Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pillows

Needlepoint pillows add texture and color to your decor

I've made lots of pillows in my day, crocheted pillows, needlepoint and Bargello pillows, crocheted pillows, knitted pillows, patchwork fabric pillows and more. Pillows are a great way to practice a pattern in a small area. 
Crocheted Pillows for Mom's Blue and White Living Room by Ellen B.
Ellen's Crocheted Pillow for old sofa
Mini-Granny Squares (aka Granny Daughters) for Pillow
My version of the British Flag, crochet-style

When I visit estate sales in Los Angeles, I always check the needlepoint, knitting, crocheting and sewing supplies. Needlepoint was very big in the 1960s and 1970s, along with a resurgence in knitting and crochet. So many people took up needlepoint during this era, including me, my Mom, my Aunts and many others. My Aunt Frances was a knitter and needlepointer too. This past weekend at my Aunt's and Uncle's estate sale, I picked up a few of her pillows and one painted needlepoint canvas that she never started.
Frances' Nautical Signal Flags Needlepoint
"F" is for Frances AND Fabulous!
I look forward to working this needlepoint found in Frances' workshop

We have gray tweed couches in our living room. I've added black and white, along with red pillows to the mix. Most of these pillows are fabric. NOW, I need to add some different textures. I'm hoping that my recent estate sale purchases will look stunning in our living room!
Fabric pillow and crocheted pillow, gray tweed couch
Purchased this textured patchwork pillow at the Palm Springs Art Museum in March
This is a Bargello/needlepoint canvas completed by Margie Pressman, purchased at another estate sale. I plan to make it into a pillow.

If I don't actually purchase some design items at estate sales, but I like them, I take a photo of the object. The pillows below were just too worn out for me to buy. I could, however, reproduce them. These round beauties were in a home dedicated to Early American design.
Americana Pillows, Roxbury Drive, Beverlywood estate sale

My sweet friend, Natalie crocheted then cross-stitched this adorable eyeglass pillow for me and Larry a few years ago!  We love it.
Personalized Eyeglass Pillow by Ms. Natalie of Hollywood

Pillows can make a personal statement. They are miniature works of art. Express yourself through pillows!


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Monday, April 24, 2017

Southern CaliforniaLand

Larry on the Expo Line Train. I caught him with his "subway" face!

On Friday evening Larry and I hopped on the Metro to Union Station. We were on our way downtown to see a slide show extravaganza by our favorite Histotainer, Charles Phoenix. The show didn't start until 8:30, so we had plenty of time to have dinner on Olvera Street and roam around a bit to look at the colorful shops.
Metro Artisans. Peter Shire, right
Union Station is beautiful, inside and out!

Many of the vendors on Olvera Street were closing early on Friday night, but enough were open to give us a taste of excellent tourist knick-knacks!

Mural, "Blessing of the Animals" by Leo Politi
Detail, "Blessing of the Animals"
Once we were inside Union Station again for Charles' show, we saw many old friends from the Los Angeles Conservancy. Charles showed vintage slides from Southern California, narrating along the way in his humorous manner. Unbeknownst to us, Charles had a 102 degree fever during the talk. After the show, when he was signing autographs, he fainted and was rushed to the hospital in his polka-dot suit!  Turned out that he was dehydrated and just need to rest. Phew! Thanks, Charles, for being such a show-biz trooper!
Charles does look a bit blurry
My favorite slide of a 1960s Jack in the Box building
We had a wonderful evening in downtown Los Angeles, at the start of a beautiful weekend.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

My New Favorite Song

I've been practicing ukulele quite a bit lately. Even though we learn new/old songs in our Ukulele Workshop at Boulevard Music, I'm always on the look-out for new material. I like to cruise the ukulele clubs' websites and their songbooks. Richard G's Ukulele Songbook is rather extensive! Give it a look!
My new favorite song is a parody called "Blame It On The Ukulele." It's sung to the tune of "Blame it On The Bossa Nova," made popular by Eydie Gormé



I transposed the song into the key of G so it would be more suited for my voice. I found out that this song was written by the 60's song team of Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. They wrote a ton of my favorite girl group hits!
I've always liked this song and the parody words written by Susan Nicholls of the Ukulele Republic of Canberra (URoC), Australia are so much fun! Here's their live version of this song. 

I can't wait to try this out on Saturday with our Ukulele Workshop group!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Gradient Virus

Crochet Chart for the "Virus" Shawl

The "Virus" shawl. Such a popular crochet pattern, it spread like a VIRUS throughout the crochet community.  I've made at least four of these. Thanks to Kim, a member of my knitting guild, for introducing me to this pattern.
During the 2017 LA County Yarn Crawl I purchased one ball of Twist's Bamboo Gradient yarn. The colorway intrigued me.
This beautiful yarn almost looks like a delicious sushi roll!
There are only 425 yards of yarn in this skein, so I thought that a little shawlette would be perfect. The Virus Shawl really shows off the texture of the yarn. The bamboo in the fiber makes this shawl very soft, with a great drape.
Thanks to my in-house fiber model, Nicole
I'll probably wear this shawlette with the point in front, like an ascot / scarf. The softness of this merino, nylon and bamboo blend is exquisite!

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Exhaustion

We had a super busy weekend! We observed the sixth night of Passover with my family on Saturday night. Along with my cousins, Marilyn and Carolyn, we cooked a 4-course meal! It was a lovely Seder. You can see photos HERE.
THEN, on Sunday we went to Carol's and Thane's home for a wonderful Easter backyard barbecue and celebration. Everyone contributed to the meal.  Photos of this event are HERE.

All that socializing and cooking has tuckered me out! Time to stare at the wall.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

The Easter Bonnet

Easter Bonnet, 1959, United Kingdom.

Why do we dress up on Easter and wear our Easter bonnet? I searched online and found a few answers. Spring is a re-birth. The celebration of new life after a long winter is evident. After the Christian custom of fasting at Lent, it's all about emerging into the world in your "Sunday best." New clothes are often a symbol of this. The Easter Parade in New York was started in the 1870s, after the Civil War when people wanted to be positive about life after such a horrible war. After people left church on Easter Sunday, they paraded down Fifth Avenue and thus began the tradition. 
Easter Bonnet Parade, 1965, Catholic Woman's Club, Beverly Hills. Valley Times Collection
Every year our gracious friends, Carol and Thane host an Orphan's Easter barbecue in their backyard. We all bring food to celebrate the joys of Spring. Since we're outside, I usually wear a festive hat. I just can't decide what to wear this year!
Ellen's Festive Easter headgear
Will you be wearing your Easter bonnet this Sunday?

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Now, More than Ever

Times are tough. We're living in a divisive world. Now, more than ever, it's time to stand up for what you believe. The Pussy Hat was created for people to show solidarity. The mission statement on the Pussy Hat Project Page states that the pink hat will "provide the people a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard, and it will provide women's rights supporters a way to come together in a virtual march to represent themselves, connect and support women's rights, whether or not they are physically marching." 
The Pussy Hat is a symbol of solidarity. Wearing your hat did not end with the Women's March on Washington. It did not end with protests on taxes, climate change or health issues. Wearing your Pussy Hat in public shows your resistance to the administration and their choices for our country.
I will support the Pussy Hat Project for as long as it is necessary. I have knit at least 10 Pussy Hats for others. The Ultimate Pussy Hat was created for my friend, Mary Jo. You can read the details about the hat here.
Mary Jo and her Ultimate Pussy Hat
This was my second foray into Fair Isle Knitting. I must say that I like the results, but this type of knitting is slow-going. I would only use it for small projects. Knitting an entire Fair Isle sweater would be quite a challenge for me!

Thanks to my co-worker, Nicole, who knows how to rock a beanie. She is my in-house model for hats. The top of her head has appeared all over the place!
Hat Model, Nicole

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Massive Amounts of Yarn!

Ellen's Crawl Haul

On Saturday, the third day of the official L.A. County Yarn Crawl I zipped over to Atwater to attend the last days of The LIttle Knittery at this location. I love this little shop, but I was happy to hear that they are moving a bit closer to me. Los Feliz Village is their destination, hopefully by early May!
Moving to Los Feliz!
I wanted to be sure and buy a couple of skeins of owner, Kat Coyle's namesake yarn!  It's beautiful!
On the very last day, Sunday, of the 2017 L.A. County Yarn Crawl #yarncrawla2017, I crawled to 4 shops and a yarn truck with the West Adams Knitters. Dommy was gracious enough to drive me, Mary and Francesca ALL over the place! She also knew the perfect spot for lunch and refreshment. Dommy is a very knowledgeable citizen of Los Angeles County!
Our first stop was Twist, Yarns of Intrigue in Manhattan Beach. This is a very special shop. The owner, Kathy, dyes her own yarns and they are certainly intriguing and unique! An added plus, Kathy's partner in life is my ol' grammar school and high school friend, Steve. It's always fun visiting.
Kathy and Steve at Twist
Gorgeous Yarn at Twist

Guild friend, Kim was working at Twist on Sunday
We were all happy with our purchases! Ellen, Mary, Francesca and Dommy
TIME FOR LUNCH! Dommy drove us to an excellent Pakistani and Indian restaurant called Alnoor in Lawndale. It was between Twist and our next stop, The Knitting Tree in Inglewood.
The Knitting Tree is really my home shop. It has the BEST selection of everything, high-end to lower-end yarn, along with accessories and excellent advice. The Branch Gallery adjoining the shop is always interesting too. 
The Branch Gallery at The Knitting Tree
We hopped in Dommy's car and took the long drive out to Pasadena. Next shop is new-ish, called Wollhaus. Abuelita's Yarn Shop was formerly in this charming spot. The shop is located on Colorado Boulevard, east of The Paseo in a sweet little Spanish courtyard. There's a loft and the yarn selection is varied and different from other shops.
Shopping at Wollhaus in Pasadena

Our final stop for the day was way out in La Verne! There's a shop that none of us had visited called Make One. An added plus was that the Yarnover Truck was parked next to Make One!
Shopping at Make One
Make One has some rather unusual yarn, a bulky yarn with doo-dads attached that you can knit right into your piece!

Make One also carries these humongous wheels of roving by Noro Yarns of Nature. Quite startling!
Wheels of Noro Roving!

Barbra and Maridee, owners of the Yarnover Truck
The end of a long and satisfying yarny day with my peeps!
Thanks again to Dommy for driving us all over creation! It was a super fun day!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery