Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Historic Hotels

Years ago I was invited to a early Saturday wedding in Dorrington, CA.  My husband and I drove up the long, windy Highway 4 late Friday night.  We stayed at the Dorrington Hotel, not knowing that it is reputed to be haunted.  On Friday night we were the only people staying at the hotel, and I instantly felt scared when I went into the front door.  I just got an eery feeling.  The bathrooms are down the hall from the room so I was terrified every time I went to the bathroom.  There was a journal in the room for people to write about their experiences at the hotel, and of course there was writings about paranormal activities.  If you love haunted hotels I highly recommend that you go to this hotel!

In researching the Dorrington Hotel's ghost sightings I discovered a website called haunted  The website is filled with haunted weddings, receptions, honeymoons, and other haunted places!

[Picture from, which includes a discussion about paranormal activities at the Inn.]


The Dorrington Inn
3431 Highway 4
P.O. Box 4383
Dorrington, CA  95223

Resource for haunted weddings, receptions, honeymoon spots, and other haunted places:

Halloween 2012, Bungalow Style

We went out trick or treating tonight and took pictures of some homes that had special Halloween decorations that we felt went well with a old bungalow style!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tours of Arts and Crafts Homes in Berkeley, CA

The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association organizes tours of Arts and Crafts and Craftsman-style homes in Berkeley, CA.    The Oakland Heritage Association organizes similar tours in Oakland, CA.


Berkeley Heritage Association

Oakland Heritage Association

Square Dancing in North Oakland

Square dancing is an American institution and is embedded in our history.  Every 1st and 3rd Fridays there is square dancing in North Oakland,


Square Dancing
Music by The Squirrelly String Band
Calling by Jordan Ruyle (with occasional guest performers)
1st and 3rd Fridays each month
8-10 PM
All levels welcome, all dances taught on the spot
$5-$10. sliding scale donation
The Niebyl-Proctor Library
6501 Telegraph Avenue

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gather around the fire- firepit to go!

Fall is such a perfect time to gather my family and friends and hang out by a fire - either inside or out!  This week I need to have someone come to the house and clean out the fireplace and check for safety.  We have a crack in our fireplace so right now, until we fix the crack, an expert recommended that we use fire logs like Duraflame (I prefer the logs made out of java ("Java Logs") that can be purchased from Whole Foods).

I found another alternative in the Sunset magazine I was browsing through yesterday.  It is called a "Light n Go" Bonfire log and can be used either inside or outside.  I'm going to order one and try it out first outside, then inside.  I'll  write about that experience soon!


Light n' Go Bonfire Log
(burns up to 2 1/2 hours)
From $9.29

Daisy's in Alameda, CA- Great home accents!

I was in Alameda yesterday with my son and I saw an adorable store called Daisy's.  I couldn't resist walking in and looking around the place.  There is a very European feel about the place and I instantly felt a sense of comfort and coziness as I browsed!

I would love to pick up a few pieces to decorate our bungalow here in this store.  I'll be back!


Necessities, Frivolities, & Embellishments for Everyday Life!
Barbara Mooney
(510) 522-6443
1347 Park Street
Alameda, CA  94501

P.S. As I was wondering around Alameda I was told by a local that there are more Victorian homes in Alameda than in all the rest of the Bay Area.  I'm not sure if that is an accurate fact so I'm going to research it.

Picture from the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


This weekend is the Pasadena Heritage Craftsman Weekend.  It is today, October 20th, 2012 and Sunday, October 21, 2012!  There are bus and walking tours, a historic craftsman house tour, receptions, lectures and workshops, and a craftsman exposition.


651 South Saint John Avenue
Pasadena, CA  91105-2913

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Concord Antique Fair- October 21, 2012

This antique fair has been recommended to me for years but I've never got the date right and calendered it in!  This is supposed to be a great fair, I'll be there!  I'll write more after I've gone.

Concord Antique Faire
2151 Salvio Street
Concord, CA

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dianne Ayres Textile- Pop-Up Store, Rockridge

While walking on College Avenue in Oakland today with my son, I noticed a new pop-up (temporary) store on College Avenue.  The store has textiles, glass, furniture, metal, and works on paper, so basically many things perfect for a craftsman style bungalow.  A loved many items in the store, and the place was so cozily decorated I wanted to sit down, have a cup of tea, read a good book, and stay awhile!

[Picture from the website]

Dianne Ayres Textile Studio and Friends
A Pop Up Store
October-December 2012
5550 College Avenue

Monday, October 15, 2012

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Education

When I was at the Gardens of Oakland event last night I visited a booth about Biodynamic farming and Gardening education.  I've been working at gardening and growing vegetables with no added chemicals/pesticides and was interested in the process of biodynamic farming and natural compost for my garden.

Rudolph Steiner College in Fair Oaks, CA, offers a full range of courses in Biodynamic farming, gardening, and beekeeping.  Looking over the catalogue, I am especially interested in the Cosmic Rhythms and Planting Calenders class on January 26, 2013.  My grandfather actually planted based on cycles of the moon, according to my mom.  This was information passed down from generations in his German family heritage.

What is Biodynamics?
Biodynamics, an agricultural method developed from indications given in 1924 by Rudolf Steiner, laid the foundation for a new way of thinking about the relationship of the earth and the formative forces of nature.  The ideal biodynamic farm is a self-sufficient organism, enlivened by the biodynamic practitioner through the use of compost and spray preparations in cooperation with natural rhythms.  The practice of biodynamics is a path of personal development that takes practitioners beyond physical labor into a deeper, more intimate connection with the earth, the cosmos, and ultimately, themselves.
(taken from Rudolph Steiner College catalogue, 2012-2013)


Rudolph Steiner College Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Education
9200 Fair Oaks Boulevard
Fair Oaks, CA  95628
Housing- Call 916-864-4816

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Custom Ceramic Lanterns - Oakland, CA

I went to the Autumn Lights Festival tonight at the Oakland Garden Center and saw the most gorgeous custom ceramic lanterns!


Custom ceramic lanterns
Nancy Bane Cresta
(510) 536-5815\

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chimney/ fireplace cleaning and upkeep-

Since autumn is here and the air is getting cooler every day, I am starting to think about using my fireplace again.  Our sad secret is that although we have a beautiful tiled fireplace, we NEVER used it.  In front of our beautiful blue and green tiled fireplace are massive amounts of our son's toys.  Yet, this year I vow to once again use the fireplace as it really is the heart of the home!  We actually stopped using it a few years ago when my son developed signs of pre-asthma with a constant runny nose and frequent cough.  Plus, we had been told our fireplace had a crack in it, which he said was common in old homes, and creates more of a fire risk.   My son's  symptoms have decreased as he's aged these past few years so I am willing to try it again.    First step, we need to find someone to clean out the fireplace and look at the crack in the fireplace we identified a few years ago.  At that time, the fireplace chimney sweep said that we could use logs such as duraflame (I have since discovered the logs  made with coffee grounds from our summer camping experiences,  they are  more environmentally, smell better,  and family healthy.)  My goal is to have a coffee log fire by November 1st!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Autumn Lights Festival, Oakland, CA Oct.13 6-10

Today I really felt the weather cooling off and tonight it rained.  It really feels like fall!  This Saturday evening, October 13th, 2012 is the Autumn Lights Festival, The Gardens of Lake Merritt from 6 to 10PM.   There will be lighted art, fire, and sound installations by Bay Area artists.  Also, there will be food trucks, beer and wine, a silent auction, and DIY art projects.

"Imagine several acres of garden filled with lanterns, carved and lit gourds, ponds glowing from submerged bubbles, and electric fireflies flickering in the trees; all created by bay area artists."


The Gardens of Lake Merritt
Saturday, October 13, 2012
666 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA

or $35 @ the door, tickets include one drink

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Do I regret buying a 1916 bungalow?

Today I question buying a 1916 bungalow.  The plumbing problems we've had this week were really stressful, expensive, and the cost did not beautify our home one bit.  It seems like our home is so expensive.  Today, I just don't know if the dreams we had when we bought our home will ever be reality.  I had some tears fall over that thought.  Will I ever have a new kitchen?  Will we ever have the parties like we planned?  These are all questions that will have to be answered later...............

La Farine Patissserie- Rockridge- baguettes

I love La Farine Patisserie -- it has the best croissants and baguettes in Rockridge!  They also have a huge table where you can have your coffee and pastry while reading a newspaper or writing in a journal.  My son LOVES the chocolate croissants!

La Farine Boulangerie Patisserie
6323 College Ave.
Oakland, CA  94618
Telephone:  1-510-654-0338

Store Hours:  7:30AM- 7:00PM

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Plumber recommendations in Rockridge

Steve Lipton of Steve Lipton Plumbing was recommended by a neighbor for a problem with the pipes leading from our upstairs.  But he does not do sewer work.  He recommended Harry Clark Plumbing.

Harry Clark Plumbing did a GREAT job.  They sent out a team within an hour of our call.  We'll blog about the experience in another post.


Steve Lipton Plumbing
CA Contractors License #958855
(does not work on sewer pipes)

2580 Pleasant Street
Oakland, CA  94602
Phone:  510-536- 7864
Cell:  510-316-4765

Harry Clark Plumbing
Phone:  (510) 444-1776

Beware! No baby wipes in toilets!

We thought we had a crack in our sewer pipe.  It turns out we had baby wipes stuck in our pipes under our driveway.

Beware, NEVER flush baby wipes down the toilet, especially with an older home and older pipes.

We use the Elements Naturals 100% compostable baby wipes, and we use them to watch my sons face, etc.  Recommended for everything EXCEPT FLUSHING!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ecohome Improvement, Berkeley, CA

When I was pregnant with my son I first went to Ecohome improvement in Berkeley to purchase paint for the bedroom.  I also purchased a non-toxic stain there when we were removing paint from wood in the mud room.

We used Teak colored "Bioshield Aqua-Resin Stain Finish #33."  Bioshield's website is here.  Here's a picture of the stain:

You can read more about our wood restoration project here.

I highly recommend this place!  A few weeks ago I went back with my mom and brother to look at kitchen cabinets in their new cabinets and counter-tops store.


Ecohome Improvement

Flooring and Paint Bar
2619 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA

Cabinets and Countertops
2617 San Pablo Ave.
Berkeley, CA

Phone:  510-644-3500

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


I found a new bungalow blog that I like -- it is called Bungalowcious!  There are some fun ideas for renovating the kitchen, bath, etc.  Check it out!


An Affordable Place to Buy a Historic Home

Where can you actually afford to buy a historic, beautiful home?  Indian Village neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan is actually affordable! I have to admit I fantasize about moving there and buying one of the gorgeous historic homes for a reasonable price, joining the Indian Village garden club, and sending my son to the Waldorf school in the area.


Indian Village neighborhood
Indian Village, Michigan

Annual historic indian village home and garden tour
June 8, 2013
10 AM- 5 PM

try recipes from

I love the recipes and other ideas from  The writer of the blog, Amanda Blake has written several books and is an amazing photographer and knitter too!  I haven't tried all her recipes, but I really want to.  My next recipe I want to make is for the pumpkin muffins.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Fiber Day at Windrush Farm, Petaluma-Oct.10

Today when I was at Chileno Valley Ranch in Petaluma doing some organic apple picking, I heard about the fiber day at Windrush Farm.  This event is especially for knitters, weavers, and spinners.


A Fiber Day at Windrush Farm, Petaluma
Sunday, October 10, 2012
10:00AM - 4:00PM

Fiber Sales bootsh, classes, gourmet brick oven pizzas

2263 Chileno Valley Rd.
West Petaluma

For more information, call 707-775-3390

Arts and Crafts Rugs from Nepal, Endless Knot

Today I was in Petaluma with my son and discovered the store, Endless Knot.  They had gorgeous rugs from Nepal, and I ended up getting two small ones seen below.  It is hard finding quality rugs that look good in a bungalow. The rugs are designed,  imported from Nepal.  I met the owner today, Steve Laska, and he was extremely helpful and knowledgable about arts and crafts style rugs!


Endless Knot Rug Company
Steve Laska
5 Petaluma Boulevard, Suite D
Petaluma, CA  94952

T:  707-789-0939
F:  707-789-0949

Recommended book:

Arts and Crafts Carpets
Malcolm Haslam