Kids wanna garden, cook, and make stuff, too!  That's why we're bringing a slew of new workshops just for them.
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The holiday season is madness... but instead of adding to your load, we can help!  The youngsters need gifts for teachers, and friends. Drop them at The Roost  to make clever, creative presents from upcycled materials while you take care of all the other stuff on your list. When you come back for pick-up, your young ones will be happy and inspired, plus we'll knock out some charming homemade gifts with them in the meantime.

Kids Holiday Gifts and Crafts:
 Saturday, December 12th: 2-4pm
Wednesday, December 16th: 4-6pm

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And then, beginning in January, we offer an ongoing slate of  kids workshops in gardening, cooking, and DIY projects. Soapmaking! Succulent gardening! Button art! Wholegrain baking!

We've scheduled at least one class per week after school, rotating which day every week (Tuesday through Friday) so that even if your child has soccer or ballet or karate at the same time each week, there are sure to be some workshops he or she can attend.

Check out our calendar  here  to see the  offerings for December and beyond. Registration is available in the  online store   or by visiting in our retail shop. 

Please help us spread the word, so we can  build a robust community of creative and engaged children making, growing and cooking stuff.
 
 

Countless workshops,  classes, and more!

We're finally installed in our new roost on Sunset Blvd, near Sunset Junction  in the heart of Silver Lake. It's a terrific spot-- a  warm and welcoming  environment with a teaching kitchen and creative workshop space.  Please come visit! We stock homesteading supplies  and the inspiration for D.I.Y. adventures of all sorts; plus we're thrilled to announce a mouth-watering schedule of new classes and workshops.
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Ever get the urge to make your own candles, soap, lip balm, body butter, or bath bombs ? How about ferment your own root beer, cider, ginger ale, kombucha, yogurt, vinegar, kefir, or home-brewed beer? Grow your own sprouts or mushrooms or sourdough starter? Pickle stuff? Make cheese? Tofu? Truffles? Keep bees, aquaponic gardens, or chickens in your yard? Mill, bake, and cook with whole grains? Design with succulent plants?  Concoct fancy cocktails? Upcycle old junk in creative ways?

We're now offering classes in all these luscious subjects... and more!  
Classes for adults meet on weekends and sometimes evenings during the week. 
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Our kids' workshop calendar has greatly expanded, as well!  We now provide after-school classes every week on a rotating schedule to make time for each kid's  busy schedule. Young folks can learn to cook (including lots of no-bake recipes), garden, and  recycle things to make cool new stuff and  creative gifts. Most classes are for children aged 6 and up, and parents are encouraged to drop off their kids, although sticking around to watch is always fine, too.

Visit our shop to pick up a calendar, or check out the listings  here.  We're always adding more, so check back regularly to see what's new.

We encourage pre-registration, as some classes fill up fast. Pop into the Roost to register. Tickets to all events and full course descriptions are also available in our online store  right here.

Don't forget! The gift of DIY makes a terrific present! We offer gift certificates for single workshops, series of classes, any item in our store, or  cash-value in any amount.

Thanks for your continued support, and see you soon at The Roost!
 
 
 Valentine's Day doesn't have to suck! You don't need to shell out tons of money or hours of your precious time to make your  honeylamb feel loved. You don't have to  be the most artsy, crafty, inspired and inventive person on earth to make something from scratch that's romantic, sensual, and beautiful. Because today, as our Valentine gift to you we bring you one of our favorite secrets-- you can make your own bath bombs at home... in one night... for just a few bucks... with stuff you find at the grocery store and around the house.  

Just watch the video below to get all the details. You'll need  baking soda, corn starch, citric acid, epsom salts, oil, and water. THAT'S IT. Forget expensive soap molds. You can use pretty much anything you have lying around to shape your luscious bath bombs: muffin tins, plastic Easter Eggs or Christmas ornaments, cookie cutters, you name it. Roe shows you how to slice a tennis ball in half for the perfect spherical mold.

In this demonstration, we made our  favorite flavor-- orange creamsicle, using orange and vanilla essential oils. Smells so good, you'll want to gobble it up. We also added fresh oat flour for extra soothing relaxation. But you can go nuts trying various flavors and combinations of your own, adding spices, colors, decorative touches. Present your bombs in cute baskets, egg cartons, bowls, or bags. Be sure to seal and protect them so the moisture in the air doesn't destroy their fizzy powers before they hit the bath water.

This Valentine's Day, have a blast making bath bombs and spoiling your sugarpie without breaking the bank or resorting to  commercialism and clichés.  And from all of us at the King's Roost, WE LOVE YOU, TOO!

 
 
As they say, it's the thought that counts. So who are you thinking about this Valentine's Day? When looking for thoughtful ideas for your sweetheart, look no further than the Roost. We have unique, creative gifts at every price range.  Below are five of our favorites to get you thinking of ideas. Need more inspiration? Come in and check out the shop!
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# 1:  AQUADORABLE 
MINI-AQUAPONIC SYSTEM

 With a tiny footprint and no need for a power supply, this super sweet little symbiotic fish-and-plant set-up can go anyplace. You can grow herbs, flowers, even lettuce in it. A cute little betta or goldfish  feeds the plants; the plants pull nitrates and ammonia out of the water, reducing water changes and eliminating the need for a traditional filter. We have a variety of colors, designs, and sizes  to choose from, starting at $39.95.

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#2: HOMEMADE 
ORGANIC SOAP

We have tons of flavors of our own, handmade soap. We use only the purest natural ingredients. Buy a sweet-smelling bar for your honeypie. Or create a sampler pack of your favorite flavors. Or grab our recipe and supplies to make your own from scratch! $4.75 per bar.

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#3: SPROUT GARDEN

This complete sprout starter kit comes with everything you need to grow a three-tiered sprout garden in less than a week. In a few days, you'll have a bumper crop  variety of fresh, organic sprouts, and all you need to do is add water and follow the directions. You can use and re-use it over and over-- grow sprouted grains, wheat grass, seeds, and beans like lentils, mung and adzuki!  $27.95

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#4: MUSHROOM FARM

Honestly, what could be more romantic than the gift of homegrown pink oyster mushrooms? This little kit  says "I LOVE YOU" in its own unique way, with a bamboo roll of toilet paper and a sexy pack of mushroom spawn to grow your own little mushroom garden. Other mushroom varieties (even glow in the dark ones) and farms also available!  $24.95

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#5: SUCCULENT PLANTER

Why give flowers when you can give a stunning living plant that  will last for years? We have countless varieties of succulent plants, artfully arranged in one-of-a-kind pots, bowls and planters. No plastic nursery cups here-- every plant is in a beautiful container. These guys are easy to grow and maintain. Even if your love has a black thumb, he can keep one of these alive. If not, we'll replace it for free! Starting at $4 each.

No matter how you celebrate this Valentine's Day, hope it's full of love and laughs.  And check out our  blog and youtube channel on DIY Tuesday this week for even MORE gift ideas you can create yourself. 
 
 
Got a fish tank at home? If your house is anything like ours, the job of changing water and cleaning filters can be a drag. Plus, if you stop to think about it, you're tossing a lot of prime fertilizer down the drain. Fish poop is full of good stuff plants love. Why not feed it to them and let nature clean up your fish's mess for you?

Plants thrive on the nitrates, ammonia, and micronutrients in fish waste. By cycling your tank's water through plant roots, you can pull out the waste, while nourishing plants at the same time. You get fewer water changes, no messy filter to clean, and a bonus house plant (even herbs or leafy greens!) that never requires feeding or watering. Just imagine-- filter your fish tank with aquaponics today, and you could be eating a delicious salad made from fish poop tomorrow.

It's a symbiotic win-win for everyone. And if you already have a tank of fish in your home, you're 90% of the way there. Watch this week's video... in under 3 minutes, you'll learn everything you need to take the next step and become AQUAPONIC !
 
 
In celebration of National Granola Bar Day this coming Wednesday, we're making quick and easy granola bars from scratch. They contain only six ingredients and don't even require baking.

Here's what you'll need:

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups raw almonds
2 cups pitted dates
½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup honey 
OPTIONAL: 1 cup chocolate chips

You can toast the oats if you feel like it, but that's optional. And beyond that, no oven is necessary, making this an especially great recipe for kids to whip up. Feel free to try all kinds of substitutions-- maple syrup or agave can replace the honey.... walnuts, pecans, macadamia, cashews, or other nuts can take the place of the almonds.... butterscotch, carob, white chocolate, or yogurt chips can be used instead of chocolate-- or leave them out altogether. You can add sunflower seeds, chia, flax, coconut, dried cherries, blueberries, or cranberries. Get creative and let us know what recipes work best for you.
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Watch the video, and in under three and a half minutes, you'll have the full scoop. Wanna taste? Come to The King's Roost from 5-7pm on Wednesday, January 21, for National Granola Bar Day. We'll be serving up champagne and several different flavors of our own homemade granola bars. Better yet, if you bring samples of your own granola bar recipe for others to try, we'll give you a free pound of fresh-rolled whole oats for your next batch!

HAPPY GRANOLA BAR DAY TO ALL!

 
 
I started my first batch of homebrew at boarding school in England around 25 years ago. I brewed 5-gallon batches in plastic barrels using assorted beer kits sold at the local village pharmacy. Teachers and fellow students alike sat around my dorm room, drinking hard cider and ale from plastic cups swiped from the refectory downstairs.

After moving back home to the States, where those kits were not readily available, I took the next logical step and bought all the equipment needed to to brew craft-style beers from scratch, using steeped whole grains, hops, and specialty malts and yeasts. Each batch was boiled in my huge lobster pot and fermented in a heavy 6-gallon bottle, then transferred to a 5-gallon keg and stored in a special beer fridge in the garage where it was tapped with a restaurant-style carbonator and CO2 tank. It was a big deal.

And while NOTHING beats a fresh glass of homebrew, I never looked forward to spending the vigilant four hours it required to sterilize all the equipment, boil gallons of water, soak grains, avoid messy boil-overs, time the hops in the wort, siphon sticky wort (unfermented beer) from one vessel to another, carry the insanely heavy and fragile glass fermenter across the house. UGH.

Rather than becoming more and more excited about brewing beer, I began to dread the process. Plus, I don't have the room to store more than five gallons of beer at one time, so we found ourselves drinking the same beer for so long we got sick of it.

I missed that old British-style kit method that was so simple and easy. You avoid all the preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, additives, chemicals, and weird ingredients (like caramel coloring, propylene glycol and fish bladder, to name a few) and you  still get the freshness and taste of homebrew without all the mess and hassle. These types of kits are more readily available in England and Canada, reason being that their liquor taxes are so high-- people just want good beer without a big fuss and without breaking the bank. For them, it's sensible to make your own, fast and cheap. Here in the US, beer's so inexpensive, most people don't bother.

So I did some research and found a terrific self-contained system that uses far less equipment, brews two gallons at a time, takes less than half an hour to get started (compared to 3-4 hours the old way), and best of all, can be used again and again with different recipes, reusing the same bottles and fermenter. How's that for efficient and eco-friendly? Instead of recycling your old beer bottles, just fill them up with your next batch of homemade beer!

Needless to say, I sell the system at the King's Roost now. And the refill recipes I carry are created by master brewers  in two different breweries in New Zealand and Australia. You can make American ales, IPAs, amber ales, wheat beers, ESBs, winter ales, spiced ales, pilsners, lagers, Mexican-style cervezas, porters, seasonal brews, regional brews, countless hard fruit ciders (apple, pear, cherry, boysenberry!).... the list is endless. You can even use your fermenter to make wine or kombucha.

So the next time you buy cheap beer, just think: you could be paying the same kind of money for fresh, craft homebrew made in a fermenter whose footprint is no bigger than a dinner plate, with no artificial ingredients, while drastically reducing your recycling waste. Look how simple, fast, and fun it is-- in the video below, I walk you through the entire process in fifteen minutes!

 
 
Making my own flour from whole wheat berries was an eye-opener for me about seven years ago. I had been bitten by the bread-baking bug, and was using high-quality store bought whole wheat flour in my recipes. When some friends turned me on to the idea of grinding my own grains, it took me a few minutes to get over the fact that they sounded like fringe health-nut purists at first. But as the idea sank in, the whole thing began to make a lot of sense. 

The taste and nutritional value of whole grains is indescribably superior to stale, processed, store-bought grain products. Even the "100% whole wheat flour" you see in stores has had much of the oil and germ removed to preserve shelf life, since grains begin to oxidize and go bad the minute you open them. Many people find their food sensitivities go away when they stop using prepared flour and instead mill their own whole, live grains. Plus, whole grains are affordable, they stay fresh indefinitely, and there is virtually no maintenance or clean-up with a grain mill. It's even easier and less messy than grinding your own coffee beans.

Can you tell I'm a zealot about this? My grain mill has been my constant companion for seven years now. It's paved the way to a whole new way of thinking about food, cooking, and the adventurous world of DIY. Our family uses our mill on a daily basis for everything from oatmeal to cornbread to tortillas to granola bars to birthday cakes. Want to see one in action? Come get a demo at the shop!

Meantime, here's a look at how to grind grains, and why you should consider doing it in the first place:

 
 
Making soap from scratch is one of the most creative, satisfying, and effective projects you can do yourself. It doesn't take long or cost much, and homemade soap feels luxuriously awesome, works like a charm to clean and condition skin, plus makes a terrific gift. Watch my instructional video below, and get going!

All you need for my basic bar soap recipe is organic olive and coconut oils, lye, and water. You can add any essential oils you want to make it exotic, sensuous, and delicious smelling. 

Here's the basic recipe:

Organic olive oil: 1,680 grams
Organic coconut oil: 683 grams
Lye: 337 grams
Ice water: 787 grams

My formula is optimized to create a terrific cleansing lather (thanks to the coconut oil) and moisturize at the same time (that's the olive oil). There are no funky additives or preservatives. It smells divine and is completely organic, all-natural, and highly addictive.

Please take the safety precautions to heart. Finished soap is harmless and family-friendly once it's been mixed and cured, but the process of creating soap involves chemical saponification.  Soap making is easy, exciting, and fun, but potentially dangerous. Lye is a caustic alkali, and can burn, blind, and seriously harm people or pets. 

Children may want to start with melt-and-pour soaps instead of cold process soap making. If they plan to watch or help with your cold process soap-making in any way, they will certainly need to be schooled in the seriousness of safety measures. Soap-making MUST be controlled by a responsible grownup who pays close attention to the details. 

Stick to my EXACT lye/oil ratios, or use a reliable lye calculator to create your recipe. Lye is not a guesstimate-kinda ingredient. Trust me, you don't want a gnarly science project gone wrong at your house when there's a caustic substance involved.

But as long as you're careful and informed, soap making is an excellent project that will gratify you and your loved ones. Once you have a go at the basic recipe, you can add grains and seeds to exfoliate, herbs and flower petals for texture and richness, countless shades of mica for color. The creative possibilities are endless.  

Have a terrific time making soap-- use it and share it, especially in the upcoming holiday season! Luscious homemade soap makes a seriously wonderful gift.

Need supplies or support? We have everything you need to make your first soap batch; just visit us at the shop! 

ENJOY! 

Instructional video:
 
 
Now that the store is open, we're working our way through the shop and demonstrating how each and every project works. THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! Eventually, we'll have instructional videos for each item in the store.

Every Tuesday, we'll present a featured project, starting with this aquaponic fountain. Roe shows you how to assemble it in under 15 minutes.
 

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