Ornamental Odyssey: A Local Story

Posted on December 2, 2016 by  
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traveler-linda-clarkIt’s safe to say that Los Altos resident Linda Clark loves holidays. Her attractive mid-century ranch home undergoes several seasonal makeovers each year, with the biggest transformation at Christmas.

A frequent world traveler with her husband, Dean, Clark has visited Africa, Indonesia, the South Pacific, the North Pole, Iceland, Greenland, Antarctica, China, the Baltics, South America and more. The couple’s home is decorated with mementos from many of their trips – including fans and masks from Indonesia and South Pacific islands – and a guest bedroom is known as “The Africa Room.”

Clark’s love of Christmas decorating began as a young girl. Her parents found it too much work, so it became her job. “It really began before my teens, or just about at that time,” she said. “Every time something grabs my fancy, I buy it. Every time we travel, I try to buy something representative of the country.”

She’s found that one of the drawbacks to group travel is the lack of shopping time. “Every Stanford trip we’ve been on, I always write (on the evaluation afterward), How can I help support the country’s economy if you don’t give me time to shop?” Clark said with a laugh.

Clark couldn’t say offhand how many ornaments are now in her collection, but the largest tree, in the living room, has more than 1,000 ornaments on it. And there are 13 other trees. Even her tiny Santa’s workshop tree – a Manzanita tree branch – has more than 200 ornaments on it and is “very painstaking to decorate” because of the diminutive decorations, she said.

Her Santa and Mrs. Claus trees have very few ornaments because of the difficulty in finding pairs of the Christmas couple. She’s always on the lookout for them and was pleased to find a pair at Los Altos’ Cranberry Scoop last year.

Other themed trees include the train tree (for her husband, who loves model trains), the angel tree, the travel tree and three kitchen trees; the latter have more than 600 ornaments on them. When the Christmas season approaches, the Clarks retrieve 35-40 storage bins from their shed and get to work.

In addition to finding treasures while traveling, Clark is always on the lookout at craft fairs, artists’ open houses and favorite stores such as Cover Story and Cranberry Scoop in Los Altos.

Some of her ornaments go way back, such as her Santa and Mrs. Claus applehead dolls, which she estimated that she’s had for 50 years. Friends add to her collection from time to time, and she has also made many of the ornaments herself.

In addition to Christmas, Clark decorates for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day and Flag Day. She also has ornaments for many other occasions and events, such as baby showers, wedding showers, travel and school.



Annual Harps For The Holidays

Posted on December 5, 2014 by  
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Harpeggio EnsembleCome and enjoy an afternoon of festive holiday harp music at Harpeggio’s annual concert.

The program will feature harp solos and our studio ensemble, which has in recent years provided the sight and sound of more than twenty harps on a single stage. This year’s program will include a variety of fun holiday music, including some well-known carols … the perfect start to your holiday preparations!

Also at the holiday event will be the very entertaining harpist Meko (formerly Mike Walls) making a much-requested return appearance as our guest artist. Meko is an accomplished jazz harpist who comes to us from Central Florida. He tours extensively throughout the world, performing in both the English and Spanish languages. Meko is a two-time prize winner in the International Jazz-Harp Competition, has been consistently in the top 20 on Japanese radio, and has received critical acclaim world-wide. He is founder and director of the International Harp Museum (www.internationalharpmuseum.org) and works to promote the harp worldwide.

Meko was the guest artist at our very first concert in 1999, and this marks his fourth appearance as our guest artist. We are very happy to welcome him back—we know many of our audience will be looking forward to hearing him perform again.

This year’s concert will be held on Saturday, December 6, at 4:00pm at Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Avenue, Los Altos. Click here for a map.

Ticket prices are:

  • General admission $15
  • Seniors 60+ $12
  • Children 4-12 $12

For more information or tickets, or to join their mailing list, please contact Stephanie at (408) 366-8810 or email: events@harpeggio.com


Waldorf Sponsors Holiday Faire

Posted on December 3, 2014 by  
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Waldorf Holiday FaireWaldorf School of the Peninsula has scheduled it 29th annual Holiday Faire 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at its Los Altos campus, 11311 Mora Drive.

The event will feature a variety of hands-on activities for the entire family, including dipping beeswax candles, making wreaths with fresh greenery and handcrafting small gifts and holiday decorations from natural materials. Returning this year is the Russian Tea Room, where guests can enjoy tea, treats and quiet music.

In the Gnome Adventure, children can crawl through a passage lined with seasonal vignettes that show gnomes celebrating the four seasons. At the end of the journey, each child will receive a small gem to remind them of the magical journey.

The day will also include a catered buffet and old-fashioned games of skill for younger children, such as Treasure Mountain, Leap of Faith, Troll Bridge and Catapult Castle. Every game will end with a small prize.

A Children’s Workshop will offer youth the opportunity to make gifts such as rolled beeswax candles and jump ropes. A fairy-tale puppet show is scheduled several times during the day.

The holiday boutique will feature more than 10,000 handmade and unique items available for purchase, including European wooden toys, candles, knit scarves, shawls, children’s books, parenting and craft books, yarn and knitting materials, natural arts and craft supplies, dolls and lotions.

Free on-site parking and shuttles to and from nearby lots will be available. For more information, visit waldorfpeninsula.org.



Home Tour Celebrates 26 Years

Posted on November 30, 2014 by  
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Holiday DoorThe days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach. The St. Francis High School Women’s Club celebrates the season by hosting the 26th annual Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour, scheduled Dec. 4-6.

The event kicks off with the Christmas Gala Dec. 4. A Twilight Tour is slated 4-7 p.m., followed by a cocktail buffet 7-10 p.m. at St. William Catholic Church, 611 S. El Monte Ave., Los Altos. The gala features cocktails, appetizers and a spirits tasting provided by Old Spirits. The Christmas Boutique, stocked by vendors from around the Bay Area, will be open for shopping.

Holiday Home Tours, slated Dec. 5 and 6, include tours of three homes and a tea, the Elegant Luncheon Buffet and boutique. Those who attend have the option to board complimentary shuttles at St. William, where they can pick up their tickets, or self-drive to the three homes on display in Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. The homes are open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. The Christmas Boutique will be open at St. William during tour hours and for an additional shopping event, Wine Women and Shopping, 5-8 p.m. Dec. 5.

This year’s Christmas At Our House features a drawing for a piece of jewelry donated by Joe Escobar Diamonds or for one of the many “Santa’s Workshop” baskets that will be raffled off the final day of the event.

Proceeds from Christmas at Our House support the Campaign for St. Francis High School, which raises funds for construction of new school facilities. Over the years, the St. Francis Women’s Club has raised more than $2 million through Christmas at Our House. The ongoing success of Christmas at Our House, the club’s largest event, relies on help from the many local volunteers and attendees. St. Francis students also play an integral role, drawing sketches of the homes, entertaining tour-goers as student musicians and staffing the event as volunteers.

For tour and raffle tickets and more information, visit: sfhs.com