Cars and Stars

For some reasons the pregnant women I know these days are all having boys. They need quilts but must have a boy theme. Once again, in that wonderful stash from Barbara I find many wonderful car and transportation fabric.
I wanted to try some paper piecing, a method using paper template pieces while putting a block together. The central blocks really needed this treatment, the others, no so much, but I was on a roll.Cars and stars, paper piecingTo get the sharp points and accuracy, paper worked like a charm.Layout for Cars and starsOne of the things I love about quilting is putting the puzzle together. I had no plan, just making the blocks and then trying to see the best way for them to make a cohesive, eye pleasing design.finished cars and starsI’m very pleased with how this worked out.  Symmetry and a center motif that is similar but not.quilting stars and carsQuilting on a dark background is wonderful, hides many mistakes, unfortunately, unless the light is shinning directly on it – you don’t see the details. Of course this is a baby quilt, not an art piece. I enjoyed the process, baby should simply enjoy the softness and the bright colors.Back of Cars and StarsBack must be as bright as the front, also here is a chance to showcase some of the fabrics that were cut into small patches on the front.Cars and stars labelA quilt must have a label. I used the old Babylock Quest for the machine embroidery. Yes that machine still has very important used. I also left enough space for mom to add the name and birth date of the baby.  Notice the dark print on the back?  I used the reverse side of this fabric as the background on the front of the quilt.                            Yes that caused a lot of problems and ripping out. Since my brain kept going back to – pattern is the front of fabric. I’d piece two patches together and duh! I wanted the solid side on the front. So rip and start over. Luckily I had a lot of this fabric and still do.Gifting Cars and StarsSorry about the quality of this picture. Lauren is a member of my knitting guild and boy did we ever throw her a baby shower. Here she is admiring the quilt.          Since then her son was born (missing my birthday by 16 minutes!) I have no idea if his name is on the back yet, babies take up much more time than anyone expects.


Pretty little dress

I am very lucky to have an adorable granddaughter who loves all things girly.  Having no idle hands means always making something. Though  even my granddaughter doesn’t need that many dresses. Luckily I have friends with little girls. So when a certain little girl had a 4th birthday, I got right to work.McCalls 6878The blue fabric is from my friend Barbara, who gave me a large stash of quilting fabric. It goes very well with the Riley Blake, polka dots, I didn’t even notice that it has little apples instead of a dot.Front of dress I use my love of quilting when sewing, it is hard for me to only use one fabric in a garment. I like how the sleeves are faced with the yellow.P1010749If that isn’t happy I don’t know what is.  Having a friend who works for Hello Kitty is also a big plus, a cute little purse with a puzzle inside.back of dressI’m equally proud of the back, yes I inserted an invisible zipper.on the phoneLike all girls, she loves ‘talking’ on her phone, while sitting on a blanket I knit for her little sister.

Best reward of all, she loves what I make her and I get delicious hugs every time I see her. I’d say that is worth a few dresses.


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 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.