After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.
Visitors to the unassuming Los Gatos bar Carry Nation's might stop at the door transfixed by a set of stained-glass panels, alive with the outstretched wings of a phoenix rising before a flowerlike sun. The piece, commissioned in 1976, is the work of Tom Stanton, a glass artist with 44 years of experience who shares his expertise with students in his studio and at South Bay high schools. Along with injecting translucent loveliness into unexpected architecture, Stanton has also created pieces for Linda Ronstadt, George Lucas, and more than 1,000 other commissioned clients. Within a former post office, Tom cuts, stains, fuses, and paints glass using a deep toolbox of techniques, inviting pupils to create original pieces and inviting visitors to snatch up inimitable items during the studio's seasonal sales and goblet-tosses.
WiX furnishes budding craftsmen with the tools to engineer custom candles and soaps on hardwood picnic-style tables in a spacious craft studio. After a brief instructional rundown, candlestick makers and soap sculptors choose base wax or soap color, mold shape, and one of more than 30 scents such as bubble gum, peppermint, and molten happiness. Crafters then embed colorful dry pieces of wax or soap into molds, with available shapes such as hearts, stars, and moons, before a staff member pours in a melted, scented mixture that holds the final product together more beautifully and securely than handcuffs decorated with poetry. Candles ($7–$38) and soaps ($8–$17) are ready for pick-up within two days, or can be stored for up to four weeks or shipped to their masters in sweetly scented packages.
Much like the ant farm you shake up once a day, your home is subject to cruel entropy at the hands of time. Fight back against the forces that would dare crack your walls and soot your stoves with today's Groupon: $20 worth of products and services at Los Gatos Ace Hardware for $10.
In small, cozy classes of no more than six students, purling pedagogues teach nascent knitters how to click needles with style. Helmed by shop owner Deborah Panighetti, beginner seminars consist of two 2-hour sessions that cover knitting basics, including purling, binding off, reading yarn labels, and cajoling dropped stitches back into place with subtle flattery. Pupils collect insider tips and tricks as they work to craft a scarf, which can later be used to dress up a dull outfit or warm a nervous date's clammy clavicle. Starter stitchers can bring their own yarn and needles in size 8, 9, or 10, or they can use their Groupon to receive a 10% discount in Yarndogs’ store on the day of their visit. In May, the two-part class will be offered on May 19 and May 26 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Check Yarndogs' website for future class times and dates.