Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Redondo Pier

Monday was Presidents Day. Larry and I had the day off from work. We decided that a rainy, cloudy day would be perfect for a trip to the Redondo Beach Pier. Surprisingly, it wasn't completely empty, but it wasn't crowded either.
Neither of us had been to Old Tony's Restaurant on the Pier. Tony's has been on the Pier since 1952. Over the years the building has expanded, and in 1963 the bar at the Top O' Tony's opened, giving everyone a 360 degree view of the bay. They are known for their mai-tai cocktails. 
The Downstairs Bar has a Fire Pit!
Tony's building definitely has a Swiss Chalet feel to it!

We parked in the ample, but dilapidated parking structure and walked on the pier for bit until we came to Tony's. We had a delicious lunch of chowder, shrimp cocktail and crab cakes. Everything was fresh and prepared beautifully. After lunch we walked around the restaurant, snapping pictures.
Obligatory Wall o' Stars
Vinyl Upholstery on the bamboo chairs. I had this design as wallpaper in 1968!
Ceiling in the round bar, upstairs

I must say, Fisherman's Wharf at the Redondo Pier has seen better days. You can see the various eras of revitalization from the 1960's through the 1990's. A new upgrade is planned soon. 
1960's Parking Structure, crumbling concrete
It was rather nostalgic to walk along the Pier and see all of the funky, old souvenir shops and ice cream stands. The waves were hitting rocks and the surf was up!

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Vintage Photo Friday, 1963 - DISASTER

December 15, 1963. Photo by John Malmin, L.A. Times. Aerial photo taken from inside the Baldwin Hills Dam shows the collapsed section in the north wall

All of this rain and this flooding that we're experiencing right now reminds me of the Baldwin Hills Reservoir disaster of 1963. I remember it vividly, Local TV station, KTLA covered the event live from their camera in the sky. KTLA was one of the first TV stations to employ cameramen in helicopters to get overviews of news events.
The dam walls had been cracking for days. People were warned early because the engineers noticed a small breach in the dam. Homes were evacuated in the area. Many peoples' lives were saved before the disaster struck. There is a good description of the area on THIS BLOG. Read it!
December 14, 1963. Photo from LA Public Library Collection. Igal Treibatch has his jeans rolled up as he's standing on a Ford Fairlane, waiting for his rescue in the flooded waters from the Baldwin Hills Dam

I remember sitting in our breakfast room in the early evening, glued to KTLA, watching our little portable TV as the disaster unfolded with my brother, Ken and his friend Eddie. Mom was in the kitchen preparing dinner. We couldn't believe our eyes! All that water was flooding the area. We had friends that lived there. My Dad was very familiar with the area because he had supplied many of the homes built in the late 1950s and early 1960s with doors and wardrobes. It wasn't all that far from our duplex on South Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills, only about 5 miles away!
December, 1963. Herald Examiner. LAPL Photo Collection. Neighbors stand beside a newly carved gorge in the 3900 block of Cloverdale Ave. This house was the first one hit by the cascading water from the Reservoir. The house was washed away. Only the retaining wall in the background and the concrete pad remain. A section of the road hangs over the gorge.

The aftermath of the flood was terrible. Many homes, apartments and stores were gone.   The dam spilled 300 million gallons of water into the hillsides that swept away houses and cars. Three people died.  The Reservoir was never rebuilt. It turns out that it had been built on top of an earthquake fault and the nearby Inglewood oil field had been over-exploited, weakening the ground around the Reservoir. The area where the dam was located is now Kenneth Hahn State Park. It's a beautiful park, lush and filled with people enjoying the recreational facilities and hiking paths. I've been to the park a few times and I always get a chill, thinking about the disaster in 1963.
2015. Larry at Kenneth Hahn State Park

Stay safe this weekend, my fellow Angelenos! Prepare for disaster.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Caribbean Pineapples

"Caribbean Pineapples"

My WeHo SnB Valentine Swap Partner this year was Brenda B. Brenda likes to wear cotton. I found some lovely Samoa cotton in a beautiful coral color in my stash. I also found a couple of skeins of orange, very close to the coral color. I decided to use both of them to create "Caribbean Pineapples" for Brenda!
The trim is orange and most of the body of the scarf is coral, except for the center section
Crochet Pineapples Chart

I do love the basic crocheted pineapple. It's airy and makes a very pretty lace. I used a size G, 4.5mm crochet hook for this very long scarf.
The edge lace is from Doris Chan's "All Shawl," a favorite trim that I use often
Brenda, modeling "Caribbean Pineapples"
Brenda looks FAB in this new scarf / cowl! I hope she wears it a lot this spring and summer! 
I received a beautiful scarf in shades of blues and greens from Sara N. I LOVE my new scarf, but that's another blog post!
Ellen (wearing Sara's Scarf); Brenda (wearing Ellen's Scarf)
Super Swap 2017 - Valentine's Day with the WeHo SnB


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Pre-Valentine's Day Dinner At Taix

Hallway to banquet rooms at Taix

French Country cuisine at Taix in Echo Park!  Yum! One of my favorite classic Los Angeles restaurants. We were supposed to celebrate a double KnitGrrlz birthday on Saturday at Taix, but there were last minute changes due to emergencies, sniffles and more! We have re-scheduled for March.
Larry and I decided to keep the reservation and celebrate Valentine's Day early. I'm so glad we did. Les Freres Taix has always been one of my go-to places in L.A. The original Taix was located downtown on Commercial Street, near City Hall. It was a glorified soup kitchen with sawdust on the floor and long tables. The current Taix has been in this location since 1962 and is decidedly more upscale than the former DTLA restaurant.
The menu consists of Country French favorites, simple food, prepared beautifully. We had soup, salad and drinks. Larry ordered the salmon, I had the grilled shrimp on a bed of ratatouille. Both were DELICIOUS! The service is always good. The dining room is lovely and you can hear each other talk. This is rare in newer Los Angeles restaurants today. The carpets, draperies and upholstered booths tone down the usual restaurant clatter. So serene. 
French Onion Soup with yummy, gloppy cheese
Roasted Salmon Filet with vegies and champagne cream
Grilled Shrimp w/lime and chili and ratatouille, beurre blanc
We were so full that we declined dessert. The dining room and the bar were full on this Saturday night with happy people. There were also a number of banquets in progress. We listened to an accordion and violin duo outside of the large banquet room! We wandered into one of the smaller banquet rooms with French country-side murals. Charming.
Smaller Banquet Room at Taix
I look forward to our return in March to celebrate Brit's and Natalie's belated birthdays!
Vintage Taix Advertisements

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Intarsia and Fair Isle Fun

Design Motif from "150 Scandinavian Motifs"

I often knit with self-striping yarns and variegated yarns. More often than not, I like to use solid colors when I knit or crochet, sometimes adding in a different color stripe or block in a project.
Recently, I've been watching my friend, Gale's Instagram feed. Gale is suddenly immersed in Intarsia and Fair Isle knitting. This is knitting designs, usually associated with Scandinavian or other folk art designs.
Gale recently co-wrote "Drop Dead Easy Knits" with Mary Lou Egan and Kristen Kapur. There's one simple hat pattern in the book that lends itself to improvisation. Gale took a Scandinavian design from Mary Jo Mucklestone's recent release, "150 Scandinavian Motifs." I was enchanted with her results!
I've been knitting since I was 7 years old. Time to try a new technique! I've been working on a hat in the lovely colors of ice blue, blush pink and chocolate brown, incorporating a few easy Scandinavian motifs. This type of knitting takes more concentration than I'm used to, but it is fun!
My first attempt
I won't be attempting any super difficult designs yet. We'll see how this little hat works out first!

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Amazingly the Same!

Sontag Drugstore, Wilshire & Cloverdale, Miracle Mile, 1941. Water and Power Co. Photo Collection
1939

We live near the Miracle Mile, Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax and La Brea Avenues. This area was developed in the late 1920s-1930s. Previously there had been cattle grazing in the barley fields along this stretch.  You can read about the development of this area by A.W. Ross HERE
I'm often amazed that many of the beautiful art deco and streamline moderne buildings are still standing on Wilshire, considering our development-crazy City. Many of these buildings are protected by historic preservation ordinance. One such building is the Wilshire Beauty store at Cloverdale and Wilshire. The building was built in 1935 as one of the chain of Sontag Drugstores.
The SAME building today, Wilshire Beauty
2017 via Google Maps
I'm thrilled to see that the exterior of this building has not been seriously altered. It has remained almost the same for seven decades! In Los Angeles, that's a long time!
Time to take a stroll down the Miracle Mile and discover more of these beauties! 
A.W. Ross, Wilshire & Curson, Miracle Mile Developer

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Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Yarny Baby

Victorian Lattice Square Baby Blankie

I LOVE knitting and crocheting items for babies. Baby stuff is small, easy to finish quickly and a joy to make.
I like how the lacy parts look like snowflakes, especially in these colors!

I recently finished a sweet baby afghan for a brand new baby boy. It's 100% virgin acrylic, washable and baby-proof! I used all of the blues, grays and white yarn in my stash. The square is called Victorian Lattice Square. It's a big square and fun to crochet.
I found two skeins of  Classic Shades, Universal Yarn in the "Lake" colorway. This yarn is also 100% acrylic and super soft. It has a long colorway striping feature, which in this color is very subtle.  I've started a little baby cardigan with this yarn.
Baby Cardigan
The yarn color, above, didn't really photograph well.  Here's a better sample of the striping colors:
Classic Shades in the "Lake" Colorway

I'll probably add little wooden buttons to the cardi. If I have enough yarn and TIME, I'll knit a baby hat to go with the cardigan.


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Friday, February 03, 2017

Public Service Announcement - Rain

1964. Photo by Larry Leach. Valley Times Collection. Hollywood Freeway through the
Cahuenga Pass in the Rain

Driving in the rain in Los Angeles can be treacherous. We've had a series of rainstorms in L.A. during the last few weeks. Most of the year our streets are dry. Driving on rain-slicked streets filled with months of oil collected from passing vehicles makes for a lethal gumbo!
Click HERE for a few tips from AAA to remember about driving in the rain in Los Angeles.
1972. Photo by Tom LaBonge. LAPL Collection. Fairfax and 3rd St., Los Angeles
1962. Photo by Gordon Dean, Valley Times, Collection, Victory & Laurel Canyon, North Hollywood
I've been taking the L.A. Metro train to work this week. Yes, I did get a bit drenched on my walk from the train to my office, but at least I avoided slippin' and slidin' on the freeway! Safe travels this weekend, my friends!

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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Century City, 1969

Reprise of a blog-post from 2010.  Century City, Los Angeles...the early years!

Ellen, in the Century City Fountain on Avenue of the Stars,
Century City Apartments on Olympic Blvd. in background, 1969


I came across a few photos that I took, along with my good friend, Barbara, in Century City in 1969. They were what we called "art" shots. Century City was a relatively new place, built on the former back-lot of 20th Century-Fox Studios. There were sculptural buildings, exotic fountains and lots of concrete!


New Construction, Century City, 1969, near Santa Monica Blvd.
Barbara, Century City, 1969
Century Plaza Hotel in Background


Ellen, Century City, 1969Another fountain, Century City, Avenue of the Stars, 1969


Barbara, on the low-slung, curved roof of the Century House Restaurant,
Century City, 1969
I've been looking for an architectural photo of the Century House Restaurant. It was such an unusual building, with a roof-line reaching almost down to the ground. I can't find any record of it. It is heavily chronicled in the movie, "A Guide for the Married Man" in 1967 and "Caprice" with Doris Day, 1967. 

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery