Thursday, December 28, 2006

French Milled Rose Cinnamon Molded Soap

This evening my friend, Bonnie, and I enjoyed making French Milled Rose Cinnamon Molded Soap together. My hands still smell fragrant and feel soft from the oils used in the soap. Here's the recipe we used:

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 another sheet 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!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas Brunch

Christmas morning brunch --- plain-colored dishes on a bright red and green tablecloth --- hot decaf chai tea, cinnamon rolls, and cookies sent by my friend, Nancy in Orlando. The only day of the year that such a non-nutritious breakfast is served, but what fun for a special morning!!!

Christmas Tablesetting

The Old Country Roses always makes such a nice presentation for the Christmas table. Boughs and a few pine cones from trees in the yard and a white crocheted tablecloth (actually, a bedspread I purchased at an estate sale) work together to make a bright and cheerful holiday mood.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Steamed Christmas Pudding

Nearly 25 years ago my mother decided to start a new Christmas tradition that reflected her English roots. After much research, she found a recipe for steamed pudding that she loved. Each Christmas season, she would serve this pudding in a beautiful presentation of flaming pudding on a holly decorated plate. The children especially enjoyed the flames and fire as grandma carried this festive dessert to the table. Mom has been gone for three years now, and I decided it was time to revive the Christmas pudding. But after much searching, I cannot find mom's recipe. I know that it is somewhere in one of the recipes notebooks or files that she kept. Eventually it will show up. In the meantime, I found a similar recipe that I've adapted to gluten-free. Our family was very pleased with the results.

Steamed Christmas Pudding

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup amaranth flour*
1/4 cup sweet rice flour*
1/4 cup garbanzo flour*
1/4 cup tapioca starch*
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup grated raw carrots
1 cup grated raw potatoes
1/4 cup raw grated apple
1 cup raisins
1 cup nuts, walnuts
1/2 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1/2 tsp. black walnut extract

Mix all ingredients together until moist. Place mixture in a prepared Pyrex bowl and cover with foil until secured. Put in a kettle of gently boiling water and cover with lid. Water should be 3/4 of the way up the side of the bowl. Steam for four hours, adding more water as necessary. Additional steaming is okay, but will result in an even darker pudding.

Serve with apple gravy (thickened apple juice concentrate with cinnamon added). To flame: soak sugar or sugar cubes in pure almond extract. Working quickly, place on top of pudding and light with a match. Take to table while flaming for a beautiful presentation.

*All-purpose flour may be substituted for the gluten-free flours given.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006


It has been our pleasure to share a portion of our trip to the ocean with you. There is nothing more calming than the sound of ocean waves and the solitude of an empty beach! Regenerated, we now prepare for a lovely Christmas day. We remember the gift of Christ to the world and appreciate the joy and peace that only He can bring.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The Christmas Star

Jesus is the reason for the season! He is the 'bright and morning star', and for this reason many people place a five-pointed star at the top of their Christmas tree. The Christmas story appears several times in the New Testament of the Bible. In it, a star appeared over Bethlehem and served as a bright light to guide the wise men of the East to the babe in a manger. That babe, the precious son of God. May the light of Christmas, the season's star, fill your heart with happiness during this season.

Yachina Bay Lighthouse

The Yachina Bay Lighthouse is unique in design when compared to most of the other Oregon lighthouses. It was built in 1871, and closed to use three years later. Instead, a new and larger lighthouse, called the Yachina Head Lighthouse, with a taller tower, stands about three miles away. The Yachina Bay Lighthouse originally had a Fifth Order lens, but it is long gone. This lighthouse was neglected for many years, but in 1996 it was immaculately restored and filled with period furniture. It now is open to the public and is located at the north end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

Newport, Oregon

The Tilting Teapot

The Tilting Teapot is a cozy tea shop located in a small community that claims to be the world's smallest harbor town. With crashing ocean waves across the street, welcoming lights and a teapot always on greet customers in this beautiful shop.

Depoe Bay, Oregon

The Castle Cairn "Tilting Teapot"

The Castle Cairn "Tilting Teapot" has been replicated by the owners of the shop that the owners call by the same name. According to information they give, in 1905 the Scottish Earl of Dundonald invented a "tilting teapot" for the optimum brewing of loose-leaf teas. The good Earl christened it the SYP teapot, which he said stood for "Simple. . .yet perfect".

The teapot is made so that it can stand 'tipped' or in an upright position. A small infusion shelf is about 3/4 of the way to the top. When filled with hot water, the teapot is then laid in the 'tipping' position, steeping the tea leaves on the infusion shelf that acts as a dam, thus preventing the leaves from floating into the majority of the hot water below. After infusing, the teapot is tilted back on it's base and left to drain for a minute or two. It's then ready to pour and enjoy. The tea leaves stay on the infusion tray, ready for second pot? A second infusion can be gained by simply pouring more hot water.

Although the original "Tilting Teapot", circa 1970, costs about $400.00, the owners of this shop have recreated a more affordable version for daily use. If you'd like to know more, their website is:

Welcome Cuppa

Cheerful lights and a wreath on the door provide welcome. The tilting teapot sign says OPEN and it's time to come inside! A lovely selection of teas and gifts await visitors to this shop. Although this is not a traditional tea room, a kettle of hot water is always on and guests can sit down at a lace-covered table with a complimentary cup of hot tea.

The Tilting Teapot offers a wide range of quality teas ~ black, oolong, green, white, decaffeinated true, and caffeine free herbal and fruit teas. With names like "Dream of Fruit", "Morning Star", "Rooibos with Vanilla", and "Sweet Dreams", a selection is difficult to make!

Christmas at the Hughes House

Please join me on a virtual tour of a very special place this holiday season. . .

The Hughes House, built on a terrace at Cape Blanco, Oregon is sheltered from the southern storms and weather. Built upon an estuary near the mouth of the Sixes river, it has a magnificient ocean view and provides a sheltered place for the Hughes family to live. Here, the Irish Hughes family established a thriving dairy farm and welcoming home.

Near Cape Blanco Lighthouse
Port Orford, Oregon

Holly and Evergreens

Holly and evergreens are embellished with a bright red bow, greeting visitors to the Hughes house with cheerfulness and gentle repose.

Welcome to the Hughes House

A covered porch and walkway provide welcome to guests at the entrance of this grand home.

Mr. and Mrs. Hughes

Patrick and Jane Hughes farmed near the Cape Blanco Lighthouse for more than thirty years. Their home was the capstone of years of toil and hard work. I try to imagine Jane as she lived in this grand house. Her beauty and grace seem to exude from this photo, and I'm sure that if we could have known her then, the sparkle in her eyes would have created added warmth and depth. She was mistress of this home, just as Patrick was lord of the estate.

About the House

Built 1898
2 story 11 room house
Rectangular shaped with axial wings
3,000 square feet
Originally built for $3,800

Embellished Parlor of Rose

The parlor is festive in red and cream. Elegant chairs with carved wood embellishment add warmth and stability to this space. A beautiful, carved hutch stands imposingly over this formal parlor, as though keeping things prim and proper for the lady of the house.

This room features rose-colored gaslight and beautiful spindles upon a beautiful wood staircase that leads to the upstairs. As the guest parlor, this is the most significant room in the house. A coal burning fireplace in this parlor is a unique feature, as wood is abundant in this area and coal is a fuel that requires importation from another locale.

Up the mahogany banister, a hallway lined with bedroom doors greets the eye. The fanciest bedroom of all was saved for guests and features a large suite with a wood-trimmed, claw-foot tub.

Seven children graced this home of Patrick and Jane Hughes.

Christmas Tea Set

A red and white tea service is set on tray and is in readiness for guests. Note the beautiful red berries on garland strand that adorn the grand old hutch.

Old-Fashioned Christmas Tree

An old-fashioned Christmas tree stands gracefully
in front of a dining room window,
reminding viewers of joyful Christmas celebrations past for a family one century before. Time passes, and life moves on,
but tradition and hallowed memories always remain.

A Christmas Wreath

A beautiful wreath hangs on the outside of the parlor window. Although the day is filled with sunshine, it reminds the viewer that Christmas is right around the corner!

Spacious Kitchen

Jane Hughes, and later her daughter-in-law Anne, worked hard in this roomy and spacious kitchen, preparing meals for family and farm helpers. A second large work area is to the right of the kitchen's cast iron cook stove which appears to be in what in modern times we call an 'island'. This is a kitchen ahead of it's time! It's truly the heart of this home. A dining area, a pass-through pantry, and storage bins are additional features of this fine kitchen.

Elegant Dining

The dining area of the Hughes house is roomy and formal. A red tablecloth and Christmas decorations adorn the table, while a jolly Santa Claus stands atop the china hutch. Ornately carved furniture fills the room with elegance and style. How interesting it would be to go back in time and observe the family and their friends at a Sunday dinner here.

Not shown is a men's parlor that was well-used and furnished sparsely. In it, bookwork and reading took place. A large wood-burning fireplace is featured and made this the warmest room in the house.

Window Snowflakes

Snowflake doilies adorn the back porch window. . .
someone wishing for a snowy day.

The Back Porch

The back pantry or porch area is now a small gift shop, filled with old-time treats and tidbits of history. It's white and fresh with large windows looking out over the estuary and the ocean beyond. It's a very cheerful and pleasant place.

White Lace Curtains

White lace curtains adorn the windows, allowing a sliver of sunshine and some shadow inside parlor and dining room walls.

Jane's Estuary

Imagine looking out your kitchen window to view a magnificent estuary with a river that flows straight into the mighty Pacific Ocean. What a view Jane Hughes must have enjoyed as she kept her home.

Adorning the Lightkeeper's House at Haceta Head

Swags of evergreens and bright red ribbons adorn the front porch of the lightkeeper's house at Haceta Head Lighthouse. It provides holiday cheer next to the sea.

Cozy Lightkeeper's Home

The home of the head lightkeeper is large and pristine. Well cared for, it is now used to benefit the public. Tours are available during the summer season and weddings are catered on the grounds surrounding the home and lighthouse.

Shining Forth

The lighthouse sends forth it's light to aid mariners on the surrounding ocean and it's been on for more than a century. Built in 1894, this lighthouse originally used light that was produced by five concentric wicks that were magnified by a 392-prism British-made Fresnel lens. It equalled 80,000 candle power and was visible 21 miles from shore. The light source was converted to electricity in 1934. Now a light is used that uses a 1,000-watt quartz bulb. It produces 2.5 million candle power and emits a flash every 10 seconds.

How many sailors and fishermen has it guided safely away from rocks and to the shore? This question haunted me as I read the front page of the local newspaper from a seaside town. A storm last week produced 35 foot waves and winds up to 100 miles per hour. A catamaran carrying a crew of three was enroute to Port Townsend, Washington from South Africa. After sailing so many miles, it was nearly to it's destination. The storm damaged the craft and it was washed ashore in Lincoln City, a place not far from this lighthouse. The crew has not been found, although Coast Guard helicopters and other search and rescue craft are searching the waters and shore for life rafts and/or signs of those who were aboard. The catamaran, damaged and lonely now, is being prepared to return to it's South African berth.

Raven Guard

The lighthouse in the distance, being guarded by two friendly ravens.

Tea Party!

Nestled in the old town portion of this seaside town is a quaint and cozy tea room. Called Tea Party, this tearoom fills a tutor-style building with charm and grace. An English-style tea room, it has an Alice in Wonderland twist. The proprietors believe that somehow, taking tea together encourages an atmosphere of intimacy when you slip off the time-piece of your mind and cast your fate to the delight of tasting tea, tiny foods and thoughtful conversation.

Newport, Oregon

Meet Claire

Claire transformed a historic Tudor building into a tea room with all the features and treasures of one of the best! She even serves "tea to go" in a tall paper cup. Loose tea is prepared in a tea-sac and steeped in cup. Milk or sugar is available for those who choose to use it. Her lavender tea is absolutely terrific; fragrant with just the right amount of astringency.

The Gift Shop

The Tea Party gift shop is filled with a variety of unique tea-themed gifts. Some are new, but many are antique and very unique.

Yellow Tea Room

The tea room door is a cheerful yellow color and invites guests to come right inside. Once in, windows framed with yellow curtains and yellow plaid tie-backs add more cheer. The plaid pattern is carried to the half-wall room divider that's right inside the door.

Teapots and Tea

Just some of the teapots, teacups, and types of tea available at the Tea Party!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas at the Town Square

Christmas Bells

These pretty Christmas bells were made by the children of Florence, Oregon to be placed upon a community Christmas tree in the town square. Each bell is made from a clear, plastic disposable glass. Tempera paints were used to paint designs on the inside of the cup. A pipe-cleaner was poked in a hole at the top of the cup and is bent into a hanger. Plastic ribbon bows were then added to some embellishment. The result? A beautiful tree that expresses the joy of many children this holiday season.

Umpqua River Lighthouse

The Umpqua River Lighthouse stands at the entrance to Winchester Bay and was the first built in Oregon territory (1857). It emits a distinctive red and white flash from it's Parisian-made prism lenses. It's 65-foot tower guards the Umpqua River at mouth at the Pacific. This area, known for it's 'green gold', is still has a productive and thriving timber industry. The area surrounding this lighthouse is rich in towering sand dunes that reach heights of more than 500 feet or more. The area is famous for dune-riding on ATV's and dune buggies and is a National Recreational Area.

Umpqua River Lighthouse, Winchester Bay, Oregon

The Dunes


One night I had a dream--
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
"I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
"When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

...Mary Stevenson

Lovejoy's Tea Room

Lovejoy's is a traditional English tea room. Rich in color and texture, it features lemon yellow walls with rich red tapestry draperies and an abundance of floral prints. The tea cozies are coordinated in the same fabrics as the tablecloths. A mismatched assortment of china adds cozy ambiance and a sense of comfort. Owned by a husband and wife team, the wife cooks and the husband is the server. Antiques, framed art, and a small gift shop help create a comfortable space. This tea room is unique in that it is frequented by local community members on a daily basis --- a great place for lunch and afternoon tea. Lacking in fru-fru, it exudes honesty and authentic welcome. Lunch, a simple pot of tea, cream teas, and afternoon teas are all available.

Florence, Oregon

Cream Tea in the Afternoon

Scones and lemon curd with a hot cuppa tea;
respite on a quiet afternoon.

The Time God Chooses

"I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses."

Taylor Caldwell

Just Shine

"We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining ---
they just shine."

Dwight L. Moody

The Cape Blanco Lighthouse stands two hundred and forty-five feet above the sea on a bare and windswept bluff. It is on Oregon's most westerly point and stands as the highest Oregon lighthouse and as the oldest continually operating light. Isolated and remote, it is a calm and peaceful place to visit.It overlooks some of the most dangerous water in America.According to historical information, many vessels and many lives have been lost along this treacherous stretch of rocky coastline. Another point of interest is that the first official woman lighthouse keeper was signed on in 1903 as keeper of the light. A dangerous and vastly serious task, I'm sure she conducted it well.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Port Orford, Oregon

Christmas Cheer

Christmas cheer within lighthouse walls; safety from the storms of life and a place for quiet repose.

Shelter on Lighthouse Steps

Quiet at the End of the Day - Serenity

Bandon Beach, Oregon

Monday, December 18, 2006

Some Children See Him

Some Children See Him
By Alfred Burt

Some children see Him lily white
the infant Jesus born this night
Some children see Him lily white
with tresses soft and fair

Some children see Him bronzed and brown
the Lord of heav'n to earth come down
Some children see Him bronzed and brown
with dark and heavy hair (with dark and heavy hair!)

Some children see Him almond-eyed
This Saviour whom we kneel beside
Some children see Him almond-eyed
With skin of yellow hue!

Some children see Him dark as they
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray
Some children see Him dark as they
And, ah! they love Him so!

The children in each different place
Will see the Baby Jesus' face
Like theirs but bright with heav'nly grace
And filled with holy light!

O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering
Come worship now the infant King
'tis love that's born tonight!

Escape Week! School's Out!

School's out! It's escape week; reprieve from daily life and a time for refreshment and regeneration. There's nothing as calming and as quiet as the beach.

The Coquille River Lighthouse is also called Bandon Light. It is 110 years old and in the past guided vessels as they sailed in and out of Bandon.
It is located at the end of a jetty that reaches far out to sea.

Coquille River Lighthouse
Bandon, Oregon

Life on the Ocean Wave

A life on the ocean wave
A-home on the rolling deep
Where the scattered waters rave
And the winds their revels keep
Like an eagle caged
I pine On this dull, unchanging shore
Oh give me the flashing brine
The spray and the tempest's roar