Friday, December 08, 2017

My Fave Holiday Gift

Barbara Millicent Roberts

Time to concentrate on the upcoming holidays. When I was a child, I always wanted a new doll for Chanukah and/or Christmas. After 1959, my doll of choice was Mattel's Barbie Doll. Barbie came with lots of accessories and clothes. I LOVED the official Mattel clothes. Barbie was always extremely stylish! Later, there was the Barbie Dream House, her Fashion Shop, her Corvette and of course, let's not forget Barbie's most memorable accessory, Ken.
My Mom and Grandma Ethel made some Barbie clothes for me. Later, I made some myself!
I still have my Barbie dolls, along with their wardrobe and carrying case
I found some vintage photos of Barbie dolls on the L.A. Public Library photo archive page. Behold:
1965. Barbie's creator, Ruth Handler from Mattel, Inc. with Barbie and other toys created by her company
1964. Pam of Sun Valley, playing with her extensive Barbie and Ken Doll collection!
Have you made doll clothes lately for your favorite doll? Check out these books if you're looking for inspiration. They make a perfect holiday gift!

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Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Not Again!?!

Bel Air Fire, Stone Canyon Road, 1961. Photo by Jon Woods for the Valley Times.

One of the worst fires in my memory was the Bel Air fire of November, 1961. The Santa Ana winds were blowing, fanning the flames. So many homes were lost. My Aunt and Uncle owned a home in Bel Air and I remember my Uncle telling me that he was up on the roof with the home's Caretaker, both wielding garden houses to wet down the wood shingle roof and keep the sparks from igniting. It worked! Marvin and Louis save the house when so many structures all around them were damaged
LAFD, near the Bel Air Fire, 1961. Photo by Alan Hyde for The Valley Times
Click HERE to see KTLA-TV news coverage of the Bel Air fire.
As a direct result of the Bel Air fire, the City of Los Angeles initiated a series of laws and fire safety policies which included the banning of wood shingle roofs in new construction. There were also new laws about hillside brush clearance. Thankfully, these laws stand today. 
The high Santa Ana winds that we are experiencing now are REALLY fanning the flames in Southern California. We have numerous fires burning. Closest to us is the Skirball Fire in the Sepulveda Pass, threatening homes in Bel Air and surrounding areas once again! The 405 Freeway is closed in both directions. My office balcony has a view of the Getty Center, in the center of this fire. You can see all the smoke surrounding the white buildings on the hill.
Smoke and fire surrounding Getty Center, Bel Air. December 6, 2017
The air quality on the Westside of Los Angeles isn't great today. Stay safe. Proceed with caution.
Skirball Fire view from La Cienega/Jefferson Metro Platform. Decemeber 6, 2017

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Monday, December 04, 2017

GiGi Granny Coat

Ellen's GiGi Cardi and model, GiGi Hadid

It’s the GG (Gorgeous Gal) Cardigan, but this piece was also seen on model, GiGi Hadid, so that’s why I call this my GiGi Granny Coat! Here’s a link to the retail version that costs $2,800. I made my jacket for about $25.
I used various Red Heart worsted weight yarns for this Granny Cardigan. The tutorial is really great, very informative for every single step of this process. 
I made a shorter version and used the classic granny square instead of the one suggested in the pattern. 

I've received more compliments on this sweater than any other thing I've crocheted in the past few decades! It's very cozy, like being wrapped up in an afghan! I might make another one, but in solid color squares.
Rosetta Getty, Mixed Media Granny Square Cardigan, $2,800. 
I've always said that "granny squares are the building blocks to fashion." I rest my case.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Splitty City!

The Virus Shawl Chart. It's called "Virus" because the pattern spread like one among crocheters around the world!

The Virus Shawl pattern never disappoints! It takes a bit to understand the pattern, but once you've got it, you can fly through the shawl. It is constantly interesting to crochet too. I've made many shawls with this pattern, but this is the first time I've used Trendsetter's Transitions Yarn of the "Smoothie" variety.
My Guild, The El Segundo Slipt Stitchers visited the Trendsetter Warehouse in Van Nuys last August. The owner, Barry Klein gave us an overview of his yarns, along with corresponding patterns. When I saw my friend, Lenora model this Barry Klein designed Sweater/Poncho combo, I immediately LOVED the yarn, so I bought a skein!
Lenora, modelling the "Swancho," with Barry Klein
I'm quite pleased with how my shawl turned out. I love the colors and it's quite large. The drape is lovely too. I used a size "G" crochet hook. HOWEVER, because of the ombre shading in this yarn and the fact that the four thin strands that make up the variegation are not twisted, this yarn is really splitty and difficult to work with! I'm glad this piece is finally done!
Colorway: Turqs to Violets, #211

I changed the border to long picot stitches

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Monday, November 27, 2017


We were lucky to be invited by our friends Margina and Gary to attend Descanso Garden's Enchanted Forest of Light on the day after Thanksgiving. WOW! We love touring Descanso Gardens during the day, but the light installations were really fabulous at night!
We met Margina, Gary, Linda and Nancy for dinner before our tour at the nearby Dish Restaurant in La Cañada. The menu was varied, the decor fun and our meal was delicious.
It was a short drive to Descanso Gardens. Parking was difficult, but Larry managed to find a place on the street near the entrance. Luckily, it was cool, but not too cold at 7:30 pm.
We started our journey through the grounds. The very first display was a knock-out, called "Flower Power." It was a field of glowing glass tulips that changed colors in a rolling wave. Wow! My photos do not do it justice.
Field of Glass Tulips
Tulips, close-up
Our path was lit and the areas were numbered. Next up were the Rainbow Sycamores, very tall trees lit with various color lights.
The next show-stopper was the Starlight Garden. The best way I can describe this area was hanging doily sculptures, lit from the inside, rotating to form more hypnotic shapes on the ground below them. 

This display was slightly dizzy-ing, but was my favorite of the evening.

Starlight Garden...Revolving Doily Lights
We passed by lakes with changing light colors, the Symphony of Oaks that had music emanating from the platforms under each tree. The Fantasy Forest was quite lovely. The lights really do enhance the natural beauty of the plants!

Starlight Garden

Another favorite was the Garden of Good Fortune, lit by hundreds of red lanterns in the Japanese Garden.
Garden of Good Fortune
Scary Larry
Margina made a fantastic little movie of our dinner and Garden adventures. Click HERE to see her masterpiece!
Thank you again, Margina and Gary for including us in this enchanted evening!

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Del Rey Yacht Club

We celebrated another lovely family Thanksgiving yesterday. It was unusually hot in Los Angeles, 95 degrees! I'm most thankful that I did not have to turn on my oven! 
Click on photo to see larger version

Our gang of 22 met at the Del Rey Yacht Club for the buffet. Everything was delicious. Best of all, it was fun seeing my cousins, their children and grandchildren. The last two remaining matriarchs in our family, Roz and Mae, seemed to have a good time too!

Twilight time at Marina del Rey is the best time

Cousin Julia. My Mom always orders balloons for the table
To see more photos of our family Thanksgiving, click HERE.

"Blueberry Pie" for dessert!
Del Rey Yacht Club. 1965, Maurice Fleischman, architect

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Yarny Holiday Gifties

Yikes! I'd better start on my holiday gifties NOW! I waited a bit too long this year, deciding what I was going to make for a few friends, so now I need some yarny gifties that are QUICK to crochet and/or knit. Here are a few that I like. Links are in the captions.
Khaleesi's Dragon Scale Mitts for my "Game of Thrones" fan friends
Ellen Silva's Checkbox Cowl. Photo by Gale Zucker
Not sure where I saw this crocheted hat, but I could figure it out from the photo!
Crochet Reindeer. I like to have a few ornaments on hand
EVERYONE needs a disturbin' Turban! Turban Twist by Bernat

Last year I made Pussy Hats for my girlfriends. The previous year I made beards for everyone! Another year, bandeaux of blooms were all the rage. Beehive beanies were my obsession too! Be sure and click on all those links to see my cute friends in all of their yarny glory! I'm sure inspiration will speak to me this weekend so I can get started!
Are you making gifts for your friends this holiday season?

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Old School

Kim's Restaurant, Crenshaw Square

I made a new "friend" on Facebook a few weeks ago. We both commented on a Los Angeles architecture/cultural related post. Turns out that my new friend, Mitchell, is also a member of the Los Angeles Conservancy and moderates the Facebook Group, Asian Retro. He grew up in the Baldwin Hills area of L.A. as part of the Japanese-American community. While I was following comments on the post, many of his friends from the neighborhood chimed in regarding their favorite places to eat in the area. Kim's Restaurant was mentioned often and with gusto.
After much discussion back and forth about which of Kim's Cantonese dishes reminded everyone of home, my mouth was watering. I needed to visit Kim's. I've been to the neighboring Tak's Coffee Shop, also located in Crenshaw Square a few times, so I knew exactly where Kim's was.
Saturday, Larry and I took a quick ride over to Crenshaw Square. The complex has been beautified and fixed up since our last visit! It looks great! This is a lovely mid-century shopping and office courtyard building with tons of parking in back. On the Crenshaw side is the newly resurrected Earle's Grille. It was very busy on Saturday night. We drove to the back where Tak's and Kim's are located. Kim's was doing a brisk take-out business and there were several diners inside the newly remodeled and very clean restaurant.
Crenshaw Square's Courtyard Building has been gussied up!
Kim's offers Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese and Mongolian food. You could probably get a hamburger here as well. I was reminded of the Chinese Restaurants along Pico Boulevard from my youth, Hoi Ping, Kowloon and Wan-Q.
Wor Won Ton Soup

We'd heard that the Wor Won Ton Soup was excellent. We ordered a large bowl which was chock full of yummy stuff. We also ordered the Chicken with Ginger with slices of REAL ginger on top. Everything was fresh and delicious. The service was good too. We will definitely be returning to Kim's when we're hankering for old-style Cantonese food!
My fortune read, "Treat yourself to something of quality." I just did! Dinner!
I'm so glad that this complex, Crenshaw Square, has been preserved. It's an excellent example of mid-20th century, multiple-use architecture. Read more about the Asian community in the Crenshaw area HERE. 

Kim's Restaurant
3860 So. Crenshaw Blvd., LA

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

AFTER Turkey Day!

Yes, we're all gearing up for Thanksgiving next week. Did you buy your bird yet? We are lucky to celebrate the day with our family by eating OUT. I don't think I've ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd. This is good and bad. Good, because I don't have to rush around before the big day. Bad, because we never have leftovers. This post is all about leftovers. I will probably cook a turkey breast and a drumstick or two the day AFTER T-giving so I can cook some of these recipes.

What to do with the remains of the turkey?  Shove turkey bits into every conceivable type of recipe you can imagine, that's what!  
I like turkey leftovers even more than I like the original dinner.  Turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey chili, turkey tetrazzini, turkey salad....the list is endless.  By the end of the week you are really glad to see that turkey over and done with!  Time for a nice, juicy steak.
Here are some links to a few of my fave turkey leftover recipes:
The turkey sandwich is the easiest.  Just smash some white meat, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mayo and lettuce into a soft roll or two slices of nice, fresh French bread and chow down.
Turkey Tetrazzini.  Substitute wide egg noodles for the spaghetti. 
Turkey Salad.  I like to add some green grapes or diced apples to this recipe.
Turkey Soup.  I also add a handful of Kasha (oat groats) to my soup for that haimishe or homey flavor.
Turkey Chili.  Just remember to add más comino (cumin) to this dish for authentic flavor!
Don't forget to wear your "Turkey in Pilgrim Hat" the entire week!

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Saturday WeHo SnB

The Original Farmers Market (a few decades ago)

Once a month, on the second Saturday, the West Hollywood Stitch 'n Bitch has a special get-together. We also meet EVERY Thursday night at the Original Farmers Market. I've been missing the Saturday meet-ups because I have Ukulele Workshop on Saturdays at the same time! I needed to see my Saturday yarny people last week, so I skipped Ukulele!
It was a great Saturday morning. Everyone brought the projects they were working on, including knitting, crochet AND embroidery!
We meet in the upstairs dining area, above Kip's Toyland. This is a perfect spot for larger groups without the hustle-bustle of the downstairs Market.
Upstairs Dining Area at the Original Farmers Market
Suzette is working on the cutest CHICKEN!
Meri is knitting a beautiful, lightweight sweater
Vickie is crocheting a cowl
Stephanie is embroidering a hand-towel

Stephanie brought this vintage embroidery instruction booklet
Amy is almost done with the red, white and turquoise afghan. She will be working on a hat or cowl with the purple yarn
Molly is also embroidering...a lovely set of cocktail towels for her daughter
I brought a new project to work on. Instrument print project bag by Brenda C.
We always have fun on Saturdays! Lots of laughs, some yummy food and we even get a few stitches done! Why don't you join us on the second Saturday of the month, 10am to noon?

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery