Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Red Floral Quilt ~ 1855

Quilts have been on my mind. Somehow I've been pulled into stitching two new quilt tops. I always feel like I have accomplished something if I complete one, and now I have two that I am sewing on at the same time. A little bit here and a little bit there.  I wonder --- will I actually achieve my goal of two completed quilt tops? Of course! Both are king size. I am motivated and both are Bonnie Hunter designs. I am enjoying learning her techniques and I really enjoy how there is a flow and ease to stitching her patterns.

Speaking of quilts, I thought I would share pictures of a quilt I found at an old flour mill and restaurant recently. It was on display along one wall of the eating area. The stitching is amazing! All hand-quilted, each stitch looks perfect to me, and I admit that I examined the quilt for awhile. The hand applique was also stunning. This quilt was made in 1855. It's easy to envision that the stitcher of this quilt was a pioneer who came west on the Oregon trail. Imagine the hours and hours of work that were spent in careful creation of this practical project. Don't you wish you knew the whole story?

Although it's not my place to worry about things like lack of protection from light and dust, I was concerned that it was displayed in an open area where it could be touched and handled. The note pinned to the quilt with an old pin concerns me as well, as it looks to be on the verge of rusting. What would you do? Would you talk to the business owner about care of the gem of this antique quilt? Sometimes it is really tough to mind your own business when you have appreciation for the stitching of another. An inquiring mind wants to know.

Monday, April 20, 2015

French Milled Rose Cinnamon Molded Soap

French Milled Rose Cinnamon Molded Soap is fragrant and so easy to make. The fragrance lingers and the oil in the recipe make your hands feel soft and smooth. Here's the recipe:

French Milled Rose Cinnamon Molded Soap

1 cup grated soap (mild, non-scented, like Ivory)
1/4 cup rose water
1/4 cup coconut oil

Place the above ingredients in a large glass measuring cup. Place this in a kettle of boiling water. Melt and stir the soap until it becomes like marshmallow cream with a small amount of stringiness or rope-like. This takes 10 - 15 minutes with constant stirring. When this stage is reached, remove from heat. Add:

1/4 tsp. powdered cinnamon
Red or pink candle dye melted in 1 Tbsp. almond oil
10 drops rose oil
5 drops cinnamon oil

Stir well and place soap mixture on waxed paper. Then, drop by tablespoons or scoops onto anothersheet of axed paper. Allow to harden, gently molding and forming to smooth surface over time.

Fragrant; gently soapy. Place in a crystal bowl or pretty basket on a rose-embroidered hanky. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Most Consoling and Comfortable

"I enjoy tea, first of all, because it reminds me of my father who was
English and only drank tea. We never used tea bags in the home. We always
brewed tea, and I remember the lovely aroma and the feel of the warm pot. I
also, somehow, find tea very consoling."

"To me, afternoon tea is a very great pleasure and luxury. However, I am
rarely at home at that time. When visiting London, I think there is nothing
lovelier than afternoon tea with little watercress or cucumber sandwiches. .
.yum yum. . .I wish I could do this at home."

"It seems to me that tea is the most consoling and comfortable of beverages,
and also, if one drinks tea, herb tea is probably the healthiest."

Barbara Walters

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Bluebird

Nestled in the small town of Stanford, Kentucky sits a cafe that is well worth the drive. It's one I kept hearing about from Kentucky friends and family. On the wedding week-end, a group of young people who arrived from Idaho and California for the event, joined Julia and Rylan made sure they enjoyed a hearty breakfast there before they started their Kentucky day and the busy wedding schedule! 

So, once the wedding was over and we had a day to relax before shuttling family back to the airport to meet their planes, we decided to check out the Bluebird for ourselves.

Now, who in the world would write an entire blog post about a restaurant? Well, I guess I would. Bear with me. There are some yummy food pictures coming up!

Dad was his usual cheerful self. He enjoys talking to people and engaged our waitress in conversation about the restaurant. 
Local. Fresh. Sustainable. Pure.

Our server was helpful in finding us exactly what we needed to meet our dietary needs. The vegetarian and gluten-free in our group came away happily satisfied with a great selection of foods.

Look at this for freshness! Pasta served with spinach, onion, and artichoke hearts. Add to that roasted red pepper, olives, and a good sprinkling of sunflower seeds.

Gluten free breads were available, like this wrap. They could be served around a variety of delicious gluten-free and vegetarian ingredients.

And you can never go wrong with made-from-scratch potato soup!

I'll admit that we did do some food sharing, simply so we could "try" the yummy looking foods that other family members had ordered. 

Alma looks satisfied. Everything was delicious!

And. . .I was able to buy a BLUE.bird mug so I can remember the experience as I sip on my tea here at home. Connections. LOVE. Memories.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Bluegrass Country {TEA} Adventure

Adventures in Bluegrass Country are bound to be special. Especially when they involve a tea friend! Recently a family wedding took us into the heart of bluegrass country. The festivities were fun and the wedding beautiful! After the event we had a couple days to "rest up" before we headed home again. And what better way to "rest up" than to visit with a lovely tea friend. We drove to a nearby town where we met Linda from Friendship Tea for lunch. Our meeting place was the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant. It is included on the list of Historic Hotels of America along with the finest. It's also included as Best Historic Hotel of Kentucky {2011}. As such, you can correctly conclude that it exudes charm, beauty, and grace.

How fitting that a fine silver tea set graced a table in the lobby. Linda is responsible for the etiquette and instruction in preparation of tea in this lovely establishment. Our server skillfully prepared a lovely cup of Boone Tavern Blend loose tea...and it was perfection in a cup! Each sip was relished and doubly appreciated because Linda sat at the table with us. The Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant of Berea College has their own tea blend, aptly created and blended by Elmwood Inn Fine Teas of Danville, Kentucky. It is rich and full-bodied. I enjoyed it immensely. Linda kindly gifted me with a tin of the blended loose tea so that I can continue the enjoyment once I returned home.

As we chatted, Linda filled us in on the history of the hotel and of Berea College. We were extremely interested in all she had to share. Berea College was founded before the Civil War by abolitionists and reformers whose purpose was to promote the cause of Christ. Students who reside at any point of the Appalachia's may apply for enrollment at Berea College. Enrollment is free to the student in exchange for a minimal hours of gainful labor over the course of each week. Student industries include woodworking, pottery & ceramic making, broomcraft, textile weaving, and jewelry making. The student's craftsmanship is displayed in a school store where their talents meld with other artisans from Kentucky whose products are also displayed and sold. The concept of student work in exchange for an education is one I think is admirable and is one that I believe other educational establishments should consider.

It's only fitting that the hotel decor included a nod to the fine horse gentility of the area. It was obvious that Bluegrass Country is a place where horse culture is alive and well! Beautiful farms, stately barns, acres of rolling hillsides and pastures, and genteel folk made us fall in love with this beautiful state. I was charmed by the black barns, many of which had large, painted quilt blocks displayed at a focal point someplace on the barn's exterior. Each quilt block was unique and in some way represented the farm where it was displayed.

There is so much more to share about Kentucky. Another time, another post. For now, simply recollecting a wonderful time shared with Linda will set the tone for future reminiscing. Linda exemplified SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY at its best.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Think Pink for Spring

"The tea party supposes neither appetite nor thirst,
and has no object but distraction,
no basis but delicate enjoyment."

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Spring is near!
It's an inspiration to update the mantle
with delicate, pink teapots.
Each teapot holds a memory,
shares a story,
and speaks without words.