Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hobo Journey

Last month I posted about this adorable hobo bag that one of my co-workers saw in a fashion magazine. This Isabella Fiore hobo bag, accented with crocheted flowers, retails for $595 at Needless Markup...errrr, uhh, I mean Neiman Marcus. I've seen it in two basic in reddish tones and the other in yellow/natural tones (pictured here).
Of course, I took this as a challenge to reproduce this handbag for a fraction of the cost. I thought I could get away with just finding a ready-made hobo bag at one of the outlet stores in a fabric stripe, then I would just add the hand-crocheted flowers. No such luck. I saw lots of hobo bags at Ross, T.J. Maxx, Target, Marshall's and J.C. Penney's (excellent selection of bags here, by the way), but none were in a striped, tweedy or plaid fabric. Most of the bags I saw were in solid colors, white, beige, copper, gold and silver. I think that the fabric of the bag needs to be grid-like to offset the biomorphic curves of the flowers. This is what we call artistic tension. I'm all for tension in my handbag.
So, I was perusing the latest edition of the SnB book series, "The Happy Hooker" crochet book and I came across Julie Holetz' pattern for the "Fat Bottom Bag." Julie is the daughter of good friends of mine. Julie and her family live in the Seattle area and come to visit L.A. once in awhile. Julie was here last year to participate in the filming of the upcoming DIY Network show, "Uncommon Threads." Julie came to a few of our SnB meetings and I took her on a mini-yarn crawl on the westside. She is also the technical editor of crochet me online magazine. She's a great designer....very innovative. I based my hobo bag on Julie's pattern, modifying the top portion of the bag to accomodate the hobo-type strap, instead of the ring handles that Julie uses. For my bag, I used an assortment of colors: Rust, mustard, grey...some tweedy and bumpy, in a striped pattern. Then, I re-crocheted the bag in an olive green acrylic for the lining. After attaching the lining to the bag I proceeded to crochet the strap. I found craft "glamour rings" at my local Joann's. I may re-inforce the strap to accomodate the weight of the bag, but I'm not quite at that stage yet.
I've started crocheting a few flowers to sew onto the bag. Next, I'll concentrate on crocheting the leaf appliques.
All in all, I'm quite pleased with the outcome. I'll post the finished product as soon as it's done!


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

To Protect & Preserve

" Skyline", Mixed Media by Ellen Bloom
The Historic Zones of Los Angeles or HPOZs (Historic Preservation Overlay Zones) are of deep interest to me. I was born and raised here in L.A. and I feel strongly about preserving what architectural history we have.
This weekend, the Los Angeles Conservancy is holding a tour of five historic homes in different HPOZs, depicting some of the vintage architecture of Los Angeles. There will be a docent tour of each of the five homes, as well as neighborhood representatives from each area talking about the cultural and historical details of their zone.
The five areas are Lincoln Heights, Pico-Union, Van Nuys , Whitley Heights and Windsor Square . Each area contains homes with unique architecture, Spanish Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Victorian, etc. In years past, there have been areas highlighted that are far from each other, but this year, it should be easy to get to all five homes by the end of the day.
Mr. Larry shot most of the photos for the self-guided tour leaflet and my friend, Amy designed the brochure. Amy has added some restaurant suggestions for each of the neighborhoods.
There are still tickets available for the day-long tour. You can call the Los Angeles Conservancy (213/623-2489), or just show up at the Whitley Heights location on Sunday to purchase your tour tickets. Tax-deductible tickets are $30 for non-members and $25 for L.A. Conservancy members.
I will be stationed with my HPOZ paintings at the Whitley Heights location, which is in the parking lot at Odin and Highland, in the same location as the Hollywood Heritage Museum in the Lasky-DeMille Barn, 2100 North Highland Avenue, (across from the Hollywood Bowl).
Every time I attend a tour or lecture put on by the L.A. Conservancy, I learn something new about my City. There are always other interesting and friendly people at these events too. I highly recommend your participation and look forward to seeing you at the Hollywood location.
L.A. Conservancy Official Photographer


Monday, April 24, 2006

Contrasts in L.A.

Trader Vic's Restaurant @ The Beverly Hilton Hotel
Larry and I had a busy weekend. I'm preparing for the Los Angeles Conservancy HPOZ Tour next Sunday (4/30/06). I'll be displaying and hopefully selling my original Historic Neighborhood paintings at the Whitley Heights docent stop. We were given a tour of the house on Saturday morning. Wow! It's fantastic! It's just above the picnic area and Hollywood Heritage Museum, across from the Hollywood Bowl. There are 15 different levels to this Spanish Revival home. More about the tour later in the week.
After the HPOZ orientation we stopped by the Norm's Coffeeshop on La Cienega near Melrose for brunch. Last year Norm's management restored all of the original Norm's neon signage and revitalized most of the L.A. restaurants. All of the Norm's were designed by the architectural firm of Armet and Davis, the premiere architects of the "Googie" stylerestaurant in Los Angeles and elsewhere. The food is good and cheap and I always love dining in 50's atomic places.
We really experienced the extremes in L.A. on Saturday. Later, we met our friends Chuck and Wes for very expensive cocktails and appetizers at the historic Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Trader Vic's is the opposite of Norm's in price, food and atmosphere. However, both buildings were built in the 1950's and exhibit tasteful and futuristic architectural lines. The architectural firm of Welton Beckett built this showcase hotel and restaurant for Conrad Hilton in 1955. Welton Beckett's firm also designed The Capital Records buildiing and the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, the Music Center, many of the original office buildings in Century City and the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, to name just a few. The Beverly Hilton was and still is an extremely elegant place. Trader Vic's Restaurant, attached to the Hilton, is tiki-rific. We ordered various exotic cocktails, a pupu platter, coconut shrimp and tasty duck tidbits. We could have fed a family of 12 at Norm's for the price of drinks, etc. at Trader Vic's. It's not about the money though, it's about the history and experiencing vintage L.A. at it's best. We had a grand time.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

LA Historic Home Tour

"Walking Tour" Mixed Media on Canvas, 18" x 18"
On Sunday, April 30th the Los Angeles Conservancy is holding a historic home tour called "At Home With History: Exploring Los Angeles' Historic Preservation Overlay Zones." I'm happy and proud to say that my artwork will be displayed at one of the historic home sites.
I'm working on an ongoing series that I call "To Protect and Preserve - The Historic Zones of Los Angeles." This group of paintings of various architectural styles, are in a semi-abstract style utilizing multiple transparent veils of paint through which collaged images or words appear and disappear. About a dozen of these pieces will be on view at the Whitley Heights location. I'm really looking forward to being at this location. It's SOOOO Hollywood and SOOOOO historical! Rudolph Valentino lived here, as well as Maurice Chevalier, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Marion Davies, Ethel Barrymore, Carole Lombard, W.C. Fields, Zsa Zsa Gabor and many others. Nestled in hills covered in towering eucalyptus, palm trees and colorful bougainvillea, Whitley Heights was built in the 1920s as part of a grand scheme by visionary developer Hobart Whitley to create an Italian Hill Village.
In order to see the mini-art show, you have to book the tour with the LAC. The Los Angeles Conservancy's description: "An HPOZ is a City-designated historic district composed of a group of buildings (either an entire neighborhood or part of a neighborhood) which are related to one another historically, architecturally and/or culturally."
There will be a tour home in each of five neighborhoods: Lincoln Heights (just north of downtown LA), Pico-Union (Mid-City LA), Van Nuys (the first HPOZ in the SF Valley), Whitley Heights (near the Hollywood Bowl) and Windsor Square (where Mayor Tony V. lives). The docent tours are always fact-filled and informative. It should be a great day in Los Angeles!
"Angelino Heights" Mixed Media on Canvas, 16 x 24


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Handbag Plea

I lost the link!!! This incredible crocheter in the SF Bay Area (I think) e-mailed me about my "Faux-rregamo" handbag and how much she liked it. She is working on crocheting knock-offs of all sorts of designer bags. This clever artist finished a Chanel bag that was faboo. I lost your link!!! Please e-mail me again or comment on this blog....your designs are soooo inspiring and I want to share them with my L.A. SnB groups!!!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Vegas Weekend

No, we didn't stay here, but isn't the neon cool?
Wow! Talk about sensory overload! Las Vegas is the City of Excess. Of course, I've been there numerous times, but the overindulgences really impressed me this trip. The hotels are huge, the crowds are ginornous, the neon and lights are spectacular, the traffic is worse than L.A.'s!
On Thursday, we drove to Primm, Nevada (formerly known as Stateline). In recent years two more resorts have sprung up in addition to the Western-themed Whiskey Pete's. At one time, Whiskey Pete's, as it's name conjurs up, had a western theme. It still has a western theme, but they added castle-topped architecture to the structure. So, is it a castle or is it a ranch house? Confusing. The other two resorts are Buffalo Bill's (definitely western) and the Primm Valley Resort. We stayed at the PV Resort, which resembles the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, CA. Primm Valley Casino is connected to the Primm Valley Outlet Mall. We shopped and shopped. Larry did quite well, purchasing jeans, sportcoat, shoes, jackets, etc. I didn't buy anything. I did enjoy the display of the 'original' Bonnie and Clyde getaway car, in the mall. You never know when history is going to hit you in the face in Vegas.
On Friday morning we drove into Las Vegas, proper...about 30 minutes away. We had a 12:30 brunch reservation at The Commander's Palace, located in the Desert Passage Shops next to the Aladdin Hotel. The Desert Passage is full of great stores. I bought a darling wallet at the Brighton Shop for 1/2-off the sale price. This is the only Commander's Palace open at this time. The New Orleans restaurant should be open again in August. The original is about 120 years old. I was there 6 years ago for lunch....divine. Larry had never been, so that's why we booked brunch at the LV branch. It was totally marvy. I had the crabcake appetizer....solid filler, griddle seared and topped with a truffled crabmeat salad and marinated crab claws; a version of eggs benedict with lox, caviar and instead of an English muffin, they used a flaky biscuit; dessert was faboo bread pudding with a meringue mountain on top and bourbon sauce; Larry had gumbo, cochon du lait and the bananas Foster. The service was excellent....the Szazeracs were heavenly. It was not exactly a budget meal, but it was memorable and I'm glad that we went. To top it off, there is this American Cocktail Museum in the restaurant. It's a must-see.
Praise The Lowered
On Saturday we headed over to the Gold Coast Hotel, off the Strip for the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show. The weather was perfect for this event...a little windy, but sunny and clear. We saw tons of vintage cars (raised and lowered), vintage clothes, heard vintage music and generally had a blast. Most of the cars at this event are NOT perfect. That's why I like them....many have suede or primer exterior paint, ripped up seats and jerry-rigged mechanical parts. To me, this is more of an art-car experience, showcasing the ingenuity and cleverness of the owners.
Many people were dressed in vintage clothes, vintage hairstyles, vintage accessories. The only difference with today's vintagely dressed kids is that they sport tattoos. I don't remember many tatoos on people other than sailors in the 50's and 60's. As you know, I'm extremely concerned with purses, handbags, totes, etc. I shot some photos of samples. There were handbags 'upholstered' like tuck & roll vinyl auto interiors, actual vinyl record bags, pin-striped bags, vinyl bags shaped like bongo drums, etc. It was a bag-aganza-a-go-go for me.
Of course, the show was all about cars. Mr. Larry went nuts. There was this pink Rambler that I could have driven right off the lot...perfect. I saw the 40's version of today's PT Cruiser (I'm thinking of getting a PT, by the way). There was this car with pipes on the hood, that was actually popping corn and had flames pour out...very cool. The most gorgeous ORANGE paint job was alluring on a 40's car. There was this darling vintage ice-cream truck. Yes, there were rows and rows of cool cars, with "B" sides of rockabilly tunes being blasted into the air. There was a huge tiki bar, hot dog stand and more. We had a great time and met some wonderful people.
The rest of our weekend was taken up by a visit to the Peppermill Coffee Shop on the Strip...that's the one with the fire-spouting fountain in the sunken lounge. We also visited the Atomic Testing Museum. This was a fascinating place! We spent alot of time there perusing the various interactive exhibits, photos, atomic machinery and timeline displays.
My only yarn experience was visiting Gail Knits on West Sahara Avenue. It was a really nice shop, lots of product, nice people. I purchased 2 large skeins of superwash Cascade merino wool in chocolate and mocha colors.
We drove home on Easter Sunday, first stopping on our way out of town to photograph the Carpeteria man. Remember the Carpeteria Genie on Vine Street in Hollywood? He was taken down a few years back, so we were happy to see that he's experiencing a nice retirement in Las Vegas. We stopped in Baker, CA for lunch at the Mad Greek, right across the highway from Bun Boy and the world's largest themometer. So many interesting sights along the road to Vegas.
I'm looking forward to getting back to knitting, crocheting and hangin' with my fiber friends!


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Passover in the Desert

Judaic Table Runner in Filet Crochet Pattern
Passover is the 8 day observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II. This is a time of family gatherings and lavish meals called Seders. The story of Passover is retold through the reading of the Haggadah (prayer book). With its special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration.
We usually attend a large family Passover Seder. My cousins and I do all of the cooking and planning. In fact, I adapted and compiled a personalized family Haggadah from various services I'd attended over the years, including fun songs like "Take Us Out of Egypt" (sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"), "Don't Sit On The Afikomen" (sung to the tune of "Battle Hymn of the Republic"), "Our Passover Things" (sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things" from "Sound of Music"), and my all-time favorite, "The Ballad of the Four Sons" (sung to the tune of "My Darling Clementine").
This year, the family Seder is happening without us. Larry and I are headed to Las Vegas for the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend. It's a rockabilly extravaganza-a-go-go-a-rama. We haven't missed a family Passover in about 15 years, so I don't feel too guilty....really! I will be in the desert, where Moses parted the Red's just a different desert. Maybe Lake Mead will miraculously separate and all of those gamblers in LV will flee to Laughlin.
The Rockabilly Weekend is all-consuming. We will probably only attend a portion of the fest though. We like the car show, the marketplace and a few of the concerts. However, we also want to visit The Atomic Testing Museum and maybe hit some other hot Vegas spots. We are not gamblers, but there is so much to see and do in LV, that I hardly have time to put a quarter in a slot machine! We must visit the vintage Peppermill Restaurant and it's world-famous fireside lounge. This is an excellent coffee shop that serves huge portions of yummy American-style food. The fireside lounge and the entire decor of this place harkens back to the late 1960's - early 1970's. There's this roaring fire in the middle of a fountain, set in a sunken couch-lounge. It's incredible. We are forever searching out cool thrift shops and antique stores too. There's a lot of turnover in the population of LV, so the consignment shops, etc. are usually fully-stocked. You never know what 'treasure' you'll find.
I will miss all of my fellow-knitsters and crocheters at the WeHo SnB on Thursday. Have a good time and report back on all of your crafty projects.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery