Although I haven’t shared it much on this blog. I do love to cook. I don’t bake, I leave that up to my DIL, she brings over great baked goods.

Every time my Dr. makes some comment about health issues, I inform him that this is how my body is reacting. When it comes to what I eat – he’d be thrilled if just a quarter of his patients ate like me.

No, I don’t care about organic foods. The quantity of organic food on the market lets me know – that they have to be using some chemicals, they just aren’t telling us what. But, I am always cooking with fresh fruits and veggies, meat, chicken and fish. I no longer rely on all the prepared food or semi prepared food that is out there. Sure, when I was raising my boys, anything to help in the kitchen was welcome.

Two and a half years ago I bought the instant pot. I LOVE it. I use it all the time. This morning it was a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. You can probably see beyond the pot that it is raining out there. It will be soup tonight.

A caterer friend showed me how when she roasts veggies for a client, she throws all the odds and ends into a pot to make stock. Since I don’t cook in large quantities I have come up with a way that works for me. I collect all my odds and ends of veggies, from the tips of carrots to the parsley stems. As well as veggies that are on the brink of going bad. I throw them into the freezer. Once the bag is full, I’ll add onion, carrots, parsnips, celery root, and I cook it up in the pot.

Then I have stock on hand, salt, other seasonings are added when I actually make soup or cook rice with it.

Immediately after straining the broth, I used it to make lentil soup. My favorite.

As wonderful as the instant pot is, cooking is very much trial and error. After cooking for 30 minutes, the lentil hadn’t broken down enough, so I cooked another 30 minutes. then the soup was nice and thick. At this point I released steam and added celery, mushrooms and zucchini for only 7 minutes. I want these veggies to hold their shape.

These last pictures were taken with my phone. You can really see the difference. I made the soup in the morning and at dinner time I took these pictures. I had taken some of the soup to my grandsons – omg did they love it! Spending time and sharing good homemade food are ways to show love.

I no longer set the pot and go, I tinker, a lot. So along with the soup I made salmon and rice. I had tried cooking them together, but the rice didn’t cook well.

So here is my new method, I used brown rice, which takes much longer. I cook the brown rice for about 10 minutes, it’s not fully cooked yet. As it’s cooking I prep the salmon. Lemon juice, spices, a lot of butter, as well as lemon spices and some fresh oregano.

I put this on top of the rice, add some veggies to the rice, in this case chopped green beans and carrots and cook for another 7 minutes.

Here we have it. It was Valentines day, a day I never go to a restaurant. That and mother’s day.

One of the things about cooking and eating at home is the presentation. I learned this from a neighbor in Israel years ago. Alway use nice display items (yes she had a lovely households goods store). So even when it’s just the two of us, I always transfer the food from the cooking utensils to nice platters and bowls. Sometimes I’ll simply do the plating in the kitchen. Like with the soup, but then, the remainder of the meal is on these nice dishes. Food isn’t just sustenance, it feeds the soul as well.

And now, to enjoy a few hours of sunshine before the rain comes back.

Learning new lenses

I know, not everyone wants to see the learning curve of a new camera. So feel free to skip, although, cute picture of grandson at the end of the post!

So after shooting close ups with my macro lens, I figured it was time to go to You Tube and learn more about this lens. Turns out, I can get some pretty good shots that aren’t macro. It’s pays to educate myself.

My garden sculpture, everything is looking sharp. I’m wondering if I would have gotten those rays of light with the regular lens. I don’t think so.

Moving in closer, but still on F8, (sorry about camera jargon), the totem is in focus, most of the background is as well. I like this.

Went down to the smallest appetite and the background is fading out. But the image is so sharp, you can see the cobwebs.

What the naked eye doesn’t see, the camera captures! You’d think the rain would have washed this clean, I guess not.

Looks like we will have a few more days of rain, I’m hoping to get out with this lens and take both wide shots and macro ones.

Now here is what is really important, my grandson.

There is a feature on this camera that locks the focus point on the eyes, woah! I’m impressed, also, isn’t he the cutest ever??

Years ago, at craft fairs, one could find dolls that looked like this. They didn’t have a head, and you’d lean them against a wall. Eyal just does it on his own, he also does a very good down-dog.

Oldest grandson Aytan, we bought that bear when he was a baby. All the grandkids have loved it.

using the seam ripper, more than the sewing machine

Some people design quilts on computer programs or just with paper and colored pencils. I design while sewing, which means there are plenty of ripping out sections of blocks and redoing them.

This is where we left off, I had created a large star out of the light red print. I was very pleased with that, but then wasn’t happy with the upper corner, it just felt too dark.

As you can see, I replaced the solid red with a brighter print. Adds more depth and dimension.

I had one center block, I decided to make sure there was more white than red.

On the side I repeated those two blocks.

I don’t know why, but I wasn’t happy with then, bring out the seam ripper again.

Just by narrowing down the center diamonds I feel that there is more interest here. I think I have an outer border that will be mostly white. It short of feels unfinished right here.

Blowing in the wind. I won’t be quilting this until I get my new Koala table, and that could be a while…

Capturing Mid century buildings before they disappear

The Valley went through it’s big growth spurt right after WWII. During the 50s’ the baby boomers flocked to the new suburbia. Along with housing came office buildings and apartment buildings as well. These days many are being threatened as once again, construction is booming here. So as I go out and about, I’m taking pictures of buildings I pass every day. The ones that are mostly invisible to me.

Here is a typical example, one that no one ever pays any attention to. Painted brick walls, the large curtain windows that are separated by the bricks. An outdoor staircase.

Here we have the flat roof, the columns as well as the protruding supports. Of course what I love bout this one is the Art Deco Style lettering. I think this is rather new. As I always like to say, when a new style emerges, it doesn’t immediately erase the old style, they co-exist for a while. My guess is that this convalescent home was looking at Letter-types and simply like the Art Deco. Without any knowledge of the progression from Art Deco to Mid-Century.

Ok, so the rounded tower isn’t covered in gold mosaic like the May Company building on Wilshire. But we do have the curtain windows as well as the breezeway blocks, probably hiding the parking level.

And now, onto an apartment building. These are beginning to be torn down, bigger taller ones replace them. Once again, flat roof, curtain windows. Ugly astroturf on the entrance stairs. But there is an open courtyard, something that is completely gone from the modern apartment buildings.

This builder really liked the Gothic font and the very grandiose name. To most people these buildings are invisible, which is why I like showcasing them from time to time.

Just a lovely Valley home. Someone took the effort to make this one look especially pleasing.

OK, so the local chamber of commerce has been painting and decorating the big electrical boxes on the streets. Nice job here with the penguins.

It was a lot of fun to continue my walk and come across this address plaque. I’m seeing a theme here.

Some knitting progress

I need to find a new way to showcase my shawls. I had been using the sewing dummy. Well, as I clean out the room, I got rid of that. Then again, my new camera is so amazing, I may simply take more selfies.

My DIL Becky asked me to repair a pair of socks I made her. Nope, not happening, but I will knit a new pair.

Trying it on as I knit, the joy of magic loop knitting. A friend recently asked me for some DPNS, I do have a few I never use. I’m on that flexible needle no matter what.

I have finished these socks and have handed them over. I have another ball of yarn so will probably end up knitting a pair for myself as well.

I immediately started on a pair for Joel, and forgot to take any pictures. That is until I finished the first sock. I’m too lazy to clean up the picture and get rid of the yarn tail, that got clipped off right after the picture was taken.

I’m now working on sock number two and decided that I better get some pictures. Using my macro lens of course, because come on, I need to have some fun.

A closer look. How beautiful is this yarn. It is hand dyed, goes from purple, through grey to green – then back again. I bought it at Road to California just two weeks ago.

This sock is being knit from the center out so that it will match the first one.

Between the rain drops

We have been getting a lot of rain. Look how beautifully my camera captures each individual drop. I’m finally understanding Shutter speed.

This ditch has been here forever, this is the first time I see water running freely into the storm drain and then into the nearby LA River.

I snapped this picture on my phone while stopped at a stoplight. I’m sure it would be much more vivid with my new camera.

Look how clear this is. I was using the eye recognition feature and shooting into a mirror. I’d say I’m pretty sharp in this picture. Also a little cold, notice both a wool sweater and wool shawl. I wouldn’t survive for a minute in that polar vortex that hit the midwest last week.

Works really great on Aytan, look he’s smiling!

While the weather was nice, these guys are up changing or painting a new sign. I’m pretty sure the firetruck is just parked there while the firemen have lunch at Art’s Deli. It is a cool image.

I’ve been playing with the macro lens. I still have a lot to learn, but omg, am I loving this.

Thank you Trader Joes. I bet next time to go there will be no more daffodils.

I’ve been trying to get pictures of the hummingbirds. I wised up and put the feeder out front, so now when I sit at the kitchen table, I see them. Vicious little things, if there is more than one, a fight is taking place. When I stop outside they immediately are aware of me, and they stay away. Grrrr. Yes, I’ll be getting more powerful lenses in the future. But right now, I need to be close. I have seen the little brown ones, but have also seen some with a bright red breast. One of these days I’ll have pictures to share. For now, I’m just enjoying watching them through the window.

Back to my Red and White

After not working on this quilt for almost a month, it is a little hard getting back to it. Especially since I’m so excited about a redesigned sewing room. But I can’t wait for that – it’s probably 2 months or more away.

I know, I do have a design wall, but it’s upstairs so I often will simply use the floor, to my detriment as you will soon see.

Once I finished a whole corner, I went and put it on the design wall.

Here is a close up of the corner, a few things caught my eye. I could use some more contrast at the outer edges. Also, I love breaking the wall of blocks. So it would be better if instead of the two dark diamonds on the big star, I had the same red/white print.

I really noticed that when I had created more blocks. Luckily these aren’t sewn on yet, but this is what a wall is for. I can stand back and see how dark the red is. I know, plenty of people would do this on a program like EQ8, me, I like doing it as I quilt. I’m in no rush, I’m not selling any pattern, this is the creative process for me.

I switched out the dark red triangles for brighter polka dot whens, which is great, but this is when I noticed that I’d prefer the light diamonds instead of the dark ones. Fine tuning the balance.

Much better!! Now I feel like I am enjoying the direction this is going!

So now I’m wondering if I will be using more of the dark read in the centers – between the corner blocks. I’m also wondering how big this quilt will be. I might bite the bullet and have it 50″ x 60″. Or I may do some kind of border. We shall, see, I have a ways to go before I need to tackle that.

A weekend full of grandkids

It is so true, nothing is better than grandkids. I’m so blessed to have them all near-by.

Saturday afternoon was Jacuzzi time.

Spending the weekend with Saba and Savta means getting an ice-cream cone for dessert. Is it any surprise that these two want to come back here again, asap?

Eyal and his dads joined us at the park. Btw, there is nothing better than these simple umbrella strollers. We’ve had this one for nine years. All of the grandkids have used it. Later in the afternoon we took it to the aquarium, what a life saver.

Enjoying the see-saw.

I love how Eyal photobombed this image of Westley sliding along.

Sand is often the best part of a playground.

Then it was off to the Aquarium, I didn’t take many pictures, it was a real mob scene.

These two love their big cousin Shira, she loves being the leader of the pack.

Aytan enjoying the birds.

I must say, slept extremely well on Sunday night. These guys are so much fun but very exhausting!

Macro lens

Oh, boy am I having fun! For the last year or so, many of my pictures were from my phone. I was getting lazy. The quality of the old camera was better than the phone, and yet…. it was easier to pull out the phone. I still love the phone for impromptu.

This is with the kit lens, look at the steam! That is not something I could capture all that well before. Once again, I made my baba ganouche, I think I added too much garlic. Oh well, kept the vampires away.

I treated myself to a handmade silver thimble with the nail opening. I’ve been admiring these for years. A year ago I bought a silver thimble at an antique mall. I put it away when I went to Israel and it disappeared. I have no idea where it went. I’m hoping that as I clean and rearrange my sewing room it will reappear.

Back to the macro lens, look at how it captures every little detail, the coloration in the small pink bead. I didn’t notice that until I looked at these pictures.

See the lip? this allows using both the top and the side of the thimble. So far I’ve taken pictures, I haven’t use’t it yet. Right now I am in awe of the clarity and details.

After I took these pictures I realized that I had the ISO a little too high. So these are brighter than they should be, and yet – still amazing.

I need to watch some more You Tube as well as practice. The macro lens is so tight, I was focusing on the beads, and the thimble is already blurred. This never happened with the old camera. I’m glad I haven’t bought a long range lens yet… Although I know my friend Becky is laughing right now – I’m getting addicted to lenses.

This time I let the camera decide the ISO, but I think I need to back off on the aperture, I would like this whole image to be in focus. As they say, practice, practice, practice.

Wow, I need to clean off this sphere, the camera captured every mote of dust.

Just one of the cute items in my garden.

Not the macro lens. Our Temple has started an empty nesters group, we will be meeting at one another homes. So of course they asked for group photos from all the homes. I had fun setting up the camera on the tripod. I tried to pair it with my phone, didn’t work too well. But the 10 second delay worked just fine. So here we are, low light, no flash and a very happy group of people. Picture came out great.

Phone picture, beautiful, great details. Boy oh boy, what I could do with the macro lens!

Road to California 2019

I am spoiling myself these days, I got some money from my mom’s inheritance and I’m spoiling myself. Aside from the new furniture, I bought a new camera. A very nice mirrorless Sony camera. My son is jealous, he wants to get his hand on it and play. I need a lot of play time. Meanwhile, I went to Road2Ca to give it a whirl.

Look at this, the appliqué, the quilting are gorgeous, but look how sharp the image is!!!

Some more beautiful appliqué and quilting.

I love these bright intricate busy quilts. Not something I’d ever make.

The center is a delicate crocheted doily. Now that is a doily I can love.

After all that intense detail and quilting, it is a pleasure to see something like this. First of all I love the red, white and black. I like the very large carnation motif and the simple quilting.

Here I am planning a reverse engineering of this block. One thing I love is doing just that. Figuring out the puzzle on my own.

I’m not really into this kind of wool appliqué, but boy do I love these colors! So this is more of color inspiration for me, of course I could simply appliqué this in cottons. Oh, I showed Rosa my owl, since I used her technique and tools, she was very impressed and very happy to my work.


A closer look, and it’s truly an abstract. A beautiful one either way.

Here is a close up of a handprinted quilt, all the quilting is done on a domestic machine. The way I quilt.

Here is the back of this quilt, I think I might prefer this side.

I love this version of Violet Crafts’ lion. Almost makes me want to try one myself with unusual fabrics. But first, I will be making Orange Dot’s mandala. Also paper piecing, not quite as complicated. And that of course only after I finish my red and white….

Speaking of red and white, with some grey and black thrown in for good measure.

I had to try out my depth of field. The purples are so sharp, the greens are hazy. Ahh, I am loving this new camera, so much to learn!