Friday, November 30, 2018


Menorahs and other Judaica at an estate sale

This Sunday at sundown is the beginning of Chanukah.  We will light the menorah and sing a few songs. Chanukah is all about the oil. Here's a quick description why: The festival of Chanukah was established to commemorate the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over the Greek-Syrians and the re-dedication of the Second Temple, which had been desecrated by the Greek-Syrians, to the worship of God. Thus, Chanukah is a joyous celebration of Jewish national survival and religious freedom. When the Jews finished cleaning the temple for re-dedication, they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid, which is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished. The Festival of the Lights, Chanukah, lasts for eight days to commemorate the miracle of the oil. The word Chanukah means "re-dedication". Only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough for a single day. The oil lamp was filled and lit. Then a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil stayed lit not for one day, but for eight days.
Chanukah, 1956. Hollywood w/ Sasha, Ellen, Denny and Kenny

In my family, since we are of Eastern European / Ashkenazi origin, we fry potato pancakes or latkes Jews with heritage from the Mediterranean or Sephardic countries also enjoy a dessert called Sufganiyot, which are doughnuts (usually filled with jelly), fried in oil. See? It's all about the miracle of the oil!
Here is my Mom's basic latke recipe:

Roz's Latkes
1 pound potatoes, peeled and grated (squeeze starch liquid from potatoes)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons matzoh meal
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Oil for frying

Mix everything together and then drop the potato mixture by spoonfuls into hot oil.  Pat down into cake.  Fry on both sides until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels before serving with applesauce and sour cream.
I make the same basic latke recipe as Mom.  HOWEVER, over the years in the need to simplify this process, I've opted for frozen hash-browns (defrosted) instead of boiling, peeling, grinding and draining.  This cuts out about one hour of preparation.  Also, those lovely defrosted hash browns never turn purple!  Preservatives.  Yum.
Chanukah, 1962. Beverlywood with Bloom and Schaeffer Cousins

My good friend, Rhoda makes her latkes more multi-cultural.  Instead of matzoh meal or flour, she adds Aunt Jemima's powdered pancake mix to the potato mixture.  You should see those puppies rise while frying!  Brilliant. 
However you celebrate, be joyful, grateful and don't forget to remember the Miracle of the Oil for the Festival of Lights!
To celebrate the season, I recorded this song last year. Here's Cali Rose's arrangement of the same song!

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Monday, November 26, 2018


Larry and I are both obsessed with our collections. He collects, records, books, auto parts, printed ephemera, guitars and more. I collect yarn, costume jewelry, Vera scarves, mid-century modern pottery, eyeglass frames, handbags, vintage knitting and crochet magazines and more yarn. When I saw that the L.A. Central Library was having an exhibit called "21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story," I was fascinated!

Here are the titles of various collections:
Paper Airplanes
Photographs of Men in Rows
Gay Bar Matchbooks
Straw Horses
Asphalt Museum
Birds Eggs and Nests
Pencil Collages
Doll Hats
Assemblage Furniture
A bench made from pop-top tabs by Clare Graham

Vintage typewriter from Tom Hanks' collection

Walnut Elephant
Prison Landscape Portraits
Bullfighting Collection
Faded Photographs Of
Candy Wrapper Museum
African American Museum of Miniatures
Envelope Linings
"A Crimson Grail" Music
"Happily Ever After" Stories
Slot Machine Music
Larry, photographing a collection of lit globes!

This exhibit is in the large Getty exhibit room on the second floor. It's always wonderful visiting the Downtown Public Library. In fact, I'm reading Susan Orlean's "The Library Book" right now! It's a beautiful building, chock full of incredible books and collections.
This exhibit continues through January 27th. Next time you're downtown, be sure to catch it. Who knows? You may already have the makings of a collection at your house worthy of public display!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thanksgiving Potluck?

Easy Turkey-Vegie Tray to accompany the classic onion soup dip
Are you attending a Thanksgiving potluck dinner? Are your friends making all of the standard dishes? Here are a few suggestions that will be sure to make you popular at the party!

You can figure out the vegie tray pictured above. Just cut up cucumbers, green onions, green, red and yellow peppers, zucchini, carrots, celery, asparagus and arrange them to form a turkey! SO CUTE! Serve it alongside the classic onion soup dip and you'll be a hit!
Jellied Cranberry Mold

My co-worker Rochelle gave me this recipe years ago. It's a Jellied Cranberry Mold. Rochelle leaves the jello concoction in the bowl for easy serving. It's super delicious! Yes, I know, there's usually cranberry sauce on the table, but this is a special treat!

Rochelle's Jelled Cranberry Mold
1 large box cherry Jello
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 can crushed pineapple (blue can with syrup)
1 cup chopped walnuts, if desired
Dissolve the Jello in 2 cups boiling (or very hot) water. Add all the other ingredients, mix well and chill...that's it!
Rochelle's tip: She usually switches bowls after dissolving the Jello since it leaves a grainy coating on the bowl. Next, she adds the cranberry sauce and uses a fork or spoon to really mash it up well (so you don't get chunks of cranberry sauce)...then the crushed pineapple and lastly the nuts.
Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies
Sure, there will be pumpkin pie, pecan pie, etc. Sometimes, after the big turkey dinner, all you really want is a cookie. Perky Turkey Cookies are the BEST and so festive too!  My ex-co-worker, Kevin used to bring these to our office Thanksgiving potluck. He never gave me the recipe, but, Here's my interpretation of Kevin's recipe:

Get some of that Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough in the deli aisle of your know, the kind you slice down. In the cake section, pick up some squeezable cake frosting in white, orange and black. You'll find candy corn in the candy aisle. Bake the cookies according to package directions. Smoosh a bit of white frosting on the top curve of the cookie, smash in the candy corns. Draw in the eyes, beak and turkey gobbler neck with the proper color of frosting! Done! Proudly serve your Perky Turkey Sugar Cookies!
Crocheted Turkey Pilgrim Scrubbie

Don't forget the table decorations! What hostess wouldn't be delighted with a few of these adorable crochet turkeys thrown around the tables? It's a SCRUBBIE! You can use these to clean up and wash the dishes after dinner!
If all else fails, just throw a few of these in the oven and call it a feast!

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Early Thanksgiving Celebrations

Every year since I was a tiny girl, my Aunt Mae and Uncle Marvin have hosted our family Thanksgiving. Aunt Mae is my Mother's older sister. Here we are in 1956 at Mae's and Marvin's duplex on Spalding Drive in Beverly Hills. Those old duplexes had huge dining rooms!
At the head of the table, Grandpa Sam, Aunt Mae (standing), Grandma Freda, Cousin Marilyn, Cousin Janet, Uncle Bob, Aunt Celia, Mom (closest to the camera), Me, Cousin Carolyn
After Dinner. L-R, Ken, George, Grandpa Sam, Bob
Our family has grown substantially over the years. For about 15 years, our group of about 25 has convened at the Del Rey Yacht Club. This year, we're back at home! We will be at Cousin Carolyn's and John's home in Valencia. It might be crowded, but I'm really looking forward to a home-cooked Thanksgiving. Of course, we will have our deli-style appetizers before the traditional meal. There will be chopped liver, herring, dip and chips and more. We may even have LEFTOVERS this year! Woo Hoo!
Here's most of our LARGE family in 2017
I'm grateful that we'll be together again this year.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018


Triangles Baby Blanket

One year later, and my cousin Gena sent me the cutest photo of her little girl, Edie and the baby blanket that I crocheted for her. I'm always rewarded when I see that the things I make for family and friends are put to good use!
Edie, making good use of her blanket!
That Edie is one adorable kid! I LOVE those chubby cheeks! Edie definitely looks like her Mom Gena, Grandpa Andy and Great Grandma Metta!
Edie as a baby with her Auntie Jo
A reminder to Mom Gena...the blanket is machine washable and dryer safe!  I'm working on a few more cuddly blankies right now!

I used this tutorial to crochet the triangle squares. The blanket is crocheted with Red Heart "With Love" Yarn, worsted weight+, crochet hook size "I." I added the Chocolate Box Granny stitch around the edge of the blanket. 

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Pray for Rain!

FIRES! California is a mess! Luckily, we are safe where we live, however the skies have been might smokey lately. I have relatives who are fighting for their homes. Pray for rain.

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Thursday, November 08, 2018

Charity Crochet

It’s time to crochet this blanket.  #crochet #grannysquares #grannytriangles 
#hearts #guncontrol #stopkillinginnocentpeople #thousandoaks #borderlinebar
This blanket is good too!

I don't have patterns for either of these blankets, but they are easy enough to figure out just by looking at the photographs. This triangle square tutorial may be helpful too. 
I love to crochet and knit. I'm a fairly fast crocheter, especially with a quick granny square pattern. I've made many blankets for donation. I've made preemie baby hats, chemo caps, red scarves for foster children and more. These patterns caught my eye because of their simple message. We need more heart in this world.
Scroll down and check out these websites if you'd like to contribute. 

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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

The Red Scarf Project

Thanks to my co-workers Rosalyn, Cameron and Nicole for modeling this year's Red Scarves!
Time to root through your stash for red, burgundy, cherry or russet yarn! Even though we're gearing up for holiday knitting and crocheting, let's take some time to help out The Foster Care to Success Organization. They are collecting red scarves for their project! Years ago, my friend, Photographer, Gale Zucker told me about this wonderful group. Gale photographed the models for the advertisement below. I thought this would be a good time to think about others and help out this community of deserving students.
Above Photos by Gale Zucker
From the website:  We launched a unique initiative to warm the hearts (and necks) of college-bound foster youth. We began taking donations of handmade red scarves to put into our Valentine's Day Care Packages for young adults who have left the foster care system.
Here are the scarf guidelines.
It's easy. All you need to do is knit or crochet a soft red scarf, 5-8 inches wide and about 60 inches long. A uni-sex style is best...not too lacy or frilly. Include washing instructions and maybe a note of encouragement to the student. Remember, the scarf does not have to be solid red. It can be a shade of red (burgundy, cherry, russet, stripes with red, etc.)
Mail the scarf or scarves to: 
Foster Care to Success
Red Scarf Project
23811 Chagrin Blvd., Suite 210
Cleveland, OH 44122

The Organization only collects scarves from September 1st through December 15th because of storage limitations. You have plenty of time to complete your scarf! If you can't decide on a pattern, there are a few suggested patterns on the website. Get going! You'll feel good and so will the student! It's a win-win project!
I crocheted 3 scarves this year. 2 red, 1 burgundy!
I bought a skein of this gorgeous red yarn at the recent Stitches West from the Needlepoints West booth. I think I have time to make one more scarf!
One more proposed scarf!
If you live near me, give me your scarf by December 10th and I'll mail it for you!

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Thursday, November 01, 2018

In Progress

I usually have about two or three (or ten) yarny projects going at the same time. Sometimes, I'll be all gung-ho about a project and start, get half-way finished and then lose interest. Maybe I'm stuck at a certain stitch, size of the garment, whatever. There are more than a few tote bags in my workroom sitting with half-finished pieces. 
Right now, I have three things that I'm working on in rotation. If a project is sitting near the TV, then you'll know that I'm still interested.
I've been actively crocheting chemo caps for my cousin's cancer patients at the UC San Francisco hospital for years. Many of my fellow knitters and crocheters have donated tons of hats. Here are two that I finished recently:
Crocheted Chemo Caps
This is a design that I adapted over the years. I start with a circle, using front post stitches. Once the circle is large enough for a standard head-size, I stop increasing and use the granite stitch for the rest of the hat. Sometimes I add a colorful pom-pom, flower or twisty pieces to the top of the hat. This is a great way to use up various half-skeins of soft acrylic yarn.
Wollhaus' "Mira" Slip-Over

Over the summer I started this slip-over sweater I saw on the Wollhaus Yarn Shop website. It's called "Mira" by Elizabeth Smith. I decided to make it into a warmer sweater, using blue worsted weight acrylic and making the sleeves long. I'm at the sleeves now and hope to finish by the time the weather gets cooler in Los Angeles.
Working on the sleeves of my "Mira" Sweater
Every Saturday afternoon I meet up with the Ocean Park Fiber Artists at The Coffee Bean in Santa Monica. One of the members is my ol' yarny friend, Barbara Schwartz. I met Barbara when she used to attend our West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch meetings. Barbara uses the MOST beautiful yarn in her projects. She has made a number of simple ponchos that consist of a shawl-like straight piece, joined along the top edge to form a neck opening. The basic size of of this rectangular piece is 22" x 48".
Barbara's Rectangular Ponchos
I have two huge skeins of Kauni Wool that I've been hanging onto for YEARS. The colors used to work with my brown hair...that's how long I've had the yarn! Luckily, there are strips of a taupe-gray color in this yarn too, so it will work with my now SILVER hair! I decided to use Barbara's formula for a poncho and crochet one, using my favorite filet stitch taken from THIS blanket pattern. This will be a long-term project because I'm using a rather small crochet hook with thin yarn.
The beginning of my "Barbara" Poncho
In addition to all of the above, I just finished three red scarves for the Red Scarf Project!

I'm also thinking about holiday gifts. I usually make something small each year for the KnitGrrlz. I'll never top THIS project, but I do have something fun in mind!
How many projects do you have on the needles and/or hook right now?

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery