Friday, January 18, 2019

New Year. New Projects.

Yes, I have numerous yarny projects on the back-burner. Sometimes I start a project, lose interest or come to a bump in the road and stick the whole thing in a bag and let it marinate. Over Xmas vacation, I picked up a few of those old projects and either finished them or ripped them out to re-use the yarn.
I've been seeing all kinds of tempting projects on Ravelry this January. It's still cold here in Los Angeles, by L.A. standards, that is. In the evenings, we require hats, gloves, scarves, etc. Here are a few patterns that I'm looking at. Pattern links in the photo captions.
The Coffee Beanie. Fun gift for a caffeine friend!
I LOVE these Log Cabin Mitts
A quick hat is always fun! Granny Stripes Hat
A ruana or kimono is always comfy for cool weather! Lucy's Kimono
The Annual Scrubbie Swap deadline is March 10th. I've been wanting to make this fried egg tawashi for ages! I think I'll make three for the swap this year!
Sunny Side Up Tawashi
I still have LOTS of pink yarn bought during last year's Yarn Crawl and at the Stitches Pasadena Marketplace. I haven't quite figured out what to make with this bounty yet. Probably, a poncho or cardigan.

What are you planning to crochet and/or knit this winter?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

National Hat Day?

Apparently, National Hat Day is very popular! I wrote about it a few years ago. Click HERE to read about it!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Burgundy Willow Coat

Burgundy Willow

Over holiday vacation I finished a crocheted coat. I made most of this piece right after I finished my GG Cardigan last year, but I never crocheted the sleeves, edging or pockets. I was determined to complete this so I could wear it during the cold weather we're having right now. I didn't realize until I finished and tried it on that the coat was so long. I should have tested it and taken off a row of squares. Oh well! I like it and it's nice and cozy!
The GG Cardigan!

I used a size "H" crochet hook and Cascade 220 wool. Instead of crocheting basic granny squares for this coat I used the Willow Square pattern. It's a favorite of mine and looks fancy, especially in a solid color.
"Sam, You Made The Pants Too Long"

The sleeves are crocheted using double crochet stitches in the back loop. I decreased 2 stitches every row, under the arm until I got the desired circumference. After adding the border and collar, I found some burgundy buttons. I wanted an all-one look, no contrast. The buttons are just right.
Willow Square
I hope to finish up a few more projects started in 2018! What are you working on?

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Tuesday, January 08, 2019


Recently, my favorite coffee shop/restaurant in L.A., Pann's, refreshed their interior and exterior. The place has been painted, re-upholstered and generally spiffed up. You wouldn't notice it so much unless you're a regular customer. The owner, Jim Poulos, assured us when we visited Sunday that all the changes were brought back to the original colors and design. 

We used to LOVE visiting Pann's for dinner, but for more than a year now, Poulos has only opened the place during breakfast and lunch. I'm hoping the hours change once all of the development at Hollywood Park is completed.  Since we are usually so busy on the weekends, we haven't been able to see the new renovations at Pann's. On Sunday we took Mom for breakfast. Of course, the food was excellent. The place was bustling, but we were able to snag a booth after only a few minutes wait.
New Wall Sconce Light Fixtures. Photo by Larry Underhill

Original Clock (1958). Photo by Larry Underhill

Close-Up, Light Fixture. Photo by Larry Underhill

The most wonderful change for us was seeing the reproduction of the original wall sconces on the west end of the restaurant. The original clock has been there since 1958, but over the years the light fixtures on that wall were changed. Working from memories and the clock design, Poulos hired an artist to reproduce the sconces. He did an excellent job. The sconces are unique and fit in with the clock design.
There are so many other features in this Googie-style restaurant designed by the architectural team of Arm├ęt and Davis that are unique, including the plastic and resin panel in the waiting area depicting the senior Poulos' migration from Greece to Los Angeles, designed by Helen Liu Fong
Resin panel designed by Helen Fong
Congratulations on the update, Jim! Pann's looks great! We hope to return soon.
Mom, enjoying her coffee at Pann's

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Thursday, January 03, 2019

Mini Field Trips

Vintage Locomotive at Travel Town

We're still on vacation! Taking two entire weeks off from work has been great! The first week we were involved with Christmas Day preparation. After that, we've just been lazing about and taking little side trips around town. Los Angeles is a vacation spot, you know! We love being tourists in our home town.
On New Year's Day we like to visit some sort of park area that we've never been to OR that we haven't visited in a long time. I'd never been to Travel Town in Griffith Park. Larry hasn't been there in decades.

It was cold and crisp on January 1, 2019

There wasn't any traffic on New Year's Day! We arrived at Griffith Park in under 30 minutes. Travel Town was a grand idea in the late 1940s to have a sort of "petting zoo" of trains, locomotives, freight cars and trolleys for the children of Los Angeles. There is also a little train that runs around the park for children most days. The choo choo was running when we arrived. I must say, most of the trains are a bit run down. Larry remembers it being a much more colorful and vibrant place, but it's still interesting. There is a collection of vehicles in a big barn-like area and also a little museum and gift shop.
Casey Jones, the legendary railroad man, carved out of a tree trunk!
Another day during vacation, we ventured down to Huntington Beach to take a stroll through Island Baazar, the largest collection of ukuleles for sale that I have ever seen! Island Baazar  aka Ukulele Paradise, also holds classes, festivals and performances. There's a uke jam group that meets there on Thursday nights. If I lived in Huntington, I'd be there all the time! This is really the best selection of different brands of ukuleles under one roof.
Island Baazar in Huntington Beach

I wanted to buy this beautiful Ohana concert ukulele with the cutaway body and beautiful inlay, but I already have an Ohana concert uke!  I did purchase a capo, a new ukulele strap and some other little gifties for the UkeLadies.
We were hungry after looking at all of those ukuleles, so I took a tip from the Godfather of Orange County, Gustavo Arrellano, and drove up the block to Fuji's Burgers for some fusion tacos. Yum! Teriyaki Tacos are fab. Thanks, Gustavo! 

Today I dropped by the C.C. Strummers Thursday meet-up at Veteran's Auditorium in Culver City. My ukulele guru, Cali Rose leads the group and she invited me to stop by while on vacation. I know many of the members because they are or have been in our Ukulele Workshop at Boulevard Music. We ran through a few fun songs and generally had a great time. One of these days, when I retire, I will be become a member!
Vacation isn't quite over. I've also managed to work on some knit and crochet items that have been asking for my attention. We still have a few more days for adventures!

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year's Eve

We played through this delightful Frank Loesser song in Ukulele Workshop the other day. Our fab teacher, Cali Rose, showed us some alternative jazzy chords. The arrangement is simple. My performance is a bit rough, but I love this song and this is the ONLY day I can perform it!
What are WE doing New Year's Eve? Our usual. We're going to an early movie, "Stan and Ollie" this year. Then, we're having dinner at the Westside Tavern. We expect to be home by the time the East Coast celebrates the New Year. We'll be listening for fireworks and gunshots at midnight.

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Malibou Lake

View from Linda's and Craig's deck

Today we took a drive out to see my cousin's home at Malibou Lake. Linda and Craig live in a really beautiful home overlooking the lake and the woods.  During the recent Woolsey Fires, they had to evacuate their home. They were one of the lucky families. There are 33 houses in their area. Their home is one of four still standing. The fires came within inches of their garage and out-buildings. They lost a lot of vegetation, but their house survived, although there was smoke damage. Craig sent me a few photos of his neighbor's home...totally destroyed!
The Neighbor's home. Photo by Craig Talmy
We picked up a few sub-sandwiches at Bay Cities Italian Deli and headed up the Pacific Coast Highway. Once we turned off onto Mulholland, we could see some of the burn damage. Thankfully, there were also plenty of green zones.

We passed the crews from AT & T restoring service to the area, as well as electrical workers.

We climbed up the hill to the house and were greeted by Linda and Craig. After a tour of their Craftsman-style home, we ate lunch and had a fine time discussing our families, the recent fires, FEMA and more. I'm so glad that their home was alright during the fires. They have done an amazing job over the last 20 years of remodeling and improving their home. It really is beautiful and in a serene setting (until the next fire).

Linda baked "Camp Fire/Smores" cupcakes for dessert in honor of Larry's parents' lost home in Paradise
Thank you, Cousins, for a lovely afternoon! We hope to get together again soon.
Craig and Linda, Owl Lodge, Malibou Lake

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Between the Holidays

Larry's illuminated Santas

I was so busy pre-Christmas, that I haven't blogged in days! We had a lovely brunch gathering on December 25th. It is my family's tradition to get together on that day, even though we really don't celebrate the holiday. We always enjoy each other's company, the lox and bagels, etc. Yes, there may be gifts too.
This year, my Mom/Roz, Larry, my bestie Rhoda and my two cousins, Janet and Laurie came over for brunch. It was nice having more family this year, since we've been celebrating this day together for most of our lives. None of us received any Barbie doll accessories or clothes, but we did have a nice time.

Roz, Laurie, Ellen, Rhoda, Janet
Rhoda, Janet, Larry, Laurie, Roz
Here we are in 1959 on Christmas Day celebrating together! For some reason, I don't have a photo with the 3 sisters, Mae, Roz and Celia from this gathering, but they were probably in the kitchen, dishing out the lox and bagels! Also, Laurie is missing from the pictures because she was just a baby and probably in her cradle at the time!
Top Row: Carolyn, Grandpa Sam, Janet, Grandma Freda
Bottom Row: Ellen, Marilyn and Ken
Grandpa Sam, Marvin, George, Bob and Ken in front
Larry and I are on vacation this week. So far, we've just been lazing around, playing our ukuleles, reading and watching TV.  We're planning a few field trips in the next few days! Hope you had a grand holiday celebration.

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Winter Solstice

Siblings, Fanny, Abe and ETHEL Pellicoff, 1894. Philadelphia, PA

Today is the Winter Solstice. It also happens to my grandmother's birthday. Ethel Anna Pellicoff Bloom. She would have been 129 years old today! Grandma Ethel died 56 years ago at the age of 73...young for today. I can't believe it's been such a long time. She made a great impression on me. People say I resemble her. She was very artistic. She sewed and crocheted, played the piano, was a champion bridge player and was a great cook.
Ethel Anna Pellicoff, High School Graduation, 1907,  New Jersey

A few years ago, my cousin Carol told me a story about Grandma I'd never heard before. The Blooms lived in West L.A. from the mid-1930s until a few years after WW 2. Ethel was a realtor. She had many friends in the business, including shop owners on Sawtelle Avenue, the Japanese section of West LA. When many of her Japanese friends were shipped off to internment camps during the War, Ethel held their properties for them. She collected rents, made sure all repairs were done and generally watched over everything for the owners until they returned to Los Angeles. Of course, her friends authorized Ethel to make a small salary for her efforts. I'm very proud of my Grandma.  I was just a girl when she passed. I so wish she had been around when I was older so I could have gained more of her wisdom. 
Happy birthday, Grandma!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sad and Happy

This year our holiday card is sad and happy. We have smiles, but they are melancholy ones. Larry's parents' home in Paradise, California was destroyed in the recent Camp Fires. Larry's brother, John has lived in the house since  my in-laws, Hoyt and Maryanna passed away years ago. John managed to escape the raging fires, along with his cat and a few belongings and flee down the hill to Chico. He stayed in a rescue facility for about a week and then relocated with friends near Sacramento. He is lucky to be alive. John is fairly comfortable for now. There are no immediate plans to rebuild the family house. It will be a long time before ANYONE can re-build in the town of Paradise. The infrastructure in town needs to be re-built and improved. Only time will tell.
The fireplace, brick walls and a few metal items remain of the Paradise home. Photo by Larry Underhill
Google Maps capture of the Underhill home in Paradise

Our holiday card is a picture of the sheet music for the song along with the original illustration, "I Love You, California," written in 1913 by Francis Beatty Silverwood and Abraham Franklin Frankenstein. In 1913, the song was introduced by opera star Mary Garden, associated with the Chicago Grand Opera at the time.  In 1951, the California State Legislature passed a resolution designating it as California's official State song. If you look at the card carefully, you will see where Larry added a map of the town of Paradise in Northern California with a tiny red star to show the location of the house. Click on this LINK to see the lyrics and MANY verses! Click here to HEAR the song. 
Even though we have devastating fires, floods and earthquakes in California, it's still our home and we will always love it.
Have a joyful holiday season and cherish your loved ones. Things can be replaced (usually).
Hugs from Ellen and Larry. December 2018.

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