Friday, August 29, 2008

Walking Around

Storybook Home w/ creative gardening
I must say, I've found some interesting architectural, design and landscaping elements while walking around my Wilshire Vista neighborhood. We have many different types of architecture represented, mostly Spanish Revival. Then, there's a good amount of French Normandie, Mediterranean, some California Bungalow style, modified Colonial, English Tudor and even some Mid-Century Modern. One of my favorite styles is Storybook. These are "Hansel & Gretel" style houses with pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, sometimes they have rounded doorways, turrets, heavy hardware...basically, they look like witch's houses or gingerbread houses...very fantasy-like. There's a book and a website dedicated to these homes in Los Angeles.
On South Genessee Avenue there are a number of Storybook-style homes. Most are painted in light colors, so they don't look like evil witches homes. This one, pictured above, also has very creative landscaping that echoes the rolling rooflines of the house.
Talking about paint jobs, take a look below at the colorful examples I found while walking around my area.

Above, reminds me of those inflatable bounce houses for kids

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. It might be nice to take a walk.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Perfectly Pink Inspiration

"The Gentle Art Of Domesticity" by Jane Brocket
I've been a fan of Jane Brocket's blog, Yarnstorm, for a long time. I found her blog while cruising other knit/crochet blogs online. I was immediately taken with her photography and juxtaposition of colors. Every photo on her blog is frameable. She writes about her life in the English countryside with her family. Sometimes I think I must be reading about some glorified version of the truth, but after checking a few other blogs of her friends', I know that Jane really does complete all of these "Suzie Homemaker" tasks during her day and then she photographs the best aspects of these domestic chores. I'm so jealous!
Jane and her family relaxing in their English Garden

It was this particular post that inspired me to think about crocheting a pineapple purse and to bake mini pineapple-upside-down cakes. I am constantly inspired by her recipes and forays into knitting, crocheting and embroidery.
The U.S. version of Jane's book is out now, "The Gentle Art Of Domesticity." There are actual recipes in the book, as well as Jane's essays on how the colors of life around her relate to her creative life at home. There are not any knitting or crochet patterns, just jumping-off points for you to explore your own creativity. Save the airfare to the U.K. and buy Jane's calming, yet motivating book.
Oh yeah, she gardens too!!!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Special Olympics - Winter

Ellen's Crocheted Scarf for the Special Olympics
My friend, Marie told me about knitting or crocheting a scarf for the participants of the Special Ollympic World Winter Games. There's even a group on Ravelry for this project. I immediately signed up for the group. I think this is a very worthwhile project and I'm happy to participate. Of course, the fact that Red Heart is one of the sponsors also tickled me.
So many of my friends tease me for using this 100% virgin acrylic yarn. I really like how sturdy the worsted weight yarn is. It's perfect for purses, rugs and even sweaters (if you use enough fabric softener on the finished product). The directions for making the scarves are here. You HAVE to use RH Super Saver Yarn in Delft Blue #885 and White #311 so that all scarves will be the same color. You can use any pattern you like and the sizes vary.
I zipped out on my lunch hour to Joann's and Michael's in Santa Monica to see if they carried the yarn. On the Ravelry group, I'd read that Delft Blue is a difficult color to find. The group was correct. Even Yarns Unlimited (who carries RH) didn't have Delft Blue #885. I found the White #311 right away. There was Country Blue, Periwinkle Blue, Navy Blue, Royal Blue, Denim Blue, Light Blue, but no Delft Blue! After work, I drove over to my local Wal-Mart (Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills) and they had the yarn! I bought 4 skeins (some for Marie). I left about 6 skeins in the bin for my West LA knitter/crochet friends. Many participants are ordering their Delft Blue directly from Coats and Clark.
I'm using a pattern I found in one of my crochet stitch books. It's called The Long Wave, size "J" crochet hook. I think I'll probably knit a scarf too, using the Mistake Rib pattern. Why don't you join me? The scarves do not have to be mailed until early January 2009.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Artist, Synthia St. James

Synthia St. James with her painting "Edith Piaf"
On Sunday, Larry and I attended a soiree' for artist, Synthia St. James in Los Feliz. I found out about Synthia's artwork in 1997 when she designed a Kwanza stamp for the U.S. Postal Department. I was very taken with the graphic and striking simplicity of her design. I read about a local art show of her work, so we went to the show. She was swamped with admirers, so I never got a chance to actually speak to her at that time.
Ten years later, Synthia called Larry to photograph her work! The photo lab that they both frequent recommended Larry. When Larry told me about his new client, I instantly recognized her name. I was thrilled to be able to meet Synthia!
Ellen @ Synthia's Studio
She is a lovely lady, in addition to being an innovative artist. Many of the pieces that Larry has photographed for Synthia will be made into prints and glicees for sale. Check her website for details.
Seeing so much of Synthia's work in one place was very inspirational!

Hand-Painted Tambourines and Small Drums

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Monday, August 25, 2008

House Slippers

I crocheted these cute house slippers for my friend, Ana. It was her b-day last week and I wanted to make something for her. Ana is the queen of socks and slippers. She's made numerous pairs of socks (in fact she taught a sock class this past weekend at A Mano Yarn Center in Mar Vista). Ana also has made some fabulous felted slippers and boots. I figured she could use another version of house slippers!
Stats: WoolEase washable yarn, worsted weight (1/2 skein); crochet hook size "G". I used a double-crochet waffle stitch for the slipper rectangle. The flower was crocheted separately with a few bits of leftover yarns and sewn to the top of the slipper after joining at the toe and heel and crocheting a picot border.
I have a few pairs of these slippers that I wear around the house; they're very cozy and comfy. This might just make a perfect holiday gift for everyone this year!


Friday, August 22, 2008

Sock Shawl

I just finished crocheting my sock shawl. I received two different (but similar) skeins of sock yarn for my b-day. One from Mary Jo and the other from Audrey. I liked both colorways so much that I decided to alternate, every two rows for each skein and crochet a simple shawl. I used a size "G" crochet hook. After using up all 800 yards of sock yarn, I purchased another skein of Trekking XXL on sale at Yarns Unlimited and crocheted a border.
This would also make a great table runner!
After much blocking, it's now very drapey, lightweight, colorful and comfy! I love it! Thanks for the inspiration, Audrey and Mary Jo!

Thanks to my co-worker, Jessica, for modeling the shawl!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Walkin'

I always take my camera when I walk in the morning near my house. I've seen some interesting things, like these super-trimmed cypress trees, above. I especially like the tree on the left with the little top-knot.
There's a house that must have been hit hard in the past. There's more security here than I've seen in some banks: Double bars, a security system and barbed wire on the other side of the house, near the driveway. Not to mention, the front yard also has some evil-looking garden gnomes. I'll snap those on my next walk.
My fave photo of all is this forgotten lunch container near a worksite. Yummmmm....filet of fish!

Our construction project is progressing nicely. The forms are all up and we'll hopefully pour the concrete for the foundation on Saturday!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hexagon Handbag

I received three skeins of this gorgeous yarn for my b-day from Molly. I L*O*V*E the colors!!! I was cruisin' the nets and found a hexagon bag that I liked, so I modified it a bit and whipped up this bag. I only needed to crochet seven hexagons. I'm sure I'll make a variation of this bag again, probably larger.I used up every single bit of yarn. I love it! All it needs is a button or zipper. Before felting, it worked nicely as a hat. Hmmm? This may be an excellent idea for a future crazy hat!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


When I'm walking vs. driving in my neighborhood, I always see more details. My little area is basically well-maintained and neat. I came across this interesting bush. I suppose the homeowner is trying to make some type of artistic statement. Not sure what that would be. Also, notice the bottom-heavy palm tree in the background. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The other night I was watching a documentary on TV called Dogtown and Z-Boys. It's former skateboarder Stacy Peralta's film about growing up with the skateboarders of the Zephyr Shop in Venice Beach, California in the 1970's. I had seen the film before, as well as the theatrical version of this story, The Lords of Dogtown. Being a native Angelina, I've always been fascinated with skateboard and surfer culture. So, when I was walking the other morning I went a little further so I could go by Tony Alva's skateboard shop. It's close-by on So. Fairfax at Whitworth Ave. It's funny that Tony would open a shop so far from the beach (at least 10 miles), but I suppose rents are higher in Venice and Santa Monica. I took a few snaps.

Alva Skateboard Shop, 1086 So. Fairfax Ave., LA

It's kinda' cool to have such a legend in my neighborhood.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Downtown on Saturday

Gorgeous Fabric Selection @ Michael Levine's
This past Saturday I planned on going to the SnB at the HomeGirl Cafe. My friend, Molly said she'd never been to Michael Levine's Fabric Shop, also located in Downtown Los Angeles. Since I was on the hunt for some buttons, I told Molly I'd meet her at Levine's before going over to the HomeGirl for a late lunch and knitting and crocheting. Of course, it was crowded, hot and difficult to find parking, but Molly and I managed to meet inside the store.
I hadn't been to Levine's in about a year. I'm always amazed at the excellent fabric selection and prices found in this store. Levine's also carries YARN. They have a good yarn selection, but there aren't any discounts. I found a button for Mom's FLS and a new metal needle sizing template. Molly was looking for several things and was quite successful. We walked across the street to Levine's upholstery shop and oogled some of the fabrics....gorgeous!
It was such a relief to walk into the AIR-CONDITIONED HomeGirl Cafe and meet up with the SnB ladies after the hot, busy streets of the Fashion District. Seven of us showed up, in addition to an out-of-town visitor, Cara. Again, the wonder of Ravelry helped Cara find us. She was in town on business from San Francisco. It's always great meeting stitchers from other towns! If you are from out of town, be sure to seek us out when you come to Los Angeles!

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Thursday, August 14, 2008


My friend, Sally sent me the above photo. It's a postcard from the 1920's, published in Germany. It's quite a strange picture of this woman with a gaping crocodile or alligator mouth sitting at a table, looking horrified, with a basket of knitting in front of her. Do you suppose this is some sort of game card, like Loteria? Is it a strange postcard or cartoon of the day? What do you think?
The lovely Madgik came up with an enchanting story / parable / fable to go with this illustration. Here it is:
This is actually the tale of the Little Crocodile Girl. It was left out of the Grimm Bros. Fairytales due to the manuscript running over in length, but goes something like this... Hombelina was a bossy know it all who bullied the other girls. She'd knock them down and steal their FOs, calling them her own. She'd filch their best balls of cashmere and angora, and laugh when they asked for them back. She constantly bragged about how her knitting was the best in all the land. She was altogether a bad egg.
Then one day, as she was tormenting the lambs in the paddock out behind her house, a shadow fell over her. It belonged to Frau Schwarz, who admonished her that if she persisted in being such a no-good little so-and-so she'd soon rue her ways. Hombelina kicked her in the shins, and laughed as she ran inside her house.
Once inside, she sat down to knit a few stitches on a doll sweater she'd taken from Selma during lunch that day. It was made from a lovely blue Baby Cashmerino, and Hombelina thought it would fit her baby doll (the one she'd taken from Wanda a few days ago) quite nicely. She'd only completed three stitches before an amazing thing happened. With a little itch, and a twitch, her nose suddenly began to grow. She swatted at it, recoiling in horror, and then noticed the rest of her face and body was changing, too. A few minutes later Hombelina's father came in from doing the afternoon chores. He was a little shocked when he discovered the small crocodile in his house, but quickly saw how its hide would make a nice pair of shoes for his wife.
Moral of the story: Play nice, or you might just end up a fashion accessory.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Mysterious Vent (probably for methane)

Yup. I'm old.
My doctor tells me that I've existed too long on a salty, fatty, sugary and delicious diet. Time to lighten up and bring the blood pressure down. Knitting and crocheting are sedentary arts. I haven't quite perfected walking and knitting yet. I'm working on it though.

I've tried to eliminate as much salt and sugar as possible from my diet. I'm eating more natural fruits and veggies. I've also started walking in the morning around my neighborhood.

Original Chain-Link Gate

Walking at 6:30 in the morning in my urban neighborhood is quite interesting. I don't listen to music while I walk, I just huff and puff for about a half-hour. I do take my camera with me. I've seen some interesting architecture and excellent remodeling projects goin' on. Our neighborhood was built in the late 1920's. Many of the homes, duplexes and apartment buildings are original. I love seeing old fences, hardware, etc. that you don't often see in newer areas.
Spanish Revival Balcony

Art Deco Moderne Balcony

I've met many of my doggie neighbors and seen all of the super-healthy runners. Of course, the plants and flowers are quite nice too! Since my b-day almost a month ago, I've lost 15 pounds! Woo Hoo!
Pink Crepe Myrtle Tree @ Our House

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Couldn't Help Myself!

It was half-price!

I bought a bunch of this gorgeous yarn at half-price at Wild Fiber a few months back. It's been burning a hole in my stash bin. Yes, I have many projects on the needles and hook right now. I am, however, thinking about holiday gifts. I have just enough of this gorgeous tweedy stuff to make a February Lady Sweater for my Mother. Of course, I started it. It's coming along beautifully. The yarn is soft, squishy and beigy....perfect for Mom.

Since my Mother rarely buttons her cardigan sweaters, I decided to make just one buttonhole at the top for some fabulous big button.

On the home-front, the construction crew accomplished quite a bit yesterday. They're digging the trench for the forms to pour the cement. The footprint of the room is huge!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Mark This Date

Ready to Work!
Studio-Garage in Background
August 11, 2008. The day construction begins on our new room addition. Yippee! The guys showed up at 8 a.m. to prepare for the foundation. I expect lots of dirt, dust and noise for the next few months, but it will be worth it!
When we're finished we'll have a new bedroom, bathroom, laundry room and CLOSETS!!! Our house was originallly built in 1928. For some reason, people didn't require big closets in those days. I suppose armoires were the style.
Our contractor estimates that he'll be done with the job in three months. Yeah, right. I'll believe it when I see it. That would make our end-of-construction date November 11th...Veteran's Day. I will salute the construction team and raise the flag in their honor if they're done by then!
Supervisor, Larry
Updates to come.


Friday, August 08, 2008


Forest Lawn, Glendale
Last night, Larry and I were invited to the opening of "In Search of Tiki" at the Forest Lawn Museum. Yes, Forest Lawn Cemetery has a beautiful museum! In fact, all around the "park" there are amazing sculptures, paintings, mosaics, etc. The history of art at the park is legendary. Founder, Dr. Hubert Eaton wanted the park to reflect art and history, not death. If you've seen the movie or read the novel, "The Loved One," you'll know all about the "necropolis" known as Forest Lawn!
ANYWAY, this exhibit, curated by our friend Doug Nason and Jeff Fox is really a MUST-SEE. It's an inspiring display of the historic elements blended with the pop culture elements of tiki. I'm assuming, after seeing other exhibits at Forest Lawn Museum, that they specialize in religious exhibits. Well, tiki is the religion of the Polynesian and Island people, so I suppose it qualifies. Dr. Eaton purchased "Moai", an Easter Island carved statue for the Park's permanent collection many years ago. This is what inspired Doug Nason to contact the Gallery and pursue this show. The exhibit will be up for many months. I urge you to see it.
In addition to this expansive show, there are many tiki-related items in the gift shop. Where else can you buy tiki drink coasters alongside replicas of historic European crucifixes and rosary beads?

For this special evening, there were passed Polynesian hors 'd oeuvers, drinks, a live band called the Dynotones playing surf music and quite a festive atmosphere.
I'm thinking of taking my little knit group up there soon to view the exhibit and just sit in the "park" and knit. This would make an excellent field trip! Have a great weekend everyone. See you at the cemetery!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery