Friday, September 30, 2011

Vintage Photo Friday

A little breather in the beautiful High-Desert Town of 29 Palms!
While we're there, I definitely want to visit The World Famous Crochet Museum in Joshua Tree. A recent wind storm blew down the structure, a former Foto-Mat trailer. I do believe that everything has been set straight again in this wonderful little place.

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rosh Hashonah

Happy New Year to all of my family and friends. May you all have a happy, prosperous, healthy and sweet New Year!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Larry and Brit @Gingergrass

On Saturday night we met up with hipstress-Brit at Gingergrass, a fusion Vietnamese restaurant in Silver Lake, for dinner. I've always liked this place, but rarely have the chance to go there, since it's out of our 'hood. We were on our way to the Frogtown Artwalk and thought this would be a perfect place to meet.

Dinner was yummy. Brit had the Papaya Salad, Larry had thinly sliced Pork Chops and I had a Rice Bowl with Shrimp and bits of Venison...yum!

Papaya Salad
Rice Bowl w/Vegies, Venison and Shrimp

We carpooled up to Frogtown, an area also known as Elysian Valley. This is an area cut off from the City by numerous freeways, along the L.A. River. Before the L.A. River was concrete, frogs and wetlands survived here.
Anyway, this industrial area houses many architectural firms, metal working shops, little houses and artists' studios. Along Blake Avenue is where the Artwalk takes place. There's live music, food trucks and a general party atmosphere along with art exhibitions and sales. We saw tons of friends in Frogtown on Saturday night, along with some fantastic carved furniture, paintings, pottery and more.

"If Hello Kitty Has a Mouth"
Our first stop was to see Mary-Austin Klein's work. Her paintings are small, but definitely draw you into the scene. Mary-Austin's work was displayed in an architectural office....great location!

Paintings by Mary-Austin Klein

After traipsing through a few other studios and metal shops we came upon Bill Lagatutta's studio. Yes, this is the same Bill Lagatutta who was an L.A. anchorman, news correspondent and journalist for decades.

Artist, Bill Lagatutta

His artwork blew me away! I love his collages of metal signs, paintings and sculpture. He was very welcoming and seemed thrilled to be part of this artwalk. Bill writes a great blog about Frogtown artists, Made in Frogtown.

Lagatutta's Metal Sign Collage
Lagatutta's Paintings

We will definitely be returning for the next Frogtown Artwalk!
Tonight at sundown begins the Jewish High Holidays. Tomorrow we celebrate the New Year, Rosh Hashonah. L'Shana Tovah, Happy New Year to all of my friends!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Craft Activism

The BOOK has finally been released! Yesterday I received my publisher's copy of "Craft Activism" by Joan Tapper with photography by Gale Zucker. This book has been a long time in the making. Gale came out to visit Los Angeles and take photos in May 2010. You can read a bit about our journey here. We visited many mosaic inspirational sites around L.A. including the Watts Towers, the Garden of Oz, Bauer Pottery Outlet and more mosaic wonders around the City.

A good bit of PhotoShop help here! Thanks, Gale!

Yes, the beautiful mosaics and historic tiles in and around Los Angeles have always been my favorites. Gale captured this colorful link beautifully in her photographs. Joan did an excellent job of writing about my love for all things yarny and colorful! Thanks to both of them for including me in the book.

Lori S., Lauren and bits of Beth & Carol made it to the book

I wrote two patterns for the book, but only one made the "Granny Greenbag." Essentially, this is a cloth or plastic shopping bag covered in granny squares. I've actually made many versions of this bag. For the BOOK, I tried to create a circle in a square granny design with coordinating stripes on the sides of the bag. The beauty of using a purchased cloth or plastic tote bag is that you do not have to line the bag or make handles! Thank you, Ana Petrova for this idea. I really love how it turned out.

The original Granny GreenBag
photo by Ellen B.
Alternate Colors for Granny Greenbag, created by a test crocheter, Maryse

The other pattern I wrote was for a flower headband that Gale likes to call my "Frida" because the artist, Frida Kahlo often wore headbands made from flowers in her hair. Even though the pattern didn't make it to the book, a picture of two models wearing the Fridas are in the back pages.

Oh yeah, there are OTHER chapters in the book too! The book encompasses so many crafts: Quilting, Knitting, Artists' Trading Cards, Embroidery, Sewing, Charity Crafting, Recyling and Creating a Craft Community. I can't wait to try some of the other projects in this inspiring book!

All photos from the book, "Craft Activism" by Gale Zucker, unless otherwise noted.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Vogue Knitting Live

The beautiful and ultra-modern Century Plaza Hotel,
Minoru Yamasaki, Architect. 1966

Vogue Knitting Live at the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, LA this weekend was really fun. I zoomed over on Saturday, just to case the joint and check out the MarketPlace. I saw many familiar faces. I had other things to do on Saturday, so my visit was brief. On Sunday, I met up with my Sometimes Sunday Crochet Group and we really spent time perusing all of the booths in the MarketPlace.

Knitters and Crocheters poised for a yarny fashion show

There were some excellent yarn deals offered. None of us NEEDS more yarn, but some of the deals were difficult to pass up. I ended up buying some beautiful yarn from Newton's Country Yarn, Leilani Arts, Sweet Georgia and the

I'll be knitting one of these bags!

There were many classes, seminars and lectures offered. Fashion shows were held. There were knitters and crocheters all over the hotel, drinking, sitting and knitting. It was so nice to be totally surrounded by MY PEOPLE!

Free Form Crochet Sculpture

There were a few glitches that the Vogue people will have to iron out if they decide to return to Los Angeles, but on the whole, it seemed like a successful event.
You can see more photos, including many of my yarny friends, on my Facebook album page.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Vintage Photo Friday

Rita & Masha, Auto Camp, Rufus, Oregon, 1932

I've been slowly going through my Great Aunt Luba's photo album that my cousin Craig bestowed upon me in August. There are some really tiny photos inside. Aunt Luba was not the best at labeling the photos, so I have to guess at some. I do recognize many relatives, but some of Aunt Luba's friends will remain forever unknown to me. Just a reminder. If you have actual photos, write on the back softly with pencil to identify the people, place and date the photo was taken.
The back of this photo was first labeled in Aunt Reta's beautiful script, "Auto Camp at Rufus, Oregon. July 1932." Later, Aunt Luba's scratchier printing says, "Reta & Masha, photographed by Morris." Morris was Reta's husband, Masha their daughter. Reta and Luba were sisters. My grandfather, Lawrence was their older brother.
Masha doesn't look very happy in this photo. She was about 12 years old. I do love the old auto in the car port of the auto camp. By looking at today's maps, Rufus still looks like a recreational area, near rivers and forests. I'm sure it was EXTREMELY rural in 1932.
Aunt Reta and Uncle Morris were great travelers. In the 1980's, before they moved to Connecticut, Morris and Reta gave my father many photo albums of their travels to Europe and beyond from the 1920's. In those days, it was expensive and cumbersome to carry a camera, so Uncle Morris bought postcards of all the places they visited and displayed them in albums. We have the albums, carefully stored in our garage. One day, I'll pull down the boxes and go through all of them.
During their early years Reta, Morris and Luba lived in Chicago near the rest of the Bloom clan. Masha grew up there. Years later Reta, Morris and Luba all moved to Hollywood, near my grandparents, so I really got to know them well. After Luba passed away in 1989, Reta and Morris moved to live near Masha in Connecticut. They both passed away there. Their daughter, Masha, passed away just a couple of months ago at the age of 90. I'm so glad that I have their photos to remember them by.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011


We're coming up to the holidays. I have to think about yarny gift ideas. These come to mind:

I usually only knit and/or crochet items for my friends that also knit and crochet. They are the friends that REALLY appreciate a handmade gift. Larry is the exception, of course. He wears the sweaters and scarves that I make him all the time during the winter. My Mom wears the scarves I make for her too. She has a drawer dedicated in her bureau exclusively for the "Ellen Originals."
How about you? Are you making gifts for the holidays this year? What are you knitting and/or crocheting? Inquiring minds need to know!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Blue Whale

The Blue Whale Jazz Club

When I hear the name, Blue Whale, I think of the Pacific Design Center...also known as Moby Melrose in West Hollywood. On Saturday night after our gargantuan dinner at Harold & Belle's with Audrey and Jeff, we zoomed downtown to the other Blue Whale. It's a jazz club on the top level of Weller Court in Little Tokyo. Easy parking in the building that also houses the Marukai Market.
Audrey and Jeff are into jazz. They saw pianist Josh Nelson perform on Friday night and wanted to catch his set again. When we arrived, around 9:30, the place was packed and we had to wait a bit to get into the club.

Jeff, Audrey, Larry....waiting

Luckily, the club is all windows, so we could see inside and hear the music too. For this gig, Josh's band sat in front of a screen displaying images of old movies that fit his compositions.

Screen, inside the Blue Whale

There were clips of the Hindenburg, Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times," Harold Lloyd clips and other Sci-Fi classics by the likes of H.G. Wells and more. It was a really cool way to hear and SEE original jazz.

Josh Nelson's current CD

After a few songs, some people left and we were ushered inside the club. It's a very modern space, bar at the back, low slung pleather hassocks placed throughout the club instead of tables and chairs...quite a comfy atmosphere.

Club Interior

Larry and I stayed for the rest of the set. Audrey and Jeff stayed for the second set. On our way down to the parking area, we spied a beautiful sight, our City Hall, bathed in blue lights. Many buildings around L.A. were blue-lit on Saturday night for this reason. It was quite startling and beautiful. Blue lights.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Harold & Belle's

On Saturday we dined with Audrey and Jeff at Harold & Belle's Creole Restaurant. We hadn't been there in years. The restaurant has been upgraded since the last time we were there. The interior is really nice....white table cloths, wood paneling, mood lighting. The bar is welcoming and there's always a sporting event on TV. We made a 7:30 reservation and the place was pleasantly full.
Audrey had a special code for the prix fixe menu...$35 per person. This includes appetizer, soup or salad, entree and dessert. We were all game for this, not realizing the huge amounts of food served for each meal. Yikes! We needed a to-go box immediately. Jeff and Audrey ordered the homemade sausage for their appetizer. Larry and I ordered chicken wings. Really...we all could have shared one order of each! Both appetizers were delicious.

Sausage Appetizer
Chicken Wings Appetizer

Next up, soup or salad. I had to try the clam chowder because it was touted on many food blogs. Everyone else had a nice mixed green salad. I should have chosen the salad too. The clam chowder was really thick and glue-like.

Green Salad
Clam Chowder

Jeff and Larry both ordered Crawfish Étouffée for their entree. Audrey ordered Fried Catfish accompanied by Red beans and Dirty rice. The Red Beans were chock full of sausage, shrimp and other goodies. I had the Chicken Creole. The Creole sauce was yummy. All entrees were really excellent. There was enough food on the table for 8 people! I would definitely order any of these entrees again, especially the Crawfish Étouffée, Red Beans and Dirty Rice. I really want to try their Catfish Po'Boy Sandwich.

Crawfish Étouffée and Creole Potato Salad
Fried CatfishRed Beans and Dirty RiceJeff & Audrey, marveling at the amount of foodChicken Creole

THEN, the prix fixe menu offered Bread Pudding in Whisky Sauce for dessert. We split one order at the table and packed the other to go.

Bread Pudding

We're STILL working on the leftovers!!!
Harold & Belle's in Jefferson Park,
2920 West Jefferson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90018-3339,(323) 735-9023

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery