Friday, August 31, 2018

Packing, Cleaning, Clearing Out

Mom is moving on Tuesday. Larry and I have been working feverishly to pack up all of her things, including paintings, furniture, books, some dishes and more. Luckily, Roz has downsized over the years, so it hasn't been too difficult of a job. The hardest part is having Mom underfoot, asking countless questions. OK, I get it. She's moving to a new part of the City, Culver City, away from her westside home. This is a new chapter in her life.
Mom is moving to a lovely retirement apartment called Palm Court. We know other people that live there and they love it. She will have a one bedroom apartment that is light and airy. We will be able to use most of her furniture, which will make her feel comfortable. 
Palm Court, Culver City

She lives in Westwood Village now and it's hell to visit her. There is so much traffic coming and going from The Village! Palm Court's location in Culver City is much easier for us to reach. It's on Overland Avenue, between Washington and Culver, right across from the west gate at Sony Studios.  It is 4.3 miles from our house to Palm Court in Culver City and 5.9 miles from our house to Westwood Village. The mileage is not that different, but the time sitting in traffic is definitely less.
Mom is moving from Westwood to Culver City
Palm Court is really lovely. Everyone there is very nice. Mom will have 3 meals a day, entertainment, exercise classes, movies and more. Also, Palm Court is right next door to the Culver City Senior Center which offers all kinds of activities, including UKULELE lessons! Roz will probably partake of the bridge games and leave the uke playing to me!
So, if any of my senior friends are interested in moving to a swell retirement apartment, tell them Roz sent you so she can receive a referral credit!
Roz and her favorite son-in-law!

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Talkin' 'Bout Barbie

On Saturday at my Santa Monica knit group, The Ocean Park Fiber Artists, we were talking about knitting and crocheting for Barbie doll. One of our members, Barbara F. brought a recently purchased Barbie doll to our meeting. She knit a couple of outfits for this Barbie. Of course, this particular Barbie doll was for a little girl that Barbara babysits, but after knitting and crocheting some outfits, Barbara likes the doll so much, she is going to keep her!
Barbara's hand knit and crochet skirt and poncho set for Barbie. 

I remembered that I'd just seen a photo on Instagram from a crocheter in Mexico who made this incredible outfit in two different colorways.
LOVE these crocheted Barbie ensembles via Instagram
I let Barbara know that Nicky Epstein had written two pattern books for Barbie fashions, knit and crochet. I have both books and promised to bring them so Barbara could borrow some of the patterns.
Excellent pattern books!
I've knit, crocheted and sewn a few things for my Barbie dolls in the past. My first attempt was at the age of 8. My knitting was rather irregular, but colorful. After seeing my crazy skirt, Mom offered to knit Barbie a top. Thanks, Mom.
Skirt knitted by an 8-year old. Top by Mom
In the early 2000's, I dug out my Barbie case and decided to crochet a few items for the dolls. I used thin sock yarn and came up with a few colorful outfits!
Crocheted skirt set by Ellen. Pucci handbag by Darcy
Crocheted shawlette by Ellen. Skirt made from Chinese pajama bottoms by Mom.
It really is fun making teensy clothes. You can whip up an entire wardrobe in a few hours! During this turbulent time in our history, it's comforting to focus on the small stuff.

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Franciscan Desert Rose

Over 30 years ago I purchased an entire set of Franciscan Desert Rose dishes and serving platters from my friend Nancy. In addition to place settings including dinner, salad and butter plates, there were tea cups with saucers, coffee mugs, serving platters and more. Nancy was ready to move on to new designs and new dishes, so I was in luck and got a great price for my treasures! Thanks, Nancy! I'm still using my beautiful dishes.
Over the years I added more pieces to my Desert Rose Franciscan ware. This particular design offered so many extra pieces. I have a butter dish, gravy boat, salt & pepper shakers, tea pot, even a wall clock!

Desert Rose is the MOST popular pattern ever created in Franciscan Ware. It was designed around 1939. The name, "Desert Rose" was given to this design to evoke a western, but refined image. I've picked up a few pieces here and there at estate sales and at thrift shops. I can definitely see a difference in the earlier dishes versus the newer manufactured dishes. The California-made Desert Rose is very textured/embossed and the edges of the dishes are prominently scalloped. After the Franciscan designs were sold to Wedgewood, the dishes were manufactured in Britain. They are still beautiful, but the roses and leaves are less pronounced and the scalloped edges are rounder. When Larry and I were married in 1992, I registered to receive more dinner plates. These are slightly different than my earlier pieces. I have never seen the Desert Rose dishes manufactured in China. I've only seen photos and all of the texture, scallops and charm seems to be gone. Also, the colors aren't as soft and pleasing.

I don't own the Xmas tree ornament, but it's available!

There were a number of other designs besides Desert Rose. My OTHER favorite is the Apple design. They also offered the popular "Starburst" and "Del Mar" patterns which are VERY popular with the mid-century modern set.
"Apple" Franciscan Ware
"Starburst" Franciscan Ware
I have a couple of pieces of the Starburst pattern that I use for appetizers.
The Franciscan Pottery Factory, originally part of Gladding McBean Company, was on Los Feliz Boulevard in Atwater, where the Costco shopping center is now located, across the street from the Tam O' Shanter Restaurant. I remember the factory quite well. They had a "seconds" shop where I used to hunt for extra pieces. The property was sold in 1984.
Franciscan Factory, 2901 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater, Los Angeles, photo from the Franciscan Ceramics Archives
I don't use my Franciscan dishes that often. Larry complains that they're too difficult to wash well and since I do most of the cooking, Larry is our resident dishwasher in our circa 1928 kitchen. He likes using his bachelor-days set of Corelle dishes! They are "Winter Frost White" and very practical #boring. I'm thinking about a kitchen remodel that would include a modern dishwasher! Time to come into the 20th century, Ellen.
Read more about it HERE

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Not So Secret

Our neighborhood oil well, 5733 W. Pico Blvd., between Genesee and Spaulding Avenues
The not so secret oil well right near our house is called the Packard Drill Site. This fake, windowless office building was built around the well in 1968. I don't remember, but I'm guessing the well has been there for a very long time and they finally decided to cover it in 1968 so that it would blend in better with the neighborhood. 
Photo by Scott Tansey, taken from the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. Click on pick to make larger. You can see the Packard Drill Site, center left

I do remember when I moved to the area in 1992, that there were display windows showing what was going on inside the building. You could walk through the front doors and view the actual pumps. There is no roof on this fake office building, so it was always light inside. In front was a beautifully tended front lawn. There was a trumpet player who used to sit on the lawn and practice at odd times of the day and night!
About 10 years ago, we noticed homeless people setting up their tents on the lawn. Soon after that, the lawn area was fenced off and access to the building and exhibits was closed.
Packard Drill Site, 5733 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, Wilshire Vista Neighborhood

The group of oil wells is part of the Beverly Hills Oil Field which encompasses a few more sites, west of our Packard Drill site. The "building" is sound-proofed and the thick walls prevent the noxious oily smells from escaping into the neighborhood. Sometimes, during the summer, when our windows are open, we can vaguely hear the pump late at night. It's not ocean waves, but it can lull us to sleep!
Click on photo to see larger. Wells encompassing the Beverly Hills Oil Field. The well at Beverly Hills High School was recently closed

Read about more hidden oil wells nearby!

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Friday, August 17, 2018

A Great Big Beautiful Sherman Oaks

A former Sports Authority store houses this collection

One of my favorite songs to come out of the Disney machine in the 1960s was The Sherman Brothers', "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow." You can listen to Walt and the Shermans sing the song HERE
Tomorrowland was always my favorite!
Here's me and my brother, Ken on the Autopia in 1956, soon after it opened!

We viewed tomorrow and yesterday the other evening at a former Sports Authority big box store in Sherman Oaks. Collector, Richard Kraft is selling off some of his Disneyland collection. There is lots of ephemera (maps, menus, drawings, posters), signage, portions of rides, dolls, models and other props. It's a massive collection and it's open for the public to view before the auction is held. You can view the "That's From Disneyland!" collection until August 24th in Sherman Oaks. See more info here on hours and days. 
I did manage to take a few snaps between oogling all of the goodies:
Model of Disneyland
One of the MANY maps of Disneyland available
Larry and the big, neon "D" from the Disneyland Hotel
Those Indian Canoes were huge!
Here I am in one of those canoes in 1970 with my high school class mates. I'm the one with the orange dot on my head, getting splashed with water!

"Mary Poppins" flower vase

Of course, it was most exciting to see all of the tikis from The Enchanted Tiki Room! There was even a model of the Jungle Boat ride.
Enchanted Tiki Room Goodies
Jungle Boat Model

There were many photo opportunities set up, but I had to be corny and have our picture taken in the People Mover. I wouldn't mind having this in my backyard! It would make a delightful "cocktails for two" enclosure!

It really is a fun exhibit and an amazing collection! We walked through a couple of times. There is a little gift shop too. 
When we walked to the parking lot, I noticed this very Disney-like Bavarian/Victorian building right across the street. It's called the Pondella Building (1978, Thomas Knot, architect). Most of Kraft's collection would look perfect inside this building!
The Pondella Building, Sherman Oaks
If you have a chance to stop by in the next two weeks, do it! This is a fun exhibit! Who knows? Maybe you'll even be inspired to bid on some of the items!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018


Today is Annual Granny Square Day. Check Instagram for the hashtag #grannysquareday2018 to see the virtual granny square blanket!
The Virtual Granny Square Blanket

Some people do not know how to read instructions! They are ruining the virtual blanket! I read the instructions and complied. I'm all about right versus wrong. The instructions for Granny Square Day 2018 say: "Post a cropped photo of a SINGLE granny square (a 4-round granny square looks the best) to #grannysquareday2018 on August 15.  You can make more than one post but only feature a SINGLE square in each post. NO works in progress shots or pictures of blankets, please. You don't have to be the maker of the square...take a close-up photo of your grandmother's crochet! If you cannot crochet, go ahead and take a close-up of a knitted square."
The instructions seem quite clear to me, so how come people are posting photos like these?

Come on, folks! Get with the program! Talk a photo of a single square, not a diagonal project shot! 
These are the squares that I posted today. Clockwise: Willow Square; Malibu Tile Square; Classic Blue & White Granny Square; Circle in a Square

People from all over the world are posting squares. One square is more beautiful than the next! Granny squares are not only for blankets. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Granny Squares are the Building Blocks to Fashion."  Just check this link for verification!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Superior Standard

Lobby, The Standard Hotel, DTLA

On Sunday afternoon we drove downtown to see the Sparrow Mart exhibit. It's on the second level of the Standard Hotel. There has been tons of publicity about this fab exhibit of a convenience store where every single item is made from felt by artist, Lucy Sparrow! Maybe too much publicity, because there was a line around the block to get in! 
Felted grocery products by artist, Lucy Sparrow

It was super hot on Sunday. We weren't about to wait in the boiling sun, so instead we stepped into my favorite sunny hotel restaurant in Los Angeles, The 24/7 Restaurant. It's always open and always bright yellow. The sun shines in this spot even during a rainstorm! 
The 24/7 Restaurant at The Standard Hotel
We'd had a late breakfast, so all we really wanted was something cool to drink. The ginger lemonade is excellent! Dig that cool 70's yellow bar!!
Ginger Lemonade

The menus have photos of different YOUNG celebrities on the back

Even the textured wallpaper in this restaurant is perfect. Really, I could live in this room!
Textured Vinyl Wallpaper
While we were enjoying our lemonades and people-watching, this young woman sat down at the lemon yellow bar in her tight, lemon yellow sun dress! If only she was drinking a Lemontini cocktail!
Lemon Lady at the Lemon Bar, 24/7 Restaurant
I do love this building. Originally, it was home to the Superior Oil Company. It is built in the corporate moderne architectural style, 1955, Claud Beelman, architect. In 2002 the interior of the  building was completely rehabbed into The Standard Hotel by the Konig Eizenberg Architectural Firm.  
The Standard Hotel, photo courtesy of  Architectural Resources Group
I really want to make plans to re-visit The Standard for an evening with drinks in the rooftop bar and then dinner at 24/7.

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery