Thursday, January 31, 2008

If You Are. . .

If you are cold, tea will warm you.
If you are too heated, it will cool you.
If you are depressed, it will cheer you.
If you are excited, it will calm you.

Gladstone, 1865

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Literary Wildflowers

I have been enjoying the wildflower themed posts by participants in Elizabeth Joy's Wildflower Morning anticipating spring round-up! Fellow bloggers have been busy posting photos and prose as assigned in the weekly wildflower themes.

This week's assignment is:
Literary Wildflowers - Stories, quotations or poetry about wildflowers written by you or someone else. Or write a book review about a book that features wildflowers, such a guide book, picture book, travel guide or something about wildflower gardening, etc. Or write about some special places/trails/areas to go searching for wildflowers that you are familiar with. Tell about the best time of year to go there, and what you might see. Share photographs if you have them.

If you'd enjoy reading what other bloggers are posting, you can find help from Mr. Linky on Elizabeth Joy's blog or find a list of links at the right of this page.

In meeting this this week's assignment, I have decided to review a beautiful little book from my bookshelf called The Book of Cards and Collages by Penny Black. It tells how to make more than 100 cards, gift tags, and decorative papers with pressed flowers. This book was published by Simon & Schuster in 1993.

The first ten pages or so give general instructions for creating cards, gift tags, and collages out of pressed flowers. The author tells about papers and paper-making; equipment needed like glues, paints, tools, and glitters; general instructions for making cards; the ingredients needed for creating botanical cards and collages; and backgrounds.

Penny Black suggests collecting all sorts of botanicals that are pressed for future use. She dries both cultivated and wildflowers for these projects, as well as leaves, herbs, and grasses. She also suggests using miniscule pressed vegetables like baby carrots, newly formed peas and beans, thinly sliced red cabbage, sliced okra, onions, baby sweetcorn, watercress sprigs, mustard and cress, alfalfa sprouts and slices of globe artichoke. Thinly sliced fruits like alpine strawberries and crab apples work well. Mosses and lichens are also a beautiful addition to dried cards and collages. Paper-thin barks and herbs like cloves, whole cardamom, star anise, allspice, peppercorns, and pulses are also useful. Sometimes other non-botanical items can be used to supplement a design. Tiny sea shells, sequins, metallic threads, glass and wooden beads, and thin silk ribbons all add beautiful touches of embellishment.

The remainder of the book gives specific examples of cards and gives steps for creating similar ones. All 'ingredients' are listed and then step by step instructions are given to complete the project.

Instructions for styles of cards that can be created range from bouquets on corrugated cardboard, dark matte flower, fern and grass, lavender and rose, stained-glass windows, colorwashed tissue paper, herb, fern, autumn leaves, and more.

The last portion of the book shares creative and elegant ideas for cards for special occasions. Featured are birthday cards, Valentine cards, silk wedding cards, anniversary cards, christening cards, and Christmas cards.

It's difficult to choose a favorite from all the design options given. One example that I really like is of the wreath design. Created on hand-made silk paper and gold or silver leaf, these flowers were used in the examples shown:

clematis, pink chervil, lavender, aruncus, astilbe, rosebuds, eryngium leaves, red achillea, filipendula, francoa, mignonette, pink larkspur, white larkspur, elder flowers, white achillea, forget-me-nots, moss, lichen, rosebuds, potentilla, feverfew, and Polygomum campanulatum.

Isn't this an example of a dainty and delicate design? On the right is an example of a botanical gift tag. I have enjoyed the literary theme that Elizabeth Joy assigned this week. Please check back soon.

I had a difficult time deciding which book I wanted to review for this event and so have selected two. Later in the week I will be reviewing a book on creating and growing native wildflowers in a cultivated garden. Please come back again!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Slippers of Snow

Winter came down
to our home one night

Quietly pirouetting in on
silvery-toed slippers of snow,

And we, we were
children once again.

Bill Morgan, Jr.

Piles of snow adorn the yard and winter winds blow through the trees. It was a 'snow day' today; schools were canceled. Ice on roads and walkways keep everyone alert, especially when evidence of vehicles in the berm along the highway reminds us of it's slickness! Young adult visitors were our guests today, and they spent much time skating on the sidewalk in their athletic shoes! They were children once again. Joyful, carefree, and energetic. It made me happy to simply observe them.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two if by Tea

As January draws to a close, I thought I would post several more items in honor of National Hot Tea Month. A cup of tea offers much by way of relaxation, good health, and reprieve. So, lets talk tea for a little bit.

A favorite writer of mine is Ce'leste perrino Walker who writes from Rutland, Vermont. I think I enjoy her writing because it her topics deal with real life things. In the Sept/Oct 2001 issue of Vibrant Life magazine she wrote an article that I've saved called One if by Land; Two if by Tea. In it she shares how a friend introduced her (and her French blood) to the gentle art of the English afternoon tea. She learned that tea is much more than a beverage in a cup, but rather something emotionally fulfilling, and a refreshing pause to the day.

To quote her: "Teatime fills a need for peace in our stressed-out society. Not only that, but the manner in which you 'take tea' lifts the spirits and fills the senses with beauty. Everything about tea time contributes in some small way to this: beautiful tea linens, gorgeous china, luscious tea, delicious tea biscuits or cookies (or other even more scrumptious treats). Teatime 'for the soul' can be compared to dropping everything to spend a few stolen moments in a beautiful garden."

She goes on to say: "I've decided to give 'teatime' a try. I'm not sure how it works. Maybe it's the special feeling you get from using the pretty teapot and china on yourself for a change. Maybe it's the ritual of preparig the tea, boiling the water, smelling the aroma of the tea as you measure it out, the rhythm of the procedure that won't be hurried. But teatime really is all they say it is."

Her advice to her readers is to take a little time for yourself this week and discover teatime, the pause that refreshes. Then thank the English. They were right all along. C'est la vie.

*The photo shown with the article reminds me of the children's teas that my mother used to conduct. She taught kindergarten for thirty years. Sometimes her school would have a benefit auction, and mother would donate a children's tea party. They were always popular and mothers and daughters would enjoy a lovely afternoon tea with all the trimmings at mom's house if they were the winners of the auction bid. Her beautiful children's china tea set was put to good use!

Roses & Diamonds

I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.*

Emma Goldman

Well, my version is this:
I'd rather have FLOWERS on my table than diamonds on my neck.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Listen in the Morning

Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.

Psalm 5:3

Sunrise at Zabriski Point, Death Valley

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bloggy Friends

I've been surfing in blogland and enjoying visiting others. What interesting things are happening at your places! And what better way to share the joy than by sharing a few links with you! Here are some of the fun things that tweaked my interest:

Lucy at Quilting with the Past is coming out of a quilting slump and is preparing to stitch a lovely new quilt, the pattern which she discovered in the December issue of McCall's Quilting magazine. It's a quilt that caught my eye as well, although I have to many unfinished projects right now to start something new. I took this picture of the very same quilt top last December! This quilt called Mennonite Mosaic was made in 1915 by 73-year-old Elizabeth Weber of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I look forward to reading about Lucy's project as she stitches and quilts.

Over at Rosemary House, Nancy has posted some beautiful pictures of her extensive collection of tea strainers. She is happy to report that they are featured in this month's issue of TEA - A Magazine. Nancy is a lovely tea friend of mine who owns Sweet Remembrances Tea Room --- also in Lancaster County. Be sure to scroll down and see her other tea-related posts. She's been sharing some interesting things.

Of course there is Lovella at What Matter's Most who is making the most of January blahs and is transforming them into an exciting challenge to walk 7,000 or more steps a day! She's started a blogging club for walking and has been sharing pictures of her walks in interesting places. It's been pretty cold and bleak here, but if I had Lovella to walk with. . .and could walk at the interesting places she's been visiting. . .I am sure I would be inspired. Okay, so I am a little bit inspired from afar and just need a little more inspiration, Lovella. Where will tomorrow's walk be?

Elizabeth Joy is chasing the winter blues away by hosting her Wildflowers in Winter event. It's been fun to visit Wildflower Morning each day to see who has joined in by posting wildflower pictures. Each week a different challenge is presented. Soon to come? Wildflower objects in the house; wildflower art; wildflower stories or poetry; and more. It's not too late to join the fun! I know Elizabeth Joy would welcome you.

Clarice at Storybook Woods has been sharing tips for stretching the grocery budget in series of posts. I especially appreciated her post describing creative ways to add flavor to recipes. She suggests everything from powdered coconut to capers, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. I've never heard of powdered coconut, but it sounds so interesting and is something I will look for next time I'm at the health food store. I was a fortunate guest at an afternoon tea party at Clarice's house one time and she is a delightful cook who makes scrumptious food!

It's time to close, but let me share one last blog with you. Fay at Mrs. I's Drawing Club is offering art lessons to interested readers. Especially designed for young people, she has activities and lessons designed to lead the student along as they learn to draw and create. This is a perfect place for homeschoolers or someone who would like an after school activity for a child on a cold winter day.

Katherine at Yellow Rose Arbor has gone all out in celebration of National Hot Tea Month and has posted a series of wonderful posts about tea. In her most recent post she shares about Chinese teas. And previously she shared tea accoutrement's and showed a variety of tea bags and strainers. It's been interesting reading.

Meanwhile, Lallee at Lallee's Cottage shares the purchase of a fancy new year --- by showing us photos of her pets as they gaze at their reflections. I wonder if they barked and meowed at themselves as they saw their framed faces? Lallee has quite a lovely menagerie who lives at her house. Lallee is also sharing pictures of her creative crochet projects. Simply divine!

I would also like to wish Marie a happy recovery as she gets over a recent illness. Being sick is no fun, but it sounds like she has finished some knitting projects and read several books during her down time as a way to relax while her body mends. You can visit her at Zquilts. I hope you feel a little better each and every day, Marie!

Now it's your turn! I love to visit new blogs. Is there a blog you are especially enjoying on these winter days? If so, please leave a comment and share a link so we can go there too!

Blue Skies

As I look through photos today, searching for a topic or something of interest, it seems the only thing that looks interesting to me is this! A friendly shopkeeper and and an adorable baby burro in a southwestern desert town filled with sunshine and warm skies seems so appealing on this day of subfreezing temperatures and grey skies. So. . .here's wishing you a lovely day, and even if it's cold at your house too, think happy warm thoughts and of blue skies!

May God bless you day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Gluten-Free Vegan Cookbook

My most recent cookbook acquisition is a beautiful paperback with a colorful cover by Susan O'Brien. Recently published by Marlowe and Company, The Gluten-Free Vegan is in a genre of few such books. Those with gluten sensitivity, a wheat allergy, or celiac disease frequently express that they have given up so much that they must have animal products to give them 'something' to eat. Susan O'Brien proves otherwise and does an excellent job of providing recipes and ideas that contain no gluten-grains (wheat, barley, and rye) or animal products without depriving anyone of great flavors, textures, colors, and variety. Her recipes are well-developed and her cookbook offers a broad range of mealtime choices. Sweets are wholesome and prepared without refined sugars, using agave nectar, brown rice syrup, or dates instead. Instead of substitutions and fake foods, Susan shares real food with her reader in the 150 recipes within the cookbook covers. The table of contents reads like a delicious menu at a fine restaurant! How about some: Black Bean Salsa, Maple Candied Nuts, Curried Apple and Cauliflower Soup, Mexican Quinoa Salad, Dippity Do Da Coleslaw, Kale with Peanut Sauce, Roasted Potatoes with Herbs, Salt and Pepper Edamame, Spinach Tofu with Peanut Sauce, Eggplant Roll-Ups, Spring Rolls, Vegetable Paella, Yam Enchiladas with Pomegranate Sauce, Coconut Pancakes, Pear Torte, and Ginger Rice Pudding. Are you hungry yet? Chock-filled with delicious food choices, this cookbook is a definite asset to my cookbook library and one I look forward to using (as soon as I have a kitchen again!*).

*Dear husband is busy with remodeling tasks and this week removed our entire kitchen. The family has since decided that the kitchen really IS the heart of a home! We are feeling somewhat lost without it!

Wildflowers in Winter: Winter Flower Image

Elizabeth Joy is hostessing a Wildflowers in Winter themed event. It's really be fun to visit the participating blogs and see how they are meeting the weekly challenge. This week's challenge is to post a winter image of a flower from the area in which we live.

If you would like to visit the blogs of participants, for your ease I have placed a link for each of them near the top of my blog page under the Wildflowers in Winter banner. Enjoy!

Mullen After Snow

The mullen plant is a biennial wildflower that produces only leaves the first year it grows, then flowers the second year. After that the plant dies, but ample seeds are produced that frequently a new plant grows in it's place. The mullen is a member of the snapdragon family. Although this plant is now common in the United States, it is not native here. It was an introduced weed from Europe and Asia. Many believe that it was introduced during colonial times as a medicinal herb. Some believe that it cures a number of ailments, especially those associated with congestion and coughs. Sap from it's leaves have been used to take away the pain of insect bites. And it's leaves have been used as wrappers to store food and prevent spoilage.

The flowers on the mullen plant in this photo have mostly gone to seed, except for one or two that have survived winter's cold and snow to still peek their bright faces up towards the sunshine. I'm sure there's a lesson somewhere in their example.

A Carrot, An Egg, and a Cuppa Tea

A carrot, an egg and a cup of tea...One may never look at a cup of tea the same way again.....

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on ahigh fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed fragrant tea leaves. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the tea out and placed it ina bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?""Carrots, eggs, and tea," she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft.The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the tea. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity; boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outershell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The tea leaves were unique,however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter."When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a tea leaf?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with theheat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like tea? The tea actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like tea leaves, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg or tea?May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you're the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

Source: the Internet

Monday, January 21, 2008

Tea Table and Chair

"One should clean out a room in one's home

and place only a tea table and a chair in the room
with some boiled water and fragrant tea.
Afterwards, sit salutarily and allow one's spirit
to become tranquil, light, and natural."

-Li Ri Hau, A Ming Dynasty Scholar

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ties to the Past

A past issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion (August/September 2007) contains an article that I purchased the magazine for. Called "Ties to the Past" by Darci Smith, it features vintage aprons and tells all about them. Beautifully photographed aprons illustrate Darci's fine points. She says that an apron collector finds that if you listen closely, a vintage apron will tell you stories. In one sentence she encapsulated exactly why I find collecting aprons so interesting! I love to think about the life each apron might have led --- who stitched it, who owned it, when it was worn, and during what time era did it originate. Of course it's impossible to follow the history of each vintage apron found, but through careful examination it is possible to learn quite a bit about its past. According to Ellynanne Giesel, a true apronista extraordinaire, an apron speaks. She says that the spirit of the person who sewed or wore it is imbued in the fabric, within those threads. Each apron has it's story. It's up to the one who becomes the keeper of the apron to discover its history. Examine each stitching technique, date the fabric by using prints and colors to identify time eras, and use trims and buttons to help you date the period in which the apron was made. Like a treasure hunt, you'll be surprised at all the things you can discover about a vintage apron once you start looking for clues. Have fun!

The apron in the picture above is Aunt Cella's and came from Grandmother Iva's apron stash. Full length, it appears to have been 'too special' for Grandmother to wear. Instead it was saved away in a drawer like many of her fine things were. Machine applique adorns the bib and pockets and little tidbits of applique are scattered above the hemline. Features that make this apron unique are the darts used to ease the fabric into the waistline and the pretty style of the pockets that are stitched into the side seams. In soft blue, it has a romantic sense about it with just enough contrast in yellow and pink to make it cheerful.

Wildflowers in Winter

Have you ever noticed how there are special connections that help create friendship? These are special bonds that tie the friendship together. With some friends it may be a love of afternoon tea, travel, quilting or stitchery, or the common bond of raising children. The unique connections are very meaningful to me and help me treasure my friends even more. One of my friends is Elizabeth Joy. Together we love wildflowers and often search the same mountain hillsides for the first blooms of spring! When I think of wildflowers, I think of her!

Both of us are eagerly anticipating spring, and she has expressed this desire on her blog, Wildflower Morning, and has introduced a fun way to looking forward to these first blossoms. She's conducting a Wildflowers in Winter Weekly Theme and Drawing. Here's what she says:

Every winter I find myself longing for spring. I just love the warming rays of sun and the wildflowers that start to open. It is my favorite time of year. Wildflowers bring me so much joy.
So, I propose some wildflower fun this winter to take us into the first days of spring. I will have a different theme each week through the middle of March. Join right in by making a post on your blog fitting the theme.

She gives more instructions on her blog and will be having a drawing in March where she will be giving away a set of handmade wildflower cards that she is making. It will go to one of the participants in her Wildflowers in Winter Weekly Theme event.

I'm delighted to join her in this venture! Would you like to join too? It would be fun to see what wildflowers are your favorites in your locale. Let's see if we can find participants from all over North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America. Antarctica is welcome to join in as well, but I'm not sure there are wildflowers there. Are there?

Let's anticipate spring together!

Woodland Shooting Star

Dodecatheon hendersonii

Dodecatheon hendersonii is a species of Dodecatheon native to western North America, from California north to southern British Columbia and Idaho. In California, it occurs in the northwest (except the north coast), the Cascade Range, the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Central Valley, the San Francisco Bay Area, the north Inner South Coast Ranges, and the San Bernardino Mountains. It is generally found in open woodlands, from sea level in British Columbia, up to 1900 m altitude in California. Common names include Broad-leaved Shootingstar, Henderson's Shootingstar, "mosquito bills", and "sailor caps".

D. hendersonii is summer deciduous, dying back to the ground after the rains cease. It has basal clumps of leaves, 2-16 cm, with nodding flowers 6-25 mm long on stems 10-30 cm tall. The flowers are magenta to deep lavender to white, with the stamens are thrust out and the sepals bent back. It is highly variable and hybridizes with Dodecatheon clevelandii, from which it can be distinguished by its reddish or purplish stem.

The leaves and roots can be eaten when roasted or boiled, but are reported to be poisonous when eaten raw.

It needs good drainage, and needs a dry summer period. Plants germinated from seed may take 3-5 years to produce flowers. For some Dodecatheon, with frequent light fertilization and moisture, dormancy may be delayed, and flowering time may be decreased to 1-2 years. Another technique to speed flowering is to place them in a cooler after dormancy, then bring them to a shadehouse in midsummer.

It can be grown by division in winter. It prefers shade when inland.

Information source: Wikipedia

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snows Respite

Every now and then a snow day is required. . .to lift the spirits and to take one beyond the gray skies of the valley into the glorious sunshine above! Today was such a day. Brent and I left the cares of life behind and went to the snowy mountains. Work could wait. . .it was time to refresh the spirit!

The pure white snow buffers noises; peace and calm surround. There is no noise unless you make it yourself. Boots on snow provide squeak and thump --- but when standing silently in the forest you can nearly hear yourself think!

A lake bed is frozen over and looks small and insignificant when covered with snow. During the summer months this is an active and vital lake, swarming with people, frogs, and fish! Many a happy hour has been spent hiking around this lake.

Sunset's Rest

The sunset was beautiful tonight. The golden glow of the setting sun made the snow sparkle and appear glossy and bright. Even with the golden glow of the sunset, the sky above was a vivid blue. At every sunset, I take time to sing (if even to myself) my Dad's favorite song: Day is dying in the west. Heaven is covering earth with rest. Wait and worship while the night sets the evening lamps alight through all the sky.

The setting sun beamed low in the sky and sent golden light upon objects in it's way. Icicles on a tree reflected the sun's glory. It seemed to join in the refrain of my Dad's song: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts! Heaven and earth are full of thee! Heaven and earth are praising thee, O Lord most high!

Dusk fell upon another lake bed. Cozy lights from cabins dotting the shore cast an inviting glow. It was time to go home. With quiet heart and peaceful mind, the day ends with warm memories and sweet times.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Favorite Cookbooks

As promised, it's time for a cookbook review. It was very difficult to know where to start. My collection isn't 'new' or necessarily exciting, but it's meaningful to me. Each cookbook represents a piece of the history of my family, dear friends, or of myself. Looking through my collection, I decided to start with some old cookbooks that have much meaning for me. During my years as a high school home economics teacher, my students participated in fund raisers to assist with field trips, fees for their vocational club, or other extra-curricular things related to home ec. The students selected a variety of items to sell, but one of the most successful fund-raising projects was selling cookbooks. Each year a vendor would publish a new cookbook or two that was a compilation of favorite recipes of home economics teachers from throughout the United States. The recipes were usually creative, sometimes unusual, and tasty. Parents appreciated having something of substance to purchase rather than a stuffed animal, candle, stationary, or chocolate bars! The students did very well with this innovative fund-raiser.

Pineapple-Crowned Fruit Pie

How exciting it was to have one of my recipes selected for cookbook publication! I know --- many of my friends have published entire cookbooks, but it was still exciting to see my recipe in the cookbook my students sold. It was published in the Great American Heritage Cookbook. Recipes in this book were categorized by region of the United States: Northeastern, Pennsylvania Dutch, Southern, Creole, Southwest, Midwest, West Coast, Hawaiian, and Heartland. On the same page as home ec teachers from Cheney, Coeur d'Alene, or Dayton in the section for West Coast cooking is my recipe for Pineapple-Crowned Fruit Pie. It was one developed in a Food Science class during my college years. Fresh and tasty, I'll share it with you as well!

Pineapple-Crowned Fruit Pie

1 cup oats
1/4 cup sesame seed

1/4 tsp. salt
2 medium bananas, sliced
Lemon juice
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Process oats, sesame seed and 1/2 cup walnuts a small amount at a time in blender container until of flour consistency. Mix in salt and 3 Tbsp. cold water. Press into 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Dip banana slices in lemon juice. Arrange in pie shell. Top with st4awberries. Blend cornstarch and pineapple in saucepan. Cook until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in vanilla; cool. Spoon over fruit. Chill for several hours. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup chopped walnuts.

Makes: 6 - 8 servings.

*To make gluten free, use certified gluten free oats.

Cookbook Comments

Here are samples of some of the other cookbooks in the series that contained recipes of home economics teachers. I suppose the publishers felt that if the teachers had recipes published in cookbooks, they would choose those books for student fund-raising projects! I suspect that the students would have been even more energetic about selling cookbooks containing their own recipes! And that gave me an idea that I'll share with you another day.

I really enjoyed all the comments you posted regarding your love of reading cookbooks. I see I am not alone! I suspected such. Thanks for your comments. Here are some I'd love to share with others:

Elizabeth Joy:

I love to read cookbooks, especially ones with pictures.


Well you know I love to read cookbooks. I was juts given a cookbook about Beatrix Potter and was saying it really is more like a history book. What a fun way to learn history. Stay warm.


WOW, what a beautiful collection!!


I love collecting cook books, especially chocolate cook books.

I LOVE cookbooks too and recently had to weed out a lot of mine, some in storage, some in giveaway. Though, my cookbook collection comes nowhere near to rivalling yours! I am coveting your bookshelves though :o) because I have more than enough other books to fill up those and then some. My dream house will have a "library" in it!


I love to read cookbooks! Looking forward to some reviews...


Love your collection of cookbooks.... looks like you have as many as I do! And mine are permanently stored in the living room as my kitchen doesn't have that much space. I have about 30 in the kitchen that I reference with regularity, but the others are upstairs where I can read them at my leisure; selecting new recipes to try for family and friends.


Wow! I can't wait to read your reviews. I too love to look at cookbooks. I'm notoriously bad at following recipes exactly, but I do love cookbooks for inspiration and jumping off points.


Wow! Are all of those cookbooks?? I love cookbooks, and have a lot, but nowhere near that many! I look forward to reading your cookbook reviews!


Yes, reading cookbooks is very entertaining. In fact, I read mine much more than I use them to cook! And whenever I go to a bookstore, I love to read the cookbooks there too.


I love to read cookbooks. I collect them and when I buy a new one I go through each page.I put a little mark on the ones I have to try. If I love it after I have tried it I put a check.


I think you need to have a cookbook give-a-way, girl! Holy cow! Lotsa fun reading though - I love reading cookbooks.


I also love to read cookbooks, though I have been trying to downsize. Look forward to learning more about your cookbooks.
I just took out my tea books which includes ideas for entertaining and recipes.


I have, through the years but much to much...a reader and collector of cookbooks....but not enough ...trying of new recipes....which does not speak well of me...does it...and I too try to not keep quite so many anymore...
A favorite of mine is Sue Gregg....I took lessons in her house years ago and now her books although very tattered have some wonderful, wholesome delicious recipes.


Wow, would I be in heaven there. Since, I love to cook. Enjoyed my visit. Hope you can stop by soon. Connie


Oh I'm a cookbook lover too. I can hardly resist a new one. Why is that?
I tried to have a closer look at your selection but it didn't get any bigger. I look forward to your posts about them.


Wow, you've got a huge collection - I wish I could be there to have a peak to all of them ;)- I'm a book lover too and my cookbook collection is smaller than yours.

I just got a new cookbook for Christmas that is great fun to read: Nigella Bites by Nigella Lawson. I can't resist her British accent, even in her prose.

Basket Baby Quilt

Some of you know of my passion for old quilts. Actually, I enjoy and appreciate all textiles, and the older the better! Little bits of lace or trims, aprons, tea towels, quilts, doilies, and frayed bits of this or that are saved and appreciated over and over again. Each piece seems to call to me, asking me to touch and feel its smooth or nubby texture. Going through a museum or quilt show where the rules say "Don't touch" is really difficult for me! My mother-by-marriage recognized this trait in me years ago, and lovingly passed along old textiles, some of which had been in the family for many years. Pieces of Great-Aunt Pansy's hand-made lace, an old doily from Grandmother Gladys' cedar chest, or a Batik wall-hanging from Great-Aunt Edith are pieces I treasure because they are interesting and because they represent our family heritage. Years ago my mother-by-marriage also gave me the beautiful baby quilt that Grandmother Gladys made for husband Brent when he was born. It's not a quilt with bunnies or cowboys or other stylized figures of the era, but rather a simple pieced 'basket quilt'. Plain muslin makes up the background and a variety of patterns and colors compose each basket block. Made in the mid-50's, the quilt shows much loving wear, but has not frayed or torn. A bright backing dotted with colorful paintbrushes makes up the back piece and a plain yellow binding trims the edges. Although called a 'baby quilt' by the family, this quilt nearly fits a twin-size bed. I guess one could call it a generous baby quilt!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cozy Cookbooks

January in the northern hemisphere is often grey and cold. The days are short and evenings long. Curling up in front of the fire with a good book sounds so inviting and a pleasant way to relax. And what better way than with a good cookbook. What? You don't read cookbooks? Come on now, they are some of the most interesting books to read! Through lists of ingredients, instructions, and beautiful illustrations you can taste, touch, smell, feel, and see the many delicious aspects of good cooking! And all without any calories. Unfortunately there hasn't been much time in my schedule recently for cookbook reading, but I did enjoy moving my cookbooks to another room as Brent prepares to install a new kitchen at our house. The cookbooks are now neatly arranged in the living room, and although they seem somewhat out of place in this formal room, they are handy with comfortable chairs and a blazing fire nearby. Maybe this winter would be a good time for me to share some of my favorite ones with you. I'll see if I can find some time to browse a cookbook or two so I can share a review with you soon.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Love Winter

Let us love winter,
for it is the
spring of genius.

Pierto Aretino

Photo copyrighted by Rylan 2008

Sunshine and Snow

This is a "La Nina" year. Sea temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are on a cooling trend this season, causing more rain and snow on the west coast than is considered "normal". Storms bringing wind, rain, and snow are passing through on a steady basis. Sunshine is scarce. The grey days of winter are short and it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that needs done. But there is a blessing in this pattern as well. Embracing the seasons and welcoming the changes in climate and temperature gives variety to life. The mountains nearby have a reported seven feet of snow this January! And if one chooses to drive to the snow, they will be sure to find the sunshine as well! Above the clouds the sun shines! Looking down to the valley below, one can see a carpet of cloud-tops, white like cotton. And above, sunshine for the soul. It's time for a mountain drive!

Photo copyrighted by Rylan 2008

Great Delight

The Lord your God. . .will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

LaPush, Washington
Photo copyrighted by Brandon 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Teatime for the Soul

Teatime for the soul can be compared to dropping everything to spend a few stolen moments in a beautiful garden.

Celeste perrino Walker

Photo: My Mother's Garden

Fun for Children

Do you remember puzzles like this one? I used to enjoy them as a child. Simple and wholesome, they were very interesting to a six year old! This one came from a children's weekly church paper. Similar puzzles and games were also common in Highlights Magazine. Do you remember it? We never received it at home, but it was a staple of the doctor's office waiting room. It helped to keep your mind off the dread of having to go in for a shot!

The Teapot

Find yourself a cup of tea;
the teapot is behind you.
Now tell me about hundreds of things.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Heart Reflection

Adornment is never anything except a reflection of the heart.

~Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel ~

Dame Agatha Twigs

What better way to honor National Hot Tea Month than to write a tea room review about a lovely tea experience. Please join me as we visit Dame Agatha Twigs Tea Room in Port Townsend, Washington. Make sure your tea is hot and your scones are near, then read along.


Port Townsend is a quaint and beautiful Victorian Seaport town in the Puget Sound. Named thus by Captain George Vancouver in 1792, it was immediately recognized by him and his sailing crew as an excellent and safe harbor. Visions of the largest harbor on the west coast danced in the heads of important people of the day and many wealthy and prosperous people moved to this locale because of the potential this seaport town offered. Beautiful and ornate Victorian architecture were built in Port Townsend during this time. It was hoped that the North Pacific Railroad would connect this city to Tacoma, thereby creating a direct link from seaport to the east coast. Citizens of this beautiful city named it the "City of Dreams" because of the early speculation that this would become the largest harbor on the west coast. Unfortunately this never materialized and Seattle became the locally favored port instead. But all was not lost. This beautiful harbor, although not a freight and harbor center of the west coast, benefits still from the exquisite architecture and the construction of the 1800's. Because the economy of this city died quickly in the late 1800's, none of the Victorian buildings were torn down or built over, so when the town was revitalized and population growth took place in the 1970's, the original structures were appreciated, fostered, and restored. From this city on a hill, the Puget Sound can be viewed from many directions. Ships and sailing boats dot the water scene. Quaint shops and restaurants grace the 'old town' waterfront portion of this city. Visitors are welcome and find refreshment and revitalization within it's boundaries. Today this city is known as an inviting tourist destination and as a maritime center for independent boat-builders and those with related industries and crafts.

Hidden in a jag off main street is a beautiful little tea shop with a wall of windows that adjoin the sandy beach of the harbor waterfront. Called Dame Agatha Twigs Victorian Tea Room, it is authentically English in style and service. Tea tables of assorted shapes, sizes, and covering are arranged artfully by a bank of windows overlooking the harbor. Vintage accessories are lined on sills and bits of stained glass in sea theme hang from the windows and catch the light.