Category Archives: Crafts

Summer Is Back; Time to Hit the Beach

Summer may have ended a couple of days ago, but we never really got one, and it looks like our real summer may be ahead of us.   If you are heading to the beaches west of Los Angeles this weekend, you’re in luck.  First, you should check out the Summer of Color public art project.  Billed as the largest public art project in the U.S., Summer of Color involves thousands of children and adults from local schools, hospitals, and social services programs, many of whom have physical and other challenges, who painted the lifeguard towers along the beach from Zuma to San Pedro.  Each tower is different, but many of the designs incorporated flowers and geometric shapes for symbolic reasons (see the above link for more info).  These towers were painted some time ago, but if you’re like me, you may not have checked them out up close.  I did so recently in Marina del Rey, and was rewarded with the glorious sights pictured above (at Mother’s Beach in the Marina Harbor) and below.

N. Channel tower near Marina boat channel

This Saturday night, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., the beach adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier will light up, as  GLOW returns after a two-year hiatus.  According to its website,

Glow is the only all-night art event in the United States that emphasizes the commissioning of original artwork. Glow projects invite active audience engagement and exploration and constantly surprise in their unexpected placement in spaces and times not normally reserved for fine art.

I covered the first Glow event in 2008, and found some first-time shortcomings.  This year, however, a friend of mine is working there, and I’m looking forward to seeing the new and hopefully improved version.

On Sunday, a few blocks from the beach, the 26th annual Abbott Kinney Festival will take place along Abbott Kinney Blvd. in Venice, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The festival features live music, gourmet food trucks, handcrafted items for sale, beer gardens, valet stations for those arriving by bicycle, and much more.  The festival is lots of fun, provided you do not mind very tightly packed crowds.

I’m looking forward to having a really fun summer this fall!

Doin’ it Their Way at the Brewery Artwalk

I went to my first Brewery Artwalk yesterday, and was truly inspired.  Seeing the tremendous variety of artwork, and interacting with the artists where they live and work, was mind-blowing.

And what an environment it is.  Billed as the world’s largest art colony, the Brewery arts complex (former home of the Eastside and later Pabst breweries and the Edison Power Plant) felt like it could have been in Oregon, or upstate New York, anywhere but within the city of Los Angeles.  Pics and more, after the jump

New Hours For Silver Lake Flea Market

Formerly every Saturday at Micheltorena Elementary School, the “Silver Lake Art, Craft & Vintage” flea market will now take place the last weekend of every month, both Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm.

While I don’t know the specific reasons for the change, I have visited this flea market on several occasions and always found it lacking in vendors. The space is large enough and the vendors that are there have a decent selection, but to draw a crowd, I think they simply need more. Perhaps moving the fair from every Saturday to just one weekend a month will encourage more vendors to participate. I also think it would be more appealing if they offered a broader selection of “arts” and “crafts” vendors, as it is mostly just vintage clothing. I love shopping for vintage clothing, but if you’re going to bill something as “Art, Craft & Vintage,” you might want to strive to carry an equal selection of those things.

For more information on the fair, visit their web site at

Silver Lake Art, Craft & Vintage
Admission is FREE
Last Saturday and Sunday of each month
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Micheltorena Elementary School
1511 Micheltorena St
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Late For Home Ec.

Inside Home Ec. (photo courtesy of Jenny Ryan. Some rights reserved.)
Inside Home Ec.'s Beautifully Organized Space (Photo courtesy of Jenny Ryan. Some rights reserved).

This post is a bit tardy, but I’ve been in detention like all year.

One of my favorite local DIY mavens recently opened Home Ec., an adorable retail space located in the heart of Sunset Junction in Silver Lake.

Just standing on the sidewalk, peering into Home Ec.’s warm, holiday decorated window, my fingers start to twitch as I spy a studious row of sewing machines, colorful bolts of fabric, neatly organized cubbies filled with yarns and spacious work tables inside. Home Ec. is not just a sewing and craft workshop, it’s a dream workshop that I hope to replicate in my own home some day.

The store offers fabrics and yarns, sewing patterns, books, craft kits and even some exclusive products that you will only find in the store. They also host classes ranging from sewing and fiber arts to paper crafting and glasswork.

Home Ec. owner Jenny Ryan is the creator of the hugely popular Felt Club. She’s also an occasional blogger for CRAFT and Apartment Therapy LA, and the author of Sew Darn Cute: 30 Sweet & Simple Projects to Sew & Embellish. Continue reading Late For Home Ec.

The To-Do List

A fair amount of cool things have come across my desk for this weekend…

Friday: DineLA Restaurant Week
Be warned: Restaurant Week’s low prices do NOT apply on the weekends. So Thursday & Friday’s your last chance to nab reservations to some of LA’s hottest joints like Chaya, Mr. Chow, Akasha, Arroyo Chop House, BLT Steak, even Royal/T (pretty much every place you wanna eat is participating…check here). Prices for these special price-fixe lunches & dinners top out at $44 per person at even the most snooty of steakhouses, so dash on over & make reservations asap!

Saturday: 26th Annual Hollywood Forever Cemetery Tour
The Art Deco Society presents its yearly tour of that star of the cinema scene, Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  It’s a one-day-only event, but tours depart every 20 minutes or so from 10am to noon. It’s a walkthru not only of Hollywood history–many of the stars of the Golden Era of cinema are interred here–but architectural styles as well, with gorgeous mausoleums & monuments.

Friday thru Sunday: The Bead Show
Attention, crafty people and my mom! Time to geek out on beads at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. If you’re like me, you’ll go, ooh and ahh over amazing beads, buy them, and then never do anything with them. But if you’re not like me, I can’t wait to see what you create!

Sunday: LA Luxury Chocolate Salon
Thousands of opportunities to sample chocolate, plus an art-meets-chocolate smackdown as top students from the California School of Culinary Arts attempt to create masterworks of fine art with chocolate. There will be a cocktail bar as well, with chocolate-based apéritifs.

Sunday: Part Time Punks Festival at The Echo
From 2pm to 2am these savants of all things musical and underground will be parading a veritable smorgasbord of awesome across the stage at the Echo.  Check out a DJ set from Gang Of Four, and music from Savage Republic, Abe Vigoda, Viv Albertine of The Slits, Rainbow/\Arabia, Brendan Mullen of The Masque, and gobs more.

Monday: Wumpskate at World on Wheels
It’s that time again:  The spookiest month of the year and goth roller skating collide for Wumpskate’s annual Halloween-themed skate night.  Costumes are, of course, mandatory insomuch as you will be totally scorned if you show up without one.  These goths don’t take themselves too seriously, though (who can, when they’re on a pair of tan-and-orange quad skates from 1982?), so prepare to have some serious fun.

Handmade Nation this weekend at Cinefamily


Crafters and craft enthusiasts, this is your moment!

This weekend is the Los Angeles premiere of Handmade Nation, presented to you by the good folks at Cinefamily.

In addition to screening the film, they’re having a mini-craft fair at the premiere and a Q+A with the director, plus  live silkscreening demos.

Saturday, August 15th
12:00 premiere $25 (includes swag bag)
7:00 $12

Sunday, August 16th, all screenings $12
3:00, 5:00, 7:00 & 9:00

Continue reading Handmade Nation this weekend at Cinefamily

Renegade Craft Fair July 11th & 12th in Downtown L.A.


The Renegade Craft Fair, which started in Chicago in 2003, is holding its first ever event in Los Angeles this weekend, July 11th and 12th in downtown Los Angeles. Over 200 artists will be selling their handmade wares from the 13th penthouse floor of the California Market Center, surrounded by a 360-degree city view.


Local community crafts organizations will representing at the show. Silver Lake’s Reform School will be giving linoleum block printing workshops on both days and Santa Monica-based The Urban Craft Center will offer zine-making and needle-felting classes on Saturday. Swap-O-Rama-Rama will also participate on Saturday. Bring clothes you no longer want and transform them, or others’ discarded threads, into a recycled outfit.

A good majority of the vendors are also L.A.-based, so this is a great opportunity to support, and be inspired by, your neighbors. One I’d highly recommend checking out is my good friend’s shop justJENN Designs, for an assortment of customized stationary and notepads, as well as greeting cards, buttons, and other fun items. Her products are unique, affordable and make great gifts.

The Renegade Craft Fair runs from 11am-7pm on both Saturday and Sunday and is FREE to enter. The California Market Center is located at 110 E. Ninth St. Click here for directions and parking information.

Boredom Is Not An Option In L.A. This Weekend!

I’m excited about the vast number of cool, cheap options for entertainment in Los Angeles this weekend, May 2nd and 3rd. A couple have been covered in more detail here on L.A. Metblogs already, but here is a quick guide, in case you can’t find anything fun and economical to do over the next couple of days.


  • JPL Open House, Sat/Sun, 9am-5pm, FREE-Here’s your chance to see what the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory rocket scientists are currently up to.
  • Unique L.A., Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-5pm, $5-Click on the link to read Travis‘ post on this more-than-a-craft-fair event.
  • BarCampLA 7, Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 10am-5pm, FREE-An un-conference where tech enthusiasts come together to share, teach, learn, and play.
  • Santa Fe Art Colony Open Studios, Sat/Sun 12pm-7pm, FREE-Over 40 artists will open up their private studios and allow you to peek inside their worlds of creativity.
  • L.A. Metblogs Classic Eats #5, Sat 5pm-?, you name the price, which will depend on how much you indulge in cocktails or if you stick with water. It’s more about the atmosphere and company anyway, right?
  • Circuit Bending Lecture & Demo @ Machine Project, Sun 1pm, FREE-Yeah, I don’t really understand it either, but Machine events are usually pretty awesome, even if they go over your head.

Personally, I’m overwhelmed by all of the amazing possibilities combined with weekend responsibilities. Isn’t it fantastic to have all of these options though? Aside from the above list, I’m sure there are many, many other music, film, etc. events at your disposal if you want to spend some money.

Feel free to leave any info on other happenings in the comments.

Ballona Creek Mural Restoration Underway

Back in 1997 when artists Francois Bardol, Lucy Blake-Elahi, and Lori Escalera (together with Culver City Middle School students) painted the mural “Postcards from Ballona” just west of Overland Avenue along the entrance of the Ballona Creek Bikeway behind the Julian Dixon County Library branch, the wonderful work of art was intended as a beautification project that featured a film strip and postcards depicting images of Culver City’s landscape, film studio history, Ballona Creek wildlife, and local vegetation. An unintended consequence was the magnetic draw it had on taggers who defaced it practically to oblivion over the years.


Biking by this morning I was at first saddened to see the entire eyesore painted out, only to be pleasantly surprised to see the scene above: a start-from-scratch project undertaken by Escalera together with community volunteers working to return the magnificent mural back to its original pristine state.

Work, which began yesterday, is scheduled to be completed Wednesday, with one of the goals being to increase public awareness in hopes of better protecting the mural from future damage.

Tonight! Machine Project’s Forest Opens!

Wondering what you’re going to do with your Friday nights now that Battlestar Galactica is over? Tonight you can stop by Machine Project and check out The Forest that’s been under construction for the past couple of weeks. I’ve heard it’s quite a sight to see.

The Forest @ Machine Project
The Forest @ Machine Project

The Opening Reception for The Forest is tonight, March 27th, starting at 8pm. This is a last minute announcement, so if you can’t make it tonight, there will be ongoing events occurring in and about the forest, which will continually transform until April 24th.

Machine Project is located @ 1200 North Alvarado in Echo Park, 90026, right between the Downbeat Cafe and the Echo Park Film Center. Stop by to check out what is sure to be a unique and magical exhibit.

Help Machine Project Build A Forest

forestStill wondering what this mysterious Machine Project you’ve heard people mention is all about? Not convinced that they do some really cool stuff there and that you might be missing out? Personally, I’ve been entertained, amused, educated, enlightened, and occasionally even bewildered by events at the little gallery in Echo Park. Outside of their ongoing variety of events, I’ve participated in competitions, taken classes, and donated money. I really can’t think of any other place where art, technology, pirate songs, craft, gatherings of dorks, and deep fried foods all come together so brilliantly.

For the month of April, Machine Project is undertaking what promises to be its most impressive installation yet. Artists Christy McCaffrey and Sara Newey will be turning Machine into a forest. The Magic Forest “will evolve, getting spookier and spookier as the weeks pass, until at the end of the month it is a totally scary haunted forest…A regular schedule of lectures, readings and performances will also continue to take place in Machine Project throughout the month, staged inside the forest.” How awesome does that sound?

Read on to find out how you can help build the forest

ReForm School Girl


I must have browsed inside ReForm School in Silver Lake countless times before I noticed that the store is focused on sustainable design and green living. With unique and functional accessories for the home and impeccably designed masterpieces (and no sign of hemp or tie dye anywhere!) on every shelf in the store, it’s hard to believe that my shopping habit is also saving the world.

Succulent Terrarium Class at ReForm School
Succulent Terrarium Class at ReForm School

You’re welcome, world. I also didn’t know that ReForm School offers a slate of fun evening classes designed for for adults. What better way is there to recycle my money than by feeding it back into my brain? You’re welcome, brain.

This month’s ReForm School class roster includes “Embroidery 101,” “Needlefelting 101,” “Sewing 101,” and lots of other courses that will teach you how to make such things as your own succulent terrarium, papier-mache bracelet, or even vintage charm jewelry. The best part is, you get to take home whatever it is you learn how to make. ReForm School also offers kid-friendly courses, see their web site for details.

I signed up for the Succulent Terrarium class on March 16, which teaches you how to re-purpose glass containers and plastic toys to make a diorama-style habitat for your succulent (all materials provided). Space is limited, so if you want to join me you better go online and sign up now. You can enroll and pay for all classes via Paypal or credit card here: Continue reading ReForm School Girl

Cathy schools Martha about Lily – March 11

Handmade flowers from Cathy of California
Handmade flowers from Cathy of California

Local craft goddess Cathy of California is slated to appear on Martha Stewart on Wednesday, March 11th.

She’ll be extolling the virtues of none other than Lily Pulitzer, in honor of Lily’s 50th anniversary.

Cathy will be wearing vintage Lily, and making some vintage inspired flowers on a flower loom as well as talking about 60s – 70s crafts.

Check your local listings on!

It’s Official: Home Ec Department is up and running

homeecpartySorry for the short notice, but I just got confirmation that tomorrow night is the kickoff party for ReForm School‘s new Home Ec. department.

Giveaways and other shenanigans are scheduled to go on all night long, along with great snacks and music.

Jenny Ryan will also be on hand, signing copies of her new book, Sew Darn Cute.

Home Ec Kickoff Party
Friday, February 20, 6-9pm
@ ReForm School
3902 Sunset Blvd.
LA CA 90029

Good news for Bob Baker (and his puppets)

Bob's happy, but he's not out of the woods yet -
Bob's happy, but he's not out of the woods yet -

From Esotouric‘s own Kim Cooper, just this morning: There’s good news for Bob Baker, but he still needs your help.

Cultural-Historic Monument landmark status, with a 10am hearing at City
Hall. As the blabbermouth who leaked the news of the unscrupulous
foreclosure threat facing this beloved site, I’ve been heartened by the
outpouring of love, press coverage and cash that’s helped keep Bob’s magical
theater running into 2009. The landmarking application is the work of Lauren
Everett, who we worked with on last year’s successful Charles Bukowski CHC
proposal. Come down (City Hall, 200 N Spring Street) and show your support
for Bob and his puppets, or email your support of the nomination to The
Cultural Heritage Commission before 5pm Wednesday, c/o
[email protected]

I know not everyone can attend the hearing, but it would be great if you could send a quick email!