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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Monday, September 28, 2015

L.A. International Ukulele Festival

Lots of Great Shirts at the Uke-Fest!

I met up with the Los Angeles ukulele community in Torrance on Saturday for the first L.A. International Ukulele Festival.   Considering this was the first effort by this group of organizers, I think they did a fairly good job. The Torrance Cultural Arts Center an excellent location for this event. It was easy to find and freeway close, there are several air-conditioned class areas and auditoriums, an outside plaza and plenty of free parking. I do believe that there were 500 tickets sold. There weren't that many people in attendance, thankfully.

Natalie and Cher

I arrived at the same time as my friends, Natalie and Cher. We registered and walked into the plaza to see our friend Diane playing a concert with the CC Strummers. This is a group from Culver City, led by musician Cali Rose. They played many peppy and recognizable songs! At the end of their set, those of us in the audience with our ukes joined the group sing-a-long with Cali and the CC Strummers.  It was a great start to our day.
CC Strummers and Cali Rose

For the attendance fee of $35, you could attend any classes that were available. There were many classes to choose from for all levels of ukulele players. They offered beginning classes to detailed classes on how to build and hear chord progressions, ukulele chord melodies, moving up the fret board and Hawaiian song basics to Hula dancing! During all of these classes, there were constant performances outside in the plaza. Many uke-stars were there. Just outside the plaza there were tables of vendors selling everything from tiki mugs and ukulele-shaped jewelry to actual ukuleles and accessories. There was so much to see and do! Inside one of the halls there was a kitchen where Hawaiian-style snacks and lunch were being served for very reasonable prices.

Tiki mugs and pottery for sale

Owners from TikiGuy Studio in Phoenix

If it hadn't been so hot and humid, this would have been the perfect festival. Mitch Chang and his group of organizers did a great job, under the circumstances.
I decided to take a class called "Ukulele Chord Melodies." There was music for this class that was made available for download, pre-festival. I was ready. I sat in the front row. I will not mention the name of the instructor, because he really didn't teach us anything. He stood on the stage and played the melodies that we were supposed to learn. He didn't address the class. We didn't go through the melodies line by line. This guy just did not know how to teach. I felt embarrassed for him as people got up to leave.  After awhile, I decided that this was a waste of my time, so I left too.  It's too bad, because I'd heard that so many of the other teachers held excellent group classes. Oh well, it was time to stand in the long lines for lunch anyway.
People leaving class!

Standing in line was fun. I met and talked to other local ukulele students. I always learn tips and tricks and valuable information from chatting with other uke-sters!
After lunch I sat with Cricket and Diane and we listened to some of the performers. It was really fun. The spirit of the crowd and the performers was filled with the Aloha big ohana!
Westside Ukulele Ensemble.  They were great!

My second class for the day was excellent! Diane and I took "Let's Arrange A Song on the Ukulele!" with Cali Rose. We learned the "Hawaiian War Chant" song. It was so much fun learning different strumming techniques, picking melody lines, rhythmic flourishes and chord embellishments all in one song!  Cali is a really good teacher. Her class was a pleasure. I wish I could take her class at the Culver City Senior Center. If only I didn't have this pesky job! Cali also teaches on Saturdays at Boulevard Music in Culver City. I may look into one of her workshops there. 

Excellent Headgear!

Diane and Ellen. Photo by Cricket

We cruised the vendor booths, talked with more friends and waved a fond Aloha in the late afternoon to everyone at the Torrance Cultural Center. I look forward to next year's festival.

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Friday, September 25, 2015

Vintage Photo Friday

The Old and New Clifton's Cafeteria

Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria, 1939

I was most impressed with the preservation and re-invention of the Clifton's Cafeteria building when we visited this past Monday. I only remember the 1960's version of the exterior.
In an effort to update and modernize the old building, originally the Boos Brothers Cafeteria (1913), owner, Clifford Clinton added this modern screen to the front of the building, along with modern signage.  I like this exterior. It's clean, the sign is legible and you can clearly see what this building is all about.

Clifton's Re-design, 1960s to 2011

When the current owner, Andrew Meieran bought the business, he wanted to return the building to it's 1939 design. It took over four years, but Clifton's has returned to it's 1940s glory.

Clifton's, during restoration
Clifton's September 2015
The interior of the building is just as impressive as the exterior. Meieran improved the forested lodge-look of the place by adding more realistic fake trees and foliage, along with forest animals. You really must visit so you can view the transformation!
The old cafeteria tray versus the new tray
Clifton's, 1940. Dick Whittington collection, USC Photo Archives

Here's a bit of history about the building from the Pacific Coast Architecture Database:
In 1935, Clifford and Nelda Clinton picked up the lease on the failed Boos Brothers Cafeteria on Olive Street in Downtown Los Angeles. The second Clifton's Cafeteria, this institution has occupied a retail space at 648 South Broadway in Downtown Los Angeles, CA, since 1935. In 1939, after an extensive renovation, it was rechristened, "Clifton's Brookdale Cafeteria." The name derived from a lodge building that Clinton had visited in the Northern California Santa Cruz Mountains in his youth. Like the original restaurant, Clifton's Brookdale also featured a lenient, "pay what you wish" business model. In 2007, Clifton's was one of the few remaining cafeterias left anywhere in Southern California, a restaurant type very popular during the 1920s-1960s.
I look forward to many more meals at the new and improved Clifton's Cafeteria.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Breaking the Fast

Main Dining Room @ Hillcrest Country Club. New chairs!

It's always nice getting together with my Aunt, Cousins and Mom on the holidays.  We traditionally break the fast together after Yom Kippur.  In the old days, my Grandfather would also celebrate his birthday on this day with our family. Grandpa and Grandma were very active members of Temple Beth Am. Grandpa made sure that we all attended services at least part of the Day of Atonement. When I was very young, I would go to youth services down the block from the main Temple at the Ionic Lodge Building. Most synagogues are jammed during the High Holidays. It's the one time of year that many Jews attend services.
My Aunt Mae invited us to Hillcrest Country Club for their legendary Yom Kippur buffet. The selection of food is staggering. We started out with various salads and smoked fish, roasted vegetables, soup, etc. Later, we moved on to the main event, including roast beef, turkey, chicken, fish, potato pancakes, kugel, blintzes, various vegetables, quiches and more. 

Ellen, Carolyn.  Photo by Janet

Vegies, Chicken, Kugel and Latke

The desserts are amazing at Hillcrest. There is always a wide array of traditional Jewish deserts as well as other delicacies. This year, there was even a Blum's Coffiesta Cake!
A Portion of  the Dessert Table

 The traditional desserts are very popular!

Since the end of the High Holidays fell on a Wednesday this year, our group was small...just our relatives living in Los Angeles. This is the core family, my first cousins, Mom and Aunt. It was nice having a small group. We really had a chance to visit with each other.
Roz, Mae, Phil

John, Carolyn

Lauren, Mike, Janet

Ellen, Marilyn

Mae, Carolyn, John

Thank you, Auntie Mae for hosting another wonderful family gathering!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery