Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring is in the Air!

Click to enlarge.
Enjoy a wonderful day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tiny Threads

Chains do not hold a marriage together.  
It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.

 ~Simone Signoret ~

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sew Therapy

Everyone needs a day now and then where the daily grind is set aside to do something relaxing and fun. Yesterday that is exactly what I did! My friend and neighbor, Karleen, invited me over to sew and quilt. 

Isn't the view from her front window wonderful? While I was there, at least three tug boats and barges passed by. 

Lucy greeted me joyfully, and then grabbed her teddy bear and curled up on her bean bag bed where she observed the action. She seemed to enjoy posing for a picture. Doesn't she look contented?

Of course we had lunch. It's fun to visit and share while we eat and sip on tea. Yesterday we were so busy doing so that I forgot to take a picture! So, I cheated and I'm posting one from our lunch on another occasion.

Karleen's making this purple and green quilt for a friend. I love the detail and care she's put into making all the points match up perfectly! I know her friend will love the quilt. My quilt is not as advanced as Karleen's. I forgot to take pictures, but I'm working on a Moda nine-patch using a charm packs of "Romantic Garden" prints. It's soft and sweet in pale yellow, pink, green, and blue.

We also spread out the charity quilt top so we could see what it looks like with the sashing completed. Its a quilt that the quilt guild has been working on. Karleen volunteered to sew the squares together with all the black sashing. This quilt is called a "Crazy Nine-Patch". We worked on sewing the quilt blocks together at our last guild meeting. The technique was very interesting and definitely crazy!

That's all for now. The day has been chilly, breezy, and rainy. It's "stay inside" weather that just right for quilting, but I am itching for sunshine and warmth. I bought garden seeds today and am eager to get them planted. But I will be patient, as I know that "for everything there is a season".

How was your day?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mild March and a Breath of April

"The afternoon is bright,
with spring in the air,
a mild March afternoon,
with the breath of April stirring,
I am alone in the quiet patio
looking for some old untried illusion -
some shadow on the whiteness of the wall
some memory asleep
on the stone rim of the fountain,
perhaps in the air
the light swish of some trailing gown."
Antonio Machado, 1875-1939
I love this verse about March. It so aptly describes how this month has been ~ mild and breezy, with just a hint of true spring in the air. I imagine the writer as alone on the patio, sipping on a cup of fragrant tea, while looking for memories of the past. Is he possibly seeking to rewrite or revisit them? The wish for the light swish of some trailing gown makes it appear to be so. 
March ushers in April. I can hardly wait! The sun just broke through the clouds! Enjoy your March day!
The calendar photo was taken at Paula's antique shop. The lovely old tea strainers would set well on a tea table at the quiet patio of the poem.  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Altered Tea Box

Have you ever  bought something that is in a unique container and you just cannot help but re-purpose that container for something else? Sometimes a food container or shoe box is just too unique to throw away! I really love the boxes that tea comes in from Steven Smith, Teamaker because they are sturdy and unique. Instead of throwing them away, I've tried to think of ways to use them in other ways. Recently, for a friend's birthday, I used scrap booking papers to decorate one of these tea boxes. Tari loved it! I don't know how she decided to use her box, but it could be storage for tea sachets, recipes, hair clips, tickets, stickers, receipts, or small keepsakes. Before I wrapped it up for her, I couldn't help but take some pictures so I could have a little "show and tell" with you! 

Spring to be Seen!

"Today is the day when bold kites fly,

When cumulus clouds roar across the sky.

When robins return, when children cheer,
When light rain beckons spring to appear.

Today is the day when daffodils bloom,
Which children pick to fill the room,
Today is the day when grasses green,
When leaves burst forth for spring to be seen."

Robert McCracken 

I am most delighted that spring seems to be arriving! A week-end of 60 degree weather, sunshine, and flowers does so much to lift the spirits. The grass is turning green, the daffodils are in full bloom, and ornamental fruit trees are flowering. Goldfinches visit the thistle feeder outside of my kitchen window all day long, and the Juncos pick up seeds that fall to the ground below the feeder. It's about time to till up the garden and plant spring greens! Nature provides so many treats that bring joy to the day! I hope your spring is lovely too! Happy spring!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Beauty, Grace and Health

The hibiscus flower is beautiful and graceful, both on the shrub and in a vase in the home, but this pretty blossom also has other benefits that may sometimes be missed the the casual observer. When dried, hibiscus flowers can be used to create a rosy-colored tisane. Although tart, the flavor mixes well with the sweet herb, stevia, or other herbs to create a delicious beverage. An extract of this blossom also has been said to have the potential to prevent cholesterol deposition and may be very useful in preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases. God's gifts to use are always multiple in blessing. From beauty, to use for flavor or health, He created all things for our joy and benefit.

Tea Ladies

"If your tongue trips over "oolong" and there's no place for your spoon,
If you end up with your cookie on your knee
If dainty conversation leaves you speechless far too soon,
You need some help surviving Ladies' Tea."

From Afternoon Tea at Pittock Mansion

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Green Tea in the Springtime

"I especially enjoy green tea in the springtime. This bright, delicate tea has an aroma that reminds me of dew on clover. It has a taste that is light and soothing, so like the vernal sunshine. And when green tea is perfumed with jasmine, orange or rose blossom, the whole essence of spring seems to be dissolved in my cup."

Tea with Victoria Rose
Susan Wheeler and Paul Kortepeter

Friday, March 23, 2012

An Atmosphere of Beauty

"Children growing up in an atmosphere where beauty is considered an important part of daily life cannot help being inspired to develop their own original ideas in these areas, nor can they help being prepared to live aesthetically themselves. There is a 'togetherness' in sharing a prepared table that even very small children feel, although they cannot express it verbally." 

Edith Schaeffer

These are words that guided me on my homemaking journey at the beginning of my child rearing years. Mrs. Schaeffer speaks so eloquently when she writes; she creates word pictures of simple things that speak so profoundly to our souls. In another place she shares that every dinner table should have a centerpiece that is vibrant, interesting, and transitions with the seasons and experiences of life. Such a focal point provides family members with objects of nature and beauty to enjoy. Flowers, moss, rocks, shells, seed pods, and more can be gathered outdoors and be brought inside to make creative points of interest without added expense or fuss. Including children and grandchildren in the process might mean adding points of color found in small toys like Lego's, plastic figures, or miniature tea sets. An atmosphere where creativity is encouraged can inspire a child and set the stage for original ideas as they grow through life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Quilting Bee

My friend, Karleen, has a creative approach to productivity. I quite like it! She says that the cold weather months are for quilting and the warm ones are for working in the garden. She does both with excellence, so I know it would be of benefit to me if I would heed her counsel. This winter she invited me to join our local, community quilt guild with her. What fun it has been! Local ladies meet once a month at the community grange where quilts are stitched. Family, friends, and community members benefit from all the busy stitching! There are some very gifted quilters in the bunch! A spirit of cooperation, sharing, teaching, and learning together is evident. And a lunchtime potluck is an added perk! As time goes on I'll share pictures of some of the quilts being made. I think you'll enjoy them. Stay tuned.

~ Click on the montage to make it full-size ~

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Drooping Spirits to Delight

"One sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight, beyond the bliss of dreams."

~ Milton ~

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sweet Potato Salad

It's nearly time to plant my early spring garden. I am looking forward to peas, green onions, radishes, kale, and lettuces. But until garden produce from my garden or from Farmer's Market become available, I'm stuck using seasonal "winter" produce. That's alright; seasonal foods are tasty too. Here's a recipe that is a unique take on traditional potato salad.
Sweet Potato Salad
4 small sweet potatoes
1/4 cup Veganaise (or mayonnaise)
1 Tbsp. mustard
4 stalks celery, chopped into 1/4" pieces
1 small red pepper, 1/4" dice
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
2 green onions, chopped
sea salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
Chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Wrap each sweet potato in foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove from heat, unwrap, and allow to cool.  Then peel and cut into 3/4" pieces.

Using a large bowl, mix together Veganaise and mustard.  Add cooled sweet potatoes, celery, red pepper, pineapple, and green onions.  Season to taste with sea salt.  

Cover and refrigerate for one hour.  Then fold in pecans, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

*There are options to this recipe.  Today I microwaved the sweet potatoes instead of baking them.  It was fast and easy.  I didn't have fresh red pepper or pineapple, so I used canned paprika quarters that I chopped, and 1 can of diced pineapple.  Instead of green onions, I used finely chopped yellow onion.  And I substituted walnuts for pecans.  It turned out delicious!  For garnish, I added sprinkles of vegan Baco-Bits and chives.

Let's Party!

"Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"

~ Robin Williams ~

A little vase of snowdrops sits atop a chocolate cake. Its presence encourages celebration, of both spring and a birthday. Fresh flowers make such a nice presentation on a cake and are much more fresh and vibrant than ones made out of sugar frosting.


Monday, March 19, 2012


By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Proverbs 24: 3-4

O Lord, our God, our homes are Thine forever! We trust to thee their problems, toil and care. Their bonds of love no enemy can sever if Thou art always Lord and Master there. Be Thou the center of our least endeavor. Be thou the Guest, our hearts and homes to share.

Barbara Hart

May our homes be a place of warmth, laughter, and that all who visit would feel welcome and sense a special presence of our Lord.

Photo: one of several cottages at an herb farm near Mt. Hood, Oregon

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Early Spring


"All Nature seems at work.  Slugs leave their lair
The bees are stirring, birds are on the wing,
And Winter slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring."

   Samuel Taylor Coleridge  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gracious Hospitality [Marion Cabell Tyree Style]

The story of Marion Cabell Tyree can be read in this interesting post on the Diamond Hill Historical Society website. I was especially drawn to this post because of two statements quoted here. I think you will understand when you read them:

 The couple had “a beautiful and comfortable home in which they dispensed in the most gracious and genial manner that hospitality for which old Virginia was famous.”


Like other Virginia cookbook authors, Mrs. Tyree capitalized on the reputation of gracious Virginia hospitality derived from the Cavaliers who first settled here.
 And this is most interesting to me, and possibly to you as well ~

According to her, Virginia hospitality was opulent as a Royal Colony.   When we declared our independence, its citizens “discarded all the showy extravagance of the old, and retaining only inexpensive graces, they succeeded in perfecting that system which surviving to this day, has ever been noted for its beautiful and elegant simplicity.

 Enjoy and have a blessed day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Spring is in the Air

Spring can seem slow in arriving this time of year. But, it is MARCH and today's blustery weather confirms that! Spring is only a few weeks away. Little signs of season's change appear slowly. This week the snowdrops and crocus have burst into bloom. Daffodils and tulips have sent up green shoots and if you look closely enough you can see tiny green leaves starting to sprout on the rose bushes. During moments of the day, bright sunshine streams through the window, enticing me to go outside. The chilly air soon sends me back inside for my winter coat, but hope is in the air! Daffodil blossoms will arrive in the supermarket floral department long before they start to bloom in my garden, but that's alright. They serve to remind me that spring will arrive --- and with it a very happy smile from me!

How are you enduring the last gray days of winter?