Friday, September 30, 2005

Knit Portraits

Yesterday, Mr. Larry attended an estate sale in Silverlake. Since I was slaving away at the office, he checked out all of the vintage stuff for both of us. Larry likes to collect old carpentry tools, records, cameras, slides. I like vintage costume jewelry, scarves, purses, kitchen items and anything having to do with knitting and crochet. Larry came across a cache of vintage knitting and crochet magazines from the 1940's! What a doll! He bought them for me! I don't know if I'll ever actually make anything from these magazines, but I'm learning a lot just from looking at the photography. All of the models and their yarn goods were lit beautifully and very professionally photographed. You can see every stitch and detail of the finished item. I wish some of today's magazines were so beautifully executed.
Stayed tuned next week for my pictures of the L.A. Conservancy's tour "Curating Wilshire Boulevard." This is going to be an incredible tour! I'm most excited about the Modern Committee's docent stop at Johnie's Coffee Shop on Wilshire and Fairfax. This is the one site on the tour that focuses on post-WW II architecture. It's really going to be special. Have a great weekend everyone!


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Art in the Office

I've recently been appointed to be the Curator of the HBO Employee Art Gallery. I've worked here for over 7 years and I'm always dragging my canvases to the office to analyze them and hang them in my little cubicle. I've sold a few pieces to fellow office workers over the years. SO, the powers that be here at the job thought that I would be a good person to coordinate this effort.

We had our first gallery opening for the staff right after Labor Day. Of course, since I'm the Curator, I decided that I should be the first artist to exhibit. The office services manager and I hung my "L.A. Landscape" series of paintings/collages. So far, I've sold two pieces from the series to co-workers, along with two other pieces from my "Boss Ladies" series. Wooo Hooo! The Gallery has been receiving lots of exposure lately. We've got bigwigs coming into the office for screenings and meetings. The Gallery is situated right near these two locations.
Last week a corporate art consultant contacted me about selling my artwork to large corporate offices. Double Woooo Hoooo! Who knows? Maybe I'll be able to quit typing and filing for a living. Now, if I could only figure out a way to make a living by sitting on the couch, watching TV and crocheting granny squares!


Monday, September 26, 2005

An Artful Weekend

"AS LONG AS I HAVE YOU I CAN ENDURE ALL THE TROUBLES YOU INEVITABLY BRING." (A Kevin Newton piece). Art is good. It was a busy and art-filled weekend. On Saturday morning I picked up my buddy, Rhoda in West Hollywood and we headed over the hill to my Cousin Myrna's house in Van Nuys. Cousin Marilyn met us there and then we went en masse to Cousin Amie's house in Westlake Village. Amie was hosting and participating in an early holiday boutique at her house. Amie was selling her handcrafted jewelry, there were ladies selling candles, notecards, beautiful KNITTED items, etc. I purchased a few jewelry items from Amie. There was this fantastic felted bag that looked like a huge blueberry....gorgeous!
Later that night Mr. Larry and I went to "The Blab! Show" at Copro/Nason Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. It was quite a scene. There were tons of people there for a most interesting exhibit of "low-brow" artists including Gary Baseman, Tim Biskup, Mark Ryden, etc. We ran into magenta-haired famous punk rock photographer, Jenny Lens; Gary Calamar, DJ of "The Open Road" on KCRW Radio and animator, Brooke Keesling.
Sunday, after brunch in the Marina with the folks, we headed over to the Double-Dutch Dinette in downtown Culver City for yet another art opening. Artist, Kevin Newton has a diverse art show on exhibit at this yummy little restaurant. One of Kevin's pieces is at the beginning of this post. I just love that he paints on kitchen cabinet doors! He also paints very realistic portraits and multi-media pieces. VERRRRRRY talented!


Friday, September 23, 2005

Tiki Night at the SnB

Considering it rained this past week and fall in L.A. is in full swing, our tropical Tiki Night at the WeHo SnB was really fun! It was our last stab at celebrating summer. Natalie (see pic below) was the instigator of this evening. She brought decorations, others brought Hawaiian wedding cake, cookies, punch, Mai-Tais, etc. Almost everyone got into the swing and wore tropical clothing, along with knitted scarves to ward off the chill. Others in the upstairs dining area at the Original Farmers Market gave us some odd looks, but the Farmers Market is one of those great Hollywood institutions where anything goes! We call it the vortex of Los Angeles....everyone eventually ends up there.
Looks like many of our members have graduated from making scarves and ponchos and are actually making sweaters, coats, hats and more complicated items. It's always an inspiration, knitting and crocheting along with talented people.
Do find the Stitch 'n Bitch meeting in your area. You won't be disappointed!
Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Between Projects? Make a Spa Cloth!

I have so many projects started. There are numerous totebags, shopping bags, baskets and boxes o' yarn sitting around our place. The minute I bring a new yarn into the house, I have to try it out. I don't just make a swatch like I should, I start a little project. Needless to say, I tie-up many crochet hooks and knitting needles this way. I must have about 8 pairs of size 10's and about 15 "H" hooks all involved in some sort of yarn tangle. Of course, I end up getting bored with this new piece and move back to a larger project or even start something new. Eventually (usually about 6 months later), I do finish most everything.

When I'm in a lull, I like to whip out some kitchen cotton or Paton's shiny cotton and knit or crochet a washcloth. I've been calling them SPA CLOTHS...sounds fancier. I give these as hostess gifts, little birthday gifts, etc. I usually pair 2 cloths with some nice soap or bath gel. To make the gift seem even more elegant, I attach a little tag that says:

Spa Cloth
Hand-Knit/Crocheted by Ellen Bloom
Hand-knit, luxurious cotton spa cloth.
Stimulate your skin with this finely
textured fabric that gives you the maximum
absorbency, softness and durability.
Machine washable.
Everyone just loves receiving these as gifts. There's something about washing your face with 100% cotton that just makes you feel good. This is a good way to practice new stitches too. There are many washcloth patterns on the web. Try making one the next time you're in a crochet/knit funk.
My e-friend, Sedda is collecting washcloth squares to make into afghans and blankets to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Her group is called Knitzilla . They meet on Mondays in Silverlake. Previously, Sedda collected donated washcloths and sold them in various Silverlake boutiques to benefit Tsunami victims. See how fabulous spa cloths can be?


Monday, September 19, 2005

A Weekend of Contrasts

Early Saturday morning Larry and I drove out to Pomona to visit the L.A. County Fair. There's nothin' like a deep-fried Twinkie for a mid-morning pick-me-up! The food at the Fair is old-fashioned very-bad-for-you food. Yum. The only vegie items we saw were also battered and deep-fried. After trudging around for awhile we ended up having lunch at the Pink's Hot Dog Stand. It was the first time in ages that we didn't see a huge line in front of the stand. The Pink's in Hollywood is always jam-packed, 24/7.

I was
most interested in viewing the entries for the crochet and knit area. It was a disappointing display this year. They moved the exhibition space to a smaller location and the entries were limited. The crocheted items went from the ridiculous to OK. You decide for yourself after seeing a few of my photos. I'll bet if we organized a group of local Stitch 'n Bitchers, we could really clean up on Blue Ribbons at next year's Fair!
One of our favorite places to visit at the historic Fairgrounds is the Millard Sheets Art Gallery. Millard Sheets was a native California artist and teacher, known for his spectacular watercolors of the area and for his public art works. This year, the gallery highlighted Latin artists from Los Angeles. There were some very innovative and colorful paintings. My personal favorites were portraits of Frida Kahlo and Pancho Villa on tortillas. We also viewed some artisans at work...a potter, some spinners. The Table Setting competition is always enlightening. I just can't figure out how someone would actually eat at these tables....there's so much darn stuff on them. My fave was "A Picnic At The Beach"....yeah, right.
Later, we went over to the Atrium at the Home and Garden Center. The theme this year was TIKI. There were tons of great carved tikis, exotic flowers and birds. It was really beautiful. We got a few ideas for our backyard. All in all, our visit was fun. As soon as the sun started beating down on us, we left...around 2pm. Pomona during the heat of the day is not a happy place to be.
We drove home and rested up for the evening. There was an opening at Copro Nason Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Interesting show featuring Ron English, Mark Mothersbaugh and Daniel Johnston. Many of the galleries were open on Saturday night. We walked over to the Patricia Correia Gallery and saw some friends. It was a lively night.
I'm still recuperating from our busy weekend, however I just can't seem to get those County Fair images out of my head!
Oh, I almost forgot!!! What about those Emmy Awards! Always fun to watch those pre-shows of stars arriving in their finery. I think I have couch-potato-itis. Must go to gym and get rid of upholstery marks on thighs.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Hats 'R Us

Last night's WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch was great. There must have been about 20 people there. Now that the weather is getting cooler, it makes sense to knit and crochet hats, scarves, sweaters, etc.
I didn't take any photos last night of the group or of our projects, but I will inject a few pix of my beloved Farmers Market. It's one of the most unique places in Los Angeles. It started out as a farmer's truck farm in 1934 at 3rd and Fairfax. Today, all of the quaint stalls within the Market have restaurants, souvenier shops, fruit and vegie stands, specialty foods, etc. There are always music performances and just a wonderful casual atmosphere. The Grove is next door to the Farmers Market. It's a high-end outdoor shopping mall. Since it's opening, The Grove has really pulled lots of people into the F. Market. This is good and bad. I really like The F. Market in the winter when the crowds aren't so big.

Anyway, back to HATS! During the summer I was on a crocheted crusher hat kick. Pictured are a few samples. My friend, Shannita crocheted this faboo multi-color crusher hat out of Noro Silk Garden! Gorgeous! Our crusher pattern is modified from this pattern. I suppose I should try some mittens to go with all of those hats!

This weekend, we'll be visiting the L.A. County Fair. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the craft areas. Of course, I'll be sampling some deep-fried Twinkies and Mars Bars! Have a great weekend.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

L.A. Is My Beat

First, the whining: This is my second attempt at a BLOG. I'm hoping that this interface will be user-friendly. The lovely and talented Crazy Aunt Purl designed the header in this post. For the life of me, I can't figure out how to make this header a permanent one on my blog!!! Also, I wanted to add a photo to my Profile...argh....can't quite figure that one out either!

I will be blogging about crocheting, knitting, art and all things Los Angeles. I'm an L.A. native and I LOVE this City!

I've been knitting and crocheting lots of hats lately. I've sent many to Stitches From The Heart for donation to Hurricane Katrina victims, as well as to hospitals across the country for preemies. Pctured are a few samples, modeled beautifully by Samantha Southerland and Larry Underhill. The aforementioned Crazy Aunt Purl is responsible for this flurry of hat making too! She has a great tutorial on her site on how to make this hat to fit everyone! Considering she's a novice knitter, she's highly advanced at explaining the intricacies of this project. I've been knitting and crocheting for waaaaay over 35 years and I still don't have the patience to really sit down and write out a pattern! Shout out to Ms. Purlie!

Tonight, I'll be attending my usual Stitch 'n Bitch meeting at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles. I'll take a few hats for show and tell. Right now, I'm working on even more hats to sell at holiday time. I'm trying to use up all of my crunchy acrylic yarn that I've been collecting for too many years. Do I hear yarn/yard sale?


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