Saturday, November 29, 2008

In The City

Olympic Blvd., Beverly Hills, looking west toward Century City @ Dusk

I really love 4-day weekends! Yesterday, Joan and I had lunch at the Bloom Cafe (no relation) and visited the L.A. County Museum of Art to see the Vanity Fair photo exhibit. We had a grand time. Joan @ LACMA

Of course, later in the day I zoomed down to Santa Monica to attend the Yarns Unlimited sale. It was excellent! I enhanced my yarn stash a at a later date. At almost closing time, Larry I and went to the tile store to see if we could find a good tile and floor combo for our new bathroom. I want to stay with neutral colors. We found a nice combination....light gray tiles for the shower and walls, dark gray matte finish tiles for the floor and a lovely speckled granite for the counter top!
Today is a FREE day! I'm not sure what I'll do! It's the greatest luxury in the world to have a whole day with absolutely nothing planned! What are you doing today?

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Quite Lovely

Napa Valley Grill
We had a lovely time at yesterday's family Thanksgiving feast. Thanks to Auntie Mae for hosting the entire family at the Napa Valley Grill in Westwood Village. We had a private dining room, set with 3 tables, so that all 25 of us were quite comfortable.
We had many courses (soup, salad, entree, desert) and lots of choices. We didn't even have to eat turkey if we didn't want to. Mom had the sirloin steak, Larry had the duck, Phil had the salmon, Josh had the shortribs, Liz had the whitefish. I opted for the turkey dinner. It was served beautifully and everyone seemed satisfied with their selections. For dessert, we ventured into the main dining area for a desert, cheese and fruit extravaganza! Wow! How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kevin's Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies
Happy pre-Thanksgiving to all! I hope you have a marvelous, stress-free day tomorrow. Ours will be extremely easy. My Auntie Mae is hosting the entire family for a lovely 4-course meal at the Napa Valley Grill in Westwood Village. Woo Hoo!!!
HOWEVER, if you do want to contribute to the Thanksgiving feast, you can bake Kevin's easy Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies, pictured above. Last week we had a progressive Thanksgiving lunch at my office. Everyone brought a dish.
Here's my interpretation of Kevin's recipe:
Get some of that Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough in the deli aisle of your know, the kind you slice down. In the cake section, pick up some squeezable cake frosting in white, orange and black. You'll find candy corn in the candy aisle. Bake the cookies according to package directions. Smoosh a bit of white frosting on the top curve of the cookie, smash in the candy corns. Draw in the eyes, beak and turkey gobbler neck with the proper color of frosting! Done! Proudly serve your Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies!
Another marvy recipe gleaned from a co-worker is Jelled Cranberry Mold. Rochelle brought this divine dish. As you can see by the photo below, I liked it alot.
Office Progressive T-Giving Luncheon
Rochelle's Jelled Cranberry Mold
1 large box cherry Jello
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 can crushed pineapple (blue can with syrup)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve the Jello in 2 cups boiling (or very hot) water. Add all the other ingredients, mix well and chill...that's it!
Rochelle's tip: She usually switches bowls after dissolving the Jello since it leaves a grainy coating on the bowl. Next, she adds the cranberry sauce and uses a fork or spoon to really mash it up well (so you don't get chunks of cranberry sauce)...then the crushed pineapple and lastly the nuts.
The only bad thing about eating out for Thanksgiving is that there are no leftovers! I love these recipes so much, that I'll probably whip them up this weekend, along with a turkey breast, some yams, stuffing and creamed peas with onions for my sweetie pie!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Seraphina Redux

I just can't stop making these Seraphina shawls! They are fast, easy but interesting to crochet and the results are impressive. Once you figure out the pattern, it moves quickly, but looks intricate. I needed a holiday gift for my sister-in-law, Ginny. She and my brother, Ken live in North Carolina where it gets chilly in the wintertime. Ginny LOVES purple. I had this beautiful Rowan Yorkshire Tweed, DK weight in my stash, purchased at the Great Black Sheep Knittery Sale of 2007. I'm using a size "H" crochet hook.

Ken will be receiving some gorgeous socks from Fernwood Woolworks in Portland, Oregon. I'm almost done with all of my holiday knitting and crocheting....just a few finishing touches that I hope to accomplish over our long Thanksgiving Day holiday!


Monday, November 24, 2008

L.A. Conservancy Gala @ Bullocks Wilshire

On Saturday we were fortunate to attend the L.A. Conservancy's 30th Anniversary Gala at the historic Bullocks Wilshire Department Store (Designed by John and Donald Parkinson, 1929). Bullocks is no longer a store, but luckily, this fabulous building has been re-purposed by SouthWestern Law School and still stands as a wonderful example of art deco architecture and design in our City of Los Angeles.

This was a very fancy-schmany affair! Guests arrived under Bullocks' historic porte cochere and were escorted to the perfume aisle. A silent auction display area was set up here, as well as a bar. On the second floor, location of the lounge and the CoCo Chanel room, were hors d'oeuvres inspired by the original Bullocks Wilshire Tea Room and another bar, in addtion to more silent auction items. Going on at the same time was a vintage Bullocks-era fashion show modeled by live mannequins. Later, dinner was served in the penthouse Tea Room.

The setting was magnificent. Congratulations to the staff of the L.A. Conservancy for attending to every single detail to make this a memorable gala!


Friday, November 21, 2008


Pies, Top to Bottom: Cherry, Chocolate-Pecan, Tartelette, Pumpkin
Last night at our WeHo SnB, Regina brought some of her fabulous "pies." Regina's "pies" are the most faboo pie-shaped berets you've ever seen! She made a cherry pie, chocolate-pecan pie, pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream and a little berry tartlette! Of course, we all had to try on the berets. Congratulations, Regina on adding these stunning chapeaux to your food-clothing collection!
Jenna models the Cherry Pie Beret
Not to be outdone by pie-fabulousness, Natalie brought in homemade babka for us to savor. Natalie's husband, Joe is a great chef. Joe had just pulled this divine babka from the oven! It was so good that we gobbled it up before I had a chance to take a photo!
Cherry Pie Beret - Detail
Artist, Regina in background, holding Chocolate-Pecan Pie Beret
To top it off, Faith brought a bag o' yarn and knitting needles for us to divvy up! I scored some gorgeous handspun orangey, yellow wooly stuff! Thanks, Faith!
Bridget models the Chocolate Pecan Pie Beret
I do love my WeHo SnB group! I'll miss everyone next Thursday when our crowd takes a breather to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Have a marvelous weekend!

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

L.A. Calendar

LOTS goin' on in the Los Angeles area this weekend. Of course, there are estate sales, craft and jewelry sales everywhere for the upcoming holidays. Most of my SnB friends are knitting and crocheting madly, trying to get hand-made gifts completed. I'm no exception. I'm working on a few secret masterpieces right now!

Saw this cup on Sheep in the City. I believe it was purchased at a Denver, Colorado Starbucks. I love it! I need one or two, or three! If you see this cup at a Starbucks in the Los Angeles area, let me know!!!! It would make a faboo holiday gift!

First up, Estate Sales: Saturday and Sunday
Legacy Estate Sales - 3563 TERRACE VIEW DRIVE, ENCINO, CA. 91436. You can see many of the items on sale here.
Handle With Care Sale - 10808 LINDBROOK DR., WESTWOOD 90024 (Parking Permits at Gate). This sale is the estate of Louise Sorel, Broadway, TV and film star. Sorel is leaving her west coast home. There is furniture, paintings, kitchen and dining items, jewelry, clothing, hats, handbags and more.
Original Jewelry Sale - Artist, Amie Brin (who just happens to be my cousin) is having a sale of her originally crafted jewelry at a private home in Encino. Amie has assured me that she has slashed prices on many of her pieces to clear her inventory for her upcoming spring collection. The sale is from noon to 5pm on Saturday. If you can't access the link for the flier, let me know in the comments below.
HomeGirl Cafe SnB - Alameda & Bruno St., Downtown L.A. This is ongoing. Every Saturday from 2-5. It's a great group, excellent and reasonable parking in back.
Fairview Knitters, SM Library @ 21st and Ocean Park, Santa Monica. 3:30 -5:30 pm. Another excellent group of stitchers that meet on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.
Saturday: Mike and Maria from Franklin Avenue blog are hosting the 3rd annual Great Los Angeles Walk. Congrats to the organizers for getting this listed in today's L.A. Times.
Saturday: L.A. Conservancy's 30th Anniversary Gala at Bullocks Wilshire. This should be a fabulous event. It's a chance to tour the beautiful Bullocks Wilshire store (currently housing Southwestern Law School); bid on beautiful artwork and meet up with Los Angeles history buffs.
Saturday: The Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild always holds meetings on the 4th Saturday of the month. They have interesting speakers, wonderful artisans and there is usually roving and spinning supplies for sale or swap.

Sunday: A good day to rest, knit, crochet and reflect.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

AlterKnits - FELT

There's a new felting book out called "AlterKnits Felt" by Leigh Radford, Photography by John Mulligan.
Pot Holders
I LOVE to felt! Felting a wool project covers up all sorts of knitting mistakes! I've made many felted handbags over the years. Leigh Radford's new book goes way beyond the handbag. In additon to many bags, purses and satchels, there are patterns for scarves, cowls, hats, pillows, rings, necklaces, bracelets, garlands, ornaments, boxes, pot holders and even an upholstered ottoman.

Shibori Bobble Scarf

Chair Covers

Take a look at a few of the projects....they're quite unique! There are needle felting projects as well as traditional felting. There are also projects using thrift shop wool sweaters to make bags and pillows.

This is a very well-written book with loads of basic felting information. Imagination and creativity are emphasized, but the samples given in this book will give you an excellent jumping-off point.

The tree ornaments knock me out!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Real Rooms

Larry's closet - Left
Ellen's closet - Right
Real rooms are beginning to appear! The drywall is done. Two coats of stucco are finished. Our room addition is really beginning to look like a REAL ROOM!
Larry is gearing up for finish work. He's buying the wood for the floor today. We're looking at tile and paint colors. Yes, since our start date of August 11, 2008, our fantastic contractor and his team are almost on schedule. Woo Hoo!!!

Next step is to get the concrete contractor back to pour our very long driveway and pad in front of the studio. Hopefully, we won't run out of money! This year for holiday gifts, Larry and I are buying bathroom fixtures for each other!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Day Trip

On Saturday I met up with my good friend, Jacquie in Riverside. Jacquie lives in La Quinta, so we figured that a good half-way meeting point between there and Los Angeles would be The Mission Inn in Riverside. The Inn is gorgeous....very historic and lovingly restored. We had a lovely lunch, strolled thru the hotel and museum and checked out a few shops on the downtown promenade.
We parted ways at about 2-ish. I checked out a yarn store I'd heard about, a few miles away, Close-Knit. Nice shop, but nothing there in the way of yarn that I haven't seen in Los Angeles. I did pick up size 11 Addi-Turbo lace needles! I didn't realize they came is such a large size! Score.
I got on the 60 Fwy at about 3pm. It had only taken me an hour to get to Riverside in the morning. Little did I know that the Orange Country fires had started while we were having lunch.

The 60 was moving at a snail's pace. After listening to the radio for awhile and seeing the smoke in the sky, I figured out what had happened. Oy! I was running out of gas. I got off the 60 just past the 57 Fwy. Eventually, I went the other way on the 60, picked up the 57 North, before it too closed and hooked up with the 10 Fwy west toward L.A. Naturally, the 10 was a parking lot. I spent 3 hours in my little car, breathing smoke, listening to the radio and snapping shots of billowing smoke in the hills. My heart goes out to everyone who lost or experienced damage to their homes and property.

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Friday, November 14, 2008


Our home improvement project is moving right along. It's all very exciting! Next step is to work on interior colors, paint, tile, linoleum, etc. We've decided to paint our new addition a different color from the house...possibly a soft olive green with beige trim. The house will be beige with olive green trim. Woo Hoo!

Have a marvelous weekend!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Events This Weekend

1965, LACMA, building designed by Wm. L. Pereira & Associates
Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Public Library Collection

There are lots of things goin' on in L.A. this weekend!
Saturday: On our SnB-LA list we received this intriguing note:

Hi Everyone! A local gallery, Machine Project, is curating a unique show at LACMA this Saturday (Nov. 15) from 12:00-8:00. I'll be displaying some of my crocheted birds and leading a crochet workshop right behind the Chris Burden "Urban Lights" installation. The workshops meet at 12:00-3:00 and at 3:30-6:30. I'll be sharing my bird pattern and teaching anyone who'd like to learn crochet. If you already know how, come by and make a bird to add to the installation!
Hope to see you there!

I would definitely go to this event if I weren't driving to Riverside for the day to meet up with my friend, Jacquie from Indio.

Of course, there's the BEST Saturday SnB at the HomeGirl Cafe, Alameda & Bruno, Downtown LA from 2-5pm.

This is a new one for me: Alpaca Fest West. It's Saturday and Sunday in the City of Industry. Sounds fascinating!

Saturday night, we might just wander up to Joe's Great American Bar and Grille in Toluca Lake to see our old friend, James Intveld perform. Years ago, large groups of us used to follow James to every club in town, every night of the week! He's so talented. Swoon.

Sunday: Big Event. It's the pre-Christmas Felt Club at the Shrine Exhibition Hall, near USC, 11am to 7pm. This is always an inspiring sale. Tons and tons of artisans and crafters display their wares for sale. There's always food and music too. I don't usually employ this over-used word, but it's AWESOME!

Also on Sunday, from 2-4, my friend, Lori is having a silver jewelry party at her place. If you're interested in this event, send Lori a comment on her blog for the details.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cowl Bandwagon

Everyone's knitting and crocheting cowls for gifts this holiday season. I've decided to jump on that bandwagon and go for it! I'm a fan of the Neck-Warmer actually....instead of a continuous tube like a cowl, this is really just a short scarf with buttons. I tried a few knitted versions....too slow for me. I experimented with some crochet stitches....too bulky. I finally found one crochet stitch that works for a neck-warmer. It's the basic granite stitch (sometimes called the Moss Stitch), but instead of single crochet stitches, I used half-double crochet stitches. It's airy, light and flexible, even with bulky yarn.Sooooooooo....I zoomed over to Yarns Unlimited in Santa Monica yesterday (my go-to LYS) and picked out some Trendsetter "Tonalita" and some Ironstone "Colorchanges." Both are lovely, luxurious yarns in faboo color combos. I have several buttons on-hand. WOW! How fast!!! This is a perfect, quicky holiday gift for deserving friends and co-workers!
Specs: Size "H" crochet hook. Chain 95. Row 1: Single crochet across. Next 10 rows: Granite Stitch, using half-double crochets. Single crochet border around entire piece. Sew on button. The holes in this stitch pattern are large enough for a button to go through, making this an adjustable neck warmer!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fairview Knitters

On Saturday I attended TWO Stitch 'n Bitch groups. If I'd wanted to stretch it, I could have attended three!!!
On the second Saturday of each month our WeHo SnB holds a Saturday morning meet-up at the Original Farmers Market (3rd and Fairfax), from 10am to noon. We meet in the upstairs dining area. This is a smaller gathering than our usual Thursday night group, but just as lively. We probably had about 12 people this past Saturday.
I could have zoomed downtown to the HomeGirl Cafe (every Saturday 2-5pm) for the SnB there, but I had a bunch of errands to run.
The Fairview Knitters group meets on the second and fourth Saturday of every month at the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Library, Ocean Park & 21st St., from 3:30 to 5:30 pm This is usually a small group. Someone always brings treats and there is hot tea too!
Treats! Ana P. brought some vintage knit books
I just like being at this mid-century architectural gem of a building. We started out this past Saturday in the courtyard patio, but it was getting dark and cold by 4pm, so we moved into the multi-purpose room.
Molly-2, Heather, Molly-1 and Debbie in the Courtyard, SM

Stitch 'n Bitch meetings in Los Angeles are like AA meetings! There's always one to go to, almost any time of the day or night!


Monday, November 10, 2008

L.A. NOIR-chitecture

Yesterday we went on the L.A. Conservancy's hard-boiled tour through the historic City! It was all about locations read in classic noir mystery novels and seen in movies of the same genre. Here's an explanation from the tour brochure:
Noir fiction, also called hard-boiled crime fiction, is a uniquely American style of writing that was established and pioneered by authors such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler in the 1930s and '40s. Often associated with detective short stories and novels, classic noir fiction portrays the world with gritty realism and a dark and unsentimental viewpoint. Many consider historic preservation a noir exercise at times -- full of drama and sometimes, tragedy. historic buildings provide the authenticity craved by authors and filmmakers alike, alive with the city's past, often glorious and sometimes shady.
Los Angeles is home to some of the greatest noir fiction and film, classic and contemporary. the juxtapostion of our sunny climate and "tinseltown" glamour with the corruption and crime of an urban metropolis provides fertile ground for creativity, and the city's rich historic fabric serves as another character in these dark dramas. We hoe you enjoy this jaunt throug the literary and cinematic landscape of noir L.A.
We met up with Madge and Tom at the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, which appears in the film "L.A. Confidential" based on James Ellroy's novel. Our docent also told us tales of various mobsters and stars hanging out there in the old days.
Next stop, the Villa Primavera Apartments in West Hollywood. This is a lovely Spanish Revival style courtyard apartment building from the 1920's near Fountain and Crescent Hts. That area is just full of beautiful apartment buildings...worth walking around. This was the spot where writer Dorothy Hughes placed her novel "In a Lonely Place," also featured in the film, directed by Nicholas Ray (1950). Many stars lived here on their way up, including Katherine Hepburn, James Dean and more.
We drove east back toward Hollywood to the Parva-Sed-Apta Apartments on Ivar Street. Parva-Sed-Apta means small but suitable in Latin. Yes, these apartments were small, but quite tidy. Usually, one room with a Murphy wall bed, kitchenette and bath. Many of the apartments have been combined today to make one bedroom units. This building is in the English Tudor Revival style with touches of Spanish Revival thrown in. Author, Nathaniel West lived here in the 1930's where he penned "Day of the Locust." West supposedly based many of the characters in his novel on the residents of the Parva-Sed-Apta. Here, I ran into my SnB friend, Leah.
We walked down Ivar, past the Knickerbocker Hotel and a great view of the Capitol Records Building, one block over, to Hollywood Blvd. and the Security Trust and Savings Building (1921). This is in the Beaux Arts style and was the first high-rise in Hollywood. It is said that Raymond Chandler modeled the office of his character, Philip Marlowe, after one in this building. The views were spectacular from the upper floors!
Back in the car...short drive up to the Mulholland Dam and Hollywood Reservoir. I had never been to this site, built in 1924. It's absolutely beautiful and was my second favorite site on the tour. This location was featured in Michael Connelly's book "The Overlook." The area is open to the public every day, no charge. It's quite a peaceful and restful place right in the center of Hollywood. The view of the Hollywood sign is magnificent.
After all that touring we were extremely hungry. Our next stop was the Warner Bros. Studio Lot in Burbank, so we zoomed through the Cahuenga Pass over the hill to Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake for burgers. The place was packed. We didn't want to wait, so we walked across the street to Papoo's Hot Dog Show and had a delicious lunch.
Warner Bros. Studio tour was short. We only got to see New York Street and Brownstone Street. "The Maltese Falcon" was shot here. We had an excellent docent and we also received a deluxe DVD edition of the movie, with lots of extras.
Our last stop was the most impressive stop for me. We drove to Glendale to see the Glendale Southern Pacific Railroad Terminal. Wow! This is a little architectural gem of a building! It's built in the Spanish Revival style. It's still in use as a train station and it is most beautifully restored. A few scenes from "Double Indemnity" (1944) were shot here. There was a mystery bookseller at the station and many of the docents dressed in 1940's attire.
All in all, it was a wonderful tour with good friends, great weather and interesting information. Yes, I love Los Angeles!


Friday, November 07, 2008

More Tea Please

Crocheted Tea Cozy....Mystery Wool
I whipped up another tea cozy a couple of weeks ago. This one will be a Christmas gift for our lovely neighbors, Rosina and Nic. You met them a few days ago right here on "L.A. Is My Beat."

We were at their place for dinner last month....Rosina served tea and I asked her if she had a cozy? No. Aha! Perfect gift for the British neighbors! I borrowed Rosina's Laura Ashley teapot and started to create. I had a bit of navy blue mystery wool and some leaf green and white wool from KnitPicks. I've made many hats that look just like this cozy, except for the holes for the spout and handle. It was quick to crochet and I'll probably make another one for my own teapot.

Have a wonderful weekend and let me know if you're knitting and crocheting holiday gifts too! I could use a few more ideas!


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Around L.A. This Weekend

I've had several requests to list upcoming events in Los Angeles that interest me before the events happen, not after the fact! So many of my friends have said, "Darn, if I'd only known about that tiki-thon-a-rama-a-go-go, I would have gone too!"
Well alright! Below are a few things happening this weekend in the art, architecture and yarn world that may be of interest to you.

Friday, November 7th:

Private sale and show featuring three Los Angeles designers (Francesca Basilico, Mirena Kim and Amy Cohen Holland. There will be handknit clothing and toys, handmade high-fire ceramic vessells and artwork on paper. 1025 Crescent Hts. Blvd., (south of Olympic), 5-9pm, cash or checks only.

Saturday, November 8th:

Stitchin' at the Original Farmers Market, 3rd and Fairfax. This is our once-a-month Saturday morning group. We meet from 10am to noon in the upstairs dining area, over Kip's Toyland. It's a low-key and fun group. Please join us!

HomeGirl Cafe SnB - Alameda and Bruno St., downtown LA (just north of Union Station, east of Chinatown). We meet from 2-5pm, enjoy fabulous food and company. Free parking in back.

Fairview Knitters - Fairview Branch, Santa Monica Library, Ocean Park @ 21st St., 3:30 -5:30. Another great group of knitters and crocheters that meet on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. This little branch library is a mid-century architectural gem. We meet in the patio if the weather is good, or in the multi-purpose room if it's cold.

Second Saturday Gallery Night - NELA.
7-10 pm at various galleries in Highland Park and Eagle Rock. We always have a great time at this event! We usually hang out at Future Studio, Mor York Gallery, Avenue 50 Studio and more. This is a great chance to see and buy some incredible artwork from L.A. Artists.

Sunday, November 9th:

Los Angeles Conservancy's LA NOIR-chitecture Tour...a hard-boiled tour through the historic City, presented with the Cultural Affairs Department as part of The Big Read. SOLD OUT! Even though this event is sold out, you may be able to get some last minute tickets if you show up at the Formosa Cafe (7156 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood) on Sunday morning around 10 or 11. This tour is going to be great!


"In Search of Tiki" art show at Forest Lawn Museum. This exhibit, curated by our friends Doug Nason and Jeff Fox is really a MUST-SEE. It's an inspiring display of the historic elements blended with the pop culture elements of tiki.


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery