Play it cool: Backyard structures spark kids' imaginations


Photo courtesy of Barbara Butler
This Butler creation, the “Playhouse in a Tree,” includes a rope ladder and a fireman’s pole.

Go outside and play!

This parental admonition is easier said than done, what with iPads, iPhones, computer games and the like. And, of course, there’s the frenetic lifestyle that’s commonplace in Silicon Valley.

Light-catchers and beetle banks


Tanya Kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Blue fescues are bunchgrasses, forming small, undulating mounds either as single plants or as a groundcover. The striking blue to blue-green color can combine in interesting ways with other foliage colors or with flowers.

Native grasses and sedges are some of the most versatile landscape plants. They can:

• Enhance seasonal interest.

Do-it-yourself tips

Following are tips from Barbara Butler on how to create fun and magical backyards to encourage kids to go outside and play.

• Use full round log cut-offs to create a circle in your backyard. It doesn’t have to be high off the ground to create a fun space of “inside the circle” and “outside the circle” and “walk the circle.”

Filoli celebrates the holiday season with an array of events

Filoli has scheduled its annual “Holidays at Filoli” events Nov. 18 through Dec. 23. With the theme “A Century of Traditions,” the country estate will feature a story of Christmases from 1917 to 1975, with every room decorated; illuminated Garden Nights; holiday shopping in a setting reminiscent of European Christmas markets; entertainment; classes; and teas.

Filoli, a National Trust for Historic Preservation property, is located at 86 Cañada Road, Woodside.

Los Altos History Museum wraps up Eichler exhibition


Photos Elizabeth Barcelos/Town Crier
Stories of how real estate developer Joseph Eichler touched the lives of people who lived in his homes, above, became part of the Los Altos History Museum’s exhibition “Eichler Homes: Modernism for the Masses,” which is set to close Oct. 8. Among the items on display are local building plans, left; mid-century artifacts, below left; and Eichler’s personal effects, below.

Time is running out to take a step back into a more affordable era of homeownership.

The Los Altos History Museum exhibition “Eichler Homes: Modernism for the Masses” is scheduled to wrap up its five-month run Oct. 8.

Neighborly donations lead to Mansi Makes acrylic art


Photos courtesy of Mansi bhatia
Artist Mansi Bhatia’s acrylic creations include decorative pumpkins for the fall, left, and painted wooden panels, above. Her business, Mansi Makes, traces its origins to a request for spare tiles from her neighbors.

It all started with a social media post.

“I had reached out to our neighbors through Nextdoor asking if anyone had tiles laying around that they wouldn’t mind donating to me for practicing a new form of art that I had been enamored with for a while,” said Mansi Bhatia of Los Altos. “Suddenly, my garage was stocked with over 150 tiles of all sizes. I started experimenting with fluid acrylics – a medium I had never worked in before.”


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