Friday, August 22, 2014

Vintage Photo Friday

I have renewed interest in playing my ukulele.  Our class yesterday was excellent.  I will practice this weekend!
While perusing the L.A. Public Library Photo Archives for cool uke photos, I came upon this one from The Valley Times, 1963.  The caption reads: 
"Burbank Junior Woman's Club members get in the mood for their 'Hawaiian Hootenanny' to be held at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Burbank home of Mr. and Mrs. Angelo Costanzo. From left are Mmes. Robert Henderson, Costanzo, the hostess, and Jean Gowdy, event chairman. Luau activities will include swimming, dancing, games and prizes. Mrs. Henderson is reservation chairman."
The Valley Times, 1963.  Photo by Larry Leach
This photo from 1963 looks suspiciously like The Ukulele Ladies in 2013!  It's just as much fun playing the uke now as it was 50 years ago!  Go out and buy a uke, take a class, learn from the internet.  Do it now!!  You will not be sorry!
The Music Center, 2013.  Natalie, Mary Jo and Brit.  Photo by me.
It might be time to schedule a Hawaiian Hootenanny, Ukulele Ladies!

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Submarine is Cruising

Maria, Miriam and Christina

Today was our first lunch-time Beatles ukulele lesson.  Our teacher, Jon Lee, is a patient and excellent teacher.  I've attended many music classes over the years and I can just tell that he will be thorough.  In our first class there were six students.  Two were absent.  This is a perfect amount of students for one teacher.  We had some newbies to all stringed instruments and a few students with more experience.  We warmed up with some uke finger exercises, learned some chords and dove right into "Yellow Submarine."  Everyone kept up!  It was a great lesson.
Our teacher, Jon
I can't wait to see what other Beatles songs we'll be learning!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Texture:  The visual and especially tactile quality of a surface.  I see different textures all over the City!
East Hollywood


Mid-City L.A.

Mid-City L.A.

Miracle Mile


Miracle Mile

Yarny Design

Texture and design are what makes our life in the City interesting.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's Hot. We Need Tees!

The weather in Los Angeles is getting progressively hotter.  We barely had a winter last year.  It will be summer weather way into October, I'm sure.  When you're a yarn-a-holic, this can be problematic.  I love the feel of knitting and/or crocheting with fine merino wool.  No matter how fine the wool is, it's hot to wear.  I could make the laciest wool garment, full of holes and it would still be uncomfortable to wear in L.A. most of the year.
Believe it or not, cotton yarn can be heavy and warm too.  The trick is to find a yarn that breathes.  Usually, a cotton and silk blend is good.  I need to make more t-shirt style tops, loose and comfy.  I've made a couple.  My first inspiration was the tee that the president of our knit guild, Peggy, made.  I first saw Peggy's Tee a couple of years ago.  She crocheted two rectangles, sideways in a v-stitch using cotton thread doubled.  Then, she sewed the rectangles together at the shoulders and sides to make a comfy tee.

Peggy and the "Peggy Tee"
I made my own version of the Peggy Tee.  They are both comfy, but not exactly flattering.  Next time I'll make longer bell sleeves that breathe.
Ellen's Versions of the "Peggy Tee"
Many of my L.A. knitter friends have made successful tees.  The queen of knitspiration, Ana, makes tank tops and tees with ease.
Ana's Tank and Tee
Another one of my yarny inspirational friends is Lenora.  She made two crocheted tees this past summer from various publications.  Both are knock-outs!
Lenora's Ballet-Neck Tee and her Convergence Top
I saw another clever idea at the Guild meeting this past weekend from Chinda.  Chinda started knitting a scarf, got bored with it and ended up turning it into a capped-sleeve little top.  She made two scarves, joined them down the center, leaving a v-shaped neck for her head.  She also joined the sides but left side-slits at the bottom edge.  SOOOOOO cute!
Chinda's Scarf V-Neck Tee

Time to search my stash for lightweight yarn and whip up a few more tees using my friends' tops as inspiration!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Ultimate Garage Rock Band

On Saturday we went to a screening at the Egyptian Theater's Cinematheque of "Pushin' Too Hard," a documentary about the ultimate garage rock band, The Seeds.   The documentary was directed by Neil Norman and produced by Alec Palao.  After the movie there was a panel discussion hosted by Kirk Silsbee, including the director, producer and Seeds members Daryl Hooper and Jan Savage.
From the Cinematheque website: Beginning in the mid-1960s, The Seeds spread a web of sound from the Sunset Strip to the rest of the country with such anthems of teen frustration as “Pushin’ Too Hard” and “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine.” Fronted by the sneering, attitude-laden delivery of charismatic lead singer Sky Saxon, the band’s driving sound would help lay the groundwork for punk. This definitive documentary on The Seeds follows the quartet’s bizarre odyssey from rags to riches to rags again - and ultimately their rediscovery by new generations of garage-rock fans - using vintage television and concert performances, rare photos and recent interviews with all of the group’s original members, as well as fans and observers including Iggy Pop, Kim Fowley, Johnny Echols of Love and Bruce Johnston of The Beach Boys.
The flower children were out in full force, as well as a few Sky Saxon impersonators.

The documentary was excellent.  The Seeds were on TV shows, performed at  high schools and clubs and had tons of press and publicity.  There was LOTS of original footage which is what made this film so great.  We enjoyed the panel discussion after the screening, especially the insight of two of the original band members, keyboardist, Daryl Hooper and lead guitarist, Jan Savage.  If you have a chance to view this film, it will really give you an excellent window into what the scene on the Sunset Strip was like during the mid to late 1960's and early 1970's.
Jan Savage on guitar, with a fade to Sky Saxon, lead singer of The Seeds

Jan Savage, Daryl Hooper

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Friday, August 15, 2014

Vintage Photo Friday - Then and Now

In our beautiful City of Los Angeles, landmarks are razed, streets are re-named and areas are re-invented.  I have lived here my entire life and have seen many, many changes, some good, some not so good. 
8806 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills - The 1940's, LAPL Archives

I came across this photograph from the 1940s of the building located at 8806 Wilshire Boulevard at Robertson in Beverly Hills.  This multi-use building was probably built in the 1930s when much of this area was developed.  Looks like there was a dance studio, acting and singing school upstairs and a drug store and furniture store downstairs. Maruice Kosloff was an actor and producer in Los Angeles during this time.
Art Deco Details of 8806 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills

After a bit more googling, I found some L.A. Times articles about this very school and about Mr. Kosloff!

The exterior of this building has not changed very much.  THANK YOU!
8806 Wilshire Blvd., BH, Present Day, Google Pic
8806 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills - 2013, Google Pic

Now, it appears that there is a furniture store taking up the entire downstairs area and various offices upstairs at 8806 Wilshire Boulevard.  The facade of the building still reveals a handsome and intricate design.   I drive past this building all the time, but rarely take a chance to really LOOK at it.  I will WALK by this building this weekend to notice the exterior decoration.  Remember to stop as you traverse our City and really look at our architecture.  You may have missed something fascinating and historical.
Have a wonderful summer weekend, my friends!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Koigu My Koigu

Ellen's Various Koigu Yarn Creations

Everyone knows that I'm addicted to yarn.  I'm not a yarn snob.  I like all kinds of yarn, from scratchy acrylic to baby cashmere.  The possibilities are dreamy when you have a ball of yarn and either a crochet hook or knitting needles in your hands.  Yeah, I dream about yarn and patterns all the time.  My sub-conscious mind is almost always yarn-focused.
Even though I often work with acrylic yarn, my FAVORITE yarn to work with is Koigu.  Koigu is 100% premium merino wool, lightweight, soft, silky and delicious.
More Koigu Creations by Ellen
I just finished up some sleeves on a sweater, crocheting with one skein of Koigu in a beautiful multi-burgundy colorway.  Just running the yarn through my fingers as I crocheted and seeing the perfect color blobs line up in sweet little rows made my heart flutter.  Photographs do not do justice to this beautiful yarn.  The little twist in the merino gives it such life and character!  Swoon.
Koigu Sleeves
I have mostly knit and/or crocheted scarves and shawls with Koigu yarn.  I recently finished a sweater made mostly from The Sanguine Gryphon Little Traveler yarn that my friend, Beth gifted me a few years ago.  I added some Debbie Bliss Rialto to the piece and finished off with the Koigu.  

After just using Koigu for the sleeves and trim, I'm determined to go through my stash and make an entire sweater out of this glorious Koigu sweetness.  Double Swoon.
Stash Koigu

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Picnic in the Park

Will Rogers Memorial Park, Beverly Hills

Now is the perfect time of year to have a picnic in the park.  Summer is almost over, even though, here in Los Angeles, we'll be having hot weather for a few more months.  You don't have to be fussy with your picnic food.  There are so many places to pick up prepared salads and sandwiches around town, that all you have to do is add a beverage, picnic blanket and wear your sunhat and you're ready!
There are a number of City Parks around town that I enjoy.  First and foremost, Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills is my personal fave.  I also like nearby Hancock Park, near the La Brea Tar Pits.  The little park in front of the L.A. Memorial Library is sweet, but on Sundays the Library is closed, so there aren't any restroom facilities available.  The ultimate park in Los Angeles is the very huge Griffith Park.  There are quiet spots and busy areas in Griffith Park.  Another pleasant park for a picnic is the grassy area around Echo Park Lake.  You can rent a paddle boat at the Lake and see the last of the re-grown lotus blossoms.
I was perusing the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Archives for vintage picnic photos and came across the following ones.  We've been enjoying picnics in our City Parks for decades!




Will you be at the park this weekend with your picnic lunch?  Don't forget to bring a good book or your current yarny project!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

100 Years, 100 Stories

Larry and the new Roxbury Park Community Center

Last night Larry and I drove to my childhood park, Roxbury Park in Beverly Hills.  I grew up one block from the park and spent much of my youth there.  Roxbury is a sweet little park with playgrounds, tennis courts, lawn bowling, barbecues, softball diamonds, green area, walkways and a beautiful new community center.  I was worried when plans for the new community center were announced.  The plans were subsequently downsized and revised.  The new center inhabits the same space as the older center, looks very similar in design, but has been considerably updated.
Former Roxbury Park Recreation Center, built 1958
Last night, the Beverly Hills Historical Society hosted an evening with the Producer and Writer of "Beverly Hills: 100 Years, 100 Stores," Phil Savenick.  Phil gave a presentation highlighting segments of his love letter to the City of Beverly Hills on it's centennial.  Phil and his crew have recorded hundreds of hours of interviews, historical information and footage all about the background of our City.  We saw at least six segments last night, while enjoying the company of old school friends and neighbors. 
Phil Savenick, Ellen, Bob Anderson, Diana Perry Doyle
Producer, Writer Phil Savenick tells the story of Beverly Hills

Larry and I walked around the new Center and saw different meeting rooms, a snack lounge/card room, dance studio, offices, courtyards, indoor/outdoor seating areas in addition to the new multi-purpose room that served as an auditorium and reception area last night.
View from Roxbury Drive
View from the park
Dance Studio
Snack Lounge
It was a wonderful evening.  We hope to attend future Second Mondays at Roxbury Park in the months to come.  Please join us and learn about the history of 100-year old Beverly Hills.  This event is open to the public!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery