Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Tea Grotto

Tea Grotto
2030 S. 900 E. #6
Salt Lake City, UT

Is the Christmas season stress getting to you? Has the inversion caused your sinuses to swell or your inner chakras to misalign? Seek soothing relief in Sugar House at the Tea Grotto on 9th East.

Each tea house you visit is a different experience. The Tea Grotto specializes in Eastern atmosphere, complete with at least three Buddha’s—one of which presides over their vast menu board. This is an herbalist’s paradise.

I chose the chamomile myself; I needed the soothing. Everyone I spoke with at the Tea Grotto was friendly and happy—customers and staff alike. It must be that Zen thing they’ve got going on.

While you’re seeking refuge from the shopping storm outside, you can do a little Christmas shopping of your own inside the Tea Grotto. Upstairs there’s a small Indian boutique with beautiful scarves, intricately woven sari’s, brightly colored Indian jewelry and amazing shoulder bags—all genuine imports.

On the walls of the Tea Grotto, you’ll se gorgeous photography by Jeremy Arndt. Pick up one of his cards and a complimentary 4x6 photo. His images of West Africa are stunning, and 10% of the sales go to charitable causes there.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Star Mill

Star Mill
147 E. 600 N.
American Fork, UT 84003

Studio 5 was playing on the television in the other room while I was washing dishes in the kitchen, and I overheard the words “ junk yard” and “Christmas crafts.”

Magic words!

I dashed into the room, sudsy dish in my hand, just in time to hear the guest say “…and I got all of this great junk at Star Mill.”

A little internet research yielded an address in American Fork, and a few hours later I drove up to an old historic structure with an ancient fire truck parked out front. The eclectic assortment of windows, birdbaths, baskets, and ironwork on the front steps let me know I was in the right place.

Star Mill is far too nice to call a “junk shop.” It’s also way too rugged and real to call an antique store. (No disrespect to antique stores intended.) I prefer to call it a “treasure trove.” If I were looking for old doors and window frames for a restoration project, I’d find them here. If I were looking for a collection of old LDS titles and historical novels, I’d find them here. If I were looking for a full set of vintage china, I could find it here.

My favorite room in the Star Mill is the Jar Room. The walls are lined with large glass jars filled with bits and bobs: marbles, hinges, game pieces, springs, corks, and clothes pins.

I treated myself to some old bingo cards and a few medicine bottles. I think I’ll turn these into some creative Christmas cards.

(Note: blogger is NOT a professional crafter. Please try this at home.)

A few days later, I persuaded a friend to return with me, and I asked her to choose an odd piece of “junk” for me to present on my blog.

“But not too big,” I said cautiously, eyeing an old iron stove.

And so, dear readers, I give you…this. Whatever it is. It’s a black, iron scroll-work, vaguely bowl-shaped thingy with some kind of iron protuberance at the end. And I ask you, what shall I do with it? What can I turn this in to?

Please give me suggestions in the comments section. I’ll take the most interesting suggestion and post my…er…artistic endeavor…on the blog. Additionally, there will be a prize for the person whose idea I select.

I could create an entire photo journal of just the nooks and crannies in Star Mill. Many photographers do choose Star Mill and its surrounding property as the backdrop for their portraits. For just $40 photographers can shoot around the barn and the mill as well as the field and the lane lined with trees. The famous green doors of the Mill itself make a fantastic rustic backdrop for family members grouped on the old weather-worn steps. Or imagine a photo of your family walking down the snowy country lane. This is the perfect setting for your family Christmas photo. Just call Star Mill at 801-756-0464 to make arrangements and let them know you are coming.

Please leave a suggestion in the comments section as to what I should make with the iron piece. --Thanks