Monday, August 31, 2009

Young Enthusiasm

Three ten-year-old boys visited us at our cabin, reminding us of what really matters in life. Their enthusiasm and joy for living was so evident! Here they diligently spot for bear and elk on the next ridge. If their joyous echos could be heard, it may be why no bear or elk were found! They were hiding in the trees, away from the expressions! Sometimes it's the young ones in life that remind us of what is really important. And for that, I am grateful!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Have a SUNSHINE day!
Be blessed!


God who is love. . .simply cannot help but shed blessing upon blessing upon us. We do not need to beg, for He simply cannot help it!

Hannah Whitall Smith

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Although there are many objects d' art to enjoy at Maryhill, this is my favorite. I suppose I find it enchanting because I am a seamstress and the detail in this gown is magnificent! Rich embroidery and rhinestones artfully decorate this beautiful dress and it's very long train. This dress belonged to Queen Marie of Romania. She wore it to the coronation of her cousin, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1896 (shown in the photo on the right) and also to the coronation of her uncle, King Edward VII of England in 1902. You can be sure she was enchanting in this beautiful dress!

The dress features a low-cut and sleeveless bodice. Nine panels make up the skirt, flaring and draping in a gored fashion. The gown is heavily boned (which is probably how the Queen was able to fit into such a tiny waisted dress). It was cinched in the back by a drawstring , beautifully presented. Lace frills and gauze bows set off each shoulder, draping for sleeve-like effect. The fabric is gold lame' that is woven of silk and metallic threads. Embroidery of basket-weave is raised and padded, featuring shafts of wheat and large bows. Arm-length evening gloves and a Order of Office worn on Queen Mary's left shoulder, and her royal jewels, would have completed the ensemble when worn.

Enchanted, beautiful, exquisite: a beautiful gown.

This post is especially for my friend, Nikki, from The Scarlet Rose Garden, because I know she loves vintage fashion! Nikki, this one is 'very' vintage for you! Please excuse the the reflections in the photos. Photography was allowed without flash, but the glass and the back light made it difficult!

Click on the photo for a larger view.

Friday, August 21, 2009


"Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life and to be needed."

Storm Jamison

Photo: Elm Street Antiques


Learning about the past can take place in a museum, or by reading a good book. But sometimes going to where history was made provides us with the most connection to those who lived before and created history. The rural areas of the west can be barren and dry, appearing to those not really observing that nothing is there but sagebrush, scrub trees, and dried grasses. But with attention and care, pockets of history can be found in the most unusual places. Old cemeteries are common next to ghost towns and set amidst otherwise abandoned places. Visiting them, even though they are usually filled with weeds, broken headstones, and dirt paths, is interesting and teaches so much about the past. Many of the headstones reveal pioneers who traveled by wagon train, or tiny children who died in epidemics or a birth. Sometimes the headstone of a young mother marks where a young mother lies next to her child; they were both lost with childbirth. Beautiful carved headstones are sometimes the only reminder of who was before. Created with detail, attention, and care --- they represent the devotion of those who loved them.

Sally and Rylan are pictured, reading headstones at a cemetery on a lonely hillside near Maryhill. Photo by Brandon.

Click on the photo for a larger view.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

RoyalTEA at Maryhill

Visitors are always surprised by the beautiful art and objects displayed at the Maryhill Museum of Art. Located in a remote location and no community nearby, it stands alone on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River. With displays as varied as the sculpture and art of French artist Auguste Rodin to the fashions of Theatre de la Mode or Native American artifacts, this museum contains much to observe and learn from. My favorite display graces the main floor of the museum --- a display of personal jewelry, gowns, art, furniture, and objects that belonged to Queen Marie of Romania. Her coronation crown and gold-thread and rhinestone are magnificent. The waistline, wasp-like! She gifted this collection to the Sam Hill, the builder of the mansion at Maryhill and a personal friend of hers. In fact, she took a royal tour of America with a dedication ceremony at Maryhill as her destination.

The gift shop was filled with interesting items, but I am always drawn to the books first. Have you noticed that the most interesting books are frequently at museum bookstores and visitor's centers at National Parks? My souvenir was a copy of a book by Julia P. Gelardi called "Born to Rule". It tells the stories of five reigning consorts, all granddaughters of Queen Victoria. Queen Marie of Romania was one of the five. Together they were Queen Maud of Norway, Queen Sophie of Greece, Tsarina Alexandra of Russia, Queen Marie of Romania, and Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain. Just like the museum, it's pages keep drawing me in. It's filled with detailed facts and history.

Tea in the afternoon --- with royal treasures to enjoy!

Oregon Sunflower

Oregon Sunflower

Beautiful, bright, yellow flower
of dry areas of the west.

composed of numerous tiny florets
put together and forming the illusion of a ring of petals.

Plant with large, deep, thick taproot
used by Native Americans for food;
baked and steamed roots
immature flower stems peeled
flowers beautiful
oil-rich seeds
dried roots as coffee substitute

Arrowleaf Balsamroot
Sunshine of the desert.

Maryhill Tea

A tea 'potluck' is interesting and fun! The menu creates itself as the group members do their planning and prepare their foods. Here's our group tea party menu:

Egg Salad Sandwiches with Chrysanthemums
Cucumber Boats with Tuna and Tomatoes
Artichoke and Mushroom Tartlettes
Cucumber Sandwiches
Radish Sandwiches
Rice, Nut, and Seed Salad
Four Bean Salad
Tofu "Eggless" Salad
Assorted Vegetables with Dips
Tropical Fruit Bowl
Marionberry Bars
Cherry Tarts
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Asian ~ Oolong Tea
French ~ Mariage Freges Tea

Afternoon Delight

Sometimes time and distance creates space between friends that nags at the soul. The best way to rectify this is to plan a meeting, and what better than a tea party for such things. Yesterday three friends and our travel companions met for an afternoon of visiting at the grounds of a museum that was somewhat central for us all. A copper tea kettle, vintage tablecloth, fresh flowers, tea china, and a plethora of tasty tea sandwiches, salads, and fresh fruit graced the table. Cookies, bars, and cherry tarts awaited us for dessert. Our lawn chairs provided comfortable seating and we enjoyed eating and visiting together in the shade of some large, old trees. Afterward, a leisurely tour through the nearby museum was enjoyed while we visited some more. A collection of belongings what once belonged to Queen Victoria's grand-daughter were magnificent. An Ansel Adams exhibit of original black and white photos was an inspiration. And the display of Le Theatre de la Mode French Fashion Mannequin Collection was outstanding! Miniature costumes fashioned as perfect replicas of the original provided much to talk about. Visiting the display with a professional garment designer and pattern drafter made it even more fun! It truly was an afternoon of great delight. And the tea --- was perfection! Thank you, Marilyn and Linda, for a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Be Blessed Today

Be blessed today!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Beauty and Bread

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

~ John Muir ~

Smallest Wishes

God is not too great to be concerned about our smallest wishes.

~ Schlink ~

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pie Crust Crackers

Pie Crust Crackers

This recipe can be made into crackers or pie crust, your choice. Thus the name! There are no free-fats in this recipe. The desired satiety of fat comes from the seeds and nuts used.

1 cup quinoa flakes
1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/6 cup sesame seeds
1/6 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup walnuts
1 1/2 cups water, scant
salt, to taste (scant)

Blend quinoa flakes in blender or food processor to make flour. Mix the flours and salt together in bowl. Make a well in the center and set aside.

Blend the nuts and seeds in water until smooth and creamy. Pour the seed, nut, and water mixture into the well. Mix until all the flours are moist. Roll onto a cookie sheet. Score into diamonds. Sprinkle with a little salt and garlic powder, or with cinnamon and a little powdered stevia (or sweetener of your choice). Bake at 250 degrees F. until desired baked to desired crunch.

If using this recipe for pie crust, roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap. Transfer to pie plate (removing plastic wrap in the process). You may substitute the cornmeal with another type of flour for pie crust unless it's for a savory pie.

*For a cheesy flavor, substitute tomato juice or V8 for some of the water.

Photo: Elm Street Antiques

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Sewing Bee

Happy moments are sometimes created over something as simple as needle and thread. Karleen has been working on a beautiful quilt; a gift for her son as he leaves for the university next week. It's beautiful in green, brown, and cream. She made it 'extra long' for her tall boy! It's been a quilt where a prayer was said with each stitch; blessings to Josh as he ventures out on his own. Julie and I were invited to lunch and to stitch with Karleen as she finished the binding on this memorable project. Funny stories, shared experiences, and dozens of stitches filled the summer afternoon. Friendship stitched together by love.

*Click on the photo for a larger view.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Full Plate Diet

The Full Plate Diet

I've been reading The Full Plate Diet, a book published by Lifestyle Centers of America. The book promotes a healthy lifestyle, achieved by adding fiber to the daily diet. Acording to the authors, you can eat until you no longer feel hungry. The goal is to get enough fiber each day for optimal health. Since fiber is filling, there's no need to count calories, carbohydrates, or protein. They take care of themselves when fiber goals are met. The book is colorful, inviting, and easy to read. The information inside the cover talks about the full plate concept, the health benefits of the program, how to get started, and all about adding fiber to foods. It is a healthy eating program, although also touted as beneficial for weight loss. The book shares great recipes and excellent tips for incorporating fiber at work, in restaurants, and on the road. I love the book! The program is right on! But the thing I like the most is a handy little gadget that they have online that helps those 'new to fiber' achieve their 'fiber goals' each day. It's a fiber calculator which helps you determine your fiber score each day. A thermometer on the side registers red, yellow, and then green as it goes up the scale. Green is the goal! There's no measuring, no counting calories, no fussy charts. Just fiber in the most delicious forms: legumes, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. If you'd like more information about this program, check out The Full Plate Diet website. Starting on August 15, they will be giving free access to the electronic version of the advanced reading copy of this book.

I am challenged to start counting my fiber ingestion daily. With fiber the goal, making meal choices becomes simple. My fiber calculations are started for the day. Here's what I had for breakfast this morning:

Fruited Quinoa

4 cups quinoa, cooked
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup dried cranberries
2 bananas, sliced
1 packet stevia powder (NuNaturals brand)
1 tsp. cinnamon

Stir until well blended, but be gentle with the bananas. Dish into a bowl and then add about 1/4 cup soymilk. For added flavor and fiber, add 1/3 cup pineapple chunks.

The original recipe serves 6 (about 1 cup servings).

*To hear more about my Full Plate adventures, check my cooking blog. I'll be posting at My Cozy Kitchen as time goes on. . .

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lumps of Sugar with Cake

"You have filled my tea with lumps of sugar, and though I asked most distinctly for bread and butter, you have given me cake. I am known for the gentleness of my disposition, and the extraordinary sweetness of my nature, but I warn you, Miss Cardew, you may go too far."

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Tea ladies ~ Hailey and Natalie ~

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Wild Garden

A cultivated English garden is a joy to behold! My mother kept such a garden, and it drew people who admired and appreciated the flowers, beautiful greenery, cozy benches, fountains, and bird feeders. Mom enjoyed spending hours every day tending to her garden. It was her relaxation after spending the day with her kindergarten students. There's much to like about a beautiful English garden.

But, there's also much to like about a wild garden that requires no care. Well-placed rocks, antlers found on walks, plants transplanted from other parts of the woods, and some lavender brought from home all work together to create a wild garden that takes care of itself. There are no weeds in the woods; everything is a native plant and therefore acceptable for a cabin garden. The high elevation makes plants grow more slowly, and they stay in control. Sometimes a new plant is found --- and gently dug and carried to the cabin flower beds so they can grow nearby for more frequent enjoyment. One just has to be careful that they don't try to incorporate too many cultivated flower plants, as the elk and deer love them! They won't last for long in wild garden bed.

Just musing about my wild garden today. . .and glad that lavender repels elk and deer!

Mountain Flowers of August

It's always interesting to observe the changes that take place from month to month on the mountain. The August mountain still exhibits much green, but the golds and browns of dried grasses now grace meadow and hillside. Recent rains have revived green of leaf and stem. Wildflowers can still be found, from vibrant red Indian Paintbrush to the purples of thistle and the golds of mullen. Refreshing breezes and gentle coolness of the air made it the perfect place for a walk along a trail that wounds through the meadow to forest. Serenity. Peace. Quiet. Gentleness.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Vintage Trinkets

Trinkets, gems, costume jewelery, bits of this and that. Whatever you call them, sparkling bits of vintage gold, silver, pearl, and shiny beads and jewels work together to create sentiment and adornment. Most women have broaches or other pieces of jewelry which have been passed down from a grandmother, mother, or aunt. Although many of these tidbits don't have much monetary value, they have great worth as heritage pieces that help us remember cherished people and times. A mother's ring, the broach worn on grandmother's coat, or the dangling earrings on Great-aunt Jo's ears all work to form visual pictures that are tied to warm memories and close relationships. Even as fashion changes so they are no longer considered stylish, they remain in jewelry boxes and trinket trays, reminding us of those we love.

Pretty pieces like these also remind me of the story of Esther in the Bible, given the best of fragrances and jewels before her visit with the king. I wonder if she was able to keep those pieces and pass them along to her daughters and granddaughters; a reminder of her courage and bravery as she saved her people from harm. For me, this favorite Bible story emits it's own bond to my past; memories of reading the story over and over again and wondering about the brave queen.

Today's photo is a small part of one woman's collection of vintage pieces given to Paula for her shop. Can you picture her in her hey-day, wearing these pieces with fashion flair? You can click on the picture for a larger view if you'd like.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sugar, As If I Didn't Know

" I can just imagine myself
sitting down at the head of the table
and pouring out the tea," said Anne,
shutting her eyes ecstatically.

"And asking Diana if she takes sugar!
I know she doesn't but
of course I'll ask her
just as if I didn't know".

L.M. Montgomery
Anne of Green Gables

*Photo: Diana and friend at one of RuthAnn's special teas!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Rare Friends

"Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer."

~ Cunningham ~

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea, a definition:

Noun 1. afternoon tea - a light midafternoon meal of tea and sandwiches or cakes; "an Englishman would interrupt a war to have his afternoon tea"

Carrot Marmalade

An old-fashioned kitchen and an old-fashioned recipe team up to make a perfect pair! This recipe, circa 1924, combines both fruits and vegetables in this unusual, tasty spread for toast.

Carrot Marmalade

3 cups carrots
1/2 tsp. salt
2 oranges
3 lemons
4 cups sugar
1 cup water

Peel and wash carrots. Grind or chop until fine. Cook in salted water until tender, then drain. Set aside.

Wash and peel the oranges, chopping one rind and cutting the other into small strips. Place rinds in small saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender, then drain.

Cut the orange pulp into small pieces. Place in small bowl. Add the juice from the lemons.

Add sugar to the hot carrots and allow it to melt. Then add 1 cup water, and the lemon juice, orange pulp, and cooked peel.

Cook until syrup is thick and fruit is clear. While still hot, pack into sterilized jars and store immediately in refrigerator, using up within a week.

For variety, add 1 tsp. each of cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.

Kitchen: Elm Street Antiques

A comment from "Carrot Museum" to "Gracious Hospitality" says:

Also Carrot Jam! Lots more interesting carrot recipes in the World Carrot Museum.

Thanks, Carrot Museum!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Happy Birthday, Paula

Wishing a happy and sunny day to Paula,
as it's her birthday!

May the year ahead be bright with blessings.
It's such fun to have a friend who inspire me so!