Cruising, R.I.P.?

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Driving around, I snap photos of most anything, signage, buildings, cars.

Particularly the cars my friends and I drove around in as teenagers in Oakland. None of my friends owned a new car, usually inheriting the family jalopy, hand-me-downs of a big brother or great uncle, oftentimes shared with another sibling, or a stay-at-home parent. For a time, I owned a 60's Volvo that had served as the high school auto shop project.
On hot summer nights, we'd cruise the long, flat boulevards, like Grove--now named Martin Luther King or E. 14th--now named International--listening to local radio (KSOL) and the great West Coast funk/R&B bands of the era: Earth, Wind & Fire, War, Tower of Power, the Brothers Johnson.

The plan, I think, was to meet girls, though I can't remember ever doing so. Usually we stopped for food, Mexican, or making our way to the Berkeley UC campus, pizza by the slice. There were all-night rib joints as well to frequent, on San Pablo Boulevard, where pimps and pro's would gather. We'd sit atop the hood or trunk, trying to look tough and yet at ease, as we sucked on fingers and bone. Grateful in the same way a nebbishy striver regards an invitation from the social elite. It never occurred to me that these were the sorts of places and the sorts of hours where and when people got shot. It seemed more likely that we'd just get beat-up.

I don't know whether teenagers still cruise today, and in some places there are ordinances to limit repeat drive-bys. The last time I went to Old Town Alhambra (and Fosselman's), the lowriders were out, probably preparing to traffic the ceaseless thoroughfares of the San Gabriel Valley. Of course, Los Angeles has a long history of street racing.

But crusing...seems like you'd need a Prius and a hefty allowance to afford that sort of thing now.

Inventory Part 2/The Pre-Foreclosure Market

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Are foreclosures really driving the market? In the first quarter of 2007, mortgage lenders sent out 46,760 default notices to California homeowners--the highest level in a decade--according to Data-Quick Information Systems. Many default notices however, fail to become actual foreclosures, as homeowners (or borrowers) have up to three months to rectify matters.

More generally, it's the pre-foreclosure market that seems to be driving things, as borrowers scramble, mortgage consultants re-assess, investors ready, and real estate salespeople make like ambulance chasers.

Realty Trac and other pre-foreclosure tracking sites have become the new real estate porn (displacing Zillow). But does foreclosure or pre-foreclosure equal bargain? Not necessarily, as most properties are sold at market rates, even if the unpaid loan amount is less. The public auction circuit seems to offer the best bargains, but they're a high-wire act, and properties are often sold without contingencies or opportunities to research the title and condition.

In the end it doesn't matter, the Chicken Littles proclaim, inventory becomes bloated, the basis for all value is supply and demand, and prices decline. Will prices decline more, perhaps as rates rise? Probably, and if you plan on buying houses for cash, the waiting might be good. But for the rest of us mortals, nervously watching the bond market, sideline time has its own set of costs.

A good mixture!


Oh my goodness like every time I can't decide what to post on my blog. I'm torn between pictures of my garden, decorations, swaps and crafts. What is it that you like to see best/mostly? Well for this time I decided to make this post a good mixture out of it all lol

Okay so I've started with a decorated corner of my deck in the picture above!

Followed by a photo of a wonderful royal mail parcel that I had in the mail last weekend from Chantal of the blog

Chantal e- mailed me through flickr that she saw a comment that I made weeks ago under someone elses picture of a book called "The Country diary of an Edwardian Lady" and that she had a spare copy of that book which she'd like to send to me just because she loves my blog and cause she wanted to share it. Wow random act of kindness (RAK) or what? Of course I was delighted and I still am! :D Thank you so much Chantal, you and another kindred soul have made my weekend! I was suffering from a bad migraine and couldn't do much, so your parcel was very soothing for me!

It is such a beautiful nature diary through a whole year with the most enchanting pictures of plants and butterflies etc.pp all hand painted by the author Edith Holden back at the beginning of the last century. Im so happy to have my own copy now! The gorgeous foxglove below is just one example of the prettyness of the pictures, I'll sure post more pictures out of this treasure book from time to time:

See the beautiful metal birds in my fave colors hanging from my blue parasol?

Well they came in another wonderfully lavender smelling parcel last weekend from my dear friend Nature Girl from Canada. We had a magazine swap and the sweet heart that she is she has popped some more goodies in the envelope. I love everything but the birds really make me happy! I so love birds and she just knew it! Thank you so much NG! xox

Click on picture to enlarge and see more details!

Further I like to share with you some pictures of what is blooming in my little garden at the moment:

Above you can see "Lavatera arborea" a real big plant, almost to big for my border, but it has so many beautiful blooms!

Above is Clematis "Cardinal rouge" which is still blooming pretty as well on my blue trellis and my "Augusta Luise" rose in the photo below is still having pretty flowers too:

Then there are the magnificent sweet peas blooming in my border close to the rose arc now:

The collage on canvas below I've made for Jenny's bits and pieces swap. It's going out to my swap partner Anastasia in Sydney this week. If you are interested to see the collages of all the other participants of this swap go have a look at the flickr group here

See a bigger more detailed version of the picture above here!
And I made another crown, or this I think it became a bit more tiara like. My swap partner Ele had the choice between 3 crowns now and has decided she wants the golden King crown I've shown in my last post though. I'll show you pictures of what I'll get from my swap partners when I've received their parcels. There is also a flickr group for this swap of Holly Doodle, see here

See a bigger more detailed version of the picture above here!

Lastly can you spot me in the next picture?

Sure you can lol

Have a fabulous summer time everyone oh and winter time of course for those of you living down under! And leave me some comments please so that I know that you were here! Thank you and see you in July!
Warmest wishes

Carol(a) xox

Nightwalking Part 2/1620 Oak

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I never take the same route on my walks, it's pathological. For that matter, I dislike even driving the same route. My son will sometimes ask whilst in the car, headed to school or home, "why are we going this way?"
To which I'll usually respond, "because we haven't before."

Finding that "new block", the block I haven't sauntered along before, excites me. In those instances, I usually schlepp about, halving my pace, to take special notice. Sometimes I see things that cause me to return in the day. I saw such a thing on the 1700 block of Berendo.

Not for the watch-kitties at the corner of Berendo and Washington, but an exact copy of 1620 Oak Street. Yeah I know, other houses in West Adams and environs have a match.

Some new home owners, hoping for restoration clues, spend their free time driving around looking for a match. Sometimes a WAHA diehard helps out, "your first floor is identical to the Lambert's, only reversed."

Once I identified another pair of look-alikes, and as I paused to take a picture, the owner appeared.
"Your house", I trumpeted, "is identical to another on Cimarron."
"This is my house," he countered warily.
"Yes", I nodded, "and there's a house ten blocks away with the same porch details and windows."
"And the colors," he inquired.
"They're different, " I answered.
"Then they're not the same," he bellowed, slamming his screen door.

Recent Lowlights

Monday, June 25, 2007


Everybody has their likes and dislikes, those things they react to viscerally, discount hastily, into which they invest too much or too little.

I try to be open-minded, and not carry any irrational bias into a property viewing.
Most things after all, can be undone. Front yard driveways can be taken up, stucco can be removed, ill-constructed lean-tos can be demolished. One needn't be a pollyanna, cheerleading for every sad-sack property and lame-o listing; but, one also needn't throw out the baby in the bathwater.

Still there are a few things that perenially burst the gonfalon bubble.

The hot water heater in the front yard. (A milder variation is, the hot water heater that's just plain uncovered.) Sometimes it accompanies a major shift in use, and a major re-plumb, wherein front rooms have become kitchens (or what is described next). But who wants to re-program an entire house?

Washer/dryer hookups in the living room. (A lesser variation is the dining room.) The first time I saw this, I wondered if the owners were running a laundry service. Ironing boards abounded, a television was mounted high on a wall, and the floors were covered with white ceramic tile. Alternatively, the utility hall was converted, by way of a curtain hung lengthwise--to conceal a bunk bed--into a rinconcito for the mother-in-law. Her earthly belongings, clothes, beads, and a stack of People En Espanol magazines filled the top bunk. She sat below reading the issue entitled Los 50 Mas Bellos.

Exotic animal rooms aka the Herpetorium. Snakes as big as your thigh. With yellow eyes. A room full. A million dollar plus house in the West Adams heartland, a Craftsman mansion. The big game trophys and taxidermy were a bit odd, but not nearly as discomfiting as a bedroom bedecked with heat lamps, bounding with boas. Just try telling a young mother, "and this could be the nursery...."

Living On A Prayer

Saturday, June 23, 2007


After a 3 month hiatus, I have finally got down to making a new blog entry. Not quite sure what to write about though. In the past 3 months have got plenty of new experiences, became acquainted with a completely new industry, watched a few movies and read a few books. And now I am in the senior year of college. When I started typing this post it was to the sounds of Enigma, now its changed to Bon Jovi. These are the benefits of putting all your songs in Winamp and playing them in random. So its "Living on a Prayer" for now. Amongst all these many activities it was the books which were the best. It had been quite awhile since I read any thing other than text books. So it was wonderful to get back into the world of books. And it brought back a flood of memories. But all these will have to wait awhile. Hopefully I will be able to post my thoughts in this regard some time soon.
I had added a map to show the visitor locations to this blog on my site. According to the map, my blog has nearly 600 visitors since November 2006. It feels great to see your blog having been visited from across the world. The readership has simply spread and I hope there will be more red dots appearing on the map soon
Till next time...
P.S. The songs since changed to Jiya Jale (Dil Se) and then onto Aate Jaate (Maine Pyar Kiya)....and now to Beatles.
The post has been named becoz of the song playing at that instant...couldn't think of any proper name for this

Tins, Crowns and Swaps

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Hello dear readers and blogging friends!

I've finally gotten around to put my 3D magnetic collage tins up in my Etsy shop this morning, here are a few examples close up:

Further I've finished two crowns for the Crown and Tiara swap, I've mentioned in my last post. I just wonder why my crowns always look more like pope hats?? I'm not sure if one of them is good enough to send it to my swap partner Ele. I think I'll have to make another one, somehow more tiara like.

This crown is two sided and you can chose the side you like better to wear or show up:

This was my first attempt, knowing from her blog that Ele loves pink:

I'm not really happy with both of them yet, oh well!

I've also had some gorgeous mail from Andrea Singarella in my post box this week:

Ah there's nothing better than getting such beautiful mail, isn't it ?

Andrea has kindly send me my two fave US crafters magazines along with lot's of other beautiful goodies, like several sheets of her gorgeous vintage wallpaper, millinery flowers, velvet ribbons antique cabinet photos, vintage playing cards etc.pp! I totally love every bit! Thanks a lot Andrea! Oh btw I figured it took so long because it was opened by our customs duty. Who knows how long they needed to read through my magazines ;-) Anyway it was a pleasure to swap with you! I guess my parcel to you is still on it's way, but I hope it'll arrive at your door steps soon and that you'll love it as much as I do mine!

Here are some more close up photos of the goodies dear Andrea has sent to me! I can't wait for Andrea's webshop "One hundred wishes" to open soon, cause she makes the most wonderful creations with paper and vintage embellishemts one can imagine!

Lastly I like to show you a great find, which I came across recently. A very pretty wallpaper book from 2006. not vintage so of course, but nevertheless it has lot's of really gorgeous papers in soft lovely colors with toile de jouy, vichy caro, fleur de lys, polka dots, roses and other pattern, just everything a girl loves! :D If only I could stay at home all day and craft *sigh*

Then there is also something very sad which has happened in our blogging community lately. On Sunday our dear blogging friend Daisy Lupin aka Hilary from England has all of a sudden passed away after a short virus affection of some kind. That really came to me, as I'm sure for everyone else who knew dear Hilary as a big shock! I still can't believe it! Her daughter Lydia is keeping us updated through Hilary's blog: about what has happened. Bless Hilary, her family and friends which I send all my sympathies!
Let's enjoy every minute of our lives, now even more as before, as it can be over much too fast!
Carol xox

Baltimore Salvage

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Naturally when I was in D.C., I had to slip off to Baltimore, to check out the architectural salvage. There's a lot of good architectural salvage in Baltimore--though according to some--most comes out of D.C..
Second Chance, Inc., a non profit, operates five warehouses along Warner Street, with over 100,000 square feet to explore. I picked up these porcelain brackets there, amongst the largest and most unique I've ever seen.

A few blocks away, Housewerks (1415 Bayard St.) operates in a former gas works. A little more boutique-y, Housewerks showcases industrial and large scale items, as well as simple house parts. I snapped up a subway tile tissue holder there.

My wife suggested recently that I take a short vacation, "maybe to the mountains or up the coast..."
"Or to Buffalo", I interjected.
"Because there's salvage, " she asked
"I've always wanted to go the Albright-Knox."
"And there's salvage?"
"A park system designed by the Olmsteads."
"And salvage."
"I could stay at the Roycroft Inn."
"Wellll, there is a guy with some sinks in Niagara."

Night-Walking Part One

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I like to walk about the city at night, generally with the shepherd, occasionally with friends.

I typically don't walk West of Crenshaw unless I'm cruising the Windsor Village, Victoria Circle areas en route to Country Club Park/Wilshire Park. Mostly I walk toward downtown, through Jefferson Park/Halldale/Adams-Normandie/North University Park or through the West Adams Terraces/Arlington Vista/Harvard Heights/Byzantine Latino-Quarter corridor, seldom traipsing further East than Union, even though some of my favoriteneighborhoods lie beyond.

There aren't many people on the street after dark in the residential quarters. Some are happy to see us, eager to ask about the dog, whether we're in training, or just out for fun.

Nicely, there are great places thereabouts to pause for snacks, like on this night when Hunter Ochs, Rocky, and I stopped at the peerless Chabelita's (Western & 20th St.) for tacos. (Recently I opined to a client, concerned about the service shortfalls of West Adams and vicinity, "there's Mexican food, the best Mexican food West of the river!")

I'm not much concerned about encountering the wrong elements, more the wrong canine elements, and occasionally I will cross a street to avoid a dispossesed dog.

In some houses the same light always burns, one imagines for decorative effect, like a jack-o-lantern. No one, it seems, can agree on porch light etiquette, left on or turned off. Sometimes a house is completely black, save the steely xenon-ish glow of solar landscape stick-ins.

Crafts, Swaps & Roses!

Monday, June 11, 2007


Hello dear readers,
I know it has been a long time again and my only excuse is that we have too good weather to stay in the house, oh and I'm back at work since last Thursday too and in the late evenings I was busy crafting. Please be patient if the pictures are taking long to load, just open another window keep surfing and come back here when they have all loaded, sometimes it helps to refresh the site too. I promise you won't regret it! Also if you don't like "eye candy" you don't have to wait ;-)

Click on the picture above to enlarge it to it's full size and see all the details, I took it yesterday!

This is what NG's friend and neighbor TWT has sent to me for our magazine swap! Thank you dear TWT the magazine is beautiful and I also love all the extras you've added! They are perfect for a gardener! Not sure if I'll ever be able to touch dirt with those gorgeous party garden gloves ;-) Btw your's and NG's swap enevelopes are on it's way to Canada!

Then I'd like to show you what I was busy creating lately! These are magnetic 3 D collage tins, which I'm going to add to my little empty Etsy shop this week! They will add a nice romantic touch to your fridge or any other place where magnets will hold!

I did my best to make them look pretty from the in- and the outside, using German Dresden borders, satin ribbon and vintage lace borders etc.pp!

I'm going to take close up pics of every magnetic tin for the Etsy shop descriptions though!

Then I was experiencing what else I could create with paper and mixed medias that I haven't seen around the crafting and blogging world before and I came up with the "apple collage" above and the "Victorian shoe" below which I could add to Etsy too if someone is interested in it:

This next picture I took at my mum's last week, just because I thought it's pretty eye candy:

Well then in the here calles "rose month of June" I can't resist but posting more actual pictures of some of my favorite roses in my garden, cause I feel they have just reached the high point of their beauty:

Eden rose 85:

"Augusta Luise":

Leonardo da Vinci:

David Austin's "St. Cecilia":

I'm looking forward to discover what's new in your blogs now! Have a happy week everyone! Carol(a) xox
P.S. Have you seen the new little banner pics on the right, in my side bar? I've signed up to two fabulous new swaps this week. First is Jenny's "Collage bit's and pieces swap" and the other one is Holly Doodles "Crown and Tiara swap". Can't wait to find the time to start! :D

Most Reading