Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mama said there would be days like this!

My mama said there would be days like this.
Days when things don't always go right.
Days when life is not a bed of roses.
Days when my computer has gone off to the fixit guy.
Oh I hope it is not serious,
but in the meantime I just couldn't stay away.
I am dreaming of Springtime and
soon I will be back sharing those little signs
of Spring in my garden.
In the meantime enjoy this rose I captured
several years ago and have a good day.
I am off to do some serious playing.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Computer problems

Computer problems have overtaken me.
This does not delight me, but each time I learn to be more of my own IT person.
I will be back shortly.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Resident Cat

Just outside our door at the Sylvia Beach Hotel
the resident cat, Shelly, waited.
She waited there all night.
The next day as we sat by the fire reading we left the door open for her.
Somehow she knew this was her place and was soon curled up on our bed
for her afternoon nap.  I think I snoozed a bit with her too.
She loved it when I talked to her.
She shared a few things with me that she had learned from Colette.

There are no ordinary cats.  ~ Colette

Time spent with a cat is never wasted.  ~ Colette

Dogs believe they are humans,
Cats believe they are God.  ~ Colette

I hope you enjoyed our visit here at this special hotel
and if you are ever at the Oregon coast, you must stop by and enjoy this special place.
Say "hi" to Shelly from me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Traveling Tea Party

When traveling by car I always have a basket with
my little green teapot, small cups, and tea.
There are always extras so that I can share tea
with anyone I might meet.
Occasionally I will even tuck in a special chocolate bar
or cookies too.
It has become my traveling tea party.
Do you travel with a tea party in your car?
What do you carry with you to make your road trip special?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Flavors of the Authors Rooms

For the pure fun of it,
 more authors rooms at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.
The Oscar Wilde room.
The William Shakespeare room.
One of my favorites because I love bathing in claw foot tubs
is the Samuel Clemens room (Mark Twain).
Even Dr. Seuss has a room here.

So you see the Sylvia Beach Hotel is not an ordinary hotel,
but each room is unique and a delight unto itself.

Just curious, if you wanted to stay in a room with an authors theme,
what author would you choose and why?
How would you decorate it?

You can click on any of these pictures to enlarge and see more detail.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Each room in the Sylvia Beach Hotel is decorated for a different author.
The Colette room is the room my husband reserved.
It is one of the nicest rooms at the hotel with three windows looking out at the ocean
and a small private deck, plus a fireplace.
Each time we stay here we try to stay in a different room.
I didn't know much about Colette, but enjoyed picking up the book,
The Collected Stories of Colette edited by Robert Phelps.
I found her to be very descriptive in her writing.
Now I want to read more of her short stories.

I learned that she liked tea, cats, and the sea;
a girl after my own heart.

Here is a short excerpt from Gray Days:

"Leave me alone, I'm sick and cranky, like the sea.
Tuck this tartan around my legs, but take away this
steaming cup, with it's bouquet of wet hay,
lime blossom, stale violet.....
I no longer have one secret  place left in me...."

That pretty much describes how I was  feeling when I
stepped into the Colette room.
How lovely to sit in this room with the fire crackling
and the ocean just outside the window.
Each of us needs a day or two escape to wash
that sick and cranky feeling away and this is what it was for me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Toes wiggled in the sand!

For a few days last week I did escape to wiggle my toes in the sand by the Pacific Ocean.
The view here is from the deck just outside my room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.
This is my all time favorite place to stay.
No phones, no television, and a cat by the name of Shelly in residence.
The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a historic hotel in Newport, Oregon,
actually Nye Beach to be exact.
I love parking my car here, enjoying the hotel, and walking on the beach
and in the neighborhood.
On the third floor is the reading room, where you can sit and read (nap)
and enjoy the quiet and the crackling fire.
On the bottom floor is where we enjoy breakfast with the others staying here
or maybe dinner as we are served family style.
At the dinner table often the game is played called "Two truths and a Lie".
Have you played it?
It is a great way to get acquainted with the others sitting around the table
and you meet the most interesting people here.

If you ever find yourself in this part of the world and you want a special
place to stay, just check out the Sylvia Beach Hotel here.
I will share more of my time at the beach and this special hotel this week.

And the winner of the give-away is: Cathy at Wives with Knives
Congratulations!  Please email me your address and this package will be on it's way to you.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Perfumery of Tea

Often when I step into a tea shop
I am reminded of perfume shops in Paris.
We open containers and sniff.
Oh the fragrance sitting there.
Sometimes the fragrance is of earthy tones
or is a sweetness we smell there.

Maybe what we smell is bergomot or orange and cloves.
But whatever the fragrance,
take a sniff and savor the special smell of tea.


"The fragrance of adventure and poetry endlessly 
pervades each cup of tea."
Henri Mariage, founder of Mariage Freres.

Photo taken in Barcelona, Spain, as I stepped inside a beautiful, small tea shop.

Don't forget the give away mentioned on Tuesday.
The drawing will be announced on Monday morning.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Sea is Calling

I love a winter sea.
Do you?
It is calling me to come and wiggle my toes there.
I shall return.

Don't forget the give-away mentioned yesterday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Heart and Flowers - Part 2

Hearts and Flowers can be displayed so many different ways.
The flowers here are my first crocus of the season.
If you saw them in a wider angle you might notice that they
grow in my lawn in the shape of a heart.
They always make an appearance for Valentine's and
they haven't disappointed this year either.
There are other hearts here too.

Since I haven't had a give away in awhile and it is Valentine's Day,
I am having a small give away.
I will pick one of these hearts to come your way
along with a copy of the newly released issue of Tea a Magazine.
Just leave a comment here to be placed in the drawing.
The winner will be announced next Monday.

Happy Valentine's to all of you.
May your day be filled to overflowing with love.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hearts and Flowers


For Aye and Aye

They say that we are growing old,
You, my dear, and I,
Which may be so by count of years-
Figures do not lie.

And yet-and yet, how unaware
Are figures of this truth-
Love triumphing time is far
More sweet than love of youth.

And I am still all yours, my dear,
As you, thank God, are mine-
For life, and then for aye and aye,
Each other's Valentine.

Kitchen Sonnets by Ethel Romig Fuller

The passion of red hearts and flowers is seen here.
As my eyes no longer see as clearly,
the brilliant color shines.
Do you love chocolates and flowers for Valentine's,
or is it just the thought, dear friend.
For Valentine's is just another day, but
yet set aside for you.
We will share our hugs and love so true,
and celebrate the day.
Happy Valentine's, dear friends.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sending you Love

February 14th is the day of LOVE.
Valentine's Day it is called.
So my heart and my mind is beginning to look forward to this day
with cookies made of all things sweet.
I am surrounding myself with those I love
and cherishing the thoughts of LOVE.
But I am reminded as I think of Valentine's Day
that each day should be a day of LOVE.
There may not always be heart shaped cookies,
but certainly a hug and the hearing and telling of LOVE.

I see PASSION in this day.
A day of red hearts, red roses, and boxes of chocolates.
So today I am celebrating Valentine's Day
because I know each day is a day of LOVE.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tea Potholders

Marmalady's is my business.
One of the products sold at Marmalady's is sewing patterns for tea lovers.
One of the patterns is potholders for teapots.
The pattern has two different potholders inside.
One is a butterfly inspired by a friend.
The other looks very simple, a circle in fact,
but inspired by the one in the picture.
How clever, I thought, to have the potholder loop over the nob
on the top of the teapot.  It keeps it in place quite nicely.
So if the handle on your teapot gets warm you could sew a circle
potholder quite easily and put a lop there.
The butterfly on the other hand, I do think you would need
a pattern.  Come by www.marmaladys.com and check the patterns out.
If you don't sew, you might have a friend that would love to make it for you.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are you my Neighbor?

Not a very pretty picture, but the house next to mine.
It has sat empty for 2 years as it has been in foreclosure.
Oh how I wish there were a neighbor there.
A neighbor would bring "soul" back into this house.

Seeing this empty house has given me thought as to who is my neighbor.
Is a neighbor only someone that lives next door?
Is my neighbor someone I meet face to face at the market?
Is my neighbor someone that touches my heart from around the world?
Is my neighbor the ones that suffer with ill will in their countries?

Looking in the dictionary it says that my neighbor is someone close to me.
I hold those in my heart that are suffering, is that close enough to qualify as my neighbor?
Who are your neighbors?
As Mr. Rogers use to sing, Won't you be my neighbor?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Small Vacation

When a favorite magazine arrives in the mail I take a small vacation.
This was started with the original Victoria Magazine.
I make myself a cup of tea and maybe add a cookie too.
Then I find a comfy place to sit without distractions.
And for an hour I savor every word and every picture there.
When I am finished with my small vacation I feel refreshed
and have a smile on my face.
These days my small vacation is spent with Romantic Homes,
Tea a Magazine, and Victoria Magazine.
I enjoy an occasional online magazine, but there is just something
special about holding the magazine in my hand.
Do you take a small vacation when a special magazine arrives?
Which magazine gives your heart a smile?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pie Bird

Blackbirds in a Pie
Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

A silly medieval nursery rhyme, but one that came to mind when I received
this beautiful Pie Bird for a dear Christmas gift.

A Pie Bird is a British tradition dating back to the 1600's and
gained popularity in America in the 1930's.
Designed to prevent steam splatters and "soggy crust",
the pie bird is also collected as a novelty.

It definitely works!
Thanks, friend for this special gift.
I have always wanted a Pie Bird.
This bird came from Buck Pottery
in Gruene, Texas.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter Sun and a Singing Heart

Don't you just love when that winter sun shines in the window.
This week the sun was shining in the window and it just made my heart sing.

The first camellia of the season with the light shining here too.
My heart is rejoicing!

A Singing Heart

I woke up this morning
To a singing start;
I went about the live-long day,
A song within my heart.

"Sing before you breakfast;
Cry before you sleep,"
Is an old, old saying,
But never one I keep.

I sing, and I go dancing,
With music in my tread,
Until at length I've sung myself
To supper and to bed.

Kitchen Sonnets by Ethel Romig Fuller

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Temperature makes the Difference

Recently I woke to a couple inches of the fluffy, white snow.
A perfect day to scoop up some snow in a pretty teacup.
Isn't the contrast fun?
Putting some snow in the freezer for later it became a ball of ice.

Isn't it interesting how temperature makes the difference?
The weather had gotten cold enough to change our normal rain to snow.
Putting the snow in the freezer changed it to ice.

The same goes for temperature and tea.
Some teas such as a green tea tastes much better when not
put in hot, boiling water.
A black tea tastes much better when steeped in boiling hot water.
An oolong tea tastes better when the water is just under boiling.
Do you try your teas in different temperatures?
It is fascinating to experiment and see what the difference in a cup of tea
makes when steeped in a different temperature of water.
Have fun with your next cup of tea and steep it in a different temperature than usual.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Savory Tart

For Christmas a dear friend gave me a new cookbook.
The following recipe from this cookbook was pure delight for two recent events.
It is a bit involved, but so worth it and would be perfect 
for any tea party too.   EnJOY!

Poppy Seed Tarts from Savory Baking by Mary Cech
Tart Shells
6 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds (I used 3 Tablespoons)
1 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted, cold and 1/2 inch cubed butter
1 egg
2 teaspoons cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put tart pans on baking sheet.  Combine poppy seeds, flour, and salt in a medium bowl.  Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs; this can also be done by pulsing ingredients in a food processor as well.  Stir in the egg and cold water.  Put the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, knead it a couple of times, then form it into a flat disc. 
Divide the dough into 2 pieces and roll one piece of the dough out with a rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut the dough to fit tartlet pans. (I made one 6 inch tart and 14 small individual tarts from this recipe)  Gently press the dough into each pan and trim the pastry flush with the pans edge to create a neat appearance.  Roll the other half of the dough and line the remaining tartlet pans.  Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake until light brown.  12 to 15 minutes  Put the tartlets on a cooling rack and let cool before removing the baked crusts from each pan.
For serving spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of Ricotta filling into each shell and top with Chili-Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Peppers, Garnish with balsamic julienne roasted peppers.  Serve at room temperature or can warm slightly in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Ricotta Filling (or can be used as a dip)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon whole milk
1 Tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients except sesame seeds in a small bowl and combine.

Chili-Grilled Eggplant and Sweet Roasted Peppers
1 pound eggplant (about 2 medium)
1/4 cup chili oil (I used about half and not too spicy)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 medium red bell pepper and 1 medium yellow bell pepper (can use canned peppers)
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
Preheat grill to medium.  Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices and put the slices on a baking sheet.  Stir the chili oil and the 1/4 cup olive oil together in a small bowl.  Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil mixture and dust with a little ground cumin and salt.
Place the eggplant and peppers on the grill.  Roast the eggplant until soft and well marked by the grill, about 2 minutes on each side.  Remove from the grill to cool.  Roast the peppers until black on all sides, 10 - 15 minutes.  Remove from the grill and let cool.  Peel the black skin off the peppers and then stem, derib, and take out the seeds.  Put the eggplant slices, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, half of each of the roasted peppers, garlic, and a little salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until chunky, 5 - 10 seconds.  (I pulsed a little longer)  Remove from the bowl and season with more salt, if desired.
Cut the remaining roasted peppers into julienne strips and toss with the balsamic vinegar.  Garnish the eggplant mixture with the julienne balsamic peppers.  Store in refrigerator covered for up to 1 week.  These julienne strips would be delicious in a tossed salad too.