SV LIFE HOME+GARDEN
San Jose Mercury News >> mercurynews.com Saturday, December 20, 2008
GIFTS FOR COLLECTORS
HOME+GARDEN EXTRAS >> MERCURYNEWS.COM
100 SECTION E
“The place represents a collective tribute to good taste. It’s a real treasure.” Tip sheet
PETER CARTER, A FORMER ADVERTISING EXECUTIVE AND PHOTOGRAPHER
We know. We know. Who
wants to think about writing
thank-you notes before the
gift-giving is done? Sorry.
The experts say write them
while the gratitude is fresh
in your mind. Plus, some say
those who write the most
notes get the most gifts.
Here’s some advice for
making it easier.
DESIREE NORTHEND — LOOKILOOS.COM
If you received a gift from
La Estancia in Los Gatos is more than 100 years old and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. someone who is not sitting
across from you at the dinner
table every night, you owe them
HISTORIC LOS GATOS ESTATE OFFERS A GLIMPSE OF OLD CALIFORNIA a note. A handwritten one, in
pen, preferably blue ink.
By Julia Prodis Sulek
Mercury News Downsize
From the sloping road just blocks from downtown Write one or two a day. Use
Los Gatos, it’s easy to miss the grand estate called La small cards or stationery so
Estancia. Condos are above and condos are below. And there is less space to fill, and
even if you know which gates the house hides behind, pick cards with fun colors and
you’d still be lucky to catch a glimpse of the servants’ shapes.
But on a summer night, you can hear the place. Simply start
The music rises up from the loggia. There’s chatter “Dear Aunt Martha, thank you
and laughter and dancing. And on some nights, David for the iTunes card” is fine.
Stonesifer — in his signature round-rimmed glasses Avoid the trap of saying “I am
— sits at the baby grand piano and plays. just writing to say” — that’s
The home of Stonesifer and Larry Arzie — former
stating the obvious.
owners of the Los Gatos Porch interior design store
— has been a storied estate for more than 100 years.
Honest, I like it
And in the hands of Arzie and Stonesifer for the past
27 years, it’s become a community gem whose gates Say how you used it: “I have
have been opened for countless non-proﬁt fundraisers already loaded up my iPod with
from the San Jose Symphony to the Los Gatos Police some of my favorite old Bob
Auxiliary. Parties and weddings for their friends have
David Stonesifer, left, and Larry Arzie bought La Dylan songs.”
Estancia in 1981.
“The place represents a collective tribute to good Get personal
taste,” said Peter Carter, a former advertising execu- “You remember how much
tive and photographer who had his wedding reception I loved Dylan as a kid.” Don’t
for 800 guests at La Estancia nearly 20 years ago. “It’s worry if it sounds too simple;
the point is to create a simple
See LOOKILOOS, Page 2 expression of a heartfelt senti-
This gets tricky if your mother-
in-law gives you a chartreuse
scarf or you are allergic to pa-
Three friends who live in San Jose’s Rose Garden perwhite bulbs. Don’t say you
neighborhood started Lookiloos.com to give readers love the gift. Find a truth, such
“a peek into the style and stories behind every door.” as: “It was so thoughtful of you
The Mercury News and Mercurynews.com are featuring to think of me.’’
DESIREE NORTHEND — LOOKILOOS.COM
some of those stories. This grand piano is a gathering spot for guests. It’s a wrap
Sign off. Use whatever works
for you: Love. Yours Truly. With
Love. Sincerely. Then sign your
Have your kids sign their own
Make Hanukkah a family affair names.
with homemade menorahs and The Morning News,
an online magazine
USE YOUR CREATIVITY Shoshana Berger, editor-in-chief using a tree branch, wine bottles
of Ready Made, a Berkeley-based from the recycling bin and baby
FOR FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS DIY magazine. food jars.
Making your own menorah Try these or get creative with
By Jessica Yadegaran puts a personal stamp on the holi- your own.
Bay Area News Group day.
If you are Jewish and grew up
in the 1980s, you probably have
“Hanukkah has very little ac-
couterments attached to it,”
Wine bottle menorah
Hanukkah memories of your Berger says. “Besides dreidels What you need:
mother digging hardened wax out
of the family menorah, a gaudy
brass candelabra made in China
and gold, foil-wrapped coins, the
menorah is the way to showcase
the holiday.” It’s also a good way
Nine glass wine or sparkling
water bottles (a few others as
that a distant relative brought
back from Israel.
to get the kids involved.
“Young children are so drawn
Bottle cutter kit (about $50 at
Put the festivity back in the
Festival of Lights, which begins
this year at sundown Sunday, by
to crafts and larger-than-life dis-
plays,” Berger says. “Giving them
an opportunity to be involved is
Nine candles plus one for heat-
D. ROSS CAMERON — BAY AREA NEWS GROUP making your own, distinctive me- priceless.” To get your creative ing glass bottles Our ideas,
This menorah was constructed from norahs. juices ﬂowing, we asked the staff Matches Page 8
cut wine bottles by staff members at “Melt that brass and turn at Ready Made to create three
Ready Made magazine. it into machine parts,” says easy menorahs, which they did See MENORAHS, Page 7