Friday, July 31, 2009


The words on the sidewalk say it all today.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Time for Rest

Bald Eagle
Bushtit ~ there have been many of them in my yard this week.
They love the water from the sprinkler.
Goldfinch having dinner
This Goldfinish was posing just for me.

Special bird spottings in the past couple of weeks.
A time for rest
A time to take in the beauty around us
This is my wish for you today

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Evening Tea Tasting

It was a lovely summer evening last Thursday when we ventured
out to the Portland Chinese Gardens to have tea with Veerinder Chawla
and the Teahouse Staff of The Tao of Tea.
There were 5 tables, each with it's own theme.
This table was serving Old Growth, Rare, Tea Forest
Puer Teas. Each table served 4 different teas, each different from the other.
My favorites here were the 25 yr old Guangdong Puer Cake and a new blend,
Yunnan, Black Pepper Puer.
We were served small finger foods at each table to go along with the tea.
Veerinder's table served Oolongs. My favorite tea!
Here I liked the Pinglin High Mountain oolong from Taiwan
and Single Trunk Oolong from Chazhou.
We also had the pleasure of tasting Drunken Cloud oolong, which Veerinder grew and
processed from his own yard.

The evening garden was so pleasant to walk through.
I also found two black teas, which I really liked. They were
Hunan Summer Black, very light, and Star Village, Wuyi, a slight smokey flavor.
A fun way to enjoy a summer evening tasting tea.
A poem by Sung Dynasty poet Tai Bing,
translated by Martin Tai (1998)

Tasting Tea
Fetch my own spring water,
Fragrant with fallen flowers,
Set up a fire in a marble stove
Try out my new tea,
Lying under the green shades in a tranquil garden
Listening to the bees
Reporting their latest harvest.

Beverly Cleary on a Warm Summer Day

Did I say warm? No, I meant HOT.
It's a hot summer day, not just warm here in Portland.
Time to visit the playground and cool off.
Grant Park has a tribute to Beverly Cleary
with a fountain perfect for the children to cool off.
Beverly Cleary's books take place in the neighborhood that includes
Grant Park. When my children were in elementary school they had a parade
to honor her. They dressed as different characters from the book. Beverly
rode in the parade in a yellow VW convertible. They paraded through the neighborhood of the books. It was a thrill for the children to meet her and honor her.
The first statue in the fountain is Henry.
Henry is larger than life and the children like to
see how they compare to him in height.
Ramona is my favorite character. I remember
the Ramona the Pest story the most from
my children's reading time.
Ribsy was Henry's dog and watching the fountain this day was the favorite
statue of the children playing there. You can see his back is worn with the many children who have sat on him. This day there was one little boy about the age of 3 that loved Ribsy.
Each time the dog was unattended he would slip onto his back with gentle smile.
Each time another child would come by, he would get off and let them sit awhile.

Part of the fun of hanging out in the park and enjoying the water is sharing with one friend the pleasures of the best snowcones ever. I was like a child when I found that the same snowcone vendor was in the park that was there when my children were small.
Such simple pleasures, but ohhh so good on a hot summer day.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Linen Days

Tea cozies are a part of my vintage linen collection.
The cozies here were each found at an antique sale
in the Cotswolds of England.
Funny, but when I bought all there, the lady said, "oh I wish I had brought
all of the cozies from home." I probably would have bought
them all too. She was charging 2 euros each.
I love the embroidery and lace.
The cozy in the middle I use often.
There was one more to the collection that now lives
at my daughter's home.
"Never trust a man who,
when left alone in a room
with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on."
~Billy Connolly
Love that quote.
Have you ever put a cozy on your head?

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Waterfall

Pt. Ludlow Falls, Washington

The Waterfall
by Mary Oliver

For all they said,
I could not see the waterfall
until I came and saw the water falling,
its lace legs and its womanly arms sheeting down,
while something howled like thunder,
over the rocks,
all day and all night -
like ribbons made of snow,
or god's white hair.
At any distance
it fell without a break or seam, and slowly, a simple
preponderance -
a fall of flowers - and truly it seemed
surprised by the unexpected kindness of the air and
light-hearted to be
flying at last.
Gravity is a fact everybody
knows about.
It is always underfoot,
like a summons,
gravel-backed and mossy,
in every beetled basin -
and imagination -
that striver,
that third eye -
can do a lot but
hardly everything. The white, scrolled
wings of the tumbling water
I never could have
imagined. And maybe there will be,
after all,
some slack and perfectly balanced
blind and rough peace, finally,
in the deep and green and utterly motionless pools after all that

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tea at the Waters Edge

We didn't celebrate Mother's Day with my mother in law in May, as we were traveling.
So the past Sunday was our Mother's Day celebration.
We found a lovely beach with picnic tables in Sequim, Washington
and I set the table for afternoon tea.
As I set the table there were little girl's nearby that were watching, there were exclamations from those walking by,
and my mother in law had exclamations of "oh".
The table was set with my wedding china.
The vase with the rose was a gift my mother received for her wedding.
We sipped Ambrosia herbal tea from in Austin, Texas.
Don't you think the tea is such a pretty color?
The menu was:
Cheese and Tomato Sandwiches
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Cucumber and Tuna Bites
Black Olive Sandwiches
Fresh Fruit Skewers
Lemon Curd Tarts with Raspberries
Lemon Verbena Cookies
I think everything taste better eating in the out of doors, especially
when you have a beautiful view.

We enjoyed the sights of the water.
It was great fun to surprise my mother in law with tea at the waters edge.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lavender Days

Saturday we were off to the lavender fields of Sequim, Washington.
I met the owner of Port Williams Lavender Farm a few weeks ago
and thought it would be fun to stop by his farm.
It was a beautiful day full of the scent of lavender.
There were all different shades in the field.
Dark lavender
Lighter colored lavender

Fiona, the fairy, traveled along to visit the lavender.
She found the sign for Provence and had hoped that if she blinked
her eyes she would be transported to the lavender fields
in Provence.
For me it was a research trip to find lavender honey for my website.
Michael, the farmer, also had explained to me how to infuse
lavender to use in jelly. He suggested steeping it like tea, then just adding the tea into whatever jelly or other food preparation. He felt putting the actual blossom heads into
food was not pleasant for eating and that a tea was easier to control the flavor.
A new jelly recipe is brewing in my head and soon I will need to take
the recipe and see if it is as good as I imagine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Summertime Walk

Our vegetable garden
Plums almost ready to pick at an empty home
Pears hanging over the walk

Squash blossom visited by a friend

My husband and I try to walk each morning for 30 minutes.
We have noticed this year that more people are growing
vegetables and fruit in the front of their homes.
Some of the trees have been there for many years,
but some are new.
With the economy downturn more people are gardening
in our neighborhood. We see corn, even on the college
campus near us, tomatoes, squash, beans, and many herbs.
On our walk this morning we were smelling the roses in
one of the yards and noticed an elderly lady sitting on the sidewalk by her
porch. I soon realized this was not normal and asked if she was OK.
She had fallen and couldn't get up.
Now we have done our "good Samaritan" deed for the day.
Then my husband related a garden story that he thought I would enjoy and I thought you would enjoy it too.
There was an elderly lady that loved to garden.
Each morning she could be seen working in the garden.
But in the afternoon she had changed her clothes, dolled herself up, and sat on her porch drinking tea. One day a neighbor asked her why she changed her clothes and she said, "so I can enjoy my garden and not be tempted to work."
So remember each day to take time to sit and enjoy your day, even if you have to "doll" yourself up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Linen Days

Today is one more apron in my collection of vintage linens.
Not really a linen apron, but a silk apron used for special occasions.
Company is coming and you are serving a festive dinner.
I have found on several of the fancy aprons there are no
ties for around the neck. I once remember that the
ladies would pin the front corners to their dress bodice.
This apron has ties only for around the waist.
I wonder if they used a pretty brooch to attach the bib?
The pockets are the side petals of the flower.
I love the embroidery.
What fun to imagine what meal this hostess served in
her pretty silk apron.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Birthday Book

No, it's not my birthday.
When I did celebrate my big 60th birthday; I planned,
made the food, invited the women in my life, shared
how special they were to me, and gave them
this gift of a small book with quotes and
words that meant something to me.
The charm tied to the outside of the book had the
words that I had chosen for that year.

I am not a scrapbook person, but I tried to decorate each page.
It was so fun to share something that I enjoy with
my friends in this little book.
Here are a few of the quotes:

You were intended not only to work,
but to rest, laugh, play, and have
proper leisure and enjoyment.
~Grenville Kleiser

If you listen real carefully when the breeze blows,
you can hear God whispering.
~The Family Circus (comics)

The teapot is on; the cups are waiting;
favorite chairs anticipating; no matter
what I have to do; my friend there's
always time for you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friendship - Who would have guessed?

Saturday I had the lovely opportunity to meet Isabel of Maison Douce
at the Portland Antique Show. Check out Isabel's blog to see
great pictures of her booth.

In June Annie from In My Dreams and Jone from Deo Writer
came by for a cup of tea and cookie in my backyard.
Who would have guessed we would be making friends this way, online no less!
When we are young, we make friends at school, at the swimming pool, out in the neighborhood.
When we are parents, we make friends with other parents.
When we work, we make friends at work.
But finding friends just out in the airwaves is truly amazing.
I have met some very special friends this way and it is always so fun to finally meet face to face.
Each day I meet new friends that leave comments here for me to read, or I visit their blog and say to myself "what a nice person, I like what they are doing and would like to meet them". I look forward to meeting more of you face to face as we travel and embrace life.
Friendships are special.
They come in many forms.
Some for a moment and some for a lifetime.
I treasure each one as life moves along.
Thanks for friendship.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dry it Outside

There is a movement afoot, though quiet in it's stance.
More people are beginning to hang their laundry out to dry.
I am trying, though not always successful at getting it done.
It reminds me of times long ago when I use to
help my mother hang the laundry out to dry.
The sheets smelled oh so fresh and some of
my clothes were stiff like boards.
Planet Green gives tips for softening the stiff laundry from the line.
I have found, as they mention, putting it in the dryer just for a minute or two at the end of the drying time helps.
The Vermont Country Store was featured on Sunday Morning television show recently.
You can watch the segment on Right to Dry, which I have bookmarked above.
There is also a fun poem on this link, called The Clothesline.
It is a good clean movement.
One we should all consider, even if it is only occasionally done.
Your sheets will thank you for that fresh, clean smell and less wear and tear.
I can almost hear that snap as we shake the laundry out to dry.
Plus we save the cost of running the dryer and help the environment too.
OK, you are saying, but I don't have time or I don't have a line.
Check out the sights above for suggestions and enjoy line dried laundry.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


The picture is from Lemons, A Country Garden Cookbook
by Christopher Idone

I love lemons.
Lemons are always a part of each tea party I prepare.
Lemons are also a part of my everyday cooking.
Recently I bought a large bag of lemons and
then didn't use them as I normally would do.
Now I am thinking about lemon recipes to
use the lemons.
Friends have told me you can freeze lemon curd;
so there are two batches now in my freezer.
I wonder how long they will be there, yummm!
Then there were Lemon Verbena Cookies and
Lemon Chicken.
By now I decided I better refer to my favorite lemon cookbook
mentioned above. There are beautiful lemon pictures in the cookbook too. The best lemon recipes from Limoncello to Lemon Pizza are in the book.
Today I will make the Lemon Bars and share the recipe with you.
Lemon Bars
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
38 tablespoons (3-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter,
cut into bits
6 large eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt. With a pastry blender cut the butter into the mixture until it is the consistency of cornmeal. Press dough into a baking sheet 17-inches by 12-inches by 1-inch. Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until blended and beat in the sugar. Add the zest and gradually fold in the lemon juice. Sift the flour and baking powder into the egg mixture and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crust and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut into squares and dust with confectioners' sugar. Makes 4 dozen squares.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Linen Days

Aprons are part of my linen collection.
Love the hand painted cluster of grapes
and delicate crocheted edge.
This apron looks comfy and would do the job
of protecting the clothes. Now isn't that
what aprons were designed to do.
Marmalady's apron and pattern were taken
from this apron. It is very comfortable, no ties to bind.
from The Apron Book by EllynAnne Geisel
A Lovely Apron
by Phyllis Reedy Young
Once upon a time
An apron or two
Hung out on the line
Twirling in the breeze
Under a sunny sky,
Flapping dry.
(Can't you just picture that)
Aprons have a feeling of nostalgia, but are making a come back.
They just make sense when working in the kitchen. They protect from unwanted splatters on clothes. Aprons have been used for many things including wiping away a tear, carrying produce collected from the garden, or dusting off the furniture as you go to answer the door.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Tea at a Castle

Picture taken at the Hearst Castle in California.
Tea is waiting to be served at the castle, won't you join me.
In Tea the host is simplicity and the guest elegance.
If all is done in sincerity it is better
than a thousand graces.
~Matsudaria Naritada

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Simple Things

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Christina at Soul Aperature is celebrating with Simple Things this week. Simple things mean alot. I am reading Gifts from the Sea once more today and reminded of our desire to live simply.
Here are a few of the Simple Things that bring me Delight ~
Singing Happy Birthday
Butterflies flitting on the flowers
A red tomato on the vine
Warm water running over my head in the shower
A warm cup of my favorite tea
Passion fruit macaron
One piece of my favorite chocolate
Someone calling to say they were thinking of me
A warm fire on a cold night
A bird's song
Giving of a gift for no reason at all
The first daffodil of the spring
Twinkling lights
Touching soft, silkened fabrics, wood, or ceramics
A pretty cup

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stop and smell the Roses

The scent of roses is amazing as you walk through this pergola at Heirloom Rose Gardens in St. Paul, Oregon. Take a walk through this tunnel with me and imagine the scent and beauty of the day. There is a bench at the other end waiting to sit and chat. Take time today to smell the roses, sip a cup of tea, and chat with a friend.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Livin' is Easy

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Canoes and water bring to mind summertime.
The song that runs through my mind is Summertime
and the Livin' is Easy.
But canoes and water also bring to mind a time
in my youth.
I loved going to summer camp, loved all the
water sports, including canoeing.
One summer long ago my mom decided to go
to camp with me as a counselor.
We arrived early and a group of us decided to go canoeing.
Now you must know my mom didn't swim.
Everyone wore life jackets.
It was a beautiful summer day on the Russian River.
Canoeing along we got caught in the currant
and surprise we were all in the water.
For most of us that was no problem, we could swim; but for my mom it was very scary.
Fortunately she was close to the canoe and held on until we could pull the canoe to shore.
So each time I see a canoe I think of my mom and that day on the river.
I guess the moral of the story is to know how to swim and always wear a life jacket on the river.
Be safe, soak up the sun, and enjoy the water this summertime.
The canoes in the picture were found at Trillium Lake in Oregon.