Friday, October 09, 2015

Sometimes, It's O.K.

I'm talking about mansionization in Los Angeles.  SOMETIMES, a McMansion is preferable to a really bad remodel. There have been many homes torn down all over the city in order to build larger homes. These larger homes are usually multiple story and built out to the edges of each lot. Most of the older homes in my area of Los Angeles, built between 1925 and 1935, have driveways on the side of each house that lead to a garage in back. These new homes have the driveway and garage in front of the house, thereby giving at least 10-14 feet more building width for a new home.
Large modern homes, in progress in Los Angeles (above and below). The older homes in the neighborhood are dwarfed by the new homes. 

I drive down South Genessee Avenue five days a week on my way to work. I've noticed a house for sale on this large lot. This house has been severely remodeled over the past 75 years. Rocky Mountain stone was added to the front exterior, probably during the 1960s. There was a huge 2-story addition to the rear of the house added later. This addition is out of scale to the front of the house and really looks tacked on.
1547 South Genessee Ave., Los Angeles

Yikes! This is one BAAAAD remodel!

Which City Inspector approved this remodel?

The other day I noticed a "for sale" sign on this house.  Good!  Tear it down and build a big, modern, well-designed monolith here!  It will be an improvement (IMHO)!

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Thursday, October 08, 2015

Papel Picado

Dia de los Muertos Papel Picado, cut into tissue paper

There is a folk art tradition in Mexico called "papel picado," which is perforated paper, made into designs. These decorative paper designs, cut into tissue paper, are usually hung from the ceiling during celebrations. The tissue paper is light and moves in the breeze...very festive! I've seen papel picado sold at stores made out of thin plastic, for durability and multiple uses. 
Christmas Papel Picado at Chabelita Tacos, Los Angeles

The Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is an observance in Mexico honoring the dearly departed. Typically, families gather in cemeteries and celebrate their ancestors. This celebration usually occurs on the day after our Halloween, November 1st. You will be able to find sugar skulls and skull cookies along with other decorative items in Latin shops around Los Angeles at this time.
I've always loved the papel picado art. My clever friend, Suzette (I've referenced Suzette quite a bit lately), crocheted a garland of skeleton papel picados from this pattern in all different colors!  That Suzy-ette is so inspiring!
Suzette's Dia de los Muertos Garland
I had some nice, sport weight green cotton in my stash, so I decided to crochet a skelly papel picado from the same pattern.  I plan on giving it as a house gift to my friend, Michael who lives in the Witch's House in Beverly Hills.  We'll be going there to help hand out candy to the hoards of trick or treaters on Halloween!
My cotton is a bit thicker than the usual thread used for this pattern, so my papel picado is almost place mat size, 12" x 12". There's lots of wood tones and rust colors in Michael's house. I thought green would be a nice accent!
Ellen's Papel Picado Calavera
Hey! These would make nice placements!  See Michelle Moross's version below!
Calavera Papel Picado Placemat by Michelle Moross
This an addicting pattern.  I might make a few more if I have the time!
Chart for Papel Picado Skeleton
Here's Larry wearing a doily on his face. This is his human version of papel picado!

The Human Papel Picado

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

My Sweet, Kind and Talented Friends

I have the sweetest, kindest and most talented friends! Every month, without fail, many of them contribute crocheted and knitted chemo-caps for my cousin's clinic. We have been contributing as a group since January 2013.

My cousin, Nurse Audra, works at the University of San Francisco Center for Reproductive Health. Audra's group harvests eggs for women of childbearing age and freezes them so that they can have biological children post chemotherapy (chemo kills their fertility because it kills the eggs). Audra’s patients absolutely LOVE receiving the hats and always get very emotional at the kindness of strangers. 

This is the first hat patients receive before losing all of their hair due to the chemotherapy treatments. Audra has a small supply of soft chemo hats that she likes to give to her patients receiving chemo, about 1-2 ladies a week, but her supply is limited.

On an ongoing basis, I have been collecting chemo hats and sending them to Audra and her co-worker, Eve. If you’d like to make a hat for this worthy cause, here are a few pattern suggestions. The yarn should be as soft and comfortable as possible. Please include washing instructions.

Thank you sooooo much for all of the hats you have contributed these past two and a-half years. Each and every hat makes a difference!
Above are only a few of the hats we've contributed over the years. Thanks to my friends in the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch, The El Segundo Slipt Stitches and Fairview Knitters for your generousity!

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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Granny Cat Progress

Ellen's Granny Square Kitty Cat Softie in progress

Last week I mentioned that I was interested in working on some crocheted and/or knitted toy animals. I started crocheting the Granny Square Kitty Cat Softie by Julie Harrison. Not only are crochet skills needed to complete this kitty, but sewing and embroidery skills are needed.  I'm OK in the crochet and sewing departments, but my embroidery skills are rusty. I have to look up how to make that simple chain stitch so I can add the kitty's whiskers! 

Granny Square Kitty Cat Softie by Julie Harrison

My crafty friend, Suzette also crocheted this adorable kitty. Suzy-ette (Ravelry name) left off kitty's legs, but included the tail. I'll see how I like my kitty after I stuff the body. I may follow Suzette's lead on this one, making kitty more of a pillow.

Suzette's Granny Square Kitty Cat Pillow, modeled by the always colorful Miss Natalie of Hollywood

There are other versions of this granny square kitty on Ravelry, like Granny Cat by Jen Maude. I like that this pattern looks good no matter how you change it!
Granny Cat by Jen Maude
Now, to brush up on my embroidery skills!

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Monday, October 05, 2015

Agave Bulbils

Larry is offering these to the neighborhood.  Come on by and pick up a pup!
These agave plantlets are called Bulbils. They form from the flower stalk and not from the ground next to the plant (pups). The offerings need to be set in a little container of water until some roots form and then planted in the garden or a pot.
Here's a link that explains the bulbil.  Thank you, Arizona Plant Lady

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Friday, October 02, 2015

Pumpkin Time!

Wilshire Vista Pumpkin Festival, 2010

It's almost pumpkin time!  Fall, Halloween and hopefully some cool weather are coming soon. I was at the Original Farmers Market last night for our West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch. As I was leaving the Market I saw a few trucks roll up and unload some bales of hay. The Farmers Market Fall Festival is upon us! They offer all kinds of music, games and fun events. It's October 17-18. We always try to stop by for a few of the music acts.
Fall Festival at the Original Farmers Market, 2012

Pumpkin Boy, 2012

Halloween Treat at Bob's Doughnuts

Have you thought about your Halloween costume for this year? We have THREE parties to attend. Many years we have none. Feast or famine! 
For Vintage Photo Friday, I dug out a photo of my brother, Ken and I, Halloween 1957 in the front patio of our home on Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills. We are so international.

Ken and Ellen, Halloween 1957

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Thursday, October 01, 2015

Wall Sconces

We live in a 1926 Spanish Revival home. Our little house is not fancy. It doesn't really have any over-the-top design features that other Spanish Revival homes have in Los Angeles. We only have two arches inside the house. There is a small telephone niche in the hallway. The interior woodwork was painted over long ago. The fireplace was closed up to make room for more furniture, probably in the 1950s with the advent of television. We do have a breakfast nook that is cute. On the whole though, it's a plain little house. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
When I moved in with Larry he had these wall sconce fixtures in the living room:
Our current living room light fixtures
These fixtures blend into the background and they do reflect quite a bit of light from the white ceiling. I think they have an art-deco look.  When I moved in and started hanging things on the walls, one of these fixtures was too wide, so we took it away and added an apartment-style light fixture...unobtrusive.
Larry goes to lots of estate sales. He came across these beautiful Spanish Revival sconces. We have two:

Estate sale find
I like this sconce. It looks great with the house, but it really does not fit into our modern-ish decor. Also, we only have two of these. We've tried to find similar ones that would work with these two, but prices are off the hook.
We have compromised and purchased the required six light fixtures for our newly painted living room. This sconce is also unobtrusive and has a stream-lined moderne look to it. We have lots of dark furniture in the room so I think it will look great on our freshly painted gray walls!

Our current light fixture
BEFORE gray walls and Oriental Rug. See that little bowl-shaped sconce over the red painting?
ADDENDUM:  There was a bit of progress last night!

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

EARLY Holiday Prep

Gifts from Suzette. Clockwise from upper left: Owlie, Donut, Slugzilla, Mr. and Mrs. Zombie

I may not actually crochet or knit any presents for the holidays YET, but I am thinking about it! Toys and little animals are always fun gifts. No matter how old the person is that your gifting, everyone likes a bit of whimsy! I love it when my friends make me animals, birds, monsters, etc. My friend, Suzette, is an expert at this. I've received many excellent creatures from her! Above are just a few!
I have a few fun toys or animals in mind that I'd like to crochet. Here are some patterns I found on Ravelry. Click on the captions to take you to the patterns.

Granny Square Kitty Cats

Little Chick Bean Bags

Scrap Soft Toy

Easy Crochet Owl

I'm not into making those small, fiddly animals or toys. I'm just not dexterous enough. Give me a chunky toy anytime. It always amazes me, when working on toys how they really start to delight when I add the details!  I made these little bears for Eve's twins. They were easy and fun!
Easy Peasy Teddy Bear

Years ago I crocheted Larry a 35 mm camera. I didn't have a pattern, I just simplified the shapes of the camera and sewed them all together.
Larry's Crocheted Camera
My ultimate toy crochet project was to make Ellen and Larry Dolls. I suppose I should update these dolls and make new ones with a few more wrinkles and gray hair!
Ellen and Larry Dolls

Have you started planning your holiday yarny gifts?  What are you creating?

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015 the tire shop

Wall o' Fame at Davis Bros. Tires, Culver City

Whenever I have to wait at any business establishment in Los Angeles, whether it's a restaurant, hot dog stand, dry cleaners or the tire shop, I always peruse the wall of celebrity head shots. These are either endorsements by the stars of that particular business or a hope for casting opportunities. Everyone has to run errands, right? Might as well let the public know that you are out there and available! The photos are usually old and faded, just like the "celebrities."
Formosa Cafe, Hollywood, before the remodel!

Montrose Bowling Alley, Montrose

Caricatures at The Palm Restaurant, West Hollywood, demolished

Paty's Restaurant, Toluca Lake

Pink's Hot Dog Stand, Hollywood

Hey! If Jason Alexander loves Pink's Hot Dogs and so does Dolly Parton, who am I to argue?
Pink's Hot Dog Stand, Hollywood
This one always slays me. It's the owners of The Nosh in Beverly Hills with their families. Oy!

The Dresden Room, Los Feliz

Notice the little red dot on the photo at The Dresden Room, above. That's Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn from the movie, "Swingers." They filmed many scenes at The Dresden Room.
Barry Weiss of "Storage Wars" and Ellen Bloom of "L.A. Is My Beat" in front of Wall o' Photos, Dresden Room, Los Feliz

OK, this week, I'm I'm going to frame a few copies of my old head shot and drop them off at places of business I patronize.  I'd like everyone to know that I spend my star money at Davis Bros. Tires, Zankou Chicken, Norm's Coffee Shop and the big Ralph's Supermarket on Pico near Rimpau!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery