Saturday, March 25, 2006

Say Hello to Knee Braces

The 3rd of three bids came in this week for the paint job. And it's much more than I expected. So I'm considering scaling back the project to just the painting, and take on the rest of the trim and repair work down the road. The thing I wanted to do most was restore the knee braces to the roof overhang. I don't know where they went, but I wish whoever removed them would have just thrown them in the basement or something. All that's left are the horizontal posts.They were there at one time.
I can see where the shingle siding has been patched where the 45 degree angle piece connected to the siding. But the painters don't seem to know where to get them. You would think that someone stocked them. 'Cause they're everywhere, in some form or other, on almost all craftsman homes. Or you would think that some salvage yard would have a mountain of them. It took some research before I found out what they were called. Not corbles. Brackets are kind of correct. They're actually called knee braces. Now when I'm driving down the street all I see are knee braces. Straight cut knee braces, double straight cut knee braces, milled knee braces, notched knee braces, knee braces everywhere. The good thing is Jesus called me and he's coming over tomorrow to take a look at the project and give me a bid. I'll bet he knows what knee braces are. And I bet he knows where to get 'em. And if not I found a solution. Walking with Will last weekend we passed a spectacular house with the most unusual round port windows and lovely knee braces. They were straight cut, but with corble type mill work just at the base. Pretty.
I searched online and found all kinds of corbles and dental molding and Victorian mill work, but NO craftsman knee braces. I did find brackets, but they were solid pieces, not open triangles. Then I found corbles that would create the effect of the one's I like above. So if I order them (I have 15 to be restored) I think I might have a solution. And I think it might work.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


In my inbox this morning was an email form my Uncle Jim in Montana with news of what's going on around there. The photo attached to his email (above) is of Shasta Dam, which is where I'm from, just north of Redding CA. I remember one summer when I was in high school I took a job cleaning house boats on Lake Shasta. I'd wear my bathing suit and when I could I'd take a break and jump in the lake to cool off. It can get to be a hundred or so in the summer.

My husband and I will be back in the Cascades this summer on our way to Troy Montana for the 4th of July to visit my family. We're all converging there from various points. I've been routing the roads and places to stay and things to do and see. There's so much country to see. And we'll be packing a lot in this time out.
I get regular updates from Mom as she travels the country with Lorne, and I look forward to these weekly contacts. Now in Myrtle Beach, she's walking the beach regularly and collecting sea shells, and I expect I'll get a hand made card from her embellished with some of her finds for my birthday (hint).

They obviously keep track of my doings through this, my blog. And I get news of my brother through Mom. Right now I have the Road Atlas open in front of me looking at the Blue Mountain ridge in NE Oregon and the little dots running along the lines that indicate scenic byways, and they're everywhere.

Man, we're gunna see some beautiful country on the road. And the call of my family is getting stronger as the time grows nearer. I hear my family calling me. In my heart and my soul, they're calling me.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Since my guy, Jesus, the best do-it-all contractor on earth (painter, plumber, electrician, carpenter, tiler) is sooooo busy he wouldn't be available for my project for 3 months, I had to think about finding someone else.

There are resources online that I thought I'd try, and then I read an article in the Home section of the L. A. Times about a website directory of home and garden services. The headline reads "The Zagat Guide of home improvement" and features among others.

I gave it a try and found it had an easy search feature and rating system, including customer comments, good or bad. I selected PAINTER - EXTERIOR from the service search field and a substantial list of companies came up. There's a minimal fee to sign up, but being a homeowner I know it's tough to find good workers and reliable service, so I think it's a small price to pay, if it works out.

I selected three in the area (It'll provide you the distance from the company in relation to your home) and called. The first number said it was "Not a working number", the second one was busy the few times that I dialed it, and the third one got through. I spoke to Jay Hu, the owner, let him know what I wanted and he said he could come over to take a look at the place the next day.

He was here promptly at 2:30. And in my book, promptness gets you big points. Jay walked around the house with Will and I. I showed him the color combination that I put up on the bay window. Showed him the roof brackets I wanted to restore, as well as the trim that wraps around the front of the house.

At the end of the tour, we walked down to look at the garage and I asked him about his availability and how long he thought the job would take. Then I told him I found him on Angies List and asked him if he know about that service. He didn't. I showed him the printout that I had and read to him this comment:

"He painted the exterior of my two story 1905 wood
shingle house, advising me well on choice of color...
very responsive to suggestions and specific requests...
The work was performed at the highest level of skill..."

He smiled and with palms together bowed to me and said "Thank you".

He'll fax us the estimate tomorrow. I have a good feeling about Jay Hu. And I can't wait to see the old girl in her new coat.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Four Jobs I've Had ...

Four Jobs I’ve Had In My Life in LA:
Production Control, ASI Sign Manufacturing
Production Coordinator, Monte Carlo Shirt Company
Operations Manager, Online Advocacy

General Manager, Executive Presentations

Four Movies About LA I Could Watch Over And Over:
Blade Runner
Short Cuts
Double Indemnity

Four Places I’ve Lived All Over L.A. (With Food Memories From Each):
Silver Lake, Pho
Lynwood, Yee Mee Loo in Chinatown (While certainly not IN Lynwood, I remember going there as a kid and watching the cooks through the big plate glass window)

South Pasadena, Gus’s BBQ

Pasadena, Café Santorini

Four LA-Themed Shows I Love(d) To Watch:
The Monkeys

Brady Bunch
Six Feet Under

Four Places I Would Vacation At In LA:

Beverly Hills

Santa Monica

Four LA-Based Websites I Visit Daily:

Candy Blog

Franklin Avenue

Four Of My Favorite Foods Found In LA:
The #17 Bun Cha Gio Tom Thit Nuong at Pho
Slippery Shrimp at Yang Chow

Pureed Tomato Dipping Sauce w/Fresh Baked Baguette at Puran’s

Enchiladas de Queso at Alegria on Sunset

Four Places In LA I Would Rather Be Right Now:
Anywhere with my husband
Top of The Strand

Hiking the trails of Griffith Park

Mugu Peak, Pt. Mugu State Park

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Painted Ladies of Carroll Avenue

Will read about the L. A. Conservancy's 1st Saturday of the month walking tour of Carroll Avenue, our neighboring neighborhood atop Angelino Heights, and booked us a couple of spots on the line.
Victorian houses aren't my favorite choice of house style. I like the substantial Craftsmans with their stone, big tapered collums and deep overhangs, and Tudors are nice with their steep pitched roofs, and I like the Mediterranean style with their courtyards. But when done right and all in a row, the painted ladies are beautiful, and crazy ornate.
We walked there from our house and walked another 2 1/2 hours on the tour, then walked back (burning calories all the way).
Plenty of the houses were fully restored and gleaming, while several others were in some state of partial restoration with their sides sanded down to the bare wood looking all weathered and ghost infested. (Note: Must go back during Halloween).

I was surprised to see that not only were the houses' trim painted in a high gloss, but the siding as well, making them really gleam. The two houses that were open to the tour were definitely maintained authentically with grand foyers, pocket doors and small kitchens at the back of the house (No modern kitchen renovations except for one oddly installed oven in the wall next to a vintage stove).
On our way back home we stopped and had lunch at Costa Alegre, and popped into a couple of shops along the way.