Sonoma

Washington state garden offers useful inspiration for Sonoma County front yards

For Sandra, a “hands-on” person, it was tough to stay out of the way as a contractor and workmen gutted and completely renovated the 1950s house she and her husband, Howard, had just bought in Walla Walla, Washington.

New to the area, Sandra was keen to get to know the neighborhood. So while the men upgraded her new home to a more modern aesthetic and condition, she turned to the front garden. Each day, from a rental house a few blocks away, Sandra would come over and labor in the garden in an effort to make progress on the house and to begin to meet her neighbors.

The garden was not a garden when she started. Her first efforts were directed at a steep bank along the sidewalk, a discouraging mass of rocks knit together by a dense mat of Bermuda grass. She progressed incrementally, each day removing a few more rocks and clearing a little more area.

On the strip of land between the sidewalk and street, sheltered under an old weeping cherry tree, Sandra placed a cheerful red rustic table and chairs saved from her garden at her previous house, in Seattle. She used river-washed natural gravel to cover the soil. A big water dish for dogs and a beautifully planted pot on the table, a garden in miniature, were the finishing touches. In effect, she created a street-side living room, a place to sit and visit. The tables and chairs had provided the same function at her former home, and many conversations, cups of coffee and glasses of wine had passed over its brightly colored surface.

The steep bank took shape with plants Sandra brought from her Seattle garden, chiefly low-growing succulents like groundcover sedums, low-growing grasses like fescues and American millet grass milium effusum ‘Aureum’ —

Williams Sonoma Just Teamed Up with Ghetto Gastro and Crux for a Bold New Kitchen Line

Photo credit: CRUGG
Photo credit: CRUGG

From House Beautiful

This new bold kitchen collection won’t just stand out on your countertops, but will raise awareness about social injustice issues, too: Williams Sonoma just launched its new collection CRUXGG. Created in collaboration with Bronx-based cooking collective, Ghetto Gastro, and kitchen design and manufacturing company, CRUX, the collection features seven sleek simple-to-use appliances like the BRED, a two-pound bread maker, or the TRNR, a double-rotating waffle iron.

Photo credit: CRUGG
Photo credit: CRUGG

But what makes this collection so unique and powerful is the work Ghetto Gastro does behind the scenes. The collective started as a group formed to showcase the culinary excellence of the Bronx, but later added social injustice to its agenda and dubbed itself the “Black Power Kitchen,” according to its Instagram page. Founded by South Bronx natives Jon Gray, Lester Walker, and Pierre Serrão, Ghetto Gastro works to empower, educate, and entertain through food. As the trio often says, “food is a weapon,” and can be used to strike up conversations around race, class, food inequality, and more.

Each product in the CRUXGG collection has a black matte finish complemented with red accents and a fun name. For example, the DRIP is a 14-cup coffee maker; the MUSA is an airpro cook and fry; the NEFL is a six-slice digital air frying toaster oven.

The best part? All proceeds of sales from the collection through October will go to Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp, according to this Instagram post. This campaign works to empower the next generation of leaders of color. You can shop the collection below.

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Dolly Parton Has A Christmas Kitchen Collection With Williams Sonoma

Most of us do not need a ton of motivation to buy new holiday decorations and other fun seasonal items, but if Dolly Parton is involved, well, that’s an instant add-to-cart, no questions asked. On that note, prepare to crack open the piggy banks, kids, because Dolly Parton has teamed up with Williams Sonoma to create her own line of holiday kitchen items.

Dolly announced her partnership with Williams Sonoma late last week and unveiled all of the adorable items you’ll be able to enjoy this Christmas. The designs and products are all inspired by Dolly’s own Christmas traditions (and will pair perfectly with her upcoming Christmas album, Holly Dolly Christmas…). First up is Dolly’s Cookie Cutter Set featuring cookie cutters designed in honor of things Dolly loves like music notes, a log cabin, and of course, a butterfly.

You can even buy a gingerbread cabin that is designed to look like Dolly’s two-room Tennessee mountain home. If you’re looking for something a little smaller, you can pick up guitar gingerbread cookies instead, or you can even buy Dolly’s sugar cookie mix if that’s more your style. Our personal favorite items, though, are the patchwork aprons (made in adult and kids sizes) and their matching potholders and oven mitts. If your baking accessories are getting a little old and worn, these might be worth investing in so you can create some new memories.

You can shop the entire collection right now on Williams Sonoma and get started on Christmas baking before it even hits December. Why not? That’s what freezers are for!