Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Best of 2009

Babette Afghan. Model, Larry

Happy almost New Year everyone! I want to thank ALL of you for reading my little blog this year and leaving comments. We love comments!
Even though I write about Los Angeles, cooking, family and friends here, my primary focus is knitting and crochet. So, I thought I'd list my favorite top ten projects of 2009. This was the year that I focused on making shawls. I could definitely list more than ten shawls as ALL of my favorites, but since I used the same pattern for lots of the shawls, I thought I'd talk about a bunch of different projects!
You can find all project details on my Ravelry projects page.

"It's a Wrap" Shawl w/ edging from Doris Chan's "All Shawl"
Granny Triangle Shawl with "All Shawl" Border (Model, Courtney)
Floaty Scarf (which is essentially a granny triangle) Model, Susannah
Garland of Stars
I completed three scarves for the Red Scarf Project. Here are two.
Trader Joe's Bag covered with Granny SquaresMy Favorite Sweater

Larry's Mardi Gras Hat
Wedding GrannyGhan
Wishing everyone a very happy 2010!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Between the Holidays

Joan @ LACMA

I'm lucky to work for a wonderful company that gives us time off between Christmas and the New Year. I've been on vacation since December 24th and don't have to go back to work until January 4th!
I've been keeping myself busy on this winter stay-cation. On Monday, I met up with Joan and we went to the L.A. County Museum of Art. I live just blocks from LACMA, but hardly ever go there! It was a quiet day at the Museum, many of the current exhibits were quite small, but very interesting.
We ventured into "A Tale of Two Persian Carpets". Two humongous carpets, once owned by J. Paul Getty and various other important people, were displayed. They were absolutely beautiful and inspiring to see.
Next, we walked across the Courtyard and checked out "From the Spoon to the City: Objects by Architects from LACMA's collection. Of course, I loved seeing the Eames shelf unit (pictured) and some of Ray Eames' designed fabric. We made our way to the third floor to see Luis Melendez, Master of the Spanish Still Life. The paintings were exquisite....very detailed depictions of Spanish kitchen objects and food from the mid-1700's.
Time for lunch!
We walked across Wilshire Blvd. to the Peterson Automotive Museum. There's Johhny Rockets burger restaurant on the side of the Museum.
We walked back to the Museum and viewed some of the Museum's vast collection of Korean art. It was an enlightening and exhausting afternoon!
Later that evening I met up with Rhoda for our holiday gift exchange and dinner. We had dinner at Jack 'n Jill on Third St., near Robertson in West Hollywood. Yummmm...delicious! Rhoda had a chopped chicken sandwich with carmelized onions and sweet potato fries. I had the jambalaya pasta! I'd only been to Jack 'n Jill for breakfast.....dinner was fab. I'm definitely going to revisit this reasonable restaurant! The place was empty when we arrived at 6:30, but by 8pm, it was hopping.
Yesterday I had to go to the dentist and have two old silver fillings replaced with porcelain. That was an ordeal. I sulked the rest of the afternoon and evening at home.
Today, Wednesday is a new day and everything looks much brighter, even though there's a threat of rain today. Larry and I are leaving soon for a day trip to San Diego and the Mingei International Museum to see "Masters of California Mid-Century Modernism: Evelyn and Jerome Ackerman. I've been wanting to see this exhibit ever since I read about it in the L.A. Times.
Taa Taa for now!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shawl Gone

Shawls 'R Us!

I've been crocheting shawls since last February in anticipation of this year's gift giving season! Each shawl is crocheted with sock yarn, so even though they are wool, none of them is too heavy. Their weight is perfect for our SoCal weather. This coming Sunday, my Knit Krewe is meeting up for it's annual present extravaganza-a-go-go! We usually meet at Natalie's house, but this year we'll be partying at Mary Jo's place on her newly designed deck, weather permitting. I'm putting together little gift bags for each of my Knitster Pals.
I think this might be our fourth year of exchanging gifts. We all met at the WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch and have become fast friends. Sadly, one of our charter members, Carla, has moved to Houston. Of course, we're still in touch. In fact, Carla sent me a wonderful gift a couple of weeks ago. It was 3 skeins of this very, very soft yarn from Hobby Lobby. It's their brand of acrylic. I feels like cashmere to me! I looked online to see if I could order this yarn, but I couldn't find a good site for Hobby Lobby. Looks like you have to actually go to a store to get this wonderful yarn. Carla also sent me a collection of Susan Bates crochet hooks (my fave) with bamboo handles. I love using them!

Test Granny with Carla's Yarn and Bamboo Handled Crochet Hook

I'll be sad to see all the shawls leave my dresser drawer, even though I know they're all moving on to active and colorful lives with my girlfriends!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Weekend

It was a busy Christmas weekend for the Bloom / Underhill household. On Christmas Eve we were invited next door to Nic's and Rosina's house for a holiday celebration and engagement party. Their daughter, Nicola is engaged to her long-time b.f., Gregg. It was a lovely celebration.
On Christmas morning, Larry and I exchanged a few little gifts....mostly clothes, CDs, books and other small items. We had a nice breakfast and lazed around the house "playing" with our new gifties.
Mom and Hal came for dinner at around 5:30. I just cooked a simple roast chicken dinner. It was good. I tried to make our dining room look a bit festive, using some poinsettia fabric in my stash as a table cloth!
Saturday, I did errands and attended the Fairview Knitters SnB. We ALWAYS have a good time! Saturday night, Larry and I zoomed over to Canter's Deli on Fairfax Avenue for a nice, hot bowl of matzoh ball soup with noodles and split a pastrami sandwich. It's been fairly cold here in Los Angeles, so a bowl of soup was perfect. After dinner we cruised the swanky Hancock Park area of L.A. to see some of the holiday lights. Of course, Norwood Young's house, aka House of Davids, was all lit up with a melange of lights. All of Michaelangelo's "David" statues had Santa hats. There were black Santa faces covering up the Julius Caesar medallions on the front of the house and Michael Jackson was front and center in the driveway. Be sure to go to Norwood's website and watch the "Just Norwood" episodes!

A few blocks away, the owner of Fiesta Parade Floats, Raul Rodriguez always constructs a beautiful display on his front lawn. Raul usually wins many prizes at Pasadena's Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day. This year, Raul's front lawn was simple, but lovely.

Float Designer, Raul Rodriguez's Home, Hancock Park

On Sunday, Mom and Hal came over again and we zoomed down to Philippe's, The French Dip Restaurant, downtown L.A., for lunch. I was running out of Philippe's mustard, so I needed to replenish. Mom and Hal hadn't been to Philippe's for a long time, so they just loved the adventure. Since Larry and I had recently been to Angelino Hts., we decided to drive Roz and Hal through the area as a mini-side trip to their adventure.

Touring the Victorian Homes in Angelino Heights, L.A.

Surprisingly, both octogenarian L.A. natives had never been to this historic area of Los Angeles! It was a fun afternoon and a nice way to end our Christmas weekend.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

VPF - Christmas in Los Angeles

Capitol Records Building, Hollywood, 1962

It's Vintage Photo Friday in addition to being Christmas day. My best to all my blog readers, friends and family on this clear, crisp, cool day in beautiful L.A.
All photos are from the Los Angeles Public Library archives.

Christmas Mail at the L.A. Terminal Annex, 1966
Decorating the Tree, 1959
Have a wonderful holiday and a good weekend!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

On the Eve

The Old Red Car Trolley used to travel down Venice Blvd.
Oh, how I wish the Red Car could take me on my errands today!

Thankfully, I didn't have to go to work this morning. Our office is open, but my divine boss gave me the day off! I don't have to go back to the office until after New Year's. Whoopee!
I took the opportunity to do a bit of last minute shopping, marketing and a few errands around town. Trader Joe's in East Culver City wasn't too bad at 10 a.m. Target on La Cienega and Rodeo Road was kinda' crowded at 11 a.m. OSH was empty. So, if you're looking for that last minute gift, hit the OSH on Venice between La Brea and San Vicente in the Mid-Town Shopping Center. You must have a few wrenches, hammers and screwdrivers on your shopping list!
I was home by noon. Larry and I hopped over to Chabelita for some fish tacos....delicious! Where else can you get a generous plate of yummy fish tacos, rice and beans with a medium drink for $5.50?
Now, I'm home for the afternoon to wrap presents and start preparing dinner for tomorrow night. Just my Mom and Step-Dad are coming over for dinner on Christmas night. Jews don't have anywhere to go on Christmas, so we're breaking bread together and helping my generic gentile husband, Mr. Larry, celebrate the holiday!
Have a wonderful holiday, whatever you decide to do!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It's been a year of lay-offs, scrimping and cutting back. Hopefully, our economy will make a comeback in 2010. Appropriately, Larry and I sent out our holiday cards last week, using "forever" stamps. The cards are small in size and we made them ourselves. I'd say that was a bit of down-sizing for the season!

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday and a happy new year!

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ModCom Party

Yes, 'tis the season for parties, parties and more parties! On Monday, Larry and I attended the Modern Committee (L.A. Conservancy) Holiday Party. The site was the Tom Bradley Room in the tower of the iconic Los Angeles City Hall. The last time Larry and I were in the Tower and observation deck was the day we were married, way back in 1992.
The skies were clear on Monday night and the 360 degree views from the Tower were breathtaking. The Bradley Room is very elegant with tall windows, covered in red velvet Austrian drapes. The room is painted in a very elegant style, befitting the grandeur that the Tower commands. Of course, there were tons of people present. Chris Nichols, our fearless leader, rigged up a great slide show of ModCom events from the past. There were tamales and other goodies for dinner. All in all, it was a grand evening. Here are a few quick pix from the event:

On to the next parties!

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our L.A. Central Library

Los Angeles Central Library

Guy and Alice
On Sunday, Larry and I took our house guests, Alice and Guy, downtown to the L.A. Central Library. Alice and Guy are both architects and whenever they visit L.A., we like to take them on some sort of architectural tour of our fair City. Since Larry and I are totally into the history of L.A., we know quite a bit about the different architectural styles represented here.

The Maguire Garden at the Library

Of course, I've been to our Library downtown many times since its resurrection after a devastating 1986 fire. The restoration and addition of a new building is one of the main reasons that the Los Angeles Conservancy came into being. Some City leaders wanted to tear down the Library. Early founders of the Conservancy helped save the existing building, built in 1926.
Murals in the Library's Great Rotunda,
depicting the history of California
Ellen and Larry
Atrium Chandeliers, Thurman Statum, artist
There is a wealth of beautiful artwork and architectural details in the Library. You can read a bit about them here. On Sunday we had a guided tour with a docent of ALL of these features, as well as hearing about the many programs the Library has to offer to the public. There are two galleries at the Library. We viewed a photo exhibit by Yousuf Karsh, the sketches and drawings by architect Richard Neutra and a permanent exhibit called Treasures of Los Angeles, featuring movie posters. Our visit to the Los Angeles map files was highly entertaining. I enjoyed surveying a map of my neighborhood from the 1950's. Even in our older area, there was a lot of open space 60 years ago. I was amazed!
The Neutra exhibit was most interesting for our guests. Richard Neutra was one of the most important of the modernist architects in Los Angeles. We saw drawings for my Uncle's former home, the Goodson House, in Laurel Canyon. I remember Uncle Marvin telling us that Richard Neutra was quite a difficult person to work with.
Drawing of the Goodson House (1948)
destroyed by fire 1979
The Central Library also has a wonderful bookstore and gift shop, in addition to a few food concession stands. It really is a great place to visit, even if you don't crack open a book!
Touring the Library
After a quick fruit smoothie at the Library concession stand, we headed over to Angelino Heights, one of the oldest suburbs of downtown L.A. and the first Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. The houses on Carroll Avenue are the jewels in the center of the neighborhood with the most fully restored Victorian homes. The L.A. Conservancy conducts docent led tours of the Angelino Heights area on the first Saturday of the month. You get to tour the inside of a few of the homes as well as the surrounding neighborhood.We got there just as the sun was setting through the mature palm trees. It was a beautiful sight.
We zoomed over to our fave Zankou Chicken in Hollywood for an early dinner and called it a day. What a grand day it was!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery