Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Lately, the Memorial Day holiday has been known as the kick-off to the summer. We understand it to be just another day off from work, time for a short vacation, sales at the mall or the family barbecue get-together.
From Wikipedia, here's the description of the Memorial Day Holiday: Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 31 in 2010). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the Civil War), it was expanded after World War I.
During the early 1980's I lived on Sepulveda Blvd. near Montana Ave., just north of the Los Angeles National Veteran's Cemetary in Westwood. One year on Memorial Day, I walked with a few neighbors down to the Cemetary to see if one of the military bands was performing. On this particular soldiers' holiday, Boy Scouts had placed small flags on every single grave in the cemetary. There are 116 acres of marble headstones. Westwood is the largest veteran's cemetery outside Arlington National Cemetary in Virginia. Needless to say, all of those thousands of little flags waving in the wind was a sobering, but magnificent sight. There wasn't a band playing that day, just many soldiers and families of military men and women paying their respects.
Photo by Ralph Morris, 1952. L.A. Public Library Photo Archive
This coming Memorial Day, I plan to take a minute to remember this image from my visit to the Veteran's Cemetary years ago, before firing up the grill.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

45 rpm Cozy

Various types of 45 record adapters

Yes, I'm addicted to crochet. No, not EVERYTHING in my house is covered in crochet. I don't even have a crocheted cozy for my laptop like many of my friends have!
Last night I was working on a crocheted potholder. I'd finished one side and started working on the other. My inventive husband was looking at a few 45 rpm records he'd recently bought at an estate sale. Larry picked up my half-finished potholder and popped the flower portion through the hole in the 45! He re-used my potholder for a 45 cozy!!
Oh young you even know what a 45 rpm record is? Back in the old days, before downloads, before CDs, before cassettes, we had records. We had record players that played at different speeds: 16, 33-1/3, 78 and 45 rpms. A short history of records can be found here. Between us, Larry and I have a huge collection of records....some shellac, mostly vinyl.
When I worked as a board operator and host at a local radio station, I learned to cue up records for broadcasting and operate all of the various machines to cue carts and cassettes too. Eventually, a computerized digital system took over the station. I feel lucky to have learned radio production during this transitional period. It was like being an air traffic controller to produce the show!
I'll have to check with the Goldmine crowd to find out if they might require some cozies!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jacaranda Trees

South Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles
Oh...what a beautiful time of year in Los Angeles! Many of our streets are lined with Jacaranda trees. Their purple flowers are beautiful overhead!

Larry and our jacaranda tree

When I moved into our neighborhood, almost 20 years ago, many of our neighbors wanted to plant trees on our parkway. We have the widest street in Wilshire Vista...we consider it the center of our neighborhood. Since jacaranda trees are fast-growing, that's what we decided to plant. Many of our trees are now tall and full of flowers. Welcome, Spring!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Book

Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker are working on a new book together. The subject matter is CRAFT. There are many chapters in this upcoming book, some about needle-arts with patterns, some about fine art and the way modern technology has affected our relationship with age-old hand-crafts.
I was lucky to be chosen as a subject for one of the chapters. My chapter is all about crocheted granny squares, my art influences and my history with knit and crochet.

Gale, Bauer Pottery Showroom, Los Angeles

Gale Zucker was in L.A. a few weeks ago and photographed me and my crochet work extensively for the book. Joan Tapper visited this past Saturday to interview me. We had a good visit. Who doesn't like talking about themselves for two hours? I've also written two patterns for the book. I can't wait to see how Gale photographs the completed items.

Ellen, Joan, in the Granny Square Suite, Los Angeles

The book doesn't come out until next year (Potter Craft, The Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House), but I'm really looking forward to seeing a few of the photos and a draft of my interview! It's very exciting to be included in this book. I have Ravelry to thank for "introducing" me to Gale and Joan. The worldwide yarny community is easily accessible to all of us now. The opportunites are infinite. Thank you 21st century!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Vintage Photo Friday

Ethel, Mort, Lawrence and George Bloom
Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1920

Next week is Memorial Day, the start of summer for many of us. Vacations, the beach and great weather come to mind.
Above is a photo of my grandparents, my Uncle and my Dad on the beach in Atlantic City, 1920. My Grandma's parents owned a kosher hotel called The Majestic Hotel near the Boardwalk. The family spent a lot of summers in Atlantic City.
I was there in the late 1970's with my Mom and Dad. We walked to the location of the old Majestic Hotel. They were in the process of tearing it down that very day. My Dad climbed up the front porch steps and exclaimed, "When I was a kid, I thought this was the biggest veranda in the world. Now it looks tiny to me."
We call this "kid-vision." Everything seems bigger and grander when you're a kid.
Are you planning a vacation this summer? Where are you going?

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sometimes Sunday

Many of my favorite times are when I'm sittin' and knittin' (or crochetin') with my homegirls. Of course, I attend our beloved WeHo SnB at the Original Farmers Market every Thursday night (see you later tonight, Ladies). I also really enjoy our Fairview Knitters group on the second and fourth Saturday of each month. HOWEVER, my most fave group is my Sometimes Sunday crochet group. This is a small group, never more than six people, usually around four. We meet when we can, always on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Many of the ladies in our Sometimes Sunday group are relatively new to crochet. They see the infinite possibilities and beauty of yarniness.New crocheters often see ways of crocheting that us old-timers have long forgotten. They all have beautiful and colorful homes that inspire us.
Thank you, Sometimes Sunday group!!
Last Sunday we met at Lori's lively, vibrant motivating! Lori is looking for a way to cover an old ottoman in her living room. I found Daniela's covered footstool on Ravelry......scrumptious!

Go for it, Lori! This idea would look FANTASTIC in your living room!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meals Around Los Angeles

I've been remiss in reporting on a few of the restaurants we've visited during the past month. I thought I'd share a few foodie photos with you today.

Pad Thai @ Chao Krung

Greek Chicken Plate @ Dino's Burgers

Wiener Schnitzel mit Spaetzle, Sauerkraut @ Edelweiss

Broiled Feta Cheese & Tomatoes w/ Olive Oil @ Papa Cristo's
We try to avoid going to restaurants on the weekends, but almost always go out to dinner on Wednesday nights. Where shall we go tonight? Any ideas for a reasonable place where the parking is Los Angeles?

Chao Krung, 111 North Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036, (323) 939-8361
Chalet Edelweiss, 8740 South Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045, (310) 645-8740
Dino's Burgers, 2575 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006, (213) 380-3554

Papa Cristo's, 2771 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006, (323) 737-2970

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The Afghan from "Nanny McPhee"
Am I crazy? Yes! I joined a swap on Ravelry for a "Granny McPhee" afghan.
This is a blanket seen in the 2006 movie, "Nanny McPhee" starring Emma Thompson. I didn't see the movie, but I really like the blanket!
There are 20 members in the swap group. We all have to crochet five squares for each member using Vanna's Choice yarn. Yikes! That's 100 squares! The pattern is a classic granny square, four rounds and must measure between 4-1/2" and 4-3/4". There was much e-mailing and photo-taking back and forth until we arrived at that calculation!
Some people have preferences for their squares, like "no white yarn, no variegated yarn, no dark colors on the fourth round, try to use "Sapphire Blue" in one of the rounds but not the last one." Sheesh! I thought the purpose of a swap is to be surprised at what you receive? My only preference...."weave in your ends!"
So, in addition to my usual ongoing projects, I've been crocheting Granny McPhee squares like mad. I can turn out almost two squares in just under 30 minutes. So, during an evening of watching primetime TV, I can usually crochet about five squares. So far, I've mailed squares to five swap members. only 15 more to go!!!
This might be my FIRST and LAST swap. Next time I'll just crochet my own 100 squares for an afghan!

Speaking of Granny-Mania, check out this chick's blog!!! I love it and am afraid of it all at the same time. You?

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Helms Bakery

On Sunday, Larry and I drove over to the old Helms Bakery site in Culver City. I hadn't been there in awhile and was interested in seeing how they had re-configured Helms Avenue. The street is blocked off from Washington Blvd. You can turn south on Helms from Venice Blvd. You are then directed into a parking area to the east of the street.
The former street in front of Beacon, Father's Office and Le Dijonaisse Cafe is now a promenade with landscaping, fountains, benches and more.
We had a very nice, reasonable breakfast at Le Dijonaisse Cafe. I had the lox, onion and cream cheese omelette. Larry had the Denver omelette. We sat outside.
"Diet" French Bread
After breakfast we wandered next door to Room and Board, a contemporary furniture store. I wanted everything in the place, especially one of these super chunky, wool, stockinet knit area rugs!

I do love the fact that the Helms Bakery complex has been saved and reused. The 1930's art deco buildings are still wonderful to gaze upon. Although I miss seeing the Helms coaches drive around the City, delivering baked goods, it's nice to know that we can still visit and see the old trucks inside the building, along with a timeline history of the Bakery.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Vintage Photo Friday - Flowers

"Queen Shirley Talbott and Baron-Crest Firefly, miniature poodle, wear posied hats to World Flower and Garden Show at Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Los Angeles" 1962
Photo, Hollywood Citizen News/Valley Times Collection
My post yesterday was filled with flowers from our garden. The recent rains have made our City sing with beautiful flowers! Natalie has planted a vegie and succulent garden; the roses at Exposition Park are fabulous and people are starting to wear their spring hats!!! When I take walks through my neighborhood, I marvel at the beautiful gardens.
I might just pull out one of my fave spring hats that I picked up a few years ago at an estate sale. It's quite enchanting, don't you think so?
More often, you'll find my head festooned with crocheted flowers. I like to wear flowered headbands to celebrate spring and summer in Los Angeles!

Have a wonderful weekend and wear flowers!!!

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flores, Flores, Flores!

Climbing Roses
At our house, roses grow best in our tough, adobe soil. Of course, drought resistant cactus and wildflowers grow beautifully too. All the rain this past fall and winter, in addition to some new pruning techniques that Larry learned from our friend, Carol, have produced a bountiful selection of roses in our front and side yards.
The jacaranda trees are starting to bloom too. Soon, many of our Los Angeles streets will have a canopy of purple flowers overhead. For me, this is the most beautiful time of year in L.A.
The Trashman Cometh

What's growing in your yard?

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thoughtful Gift

This is a belated thank you to my friend, Gale. During her visit a couple of weeks ago she gifted me with a wonderful collection of my favorite things!

All of the goodies were wrapped in a perfect grass and bark box (very tiki). Inside was this gorgeous hank of orange yarn, "Elise" by Ball and Skein. It's 50% silk and 50% merino wool. I immediately started crocheting a Seraphina Shawl with it, but I may frog it and switch to another, lacier project. This yarn has a beautiful drape.
Also enclosed: Clementine Lavender soap, knitter's hand lotion in a handy tin and two sets of the most beautiful buttons!!! I LOVE everything! Thanks so much Gale!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Saturday Night Adventure

On Saturday we planned to go to the NELA Second Saturday Art Walk in Highland Park. There are numerous choices for dinner in and around Highland Park, which is between Downtown L.A. and Pasadena, along the 110 Fwy. We decided we'd stop downtown for a French dip sandwich at Philippe's. We always keep Philippe's hot mustard on-hand at our house, and our supply was running low. This was a perfect opportunity to replenish.
After enjoying our delicious dinner, we hopped on the freeway and made it to Future Studio by around 8pm. Chicken Boy (the Statue of Liberty of Los Angeles) was beautifully lit, atop Future Studio, welcoming us inside to view Michael Gullberg's show, "THE AIR THAT I BREATHE." The art was nice, but didn't have enough wall-power for my taste. We did run into a few friends at the gallery and stayed awhile to chat and catch up.
Ellen and Nancy @ Future Studio

We usually head over to Mor York Gallery or to Avenue 50 Studio, but we wanted to head back down the 110 Freeway to Cypress and check out the New Puppy Gallery.
New Puppy Gallery

Whoa! It was a happenin' party scene at New Puppy! There was a full bar, live music, hip people and an excellent photography show. Next month, our first stop will be New Puppy Gallery!

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Hiren's BootCD
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