Saturday, November 29, 2014


Are you shopping small on Small Business Saturday?

Last New Year's, I made a resolution to live more sustainably. This included such grand ideas as creating an organic vegetable garden, recycling junk mail and food scraps into the compost pile, and making my own house cleaning products. But, it has also included a scaling back~ a reluctance to buy more "stuff". Harking back to that old motto of my grandmother's time, I try to 'use it up, wear it out'. I rarely go shopping any more, and I don't follow trends and fashions.

When I do shop, I am more thoughtful about how to spend those dollars. Will my purchase go toward making some billionaire richer and more powerful? Or, can I support a small craftsman, a stay at home Mom, or a local family business? Sometimes, the cheaper, shiny new toy with fancy packaging is not the best choice. Sometimes, it's wiser to buy something made to last, created with love, or produced right here in my neighborhood by real people.

Do you vote with your dollars?

My soap shop is about as small as it gets. Just me, making soap in my kitchen, the old fashioned way. Hubs helps out a bit with shipping and labeling. And of course, I have moral support from my little family of rescue cats.  Any profit that I make goes toward supporting the cats, and building the garden. I'm so appreciative of my customers! Please, use the coupon. It's a pleasure to do business with you.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Moving Sale!

Big news!  The bad news is, Piper, Johnny, and the rest of the gang need to find a new home.

The good news is that we did find one! A nice little house with a big back yard. 

 It has a cozy kitchen for all the kitties to hang out and eat their dinner. So everyone's happy about that.

 But it's going to take a lot of work and lots of cash to turn this empty yard into a lush organic garden.  See that? It's dry as a bone, the ground is like concrete. And there aren't any trees for the kitties to climb. Not yet.

 That's why we're having a huge moving sale! We need to raise some funds for the garden, to buy topsoil, fruit trees, and berry bushes. And of course, we'll put in a nice catnip jungle as well.

 So you can head over to the jewelry shop and pick up something sparkly like a fall necklace, and get 20% off with the coupon code TAKE20.

Or mosey on over to the soap shop and pick up this great big rustic soap set, or any of our all natural soapy goodies, and save 20% with coupon code  SOAPLOVE.  We'll send you lots of love and kitty whisker tickles!  Thanks bunches from Cooby, Muppett, Zoe, John Wayne, Millie, Patches, Rusty Lee, Tessie, and Piper Kitty.  Meow!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nature Walks

This one's for you, Dr. G.  Or for anyone who would like to take a short trip with small children, and enjoy spending the day on a nature walk.  We'll concentrate on kid friendly spots within 200 miles of Los Angeles.

First of all, you will need this map book. It clearly shows all of the state and national parks, as well as campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, and roads, with a distinction between roads safe for passenger cars, and roads that require a jeep. You don't want to go haring off into the wilderness and get lost.

road atlas

And take a look at this website, Total Escape, the best resource for planning your california adventure.

Close to home, good place for a walk.
There is a small nature center with exhibits about the local wildlife, books and things for sale, and a clean bathroom.  You will find a pond full of ducks and turtles in the front, then you can choose the one mile or two mile trail. The two mile trail goes to the back lake, where you may spot an osprey.

Green Heron

 Cooper's hawks sometimes bathe in the creek that runs along the trail. Bunnies, egrets, and herons are frequently visible. Bonus: they have a bird watcher's checklist.

Truly gorgeous little nature preserve in north Pasadena.
There is a nice nature center with clean bathrooms, and a trail with a creek.  Bunnies and birds and native plants, nestled up next to the foothills. If you feel like scrambling over rocks, you can hike up to the little waterfall.

Eaton Canyon

Wetlands with a trail to walk on, lots of birds, a bridge where you can look down in the water to see fish and stingrays. Off PCH in Huntington Beach.

Enjoy a nice drive up into the mountains, check out the observatory and drink in the clean mountain air. Awesome views. Great place to enjoy the snow in winter.

Mt. Wilson

Mt. Wilson is in the Angeles National Forest. Lots of pretty picnic spots up there.

This is a nice nature center with a trail through the pine trees.  Plenty to do in Big Bear, winter or summer.

What an enchanting place, if you time it just right. Check the website in the spring to plan the best time to go. You want to see the poppy bloom at it's peak, and that depends upon the weather. The peak viewing period is usually mid-April. The preserve is near Lancaster, about 85 miles from LA.  You will need to take the 5 north to the 14 north.

From the poppy preserve, it's just a hop skip and a jump on to Red Rock Canyon State park.  This park is in the Mojave desert, so it's best to visit in winter; or spring when the desert wildflowers bloom.
There is a visitors center, open saturday and sunday only, and a pit toilet.
Beautiful volcanic rock formations are the main attraction. Many tv shows and movies have been filmed here, including Jurassic Park.
It's about 140 miles from LA. ( a perfect place to stop halfway between LA and Mammoth)

Red Rock

Take the 5 north through the grapevine, and then when you get to the San Joaquin valley, you will turn west to find thisprivate nature preserve in the foothills. It's about 115 miles from LA.
Wind wolves is absolutely gorgeous during the peak of the spring wildflower bloom. That happens around mid March, but of course the timing varies according to the weather.
They have a nice nature center with bathrooms, a trail through the wildflowers, and a trail that goes up a canyon that has a little creek with frogs. I have seen deer, quail, and golden eagles here.

wind wolves

Tucked into the mountains behind Solvang, in a part of the Los Padres National Forest, is a wildflower treasure trove.
This mountain is famous and it does get quite busy on weekends during peak season, for good reason. Follow the directions past Solvang to Los Olivos, on to Figueroa Mt Rd.  The road is fine for passenger cars, making a pleasant drive through the countryside, up to the top of the mountain and on to figueroa campground. If you want to continue on this road, be aware that it gets narrow in places, and then there is a long scary grade down the other side of the hill. Turn around at the campground if you want to avoid that; or keep going if you are adventurous and have a jeep or a small car that likes back roads.  The Davy Brown campground is my favorite, a secluded spot way back in the hills with a pretty creek, pit toilets only.
Solvang is about 145 miles from LA and has many hotels and shops to browse.

Figueroa mountain

Yes, this is a bit more than 200 miles, but it's worth it to see Sequoia trees. The most southern grove with easy access is the Trail of 100 giants. You don't need to drive 7 hours to Yosemite to see these amazing giants.
Take the 5 north over the grapevine, to the 99 north. Past Bakersfield, take hwy 65 east to California Hot Springs. Once you get into the park, there is no gas until you go all the way to Ponderosa, so fill up your tank   in Ducor, before you reach the foothills.
The trail of 100 giants is a short, easy trail that winds through majestic trees.  Wildflowers are plentiful in spring. You will see many birds, deer, squirrels, and other wild life. The parking lot borders a high sierra meadow with bluebirds.
Where to stay: there are plenty of campgrounds, but for a hotel you will need to try Delano, or Bakersfield; or Kernville.  Another option is to go farther north in the park and stay at Camp Nelson. There is a beautiful lodge there. The only problem with the lodge, is that the restaurant is only open if you are in a large group. So, you will need to pack a picnic, or find some dinner in Ponderosa.  Cabin rentals in Ponderosa are another alternative.

Big Trees

That's it, I'm out of ideas! Maybe you found a new place to explore? I would love to hear about your adventures, so leave me a comment.  :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Soft Pink and Grey

Today I'm sharing a few of my Etsy favorites, including a lovely handmade ceramic dish by Azulado.

1940's dress by 86vintage86, baby girl blanket by Karmaistanbul, star shaped sugar cubes by WishingwellArt,   burgundy and white pottery bowl by Azulado, Chiaroscuro by Spalenka, vintage perfume bottle by Hallingtons, vintage History of Music book by MsJeanieOlogy,   starlight earrings by Shadow Jewels

Please take a moment to stop by Star of the East, and enter the amazing raffle to benefit Azulado. So many exciting prizes are available, and you will get a chance to help and make a difference.  What could be sweeter? You will find the details here:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Raspberry Breakfast Cake

I'm a bit of a pinterest addict, I will admit. OK, maybe it's more like a full blown obsession.  But there are so many interesting things to find!  And I began to notice, as I meandered through, lots of photos of delicious looking blueberry cakes.  Like this one

blueberry breakfast cake 
 I began to dream of the cake, and what it would smell like baking, and how good and crumbly it would be, to have in the morning with a cup of nice tea.

But, even though the recipes I found were perfectly fine, I just had to tweak them and make something better. First I reduced the amount of sugar. You don't need that much, really! And instead of white flour, we are using wheat flour and almond meal.   And there's a secret ingredient: Trader Joe's meyer lemon curd (aka Food of the Gods).

Lemon Curd

Just for fun, today I'm making a Raspberry Breakfast Cake. Why? Because the grocery had some gorgeous red raspberries on sale, and they smelled divine!


Ready? Let's get started!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbl lemon curd

Whip with a fork or whisk.

1/2 cup almond flour
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder

Mix into the batter, alternating with
1/2 cup half & half

Stir in 2 cups of berries. (1 large or 2 small cartons works fine)

Pour into a greased and floured a 9" cake pan, and then sprinkle the top of the batter with more of the raw sugar and some sliced almonds (optional. Or dust the baked cooled cake with powdered sugar)
Bake at 350* for 40 minutes.

This recipe is also delicious with blueberries.  I think you could probably substitute any kind of berries or chopped apples or peaches or cherries....yum!  Keep it in the refrigerator, or freeze slices in ziplock bags. Perfect for a snack at work!

What are you making for breakfast?  Let me know if you try this recipe! I love comments :-D

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Some Seriously Rockin' Jewelry!

 I'm reminded today of how much I love Etsy. Not just because it's a great place to buy and sell handmade or vintage treasures, and not just because it's a way for the middle class to take back the economy and show some love for the planet. I love Etsy because of the unique people I meet there.

Jeannie is one half of the dynamic duo that is JeannieRichard, a husband and wife team that designs and creates hot, stylish jewelry. You can get to know them on their blog ,

Luxe beaded rings

 or stop by their "about" page.  I love this explanation of how they make things work out: "She loves tea, he loves coffee. She loves sea, he loves mountains. She keeps curtains open, he keeps them closed. She loves him, and he loves her. Together they combine."  You immediately get a glimpse of their fashion sense and enthusiasm, but what you don't see is how awesome Jeannie really is. 

I met Jeannie on Etsy. And she's so cool! Kind, compassionate, strong, and truly able to keep a positive attitude no matter how tough the day is. We live on opposite sides of the planet, but I feel like she's the neighbor next door that I have my coffee with. No matter that when I'm getting up in the morning, she's getting ready for bed. She picks me up when I'm down.

Brass Infinity Bracelet

I'm loving the new infinity bracelets in the shop. Aren't these cool?

Color Block Earrings

 Jeannie and Richard make the kind of jewelry I wouldn't dream of attempting. It takes so much skill and patience. Just look at the beadwork on this bracelet and earrings.

Raspberry bracelet

Here's another new one, the colors are so delicious and vibrant.

Beaded Chain bracelet

Imagine the skill needed to create this piece of gorgeousness? Be still my heart!

So do yourself a favor and stop by JeannieRichard's stunning shop! Right now they are having a 30% off sale. That's right, I said thirty percent! That's huge people!  Just enter coupon code EOS30 at checkout; sale lasts through the end of August. Go on, get over there! 
 Take me to JeannieRichard

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vintage Rhinestones: Peach Tea and Watermelon

The dog days of summer. Yes, they are here. It's 100* in my back yard right now.  Too hot to do much of anything. Certainly no cooking.  I've just been hiding here in the air conditioning, spending way too much time on pinterest, and making some jewelry inspired by the awesome pins I found.

Beads and rhinestones that remind me of food seems to be a recurring theme. It must be subliminal, no?
With these juicy pictures, how could one not be inspired to create something beautiful.

Peach tea bracelet

Peach Tea

Rosaline necklace

Melon Balls

Watermelon is so tasty right now.  I have to try some of these frosty watermelon drinks. Don't they look good?


Fresh fruit

Rose Lime punch




Watermelon Punch! 

Stay cool and stay fruity my friends!