Brewery ArtWalk

Finally, after a two year absence, the Artwork at the Brewery returned. At the entrance they gave us wristbands and a mask. I declined the mask, I also declined to enter any studio that asked for one. Only two did (I didn’t go to every studio, but I got to many of them). I’d say a third of the artists weren’t wearing masks, most of the public were.

Pretty amazing image of the smokestack. Those clouds change everything.

A different kind of chimney. It looks like a pizza oven. Here is a good article about the history of the Brewery as well as the Power plant on the premises. Covid lockdowns did a real number on the artist colony. Having the artwork again is huge, although I think the artists are changing.

The Paradox Iron works is in the original John Parkinson designed power plant. I’m not clear when the iron works moved here, since it says the business is from 1894 and this building was only built in 1907. Inside the power plant is a climbing wall gym – that is a much newer business.

Among the old industrial buildings, there is a lot of greenery.

here someone is growing a lot of flowers.

Succulents are more common. I like the bags as flowerpot motif.

This looks like a monster eating a small prey. It is actually the same plants. As the plant got old and decayed, it simply sprouted a new branch. Its the angle that makes it look this way – as well as my ability to see it in a fairy tale light.


Spring walks

I saw this from the car window, so it’s a little blurry. Yes, intersection of Sepulveda and Burbank, right by the 405 freeway. Of course this booth would be by a gas station. I wish they had anti Newsom products as well, but I’m pretty sure that it’s easier to sell the Biden stuff.

I have been out walking. There is a hotel/motel near me, they have a sushi and tiki restaurant – the Mikado – so appropriate decoration. And no, I’ve never eaten there, should check out on Yelp if it is worth a visit.

How to save water, put in metal flowers.

A different house, how to not deal with poop, get a metal dog.

My house, an owl, of course.

Some people do have real flowers, this one is from South Africa, another Mediterranean climate.

As is this – same garden. I’m in the process of redoing my yard. I’m going to ask about these bushes, problem is, most of the year they look like nothing.

Only a handful of people decorate for Easter, I’m here for it!

How about these bunnies? Quite the dapper pair.

Always on the lookout for chairs out in a front yard. Love how these coordinate with the door. I will be putting seating out in front as well, probably not Adirondack chairs, and I do intend to sit on whatever I choose.

Yes, a new dress for Einav.


Lady Hera is done

Here she is, in all her glory, back-stitching, beads, even my initials.

I’m glad I did this, I won’t be doing any more Mirabilias. First of all, I’m not that into pretty ladies. I prefer samplers, or other quirky designs. It was a lot of work, a whole lot. Although there is open area, this was basically a full coverage, not my jam.

Here I was about 2/3 finished. At this point I wasn’t loving it anymore, but I was determined to finish it. So I went on.

by the tail, I was so over it. One of the big problems with full coverage, is that if you make a mistake, it can affect the whole pattern. Luckily for me, it was easy to fudge things with the peacock eyes, even I can’t find the mistakes. But I enjoyed it less, because I was trying to figure out where I needed to compensate.

Then came the beading. I have a lot of beads left over from my beading days. So I simply checked the Mill Hill bead numbers and found something similar. Do you see the light green, turns out that was supposed to be a different color green, which I actually had and used elsewhere.

This more olive green, but it looks just fine as the streaming beads.

Without the backstitching, the features of the girl don’t show up. I get that . The beads add interest. Much more so on the peacock tail than on Lady Hera. I hated the beading, it really hurt my hands, picking up each tiny bead, sewing them down. It’s different from sewing the crosses and my fingers really hurt. So I’m going a few days without stitching, I can’t abuse my hands, I’ll show you what I’ve done instead.

You can see how the beads really make the tail pop! There is also some fancy shiny thread in there. It looks pretty, but I like silk, I like cotton.

At some point I can see stitching another peacock, cuz I love them, but probably not with beads.

One issue with this kind of project is that the fabric between the stitched areas gets wavy and lumpy. This is why many people will stitch on a frame. It keeps the fabric taut. I like to stitch in hand, which is probably why I like more open stitchery. Although as I look through my projects, I see have some with larger areas of full coverage. That won’t stop me.

Now, I need to find a frame. I don’t want to pay a framer to do this. It will probably end up on a wall that people won’t really see, so I’m find doing it myself. So off to Michaels I go.

I made Einav a dress, yes this is the Geranium dress. Very popular a few years ago. She wore the first on I made her last week, it has become a tunic, although it still fits her chest. This one is size 4, so I made a large hem, hopefully it’s not too long, but it can be lengthened. I’ll give it to her next week in person and then share pictures.

Now, I am off to buy more fabric, to make myself a dress and a shirt for Joel. Sewing clothes isn’t as hard on my hands. JoAnns’ didn’t have anything I like, no surprise there. Although, they now are selling Liberty of London fabric!!! So at some point, they will get my business.


Family reunion

A mini reunion to remember my father in law. We went out to Simi Valley. American Jewish University now owns the Brandies Bardin Camp. My inlays, my husband, kids and now granddaughter have gone to summer camp there. So a good place to get together.

My six grandkids together.

Along with all their cousins and great grandmother.

We took a walk, not a hike, just a walk. notice, the two year olds are being carried.

Westley love Einav! It is so cute, he always has given her special attention. Of course she loves him back.

Westley found a tree to climb. other people panicked that he’d fall. I am so proud. I consider his love of climbing trees to be a fabulous talent.

Taller than the shaded bench. By this time no one was paying attention to him anymore. I’m happy to say he had no problem coming down the tree on his own.

Aytan is basically as tall as his mother.

He loves animals, I take him to visit my friends backyard chicken, I think he needs to spend more time with animals.

makes sense, it is hard for other people to relate to him, so it’s nice that animals sense his kindness.


I rode a bike!

I’m not much of a bike rider, but I thought I could handle an e-bike, I can, but I was the slowest one in our group. I think I though this was going to be an easier ride, like around the town of Carefree, maybe next time I do the Segway tour.

I did it! I even went off road! A first.

The scenery was magnificent. Really worth it, I’m not sorry I pushed myself, but this was enough.

Saguaros are extremely heavy but don’t have much of a root system, it’s not like they will find water further down. This huge one was felled in a recent flash flood.

A closer look at the fallen giant.

A much much older fallen Saguaro. The burl is what that certain bird pecks to make it’s next. The Saguaro will then seal itself around the hole and this is what it looks like. Long after the pecker is gone, other animals will also use these holes for homes for themselves.

Other interesting cacti. Look at those spikes!

Even their flowers have spikes!

love the street lamps in Old Town Scottsdale!

As well as these old fashioned Cigar Store Indians, I’m glad they haven’t been banned yet.

I’m guessing this is a bar. Btw, they have those beer trucks, the kind you peddle around as a group. I don’t think they can drink while riding, but they stop at all kinds of bars. First place I saw that was 8 years ago in Portland, now it’s the rage, especially with the girls on Bridal weekends.

Don’t Shoot!

There are plenty of art galleries, just window shopped, I’m pretty sure this is wood and paper, but how my, it would make a great quilt.

Outdoor art. In the heat and bright sun of Arizona, metal works really well.


Views of Arizona

I’ve been back a week, it’s time to show some pictures

Our friends bought a home north of Scottsdale, in one of those incredible rich enclaves with a lot of golf courses.

with gorgeous vies down towards Phoenix. The mountains here are beautiful

The tour was in a Ferrari, poor Brian, he keeps on getting tickets for driving too fast, but isn’t that what a Ferrari is for?

I had to squeeze into the back, it is amazing there is something of a back seat in a Ferrari.

Always fun to see a wedding, no not the actual wedding, but the prep stages. Oh, we had an incredible dinner at one the restaurants – it is fun to see how the 1% lives.

Of course, beautiful Saguros. Not just on the premises, all over.

these are mighty cacti, native only to the Sonoran desert. Fun seeing them up close.



A visit to the Attic

There are no more Cross-stitch stores in the LA area, just a handful that sell needlepoint supplies. So a visit to the Phoenix area means a visit to the Attic.

Yes, their door is like a mirror! Can’t wait to get inside.

Samplers! all kinds of samplers. Antiques and reproductions.

Here is an example of a Bristol Sampler. From the mid 19th century until the early 20th, orphans at the George Muller orphanage in Bristol were taught to embroider this style of sampler. A lot of alphabets, a lot of motifs and all done in red.

The roses in the background look like the original sampler, while the one in the foreground is a reproduction. I do have to say, I have a hankering to make one like this.

All of the walls look like this, chock full of samplers, both old and new. I could have treated this like a museum, but there was shopping to do. Btw, I spent over two hours here.

I started shopping in the sale section and look what I found! Its’ called dreidel dreidel. Inkblot does a great job designing mandalas. In general, Jewish cross-stitch is mediocre at best, this I love.

I decided to reverse things, the fabric is a dark over-dyed blue and the silk thread is a variagated white, cream yellow. This will be fun.

Another Jewish theme. I may veer away from the pattern, not sure about using the word Emmanuel, it does mean God is with us. I love the pomegranates. I chose a white sparkly fabric for this. No threads yet.

Jean was amazing, she is the owner and she helped me choose both fabrics and the threads.

Spring Quacker, I love quakers, I love the central motif, not crazy about all the bunnies, I may switch some out. I chose a beautiful hand dye from Rachel at Needle and Flax. she is a new dyer, and oh my, the subtlety of her fabrics! I chose something that is much grayer than the sample. Most of the called for colors work, I replaced a light blue with a darker purple. Still waiting for two colors to arrive by mail. I won’t be starting this right away, although I have already loaded the pattern in Markup RXP.

Teresa Kogut put out a new sampler at Nashville with blues and tans. Yes, they had it there, but I chose this instead. LOVE it. the fabric is the same color as the silks for the dreidel. white with some yellow.

I just picket up this brown, no idea how I will use it, but I like the idea of some darker backgrounds.

So yes, I spent a very pretty penny here. So worth it. Now I need to get cracking.

First I have to finish Lady Hera. I’m getting close to finishing the cross-stitch, then there will be backstitching as well as beads. I think this Mirabilia is a one and done for me. I have enjoyed the journey, but I’m not excited about doing any more.

Finally, I won this pattern at the quilt guild. How fun! I also signed up for the retreat in June, this might be the project to bring.


Slab City

Whatever you say about California, interesting things happen here.

So the Navy build a training area for the marines during WWI, way out in the desert – and then after the war it was abandoned. but nothing stays abandoned for long.

Hippies, off the grid people and those escaping civilization moved in.

A lot of oddballs live here. This guy is an artist. When he say me taking the picture of R2D2 he ran over to ask me to come in to his gallery. I declined, I hope others buy from him. Sure the Wikipedia page says most people here live off social security. Who knows, it also says that it is mostly empty in the summer – because the heat can reach 120 degrees, and the stench from the nearby Salton Sea must be unbearable.

Some of the places, built on the leftover navy slabs look permanent. they have solar panels, maybe they share a clean water tank. and here is another entrepreneur – e-bikes. No thanks, the well organized one in Phoenix was a little hard for me.

The shoe tree, I know there are places where people leave the shoes as decorations. In one place I read that people come here to find shoes to wear. All I know is that hanging out in this desert heat – none of those shoes will be wearable for long.

Rainbows abound. There are about 150 permanent residents and more in the winter.

So this is where Dr. Who goes in the winter…

As we drove away we passed another large RV park, much more regulated and organized.

A final look at Salvation Mountain.

Imperial county is interesting. The Salton Sea used to be a place for tourists, we bypassed Bombay Beach – which is slowly becoming another crazy art installation like Slab city, although this place is on the grid.

Driving north east back towards the 10 freeway – it was agriculture the whole way – which also means – a lot of residue and pollution from the pesticides and fertilizers. And yet, the area is producing a lot.

There is a massive solar panel farm up on the 10. And then we entered Arizona. The area by the border is yet another Indian reservation – and nothing. Sure a few stops, the town of Quartzite. But for all those who complain about a few hundred people living off the grid in Slab City – and claiming they live off Social Security – it looked like in AZ, the tribe is living off government money as well – not developing the land. Sure you can pretend their land is sacred – but for me, I’ll take the industrious people in Imperial county CA – who are working and producing agricultural produce. Maybe that is just me.


Getaway, a stop at Salvation Mountain

It added about two hours to the trip, was well worth it. I love interesting experiences, and this certainly was one. First of all, yes, the Salton Sea stinks, and it is a desolate area. In 1984 Leonard Knight came here and started building a mountain out of cement.

It is huge, this is just part of it.

Within two years it fell, so he switched to adobe and paint. since it hardly rains here, that seems to have worked, although, it is very fragile. You can walk around but not up onto the mountain.

Here you can get an idea of how large it is. And yes, the message God is Love is all over this hill. 30 years after starting this project, in 2014 Leonard passed away. There is a group that maintains the mountain as much as possible, repainting, repairing. They have a sign, it does ask for donations but says: ” only give donations in the box or electronically, do not hand cash to anyone” This mountain is in Slab city, more on that in the next post. And everyone there is living off the grid, some quite honest, others not. Sort of like the real world outside.

Of course, The God that Leonard is talking about is Jesus. That is fine, unlike other secular or Jewish people, I’m ok with Christianity, especially here in America. As our society becomes more and more secular – we are seeing awful things happen with the breakdown of social norms. As long as I can be a free Jew here, I would like the Christians to enjoy their faith.

Like Rodia before him (the builder of the Watts towers) he used a lot of found objects, like this boat, probably from the nearby Salton Sea.

These are actual windows, I don’t know how see-through they are, as you can see, the entrance to this room is blocked off.

I could peek in here and see the smaller artworks. Maybe because this is out of the sun, the colors are bright and it may not need retouching.

How quirky is this. Yes, its’ not supermodels standing here, but these women give you a sense of size of the construction.

The Jordan River flowing into the Sea of Galilee, with the yellow brick road beside it. Notice the paint cans being uses in the installation after the paint is gone.

One of the donations they ask for is latex paint, and they clearly use it all the time.

This in itself is an art installation.

Or this.

Anything that stops moving is painted. Joel didn’t stay long enough for that to happen to him.

We had thought of driving here in December, when the whole family was in Palm Springs. I’m glad we didn’t, its’ a drive, the kids wouldn’t have liked the drive and since one can’t really climb here, they wouldn’t have appreciated the mountain either. So, I’m glad it was just me and Joel, exploring this strange area. I love how creative people can be, and I do appreciate the sentiment.

On to a few sights from Slab city itself.


A visit to Underwood Farms

Some farmers know how to do it right. This farm in Moorpark has created a fun park like environment for families. You can get married here in a private location, or just have a party. Year round they have a Pick it yourself program. So much so, that the prices for fruit and veggies in their store are higher than the supermarket.

I went with my son in law and these two cuties. Yoch was telling them to just smile, of course it was all silly faces.

Look at that happy fella riding the train. Of course he chose to drive the engine.

While Einav sat nicely in one of the cars.

They both rode tricycles, well, Eyal can ride his alone, Einav needed help.

We saw a rooster, being out on a farm, he can make all the noise he wants.

There are some very interesting looking hens. All I know is that they lay eggs.

we saw sheep and goats.

Einav didn’t want to pet them, she was happy petting the soft bunny – who is huge! There were guinea pigs as well, but they didn’t let us touch them, they’d run back into their little house.

Einav is the brave one, she went down this slide that starts out in the dark. Eyal wouldn’t go there.

Then again, when she went down this slide feet first…

He came down head first. btw, if you ask him about his skin color – he will tell you he is Carmelelo. Meanwhile his sister is just a ghost.

So cute! dancing on the mountain of hay!

Yes, an incredible outing. Then that night we met new friends from our new synagogue for dinner. they live in PV and San Pedro, so we met in Manhattan Beach. A story of two store. We got there early and wandered around Barnes and Noble – everyone was masked – even though LA has rescinded that stupid rule (still waiting for LA City to wake up, not that I wear a mask anywhere anymore).

Then we went into the restaurant – a busboy wore a mask, that is it, not the hostess, not the servers. Ah some normality!!