LaBote 2015 – Studio Community

Art is a gift that keeps giving to your heart and soul. We are looking forward to an artful year in 2015.

Here is a look at new works and some of our favorites from our studio community. It’s a pleasure and privilege to work with other artists.

Last night Dan showcased his new pitcher. Freshly glazed and waxed, we adored the intricate handle details. He threw the stoneware pitcher and then hand built the handle to look like a woven grape wines. Wow is all we got! can’t wait to see final look.
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Colleen has a way with symmetry and a wide range of works. From large forms to small ones like these jaw dropping porcelain Christmas ornaments…
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We are all about peace, so we were cranking out some peace for our holiday gifting.. perfect on a wall as a daily reminder. We are spreading it one sign at a time!! Here are two examples:

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There is a whole lot more… Follow us on Instagram for stories, videos and more.

Take a peek at our shop LaBote on Etsy.

Drop us a private line for purchase questions:
surprisesaffron@gmail.com

Day trip to Sundara Spa – Dells, WI

Took a friend for a belated birthday celebration to Sundara Spa. Was a rather positive experience and here is the synopsis — if and when you find yourself in WI its a place you can go.

Grounds of the spa are peaceful and there are 37 rooms I believe for overnight guests. We had a great day trip with Express Spa services and access to full facility.

The quiet room is a bit tired looking, could use an update but comfy, cozy overlooking the outdoor pool. Yes! even at 48 deg weather it is open. The outside floor is heated, pool is heated and there is hot tub next to it too. Now this is an impressive feature – makes me want to come back when it snows. IMG_2303.JPG
Express Spa package is perfect for a day trip. The practitioners are so good that 35 min are well done. Normally 35 min are never enough for me; barely get relaxing in 30 min. We had massage, facial, and pedi. They use fully vegan organic nail polish, and all of their treatment products are organic. IMG_2310.JPG
While spa services were great and reasonably priced – the food was meh!! Had lunch in between services and lounging; neither dish had much flavor. Later when chatting with other guests we learned people drive elsewhere to eat. We now know why šŸ˜‰ They can improve this, and we recalled how amazing the food at Kohler Spa and Red Door Spa is. So this was a tiny let down.
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In any case… if you find yourself in WI and want a mid-level Spa experience Sundara will do great! Look at this… who can complain about huddling around an outdoor fire, cozy and brisk at the same time. IMG_2308.JPG

Maldives: Komandoo island resort – full report!

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Komandoo is located north of Male and takes about 35-40 min by seaplane to get there. It is surrounded by couple other islands, some where locals live.

The resort is operated in partnership by a Swedish and Maldivian firm. It also operates the Kuredu island which is very nearby. The general manager is Patrick who greets everyone at arrival and he is Belgian. We were greeted by songs, cold coconut juice and homemade coconut ice cream. They know how to start your holiday on a positive note.
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We found the hospitality and level of service to be much better here than Gangehi. Also the beach front villas are better and cleaner. But we would advise to pick one not facing the local islands, the view is better. Our villa is nearly at the end tip of this 500 meter long island. Also the villas have outdoor bathroom, shower and jet tubs. Rooms are cleaned twice a day, but as a environment conscious island they won’t change sheets everyday unless you leave the cute wooden turtle on the bed. We love that they are eco friendly.

At first we were ambivalent about the half board but we love it now – the food is quality and lot of fresh fruits.

There is a bit of nightlife as well — last night we had a great cover band with a great variety of songs and sang some requests too.

The staff is better trained in hospitality and services in general. There are also women working at this island which we did not see at Gangehi except for the spa and the souvenir shop.

Water is fantastic – private beach with deafening quiet except of the sounds of ocean. The black tip sharks and stingrays go up and down the beach. So exciting to swim next to them and be in their presence. They are harmless and very cute (we think).
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While this is the rainy season we have had great weather on both Gangehi and Komandoo. Occasional rains in the evening or overnight have been welcome after the heat of the day.

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Now we are off to snorkeling – catch you later!!

Just Move

Please right now get-up and move for even few minutes Yes, just move it is good for you!

Every day at least 30 min. what do you think? laziness?

Well we have 24 hours a day 8 hours sleeping 8 hours work and how about another 8 hours? What are you doing just sitting and watching TV, reading or in front of computer etc.. Okay you can do all of this as well but please for healthier you make sure you keep 1 hour a day moving for lower blood pressure, improve metabolism and levels of cholesterol and triglycerides you can even reduce diabetes risk and risk of certain cancers as well. 30 min. to 1 hour a day can help you to with healthy weight, which can boost all of this benefits even more.

D you know how many hours a day you are spending while sitting?

I think the most of the answers are too much sitting during the rest of the day even some days no exercise.

Our body’s aren’t really structured to be sitting for long periods of time but when we do that our body is just kind of goes into shutdown. So then how about every hour even few minutes of movement and maybe instead of sitting on a chair sitting on an exercise ball that helps strengthen the core while improving balance and flexibility. You can simply stand up, dance, wiggle around, take few steps back and forth, march in place even for 2-3 min. to 5-10 min. will help you a lot to lower blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and waist size even could help with back ache and straighten your posture because when muscles getting stronger they keeps you more supported and straight even looking taller when sitting or standing straight.

Basically it helps to improve your health and your look together in one simple thing just moving! Miraculous but IĀ believe as everything in life if you will not work for it it’s very hard or impossible to get it so if you will move enough you sure will be much much healthier than you are now and don’t be lazy or think about it too much just move where ever you are.

So are you still sitting?? Come on just move, feel & look better !!

Nuts about anything COCONUT!

Ok, finally I decided to write about my obsession with anything coconut. Have always really liked coconut, but about few years ago got more serious as I learned more about the healthy benefits of coconut.

Coconut is another miracle of nature that is yummy and smells amazing. So many uses for this amazing nut – hard not to love it.

Coconut Juice and Flesh
Best way to experience this is to have fresh coconuts. I will never forget the coconuts in Thailand. Last year, during our trip to Thailand coconut juice became our official drink. We were delighted to also discover we could scrape and eat the flesh. Coconut juice is more hydrating than water.
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Coconut Flakes
Coconut flakes come in various shapes and sizes. Most common use is in baking. I love the large hefty flakes that I can crunch and taste the coconut flavor. I use them in the mornings: little yogurt, blueberries, and coconut flakes!
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Coconut Butter
Warning – if you read beyond this section we will not be responsible for your coconut addiction.

Coconut butter is great for cooking, baking, or just as a spread on a piece of good bread. BUT mixing couple spoonfuls mixed with dark cocoa powder makes the best impromptu desert!!
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Coconut Oil
Yes, you can cook with it. BUT even more importantly you can use it for your skin and hair. I am close to ditching my body lotion altogether and completely switch over to coconut oil. It is important to emphasize you should use organic cold pressed virgin coconut oil. If your hair is too fine you may not want to use it besides as a mask to nourish the hair. But if you are sporting a bushy lush head of hair – your hair will love you for using coconut oil.
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Btw – if you live in a cold climate the coconut oil will naturally solidify, that does not mean it is bad. This is normal, it will easily turn liquid with a bit of warmth.

How do you enjoy your coconut ??

Felting Soap with Susan

20130712-224050.jpgToday I got a chance to see Susan teach a friend’s kids how to make felt soap. I was so fascinated that I decided to share the whole process with you.

When you see felt soap it seems so mysterious; can’t help to think how did they stuff that soap in there?!

Here is what you need:

  • Any type and shape of soap
  • Wool roving, multiple colors
  • Short stockings
  • Bubble wrap or sushi mat
  • A bucket of warm water
  • Step 1:
    Shred some of the wool and wrap around your piece of soap. Try to wrap all sides evenly. This is the creative part; you can wrap different color wool and make different designs or use a single color.
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    Step 2:
    Wet the soap a little and put inside the short stocking carefully so the felt does not move around. 20130712-223457.jpg
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    Step 3:
    Dunk the sock in the bucket. Use the sushi mat or bubble wrap and start rubbing the soap on all sides. This process adheres the felt to the soap. Once the felt is smooth around the entire soap you can stop. Take it out of the sock and give it quick rinse. Leave it on wire or shelf to dry.
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    Hope you decide to try this and make yourself some beautiful soap. It makes great gifts! and great activity for kids. Thank you Susan for teaching us this fun creative craft!
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    Food & Culture Hunt at Khao Lak

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    We took a short trip to Khao Lak center to check out the food and shopping scene. It is a long strip lined on both sides of the street with restaurants, and shops. This area was devastated by the Tsunami and one can still see the damage and people trying to recover. Very humbling to be here and be at Thai people’s hospitality.

    Shops are not that interesting as they are filled with chackies, nick nacks, and knock off designer bags and clothing. But the scene is colorful. Tip: go in the late afternoon, it is cooler and there will be more restaurants that are open.

    Hand carved soaps:
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    Things that crack you up:
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    And of course McDonalds: as disappointing to see, but also it is funny…
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    Lunch at a sidewalk restaurant: morning glory veggies and spicy seafood dish (remember to ask for the rice). Fresh black and green peppercorns were the hit of the dish! 4 people, 4 dishes, 1 large beer, 1 fresh coconut juice = 700 baht ($23.54).
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    Per G’s friend Iris from Taiwan, we stopped at a 7eleven to look for ‘birds nest drink and seaweed snacks’. We found both and more to try:
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    Birds Nest and Collagen Drink: we drank both right away… both are made from some fruits, no added sugar. We suspect we would have to drink a whole bunch to see any effect. Was so fun and surprising to try them.
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