Friday, July 31, 2009

On the Mend

I scored these hooks, eyes and loops for a pittance at a garage sale a few months ago.  The hooks were enlisted to fix a much loved skirt in need of repair.

While I was at it, I secured the loose loops.  I used regular thread for the loops, then remembered my stash of button hole thread and used that for the hooks.  The button thread is better for this purpose.  I may reinforce the loops.

Such a small project but oddly rewarding.

The oil cloth tablecloth in the background was bought  from Coco's Variety.  

Thursday, July 30, 2009

San Juan Capistrano

Although it is good to be home, I still have vacation on the brain. At the end of our vacation, we stopped in San Juan Capistrano before heading home. We ate a tasty, albeit expensive, meal at The San Ramos House Cafe. The restaurant is literally the home of the owner and former cook with seating in the courtyard.

I ate the wild mushroom, roasted garlic & sun dried tomato scramble. On top--crispy sweet potatoes. Tasty.

After victuals, we walked around the railroad-adjacent neighborhood thick with ramshackle style. This house, fence and courtyard captured my heart. I was ready to scale the chain link and homestead.

Saw some enviable tree houses perched in fragrant pepper trees.

Then went to the Zoomar petting zoo footsteps away from the train depot to feed some hungry goats and rabbits.

Lace these expeditions between lazy meanderings through a yarn store where my son talked about favorite colors with the woman weaving a custom tapestry and a garden shop specializing in fountains where my youngest son got soaked.

Who knows which memories will linger. I love each moment, the ones that stay and the ones that go.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Handmade Doll

At last!  I started this project in December for my youngest son. Seven months later, I finished it.  Some projects linger.  The Waldorf doll was certainly one of those.  I read about the project in Creative Play for Your Toddler, a generous loan from my friend at RamblingLA.  

The instructions were fairly straight forward until the hair, which said something to the effect "attach yarn hair to head".  Frankly, I could use a bit more clarification.  I ended up cutting the yarn to length, tying a knot in the middle and sewing each on individually.  I recommend using a different tactic.  Perhaps your project won't take seven months.  

While I was working away on this doll, I saw Leah of the lovely Our Yellow House whip up not one but two Waldorf dolls in a weekend or so.  Much respect, Leah.  

**Note:  As I write this in the evening, my little one started to stir.  Eric and I went to check on him.  We found him spooning his doll.  I guess it was worth the wait.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Home Again

No matter how wonderful the vacation, it's always great to be home, be it ever so humble.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day at the Races

Out of the gate.

A few miles south from our temporary beach location, the Del Mar race track celebrates opening day. We held some races of our own.

The colt takes the lead.

Around the bend, they are neck and neck.

What a race!

Team Ramshackle to win, place and show.

Second heat with the mare.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beach Vacation

Ramshackle Solid is on vacation. We may post when we're not at the beach but no promises. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled content sooner or later.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blueberry Picking

By the time we made it to Underwood Family Farms in Somis, the blueberry season was on the wane. The slim pickings were still quite delicious.

Strawberry picking definitely sustained the interest of my sons more. The bigger the berry, the fuller the bucket. Although the little guy's bucket remained equally empty.

Critter friends were made, like the lizard roaming above and the carrot gobbling sheep in the farm animal area. We'll be back for blueberry picking next year. However, we'll visit at the start of the season. An Underwood employee said the first two weeks are the best times for harvesting. The bushes are laden with berries that drop like a waterfall into your bucket with a light touch to the clusters.

Strawberry Picking at Underwood Family Farms

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

World Naked Bike Ride

My recent costume malfunction prompted a comment by BikeJuJu, which in turn, enticed me to check out his blog ( At first I thought I would cross post about his amazing Ethiopia bike pics (still may) but then I found 2 posts about the World Naked Bike Ride.

I never thought I would participate in such an event but after last Monday I'm feeling like I've already been halfway there. Now, who knows?

From BikeJuJu:
Naked Cyclists, A Blogger’s Best Friend
'Less gas, more ass' at nude bike ride

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reel Inn in Malibu

Interior of the Reel Inn in Malibu, CA

After spending half the day at Westward Beach at Point Dume in Malibu, we set off to find an early dinner befitting of the day. In the past, we might head to the Reel Inn, a Malibu roadhouse famous for it's fresh fish and ambiance. About a year or so ago, I remembered reading the at the Reel Inn was closing down. Eric and I decided to head down the Pacific Coast Highway, kids in tow, and find out what had taken it's place.

Art Rodriguez Jr. (right)

Much to our surprise, the Reel Inn was still there. I got the back story from Reel Inn bartender and canyon resident Art Rodriguez Jr. The rumors of the Reel Inn's demise were true. The Los Angeles Athletic Club owned the land surrounding the Reel Inn but sold the property to the American Land Conservancy. The land is now administered by the state of California. The Reel Inn leases the land on a month-to-month basis.

The neighboring Topanga Ranch Motel is shuttered. It appears that some state of California employees live on premise. There are rumors that the property will be converted to camping sites.

My personal hope is that the state of California do something like Crystal Cove in Orange County and refurbish the dilapidated (but by Camp Ramshackle standards luxurious) Topanga Ranch Motel for lucky vacationers to enjoy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Trader Joe's Bag Winner of the Week!

I came home after spending the morning at a shaded park in South Pasadena with the boys. I checked the messages on the phone.

"Hello, this is Tom from South Pasadena Trader Joe's..."

I wondered how did this guy get my number? Did I leave my wallet there or something?

"I wanted to let you know you're our weekly bag winner."

Trader Joe's does a weekly drawing for people who bring there own bags to the store. Instead of getting five cents per bag off your purchase, you fill out a raffle ticket. Each week they draw a bag-bringer's name and give them ten bucks off their purchase. And this was my lucky week. Thanks, Tom at Trader Joe's!

I'm thinking this just may be the dawn of a new era at Camp Ramshackle. Ten dollars at Trader Joe's. Maybe next, a Mini Convertible through KCRW. Then, who knows, maybe the Powerball!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Weekend Sewing Projects

On Sunday, I finished a few projects that had been swimming in my head. The shirt pictured above is for my oldest son. It is an American Apparel shirt with applique patches. I made the patches from recycled t-shirts. The shirt was inspired by one I saw in Mini Boden.

The Mini Boden shirt is called a Tipped Applique T-shirt and it's on sale if you're interested.

I also made sleep pants for both my sons. As we move into hotter weather, I had been looking for some cropped pants or short sets. I looked in some stores, but I realized I should just make them myself. I used recycled/repurposed t-shirts (also used on the bulls eye t-shirt).

I drew some inspiration from this sleep set also at Mini Boden. I don't think I've ever bought anything from the Boden empire, but I get a lot of ideas to include in my own sewing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Costume Malfunction

On my ride to work yesterday I tore my pants while attempting to remount the bike. My legs were a little sweaty and the pant leg just didn't slide when I threw my right leg over the seat. They tore from about the bottom of the knee all the way to halfway up the zipper.

I was in an industrial area of Burbank when it happened and there weren't any public restrooms around to use to change into my work pants. At one point I found some bushes in front of a building that would make a good screen but just then a mother and her young son came heading in my direction so I just hopped back on my bike and pushed ahead.

Once I got to work I carried my backpack strategically in front of me until I got to the shower. I felt like Peter Sellers carrying that guitar at the nudist beach. At work no one said anything - not sure if anyone noticed.

It was actually kind of a nice experience because it made a lot of people smile. Sure, it was at my expense but the world just seemed a little happier... and breezier.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Carrots Harvested and Washed

We haven't had a lot of big things to post about lately but sometimes it's the little things. That said, we harvested some carrots the other day. To save water we washed them off in a bucket then dumped the dirty water on one of our thirsty ornamentals. This time it was a parched bougainvillea.

We really want to get a gray water system up and running but it hasn't quite reached the top of the list of projects yet.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Machine Project Freeze-B-Q

Yesterday (the 4th) we stopped over at Machine Project for a member's event called the Freeze-B-Q. All manner of foodstuff were frozen with liquid nitrogen (see the picture above of Mark Allen in action).

Since the liquid nitrogen was in short supply, a smoothie/milk shake service was also offered. It was a fun, casual event with ambient music and a cool, artsy/science vibe.

Events like this are another great reason to join Machine Project if you live in the L.A. area.

Hope everyone had a fun, safe Independence Day.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

On tap today for Camp Ramshackle, South Pasadena's 4th of July Parade, Machine Project's member's Freeze B Q (not a member? You can become one and attend the event.), later this evening, we'll climb the hill behind our house to watch some fireworks.

Enjoy your 4th.