Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Some of Ellen's Eyeglass Collection
For me, eyeglass frames are a fashion accessory. Of course, I do need my glasses so I can see properly. Since this blog is all about my hobbies, travels and ME, ME, ME, I thought I'd inventory my eyeglass frames. Yeah, it's a slow blog day.

All of the frames pictured above were purchased at various L.A. Eyeworks' sales within the past 5 or 6 years. I do wear other glasses from other shops too.

I go through eyeglass phases. For awhile, I was only wearing my red glasses (lower right). I would switch off with my green glasses (upper right) for variety. Depending on what I'm wearing, I'll switch off to my basic black glasses or my flashy pink/red combo. I'm waiting for the orange/camel combo from L.A. Eyeworks to be on sale. Right now, I've been wearing my tortoise shell glasses, almost exclusively, except for special fashion occasions.

Larry and I missed the L.A. Eyeworks sale this past season. I suppose that's a good thing. I really don't NEED any new glasses, but I do want some! What's your favorite fashion accessory?

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Baby Knits

Saartje's Booties. Socks That Rock Yarn - "Flintstone" colorway

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'm in a competition at my office complex to make as many baby hats and booties as possible by this Thursday! The grand prize winner gets a gift certificate to the Stitches From The Heart Yarn Shop, here in Santa Monica. An added bonus is that ALL of the hats and booties will be donated to SFTH.

I've been knitting and crocheting furiously, putting most of my other projects on the back burner. I have LOTS of hats! I will post pix of the hats toward the end of the week, after the contest.

I hadn't made any booties, so I was cruisin' ravelry and saw that many of my friends had made Saartje's Booties. This is the cutest little pattern. I used some of my Socks That Rock Blue Moon yarn in the "Flintstone" colorway for the booties.

I'm working on a little short-row beanie to match the booties, but I might not get the beanie done in time for the contest. For me, this is slow-knitting on size 4 needles. If I don't finish the beanie, then I'll hold back the booties and donate them when the set is complete.
Short-Row Baby Beanie

Best of luck to all my office complex co-knitters and co-crocheters!!!


Monday, April 28, 2008


Ready for Action

It was a good weekend. Even though the temperature hit the late 80's in our neighborhood, we accomplished alot. The guys with the Bob-Cat and dump-truck were digging dirt from our backyard most of Friday. They came back Saturday morning and finished up. We now have an empty backyard, ready for construction. It's so nice to see our studio and garage clearly from the back window of the house! To see photos of our yard before, click here.
Larry, in his CLEAN backyard

Next step....a little cement work!


Friday, April 25, 2008

Eating Healthy

Onion Rings and Fries @ The Shack

So much has been written about eating healthy in this day of multiple fast-food choices. As I advance in years, I'm beginning to feel the wisdom in this. I hadn't eaten any sugar or sweets for about four days. On Wednesday I had two bites of a divine cream puff from Beard Papa. It sent my heart racing, gave me a headache and after a few minutes high, dropped my mood into the depths. OK. Now I can FEEL that sugar is bad for me.
Since it is spring and we're eating lighter, I am going to make a concentrated effort to eat more veggies and fruits, less red meat and more fish and chicken. I suppose by making this public declaration, I'll have to stick to this promise. This is a difficult vow to make, let alone, KEEP in a City of Food like Los Angeles.
I will try to get out to my local farmers market this weekend and pick up some farm-fresh produce. After eating all that heavy food during Passover, it's finally time to lighten up.
I leave you for the weekend with some of my favorite fast-food treats from restaurants around the City.
Combo Plate @ Taco Plus
Chicken Wraps @ Zankou

Pizza @ Joe's

Udon Bowl @ Mitsua Marketplace

Corn Dogs @ Hot Dog On A Stick

Godmother Sub @ Bay Cities Italian Deli

Jumbo Jim & Suzy-Q's @ Dolores's

Fried Chicken @ Pann's

If at all possible after that orgy of food photos, have a great and healthy weekend!

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

End of the Habitat

"Dead-End Driveway"
Acrylic on Canvas, 36" x 36", Ellen Bloom
Seven years ago we completed the building of a garage and studio in our backyard. Ultimately, we ran out of money and couldn't afford to pour the cement for the driveway to the garage and the pad in front of the studio. There was a large mound of earth excavated from the building of the studio that ended up piled in a mound about 10 feet in front of the studio door. We call this our very own "grassy knoll." We've let the rest of the backyard return to the wild. The weeds are everywhere, growing in and around Larry's old cars. One nice thing about our yard is that the flowers are still blooming. We have beautiful roses, amarylis, bougainvillea and more.
Our yard is known in the neighborhood as the Habitat for Small Animals. All of the kittys love chasing birds and mice out there in the wild. It's time to take back the yard for humans. We are now embarking on a remodelling project and the yard must be cleared. Tomorrow, 8 am, the man with the truck and Bob-Cat will be wheeling down our long driveway to clear the yard for construction. Yippee!!!
Take a last look at the Habitat and wish it a fond farewell.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Administrative Professional's (Secretary's) Day

PHOTO: Maggie Gyllenhall in “Secretary”, courtesy of

Happy Administrative Professional's (Secretary's) Day. Found this description online at holiday

National Professional Secretaries Week and National Secretary's Day was created in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam. Klemfuss recognized the importance and value of the position to a company or business. His goal was to encourage more women to become secretaries. Using his skill and experience in public relations, Klemfuss, promoted the values and importance of the job of secretaries. In doing so, he also created the holiday in recognition of the importance of secretaries.
Today, the title is changing and evolving. But, the recognition is equally important. There are two new terms in use today. They are "Administrative Professionals" and "Executive Admins". The two names sometimes mean different roles and responsibilities to different companies. Both are broader terms that encompass more positions than the original "Secretary" role.
The name change recognizes and acknowledges that the role has changed significantly since 1952, and for the better. And in Harry Klemfuss' day, these postions were the realm of women. Today, you find some males in these positions.

I've been a secretary (Administrative Assistant) since I started working part-time during high school when I was 15 years old. I've seen so many technological changes over the years. From mimeograph machines to Xerox and Canon copiers; from carbon paper and Liquid Paper to computers; from rotary phones and old PBX switchboards to complex telephone communication systems. In a way, I'm glad that I learned all about office machines in my Secretarial Science classes in college. In a pinch, I actually know how to type on an old typewriter, cut and paste a document, take shorthand and find a phone number without a computer! Hey! I even have an old style rollodex on my desk, just in case there's an electrical failure!

The job of secretary seemed so glamorous to me as a kid, after watching re-runs of "Private Secretary" starring Ann Sothern on TV. What fun Sothern had as "Susie McNamara" on that show. I thought it would be a perfect world in which to experience all kinds of professions, from the law to medicine to real estate to my eventual chosen field, entertainment. I've never been sorry for taking this path and not choosing to stay in school and further my education. Life has been my education.
Nowadays, with all the modern office technology, my job as an Administration Assistant at an entertainment company is relatively uncomplicated. Of course, I do have an excellent boss who started out as an assistant too, so he's extremely self-sufficient (thank you). I work with wonderful people who constantly challenge and amuse me. Considering I've been in the same field for over 30 years, I can almost do my job blind-folded. This affords me the time to think about my family, my art, my crafts and the rest of my life. Happy Secretary's Day Everyone!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Let out the clutch!

Felted Granny Square Clutch Purse

Clutch. So many meanings for one little word. Clutch is a rock band. Clutch is a car mechanism. Used as a verb, it means to grasp or hold. My favorite clutch is a purse/handbag. I'm sure there must be other meanings for this word!


Spring and summer seem to be the perfect times to let out your clutch bags. It's warmer. You don't want to be lugging around a heavy handbag/suitcase when you're wearing your little spring dress with barely-there sandals!


A few weeks ago I b-day gifted my friend, Darcy, with a felted granny square clutch bag. Darcy is a big fan of all things felted. Remember my motto: "Granny Squares are the building blocks to fashion." So true. Here, the versatile granny square (six) were crocheted with Noro Kureyon yarn, sewn together and then felted into a little clutch handbag. I also crocheted the lining of the bag with the same yarn, but in stripes. Eventually, I added a zipper to the top of the bag and a simple strap. The bag measures almost 12 inches long, about 4-1/2 inches high....perfect for your keys, money, phone and digi-cam. Let out your clutches NOW!


Monday, April 21, 2008

Excellent Seder

Passover Seder Table

On Saturday, Larry and I, along with my Mom and Step-Dad and my Auntie Mae drove out to my cousin's house in Valencia for our family Passover Seder. Total count this year: 26 people!!! Yikes! It was crowded, but everything turned out beautifully.

Our menu was the same as in past years. We've really perfected all of our specialties. Basically, my cousins, Marilyn and Carolyn and I cooked everthing. Auntie Roz (my Mom) and Auntie Mae (Marilyn's and Carolyn's Mom) brought many of the extras (dessert, dishware, wine). I added a new cover to our Haggadah this year. The Haggadah is the "script" that we all read, telling the story of the Exodus. For this year's cover, I found a great picture of Charleton Heston in the role of "Moses".....very colorful.

Whenever we have these family gatherings, it brings home the fact that my Dad, George, isn't with us any longer. He wasn't particularly religious, but he always enjoyed being with the whole family. We also missed my Uncle Marvin, who passed away recently. He always rejoiced when the family celebrated together. There were a few cousins who couldn't attend too. Hopefully, they will make it next year. The rest of us sang songs, ate, visited and had a good time.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Passover

Passover is a holy day and festival commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. It is also known as Festival of the Unleavened Bread. Faith has an excellent explanation of ridding the house of bread products or "chametz" during the Passover week.
My family considers itself "culturally Jewish". We certainly do not adhere to many of the strict rules of Judaism. Basically, we speak and understand a little Yiddish (the Jewish language, a mix of German and Hebrew), know where all the secular delicatessans in town are located and celebrate the major Jewish holidays in our non-religious way.
Sharon Ann's Needlepoint Matzoh Bag
Just like last year, we will be convening at my cousin's house in Valencia for our family Seder. We all contribute to the meal. I'm in charge of the fruit compote, matzoh kugel and all of the ingredients for the traditional Seder plate. The Seder plate is the centerpiece of the dinner. The ingredients are: bitter herbs, symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery which the Jews endured in Egypt, Charosis, a sweet, brown, pebbly mixture made from apples, honey, nuts and wine, representing the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build the storehouses of Egypt, Karpas, a vegetable other than bitter herbs, which is dipped into salt water at the beginning of the Seder. Parsley, celery or boiled potato is usually used. The dipping of a simple vegetable into salt water (which represents tears) mirrors the pain felt by the Jewish slaves in Egypt, who could only eat simple foods. There is a roasted lamb or goat shankbone, chicken wing, or chicken neck and a roasted egg, symbolizing the Pesach sacrifice, which was a lamb that was offered in the Temple of Jerusalem, then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. Other families have alternate symbolic food that they display, but these are the basics. Of course, there is matzoh on the table, a crispy flatbread. When the Jews fled Egypt, there was no time to let the bread rise, that's why we eat unleavened bread for the holiday.

I've also compiled a family haggadah, which is the story of how Moses led the Jews to freedom. Our version is peppered with parodies of popular songs telling the ancient story, such as 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”) and that all-time favorite, The Ballad of the Four Sons (sung to the tune of “My Darling Clementine”). Over the years, I have found these songs online and from attending other seders. OK, OK, so we're not too traditional! At least we get together, honor the story, eat excellent food and sing some songs!

To turn this post into one about yarn, I was cruisin' ravelry the other day and found some excellent knitted and crocheted versions of the traditional Seder plate. I just might have to work on this for next year's Seder. Happy Pesach to you and have a grand weekend.

Knitted Seder Plate and Felted Matzoh Ball Soup by tikkunknitter

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

One More Hat

Yesterday, I knit this darling little baby bonnet. It's for this contest. The pattern is called "Super Quick Baby Bonnet" by Dilys Sutherland. I really like the lace detail near the ribbing. I think I'll make a pair of booties to go with the bonnet. I used Red Heart Soft yarn in the "Leaf" colorway. With this basic pattern, you could change up the stockinet stitch with a basket weave or any lacy stitch.
Tonight, I'll be at the WeHo SnB at the Original Farmers Market. Everyone is working on various projects...some summery, some leftover wintery items. Here in L.A., it's been hot during the day (from 75 to 90 degrees) and cool at night (from 40-65 degrees). I never know what to wear!
One of my fave SnBr's, Natalie, wrote a glowing piece about me yesterday! It was so sweet of her to dedicate an entire post to me and the Eye of the Partridge stitch. I have been singing the praises of this stitch, using multi-colored yarn. The effects can be startling. Natalie explains the stitch beautifully, along with my method of quicker-knitting for throwers. Thanks for all the compliments,'re a peach!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stash Bustin' Baby Hats

Crocheted with Red Heart "Soft" Yarn
Recently, I've been participating in a knit-a-crochet-a-thon-a-rama-a-go-go with some people in my office complex to make baby hats and booties for Stitches From The Heart. There is a scoring system and judging! The crafter with the highest score will get a $30 gift certificate to the SFTH store, here in Santa Monica. The contest is for the month of April. Judging is on May 1st. This is a major stash bustin' project!
Crochted with TLC Soft Yarn
Knit with Lionbrand Bulky Woolease
Knit with one strand TLC Yarn and one strand Lionbrand Woolease
Crocheted with Lionbrand Woolease, Red Heart "Soft" and WEBS Acrylic
So far, I've made eight baby hats. Most of the hats are crocheted on the fly without a pattern. The pointy-pixie hats are called "Meathead Hats" from the new "Knitalong" book. I used 100% virgin acrylic for all the hats so that they would be baby-proof and washable!
Crocheted with Lionbrand Microspun
Knit with Red Heart Super Saver

Knit with one strand TLC yarn and one strand WEBS acrylic


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

MONA Opening

MONA, the Museum of Neon Art has a new temporary space in the Financial District, downtown. Larry and I attended the opening this past Saturday night. The space is smaller than the Museum's previous locations, but this is only temporary, until they find the perfect area for their incredible collection of vintage neon signs and neon sculpture.

There was music, food and some new sculpture and signs, along with signage photos by Tom Zimmerman. The soft drink signs are fun and a new addition. We met up with many old friends: Doug Nason of Copro-Nason Art Gallery; Jim Heimann and his wife; neon expert and author, Eric Lynxwiler, among others. It was indeed a lovely and glowing evening.
Larry and I were surprised to see so much action going on in the area. Pete's Cafe and Bar was crowded, we noticed a few galleries open up the block and in-between some homeless people we saw many people strolling and enjoying the balmy evening downtown. Yes, there are reasons to venture to downtown Los Angeles! Try it sometime, you might like it!


Monday, April 14, 2008

Tacos and Yarn!

On Saturday afternoon Mary Jo and I met up with the Eastside Goils to celebrate Madgik's b-day. It was a Santa Monica day. Even near the beach, we were exposed to 90 degree weather! Yikes! Too hot for April.
Lunch at Gilbert's El Indio was good. The waiters are a riot...they aim to please and entertain. After lunch and b-day gifties we carpooled over to Artesanias Oaxaquenas to check out the oilcloth totes and other art objects.
It was a quick drive west on Pico to Yarns Unlimited. Madge was extremely pleased with their huge selection of Cascade 220 in tons of colors. The owner of the shop, Martin was very acommodating and gave us 10% off on our purchases.
Next stop, Wild Fiber, to view the "wall of Koigu." They do have an amazing selection. Also, the sale room in back is legendary. I managed to pick up 10 skeins of Di.Ve' in a brown and amber tweedy colorway for half-price. We stayed at WF for awhile. It's a great place to just hang out and commune with the yarn.
It was a wonderful b-day celebration for ALL of us! Thanks Madge, for getting us all together and Happy B-Day again!
Gilbert's El Indio Mexican Restaurant, 2526 Pico Blvd., SM, 310/450-8057
Artesanias Oaxaquenas, 2919 Pico Blvd., SM, 310/829-5020
Yarns Unlimited, 828 Pico Blvd., SM, 310/395-3880
Wild Fiber, 1453 14th St., SM, 310/458-2748

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Friday, April 11, 2008


I finished my Koigu Springtime scarf that reminds me of Easter. The colors really pop! I added a sweet little picot edging (also crocheted). Now I will soak and block the scarf. It's so cheerful.

There's a busy Spring weekend ahead. Tomorrow, in the morning I'll be at the WeHo SnB at the Original Farmers Market @ 10am. Mary Jo is meeting me there and then we're headed over to Santa Monica for a celebratory b-day lunch with the Eastside Knitters for Madgick. We will do a mini yarn crawl in the SM area after lunch. Madge seems to be stuck on all the colors available in Cascade 220. Yarns Unlimited has this huge selection. Some of the Eastsiders, along with Mary Jo may join me at the Fairview Knitters SnB from 3:30 to 5:30. It's going to truly be a yarny day!

Later that night, Larry and I are attending the opening, at the new location, for the Museum of Neon Art, downtown. There are some new signs, music, treats, etc. I'm looking forward to it. It's a downtown weekend, because Sunday, the Los Angeles Conservancy is holding their The Bridges of the L.A. River. Phew! Busy! Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Knit Cafe Leftovers

Books, Magazines and Yarn for Sale

This is a public service announcement, brought to my attention by sometime knitter, Brit O. Most of the leftover yarn, books and magazines from the closing of our beloved Knit Cafe have ended up at Berda Paradise Thrift Store, 3506 W Sunset Blvd, Silverlake. Berda's also has appliances, books, silverware, dishes, clothes....all sorts of stuff!
Berda's is in the mini-mall containing Alegria Restaurant and the Baskin-Robbins, close to Golden Gate Ave., on Sunset Blvd., between Hyperion and Silverlake Ave. Celebrities have recently been spotted at Alegria. Hmm? One-stop shopping? Lunch at Alegria, a little yarn shopping at Berda's, topped off by a mint-coco-chip cone at B-R. Sounds about perfect to me.

Just to entice you, below are some yummy meals from Alegria....a divine restaurant!

Chile Rellenos

Supreme Vegie Platter


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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Eye of the Partridge

Usually, this stitch is used when knitting turn the heel. The use of the slip stitches makes the heel rather strong. Recently, on the Knittyblog, I read about using this stitch with handpainted, lace-weight yarn to make a shawl. LOVELY results! Now, I'm obsessed with this stitch. Every single bit of handpainted or variegated yarn in my house has been swatched using this stitch!
A yarn in my stash, from Mary Jane's Attic, purchased last winter at the Felt Club festival at LACC seemed to work best with this stitch. The triangular, top portion of the photo above is the stitch using size 11 needles. For the swatch on the bottom, I used size 10 needles. Since shawls aren't really my thing, I cast on for a simple top-down shell. We'll see how far I can get with just one skein (260 yards) of this gorgeous hand-dyed wool.
Now, if I can just get that song, "Eye of the Tiger" out of my head while knitting!!!!


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Descanso Gardens

Darcy, Lori, Carla, Natalie, Brit and Mary Jo @ Descanso Gardens
On Sunday I travelled with my Knitgrllz to the beautiful Descanso Gardens in La Canada/Flintridge to celebrate the b-days of Darcy and Mary Jo. Before our garden tour, we had a great lunch at Joselito's in nearby downtown Montrose. Natalie was our garden tour guide. We saw lilacs, tulips, Japanese maples, daisies and a multitude of other gorgeous flowers and greens. Descanso is a pefect place to roam around on a gorgeous spring day.
We ended up at the Japanese Tea House Pavillion for b-day cookies and presents! Everyone was very creative in their gift-giving. I just love my crafty friends!!!

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Bye For Now - Knit Cafe

So sad. Yesterday was the last day of business at the original location for the Knit Cafe. This was one of the first of the new wave of little yarn shops to emerge during the past decade's popularity in knitting and crochet. Suzan Mischer opened the Knit Cafe in 2002 on a sleepy stretch of Melrose Ave., just east of La Cienega. This neighborhood was home to interior designers, small antique shops and a few hairdressers. In recent years, many top American and European designers have moved into the area, raising the rents and popularizing this end of the trendy avenue.
I was hired to teach crochet at the the Knit Cafe after wandering in one day and talking to Suzan endlessly about yarn. The shop was designed and decorated beautifully with Suzan's unique style. Suzan always had the latest yarns in stock as well as an array of needles, hooks and accessories. The Knit Cafe was the cutting edge in yarn chic. Suzan wrote a popular knitting instruction book called "Greetings from Knit Cafe." More than anything, Knit Cafe was a place where knitters met and shared their skills. Many long-lasting friendships transpired at this wonderful little shop.

Suzan hopes to find another location in the West Hollywood area for relocation. Until that time, she will continue her online biz. Check the Knit Cafe Bulletin Board for updates.
On Saturday, Larry and I had breakfast with our friends, Audrey and Jeff. Aud and I coerced the guys to stop by the Knit Cafe on our way to an estate sale. Everything in the shop was 60% off! Of course, we managed to find a few items, say our goodbyes to some of the sales staff and snap a few shots of this beautiful shop. Bye-bye Knit Cafe. We look forward to your new location.


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery