Friday, May 01, 2015

May Day, Vintage Photo Friday

Maypole Dance at Echo Park Playground, Los Angeles, 1927. Herald Examiner Photo Collection

When I was a child, we celebrated May Day at my elementary school, Beverly Vista, by learning folk dances and the Maypole Dance. May Day is a European celebration of Spring, going back to Pagan times. I remember practicing dances for weeks. There were many groups of us, surrounding metal poles stuck into holes of the asphalt playground. Each child held a plastic streamer that was attached to the top of the pole. We performed some sort of skipping dance in the round that wrapped the Maypole with our streamers in a decorative way, accompanied by various songs, heard over the loudspeaker system. There were a few other folk dances performed for this celebration while our parents watched and applauded.

Beverly Vista Elementary School, Beverly Hills

From WikipediaRoots of May Day celebration in America: The Puritans frowned on May Day, so the day has never been celebrated with as much enthusiasm in the United States as in Great Britain. But the tradition of celebrating May Day by dancing and singing around a maypole, tied with colorful streamers or ribbons, survived as a part of the English tradition. The kids celebrating the day by moving back and forth around the pole with the the streamers, choosing of May queen, and hanging of May baskets on the doorknobs of folks -- are all the leftovers of the old European traditions.
My First Grade May Day Dance Posse

I also remember cutting out flowers from construction paper and arranging them in some fashion and presenting them to my Mom for May Day. Maypole dances were abandoned at school by the time I was in third or fourth grade. I think this must have had something to do with the cold war and the association of May Day in Russian History as a Communist celebration.

Mr. Larry, the May King of Crocheted Flowers

I shall celebrate the traditional May Day this year by enjoying the flowers blooming in our garden, the beautiful Jacaranda trees on the streets of Los Angeles and the glorious weather!  Happy May Day, my friends.

Flowers along the driveway at our house

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

More Mitts

Jackie's "Guit-Mitts"

I just finished another pair of fingerless gloves for my cousin, Jackie. She saw my photo of the mitts on my Instagram page. Naturally, the photo of me wearing the mitt while strumming an electric guitar caught Jackie's eye.

Jackie plays the guitar too. Her Dad, Richie Davis, is the awesome lead guitarist of the Chicago Catz, a very well-known band in the Chicago area. 

Jackie, rockin' out

Jackie asked for mitts in a burgundy colorway. Luckily, I had some Punta Lace Space Dyed yarn in just that color! I used a size "C" crochet hook for these mitts. Jackie has smaller hands than I do, so I didn't want to stretch them out by trying them on. I look forward to Jackie sending me an artistic photo of herself wearing the mitts while playing her axe. 
Here's a video of Richie and Jackie jamming. 
Richie and Jackie Davis, jamming in the studio

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Celebrity Knitters

Knitting and crocheting have been popular for many years.  Even Hollywood celebrities knit! It can be very boring sitting around on the set, waiting for your scene to start. There must be something better to do than study your script!

Betty White. Check out all that cool 50s furniture!

Debbie Reynolds

Joan Crawford

Roz Russell

Shirley Temple

My personal favorite, Betty Rubble. Dig those wacky knitting needles!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Hammer Museum

Western Exterior Wall at the Hammer Museum, Westwood

On Sunday afternoon we met our friends, Anne and Jeff at the Hammer Museum in Westwood. We met Anne and Jeff last year on our Louisiana vacation. We became Facebook friends and found that we had many mutual friends and experiences....Los Angeles natives, you know. It's been a year since our visit to Louisiana and a year since we've seen Anne and Jeff, even though we live about 10 miles apart! We must get together more often!
The Hammer has some interesting exhibits right now. The first gallery we visited showed The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio. This exhibit was mind-boggling, encompassing designs for small holiday cards to entire buildings and bridges! I was most impressed by the extruded aluminum benches.
Click on Image to Enlarge

Next gallery, Charles Gaines: Gridwork.  I'm all about the grid. There were a series of drawings, paintings and photographs organized by tiny numerical grid/boxes. The numbers were painstakingly tiny within the grids, all hand-written!  #ocd. The work was very colorful and fascinating.
Charles Gaines Artwork

Check out those teensy numbers!

"Apparitions: Frottages and Rubbings from 1860 to Now" was intriguing too. I particularly liked the image below.


There were many more exhibitions and galleries, including the Hammer's permanent collection that we breezed through. One thing I do like about the Hammer, it's manageable for a short visit.
Lily van der Stokker's wall installations

In the courtyard there were these circular "chairs" designed by the Heatherwick Studio that people could sit in and roll around the courtyard. They reminded me of the teacups at Disneyland.


We sat in the sunshine and reminisced about our trip to Louisiana. Anne and Jeff told us about their upcoming travels. By 2:30 pm, The Hammer was starting to get really crowded, so we parted ways. We look forward to our next meet-up with our friends.
Jeff, Anne and Larry

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Mexicano Restaurant

Mexicano Restaurant at Baldwin Hills-Crenshaw Mall

Date night. Baldwin Hills. There's a new, fancy Mexican restaurant at the Mall called Mexicano. This is the second restaurant for chefsJaime Martin Del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu.  Their other restaurant is La Casita Mexicana in Bell. I'd been reading a lot about this new place recently and wanted to check it out.



Mexicano is located off the food court.  You enter from just outside the Mall door, across from the theaters. There's an outdoor patio and a beautifully appointed cavernous space inside. The bar is large and offers a full array of specialty cocktails. There are some dining areas off of the main dining room which would be perfect for semi-private parties.The food served at Mexicano is fine-dining-style Mexican food.  The items we're used to seeing on Mexican menus around town like tacos, enchiladas, taquitos, etc. are referred to as street-food or fast-food here.
Click to enlarge

The menu at Mexicano is diverse.  There are dishes prepared with Oaxacan mole' sauces, ceviche and other fish dishes from the coast and more. We each ordered the freshly squeezed lemonade with chia seeds. Larry had the Cochinita Pibil, which is  a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish usually marinated in citrus juices, roasted while wrapped in a banana leaf. I ordered the Chile en Nogada which is a mild Poblano chile stuffed with pork, beef, dried fruits, walnuts, candied cactus, topped with pecan cream and pomegranate seeds. Both entrees were served with the most delicious rice. 
Cochinita Pibil, served with rice and home-made tortillas

Chile en Nogada

We LOVED our meals! The service was excellent and the ambiance was lovely. We didn't feel like we were in a "mall" restaurant at all. Mexicano is a welcome addition to Post & Beam at the other end of the mall parking lot. Fine dining does exist in the other BH.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

This Time, Last Year

French Quarter, New Orleans

This time, last year, we were in New Orleans for Jazz Fest.  It was also a celebration for our 23rd wedding anniversary. We had such a memorable trip. Looking back at the photos today, reminds me of the great times, good music, excellent food and new friends that we made. I've forgotten (almost) about the mosquito bites, the hot and humid weather and my aching feet!

Many of our friends have returned for this year's festival.  I LOVE seeing their posts of Facebook. It reminds me of the great times we had.
We had a chance to visit with friends and family: Cousins, Marlene & Reuben, Ms. Patti, David & Gretchen
Festival Tour of Cajun Country

Once we hooked up with our Festival Tours International Group for our trip to Cajun Country, it was non-stop fun for the rest of our vacation.
Larry with D.J., Paul Marx, KBON-Radio, Eunice, LA
Savoy Music Center and Savoy Family Home for music and a Crawfish Boil
Luncheon hosted by Cajun Chef, Patrick Mould in Broussard, LA

I treasure the time we spent in Louisiana.  After seeing so many of my friends' photos and videos on Facebook this week, I long to return. Keep those posts coming, my friends!
Festival Tours International Group, 2014 at the Liberty Theater, Eunice, LA

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grid Obsession

I've blogged about my obsession with the GRID previously. I like the grid used as a painting device. I like the grid used as a knitting and/or crochet device.  Symmetry is my middle name. The order and clean lines of the grid make me happy.


On Sunday, while I was at the Blu Elefant Cafe for a meet-up with the West Adams Knitters, Diane was working on a baby blanket.  She found the pattern on Ravelry, "Call The Midwife Inspired Baby Blanket."  "Call the Midwife" is a BBC television show currently broadcast on PBS.  From pattern-solver Rebecca's website: Based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, a nurse in London's poverty-stricken East End in the 1950s, "Call the Midwife" is an extremely moving story of a group of women who face incredible odds to bring life after precious life into the world.
Naturally, LOTS of crocheted and knitted baby blankets are featured on the show.  Many of the patterns definitely have a 1950s,1960s look to them.  Rebecca liked this pattern, so she figured out how to crochet it and offered the pattern on her website.
Photo from Rebecca's Website

I perused Ravelry patterns a bit and used "filet crochet baby" as my filtered search words.  I found more patterns almost like this one.
The description of the Easy Crochet Flowers Baby Blanket by Sara Turner states, This is a very simple baby blanket pattern, just a repeating block of double crochet and chained flowers, which I adapted from an ancient pattern I inherited from my grandmother.


Crochet Pattern Chart by Sara Turner

Aha! So, this is a vintage pattern!  I love when TV shows get the details perfectly.  Either the set designer found this baby blankie in someone's attic or at an antique store, or had it made from an old pattern.
Jessica McDowell's "Peter" baby blanket is another version of this flowered grid design. Jessica says that the traditional style of this pattern reminds her of illustrations in "The Tale of Peter Rabbit."

Jessica McDowell's Peter Baby Blanket

I've narrowed this pattern a bit and am using it for a crocheted scarf.  I bought a beautiful skein of Anzula Squishy in the Raspberry colorway during the L.A. County Yarn Crawl at Twist, Yarns of Intrigue in Manhattan Beach. I like the results. 

Ellen's "Raspberry Midwife" Scarf

Once I get a pattern in my head that I like, I use it over and over again with different yarns. I think this flower-grid pattern would make an excellent washcloth or table place mats!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Pyrex is Here!!!


2015 is the 100th anniversary of the invention of Pyrex.  I love Pyrex. It's so sturdy, dependable and easy to clean.  When I saw an advertisement for some limited edition 100th anniversary Pyrex for sale, I just had to have one, or two, or a few!



Pyrex is a division of Corning.  Corning Ware is my next best kitchen love. Swoon.
Pyrex Delivery! I may have bought a few for my friends.

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