Category Archives: Crafts

‘Tis the Season for Crowds: Krampus on Parade & Renegade Craft Fair

I braved not one but TWO crowds today.  First up…  The Echo Park Holiday Parade!!!  I had high hopes for this because I’d heard a bunch of Krampus revelers were going to be there and I was not disappointed.  If you’re one of the uninitiated, “Krampus is a beast-like creature from the folklore of Alpine countries thought to punish children during the Christmas season who had misbehaved… Krampus is said to capture particularly naughty children and drag them off into the black forest.” (wiki)

Krampus was made popular a couple years ago by a viral video of hairy-costumed nightmares rampaging through a northern Italian mountain community and beating the ever-loving crap out of passersby.  I needed the little one to see this so she’d be on her best behavior for the next couple weeks.  But unlike Italy where it is apparently legal to beat innocent tourists, it’s frowned upon here, especially for 6 month olds.  That’s probably for the best.

There were other parade participants but I honestly can’t remember who they were after seeing the Krampus steam engine car built by Bay Area artist-engineer Kimeric Smythe.  Also several members of the Salzburg-area Alt Gnigler Krampus and Perchten Troupe joined the parade of domestic brand Krampus… Krampuses?  Krampen?  Krampai?  Whatever.  It was a hoot.

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As if seeing Krampus in Echo Park wasn’t enough, I dragged the kid downtown to Grand Park for the Renegade Craft Fair.  It’s one of my favorites.  Although I had nothing to buy this time (poor wallet…), I got to see some new friends like the ladies at Ave Dee.  I bought a fanny pack from them at the Patchwork Show in Long Beach and it’s been my saving grace on short outings with the kid.  Contrary to what movies tell you, you do not need to travel everywhere with a full diaper bag breaking your back.  Sometimes you just need your wallet, cell phone, car keys, and an emergency pacifier.  Maybe some chapstick.  Ave Dee’s fanny packs are the perfect hands-free device for busy mommas like me.  And they’re cool!  Anyone who says fanny packs are lame are probably pretty lame themselves.  And I guarantee you they’re carrying around way too much crap.

I also stopped in on good friends and former roommates extraordinare from Outlaw Soaps, Russ & Danielle Vincent.  These amazing villians started their business in our house just a couple years ago and look at them now!  Masters of saponification.  Lauded by the mighty Oprah herself, even.  I highly recommend you jump on their bandwagon, stat; they’re moving their productions from Oakland to a little parcel of land just southeast of Lake Tahoe and they’ve quit soap making until the new digs are up and running in January.  When I saw them today, they had very little stock left.  That’s what happens when your goods are being bought for wholesale by the likes of national retailers like Urban Outfitters and ThinkGeek!  I’m so proud of them, I could scream.

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Paint n Play offers up Winter Art Camp for Holiday School Break

Paint n Play Winter Art Camp application, click to embiggen and print
Paint n Play Winter Art Camp application, click to embiggen and print

Winter Art Camp has got to be one of the best things going in the SGV if you have school age kids and you lose your usual day care during the Holidays.  I’ve witnessed the activities that Lisa Barrios and her crew at Paint n Play Art Studio and Gallery here in Monrovia line up for the kids and its pretty amazing.  Tons of ceramic crafts for the kids to do every day with expert instruction by the staff at Paint n Play is included in the price of your childs time at Winter Art Camp.

All you need to do is pick out a week and its M,T, F they provide Art Camp for either Christmas Week or New Years week.  Monday and Tuesday be sure to pack your kids a sack lunch.  Friday no worries, its Pizza Party day.

Space is limited and you do need to apply early.  Click on this application to embiggen and print and bring it in to Lisa and gang at the store.

Deets.  Week one 12/22, 12/23 NS 12/26,week two 12/29, 12/30, 1/2.  418 S Myrtle Street, Monrovia CA 91016 626-256-4848

Artisanal LA

Artisanal LA Holiday City Market – Pasadena

I had no intention of going to Artisanal LA‘s holiday market in Pasadena but I found myself there anyway on Saturday.  It was ok.  Most  of the vendors didn’t really speak to my holiday shopping needs but I did manage to get some high falutin’ chocolates from Marco Paolo and a jar of Indian spiced tomato sauce from Mee’s Kut.  The chocolates will be given as a gift but the tomato sauce is mine, all mine!  I will probably eat it all in one sitting with a very large serving spoon.  Possibly a bib.  Also, a shout out to the ladies at Bond Bar…  Thanks for the 5lbs you’ve added to my hips in samples.  I appreciate your efforts but I was serious when I said I’m avoiding you.  My fu is stronger than your tasty treats!

The highlight of the event and the whole reason for the spontaneous visit was seeing Santa!  My little one had never met the big guy and I was nervous about her reaction so I went with a friend as a precursor to our real Santa excursion next week.  My darling daughter is a huge flirt though, so it was an instant love fest.  After a short wait to get him sprung from jail (he was stuck in a parking lot), she took up her seat of honor on his knee and stared longingly into his twinkling eyes while tangling her fingers in his beard.  Sadly, the pictures include a crummy tent tarp background in a lackluster general environment.  We’ll still visit a higher end Santa next week but for 5 bucks, Artisanal’s Santa experience wasn’t awful.

Santa made it onto his own naughty list.
Santa made it onto his own naughty list.
"Psst, big guy...  I have a present for you in my diaper!"
“Psst, big guy… I have a present for you in my diaper!”

Patchwork Craft Show No Go

I had every intention of going to the Patchwork Show in Santa Ana today but a series of events kept me from it.  First church (hi hippie Unitarians!) which got canceled due to the kid oversleeping her morning nap, then I spent too much time researching ways to use my remaining root vegetables from the Culver City Farmers Market to make leftover turkey chili, Skyped with the in laws, and then I happened to look at a map and discovered Santa Ana is hella far down in the OC. By that time, this wet stuff had started falling from the sky.  Too bad…  lots of great vendors were at the Long Beach show and I was looking forward to shoving some cash at them.  Next up…  Unique LA!

Does Antelope Valley Count?

Because if so, there are a few very groovy things on the horizon!

Crafters and Chili Cooks Sought for Holiday Event
at the Antelope Valley Indian Museum

The Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park is currently planning the fourth annual “Holidays on the Homestead,” a holiday-themed fundraiser for the museum to be held on Saturday December 6th from 5 pm – 8 pm. Participants are now sought for the “cowboy” chili cook-off and the handmade craft boutique.

Rose Edwards, the wife of the museum’s builder, was known for her chili and cornbread holiday feasts at their 1930’s homestead holiday celebrations. This delicious tradition is being revived in her honor! All chili styles will be considered; there is no registration fee for the cook-off.

Representing the talents of artist and museum founder Howard Arden Edwards, crafters are being sought for a craft boutique of handmade country and holiday-themed items. Booths are $30, supporting the non-profit Friends of the Antelope Valley Indian Museum.

For chili cook-off or craft booth information and applications, contact Jean Rhyne at (661) 946-6900 or [email protected] See below for more information about this fun event!

626 Night Market returns this summer in Arcadia

Yup, it was such a success last time around at Santa Anita Park they are returning this summer.  If you made it to the Pasadena locations last year you were probably put off by the density of the crowds and difficulties with parking and stuff.  The move to Santa Anita Park alleviated those obstacles and made the event really fun.  Of course, if you made the ones after the move to Santa Anita you are well aware of how much fun the place was.

The folks at 626 Night Market are so happy with the change of venue they are looking to increase their crowds.  They are having a contest on facebook and are giving away 5 passes to each of the 10 winners.  To enter all you gotta do is like their page and share it with your friends.

626 Night Market is also looking for artists, food trucks and other vendors to pack the place with and add to the fun and enjoyment.  If you are interested visit their web page HERE.  Yes, the prices seem steep, but it includes your canopy, lights, outlets and most importantly your permits.

I’ll post more on the dates as we get closer to the event.  If you want more deets visit the main 626 Night Market site when you have time.

Tenth Annual Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival Saturday 4/14/12

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Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival poster, click to embiggen

You’d think I live in Pasadena given how often I post about the place, I don’t, but they always have something of interest going on.  This Saturday its the 10th Annual Pasadena Earth and Arts Festival to be held in and around the Armory Center for the Arts across from Memorial Park.  Here’s the run down of things that will be at this FREE festival:

For gawds sake take public transpo to the Gold Line and exit Memorial Park Station…you’ll be right at the park and only a very short walk to the Armory Center.  Show your metro pass or ticket at the Transportation Booth and they will have a gift for you…well a gift as long as the supply lasts.  Beats the difficulty in finding parking in the area which can be expensive when you do find a space and don’t forget that PPD does patrol hard for scofflaws.

Details:Saturday April 14, 2012 11AM-5PM, 145 Raymond Street, Pasadena CA, MAP HERE

In the mood for a little Mother’s Day shopping @ Unique LA


Fretting over finding that last minute, yet oh so perfect gift for your mother?  Or perhaps you’re tired of going to the standard Mom-osa filled brunch & want to try something new…  Well you’re in luck, this weekend the wonderful Sonja Rasula is putting in another installment of the coolest independent design & shopping show in the country, Unique LA.

With over 300 designers & artists showcasing their wares over the course of two-days of fun filled shopping this is truly an event not to be missed.  I know I always come home with armfuls of amazing finds, from jewelry, to purses, to ironic t-shirts for my boyfriend & one-of-a-kind “omg where did you FIND that” outfits for me.  It’s also a great way to meet a ton of local designers, many of whom are right here in Los Angeles!  Plus there are a ton of workshops & food vendors peddling all sorts of yummy treats camped out at the event.  You can even check out a preview of some of the awesome clothes in their new catalog!

Your $10 admission includes…

• Free drinks & a hosted bar (IZZE, Honest Tea, Bear Flag wine, Hendrick’s cocktails, and Numi Tea)
• Unlimited re-entry for both days
• Your very own collectible tote bag, exclusive to each show!
• Free DIY workshops and handmade Mother’s Day cards all weekend
• Plush lounge seating area hosted by H.D. Buttercup
• Access to giveaways and door prizes all weekend long
• Souvenir copy of the Vendor Directory + Mini Magazine

Unique LA
May 7th & 8th (11am – 6pm)

California Market Center’s Penthouse
110 E 9th St # A727
Los Angeles, CA 90079-1727

Buy tickets HERE.

Someone bail me out of a design crime?

Years ago we bought a corner hutch that has to go for a variety of reasons.  Primary is its ugly and doesn’t fit with our current style.  We’ve looked all over for a suitable cabinet, bookshelf or table to put there and have had no luck.  Putting in plant material doesn’ interest us for that corner.  We’ve been all over in furniture stores in the SGV and even went out as far as Ontario looking and found NOTHING.

I am looking for a furniture/cabinet maker that can make a simple 4 legged round table about 4 feet tall to put into the corner.  It would need to have the feel of  something like the 40’s modern look-clean lines no ornamentation.  We’d want it in a dark wood color.  It would not be big as the corner is 2 foot by 2 foot.  Does anyone have anyone they can recommend for such a job? If so leave me a note and I’ll get back to you for their contact info or have them contact me direct at frazgo at mail dot com.  Thanks in advance for your help.

Art Bears set to invade the ‘burbs

Epoxy and fiberglass time for Rick's Art Bear.

My little corner of LA had “Samson the Hot Tub Bear” visiting us for a few years back in the mid-90’s.  Even the national news picked up on this bear.  Most saw him as an endearing critter and rather than kill him for being a pest he was captured and set off to a zoo to live off his remaining years.

To celebrate the legacy of Samson and the coming 125th Birthday of Monrovia (which some of us affectionately refer to as the Art City) there will be Art Bears.  There will be about a dozen of these bears in various styles produced by Monrovia artists.  These bears are sponsored by the locals as well.  These bears will be placed about Old Town Monrovia after the big birthday celebration parade in May.

This particular bear is being done by local artist Rick Kess who also happens to work for Disney in their visual arts department.  This bear so far is just getting some additional decoration on him prior to painting.  The next step is to sand him and down and prep for painting over next weekend. Continue reading Art Bears set to invade the ‘burbs

This Old House Comes To Los Angeles

Honest to goodness celebrities: Kevin O'Connor and Norm Abram

When you hear Reality Show you might first think of Survivor or American Idol, Top Chef or Project Runway. If you are a fan of PBS you probably think of the first and finest reality show of them all: This Old House. And after nearly 30 years on the air, TOH has come to Los Angeles for its first ever LA remodel. (Watch the video sneak peak here.)

You might find it hard to believe that there is actually anything “old” in LA to renovate, right? Since we are famous for our facelifts and all. This sweet Spanish Revival house in Silver Lake is getting more of a “gentle spa treatment” than an “ass-fat injection to the cheekbones” operation. The original two bedroom, one bath floorplan was fine for the married couple when they moved in 12 years ago, but now with two small kids, it was time for more space and more bathrooms.

This Old House is about education and part of every house redo series includes stories of the local craftspeople who work on various details of the house. Look for visits to the tile company that recreates 30’s style tile for the bathrooms and kitchen, the iron workers making new wrought iron and the roofers who reuse the old roof tiles and tell you the history of how these 70 year old tiles were originally made. TOH will also visit Frank Lloyd Wright houses and Richard Neutra sites so we can all see that LA actually has some awesome architectural street cred.

The homeowners Kurt and Mary were not looking for the limelight (far from it), but were very pleased to have their general contractor approach them to be part of the show. What better record of your home remodel than a full documentation on This Old House? Plus you get to meet master carpenter Norm Abram!! (Seriously that guy rocks the woodwork.)

This Old House: The Los Angeles Project begins airing on KOCE this Thursday (1/27) at 7:00pm. (Check your local listings as different cable/dish providers may have a different schedule.)

Kevin, Norm, Mary and Kurt (Homeowners), Steve Pallrand (General Contractor)

(All Photos by Image Group LA and used with permission by This Old House.)

(Full disclosure: I am friends with the homeowners, but sadly I have not met Norm.)

The Epic Saga Of How It Took 10 Years To Get My Favorite Sunglasses Fixed In An Hour By The Greatest Eyeglass Repair Shop In The History Of History

Allow you me this story. Apparently I don’t search hard or well enough. When my 12-year-old favorite pair of sunglasses broke at the frame just above the nose piece in 2000 I did what I thought was my best to seek out a place to get them fixed. I failed. Every place from Lenscrafters to the jewelry repair guy my mom swore by said “nope,” in part because they were just a pair of off-the-shelf frames I’d purchased during a mostly senseless spree at Needless Markup back in the summer of Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Eight. The so-called experts would look at the glasses, look at me, and tell me either it wasn’t possible or occasionally they’d say how much they’d need to overcharge me to maybe make it possible.

Facing an amount that was more than the shades cost new, at one point I even bought a soldering gun and sat there with the thing in one hand and the spool of metal in the other trying to convince myself I could somehow immediately acquire the skills required for such pinpoint detail work. Wisely I put down the gun and stepped away from that fiasco-in-waiting before I could entirely fubar them. Instead, I put them away where they lived with a sliver of hope in a series of drawers.

Why? Well the broken glasses became somewhat representative. I won’t bore you any more than I already have with the details of their symbolism other than to say they cracked at a time when a lot of other things broke — most of them intangible stuff like relationships and dreams, but all of them pretty much beyond repair. Suffice it that Y2K may not have fucked up my personal computer but it wreaked havoc on my personal  life, and out of that annus horribillus these beloved glasses became one of the few things I could fix — or so I’d hoped. And hoped. And hoped.

And hoped. Fast-forward to this summer when it had been literally four or five years since I’d given the glasses a thought and Los Angeles magazine’s “Best of LA” issue arrived. Flipping through it I found a write-up extolling the miracle work done by a humble gent who goes by the name Paul Gross in his humble hole-in-the-wall on Wilson Avenue in the Jewel City and I thought my long-dormant prayers had been answered — except when I went hunting for the shades they weren’t a-n-y-w-h-e-r-e to be found and I became dejectedly sure it was because at some point a few years back I’d extinguished that flicker of hope kept burning for so long and pitched them in the trash.

Continue reading The Epic Saga Of How It Took 10 Years To Get My Favorite Sunglasses Fixed In An Hour By The Greatest Eyeglass Repair Shop In The History Of History

Art Supplied at Santa Monica Airport

Appropriately-named "Spaghetti Western"

Santa Monica Art Studios, housed in a former airplane hangar at the Santa Monica Airport, opened its doors this past weekend for the 6th Annual Open Studios event.  I have been to several of the six yearly events, ostensibly to support one of the artists in residence, my old friend Rachel Grynberg.  But each year I really enjoy the variety of works on display, and the ability to meet the artists and their representatives.  This year’s event did not disappoint.

Artist Rachel Grynberg in her studio

The hangar, including a front space (the “Arena 1 Gallery“), a couple of hallways, and over 30 studios, was lined with artwork that ranged from a giant Clint Eastwood-clad Barilla spaghetti box to paintings, prints, photos, and much more.  The Arena 1 space was occupied with a show entitled F-Utility (with a dot, not a dash), curated by artist Oona Gardner and displaying a number of pieces and images from a variety of artists, including Julie Schustack, Mark Moskovitz, and Matt Monroe.  Moskovitz’ You Are Here series of digital prints was a result of something that would be right at home on the Cleveland-area artist took an east-west run from the Highland Park area to the Santa Monica Pier and back — over 30 miles — and took snapshots of what he saw along the way.

Julie Schustack's "Piano Vise" -- a working music player

Monroe’s Frontier also picked up the travel theme, but in a different way.  His piece — the most noticeable of the entire event — was a full-size covered wagon made from plastic IKEA items, including shower curtains, baseball bats, ice trays, and toy guns.  Imagine how America would have been different if the pioneers had been able to stock up at IKEA before their trek westward, and neatly store their items in large plastic tubs.

"Frontier" by Matt Monroe

I also had an interesting conversation with Andrea Lithgow, artist and proprietor of the Dandy Jewelry mini-shop arranged on a couple of tables at the back of the hangar.  Andrea makes and sells beautiful glazed ceramic jewelry, including bracelets, necklaces, and more. Her pieces are hand-made yet “mass produced”: even though many pieces were similar looking, no two were identical.

Andrea Lithgow of Dandy Jewelry

Whether you want to contemplate art vs. commerce, are in the mood to buy some fascinating pieces (reasonably priced, compared to what I have seen at other art events), or just gaze at the glaze, Santa Monica Art Studios should be on your list.  The Arena 1 F-Utility show in particular will continue at the Studios through November 20.