Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pre-Mardi Gras

Direct from Louisiana

My good friend and co-worker, Chuck Taggart, had a King Cake delivered direct from Haydel's Bakery in New Orleans today! Yummmmmmmmm! Chuck was kind enough to share it with us at the office today.

Chuck and Ron (Kevin in background)
From the Haydel's website, here's the history of the King Cake: In New Orleans' revelry and religious tradition are the ties that bind during Mardi Gras. Thus, it's not surprising that the origin of the modern King Cake can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when popular devotion during Christmas turned to the Three Wise Men, or Kings, who had followed a star and paid homage to Christ. Epiphany, the end of the Christmas celebration and the 12th night after the birth of Christ, came to be known as "Twelfth Night," a time for pageants and giving special "King" presents to children. Today in New Orleans, the King Cake is an oval-shaped braided coffee cake which is decorated with cinnamon sugar in the official Mardi Gras colors - gold (for power), green (faith), and purple (justice) - and contains a tiny plastic baby that has replaced the coin used in medieval times. The person who gets the slice of cake with the baby in it must host the next party; at some parties, they are crowned king or queen.
The cake, a gift shared by family, friends and revelers alike, is eaten between the Twelfth Night and Fat Tuesday, the beginning of Lent. However, the cake often begins appearing during Christmas.
It's a tradtion, that whoever gets the piece of cake with the "baby" baked inside will bring the King Cake next year. So happens, Chuck got that piece today, but he quickly gave it to Ron! I love how Haydel's just stuck the baby on the bottom of the cake instead of actually baking it inside. On second thought, maybe this is a better idea, since the baby is made from plastic and would probably melt. Older traditions had the baby made out of ceramic. Also, it was custom to use a bean instead of a baby.
Lucky Ron
Haydel's includes a complimentary collectible statue of a New Orleans figure with each cake, in addition to Mardi Gras beads, doubloons and a written history of the King Cake. Thanks for the treat, Chuck!
This year's collectible statue is a Baker
I just might see if I can bake up a delicious coffee/King cake for Fat Tuesday this year. The decorating is the fun part!
This weekend at the Original Farmers Market there will be a two-day pre-Fat Tuesday celebration with Louisiana music, food, costumes, masks, beads, etc. This is the 20th anniversary of this celebration at the Market. We've been there every single year. In fact, Larry and I post-poned our wedding date in 1992, because it interfered with the Farmers Market Mardi Gras. Larry and I will be there both days and we plan to pass a mighty fine time! Hope to see you too!

Larry's Crocheted Mardi Gras Crown


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yarn Doodling

Many people call this "swatching." I'm not really swatching for anything in particular. I left the house today without my knit/crochet tools. Luckily, I have a few crochet hooks in my purse. I also just happened to have two skeins of this gorgeous Koigu in my bag. I had knitted up this beret over the weekend, but after trying it on, I decided I didn't really like it, so I ripped it out.
I took out my size "H" crochet hook and started crocheting in the granite stitch. I love this stitch. It's drapey, the fabric lies flat and the woven look is faboo with Koigu and many other variegated yarns. Not sure if I'll make anything, but I do enjoy Yarn Doodling.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Field Trip

Melise and Mary Jo....LOVE that license plate!
Dr. Elizabeth Barber with LA Spinning Guild Members

This past Saturday, Mary Jo, Melise and I attended a lecture hosted by The Greater Los Angeles Spinning Guild at St. Andrews Church in WLA. The speaker was Dr. Elizabeth Barber, who has written this interesting book, among others. Since this was a lecture primarily attended by spinners and weavers, she geared her talk toward subjects that would be of interest to this group. Dr. Barber brought slides of data showing the existence of different types of fabric and weaving in ancient times. It was fascinating. While we were listening to the lecture, many of the attendees were spinning (wheels and spindles), knitting, crocheting, etc. It was quite inspiring. I saw some old friends and met some new ones.
Elizabeth Barber
The lecture was over around noonish, so the three of us left for lunch at the Sunset Grill in Santa Monica. Lunch was great and perfect nourishment for our impending yarn crawl. Luckily, the L.A. rainstorm stopped for the afternoon so we could "crawl" in the sunshine!
We drove toward the beach and stopped at Yarns Unlimited on Pico Blvd. This is really my go-to yarn shop. It's near my office, the prices are good, the stock is impressive and I can usuallly find what I need. They do not carry Koigu or Noro, but I can live with that.
Yarns Unlimited
Next stop, the new and improved Wild Fiber on 14th St. WF was packed. There was an ongoing knit class in the back, people were checking out the Great Wall of Koigu and just generally hangin' out. The vibe at this shop is really nice. They have all of the high-end yarns and accessories you could ever want. They also have a sale area in the back where I've found some interesting yarns and old magazines. In fact, I found six skeins of Cotton Joy by Needful Yarns for half-price.

Cotton Joy
We zoomed back to Pico Blvd. and stopped by Artesanias Oaxaquenas Fine Art Gallery. This shop used to be located on Ocean Park, near 17th, but has recently relocated. In addition to jewelry and pottery from Oaxaca, they have an amazing selection of those flowered oilcloth handbags, totes and makeup pouches at very reasonable prices. Of course, we all managed to find something to buy.
Last stop, Stitches From The Heart Yarn Store. It was busy here too. There's always something interesting at this shop AND they have tons of free parking in back. They stock many yarns from Turkey that are very colorful and extremely soft. I picked up six skeins of a yarn I had never seen before, Naturally Tussock Aran 10-Ply. It's 85% New Zealand Wool and 15% polyester. It's not quite as rough feeling as the usual Aran wool.
Stitches From The Heart
It was a wonderful day, full of colorful surprises. Thanks, Girls!
Yarns Unlimited, 828 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica
Wild Fiber, 1453 14th St., Santa Monica
Artesanias Oaxaquenas Fine Art Gallery, 2919 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica
Stitches From The Heart, 3316 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica


Monday, January 28, 2008

My Friend, Mary Jo

Mary Jo at work, photo courtesy of GMA website
Sooooo exciting!!! Mary Jo was just on national television!!! As part of "Good Morning America's" lead-up to Oscar season, they have been running a series of features on Hollywood personnel. This morning, between 8:30 and 9am they ran Mary Jo's featurette, "Movie Magic: The Art of Noise," all about her career as a foley mixer at Warner Bros. Studios. She was great! Here's the link to see a video of the piece--right-hand side of page.

Mary Jo and the Crew

Congratulations, Mary Jo!

Tomorrow....exciting coverage of Ellen, Mary Jo and Melise weekend Westside field trip and yarn crawl!


Friday, January 25, 2008


Sara and Vivian
Baby Vivian showed up on a rainy and cold night to the WeHo SnB. She's quite a little trooper. Her Mom and Dad, Sara and Richard, brought their sleeping baby upstairs to our regular meeting place. When Vivian woke up she had this look on her face, "Where am I? It was warm and quiet when I fell asleep. What is this noisy, wet place? Who are all these chicks with needles and hooks?" Needless to say, she was slightly dazed and confused when I made Sara put the little green sweater on her. However, Vivian rose to the occasion, turned on her fierce model look and was a perfect sweater girl. The cardigan is slightly large on her, but that's okay, she'll grow into it!
I liked making this baby sweater so much, that I finished up a similar one using Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn in the "Carnival" colorway. I just have to crochet a button hole and sew on an orange button. The cute rounded yoke pattern shows up much better using plain yarn versus variegated. For my next one (I'm on a roll here) I'm going to use colors similar to the Tulip Baby Cardigan, changing colors between the garter stitch rows of the yoke. I'm still working on translating this pattern for a big girl sweater for me. I came across this website and I think it might help.
Earlier that day, I gave my co-worker, Aileen, the scarf I knitted for her birthday. She looks great in it! I'm pleased with my yarncomplishments for the week!
It's cold and rainy here in Los Angeles....a perfect weekend for staying inside to knit and crochet. However, I will be attending this lecture and a mini-yarn crawl on Saturday with a few of the Eastside Knitters. Have a marvy weekend!


Thursday, January 24, 2008


Las Palmas Ave., behind Egyptian Theater (Demolished)
I drive and walk all over Los Angeles, snapping photos of signs, buildings, plants, people, food, etc. Recently I heard about a lost sign. Behind the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on Las Palmas Avenue, there is a parking lot. On the edge of the parking lot was one of the oldest lit signs I'd ever seen in Los Angeles. I took this photo about 2 years ago. This AUTO PARK sign is pre-neon, lit with real lightbulbs. I'd say this was probably a sign from the early 1900's. Sadly, when I drove by a few weeks ago I noticed it was gone. Sigh.

Many signs have been saved by private collectors. I have been lucky enough to photograph of few of these nostalgic signs. Other signs spotted around L.A.

Parking Lot, King Fu Restaurant, Pico & Wooster, WLA
West Adams Area
Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile
Motor Avenue, Palms (Private Collection)
Robertson Blvd., Beverlywood
Venice, CA (Private Collection)
7th St., Downtown L.A.

Roosevelt High School, Boyle Heights

What are some of your favorite signs around town?


Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Awhile back I found this etsy website that will knit socks for you! I truly LOVE sock yarn. Since I'm primarily a crocheter, sock yarn is thin enough for thick crochet stitches while still producing a desireable weight fabric for garments. I have knitted socks before, I just don't have the patience for those teensy-tiny knitting needles. Much of my sock yarn is targeted for sweater, scarf and hat projects, however I do have a few skeins hanging around that really should be knit into socks. I believe that the socks are knitted using an antique circular sock knitting machine. Fascinating!

As soon as my etsy approval goes thru, I'll be sending this gorgeous Noro sock yarn, #185 colorway to Fernwood Woolworks for some ladies' socks! I'll let you know the outcome.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Finished the 5-Hour Baby Sweater! I found these perfect clear plastic buttons at International Silks and Woolens on Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood. They have an amazing notions department at this fabric shop!
Larry took these great photos of Baby Sweet Pea on a dark and rainy day on our front porch. The lucky recipent for this darling sweater will be Baby soon as she comes back to the WeHo SnB. She didn't make it last Thursday due to nappage.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Felt Frenzy

Natalie Loves The Yarn
On Friday, in celebration of Natalie's birthday, she invited a few of us to the Urban Craft Center in West L.A. for a needle-felting party. Of course, I've felted handbags, knitted and crocheted food and other items before, but I'd never done any needle-felting.
The Urban Craft Center offers classes in many crafts. It's a marvelous place, excellent teachers and incredible supplies. The classes are reasonable....I'll definitely go back.
We started out by learning how to make a cupcake, then we graduated into various other projects. Thank you, Natalie for giving us this wonderful learning opportunity!

Mary Jo Gets Aggressive
Darcy's Alternate Use For Roving

Top Row: Ellen, Mary Jo, Cher

Bottom Row: Darcy, Natalie, Lori, Carla
LINKS to more photos are here.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Carla, This One's For You

I zoomed over to an estate sale on my lunch hour today. It's a sale held by a lovely company called Handle With Care. The sale will be going on all weekend (10am-3pm), so if you're interested, get on over to 238 South Anita Avenue, Brentwood, CA. The house is a late 1930's or early 1940's ranch style...very neat....lots of interesting items, especially books. Here's a little bit of the description from the sale flyer:

A Mark Twain Scholar & Civil War Buff; Children's Books;
Many Art Books; Early Magazines; Mission Drawings; MORE!

Handsome Georgian-Style Mahogany Furniture (1930's Fine
Reproductions-Solid Wood): Breakfront/Desk; Dining Table
with PawFeet, 6 Chairs; Bedroom Set; Lg. Dropleaf Table;
Wing Chair; Accent Tables; Carved Sml.Wall Curio Cabinet
Also 1940's "Modern" Bedroom Set; Chaise; TeaCart; Cedar
Chest; 2-Door Glass-Front Bookcase; '40's "Ranch Chair"

Batchelder, Rookwood, & Roseville Art Pottery; 5 Brayton
Disney Dwarfs; Other California Pottery Figures; As Well
As Some Royal Copenhagen, Hummels, Gouda, Delft, Doulton

Costume Jewelry; Collection of Hand Bells; Antique Cast
Iron Mantle Clock; Records; Old Games; Ethnic Garments..
IN THE GARAGE: Old HandTools; Frames; ArtSupplies; Trunk

The reason for the title of this post is that there was a really nice old Singer sewing machine for sale. Carla has been writing about re-conditioning old sewing machines on her blog. She's REALLLLLY into it. So, Carla, take a drive over to Brentwood if you're interested in this cool old Singer. The price is $75 and they're taking bids.

Okay, I warned you! Have a marvelous weekend, everyone!


Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery