Saturday, February 27, 2010

Airplane Tea Party

On a recent trip, I had an airplane tea party! I brought my own goodies and enjoyed a healthy and tasty little tea party.

I drank a very nice cup of Monk's Blend. Thanks, Marilyn!

Rosemary-cucumber sandwich, Biscoff cookies (perfect with tea!), carrots and grapes. The tea party made the flight a lot more fun!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lavender - Grapefruit Sachet

Here's a very easy and fun project! I recently blended lavender buds and grapefruit peel to make fabric sachets for my sweater drawer. Both lavender and grapefruit peel discourage moths from feasting on wool.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sorghum Cookies

The cookie jar is empty today, not long after I made these sorghum cookies. We had sorghum syrup from the CSA, and I used it to replace most of the honey in this recipe. (I also used whole wheat flour.) The cookies were more like little cakes, simple and honest, and very very good with a strong black tea.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spring - I feel it!

I sat on my sunny front porch for a tea break today, and I pulled off the hat and gloves! It was about 50 degrees, a heat wave for us!

The DH and I normally mark the start of Spring in early Feb. That's when he, the more-plant-than-human among us, notices a stirring of the earth. This year we've had layers upon layers of post-Feb 1 snow, and it was hard for me to feel Spring's gradual approach. Today was a glorious exception, and I hope the start of a gentle thaw!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: Esmerelda

Esmerelda read this piece of her writing at a recent tea party. It was so funny (because I can see myself in it), that I almost spewed tea! Not very lady-like, I know, but read on and see for yourself. Thank you for sharing this, Esme, and thank you to Sweetcakes for the tea party!

How to brew the perfect cup of tea

Bow to the east to honor Shennong who accidentally drank tea when some Camellia Sinensis leaves blew into his bowl of hot water. Bow to the west to honor Lu Yu who realized the importance of quality water in the perfect cup of tea. Fill an aluminum kettle half way full with filtered water. Take a seat to watch it boil. Consider this a form of enlightenment and while you are meditating on the blue flame remember the Bodhidharma who fell asleep meditating and was so disgusted with his weakness that he cut off his eyelids which fell to the ground to become tea plants. Picture yourself without eyelids.

Meditate on the fact that you have never even seen a tea plant or even a tea leaf that was not smooshed up into a paper bag with a Lipton tag hanging from it. Root in your cupboard for some real tea. Someone gave you some as a party favor at a baby shower last year. Find the tea in the drawer you use for wayward coupons, used Bic lighters and screws that have come loose. It has spilled a bit so you sweep it up carefully along with a few pencil shavings. For flavor you think quite earnestly.

Run to the CD player to put on some music appropriate for the perfect cup of tea and stub your toe on the sofa and scream with pain just as the whistle on the tea kettle sounds igniting the fierce migraine that you were trying to avoid by having the perfect cup of tea. Choose the first thing to play that you see on the play queue which happens to be Burl Ives singing Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer. It is February.

Shut off the heat under the tea kettle and remember to let the water cool a bit. Center yourself. Not too hot. Heat brings out the bitter flavors. You wonder how bitter pencil shavings are as the hot water flows over the tea bag you have constructed out of loose leaf tea tied in a nylon bag that is made of the toe of a pair of pantyhose that no longer fits. Lets face it. No pantyhose fit. Men must have designed them.

You head for the cabinet to find medicine to absorb the stunning knife-like sensation throbbing in your temples and the only pain reliever you can find is your child’s grape flavor Tylenol so you read the dosage information on the back and calculate the ratio of your weight to your child’s weight and say what the fuck and drink the whole bottle. It tastes like grape shoe leather and you are pretty sure that once the sugar in the Tylenol wears off your headache will be worse, but you do have the perfect cup to tea to drink which now has been steeping for about 20 minutes in your old pantyhose. The pencil shavings are floating near the top so they are easy to flick out. You fling the pantyhose into the sink, pick up the only magazine you can find which is your husband’s fall issue of “Storm water: a utilities magazine” and make your way to the sofa. Ahh you think, settling back and closing your eyes. Thank God for eyelids.

Amy L. Cornell aka Esmerelda

Me (left) and the author Esme

Photo from Sweetcake's blog

Monday, February 15, 2010

Totally Smooshable

Look closely at the photo above and you'll see one well-smooshed sock monkey! Pepper, the monkey, is in a state of bliss. Sock monkeys live for smooshings.

Pepper was a Valentine's Day gift for my 2-year-old niece.
Photos by my sister.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Tea Apron

Check out my fabulous new tea apron, a gift from AZ Tea Lover! (That's me, rolling my eyes at the DH.)

Here's a closeup of the detail. Look at the gorgeous edging and braiding! Wow!

And a closeup of the fabric itself. So cheerful! This apron makes me very happy.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all! I like this day because I can tell you how special you are!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Peet's Coffee and Tea

During my recent Sunday morning in CA, I found my way to Peet's Coffee and Tea. I wasn't expecting much, as I assumed this franchise was just like a Starbuck's. I was happily proven wrong! To start with, they had a full tea menu. Then, the servers were able to converse intelligently about the various teas. And finally, glory, they served the loose tea in a pot and with a timer. I was impressed! The next time I'm in town, I will seek out Peet's.

I had a very nice pot of Yin Hao Jasmine.
Have you been served a good cup of tea in an unexpected place? Tell me about it!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

It is 41 degrees as I walk to the library today. The sun bounces brightly off the melting snow. Everything glitters. My head is uncovered while I walk, a first in months. My personal dark days of winter are over. Spring is here for me, for earth. Beneath this snow, the life force stirs. The green nubs of daffodils poke through the soil. The paper whites we planted on New Year's Day perfume the air. The forced quince opens its blushing petals. Hope springs eternal, and none too soon.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Done and an En-Joying Morning

Early-blooming daffodils in a sunny spot, along American Parkway in Folsom, CA

My big project is done! Wahoooo! I'm exhausted and wired at the moment, but happy.

Last Sunday, the day before the event, I had a few hours to myself and was able to en-joy a very nice cup of tea (more coming on that) and also a run along the "bike path" in Folsom, CA. This multi-purpose trail parallels the American River. It was a magical morning for me. The experience gave me space to clear my head and ground myself for the coming days. Truly an en-joying experience. A few photos along the trail...