Friday, March 31, 2006

Oh No, Not Another One!

Isabella Fiore Hip Hobo
One of my co-workers stopped by my cube today with a photo from a fashion magazine of the Isabella Fiore hobo bag accented with crocheted flowers. This bag retails for $595 at Needless Markup...errrr, uhh, I mean Neiman Marcus. We can DEFINITELY copy this bag and extremely easily!!! I would suggest going over to our favorite store, Target, purchasing a fabric, tweedy looking bag (or finding an old one in the back of your closet or a thrift shop) and covering it with coordinating crocheted flowers and leaves. OK, all of you free-formers....get crackin'.


Workin' it out @ WeHo

Natalie in Newsboy, Cuddling with Carla's Yarn
Last night, as promised, I took photos of a few of our members and their current projects at the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch at the Original Farmers Market. The group started out smallish, but as the night progressed, more people showed up. We're all working on a lot of interesting projects, using some of the most gorgeous yarn around! Feast your eyes on projects by Gwen, Crystal, Jennifer, Andre, Mary Jo and Denise :

Annika and Carla are working on various projects. Carla FINALLY finished the Cascade Green scarf for her's a standout. Denise and Kendra were both wearing skull head couture to ward of evil spirits and the chill L.A. night air.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Too Cute!

I saw these knitted bears in a museum gift shop in Long Beach. They are about 7" tall and extremely colorful and cute. I'm really more into the offbeat stuffed animal, like Lady Linoleum's crocheted creatures, but there's something about these bears that just get me. Maybe they are slightly sinister because they don't have eyes. Maybe it's the unique color combinations that so attract me. I'm just not sure, I only know that I'd like one of these!
I'll be at the WeHo SnB tonight at the Original Farmers Market. I'll be taking photos of other's projects to show the world tomorrow!!!


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I Will Try Again!

Second Attempt
Over the weekend I worked on my faux Ferragamo Bag. I think my first attempt at this beauty is just OK. I got carried away with the off-white knitted portion of the bag and I need to crochet a larger top, basket-weave, portion of the bag for proper balance. I ended up covering a Target-bought tote bag with copper leather-like handles. I particularly like the curly-cue tassles at the bottom of the bag.
For my second attempt, I'm going to make a smaller version of this bag using Bernat Cottontots for the knitted portion and some stash GGH Raffinesse for the crocheted basket-weave portion of the bag. I will persevere until I get this right! Hmmmm? Maybe $1,650 is a fair price for this purse, considering all of the attention and time I'm giving it!


Monday, March 27, 2006

Take Away Crochet

Vintage Silk Crochet Thread
This weekend there was an estate sale in Eagle Rock. My friend, Brit and I checked it out on Saturday afternoon. This house was chock full o' stuff! The couple that lived there bought and KEPT everything! I saw lots of throw-away items in the garage, like old Avon and Sears catalogs, sales receipts from Thrifty's, mailed flyers from local stores, mini-cookbooks, etc. The major collection in the garage was of Jim Beam character ceramic whiskey decanters...there were hundreds of them in mint condition.
It seems that the lady of the house was quite a lace crocheter. There were boxes of DMC size 8 crochet thread...cotton and silk. I picked out some with my friend Regina in mind. She makes the most amazing items with teensy crochet hooks and thread. However, I might just try this mini-crocheting may be time for a change from bulky and worsted weight yarn. I found two beautifully crocheted aprons and picked them up. They make nice gifts for my vintage-obsessed friends. There were lots of crocheted potholders and dishcloths....the kind that look like little dresses and pants...there was even an apron/dress for the dishwashing liquid!
After scouring the contents of the house, Brit introduced me to Auntie Em's on Eagle Rock Blvd. for lunch....yummy salads, sandwiches and cupcakes!
On a another note, I was saddened to hear of the death of Buck Owens at the age of 76. I'm a big fan of the Bakersfield C&W sound and Buck was the godfather of this music.
Buck Owens and his Buckaroos was a big part of my teen years. When everyone was listening to hard rock bands like Cream, Vanilla Fudge, Hendrix, etc., I was tuning in "Cal's Corral" on Channel 13 to see the 1/2 hour shows from country greats like: Buck, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Bill Anderson, etc. The shows that Buck recorded BEFORE the "Hee Haw" years were musical gems. I was so glad to see tapes of the shows again when we visited the Crystal Palace last November. Yup....I'm glad that we saw Buck in his element. I had seen Buck perform at the Palomino in the late 80's when Dwight Yoakam brought him out of retirement, and he was riff-tastic!
Buck and the Buckaroos in the 1960's

The L.A. Times obit on Sunday was good and described his last night....Saturday at the Club. He had a nice chicken-fried steak (a problem, right there), and then told his band that he probably wouldn't perform that night 'cause he didn't feel too well. He was walking out to his car to drive home when some fans stopped him in the parking lot and said that they'd driven from Oregon to see him. He didn't want to disappoint the tourists, so he went back inside and performed a short set with the band. He drove home, went to bed and died. The paper said that he probably died of heart failure (chicken-fried steak) at about 4am. At least he died doing what he liked best. We'll miss you, and the town of Bakersfield will miss you, Buck.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Signs of our Times

Near the Egyptian Theater, Hollywood
Our life here in Los Angeles is all about signs. Traffic signs, shop signs, body language signs, signs from the heavens above, etc. As I travel through this City, I am amazed at some of the signs I see. Some are artful, clever and eye-catching. Some are downright ugly and make me want to look away quickly. Most are helpful in navigating the intense puzzle that is Los Angeles and it's surrounding areas.
I get nostalgic when I see signs that have been in one place for my whole life...and even longer. These signs have stood the test of time. They have remained useful and usually vibrant. Without these signs, we'd be lost. My favorite signs are really sculpture. Signs like the Chicken Boy statue and CB's brother, the Muffler Man. Most of the signs that warm my heart are the signs on favorite old restaurants. Sometimes the signs even outlast the restaurants. The sky-high arrow signs for the demolished Ship's Restaurant on La Cienega and Olympic were in place long after the coffee shop was gone. There was a store in Hollywood that was once a Von's. Then, it became Ron's. I believe it's gone now, but how thrifty of Ron's owners to utilize most of the orignal sign.
The sign over the Fine Arts Building at the L.A. County Fairgrounds in Pomona is a beautiful mosaic work of art. There's a great website, So Bad, It's Good, that higlights painted signs on Latin restaurants and carnicerias in's a must surf.
This weekend I will be following the signs to the hairdresser in SoRo, an estate sale near Glendale, maybe the Michael's in Glendale and hopefully, the sign over Pann's Coffee Shop in Ladera Heights.
Have a wonderful weekend and hopefully, the signs in your life are comforting and point you in the correct direction of life.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Handbags 'R Us

Nancy's Passover Purse
Yes, I'm still working on my designer handbag's slow going. I hope to be posting a finished or almost-finished product sometime next week.
In the meantime, one of my friends asked if I would felt her up a quickie handbag using yarn that a relative sent her from New York. This certain relative will be visiting Nancy during Passover and expects to see her designer yarn transformed into a useful object. Nancy knits and crochets a little....mostly scarves. She's really busy and is NOT quite as obsessed as I am about yarn-stuff.
Nancy brought over this very nice wool variegated label, but I knew it was wool. The yarn is pale grey, lavender, with a fleck of aqua. I added some dark grey wool to the mix to make her yarn go further. I ended up crocheting this cute little bag. It's basically a long rectangle, squared-off at one end and rounded at the other, then folded in half, I created a gusset and a handle at the same time on the sides, then threw it into the washing machine and waited for the felting magic to happen. After the purse ran thru the washer and dryer once, I added a closure and called it a day. Hopefully, Nancy will be pleased with the result....the Passover Purse!


Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Cupcakes from Buttercake Bakery in WLA
We have lots of birthday parties here at my corporate office. Hey! Corporate office stuff is boring, even if this is an entertainment business. So, we NEED cupcakes to make our day less tedious. The cupcake emporium of favor lately is Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. Another favorite is the Buttercake Bakery in West L.A. These are fancy, expensive cupcakes....$2.00 to $3.25 each, but they are delicious.
We used to celebrate office birthdays with cakes from Sweet Lady Jane's in West Hollywood. They make faboo, mile-high cakes that are totally delish. HOWEVER, since I'm the one that usually sets out the plates, napkins, forks, etc. for these little soirees, I usually end up doing the slicing of the cake too. I much prefer the tidy little cupcake that people can slice up themselves if they so desire. There's far less cleanup with cupcakes too.
I am declaring Wednesday, March 22nd CUPCAKE DAY. Bake up some for yourself or buy some at Sprinkles. Even a Hostess Cupcake will do! Have fun!
"Chocolate Hostess Cupcake" Oil Painting by Bonnie Case


Monday, March 20, 2006

The L.A. Marathon of Knitting

Los Angeles Marathon XXI
I was so obsessed this weekend with knitting that Ferragamo knock-off bag, that I didn't get anything else done! Luckily, the L.A. Marathon ran right through our neighborhood, so we couldn't really leave.....forced to stay home and knit!
After looking at the Berroco pattern and trying it out, I decided it wasn't enough like the original pattern stitch, although I do like the addition of the Suede yarn at the top of the bag, simulating leather. Also, my basketweave crochet was just too grid-like and static for this purse. The beauty of the Ferragamo is that the body is biomorphic and curvy, the top is structured. Lisi's pattern from the Stitch Cafe was it.
I zoomed over the hill on Saturday to the Stitch Cafe on Magnolia near Whitsett in Valley Village fka North Hollywood. There was a scumbling crochet class going on...Shout out to Kim of Playa del Rey. I saw that you were deeply engrossed in the class, so I didn't stop to say hi.
Lisi's 'Ferragamo' has a bamboo handle and is made from a chunky yarn. It looks really great, so I purchased her pattern. I gave Lisi the Berroco pattern and for her next bag sample, she may add some suede yarn at the top too.
When I got home I tried Lisi's pattern with the 2 strands of the yarn I initially used for my first attempt, basketweave crochet. After a few tries, I figured out the pattern. It's intense and kinda' complicated, but now I get it. The 2 strands of yarn were too busy for this pattern. I needed to switch to one light colored yarn. I wound up some off-white mystery yarn from my stash and started yet a third time on my obsession. Perfect!
I spent most of Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and all day Sunday knitting!!! The L.A. Marathon ran right through our neighborhood, so I put my own knitting marathon on hold to go outside and cheer on some of the runners. Since we were trapped until about 2:30 in our little area due to traffic barriers, runners, etc., it was a perfect time to knit.
Then, I was thinking about the structure of my bag. I wouldn't be able to construct anything like the original Ferragamo closure at the top of the bag. I do like how the Berroco pattern finishes off with leather handles and some suede yarn. Lisi's design, with just the bamboo handles doesn't look quite finished to me. So, once the traffic barriers were down I trundled over to my local Target and checked out the purses and tote-bags. My friend, Brandi, manager at Stitches From The Heart, buys Target totes and adds crocheted covers to them...they're fantastic looking. Now, Target is selling totes with leather-like handles and mesh sides....perfect to attach knitted and crocheted masterpieces to! I picked up a copper and beige tote. I think that the natural color yarn I'm working with will look great once it's attached to the tote. Stay tuned for updates!
Thank goodness the Marathon is I can go back to knitting at a leisurely pace!


Friday, March 17, 2006

Knock-Off Weekend

The beginning of a beautiful knock-off
I saw this bag on the Berroco website. Yesterday, at my daytime SnB here at the office, one of my fellow knitsters showed me an ad from Vogue Magazine for a Ferragmo bag with a leather top and raffia-like body....very similar to the Berroco bag pattern. The Ferragamo was priced at $1,600!!!
The minute I see something like this, I consider it a challenge! I have to immediately drop whatever I'm working on (about 10 other projects) and take the challenge. I ran over to Yarns Unlimited here in Santa Monica at lunchtime and picked up a couple of skeins of yarn that I think will look raffia-like in color. Have you ever tried to crochet or knit with raffia or soutache? It's very stiff and hard on your hands, which makes the process painful. Who wants to get crippled for a purse? Not me.
I've decided to crochet my bag, not knit it. I think that crocheted bags are sturdier than knitted bags and require LESS lining and stiffening. You won't find me buying the Berroco Cotton Twist or the Berroco Suede...although these are not really ultra-expensive yarns, they are not budget. I'm using a strand of TLC Amore' in the color of Sand and a strand of good ol' Red Heart acrylic in the color of Warm Brown. For the top of the bag, I'll use a strand of the Warm Brown with a strand of something the rusty/orange family, to simulate leather. I'm crocheting a basic basketweave pattern. The Ferragamo also had corkscrews hanging from the bottom of the bag. I may or may not add these....we'll see. Lisi at the Stitch Cafe in Valley Village has a kit for a version of this bag too! It's so popular.
The "Lorraine" bag from Berroco
Since I'll be stuck in the house on Sunday due to the L.A. Marathon going right through my neighborhood, here's to a rainy weekend of creation! Have a great one!


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

You Can't Eat Atmosphere

The best crazy chicken in town!
Want chicken? Our friends, Amy and Stuart introduced us to Dino's Burgers. Dino's serves the yummiest chicken in town! I've never had a burger here, even though that's what the place is called. The chicken and fries are just toooooo intoxicating!
Dino's is at 2575 West Pico Blvd., just east of Normandie on Pico in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter. This area is called the Byzantine-Latino Quarter primarily due to the fact that Saint Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral is nearby. Also, Papa Cristo's CK Market and Greek Restaunt is down the block. After many of the Greeks left the neighborhood, Latins started owning and operating businesses in the area. Now, Greek, Latin, Korean businesses operate in this lively area.
Dino's is open Sunday-Thursday from 6am to 11pm and Friday-Saturday from 6am to midnight. This is a perfect take-out place, but you can eat there too. It's really just a stand with a small dining room and a few tables outside. The owner, Demetrios Pantazis invented the chicken marinade. I detect vinegar, garlic, maybe oregano. There's also some sort of spice that turns the chicken bright orange, very much like tandoori chicken. The chicken plate comes with a 1/2 bird, coleslaw, corn tortillas, French fries and hot peppers. The sauce from the chicken seeps into the huge mound of fries and they become delicious droopy morsels of yum. By the way, they make their fries and coleslaw from scratch. You can substitute rice and beans or a traditional salad if you prefer. Also, the 1/2 chicken plate is really inexpensive...less than $5.
Dino's has a little parking lot, but there is street parking. Go there, get orange fingers and lips!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery