Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Best You Have

"Give to the world the best you have and the best will come back to you."

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Recipes for You!

New recipes for some tasty vegan foods are being posted on my cooking blog. If you'd like some new recipes, please stop by this week. More will be added daily. Stop by and leave a comment if you'd like. Happy eating!

Love and Kindness

Love and kindness are never wasted.
They always make a difference.
They bless the one who receives them,
and they bless you, the giver.

Barbara De Angelis

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer's Song

"There is something that
transcends the everyday
in the mystery of a growing seed,
in the opening of a flower,
in the rich smell of the
good brown earth after rain."

Marjolein Bastin

* * *
The rains of earlier this week were warm and pleasant. This verse so adequately describes how it felt to stand outside in the drizzle. Gentle rain, warm and soft with the fragrance of the earth, grasses, and trees so fresh and renewed created a moment to savor. It's true that such simple gifts of nature transcend the everyday. Although the rains have now passed and sunshine graces our days, it's sweet to remember the misty days past.

*A note: I was so delighted that I actually found a bird that would sit still long enough for me to take it's picture! Maybe it was hypnotized by the rain as well!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Conversation's Art

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."

Dorothy Nevill

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Aunt Mabel's Potato Pancakes

Sometimes it takes some thought to come up with interesting and new ideas for family meals. My husband loves potatoes and could eat them three times a day! Although I like them too, I will admit to getting bored with them sometimes. Recently I remembered a recipe that my Aunt Mabel has always been famous for ~ Potato Pancakes! They are delicious served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We prepared them as 'cabin fare' and served ours with catsup and a dairy-free ranch dressing, but Aunt Mabel always served hers with creamy cucumber dressing (also very tasty). Here's an adapted recipe of her famous pancakes.

Aunt Mabel's Potato Pancakes

8 medium potatoes, raw and grated
1 1/2 medium onions
1 package silken tofu, firm*see note below
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder

Heat oil in a large skillet to fry the pancakes.

Shred raw, peeled potatoes using a carrot grater. Put in a large bowl. Mince the onions. Add to the potatoes. Next add the tofu, salt, and baking powder. Mix well.

Use a large spoon and spatula to add the potato mixture to the oil. Brown on one side, flip over, brown the other side. Repeat if necessary (so the potatoes are cooked through) then remove to a plate covered with paper towels to drain. Serve with your favorite dressing or maple syrup.

*Instead of tofu (or with the tofu), use a flour for binder such as soy flour, fava bean flour, a gluten-free flour blend, or all-purpose flour. It works nicely. For a non-vegan version, add eggs and omit tofu.

Porch and Tea Garden

Thank you for your kind comments regarding my lilies of the tea garden. Some asked for a picture of the tea garden, and I found these in my files. They don't show the stone pathway though --- I'll try to get a picture of that soon, but first I have a few weeds to pull! The back porch railing allows me to lean against it in three directions, giving me many views of the garden. My porch decor changes from season to season, and what you see in the picture is actually from last summer. It's been cool and rainy enough this spring that I haven't unpacked most of the furnishings from the garden barn yet. There is always something to do! If you click on the picture, you will get a larger view. Enjoy a blessed day!

Lucy, I'm home. . .

When you feel dog tired at night,
it may be because you've growled all day long.

Author Unknown

Please meet Lucy, a dog whom I've never heard growl. She belongs to Karleen's family and is a real sweetheart. She was named Lucy because Karleen's husband, Richard, wanted to be able to use his best Ricky Ricardo voice and announce "Lucy, I'm home". Isn't that sweet?

PS: To Karleen --- I know you are missing Lucy right now, so I posted a picture for you. :D

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dried-Cherry Scones

Dried-Cherry Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup soymilk plus 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice, blended
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup dried cherries
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Form a hole in the center and set aside. In a small bowl, mix together soymilk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir gently with a fork until dry ingredients are just blended. Fold in cherries. Form into 8 - 10 scones and place on a prepared baking sheet.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 - 15 minutes.

Variations: 1 cup whole-wheat flour can be substituted for half the all-purpose flour.

Lilies of the Tea Garden

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these."

Luke 12:27

The tea garden grows beside our back porch. A tiny rock path winds past a birch tree and granite boulders add decor and make a throne-like perch for the cat to view his domain. Perennials like bleeding hearts, Japanese iris, hosta, lady's mantle, lily-of-the-valley, forget-me-nots, and wild ginger grace this garden bed. Several years ago my mother-in-law gave me a start of some brilliant orange lilies from her garden. Each year they thrive and remind me of her. A few years later, when my own mother passed away, I brought some yellow lilies from her garden and planted them here as well. Together they bloom, reminding me of them and the love they shared for others around them. In June they bloom with brilliance! A few tea herbs grow in my garden as well, but the real reason I call it my "tea garden" is because I enjoy taking a cup of tea out onto the covered porch and sipping it as I lean on the rail and enjoy the flowers in the garden. Click on the photo for a close-up view.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dance in the Rain

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

By the time June arrives, I am ready for sunshine and heat! More and more I am reminded that June comes with a mix of rain showers and cool days. Maybe if I remember to 'dance in the rain' I won't mind the coolness so much.

If you can't see the raindrops, click on the picture.

The Blessing of Tranquility

Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of tranquility; for quietness, gentle rain, wildflowers, and vast scenic views. For nature that provides serenity like that found nowhere else. Thank you for calmness and peace found in a walk in the woods, a hot cuppa tea, and a great book to read in a quiet corner. Gentle refreshment, a day to rest, and replenishment.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A 3 Apron Day!

I nearly forgot! Not only was yesterday 'teacup apron heaven' because of the Terri & Tari aprons, but because of a darling vintage apron that was given to me by the sisters of Elm Street Antiques. Paula and Terri purchased this sweet vintage blue and white apron for me when they were at the Farm Chicks show last week. Isn't it precious? It features tiny blue roses on white with tiny red dots as accent. Chiffon adds a sheer element, creating a perfectly sweet apron to wear or display. Thank you, Paula and Terri! I love it!

Teacup Apron Heaven

I'm in teacup apron heaven! Two new aprons joined my collection yesterday, both with a teacup theme. The first is the beautiful little turquoise and yellow apron that has red trimmed teacups in the accent fabric. A flared flange at the base adds swirl and grace. Ric-rac is carefully stitched and edged to complete the look. I've admired it for a long time at Elm Street Antiques yesterday it simply called my name. It's special to me because it was stitched by Terri and I'll think of her each time I wear it. If that wasn't fun enough, in the evening another friend with the same name, but spelled as Tari, stopped in for a visit. She brought a beautiful little apron that she'd asked her mother to make for me. What a pleasant surprise! A pair of Levi jeans were cut to make an apron front. The pockets have teacup and teapot buttons stitched onto them for accent. The tea-themed print in pink makes a ruffle and tie that is strung through the belt loops. Not seen in the picture is the apron top (making it a full apron) that's crafted in the same print. If you click on the picture, you'll see a larger view. The aprons in the middle of the collage are new ones at the Elm Street shop. Paula and Terri just found them at The Farm Chicks show. I love how they are displayed. What a perfect apron day! May yours be so as well.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Celebration!

My sister, Judy, and her family went to Canada as our representatives for Grandma's 100th birthday party. I'm sad I wasn't able to be there to share in the celebration with Grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins, as Grandma's party was held at a time that conflicted with other responsibilities. I think Grandma looks wonderful and I'm sure she enjoyed herself. I'm sending love and greetings to Grandma, my aunts and uncles, and cousins too. I hope to go visit Grandma soon and extend my best wishes in person. What a fun party ya'll had. Blessings upon Grandma for the year ahead!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy 100th, Grandma!

June is a month of celebration in our family. In addition to June graduations, there are birthdays too! Happy birthday to my sis! And a very happy birthday to Grandma who is 100 years old today! We love you Grandma! Let me tell you about her. . .

. . .Grandma Helen is my mother's mom. We share the same middle name. I've always loved that we have this connection. When I was a little girl, my grandma worked as a school teacher. She was an excellent teacher and taught the three R's so well. Math was her favorite subject and she enjoys figuring out mathematical formulations. But, my favorite memories of learning with Grandma revolve around hours spent one summer, learning to diagram sentences. I was taking an independent study high school English class and was in over my head! Grandma patiently taught me the details and we worked together with pencil and paper, making sure all the parts of speech were directed to the proper line and space. Grandma was also a devoted nature lover. She camped with our family and loved the outdoors. She could out-hike us all and enjoyed rugged camping in rain or shine! She taught me all about botany, trees, and the stars. A quiet woman, she also has the traits of being determined, independent and resourceful. Her frugal nature set an example for me of conservative care for everything around me; home, nature, and self. Today as she shares her 100th year, I thank her for her gentle and quiet example. Observing myself in her is an amazing journey in self-analysis.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Congratulations, Sally!

Congratulations, Sally! Class of 2009
Bachelor of Science in Engineering ~ WWU

You have worked hard and your diligence has paid off, resulting in a brand new degree! We are so proud of you! We wish you blessings and direction ahead as you put your degree to work in the career of your choice. May all your dreams come true!

We enjoyed sharing your special day with you, your family, and dear friends. Best wishes for a bright future!

Love from
Brandon's Mom and Dad

PS: Be sure to turn on the 'sound' for the slide show! Click on 'full screen' for larger view.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Farm-Chic Party with the Farm Chicks

Terri, Jacque, and Paula go to a. . .
. . .Farm-Chic Party with the Farm Chicks

There's nothing more fun for vintage collectors and crafters than an event that draws a large group of them together to 'show and tell', shop, gather ideas, and share. It's like one big party! That's what happened last week-end in Spokane, Washington at
The Farm Chicks Show. This post is for those of us who weren't able to attend, but wished we could have! Paula and Terri, from Elm Street Antiques, are back to their shop and report a very fun and productive time (if you count a trailer, an SUV, a car truck, and more all filled to the brim with new goodies!). Paula is shown in the photo above (center) with her sisters (Jacque is on the left and Terri is on the right). Together they enjoyed a very good time as they worked together to find new treasures for their shop on Elm Street.

Paula made a collage of some of their new items to share with us. Do you see a common theme? Pink, white, rose decals, shabby yet charming, cozy and comfy; all words that describe much of what Paula and Terri have had fun putting on display in their shop this week. It's a theme that seems to be very much in line with what others of the vintage, farm-chic persuasion love and enjoy! [Click on photo for a larger view]

Other Farm Chick adventures have been happening around the country as well, as Teri and Serena have been on a book tour signing for their new cookbook, Farm Chicks in the Kitchen. You might remember this previous post on Gracious Hospitality that shared of my opportunity to chat with them one day when Karleen and I went grocery shopping together and timed it for the book signing hours.

And you can visit a few other blogs of happy attendees at The Farm Chicks Show below. I think you'll see some common threads to this post --- such as group photos in front of The Farm Chicks silo and lots and lots of farm-chic ware! Happy browsing!

Vintage Mommy

Forget Me Not Dreams

A Cottage Family

Constantly Vintage

Heart Rocks Home

Farmhouse Accessories

Camp Whimsy

Wishing you a very happy 'farm-chic' & Farm Chick day!

Photos copyright@Paula2009

Monday, June 08, 2009

Blogland Friendships

Summer nears, and life's pace changes. The school year is over for most children, and playtime and travel ensues. It's a transition time, and one that sometimes slows it's pace in Blogland. Writing and posting is an art that seems to thrive mostly during the cold, winter months. But there are still some inspiring and interesting things happening at some people's blogs. Let's take a little journey through Blogland today and visit some bloggy friends. Maybe they'll even have a cuppa tea to share with us. I'll take cookies. Can you bring some scones?

The Farm Chicks had their amazing show and sale at the fairgrounds in Spokane this past week-end. They have an update and pictures on their blog of this fun event. My friend, Paula, went to the show and I am excited about seeing her again and getting a first-hand report!

At A Haven for Vee, we learn that life has been weighing heavily upon Vee and her beloved mother and grandmother. My own mother had similar challenges to hers, so I know how much she would value and cherish your prayers and support. A sweet note to her can bring encouragement and hope for the day. She's busy though, so if you write, remember she doesn't have time to respond right now. You'll see what I mean when you read her post. God be with you and yours, Vee.

Over at Coffee, Tea, Books & Me, Brenda is adjusting to an emptier nest now that her darling daughter and family have gone back home. As always, Brenda has great insights for adjusting to changes, both in life and circumstance. Additionally, she illustrates how family is most important and can make their own fun in every situation. Happy summer, Brenda!

Linda at Friendships Tea share the perfect meld of all things tea and family. A grandson in the family provides opportunity for adventure and excitement as they explore places and things. Of course the tea kettle is always on, and Linda enjoys many a proper tea!

The Happy Wanderer
, aka Ellen, shares all things family, food, and travel on her blog. Since she shares her time between California and Washington, there is always something new and interesting to read about on her blog. In addition to reading about her warm and wonderful extended family, I enjoy her tablescapes and food events. Food for inspiration!

Clarice always inspires me! At Storybook Woods, see her beautiful forget-me-knot tray and the other beautiful things she's been creating. Her appreciation for vintage and beautiful colors always draws me to her space. I always learn so much from her.

Stitching for a nursery and the nesting instinct are taking place at Sugar Bowl House. Michele is preparing for the addition of a new little one. She's always provided a view of her interesting quilting and knitting projects. Now they are presented with new focus. Congratulations, Michele! I'm excited for you and yours!

Marilyn has been blogging for one year now! Her Delights of the Heart always inspires as she shares tidbits of wisdom, all things tea, garden graces, and of her love for textiles. Best wishes for another great year of blogging, Marilyn! It's nice to have you as part of our world.

At Rosemary's Sampler, sisters Nancy and Susanna share the keyboard as they tell of life at Rosemary House and Sweet Remembrances. Their combination of tea room and herb shop with garden creates a perfect setting that showcases the best of all their talents and abilities. I always enjoy my visit to their blog-home.

Salina is blogging again, and I think you'll enjoy her artful creations. She's at Salina's Home Journal, a place where she shares her love of home, family, and the creative arts. I love her paper crafted items. Each has an element of charm and creative grace.

Inland Empire Girl at Gathering Around the Table shares inspiration for writing, gardening, travel, and more. Her gift of teaching blesses many, including a multitude of students who have sat in her classroom each year. My heart always holds a very special place for teachers of youth.

I've been sharing plant-based and gluten-free recipes at My Cozy Kitchen. You are always welcome to stop by. Even when eating 'without' food can be yummy and filling. Tantalize your taste buds with something new for dinner tonight.

And last, but not least, is the blog of one of Bucky's blogland friends, Tiggie. Tiggie has commented on a Bucky post from time to time, and if you want to see how happy things are for cats in blogland, be sure to stop by and visit him at Tiggie, a Faithful Orange Cat .

Happy reading! I hope the last of your tea is still warm --- and that you didn't get cookie crumbs all over your computer. Enjoy a blessed day!

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Aromatic & Balmy Sweets Around

Aromatic plants bestow
no spicy fragrance while they grow;
but crush'd or trodden to the ground,
diffuse their balmy sweets around.

Oliver Goldsmith

Cabin Packet Potatoes

Cabin Packet Potatoes

1 sheet heavy-duty aluminum foil
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon mineral salt
1/2 teaspoon dill weed

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix ingredients together well and then place in aluminum foil. Make a packet and seal edges. Bake about 30 minutes, until fork tender when tested.

The Wild Garden

Observing the changes that take place in 'the wild gardens' of meadow and hollow on the mountain is something I enjoy. Each week there is something new and something gone. The Dog Tooth Violets are no longer blooming. Their blossoms have gone to seed and their vibrant yellow is missing in the meadow. The Grass Widows are also spent, leaving green where vibrant purple once waved. These colorful flowers have been replaced by yellow and purple flowers less spectacular, but interesting just the same. The lupine is blooming and wild strawberries dot the landscape. Dandelions, yellow and lavender violets, and camas are abundant. A variety of small white flowers add sparks of lightness to shadowed areas under tall trees. The woods come alive with all the tender flower gems. The prize of them all is the Calypso Lady Slipper Orchid, found along the trail from cabin to outhouse. It's always there each spring; one lonely little orchid. But seeing it alerts me that it's time to look further; down the pathway behind the woodshed to "Lady Slipper Hollow" where the are found scattered serenely in shady spots, under tree and log. Such beauty! In June, flower by flower, nature reveals her wonders.

*Click on picture for larger view.

We Thank Thee

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee;
For tender grass so fresh and sweet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

*Click on photo for an enlarged view.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

White Linens

Do you sometimes find yourself doing things that are productive, but not absolutely necessary, simply because they bring you joy? Washing and hanging white linens is something that does that for me. Crisp, white, clean, and fresh; table clothes, pillow cases, and guest towels blow in the breeze, absorbing the fragrance of the late spring day. Handwork done by others, embroidery, crochet, or applique embellish each piece. They represent hours of love meant to bless those whom these will pieces serve. Whites are my favorites. Years ago I gave away all the colored, printed sets of sheets and now use plain-white, crisp cotton instead. It's a perfect way to use sets of embroidered pillow cases --- and now they always match the sheets!

Have a refreshing, joyful 'white linen' day!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Zippy Supper

We had "Zippy Fruit Salad" for supper tonight and it was cool and refreshing. The combination of lime zest and sweet basil leaves created a wonderful depth of flavor. In addition to the recipe (below) I added a teaspoon or two of the sweet herb, stevia. I used only green peppers because the red, orange, and yellow ones are still quite expensive at the supermarket. The "essence" of cinnamon was perfect.

Zippy Fruit Salad

Zippy Fruit Salad

1 apple, with skin, diced
1 cup cantaloupe, balled
1/2 an English cucumber, with skin, diced
2 bell peppers, green, yellow, orange, or red, chopped
1 orange, sectioned and sliced
Zest and juice of a lime
Fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Cinnamon to taste
Salt to taste
Sweeten with stevia, to taste

Cut the apple, cantaloupe, cucumber and peppers into a small neat dice. Zest the orange, then slice off the skin, cut the flesh into a small neat dice. Stir the orange zest, orange flesh and remaining ingredients into the fruit mixture.

Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with a sprinkle of additional cinnamon and a piece of fresh basil.

*Cucumbers and peppers are botanically fruits. Yummy!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Quilters Lunch

Thank you, Karleen, for inviting me to lunch today! It was fun to take a break from my daily routine to come visit you and your friend, Julie. The shared lunch worked together to create a delicious menu of Tasha Tudor bread with sandwich fillings, fruit salad, ants-on-a-log celery sticks, and lemonade.

[For anyone interested, the recipes for my contribution (olive and walnut spread; herbed butter) can be found
here. The recipe for the Tasha Tutor bread can be found in the Tasha Tudor Cookbook. It was exceptional!]

What beautiful projects you and Julie were working on! I felt a little lost without my sewing machine too, but I enjoyed visiting while you sewed. And seeing all the fun projects you two are working on was truly an inspiration!

Of course I enjoyed sharing time with Chalupa and Lucy as well. Canine friends are always special. The treat of the day was to be able to look out your back patio door to see a tug boat and barge pass by so closely! Unfortunately, it looks far away in the picture, but it seemed to be so close as it motored on by. And what a pretty garden --- not a weed in sight!

Thank you for sharing your day with me! It was fun!

Beauty at Sunrise

Generally, I am not an early morning person. But, a look out the window early this morning revealed the sun just peeking over the horizon, creating beautiful shadows on the lawn. In fuzzy bathrobe and slippers, I made my way outside with camera in hand. The morning was too spectacular to ignore! The flowers seemed fresher and more vibrant. The morning dove was cooing in a tree by the house where it's nesting with it's mate. The dogs decided to come along with me, although it took some coaxing to get them off of their cozy pillows. Bucky was nowhere to be found, but Calli lazily followed along like the good, old cat he is. In the quiet of the day, with only sounds of nature and footsteps, I breathed in the fresh air and realized that, just like every day, this really was the day that the Lord hath made --- and that I needed to remember to rejoice in it!

Be blessed today!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Bucky doesn't really like to pose, as he prefers prowling, batting, cuddling, and purring. But sometimes he will pose, briefly, for a picture or two. On this day I actually wasn't trying to get a picture of him at all, but rather of a sweetheart quilt my mother appliqued and embroidered. But Bucky thought it interesting and decided to examine it for a brief moment. Then a bee or bird distracted him and he was on to other adventures. So, let me tell you about this quilt. Each block background is different; a white on white print. Mom used scraps from a quilters scrap bag to cut out a multitude of heart shapes that were appliqued to the white on white blocks. Then, she embroidered them with her careful stitching, adding embellishment and outline. Bound with a lavender print, it becomes a lovely lap quilt that reminds me of mother's love. Sweethearts. Stitches of love.

I also made a quilt like this, although mine varies somewhat. I designed my pattern from memory and it ended up that the hearts on my quilt were a little larger. I used cream on cream prints and my quilt was not quite as large as the one mom made. Mom's was stitched in the ditch, and I tied mine instead. So, as they would say on Sesame Street, they are the same and different. If you'd like to see it, you can go here.

D * I * A * N * A

Each May, the Diana, Princess of Wales roses bloom in my yard, reminding me of the people's princess. My contemporary, an example for compassion and devotion to her family, Princess Diana will always have a special place in my heart. I know she does for many of you as well. Memories of waking up at the wee hours of the morning to watch her wedding on television, of the births of her children, and of her solid fashion sense endear her to our hearts. Her selfless example in serving those less fortunate remains to this day and is now the responsibility of each of us as we remember her and follow her example in sharing with those in need. When the Diana, Princess of Wales roses bloom, I am keenly reminded of her and the joy she brought to many. Some emotions cannot be put into words, so instead I post pictures of tokens that I remember her by.

Do you have special memories of Princess Diana and her influence upon your life? Would you share them with us?

*Click to enlarge photo for detail.

Monday, June 01, 2009

God's Gift

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is God's gift, that's why we call it the present.

Joan Rivers

*Grass Widows growing in the mountains nearby.