Monday, July 31, 2006

Pioneer Bible

I've been enjoying Revee's posts on her Country Roads blog about the old books she collects and her Bible collection. It reminded me of an old Bible that Rylan has in his collection of books as well. This Bible was given to him by his grandmother; a treasure from her collection of old books. She purchased it at a 'yard sale' a few years before. It contained a card with the following history:

This Bible was carried in a covered wagon.
Date of Bible: 1867

Adolph d'Allemand, grandfather of Glenn Curry, autographed this Bible in 1872. Lived in Strasburg, Germany. Went to England. Married an English girl, Marion Wood. He was a language teacher in the countries of Germany, England, and Ireland. Then, came to America in 1870. Became superintendent of the city schools in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Went by covered wagon to western Nebraska.

Mountain Lavender

My home lavender is mostly done blooming and needs trimmed back for a second bloom before autumn. It's been so hot and although the lavender has withstood the temperatures, the heat has taken it's toll on the pretty lavender blossoms. But, the lavender at cabin is enjoying the 4,500 foot elevation. It's taken awhile to blossom out this year, and the buds are smaller and more sparse, but I am delighted that all the plants have survived four years of mountain winters and each is blooming bravely again this year. Every variety exibits a different shade of lavender, but each pokes it's head out as if to say, 'I'm enjoying the mountaintop!". The pungent aroma of lavender is something that deer and elk do not enjoy, so they are safe from harm. Other flowering plants I've set out in pot or garden bed are quickly consumed by the mountain inhabitants!


Chalupa came to visit this week! Karleen and her family went on vacation, so their doggy came to stay at our house. I just had to share this picture, as it took awhile for her to get used to the camera. She's looking curiously and cutely at someone behind me and forgot to keep a wary eye out for the camera lense! Chalupa might be tiny, but she's mighty! She kept Coco and Tia in line! They were subserviant to her, but all became good friends by the time the week was over. She went home to her family last night and this morning's house seems quiet and empty without her. I miss our house guest!

Supper Taco Salad

Crisp, fresh, and simple: this taco salad makes a yummy supper on a hot, summer day!

1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 can black olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 head iceburg lettuce (or Romaine)
2 tomatoes
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 small blocks flavored, dried tofu, chopped
4 cups corn chips, crumbled

Gently toss all ingredients together in large bowl. Serve with salsa and your favorite, creamy Ranch Dressing. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Elegant and Grand

When we're together,
the simplicity of sharing
a humble cup of tea
seems elegant
and grand!

Local Newspaper

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Lavender and Lime Sweet Potatoes

2 lbs. sweet potatoes
1/2 cup Earth Balance spread
1/4 cup lime juice, fresh
1/2 tsp. dried lavender bud
Sea salt
Fresh, chopped cilantro leaves
Zest of one lime

Prick sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake for 1 hour or until tender and soft. Set aside to cool. Then, scoop out the flesh into a bowl, discarding the skins. Blend until smooth with food processor or blender. Stir in the Earth Balance, lime juice, and lavender. Season with sea salt. Sprinkler with chopped cilantro leaves and lime zest. Serve and enjoy.

*Earth Balance is a margarine-like spread

Lemony Lavender Syrup with Honey

1 Tbsp. dried culinary lavender bud
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
3/4 cup lemon juice, fresh and strained
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon zest

Combine the lavender and 1 Tbsp. sugar in a spice grinder and pulse until finely ground. Transfer mixture into a small saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, honey, lemon zest, and the remaining 3/4 cup sugar.

Bring to a summer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook for 1 minute, or until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Serve drizzled over your favorite sugar cookies, pancakes, or waffles.

Rice Baked with Apples and Lavender

4 large Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup raisins
4 Tbsp. Sucanat*
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance**
3 cups cooked rice***
1/4 tsp. lavender bud

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare one loaf pan with vegetable oil. Peel and grate apples on a large-eyed grater. Combine with lavender, raisns, and 2 Tbsp. Sucanat. Pat 1 cup of cooked rice in the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/2 of the apple and raisin mixture evenly over the top. Spread the next cup of rice over that. Top with apples and finish with a rice layer. Dot the top rice layer with thin slices of Earth Balance and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. Sucanat. Seal with aluminum foil and bake 1 hour. Serve hot, by scooping out all layers. Top with favorite soy ice cream and a sprinkle of Sucanat. Enjoy!

*Sucanat is natural cane sugar, unrefined
**Earth Balance is a vegan spread like margarine
***Use brown basmati rice or your favorite white

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Leaf and the Nut

The Leaf and the Nut
By Brandon
Age 8

Once upon a time
there was a little leaf
who had a little friend, the nut.

The nut said,
"It's about time for
me to fall. Aren't you brown enough
to fall?

The leaf said,
"Bye-bye, I'm falling!"
The nut said,
"Hey, hey, not yet!
I meant tomorrow."

The leaf said,
"Dance around in the wind.
Maybe you can free your stubborn stem.
I'm going to go to decay.
You're going to grow into a tree.
If you land close enough to me
I will becomre frertilizer
for you!"

Everye Man or His Owne Parte

"They set great store by their gardens. . .Their studio and deligence herein commeth not only of pleasure, but also of a certain strife and contention. . concerning the trimming, husbanding, and furnishing of their gardens; everye man or his owne parte."

Sir Thomas More

Japanese International Test Gardens
Portland, Oregon

Letters of Friendship

Letter writing is an old-fashioned art that allows the writer to share with those whom they care for. As a child, I always enjoyed receiving informative and encouraging letters from my grandmother in Canada. She would remind me to be a 'good girl' and would share about her life. An invalid, she was confined to bed or chair each day, so visits from her friends and letters in the mail were very important to her. Although she died when I was 19-years-old, I still have some of her letters to me tucked away in a safe place. They are pieces to my pass that I will always treasure. Then, as an early-teen, I wrote to a girl in India who had sent her name and address to the "Pen Pals" section of our church, youth magazine. We wrote for a year or more, never dreaming that during our high school years her family would move to our very town for a year-long furlough from the misson field. Our friendship as pen pals expanded to a year of being very best friends as we attended the same high school together. Although she had to return to India at the end of the year, our friendship continues. College friendships were also enhanced and bonded by the art of letter writing. In those days before cell phones and MySpace, cards and notes delivered by a friendly postman were the glue that cemented these friendships during times we were not together. I have a box of old letters, sent by Bonnie, RuthAnn, Margie, and Janna and treasure them to this day. And the wonderful part of it all is that I still receive letters from these very friends. The intimacy of sharing by handwritten word is an art that is fading away, but clung to by some who realizes it's value and benefit.

Recently, I joined a group of online ladies shares this art. Their skill at letter writing is coordinated in a chat room online. Round-robin letters, cards, and letters fly all across the country as they share this art. It's fun to share using old-fashioned techniques, even with new-fashioned Internet friends! Revee is coordinating a letter writing potluck for the group, and I am delighted to participate. Yesterday I prepared my package to mail to her. Cards, stickers, notes, verse, postcards, bookmarks, and stationary fill a manilla envelope that is addressed to her. She will collect all the letter writing tools, then divide them up and mail a 'potluck' of items back to us. Isn't that a grand idea? A potluck of letter writing tools to bless us. What fun!

Now, how about finding your stationary and mailing a good, old-fashioned letter to someone you love!

He Can Make Something

God created the world out of nothing
and so long as we are nothing,
He can make something out of us.

Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

When Disaster Strikes: Mom in the Kitchen

Our years of home education are past, so I've been sorting through files and papers, tossing things that aren't needed and filing some things in a memory file. I found a hilarious story that Rylan wrote when he was about nine or ten years old. It's too funny not to share with you!

When Disaster Strikes: Mom in the Kitchen
By Rylan

Rylaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan! Where do we keep the measuring cups? That cry is often heard. Or, Rylan, where did you put the mixing bowls? I'm not saying mom is a bad cook. She is actually very good. But when it comes to remembering where things are, she gets an F-. Let's say she wants to make an imaginary recipe. Now, I'm no cook, so I will just add some random ingredients.

5 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. chopped nuts
1 cup oil
2 cups water

This part, however, is when disaster strikes! Mom takes the bag of sugar, but forgets that when she last put it away she ripped a hole you could drive a truck through. Well, almost. This makes the sugar spill all over the floor. Next, she takes the water and spills some of it on the floor. Now, for any of you who have any understanding of stickology, that makes a big sticky mess. Mom, now heading to get a towel to clean it up, steps in the mess which effectively glues her to the floor. This is why she NEVER cooks at home alone any more. Last time she was stuck there for seven hours, but that's another story.

Such Mischief! And Fun Times!

I've been working on a project that has required me to go through old family photos. What a walk down memory lane! Can you see the mischief in the boys eyes? This photo was taken around the campfire at our cabin when they were at the age where they loved chopping wood, building forts in the forest, collecting sticks and rocks, and building campfires. Brandon holds an axe. And Rylan is grasping a charred stick that he's been playing with in the campfire. Such memories! It's amazing what a picture can do to prompt memories of other things. It was during this time that we would frequently build a campfire and then let it burn down to embers. Then we would dig a deep pit under the fire space and fill it with potatoes, corn on the cob, and gluten-roasts that were wrapped in foil. We would cover the food items with newspaper and then fill the hole with the dirt that had been removed. After a hike, and several hours later, we would dig up our dinner --- and enjoy campfire baked foods that cooked themselves while we were off enjoying nature. Fun memories of family times.

Teacups Cold

A good friend will stick
by you long after
the teacups are cold.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Little Things

Little things do make a difference.
Will you be the rock that redirects the stream?

Alda Ellis
*Photo: reflection in window,
Chinese Classical Gardens
Portland, Oregon

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

This yummy pie recipe is easy to make and simply delicous! I've adapted my version from a recipe by Akasha Richmond from her cookbook, The Art of Tofu.

1 1/2 cups chocolate graham crackers
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
4 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 package Mori-Nu Lite Tofu (extra firm), pureed
2/3 cup unrefined cane sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup fat-free chocolate syrup (reserved for topping)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat a pie pan with cooking spray.Mix graham crackers, oil, and maple syrup together. Press into a prepared pan.Place remaining ingredients except chocolate syrup in the container of a food processor, puree until smooth and pour into the crust. Bake for 30 mnutes. Let cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate overnight or for 5 - 6 hours before serving.Before serving, drizzle with chocolate syrup.

*Carob may be substituted for chocolate.
*Chocolate may be eliminated with no substitution
*Instead of a graham cracker crust, try using a nut and coconut crust!

Tea Caddy

Teas and tisanes are frequently kept in an airtight tin called a 'tea caddy'. The word caddy comes from the Chinese word catty, which means 'one pound weight'. Through time, it's meaning has changed to refer to a container that holds tea or tisane, but even today, a caddy should hold about one pound of the leaf.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Summer Centerpiece


Yesterday afternoon we attended a reunion with Dad and Alma. It was a time filled with happy memories and high emotion, as college faculty of a department my father formerly taught at met for an afternoon of reminiscing and sharing. The oldest faculty member was 83 and had left his teaching position at that college in 1960! And the youngest looked SO young, they could be confused as students! But, their credentials quickly set one straight! I grew up as a 'faculty kid', and since families were invited, I was happy to join in the celebration of friendship and memories of years past. A reception, multi-media presentations of the history of the department, tours of the classrooms and laboratory facilities, and a lovely dinner filled the afternoon. In the autumn, our eldest son will be a student in this very facility. A heritage of education and common interest, passed down through the generations. When Brandon walks down the hallway next year, he'll be passing by a picture of his grandfather in the heritage display. Happy memories, high emotion, and a future yet to be written.

Table Decor

The table decor was simple and beautiful. A basin and bowl in pink were filled with fresh flowers. Tiny blossoms were floating in water in the basin and a ribbon was tied around the handle. The fruit punch went with the decor and had apple slices floating on the top for garnish. Simply sweet.

Beware! Vegan Cookies

Several ladies were asked to bring cookies and juice for the reception at the beginning of the reunion. I had to smile when I saw the sign that this preparer placed on the plate she brought! Beware! Vegan. They were the only cookies I tried and they were delicious! They were made of whole grains, natural sweeteners, dried fruit, and nuts. The sign should have said *Be Aware! Vegan!* ~ they were yummy!

Delicous Dinner

The vegetarian dinner was delicious! Catered by a mother-daughter team, the food was well-prepared and nicely served. The menu was:

Savory Rice Pilaf
Fresh Green Beans with Pimento and Herbs
Tossed Green Salad with Raspberry Dressing
Breaded Gluten "Chicken" with Apricot Sauce
Whole Wheat Rolls with Butter
Lemon Water
Angel Food Cake with Strawberries and Cream

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Weeds in Wheat

Colorful poppies are beautiful along-side the roadway, but are weeds to the wheat rancher who tries to keep his crop clear of other plants. I enjoy the way the poppies are enhanced by the golden grains. Wheat harvest has started --- a busy time of year for wheat ranchers. The piles of grain near the river are growing taller as they await transportation by barge to ports down the river and the Pacific Ocean. From there, it feeds the world!

Nature's Insecticides

Tamara, on an herbal list I belong to, recently posted a list of nature's insecticides. Safe, natural, and effective, these herbal combinations will detour bugs and pests from garden and home.


Basil: plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Plant with asparagus to increase vigor. Plant near compost pile to keep insects away. Plant around doors and windows to keep insects away. DO NOT plant with rue.

Bay Leaf: A fresh bay leaf in storage containers of beans or grains will deter weevils and moths.

Borage: Plant with tomatoes, squash, and strawberries to deter hornworms and black flea beetles. Also attracts honeybees. Plant as close as possible to compost pile; adds potassium, calcium, and other minerals when decomposing.

Caraway: Good for loosening compacted soil.Catnip: Deters flea beetles.Chamomile: Improves flavor of cabbage and onions. Also promotes growth in near-by plants.

Chervil: Improves growth and flavor of radishes.

Dill: Improves growth and health of cabbages. DO NOT plant with carrots or tomatoes.

Fennel: DO NOT plant in garden for any reason. Plant separately, plant coriander with it to prevent seeds from setting. Attracts bees.

Garlic: Plant with roses, raspberries, and lettuce to repel aphids and japanese beetles, also repels blight from potatoes and tomatoes, flea beetles from potatoes, red spiders from tomatoes, and green loopers from cabbage. DO NOT plant near peas.

Horseradish: Plant near potatoes to repel potato bugs. Also at the base of fruit trees to fight fruit rot.

Hyssop: Plant with grapevines to increase grape yield. DO NOT plant with radishes.

Lovage: Plant with any plant; improves health of all vegetables.

Marjoram: plant with any plant; improves flavor and health.

Mint: Plant with tomatoes and cabbage to improve health. Also repels cabbageworm; black flea beetles from radishes; hornworm from tomatoes; ants from most everything.

Parsley: Plant with roses to repel rose beetles; mix with carrot seeds to repel carrot flies; attracts bees second year if allowed to flower.

Rosemary: Plant with cabbage, beans, and carrots to improve overall health.

Sage: Repels cabbageworm, and white cabbage butterfly. Also repels carrot flies. DO NOT plant near cucumbers.

Southernwood: Plant near cabbage to repel cabbagemoths; also dried leaves repel ants.

Savory: Plant with beans and onions to improve flavor; repels cabbage moths, hornworms, and black flea beetles.

Tansy: Plant with blackberries, grapes, raspberries, and roses; repels cane borers. Also repels flying insects, japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs, cabbageworms, cabbage butterfly, and ants.

Thyme: Deters cabbage butterfly and cabbageworms.

Valerian: Plant anywhere in the garden to attract earthworms.

Yarrow: Plant with any other herb to increase the oils in that herb. Also good with any vegetable to improve health and flavor.

Dill Pickles

This week our home has smelled like dill and garlic as I've gathered together the ingredients for dill pickles. Tender grape leaves, whole garlic cloves, heads of dill, mineral salt, and fresh, garden-grown cucumbers work together to create a tasty pickle. The recipe is one I've adapted from instructions I received from my friend, Rose. Made without alum or vinegar, this recipe has a fresh flavor and is a favorite of our family.


10 c. water
1/2 c salt
5 t. citric acid

Bring this mixture to boil. In each pine jar which has been sterilized put:

2 cloves garlic (or more if desired
1 heads dill
1/2 t. sugar
1 grape leaf
1/4 tsp. dill weed

Pack cucumbers as tightly as possible. Pour boiling brine into jars until filled. Put into canner pot that is just boiling. Boil 8 - 10 minutes remove from heat. Let set until cool. Then set jars in a dark, cool place for curing. They will be ready to eat in about two weeks.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A New Tea Gadget

This morning I tried a new tea gadget. It worked very well and the 'tea experience' was not diminished by the lack of a proper teacup. I purchased this gadget at the health food store yesterday. Called a bombilla, it is a strainer- straw for loose tea. Made from brass and coated in stainless steel, it is a product of Paraguay. Loose herbs or tea are placed in the bottom of a cup and hot water is poured over them. After steeping a few minutes, the bombilla is placed in the cup and acts as a filter, allowing only the hot beverage to come up through the straw, leaving the herbs or tea leaves behind. The shape and feel of the straw 'fit' my china tea mug well and sipping the tea was an enjoyable experience; nothing like sipping with a plain, plastic straw.

Traditionally, the Guarani Indians of Paraguay received bombillas from the Incas in exchange for sharing their knowledge of herbal medicine. The bombilla was an important tool at the time, and artisans derived great pleasure from creating them of gold, silver, and precious gems.

On a side note, Paraguay is also the origin of the delightful, sweet-herb, stevia. My tea this morning was a blend of my favorite tea herb and the sweet herb, stevia. All in keeping with my new Paraguayan tea gadget!


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Our Rock

"As for God, his way is perfect,
the word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him,
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect."

2 Samuel 22: 31 - 34

Sunset at Cape Kiwanda
Oregon Coast

Queen Mum

The tea towel exchange group I belong to has enjoyed swapping embroidered tea towels for over a year. We are taking a short summer break right now, but hope to be back to stitching and sharing again soon. The project has brought a great deal of enjoyment to group members. By tea theme or holiday, we've stitched tea towels in patterns of our choice to share with our swap partners. The tea towel in this picture is one I mailed off last autumn, but didn't post because I wanted it to be a surprise for the receiver. I thought I'd post the picture after she had responded and sent me my package. But, unfortunately this swap partner evaporated into cyberspace and a response and a return package were never sent, and thus never received. That is the way with life sometimes; our best plans sometimes don't work out. I don't know where this little tea towel is right now --- hopefully it was received and is being enjoyed. I hope so. The autumnal crysanthimums and the words "Queen Mum" were meant to be enjoyed by someone who loves flowers, tea and all things English. So, I will imagine this little tea towel, set upon my swap partners tea table, gathered together with a cuppa English Breakfast tea and a crumpet to start the day! May it be so!

The Best of Our Friends

"All we can do is to make
the best of our friends,
love and cherish what is good in them,
and keep out of the way what is bad."

Thomas Jefferson

*Lavender on my dresser-top*

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tea & Country House

"The cup of tea on arrival at a country house is a thing which, as a rule, I particularly enjoy. I like the crackling logs, the shaded lights, the scent of buttered toast, the general atmosphere of leisured coziness."

P.G. Wodehouse

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Our Blessings. . .

"Wouldn’t it be wonderful
if we could forget our troubles
as quickly as we forget our blessings?"

Perfect Peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.

Trust ye in the LORD for ever:
for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.

Isaiah 26:3 & 4

Pictured ~ Diana, Princess of Wales Hybrid Tea Rose

Friday, July 14, 2006

Garden Green

Tomato & Herb Bruschetta

A favorite recipe for a hot summer day!

1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/3c. fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice

6 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick slices of crusty bread, grilled or toasted.

In medium bowl, gently mix tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, oil, & lemon juice. Season with salt. Spoon tomato mixture over grilled or toasted bread
slices and serve.

Serves 6

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Brown Dress

Once you start blogging, you start taking more notice of other bloggers. And, other people who know you blog, like to send blogging information to you. This week my father sent me a link to a blog that caught his eye. He thought I would be interested in it. The blog is called "Brown Dress". It was a year-long performance project by a woman who sewed herself a little brown dress and then resolved to wear it every single day for a year. And she did! Her year was completed on July 7. In fact, she wore it so faithfully that it actually wore out! Her blog tells about her philosophy regarding fashion and consumerism and includes a photo-journal of her throughout the year. . .wearing her brown dress. Although I do not know Alex, nor do I endorse everything about her, I believe she makes some valid points concerning consumerism, society's expectations regarding appearance, ecology and materialism. For the past year, she chose to refocus her resources to things of more value --- family, community, government, and ecology. If you'd like to read her blog, here's the link:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Making Pretty Luncheon Plates

Making pretty luncheon plates is fun and easy! I enjoy finding 'odds & ends' plates at antique shops, thrift stores, or outlet malls. They usually are alone and are sold for next to nothing, as te rest of the set is not there. Plain white plates, or those of a neutral color, can be purchased and used to create unique, one-of-a-kind cake plates or luncheon plates for tea. To create:

1. Make sure the plates are washed well and free of lint and marks; it's usually best to purchase plates without a metalic trim (although some I've tried with metalic trim have worked as well).

2. At a ceramics shop, purchase pretty decals that require firing. Cut them out and/or trim them to fit your plate as you desire. I usually cut the clear edging off so that the outline of the design is the outer edge. Wet the decals and then adhere to the plate in the position you desire them.

c. Allow to dry and then take to a ceramic shop and have them 'fire' your plate in a kiln. They usually do this for a very reasonable price (fitting in in the kiln with their pottery and ceramic projects).

d. When it's fired, the decal will be melded into the glaze --- without lines; it will look like it's one with the plate! Very pretty and fun to do!

This technique can also be used for plain white pitchers, teapots, and other teaware. Pitchers and creamers are especially fun! Cut the decals out into small sections and place at the end of a spout, or by the handle, and in the front. Create wavy lines or a flow for a pretty effect.
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Yellow Roses Katherine

My blogging buddy and tea friend, Katherine, visited the 'if teacups could talk' tearoom in Venice, Florida last week. Isn't she adorable in her "Yellow Roses" hat? She loves yellow roses. . .so the hat is perfect for her! She blogged her tea experience and I think you would enjoy reading all about it and seeing her photos. Her link is: .


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dad Goes to Tea!

Recently my Dad went to tea! In the past, that would have been quite unusual, but in recent years, his wife, Alma, and I have been educating him about the benefits of afternoon tea and providing him opportunity for tea experiences! I think he's coming along quite well, as he recently visited The Empress Tea Room in Victoria, BC with Alma --- and photographed the entire event for my blog!

Thank you, Dad, for the photos, the tid-bits of information, and for the new tin of Fairmont Empress Tea you gifted to me. And I'm so glad you've finally learned to like a cuppa tea (I can remember when you didn't like it at all!).

Victoria and Tea Room Photos @ My Dad

Victoria R. I --- Namesake of a City

Queen Victoria ruled from 1837 to 1901, the longest reigning monarch in British history. Victoria was the daughter of Edward the duke of Kent and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg. She was born in Kensington Palace in London on 24-May-1819.

In 1837 Queen Victoria took the throne after the death of her uncle William IV. Due to her secluded childhood, she displayed a personality marked by strong prejudices and a willful stubbornness.

On 10-Feb-1840, only three years after taking the throne, Victoria took her first vow and married her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Their relationship was one of great love and admiration. Together they bore nine children - four sons and five daughters: Victoria, Bertie, Alice, Alfred, Helena, Louise, Arthur, Leopold, and Beatrice.

Albert assisted in her royal duties. He introduced a strict decorum in court and made a point of straitlaced behavior. Albert also gave a more conservative tinge to Victoria’s politics. If Victoria was to insistently interject her opinions and make her views felt in the cabinet, it was only because of Albert’s teachings of hard work.

Reflecting back into her childhood, Victoria was always prone to self pity. On 14-Dec-1861 Albert died from typhoid fever at Windsor Castle. Victoria remained in self-imposed seclusion for ten years. This genuine, but obsessive mourning kept her occupied for the rest of her life and played an important role in the evolution of what would become the Victorian mentality.

After Albert’s death, Queen Victoria’s popularity declined as a result of her mourning and few public appearances. Her popularity was at its lowest by 1870, but it steadily increased thereafter until her death. In 1876 she was crowned empress of India by Disraeli. In 1887 Victoria’s golden jubilee was a grand national celebration. In the month of June, Victoria’s sixtieth year on the throne had come. Her diamond jubilee in 1897 was as extravagant as her golden jubilee in 1887.

Queen Victoria died on 22-Jan-1901. She died after a brief illness and a rather long failure of her powers. Her eldest son
Edward VII became king. The majority of her subjects had not known a time when Queen Victoria had not been reigning over them. The idea of losing her became a scarcely possible thought.

Queen Victoria, Widow of Windsor, mother of the Empire, reigned for sixty-four years.
Written by Grade 10 students: A+

The Tea Party Surprise!

Alma's dear friend, Lovisa, had a birthday, and her husband wanted to surprise her with something very special. He told her that he was taking her to Victoria, BC, but he didn't mention that he was inviting friends and family to meet her at The Empress for birthday tea surprise! Guests traveled from afar, all meeting at The Empress at a designated time. Dad and Alma started their journey early, meeting the ferry as foot passengers in Anacortes, Washington before 7:00 am. After a leisurely cruise, they disembarked at the harbour in Sidney, BC. From there they boarded a bus and commuted to Victoria. At a proper and appointed 'afternoon tea' time, they guests all arrived to surprise Lovisa. What a lovely surprise it was! Seventeen guests arrived to spend an afternoon of happy conversation, celebration, and delightful food. Alma is pictured, sitting beside Lovisa, and is wearing a red dress. Dad is in the back row; dark shirt. Lovisa's kind husband is the true gentleman in the gray suit, seated.

Afternoon Tea at The Empress

The Empress Tea Menu

The Empress Tea

My Dad enjoyed reporting to The Empress wait-staff that his daughter was 'into afternoon tea' and collected tea things, enjoyed tea parties, and belonged to an online tea forum. They were so gracious, and asked him to give me a tin of their tea with their compliments. Ten treasured tea bags --- they smell fragrant and good --- but I'm saving them for a special occasion, so haven't had a cuppa yet!

The Empress Tea China

Photo @ Valarie LaBore ~ used with permission

In 1914, King George V opened the Booth china factory in Stoke, England. In his honour, the Empress tea china was presented to him. It was later used at The Empress in 1939 for the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This pattern has become the official china pattern of the hotel. It is now produced by Royal Doulton exclusively for them and is available for purchase in The Fairmont Store that is adjacent to the Tea Lobby.

This is what was written on the handout my friend, Valarie, was given when she bought her teacup at the Empress giftshop:

In 1995, Marilyn Harvey (General Manager of Canadian Pacific Stores in The Empress) was roving the aisles of an antique shop in Victoria and the crown inside a teacup caught her eye. The crown, set within the interior of the teacup, and around the rim of the saucer, bore a striking resemblance to the crown in The Empress logo. Her hunch proved correct, as further research revealed that this very pattern had originated at the Booth factory in Stoke-on-Trent, England. There was a connection to The Empress but it was not the crown.

Royal Doulton had purchased the "Booth" facility some sixty years ago, and it was found that the Royal pattern did indeed have Royal significance. The story has it that the very first set produced had been presented to King George in 1914, on the occasion of his opening the Booth factory.

The china made its first appearance at The Empress during a Royal occasion in 1939. When King George & Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mum) dined in The Empress Room, it was The Empress Royal China that adorned the head table. The china had arrived just before the "Royals", and it is understood that the choice of pattern for the day had been pre-arranged.

Hidden away, under close scrutiny for twelve years, the china made its next appearance during a visit by Princess Elizabeth in 1951, now our present Queen Elizabeth.

Now, thanks to a special arrangement with Royal Doulton, the pattern has been matched to perfection, and is being produced exclusively for The Canadian Pacific Store. Every detail is exact, except a slight variation in the royal blue colour, which, due to lead restriction, cannot be duplicated. This dainty and exquisite pattern is created by layering lithograph transparencies, one over the other, fourteen times. The teapot is adorned with fourteen carat gold, placed by hand.

You can own a piece of Royal history, a fond memory of your visit to The Empress, in Victoria, British Columbia, and what a wonderful gift to pass on to friends and loved ones.

All pieces are available at The Canadian Pacific Store.

Link to photos of other pieces of this china and information on purchasing:

Carrot-Ginger Tea Sandwiches from The Empress

The Fairmont Empress Hotel's Famous Carrot-Ginger Tea Sandwiches

2 grated carrots
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sweet ginger paste (or fresh, grated ginger)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 slices multi-grain bread
4 teaspoons butter
Alfalfa sprouts

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ginger paste; add salt and pepper.

Spread one side of each piece of bread lightly with butter. Top the buttered side of 2 slices of bread with carrot/ginger mixture (about 1/4-inch thick). Top with alfalfa sprouts and top with the remaining bread slices, buttered side down.

Carefully cut the crusts from each sandwich with a sharp knife. Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally and then cut in half again.

Yields 2 whole sandwiches or 4 halves or 8 fourths.

Tea & Conversation

What a relaxing way to spend an afternoon --- now this is my idea of a perfect birthday! Happy Birthday to Lovisa!