Friday, May 29, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

The Miracle Mile, early 1960's

We live very close to the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. People often refer to this stretch of Wilshire between La Brea and Fairfax as Mid-Wilshire. WRONG! Mid-Wilshire is the portion of Wilshire further east, near our beautiful, departed Ambassador Hotel and Bullocks-Wilshire Department Store, closer to Western Avenue. Mid-Wilshire is also referred to as KoreaTown. With changing demographics come changing location names.
I digress. Back to the Miracle Mile. I asked my Dad once why this stretch of Wilshire was called the Miracle Mile. He gave me his historical viewpoint that when he was a kid all of the major department stores were located in Downtown L.A. By the early 1930's, the city was expanding west and people didn't want to travel all the way downtown to go shopping, so development started along Wilshire Blvd. Mansions were torn down, open fields were built upon. Dad said that it all happened within a matter of a few was a MIRACLE of architecture and design!
To read up on the history of Wilshire Boulevard, check out this book. It's fantastic!
L.A. County Museum of Art, 1965
photo from L.A. Library Photo Database
One of the greatest additions to the Miracle Mile was the building of the L.A. County Museum of Art (LACMA), 1964 by William Pereira and Associates. When I was a tiny girl, we used to visit the Art Museum collection at the LA County Museum of Natural History located at Exposition Park, near USC. The art collection was hidden away, behind the dinosaur bones. Once our current Museum was built on Wilshire, the collection of modern art was added, modern sculptures were displayed, shows were mounted of avant garde artists! It was another miracle on Wilshire!

LACMA, under contruction, 1963, photo from L.A. Library Photo Database

Today, the beautiful modern architecture of the original LACMA complex is obscured by the Anderson Building. The new Broad Building also faces on Wilshire, between the Museum and the historic May Company Department Store, designed 1939 by Albert C. Martin and Samuel A. Marx. LACMA now occupies May Company and uses it for exhibition space and offices.

You can see in the photos above that there used to be this moat around the Museum. There were fountains and sculptures in the water. It was peaceful to just sit and look at the ripples. The moat also served as a sound barrier to the traffic on Wilshire while sitting in the Museum plaza. LACMA did need to expand to house it's growing art collection. I'm just sad that the original serene design has been altered.

LACMA, today

More vintage photos here.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

El Pueblo Viejo

Today's post is here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Repetitive but Colorful

Once again, I'm granny-obsessed. I just can't stop crocheting granny squares. I just finished covering another Trader Joe's bag (tutorial here). I'm almost done sewing the granny square cover to the T.Joe's plastic tote. I LOVE it! It's too cute to use for groceries!!!

What an excellent way to use up ol' ACK-rylic yarn!!!

On another granny-square related note, one of my groups on Ravelry is having a "summer of crochet" challenge. Many of the members are crocheting the Babette Blanket. Some are working up the blanket in Koigu sock yarn (the original pattern calls for this), others are using Noro Kureyon. I decided to keep reducing my stash of worsted weight acrylic. We're all supposed to start our crochet project on June 1st. Hey! It was a long weekend. All that yarn was staring me down. Sue me. I started early.

I was inspired by this blanket! Using Noro Kureyon yarn is an excellent idea, because of the long color runs. You never have to cut your yarn between rounds. HOWEVER, living in Southern California, do I really want a heavy WOOL blanket on my couch? Also, how do you wash a heavy wool blanket? For afghans, I like the ease and practicality of acrylic! Does anyone know of an acrylic yarn with long color runs like Noro Kureyon? Let me know.

I'm really glad to see that granny squares are so popular again. Granny Squares are the building blocks to fashion, you know!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LA Marathon 2009

Neighbors, waiting for the runners

The LA Marathon ran right through our little neighborhood of Wilshire Vista in Mid-City West yesterday. Some years they change the route. Sometimes the runners cut up Hauser Blvd. This year they ran east on Pico Blvd. and north on Curson Avenue. We're usually well-prepared for the race. We know that we won't be able to leave our area until after noon or 1pm. This year, however, it was very well-organized and there were exit routes along side streets.
The weather was cool...good for running

We woke up early after hearing the news helicopters overhead. We switched on NBC and saw that the men's team stand-outs were almost to our area. Larry jumped up, dressed and grabbed his camera. I didn't jump. I sauntered out about an hour later, snapped some shots, talked to some neighbors and then went back home for breakfast.

Barefoot Guy, rounding the corner from Pico to Curson

The kids from Honda were great!

Employees from Honda (corporate sponsor of the event) handed out water to the runners and cheered them on. There was lots of applause for the many runners. All in all, it seemed to be well-run and well-attended event. Congratulations to all the participants!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Thank You on Memorial Day

George E. Bloom, Major, U.S. Army, 1942

In addition to today being Memorial Day, it's the fifth anniversary of my Father's death. George E. Bloom was born in 1919 in Philadelphia, PA and passed away on May 25, 2004 in Los Angeles, CA. When he was about 6 months old, his parents, Ethel and Lawrence, along with their older son, Morton, moved to Los Angeles. A year later, George's younger brother, Hi, was born. They lived in the predominantly Jewish section of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles.

George, 1926, Boyle Heights, East L.A.

When my Dad was about 11, the family moved to Hollywood, and then when he was 15, they moved to West Los Angeles. Dad was a life-long Angeleno and he loved this City.

George @ Scout Camp, 1932

After attending a few years of UCLA, studying to be an architect, Dad was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1941. While at UCLA, he'd met my Mom, Roz. They married in 1943, during WW II. My Dad was stationed in Panama, so they lived there until just before my brother, Ken was born. Mom came back to L.A. to give birth.
After the war, my Dad worked in various managerial and sales positions. Eventually, in the early 1950's he co-founded his own building and sub-contracting door business with his partner Paul Kane. They called it the George Paul Company. The building they worked out of is still there, 8551 Venice Blvd., just west of La Cienega, Los Angeles. My Mom, my brother and even I worked at the lumber yard (as we called it). My Mom helped with the bookkeeping, my brother worked in the back, learning about the door business and how to build things. I was just a little girl then. I helped stamp and seal envelopes and stack the mail.
George was a painter, a builder, a woodcarver, a storyteller and more. Below are a few examples of his woodworking and art accomplishments from the late 1950's of Polynesian and African sculptures.

In the mid- 1960's my Dad became very interested in sailing. We eventually joined the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey where he became active in club activities. He was an avid sailor and participated in races to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico and local events. He served on the DRYC Board of Directors and was an officer and committee chairman for many years.

George, Marina del Rey, CA, 1984

Also, during my youth, my Dad introduced me to all kinds of art and architecture, the historical aspects of our beautiful City of Los Angeles and he taught me how to sail. I learned so many things from my Dad, especially how to treat others, how to get along and how to manage my life. I'm forever grateful to him.

Remember to thank a veteran today. O.K., salty teardrops on the keyboard....gotta go.

George E. Bloom on his 80th Birthday, 1999

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Thursday, May 21, 2009


Brownie Troop 117, Beverly Vista Elementary School, 1960

When I was a little girl, all of my best friends joined our local Brownie Troop, so I joined too. We met in the Troop House on the playground of Beverly Vista Elementary School in Beverly Hills. The school has been updated and remodeled over the years, so I don't think the original Troop House is still there (I must drive by and check that). The Troop House was painted an institutional light green on the outside. Inside, it had a wooden floor, lots of tables and chairs and a raised stage at one end. We met once a week after school. Various crafts were explored, as well as reading from the Girl Scout Handbook. During one Easter Vacation we attended Girl Scout Camp at the Lazy J Ranch in the hills of Malibu. That experience cured any thoughts I may have had about raising chickens! P.U.
I can still name all of the girls in the photo above. Most of them went through 8th grade and then on to four years of high school with me. I've seen a few of my old friends over the years at reunions. It's always fun to catch up.
They are, from left to right: Jeri Lou, Denise, Allison, Erica, Jody, Ellen, Nancy, Leslie, Sharon, Eva, Ria, Mandy, Dana, Sandy, Karin, Gayle. The troop leaders were Mrs. Milner (left) and Mrs. Martin (right).
Allison's mother, Mrs. Rudolph (not pictured) was the Mom that taught us all how to knit. We knit squares that Mrs. Rudolph sewed together for an afghan to donate to a local retirement home. I am eternally grateful to Sergi Rudolph. Thank you for teaching us to knit! Learning this skill has given me great satisfaction over the years!
Yes, I still own my original Barbie, all of her clothes and accessories!

After learning to knit squares, my Mom gave me some scrap yarn and I knit a few dirndle skirts for my Barbie doll. Mom knit the crop top! Very stylish!
Alas, after two years with the Brownies I decided not to "fly-up" to the Girl Scout troop. By that time, I'd lost interest in after-school activities and was too fascinated with learning to play guitar, modern jazz dance class and arts and crafts at nearby Roxbury Park Recreation Center! Were you ever a Brownie, Bluebird, Girl Scout, Cub Scout or Boy Scout? Do tell!
More vintage photos here.
Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

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Mariscos Chente

Today's post is here.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One More Time

Peace? Not So Much.

I've been knitting quite a bit on my "Imagine" pullover. I was almost finished with the charted peace symbol when I decided that I just don't like round forms turned into grid form. Round pegs....square holes? I know that blocking may have helped, but the circular peace symbol just wasn't pleasing me., rip-it, rip-it!
Upside Down Peace? Not So Much.
I cast on yet again and started ribbing at the neckline. I've decided to knit the yoke of the sweater in plain stockinet. THEN, I will crochet a peace symbol and applique it onto the sweater in the same color olive green yarn. Of course, this will happen after blocking. I think that the raised stitches of the peace symbol will look great and still make a subtle statement.
Stay tuned.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Home Decor Research

Now that our construction project is almost completed, we've been concentrating on research. Larry will be outfitting our new closets. So over the weekend we went to California Closets; Bed Bath & Beyond; Lowe's and Home Depot. Naturally, California Closets has the MOST BEAUTIFUL closet organization systems with the highest prices. The other places are all fairly competitive. Larry likes the hardware at Bed Bath & Beyond and the drawer units from Home Depot. He can easily cut shelves to fit. So, he'll be utilizing a combination of supplies for our closets. Hopefully, this can be accomplished within the next few weeks.

The decorating of a new room is the most exciting and fun part. I've been thinking about design. The room is very modern with a slanted, high ceiling. Both Larry and I admire clean, simple lines in furniture and design. I'm trying to stay with a neutral color scheme. The bathroom tile is light gray, slate gray, black and white. The laundry room is black, white with dark gray appliances. Our paint color is off-white with a gray-tinge. I'd like to use a stark Marimekko black and white fabric from the window coverings and the bedspread. Then, I can change up my accent colors for each season. Summertime is perfect for citrus colors. fave oranges, reds and earthtones.

Poppa Bear Chair

I shopped a bit for an armchair for bedroom. I'd love to be able to spend $2,500 for the Poppa Bear Chair at Modernica, but I'll probably end up with something from Plummer's or a vintage piece that I can recover.
Copy of the Eames Chair & Ottoman

Oh! The decisions!!!

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Monday, May 18, 2009


Ellen's Fascinator

We did lots of house chores this weekend as well as some closet organization research. The highlight of the weekend, however was attending a class at Hands on 3rd to learn how to create a fascinator! This was in celebration of Regina's birthday.

Our instructor, Corina, is very talented. She creates one-of-a-kind fascinators for sale. She showed us some samples of bridal fascinators, along with some other styles. We had instruction in how to manipulate felt for the base of our mini-hats; how to attach various design elements and more.

Once we all began to work on our fascinators, it became very quiet in the workshop. Jenna had generously provided us with cupcakes, cookies, snacks and drinks to fuel our creativity. We all had a great time and ended up with some darling fascinators!
Happy Birthday, Regina!!

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday - Prom Night

Ellen & Kelly, Beverly Hills Hotel, 1970

Bevery High, Pre-Century City
Cut-Out Polaroid of Ellen in Prom Dress Beverly High Today, Century City Looming in the Background

Today, I'm participating in Prom Night - An Enchanted Evening along with many others.
On a cool May evening in 1970, my date, Kelly picked me up in his 1957 Chevy Bel-Air. It was a two-tone model, aquamarine and white....very cool. I was in band and orchestra because my two best girlfriends, Leah and Shayne wanted me to join. That's where I met Kelly. He was the leader/drum major of the band. Kelly played trumpet, was sweet and truly a nice guy. We met again years later at our 20th high school reunion. He'd become an LAPD officer and was still handsome and genuinely a great guy. If I hadn't just become engaged to the love of my life. Mr. Larry, maybe Kelly and I would have reunited.Kelly took me to the Luau Restaurant in Beverly Hills for a PuPu Platter and some exotic non-alcoholic drinks. The Luau Restaurant was a classic tiki-style Polynesian restaurant in Beverly Hills. One of actress, Lana Turner's husbands owned the place, Steve Crane. By 1970, the glow had worn off somewhat and the place closed a few years later. Going to the Luau, pre-prom was a tradition at Beverly High.
The Exotic Luau Restaurant, Beverly Hills
In those years, they didn't serve dinner at the Prom, just punch and soft-drinks, so there were always pre-parties. After the Luau we went to a pre-prom party at my friend, Dianna's house. Her house was at the intersection of Rexford, Beverly Drive as both those streets feed into Coldwater Canyon. The house is still there, vastly remodeled. A bunch of us carpooled down to the historic Beverly Hills Hotel for the Prom.
Of course, the Crystal Room was magical...all sparkling chandeliers, pink tablecloths and red carpet. I don't remember the band, but I do remember that we had a great time dancing like crazy. After the Prom, my date, Kelly, my best friend, Leah and her date Jamie headed down to Santa Monica Beach to "watch the submarines race." Like I said, it was an enchanted evening.
Other fond memories of Senior year was our trip to that other enchanted place, Disneyland! It was really fun going there with a group!
Kelly, Ellen, Jon, Debbie
resting our tired Disney feet! Disneyland, Canoe Ride
Ellen, 4th from left, back row getting splashed!

Campus Couple, Kelly & Ellen
My senior year at Beverly was a truly wonderful one. I made many good friends that I'm still in touch with. We had lots of laughs, carefree fun and made some big plans for the future. Some of those plans worked out, some didn't. Thanks so much for the memories. I look forward to seeing you all in 2010 for our 40th reunion! Yikes!
More prom pix here.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

This Weekend

There's a lot to do in the L.A. area this weekend!
First, my faboo cousin Carolyn and her husband John have organized a Jewish Food Festival through their temple out in Valencia. It's Sunday, from 11am to 4pm, freeway close. Click here for discount coupon and more info.
One of my favorite events is also on Sunday...the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest! Now, it's held at the Paramount Ranch in Agoura. I remember when it was held in Topanga at Camp Wildwood. It's always a fun day, with people jamming all over the ranch, crafts for sale, food and more. Steve Martin has been known to show up and jam too! My brother taught me how to play the banjo when I was very young. I was a first place winner in the beginner's category at the age of 10. I entered again when I was 13 and slipped to third place. I knew it was time to quit. However, I was still playing when I was in high school. Here's a photo of my friend Jonde on guitar, me on banjo at Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts during the early 1970's. Dig those craaaaazy bell-bottoms!
Jonde and Ellen Rock Out - Idyllwild, CA

Next up this weekend is the Strawberry Festival in Oxnard. This is perfect weather to hang out at the festival, scarf down some yummy strawberry treats and then come home with a flat of the most amazingly tasty strawberries in the country!
For a few years I was a docent at the Venice Art Walk. This is another excellent event. You get the chance to visit many artists' studios in the Venice Beach area. Most of the artists have items for sale along with their artwork. There are refreshments, interesting people and great art!

I'm attending a special b-day party for a special friend on Sunday. We're meeting up at Hands on 3rd, a new crafting place. We're signed up to create fascinators for ourselves. A fascinator is a little hat that you perch on the side of your head. Since I'm a dedicated headband wearer, I'm sure I'll take to fascinator fashion!

Everything happens in the springtime in L.A.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery