Reinventing the Heel.

Knitpicks yarnI always have a knitting project on the needles,  sometimes two. I’m what’s known as a monogamous knitter, though clearly not a monogamous crafter. Socks are always a good simple project. Easy to take with me and rarely do I need instructions on hand.P1020112Wool with some nylon is the best for socks, they breathe, they are comfortable and they are sturdy. It’s nice to add a pattern. I used to knit very complicated sock patterns, but people rarely see my socks, so I stopped that.

It is amazing how many knit designers are out there reinventing the wheel. In this case, the Heel.fishlips heelThis is the Fish Lips Kiss heel, aside from the funny name and that the instructions were about 10 pages too long – it actually has a very creative new idea. Adding an inch of stockinette st. at the top of the heel does make it fit better.IMG_2338Onto sock no. 2P1020286And here they are, on my feet, just as the 100 degree weather is due to arrive. Oh well, they can sit in the sock drawer till fall.P1020288

 

Urban Nine Patch has arrived safely at it’s new home with my friend Lynne. And Bella came to live with me.BellaThese colors are pretty true, as you can see I took the picture outside. The beautiful frame is handmade as well – by Lynne’s husband. Isn’t it a beauty?  He didn’t want to part with this, but  now that he has the quilt at home – he is thrilled.Bella

Colors are not true, I’m still learning this camera stuff, but Bella fits in very well in my dining room.P1020266We have a silly commercial here that happy cows make happy cheese, cows prefer the sunshine of CA to say Wisconsin. Bella came from the northeast and should be very happy here.

I am not one to sell my work, back in the day when I did, I cut corners in order to save on expenses and time.  I love being able to make things and not keep a record of what my profit will be. This exchange worked out better than expected. We traded goods, Lynne got a beautiful quilt that looks as if it were custom made for her. (She promises pictures soon). And I have a wonderful watercolor that I love.  Oh, and we met on Facebook, so there you have it, never pass up an opportunity to make new friends.

The Gerry Building

These days I try and take my camera with me when I am about town.  Even when I am somewhere I go often, like the garment district downtown.  I don’t know how many times  I’ve walked by this building, of course  I think the color changed recently.The Jerry BuildingSorry about  the quality of the picture, I cleaned my lens when I got home.

First of all, this style is a little unusual in the garment district, and this building was built for for garment show rooms, unlike other Beaux Arts buildings in the area that served other purposes. This is Streamline Moderne, late Art Deco.  One of these posts will be about architectural styles in LA, right now, I’ll just mention that  at the end of the Art Deco period (1930s’), money was tight , no more major decorative elements and a very strong horizontal feeling. Think big steamer ships. P1020178The color picture is mine, but you can see, in 1947, the only difference is the color and the cars.  This building was built in 1947, which is really after Art Deco ended (WWII put an end to most building for a good 5 years). Maybe the design was already approved, so once the war was over and the economy was coming back the developers just went with what they had and built the building.

Today it is once again used for fashion showrooms. Although it seems that someone wants to turn this into apartments.  I wish they would leave some of the buildings downtown for business – this isn’t suburbia after all.P1020179LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the lettering, the only decoration on the building. It just screams Art Deco!  I have no idea who Gerry was, I’m guessing it’s the name of the developers.  And I also love the bright orange color. I know it’s not original to the period, but it’s ok if some buildings take on a more modern look. I’m not a purist when it comes to restoring buildings.

Quilt and Dress being shown at the Modern Quilt Guild meeting

I sort of cringe when I see myself in these photos. I figure, if  I’m sharing all this on the blog, I better get over my self-consciousness!

People watching in LA

Last night on a whim, we hopped on the subway and went downtown. We were heading to LA Live.  On the way I was able to show Joel the hidden treasure that is Hotel Figueroa.  Yes he was suitably impressed.pool at Hotel Fig at night

There was a Clipper game last night, it was fun watching the people stream into the Staple Center.

As for LA Live, meh, we ate at one of the many large, similar, not so great food – restaurants. At least it was a balmy night, we sat outside  and enjoyed more people watching. It was a fun evening but we don’t see ourselves hanging out at LA Live much, there are better options downtown.

I love this image
P1020224Love how well dressed they are,  she is holding his coat and he is holding a paper bag. Probably their leftovers from dinner.  I enjoy speculating

about the people I see, trying to invent some fancy story.neon downtownSetting the scene,  I love signs, I love the juxtaposition of the shapes, the words, even the clouds and the lacy leaves of the trees.  Beauty and good composition can be found anywhere.

Random DTLA (downtown LA)

My introduction to downtown was in the early 90s’.  We had recently moved to LA from Israel, for Joel it was moving back, for me it was a whole new world.  Our first year here I started taking classes at LA Valley college, a wonderful local community college. I then enrolled at FIDM and set out studying textile design. That is a subject for  a different post.

FIDM had just completed their lovely new building, so I found myself going downtown a few days a week. I stayed very close to the campus. I would venture to the Fashion District and even got a part time job there.  But in those days, downtown was still very sketchy. So I never ventured far.

How things have changed, today I am a downtown docent with The LA Conservancy and I love exploring on my own, which is what I did the other day. I’m sharing some pictures without much information. I know I should get better at both taking the pictures and gathering information.  Meanwhile, just enjoy some wonderful architectural details,  Los Angeles can boast as much as NY or Chicago – we have real beauty here which I am happy to share.Interior of Hayward Hotel LobbyThe exterior of this building is on my Downtown Renaissance tour,  since I am doing all the talking I don’t take pictures. I had the opportunity today to enter the lobby.  Today this is a low income building, but as you can see, the owner Izek Shomof takes very good care of his buildings regardless of how much rent is being paid.

P1020160I love the detail on the railing. Hotel Hayward was originally a hotel for traveling salesmen, very close to the PE Trolly station. Even then the cost for rooms was reasonable, but the lobby was very well appointed.
P1020166 This building is further south on Spring st, someone was filming there. I just love the details.P1020167 How about these wonderful eagles?P1020169 I think the address of this building is 801 Spring st. Spring st and Main st. meet  just beyond this location.  I was capturing the exterior when a young man with a camera exited and he just let me in.Straddling two streetsAs you can see, the building straddles two streets. Today this is a residential building, the lobby is beautiful and well cared for.P1020173 The details on the ceiling are lovely, someone cleaned and possibly repainted them.P1020174There are three elevators, only one still has the original doors, I don’t know if the car was replaced.  As you can it, it used to have one of those dials that let you know what floor the elevator was on.  I did see that the other two are modern doors, no I didn’t take pictures of them.

That is it for today,  I promise many more in the future.

Part of the Diane Von Furstenberg show

At the DVF show in my dressThe show closes tomorrow. I was at LACMA today, being a docent they let me in even though it’s not open to the public on  Wednesdays. There were some cute hipsters setting up for a party there tonight.

I asked one of them to take my picture. (once again, just with the iPhone). She was so surprised to hear that I didn’t buy this dress, it isn’t made under the DVF label. She had a whole new level of respect when I told her I made this dress myself.

So now, I’ve got proof that I was part of the show here in Los Angeles.

Back to making jewelry

Having a blog means I need fresh content.  Not complaining, just saying. So my creativity goes in cycles, knitting, sewing, quilting. There have been years when I stopped do any of these things. During one of those periods I got into beading in a big way. Yes, my eyes were younger than, it was easier.  Of course I still have a reasonable stash of beads and supplies. These days, big funky cheap looking jewelry is all the rage and to be honest. For $20 I can pick up something adorable downtown, buying the materials for the same necklace would probably cost me $40. green necklaceCase in point.  I get a lot of compliments when I wear this. So on that same trip downtown, where I found my I Love LA fabric, I found beads. Let me put it this way, the friend I was with wanted to visit the bead stores – they weren’t new to me.  I ‘thought’ I’d just be showing her around – yeah right. Of course one of the stores was having a big sale, like $2-4 for strands of nice beads.  My friend bought quite a few, me I bought some as well.  What I had in mind was knocking off this necklace.original and new beadsWhich meant finding a focal piece and getting some chain, two things I didn’t have at home.assembling the necklaceTools of the trade and starting the beading process.finished amber color necklaceKnock off,  never looks exactly like the original – that is why it’s called a knock-off, not a copy.P1020196I like the end result very very much. Went to dinner last night with girlfriends and one immediately asked if I made this. Score! So no, I don’t see myself getting back into beading in a big way, but it sure is fun from time to time to pull out the old tools, get a few new beads and make another necklace.  Oh and cost, yeah, I think this one was closer to $30.

John Parkinson

I am on a mission, to introduce and make the name John Parkinson a household name in Los Angeles. About 5 years ago I went on my first downtown tour with the LA Conservancy, The name John Parkinson kept coming up, it seemed like he, along with his son Donald built many of the wonderful buildings downtown.

I became a docent and soon I was showing off a few of his many amazing buildings. I didn’t know a lot about him, just that he came from England and was a stair builder before he became and architect.  Lucky for us, Stephen Gee, another Brit who moved to LA, had also taken a conservancy tour. He got very interested in this fellow compatriot and started researching. Before you know it he wrote and published this bookIconic VisionIconic Vision, Stephen Gee,  I know,  it’s a hard cover book and the cost reflects that, but I read it like a novel.Autographed Iconic Vision

John Parkinson designed our most important buildings in LA, city hall, the coliseum, a large part of the campus of USC, Union station…. I could go on and I will in other posts.  He was largely forgotten, most people don’t know his name.  Due to this book an possibly because his time has come, the city of Los Angeles is setting out to honor him and to make him more of a household name here.

Last year this plaque was put up on the Crocker bank building on the NW corner of Sixth and Spring st.Plaque honoring Parkinson and BergstromCan you tell its not easy to see this plaque? That is because it is blocked by a Ficus tree. Normally I’m thrilled to see trees downtown, but really, they had to block this plaque?!

So yesterday the city named the intersection of Sixth and Spring st. John Parkinson Square. All four buildings on the corners of this intersection were designed by him.  I went to the ceremony in the Palm Court of the Alexandria hotel. The room has been spruced up.Palm court, interiorThis was a fancy restaurant in the early 20th c.Ceiling of Palm courtThere are two identical skylights as well as the third that is the header for this post.Parkinson familyGreat-grandaughters and one husband, great-greatgrandson along with city council-members Tom LaBonge and Jose Huizar awarding the certificate. The great-greatgrandson is studying architecture. Most of the family no longer lives in LA,  although one has promised to return, this just feels like home.Stephen GeeStephen Gee, who really got the ball rolling discussing the man and his book.John Parkinson SquareProud family, proud councilman, and for those us of attending, a very proud happy moment.John Parkinson Monumental architectI will be sharing more of his actual work in later posts. Of course I would love it if you came on one of our LA Conservancy walking tours.  I do one a month, so if you want to follow me, make sure to ask me personally. Of course the other docents are wonderful as well, we all share a real deep love for this city.