Solving problems when making a quilt

One of my big problems in prepping for the Arizona Cactus class, was having to choose and cut all the fabrics out ahead of time. I followed the instructions because I didn’t want to show up to class and find that I couldn’t start sewing without having done so.

Turns out I cut some things wrong, but coming home I finished up the center block and the first outer border. Then it was on to the final border.

My idea was to pull in more red. As I look at this on my design wall, I’m not happy with what I’m seeing. The red background was just too dark. Although I have one red star in the center, it just didn’t feel right. Back to my fabric stash.

This whole quilt is from stash, which I am very proud of, but that makes it harder to make fabric choices. Will I have enough? I found a darker yellow, repeated the dark purple and red in the spikes. I used up the last tiny bit of a blue toile fabric that I had. It relates to the blue background but brings in new interest. Just like this yellow does, rather than using the original yellow. Here I’m auditioning it with the dark center.

Here it is with the light center. At this point I also realized that I don’t have enough of the dark yellow for the rest of the background on this border. Oops.

Both options side by side. My plan was to use the orange as the final border. I realized that I’ll have to incorporate some of it into this border. Looking at this image, I decided that I like the dark center better than the light one. It does bring more depth to these half stars.

I’ll show you the front in a minute. As you can see, I used the rest of the dark yellow for the corners and the orange to fill in the border. This is what a paper pieced quilt looks from the back.

This is what the floor looks like while removing the papers. Even with newsprint, it’s a mess and there are a lot of tiny pieces left on the back. Oh well, they will disintegrate when I wash the quilt.

Ta Da!!! I love this!!! I was running out of the orange as well, but look it worked! Sure my final border is slightly smaller, but who cares. I am so happy about bringing the blue in as a small border. I LOVE how using the orange in the quilt makes it even more interesting. Still needs to be quilted, that will have to wait.

The puzzle is about 2/3s’ done! The quilt/table topper is intended for this table, so I need to finish the puzzle first.

Now to finish this post with grandkids, just because.

Granddaughter is relatively easy for a baby. Everything is relative! There really aren’t easy babies.

Big brother loves her.

And she loves her dad!


A mouse

I am now done with my handmade gifts I give all my grandkids at birth. Einav has her stuffed animal, in her case, a moose. That’s what dad wanted.

He really wanted floral fabric, be still my heart! I love sewing with a beautiful floral. I bought enough of this so down the road I can make her a dress.

The deflated moose.

The head is stuffed. Yes I used safety eyes for a baby. They won’t be putting this in bed with her. I glued them on as well as snapping them into place. I think it will be all right.

Standing on the famous rock in the backyard.

A different angle.

The ears don’t stand up, but they are solid, there is quilt batting inside.

Yes, I do love this one. Well, I’ve loved all the patterns I’ve made from Funky Fiberfriends.

And now, for the vanity shots.

With the fox.

With the elephant.

All three together. Only the fox and elephant live at my house. I did buy some fake fur to make the squirrel, I’ll get to that soon.


Taking a workshop

I’ll be honest, I’ve never really been interested in Judy Niermeyers’ paper piecing technique. I was curious about her technique, but not crazy about the results. Most of what I’d seen was her Hostas. Every year at Road to California there are at least 3 hosta quilts on display. Why???

Then my guild offered a workshop for this. It’s not huge, like most of her quilts. But, it didn’t speak to me.

The sample the teacher, Cindy Myers was sharing, did. So I signed up.

We had a ton of homework to do, cutting out all of our fabrics. You know me, I wasn’t going to use batiks and I was going to use more fabrics than called for.

Cindy, explaining what we are going to do.

My featherweight. And my fabric. Turns out that I didn’t cut enough of certain fabrics and I forgot to bring the extra fabric with me. So I couldn’t start with my center, no problem, all the block are the same, so I started with my second border.

You learn something at every workshop. There were some techniques that will help with any kind of paper piecing. Like using a thick piece of template plastic under the paper to butt the add an inch ruler to. She cuts the seams before sewing. I have often cut them after sewing the seam.

Judy also has an interesting way of sewing curves. I like it. I took this picture before I sewed the curves. Then I went around and took pictures of other peoples work.

Most people worked with batiks. Since that is what Judy uses. I was pleased to see that Robin used some prints. Look how neat her curve is! Judy’s technique works well.

Next evening Cindy shared her quilts at the guild. I admit to buying another pattern, because why not, two by the same designer is not a bad thing. Especially since I do enjoy her process. No, it’s not a hosta.

Most of the quilts Cindy shared are Judy quilts with batiks, it became a little too much. I get it, for years she was a certified teacher so she made a lot of these quilts. Some of them reluctantly because a class asked for a certain pattern.

I got home and continued working. Here is the center of my quilt.

I have to say, I don’t like cutting all of the fabrics ahead of time. I am now working on the final border and I’m switching out colors. I need to see how it grows organically.

The instructions say, sew all the blocks then assemble them. No, I need to see what it’s going to look like. Sure, I could just put them up on my design wall. Or, I could start sewing them together, which is what I’m doing.

So far, I like it, the final border has a red print background, so everything will change. Yes, I intend to put this on my dining room table. Maybe even when we eat there. It’s cotton, it can be washed.


The world of DaVinci

I shouldn’t have waited until the last minute, but I did. Two days before this exhibit closed at the Reagan Library I finally got there. Sure the place was packed with people, clearly I wasn’t the only one waited until the very end.

A very crowded exhibit is hard to enjoy. I’ll be honest, I was impressed by his genius, I tried to read what I could, but a lot got by me.

What was apparent from the start is that someone took a lot of Da Vinci’s drawings and codex’s and actually created the objects he was imagining. This lion and a few others were built to scale. Others are much smaller, but as much as possible, they are able to function.

I’m sure, to many people the original codex’s and their drawing are the real draw. I’m not sure how many of the drawings are original and how many are copies. As I said, a lot of people, hard to really spend time on small details.

This is a rotating canon, possibly meant to be on board a ship. Many of the design were for military use.

Very quickly I realized that the beauty is in the details.

At one point I decided to just get some close up pictures of the works, not really documenting what the piece is. Whoever made these must have really loved these projects. So beautiful.

I looked up to see this and the first thought that came to mine was – so that is where the Wright brothers got their idea from! There was another flying contraption that had two cyclists – and this is before the unicycle or the bicycle were invented.

Then there were the different types of boats. Each one with a unique mechanism, for steering or moving the boat.

I have a special affinity for these models. My father made one model ship and had started a second, but didn’t get very far. So these just pull at my heart strings, regardless of the innovation. Btw, I do like the mirror that allows me to see the bottom of the hull.

So yeah, I took pictures of all the boats, although I didn’t read what was so unique about each one. I’m blaming the crowds.

One of my favorite items was a ‘build your own bridge’. Apparently Da Vinci came up with an easy way to built a bridge using just logs. Only problem is, that in order to build it one has to be standing in the middle of the river and building out to the shores. It simply isn’t stable enough to build on land and then transport over the river.

At the exhibit they had a table with the ‘Lincoln logs’ for people to try their hand at building the bridge. A bunch of kids were working very hard at it and they succeeded! Oh for more hands on activities like this!

I’m glad I bumped into my friend Bob, he told me about the memorial to the Gold Star families. It is beautiful, moving and touching.

Gold Star families are the many families who have lost their children in military service. We always honor the servicemen and women. I’m so glad their families are getting recognition.

I was concentrating on the words when I noticed the cutout, I took a closer look and was very moved.

On close inspection, it’s the cut out of soldier. It’s the empty space left in the hearts of the families and friends left behind. I was able to capture the flag through the cutout. Sorry, the high gloss of the granite means that I too am in the image. Not that I wanted to be.


working on a puzzle

A month ago I was shopping at one of those remainder stores, TJ Maxx or something like that. There were a few puzzles on sale, I got some kid ones for the grandkids and then went ahead and picked up one of the few adult ones there. I know why this puzzle was there – it is hard!

I hesitated, this one is hard! I went for it, why not, it will be a good challenge. Or I’ll shoot myself.

One thing I’ve learned about these kind of puzzles – it is very easy to put puzzle pieces in the wrong place. I did while making the border and it’s happened in the middle of the puzzle. Btw, took me a long time to complete the border.

I’ve tried to divide puzzle pieces by color. I am also using the mat, which really came in handy when we had guests for dinner. It was about at this stage I rolled it up and and moved it away.

Once I unwrapped it, as you can see, the puzzle is still in place! Woohoo!

One way of finding the right puzzle piece, especially when it’s a solid area is just to find as many piece of that color as possible and then one by one try them out. It also works with the white flowers.

This is where I am after over two weeks of work. You’ll notice that I have a lot of holes, I keep trying to find those missing pieces. When I do, of course it’s not at all what I expected. One thing I’ve come to know about puzzles is that I have to look for what I can’t see. At this point I have individual pieces that I know exactly where they go, but I can’t find their surrounding pieces. I have thought that one piece goes one place and it really is on the opposite side of the puzzle. One good thing is, at this point, if I’m holding a ‘white’ piece, I now have plenty of places to try it out. Lo and behold! It works, I will often slip in a piece where I really wasn’t expecting to. As hard as this is, I do enjoy the challenge.

Next sewing project, the moose!! I went to Quilt Emporium during their Labor Day sale. I got more than this, but this is the fabric for the moose.

Remember the sleeping bag? Well, nursery school has started.

My heart is melting!

Baby sister is growing! I can’t believe she is already 6 weeks old.


Fun with Grandsons

I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring the South Bay. Had the boys for a day and we visited the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro. There is something so lovely about a small intimate aquarium.

Starting outside with a picture.

Cam was all about the sharks, he wanted to see sharks! Luckily this was the only great white we saw. We did see baby leopard sharks, their very weird rubbery eggs and even a shark still in it’s egg!

Sorry its such a fuzzy image, but in one of the tanks, they had a few eggs that were backlit. I guess the circle is the food, this shark is probably about to be born, he was moving around. I should have taken video.

Standing in a bubble with fish swimming around.

A Moray eel.

An octopus. There were many other things to see and a very helpful staff. I would definitely go back there.

They have a large steel fish out front, perfect for climbing on. There even is an IG hashtag, no I didn’t hashtag these.

We tried for a selfie.

Then we had lunch at an old time Italian restaurant. San Pedro really feels like it’s stuck in the 50s’, in a good way. Cam wanted Mac n Cheese. They didn’t have any, so I introduced him to fettuccini Alfredo – new favorite!! They gave us lollipops and mints. I gave them the lollipops, Cam is still demanding the mints a few days latter.

Labor Day weekend, we went to their beach. I’m the designated photographer, I don’t go into the Pacific unless it’s somewhere really warm.

West is quite brave.

Luckily Joel likes going into the ocean as well.

An hour, and we’re done. Walked back to the house to change. On the way back someone in a car was following us, hoping to get our parking spot – sorry, we’re with locals! Then it was back to the pier for Fiesta Hermosa. A lovely event.

At the Ocean Heat booth I bought two hand warmers. These are instant heat packs. Poor little baby has suffered some colic, so put the heat pack on her belly to help her relax and release gas. It worked!! Hoping it works more than once!

How cool is this mid-century apartment building?? It is very well maintained. This is a great example of mid-century. I’m not always a fan, but this one is a favorite of mine.


Another finish

First, I shared my Red and White at my quilt guild. I still need to make a label….

People asked me to write a pattern. Hell no!!! I know how much works goes into that. This quilt grew organically, there is no way I’d go back and try and recreate so ten people can buy it. Also, the center compass was designed by Judy Mathieson, I’m not stepping on her toes. Although I don’t call my quilts art, they are one of a kind and I derive no pleasure from others making the exact same quilt. I wouldn’t be insulted at all if someone reverse engineered this, more power to them.

Glue basting a baby quilt is so easy! Quilting it is also easier than a large quilt. This time, now rulers, just going with FMQ.

Simply quilting designs. I left the flower blades unquilted. Sure there were areas that I could have used a ruler, but why? I got the same effect with FMQ. The overall look is very pleasing and babies don’t care.

Cut and ready for binding. I wasn’t sure which binding to use. Often when I make a scrappy quilt, I make the binding out of a number of fabric. that is not what happened now.

I ended up using a fabric that wasn’t in the quilt at all. It has both green and purple – so perfect for this one!

I am loving the final product!

The quilting itself only took about 4 hours. Another four for the binding and hand embroidering the label. These days I’m less interested in giving each quilt a name. No, my last name isn’t on here, Einav will know me as Savta Leah, if someone in the future comes across this and has no idea who I am – I really don’t care. I’m about the here and now.

And now, for some artistic shots.

With Hibiscus. Btw, speaking of my garden, the flowers are incredible, my tomatoes? Not good at all. I’ve only had a few, they take forever to ripen and to be honest, don’t taste very good.

My bad, I don’t know the name of this red flower.

Best image of quilt with something – the baby herself!! Yes, she is getting bigger by the day.

We even did some tummy time, no crying, it almost looks like she is trying to turn over. She is so sweet, I’m still very much in love.

And now, I need to make her a stuffed animal, just like I did for the other five. She will get a moose from a Funky Friends pattern. One with bright floral fabric. Then I will be ‘done’ making her things for a while. She has received so many cute clothes, I can wait a few months before I make her something, maybe an outfit she will wear more than once…


Hermosa Beach

I beginning to explore my son’s new neighborhood and I like it.

It’s an interesting mixture of beach homes, apartment buildings and no parking.

Every respectable town needs a clock. From back in the day when no one walked around with a little computer in their pockets and only the wealthy had pocket watches or later, wrist watches.

Pier Ave, the center of town. I took the picture from the wrong angle, too lazy to cross the street.

I love murals and this is no exception. This is on the side of a large municipal parking structure right off Pier Ave. Music is very big in this small beach community.

Another great mural.

Here is a series of the actual pier. There are quite a few people on the beach itself, but this was midweek, so it wasn’t super crowded. As I got closer to where my son lives – there were less people.

Standing right under the pier.

And from the other side.

A few months ago there was arson at this house. Hopefully they will fix this soon.

The yards here are adorable, someone has a model of a lifeguard station. How appropriate.

Tile artwork. Next post will about a visit to Long Beach, where I found a lot of tile work.



I don’t enjoy Disneyland, at my age, I don’t care for the rides. The crowds are overwhelming and the frenetic noise level of rides, activities is too much for me. But I love my grandson Aytan very very much. He is turning 10. I know, hard to believe. He loves Disneyland. So for this special birthday I went with them to Disneyland.

Disney invented crowd control and line management. Their employees are trained to be very friendly and kind. They now have a whole area as you exit the parking structures where we went through security. I told the security woman who checked my bag that airports could learn from them – her reply – you mean to be kind and friendly? In our dreams!

Our first stop was the newer park, It is still called CA Adventure, but all the activities and rides are tied into Disney products. I understand, this is what people are looking for and it works. I do like the mostly Art Deco influence here. This wasn’t a time of taking a lot of pictures, they just do it well.

Shira is such a ham!! Aytan was pretty quiet, at the end of the day he became gregarious. But he was having a great time, I skipped the Galaxy ride, I don’t like massive drops. He told me it isn’t scary, it is reality. Go Aytan!

Becky has an annual pass that lets her download the pictures. So here we are. Yes, the rides I went on were fun. I skipped the scary ones.

Taking our picture in front of the Disneyland entrance. Not sure why Shira covered her face.

Shira talking off Snow Whites’ ear.

Aytan did not want to be in the picture.

I had to get a picture of the castle. Weekends are very busy. They do crowd control well, but it is a little overwhelming.

A good ride for me is the submarine, while waiting I had to get another iconic picture of the Matterhorn.

We went on the Merry Go Round. Except for a few of the very old rides, everything is tied in to products. So be it, Everyone around us was wearing hats, ears t-shirts from Disney. Disney not only perfected crowd control, they also perfected marketing.

A happy birthday boy. We went to the new Star Wars area, for his birthday Aytan wanted the R2D2 droid. Of course we bought it and both grandmothers shared the carrying of it around the park.

One small shot of StarWars land, Disney knows how to design things.

A shot of all of us on a ride.

I’m thrilled I could be with Aytan at a place where he is so happy. It was a good birthday celebration.



Here she is, on her new afghan.

Almost a month old! How time flies! She is putting on weight. No more chicken legs, she is actually getting some rolls and creases. She also will stay awake and look around much more. What a little bundle of joy.

I made this quilt 10 years ago when Aytan was born. Hard to believe, he is turning 10! Time really does fly. So all six grandkids have had the pleasure of using this quilt at m house. Nice to introduce the newest one to the quilt.

Crazy me, I still have many projects to work on, so I decided to add a puzzle to the mix. Not an easy one!

I always start with the border, I couldn’t even get the border complete. As to these inner pieces, I’m sitting here trying pieces out one by one until something fits.

Progress! The border is complete. Turns out, I had some pieces in the wrong place. Slow going, but it’s going. I’m still ‘getting lucky’. I’m pretty good with colors, so I’m able to isolate certain colors and just go for it. I am so surprised when I’ll pick up a piece, try it and on the first go, it fits!! Tonight we are having guests, so I will be seeing if this mate really works. the idea is that one can move the puzzle without disruption, this is my dining room table… I will report back.

It is hibiscus season. Here are mine, first year that I have gotten so many flowers at once.

This bush is not far from my house, I just love the color. I really should just get one for my own yard.

Another one I love.

The blue Hibiscus. It is actually purple and the flower is much smaller, but oh so pretty.

Another flowering tree that blooms in late summer is the Crepe Myrtle. We have these trees all over. They come in three colors that I know of.

Hot pink

Light pink/lavander

From another angle, this is actually the more accurate color.


I am very fortunate, no matter the season, no matter the weather, something is always blooming. It is a real pleasure.