Wednesday, July 17, 2019


Getty Villa Courtyard

We toured two museums at opposite ends of town this week. Our friends, Jacquie and Bob were visiting from Las Vegas. First stop on Monday, The Getty Villa. We hadn't visited the Villa since the huge remodel and additions to the campus. There's an amphitheater, new offices and more gardens nows. It's a beautiful site.
Larry as painted Greek pottery

Bob and Jacquie battling a winged creature

We toured around the museum and were awed by the gardens and courtyards. Jacquie and I decided that we weren't into ancient art of Rome and Greece that much, but the whole environment at the Getty Villa is worth seeing!
Jacquie at The Getty Villa
After a late lunch at Mel's Drive-In in Santa Monica, we headed home to rest. Mel's Drive-In is located in the restored and refurbished Penguin Coffee Shop. In our youths, Jacquie and I spent LOTS of time at The Penguin. Visiting Mel's was quite nostalgic.
The next day we zoomed downtown to visit The Broad Museum. The exterior of the building is startling and amazing!
Broad Museum, photo by Jacquie Toy
OK, now THIS is my kind of museum! I love art from the 20th century and beyond! Edythe and Eli Broad have the most spectacular collection! We really enjoyed our visit.
Jacquie and Ellen in front of Ed Ruscha's "Norm's, LA Cienega,  on Fire"

"Bubbles" close-up by Jeff Koons

Jacquie in Wonderland

Visiting museums is exhausting! Just walking around on the marble and cement floors really takes it out of you!  
We always have a great time with Jacquie and Bob! We toured through a few of their old neighborhoods so they could see how our City has changed. We hope to visit them in Las Vegas in the Fall!

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Friday, July 12, 2019

Ninth Year!

Eve and Ellen on sorting and packing day

I really like the Ravelry Annual Dishcloth Swap! This is my ninth year participating. My friend, Eve is the original moderator of this Ravelry group and swap. From Year 1, I assisted Eve in the sorting and packing. After a few years, she made me a co-moderator of the group. It's the most colorful fun that a crocheter can have without actually crocheting and/or knitting! Following are my dishcloth entries for the past nine years.
These are my knitted cloths for this year

Here's how the swap works: You crochet or knit five dishcloths using the exact same pattern. You can change up your colors, so you do not get bored. You mail in your 5 dishcloths with a self-addressed, stamped return envelope. There are many rules about size, cotton content, etc. We send back five different dishcloths to each entrant. It's so much fun receiving 5 new dishcloths in the mail!

What's so special about a handmade cotton dishcloth? Why would I swap a shmatta (rag) with my friends? Because 100% cotton knitted and/or crocheted dish cloths are AWESOME! That's why! Other than the fact that cotton dish cloths are lovely to use, they are reusable and good for the environment. If you use a soft cotton, they are excellent to use for spa cloths on your tender skin. 

If you use an everyday cotton yarn like Sugar & Cream and add some ribs and bumps to your pattern, these cloths make excellent scrubbers for dirty pots and pans. They make outstanding gifts paired with fancy soap. Oh! You can make them using all kinds of PRETTY COLORS. This will cheer up the spot next to your sink, whether it's in the kitchen, laundry room or bathroom!

I usually crochet my dishcloths for the swap. I hadn't knit them in nine years, since 2011, so this year, I decided to knit the cloths and add a simple, single crocheted edge. This basketweave pattern (embiggen photo above) is one of my favorites.
The deadline this year is August 23, 2019. You've got PLENTY of time to whip up five dishcloths and join the swap!  Come on! It's so much fun!

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Tuesday, July 09, 2019


The original LACMA campus, William Pereira & Accociates (1965)

I am very sad that more of the main buildings at the L.A. County Museum of Art will be demolished. Plans are to build a new LACMA campus with a bridge across Wilshire for more new buildings. It's great that the Museum is enlarging, but what about history? 
The original buildings at LACM, designed by William Pereira and Associates (1965) have a permanent look about them. They are solid, square and, at one time, floated on a moat of tranquility.
Calder Sculpture

The newer buildings at LACMA have obliterated much of the beautiful mid-century design by Wm. Pereira and Associates from the Wilshire Boulevard view, but the back of these iconic buildings are still evident.  Visitors can also walk in and around the Ahmanson, Hammer and Bing wings of LACMA and see their beautiful architectural lines. 

"Three Quintains" (Hello Girls), 1964 by Alexander Calder. Sheet metal and paint with motor

LACMA took away the beautiful water feature surrounding the buildings to add chunky stairs.  They plopped the Anderson Building up to the property line on Wilshire, destroying the gracious set-back.  True, the street light installation between the Anderson and the Resnick Plaza is wonderful.  The actual Plaza is excellent for large gatherings and parties.  With $650 million, can't the LACMA planning committee come up with a plan that does not tear down our treasured mid-20th century buildings?  This isn't Las Vegas where we blow up our buildings every ten years.

The Bing Theater

Bing Theater Lounge
What about the legacy of early donors?

You'd better hop over to the Museum soon before the Sculpture Garden and the original buildings, including the Bing Theater are gone. Sigh.
Color photographs by Larry Underhill

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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

4th of July Prep

Do you have your 4th of July yarny projects ready for the festivities? You wouldn't want to show up empty-handed to the 4th of July party you're attending! Here are a few faboo items to whip up before the 4th. Hurry up! You've only got 2 days left! Links to all patterns are in the captions.
4th of July Beachbag

Patriotic Crocheted Stars  make excellent drink coasters!

Beverage Can Holder

Patriotic Garden Potholder

American Flag Wreath

Little Star Dishcloths
The Beverage Can Holders, Patriotic Potholder and Little Star Dishcloths are my personal favorites.  They're quick to crochet and make PERFECT hostess gifts!  Come on! Start now! I know you can do it!  Happy Pre-4th of July!

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Friday, June 28, 2019

Field Trip Friday

Hollyhock House, Exterior

Friday is a good day for field trips. The Saturday and Sunday traffic hasn't begun yet and most museums and places of interest in Los Angeles are open. Almost a month ago, Mary Jo, Larry and I visited Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona. FLW also built many well-known buildings in the Los Angeles area. Mary Jo said she'd never seen Hollyhock House (1921), so we decided to visit today.
Stylized stone hollyhock flower. This was Aline Barnsdall's favorite flower

All photos of Hollyhock House are from the internet. You're not allowed to photograph inside the home. The Barnsdall Parks Association recently finished about half of the restoration of Hollyhock, so we were limited in our visit today. We could only visit the main rooms of the house, the foyer, living room, library and music room. We had views into the kitchen, dining room and a few other rooms. We could not go upstairs to see the bedrooms or walk into the courtyard. Hopefully, all restoration will be done toward the end of the summer. We were shown photos of the rooms we could not visit though.
The Living Room with reproductions of Wright's built-in furniture
The Dining Room
The Library
The hollyhock flower design is everywhere on the property. It was Aline Barnsdall's favorite flower. There are even real hollyhocks growing the garden!
You can read more about the history of this house HERE
After taking a look around the Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall, we decided to have lunch at Spitz Grill a few blocks away.

We shared an order of Doquitos, which was kind of like a Mediterranean taquito. It was thin Lavash bread, rolled with chicken, feta, onion, aioli, fried. The Doquitos were served on top of a Greek-type salad. It was a perfect lunch!
Doquitos at Spitz
It's always fun going on field trips with Mary Jo!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Fresh Flowers

Roses and gladiolas in our side-yard

It's the small, beautiful things in life that give me joy. The June Gloom that we've been experiencing in Los Angeles is the perfect climate for certain flowers to grow in our garden. We have overcast dampness in the morning, giving way to sunnier skies in the late afternoon.  Yes, the roses are blooming in our garden!
I do love buying fresh flowers at Trader Joe's grocery store. Flowers that I buy there seem to last longer than flowers bought elsewhere. This week, the peonies are for sale! They are so luscious and beautiful. I picked up some other-worldly pink ones yesterday.
My beautiful peonies from Trader Joe's
T.Joe's is known for its orchids. They almost ALWAYS have them for sale. They also have all kinds of other fresh flowers for sale at excellent prices.
Flowers available at Trader Joe's
Once all of the flowers die, I can always resort to my supply of crocheted flowers!  Happy Summer, my friends!
Crochet Flower Collection

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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Music Weekend

Deke Dickerson and the Whippersnappers

We started out last weekend with a music vibe!  Larry and I saw Deke Dickerson and the Whippersnappers at the Original Farmers Market.  I must say, the show was delightful. Deke is one of the best guitar players I've ever known. His side men were also fantastic! Most of Deke's original songs are in the Bakersfield country style, made famous by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. This just happens to be my MOST favorite music! 
Audrey and Jeff joined us for dinner and the show. We also ran into other friends. EB's Bar at the Farmers Market has free shows scheduled all summer!
To continue the music vibe, on Saturday morning I convened with my Ukulele Workshop at Boulevard Music in Culver City. This intermediate class is led by musician, Cali Rose. We always have a great time! Added plus, this session, my besties, Natalie and Mary Jo are taking the Workshop with me!
Natalie and Mary Jo
On Sunday evening, we zoomed out to Santa Monica for a pre-show dinner at the gastro-pub, The Brixton. This is a fun spot with heart-clogging food, so you know it's delicious!

The Brixton sits right across the street from Rae's Coffee Shop, a googie-style building that could use some paint and powder. Rae's has a quirky schedule because it's often in-demand for film shoots, so if you want to eat there, call first.
Rae's Restaurant, Santa Monica
After dinner at The Brixton, we walked down the block to McCabe's Guitar Shop. We had tickets for Dave Alvin's 25th Anniversary Show of his landmark record, "The King Of California." The show was great. Dave and his producer, side-man, Greg Liesz were in fine form. I haven't seen Greg perform in ages, so it was a real treat to hear him on Sunday night. The show opened with singer/songwriter, Christy McWilson and her drummer/singer, Blackie Sleep. They were a perfect opener for Dave and Greg. Christy also joined Dave and Greg on a few numbers.
Blackie Sleep and Christy McWilson

Dave Alvin, Christy McWilson and Greg Liesz
Musically, it was a very inspiring weekend! Now it's time to practice my ukulele!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery