Saturday, December 31, 2005

Yarn Crawl

What a great idea!!! Instead of the usual bar crawl, Natalie, Carla and I went on a YARN CRAWL on Wednesday. Of course, I only took one picture the whole day 'cause I was way too involved with petting the yarn at our various stops. We loved the idea of the little yarn tree in the window at Wildfiber in Santa Monica! If you want to see pix of Natalie and Carla using their newly bought yarn, check out Crazy Aunt Purl's blog.
Since Natalie and Carla both live east of Fairfax, they're not that familiar with all of the great shops in Santa Monica and the Westside. They arrived at my house in Wilshire Vista at 10am. We hopped on the freeway. Our first stop was Stitches From The Heart, 3306 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. As usual, the store was buzzing. Store Manager, Brandi Dailey was there flying from bin to bin to show us the latest yarns. All of the volunteers are so warm and welcoming at this shop. We were there for at least 45 minutes. We learned a few new patterns and techniques as well as acquiring much gorgeous yarn, patterns and accessories. I picked up some Smile in a pink and khaki combination and some mink-soft Misti Alpaca in a dark purple.
Next stop: I swung south on Centinela and we cruised into Culver City to visit the oft forgotten Azalia's Yarn Shop at 11287 Washington Blvd., just east of Sawtelle. This is a very small shop with limited selection, but the prices are excellent.
West on Venice Blvd. to A Mano Yarn Center, 12808 Venice Blvd. in Mar Vista. Lots of people really like this shop. It's good for certain things: Noro and Koigu. They also have fairly decent sales. I must say, their selection of needles, hooks, buttons and purse handles is really excellent. Everyone is very helpful there too. I picked up a skein of this gorgeous orange, yellow and green handspun wool.
We were starting to get hungry, but we charged on to the next shop, Yarns Unlimited at 828 Pico Blvd., just east of Lincoln in Santa Monica. WELL! The goils were amazed at the incredible selection and organization of this shop. We spent money and time at this LYS.
By then, we were about dropping from hunger and yarn-x-haustion. We sent to Tacos Por Favor on Olympic and 14th in Santa Monica for sustenance. It was crowded, but we had a marvelous lunch which fortified us for our next stop.....Wildfiber, 1453 14th St., Santa Monica. This is a really lovely store. It's not real homey and cordial, but they do have a marvelous selection of everything! I picked up some Manos del Uruguay and some of their terrific sale yarn.
We were rawther exhausted by this time and kinda' yarned-out, but Nat and Car wanted to run up to Brentwood and check out Jennifer Knits, where our friend Shannita works. Shannita is one of the moderators of our LA Stitch 'n Bitch group. She's an excellent knitter and crocheter. She is also a faboo designer. Shannita's patterns have been published AND she'll be featured on next season's Knitty Gritty on the DIY Network.
OK, Jennifer Knits is having a big sale, starting January 3rd, but I have to say that this little store is really crowded. Sorry. I like Jennifer, I like her pattern books...she's very clever, I love Shannita, but you just can't find anything or walk around that store without bumping into furniture, books, yarn or other people. Jennifer needs to expand to a larger space. We chatted with Shannita and Jennifer, walked around the adorable little Brentwood Village, then drove home.
All in all, it was a glorious Yarn Crawl. I suggest we organize some sort of official Yarn Crawl in 2006! Who's got the van?


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Greatest Gift of All

Mr. Christmas-Larry at Natalie's and Joe's House
Of course, the greatest gift of all is HEALTH. Without your health, you've got nothing (or 'bubkes' as my Grandma used to say). The second greatest gift I have is a happy, well-adjusted husband who adores me. Larry is truly a joy. He is like a child at Christmas. I always have to include some sort of toy, book or CD boxed set with his gifts. He gleefully, plays with his new toys all day. This year I included the Donovan Boxed Set; a Wallace and Gromit toy from the latest movie; Rockford Socks with sock monkey directions and then the usual dress socks, corderoy shirts and assorted t-shirts.
Larry gifted me with some wonderful presents, including some new palette knives for painting; a can of Dust-Off to clean my keyboard with; a beautifully carved crochet hook and a marvelous set of dessert plates designed by our favorite artist, SHAG commemorating Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. I don't have the plates yet, they are on order, but I've included photos of the prints below. Santa brought me a beautiful little porcelain box of my beloved Farmers Market iconic clock tower. It was truly a fun-filled holiday!
This week, I'm gearing up for the family Chanukah party! Latkes to fry, salmon to poach, apples to cook for applesauce, etc. Many of my cousins and aunts are bringing elements for the dinner too. The big thing is just dusting, vacuuming and getting our house people-ready for the party! Oy! Happy New Year everyone!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Gifts Are Rollin' In

Larry, Brooke and Ellen with Customized Wheaties
Last night we met with our Farmers Market group for dinner, conversation and a gift exchange. This is a highly creative group of artists, writers and raconteurs from the streets of L.A. We try to out-clever each other at Christmas and Chanukah time. My vote for most clever gift goes to Amy Inouye and Stuart Rapeport. They crafted Wheaties boxes with our pictures on them! Larry and I both feel like CHAMPIONS now.
I LOVE that Amy chose my favorite photo of Larry modeling a crocheted Seraphina Shawl for me. He was rather reluctant to have his picture taken wearing the shawl....and it shows on his face!
Thanks to my L.A. group for a year of fun at the Farmers Market !
Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to everyone!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Happy Birthday Charles!

Today is Charles Phoenix's birthday. Having your birthday on December 20th has to be the cruelest trick of all for a child. Five days before Christmas....I'm sure he received those dreaded COMBINATION gifts from everyone. "Oh, Happy Birthday, Charles and Merry Christmas too. Here's your duo lose out on one gift a year 'cause your birthday's so close to Christmas." See that small halo to the left of Charles' head? It must be because he's got Christmas in his soul!
If you're not familiar with the famous Mr. Phoenix, he is an archivist, humorist, author and 'histo-tainer." His many books are highly informational as well as entertaining. His slide show extravaganzas are really faboo. He even conducts field trips for selected guests of historical spots in California. Do sign up for Charles' Slide of the Week. You will receive an e-mail of a vintage slide depicting some wonderful place in the world. along with Charles' inimitable memories and comments about the slide. He is truly a fun and wonderful guy!!!!
This year, Charles is receiving my undying admiration for his birthday gift. For Christmas he's getting crochet lessons!!! So, Charles Darling....we expect to see you at the WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch come January for your year-long foray into the world of crochet!!!


Monday, December 19, 2005

Good News!

Beth in Crocheted Newsboy Cap - Noro Kureyon Wool

My good friend, Beth is a marvelous jewelry designer. She invited a few select patrons over to her house on Saturday to see her pieces just in case we needed some last minute gifts. Whenever I buy Beth's jewelry, it's usually for myself! Her pieces are really lovely...I'll post a few pictures of my own 'Beth Designs' soon.

I brought over a few of my hats, scarves and shawls to Beth's house. The crocheted Newsboy Cap in Noro Kureyon matched perfectly with Beth's blouse and looked sensational on her! We made a very nice swap.

There's something about that Newsboy looks great on almost everyone. Thanks for the gorgeous jewelry, Beth and thanks for being such a glamorous model!

I also sold a few of these faboo caps at my office. The lovely Virginia McDonald looks really great in her Newsboy!


Monday, December 12, 2005

Photos by Mr. Larry

All photos by Larry Underhill
During last Thursday's WeHo SnB at the Original Farmers Market,
Mr. Larry dropped by after a professional photo gig. He had all of his camera gear with him, so he snapped a few shots of us while we were knitting, crocheting and generally acting silly. Dig those early Christmas hats!
Thanks to Faith, Natalie, Jeffrey, Lori, Kim, Tami, Phyllis, Sara, Andre, Jennifer, Crystal, Beth and the rest of the gang for posing!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Well, this is an exciting turn of events! My friend, Julie Holetz, one of the technical editors at Crochet Me Online Magazine, urged me to submit a few of my original crochet patterns. I submitted my Baby Derby for the Jaunty Baby. The Derby is in this month's issue! Many thanks to Julie for cleaning up my pattern and making it presentable for submission. Julie rocks!
I've used this hat pattern so many times. I've even adapted a larger version of it for the basis of all of those Newsboy Hats I've been crocheting. This is the sort of pattern that can be adapted for everyone, small and large. You can also use any type of yarn or combine many types of yarn, flat and fuzzy to enhance this pattern.
I crochet and knit many items for the charity, Stitches From The Heart. I've used this pattern so many times, in so many different forms, that it's difficult to count the ways. Definitely check out the latest issue of Crochet Me Online Magazine. There are tons of great patterns this month.
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Two More Reasons...

The Amazing Kitty Doughnut
...why I love the Orignal Farmers Market! On Wednesdays we meet our regular group and have dinner at the Market. We talk about art, pop-culture and all things L.A. Usually, Amy and Stuart are there. Mr. Downtown L.A., T.K. Nagano often shows up. Artist/Musician Rob Hasick is usually there too, along with various and assorted drop-in guests like writer/artist, Jack Spiegelman, animator Brooke Keesling, etc. We meet at the area in front of the Gumbo Pot Restaurant at around 7pm, eat dinner from various stands and then at about 8:30 we move down to the other end of the Market, near Bob's Doughnuts. Last night there was this amazing doughnut at Bob's. It's called The Kitty. Of course, Brooke found and bought this faboo confection. I'm allergic to real kitties, but I'm totally adicted now to The Amazing Kitty Doughnut!
At around 9-ish, we started to leave. We got in the car and started to drive to the exit. Lo and behold, there was THE WIENERMOBILE parked right in the middle of the Original Farmers Market parking lot!!! I'd never seen the Wienermobile up-close and personal. It was the thrill of my lifetime. I am easily thrilled. We ended up staying at the Market for another 30 minutes, photographing the amazing Wienermobile. Luckily, I found the Wienermobile website with many interesting facts and history about the Wienermobile.
Here's the Hotdogger Oath: As official Hotdogger of the celebrated Oscar Mayer® Wienermobile™, I salami swear to uphold the dogma set forth here, and I promise to: Encourage wiener lovers nationwide to relish the delicacy, ketchup on the great taste of hot dogs, and give in to the craving once it's mustard. Be frank and furthermore, to be upstanding in a line for hot dogs at ball parks, barbecues, buffets, and other bashes. Journey into the streets, dachs, und ports of my community, wish well to all comers, plump and lean -- and leave them with a wiener to roast about. As once I wished I were, now I am -- an Oscar Mayer® Wienermobile™ Hotdogger.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Internets Quiz

My desk at work - Command Central

Our hero, Crazy Aunt Purl put an 'internets' quiz on her blog and challenged all to answer it. Two weeks later, I've decided to take the challenge. Feel free to answer back and take this challenge yourself!
Ten Random things you might not know about me:
1. I'm addicted to reading the L.A. Times EVERY SINGLE DAY.
2. I secretly don't like SOME of my relatives.
3. I'm a classic country & western music fan.
4. I've lost my enthusiasm for cooking, but sadly, not for eating.
5. I snore when I sleep on my back...sorry, Mr. Larry.
6. I won a twist contest (it's a dance, youngsters) in the fourth grade.
7. I used to stay out until 2 or 3 am DURING THE WEEK during my rock 'n roll years, while holding down a traditional job.
8. I still like those Jack in the Box tacos, even though they're really greasy.
9. I'm a 'star in my car.' I sing to the radio...two shows a and from work.
10. I have this Frankenstein scar on my right shin from an operation when I was 12.
NINE places I've visited:
1. Paris
2. Portugal
3. Spain
4. New York
5. New Orleans and other towns in Louisiana (several times)
6. Lots of towns in Texas
7. Bakersfield (my most recent vacation spot)
8. Mexico
9. Canada
EIGHT ways to win my heart:
1. Buy me lunch at a cool, out-of-the-way and lesser-known place in LA
2. Talk to me about how much and why you love LA
3. Preserve a beautiful, historic building in LA
4. Gift me with yarn.
5. Knit or crochet me something unusual.
6. See's candy.
7. Compliment my appearance. Flattery works.
8. Design my backyard, free of cost.
SEVEN things I want to do before I die:
1. Live in a huge Hancock Park mansion
2. See Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton perform before they die. I've seen George Jones, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
3. Be able to afford to retire from my everyday job.
4. Paint the great American masterpiece
5. Knit and/or crochet the great American masterpiece.
6. Lose 100 pounds.
7. Travel with Larry.
SIX things I'm afraid of:
1. Having no heirs to take care of us when we get really old.
2. Being buried by my 'collections' of stuff.
3. Being locked out of the house in my jammies.
4. Scary neighborhoods in the middle of the night.
5. Not having that earthquake preparedness kit ready for the big one.
6. My hair falling out.
FIVE things I don't like:
1. Phoney people.
2. A man who wears a toupee.
3. Singers in the public eye that cannot sing.
4. Chocolate paired with any fruit flavor.
5. Coffee.
FOUR ways to turn me off:
1. Ignoring me.
2. Leaving a mess in the living room. It's OK to be messy in other rooms, 'cause you can close the door.
3. Telling me a lie.
4. Interrupting me when I speak.
THREE things I do everyday:
1. Brush my teeth.
2. Say 'I love you' to Larry.
3. Knit and/or crochet.
TWO things that make me happy:
1. Attention.
2. Yarn.
ONE thing on my mind right now:
1. Trying to figure out a pattern for this shrug/vest that I saw on this girl at work.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Tony's Leaving L.A.

In My 'Hood
One of my favorite Los Angeles artists is moving away. Tony de Carlo was born in L.A., lived in Hawaii as a kid, and then moved back here many years ago. His artwork is L.A.-centric; Latino-centric and gay-centric. He is a self-taught artist who has actually made a decent living from selling his hero!
Whenever Tony finishes a painting, he e-mails the image along with written inspiration for the painting to his many admirers on his mailing list. He sells most of his pieces this way.
Tony has lived in this magnificent 1920's four-plex in Echo Park for 15 years. Recently, the building was sold and all of the tenants were asked to leave. Tony painted his glorious apartment and the backyard (that he so beautifully landscaped) over and over again. Bits and pieces of his place show up in many of his paintings.
Suicidal Dreams
Tony exhibits in various galleries in L.A. and elsewhere, but every summer he would have an open house to sell his paintings. Larry and I always attended, even if we were too poor to purchase a painting. Purchasing a painting direct from Tony, however was always more cost-effective than buying from one of his galleries. Over the years, we've collected quite a few pieces. Many of them are sprinkled throughout this blog.
Tony and his partner, Isidro are moving to Corrales, New Mexico. I feel sad that Tony may not be painting the L.A. landscape anymore. I know that his subject-matter will change, along with the scenery. I also know that whatever he paints will be good. Thankfully, we'll all still receive his e-mails filled with stories and pictures. I wish him the best in his new location, but Los Angeles, along with Ellen and Larry will miss Tony de Carlo.


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery