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Food & Wine

Humble shortbread cookie appears around the world, but with local twists

Humble shortbread cookie appears around the world, but with local twists


Blanche Shaheen/Special to the Town Crier
Ghraybeh shortbread cookies use sweet-tasting ghee in lieu of butter.

 

When Americans think of the shortbread cookie, they often imagine the traditional Scottish cookies, shaped like oblong rectangles and ...

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Your Health

CSA connects families with fresh, nutritious food

CSA connects families with fresh, nutritious food


Courtesy of Community Services Organization
CSA staff load groceries to take to Castro Elementary School as part of a new outreach program for children and families enrolled in the free and reduced lunch programs at Castro and Mistral schools.

Maureen...

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Your Home

Healing art: Restoration 'doctor' preserves damaged objects

Healing art: Restoration 'doctor' preserves damaged objects


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Art restorer Rho Brown performs delicate preservation work in her Los Altos studio, above. Once fully restored, below left, it’s difficult to tell which cherub was previously missing its head. Brown’s studio conta...

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On The Road

American muscle in the modern age: Bolting to Blackhawk in the Chrysler 300S

American muscle in the modern age: Bolting to Blackhawk in the Chrysler 300S


Photo by Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier; Bottom Right Photo courtesy of Chrysler
The Andersons recently drove the new Chrysler 300S to Danville’s Blackhawk Museum, where they saw “The Spirit of the Old West” exhibition.

 

When you have a p...

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Senior Lifestyles

Local pianist performs, volunteers and finds 'keys' to a good life

Local pianist performs, volunteers and finds 'keys' to a good life


RAMYA KRISHNA/TOWN CRIER
Doreta Strotman performs the classics with her signature jazz-style improvisations at Los Altos Grill Sunday evenings. The Mountain View resident has been playing since the age of 4.

Sunday evenings, Doreta Strotman’s job is to...

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Wedding To Remember

Ring options on Main Street range from traditional to unorthodox

Ring options on Main Street range from traditional to unorthodox


 

With nine fine-jewelry retailers concentrated along the Main Street corridor, downtown Los Altos offers a wealth of options for engagement and wedding ring shoppers. From one end of Main to the other, the choices range from the traditional to t...

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Your Kids

Living Classroom grows lessons for next-gen science standards

Living Classroom grows lessons for next-gen science standards


 

Providing local students with a tangible outdoor learning experience, the Living Classroom program aims to support a new generation of students who are excited about the environment.

The Living Classroom serves 9,000 students locally in the Los ...

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Back to School

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Homeowners: Collect that never-used debris for your spring garage sale

A Side of Clyde

You dread the thought of spring cleaning? A garage sale might be the alternative because "stuff" collects during winter months.

Drive through a Los Altos or Los Altos Hills neighborhood on any weekend and you're sure to spot at least a half-dozen garage sales. And what's being sold? The accumulated "junk" that a lot of people no longer use or want taking up space in or around their homes.

Garage sales are really a front yard pawn shop. The basic philosophy is, if you can't give it away, put it on your front lawn and you'll probably sell it.

There are a lot of garage sales in Los Altos, and what's amusing is people will spend $20 on gas, drive around in air-conditioned Mercedes, stop the car when they see a "Garage Sale" sign , then get out and stand in the sun and bargain over an item marked $5 until they get it for 50 cents.

The first rule of a garage sale is: if it has any value, it won't sell. People don't want items at a good price. They can go to Macy's or Wal-Mart for that. They want cheap stuff they can haggle over.

If one asks too much, the article won't sell. Crafty shoppers will always try to bargain down, so one has to price the item high enough for haggle room. You've got to act like the Kenny Rogers song, "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

A garage sale on Russell Avenue last summer had a 19-inch color TV playing in the garage with a price tag of $25. It was still there the second day, but most of the smaller items were haggled down to around a buck and gone.

Garage sales are not regulated in Los Altos. Several years ago they were going to limit garage sales, but the city council backed off after giving a first reading to an ordinance that would have restricted garage sales to one two-day sale every three months.

Visiting garage sales in Los Altos requires a bit of tact because you are traipsing into other people's homes. So the first rule at a Los Altos garage sale is be nice.

The second rule is to be prepared to haggle. Items are sold as-is, and the asking price reflects that. Don't be afraid to ask for a better price. Haggling is a requisite part of the flea market and garage sale experience.

The third rule is, know the items' value through knowledge or experience. Know in advance the items you are looking for and what they are worth to you if you buy them.

The last rule should be the first. Go early, but not before the sellers are up, unless you want hedge clippers, socket wrenches and dried flower arrangements. If you go too late, the good stuff is gone.

If you are holding a garage sale to sell your baby toys, french-fry makers, auto parts and cocktail shakers, then go to the library and check out a book on "secrets for a successful garage sale" or check the Internet.

After everything is ready for the sale, check the children's toys for breakage and hazards. Remember: If in doubt, throw it out.

Noel, a Los Altos Hills resident, is an expert bargain hunter at garage sales.

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