Friday, January 29, 2016

Uke Time

Last week I started a ukulele workshop at Boulevard Music, taught by Cali Rose. Cali is an excellent teacher. This class is for people who already have knowledge of ukulele chords and basic strums. We're learning new songs, new arrangements and a few embellishments, licks, etc. I really like this workshop and am glad that I'm focusing on playing again.
I am constantly inspired by famous folks who played the ukulele. There are tons of photos online...

George Harrison
Marilyn Monroe

Pete Townsend

Paul McCartney

Shirley Temple

John Lennon
Spanky McFarland

Elvis Presley
Lego Man
Barack Obama
I'd say I was in good company!!  Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Winter Wonder Valentine's Scrubbie Swap

Winter Wonder Valentine's Scrubbie Swap.  That's a mouthful! Every year the Annual Dishcloth Swap group on Ravelry holds a scrubbie swap.  A scrubbie is smaller than a dishcloth, usually used to scrub pots, dishes, etc.  You could also use a scrubbie like a tawashi, to washi your face or body if the cotton isn't too rough. There's still time to knit and/or crochet three scrubbies for this swap. The due date is February 1, 2016.
I like the scrubbie swap. It's fairly easy to make 3 small scrubbies...they're like drink coasters.
Here are a few of my entries in the past:

2014 Scrubbies with a holiday theme
Tidy Scrub with handy strap, 2011
Flower Power Scrubbies, 2012

Scour Flowers with Nylon Netting Centers, 2013

This year I was determined to make a scrubbie that had some scouring capabilities. I could have used nylon netting in addition to 100% cotton, but sometimes, the netting is a bit too abrasive. I decided to let the shape of my design work for me. I came up with the "Bobble Scrubbie." I will write a pattern for it within the next month or so. It's alternating rows of 4-stitch bobbles with single crochet. It's very nubby. I like it!
Those mighty bobbles have lots of scrubbing power!

Come on! Get out your ball o' cotton, needles and/or hooks and make some scrubbies!

Here is the pattern/recipe for the Bobble Scrubbie:
With main color (MC), chain 19.
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and across. You should have 17 sc, total. Chain 1.
Row 2: sc in first 2 stitches. Make bobble (which is really a POPCORN) in 3rd stitch. (To make a popcorn,  Work 4 double crochet (dc) stitches in the same stitch. Remove hook and insert your hook from front to back under the top 2 loops of the first double crochet of the group. Grab the dropped 4th loop with your hook and pull it through the stitch, chain 1).
sc in 4th stitch.
Alternate making popcorn and sc stitches across, ending with 2 sc.
Row 3: sc across. Remember to maintain your 17 stitches. Chain 1

Alternate between Rows 2 and 3 until you have 7 popcorn rows. End with row 3. 
Finishing:  sc around the entire scrubbie, placing 3 sc stitches in each corner. This will make a neat edge around the entire piece. 
For the second and third rounds, change to a Contrasting Color (CC) and repeat the Finishing row.  Fasten off, weave in ends.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Set in L.A.

I just updated my Goodreads book list. I haven't updated it in a LONG time. I'm not surprised that most of the books on my list take place in Los Angeles. I LOVE reading about Los Angeles, any era. I also like books based on true facts. I recently started the fifth book in Martin Turnbull's series on the Garden of Allah, "Reds in the Beds." Turnbull's novels deal with real facts and locations in and around Hollywood, but star a cast of three fictional characters. I'm obsessed with all of these books!
Here are a few Los Angeles-based books I've read in the past:
Time and Location: 1920s and 1930s, Boyle Heights and beyond

Time and Location: Late 1960s-1980s Hollywood

Time & Location: Current day, Los Angeles from the Beach to DTLA

Time and Location: F. Scott Fitzgerald's Late 1930s, Los Angeles

Time and Location: 1920s-1970s, Los Angeles
Time and Location: 1941, Los Angeles
Time and Location: 1960s, Los Angeles

All of these books are readily available at your local library or via Kindle. I do read books about other locations, but my nickname is L.A. Ell, after all. I feel it is my duty to know everything I can about my fascinating City of Los Angeles! 


Monday, January 25, 2016

Oh, Those Fancy Names!

I love driving around my neighborhood and seeing the various types of architecture. Some areas are very cohesive. My immediate street is mostly Spanish Revival homes from the late 1920s and early 1930s. There are a few English Tudor Revival, Italianate and Storybook homes thrown in too. In the blocks surrounding my area, some of the larger homes or apartments from an earlier era were torn down to make room for larger apartment houses on these lots. Many of these were built in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The boxy style of apartment to which I'm referring are often called "Dingbat" apartments for the whimsical decorations and cursive writing names applied to dress up these boring boxes. There's a short description of Dingbat Apartments here
I particularly like the NAMES some of these buildings are given. My Dad was a sub-contractor during the 1950s and 1960s, supplying doors and wardrobes to many of these buildings on the westside of Los Angeles. He would always tells us, "Wait until you hear the name of THIS building! The builder is going to call it the "Mar-Lou" after his daughter, Mary and his son Louis!" Sometimes the apartments would have very fancy names like "The Spaulding Arms" or "Beverly Estates." They would use Manor, Chateau, Villa or Chez in the names. Fairly grand names for extremely modest buildings! I guess the builders thought they would rent the units faster if their buildings had grandiose titles! Here are some of my favorites:
Casa Bella! Pretty House! This was one of the apartment locations used in the movie, "Slums of Beverly Hills"
The Ogden Arms. My neighborhood
Park Sherbourne with a missing "P." Yeah, this is park-like living at it's finest!
La Traviata. Named after an opera! Santa Monica
The Troyland Apartments, near USC. I actually lived here during college! NOT exactly an enchanted building or location!
One of the most photographed dingbat apartment houses is The Hauser on Hauser Boulevard just south of Pico. When I first moved to the area, the building was white and the decorations were green. The current owner has glamorized the colors considerably, but it's still just a box with small units!
Mid-City Los Angeles
An acquaintance of ours reconditioned a couple of these apartment buildings in the Palms area of Los Angeles. He re-named them the "Crapi," a twist on the romantic location, Capri. The other building is called "Chee-Zee Apartments," really a joke on this type of branding!
Crapi Apartments, Palms
Chee-Zee Apartments, Palms

Larry and I were on our way to lunch at Normandie Bakery on Jefferson and Cochran a couple of weeks ago. I noticed the Hauser Havens Apts. Oooooo...nice cursive script, clean lines, perfect black and white striped awnings and the added feature of Rocky Mountain stone to the front of the building. A HAVEN, indeed!
Hauser Havens Apts., Mid-City Los Angeles
If you're interested in learning more about Dingbat Apartments in Southern California, there is an excellent book called "Pretty Vacant" by Clive Piercy (2003) that presents photos of these mid-20th century designs.

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Fairfax Avenue, North and South

The Fairfax Theater, Fairfax Avenue and Beverly Boulevard, 1937. Photo by Herman J. Schultheis

I like to peruse the photo archives of the Los Angeles Public Library. Once in awhile, I'll just do a search on a Los Angeles street. Today, I typed in Fairfax Avenue and came up with two interesting vintage photos.
The Fairfax Theater on North Fairfax at Beverly Boulevard has been there since 1929, architect, William C. Pennell. It closed in 2010 after heavy rains and a damaged roof made it unusable. A proposed mixed-use condominium and shops complex has been planned, but nothing has happened in the last 6 years. Today, the exterior of the theater looks much as it did in Herman J. Schultheis' photograph from 1937.
Google Maps view of the Fairfax Theater, 2015

Of course, there has been MUCH development around this corner, including CBS Television City, kitty-corner from The Fairfax, built in 1952 on the former site of Gilmore Stadium.

I found another photograph in the LAPL archives on South Fairfax, very close to where we live. This photo is dated 1950, no photographer listed. This is Fairfax Avenue, just south of Olympic Boulevard where it intersects with San Vicente Boulevard.
South Fairfax Avenue, 1950. LAPL Photo Archives

I do love the big Heinz billboard on the west side of Fairfax, the old cars and street lamps. I didn't know that there was a Von's Market on this stretch of Fairfax, address 1020 South Fairfax Avenue.  Now there is a Von's just south of here at the corner of Pico and Fairfax!  A healthcare facility has replaced a large portion of this block where the Von's once stood. However, there are still many small shops and restaurants in the original 1920s-1930s era buildings along this southern stretch of the street, which encompasses Little Ethiopia.
Google Maps view of 1020 South Fairfax Avenue, 2015
Click on any of the photos above to make larger for a better view. As you drive around Los Angeles, realize that almost every block of our City has changed. I still ask myself, "I wonder what was there before the mini-mall?" Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. 

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tough Enough for School!

We received so many dishcloths!

Last summer I participated in the Annual Dishcloth Swap on Ravelry. My friend, Eve is the moderator of this group. Over the Labor Day weekend, Eve, our neighbor Lisa and I sorted and re-grouped all of the dishcloths to send to the participating swappers.  It was a monumental job! There were dishcloths all over our dining room and beyond!
Stacks O' Cotton Dishcloths
Swap Soldiers, Eve, Lisa and Ellen
I LOVE making cotton dishcloths. This day also happened to be close to Lisa's birthday. I made a few extra cloths for Lisa. Then, I made a few more cloths for Lisa. Lisa says that her students at Palms Middle School like to use our luxurious dishcloths to clean off their whiteboards during class. This is a perfect use for the cloths. They are 100% cotton and totally washable!
Whiteboard Washcloths, Tough Enough for School!
Today Lisa sent me a photo of the Whiteboard Washcloths at work! I'm sure the cloths have been washed several times, but they are still sturdy and teen-proof!!
We love cotton washcloths. Here are some easy patterns. When you're between projects, make a washcloth!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Valentine Prep

I know, I know, it's still January and I'm thinking about Valentine's Day already! The local stores have reminded me.The day after the Christmas decorations come down, the Valentine's Day decorations go up, especially at the craft shops.
I happen to LOVE anything with a heart design, especially yarny hearts.  Here are a few heart knit and/or crochet suggestions to get you started on a spectacular Valentine for your sweetie. Click on the project title to find a link to each pattern:

Psychedelic Heart
Heart Dishcloth
Norwegian Heart Mittens
Daisy Granny Heart
Heart Hat

Get busy making those heart-shaped objects for Valentine's Day!!!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery