Friday, September 30, 2016

Port Townsend Ukulele Festival

Fort Worden State Park

Thursday was our first day at the Festival. Hundreds of students and teachers were milling around Fort Worden in Port Townsend. Leah gave me a mini-driving tour of the grounds and showed me where our classes would be held. We each had chosen a different class for the morning session. I was in a class taught by Craig Chee about the theory behind soloing during a jam session. Craig is a wonderful teacher and made this mysterious process understandable! I was too busy trying to learn new uke tricks yesterday, so I didn't take many photos, but I did manage to snap a picture of each of my teachers.
Craig Chee, explaining a few basics of soloing
For the late morning session I met up with Leah for Sarah Maisel's "Doo Wop Till You Drop" class. I needed a breather after all of that music theory in Craig's class. Sarah ran through basic chord progressions that can be used for many styles of songs, including Doo Wop, Rock 'n Roll, Pop and Jazz. This was a very inspiring session!

Sarah Maisel
Leah and I had lunch in the Commons on the grounds of Fort Worden. It's always fun meeting up with people from previous classes and talking about our uke experiences. During lunch break there are other things to see. There's a mini music store, a lounge for people to jam and a bulletin board set up with other things happening during the day.
Our third and last class of the day was with Gerald Ross called "Intro to Swing Ukulele." This class was challenging, but definitely worthwhile. We'll be taking part two and part three of this class for the remainder of the Festival. 
Gerald Ross demonstrating the lap steel guitar

We have other "drop-in" classes scheduled for Friday and Saturday. There are teacher concerts tonight and Saturday. All-in-all, this is one great festival!
Original Ukulele Applique Art by Kathleen

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

All Around the Town

Courthouse, Port Townsend, Washington

Today, Leah and Nancy gave us the overview tour of Port Townsend. We are lucky enough to have spectacular weather! The sun is shining, the air is cool and the views across the bay are magnificent. As we drove around town, checking out the Victorian architecture, Leah and Nancy gave us a short history of the town. Check out a few details HERE.
Some of the buildings and homes in the area have been refurbished to their original status. The downtown area is full of historic buildings. Usually, the date of the building is located on the outside of the structure.
We shopped, had lunch, shopped some more and then had a lovely tea break! TWO yarn shops in town! There may have been some souvenir yarn involved!
Downtown stores and restaurants

Thanks, Nancy and Leah for showing us around and being such excellent ambassadors to the beautiful town of Port Townsend!
Nancy and Leah

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Driving, Driving, Driving

Driving through the Forest

We've been driving and driving...through beautiful scenery...Oregon coastline, Washington coastline, cute little beach towns, pine forests, over expansive bridges. We're finally in Port Townsend, Washington! It's really beautiful here. So far, the weather is perfect.
When we got to town we drove around a bit and stopped by Fort Worden, the site of our upcoming Ukulele Festival. It's quite a nice campus!
Fort Worden
After driving up to Leah's and Nancy's house, we took a quick tour of the area and then settled down to cocktails and dinner! Both were divine. Nancy and Leah KNOW how to entertain! The sunsets here are AMAZING!
The View from the Living Room
Tomorrow, Leah and Nancy are taking us on a tour of the town. In the evening, Leah and I will attend the orientation presentation for the Ukulele Festival. This is going to be a great few days!

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Sunday, September 25, 2016


After one short day in Sacramento, we started driving toward the Oregon border. We ended up staying in Red Bluff one night, the gateway to Lassen National Park
On the way, we saw beautiful Mount Shasta.
We followed the Western Exterminator Guy for awhile too!
Ashland Springs Hotel, Oregon (1925)

We finally made it to Ashland, Oregon, the home of the Shakespeare Festival. We had a very nice lunch at Larks Restaurant which is part of the Ashland Springs Hotel, a VERY tall building for the area! The main drag is quaint and old-timey. The shops and restaurants remind me of the way Westwood Village was in the early 1970s...kinda' bohemian and artsy.
We headed onward to the Oregon border and made it over to the coast by around 5pm. We stayed the night in Bandon. It feels so great to have cool weather and ocean breezes! We are making our way up the coast toward Port Townsend!

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Puzzle Town

We call it Puzzle Town. Really, it is known as Park La Brea Towers (and Garden Apartments). Wikipedia explains the history of this humongous development best:
Park La Brea (SpanishLa Brea - The tar, after the nearby La Brea Tar Pits) is a sprawling apartment complex in the Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles, California. With 4,255 units located in eighteen 13-story towers and thirty-one 2-story "garden apartment buildings", it is the largest housing development in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River.[1] It sits on 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land with numerous lawns.
After the arrival of the Spanish in the 1780s and the displacement of the area's indigenous population, most of the area that is now Park La Brea became part of the Rancho La Brea land grant, and remained largely devoted to agriculture and petroleum production well into the 20th century. The growth of Hollywood and the Miracle Mile made the adjacent areas desirable centers for residential development in the 1920s, but the mid-rise apartment towers that give the district its current name were built later, between 1944 and 1948.
Park La Brea represents something of a historical anomaly, having been built at a time when most visions of Los Angeles' development were dominated by low-rise tracts of single-family houses along freeway corridors. As the towers are relatively isolated from the rest of the Miracle Mile — set far back from major thoroughfares in a nod to Le Corbusier, they developed a reputation as "the projects", since they are reminiscent of such notorious housing developments as Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes and New York's Queensbridge. The street layout was created in a masonic pattern as a reference to the masonic heritage of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, which built the complex toward the end of World War II and immediately thereafter. After a period of decline in the 1970s and 1980s, the complex was refurbished in the early 1990s.
The Park La Brea townhouses were designed by Leonard Schultz & Son (New York) with associate architect Earl T. Heitschmidt in 1941. The style of the architecture has been described as Modern Colonial. The Park La Brea Towers were designed by Leonard Schultz Associates with consulting architects Stanton + Kaufmann in 1948. Inspired by the innovative housing of Le Corbusier in Paris, this architectural team set out to create innovative multifamily housing. Their plans included square-block sized formations of town houses surrounding shared common green space. The combined shared lawn spaces creates both a large courtyard and tree-dappled open space.
The Landmark Towers, in a revolutionary "X" structure with a unique placement, became icons of the Los Angeles skyline. The ingeniously designed plan ensured that every unit would enjoy expansive views.
I have had friends over the years who have resided here. I remember the OLD style apartments with stainless steel drainboards in the kitchen and wood parquet floors. My Uncle's father-in-law was the original tile distributor for this development during it's construction during the 1940s. Most of the apartments have been remodeled and refurbished since then and very few of the original elements remain.
Park La Brea is a calm environment compared to the area just outside its gates, but it's still a confusing Puzzle Town if you're trying to find someone's apartment!

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Road Projects

Just before a trip, I must give careful consideration as to which yarny project to take along with me. Shall I finish a WIP (Work In Progress), start something new, knit or crochet? These are important questions for the crocheter and/or knitter on the go. Since we're driving and not flying, I can take a few more selections with me.
I'm still working on my Noro-Brigo Cardigan. I know I'll love this cardi when it's done, but it's at the point now where I have to keep trying it on to see if the length is correct. NOT good for car knitting.
The Noro-Brigo Cardigan, WIP
The El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Guild has challenged it's members with a contest. It's called the Two-Ball Challenge. The Guild supplies us with two balls of worsted weight wool. One color is a neutral, the other color is brighter. We are allowed to add just ONE more ball of yarn to the mix and come up with a finished product. I figured, in order to get more colors to use, I'd add a ball of self-striping yarn. Lion Brand just came out with self-striping yarn in multiple colors. The yardage is huge, enough for one entire shawl. It's called "Shawl in a Ball." I'm adding this skein to my project and we'll see what I can come up with. I have an idea of what I'm going to crochet. I plan on working on this project while on vacation.
The Two-Ball Challenge with my extra ball of glitz!
I know I'll want to work on something else while on the road. I picked up two more skeins of "Shawl in a Ball" yarn in turquoise tones. I plan on making a modular, L-shaped Ruana-type shawl with this yarn.
Yarn for the L-Shaped, Modular Shawl
Northern California, Oregon and Washington are all yarny states. I'm sure there will be a bit of yarn shopping along the way!

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Road Trip

For the next few days Larry and I are preparing for our grand road trip. Final destination - Port Townsend, Washington. Our friends, Leah and Nancy live in Port Townsend. Leah and I will be attending the Port Townsend Ukulele Festival. I look forward to learning some new uke tricks!
We plan to take our time traveling north. First stop is Sacramento. I love traveling by car. It's always great to stop and view all roadside highlights! Let me know if you have any must-sees for us along the way.
Our lovely neighbors on BOTH sides of our house will be looking after the estate so we can be carefree and enjoy our trip!
Blogging will be spotty for the next few weeks, but check in with me on Facebook for updates!
We're not in Los Angeles anymore!

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Friday, September 16, 2016


"Autumn Maple Leaves," photo by Anna Hergert

There is a very slight chill in the air. What? Could this be the start of autumn? It was actually kinda' cool this morning in Los Angeles, 65 degrees. However, the weather warmed up by noon to about 77 degrees on the Westside of L.A. This weekend, it's supposed to be up in the 80's and 90's again. I'm hoping that this will not be true. I'm so ready for fall!
There are a few Fall Festivals around the Los Angeles area. One that comes to mind is at The Original Farmers Market, 3rd and Fairfax. The Market staff loads in some bales of hay, pumpkins and some goats for the festivities. The whole Market is usually decorated in fall colors with fake leaves on the umbrellas. Sometimes an old-timey band is featured. We're really not known in Los Angeles for a big change in weather during autumn. Sigh.
Apparently, in the past, various philanthropic groups celebrated fall by holding fashion shows. Behold:
1958, Valley Times Collection. Photo by William Wide
The photo caption dated November 4, 1958 reads, "Fanciful arrangements displayed by, (L-R) Mmes. Lawrence Samuels, Harold Feinberg and Morley Gordon will grace tables at fall fashion luncheon of Encino B'nai B'rith Women, planned at the Sportsmen's Lodge."

It seems that the Sportsmen's Lodge was THE place to hold fashion shows for Jews and Catholics, alike! Check out this photo:
1961, Valley Times Collection.
The photo caption dated November 4, 1961 reads, "Mrs. Robert Knippel, President of Our Lady of Grace Altar and Rosary Society, and Mrs. Ray Whittaker display a poster describing the group's fashion show luncheon to be held November 11th at the Sportsmen's Lodge. Proceeds will benefit the church's building fund."

Have a wonderful weekend and get ready for autumn!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

My New Stitch 'n Bitch Group

Ingrato Crochet Artists, Chile

One of my international fiber friends, Prudence Mapstone, posted this amazing VIDEO from crocheters in Chile. The Facebook name of this person/group is Ingrato. All of the information on this page is in Spanish, but I can kind of figure out that this is a creative group of crocheters that like to make masks. The translated version of the video description is:
"New monsters wandering around the city were seen this time in Santa Lucia Hill using their artifact of manual infection with which, together with an strange yarn material, they distort the structure of human beings creating monsters with strange, disgusting appearances ."
Also, "The face, as the most important part of human communication , the mirror of the soul, had suddenly been deleted ."
From Ingrato's FB page: "Today concludes the first workshop of fabric of masks. I feel complete and happy after seeing the results of l@s chiquill@s. I hope to be able to do more of these workshops and meeting people full of creativity."
I want to go to one of Ingrato's workshops!! Imagine a group of us at The Coffee Bean in Santa Monica or at the Original Farmers Market in WeHo, wearing these fantastic hat/masks and knitting and/or crocheting as usual? Just thinkin' that this may be a good Halloween Costume for our annual Stitch 'n Witch

Check out the INGRATO PHOTO PAGE for more astonishing crocheters!
INGRATO!  One day, this will be me.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Astonishing Color

I needed a jolt of color on Sunday, so I drove myself over to the Bauer Pottery Showroom. Bauer is in an industrial area of Atwater, just on the border of Glendale.  After driving down San Fernando Road, you turn off on a street called Rosslyn.  The street / alley looks like this:

The castle-like mausoleums can be seen from 
Rosslyn Street

If you miss the street, look for the Bauer signs and follow the arrows.  On Sundays, there  is some sort of church luncheon on this street. Usually, there are long tables of people eating, kids in the street playing and some music. This celebration looks out of place in this alley!

Follow the signs to Bauer
After making a sharp left turn down yet another alley, you'll see the entrance to the showroom. Just park along the chain link fence.

Once inside, your senses will be shocked. The vivid colors, the sensuous shapes of the pottery, the brilliant shiny-ness of it all!  Oh My! There's usually some sort of soft music playing. Sunlight streams through the skylights. I just walk around slowly, taking it all in. Sigh.

I would like to live here, please.

Oooo...look at that beautiful blue and butter yellow!

I always see new colors and a few new shapes.  Look at that beautiful BUTTERSCOTCH color, above! It's back for a limited time.  I ended up purchasing a few more Russel Wright salad plates for my collection and a small Bauer bowl in Poppy Red for the living room.
Poppy Red Bauer
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Monday, September 12, 2016

A Very Yarny Day

WeHo SnB, Second Saturdays, 10 am to Noon

Saturday was a very yarny day for me. I met up with our once-a-month-Saturday WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch at the Original Farmers Market at 10am. I like this group! Many of the Thursday night regulars join us when they can, but usually the Saturday group is a completely different crowd. There were about six or seven of us there last Saturday. I photographed everyone's projects in process:
Meri is almost done with this shawl

Jean is working on a slipover

We meet in the upstairs dining area at The F. Market
Zoe's Coral Shawl is dreamy

Vickie just started a cotton market bag

Suzette knit a darling iPhone case

I'm still working on my Noro-Brigo Cardigan

After a few errands and lunch, my next yarny Saturday stop was The Coffee Bean in Santa Monica on Ocean Park Boulevard. This group used to meet at the Fairview Branch Library in SM, but we've switched to The Bean. We had a lot of discussion about a new name for our group. The Fairview Knitters just will NOT do any longer. After much conversation, the name Ocean Park Fiber Artists was settled on. 

Considering we practice knitting, crochet, weaving and spinning, we thought it would be good to generalize our skills into the term "fiber art."  Check our Ravelry thread for all of the other suggestions!
Here are some of the projects that the OP Fiber Artists are working on:
In addition to knitting, Ana creates beautiful shawl pins

Karen is crocheting a colorful cat stuffed toy

Sherry's Noro Sock Yarn Shawl

Barbara's Tunisian Crochet Cardigan

Bebe's Windsock Scarf

Marge's Scarf

Marian's Scarf

Jamie just started a new shawl

Lauren is working on a series of knitted white lace squares

I LOVE my knitting groups! They're so inspirational.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery