Now there is always a puzzle on the dining room table

I finished the sewing room puzzle and sent it off to my kids.

I had ordered this puzzle from Amazon, just before they announced that they would take their time shipping non essentials. To many of us, this is very essential. Back in the summer when we went away for a weekend with my son and his family, we worked on one similar to this. I like these old timey puzzles.

I always sort out my pieces by color before starting to assemble the puzzle. I found this odd shape and was wondering if it didn’t get cut – by accident.

Then I found another and figured, that some of the shapes are just really really odd.

Another odd thing I only noticed once I finished sorting, the puzzle pieces related to food, and the puzzle box was all about old fashioned toys. So I looked carefully, yup, those lovely Chinese who manufactured this puzzle put the wrong puzzle in the box. In olden times, I’d laugh it off, I no longer laugh off anything from China. This is just a puzzle, but what about all those faulty tests and masks they have been shipping around the world???

It took some research, but I found an image online of the puzzle I have on hand. I printed it out. Some of the colors didn’t print correctly, but I worked around that. I joked with my son, I told him, when I send you this puzzle, I shouldn’t send the picture, cuz you said the real challenge is doing the puzzle blind. I wouldn’t do that to my daughter in law and grandson.

I love doing this kind of puzzle, I don’t concentrate on one area, if I find a piece, it goes in it’s approximate location, so the puzzle grows organically.

Done, I took the picture upside down because otherwise the light from the window would wash it all out.

I ordered this and another puzzle from my local craft store. Look at that! Made in the USA! Going forward I know that I will be purchasing less, I know for a fact that I won’t be able to avoid buying things made in China. But there will be less impulse buying because something is cheap, on my part at any rate. I grew up in Israel at a time when consumerism was low (very different there nowadays). It’s been fun to just buy, but I’ll be fine buying less.

Here is another puzzle I bought. So I gave my son the red one, even though I haven’t done it yet. It looks harder, a lot of red space and I think it’s just basic puzzle pieces – which of course is harder. I’m not starting this one yet.

He gave me this one. My older son who works at our house now pointed out his company building. Very cool. This one shouldn’t be too hard.

The sorting has started.

Crazy days

I’ve been making masks. These re for a friend and her family, yes, there is a 2.5 year old, who probably won’t wear the mask, just like my 2.5 year old grandson doesn’t. She offered to pay, I said no way. I will make masks for friends. So she asked to me to choose a charity for her to donate to.

I chose Kosher.19, started one week ago by an amazing woman, Bethany Mandel from Washington DC. I believe in supporting our own communities first. The idea is to send kosher pizzas to emergency rooms, mostly in the NY area. Anyone can eat pizza, but the Orthodox staff need it to be kosher. It’s also a way to help Kosher businesses stay alive during these hard days.

My son and daughter in law got their masks.

I also sent over this puzzle, which they finished in 3 days, of course there are two adults and Westley who helps.

Thank God my kids have good common sense. We are distancing from everyone else, so with my two sets of grandkids who live nearby, I’ve been seeing them. But yesterday was the first time we got a chance to see these two. Went down there and took a lovely walk outside. Couldn’t walk on the beach, but boy oh boy a lot of people in CA are out and about, walking, sitting on sidewalks, some with masks, some not. Honestly being outside in the fresh air matters a lot.

I see these two a lot, the two dads are tying to work from home. They need help. I have other friends with sensible children who want the grandparents involved. Others use the excuse ‘its for your safety’. It’s one thing if there really is a medical underlying reason, but in most cases – no it’s the panic. And yet, I have no doubt, that these kids either go to the store, or have food delivered, but heaven forbid, Grandma and Grandpa who really are isolating from everyone should get near their kids… Yeah, I could rant for hours.

Going out for a walk. Being outside is so important!

I didn’t get a picture of the two oldest, but they were here. It is extremely hard on Aytan, special needs kids need their routine. But, the sewing has been incredible for him. he has figured out how to speed up the machine. He LOVES that. I even let him use my serger…. CRINGE. I am watching over him like a hawk, but using these power tools is right up his alley. We have already made 4 pillowcases. Luckily, for him it’s about the process, with his sister, she’d want to keep everything she makes.

My son in law gave me some cuttings, I’ve planted some and will put the rest in smaller pots to bring down to my son at the beach, they are trying to fill in their outside area.

I love how cacti are fierce plants and yet they offer up the most delicate beautiful flowers. Anything to attract those pollinating bugs.

I used to have Gazanias, I need to plant some more.

The trees are blooming as well!

Puzzle

Of course I’m working on puzzles, I can’t sew and knit all the time. I have a book of crosswords, it’s not great but I am concerned that I’ll finish it before the lockdown is over. Oy, the problems!

I bought this back at Christmas time, at Marshalls, or a store like that. You can clearly see why I bought it, can’t turn down a quilt. Once the shelter at home started, I pulled it out, I knew this one would be pretty easy.

It was, and there is my son, coming to work here so he can work in peace. Then I boxed it up and sent it off to my middle son. They love doing puzzles as well.

Right before Amazon stopped shipping non essentials I managed to get this. Once again, you wonder why I chose this one? They did have another one of those impossible Van Gogh’s, no thanks, these days it can’t be all that hard.

As well as this one.

The most boring part is sorting the pieces by color, but in the long run, it makes putting the puzzle together much easier. While doing the sorting I keep all the edge pieces out and start there. Well, I try to keep all the edge pieces out, some always get lost in the mix, I have never had the problem of not finding edge pieces.

I didn’t take a lot of ‘during’ pictures, you all get the idea. This was relatively easy, there is a lot of interest, another thing is that these are irregular puzzle pieces, that makes it much easier. often I can look and see the irregular shape that is missing and then find it in the color family box. You can see how there are holes all over, the more I do, the easier it is to fill those holes.

Done!!!

Not only do I not ‘modpodge’ puzzles, within minutes of finishing this, I disassembled, put in the box, and off to the post office to send to my son. I’ll start the other one very soon. A neighbor mentioned that our wonderful craft Store Kit Kraft has puzzles. I just placed an order for two more, this is going to go on for at least another month.

I have nice new handmade garments, but where will I wear them?

This quarantine is wearing on me, as in wearing me down. And I have a large house, a lovely yard and plenty to do. A while ago I made a cute summer dress, then the weather got cold and rainy and I didn’t even want to try it on, I was so cold.

Well, the weather is warming, not enough for my liking, but I can put on the dress and go out and not freeze.

I look forward to wearing this. Hopefully soon, I need sunshine and warmth. Also need this wuflu to be conquered, who knows when that will be. I know the answer is never, it is now here, but in a few years it will be degraded to the level of many other diseases. Thats not to say just the common cold, even the normal flu kills a lot of people every year.

My hairdresser kindly offered to sell me a kit to recolor my roots. I feel awful for her, she can only work in person, there is no work from home on a computer. She and millions of others.

I also finished my New Zealand sweater and I’m very pleased. It came out adorable.

I educated my knitting friends with the term coffin sweater. We had a virtual reality get-together. Zoom is thriving. It worked very well. Anyway, originally this sweater was supposed to have the lace on the back. No way Jose! Since the pattern is on the front and the back is plain – it is a coffin sweater, looks good from the front only. For me, it serves another purpose, I like solid fabric on the back, I don’t want to be cold.

A closer look, finding buttons was a problem. This was before the Kung Flu became the pandemic we know it now is. JoAnns is right down the street from me, but they were supposed to move to a much larger location, luckily still near by. So everything was on sale at the old store, which means that things got picked through. I did stock up on glue for my appliqué, more on that later. And I found these buttons. You know what? They are perfect.

Remember how upset I was with knitting the sleeves top down, I am happy with them now. I do realize that they are tight fitting, I could have used a few more stitches. As in gone one size up, but it’s ok, I’m hoping maybe it will relax some with wear. We shall see, not sure that possum yarn has any give. Actually I’m sure it doesn’t which is why it’s combined with merino.

Look at this!!! The sweater is a perfect match with the dress and I mean perfect. It is exactly the color of the darker leaves on this print, serendipity in action!

So on those hot days I can wear the dress and in the evening, put on the sweater.

I love it when things work out so well!

Masks

Quilters, sewers, crafters they all love to help. Really, I’m not joking. Every quilt guild has a philanthropy portion. We make pillowcases for foster kids, placemats for meals on wheels, quilts for veterans and for other charities as well. So I wasn’t surprised at all when someone suggested making masks for hospitals.

Turns out that because there aren’t enough masks for the whole population, so we were told that it was unnecessary for us. Then they said that hospitals are running out of the N95 masks. So quilters jumped in and said, lets’ make masks for hospitals.

So I made a mask, not to give to hospitals. but to give to family members and close friends. cuz by now, it was admitted that even if the masks aren’t N95, any barrier is a good idea. It appears that the use of masks in South Korea and Taiwan, along with other measures of course, is making a difference.

One of the things that was mentioned was that the filter in air-conditioning is pretty good at stopping Bactria and some viruses. Not N95, but very good. My son in law gave me a filter and I do have fabric. So here I am modeling it.

This one, with the bicycles is for Joel. the problem with it is it’s open on the sides.

The idea about sending masks from private homes to hospitals just doesn’t sound right. Someone said: well they can wash them before use. Really? The hospitals have time to launder masks from God knows where?? When bringing up these kind of objections I’m basically told, shut up! We are busy virtue signaling, don’t burst our bubble.

I tried another pattern, I like this one better. I put a piece of jewelry metal over the nose bridge. This one works. Notice, I’m putting my earrings to very good use. Also, I love how this mask covers my double chin.

I moved on to using Batik fabric. It is a much tighter weave than regular quilting cotton.

Next thing I know, no one can find any 1/4 elastic anywhere. I happen to have a few packages as well as a very large spool of elastic. A number of friends were making masks for family and friends, I shared with them. Otherwise, I’m a hoarder, a few people approached me on IG. “where do I find elastic?” I don’t know, and don’t look at me.

Here are some that my friend Becky made.

Irene made this one.

Joel got an updated one.

Becky and her kids. Aytan even helped sew a seam on these.

How do you like the masks made from mask fabric? I didn’t make one for the baby, not sure her brother will actually wear his.

These will go to my middle son and his family.

Then I went to the supermarket, oh boy. I shop in a kosher market Passover is coming. the place is crazy. And a lot of the employees do not have masks. What better use than to give them masks.

I have a bolt of this fabric. it is adorable, it is neutral, it can work for both men and women. I figured out how to make them quickly with my serger. These do not have the HVAC filter inside, just cotton quilt batting. One can’t wash the HVAC filter. We don’t wear it for hours on end. Workers the supermarket do. So I ventured into the mayhem today and offered them to one of the cashiers. She was thrilled! She immediately shared with her fellow workers. One of them was so appreciative, that I thought of them. I told them, this isn’t N95, doesn’t matter he said, you thought of us.

Meanwhile people are telling me that the hospitals will use them over there N95 masks….

Other friends are beginning to make them for supermarket workers, or for convalescent homes. On You Tube I saw that in The Czech Republic people are making them and hanging them on posts so anyone can simply take one.

So quilters, don’t stop making masks, but maybe think about where they are more useful. I get it, ‘Hospitals have no supplies and it’s all Trumps fault’ is a very fun way to think. But the solutions are much closer to home.

On my Next-door someone has offered to make them for the neighbors, a lot of people have taken her up on her offer.

The virtue signaling has gone too far, a friend asked me for cotton fabric for a friend of hers – who wants to get in on ‘the fun’. My response, nope, I hoard the fabric for myself, I’ll be making pillowcases with my grandson. Even if it takes a few months to get to foster children, that is a much better use of my fabric than giving it away.

This picture arrived after I posted, so here is an addendum. This friend lives alone and posted about being scared to be outside. So needless to say, he was so thankful not only for a little bit of protection, but of the kind gesture.

National quilt day

There was supposed to be a quilt event in Reseda on March 21st, on National Quilt Day. Well that didn’t happen. So I hung out a quilt in front of the house instead.

I chose my Red and White, to go along with the blue trim of the house. A little patriotism in difficult times.

Getting into the picture.

This is the view from the street. Having this gate made it easier for me to leave the quilt out for the day. I love my quilts too much to leave them where anyone can come by and nab one.

Few people came by. Although it didn’t rain, it was a dreary day and not many people walking by. These days with the ‘shelter in place’ more and more people are actually getting outside and walking. Around here people are respectful of the 6′ rule.

Here is one happy boy with his quilt.

Sharing with other family members.

This is one proud boy who just wants to make make make!!

I handed him a marker and just let him sign, so he signed right on the front of the quilt. His name should be front and center.

We are now making pillowcases. Even were able to include some math. I know, I’m crazy, I let him use the serger. I was hovering over him the whole time!! Sergers do not go slow. He has gotten good with the machine, he speeds up and slows down now. I am so thrilled, as is he, he really loves to sew.

One pillowcase for him, one for Shira. Can you guess which is hers??? She wanted to sew it herself. But I’ve made an executive decision. He really really needs this, this isn’t just fun, this is therapy. Shira has a lot of other things to occupy herself with. So he is the maker in the house.

Showing off the pillowcases and their masks, that is for the next post.

Sewing with a boy

Aytan has really taken to this sewing on the machine. He very quickly is figuring out when to pull out the pins without stopping. He is sewing very very slowly, which in itself is amazing.

We are seeing some of the grandkids, the ones close by. Total isolation isn’t good, so far we all are keeping away from crowds and keeping clean.

At this point, Aytan made lemonade. Initially he just pushed a full lemon down on the juice extractor, I had to cut them in half. Then he wanted to try it, yup, you would have loved his face. So I made simple syrup and outside the two of them went for a picnic.

As the quilt grows, he is busy choosing the fabrics and where they go. I let him choose whatever he wants, I think he did a good job with color placement. I didn’t want to put in my two cents at all. This is about him.

I’m grateful that the Sewing Arts Studio had a sale a few months back. They sold quite a few bolts of fabric for $20. So I have plenty fabric for backing. I’m am so proud that Aytan sewed the long seam back here. Then it was time to spray baste. I always have a breeze here on the driveway, I needed something to hold down the backing, so Aytan went and picked lemons, they will become lemonade soon.

He loves it! Wanted to take it home, but I told him I have to actually quilt it. The glue isn’t enough.

Sorry my hand looks so huge, this is what photography does, distorts and foreshortens. I used my walking foot, I don’t need fancy quilting here. I need it to hold together.

It’s a little hard to see, I quilted in the ditch, then quilted diagonally and again bisected each block. So basically, it is quilted within the 5″ which should be plenty.

I hade a fat quarter of this pink, which is from the same line of fabric. I used that and a lot of the remaining blocks to make the binding.

All done. I am so thrilled, can’t wait for Aytan to come and pick it up!

I will talk about signing it, will probably just do it with a sharpie and if he wants to sign on the front of the quilt – that works for me, it is his!

What to do when social distancing.

My son is having his house painted this week. Who knew that all hell would break loose. Kids home, Erez has to work from home and the house is being painted. So they’ve been spending the time here, as well as sleeping here so as not breathe in all the paint fumes.

Shira said that I should help her sew a skirt. So we did!

First we practice sewing on paper without thread. Try and stay on the red lines! She did very well.

Then we moved on to thread on paper and then sewing on fabric. I’ve had this fabric forever, perfect for her skirt. It is knit fabric so I wasn’t expecting perfect seams. She had to learn how to stop and take out the pins. Luckily she dosen’t have a lead foot and she sewed nice and slowly.

She sewed the two side seams and did a very good job. I put on the elastic waistband and hemmed the skirt. She LOVES it.

This girl knows how to ham it up for the camera. I ended up cutting a few more inches off, It was just too long.

Also made a matching headband. Oh, when you are stuck inside, it’s worth buying popsicles even it isn’t summer yet.

Aytan got very interested. I remember someone saying that boys love learning how to use a sewing machine. It’s a machine after all, and hey, peddle to the metal, it’s like driving a car.

We also started with the paper.

We were not going to make a bag, so I suggested a book bag. This sewing is excellent for him. Aside from being deaf he does have processing issues so hand eye coordination is huge.

He loves the fabric, I sewed the handle, but he sewed the top and the two seams.

Getting him to smile!!! It’s not that he isn’t happy, but he needs to be coaxed to smile. Then we had lunch and they went out for walk. Once they came back Aytan wanted to make something else. He is also very slow and steady on the machine.

I didn’t want to make another bag so I suggested a quilt. How could I not? Luckily I do have some layer cakes and this one is bright and fun. Perfectly suitable for a boy. I let him choose the blocks, then I’d pin them together (1/2″, we aren’t going for f1/4″ this early in the game). I’d mark a red line with my frixon pen and sit next to him as he sewed. Yes, his eyes were wandering, he pick his hands up and just let the machine go. There is a lot supervision here.

Another coaxed smile, he has gotten good at removing the pins before he gets to them, sometimes without stopping. I think this is something that interests him more than his sister – which would be incredible. He needs activities. Yes he does sports, which is great, but he isn’t the social butterfly Shira is. Although that is on hold now…

I keep reminding him to look down at the pins, since he’ll just look up not look at his work. But he loves it, and we literally just started.

He chose the fabrics. In the first row it was easy. Second row, I’d place the emerging row below the first row and let him choose. We stopped after two rows. There is time tomorrow and probably many more days to come…

Yes, he sewed that whole long row. I am so impressed. You better believe I am going to make sure that this isn’t a one time activity.

Beading away the panic

So here we are, hunkered down at home trying to avoid the Wuflu. Of course I’ve been on the internet, of course I’ve been enjoying all the memes.

Images like this one started showing up. OMG, I haven’t beaded in a long long time, but the urge hit me. I still have beading supplies, so I hunted until I found my almost white delica beads.

I got to work. My eyes aren’t what they used to be, threading the needle was hard. I used my beading thread, and my needle threader just didn’t like it. Somehow I managed.

I haven’t forgotten how to do peyote stitch. So away I went.

Almost there!

Very cute. Now to try them on.

I guess I’m a perfectionist sometimes. Cute, but it lacks the structure of a toilet roll. As in it needs the inner core.

Back to work, I couldn’t find brown delica beads in my stash, so I went with purple. A word about delica, these are Japanese beads and in general they are more uniform then the Czech ones. As you can see, I took another step. I cut up a straw, sliced it open and slipped it in. Voila! now there is structure!

Side by side. You can see why I like the structure one better. Btw, I posted pictures on IG and someone I don’t know at all sent me a private message asking if I could share the pattern. Do you know the term Chutzpah??? I see people are selling these on eBay for $35. I’m all in favor of capitalism. But this was too much – oh look what you did, give me your instructions for free and I’ll go out and make money.

My response was, if you know how to do peyote stitch, you can figure it out. For years people have come up to me asking that I either sell my work at Chinese prices or that I give my patterns and designs away for free. No way Jose!

The finished pair. Friends are telling me that the roll is facing the wrong way! They are correct, but look at the next picture, it appears more like toilet paper when hung this way.

I am very very pleased with the result. Here is my new profile picture….

As for the prototype? I’m sending them off to a dear friend. If my eyes were younger and I had more beads. I’d be making them for more friends. I’m thrilled to share my talents with people I love. I have no interest in giving my talents away to people just because. Yeah, I’m selfish that way.

And now, on to a puzzle. Yes, it’s quilt blocks….. I’ve just ordered some more from Amazon because all the stores around here are closed – Wuflu. I wonder, do we own Amazon stock? Cuz they, CVS, Google, Walmart and Roche will be going through the roof when the market calms down.

Thank Goodness the wedding was last weekend

Final pictures from our trip up to Santa Barbara. Everyone is grateful that the wedding was last weekend. We know people who’s kids are getting married in the next few weeks and everything is up in the air. Also, the groom flew on Wednesday to Italy, he is needed at the airforce base there. His wife won’t be joining him for a while. Such is life

We took a lovely hike, but something happened to those pictures when I downloaded them. So this post is about animals. After going through the tunnel we came out on Butterfly lane. Love the use of butterflies in the arch which is also the address.

This is a house down the street, I have a feeling the neighbors don’t like this much. If these were the only pigs, so be it. But they aren’t…

some have wings…

Some are huge and ratter scary.

Some are small and cute.

This one shares the fence with the neighbor. As I mentioned, I have no idea how the neighbors feel about all these pigs. I of course was delighted.

Although I’ve yet to see a flying pick, there are also birds.

Big Pelican.

This gull just sat on that rooftop for a long long time.

Our hike was up in the hills. Had to stop and take a look at view!

The beautiful spring flowers are blooming.

As we started out, we crossed this lovely bridge. I bet this week the stream is full of water, we have been getting all the rain in March. Every so often this is what happens, a very dry winter and then all the rains come in March. California doesn’t have a set pattern for the rains. It’s not like monsoons in India. Our rains have a mind of their own and each year do something different.

But there was enough water to see these lovely little waterfalls. This is the wonder of SoCal, we do have these little streams throughout our mountains. And it makes for great hikes.

I love how people have noticed that this rock looks like a monster and they have added to it. Human creativity and nature together can do wonders.

There were a lot of dogs on the hike, it was hard to get pictures of them. This little cutey was by the beach. It almost seemed like one isn’t allowed to hike or walk in the Santa Barbara area without a dog!

I’m grateful for this wonderful getaway, all the more so because the WuFlu is keeping us all indoors. I’m praying that these measures will keep most of us safe and that we won’t see the horrors of Italy. Btw, I have no doubt that China was just as bad or worse, they lied to us about it, they lied about how bad it is. And now they want to blame America.

An interesting observation, I got the flu shot in early November. A few weeks later I’m reading that for some reason, they really missed the mark this year because people are coming in with a flu doesn’t match with the markers from last year – which is how they create the next years vaccine. So yeah folks, the Wuflu was out there already in November, China hid the information until they simply couldn’t anymore.

God Bless President Trump for closing off travel from China in January, and for all the efforts his team has been doing since then. I think we will be alright.