Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Greetings

Happy New Year, everyone! 2007 has been a good year for us. Mr. Larry and I have visited many exciting places, created much art and had the good fortune to share all of that with our family and friends. I know that 2008 will be every bit as wonderful for all of us.
Echo Park Pottery Mail Boxes - December 2007


Friday, December 28, 2007

Knit Gifts

Usually, I'm the one who knits and/or crochets gifts for EVERYONE!!! It's so nice to receive a gift knitted especially for ME. I so appreciate it! Thanks to the lovely Madgik and to the talented Ellene for gifting me with beautifully hand-knit, hand-crocheted holiday gifts.

Just before Christmas, while getting my knit-on with the Eastside Montrose Monday KnitGrrls, Ms. Madge gifted me with this beautiful scarf! I just LOVE the colors, the pattern and how nicely blocked it is. This color just happens to perfectly match a pair of glasses that I wear often. How stylin'...thanks again Madge. You must illuminate the reading public on the pattern....I know you told me where you found it, but I was so excited to receive a hand-knit gift that I forgot.
Madge's Pumpkin-Lite Scarf
Just after Christmas, Ellene and I were having lunch at Surfas at the edge of Culver City and traded holiday gifts. Ellene knitted and crocheted these beautiful wristwarmers for me. She's publishing the pattern and packaging it with yarn for a kit. You can read about a similar version of the wristwarmers here. I've been wearing these non-stop since I received them!

"Hot Hands" by Ellene

Thanks again, Goils! You're the best! Did you receive any handmade gifts this year? Let me know!


Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Prequel

Musso & Frank's Grill, Interior
We were verrrrry busy just before Christmas. Below are a few pix of Rhoda's and my trip to Musso & Frank's Grill in Hollywood for breakfast before the screening of "Enchanted" at the El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Blvd.
Eggs Benedict, Bacon, Flannel Cakes
After the movie, which was enchanting btw, we walked across the street, encountered Bat Man and Bat Woman, had a cream puff at Beard Papa's. A divine day!



Batman on Hollywood Blvd.
Bat People on the Boulevard
Rhoda at Bead Papa's
Rhoda and Papa enjoying a cream puff
Next day, Larry and I stopped at Future Studio to spy the fabulous Chicken Boy in his new home atop the building on Figueroa in Highland Park, just a few doors from the Highland Park Theater. The Boy looks totally faboo up there in the sunlight!
Chicken Boy on FIgueroa
Chicken Boy @ Future Studio, Highland Park
I gifted Amy with a pair of wristys knitted from some beautiful Kool-Ade dyed wool from the lovely Lady Linoleum.
Amy's Wristys
Orange & Lemon Kool-Ade Dyed Wristys

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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's All About Celebrating

Holiday Cards
We had a marvelous celebration last night, Christmas Eve. For dinner we had Honeybaked ham, scalloped potatoes, lima beans with corn, green salad, wine. For dessert we had vanilla bean ice-cream with crumbled ginger cookies.
We lazed around, watched TV and secretly wrapped gifts for each other.
This morning we opened gifts and ate a yummy ham and egg breakfast. We are children. We've been playing with our new toys all day. What fun.

Hope your day was good too. Tomorrow it's back to reality.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Merry

Crocheted Tree Ornaments
Oh! It's been a festive weekend in the Bloom - Underhill world. On Friday I gifted my co-workers with their wristys. Everyone seemed delighted!
On Saturday my good friend, Rhoda and I went to brunch at Musso & Frank's in Hollywood for a classic meal, then sauntered across the street to the El Capitan Theater to see "Enchanted" with a few thousand mini-princesses in various stages of tutu-dress. After the movie we saw a few super heroes on Hollywood Boulevard and treated ourselves to a creampuff at Beard Papa at the Hollywood & Highland Shopping Center.
On Sunday, Larry and I went to Peter Shire's Echo Park Pottery Sale, Future Studio's Open Studio and then to a friends' home in Glassel Park for a little Christmas party. I'll be sharing the photos of those events with you later in the week.
Today, after I meet up with the Eastside Girls for Montrose Monday knitting, I have to scurry around town to get the ingredients together to make a nice Christmas Eve dinner for my "generic gentile" (his words) husband. I'm trying to re-create the dinners of Larry's childhood Christmas Eves. We're having ham, lima beans & corn (succotash), au gratin potatoes and a green salad. By green salad, I don't mean the kind with green Jello. I just couldn't go that far back into the nutritionless 50's and 60's. We really need SOMETHING fresh at this dinner!
I've baked a bunch of stuff for our neighbors....gingerbread cake, cranberry-raisin orange cake, sugar cookies, so that's probably what we'll have for dessert, unless I get inspired and decide to whip up my fave pumpkin ice-cream pie in a graham cracker crust.
Have a wonderful holiday celebration everyone!


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last Minute

Felted Tiger Slippers @ Future Studio

Still working feverishly on your knitted and crocheted gifts? Need a rest? I'm going to Future Studio (5558 North Figueroa Street, Highland Park, LA 90042) on Sunday (noon - 4pm) to pick up a few more fiber-related gifties. I just don't have time to finish EVERYTHING!!!
Felted Slippers and Purses @ Future

Owner and designer, Amy Inouye has stocked some mighty fine gift items relating to Chicken Boy (he's up on the roof now!), pug dogs and general kitschy cool stuff in her little shop/art gallery.
Also, Peter Shire at Echo Park Pottery (1850 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles 90026) is continuing his holiday sale this Sunday from 10-4. I've decided to shut down the knit/crochet workshop and buy the remainder of my gifts! See you at Future Studio and Echo Park Pottery!

Peter Shire's Faboo Pottery


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Felix Chevrolet & Cadillac, Figueroa Corridor
The Felix Chevrolet sign on Figueroa and Jefferson in Los Angeles was recently declared a historic monument. You can read about the history of the sign here. It seems that many of the City's politicians, including the Mayor, do not want the historic status of the sign to impede real estate development in the Figueroa Corridor. More about that here.

I was inspired to drive over to Felix Chevrolet last Saturday, after seeing a vintage Chevy in the Hollyhock House parking lot with a little Felix above the license plate. People love Felix. He is an icon in the Figueroa Corridor neighborhood. Inside the historic art deco showroom there are Dancing Felixes on casters that can be rolled around the showroom in various formations.
Vintage Chevy, seen @ Hollyhock House

The cat is safe for now, but we must be aware of what's happening in the neighborhood and take every avenue to keep our landmarks safe, no matter how kitschy they are! My hero, Felix the Cat would say in his high voice, "Righty-O!"

Used Cars for Sale Across the Street


Monday, December 17, 2007

Wristy Victory

This past Saturday I had an opportunity to gift a few friends with my hand-knit wristys! Everyone loved 'em! Phew! I hope all the other recipients of Wristy-a-mania-a-rama-a-go-go are as enthusiastic as this group!

Joe's Vernasco Dive' Italian Wristys
Darcy's SWS Wristys
(also wearing a beret knit by Natalie)
Mary Jo's Noro Wristys

Natalie's Vintage Handcrocheted Hostess Apron


Field Trip

On Friday we went on a field trip. My Step-Dad, Step-Brother, Husband and I had brunch at Doughboys on Highland Ave. in Hollywood. Then, we zoomed up to the Griffith Park Observatory. I hadn't been there since the re-opening last year.
Guy, Hal, Larry @ the Observatory
I must say, the renovation is spectacular. They've maintained the beauty of the old art deco Observatory while adding a modern but sympathetic addition. It was a hazy day, so the views from the top of the hill weren't that great, but we were all impressed with the Observatory.

After touring the Observatory, we drove over to Olive Hill (visible from Griffith Park) to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Hollyhock House. This is one of Wright's Mayan block designed homes. The tour was good and very informative. While we were waiting for the house tour to begin, we watched the LA Cultural Affairs department having their annual Christmas party. I didn't know that Santa drove a vintage Chevy!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mini Field Trip

Oh yeah...we went on a BIG field trip yesterday to the Griffith Park Observatory and Hollyhock House. I'll be talking about that later in the week.
Today, I was on my own. Yippee! I drove down to Gardena and checked out the Let's Knit Yarn Shop, 16126 S. Western Ave., Gardena. They have an amazing selection of Noro yarn. Also, they have the new Noro Sock Yarn! It's positively gorgeous. Of course, everyone knows that I'm collecting yarn for my retirement. I picked up some Silk Garden Light and some sock yarn.

After visiting with the ladies at Let's Knit I drove further south on Western Avenue into Torrance to the Mitsuwa Marketplace for lunch and a little more shopping. Lunch was a divine bowl of udon noodles and some cream brulee'. I picked up some great little crochet and knit magazines at the Japanese bookstore inside the Marketplace.
An excellent afternoon!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Turn Your Scrap-ghan into Couture

A Maggie Wheldon Design

I saw this pattern online and immediately thought of how I could modify a few afghans that are sitting around on my couch into a smart, elegant jacket!
I've always said that granny squares are the building blocks to fashion. Eventually, EVERYTHING comes back!
I'm on vacation Los Angeles! Have a marvelous weekend.



Close-Up, Watts Towers
People call me L.A. Ell. As my banner states, L.A. is my Beat...from Boyle Heights to the Beach...from Manchester to Mulholland. Friends with out of town guests often ask me for different places to take their visitors while in L.A. Of course, there are the obvious, crowded places like Disneyland, Universal City, Magic Mountain, Grauman's Chinese Theater, Santa Monica Pier, Marina del Rey, the big museums (LACMA, MOCA, the Getty, Norton Simon, Huntington Gardens, L.A. Arboretum) and the cluster of downtown spots including Chinatown, Little Tokyo and Olvera Street. Then there's shopping in Beverly Hills, at The Grove and the Original Farmers Market, 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica, South Coast Plaza in Orange County, among other places.

I like to offer suggestions for out of the way places to visit. Here's a list of some of my faves:

The new and improved Griffith Park Observatory. We're going there this coming Friday with our out of town guests!

Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Park. A Frank Lloyd masterpiece.
Hollyhock House, photo by Mark Willis

The Museum of Jurassic door to the Center for Land Use Interpretation. Both of these museums are quirky and fun. The MJT has a tea room.

Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum. An extremely interesting collection of early California homes and gardens.

Watts Towers. An amazing feat of engineering, construction and mosaic madness.

The Adamson House. My favorite example of Malibu Tile used in a Spanish Revival home. The tour and gift shop are excellent and informative, plus you're right on the beach!
Tiled Kitchen at The Adamson House

Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Where many famous stars are buried. The grounds have been improved and this is a lovely spot for a picnic lunch.

William S. Hart Ranch. One of our early western movie stars. A working, rough and ready ranch near Magic Mountain.

Self-Realization Fellowship, Hollywood and Pacific Palisades. Both locations have beautiful gardens.

The Egyptian Theater. The home of the American Cinematheque. The building is beautiful and historic and the movies are faboo.

Artwork at the L.A. Metro Stations. This is one of my fave tours. You start downtown at Union Station...get on the Red Line and stop at every station to see the artwork. Then, zoom back on the Red Line to Union Station and pick up the Gold Line......continue viewing artwork. Along the way you can come up for air and food.

Don't get me started about great restaurants near all of these tourist attractions. If you want more detailed information on our travels around L.A., just go to the "search" window at the top of my blog and type in "Los Angeles." Many fun places will appear. For restaurant suggestions, go to my restaurant review blog and plan your sight-seeing trip around eating!

I love having out of town guests. We rarely stop and look around our town when we're on the go during our routine work week. Having guests forces us to really look at and experience the beautiful City of Los Angeles. Where are you favorite places to visit in L.A.?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wonky but Workable

I'm on the last leg of knitting wristys for holiday gifts. One of the guys on my list at the office is a guitar player and requested a black pair of wristys with a skeleton image. I've never knit intarsia before. I've crocheted pictures and initials into pieces though. So, my first attempt was to knit a rib for the bottom of the wristy, then switch to crochet for the skeleton image. This didn't work out. The crochet next to the knitted rib was just too cumbersome.

Then, I tried to knit the skelly intarsia style. Oy! I need a class for this one.

My last hope was to try the duplicate stitch. I found this website with great photos. After a few attempts, I finally got the hang of it. Although the left wristy is slightly wonky, I think it's cute...the skelly is kinda' grinning mischieviously. I'm sure the right wristy will be much improved. The right hand is the one that really shows the most when you're playing guitar in front of an audience anyway, right?


Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Reindeer-Peanut Butter Cookies
Oh yeah! The holidays are here! Happy Chanukah everyone! Tonight is the 7th night of Chanukah. In my family, it's tradition to receive a small gift on the first and last nights. I've been scrambling around for gifties for tomorrow night! I attended my cousin, Amie's jewelry and craft sale on Sunday. There were so many beautiful items displayed. I ended up buying myself a gift!!! Isn't that always the case? You have every intention of buying gifts for friends and family, then end up buying yourself a goodie.
Crafty Casters Holiday Sale
Marilyn was there!
Cousin Amie
Gift for Ellen from Ellen
On Saturday we attended our first holiday party of the season at Nancy's house. It was so festive. Nancy's decorations were great! Everyone brought special dishes to share. I was most impressed by the Reindeer-Peanut Butter cookies (above); Jackson Pollack brownies and that divine Honey-Baked ham! Yum. I contributed my "secret recipe" mac 'n cheese.
"Jackson PollacK" Brownies
Party Guests and hostess, Nancy (right)
I'm still working on holiday gifts for friends and family...crocheting and knitting away!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery