Making gifts

I don’t make a lot of holiday gifts, I’m very selfish and I want to make what I want to make – often just for me.

During the pandemic I switched to a new hairdresser, she and I are on the same wavelength. Let’s just say I got tired of hearing about cats, either domestic or wild. I have no pity for bob cats in Griffith Park that get run over. I’m a humans first, there are plenty of places in CA that bobcats can live.

Also, Kelly does a much better job being creative and styling my hair. So she deserved a homemade gift.

a lovely pouch for traveling with jewelry.

I puffed it up a bit.

Here it is wide open, there are actually two layers, so you can put things right in the middle.

As well as these eight small side pouches, so you can separate out items. this is a very old design, I remember making them over 30 years ago. Then about 15 years ago I found a pattern. Its’ not complicated, but having a pattern is nice.

Of course Kelly loved it! She immediately asked if I would make her two more, one for her mom and one for her sister. These days I say no to people who ask if they can buy something I make. But did I mention I like Kelly? so I quoted her a higher price than my original thought. I am so bad at underestimating my worth.

No, problem, she sent me the money before I even got started.

She mentioned reds, blues and pinks.

Having fun with my fabrics.

and now, back to my addiction, cross-stitch.


Where to store the silk?

My thread storage systems sucks. Not organized at all. Not a good thing, at some point I’ll figure out a system. Meanwhile, I can throw my cotton and DMC in a drawer, but I’d like to keep the silk separate.

I was watching Jan Hicks on You Tube, she mentioned the name of someone who will take your finished project and put is on a handmade bag! Genius! I don’t need her services, I can do the same.

My library of design books is growing. I bought a book of Monograms and old fashioned alphabets. I have been keeping linen scraps, Yes this is a scrap and I got to work.

Btw, there is a J, but no I and no W. I had to create The I, which wasn’t hard to do.

Almost done.

Yes, there are French knots. I don’t hate French knots at all. I even found a fabric that mimics them

The bag, with a Jewelry finding that I have had forever. I might take it off and give it and a large key I have to my granddaughter. She is getting into making jewelry. for now, it’s my zipper pull.

A pink fabric for the lining

And now the silk thread has a home. Until I build up a large inventory, and then I’ll have to find a new solution.


Onwards with the cross stitch

I am so addicted to cross-stitch. I can’t stop. I started a group that meets in my home 6 months ago, in January 3 more women will join in. One of them, Paula, came over to visit last week.

Making friends isn’t east at any age, the pandemic taught me that I have to work extra hard, it is worth it.

Remember this image? all framed and ready to go. Well I noticed that between the elks there was an unfinished tree. Sure I could have left it, you wouldn’t know. But I do. So the benefits of framing myself, I removed it, I unlaced and I fixed the tree.

Much better!

Here is a close up. better balance. Sure there are empty space, which give some relief to the eyes, but a bare tree, not good.

So as you can see, I re-laced, reframed and sent it off to Alaska – where it was received with gratitude.

I have two large projects starting in January. The modern Folk Embroidery 2022 Sew along. I’m still waiting for my silk to arrive from Spain, so that might not be a January 1st start.

I have decided to jump onto the Mirabilia wagon. I bought the pattern in Vermont, as well as linen. Then I proceeded to order the DMC online during Black Friday sales. I also have the metallic threads and will buy the beads later on.

This is one small corner of the chart. there is no way I can work off this. I tried taking pictures and importing into that wonderful new program Markup Rxp. Didn’t work. So then I though, maybe I can take it to Staples, have them make bigger copies on the blue print machine. They had a better idea, why not put it on a Thumb drive and then I can open it on my computer.

Brilliant idea, once it’s a PDF on the computer, it is easy to import into Markup. And that is what I did.

IT works!!! It will take time to mark the symbols, so many of the colors are extremely close. Look at this image, all of this symbol is highlighted in yellow. It is easy to follow, I can zoom in, I love this program – more than PatternKeeper.

I have a number of paper pattern that I have bought, remember buying patterns is a separate hobby from doing the cross-stitch. So, it the pattern is small enough to fit on my printer, I’ll scan at home, but most probably I will take my $6 thumb drive that I had to buy (I don’t walk around with one in my purse), go back to Staples and have them scan on a much higher quality scanner. Life is good!

Hera is the name of this pattern. She needs a project bag, so of course I made one.

In her home, and yes, I’m waiting until Jan First to start.


The Nike Station

I’ve know about the Nike lookout tower for years, I’ve even gotten close to it when hiking up on dirt Mulholland, but never actually got there.

Until this week, when our walking group went up the back way, so instead of a two mile hike, it was less than that round trip. Yup, I am getting lazier.

This is also the first time I’ve driven on Paved Mulholland all the way to where the dirt section begins.

It was a great day for a walk, not so much for pictures. Here we are, looking down at the Encino reservoir. in the haze beyond it is the vast spread of the valley, but its’ hidden today.

Not a great image either, but you can see both a cell tower and to the left, the Nike station.

Aside from being a military installation during WWII, I love how it is now called the gateway to the Big Wild. One of the wonders of Los Angeles is the fact that we are a huge urban metropolitan area and yet, within the boundaries of the city are these amazing wild areas. Of course all around the city there are plenty more, thank to Mulholland himself, this is in the city. Had he not brought the water through the aqueduct to LA, San Fernando Valley never would have become part of the city.

The old guard house and the lookout tower. I am happy to say, there is no graffiti, the rest of the state is being covered with it, even tree, stone and rock. That is what happens when you tell people that destroying property is art. I guess that maybe the military still has some say here, I don’t know. I’m just grateful for no graffiti.

I love how they have updated these signs. So the missiles were in the Sepulveda Basin, today there is a lake, a water reclamation plant, golf course as well as the Army Armory and the Airforce Armory. So I’m not surprised to learn that they could launch missiles from there.

Walking up the staircase. Once again, I love the textures and the mixture of shapes one sees here.

I love how informative these signs are. I’ll be honest, I took the pictures and read them later.

Reaching the top.

Here are the views, not great because of the fog. Next time I go, will probably be very sunny and very different, so I’m enjoying this atmosphere.

That is dirt Mulholland heading towards Reseda Blvd, the way I have always come up.

They have created a nice picnic area down there as well as bathrooms. The real thing, not just Porta-Potties. It is beginning to clear a little, but it didn’t completely clear until hours later.

I have one of those plant identifying apps. Very nice. So this plant, that looks strange but is all over these mountains is the Castor Bean plant! The source of castor bean oil, which is used in cosmetics and industry. It isn’t used as cooking oil because it has ricin – which is very toxic. Over 20 years ago there were ricin attacks on the subway in Japan – it killed people instantly. So this just goes to show you, good and bad go hand in hand in most everything. Especially in plants.


Finding new gems right in my neighborhood.

It’s my daughter in law, who is redoing another Airbnb house, this time with Moroccan flair. She mentioned a store called Badia. There is a reason why I’ve missed this, it is in a large non discreet industrial building, that I have driven by many many times.

One of the great things with being in such a large space is, like IKEA, they create rooms to create atmosphere.

All the while, displaying so much of the products they sell.

They have massive sections of tile. Btw, Morroco was one of the first areas to develop these wonderful multi colored tiles. Well, many others in the Middle East did as well, but as far as a production business – Morocco is still where it’s at.

The tiles around my fireplace in the dining room are from Morocco. I don’t know that the designer ordered them from here, I love the fireplace surround and I love these tiles so much!

I know that decorative tiles are found throughout the Middle East. Turkey has amazing ones, and yet, I think that this style of tile originated in Morocco. If not from here originally, then they really got the whole production going here.

They have plenty table tops, although I like the floor tiles better.

Color! Color! Color! at some point I need to buy some of these vases. They have a ton of incredible textiles as well….

Side tables and cabinets…..

That is a very good price. I wouldn’t say this place is outrageously expensive, but hand work, imported it will cost.

I’m sure this inlay table costs much more, well worth the money. That is true workmanship.

Another ‘room’ display. My son has an outdoor gazebo that they are trying to make a little more like Morocco, yup, I’ll bring them here.

So did I buy anything? Yes, a small item.

This little lamp, that now hangs in my bathroom, next to this:

I’ve had this piece for years, it needed a companion, especially since there is another hook on the ceiling.

When we bought the house, these three were left in the guest bathroom. I like them, a lot.

So yes, another day of exploring and fun. LA has a lot of serious problems but two things, I have family, ie. grandkids here and I love exploring.


The framing

Went to U-Frame it to audition frames.

This simple silver one is the winner. Literally that evening they called me to tell me the job is done. No glass, I’m not that interested in glass on top of my handwork, not to mention, it gets really expensive.

Here it is framed, on the wall. This is a small hallway, you can see this as you come in the front door, although you have to get close. I’m ok with people getting very close, so much so that they might even find my mistakes.

I finished woodland friends, I even put my initials and the year in there, I think I should have done over 4, not two, it is so tiny. This is before I ironed it out.

Here it is ironed. I decided, maybe its’ time to lace the work myself. I had gone to Good will and found a nice frame. Then onto You Tube, so I could get a good tutorial. I’m sorry to say that I’m not thrilled with Ceesie Smitt, it’s ok, but not all that good. Of course, I found much better tutorials and set to work.

Its’ not complicate, there are some tricks of the trade, my huge mistake with Ceesie was cutting the background fabric too small. No need, it doesn’t matter if there is plenty of fabric back here.

Dropped it in the frame, without glass. The acid free foam board is pretty thick, and although this frame came with some stupid saying mounted on a thinner board, I’d rather go with the acid free. I was able to reuse most of these pins to hold the work in place.

Wrapping paper and painters tape seal off the back.

It is bright gold, but I don’t find that that detracts. Also, the frame is square and the work was a little more rectangular. So there is more edging along the side than on the top and bottom. It look fine.

I just realized that I didn’t finish the tree between the elks. Oh well, I think it will just stay that way. all in all, a nice piece, and they won’t know that it isn’t supposed to look like that.

Now, to send it off with a book for big brother. Of course, I’ll be starting something new very soon.


Modern Folk Embroidery Sew along 2021 – FINISHED!!

It is done!!! a year long sew along and I have finished!

Let me go back to November, here I was working on that months block. As you can see, 21, the 20 is up on the top back in February.

November done, also I kept on working as much as I could in December, before December started.

This is as far as I got in December. Sure I was working off the main image, there were some mistakes in the background, but you can’t see them, at this point I can’t either. Also note, I didn’t have my initials in next to that house.

Working one December!

Here is a close up, someone else on IG had put in their own little signature, I’ve been doing this on my projects, so I added it in.

I had seen other people put in their initials, I didn’t have the alphabet. Turns out that back in January the alphabet was provided, but I misplace my January pattern, from Feb onwards I saved it in many locations. So I asked Jacob, he told me where it was, he also provided us with the complete design in one file. So now I’m getting rid of the individual ones. I also sewed my initials.

Looks very nice!

Close up of the tiny initials.

So I’m done! Tomorrow I will take it to the framers. I think I will forgo glass…. I don’t want to think about the cost of glass for a piece this size.

Also, I immediately signed up for the 2022 SAL, Jacob is doing it differently. It is a mystery based on an old Dutch Sampler. Too many people ripped off his design from the full image and sold it for pennies online. That is not OK. That is very different from me and others who worked ahead.

So, I have a nice piece of 40 count linen, I just ordered silk from Mrs. Seida in Spain and apparently it is on it’s way! We shall see how long it takes to get here. I am excited. Jacob is a phenomenal designer, I was ready to take the risk and just be surprised each month. Meanwhile, other projects are also happening.

I am left with a lot of thread. I over bought and I think Jacob is overly generous is telling us how much we need. No worries, these are good colors and my thread stash is simply growing. I need to figure out how to store them better…



Another year, and this time, Thanksgiving was back to what it should be, the whole family as well as a guest who had no where else to go.

Thank you Kimi for taking the family pictures, each one has someone with their eyes closed or blurry, or looking away, which I think is the true spirit of family.

Aytan did not want to be in the picture! Meanwhile, Cam is holding an old lego project. You know how things disappear and suddenly appear again? I found an old box of lego that my kids used. Cam is the master lego maker, he found this, put it together, and the battery, which is at least 15 years old was still inside and it worked! Lights flashed noises were made.

No pictures of the food, lets just say it was delicious and many people went home with care packages.

I bought flowers from the LA flower Truck, they go downtown and buy the flowers at the flower mart. They are no cheaper from the truck, well maybe they are, you do get a lot of flowers. I added lemon and some bottle brush from the garden.

two lovely large arrangements.

Look how gorgeous the peonies are when open.

I needed the buffet for food, so the decorations are now surrounding the ancestors over the fire place.

I have probably already shared this image, but look closely at all the textures and reflections!

after the meal, when only these two guys remain, under the quilt watching Paw Patrol.

Of course, tradition when the boys sleep over is pancakes. Of course, pumpkin with chocolate chips.

On to another great year.


Fall quilt update

I decided to put the name of the quilt right on the front.

I know, this is just a riot of color, its’ not easy to see the patterns, but there is a lot of symmetry here.

There we go, full title.

I need more borders, another Sew Kind of Wonderful element as well as a bear paw block. Bears live in the fall woods right?

The quilt needed to be a little longer as well as wider, so time for owls.

getting an image of the quilt top isn’t easy. I have a small clothes rack. This is the best I could get.

So lets’ look at close ups instead.

The quilting should be simple since there is so much going on here, knowing me, I won’t be able to do complete simple.

How about that owl!

I learn new fangled ways of doing things, then I go back to the tried and true. No more spray glue for me. Good old fashioned safety pins, well the bent kind made for quilting. I have gone back to paper charts for my knitting, although I have to admit, I really enjoy the cross-stitch charts on the tablet. Sure, I can do it from a paper chart, but being able to really zoom in, helps. Plus, I enjoy seeing my progress both on cloth and on the tablet.


The perfect backing. I had bought a bolt on sale for $20. This one is called game day and it celebrates all kinds of sports, yes, football being one of them. So what is more appropriate for fall then football? No, I never watch it but Joel does and this will be his quilt.

Even before it’s quilted, the batting and backing add so much support.

I’d love to get it quilted before Thanksgiving, like I don’t have enough to do with my cooking…


Mid week walk

Our Temple in conjunction with another Temple started a group for seniors. I’m not quite there yet, but figured, I can avail myself of some activities.

So I joined a hike, well really a walk.

Out in Chatsworth, looking for the old Stagecoach route from Simi Valley to Chatsworth.

It was a gorgeous fall day, the weather was perfect. The company was fine, I’m very much in a completely different lane than these people. Always have been, such is life. I’ll probably go on a few more hikes, but the older you get, the harder it is to make friends, and at some point I realize, it’s not worth it to me for people who are different from me in everything but the fact that we happen to be Jewish.

The scenery is beautiful, the air was clear. It was good to be outside.

Water tanks along the way.

We found the wagon road, now I understand it hasn’t been in use for over 120 years, railroads, cars replaced it, so the condition it’s in doesn’t indicate what it was like when in use.

Either way it was very steep. Only walked up a few feet.

There is a lovely park on the Chatsworth side, they are keeping this abode structure around. there is also a homestead building, where a family lived way back all those years ago. Open the first Sunday of the month. As well as a really nice recreation center. Life moves on, finding signs of the past gets harder.

That is the homestead in the background, nowadays, just a house. but look at the relic in front of it! Talk about old, I’m a little surprised it’s allowed on CA roads, it can’t be up to code.

Sure, the hippies were right – and now their descendants are doing everything possible to destroy civilization as we know it. I never thought they were right, they simply lived off their parents hard work and pretended to be righteous – at least one of them left this relic behind.