Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Baby Wears Prada…uh, err, Chanel!

Crocheted Baby Chanel Sweater and Hat
I really enjoy crocheting baby sweaters and hats. This pink Baby Chanel was fun to make. I posted a few days ago about how many of my friends and relatives are expecting soon. So, I’ve been knitting and crocheting lots of baby items. I’m not sure which girlie baby will be the recipient of this creation. My little mannequin is not quite as chubby as a real baby and doesn’t have shoulders (I hear you, Drew and Miss Thang), but you get the idea. A real baby will certainly fill out the sweater better.
The body of the sweater is crocheted with Bernat Satin. The color is “Flamingo.” The trim is Lion Brand Wool-Ease. I purchased the Bernat Satin at the Stitches From The Heart Store in Santa Monica. They have an amazing array of baby yarns for sale. The buttons were purchased at Jo-Ann's.
The main stitch used for the body of the sweater is the granite stitch, in addition to single crochet for the border. The hat is a combination of single, half-double, double, front-post double crochet and popcorn stitches. You can find some great crochet stitch tutorials here. Sorry, but I don't have a written pattern for this outfit. Just start experimenting and go for it!
What’s next? Baby Balenciaga?


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen Adele

" Adele Bloch-Bauer I" by Gustav Klimt
Adele is leaving Los Angeles for New York! The Gustav Klimt paintings that are currently on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art are leaving soon. The most famous painting of Adele Bloch-Bauer will be on view through this Friday, June 30th. Larry and I went to see the five Klimt paintings last night. If you've been following the story of the paintings in the newspaper, you know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime show. Here's an excerpt from the LACMA site:
"When Germany annexed Austria in March 1938, Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer, a Jew, fled Austria without the Klimt paintings. The new Nazi government saddled him with a punitive tax bill and engaged a Nazi trustee, Dr. Erich Führer, to sell his property. Three of the Klimt paintings went to the Austrian Gallery, and the others were sold elsewhere. After the war such transactions were deemed void, and the artworks were subject to restitution proceedings.
Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer spent most of the war in Switzerland and died in November 1945. When writing his last will he knew that many Austrians had supported Hitler and did not want the Klimt paintings to go to the Austrian Gallery. He therefore left his property to his niece, Maria Altmann, and two of her siblings.
Maria Altmann and the other heirs emigrated to North America. While they managed to export many works from the Bloch-Bauer collection, the Klimt paintings remained in Vienna. Austrian authorities ruled that the paintings belonged to the Austrian Gallery, basing their decision on Adele Bloch-Bauer’s 1923 will. Until the late 1990s the Bloch-Bauer heirs believed that there was little that they could do to recover the lost patrimony. In 1998 Austria passed a law that opened archives and facilitated restitution claims, and Maria Altmann learned more about the fate of the Bloch-Bauer Klimts. She engaged an attorney, E. Randol Schoenberg (himself from a prominent Viennese Jewish family), to recover the paintings. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in June 2004 that the heirs could sue the state of Austria in a U.S. court. Not wanting a lengthy legal process with appeals, Schoenberg, representing the 89-year-old Maria Altmann, entered into legally binding arbitration with the Austrian authorities.
In January 2006 an Austrian panel issued its verdict: of the six paintings in question, five belonged to the heirs. A decision about the remaining painting would come at a later date. Maria Altmann and the heirs could reclaim a part of their family’s history. Just as life has taken her from Vienna to Los Angeles, so too have the paintings followed this path."
The Klimt paintings have been on view at the Museum since April 4th. This is the first chance I've had to see them. The portraits of Maria Altmann's Aunt Adele are magnificent. The accompanying landscapes are lovely. I'm so glad that we made the effort to see this exhibit. The most famous gold painting of Adele was recently purchased by the heirs of cosmetics icon Estee Lauder. It will reside in the Neue Galerie, a small museum in New York City. Lauder's son, Ron paid $135 million for the painting.
After taking in a few more permanent galleries at LACMA, Larry and I walked over to Marie Callender's on the Miracle Mile (Wilshire) for dinner. Marie's is in what used to be called Prudential Square. It's now called Museum Square and houses the Screen Actors Guild, among other businesses. When Marie's was added to this structure, the front of this beautiful modern building, constructed in the 1950's, was changed forever. Although I do like this restaurant...the interior is great, the exterior just ruins the lines of this modern masterpiece. Above, left and below are photos of this building from the early 50's.You can see that Ohrbach's Department Store and Van de Kamp's Restaurant were in the section now occupied by Marie's, Baja Fresh and various other restaurants. I remember my Mom taking me there all the time when I was a at Ohrbach's and the May Company on Wilshire, then lunch at Van de Kamp's. It was a Saturday ritual.
Larry and I were both in the mood for Marie's chicken pot pie. It was delicious, full of chicken and vegies and piping hot. After dinner, we walked back to our car, parked on Wilshire and noticed this dentist's office on the Miracle Mile called the Miracle Smile!
We love L.A.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sophisticated Babies

Baby Pink 'Chanel' Sweater Jacket
Recently, a few of my friends and relatives have announced that they are expecting babies! I've been crocheting baby afghans, baby sweaters, baby hats, baby bibs, baby toys, etc. I'm not sayin' which gift is for which baby, 'cause that would spoil the surprises. Here are a couple of sweaters I'm working on. One is a baby 'Chanel' pink with black trim. The other is aqua, also with black trim. I like the look of black trim on sweaters for babies as well as for big folks. I suppose it's my granny square afghan mentality...everything looks good trimmed in black. Black or white sets off the colors and makes them pop and look sharp. Don't you want your babies to look sharp and sophisticated while they're spitting up?
Both sweaters are crocheted with acrylic (washable) yarn. Finishing touches are forthcoming! I always like knitting and crocheting for babies. The amount of yarn used is minimal, the projects are fast and easy to complete and I can work out sweater design problems on small baby items as a pattern for larger, adult items. I often donate my creations to Stitches From The Heart. Think about using up your leftover yarn to make some baby items for donations.


Monday, June 26, 2006

Zanzabelle is Cool

Zanzabelle in Silverlake
Yes, it was hot again in our fair city this Sunday. Our friends, Jacquie and Bob came to town from La Quinta to get out of the heat. Sorry Kids! Luckily, we were spared excessive heat on Saturday. I had J & B over for dinner with a few other folks. I only had one dish that required heat, so we were relatively comfortable. Dinner and guests were delightful. I tried one new dish, mozarella and tomato salad. One of my co-workers gave me this simple recipe. I bought some mozarella balls at Whole Foods, added some tiny grape tomatoes from Trader Joe's, a little fresh basil and some Girard's vinagrette dressing. It was a really good salad. In addition, we had poached salmon, vegies, corn casserole. I also baked a lemon cake in my rose-shaped bundt pan and topped it with fresh strawberries. Yum! I don't usually cook that much all at once, but we rarely get to see Jacquie and Bob, so it was a celebration!
On Sunday, we went to Charles Phoenix's book signing for his latest release, "Americana The Beautiful." The book is must go right out and purchase a copy! Of course, Charles was resplendent and dazzling in his red and white striped ice-cream sport coat! It had to be the hottest and muggiest day of the year so far. The signing was held at a darling little ice-cream and curio shop called Zanzabelle in Silverlake. Thankfully, the shop was air-conditioned, but it was small, so only a handful of people at one time could be inside. Zanzabelle had ice-cream, sherbet and gelato available. I had a marvelous cup of grapefruit-flavored was so refreshing. Everyone was there....Jeffrey and Brit (with her Vespa) from SnB, Amy Inouye (designer of Charles' book), Stuart, Esther, Perry, many members of the L.A. Conservancy and the Modern Committee, even the famous L.A. puppeteer, Bob Baker was in attendance.
After hanging out under the umbrellas at Zanzabelle, we felt like we needed to get inside for some more cool refreshment and sustenance. So, Larry, Bob, Jacquie and I motored from Silverlake down to Olympic Boulevard, just west of downtown to the Rodeo Mexican Grill (1721 W. Olympic Blvd.). I've posted about this place before. The food is really good (and cheap), they serve alcohol, smoothies and shakes. Bob and Jacquie have spent lots of time in Mexico, so they felt right at home. We ordered various dishes, including the carnitas plate and the mojarra frita (fresh fried tlapia). It was divine.
We had a great weekend and got to hang out with our favorite people, even though it was hot, hot, hot.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Wig Night

Neon Knitters
OMG!!! Wig Night at the WeHo SnB was faboo to the maximum utmost!!! Thanks to everyone for bringing snacks, decorations and your wig-hats!! I've been downloading photos like crazy. Since BLOGGER has not been behaving too well, I will post the photos on my website.
Mr. Larry showed up wearing my everyday wig. He looked like an old Brit Rocker. He set up a seamless backdrop and started clicking headshots of everyone. It was really fun. We barely got any knitting done...we had so much fun taking photos of each other! Later in the evening we started switching wigs! Larry, of course got waaaaay into this. He was acting like various rockers with each different wig! It was really fun. Thanks to Natalie for thinking of this idea and organizing the Fun and Fabulous Wig Night!!!!
Have a great weekend everyone!
P.S. Feel free to 'grab' any pix you'd like to use on your own blog! Check out Sachi's Flickr site and Crazy Aunt Purl's post for more great pix of the WeHo SnB Wig Night.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Laurie!!!

Yesterday was Crazy Aunt Purl's birthday! We know her as Laurie. Tonight at the WeHo SnB we are having one huge celebration for Auntie's b-day. In fact, we've all flipped our wig for Crazy Aunt's Wig Night at the SnB. Expect a crowd, expect wild wig-hats, expect cake.
Laurie is a revelation to us all. My friend and fellow-knitster, Audrey brought Laurie's blog to my attention. Audrey is always surfing for cool sites. She is L.A.'s high priestess of surfdom. Well, we started reading Laurie's blog and fell in love. We shared her blog with all of our friends. We found out that Laurie was a knitter. We decided to invite her to come to our WeHo SnB one night. We could tell from her blog that she was kinda' hermit-like and might need some coaxing to come on over and join us at the Original Farmers Market.
Finally, in May of 2005 she brought her posse with her and showed up at our Stitch n' Bitch. She was an instant hit with everyone. She's bright, she's funny, she's cute, she's southern, she's insightful, she has endeared herself to everyone.
I can't wait to see you tonight, Laurie Dear and wish you Happy Birthday in person!!!
Note: Most photos in this post were stolen from Laurie's own blog!!!


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wig Night

Thursday is Wig Night
I can hardly wait!!! This Thursday, June 22nd at the WeHo SnB, we're having WIG NIGHT!!! This was Natalie's idea of course. She always comes up with fun ideas for our group. Last year Natalie instigated TIKI NIGHT. It was great...see photo of the Princess Hula Girl. Who knows what types of wigs people will wear? There are so many possibilites. You could go the safe route (which I will probably do) and just change-up your look slightly...same color, longer or shorter hair. You could go nuts and wear one of those neon wigs like the photo above. You could totally wear a shaved head or a fright/horror wig.
I've owned a few wigs in my time. In the late 60's we all wanted to look like Cher. So, I bought a fall. This was a long hunk o' hair that I secured under my pixie band to simulate Cher's long tresses. I suppose today, girls would get hair extensions for a similar effect. We thought we were so cool, swishing our long hair around our shoulders in the Cher manner. At prom time, I had that same fall coiffed into a cascade of curls that I plopped on top of my ponytail for a beauty queen look. I also added some daisies and side corkscrew curls for extra elegance. During the years I was playing around with my fall, my Mom bought herself a 'postiche.' This was essentially a toupee for women. Mom plopped this extra little topknot on her already poofed up Barbie-like bouffant hair-do for added fabulousness. Of course, Mom's hair was orange at the time. Maybe that's why I have this affinity toward orange?
During the mid-70's the shag hairstyle was in. The shag was typically short around the face and ears, long in back....think David Cassidy during his Partridge Family years. I didn't need any extra help for that one. My wavy hair was perfect for this style. A few years later, permed hair was popular. I did purchase a curly fall to add fullness to my already chemically damaged hair-don't.
My wig days were over by the late 80's, until around 1994 when I decided to give my damaged and thinning hair a break. I bought a wig that looks just like my current hair-do. Mr. Larry calls it my Austin Powers wig. It's basically Buster Brown bangs with a short shag length. The texture of the wig looks totally fake during the daytime, but it works at night. Larry has borrowed this wig for costume parties. The minute he puts it on, he automatically has this Cockney accent, Baby!
I was surfing the net for some wig ideas and came upon these photos....Check out these, this one and this one . See you on Thursday at the Original Farmers Market, upstairs dining area from 7-9pm, looking fabulous and wigged-out!


Monday, June 19, 2006

Hot Town, Summer in the City

Ugh. Yeah, it's hot. I just don't do well in broiling heat. Does anyone? The temperature in town this weekend was in the triple-digits. In TOWN!!! I mean Hollywood, Echo Park, Downtown. It was about 5 degrees cooler at our house, Mid-City, during the middle of the day on Saturday and Sunday, but still too hot to do much.
On Saturday, Liz invited me to a Knit-Fest at her Echo Park home. Lovely house, high a-top a hill with a great view of the City...thank goodness she has an air-conditioning and fan system. We didn't knit or crochet for too long.....even with air, it was just too sweltering. We adjourned to Liz's shady patio and backyard for a yummy lunch of cold-cuts, salads, designer cheeses, fruit and other delicacies. Dessert was a standout.
Thanks for the party, was the highlight of my hot weekend!


Thursday, June 15, 2006


Granny Afghan In Progress
I've been crocheting away on that granny square afghan for my boss. I decided to alternate rows of multi-color grannies with solid grannies, all trimmed in timeless black yarn. Changing colors every round was getting annoying and slowing me down. By alternating rows, I think this calms down the overall design of this classic afghan.
Lately, since I've been carting around this granny monster, others have been asking me to teach them how to crochet granny squares. I always help people learn, but then I confiscate their square so I can add it to the less square for me to crochet! Thanks, students for helping me out!
A few family members and several friends are expecting babies in the next year. I've been on a baby hat, sweater, poncho and bib making jag lately too. I took a tip from Drew and purchased one of those Leisure Arts Booklets by Terry Kimbrough and whipped up a little cornflower yellow baby afghan. Once I deciphered the directions, it was fairly easy to crochet. I used Red Heart (washable) acrylic, with a little bit of some multi-colored stash yarn as an accent for this piece. This was a fun project because it held my interest, due to the challenging combination of stitches. I do wish the pattern had been charted and photographed better, so I could actually SEE the stitches used. Take note pattern writers out there! I'll probably try a few other patterns in this book too. I think that some of these lacy stitches would make great sweaters for our mild California weather!

Hope to see most of you at the WeHo SnB tonight at the Farmers Market!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Happy Birthday Ken

Ellen and Ken Bloom @ his Bar Mitzvah Party
Sportsman's Lodge, Sherman Oaks
Many, Many Years Ago
Yesterday was my brother's birthday. He is seven years older than me, which makes him OLD. I've written about Ken in previous posts. He's a musician and instrument builder. Ken and his wife, Ginny live in North Carolina, in a small town. For years they lived in big cities, L.A., San Francisco, Chicago and New York. Those were the best places for Ken to make a living as a musician. Since he's been concentrating on his intrument building business, it really doesn't matter where he lives, as long as he has a wood shop and his tools are handy. They seem to like North Carolina just fine, although I wished they lived in California. I miss them both.
Ken has been very actively constructing dulcimers, guitars, banduras, banjos, etc. for many years. In fact, I'm waiting for my custom-made ukelele....hopefully, it will arrive before my birthday in July. I've enrolled in ukulele classes at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica and they start on July 17th. Ken taught me how to play guitar and banjo when I was just a little girl. I still play occasionally and I think it would be fun to play the ukulele. I need more hobbies!
Ken has recorded many albums and CDs over the years, mostly old-timey, American folk music. When he still lived in L.A. during the late 60's and early 70's, Ken performed with Linda Ronstadt's band, The Stone Poneys, and was a member of one of Michael Martin Murphey's first bands, The Lewis and Clarke Expedition, a rockin'-country band during those Byrds and Flying Burrito Bros. years. The L&C E was on the same label as the Monkees. Ken used to come home with all kinds of clothes and other gifts that girls across the country were sending to Colgems Records for the Monkees.
Ken has played so many types of music over the years: Rock 'n Roll, Country, Blues, Folk, Dixie-land, orchestral, marching band, Russian, Ukranian, Hungarian, Polish, Irish, Scottish, etc. He has quite a career playing music for historical military re-enactment camps too. He's still a kid at heart and loves to dress up in his Revolutionary War uniform, sit by the campfire and play and sing the old tunes.
Kenny, my dear brother....have a wonderful birthday celebration. I'll be thinking about you!
Your little Sis


Monday, June 12, 2006

Art in L.A.

Primitive Doll Collection @ Mor York Gallery
On Saturday, Larry and I drove to historic Highland Park (just south of Pasadena) to view the artwork in many galleries participating in the Second Saturday Gallery Night in Northeast Los Angeles, or as we affectionately refer to the area, NELA.
I was a resident of Highland Park in the late 1970's for a short time. During those years, the area was run down and not considered historic...just crummy. In the past 20 years, many of the older residences and businesses have been restored, new businesses have moved in and people are once again taking pride in this neighborhood. There is a section of Highland Park that is zoned as a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ), containing many beautiful turn-of-the-century and early 20th century homes. Considering Highland Park is close to downtown and other business communities, it is really becoming a desired location for the L.A. workforce.
Our first stop was Future Studio on Figueroa near Avenue 55. There were prints displayed by local artists, in addition to a wooden sculpture by Stuart Rapeport called "Big Fish." The owner of this gallery, Amy Inouye also sells many items related to Chicken Boy. Hopefully, CB will be installed on the roof of Future Studio soon.
Our next stop was the Avenue 50 Studio, part of the Arroyo Arts Collective. The Gallery was busy and parking was scarce, but we saw some interesting paintings.
We had been advised to definitely visit the Mor York Gallery on York Boulevard. Wow! Proprietor and artist, Clare Graham is an artistic innovator. He collects all sorts of things and places them or combines them in artistic settings and/or recycled art sculptures. You have to see his studio and showroom to believe it. The building was a former grocery store, roller rink and stock-car racing location. The high ceilings are very dramatic. Even the website is good. There were bottlecap sculptures, collections of primitive dolls, paint by numbers kits re-arranged into screens (Pinkie and Blue Boy are my faves), multiple scrabble boards used as room dividers, painstakingly created walls using scrabble tiles, hanging lightfixture sculptures, etc. The place is a smorgasbord of incredibility. Clare has been collecting these wire hats made on some obscure island in the South Pacific. You will see me modeling one of the hats. We couldn't quite figure how how it was made. Tiny wire crochet? Maybe?
Our last stop was the Huron Substation in Cypress, just south of Highland Park. This was a former Red Car maintenance station. Before the automobile was king in L.A., there was a system of electric Red Car lines in this City. My parents used to talk about traversing the entire City on the Red Car. It was supposed to be a very efficient way to get around town. Too bad it's gone, we could really use this system today. I vaguely remember the last of the Red Cars going down the center of Venice Boulevard in the early 1960's.
The Huron Substation was a buzz of activity. There were many sculptures in the courtyard area, including the work of Dakota Witzenberg. It was a party.
I wish more Westsiders would just get on the freeway and explore the galleries of the Highland Park area. The Second Gallery Night happens every month!!!!


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

King Taco

King Taco....where the taco is King!!! We love King Taco. I cannot believe that I have NEVER been to this legendary taco place in Los Angeles. There are several branches, most of them located on the eastside of town. I happened to be driving east on Pico Boulevard last weekend and saw a King Taco near the corner of Pico and Alvarado!

My fellow blogger, Bandini at
The Great Taco Hunt has written about this place endlessly, always basing his taco comparisons on King Taco. It seems that this place is the standard of excellence that all other tacos are compared. I couldn't agree more.

The menu is simple, tacos, sopes, quesadillas and burritos. They also serve breakfast. There are two kinds of hot sauce. My friend, Brit warned us that both are REALLY hot, but delicious. King Taco offers all of your favorite soft drinks including Horchata which is a milky Mexican drink made with almonds, rice, cinnamon, sugar and lime. We ordered a taco de carnitas (pork) and a taco de carne asada (beef). Both were crispy and visible fat. Each soft taco is topped with fresh cilantro and sweet onions and hot sauce. We also ordered a plain quesadilla with guacamole on the side. The cheese in the quesadilla was the creamiest and most delicious jack cheese I've ever tasted. The guac was good too. We topped off our meal with an Orange Slice soft drink.

Perfection for under $5 each!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery