continuity after her?

I know, people chose not to have children and among the older women I know, I have heard regret, of course not from everyone – but there is regret. This was before cancel culture became a thing – and yet it happened to me. I still use the board weekly, I love it, I didn’t cancel them.

A look at architectural details

There is so much to love about this brick stairway, how it curves and undulates. How the walls are basic horizontal bricks with the top layer reversed. How they range from red to grey to even white – although that might simply be my camera in action. They are clearly old, because I don’t see anyone doing this kind of work these days.

Back to the Brand, Yes, it is cool to see the name through the arches. It is also very cool to see how the ogee design of the arch is repeated in the window in the door. The columns have taken inspiration from a number of styles. I do think the decoration is of acanthus leaves.

More of those arches, a little simplified. This building is Moorish revival – very popular in the early 20th c. Due to our similar climate – also quite appropriate.

Once again, the window has that wonderful fan shape.

Next time I need to go into the library itself. There is a lot of glare not he winds, but look at this incredibly carved Corinthian column, with that wonderful bracing arch on top.

Wow, what can I say. the upper window isn’t repeating the arch pattern, but filling the space with something new. Also, the leaded glass! Be still my heart!

Then we move on the the pictures I could get from the Japanese tea room

A Japanese Toro lantern, initially used in Buddhist Temples, has since become a common garden decoration. The bottom represents the earth, the center -water. The section that would hold the light – fire and the very top, air.

The tiles and eaves.

The shapes are so simple, much more so than the Moorish design in the library building. And yet, in simplicity one finds movement, serenity and beauty.

The juxtaposition of the Sharpe green leaves against the dark metal that looks like a wave. Such beauty!