Monday, April 30, 2012

The Great Potholder Swap of 2012

 2012 Potholder Swap

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to be included as a helper to the Ladies in charge of the 2012 Ravelry Potholder Swap distribution.  I zoomed over to Eve's place with my photo equipment.  Eve's car was loaded with puffy envelopes full of potholders.  When we got to Michele's house, we unloaded the treasures, set up the lights and proceeded to organize the potholders for their photo shoot.

WOW!  This group of knitters and crocheters outdid themselves!  The potholders are all BEAUTIFUL.  Some are so intricate and gorgeous, that a hot pot will never touch them!!  Once the photo shoot was completed, we had to sit down for a snack.  We were overwhelmed by the cottony goodness and beauty.

Potholder Hostesses, Eve and Michele

We finally got down to business and figured out which five different potholders each crafter should receive.  This was not an easy decision.  We tried to be fair and give large and small gauge cotton potholders to everyone involved.  We also tried to choose complimentary colors for everyone.  I certainly hope that our Potholder People are happy with their treasures.

One of the perks of being a helper is that you get to choose your potholders.  Here are mine.  I love every single one of them!  Thank you!

Ellen's Potholder Choices

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday

Clockwise from center-front:  
Freda, Mae, Roz and Celia Katz
Venice Beach, August, 1935

My Mom often tells me all about the times she and her family spent at her Grandma's house on Westminster Avenue, Venice Beach.  My Mom was a beach bum.  Here she is on the beach with her Mother and her two sisters.  My Mom (center back) was 13 in this photo.
On our recent drive out to my Cousin Carolyn's house for Passover, Aunt Mae was telling us stories about my Mom and Venice Beach.  There was a plunge on the Venice Pier.  Roz would climb up to the highest diving board and jump off into the pool.  Aunt Mae said that many times Roz would swim way out into the waves of the far that they couldn't see her any more.  I just can't imagine my Mom being a daredevil, but Aunt Mae confirmed it for us!  Rozzie looks like a rough 'n tumble tom-boy in this photo!  All that early exercise has sustained my Mom.  At almost 90 years old, she's still goin' strong today!
Venice Beach hasn't changed all that much since 1935.  Many of the old buildings are still there.  The picture, below, shows my great grandmother sitting in front of 41 Westminister Avenue.  I searched online and found this photo. Click on "street view" to see what's there today. Looks like the old house may still be there, behind the fence and shrubbery!

Great Grandma, Emma Davis, 41 Westminster Ave., Venice, 1933

Venice Beach is a great place to stroll on the sand, catch the waves and watch the passing parade.  If the weather holds this weekend, it might be nice to take a ride down to Westminster  Avenue.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cheesecake Strawberries


Last night I whipped up some cheesecake stuffed strawberries to bring to our WeHo SnB Babies Shower for the Saras tonight!
This is an easy recipe and really delicious.  I found some extra-huge strawberries at my local Ralph's Market.  They're just the right size to fit my deviled egg dish!  Perfect! 

Can you just imagine how many fantastic knitted and crocheted items these babies are going to receive tonight?  Yippee to every single one of you in our incredible West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch group!  See you tonight at the Original Farmers Market
This is Natalie's invitation for the cute and clever!

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hollywood Nights

Last night Larry and I zoomed over to Hollywood for a screening at the American Cinematheque, Egyptian Theater.  We were early enough to have dinner at nearby Miceli's Italian Restaurant on Las Palmas.  I love this place. 

 It's good, old-fashioned Italian-American food in a cool venue.  The wooden booths inside the restaurant are from the original Pig 'n Whistle Restaurant.  There's usually a piano player who takes requests.  Dinner was divine, of course.

In the courtyard of the historic Egyptian Theater was one of the pianos in the "Play Me, I'm Yours" street piano program.  It would have been great if Brian O'Rourke,  the musician from Miceli's had come over to the courtyard of the Egyptian to play a few tunes.  This particular piano was painted black and decorated with tons of shiny "jewels."  This piano art was designed by Andre Miripolsky.  More photos here.

The screening was "Stony Island."  This was my cousin, director, Andrew Davis' first movie (1978).  The movie is finally being released on DVD, along with a documentary about the making of the movie.  I'm very proud of Andy.  He's come a long way from Stony Island. Avenue! The theater was filled with movie stars, friends and family.  It was a wonderful Hollywood night! 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bistro of Santa Monica

Before our art opening on Saturday, Joan and I had a lovely dinner at the Bistro of Santa Monica.  We'd both been driving by this restaurant for years and years but had never been there!  True, it is difficult to park.  

There are about 6 spots behind the restaurant.  Most of the streets nearby have restricted parking.  This is the beginning of Santa Monica's hospital zone with few free parking options.  We were there on the early side, so we were lucky enough to grab a spot behind the Bistro.
As we age, we appreciate quiet surroundings.  A restaurant that has carpet, drapes and plush upholstery to absorb the sound is my new fave.  Many of the newer places around town go for that high-tech look.....tile floors, metal furniture, high ceilings and lots of clattering racquet.  I suppose this makes a restaurant and/or bar seem more hip and lively.  Since I ruined my hearing by standing next to loud speakers and amplifiers during my rock 'n roll days, I really value a place where I can hear my table-mate's conversation! OK, I'm old.

Insalata di Spinaci with Feta, roasted walnuts, hot mushroom & balsamic dressing

The menu at Bistro of SM has many menu options.  You can have a wide range of appetizers, sandwich, salad, pasta or a full entree.  Joan and I split the Spinach Salad.  She ordered the Pumpkin Ravioli and I had Eggplant Parmesean.  
Pumpkin Ravioli
Melanzane alla Parmigeana
There's a full bar and a lovely wine list too.
Later in the evening, around 7:30, the piano player arrived.  We were so enjoying our quiet conversation, that this was a bit of an intrusion.  However, it is lovely to have piano music during dinner if you really don't have much to talk about.  OK, I'm old.
The Bistro of Santa Monica is really close to my office.  I must go back for lunch sometime soon.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Peakies @Bergamot

On Saturday I met up with my friend, Joan at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.  We were there for the opening of a new show at Copro Gallery called "Twin Peaks:  Fire Walk with Me" - 20th Anniversary Group Art Exhibition.

Peakies Waiting in Line

The gallery opened at 8pm.  We arrived around 7:45.  The line was down the block to get inside!  A similar crush happened last year at Clifton's Cafeteria downtown for the David Lynch art show commemorating the 20th anniversary of the TV show.  This show on Saturday commemorated the 20th anniversary of the movie that preceded the TV series.
Luckily, we got into the packed gallery and saw many of the fascinating pieces.  It was a real crush inside though, so we rushed just to get out of the tremendous crowd.  I'll definitely go back to Copro to really look at the pieces when there aren't so many people inside!

"Bob" by Chet Zar

"Between Two Worlds" by Megan Brain (paper cutouts)
"An Old Woman and Her Grandson" by Shag
A few other galleries were open at Bergamot, but most of the people were at Copro, including many art patrons dressed like characters from the Lynch movie.  I'm waiting for Lynch to make another "Twin Peaks" movie.  Peakies Forever!

Peakie BFFs, Ellen and Joan

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Red Cars

Red Car Over Motor Avenue, 1953. 
Photo by Alan Weeks/Metro Archives

I barely remember the last Red Car that traveled down Venice Boulevard.  I was a tiny girl and I remember my Dad pointing out the trolley to me as we drove down to the beach one weekend.  I wanted to ride the trolley, but Dad said, "The car is better.  We can carry all of our stuff in the back and come and go as we please without having to wait in lines."  

The Red Car went EVERYWHERE in L.A.

Well, OK Dad.  Now we have to wait in traffic lines, burning gas and oil.  I am supremely excited about the opening of the new Expo Metro Line next weekend.  True, it will only get me from La Cienega to USC, but I could pick up transfers and travel a few more places in L.A. and beyond, without having to wait in horrendous L.A. traffic.

 Red Car at USC, 1953
Photo by Alan Weeks/Metro Archives
There is an opportunity to ride a reproduction of the old Red Car in Los Angeles today.  The Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro is the home of a waterfront Red Car line. The line is very short, nothing like the extensive routes during the Red Car hey-day in Los Angeles.  Still, I can't wait to visit!
 Waterfront Red Car Replica Line, San Pedro
Photo by John Smatlak

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Thursday, April 19, 2012


Have you signed up for Pinterest yet? It's your own internet bulletin board. If you see something on the nets that you like, you "pin it" virtually and post it to your various boards. I have 7 different boards: Crafty, Yarny, Home Decor, Cuisine, Los Angeles, Jewelry and Handbags. You can also follow your friends' boards. You can even follow boards of people you do not know! I have discovered many interesting recipes and craft ideas from Pinterest. I could add categories like Books to Read, Travel Ideas and Music to Listen to, but I'm sure I'd be overwhelmed.
Here are a few of my Pinterest Crafty and Yarny finds:

Harrison Hat. Looks like Ukuleles!

How do you keep track of interesting ideas you see on the web or find in magazines?

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seen Around Town

More snaps from Los Angeles.

Santa Monica, Classic Car Lot
Edsel, Santa Monica
Pottery, Garden and Curio Shop, Redondo Beach
Outdoor Flip-Flop Art, Redondo Beach
USC Fans @ Philippe's, Downtown L.A.
LOVE that hand-painted USC Tote!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tea Wrap

Tea Wrap, Mericash Hand-Painted by Punta Yarns

I like crocheting the same patterns over and over, but changing up the yarn, trim, texture, etc. I've made Lion Brand's pattern Tea Wrap / Sea Shell Wrap three times. The first time was with Poems Sock Yarn for my friend, Lori.

Lori's Tea Wrap Shawl, Poems Sock Yarn

The second time was in cotton crepe with a different border for my cousin, Amie.

Amie's Tea Wrap, Cotton Crepe, "All Shawl" Border

I've made the pattern a third time, using the beautiful yarn I purchased at Wild Fiber on St. Patrick's Day, Mericash Hand-Painted by Punta Yarns. I think I like this version the best. After blocking, it is still soft and squooshy. The colors are fantastic. I used every bit of the two skeins purchased. I do feel that a small border is needed though. I'll look through my stash and see if I have a coordinating solid (blue, aqua or green) to crochet a border.

Stats on my Ravelry Page

Thanks to my office-mate, Krista for modeling this most recent Tea Wrap.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunday Crawl

Stephanie, Meri and Brenda, Redondo Beach

While many Los Angeles residents were RIDING their bicycles in L.A.'s CycLAvia this Sunday, I was CRAWLING with my Sisters in Yarniness for the last day of the 2012 L.A. County Yarn Crawl.
Stephanie, Brenda, Meri and I started out at 10-ish and drove down to Redondo Beach to L'Atelier Yarns. This shop is in a sweet little oceanside neighborhood, filled with cafes, boutiques and beach people. We were a bit early, so we ducked into the most adorable garden and curio shop next door to L'Atelier.

Garden Shop, Redondo Beach

Once the yarn shop opened, we zoomed inside. This is a rather large shop with tons of varieties of yarn, jewelry and notions inside. We had a nice visit and picked up a few goodies, including two skeins of Teva Durham's Loop-D-Loop in a beautiful pinky-watermelon color..
Next stop, north on PCH - Sepulveda to Manhattan Beach and Twist, Yarns of Intrigue. This was my first visit to Cathy's new location. This shop is a stand-out! Now that there's more space, the shop has been organized beautifully. There's a sit 'n knit area in front with couches, a table and refreshments, yarns in the middle, yarn-winding and another table in back for teaching. The place was jammed! I always like checking out Cathy's hand-dyed yarn. I purchased a huge skein of Cathy's kettle-dyed merino and cashmere in various shades of black and gray. I also managed to get some Malabrigo sock yarn and a skein of this interesting "Twist Tuff" nylon accompanied by a free pattern for a knitted market bag.

After all that yarn, we needed some sustenance. We stopped at El Tarasco in MB for a delicious lunch.

Brenda and Ellen @El Tarasco, Manhattan Beach

Our next and last stop was Needlepoints West in Westchester. This shop is hidden in a small 50's-style shopping village just off Sepulveda and La Tijera.

I hadn't been inside this shop for probably 15 or more years! In the old days, it was primarily a needlepoint store, filled with beautiful canvases and needlepoint wool. WELL, they've added all kinds of interesting yarns to keep up with the knit and crochet craze. I was surprised to see such an abundant display of different types of yarn that I'd never experienced before.

I picked up some Tapestry Print acrylic in olives and golds, an interesting sock-weight yarn called Yummy and some super-pointy ChiaoGoo stainless steel knitting needles. As a special gift for Yarn Crawl participants, we were invited to choose any of the loose knitting patterns in the Shop's notebook for FREE. I chose the Mermaid Tee by Hélène Rush. I LOVE this shop! It's a great location, easy to park and close to many other restaurants and stores and right on my regular route. I'll definitely be returning to Needlepoints West!

Thanks for a lovely, day Ladies! More Yarn Crawl photos here.

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