A walk in the neighborhood

Sometimes I can have wonderful experiences without photo documentation.   I decided to walk in the hills, but in an area I hadn’t walked before. I parked near the hills and headed up. It’s the old part of Studio City, the hills with interesting old homes.I did a double take, a barn quilt up on the garage. Not something I see often. Right after I took this picture, I saw a woman picking her roses in the front yard. I went over and asked her about the barn quilt block. We spent a good half hour talking. She was so thrilled that I recognized it for what it is. Her name is Denise, she is originally from North Carolina, where she saw these barn quilts. She now owns her grandmother’s house up in the Blue Ridge Mountains where a larger version hangs on a barn.

We talked quilts, she showed me some that she had made. She showed me how she is raising monarch butterflies. She is growing milkweed all over her back yard to attract the butterflies. She took  a large netted cube, put in a lot of milkweed leaves and a few eggs and already has 3 chrysalis. When they emerge, she gives them a few hours to dry off and lets them leave, they usually stay with her for about an hour.

Then she showed me the baby squirrel that is enjoying all the droppings from the many bird feeders.  We went a few doors down to her neighbor, who wasn’t home, but who is quite a quilter. We probably belong to the same guild, I’m going to look for her at the meeting.

I didn’t take any pictures, we just chatted. It was so nice! I find, that give someone the chance and they will be very open and friendly. No, there was no request to stay in touch, it was just a nice exchange between two people.I went on my way, looking and admiring the old houses. I love this iron partition. It’s an old house, the details in the woodwork are things that haven’t been put on houses since the 1950s. I wonder if the TV antennae still works. With so many people cutting the cable cord, an antennae is a useful thing to have.No more barn quilts. Denise said she was hoping neighbors would follow her example, but no one has. People find other ways to decorate, Stained glass is big.This is a beautiful example, peacock and roses.A little English cottage!I couldn’t find a trashcan anywhere to disposes of this litter. I agree, Philippe’s French Dip sandwich is amazing. Worth the trip downtown, but why throw the box on the ground???

A nice walk on a hot Saturday morning, I need to explore these hills a little more.



The Iliad Bookshop

I remember years ago visiting the Iliad Bookshop when it was on the corner of Vineland and Lankershim blvds in North Hollywood. It always has been a wonderful used bookstore. In looking for the link for their homepage I was reminded why they are named Iliad, not because of the great Greek story, but because they were located next door to Oddessy Video. So the name was a play on words. About 10 or 12 years ago they lost their lease and moved further east to Cahuenga and Chandler Blvds. A much larger space. I have often driven by here, why it took me so long to walk in, I don’t know. Probably because I’ve been seduced by online stores, as well as the Kindle and even the ability to check out ebooks from the library.

I finally rectified that mistake. I went in. First of all, the exterior is beyond wonderful, look at these books. These are just a few of the murals on the outside of the building.The interior is so gorgeous!!!!Do you see the pile of books on the floor? While walking by, I saw a paperback by Josephine Tey, I have read a number of her books and really love them. The Daughter of Time is her most famous, debunking the story that King Richard III was an awful person. Anyway, she died in the early 1950’s, her books are still in print. But how fun to find one of them here, perfect for this weekend when I will be sitting next to a pool and don’t want to read on my Ipad.Like all good bookstores, they have cats, I saw at least two. They do allow small dogs on leash into the store, but do ask that people give them a chance to corral the cats if need be.There is a Disney section and a very large section about every aspect of the film world. From biographies, to manuals on filming or how to get into the business. Of course aside from a very large room dedicated to fiction, they have every other topic you can imagine. All very well laid out, it’s not just a jumble of books.If I were still designing fabrics, I would have grabbed all three of these books. I actually already one book on fabric from the 50s, these are an incredible resource. They don’t have a lot of craft books, but boy did I luck out.Look what I found on the $2 table! Yes, I love an excellent book on quilt history, this is one of them. What a great example of early 20th century Crazy quilt. My mother had plenty of art books, really good ones, to ship them back here from Israel would have been quite a chore. And to be honest, as much as I love art, I have more of an affinity to crafts these days.These three will be part of a birthday gift for Eyal, so what if they are gently used, they are gorgeous books. They have quite a collection of beautiful childrens’ books, I will be back.

Outside on the sidewalk they have boxes of books for free.  This book was published in 1978, which means that many of these Painted Ladies in San Francisco may not be standing anymore. Once again, for me, this book is an inspiration, in color and design.

Have I mentioned how much I love Los Angeles?  So many treausres right in my backyard.


LA Yarn Crawl 2018

I’m not knitting as much as I used to, I spend more time and effort on quilting and sewing these days.  LA Yarn crawl was this weekend, and since The Altered Stitch is half a mile from my house, I walked there on Friday.

It is a lovely shop with all kinds of hand dyed yarns.With samples of items made from the yarn, mostly shawls. My one complaint and it’s a big one is there is no standard basic yarn, certainly no acrylic yarn to make baby items. So yes, I did buy a skeinI might just knit socks with this, no sock lasts forever and I’ve had to retire a few pairs this year.Out in the back is a converted garage and little yard, space is being rented to a local dyer, here the wool is being prepped.Dyes are at the ready.Skeins are drying outside, some have more than one color, I forgot to ask if this is it, or are some of these skein getting more dye? This was it for me. My only stop on the yarn crawl, I am happy to say that another store has opened in Burbank. I have to go check it out, I’m hoping that they will carry sweater quantities of basic solid colored yarns.


Exploring Los Angeles, this time historic Chatsworth

I’m always on the lookout for things to do and see in LA. I have to say, these days Facebook isn’t much fun anymore, but it is the place where I find out about this kind of activity, so I still check it out.

There was a flyer to visit the Historic Hill-Palmer cottage, a vestige of homesteading in Chatsworth. so I went.

I wasn’t expecting much, but that’s ok, because then I was pleasantly surprised. the cottage was very non descript. Turns out that the museum building used to the golf course office and was built in the 1970s. Not much information in the museum, except for this:A quilt made in 1988 for the centennial of Chatsworth. This really caught my eye and I wanted to spend time really studying the book. But the volunteer wouldn’t leave me alone and kept on talking about what interested her. The one interesting piece of information she did give me is that this is the first quilt that Zena Thorpe worked on. Yes, she was in the book.  Zena in a legend, when I first went to the SFVQA there was this rockstar Zena, she was from Chatsworth England and had moved to Chatsworth CA. Go look at her work, you probably won’t be coming back to this little blog anytime soon.

Inside the cottage there were better docents, they shared the history of the area and yes, the Hill family and then the daughter Minnie Palmer, homesteaded here. I always thought of the homesteading act as something that happened in the midwest. I never really thought that California needed that act, gold brought miners to the state and many smart people came and farmed the land so they could supply the miners and actually make much more money. Who knows, maybe they came under the homestead act?Kudos to the Chastworth Historic society, for saving this home and turning it into a museum. Like most of these museums, a lot of the original items are long gone, so they fill the house with ‘period’ pieces they find. This old wood burning stove is a treasure.They put quilts on the beds! I doubt this is an early 20th-century quilt. Yes, it’s a log cabin, yes, I adore those pompoms used to tie the quilt together.It just looks too new, but the fabrics are not quilting cotton. Looks more like wool suiting fabric. Very cool.This is probably an early 20th-century log cabin quilt. It is falling apart, the fabrics are a mix. Shirting, silk, gingham. Much more authentic to the period.Someone donated a spinning wheel. Not because Minnie spun fabric, but because, it fits with the theme.This Home treadle sewing machine was probably like something she would have owned.So beautiful for a simple workhorse.The information plaques are really there for the children who come through with their schools. Which is a very good thing, everyone should learn the history of their area, especially when these days Chatsworth is simply suburbia. I do enjoy the mention of crochet work.No, Minnie’s father didn’t make this, that pearl cotton is too new. But it would have been fun to see what he did make. With no electricity or running water, it’s nice to know he found please in making something delicate with his hands – a real break from working a farm.


LA Aqueduct walk

Last Sunday we walked with Charles Fleming around a cemetery. This week, we took his book, Secret Walks and headed out the northern part of the valley. This is a view that anyone driving on the 5 Freeway, is very familiar with. The end of the LA Aqueduct. Sometimes water is being aerated down both spillways, today it was clearly not.  The water goes under the freeway to a very large holding area, which these days is covered with large black balls to prevent evaporation. We walked up the very northern part of Balboa Ave, I had thought it ended at Foothill, but now, it makes a loop around. There is plenty of large warehouses and a few housing communities.  Most of the water is pumped through these massive pipes, all the way from the Owens Valley.Gotta love the bombastic name and gate in front of one of these complexes.  The street is named Nicklaus Dr. We soon found out why.This area was intended to be a planned golf community, with the course designed by Jack Nicklaus.  They dug up a pond and lined it with heavy plastic, which surprisingly enough has survived all these years. I bet it had water in it last winter when we had heavy rains.They also paved pathways for golf carts, although they don’t want motorized traffic on them now.Someone planted bougainvillea Since these are native to Mexico, they thrive out here without any care.Gazania, another domesticated plant that manages to thrive with no care.Looking up at the final water tower of the aqueduct itself.Down at the water splashing and aerating on it’s way to the sanitation reservoir. These days people love to bash the aqueduct and its designer, William Mulholland. Me, I’m grateful to both. LA would never be what it is today without the water. I love this massive, crazy megalopolis. Sure, these days much of our water comes from the Colorado River. Why is it that people are so impressed with ancient world engineering (Machu Pichu, the Pyramids) but dismiss modern day wonders?  I’m impressed with them all.The Los Angeles Freeway system is a wonder unto itself.Cars on the freeway and a Metrolink train speeding by on tracks.Massive power lines are overhead. Part of the power comes from the aqueduct and hydroelectric power. Walking under them is a little disconcerting, the hum and crackle of the massive power running through those wires are very noticeable.I saw a couple of these boxes, fuses just open to the elements. Maybe they are completely non-functional, I hope so. We walked alongside this condo complex. It faces the freeway and all of the noise, but at least in the back, they have this lovely expanse of grass. I hope people take advantage of this.Look what I found! A quilt! It looks handmade. I didn’t dare touch it, who knows what kind of germs are on it. But a quilt, out in the wild.It was too early for tacos, so instead, we found a cute coffee shop, Coffee and Cream, in Sylmar. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed the mural, as well as a conversation with a fellow cyclist. I don’t ride bikes, but Joel does, so they had a lot to talk about. As I said, I love this crazy megalopolis.


Valley Relics museum

Last year I visited  Tommy’s print plant – where he prints t-shirts. I took to long to go out and visit his museum, Valley Relics.

What a treat, this is a labor of love from someone who grew up here and wants to preserve as much as he can of our history.Every city has it’s area that people love to look down on. In LA, it’s the valley, so be it, those people have no idea what they are missing. I wish this had a year attached, because there are at least a million people living here now, if not more.Drexlers’ Deli was the first kosher deli in the valley. It closed 20 years ago, and the couple have since passed away. Their son is a friend, and he was thrilled to know that the sign is safe and sound.Henry’s Tacos lost their lease a few years ago. They moved to a smaller location down the street. I have to say that Cactus Taqueria, that took over the space is better food. At least the sign with the original prices is preserved.Bob’s in Toluca Lake still stands, but the one on Van Nuys is long gone.Don’t know which location this is from, but I bet it’s very valuable. I wonder if the  Museum of Neon Art would have wanted to get their hands on some of these signs. Maybe they are just happy they are being preserved and seen.Don’t know this place at all, but then I only got here 27 years ago. But look at those prices!The site of one of the first big malls in the valley, soon to be completely overhauled into a large mixed use complex.Remember when all restaurants gave out matchbooks?I love these old packing labels. I really love that this one is from North Hollywood. These peaches were probably shipped east from the depot that now holds a coffee shop. Is that an old fashioned can opener?Memorabilia from the old Southern Pacific railroad.  Both passengers and frieght used the rails.When Aerospace was a big industry here.

Then there is Nudie Cohn tailor to stars, who really embelished everthing he touched.

There is a ton of his memorabilia here, these are just a few examples of his clothes, and not even the most elaborate. They have his Bonneville, the decorations and embelishments are legendary.

The place was full of people who loved jogging their memories. Thank you Tommy and I will be back, with others who need to experience this.









Local festival

In the morning I had a baby shower at my house for a dear friend’s daughter. This will be her first grandchild. Sorry, not many pictures, but I can assure you, a great time was had by all.

Then in the afternoon, I went to a community festival.I really love how neighborhoods are doing these kinds of things, I also love dancing kids. Oh and that long shadow? That is me, the days are getting shorter, the shadows are getting longer.This location is where the farmers market takes place every Sunday. So the merchants are used to the crowds, many of them simply put some of their wares out in front. The police and fire department were there, I gravitated towards the beautiful classic cars.Even this one, which has deliberately been left in it’s arrested decay state.Some people love to show off their engines. Others are showcasing pickup trucks in colors that didn’t exist when they were made. Who can resist a deep purple truck?The crafts people were all small and local. Macrame has made a comeback.What a creative way to build a display.No, the sewing machine wasn’t for sale. The lovely woman was selling handmade belts and pouches. Her dad owns a repair shop, so he has many old machines, and this one is the one she uses. Darn, why didn’t I get his name???Rope baskets are becoming a thing at craft fairs. All of my friends have made at least one of these.

Now these are dream catchers.Mexican beading and yarn art.The prices were very reasonable. As much as I love supporting other crafters, if it’s not something I really love, I won’t be buying. I do hope that this was the first of many such events.












Meeting neighbors

mong the many chriticisms, I hear about Los Angeles is that it is a big impersonal city, people are too busy and too self-involved.  I’ve come to the conclusion that whoever is saying this is the guilty party – not the masses of people around us. I have always smiled at strangers,  I’ve been pleasant to people around me and guess what? I’ve found people around me to be kind and friendly.So I’m walking the neighborhood much more and expanding the distances I go. Sure these kind of garden sculptures capture my interest.The gazing ball craze has been over for years, so has this one been sitting here for years? The rusty pedestal seems to support that idea.Then I came across this house, a supurb example of 1920’s architeture in LA, part of the Storybook fad.  As I was taking this picture, the owner bounded out and we started talking. He was impressed that I guessed the age of the house, I did admit that being a guide with the LA conservancy, I am always learning new things about the city. We talked for about 20 minutes. No, we never exchanged names, I may never see him again, so what?  Friendly, casual interactions between strangers are fine just being that – friendly and short. This was the only remaining corbel with a face. Since the house is 90 years old and probably was only the carriage house of a larger home, a lot has changed. He and his wife just purchased the home, in hopes of moving up here in a few years from Orange County. This is quite a change from the tract home they live in now.  He was busy getting the place fixed up so they can rent it out. So if someone wants a cute house, on Fairway Ave, right above Ventura Blvd, go take a look.You’d think this gate is part of the same home, but no, someone else is into the ‘Gothic look’.Later on the walk I came across this fellow. No we didn’t meet in person, I couldn’t pet him, but he is real. All I could think of is the old song from my youth – How much is that Doggie in the Window?The gardens are full of flowers, I’m loving them all.I’ve never seen a gladiola like this. They only bloom for a few weeks, boy is this a great one to have in the garden!


Walking as exercise

I’m not getting any younger. My doctor says I need more exercise, he is right and at some point, I might even go to a gym. Right now I’m using my stairs as aStairmasterr and getting out and walking the local hills.Here I am, going up Sunswept St. The hills have turned golden, it looks like I’m far from the city.I’m right above Carney’s on busy Ventura Blvd.I often wonder if the city would allow these steep winding streets to be built today, probably not. It is fun to see the funky creativity up here.The more modern gates I see, the less creativity. Some carpenter had a lot of fun here.There were quite a few trucks up here, people are refurbishing their homes. Well not everyone. A doorway to an empty lot.I always stop for arrested decay, I think this may have been part of a gate mechanism.Here you can see the slope of the street. I guess you can call this recycling, patching together a car from many parts.A few days later, I was off to the Northwestern part of the valley. A large lovely park, O’Melveney Park. What used to be a private ranch with a lot of old fruit trees. Many people out hiking and enjoying this park which was gifted to the city years ago.It’s not quite June, but we are getting the marine inversion layer already. An old crabapple tree.A thistle. A lot of plants are blooming and the poison oak is out in force. That probably has to do with the rains we’ve had.This is what I call very good design! Water that is reachable by adults, people in wheelchairs, children and dogs!

So yes, this is a very enjoyable way for me to get my exersize.






Los Angeles Weather

I don’t buy into global warming, or climate change or whatever they are calling it these days. To me, it’s all weather, in some ways it’s predictable, in others it’s not. What has been happening these last few years in California is predictable and following a pattern.

Simply put, we get rain in the winter, then we get a few years of drought, we always have fires, but at some point, we have massive fires all over the state. The following winter we will have an abundance of rain and snow, then come the mudslides. Maybe back to regular rain for a while and then the cycle repeats.

So this year is the year of massive rains.Capturing rain on camera isn’t easy, believe me, it was pouring! I was supposed to give a tour to high school students. We planned on meeting in Pershing Square. I stayed across the street under the overhang at the entrance to the Starbucks in the Title Guarantee building.  We all huddled there until the rain cleared a little and then it was off on a tour. Most of the tour was fine, towards the end the rain started again.Thanks to the rain, there wasn’t a line at Eggslut in Grand Central Market. I finally had my chance to try thier famous sandwhiches. My verdict? Meh. Not worth the wait. It was a fine egg sandwich, I’m glad it’s off my bucket list. Sure, if there isn’t a line I’d get another, but it certainly isn’t worth the hype.The first picture was taken at noon, this one at 2:30. Ah, LA Blue skies!  Now, you have to understand, photography is all about how you frame the image. the the left and behind me there were still gray ominous clouds, which later that day dumped more rain.  But this is the sky we are famous for.A few days latter and I’m on the northern rim of the San Fernando Valley, in a neighborhood called Porter Ranch. Hiking with a friend, enjoying exercize, good company and great views. The haze over the valley is haze, not smog, within the hour it had lifted.The first part of the walk was on city streets, we looked down over this horse path, our hike was a circle, so coming back would be on this path.And here we are. The hill sides are still covered in the old dead chapparal, but a lot of new growth is happening because of the rain.Look at the size of the boulder that fell from the hillside. We saw a lot of evidence of mudslides. Most dragged down the litter that people have thrown, this one brought down some rocks and a large boulder.See, the haze lifted, back to our glorious blue sky!