Monday, June 29, 2009

Fairview Knitters

Saturday, after lunch with my cousin, I zoomed down to Santa Monica to meet up with the Fairview Knitters. This is a lovely group in a perfect location. No matter how hot it is in the center of Los Angeles, by late afternoon, it's always breezy in Santa Monica.
We meet on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. from 3:30 to 5:30pm. Sometimes, if there are five Saturdays in a month, we'll have a bonus meeting. Depending on the weather, we meet in the patio or the community room of the Fairview Branch of the Santa Monica Library, Ocean Park and 21st St., SM. Molly and Heather are the organizers. Molly also teaches knitting at this branch on Mondays.

Ana, Lauren, Jamie
Jamie, Barbara, Helen

This past Saturday we had about 12 attendees. There's always hot tea available and sometimes people bring treats! You should really join us sometime soon!

Molly and Heather


Summer is Here

Oh yeah...summer is definitely here. We spent a very summery weekend in beautiful L.A. The weather hovered between 75 and 90 degrees during the day...perfect. On Saturday, my cousin Amie came over to take a look at our new room addition. Today is Amie's birthday! Happy B-Day, Cous! I took Amie out to lunch at one of my fave local spots, The Normandie Bakery. She'd never been there before and she loved it! We both had yummy omelettes.
Cousin Amie
I highly recommend The Normandie. All of the baked goods are very low in price and exceptionally fantastic. While we were sitting outside enjoying our lunch, we saw many restaurant owners stocking up on French bread, pastries, etc. Next time, I'm going to try the French onion soup!

The Normandie Bakery, Jefferson & Cochran, Mid-City L.A.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

Most people in the blogosphere are posting about Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson today.
I used to see Farrah once in awhile on the 20th Century Fox lot when I worked at the studio in the late 1970's thru the late 1980's. Aaron Spelling had a production company on the lot at the time ("Love Boat") and I suppose he was trying to woo Farrah back into the fold after she left "Charlie's Angels." She was gorgeous, that's for sure.
I never saw Michael Jackson in person, but I felt his presence. His family moved to Los Angeles, later to Encino, in the early 1970's after Motown Records moved here from Detroit. The Jackson 5 appeared on all the local TV shows and their songs were on the radio constantly. Their music, along with brother Michael's solo music was and will always be ever-present in our lives.
I'm sure all them walked down historic Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills more than a few times. Here's what the block, just north of Wilshire Blvd., looked like in the mid-1950's.
The photo above shows the east side of Beverly Drive, north of Wilshire Blvd.. We frequented Linny's Deli often, especially when Nate 'n Al's, further north on Beverly Drive, was too crowded. Now, R.J.'s restaurant is in this spot. Just south of Linny's is Lerner Shops. This was a budget dress shop that I also frequented on my bike-riding expeditions to Beverly Drive when I was a young girl. On the corner, the white building with the Taj Mahal dome was the Beverly Theater. This is now the location of the new William Morris-Endeavor Agency offices. In the distance, just south of Wilshire you can see the restaurant, Melody Lane. It was gone when I was hangin' out on Beverly Drive. In it's place was Blum's Restaurant. Blum's was a mini-chain, with the main restaurant and fountain in San Francisco. I do remember the coffee-crunch on vanilla ice-cream dessert, called Blum's Coffiesta. Yum! Later, a huge office building was built on this site. If you're on the sidewalk next to this office building, look up. You'll see some beautiful, modern stained glass in the roof overhang.
I really spent most of my youth at the J.J. Newberry's on Beverly Drive...just north of the block pictured. Can you believe that there was a Newberry's Five & Dime store on fancy Beverly Drive? Well, there was. There was a lunch counter on the main floor. In the back, a half-floor down the stairs was the plant and bird section. We used to love to watch the live birds squawking in their cages. I bought many pixie bands, hair-barrettes and forbidden lipstick at the Five & Dime.
Have a marvelous weekend. You can see more Vintage Photo Friday here.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Signs on Sepulveda

Signs on Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City
Larry and I had to run an errand over on the Westside last night, so we stopped in at Villa Italian for dinner. It's on Sepulveda, between Venice and Washington, just south of the entrance to the 405 Freeway, in Culver City. This has always been a busy commercial strip of Sepulveda Blvd., even before the 405 Freeway was built. The street is crazy with signs to catch your eye while speeding along. There's lots of cool 40's, 50's and 60's architecture and neon on this street too if you really look beneath the signs.

Villa Italian has been there forever. I was introduced to the place in the early 1970's. The pizza is deep-dish, baked in rectangular pans. We had the meatball, mushroom and green onion pizza along with a very nice Italian dinner salad. It was rich with mozzarella, but delicious.This family-owned restaurant changed management awhile back, but the friendly atmosphere and good service is still there. Anyplace that has a map of Italy on their placemats is OK by me!They cleaned up the place paint, new fixtures, new flooring. The best part....there's a FREE parking lot! Villa Italian is popular for family birthday parties. Even on a cloudy Wednesday night there was a celebration, accompanied by spumoni cake!

Yarny Stuff: On the yarny front, I added another small section to my Granny Babette Blanket. I just love working on this piece, even though I can't take it anywhere due to the massive amounts of yarn needed to work those colorful squares! I'll probably add a few more sections so it will fit the top of our kingsize bed.

Here's a glimpse of my new easy chair for the bedroom. It's grey, modern and comfortable. It fits perfectly in my "concentration niche."

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Felted Potholders

Felted Potholders

Once again, I've been inspired by that incredible community of knitters and crocheters on Ravelry. If you're not a member, you really should become one. Even if you don't participate, Ravelry is a wonderful source for patterns and inspiration. Also, I've met so many new "friends" on the Rav...people I would have never connected with otherwise, because they live in the U.K., Tennessee, Maine, New York, Seattle, Brazil, etc.
I was interested in checking out the Potholder Swap. Most of the swappers have crocheted their potholders in kitchen cotton, but there are few made from wool and some that are felted.
Since we were going to Lori's and Rick's for dinner last Friday, I decided to whip up a few for Lori's colorful kitchen. They are in the process of remodeling and I know that there is some apple green Caesar Stone in their future. Perfect! I just happened to have some lime green, orange, red and purple Paton's wool on-hand!
I knit two potholders and crocheted two, all double strand. I ran them through my top-loading washer twice to felt. I really like the thickness of the potholders. I'm definitely going to make some for myself and for gifts!
Crocheted in the round
Knitted, Garter Stitch edges, Stockinet center (a bit of Malabrigo for the stripes)
Knitted, Garter StitchCrocheted Granny Square w/ Flower Center
not great for potholder, but OK for hotpad..too many holes!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hint 'o Mint

On Friday night, Larry and I were invited to Lori's and Rick's house for dinner. I offered to bring dessert. There was this cake I read about here that I wanted to try. Lori's and Rick's guestlist was small and we knew the others, so I decided to experiment with this new recipe.

Hint O' Mint Cake

It's a devil's food chocolate cake. You can make it from scratch or you can use a packaged mix. Whenever I make devil's food cake, I add mini-chocolate chips to the batter.
The frosting is buttercreme frosting (butter, powdered sugar and a bit of milk, blended well). For the look of mint, add a drop of green food coloring to the frosting. For the taste of mint, add a few drops of mint extract to the frosting. I also chopped up a few York Peppermint Patties and stirred that into the frosting.
After baking the cake and letting it cool, I poured on the mint frosting and then dropped a few York mints around the outer edge of the cake plate.
The cake was a success!! Even though my photos make this cake look like a molten mess from the moon, it tasted divine. I will definitely make this recipe again.

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Monday, June 22, 2009


Marina del Rey, Los Angeles

Yesterday we celebrated Father's Day with my Mom and Step-Dad at the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey. The June gloom cleared, the sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day. We saw many old friends, including my Uncle Mort, Aunt Frances and many cousins.
The Sunday brunch at the Club is legendary. It's "abbondanza" to the max! There are salads, grilled vegies, fruit, smoked fish, shrimp on ice, cracked crab, roast beef, turkey, an omelette station, eggs Benedict, bacon, sausage, tons of's really incredible. The buffet is like one on a cruise ship. We were on the ocean, but the only sailing we did was back and forth from our tables to the buffet!

We didn't eat the rest of the day. Oy! What a Father's Day Feast! Hope your Father's Day celebration was wonderful.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Vintage Photo Friday

I keep running across boxes of old photos as I excavate my closet. Below are some Bloom family photos.
My paternal grandmother, Ethel Anna Pellicoff Bloom on her graduation day from High School in Camden, New Jersey:

Not sure about the names in pencil on the back of the photo

I have been told that I resemble Grandma Ethel. She passed away when I was about 8 years old, but she definitely made an impression on me. She was very artistic, crafty and musical. She used to sew Barbie clothes for me and for my cousins out of very lovely material scraps. Grandma was an avid bridge player and entered tournaments all the time. She was a member of the Eastern Star. It seems that these bridge parties were very fancy affairs where she was required to wear brocade cocktail dresses that she sewed herself. Ethel was often in charge of the table decorations for these get-togethers. I remember many fond hours of helping her craft carnations out of pink toilet paper for centerpieces. Ethel became involved in selling real estate around Los Angeles. I remember riding in her big 1959 Chevy Impala with her as she pointed out properties around town that she had sold.

Grandma Ethel was the only one of my grandparents born in the United States. Her parents immigrated from Russia. They owned a Kosher hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Every summer, my Dad and his two brothers, along with Ethel would take the train from Los Angeles to Atlantic City. The boys would do chores around the hotel in the mornings and then hang out on the Boardwalk and go swimming in the afternoons. Nice way to spend the summer!

Below is a photo of my paternal grandfather, Lawrence Aaron Bloom. Everyone called him "L.A." This photo must be from a time when he was quite young. I never saw him THIS skinny! L.A. came to the U.S. from a small town near Kiev, Ukraine. This photo could be when he was in law school, probably around 1910.

As far as I can remember from family stories, L.A. knew of Ethel's family from the Old Country and looked them up when he arrived. Eventually, they married, then Grandpa went to law school in Tennessee. After they were married L.A. and Ethel lived in Philadelphia where my Uncle Mort and my Dad were born. They moved west to Los Angeles in 1919 when my Dad was six months old. My Uncle Hi was born here. They settled in Boyle Heights, a predominantly Jewish area of Los Angeles. They later moved to Hollywood and then to West Los Angeles. After WW II, they moved back to Hollywood. My grandfather's law practice was varied. I know that he was attorney for many Russian immigrants involved in the movie business. He also handled real estate deals for some of the early developers in L.A. There is a street off of Alameda St., north of Union Station, downtown L.A. called Bloom Street. It is named after my Grandfather.

Lawrence A. Bloom

Grandpa Bloom passed away when I was 13, so at least I got a chance to really know him. He was a character, that's for sure! He smoked cigars non-stop. Even though he was a lawyer, he liked working with his hands. He had a big workshop in the garage of the "house" in Hollywood. He used all of his old cigar boxes for nuts, bolts, hardware, etc. My Dad inherited all the contents of the workshop. Eventually, my husband, Larry became heir to all of those nuts, bolts and cigar boxes. Grandpa Bloom was a Mason and a Shriner.

We visited my Bloom grandparents every Sunday, along with all of my Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. The house was a side-by-side duplex with four apartments upstairs. One side of the duplex was my grandparents' apartment the other side was Grandpa's law office. It was right on Sunset Boulevard, just west of Highland Ave., across the street from Hollywood High School. My Great Aunt Luba lived in one of the apartments upstairs. The building is still there. I think the downstairs is some sort of auto upholstery shop. It looks like there are still apartments upstairs.

I'm still looking for an old photo of my Grandpa's four sisters, Rita, Sonia, Anna and Luba. It was taken in a photo studio, probably in Russia, maybe Chicago. All of them have on fancy dresses with bustles, fancy hats and their best jewels. More excavation of treasures at our house is in order for this weekend.

More VPF.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009


Venice Beach, 1920
collection of Herald-Examiner
Summer! It's Summer! Summer is here! Summer officially begins on the Summer Solstice, June 21st, which just happens to be Father's Day this year. The days will be getting longer. We'll have more sunlight hours to enjoy our beautiful City.
On Friday and Saturday Taschen Books is having its annual warehouse sale. There are two shops in our area, the Beverly Hills store (which is gorgeous) and the WeHo Store at the Original Farmers Market. I know you need more coffee table books! Buy a book for Dad.
Depending on how you feel about your Dad, you could always take him for a field trip to see the Stinky Flower at the Huntington Gardens in San Marino. They call it "Stinky" 'cause it smells like rotting flesh. Charming. It's only stinky for a few days and it started blooming yesterday. Better hurry up!
The Los Angeles Conservancy is holding all sorts of walking tours Downtown this weekend. They're always good. After the tour, you could have lunch at Philippe's! All Dads like Philippe's.
No matter how old your Dad and his children are, it's always fun to see one of the best puppet and marionette shows in town at Bob Baker's Marionette Theater. The Theater is located just west of Downtown, The shows here are a throwback to simpler, yet highly entertaining, times. Even at my advanced age, I enjoy these shows. Sometimes they serve Balian's ice cream cups after the show. Remember Balian's ice cream? They used to sell it at my elementary school.

We're going to a couple of parties this weekend. Tomorrow, I'm bringing the famous "Hint Of Mint" cake that I stole from Stan Williams, via Ruth Handel. It's Devil's Food chocolate cake with buttercream frosting (with a few drops of green food coloring), dotted with crumbles of York Peppermint should be excellent! On Saturday we're attending a birthday party in the foothills of Glendale with a Kentucky Derby 1885 theme. That should be entertaining!

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Strictly Modern

Even though our house is Spanish Revival, built in 1927, the newer portion in the back is strictly MODERN. Our architect designed our master bedroom so that it wouldn't show from the front of the house. We didn't want the world to see our mixed-bag taste, always being sensitive to our lovely Mid-City West neighborhood. I'm easily amused when driving through neighborhoods and I see huge second stories "stuck" onto the back of tiny little bungalows. So many additions look out of place with the original house.
Our original house is very simple. The Spanish Revival overtones are not that apparent, except for the red-tiled roof and a few arches. This has enabled us to furnish our home in a mid-20th century modern style, without looking off-kilter to the design of the house.
We recently moved into our new bedroom. NOW, the fun begins. We're putting together our closets, figuring out what to put on the windows, picked up a new comforter for the bed. We do need a few pieces of furniture (a chest/bench for the end of the bed); an easy chair for the corner; maybe a bureau for Larry and some sort of arrangement for books and the TV. Of course, we'd love to get a new flat-screen TV, but that will have to wait a bit.
The ceiling in our bedroom is high. We're contemplating a fabulous George Nelson designed bubble fixture. Our friends at Modernica have re-issued the classic lamp designs.

From Modernica's website:
LOS ANGELES California, June 2, 2009 -- Modernica, the official worldwide distributor and manufacturer of the George Nelson Bubble Lamp Collection, has reissued versions of George Nelson's iconic Criss Cross Bubble Lamp that have been out of production for decades. The reissues come in a Cigar, Pear or Ball pendant lamp choice.
George Nelson developed the Bubble Lamp in 1947 after purchasing a high-end Swedish spherical hanging lamp for his new office. Nelson was inspired to design a lighting fixture with the same look and superior lighting, but more cost effective. Howard Miller produced the Bubble Lamps from 1952 until they discontinued production in 1979.
In the 1990's, Modernica reissued the Bubble Lamp line utilizing Nelson’s exact specifications and the original Howard Miller factory tooling. Modernica also “named” each individual Bubble Lamp design: Saucer, Ball, Cigar, Apple, Pear, Criss Cross, Lantern and Propeller. The original lamps were not given names by Nelson instead they were assigned catalog numbers.
Originally, customers could write “CC” on their lamp orders and get almost any lamp made as a Criss Cross. This wasn't done very much, so as a result the old Criss Cross lamps are quite rare. The diffused lighting and elegant design of the Criss Cross Bubble Lamp can now once again enhance any home, business or industrial environment.
Modernica proudly carries on the tradition of the George Nelson’s Bubble Lamps, some of the most enduring, iconic designs of the modernist era. The George Nelson Bubble Lamps are even featured in the permanent collection at Modern Museum of Art in New York City.
An added plus, Modernica is on Beverly Blvd., between La Brea and Martel, just a few doors from my fave margarita place in town, El Coyote!
Modernica, 7366 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90036; (323) 933-0383

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baked Goods

I'd say that the Silver Lake Bake Sale, "No Cookie Left Behind" was a rousing success. By the time I arrived on Sunday (around 2:30-ish), many of the baked goods were gone. The crowds were still swarming around the cake table. Many of my friends, including Brenda and Natalie reported that they picked up goodies.I bought a couple of cupcakes and of course, had a Scoops ice cream! Congratulations to the Share Our Strength organization!

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Vintage Photos

On Saturday night Larry and I drove Downtown to Gary Leonard's Photo Studio, Take My Picture. It's right on Broadway, nextdoor to the historic Orpheum Theater.
Someone at Pacific Outdoor Advertising, the billboard people, asked Gary if he wanted their archive of Kodachrome slides of Southern California from the 50's and 60's.
Heck, yeah!
The images are amazing. Apparently, a photographer was hired by the billboard company to shoot the location of the billboards for their advertising clients all over Southern California. The cars and backgrounds are so interesting, most of them in Los Angeles and San Diego. Gary cleaned up many of the slides and printed them in a large format, matted and framed. They are for sale! It's so worth going downtown to see this show! It's very nostalgic. The images jump right off the wall. There's also a slide show in the back of the gallery showing the slides that Gary did not blow up. Highly entertaining.
Gary Leonard w/ Ellen
I snapped the photo for the book cover!

Ralph's Market on Lankershim, No. Hollywood, 1950's

After the show, we zoomed up to Philippe's The French Dip for a sandwich. I've written about Philippe's before. It's one of my favorite old-time restaurants in Los Angeles. Naturally, the sandwich and lemonade were great. I caught a photo of Larry in the "circus room." Legend has it that circus workers would meet in the back room of Phillipe's during their run in L.A. This was also a meeting place for retired circus workers....lots of ephemera here. On the other side of the back room there's tons of train models and memorabilia (the place is right near the tracks). Philippe's is a meeting place for EVERYONE!

I do love Los Angeles.

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Climbing on the "Band" Wagon

Well, OK, I'm climbing on the "Madsen" wagon too! I want to win this bike! It could carry so many yarny projects!

Madsen Cycles Cargo Bikes

Click on the icon above and join the crowd!
The Madsen Cargo Bike is waaaaaay cool. There's a locking lid attachment for those dicey neighborhoods. You could even run out to the pizza joint and bring home your own dinner without wasting gasoline! I'm partial to the ice blue color.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery