Monday, September 1, 2014

Coffee Klatsch

Klatsch - a social gathering over coffee. A number of women come together on their blogs from around the globe for tea on Tuesday, usually afternoon tea. However, I like a piping hot mug of coffee in the morning and sometimes after dinner with a piece of cake or slice of pie. (decaf at this time)
Autumn decor already? Well, it's felt like autumn for most of August so on the Labour Day weekend I brought out my boxes from the basement. A piece of carrot cake with the coffee yet to come. The leaf napkins were found at Bed, Bath and Beyond on sale for $5 for a package of 4. 
This year I met two tea bloggers; one on the way to Florida, and one on the way back. Recently I met another woman whom I got to know through her blog and we hit it off right away. We're both Master Gardeners, Tea Grannies and have much in common. When Beth from Beyond the Garden Gate said she and her husband were coming to Ontario to see Niagara Falls, they were invited to stay with us for a couple of days. And they did. We had a great visit and it was so nice to finally meet in person.
Beth and Ron in our tea house
Beth and I discussed various aspects of blogging, particularly how many people are finding it too time consuming and are either cutting way back or quitting altogether. 
It has become a challenge for me as the new host of Mosaic Monday to participate the next day in the tea parties. Blog etiquette varies from person to person but as the host of a party I feel obligated to visit each participant and leave a comment. I do not understand people that link to a party and never comment on any of the blogs, including the host's. Perhaps I have misunderstood the relevance of comments?
Still wanting to participate in the tea parties I finally came up with a plan. After today I will be posting Tea with Friends on Thursdays and linking the following Tuesday to the tea gatherings.
I'll do my visiting and commenting with a relaxing cup of tea each Thursday which will make me a couple of days behind everyone else. Hopefully this will work as I do enjoy the company of my blogging tea sisters.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mosaic Monday #4 Colour Palettes

Come join Mosaic Monday
❀Link the Url from a post containing a mosaic about any subject.
❀Link back to Mosaic Monday.
❀Leave me a comment.
❀Try to visit the 3 participants before and after your link. More if you can!

There is a new Mosaic Monday button to take for your blog if you wish near the top of the sidebar. There is also a new Mosaic Monday post category further down if you want to look at older posts of the link party. (Thank you to Karen Valentine my blog designer for these)

As much as I enjoy creating collages of photos, colour palettes can also become addictive. I fooled around in PicMonkey to make a few for this week.



For each example I placed a photo in a mosaic template from PicMonkey and created a colour border for all except the last. Now open edit at the top and add overlay shapes where the other mosaic partitions were. They need to be sized and once the first is to your liking, right click to duplicate it and drag the duplicated shape into place. Continue doing this until the mosaic is filled as much as you want.
Then it's just a matter of touching the paint brush tool to part of your picture to pick up a colour in it and paint each shape. The first paintbrush is an outer part which I made transparent in all of the above mosaics and then with the second paintbrush made the middle the chosen solid colour.
In the example on the left I chose a border colour which colours the entire mosaic background whereas on the right I didn't and that results in a white background. This time I did choose an outer colour with the paintbrush which was the leaf, the inner paintbrush coloured the veins.
I hope I explained this technique well enough that you can play around yourself. Truthfully, my computer expertise is not that great and if any participants would like to demonstrate a different method of mosaics for others to try I hope you will in a post some time and link to the party. The editing software should be free and I'm sure there are other fun collage things to do in PicMonkey that many of us use.



Giveaway Winner!



The winner of the PDF copy of Heartsong by Nicola Furlong is Angela at Tea with Friends. Congratulations and I'll email  your copy today! (24 comments and 188 page views) Thanks to all who entered to win the book which is available at Amazon for sale.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Heartsong and a Giveaway

If you're a gardener, you can only imagine what it would be like to run a five-acre nursery specializing in plants for butterflies and hummingbirds. Despite  the trials and tribulations of weather, disease and insects the Sweet Shepherd Nursery in rural Oregon is in the confident hands of Charly Shepherd manager, and her father Barry.
Weather does spoil the crops one year though and the Sisterhood of Shepherds; Faith, Hope and Charly do what they all know best. And that is, save the family business.
Heartsong by Nicola Furlong evoked a heartwarming feeling as I came to know the members of the Shepherd family. I could identify with the same problems of misunderstanding or impatience that took place between them and as the story evolved, I desperately wanted to see them succeed in saving their nursery. The butterfly on the cover has a special meaning toward the solution.
However, Barry suffers a serious health setback and to make matters worse while out one evening during recovery he collapses. When questioned, his granddaughter replies 'it was like he had seen a ghost." Now the book becomes intriguing as Charly and her sisters try to solve the mystery behind the secret that their father is hiding.
Furlong has included some wonderful quotes throughout the book such as "There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder" ~Alfred Austin~ and "The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world." ~Charles Dudley Warner~
I've always said gardening and drinking tea go hand in hand and when the Sisterhood of Shepherds sit down to tea and fresh scones to discuss the family affairs, you feel like you are right at the table with them.
Furlong sent me the book as a PDF to download and read on a computer (or iPad as I did) and has graciously given permission to give away a copy to one of my readers. If you would like your name entered in the draw for the giveaway of a PDF copy, let me know in your comment and the giveaway of course is open to everyone as there are no mailing costs involved this time. The draw will be on Sunday, August 31.
This is Nicola Furlong who supplied me with the photos for my book review. She is an avid gardener and  gardens in a small seaside town on southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Thank you for the opportunity to review your book, I love the cover!  Many of my blogger friends are passionate gardeners too and I know they will enjoy reading Heartsong.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mosaic Monday #3 Butterfly Happy Dance

My happy dance starts here in the butterfly garden and buddleia is the star attraction. It's commonly known as butterfly bush and has a heavenly honey-like scent.
Finally in mid-August on a sunny day with no wind or rain they came! Monarchs, a male seen in the centre and a female. They lingered for quite a while drinking the sweet nectar from the butterfly bush flowers.
Other butterflies that have visited this plant too are the cabbage white and a viceroy, copycat in colour to the monarch.
I was beginning to think the butterflies had forgotten about our garden but I'm sure the cool, rainy and windy summer weather has something to do with it.
Have the butterflies been gracing your garden?

Come join Mosaic Monday
❀Link the Url from a post containing a mosaic about any subject.
❀Link back to Mosaic Monday.
❀Leave me a comment.
❀Try to visit the 3 participants before and after your link. More if you can!



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Second Time Around Tea

The first time I went to pick blueberries this month they were small and it took me a long time to fill my baskets. The second time, they were huge and I was finished picking in no time.
Barrie Hill Farm is about a half hour drive and they also have pick your own strawberries, raspberries and lots of vegetables when in season.
Previously I baked a blueberry coffee cake and now some muffins that contain ground flaxseed.
My new lavender mug with a pretty handle, a replacement gift from the Etsy Shop of Antiques and Teacups. When Ruth featured these mugs I ordered one right away but sadly it arrived broken as well as my other purchase. Good customer service and the fact that there are so many treasures in her Etsy store will entice me to shop with Ruth again.
A few fresh springs of lavender tied with a bow sit atop a lavender coloured napkin with cutouts along the bottom.
I brewed some chocolate orange puerh tea and there are a couple of other lavender mugs for sharing. And of course, more muffins!
The lavender hedge is full and fragrant in early July and after cutting back all those spent stems (deadheading the plants) a second flush of blooms has already started.
The bees are happy!
The second time around for the lavender won't produce as many flowers but enough to enjoy the scent again and cut a few stems to bring indoors.
I'm linking with:
Tea Time Tuesday
Tuesday Cuppa Tea
Tea in the Garden

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mosaic Monday #2 I ♥ Hydrangeas

Thank you to all who participated in Mosaic Monday last week and shared their creative collages. I recognized names from when Mary hosted and was excited to see some of my blogging sisters trying their hand at a mosaic and participating for the first time.
One never knows what to expect when hosting a blog party and I feel a disclaimer is in order:
If your link does not contain a mosaic and/or your sole purpose for linking is for personal recognition, I feel obligated to remove your link out of fairness to the other participants.
The link will be up around 2pm EST on each Sunday and not Monday as I had announced. I was a little nervous and had Monday on the brain but I've got that all sorted out in my mind now. And, Sunday afternoon is convenient for most of us.
I have a favour to ask. Many participants link up on Sunday and do their visiting and commenting that day. However, some bloggers for whatever reason do not link until Monday and are forgotten as people have moved on to other parties or their work week. Will you kindly take some time later on Monday and see if there are some wonderful contributions you've missed please?
And now, let's party! I decided to use Pizap this week, another software that is free to download and has lots of unusual templates to play with. 
Hydrangea paniculata is the variety that I like best and it survives robustly through our cold and snowy winters. A few featured from our gardens.
My absolute favourite is 'Limelight' that transforms in colour through the seasons as you can see above.
An older mosaic I made of 'Limelight.' Does anyone recognize this software? I'm wondering if it was the one that PicMonkey replaced? I like this layering format and would use it again if I can locate it.
Thank you for participating in Mosaic Monday, without you there would be no party.



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