Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My New Hobby

I need a new hobby like a need a hole in the head! HOWEVER, while I'm sitting in my car on the Santa Monica Freeway in traffic I really should not be knitting, crocheting, playing the ukulele or sketching. Soooooo, my latest hobby is clicking vanity license plates while I'm stranded in a sea of cars. I'm probably not supposed to be doing that either, but I've been using my little Canon digi-cam and NOT my iPhone for this activity.
Here are a few choice license plates I've seen in the past few weeks:

C HAWAII - I totally agree! Everyone should see Hawaii at least once!

UKE LDY - After doing some research, I've found out that this musical lady is a children's entertainer.

LA ART - Obviously a kindred spirit in her love of the arts or a gallery owner at nearby Bergamot Station.

EX DEO - Translation from Latin - FROM GOD. Either this guy's Lincoln SUV was a gift from God or maybe this guy thinks HE is the gift from God to everyone else.

I just LOVE vanity plates! L.A. is full of 'em!

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Stitchin' With the 'Lympics!

James Bond and his latest Bond Girl (with Corgies)

I joined many of my yarny friends as a participant in the Ravellenic Games 2012 on Friday, during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games. There are thousands of us on Ravelry knitting and/or crocheting along with the Olympics. Usually, a stitcher will choose a certain goal or "personal best" to complete or learn during the games. I'll be happy to actually finish an entire project within the allotted time of July 27th through August 12th!
I did love the wacky, whimsical portions of the Opening Ceremonies, especially Queen Liz with James Bond! Jolly good fun!
This is the project I chose to complete. It's a large pillow, designed by Anna Elliott called "Make Do and Mend."
Naturally, I could not just follow the pattern. I had to devise my own version. I do love Anna's color combinations, so I'm copying her. Knitting is rather slow for me, so I decided to do a crocheted version of this design. I charted out the British flag and figured I could just crochet a basket weave pattern for the solid squares. I wasn't sure how big the flag square would turn out, so I started with it.
First, I tried intarsia crochet. Ack! Bad idea. It was a pulled and jumbled mess. THEN, I crocheted a background and tried cross stitch for the diagonals of the flag. Nope! This didn't look good either.

Cross-Stitch Mess

I decided to bite the bullet and try traditional knit intarsia.....another jumbled mess. THEN, I knit a bit of background in stockinette stitch and tried some duplicate stitch for the flag design. My duplicates didn't duplicate at all!

Duplicate Stitch Mess

Although I do love the look of that jazzy Union Jack, I finally gave up and decided to be patriotic to my own beloved country and crocheted a version of the United States flag! YES! Love those easy-to-crochet stripes! I will add a few stars later with embroidery stitches.

On to the finish, sports fans! NOW, I have to find a pillow form large enough for my humongous project!

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday - Olympics!

1932 Olympics @ The Coliseum, Los Angeles

Woo Hoo the 2012 Olympics in London start today. I do like watching some of the events during the televised Olympic Games. I am looking forward to the opening ceremonies tonight.
It was a glorious 2-1/2 weeks in Los Angeles in 1984 when we hosted the Olympics. Many residents, fearing extra traffic and crowds left town for the duration of the games. People curbed their driving. There was no smog. The weather was perfect. I attended many events in person, which was a thrill. It was a wonderful time in Los Angeles.
My Dad attended many of the events during the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles. I even have a printed program from the 1932 opening ceremonies at the Coliseum where my tween-aged Dad pasted newspaper clippings of his favorite Olympic swimming star, Johnny Weismuller!

The L.A. Memorial Coliseum hosted the 1932 Olympic Games. Olympic Boulevard (formerly 10th Street) was named for the event. What is now the Village Green was originally housing for Olympic athletes. Helms Bakery was the supplier of bread for the athletes. The sign declaring OLYMPIC BREAD still shines atop the old bakery building!

The Home of Olympic Bread, Helms Bakery

I've registered on Ravelry as a "Ravthlete" to compete in the Ravellenic Games of 2012! This has NOTHING to do with athletics. Thousands of knitters and crocheters will be tuned into the Olympic Games on TV, sitting and knitting for over 2 weeks! We are encouraged to register certain projects on Ravelry. We must finish our goal projects during the games. Big challenge! I have so many unfinished yarny projects lying around the house. I have serious attention deficit disorder when it comes to yarny projects, so this Ravellenic Games challange is going to be tough for me! I hope to push through the boredom and in the great British tradition, carry on! My project of choice is a complex pillow pattern. You can see the details here.

Yes, it's going to be a grand weekend!

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Adaptive Reuse - Chicken Shack

Larry @ Zankou Chicken, WeHo

Last night Larry and I zoomed up to the newest branch of Zankou Chicken on Sunset Boulevard, just east of Fairfax at Orange Grove. Being a fan of novelty architecture, I always like hot dog stands shaped like hot dogs; chili con carne places shaped like chili bowls and hamburger joints shaped like a big ol' burger. I also like the look of the original Kentucky Fried Chicken buildings all over Los Angeles, with the Colonel's face smiling down on us. I never really liked the KFC chicken recipe, but the chicken shack design was always agreeable. The Colonel is gone, but the building remains on Sunset Boulevard.

Mosaic Counter

From a fried chicken shack to a rotisserie chicken shack! What could be a more perfect adaptive reuse? Why, they didn't change the USE of this building at all, they just changed the recipe for the better! This Zankou chain has a spiffed up interior that utilizes the basic design of it's original KFC building. The owners added newer, cleaner surfaces, rocky mountain stone, beautiful mosaic and some colorful light fixtures to the basic beamed ceiling interior.

Original Beamed Ceiling

They re-surfaced the parking lot, put up some tables with umbrellas on the side patio, added more rocky mountain stone, attractive landscaping and completely overhauled the kitchen. YES!

Colorful Light Fixtures

The menu has the same delicious offerings as other branches of Zankou, so the food is great!

1/4 Chicken Plate w/ hummus, pita, vegies, garlic sauce

Hey Zankou! There's another KFC on La Brea, just north of Pico. How 'bout bringing a branch of Zankou Chicken closer to our house?

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch

Last Friday I met my Mother and my Auntie for a special birthday lunch at Neiman-Marcus in Beverly Hills. We dined at Mariposa on the lower level. The dining room is lovely, with Calder tapestries hanging on the walls. There was a fashion show too. It was very reminiscent of the luncheons that my grandmother used to take me to at Bullock's when I was a little girl. In those days, it was required to wear white gloves and a party dress!

Mariposa @ Neiman-Marcus, Beverly Hills

When you sit down at your table for lunch at Mariposa, you are served a demi-tasse cup of chicken broth with a cheese twist, accompanied by a hot popover with butter and jam. Everything is so civilized here.

Aunt Mae and I both ordered the Shrimp Salad with Green Goddess dressing. Mom ordered the egg salad sandwich topped with caviar. We shared a simply divine chocolate lava dessert to top off my celebratory lunch.

Aunt Mae enjoying her chicken broth

LOVE dining at Neiman's. We did NOT do any serious shopping at Needless-Markup, however! LOL!

Roz, leaving Neiman's
Neiman-Marcus Department Store, Beverly Hills, 1979
Photo Courtesy of LA Library Archives

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Garden Slug Pattern by Cheezezombi

Last week, my sweet friend, Suzette gave me the CUTEST b-day gift! Suzette is an expert knitter and crocheter. She creates beautiful items. She saw that I had queued this Garden Slug on Ravelry, so she bought the pattern and knitted the perfect Slug.
That Suzette is so creative! She also knits teensy-tiny mini-mochi items. I suppose she had a mini-mochi aqua alien hanging around that fit perfectly into the Slug's mouth!

Mini-Mochi Alien

In honor of Suzette, I shall call her Slugette!

Alient-Munching Garden Slug by Suzette

Thanks, Suze!

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Monday, July 23, 2012

San Gabriel Valley Modern

Bullocks, Pasadena

On Sunday we toured the San Gabriel Valley with many of our friends from the Modern Committee of the L.A. Conservancy. This was a special tour organized and arranged by Chris and Charlene Nichols. Chris grew up in the SGV, so he was the PERFECT tour guide. We met in Little Tokyo at 10:30 a.m. and proceeded to Pasadena.

Clearman's Northwoods Inn, San Gabriel

We concentrated on mid-20th century architecture of the 1950's-1970's. We stopped at a few places and received mini-lectures about various buildings and their architectural beginnings. Some of the highlights:

The Aztec Hotel, Monrovia
The Donut Hole, La Puente
Bahooka's Restaurant, Rosemead
Vincent Lugo Dinosaur Park, San GabrielYou can view more photos here.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Vintage Photo Friday

Hairstyles of Ellen, Top row, left to right: Age 4, 27, 38
Middle row, l-r: 17, 59, 42
Bottom row, l-r: 53, 22, 6

I'm getting to my blog very late in the day! That's because I've been extremely busy on my BIRTHDAY!!! The photo collage above is a study in my hairstyles throughout the last mmm--mmmm years! I am officially vintage! In fact, I've been vintage for about 10 years. Ugh!
Even though my b-day celebrations for the past week have been fun and I appreciate all of the attention from family and friends, I'm ready to go off quietly into a corner and stare at the wall until next year.
Last Sunday, my Mom, Roz and my Step-Dad, Hal hosted a small brunch at Del Rey Yacht Club for a few of my knitster friends. It was a beautiful day and everyone had a marvelous time!

Centerpiece created by my friend, Lori aka Blossom Alliance
Hip Chix @ Marina del ReyThanks, Mom and Hal for the lovely brunch!

Roxbury Park, Beverly Hills

One more vintage photo that I love to post on my birthday. Above is my 4th b-day party at Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills. I'm still in contact with most the kids in this photo! Amazing!
Thanks to everybody for the grand birthday wishes! Have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012


Cousin Jackie and her new friend at the Tar Pits

I'm on vacation this week. I've been taking this opportunity to hang out with friends and family, shop and see a few sights around our beautiful City of Los Angeles!
On Monday, I met up with a few cousins from Chicago. They were in California for the wedding in Santa Barbara on Saturday. Well, Emilio, the son of my cousin Richie is waaaaay into that X-Box game, "L.A. Noire." The game consists of solving a number of crimes in Los Angeles, circa 1947. The creators of the game used many L.A. landmarks and familiar locations in the game. Emilio asked me if I knew where certain places in L.A. were, like The Tar Pits, Union Station, Musso & Frank's Restaurant, The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the location where the Black Dahlia's body parts were dumped. Yes, yes and yes! I knew them all. I am L.A. Ell, after all!

"Levitated Mass" viewed from the walkway underneath the Rock

We zoomed up to the La Brea Tar Pits, just north of our house. We viewed the tar bubbling up right in the middle of the park. There were some archaeologists digging up a few vertebrae and bones in one of the pits. Emilio's sister, Jackie had her photo taken with the statue of the wooly mastedon (I think). Then, we walked over to view "Levitated Mass"...that huge rock transported from the San Bernardino desert and set into this trough on the former May Co. parking lot. You can walk under the rock. It's impressive, but does not look as huge as it did perched on the back of this truck on Vermont Avenue in South L.A. on it's way up to the Miracle Mile.

My Cousins, Jackie, Emilio, Jo, Richie and Jessica in the walkway under the Rock

Next stop...Canter's Deli for lunch. The kids loved all the Guns 'n Roses memorabilia at Canter's, including all the Rap and Hip-Hop clothing stores on this newly hip section of Fairfax Avenue.
Next stop...Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd. The lobby of the Roosevelt is one of the most stunning hotels in Los Angeles. The massive amounts of Spanish Tile are breathtaking. Well, the minute Emilio got a look at all of the action on Hollywood Blvd., he didn't want to go any further. I left Emilio with his family to see Grauman's Chinese Theater, Musso & Frank's, The Egyptian Theater and the many other landmarks along the street. Luckily, their Auntie, my cousin Jo was along as an alternate L.A. tour guide!

Annenberg Space for Photography, Century City

Yesterday I zoomed over to Century City to see the photo exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography. The current show is fabulous and so nostalgic..."Who Shot Rock 'n Roll." Wow! The photos on display are incredible. The documentary showing in the little theater makes the whole exhibit that much more meaningful. It's a must-see!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Wedding

Friday Night Party @ the Home of the Bride's Parents

The family wedding we attended in Santa Barbara this past weekend was truly a wonderful event! Well, we attended two events actually. On Friday evening there was a post-wedding rehearsal dinner event for guests that came up to Santa Barbara early. This was at the bride's parents' home. The father of the bride, Andy is my 2nd cousin. Andy's mother, Metta and my father, George were first cousins. Andy and his wife Adrianne live on a scenic hilltop above Santa Barbara. From one side of the house you can see the ocean, from the other side you can see the City. Luckily, it was a pleasant evening for sitting in the patio, meeting many of the other wedding guests and participants.

The Bride and her Parents. Andy, Gena, Adrianne

The big event was Saturday afternoon. We gathered at 3:30 at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum to witness the wedding of Gena and Alex. The Museum grounds are rustic and definitely evoke old California. It's a perfect setting for a wedding.

Reception in the Courtyard

After the ceremony, presided over by the bride's Aunt (my cousin), Jo Ellen, we all moved into the courtyard of the Museum for the reception. There was a 10-piece smokin' band, fabulous food, lots of wine and champagne and much celebrating!

My heartfelt congratulations to the bride and groom!

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