Monday, October 24, 2016

Inspired, Illuminated and Friendship

In My Garden

It surprised me to see the tiny PW 'Pink Perfume' Bloomerang lilac planted last year blooming again.

These are the berries of Actaea pachypoda commonly known as white baneberry or doll's eyes. They're always an interesting plant in the fall garden.
It was a busy week last week and I took my hubby out for lunch for his birthday to a restaurant in the country called The Globe which is famous for their good food and presentation of meals.
This is the smoked trout salad plate that I had which was delicious, hubby had the omelette special.
In the spring I saw a journalling Bible mentioned on someone's FB and I had never heard of this type of Bible. After some research I knew I wanted one and saved points from our Visa card for Chapters Book Store and ordered it at the end of summer. I'm still at the tip of the iceberg for knowing how I can be creative in my new Bible but look forward to doing this over several years. Anyone else have one?
Our youngest daughter is a talented photographer and these are her two children a couple of years ago  blown up on a canvas wall hanging. She had a Scentsy light burning below it and the grands were illuminated in a special way. 
Three of us from our Canadian card and tea exchange group met again at The Old Curiosity Shop in Markham and enjoyed a Victorian Tea together. On the left is Margie from Tea in the Valley sporting her new witch's hat fascinator and across from her is Wendy from September Violets.  I'm wearing my new fascinator purchased on the MI tea tour.
We had a wonderful time eating, laughing and having heartwarming conversations but did miss the other Ontario gals who couldn't make it.
The weather is much cooler in the mornings now and I have had to pull out a winter hat to keep my ears warm....the coat will be coming soon.
Take Time for Tea

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Friends are Life's Gift of Love

If you're a regular to my blog you may notice it's not wonky looking any more. For a few weeks the white strip down the middle was shrinking and shifting. At first I thought it was my computer but it turns out it was a Blogger glitch. A quick email to Karen Valentine, my blog designer and it was fixed in no time.
The Canadian Thanksgiving is over and we were thrilled with the autumn colour heading north to our oldest daughter's home for the holiday.
Heading into the house one morning I noticed the beauty of fallen leaves windswept onto this chair and couldn't resist taking a photo.
A few thank you cards that went to friends from the Michigan tea tour. 
Violets are my birth month flower for February and I was touched to receive this plate (just because) from my friend Gloria with the quote "Friends are Life's Gift of Love" ~Helen Steinier Rice~ inside the card. Such a lovely quote and sweet gesture of friendship. 
Take Time for Tea
I make myself afternoon tea every day around 3 pm and sit and relax for half an hour or so. A homemade scone with lemon curd and pumpkin chai one day with my new funky teapot won during games on the tea tour.
Linking with Amy's Five on Friday.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Five on Friday

I've slowed down on joining blog parties but do like to keep in touch with a couple of hosts like Amy who has Five on Friday for sharing photos, life events....anything at all.
Ever had the feeling you're being watched? Some prankster put a plastic goose or swan head high in this cedar tree and I found it funny and worth sharing.
Apparently the spring show of lilacs is amazing on Mackinac Island and I purchased a souvenir teapot with them on during my trip. English Breakfast tea is in my cup, a gift from Nancy who owns The Rosemary House Tea Room.
Some of my friends will already have seen my autumn theme mixed berry pie on FB. Making an easy pastry dough and learning to use cutouts were the topics for a workshop I attended. 
Recently I babysat grands and Topaz came along to help. It sure tuckered him out!

October 10 is our Canadian Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to turkey with all the trimmings.
Linking with Five on Friday

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Opulent Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

We were blessed with gorgeous weather our entire time during the Michigan Tea Tour.
Taking the ferry over to Mackinac Island the opulent Grand Hotel stands out like a beacon to visitors. Each room is decorated differently and above is where a couple of the ladies stayed.
We had reservations for afternoon tea and were delighted with the background music of a talented lady on a harp. Posing in all her splendour is Linda P. whose signature tea attire is a hat (or fascinator) and scarves.  She certainly was an inspiration to be our best at all times and I have to admit I purchased a couple of fascinators and some scarves on the trip.
Afternoon tea was served on low tables and included champagne. To be honest, the tea was brewed too long for most of us but the dainty fare, delicious.
Here we are at our tables and Nancy from Two Cottages and Tea (second from left, in left photo) was able to join us to make 11.
Dinner at The Grand Hotel was an elegant affair and waiting for the rest of the group is my friend Gloria and I.
One can only get about the island by foot, horse or bicycle and while walking to explore the boutiques before leaving I captured this charming old stone church.
 Our last dinner together was spent in Frankenmuth with a little shopping afterwards.
One final shot of the group of us together. Thanks again to Phyllis (centre) with help from her good friend Lori (3rd from left) who arranged a memorable trip of tea rooms and shopping. It was nice to make new friends; laugh, eat, shop and sip tea together.
Take Time for Tea

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Concentration Creates Perfection

Continuing the Michigan Tea Tour....
Before we entered the Japanese Cultural Centre for the much anticipated Japanese Tea Ceremony we strolled the grounds which had scenic vistas and an aura of tranquility.
It was a beautiful sunny day and as you can see, the bridge beckoned one to cross and meander along the path.
The demonstration station was prepared upon our entry and our tea specialist was this charming 83 year old woman in her ceremonial kimono. Always a beautiful smile and the explanation that the ceremony is an exact tradition that requires her concentration for perfection. 
Usually the ceremonial tea is prepared kneeling on a tatami mat and it is still done this way when delegates from Japan visit. The raised area behind is not measured by feet but by how many mats fit  and this is a large tea house with 8 tatami mats. Our specialist is grateful when she can prepare the ceremony sitting on a stool.
Even though prepared many times over the years, her eye for detail was watched in awe by the 10 of us where you could have heard a pin drop. We were served matcha tea and sweets afterwards.
Please visit my blogging sisters and fellow travellers for their posts on the tour as well.
Phyllis at Relevant Tea Leaf
Linda at Friendship Tea
Tea at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island will be my next and final post of the tour.
Take Time for Tea

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Michigan Tea Tour

I've been absent for a week as I've been away on a tea tour in Michigan....and it was wonderful!
Let me introduce our hostess, Phyllis Barkey who blogs at Relevant Tea Leaf. Phyllis was busy planning a year ahead and had pretty gift bags waiting for each of the 9 ladies arriving to join her.
Our first evening at a hotel in Utica, MI we had a tea and chocolate pairing presented by Teresa (top left) from Ohio. It really was a lot of fun tasting three different varieties of tea with each of the three chocolates. Teresa also gifted each of us with a box of goodies.
 The next day saw some shopping and almost everyone at the Victorian Rose tea room for an afternoon pot of tea and a scone.
Top photo l-r is yours truly, Linda P, my friend Gloria, (we were the Canadians in the group) and Barb. Bottom left is Joan and Lori. Bottom right is Nancy who blogs at Rosemary's Sampler, Phyllis and Linda J who blogs at Friendship Tea.
I'll continue our tour in a post next week where we enjoyed a Japanese Tea Ceremony and time on Mackinac Island.
Take Time for Tea!
Linking with Mosaic Monday.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

What I Baked with my Apron

The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath because she only had a few. It was also because it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and aprons used less material.  But along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.  
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty ears. 
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven. 
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids.. 
And when the weather was cold grandma wrapped it around her arms. 
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove. 
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
 From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables. After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls. 
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. 
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds. 
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the men folks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner. 
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes. (found on the internet years ago)
I have always worn a full apron for making dinner, baking and yes gathering a few vegetables which is why I like them with pockets. Above is the one I'm wearing right now but will bring out my favourite autumn one soon.
Last week at our local farmers market I bought a bag of Paula Red apples to make a pie and a quart of damson plums from the same vendor. I experimented by adding a dozen or so of the plums, pitted and cut and half and the sweetness they added to the apples was delicious. I hope to recreate the pie (maybe a few more plums) for the potluck lunch after church this Sunday.
A friend shared a recipe video on FB that looked pretty interesting - a cake made with two ingredients. I mixed the angel food cake and lemon pie filling by hand and smoothed it into a parchment-lined 9x13 pan. It baked for 35 minutes at 350° but once cool, mine didn't release from the parchment very well. A sprinkle of icing sugar before serving and although tasty the cake was heavy. Has anyone else tried this recipe? 
It didn't hit home with hubby and I but our 21 year old grandson who came for dinner was quite eager to take the leftovers back to his place and "maybe add some ice-cream Grandma."
Linking with Mosaic Monday.
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