Friday, March 29, 2013

The Tea Trolley

This week in tea started out with a bang as I headed to Christina's house for a bridal shower for a friend. Christina decided on a tearoom theme and had turned her house into a most elegant tearoom! Don't you love it!!!!

 There were sandwiches and scones and chocolate strawberries and vanilla cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes and lots and lots of tea!

There were four at each table and we all had our own delicious tea set before us -- just as if we were at the Ritz!

Alas, the shower ended and we all had to head back to real life. 

Here is the plate I put together for this afternoon's company. There were strawberries, smoked almonds, coconut oil lime candies and coconut cream lemon bombs.

Here is a picture of what I call one of my "restorative teas". It's my goal to have at least one of these a week -- a few minutes to make tea for myself, sit down, and try to relax a bit. As you can tell, Laura joined me for this one.

Bit by bit I got the hutch changed over for spring and summer! Yay! I love all the pastel teacups lined up in rows! 

 Tomorrow is Michael's birthday and preparation day for Easter. Plenty of baking on the agenda and hopefully a chance for a little cup of tea here and there. I hope you all have a special weekend!

If you want to link to any post you have created during the week that includes anything about tea or coffee or other hot drinks just link up with Mr. Linky below!

The Tea Trolley Link Up:
-- Any post that is tea, coffee, or hot drink related
-- Link to this blog
-- Paste your link in the Mr. Linky below

Thursday, March 28, 2013

This Year's Lithuanian Easter Eggs

Last week we spent a few hours at a friend's house making Lithuanian Easter Eggs. It is quite an art and we are just beginners!

Wax is put onto the eggs using a stylus made out of a nail stuck into the eraser part of a pencil. There are many traditional designs. Only one stroke can be made with each dip of wax so the designs are made up of the single strokes.

Our friend has younger children begin with plastic eggs and melted crayons.

Here are the girls getting into the rhythm of dip stroke dip stroke. The tap, tap, tap of the stylus on the bottom of the can of wax is the only sound you hear while concentrating on your design.

Don't the eggs look beautiful!!

I think we had 16 or 18 different color dyes to choose from!

Here are some of the masterpieces our friend pulls out year after year.

We started with fresh eggs and then after we decorated them the insides were removed.

Here is an example of a Ukranian egg, which is much more complicated and time consuming.

After the wax is applied and the egg is dyed the wax has to be removed with the flame of a candle. One holds the egg up to the candle until a small area of wax melts and then you wipe the melted wax off with a rag. Round and round the egg you go until all the wax is removed.

Those who are more experienced can experiment with several different colors, applying wax in successive order to get designs with multiple colors showing through.

Oh the infinite ways to create beauty!

The children really got quite involved in their egg making and we came home with about 15 eggs which are now gracing our kitchen table and giving us something lovely to look at while we eat.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Words and Wool

I have been working on secret Easter knitting so I can't post pictures yet! When not working on that I was completing my most current batch of wool flowers for the Village Yarn Shop.
I got a little time this week to finish up organizing my wool felt and make room so I could actually hang a few dresses in my closet too! James joined me to finish his math work. :)

As for reading, you can see from the above picture that my bedside reading is out of control once again.  I will have to take some time to get things organized. In the mean time I just enjoy it. :)

This past week I finished:

A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts; Parts 1-4, Includes 8 DVD's and 4 Course Guidebooks (The Great Courses: Modern History) by The Teaching Company. This was 48 lectures on one of my favorite portions of history and I certainly enjoyed it! It took me months and months to get through this as I only could watch when I was ironing and no one was around, or at other very random times. I think I have a course on Medieval History to begin next.

One of the things studying history reminds us is that there is nothing new under the sun! Crazy situations and problems in society have taken place before! And various governments throughout time have never really gotten it together! Should I expect any better in our day? :)

And now I must go and tackle a few of those books sitting on my nightstand!

For more ideas on knitting and reading, check out Ginny's Yarn Along.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Big Change

Check out our handsome James! We discovered a few weeks ago that James is far sighted and thus in need of glasses. Monday was the day his life changed forever and he got his first pair of glasses. I love them! James is the same age that I was when I first got glasses. Hopefully, schoolwork will be even easier now!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mondays are for Grace

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind 
than to be hopelessly in love with spring.

 ~George Santayana

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Tea Trolley

Another week and another round of tea memories from our daily life. 

Last Friday we studied S is for Shortbread (in our Scotland studies). I thought it was appropriate to make the kids tea and shortbread and have a little school snack. They all loved it!

Friends were here for tea on Friday afternoon. I made my favorite gluten free scone recipe and used lemon zest and dried blueberries. YUM!!! I also took apple slices and covered them in natural almond butter and decorated them with dried fruits. This is a good idea if you need a sugar-free snack!

My daffodil tea cozy had its official debut on the tea trolley!

Wednesday was the first day of spring! In our family that means spring tea. It wasn't great for our schedule, and I evaluated my options -- was this a year to throw tradition to the wind, or a year to put in a little effort and keep to tradition. You can see what I finally decided. We enjoyed our Gold Rush Tea and Twining Rose.

We got Grandma to join us:

Laura loved it! She drank cup after cup of tea. We broke into the beautiful jams and jellies that my friend Heather had given me on Monday. Such a treat!

Andrew even agreed to take a few sips of tea (our only non-tea drinker).

Teacups leftover from St. Patrick's day.

I hear we are supposed to get a snowstorm this weekend! I guess we'll be drinking even more tea!

If you want to link to any post you have created during the week that includes anything about tea or coffee or other hot drinks just link up with Mr. Linky below!

The Tea Trolley Link Up:
-- Any post that is tea, coffee, or hot drink related
-- Link to this blog
-- Paste your link in the Mr. Linky below

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Words and Wool

 I finished my spring tea cozy since last Wednesday!!!! yay! Now I can officially put away the Christmas pudding cozy and enjoy daffodils!!!! I LOVE it!!!! I used Attic24's daffodil pattern.

I also managed to finish this wreath, begun with Christina last week, just in time for the first day of spring! This wreath makes me so happy. I think it is perhaps one of my most favorite things I have ever made for myself. Inspiration also from Attic24 except that her wreath was all crochet!

 Another piece finished this week was my Greta vest in gray. I used yarn I had recycled from a Goodwill purchased GAP sweater. I knitted it using Christina's Greta Vest pattern and then traded some things with Christina to get her to block it for me. I was so pleased with the results!!!!

Regular readers will be sick of seeing another Sweet Pea Hat but I do love knitting them and I tell you, I have more friends having babies this year than ever!

If you think all I do is sit around and knit, let me assure you that all of this knitting is happening at the same time something else is going on: family worship, schoolwork, visiting with friends, or watching a movie with Michael. Making double use of time is the only way these things happen. :)

I also want to say how grateful I am to have this yarn and wool to play with! It may sound silly, but I do pray for yarn and wool! And God provides me with good prices, gifts, friends who want to get rid of their supplies, and time to make flowers to sell so I can buy wool. As long as there is provision, I will keep knitting!!!!

Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle was finished up this week with the children. We all enjoyed this story of a young boy growing up in Medieval Germany. It involved castle raids, life in a monastery, and fleeing from enemies. And it has a sweet little ending.

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, Quick and Easy: 100 Recipes for the Food You Love--Fast! by Nicole Hunn is the followup book to Hunn's first cookbook. I was so excited this past week when a friend gave it to me as a gift! Hunn's first book is, I think, the only gluten-free cookbook I own and I use it often for recipes and to send the children to when they want to bake. Looking through this new book I am excited to try many things, especially all the mixes in the back (cake, muffin, etc.)

In the Midst of Life by Jennifer Worth is a book I have mentioned before but am continuing to make my way through. The book addresses the important issue of death and dying and argues that in our day so many shrink from this subject and seek to avoid it at all costs when instead we ought to be thoughtfully prepared for our own deaths and lovingly involved in the care of those around us who may be dying. I haven't finished the book yet but will let you know my final opinion of it when I do. For now, I think it is the kind of book every adult should read and think about.

That's it for this week! For more ideas on knitting and reading hop over to Ginny's Yarn Along.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meeting a Friend

Yesterday I got to meet a friend in person whom I have known for 5 1/2 years but only through reading blogs! 

Heather, of a Place of Quiet Rest, and I each drove half way to meet in the middle and enjoy lunch together.

Do have a look at our beautiful lunches! The Asian Chicken Salad:

And my French Onion Soup!

The pepper steak sandwich:

 We had no idea exactly what the restaurant would be like but it was perfect for a long afternoon chat!

It was really special to be able to talk at length and to fill in the blanks of things that are left unsaid on blogs. And of course we got on as if we had been face-to-face friends all these years. God has blessed Heather with a beautiful, gentle spirit which is reflected on her blog and, I know, in her home. She is very gifted in the homemaking arts and I have learned many things from reading her blog over the years.

We couldn't end the day without stopping in at the local Salvation Army and Goodwill thrift stores!!!! Ha ha ha! We did have so much fun! And Heather so kindly bestowed upon me three huge bags of felted wool to use for my flowers. (Not to mention four jars of her amazing homemade jams which I can't wait to try!)

We should never take for granted what a gift friends are and can be! And it is amazing how the internet can be a positive means for finding and fostering such gifts.