Thursday, December 28, 2006
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 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!!!
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
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 cup raisins
1 cup nuts, walnuts
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.
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
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.
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.
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: www.VirtuaTea.com
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
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.
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
One night I had a dream--
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.
"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."
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.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Some Children See Him
By Alfred Burt
Some children see Him lily white Some children see Him bronzed and brown Some children see Him almond-eyed Some children see Him dark as they The children in each different place O lay aside each earthly thing
the infant Jesus born this night
Some children see Him lily white
with tresses soft and fair
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!)
This Saviour whom we kneel beside
Some children see Him almond-eyed
With skin of yellow hue!
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray
Some children see Him dark as they
And, ah! they love Him so!
Will see the Baby Jesus' face
Like theirs but bright with heav'nly grace
And filled with holy light!
and with thy heart as offering
Come worship now the infant King
'tis love that's born tonight!
Some children see Him lily white
Some children see Him bronzed and brown
Some children see Him almond-eyed
Some children see Him dark as they
The children in each different place
O lay aside each earthly thing
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
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