Sunday, March 31, 2013

When Mary Thro' the Garden Went

When Mary thro' the garden went,
There was no sound of any bird,
And yet, because the night was spent,
The little grasses lightly stirred,
The flowers awoke,
The lilies heard.

When Mary thro' the garden went,
The dew lay still on flower and grass,
The waving palms above her sent
Their fragrance out as she did pass.
No light upon their branches was.

When Mary thro' the garden went,
her eyes for weeping long, were dim
The grass beneath her footsteps bent,
The solemn lilies white and slim,
These also stood and wept for Him.

When Mary thro' the garden went,
She sought, within the garden ground,
one for Whom her heart was rent,
One Who for her sake was bound,
One Who sought and she was found.

An anthem, "When Mary Thro The Garden Went" by Charles V. Stanford. Text by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge (1861 - 1907), great-grandniece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The poem depicts Mary's search for Christ on the morning of the resurrection, but turns the tables in a most though-provoking manner.


"For I remember it is Easter morn,
And life and love and peace are all new born."  

~ Alice Freeman Palmer ~

"'Twas Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees 
Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy."

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~
Spanish Student

 "Ye sleeping buds, break 
Open your green cerements, and wake 
To fragrant blossoming for His sweet sake." 

~ Margaret French Patton ~

 "Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time." 

~ Martin Luther ~

 "Well pleaseth me the sweet time of Easter 
That maketh the leaf and the flower come out."  

~ Bertran de Born ~

"The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world. Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice. But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.

~ Henry Knox Sherril ~

The tea today is Adagio Darjeeling Sungma Summer
The teacup and saucer are Noritake Blossom Mist.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Glorious Easter!

Glorious Easter! 
Only God could have created 
all the loveliness of spring. 
Made the bough to bud and blossom.
Taught the robin how to sing.
Only God could have remembered, 
Through the winter, cold and gray, 
How to renew the earth with beauty 
And give us this Easter Day.

Wishing you a Blessed Easter Season

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tea with Auntie

"Really? You brought me to Starbucks to have tea with auntie?"

"I'm pretty serious about not liking tea very much."

"But thank you, I do like the little Easter lamb she brought for me."


How to order yummy tea at Starbucks.

Ask for:
Awake Tea
Vanilla Syrup
Soy Milk

L a n d o n   L o v e 


L o n d o n   F o g

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easing of Tensions

Wherever you are drinking your tea,
whether at work, in a cafe, or at home,
it is wonderful to allow enough time to appreciate it.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Today I'm sharing a Royal Albert teacup and saucer with you. It's covered with peaches, plums, pears, and berries. Inside the teacup, a cluster of red cherries dangle from their stems. Gold guilds the edge of the teacup and saucer's edges.

The tea is Apple Cider Spice from TeaSource,  a blend that claims to be 'steeped in experience'.  It was a gift from a friend, and it is delicious!  The packaging says to imagine  Red Delicious and Braeburn apples  that are bursting with aroma and flavor with a  few wintry spices tossed in.  And it lists the flavorings as cloves, cinnamon, ginger,  orange peel, rose petals, and safflower. There's nothing that says APPLE on  the ingredient list, but that's alright, the apple cider spice flavor is rich and full.  It's a comforting tea that is full-bodied, spicy,  and it's perfect for a relaxed moment or two.

There is something nearly as relaxing as sitting in contemplation with a cup of tea. Beads, strung onto string or wire repetitively, allow for creative and purposeful d├ętenteStringing beads AND sipping tea? The ultimate in the easing of tensions. Tranquility.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quilting Modern

Each quilter has a unique style and preferred quilt genre. Quilts are a canvass for a multitude of artistic  stitching endeavors. Although I have never seen a quilt I did not like, I've found that as I have matured in quilt experience, my tastes have developed and I am able to identify which genres please me most. I am very partial to the quilt style and handwork of Lucy at Quilting with the Past. She is gifted in a style that is authentic and comforting. Her miniature quilts are a special treat to view!

Additionally, I find the quilts made by Bonnie Hunter who blogs at Quiltville  to be creative and interesting. Bonnie's effervescent personality and personable, hand's-on style of marketing through social media just draw you in. My friend, Karleen, and I both enjoy Bonnie and frequently will text one another when a QuiltCam alert is given. Bonnie streams live video of sewing sessions in her basement sewing room. Bonnie's famous for her scrappy quilts and her traditional style.

Thus, it surprised me recently how drawn into the quilt style presented by the National Featured Quilter at our local quilt show. Katie Pederson, who specializes in modern quilting style, was the featured artist and a large selection of her quilts were on display. Additionally, she was there to chat with attendees, to sign books, and to answer questions. Friendly and sincere, she is a very talented artist and gifted quilter.

This quilt is a beautiful example of improvisational technique and contemporary graphics.

Katie, busy signing my book! She says to "break free, go bold".
She co-authored this book with Jacquie Gering.

Fabric, scraps, yardage, cottons, pieces.
Whatever you call them, they create the nerve center for
modern quilting and beyond.
They are the mecca for all quilters!
I love this scramble on Katie's ironing board.

Here are just a few examples of some of the beautiful improvisational quilts that Quilting Modern shares techniques for. In the book, seven core techniques are presented with detailed instructions. That's good, because creating quilts in this method requires that you think outside of the box!

Isn't this a beauty? I love how the colors were used to create such a strong, geometric design. And I suppose I am drawn to it because it not only represents a modern style of quilting, but it draws upon my traditional comfort zone when it comes to quilt design.

The sewing station. It looks like no one is there because
Katie did a marvelous job of walking around and visiting with attendees.

 Karleen and I noted that many of the Quilting Modern quilts used large spaces of blank nothingness. Each of these areas was machine quilted with modern, beautiful lines, geometrics, or circles. The actual quilting process is an integral part of this method. We also noted that the fabric used for the expanses of what we called blank nothingness was beautifully textured and inviting. We asked about the use of this fabric and Katie shared that it is a special linen/cotton blend by Robert Kaufman Fabrics called Essex. It had gorgeous visual and hand appeal.

Here's another vibrant, geometric, free-form quilt.

Katie Pedersen and Jacquie Gering give workshops on their technique. There is one coming up on May 20 - 22, 2013 at Island Quilter on Vashon Island, Washington.

Katie also blogs at Sew Katie Did. She says thread is the best glue! And I say her words aptly describe the process of the joining of pieces with threads.

Karleen and I really enjoyed visiting with Katie and learning more about improvisational quilting.


"We wrote this book to share our designs for quilts with modern aesthetic and our enthusiasm for improvisational quilting techniques. Improvisation has various interpretations, but for us it means creating in the moment and reacting to ideas and our environment to make something new. Improvisation energizes our creativity and fosters an inventive spirit."

~ Jacque and Katie ~

Click to enlarge.

For Tea Forsake

Many estates are spent in the getting, 
since women for tea forsake spinning and knitting, 
and men for punch forsake hewing and splitting.  

~Benjamin Franklin~

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Cookie Jar

What's in your cookie jar?

Thumb-print Almond and Date Cookies

1/2 cup almond butter
2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp pure maple sugar granules (powder)*
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

Place almond butter in mixing bowl and stir until smooth and creamy. Add almond meal, maple sugar granules, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix completely. Form dough into small rolls and then pinch off enough for a small cookie. Roll into a ball and then place on baking sheet and press thumb into center to make an indentation. Then prepare date filling using recipe below:

1 cup dates, pitted
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup finely ground almonds

For the filling, mix the water, cornstarch and sugar together. Add dates and
bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until thick and dates are smooth.
Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Fill each indentation in cookie dough with a small amount of the date filling.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not over bake. Cool and

*May omit if you cannot find.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Tea of Friendship

One of the goals of Gracious Hospitality is to show how to implement tea as a integral part of daily life. If you've looked at the side-bar you'll see the words "Gracious Hospitality, making tea a part of daily life, one sip at a time."

Enjoying a simple cup of tea with a friend is such an enjoyable experience. My friend, Sharon, owns a business that brings her to my community several times a month. Frequently she drops in for a cup of tea and a long visit. I cherish those times! Last week we enjoyed cups of Oriental Beauty Oolong from Floating Leaves Tea. The tea was a gift from someone in attendance at Marilyn's Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony last summer. As you can see, Sharon and I always enjoy our tea without milk and just a touch of stevia for sweetness.

Our teacups were from the Allyn Nelson Collection, fine bone china, made in England. You might notice that they are not identical. Although the design is the same, one is embellished with  painted gold trim and the other is not. One was a gift from a friend and the other one that I purchased at a motel gift shop on the Oregon coast.

Today I am linking to Sandi's Rose Chintz Cottage and Bernideen's Tea Time memes.

Quilt Show

Our local quilt guild had its big "yearly show" last week-end. The convention center was filled with a hoard of enthusiastic quilters. More than 400 quilts were displayed, all of which were made by guild members.

Our "small town" guild members enjoyed visiting one another, viewing the displayed quilts, and browsing vendor booths. The "small town" guild is a part of the "city" guild.

 Smile, Karleen and Judy!

Connie poses with a pretty smile!

Verna and Jane pause in their quest for just the right color and pattern for a future quilt project! Each vendor booth was unique, as each shop specializes in different types of fabric genre.

Debbie was working a booth that was selling 108" yardage for quilt backing. She made sure we signed up for a yardage drawing. And guess what! I won!

Arleen breezed through with her husband. She is the founder of our local "small town" group.

Karleen and Julie enjoy a long visit. Julie tells the best stories! She makes us laugh and has a wonderful perspective on life. Both of these ladies are gifted quilters. It is inspiring to be around such wonderful friends!

We all made sure we found and viewed the quilt made by "another" Judy in our "small town" guild. It's a lovely king-size quilt called Amazon Star. It was paper pieced on a foundation and is a Judy Niemeyer design. Debbie (shown above) machine quilted this quilt for Judy. This really is a stunning quilt! Judy did a fantastic job!

After all the viewing, Karleen and I made sure we stopped to enjoy a cup of tea. It was a icy, unsweetened black.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sweater Weather

Blue skies!

 Puffy clouds!

No wind!

Sweater weather. 
Do you think spring might be willing to show her face?
I hope so!

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Spring Day

We're having chilly spring weather. The wind machines in the nearby apple orchard are very noisy as they work away. Their motors and the noise of the blades as they cut through the air make a rumble throughout the nights this week. Slowly, but surely, nature is braving the chill enough to show beautiful buds and blossom faces.

Even the lawn is starting to green up. It won't be much longer before everything erupts!

The daffodils bring cheer; a solid mass of light yellow ruffs and lemon yellow faces! You can just about hear them roar!

The weeping flowering cherry is the only flowering tree that is in full bloom. It's pretty with its single, white blossoms, but it makes me miss the double, pink blossoms from a cherry tree that grew old and had to be cut down last autumn.

After a morning walk around the yard, where I was seeking signs of spring, it's time for a hot cup of tea. Today's tea is Murroughs Welsh Brew, a traditional blend of African and Indian teas. The tin says that they were selected for their strength, colour and smoothness of flavour. The manufacturer is located at Mumbles, South Wales (Mwmbwis, Abertawe). It was won in a give-away that Bernideen conducted last month. Thank you, Bernideen!

The teacup is a  Colclough, made in Longton, England.

All of this talk of spring, flowers, and tea reminds me of my mother and one of her favorite spring poems. It was one she recited from memory on many a spring day!

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. 

William Wordsworth