Field Trip: Christmas Shopping … the California SLOWCOAST way

Slow Coast General Store 1My husband and I took Wednesday off and drove to the mall coast to finish our Christmas shopping.

Slow Coast map 1

Swanton Jam Tasting sign 1

Swanton Sunflowers 1Slow Coast General Store 3This is my kind of shopping … local, handmade products lovingly displayed in a vintage Airstream trailer, with a view of the ocean, on California’s beautiful SLOWCOAST.

In Slow We Trust sign

This is how the boutique looked over the summer (below) … oddly enough, it was sunnier in December than it was in August.

Slow Coast General Store Summer 1Slow Coast Gift BoxAfter picking up some CauseBars and handmade ceramic mugs, we popped into the Farm Stand at Swanton Berry Farm for half a dozen jars of their delicious jam.

Swanton Farm Stand Interior 2Swanton Sunflowers 3Swanton Farm Stand Interior 1

Mid-week, we had the place all to ourselves.

Swanton Sunflowers 2 Swanton Farm Make Art Not War signSwanton Farm Stand Interior 3Afterwards, we shared a slice of their sinfully delicious homemade cheesecake and a cup coffee. Outside. With a view of the ocean.

Swanton Spread JoyThen we visited the town of Pescadero to do a little more shopping (cheese! bread!) …

Pescadero Girl & Goat Christmas

and finally, we took a nice long walk on the beach before driving home.

Pescadero Beach SilhouetteChristmas shopping doesn’t get much better than this.

Day Trip: Renga Arts, Sebastopol

renga arts 1

On our way up to Sonoma via the scenic Gravenstein Highway, I spotted the fabulous sign for Renga Arts and immediately pulled over. Wine tasting could wait, I had to check this out!

renga arts violin playing dogrenga arts 3renga arts owlsrenga arts owl

renga arts bulldog

Before I even stepped foot in the shop, I was head over heels in love with these larger than life pieces made from salvaged materials. It’s no wonder this artwork resonates with me – I’m the granddaughter of a blacksmith aching to learn how to weld. Maybe I’ll finally sign up for the metalworking classes offered at the Evanston Art Center !

renga arts escama studio clutch

Feeling incredibly inspired, I stepped inside Renga Arts studio to find a treasure trove of imaginative, handmade functional art – all of it created from reclaimed, recycled and repurposed materials. Like a kid in a candy store, I joyfully perused each and every item and in the end, I fell in love with this chain mail clutch purse from Escama Studio, a fair trade artist cooperative located in Brazil. Handmade using recycled aluminum pop can pull-tabs, the design is both clever and beautiful – so much so that I bought one for me and one for each of my sisters. Thank you Renga Arts!

If you’re visiting Sonoma County wine country or on your way to Sebastopol, be sure to stop by – you won’t be disappointed. And if you’re in the neighborhood today, stop by tonight for their two year anniversary party and opening reception for their ROBOT themed invitational art show.