Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Italian Birthday Festa!

Doxies Rule at Chez Yama-Berna

Oh my! I had the most wonderful birthday party on Saturday night! I LOVE all of my birthday celebrations...brunches, lunches and dinners out with friends. However, the MOST fun b-day party of all was at Natalie's and Joe's house. Yes, this is the best Italian kitchen in all of Hollywood! Both Natalie and Joe are fabulous chefs and their hillside home is particularly perfect for a summer supper.

The KnitGrrlz and I always celebrate each other's b-days together. We missed Brit on Saturday. We started out with cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres at the bar as we watched our hosts prepare dinner in their open kitchen.
Natalie's wavy hair turned itself into devil ears!

We moved to the patio for dinner. I don't know the official Italian names for any of our repast, but we had a perfect  salad with Natalie's home-grown tomatoes, watermelon, cucumber, feta cheese and homemade focaccia. There were these divine breaded mushrooms on a bed of greens with balsamic and olive oil. Everything, of course, was accompanied by vino, vino, vino. Our main course consisted of HANDMADE PASTA with a divine sauce, greens, pine nuts, sausage and more. Handmade pasta, boys and girls. Yes, Joe made the dough, rolled it out and cut each noodle individually.  There's nothing as delicious as homemade pasta.
Click on Photo Collage to see that divine dinner up-close!

After dinner was the gift presentation.  WOW! These girls really know me. Absolutely every present was perfect for me. Nothing goes into the re-gift bin. Thank you, Sweeties!
Mary Jo gave me a Birthday Tiara. It never left my head!

Dessert was a yummy selection of Italian pastries.

Larry had given me the original Barbie Game as a gift.  Naturally, I brought the game with me for our post-dinner entertainment. Now I know why this game was in pristine condition. No one ever played it! The 4 of us slogged around and around that playing board, going shopping, baby-sitting, attending school events, acquiring boyfriends and getting rides from friendly "neighbors!" It took us FOREVER to finally achieve the goal of this game...to get to the PROM.  Mary Jo won. She is the Prom Queen! I think I may perma-plaque the colorful game board and hang it on the wall!
It was truly a wonderful celebration. I felt like a kid again at my own very special birthday party. Thank you Natalie, Joe, Darcy, Mary Jo, Larry, Sasha and Tank!

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Squaresville


When I was a kid there was a slang term going around, "L7." If you put your fingers together in a certain way, forming an "L" with one hand and a "7" with the other, you get a square. Get it? You are strictly L7, Daddio! Be cool! Dinosaur that I am, I still use this term. Kids look at me like I'm crazy.
Lately my life is all about squares! I've been working on an afghan that consists of tons of squares. I'm working on dishcloths for the annual Discloth Swap of 2015. I just made a few square Tawashi as gifts, paired with fancy soap for my friends. I'm always making granny squares too, for one project or another, like my current Kauni Rainbow project. 


Diagonal Stitch Tawashi

Tawashi and Soap Giftie

Willow Square Tawashi

I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Granny squares are the building blocks to fashion." Everything is modular. Squares are my life.
Kauni / Willow Shawl

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Friday, July 24, 2015

Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles

"Nichols Canyon" by David Hockney, 1980

Cut into the south side of the Hollywood Hills, Nichols Canyon stretches from Hollywood Boulevard to the south up to the top of Mulholland Drive to the north. Nichols Canyon Road is a narrow, winding road with homes and lush vegetation and wild life. It's the country, just above the city.
Artist and resident of Nichols Canyon, David Hockney made his Canyon known world-wide with this painting (above) in 1980. I love the riot of colors and the wiggly roads, dotted with colorful houses.
In addition to Hockney's make-believe houses, just west of Nichols Canyon you will find the John Lautner designed Harpel House on Torreyson Drive. I'm not sure if this is current, but at one time there was a Futuro House on this property! I'm obsessed with the Futuro homes. I would like to have one in my backyard.
A Futuro House (right), behind the John Lautner designed Harpel House, Hollywood Hills. Photo from "Curbed L.A."

Nichols Canyon was named after John G. Nichols who served as mayor of Los Angeles between 1852 and 1853, then again from 1856 to 1859. He was a businessman and a builder. Homes were built in the canyon as early as 1920 when it was still a dirt road. There was also a Boy Scout camp at the top of the Canyon, demolished in 1950. Most of the "modern" homes were built in the 1950's. 
Many famous people have lived in Nichols Canyon over the years, including actors and musicians, such as Ava Gardner, Rudy Vallee, Steve McQueen, Mama Cass Elliot, Harry Nilsson and more. 
I haven't even touched on the history of Mount Olympus or Laurel Canyon! The hills above Hollywood are chock full of interesting facts.
I look forward to a trip up Nichols Canyon this weekend to visit famous residents, Natalie and Joe in their hillside hideaway for yet another birthday celebration!  
Party House, Nichols Canyon, Hollywood Hills

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

#tbt - Throw Back Thursday

I have a few scanned family photos that I've never shown. These are photos from my Aunt Mae's collection; group photos with Mae and her friends in Los Angeles. 

Los Angeles, 1925. Mae, bottom row, second from left

I do love how dressed up all the kids are in the photo above. This must have been someone's backyard birthday party. At the time, my grandparents lived in the West Adams area of Los Angeles. Notice the old clothesline and the wire fence?

Los Angeles, 1937. Mae, right in plaid skirt

This appears to be a hillside neighborhood. My Aunt Mae has told me stories of riding the red car to visit friends in Los Feliz and Silver Lake. I know she was in high school at the time. I've never heard of Club Chathert (sp?). I must ask Mae the next time I see her! Check out those adorable hairstyles and clothes!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Yarn Crazy


No matter how much yarn a crocheter and/or knitter owns, they always want an additional amount. A person could have bins, drawers, baskets, shelves, tote bags and a school locker filled with yarn (#ellenbloom #yarnaholic), and there's always that yearning for just a little bit more.
Usually at this time of year, during my month-long birthday celebration, I like to make gift-giving easy for my friends. Those in the know give me gorgeous yarn that I would probably not purchase for myself. I'm talkin' FANCY yarn, not the kind you buy at the local chain craft store (not that there's anything wrong with that).
I was lucky enough this past week to receive a boatload of ravishing yarnyness from my friends! Thank you, Ladies!
Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted, "Ginger" from Beth

Twist Heavenly Sock, "Ever After" from Carol

Twist Sock Yarn from Julie

Malabrigo Worsted, "Amoroso" from Diane

Tahki-Stacy Charles, Cotton Classic, Mercerized from Natalie

There are still days left in the month of July and a couple of anticipated celebrations. Who knows if there's more new yarn in my immediate future?
Just in case, I bought myself a few presents in the last couple of weeks...
Scratchy, but gorgeous Kauni "Rainbow," from Ellen B. This will eventually become a V-shaped shawl

Madeline Tosh "Holi,"  from Ellen B. I only have two skeins of this yarn. Not sure what to create. It's so festive!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Polynesian Pop


Larry took me to Don the Beachcomber in Huntington Beach for my birthday dinner. I had never been to this particular Don's before. The place is a riot of tiki design, including the A-frame, tikis, Tapa cloth, nautical items and more. I was reminded of fancy dinners at The Luau in Beverly Hills as a kid.



I posted a few photos of Don's online while I was there. My friend, Barbara, reminded me that this building used to be Sam's Seafood at this location (1960-2006). Aha! I remember Sam's! We used to have dinner here after a day of sailing at Alamitos Bay in Long Beach when I was a youngster. Sooooo, I had been here before! Sam's became Don the Beachcomber in 2006. This particular building had a Polynesian design since being rebuilt in the early 1960's, but with a few less tiki statues. I remember a decidedly more seafaring decor, with lots of fish sculptures on the walls.
Founder, "Don Beachcomber" aka Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt 

Hidden Village Dining Room

We each had a tropical beverage with rum. Larry's was super potent. Mine was more minty and refreshing...similar to a Moscow Mule. Delicious.

We moved to the Hidden Village dining room and ordered dinner. The ginger, sesame green salad was divine. Larry order the seared Ahi, encrusted with citrus and sesame and I had the crispy duck in orange sauce with sesame udon noodles and vegies. Desert was a most delicious Hawaiian bread pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. Really, the food was delicious.
Sesame and Ginger Green Salad

Seared Ahi

Crispy Duck

Hawaiian Bread Pudding


After dinner drink. Kinda' like a Mojito Slushie

We spent LOTS of time taking photos of the exterior and interior. 


It was a lovely evening. Thanks, Larry!

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Friday, July 17, 2015

My Talented Friends

The Doughboy is admiring my Honeymoon Cottage Potholder!

It's not even my birthday yet and a couple of my very talented yarny friends have gifted me with exquisite and whimsical designs!
Suzette crocheted this adorable potholder called "Honeymoon Cottage." It's a vintage pattern.  I just love it! Suzette improvised a bit and placed a sweet little heart on the back of the cottage. 


Cottage Potholder with another one of Suzette's creations, the Watermelon Potholder

At last night's WeHo SnB, my friend Diane gave me some beautiful Malabrigo yarn in a yummy raspberry color. Inside the bag was a little box. She said, "Oh, just something sweet for you." The outside of the box had a Normandie Bakery sticker.  "Cool," I thought. I'm ready for a little dessert! I opened up the box and look what was inside!!
Chef Josette of the Normandie Bakery

CROCHETED FRENCH MACARONS!

So adorable! I love them.They really look like little macaron cookies.These are way less fattening than the ones at the bakery!

Photo by Sarah Redding Chen
Thank you, Suzy-ette and Diane for making such creative birthday gifts for me! The celebration has begun!

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pasadena


Today, I met up with Mary Jo at Marston's in Pasadena for brunch. This place is legendary and has been there forever. I've been wanting to eat here for decades. Our brunch at Marston's was sinful and delicious!
Not healthy, but oh so delicious!

After brunch we took a short ride to the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The main show (thru 11/15/15) is "Someday is Now: The Art of Corita Kent."  Sister Mary Corita Kent was a nun and art teacher at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. She was very influenced by the pop art movement of the 1960s. This exhibition encompasses her work of three decades. She used pop culture images and graphics along with inspirational and philosophical messages in her vibrant silk screen prints.
Most of these prints have tiny words written into the graphic designs. There were interesting series of prints too.

I really love the vibrancy and immediate look of Corita Kent's work.  It was a beautiful and timeless exhibition!

Museum gift shops are the best. They have the cutest items for sale, like this fabric bunny!


The parking lot at the Pasadena Museum of California Art is festooned with murals by artist, Kenny Scharf.  We had fun photographing the crazy images and taking a few selfies!

Hey! What's Wilma Flintstone doing in Jane Jetson's flying saucer car?



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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery