Friday, January 23, 2015

Vintage Photo Friday - Post-Holidays

The photos below are not REALLY vintage, but they do prove that I've been celebrating the holidays with my KnitGrrlz for almost ten years!

2005 @Natalie's and Joe's Holiday Party

We always try to meet up during the holiday season, but KnitGrrlz get busy.  Some are traveling, some are swamped with family obligations, some haven't had a chance to prepare!!  Sooooo, we usually meet up in January for our gift exchange/celebration.  Mid-January also coincides with Natalie's birthday, so this will be an extra jovial evening.
2007, Hollywood Hills

It all started with Natalie and Joe in December, 2005.  They hosted a lovely holiday party at their home.  Natalie gave us all little gifties.  It was so festive.  Even though some of our group have moved way, we've continued the tradition, meeting at various places.
2010 @ Mary Jo's House, Pasadena
2011.  Post-Taix, Echo Park
This year, we're having dinner at our house on Sunday.  I'm preparing a yummy dinner of divine appetizers, brisket of beef, kasha with varnishkes, candied carrots, vegie medly and a special dessert.  Luckily, I have the whole weekend free to prepare for this feast!
2012.  Hollywood

2014.  Our house, Wilshire Vista, LA

I love my girlfriends and so look forward to our special event this Sunday!  OK, husbands may attend too!

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yarny Lace

The El Segundo Slipt Stitchers has a new Knit-A-Long and Crochet-A-Long (KAL, CAL).  I'm on the committee to select the patterns for this exercise.  I usually help with the crochet selection, since I crochet more often than I knit.  The "a-long" part means that many of our members will knit and/or crochet the same pattern during a two-month period.  We will compare notes along the way and then show off our new items at our March meeting.
For this winter's CAL, we chose the South Bay Shawlette.  This is a lovely pattern that I have crocheted numerous times in various yarn weights.  The pattern consists of a two-row repeat, making it easy to remember.  Even though the pattern is uncomplicated, it looks fancy.  People always oooooo and ahhhh when they see the results.
South Bay Shawlette

The KAL selection is "Afternoon Tea."  This is a sweet, lacy shawl with a repetitive pattern.  Both the CAL and KAL selections are very popular on Ravelry.
Afternoon Tea Shawl

At last Saturday's meeting, when my co-committee chairs and I announced this KAL / CAL, we all held up samples of the shawls and answered questions.  I declared in front of 85 knitters and crocheters that I would try my hand at knitting "Afternoon Tea."  There was a gasp among the crowd!  I'm primarily known for crochet with this group and I'd never shared ANY of my knit projects with the El Segundo Guild, only my crocheted items.   Sheesh!  I've been knitting since I was 7 years old!
Within the past couple of years, I've knit the "Summer Flies" shawl a couple of times, so I absolutely CAN knit a lacy shawl.  Harumph!
"Summer Flies"
I've found that crocheting is, on the whole, so much more satisfying than knitting.  Crocheting takes less time than knitting.  It's also easier to correct your mistakes in crochet.  That said, I rushed home after the meeting last Saturday and checked my yarn stash.  Yes!  Mary Jo brought me the most lovely yarn from New Zealand last year called "Naturally."  It's a merino and silk blend, DK weight in a pretty shade of gray with some subtle flecks of pink and darker gray.  I grabbed my size 6 needles and started the "Afternoon Tea" shawl.  I've made some progress in the last week!  I must admit, knitting lace is fun, but I do have to concentrate!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Signs Around Town

I like to SNAP!  I like to snap signs and buildings around town.  Here are a few from my beloved City of Los Angeles.

charming barbed wire

ghost sign

the business is gone, but the sign is still there!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cassell's @ the Normandie

On Sunday evening we met up with Audrey and Jeff for a post-b-day dinner for Mr. Larry.  The revitalized Cassell's Hamburgers was having a soft opening at their new K-Town location in the Hotel Normandie.  Jeff promised cocktails AND burgers!
Many old signs and kitchen equipment were moved from the original Cassell's

I'd visited the old Cassell's (about a block east) on Sixth Street, probably 30 years ago.  I do remember my Dad taking me to Cassell's for burgers when I was a kid.  It was a small, greasy spoon, back in the day.  The new location at the Hotel Normandie is spacious, art-directed and there's a bar.  Cassell's also serves breakfast for the hotel clientele.
We ordered burgers, a tuna melt and grilled ham and cheese.  Cassell's makes their own potato chips.  They are divine, salty and crunchy.   

The boys ordered cocktails.  Larry's was on the weak side, but Jeff liked his.  We could see many "experts" behind the bar, discussing mixologist plans.  This was the first day that the bar was open, so I'm sure they'll be refining the libation list.  

Our dinner was delicious.  Parking is rather difficult in this busy neighborhood, but if we're in the area, we'd definitely return.
After dinner we wandered into the lobby of the Hotel Normandie. 
Audrey, Larry opening his b-day gift!

Wow!  They really preserved the interior.  It's lovely.  We were lucky enough to get a mini-tour of one of the half-suites on the second floor.  

I could write a Norman Chandler-esqe short story staying at the Normandie.  It's all very noir.

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Honoring the Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This has become a tradition on "L.A. Is My Beat."  For the past four years I have been featuring Suzanne's MLK sweater on my blog in honor of the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. I will repeat  again this year because I'm so in love with this idea and in awe of Suzanne's mad skills. 

Suzanne's Sweater, honoring the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The sweater pattern is from "Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines."  The name of this sweater is "Margaret," designed for the book by Mary Neal Meador.  The instructions state that the sweater may be embellished after knitting with chain stitched quotations of the knitter’s choice.  The sweater in the book has poetry added to the front and back. 
When I saw Suzanne's ("owlknits") sweater, I was touched by the words she chose.  This is from Suzanne's project page on Ravelry: 
I knit this sweater for a local art exhibition that was organized to honor the ideas of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I used quotes from his “I have a dream…” speech to embroider on the front and back of the sweater: Front: Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. Back: The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the day of justice emerges.

I am still blown away by Suzanne's sweater and her choice of quotations.  One day I will make such a sweater for myself.  Bravo!  Excellent work, Suzanne, honoring an eloquent man and his ideas! 

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Coffee Place Semantics - VPF

West coast versus east coast semantics.  In California we call restaurants that are mid-century modern in architecture, have big windows so that cars passing by can see inside, serve a multitude of home-style foods from an established kitchen COFFEE SHOPS.  It says so right on their signs.
It's a COFFEE SHOP!  Ship's, Westwood and Wilshire.  Demolished

A place that sells coffee exclusively, along with other beverages and maybe some foodstuffs that do NOT require preparation in a full-fledged kitchen are called COFFEE HOUSES.  You may even see some BoHo art, read poetry or sing folk songs in a coffee house.  Our modern-day chain coffee houses are Starbucks, Coffee Bean, independent places such as UnUrban and Talking Stick, etc.
On the east coast, they call places like our Coffee Shops, with extensive food menus,  DINERS.  East coasters call coffee places that sell beverages exclusively and non-kitchen necessary foodstuffs, COFFEE SHOPS. 

 It's all so confusing.

Recently, our local coffee shop, Norm's on La Cienega has been threatened by demolition.  There are steps to rule this iconic building a Historical National Monument.  Phew!  So many of our mid-20th century buildings have been torn down.  Here is an excellent article that explains the controversy.
Photo by Jack Laxer

Norm's La Cienega, Interior

Norm's La Cienega, iconic signage
Norm's in Santa Monica, a late 1960's building was recently torn down for massive commercial development along Lincoln Boulevard.
Norm's Santa Monica.  Demolished

Luckily, we still have a few "Googie" / space-age coffee shops in the vicinity, still running, and still serving delicious home-style food at reasonable prices!
Pann's Coffee Shop, Ladera Heights, Los Angeles

Pann's Interior
Chip's Coffee Shop, Hawthorne

Have a wonderful weekend.  Go out to a COFFEE SHOP for a burger this weekend and check out the cool architecture!
Bob's Broiler, Downey

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

South Bay vs. Elise

Many South Bay Shawlettes

There are two shawl patterns that I've crocheted many times.  One is the South Bay Shawlette, the other is Elise Shawl.  Both are free patterns on Ravelry with easy-to-read charts.  They are extremely similar.  The South Bay is less of a deep triangular shape than the Elise.  I like them both.  These are my go-to patterns for quick gifts.  Each pattern has a two-row pattern repeat that is easy to memorize.  The border edging can be changed-up from simple to fancy.
Many Elise Shawls

I tend to scrunch-up my small shawls and wear them like scarves around my neck.  Using a fingering weight yarn and a size "F" or "G" hook for either of the shawls results in a beautiful, drapey neckerchief!

My latest South Bay is crocheted with various colors of Koigu KPPM yarn

Right now, I'm working on a South Bay in worsted weight yarn, using a size "K" hook!  It's huge and holey!  Chunky is IN for 2015.  I love it!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Workshop Tour

Rick's Restorations, Las Vegas

On Saturday, Bob was sweet enough to drive Jacquie, Larry and I to the industrial section of Downtown Las Vegas to visit Rick's Restorations.  Rick's shop is part of the reality shows on the American History Channel, American Pickers, American Restoration and Pawn Stars that we watch, off and on.  
We were lucky enough to get there just in time to join a tour of the workshop.  We were shown various fabrication, paint and metal shops where Rick's staff repairs various types of nostalgic machines, toys and other items. 
Restored Toys

It is amazing to me that the staff at Rick's place are now television stars with their faces on coffee mugs, t-shirts and more souvenirs for sale.  Even more amazing is that fans are purchasing all this stuff!
It was interesting seeing the restored and waiting-to-be-restored items in the warehouse.
Waiting to be Restored

Vintage Coca-Cola Machines are very popular!

Restored Vintage Golf Cart
Jacquie and Bob

We are most interested in Rick's shop, because we heard a rumor that the Tail o' the Pup hot dog stand is being restored here. We asked, but no one on the lot knew anything about Tail o' the Pup.  We snooped around and didn't see the hot dog stand under any tarps on the lot either.  Sigh.  Hopefully, the Pup will be restored soon and set up in a prominent place in Los Angeles.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Signs of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is known for it's neon signs.  In fact, in recent years the City has realized just how popular vintage signs are.  They have erected a museum for these marvels of technology.  On our last day in Las Vegas, Larry and I took a trip Downtown.  We were on the less popular edge of Fremont Street.  This part of town looks bombed out.  Many of the old motels and restaurants are gone.  There are vacant lots everywhere, waiting to be developed.  We found a few remnants of the past still alive, but fading fast.
I certainly hope that the City will save some of these gems.   Better yet, it would be wonderful if a few of these places were modernized and revitalized!

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