Friday, March 5, 2021

Teabag Art

 Whenever I happen to sip tea from a teabag, I save the bag. It is emptied of the wet tea, washed of tea particles, and then dried. What a special way to have art paper and sip tea too.

My art table is small, but in the perfect location to watch the wild life outside my window.
There is a vintage book of wildflowers, dried leaves and seeds, and other inspiration nearby.
The first thing I do is a rough sketch of what I have in mind for the picture. Then I dab on watercolor. Watercolor on tea paper can be tricky. If it is too wet it spreads in places I might not want it to go. After the watercolors dry, which is rather quick I sketch with fine tipped felt pens to frame and bring some control to those wild watercolors. I finish with a black pen, dark green pen, or a soft pencil.
These days there usually are two or three in process on my table.
If the teabag stayed in the bag shape I love tucking a dried leaf or a small treasure inside.
Sometimes there is a bit of whimsy.
My favorite subjects are flowers, mushrooms, trees, and a touch of whimsy.
I love that I have picked up the paint brush and pens during this pandemic time.
I really hadn't done much art since art school, because after I graduated in 1985 I went to work and raised two children. 

Have you done anything new or different during this time?
 
Have a terrific weekend, dear friends!
Hoping you are finding time to play.

Monday, March 1, 2021

A Word for the Week

 

Winter in the woods.

CLEARING
Do not try to save
the whole world,
or anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing
in the dense forest of your life,
and wait there patiently,
Until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize it and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself 
to this world
so worth the rescue.

by Martha Postlewaite


A friend sent me this poem last week. I thought you would enjoy it too.

What came to mind after thinking on it for awhile, with the waiting joy comes in the morning. March 1st always brings a smile to my face because winter and the darkness is leaving and there is joy in the little things around us. My crocus and daffodil are beginning to bloom and they make for a happy heart.

When I think of the clearing in the forest I realize that is where the sun comes in. With the sun or the light I shine.

What makes you shine on this first day of March?

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sweets

 Well the month of February is almost over, so thought I must post a Valentine teatime.

 
The first time I saw a chocolate medallion was when visiting a chocolate shop in Paris.
For Valentine's Day this year I decided to replicate the medallion for a tea time treat.
They are actually quite easy and a fun thing to do.
I bought a chocolate bar at the market and melted it in the microwave.
On the parchment paper I traced circles where I spread the melted chocolate.
Then searching through my cupboards I found some almonds, cashews, dried fruit and
then sprinkled dried marigold petals from our garden on top.
 
I think they turned out rather pretty after a cooling in the refrigerator.
Shortbread cookies and chocolate mini-cupcakes happened to be in the freezer;
so thawing them out it was a buffet of Valentine sweets to celebrate the day of love.
And then it was teatime!

Have you ever tried replicating something your have seen in a bakery, chocolate shop,
or restaurant? How did it go? Do you keep sweet treats in the freezer for a special teatime treat?

Tea time is my favorite time to try for something pretty with sweets.

Happy weekend, dear friends!
Hope you have the opportunity to add a special sweet to your teatime.

Monday, February 22, 2021

A Word for the Week

 Color

                                       My garden house a week ago. Pretty wrapped in snow.

 

Ice on branches in the garden. Again pretty in a wintery way.

But color calls to my heart.

Color delights me. 

Much as I try loving neutrals

Color is the song most heard. 

The rhododendrons were found at a park near my house right before our snow storm.
The tulips were found at the market.

Does color sing to your heart?
Do you notice when it is nearby?

My heart is full with anticipation of springtime!
I am dreaming and making plans.
How about you?


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Cottage in Bruges

 One of the most favorite places my "live-in gardener" and I have ever stayed when traveling was this   gardener's cottage in Bruges, Belgium.

My blogging friend, Jeanie, shared recently on her blog https://themarmeladegypsy.blogspot.com/  

a favorite cottage she stayed in on an adventure in England. You might enjoy seeing her post.

I told her I was dreaming of this gardener's cottage at the back of the garden in Bruges; so I decided maybe you would enjoy seeing it too.  It was the gardener's cottage where he would sit, sip his tea, and watch out the window at his domain. He didn't really live there, but he had it as a retreat during the day. It was about 400 years old and was just a room with a fireplace.  More recently the owner decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast, so added a kitchenette at one end of the room, stairs into the attic with a bedroom and small bathroom.

When we arrived at the owner's door, she walked us through her home and out the back door. Then we walked through the springtime blooms of an apple orchard to the back of her property and there sitting in the corner next to her back wall sat this little cottage. It took my breath away. For one thing I am an apple girl and just knowing that little orchard was outside my door I was delighted, but then living and sleeping for a few days in this historic cottage I was in heaven.



I don't know why I didn't get a picture of the peaked roof. The whole thing was just gorgeous.
While we were there my "live-in gardener" (husband) had vertigo one day and couldn't go out. This little cottage was the perfect retreat to rest and recover.
The table had this set up for tea available at any time, which included chocolates and cookies.
The view from the window.
Each morning the owner would bring us breakfast. It was always delicious and such a treat, we felt truly pampered.
The pastries and bread were freshly made. There was always a tray of meat and cheese, plus fresh fruit and yogurt. There was fresh juice too. And eggs or hot cereal. I never eat like that at home, but it was such a treat.
The kettle always had hot water available. Isn't that a beautiful copper kettle?
Teatime looking out on the garden was a delight.
Just a peak upstairs and the bed.
The view from the bathroom window. The roof of the cottage was much the same as these roof lines.
Next to the cottage was a door with a key for us to leave and go walking and return to at the end of our adventures. Our own private entrance to the garden.
Really it was hard to just leave to visit the rest of the city when we loved just being in this cottage and sitting in the garden.
It was an oasis in the city and one I will never forget.
A House for Happiness
 
They built a little house for happiness-
Our forbears in that long and long ago-
And walled a garden round about to bless,
With flowers and with trees, love's overflow.
A structure reared of oaken timbers...dream...
Materials time cannot twist awry!-
The leaded panes still harbor sunset gleams;
Still chimneyward at dusk the swallows fly.
They build a house, and we remodeling,
Have come on rusty keys to romance hid
In corner cupboards, in a gabled wing,
Beneath a shining copper kettle's lid...
A house for happiness-as heritors,
O what a privilege, a trust is ours!
 
~Kitchen Sonnets by Ethel Romig Fuller
 

If you ever want to stay in this little cottage you can find it on TripAdvisor - B&B De Sterre.

Do you have a place or cottage escape you have taken somewhere special?

Happy Dreaming, Happy Weekend, dear friends!



Monday, February 15, 2021

A Word for the Week

 

Awe

definition (noun) from M. Webster: admiration, amazement, astonishment, wonder, wonderment.

The majesty of a tree, nature, and a tiny newborn.

When I think of the word "awe" I do thinking nature, the natural life around me and you.

This snowy picture is my world right now, though it is melting quickly after turning to ice.
Water in nature delights my heart truly and most thoroughly. This is the Pacific Ocean, but a river, waterfall, or lake makes my heart sing too.
Is "awe" something that makes our heart sing?
The word just causes me to pause and pay attention.
What causes you to stop and pay attention these days?

Friday, February 12, 2021

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

 My "live-in gardener" and I had decided about a month ago that we needed to

get out of our house for an adventure each week.

Last Saturday we took an adventure to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

I knew it was there, only about a 30 minute drive north into Washington State;

but somehow in all the 40+ years living nearby we had not visited.

Now I am almost embarrassed to say so, but it certainly won't be 40 years

until we visit there again. In fact, we are already planning to take our grandson

and daughter as soon as it is safe with the pandemic to ride in the car together.

Red wing black bird's greeted us when we arrived.
We were told we must stay in our car and drive slowly with stops along the way.
In fact, we could tell when there was something special to see because
there would be several cars ahead of us stopping and looking.
Canada goose, I am sure there must have been at least a thousand of them.
Muskrat, well I liked seeing 4 or 5 of them, but I am guessing they
are in the rodent family; so they were not my favorite.
American Coot, plenty of these cute birds too.
Great Blue Heron with several sightings along the way.
Deer, on one of the stops. There were about 6 of them out in a meadow.
Canada geese, yes, more geese!!
Tundra Swans, I had never seen so many swans in my life.
This was only a few of them.
All those white birds in the background were swans too.
Great Egret, just strolling along.
Bald Eagle in flight, there were two of them, but couldn't see them closely.
Water fowl, coots   Ducks in a row!

Great Blue Heron, he was quite close.

After Reading Lucretius, I Go to the Pond

The slippery green frog

that went to his death

in the heron's pink throat

was my small brother,

and the heron

with the white plumes

like a crown on his head

who is washing now his great sword-beak

in the shining pond

is my tall thin brother.

My heart dresses in black 

and dances.

~Mary Oliver, Blue Horses Poems

It truly felt like a vacation for a couple hours

and we loved every moment of the adventure.

Have you taken an adventure during this pandemic time?

Not always easy to do, but soooooo worth it. 

This weekend we will be stuck at home,

but the sight outside our window is snowy white and all quite beautiful.

Happy weekend, dear friends!