Thursday, March 26, 2015

#tbt Throw Back Thursday

A few years ago, my cousin Marilyn's husband, Phil gave me a disc of some old photographs that he had scanned.  They are a treasure trove of my grandparent's photos that did not make it into their picture album.  
This is my cousin Marilyn's 9th birthday party with her close friends, cousins and sister.
Top row, L-R: Myrna Dorshkind, Rita George, birthday girl Marilyn Stein, Ronnie George.  Bottom row, L-R: Kenny Bloom, humongous cake, Carolyn Stein.  Sunset Plaza, L.A., 1949

This was before I was born. My brother, Ken is in the picture, along with my cousins Myrna, Marilyn and Carolyn. Rita and Ronnie are close family friends. Ron George just retired as 27th Chief Justice of California!
Marilyn and Carolyn lived with their parents in a home up above Sunset Plaza. I do not remember that home. They must have moved when I was a baby.
That birthday cake looks awesome!
Marilyn recently celebrated her birthday this past February. Happy belated b-day, Cuz!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Seen Around Town

I'm always on the lookout for interesting items in the street.  Sometimes I spot decaying buildings in fancy neighborhoods.  I like funny signs and street art.  Los Angeles is a fascinating town!

East Culver City, soon to be gentrified, I'm sure

Silverlake, of course

El Segundo Restaurant

Larchmont Village

Joann's Craft Store, WLA

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Flower Power Workshop

Saturday, at the end of our El Segundo Slipt Stitchers meeting, Lenora, Peggy and I conducted two crochet flower workshops.  Lenora and Peggy tackled the beginning crocheters with a simple flower pattern.  I was in charge of teaching a more complex, 3-dimensional flower to the intermediate and advanced crocheters.

Easy Flower

Advanced Flower
We had lots of ladies stay for the classes.  I would estimate that more than half of our members knit more than they crochet.  To me, it was very gratifying to see so many people wanting to learn about crocheted flowers!
We have some very fast learners in our Guild.  Even though some of these flowers are slightly wonky, at least everyone grasped the concepts.  Their NEXT attempt at crochet flowers will be brilliant!
Check out Dorothy's perfect beginner's flower, below!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Saturday Night Date

Tonkatsu Ramen at Silver Lake Ramen

On Saturday, after a very successful crochet flower class at the El Segundo Slipt Stitchers Guild and lunch with my Committee Ladies, I was exhausted!
By around 6-ish, I had revived a bit.  Larry and I went on a date.  I'd been wanting to try Silverlake Ramen.  We've been to almost every ramen restaurant in the Metropolitan L.A. area.  Silverlake Ramen has been open for a couple of years and I'd heard good reviews.  

There's a real phonebooth in the parking lot!

The line was fairly short, but we were there early for a Saturday.  We waited about 20 minutes, talked to some knowledgeable people in line and checked the menu.  For an appetizer, the Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna, avocado, jalapeño and eel sauce was recommended.  It was excellent!

We both ordered the Tonkatsu Ramen (see top photo).  Larry added the special egg to his bowl.  I must say, the broth was the MOST delicious I've ever had.  It was not one bit greasy.  The pork belly was grilled on one side.  The noodles were super flavorful. Yes, this has to be one of my favorite bowls of ramen yet!
When we left the restaurant, there were tons of people waiting to get in!
Next stop....L.A. Eater recently review Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream parlor on Hillhurst in Los Feliz.  It just opened on Friday.  It was in the direction we were driving, so we passed by.  Yup.  The line was down the block.  We'll wait for the crowds to die down a bit before we go back.  I have heard marvelous things about Jeni's ice cream.
Now, we were on a quest for some ice cream.  I remembered that there was a newish place called Salt and Straw on Larchmont Blvd.  The line wasn't nearly as long as Jeni's, so we parked and walked up the block.  I always like strolling this Village street.  Many of the same stores I frequented during my Hollywood years are still there.

I had a small cone, filled with Sea Salt w/Caramel Ribbons.  Larry had a super scoop of Freckled Woodblock Chocolate.  Yes, they were both rich and delicious.  It was a perfect Saturday night date.

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Friday, March 20, 2015

Vintage Photo Friday

Our last visit to San Francisco was in 2008.  It's time to go back.  We always stop at Quantity Postcards in North Beach.  I'm not sure if this little shop is still there, but Quantity does have an online presence. 
Pearl Bates, President of Motel Managers Training School. 1987, Quantity Postcards

I've been a secretary for a 100 years.  NOW, I'm an "Executive Assistant." I still use the term "secretary," because it's so retro and descriptive. "Secretary" was phased out when more males came into the field. I like my job. I've been in the entertainment field for MANY years, so everyday is interesting and different and seemingly glamorous to the outside world. I am an important cog in this wheel we call the business of show. The secretaries of the world hold the professional community together. No matter how digitized business functions are, people still need to interact with real people to get things accomplished!
Sooooo, whenever I see official photos of secretaries doing their job, I collect them!  Pearl Bates (above) is my hero.  Her photo has graced the front of my desk for a very long time. Even though Pearl is labelled as the President of the Motel Managers Training School in South City, Texas, she's sitting at a reception-like desk.  Everything about this photo is perfect, Pearl's pink suit, her hair, the French telephone on the desk and, of course, the sentiment, "May I Help You?"  I've aspired to Pearl's excellence forever.

Food Stuffs International Visitor's Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.  Quantity Postcards

Above is another fab example of someone who loves her job! Who would not want to sit under an elongated globe of the world, circled by a ring of Food Stuffs!?!
OK, it's Friday.  Time to put my stenographer's pad away, cover up my typewriter, turn off the mimeograph machine, let the phone service know that I'm closing the office and head out for the weekend!  Have a wonderful one, my friends.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Warm Weather Projects

Warmer weather calls for light-weight yarny projects. It's not pleasant to be working on a full-sized afghan, sweater or shawl, sitting on your lap when the weather is warm! Of course, if you're making an afghan from squares or strips, that's much better.
I like to make dishcloths, spa cloths and doilies and/or place mats in warmer weather. These are smaller projects, usually in cotton or light-weight yarn that are easy to transport.
Here are three spring and summer projects that caught my eye:
The Kaleidoscope Mandala would make an excellent hot pad or one side of a potholder. This is also a good project for using up small bits of leftover fiber.
Kaleidoscope Mandala

I saw this pattern on Ravelry and was enchanted!  I admire relief decoration in a piece.  I do love how a photograph of the trees, mountains and clouds inspired this washcloth, called 3 Sisters Mountains Cloth.  The 3 Sisters Mountains are in Oregon!
3 Sisters Mountains Cloth

Inspiration for 3 Sisters Mountains Cloth

My friend, Faith, is a beekeeper.  I saw this filet crochet chart online for a Bee Trapped in Filet Netting. Multiple squares would make an excellent veil for Faith's beekeeper hat!

Bee Trapped in Filet Netting
The Bee Square could also be paired with some floral squares for a wonderful afghan or table runner!
Has Spring inspired your yarny life?


Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Screen shot from "Angel's Flight" movie.  Location:  Bunker Hill, Los Angeles

Sunday afternoon we drove to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood for a program about Bunker Hill. The Hill has changed radically over the years, from an enclave for the rich and privileged filled with Victorian style mansions to rooming houses and cheap hotels to high-rise office buildings and apartments. Here's some of the history of Bunker Hill. 

Bunker Hill was used quite a bit as a movie location, from the 1900s through the late 1960s when it was demolished and changed forever.  On Sunday, the American Cinematheque screened "Angel's Flight," a 1965 "B" movie shot on Bunker Hill, in addition to a short film about Bunker Hill and the funicular, Angel's Flight, being used as a location in the movies. Both films were preceded by a lecture and slide show about the history of the architecture and various styles of buildings of Bunker Hill.

The feature, "Angel's Flight" was a trip and a half!  You can watch the entire movie on YouTube.  The print we saw was as rough as the online print.  Even though the plot and content were highly predictable, it was great seeing all of the outdoor and background shots in and around Bunker Hill and other downtown L.A. locations.
I only vaguely remember the old Bunker Hill.  My Dad took me on the Angel's Flight railway as a child, but we rode to the top of the hill and then came right back down.  We didn't explore the Hill at all.  By the time I was there, it was a very seedy place.
As we left the theater, I kept humming the theme song from "Angel's Flight," a very mysterious tune.  Then, near the back parking lot of the Egyptian, we saw a couple of very old automobiles, reminiscent of the film we'd just seen.  

You never know what you're going to see when you're in Hollywood!

Here's another screen shot from the movie, "Angel's Flight."  This is at the bottom of the hill, at the end of the tunnel.  Very noir.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crochetin' of the Green

St. Patrick's Day really isn't a holiday I celebrate.  HOWEVER, I always like some crisp, green yarn like this Noro Silk Garden self-striping sock yarn in beautiful shades of greens and aquas!  
Happy St. Patrick's Day

The pattern is the Half Granny Square Shawl by Anastacia Zittel.  I've made this pattern MANY times and it always comes out beautifully!  
This shawlette also doubles as a "Disturbin' Turban" at Christmas-time!

Christmatized St. Patrick's Day Shawlette

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Monday, March 16, 2015


"Dragon Scales Shawl" by Karissa Browning

Since knitting the "Afternoon Tea" shawl last month, I'm inspired by lace patterns. I've knit my share of lace in the past, but have done more crochet patterns than knit ones in the last 10 years. I thought I'd choose a repetitive, grid-like lace pattern and try another shawl. The "Dragon Scales Shawl" by Karissa Browning looked like a good possibility. I read everyone's Ravelry projects page who had knit this shawl, noting discrepancies in the pattern, yarn weights, needle sizes, etc.  I was ready to knit.

I looked through my stash and found a full skein of Cascade 220 Superwash in a lovely blue color. It photographs grayish on the blog, but really, it's blue.  Look at the blue slipover that I knit for Larry a few years ago. This is the same yarn.

Larry's Blue Slipover in Cascade 220 Superwash, BLUE

I made it to Row 23 and found what I thought was a mistake. No other knitters had mentioned that on Row 23, the pattern says to K5 instead of the usual 4. I changed it to K4, since that was how the pattern was established. Another row and I was fine. THEN, the count was not coming out! Was I watching too much TV while knitting? Did my attention stray for a few stitches? I'm sure this entire description is fascinating for non-knitting readers of this blog.
Argh! I ripped out and started over. It was only 26 rows. After trying this pattern 2 more times, I gave up and went back to a marinating crochet project.
I know that I should train myself to read a lace chart. It just seams easier and more comfortable to me to read the written pattern. I'm fine with reading crochet charts. Time to hit the books and bring this pattern to WeHo Stitch 'n Bitch this week and seek the advice of the knit experts!

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Vintage Photo Friday - Coulter's

Coulter's Department Store

I never visited Coulter's Department Store, but I do remember driving by on our way to my Mother's preferred department stores, Ohrbach's and The May Company, all on Wilshire Boulevard's Miracle Mile.
The Broadway Department Store, formerly Coulter's, Miracle Mile, 1972

From Ruth Wallach’s “Miracle Mile in Los Angeles: History and Architecture:”
5600 Wilshire Blvd, S/E corner with Hauser Blvd.  This was the site of Coulter’s Department Store.  B.F. Coulter opened his dry goods store in downtown Los Angeles in 1878.  Over the years, it grew into a department store and moved to several locations in downtown.  In 1938, A.W. Ross lured Coulter’s to Miracle Mile, into a six-story Streamline Moderne building designed by Stiles O.Clements for the store.  In the 1950s, Coulter’s went through a renovation and added a second parking lot on the northwest corner of Hauser Boulevard and Eighth Street.  In the 1970s, the location became a Broadway Department store.  The building was demolished in 1980.
Coulter's, 1938.  Security Pacific National Bank Collection

Coulter's has to be one of the most photographed buildings on the Miracle Mile.  There are countless photos of it's beautiful exterior as well as a few of the interiors.  
Ladies Lingerie Department, Coulter's.  1938.  Security Pacific National Bank Collection
The Fur Salon at Coulter's.  Photo Courtesy of the Examiner
Security Pacific National Bank Collection

My own husband, Larry Underhill, photographed this site in 2005 after it had been reduced to a hole in the ground for over 20 years, just before re-development.  

Vacant lot, formerly Coulter's, next store to the Mullen and Bluett building.  2005, photo by Larry Underhill

Formerly Coulter's. 2005, photo by Larry Underhill

This location now houses a 5-story mixed-use complex with apartments and shops.  Sigh.
Vintage Miracle Mile Postcard, 1950s

Next time you're walking or driving on Wilshire Boulevard, look at the buildings.  Do they look like they were built in the 1930s?

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