Friday, February 27, 2015

VPF - Golden Rockets and Space Men

1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket; 2014 Atomic Gold Nissan Juke

Yesterday was a big event for me. I purchased a NEW CAR. For the past few years I've been noticing the Nissan Juke. It's a small SUV with a very sporty profile. I like the fact that this car sits up a bit higher than my Toyota Matrix, but is still narrow. Last year I noticed the Juke in the most vibrant gold color. I found out that this color is called "Atomic Gold." The styling of the car, along with this color sold me. It didn't hurt that the name of this car reminds me of my dear, departed radio partner, John "Juke" Logan. Every time I see the car, I think of Juke and smile.

Last Sunday, Larry and I visited Nissan of Downtown and drove the Juke. I loved it! I set everything in motion and brought the car home last night. Woo Hoo! Today, I'm reading the owner's manual and trying to figure out all of the fancy gadgets.

The sun sets in Los Angeles as Ellen learns the ins-and-outs of her new car from salesman, Matt

I posted a photo of my new car on Facebook last night. One of our friends who is a car aficionado and graphic artist, Chris Green, posted a photo of the 1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket concept car. Chris said that my new Juke reminded him of this ROCKET! Yeah! 
It's a Great, Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Today is also the day we found out that actor, director, musician, poet, artist Leonard Nimoy passed away at the age of 83. I always feel an afinity to other people of Jewish/Russian/Ukrainian heritage. Larry and I watch old reruns of "Star Trek" on TV all the time. Nimoy as "Spock" is brilliant.The last time we visited the Griffith Park Observatory we settled down in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater to listen to Mr. Nimoy narrate a film, "The Once and Future Griffith Observatory," about the renovation and upgrading of the Observatory. He definitely had an eloquent and expressive way of speaking. We shall miss him.  It appears that Mr. Nimoy liked the bullet-rocket forms of his fancy car too!

Leonard Nimoy, as "Spock" with his 1964 Buick Rivera @ DesiLu Studios

Have a wonderful weekend.  "Live long and prosper."

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

#tbt - Throw Back Thursday, 1916

1916.  Los Angeles. My Mother's father, Sam, owned a second-hand clothing store in Downtown Los Angeles. I wish I knew the address of the store. This was before Sam got into the building business. He was a very industrious guy.

Brothers, Max and Sam Katz

The photo above looks to be from the same year, 1916. My Grandfather's brother, Max is on the left. Within the past few years we've managed to get back in contact with Max's grandchildren. I'm so glad that we did. This is probably Los Angeles, but it could be New Orleans. After leaving Eastern Europe, the Katz family settled in New Orleans. Sam, and then Max ventured up to Los Angeles to make their fortunes.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hobby Sweaters

"Big Lebowski / Dude" Sweater by Camp Kitschy Knits

My good friend and faboo photographer, Gale Zucker, brought these updated versions of "Hobby Sweaters" to my attention last year.  Gale was hired by Camp Kitschy Knits to photograph these creations for their website.  Camp Kitschy Knits has sweaters knitted from popular patterns of the 1950's and 1960's by indigenous Quechua women in Ecuador's Andes Mountains. Camp Kitschy has a nice selection of sweater patterns, including the very popular "Big Lebowski/Dude" sweater (above).

Camp Kitschy Knits, Anglers Pride Sweater

Camp Kitschy Knits, Hockey Sweater

I've seen patterns for these sweaters in magazines my entire life.  I recently came across some great advertisements for these sweaters in McCall's Neddlework and Crafts from 1959-60 and 1963-64. This is how I found out they were called "Hobby" sweaters. Previously I just referred to them as "Cowichan" or "Canadian" sweaters.

These folks are either early or late to the game.  Where is everyone else?

Click on picture to enlarge

Many different companies offered patterns for these popular sweaters

I could not resist. I ordered one of the sweaters for Mr. Larry for the holidays. Close to Christmas I was notified by the owner of Camp Kitschy Knits that they were back-ordered and I wouldn't receive my sweater until after the holidays. OK. I could live with that. Larry's birthday is on January 12th. As long as I received the sweater by then, it would be OK. I didn't hear from Camp Kitschy Knits at all. Just before Larry's birthday I e-mailed to check on my order. No reply. THEN, I posted a note on their Facebook page. I finally received a reply apologizing for the delay. We received the sweater toward the end of January. It was worth it. The sweater is great! Sooooo, if you decide to order one of these sweaters, leave yourself plenty of lead time.  
I ordered the Oil Field Derrick Sweater for Larry.  We live close to that oil well on Pico, east of Fairfax, disguised to look like a windowless office building. Once, there were oil rigs all over our neighborhood. Tar Pits, just north of us. Methane explosions close by. We identify.
Larry's Oil Field Derrick Sweater from Camp Kitschy Knits

Updated knit patterns of these sweaters can be found on Ravelry. It might be fun to attempt one of these knits!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Making Groceries

My shopping cart at Trader Joe's

From  “Making Groceries,” is an old New Orleans expression that the city’s residents traditionally used for food shopping. The expression derives from the French faire son marché, “to do one’s market shopping," faire translating either "to do" or "to make." For eighteen decades New Orleans residents enjoyed making groceries at the old French Market in the Quarter. 
I've heard this term for over 25 years. Must have something to do with my love for Louisiana music and people. Also, making stuff is what I do...knitting, crocheting and more. Somehow "making groceries" sounds so much more creative and colorful than "grocery shopping."
I like to look in other people's shopping carts when I'm in the store. Maybe I'm missing out on a product that I should buy? This may lead to conversations about food preparation. I need a lot of time when I'm making groceries.

Another Trader Joe's Expedition

I might just start a new series of photographs "Inside Your Shopping Cart." This should prove easier than snapping photos of vanity license plates while driving!
What's in your grocery cart?  SEND ME A PHOTO!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Brrrrr-Time for Beanie

We're lucky to have beautiful, mild weather in Southern California. HOWEVER, Los Angeles is basically a desert. It is cold in the mornings and evenings. The ubiquitous beanie is a useful and portable hat to ward off the chill.
Crochet patterns for a basic beanie are plentiful. I've made "Serendipity," found on the Knots of Love website many times, in various colors. I've used yarns in striped patterns, nubby yarns for texture and added pom-poms and flowers to this hat for decoration.
I ran across a photo on someone's blog of this Robot Beanie.  There wasn't a pattern available, but I think I could successfully copy this hat, using my basic beanie pattern!  The minute I saw this cute robot, he reminded me of the dog in The Little Rascals comedies, Petey!!  So cute.

Robot Beanie

"Petey" the Dog

What have you been inspired to crochet lately?

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Free Association - Academy Awards, VPF

Grauman's Chinese Theater, 1958

I've been thinking about this Sunday's 2015 Academy Awards Ceremonies in Hollywood. Our City becomes somewhat messy during the weeks leading up to this event. Hollywood Boulevard has been closed to through-traffic for weeks. There are huge gold Oscar statue replicas all over the place. 
Then I thought about the Chinese Theater, where past Oscar ceremonies have taken place. This year's awards take place at the Dolby Theater, just behind the Chinese Theater complex. What would I be doing during the broadcast of the ceremony? Of course, I'd be knitting and/or crocheting. That lead me to think about all of the Hollywood stars who knit. There are so many photographs of stars knitting on movie sets Here are a few of my favorites. I'm sure many of the actors in the audience at the Dolby would rather be knitting!

To tie all of these thoughts together, I thought about the shape of the Chinese Theater and how great it would be to have a HAT shaped like a pagoda, to mimic this famous landmark! I've made a few hats in my day, including this pagoda-style hat for Larry's Mardi Gras outfit one year:
Knit and Crochet Pagoda Mardi Gras Hat

I took my search a step further and found this FANTASTIC pattern from the 1930's! I may just attempt to crochet this stunner during the long, arduous Academy Awards telecast this Sunday.  Won't you join me in this Crochet-A-Long?

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

#tbt Throw Back Thursday, 1941

Culver City Hotel, July, 1941.  My Dad, George, is in the center, back row, next to the blue dot. He does not look thrilled to be in this photo. This was the first group of men to be drafted into the Army from Los Angeles in 1941. Dad was just 22 years old. Luckily, he remained safe during World War II and rose to the rank of Major in the U.S. Army.
George's mother, my grandmother, Ethel was unusually good at cataloging photos and labeling them, along with newspaper articles about her family.
The Santa Monica Evening Outlook got a few middle initials wrong in this blurb, below, but at least we still have it! That's my Dad's handwriting under the article  Thank you Grandma Ethel for saving everything and instilling your love of history and preservation in your son...and grand daughter!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015


CROCHETED FLOWERS.  This is the subject of a mini-class that I'm giving to my Knit and/or Crochet Guild next month. My friends and co-Guild members, Lenora and Peggy are teaching non-crocheters how to make an easy flower. I have the task of teaching a more complicated flower to people who already know how to crochet.
There are so many uses for crocheted flowers. Here's a list I plan to present to our Guild members:
Flowers can adorn a headband/bandeaux; hat band; applique for clothing, handbag, guest towels, pillow cases, linen or tote; join many flowers to create a shawl or garment; magnet topper; decorations, think Christmas tree or garland; drink coasters; pencil or pen toppers; center for potholders, washcloths, afghan squares; hair accessories; glue them around a picture frame; sachet bags; napkin rings and my friend, Eve reminded me about Yarn-Bombing possibilities!!
Basically, I make the same flower over and over.  It's a sculptural flower that can be made puffy and more puffy by adding more rows of puffs or popcorns.  I also make a petal style flower for larger displays. The look of the flower changes depending on the weight and texture of your yarn and the size of your hook. Once you learn how to make one flower, most of the patterns for other flowers are similar.  Here are a few examples:

Baby Sock Flowers

Bouquet of Flowers

Solid-color textural flower, hat adornment (Model: Natalie of Hollywood)


Beverage Coasters

A Tea Cozy is a hat with more holes

Flower Topper for Derby

Henny Penny Potholder with Flower Adornment

Flowers on the end of a scarf

Cotton Tawashi Flowers
Flowers joined to form a shawl

NOW, I just have to edit and refine my flower patterns and turn them into legible handouts!

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine Celebration

We had a very enjoyable Valentine's Eve and Day! We decided to go out to dinner on the 13th, to avoid the crowds and general hub-bub of Valentine's restaurant patrons. We do not usually make a fuss about this Hallmark day. We just go out to eat at a place that we both like. This year we chose to dine at Papa Cristo's Greek Cafe, located inside their Greek market in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter, Pico and Normandie. The Cafe was very festive for the holiday. We saw a few couples that we knew and had a delicious dinner.

Octopodakia - Grilled baby octopus appetizer

Rack of Lamb w/potatoes, Greek salad

Baklava – with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce
Steve, Krista and Larry @ Papa Cristo's

The next day, Saturday, was actually Valentine's Day. I zoomed up to the Farmers Market to meet with my once-a-month Saturday WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch Group. Suzette knitted adorable little roses for each of us!!

Suzette's Roses

The Dot Sisters, Nancy and Jenna, with their tiny rose corsages

Another tradition that Larry and I have been maintaining for the past 23 years is that we create a Valentine's Day card for each other. This has become easier over the years with the advent of Photoshop and computer graphics! I just snapped a photo of some of the characters on our dresser. Larry went all out and created a combo-Valentine/Mardi Gras card for me. The mask over his face is actually an enlarged version of a beautiful costume jewelry pin he gave me for the occasion. What a Sweetie Pie!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery