Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where Were You When Elvis Died?

"Young Elvis." Painting by Sharon Furrate
Tuesday, August 16, 1977, 40 years ago. I'd just started a new job at Twentieth Century Fox Studios the month before. I was sitting in my cubicle in the old Administration Building, across from Stage 9 ("M*A*S*H" Stage). I was working in the International Accounting Department as a secretary. One of the managers came out of his office and told us the news about Elvis' death. Jerry couldn't believe what he'd heard. The secretary next to me, Jeanne, started crying. The news traveled quickly through the building. Everyone was turning on radios to hear the details.
While I realized Elvis' importance to the history of rock and roll (I wasn't one of his super-fans). By the time I was REALLY interested in popular music, it was all Beach Boys, Beatles and Rolling Stones for me. Elvis was considered passe'.  
In the mid-70's some of my girlfriends were traveling to Las Vegas regularly to catch his shows. I was invited, but decided that this was not a hip thing for me to do. I, of course, only wanted to be the hippest of the cool. I regret that I never saw Elvis perform live. Even toward the end of his career, he was still a very powerful presence on stage. Sigh.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

4th Annual Granny Square Day!

Today is Annual Granny Square Day. Search #grannysquareday2017 to see the virtual granny square blanket on your Instagram feed! 

Some people do not know how to read instructions! They are ruining the virtual blanket! I read the instructions and complied. I'm all about right versus wrong. The instructions for Granny Square Day 2017 say: "Post a cropped photo of a SINGLE granny square (a 4-round granny square looks the best) to #grannysquareday2017 on August 15.  You can make more than one post but only feature a SINGLE square in each post. NO works in progress shots or pictures of blankets, please. You don't have to be the maker of the square...take a close-up photo of your grandmother's crochet! If you cannot crochet, go ahead and take a close-up of a knitted square."
The instructions seem quite clear to me, so how come people are posting photos like these?

Three of my squares are in the collage below. The others are from the beautiful Instagram feed.
The Virtual Granny Square Blanket should look like this on your Instagram feed!
People from all over the world are posting squares. One square is more beautiful than the next! This makes me want to scrap all of my current yarn projects and start crocheting a granny square blanket because I really need more granny blankets. NOT!
Stack o' Granny Blankies at Ellen's House
Granny squares are not only for blankets. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Granny Squares are the Building Blocks to Fashion."  Just check this link for verification!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Bloom Family Reunion - 2017

Jo's Ranch House in Valley Glen

It was hot, hot, hot in the San Fernando Valley on Saturday, but in spite of the heat, we managed to have a wonderful Bloom Family Reunion. My cousin Jo has the PERFECT house in Valley Glen for large groups. The living room, dining room and kitchen are roomy (air-conditioned) and they lead outside to a covered patio and barbecue. The pool area is really beautiful and there are places in the yard to catch some shade.
Mike looks on as MacKenzie and Jackson pose for the camera

I'd estimate that there were about 40 of us in attendance, coming from New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Riverside, Fallbrook and various areas of Los Angeles. We were missing our family from Santa Barbara, Chicago, New York and North Carolina, but maybe next year!
My first cousins and Mom. L-R: Ellen, Sasha, Roz, Carol, Barbara, Barry, Amie

Everyone brought side dishes and beverages to share. The A,B,Cs brought hot-dogs, knockwurst and all the fixin's. Needless to say, we had plenty of food!
We NEVER run out of food at family gatherings
Barry and Yuki set up the group photo


A few people left early, but we managed to corral everyone else for our traditional group photo. Thanks to Larry and Patrick for clicking the pix!

Photo by Larry
click on photo to see larger
Photo by Patrick
Thanks to Jo and Jessica for lending us their house for the day. Thanks to Amie for helping to organize and thanks to ALL of my cousins for bringing yummy food to share and for participating!
To see MORE photos of the day, click on this LINK

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Art Exhibit - Chicago


One of my blankets is in the exhibit! Top, left corner!

Whoa! I'm so excited! I saw one of my Welcome Blankets in a photo that Kelly posted in the Welcome Blanket Group on Ravelry! Thanks, Kelly of Chicago for taking photos of the exhibit at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago!
Welcome Blanket Display at Smart Museum of Art, Chicago

If you don't see your blanket in any of these photos, this is what Kelly posted, "If you don’t see your blanket yet, don’t fret. Each blanket that comes in has to be fully cataloged: numbered and measured, with the full notes transcribed. Then every blanket goes in the freezer for six days. There are something like 140 blankets still in the queue, so it may take a while, but everything will get out into the gallery."
#welcomeblanket

This is such a wonderful project. You can read the details here. The organizers pose this question: "The proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico is almost 2000 miles long. Imagine if the massive distance of this wall was re-conceptualized and re-contextualized not to divide, but to include. Instead of wall, a concrete line, to keep people out, what if lines of yarn became 3,500,640 yards of blankets to welcome people in?"
#welcomeblanket



There's still time to send in your blanket for this worthy project. The deadline is September 5th. 

All blanket gallery photos by Kelly Pollock.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Chris and Elise

Left Coast Dyeworks, founded by Christopher Bahls

I first met Christopher Bahls on the West Adams Heritage Association Holiday Home Tour and Progressive Dinner in 2013. Larry and I were walking along with the other tour participants on a particularly freezing night in December while our tour guide was describing the historic homes along the way. The walking portion of the tour was broken up with stops at various homes for each course of our holiday dinner. We were all bundled up and I noticed this young man wearing a particularly beautiful knit scarf. I asked him about the scarf and we proceeded to have a very long conversation about hand-knits.
The West Adams Heritage Association Holiday Home Tour, 2013

It turned out that Chris worked at a local knit shop, A Major Knitwork in Van Nuys. In between historic home stops, we discussed knitting and more. At the end of the tour we waved a fond farewell and knew we'd meet up again at one of the various yarny events in Los Angeles.
A few months later I was on the 2014 Los Angeles Yarn Crawl and my friend Nancy and I visited A Major Knitwork. Of course, we ran into Chris wearing another wonderful scarf!
Chris, Ellen at A Major Knitwork, Van Nuys, 2014 L.A. Yarn Crawl

Months later, while I was shopping at my local yarn store, The Knitting Tree, I saw Chris working there! Wow! Chris is an excellent addition to the staff at this great shop!
Chris, 2017. Photo by The Knitting Tree

Recently Chris opened up his own online yarn-dyeing business. The Knitting Tree also carries his creations. The company is called Left Coast Dyeworks. Chris creates some of the most beautiful color combinations I've ever seen. During the 2017 Yarn Crawl I could not resist purchasing one skein, Urban Tweed, in stunning shades of orange. 
Chris, at the debut of Left Coast Dyeworks. Photo by The Knitting Tree

What to do with just one skein. I didn't want to dilute the beauty of Chris' yarn by pairing with other yarn in a large project, so I crocheted my go-to shawl pattern, "Elise." I LOVE it! It's a perfect size and the yarn blocked out soft and pliable.
"Elise" Shawl, Left Coast Dyeworks Yarn
Nice work, Chris! Time for me to get over to The Knitting Tree and check out your new colors.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Planning for the Bloom Family Reunion

Vera and Moishe Bloom, 1905

This coming Saturday my Dad's side of the family is having a reunion. Our cousin Jo has offered her home for the afternoon's festivities. Jo has a great ranch house in Valley Glen with a pool and plenty of area to entertain. It's the perfect place for a family gathering. Thanks, Jo!
Basically, we're all descendants of Vera and Moishe Bloom, pictured above. The Blooms had seven children: Lawrence, Reta, Sonya, Anna, Masha, Luba and Sasha. At this particular gathering most of us are related to Lawrence (my grandfather) and Anna. Other cousins are on the east coast or in Chicago and couldn't make it this year.
CLICK ON PHOTO TO SEE LARGER VERSION
The Bloom Sisters: Luba, Masha, Anna, Sonya, Reta
We've been having various versions of this reunion since my generation grew up. When we were little kids, the cousins, aunts, uncles, Grandma and Grandpa used to get together almost every Sunday. I remember helping to organize our first reunion in the late 1970s at Greystone Park in Beverly Hills.
The Chicago Relatives, 1922
Most of the Bloom family eventually settled in Chicago and many stayed there (and STILL live there). My portion of the family moved to Los Angeles in 1919. I've been going through all of the old photographs that I have, printing out some and assembling them, along with old letters for a family scrapbook to bring to Jo's house on Saturday.
Lawrence and Ethel Bloom with their sons, Mort, George and Baby Hi. Boyle Hts., Los Angeles, 1922

In this modern era, we try to get together every few years. Our parents' generation is almost gone. The two who are left, Roz and Mary Jane, will be in attendance this Saturday.
Los Angeles, CA, 1993
Valley Glen, Los Angeles, CA 2011
Fallbrook, CA, 2013
I look forward to seeing my cousins this Saturday, and we will miss those that are gone and those that could not travel across the country!

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Friday, August 04, 2017

Home Town


Just feeling a bit nostalgic today about the way my home town used to be. Sigh.
Wilshire and Beverly Drive, 1962
Many childhood and teen expeditions were spent here on Beverly Drive. Hot dogs at Newberry's lunch counter, shopping at Lerner's, movies at the Beverly Theater and more.
The old / new BH Library, 1965
This Library was replaced by a huge new complex, including the library, offices and a parking structure. Before the structure, above was built, the BH Library was in the City Hall building, across the street. I just LOVED the mosaics on the side of the building, representing books on shelves. I wish the mosaic had been save. Double sigh.
Memorial Park, across from the BH Hotel
The Memorial Park is still here. maintained beautifully. It's a nice place to sketch, knit or read.
Wilshire Blvd. and Rodeo Dr., BH
I only ate at this particular Brown Derby once. This corner is now part of the One Rodeo shopping complex.

The Electric Fountain at Wilshire & Santa Monica Blvd., BH
The Electric Fountain was a REALLY BIG DEAL when I was a child. My Dad used to drive out of his way at night just so we could see the lights change. It was refurbished a few years ago and is still spectacular!
I just passed a milestone birthday. I'm trying to look ahead into the future, however thoughts and images from the past flood my memory. 



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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Snow Creek

Last Saturday, Larry and I drove out to the desert to visit with our friend Jan. She had recently moved back to Southern California from Austin. We were invited to her house-warming in Snow Creek.
Jan's House in Snow Creek Village

Snow Creek Village is a unique community. There's a little sign on the 111 Highway, just before you get to Palm Springs. If you're going too fast, you'll miss the sign. You drive on the black-top toward the mountain. 
Nestled near the base of the San Jacinto Mountains, this area has a creek and is shaded by the nearby mountains, so that green plants along with the usual desert brush grows here. It's a private community and you're not allowed to park on the streets, but you can walk through if you park outside the village, near the Snow Creek Refuge sign.
John Van Pelt Storybook Home in Snow Creek

Jan had a houseful of people to greet us along with lots of yummy food! Jan's daughter, Amoreena is a chef and prepared all kinds of delicious dishes for us. It was SUPER HOT, about 109 degrees. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know...it's a DRY heat. It doesn't matter. Hot is hot. 
Jan's Kitchen

Needless to say, most people were either in the swimming pool or inside in the air-conditioning. The house that Jan is living in is fairly new. It's set up against the boulders of the desert in a most pleasing way. The views from the house and backyard are spectacular.
We ate, laughed and talked. Jan asked me to bring my ukulele, so I busted it out and started to play. One of Jan's friends, Sydney, asked me to show her a few chords. Boom! She picked it up quickly and was accompanying us on a few songs. Time to go buy yourself a uke, Syd!
Our Hootenanny Group

Once the sun set, the bugs came out! I found out later that these bugs are called Charcoal Seed Bugs. They are harmless, but a nuisance. They're out in full force because of the wet winter. The bugs are attracted to light, so night-time is the worst. They attack the lights, cars and people! Time to get inside!
Charcoal Seed Bugs, attracted to the light

Thanks for a fun visit, Jan! We love your new secret enclave of Snow Creek Village and will gladly come visit in the WINTER!
You can see a few more photos HERE.  

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Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Clean and Simple

I used to sew. A lot. Once upon a time I crafted jackets from tapestries with intricate collars and cuffs. I made custom Hawaiian shirts for Mr. Larry. I even sewed trousers (with zippers and plackets) for myself! Yes, I was the original Renaissance woman...sewing, knitting, crocheting, cooking, painting, playing banjo and guitar and more. The years and other obligations have taken much of my free time. I became more obsessed with yarny pursuits over the years and sewing fell by the wayside. It has taken me reading a knitting blog to make me want to sew again.
My new patterns by Sonya Philip

A couple of weeks ago I read a post by guest blogger, Sonya Philip on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog. It's an article about color and wearing colors that make you happy. It wasn't so much about color for me. I always wear color. It was the style of clothes that Sonya Philip designs and her sewing patterns that inspired me! Sonya designs clothes. She also knits. Her clothing designs are clean and simple. She uses colorful fabrics that delight her. She layers her clothes. The different fabrics she uses become a painter's palette of color. 
The simple, easy to read instruction booklet

I spent much of my birthday week vacation shopping. I was looking for a few cute summer tops to pair with my go-to black slacks and jeans. I found one or two items that were just OK, but not fab. This is when I decided to go back to sewing and choose my own fabrics and styles, just for me!
It's summer. I'll be starting my sewing expedition with a few stash fabrics I've been hanging onto for years!
Another impetus back to my Elna machine is that my friend, Natalie is helping with the grand opening of a new fabric and sewing shop called SEW TOGETHER. It's conveniently located right next door to my favorite yarn shop in Los Angeles, THE KNITTING TREE. Perfect! Sew that outfit then find some yarn next door to make the perfect scarf or other accessory to go with my new ensemble!

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Hiren's BootCD
hard drive recovery