All posts tagged: berkeley

shop feature: black squirrel.

I finally ventured to Black Squirrel in Berkeley after hearting so many things on their Instagram. What a lovely sight! There are walls and baskets of colorful yarn in all the textures, weights, and materials. They have an extensive collection of hand-dyed and locally sourced yarns, too. Super impressive!   There’s also a fabric section. I love prints (another one of my dreams is to be a textile/pattern designer) so you can always find me drooling in the fabric section.   Black Squirrel is truly a destination for every crafter, and they’ve got some great gifts for the maker in your life, too. I don’t knit or crochet, but the tools they carry are first class and make me want to pick up some new hobbies. There’s also a selection of other giftables like these miniature nature scenes (so tiny!).   And since it’s Christmas time, there are ornament cross stitch kits (I snagged one!), letters to Santa embroidery kits, greeting cards, and lots more. Bonus – the owner is super friendly and awesome and …

shop feature: pippa & co berkeley

Hello pink flamingo. Hello balloon bar. Hello Pippa & co! Pippa & co Berkeley is now open in the Elmwood (my old hood!) and it is everything! It’s just like their first location in Alameda but with more space to put even more party decor! I visited on soft opening day; owner and party extraordinaire Lisa was in the house! A sprinkle/confetti selfie wall. Coral shelving units. Honeycombs galore. Pineapple everything. Patterns, patterns, patterns. All. the. things! I can’t wait to visit again! Even when there is no party to plan, it’s such an uplifting and inspiring store to be in. Until next time, Pippa & co!

ready, set, indigo!

I learned how to dye with indigo last year, and ever since word got out, I’ve been requested to teach indigo dyeing workshops. I consider myself far from pro status, but thought it would be fun to give it a try. I’m happy to report that I love being able to share this craft with so many people! My latest workshop was held at Sticky Art Lab in Berkeley, and we totally lucked out with the sunshine! We set up our learning and folding station inside, and dyed our fabrics outside. This was my first time dyeing in a backyard/garden (versus indoors) so you can imagine my excitement when we got to hang our pieces to dry on a clothesline. (Super mega heart eyes!) Dyeing fabrics, including the set-up and clean-up, can be a long process, but it is relaxing and the results are fantastic every time. No two pieces are exactly the same, which makes the unveiling extra exciting. Even the tools looked good after a dye session. Eee, can’t wait for my next indigo …

tea time.

One of my new favorite tea spots is Blue Willow Tea in Berkeley. As part of birthmonth, I invited some friends to join me here for an afternoon of tea and good company. It was going to be my first time at the tea lounge, so I called ahead. The owner Ali was super friendly and sweet, and I was so excited that she could section off a part of the tea room for my gathering. The tea lounge is a bit hidden; you have to know it’s there to find it, but once you do, you are welcomed with a wall of teas and these beauties. On a normal visit, I would probably enjoy one type of tea, but since it was a party we enjoyed three! We tried an oolong, the bourbon vanilla black tea, and a green tea. Our cups were warmed and each tea was served in region-specific serve ware. One of my life goals is to be become a tea expert so here is my attempt at learning the lingo… The oolong …

horticulture. 

Happy Earth Day! Featuring a local nursery seems fitting for today. Behold: Berkeley Horticulture Nursery. It’s like a nursery dream! I had been here once before to purchase a garden pot and have been meaning to visit again. This is by far my favorite nursery in the East Bay. Helpful staff, suuuuper organized garden, awesome selection, excellent prices, and all the inspiration!   Time to tend to the garden! How will you celebrate Earth today? Share below.   

chai time!

My good friend Angel (the lady behind Todos Organics) and I ventured to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden this past weekend for a lesson in chai and spice. Class was held in the Garden’s Tropical House which was the perfect location for learning about masala chai; many of the plants used in masala chai recipes are grown here. Our instructor was Deepa Natarajan, ethnobotanist and lover of masala chai! She’s also got her own masala chai spice blend that is sold at the Oaktown Spice Shop. Basically, she is a masala chai celebrity. 😉 Deepa gave a us history lesson in tea, talked about each of the spices you might put in a masala chai, and showed us the different plants in the garden that produce masala chai ingredients. Masala means “mixture of spices” and chai simply means “tea.” What makes a masala chai? Clove, star anise, cinnamon… …cardamom, turmeric, black pepper, coriander… And ginger! I got to help grate the ginger on a ginger grater, which I’ve decided I need in my life. This thing is amazing! Here’s …

curfee.

Saturday morning plan: Roll out of bed and head straight to a coffee class! ☕️ I recently took Handbrew 101 at Allegro Coffee Roasters in Berkeley. Our instructor Nat was the coolest. Self-proclaimed coffee nerd, she walked us through four handbrewing methods, sharing her techniques and coffee insight along the way.  Coffee coffee coffee! It all starts with a good roast. Nat selected the Ethiopia Watona roast. She also prepared worksheets for us to take notes and start our “coffee diary” (bt-dubs: important if you want to keep tabs on how you like to make your perfect cup). I took all the notes. So much to learn!  Nat walked us through four coffee brewing contraptions plus all the accompanying equipment – scale, gooseneck kettle, coffee grinder, cupping cups…. We sampled the same beans via French press, Chemex, Hario V60, and Aeropress. I can’t say I have a favorite but they all produced different flavor profiles. What I thought was most interesting was how the flavor changed as the coffee cooled. Science!  At the end of …