A walk around Lake Balboa in the valley is a mini bird viewing tour. The lake is a manmade one, really manmade, the water isn’t diverted from elsewhere. It is reclaimed water from the Tillman reclamation plant. One of these days people will recognize that this water is pure enough for our faucets. Until then, we have a lovely park with a lake, and much more water flowing down the LA river.p1170112Water brings water birds, like your standard teal duck. There are also geese, domesticated and a few Canada geese who are probably never going home.

p1170115The ducks enjoy floating on the water and eating fish and grubs. The lake is stocked with fish and many a fisherman enjoy a lazy afternoon along side the lake.p1170101The cormorant isn’t as buoyant as the ducks, most of its’ body is underwater.

p1170120Which is why it needs to spread it’s wings to both dry off and cool down.

p1170106Speaking of ducks, here is an unusual fellow, nice tuft on his head. There were a number of these ducks, so it must be some sort of breed.

p1170097Not sure what this fellow is.

p1170093This egret sure can twist his neck!p1170094In any city park you will find squirrels, especially if someone is feeding them.

p1170116You looking at me?

p1170117Yes I am, do you have a problem with that?

p1170109Me! Me! Look at me! Ok, the common pidgeon is a bird too, I guess he deserves a spot in this post as well.


It’s that time of year again

September, October can be some of the hottest months in Los Angeles. While we shiver in the damp cold marine layer in June, we get the Santa Ana winds from the east in the fall – and the temperatures soar.p1160761So it’s the arrival of Halloween decorations.p1160757Strange flowers on the cactus…p1160758As well as their interesting fruit, that lets us know fall is here.p1160759One neighbor was in such a rush, they started decorating in mid September.p1160760I still can’t resist a cute owl, be he part of out door decorations…p1160764or for sale on a pillow at Pier One.p1160763There are the buildings that are always there, like these Russian onion domes on a 1960’s building on Ventura Blvd. There used to be a Russian night club here, now I think it’s a Chinese restaurant. At least the color fits in with fall.p1160770Big happy pumpkins!  I think I’m going to avoid the ghoulish decor this year. Too much murder, mayham and terror in the real world, I don’t need to pretend.p1160768There are always those who keep their standard decor, no matter the changing seasons.


On location

Every time I make a new garment, I end up taking pictures in my yard. I’m sure by now you probably recognize every corner and angle.                            So I decided to go Hollywood style and go out on location. My plan was to use the sculpture garden along the west side of CBS studios. Alas, it was parked up with a ton of trucks, plan B.P1150829I went to a local park instead.P1150828So maybe I don’t have all this ivy, but it doesn’t look much different from my yard.P1150825The dress itself is cute. McCalls M6959, it fits well, it light and summery.P1150831I really like the bias binding all around the dress, so much easier than hems and facing. I just happened to find a commercial one from Wrights that matches perfectly. P1150837Just to prove I’m not at home, let’s get some pictures on the playground equipment. Woah!  Tripod, camera, clicker and spinning!P1150838I think I’m holding on for dear life!P1150841That strategically placed snap works!  keeps the front bodice from gaping open, even when one is losing control on a spinner.P1150848Phew! I need a rest. Btw, the cotton is some unknown that I bought for $6 in downtown LA. I really need to make another visit.P1150845Another thing I did was lower the tripod some, so the angles are a little different. A few more years of practice and watch out CBS, I’ll be on the lot instead of outside.


Thoughts on Pokemon go

When the weather turns cold what will happen to Pokemon?

Other than that, I have many friends who are enjoying running around with this app.  What it did for me, was get me to contact a friend I hadn’t heard from in a year. My suggestion – let’s go geocaching!P1150773Elin wrote a book on Geocaching, so she knows how it’s done. So we met up with another cacher and went hunting.P1150774This was part of a pair of boxes, finding them wasn’t hard, finding the clues to open and then synchronize the little electronic displays inside – that took some talent.P1150775And here we are! The prize!P1150776This was a short one. Not enough exercise for a lovely Saturday. So on we went on a hike.P1150778I captured one moment of quiet on the trail, there were hikers, bikers, and walkers. In SoCal, people are out and about all the time. P1150777With things to see, and time to spend talking with a friend.

I make a point of getting out and about and I’m looking at my surrounding.P1150640There is a place called the museum of the San Fernando Valley, I finally went there. Meh, I can see how the Valley is beginning to come into its own and I wish them success, but nothing about this organization made me want to get involved.

They are highlighting local artists and of course talk about all the stars that live here. The horse is a failed attempt at getting them out to the public. This one was meant for North Hollywood. I understand that in the past ranching was a thing, but horses are not what I think of when I think of the Valley, maybe a porn star?P1150643There are things that are worth stopping for, like this wonderful sign. I think I’m just souring on the concept of many museums. Sure there is great art that is worthy of being shared. But these days, everyone has a museum, and by calling it that – they feel they have elevated what’s inside when in many cases they have simply diminished what a museum is all about. P1150645Maybe this sign says more about the Valley than anything else.  Of course, I’d like to see all these groups joining together for one service in one common language, English. But maybe they do for social events and people are comfortable with religion in their own language.

Back to Pokemon, I hear from friends as they are out and about that they do look up at their surrounding and are often surprised by what they see.  I spent the day with an old friend, but people playing Pokemon are out meeting and talking to new people – and that is a very good thing.


Print Lab, another Atlas Obscura adventure 

This time the adventure was in my back yard, in the industrial area of North Hollywood. Visiting factories is fun, of course the Obscura society made it more so by having us acrTively involved 

Tommy Galinas, the founder of this T-shirt printing company. American ingenuity at its best. What started as a way to make a few bucks without working too hard. Has become a large production enterprise that employs family and 60 other people as well 

 Son Shane is one of the graphic designers. Our project as to approve a design for a t shirt, we would follow it from inception to finished shirt. The front would have the Atlas Obscure logo, the back, the gps coordinates and the unique date of 16.6.16

Examples of shirts, from simple 3 screen, to 14 screen.  Using half tones it is possible to achieve photo realism. 

I am always impressed with the ingenuity of businessmen. Using a printer designed for the large banner industry, adapting it to screen printing purposes. Our first transparency is created. 

Things moved along quickly, a screen is shot and cleaned. 

Tommy is all about efficiency, colors are chosen with the Pantone color chart, so he has all the colors made up ready for immediate use. That takes a lot of time, but allows him to produce samples quickly. 

Choosing the red.

Comparing reds 

The actual printer 

Watching another job. Printing a sleeve, since it’s a dark shirt, first they lay a white background 

Adding the red 

Printing done, it gets baked in a very hot oven and then is ready to be packed and shipped. This is a full service shop, once the shirts are done its up to Print Lab to see the order gets to its final destination. 

The Obscura logo gets its first white underlay.

Red over white.

We were offered either black or grey shirts. On the right is the red over white underlay, we all agreed that the logo looks better without he white 

It was necessary on the black shirt. The gold would have been lost otherwise.

Interesting day and I got a nice new t-shirt. 


San Fernando Mission Part II

It’s a mission, so there must be a church. I find it very interesting that although secularized in 1834, it was President Lincoln who returned many of the missions to the Catholic Church, today most of them are once again religious in nature.P1140757The church was build and destroyed 3 times, final time in the Sylmar earthquake of 1972, so the building we see today is very new, 1974. Although it is adobe, I’m guessing there is a lot of earthquake retrofitting inside those thick walls. The 1994 earthquake damaged the convento but not the church.P1140760I don’t know how much of this is old or original from the previous churches. It certainly is ornate. When I arrived for my visit, I was told to view other parts of the grounds since a funeral was taking place in the church.P1140761

P1140766Exiting the back door and looking through the church back to the green garden.

And I stepped into the Bob Hope Garden. There is a large cemetery connected to the mission. I think the only requirement is to be Catholic. When Bob Hope died at age 100 he left his burial place up to his wife Dolores, she chose the out of the way San Fernando mission. She is buried beside him as well.P1140763They were given prime realestate right next to the church and the area is a lovely garden, with a mural of Bob Hope.P1140765When I visited, the Magnolia tree was in bloom.P1140769As were these lovely white lilies.P1140754Water is the most important element anywhere in California. The mission used to have it’s own water system and this fountain is a replica of the original.P1140725What used to be the main gathering point for all the women is now simply decorative. P1140762Along with other fountains on the property.P1140729The Archival Center of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is here on the property.  Both an historic museum as well as a research center.  You know me, I love mosaic, and am thrilled to see the Piczeck Tableaus which show the development of the Archdiocese, from the original one that was established with the Spanish.P1140731Through the Monterey – Los Angeles Diocese that lasted 93 years, covering five Archbishops.
P1140734Finally to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as it is today. Of course all that other large area has been split into smaller more manageable archdioceses as well.

Well worth a visit, for the serenity, for the history, for being an important living part of the valley today.



Mission San Fernando, Rey de Espana

Why is it that we are always excited to explore things far from home but ignore what is in our back yard?P1140789It was time to visit the San Fernando mission. When my older sons were in 4th grade they were at a Jewish Day school, so maybe visiting a Catholic mission wasn’t ‘appropriate’ – even if it is integral to the history of California.P1140778I can only guess that my youngest missed the visit because there was so much work to be from the damage of the Northridge earthquake. Notice the mission bell?P1140777The bright turquoise paint might be new, but looks like this bell is original to the spot. I don’t know who the people are who erected it, I do know that it was cast by Mrs. A.S.C. Forbes, I have no idea what her first name was. Such was the tradition in the early 20th century to only use initials.P1140759Another one stands right by the Church itself, I don’t think this one is original to the spot, but I may be wrong. Meanwhile, just look at how thick the adobe is.P1140726School children visiting the mission. P1140727The bell tower here is not as impressive as Mission San Gabriel, each mission has wonderful individual characteristics of their own.

If I have learned anything from my forays into architecture it is this, a building needs massive support. When working with unbaked clay adobe, thickness is what holds up the structure.P1140728All the missions had a lot of land. Unlike Mission San Gabriel, the buildings are spread out here with a lot of open space. To the left is the Convento, finished in 1822. The front faces the street with those twenty one Roman arches, this is the back view.P1140750It is the only two story adobe building of it’s size still standing.  Today it houses an extensive museum as well as the only intact wine cellar in any of the mission, it is underground, better for climate control.P1140743See how thick the walls are!  They have to support a second story. Of course the building went through massive renovations and earthquake support after 1994.P1140735Walls and arches were pretty low, both the Spaniards and the natives were short people.P1140736A section of the adobe wall was left un-repaired.  They used a very thick coat of stucco to protect the adobe. Although this stucco isn’t fired, it is much less porous and does protect the adobe bricks from the elements. The roofs had fired tiles, the tile maker is in the museum.P1140773These have been exposed to the elements for 20 years and are still in very good shape. Yay for California clay!P1140751On a side building, out of the way, someone has affixed a modern tile.

The tour continues in the next post.


Uncommon Threads

Thanks to my friend Ellen I found out about a wonderful exhibit here in the valley. It is impossible to keep up with everything that is going on, it helps to have friends in the know who share the information.

The Valley is really coming into it’s own. Occupying a lovely bright space in the Mid-valley, The San Fernando Valley Arts & Cultural Center is making it’s mark. Made up of many smaller groups of creatives, this is a great exhibit space.Screenshot 2016-04-27 12.10.57 Welcome to Uncommon Threads, a collaborations between four fiber arts groups. Surface Art Association, Extreme Quilters, Southern California Handweavers Guild and Frayed Edges, unfortunately I couldn’t find a website for them.P1140393Members of each guild need to sit in the gallery while it is open to the public. So I met Linda Stone, she has quite a few pieces in the exhibit. Being a member of two of the groups helps.  Hollywood and Highland, LInda StoneThis quilt was on display at Paducah a few years ago, Linda does realism very well.P1140405She has been branching out into the modern as well. A sign of a good artist, one who keeps on learning.

P1140398It’s a good thing Maureen  Cox signed this piece, we were friends years ago but then drifted apart. For a few years now she has been staining fabric with rust and then creating the artwork from there.

This exhibit was all by women artists. I am sure many people look upon this as craft and not as art. I am the opposite, I find that the creativity has moved to the craft world and the art world is just busy being either obnoxious, political or down right ugly.P1140401I was there the very first day it opened, so not all the artwork had labels yet.  While this is clearly a quilt, it is also a from of collage.P1140397By the same artist, Susan Gesundheit, this is a fabric collage, I don’t see any quilting here. Most of the quilts are considered art quilts, if only because they are small and are hanging on the walls.P1140395This artist used vinyl in a very interesting literal way. For me coming to this kind of show is a real pleasure. I see names of people I have known in the past and see how their art has developed. I see new art I’ve never seen before and I get inspired, not to copy or recreate, but simply to enjoy good textile art.P1140408I LOVE weaving, I did learn how to weave on an eight heddle loom.  One has to pick and choose, I can’t do everything so I don’t weave, but I really appreciate what goes into it. P1140407Like here, a ‘simple’ stole, but look at the difference between the front and the back! The colors really change drastically.P1140409Achieving three dimensionality.P1140411Even a display of scarves makes my heart sing. P1140412Of course I react to bright colors…P1140414…and three dimensional objects like these birds.P1140416Or this wonderful dancing woman.

By all means, take the time and come out to the valley, you won’t regret seeing this exhibit.



Solid challenge quilt

P1130490I shared my solid challenge with the Valley MQG this month. The top was finished and spray basted. IMG_4128I spray basted these two at the same time.  Because of the intricate piecing and slightly larger size, the New York Beauty is heavy!!!  Really really heavy.  I know I mentioned that before, but working two quilts at a time really emphasized the heaviness.P1130706I quilted in a way that I won’t be repeating, using a ruler I quilted inside every patch.  The ruler part isn’t a problem, I really like the ruler and want to do more ruler work. The problem is the stopping and starting every few seconds.P1130674The backing is also a solid, I don’t know if is had to be. Funny thing about this fabric, the other side has an all over tiny floral print which would have been so much better for hiding all the sins on the back here. Notice the birds nests as well as all the tiny ends?  When your machine cuts the thread for you, it is a very nice feature, but leaves more of a mess.

One benefit of the solid background is that I could turn it over and see the elements I missed, so that I could go back and fill them in before binding. P1130719I used more threads than I’m showing here.  I even tried a monofilament, (it’s the one in the sleeve). Didn’t like it, even though it’s low sheen, it still shines in a way cotton or poly thread doesn’t.  You may have noticed that I switched threads on the back as well. This is because no matter how much you play with tension, if the two threads don’t match – you can see it when you look very closely. So I sort of tried to match darks and lights.  No one will be looking that closely that I felt the need to really match each thread.P1130679And now for the artful shots at the lake.

I just realize that in my scrappiness, I always piece together the binding. I just do.  In this case I tried to keep the color story somewhat true to each section of the quilt. Solids of course.P1130677Being at the lake means a lot of birds, I only captured a few on film.P1130682I’m not a rainbow person, I am pleased with how the colors flow here. Forcing myself to work with one charm pack  from Michael Miller  Cotton Couture plus the highlight color from Kona – really forced this kind of design. P1130698I also really like that the block, the Churn Dash is lost in the colors, this is what I was trying to achieve. Use on block but really let the color tell a story.P1130705Side by side, the NY Beauty is much more ‘my style’, both in scrappy prints (I did adhere to a color theme) and in the FMQ.  The Rainbow was a true challenge for me. One I loved doing, but I don’t see it changing my preferred style.P1130714I didn’t put a sleeve on the rainbow, I’m not even thinking of a name. After I share this in both guilds, I intend to gift the rainbow to a dear friend. It makes a perfect lap quilt for cuddling up on the couch.  It won’t be hung anywhere and she won’t care if it has a name.

Now onto making that baby quilt for the new grandson who is due in less than three months.


Along the walk

Our Whitnall Hwy walk was five miles long so of course we saw more than just power towers.P1120835Hollywood Way has some interesting businesses. We usually end a walk with a Taco, but this was in the middle and the competing signs didn’t encourage us to cross the street.

Reflected in this business is our Taco Stand.P1120836Now that is a good name for an animation company. Right next door to The Animation Guild.

I have often seen this design on the side of the building while driving by, walking by I got a closer look as well as being informed that it’s the Animators guilds’ building. P1120837The cartoonish look makes much more sense now.

I need to check out this Furniture/Knick-knack store.P1120840

Aytan and I have visited the model Train store often.P1120839If you have small children, it’s a great visit, they have a play area with a large track full of Thomas Trains. And yes, I have bought items here, I don’t just use it as a free play area.

This area of Burbank and North Hollywood are home to many small businesses that support the larger film industry.P1120852Not sure that tower ever gets rented out.

Also, don’t know the significance of the musical cows on the side of this building. There are about five of them.P1120850Quite worn out, they have been here a long time.

There is a sign on this building that states since 1954, it looks like a Church, but I don’t think it is one anymore.P1120853Along the way we met local residentsP1120826P1120854There were also many people out, enjoying their yards, riding bikes, putting up Christmas decorations.

North Hollywood is one of the older Valley neighborhoods and therefore has a very eclectic collection of homes.  This one could be 80 or 90 years old. It may have been the home for a farm, this was farm country after all.P1120856It is old, the stone pillars on the driveway indicate that this was an ‘important’ home. The Clapboard and the rounded window are not new elements. Today there is a modern garage, I’d really love to know the history of this.

Across the street is a classic Midcentury Modern.P1120857If this were anywhere else, it would be a very expensive home.  But most people who want to live in such a home, don’t want to live in this neighborhood. Well not exactly, I could see some young hipsters who would love both the neighborhood and the home.  The North part of North Hollywood is beginning to become a gentrified area.