Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Philippe's The Original

On Sunday, I was in the Fashion District / Santee Alley downtown, checking out the counterfeit handbags. Yes, I bought one, I’m embarrassed to say. I also stopped at Michael Levine’s to pick up some knitting and sewing notions. Mr. Larry was in Highland Park, north of Downtown, at a camera store close-out sale. We decided to meet at Philippe’s The Original for lunch.
If you’ve never been to Philippe’s, you must go. It’s an L.A. landmark. Philippe’s was opened in 1908. They claim to be the originator of the French-dipped sandwich (1918), which is a hot beef sandwich consisting of thinly sliced roast beef on a French roll. This sandwich is usually served au jus (with juice) by dipping the bread into the beef’s juices before assembling the sandwich.
Another downtown establishment, Cole’s says that they originated the French-dipped sandwich right after they opened their doors in 1908. Whatever! I’ve only eaten at Cole’s twice. I’ve eaten at Philippe’s numerous times. I like the sandwich, atmosphere and parking at Philippe’s better. Cole’s is a bar and a music venue and offers great entertainment…check out their calendar.
The interior of Philippe’s is classic. There’s sawdust on the floor, you wait in lines for a server in a vintage outfit to make your sandwich and collect your order on a tray. Then you take your tray to one of the community tables. On each table is a jar of famous Philippe’s mustard. It’s incredible. I found a probable recipe for the mustard online, but at $3 per jar, I’d rather buy the stuff.
To read another review of this fantastic place, check out this website.The world eats at Philippe’s. You can see downtown politicians, lawyers, cops, etc. Business men and women eat here, as do a lot of the vendors from nearby China Town, Little Tokyo and Olvera Street. There are artists from the Brewery Art Colony. Dodger fans and USC sports fans and alumni are present on game days. Even the local down and out can afford a 9-cent cup of coffee at Philippe’s. It’s my kind of place.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Neutra - Poster Apartments, North Hollywood

On Friday, at the beginning of our 3-day weekend, Larry and I were invited to a cocktail party opening for the Design House Showcase at "Poster Neutra." The Poster Neutra is an 8-unit mid-century modern apartment house designed by renowned architect, Richard Neutra in 1958 for Grace and David Poster. Designers adding furniture and decor to each apartment for the tour included: Modernica, Tom & John Reistetter, NoHo Modern, Cletus Dalglish, Sunset Orange, Steven King and Built. The tour was scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. All proceeds from the tour benefitted the Neutra-VDL home in Silverlake, which is in need of repairs. The L.A. Times had a big story about the units and it's present owner, L.A. Conservancy member, Mike Resnick.
The apartments are small, 600-700 square feet each, but the patios and/or yard areas and the generous use of windows for each unit make the apartments seem more spacious. The pool area is great and the entire building has been refurbished to it's mid-century modern excellence. The apartments are located at 6847 Radford Ave. in North Hollywood and they will be ready for rental soon.
The designers did a marvelous job of maximizing the space in each unit. Some units had brightly colored 60's furniture. Some had mono-chromed elegant and artistic pieces. One of the designers added space-saving, wall hung multi-use furniture. I especially liked the cocktail table that turned into a hot pink couch. I heard that the public tour this past weekend was very successful and raised lots of money for the Neutra house.
Before the cocktail party we had a delicious dinner at Bua Siam Restaurant. I surfed the food blogs to find a place close to the Neutra Poster Apartments. I found Bua Siam on Monster Munching. The food was great, the restaurant was clean and the service was good. We had fresh lemonade with a sprig of mint, the house salad with peanut dressing, Papaya Salad with Crispy Catfish and a delicious Pad Thai noodle dish. The mini-mall where Bua Siam is located (12924 Sherman Way, North Hollywood) is a regular United Nations! There were places featuring the food of Armenia, Greece, China, Iran and more Thai. I would definitely go back to this restaurant when I'm in the neighborhood.
Mr. Larry at Bua Siam Restaurant


Friday, May 26, 2006

WeHo SnB - May 25th

Vintage Poncho Parade
We always have a good time at the WeHo SnB at the Original Farmers Market! Last night was no exception. Sara brought in some vintage Spinnerin and McCall’s needlecraft magazines. Notice the “Poncho Parade” spread above.It was a good crowd. Everyone is working on projects. Abby brought a green baby blanket and a knitted bikini top. Ben is working on something black. Brit bought a fluffy blue Tribble to show off. Carla is working on a hat with some gorgeous, soft wool. Cory is knitting away on her red wonder. Darcy is really concentrating on a new project. Faith is looking at all of the vintage magazines that Sara bought at the latest estate sale. Jen is crocheting an afghan, strip by strip. Kendra is working on a bit of fluffy orange. Kim and Crystal are completing projects left and right. Lori is wearing her Michael Kors self-knit sweater while working on a gorgeous brown knit skirt. Mary Jo is knitting an unusual fringed purse and cracking up at some quip that the hilarious Brit imparted. Natalie is crocheting granny squares (the building blocks to fashion) for a baby afghan. Regina and Kendra are concentrating. Sara is finishing up a crocheted shrug in the most gorgeous coral.

Alas, no photos of me! I’ve just finished a few handbags and am working on a “Chanel” tote at the moment. Have a marvelous Memorial Day Weekend everyone! Hope to see you at the WeHo SnB next week.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Elena Fiore Designs

Elena Fiore's Handbag
I've decided to assume my Italian name of Elena Fiore for this purse project! Elena = Ellen. Fiore = Flowers or Bloom. Perfect! I wonder if Isabella Fiore's real name is Izzy Bloom?
Anyway, I've finally completed my Faux Fiore. It's been a long journey. I'm not an expert seamstress, so the zipper on my handbag is not perfect, but it works. I haven't sewn in a zipper since that A-line dress I made in junior high sewing class, about a thousand years ago.
You will remember that the original Isabella Fiore handbag retails for almost $600 at Nordstrom's. It's positively gorgeous, beautifully constructed and I want one. I just cannot see spending that much money on a fabric bag, so I made one for myself. I used Julie Holtez' "Fat Bottom Bag" pattern from the "Happy Hooker" crochet book for the basis of the bag, changing the handles to a hobo style strap with glamour rings instead of round handles. I crocheted another bag in olive green acrylic to use for the lining. I added lots of free-formed flowers and leaves to the front of bag. I put in a big sports zipper for the closure. I think it looks great! Total cost of materials = $25.
I like Julie's Fat Bottom Bag pattern so much, that I decided to make it again, following the pattern religiously. I used Noro Kureyon in a black, tan, grey stripe for the outside, burgundy Cascade for the inside, black round plastic handles and stash wool for the flowers and leaves sewn on the front of the bag. I really like this bag too. All it needs is a snap closure!
I'm thinking about becoming Elena Pucci for my next handbag experiment!
Addendum: Thanks to Stephanie at the Anti-Factory for posting about me on her blog. She's the Counterfeit Queen of Handbags!!


Monday, May 22, 2006

Counterfeit Crochet Project

Stephanie's hand-crocheted "Chanel" Purse
Thanks to Emily and Julie for sending me the lost link I was looking for! The Counterfeit Crochet Project. Stephanie in San Francisco started her project with the "express intent of everyone making 'lowly' lumpy versions of the real things." Stephanie expected people to use their skills in making fun of the designer bags and translating them from high-fashion to homemade.
Stephanie's hand-crocheted "Gucci" Purse in progress
Hey! Craftspeople are particular about their crafts, Stephanie! Turns out that all of the submissions to the site look great!!!! I'm posting a few of the designer bags here to give you the idea. Go to the site and click around to see Stephanie's artwork and others' bag submissions on her blog. I e-mailed Stephanie today with photos of my "Faux-rragamo" and "Faux Fiore." Isn't it amazing and synergistic that we all covet these expensive designer bags but want to copy them in our own crafty manner? Love it.
On the left is Terry's "Louis Vuitton." On the right, you'll recognize my "Faux-rragamo." Take a look at Jennie's Burberry scarf, below. Truly Faboo!


Friday, May 19, 2006

L.A. Library Awards Dinner

Most Photos by Larry Underhill
Laa-dee-dah and fancy schmancy!!! That's my description of the L.A. Library Awards Dinner we attended last night, courtesy of our friend, Jeff (see previous post) and his current corporate employer. This dinner honored author, Norman Mailer, Founding Exec. Director of the Library Foundation, Evelyn Hoffman and the Corporate Philanthropy Award went to Wells Fargo.
We drove to the beautifully restored Central Library in downtown L.A. The cocktail hour was held in the Maguire Gardens. The cocktails and hors d'oeuvres were bountiful. Many L.A. luminaries were present. Mr. Larry took great photos of Angelica Huston and her husband, sculptor Robert Graham; Keith Caradine; Norman Mailer; L.A. Times columnist Patt Morrison wearing this huge ostrich feather hat and more.
Dinner in the City National Plaza across the street was catered by Patina and simply divine. There were gorgeous table settings including orchids and pale green table linen. We had a delectable salad with designer greens, figs, sugar-coated walnuts and parmesean cheese. The entree was filet mignon, a mushroom-filled crepe and yummy mystery vegies. Desert was another mysterious piece of yum that contained chocolate, vanilla sauce, a pear and some sort of luscious mousse. We also received a copy of a recent Norman Mailer book at the end of the event.
I saw one of my long-lost girlfriends and her hubby, Mary and Devil from Newport Beach at the event. We hadn't seen each other in over 15 years. Everyone was dressed to impress. It was a most enjoyable evening. Thanks again, Jeff and Audrey for including us in the festivities.
Weekend Update:
I'll be having more designer eyeglasses made up on Saturday morning, then dashing over to Monseur Marcel at the Farmers Market to lunch with my cousins, Myrna and Marilyn. We've got a movie in the evening at the Fine Arts in BH....a friend's movie from the desert's PioneerTown. Sunday, I'm taking Regina for a belated b-day lunch. We're gonna do the Sawtelle Stroll along the Westside's eclectic Mini-Tokyo and check out all of the cool shops. Later that afternoon, my neighborhood, Wilshire Vista, is holding it's annual Mixer and get-together. Phew! I'm tired already just thinking about all the events. Have a faboo weekend everyone!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery