Friday, March 30, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday

Octopus Ride at Pacific Ocean Park, Santa Monica - 1961

It's springtime....almost summer. My childhood thoughts always turned to the beach in Santa Monica at this time of year. Now that I work in Santa Monica, I'm reminded even more often of my youthful hangouts. One of those was Pacific Ocean Park (P.O.P.) on the Pier. There are some amazing vintage photos and the story of the Park here. Really, check out that link!

Flying Dutchman @ P.O.P. - 1961

I have fond memories of birthday parties here with girlfriends, family trips and screaming on the rides with my fearless brother, Ken. It was our very own Disneyland by the sea!

P.O.P. had the coolest modern architecture!
Photos from L.A. Public Library Archives

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Thursday, March 29, 2012


Two of Larry's Mardi Gras Crowns. Ellen's Tiara

Among my many obsessions, I like crowns and tiaras. I try to wear my rhinestone tiara whenever appropriate, especially on festive occasions.

Queen Darcy

I wanted to crochet a birthday crown for Darcy last week. I modified my previous Mardi Gras design and came up with a sweet little cotton number. It looks great on Darcy! My friend, Suzette was at our house before I gifted Darcy with the crown and she modeled it for me too! This must be a universal style. It looks regal on everyone!

Princess Suzette

Stats: Hobby Lobby's I Love This Cotton, worsted weight yarn, size "F" hook. The "gems" are made from bits of Patons Grace Cotton, using a size "D" hook...they are bobbles, sewn onto the crown. I edged the top of the crown with some more Patons Grace cotton, adding a modified bobble to each crown point. I used a pineapple edge design I found in one of my pattern books for the crown portion. The bottom part of the crown is just single crochet, in the back loop for flexibility.

For my next foray into tiara creation, I think I'll try a bandeaux version, similar to the one our Princess of Ravelry, Mary-Heather and her friend, Sarah are wearing here.

Mary-Heather & Sarah in bandeaux-style crocheted tiaras
by Allison Hoffman

Crochted crowns are the perfect hat for warm and sunny SoCal!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seen Around Town

Snapshots from my excursions around town...

Surround of Front Door @ Millard Sheets Design Studio, Claremont.
made from stacked bands and cylinders of travertine marble
Mom's New Madras Tennies, Beverly Hills
Toyota License Plate, Santa Monica
Back Wall @Philippe's Restaurant, Downtown L.A.
Plaza Fire House, Chinatown, L.A.
Toyota License Plate, Culver City

I do love exploring this City!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Doily Geek

It's doily geek time!
Many of my Ravelry friends are in the Annual Dishcloth and Potholder Swaps. We are constantly looking at patterns, dissecting them and interpreting them. One of the members posted a photo of a beautiful doily that was not associated with a free pattern. I looked at the excellent photo and tried to figure out the pattern. I do believe that I have figured out a version of this Octagon Doily. Here's my interpretation of the doily. My sample is done in worsted weight cotton with a size "F" crochet hook. Next time, I'm going to use thinner cotton and a bigger hook for a much lacier doily, like the original photo at the end of this post.

Octagon Doily, interpreted by Ellen Bloom

I’m a visual crocheter and work better from charts than from written instructions. My written instructions, below may be a bit vague, but keep looking at the close-up photo of the doily and I believe you’ll be able to figure this out. You may have to slip stitch over to a spot to begin a new row. I have not added these instructions, since I know that you are all expert crocheters and understand the basic rules of crocheting in the round! Please feel free to alter this pattern to fit your needs. You may want to add or subtract chain stitches here and there!

Materials: Hobby Lobby I Love This Cotton, Solid. Size “F” crochet hook. NOTE: If you’d like a lacier look for your doily, use thinner cotton and a larger hook.

Cluster :Yo, insert hook in st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook, (yo, insert hook in same st, yo, pull through st, yo, pull through 2 lps on hook) 3 times, yo, pull through all 5 lps on hook.

V-STITCH SMALL: dc, ch 2, dc in the same stitch.

V-STITCH LARGE: dc, ch 3, dc in the same stitch.

Chain 4. Join into ring

Row 1: Ch 1, single crochet 8 times into center ring. 8 sts. total. Join.

Row 2: Ch 5 (counts as first dc and ch 2), *sk 1 st., dc, ch 2.* Continue around, from * to *, until you have 8 dc stitches and 8 ch 2 spaces, likes the spokes of a wheel. Join.

Row 3: Ch 1, *sc in dc st of row below, sc 2 sts in ch 2 space.” Continue around. You should have 24 sc stitches. Join.

Row 4: Ch 1, sc over the sc stitch that is on the spoke of the wheel (OR, over the dc st from 2 rows down). *Ch 3, sc 1*. Continue from * to * until you have 8 sc sts. with 8 ch 3 spaces between sts.

Row 5: You might have to slip stitch over to a sc stitch. Once you get there, ch 3, cluster stitch, ch 2, dc 1 into same stitch, ch 2, cluster into same stitch. This forms the cluster portion of the doily. Continue around with clusters ch 2, dc, ch 2, cluster into each sc stitch from the row below. From now on, this will be referred to as a cluster shell.

Row 6: Cluster shell over the cluster shells and place a ch 1, dc 1, ch 1 between the cluster shells (this is the beginning of the V-Stitch formation).

Row 7: Cluster shell over the Cluster shell. Ch 2. In the dc between the Cluster shells, do a V-Stitch Small. Ch 2. Join.

Row 8: Cluster shell over the Cluster shell. Ch 2, V-Stitch Large in the center of the V-Stitch Small from the row below, Ch 2. Continue around in this manner. Join.

Row 9: Same as Row 8, except instead of one dc stitch in-between the clusters, crochet 3 dc stitches.

Row 10: Single crochet in each dc around, 2 scs in V-Stitch space and in-between V-Stitches and shells. In the middle of each shell stitch (the dc stitch), sc 3 times in this stitch to create a definite point. Join.

Row 11: Crab stitch in every stitch around. The crab stitch is a backwards sc. Check the internet for video instructions. Join. Block.

Remember, if you feel you can improve this pattern, go ahead and interpret it in your own way until you have a pleasing doily!

Doily with Potholder Back...original photo

UPDATE: I crocheted this doily again (different border), using Patons Grace cotton...much thinner than my previous attempt. I also used a larger hook, size "G". I really like the results!

Octagon Doily, Patons Grace
Unblocked Octagon Doily #2


Monday, March 26, 2012


Birthday Queen Darcy

It was a weekend of celebrations! On Saturday we celebrated Darcy's birthday. On Sunday we celebrated Lori's birthday! Phew!
After MJ, Brit and Natalie attended their ukulele lesson and I finished up with the Fairview Knitters on Saturday, Darcy met us on the westside at A-Frame Restaurant. It was dusk, the brilliant sun was setting through the A-Frame windows and the whole restaurant was algow!

Mary Jo, Natalie, Ellen and
Brit (apparently in mid-sentence).
photo by Darcy

We had so much fun! After I anointed Darcy "Birthday Queen" with her very own washable crown, we drank, ate, opened presents, played "Happy Birthday" on our ukuleles and generally had tons o' laughs!

Brit and DarcyA-Frame's Sticky Baby-Backs
Chowin' Down on Cracklin' Beer Can Chicken

Sunday, the skies opened up and poured down on us. We had originally planned to celebrate Lori's birthday with brunch at The Roof, Hotel Wilshire on the Miracle Mile. Since the Rooftop was drenched, we went with plan "B"...brunch at BLD on Beverly Blvd.

Carol and Julie @BLD
Natalie and B-Day Girl, Lori
Carol's Smoked Salmon Benedict

The place was packed! Our drinks and meals were all delicious! After brunch we zoomed back to my house for presents, cake and yarny pursuits.

A sliver of Julie, Larry, Lori and Beth

All in all, it was a very festive and delicious weekend! Happy Birthday, Ladies!

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday

Vintage IHOP Matchbook

On Saturday, we're celebrating Darcy's b-day with the KnitGrrlz! Three of the KnitGrrrlz are now Ukulele Ladies (Brit, Natalie and Mary Jo).....sooooo, after their uke lesson at McCabe's, we'll be convening at A-Frame Restaurant in Mar Vista to serenade Darcita! We've been practicing the traditional "Happy Birthday" song for this occasion!

An Original International House of Pancakes A-Frame Building

I've written about A-Frame Restaurant before. The food is great, the vibe is cool and I hope they don't mind our ukulele mini-concert!

IHOP Interior, 1970

This particular restaurant is housed in a former International House of Pancakes A-frame building, hence the name of the restaurant. IHOP was founded in 1958 by Al Lapin, Jr. in Toluca Lake, California. I've always loved the look of these buildings with their distinctive blue roofs and early American wood furniture and architectural features. The IHOP in my neighborhood was on Olympic Blvd. at LaPeer Dr., Beverly Hills. The building is still there, vacant, after a Japanese restaurant closed years ago. I wish Roy Choi would open up A-Frame at this location too!

A-Frame Restaurant, 2010 - photos courtesy of A-Frame Website

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Souvenir Yarn

YarnStory LYS, Honolulu

Souvenir yarn does not count as stash yarn. Stash yarn is yarn that you have at home, organized and waiting to be made into beautiful yarny projects. This is your workhorse, everyday yarn. Here is a dandy explanation of one crafter's stash yarn. Souvenir yarn may become stash yarn eventually, but because you bought it while on vacation, it's special. While we were in Honolulu, I stopped by YarnStory. This is a sweet little shop, located on King Street, upstairs in an office building. There is no sign on the door in the parking lot. You can see a sign in the window if you look up from the street. Once you get to the second floor, a very small sign is next to the room number.

The store is fully stocked with every type of yarn you'd find in any high-end yarn shop on the Mainland. I did manage to find some cotton/rayon yarn, hand-dyed in Hawaii. It's special.

I also purchased a lovely skein of Malabrigo Sock Yarn called "Turner" in gorgeous shades of olive green and purple.
I'm not positive what I will make with these souvenir yarns, but for now, they are sitting in a bowl on the coffee of art to admire.

Special Sale Yarn: Last Saturday i was hanging out with Gale Zucker, driving her to various appearances around soggy, wet and rainy Los Angeles. We started out at the El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Guild where Gale gave a lecture on how to photograph your yarny items. The lecture was in terms that everyone could understand. We learned some great tips and tricks!

Gale with Monika at The Guild, El Segundo

Next stop, Wildfiber in Santa Monica. Here, Gale was teaching an actual photo workshop. It also happened to be St. Patrick's Day. All yarn in the shop with any hint of green in it was 25% off the regular price! I helped Gale set up for her class, then I was free to roam the shop while she was teaching.

Yarn Photo Workshop, 14th Street, Santa Monica

s to say, I happened upon some gorgeous Punta yarn from Uruguay with many shades of green and blue. I had to buy two sale skeins! I will consider this souvenir yarn and place it in the bowl on my coffee table next to my vacation yarn until it speaks to me.

Later, that evening, Gale, Larry and I had dinner at Cafe Brasil, next door to Gale's adorable boutique hotel, Villa Brasil.

Gale, Courtyard, Villa Brasil

I wonder if Gale managed to find any souvenir yarn during her trip to California?

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seen Around Town

Snapshots in and around Los Angeles...

Wilshire and Hauser, Miracle Mile, L.A.

Velaslavasay Theater Marquis, Union Street, North University Park, L.A.

Concrete Grid, Hamilton United Methodist Church, South L.A.After the rain, Santa Monica Freeway, E.L.A.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery