Hotel Figueroa

Another downtown Los Angeles gem. The hotel Figueroa. It was built in the late 1920’s by the YWCA as a hotel for businesswomen, but unfortunately it didn’t survive as one and by the 1930’s was simply a hotel.hotel figueroa signNothing in Los Angeles is simply anything. If you have seen any movie or TV show where people are meeting in a restaurant or lobby in the middle east – it was probably filmed here.IMG_2100Although when doing so, they have to remove the Buddhas and the very Mexican looking items.IMG_2116A view into the restaurant

Hotel Figueroa lobbyTiles in lobby of Hotel FigueroaThese tiles are on the wall right as you enter, I need to find more about them.

IMG_2112The long hallway to the bar and pool.  As wonderful as this lobby is, and it is a feast for the eyes. This is what is really impressive about this hotel.In ground pool at Hotel Figueroa dtLA

Yes indeed an in-ground pool. When this was built, land was at a premium and since then, no-one, not even the Los Angeles Athletic club put a pool in the ground. It has survived the area being run down and everything around it becoming parking lots. I met an old woman who told me that as a child she learned how to swim in this pool.el Figueroa, Morrocan benchIn the bar area, right off the pool is this wonderful day bed, I’m sure that at night when the place is full, people enjoy this luxury.

Over 20 years ago, I was a student at FIDM , in those days, the only places I went was the school campus and up to the garment district. Downtown was still very sketchy. I’d often drive down Olympic Blvd to get to the freeway. I’d pass a large building, with three sections facing Olympic. There always were and still are full size advertisements on these sections. Only years later did I find out the history of the place and venture in to look at the lobby. I have since met people who have stayed there. The rooms were renovated a few years ago, but are simple run of the mill hotel rooms. These days the hotel is right across from LA Live and the Staple center. Sure you can stay in the JMW Marriott, or stay here, enjoy history and take a dip in that pool!

Handmade handbag

I tend to use one handbag for a season, changing only between winter and summer. Once I started making bags, that changed somewhat. I am particular, I don’t want  the loving hands at home look, or  even just another quilted bag.. The finishing details matter.                                                                                                             At a quilt show last year I found this patternPattern, Bag BostonianSince they were also selling the hardware,  I bought this Korean pattern. Don’t you just love name: bag bostonian.                                                                                        When I travel I like to buy fabric and yarn as mementos, that way when I am working or enjoying a completed project – it reminds of the trip. I found this charm pack of fabrics in Oregon. Creating the bodyThe instructions were wonky, but other people have made this bag, thank God for the internet. I used not only batting but a layer of canvas as well as the lining fabric. This bag had good body and doesn’t flop around. I also like the combination of simple squares with circular quilting.P1010610Unclipped the bag is very spacious, I probably won’t use it often like this.Moda charm packWhen piecing the fabric, one never knows for sure if the conversation piece will be in the correct location. Luckily it worked out for these typewriter keys.P1010623A final touch was these little feet. But something was missing, I had used a sturdy zipper, but the pull was typical, small and not easy to use. fish zipper pullBack when I was making Jewelry, I wire wrapped this fish. The necklace came apart long ago, but I held onto the fish. Perfect, now it has found it’s new home.final touchmodeling bagAnd final shot, looks very good in action.

 

Sunday hike, Baldwin Hills Stairs

 

I love LA, I love that no matter how much I explore I know I will never see it all. So here it is, a cool overcast Sunday morning, perfect day to tackle the Baldwin Hill Stairs. First of all, I didn’t know that this area is a one hundred year old state park.100 year old CA state parkBeing middle age or slightly above, never go on a hike without water or a walking stick. We saw people on the path who wished they had a walking stick, next picture will show you why.Baldwin Hills stairsThe Stairs were built sometime after 2000 using old recycled concrete. As you can see, the stairs go straight up, 500 ft. elevation and they are NOT even, or even matching. So yes, climbing steps that are 10.5″ high is easier with a walking stick. Joel rides his bike every week for 40 miles, he had no problem climbing these stairs. Me, it took me a little longer with more stops. We saw many people who use this as their outdoor stairmaster. downtown LA from Culver CityAnytime I can snap a picture of downtown LA, I am going to do it. Yes, I have an affinity for downtown. On a clear day the view is spectacular. Can I just say, walking under a hazy cloud was easier than the blazing sun.P1010667I made it to the top. That is west LA and Century City behind me. Also, there is a wonderful plaque on the ground extolling the wonders of concrete.Oil drilling in LALooking in the other direction, the oil fields of Baldwin Hills. We have many oil rigs throughout the city, many are camouflaged, these are right out in the open and I love them! Concrete and oil, it built the  southland.                                                  Beyond in the haze you can see the control tower of LAX as well as the spider shape of the Theme restaurant at the airport – also known as Encounter.               The ocean is beyond, not visible today – this isn’t LA smog – this is simply early spring haze. Within an hour it all burned off.P1010683Looking down at the Balona creek, now an ugly concrete channel. The subject of how and why the rivers in LA came to be encased in concrete is worthy of a book. Actually someone probably wrote one. I of course took the picture because of the large graffiti with someone doing just that – riding his bike. The bike path goes all the way down to the ocean, 6 miles away.

To finish off the hike, we looked for a Taco joint, most of our hikes have been on the east side of town, where the best tacos can be found. Instead we found this food truck and yes, I finished off my fish tacos before thinking of taking a picture of them. Trust me, they were good.Food Truck

Wedding Flowers

 

The wedding is fast approaching.  My son Yishai is in charge of the ceremony and all religious aspects. His fiance Yochanan is in charge of colors, decorations and everything else. The colors he chose are: black, white, grey and green. Gotta honor the Irish side, not just the Jewish one.

His two adoptive dads have an amazing succulent garden, somehow they had to be used in the centerpieces. So we came up with the idea of planting succulents in large pots (happening now, so they will be well established by May). Meanwhile, I found the instructions for these wonderful fabric roses on Pinterest, (yay Pinterest). And we got to work.                       P1010643
The pots are earth tone. The succulents will provide the green, therefor we decided that the flowers will be black and white. Yoch and I belong to the                  LA Modern Quilt Guild which meets at Sew Modern
Of course that is where we bought most of the fabric. Then divided it between the two of us and started cutting and sewing the strips for the flowers.P1010530Today eight of us gathered together to assemble the flowersAt workmaking the flowerI had to run out to JoAnn’s to get 3 more glue guns, so glad I have their coupons! Yes, there were burnt fingers, that hot glue is deadly but I know no other way to get a fast assembly line going.

Yoch and flowerYoch with a very successful finished flower – his first!flower makersHere is the whole gang of flower makers. Friends, family and funP1010649After 5 hours we had made close to 100 flowers. Here they are all bunched together in the sun for their group portrait.splash of greenAnd here they are, lined up with the obligatory green.

I’m hoping to see my friends making more of these wonderful flowers for other occasions. We are all experts now.

 

Spring dress

Although we didn’t have winter this year, one way to note the change of seasons is to sew new clothes. I bought  enough of this printed cotton lawn for a cute shirtwaist dress. Going through my patterns I decided to combine these two.P1010565Pattern on the left for skirt, pattern on the right for top.  I wanted pleats,  not gathering in the skirt. I had to lengthen the top down to the waist. I also knew I’d be inserting a side zipper.Shirtwaist dress

 I need to get better at this photography, move away from the tree, readjust the clothes better. But now I’m too lazy for a re-shoot, so here it is. the finished dress.back viewThe skirt called for two pockets, I put in one since there is a zipper on the left side.flowingIt has a lovely flow, the skirt swings.Inside as nice as the outsideI lined the whole dress. The front panels needed self-lining because of the collar, I used plain white because I had it one had. I could have bound the armholes separately but I felt the skirt needed lining because it is simply too sheer, so might as well line the whole thing.

close up of buttons
Buttons anchor the placket, but no button holes.

Had these cute buttons that match the green in the print.P1010607I am loving the evenness of my machine stitches, as well as the clarity of this photograph.

All in all, a lovely new spring dress, I am having so much fun using the new machine. Many more projects on the way.

Fine Arts Building, downtown Los Angeles

Yesterday I was downtown with a friend. We weren’t in my regular stomping grounds, but I knew of a gem of a building that is a must see.

Fine Arts Building-Fascade 02
Had to grab this image from the web, first of all, buildings around have changed, also, no way I could take this picture. I don’t think I’d be allowed in an office across the street to do so.

I forgot my good camera so my pictures are from my phone.

Exterior plaques, Fine Arts, DTLA
811 7th st. Dtla, go see this

One thing I always tell people, when walking on the street, look up! Most of us don’t do that, so when coming across this building, most people don’t notice much.

Wonderful gargoyles Fine Arts dtla
The whole exterior has this wonderful character.

 

Enter the beautiful front doors, and WOW:

Lobby Fine Arts, dtla
All of this is Ernest Batchelder Tiles
Ceiling Fine Arts Lobby DTLA
Incredible workmanship. The tile and painted ceiling are amazing.

Look up at the ceiling, also amazing.

Elevator, Fine Arts DTLA
Gorgeous elevators

For more information about this gorgeous building.

The Fine Arts Building

All the tiles in this building were made by:

Ernest Batchelder

I am falling in love with California tiles. It makes perfect sense that in a city where homes were built from clay (adobe) there will be a wonderful ceramic tradition, and there is.  Ernest Batchelder has his own unique style, namely – he didn’t glaze his tiles, they don’t shine, he would paint many of them, and seal them.  Notice the ones on the floor by the elevator, color, but no shine.

Many private craftsmen homes have fireplace surrounds with his tiles, in downtown LA, we have amazing examples of his work. This building is one of his largest commercial installations. Unfortunately you can’t go up to the mezzanine level to look down, it is a fully functioning office building these days and yes, the tenants are paying for privacy.

 

 

 

 

 

Time for crochet

If asked what I prefer knitting or crochet, my first response will be knitting. Then I have to qualify that answer – garments, socks, shawls are best knitted. Crochet is very different and is wonderful for fine lace, Kippahs and softies – or hug-able animals.

Sometimes I see a pattern and that is exactly what I want -no need to put my own stamp on it, such was the case with
Fatty Lumpkin

Just like the original
Just like the original

At my local JoAnn’s I found wonderful baby skeins of colorful acrylic yarn. Yes, for soft toys, acrylic is great .  I followed the 24 page instruction booklet to a tee,  no getting extra creative here.

African flower, a wonderful  new take on the granny square
African flower, a wonderful new take on the granny square
building the pony from the back legs up
building the pony from the back legs up

Kudos to Heidi Bear for designing this  pony, I am always happy to pay for other peoples’ hard work.  I wouldn’t have the patience to figure out how to put this together.

Stuff as you go, otherwise it just won't work
Stuff as you go, otherwise it just won’t work

The eyes aren’t the animal eyes you can buy and insert, they are simply black buttons.

I wasn’t sure where this little fellow was going to end up living. With friends having babies, there would always be a good home for this fellow.  Those babies will get something else, this pony isn’t going anywhere.

Hubby loves his new toy
Hubby loves his new toy

 

 

 

 

 

Spring knitting

Every year in April we have an event called: Los Angeles Yarn Crawl. It is a creative way for yarn stores to get more business on one weekend. I will probably go this year because it is fun to hang out with friends in yarny places.

Last year I stayed home, I didn’t want to spend money on more yarn, of course I have no problem spending money on more fabric.

'free yarn'
‘free yarn’

Instead, I went out to lunch with two knitting friends, one mentioned that her stash is way too big and that I should come over and ‘shop her stash’. It was a  win-win.  I got a lot of sweater quantity yarn, and she got more space in her closet.

Meanwhile another knitting friend shared a great bit of information, with my Los Angeles public library card I can download magazines from

Zinio online magazine reader

In Knitscene Spring 2014 I found this cute sweater.

knitscenespring_600And I immediately set to work.

Knitting the back
Knitting the back

I’m a monogamous knitter, one project at a time. Of course I am not a monogamous crafter, what with sewing, quilting and other things that catch my fancy.

Front of cardigan
Front of cardigan

I had to tack the collar down to the sweater, it just kept rolling up.

Back of sweater
Back of sweater
Lovely buttons
Lovely buttons

The buttons I found at the sewing/craft show in Pomona. I ‘happened’ to have the knitting with me so I knew they would work well.

Guess what I’ll be wearing tonight to my knitting group.

WeHo Stitch and Bitch at the Original Farmers market.

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