Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Special Holiday Tea

I feel so pampered and loved!  My friend Sweetcakes recently held a tea party while I visited, allowing me to spend some quality time with friends.  Thank you!

It was a beautiful day.  The fire blazed, the teas smelled heavenly, and I was so happy to see my friends.  The place settings were winter white, with pink and silver accents.  It perfectly accompanied the snow outside and the rose in my friends' cheeks from the crisp air.

We began the tea feast with white bean-rosemary soup.  Then we enjoyed egg salad, chicken salad, and cucumber tea sandwiches.

The scones were cranberry-orange served with cream, orange marmalade and cranberry relish. For desert, we had an amazing assortment of Christmas cookies and candies, and sweet and salty chocolate cupcakes.

And if this wasn't enough, the next day I enjoyed an inspiring brunch, prepared by Esme, and in the company of my writing friends.
Two very special women. Thank you for making my visit home one that I will treasure!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Japanese Garden on a Rainy Day

The DH and I recently visited the Japanese Garden in Portland.  It was a drizzly, cool day, and it was a fantastic time to visit! Here are some photos to enjoy.  The artwork above and below is by Shihoko Fukumoto.  She dyes this sheer fabric with indigo, in a very traditional manner.  Read more.  The forms are gorgeous!  Above, a demonstration tea ceremony.

And some views of the garden from our stroll...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winner, Yay!

Wow- I've never had this many blog comments.  Thank you all, I've read each and every comment and am inspired by all the love and creativeness put into what you are making.

And the winner is...Wendy.  And I love that she was also a participant in Giveaway Day.  A nice reward for her generosity.

Tea and granola on the way, congratulations!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Fuel for the Last Weeks of Holiday Crafting (Giveaway)

I'm participating in Sew, Mama, Sew's Giveaway Day by offering a giveaway of loose-leaf tea (Ice Wine) and homemade granola, gifts that will fuel your body and inspire your creativity, to get you through those last crafting days before the holidays. 

Or if you're one of those plan-ahead types and you're all ready, then you can sit by the fire and sip away while reading a book.

My warmest wishes as  you celebrate all that is this season!  Stephanie

Please leave a comment telling me about the holiday projects you have remaining, or have already completed. I'll pick the winner at random on Friday, Dec 17th.  (International shipments OK.) 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Giveaway Day - Dec 13, 2011

Sew, Mama, Sew is hosting its annual Giveaway Day on Monday, Dec 13th.  Check its website for a list of all participants, then come here to register for my giveaway!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Fire, Sun, Ice

Sitting at the counter, Portland Bijou Cafe

I love this image.  It's incomplete, a small snippet of life, yet it tells me a story:  Cafe, brunch, sunshine, weekend.  Actually, it tells me two stories.  The second story is based on color:  Fire, sun, ice, solstice. 

One of the things I've enjoyed most about this blog is that it's an avenue to work on my photography skills.  I've learned so much, and have so much yet to learn.  One thing is for sure, a good image tells a story. 

What story does this photo tell you?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Starting the Giving Tradition

Photo by Dave Anderson for World Ark magazine

I was browsing through the Heifer International magazine (World Ark) recently and came upon the photo above. It just grabbed me.  The woman, Nai Paulo, is making tea.  I was drawn to the bright colors and the elaborate ornamentation as it stands in contrast with the sandy, bare soil and the preparation of tea.  The story tells that the tea is made from tea leaves, a spoonful of raw sugar, water and camel mik.  After the tea, she will make porridge for the village children's breakfast.  The story is how camels (initially provided by Heifer International) have improved the lives of the Maasai people in Tanzania.

Heifer International is an organization I admire.  It gives families in impoverished ares (in the US as well as internationally) livestock or seedlings, along with training, to help them improve nutrition and earn an income.  For example, a family can use camels for milk, chickens for eggs and bees for honey.  Heifer asks that the family pass along offspring from their gift to others in the community.  From the website, "Heifer's mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.  By giving families a hand-up, not just a hand-out, we empower them to turn lives of hunger and poverty into self-reliance and hope.  With gifts of livestock and training, we help families improve their nutrition and generate income in sustainable ways."

This Christmas, I will begin a new tradition with my niece.  I'll talk to her about how some children don't have food or toys, and that she can help.  I'll let her pick rabbits, chickens, bees, etc., that we will contribute.  I think, even at three, she can learn the joy in sharing.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Wise Ones

Thank you to everyone who shared thoughts and read the comments in my Wise Women series!  Here's a recap:

How do you hold joy and sorrow in your heart at the same time?

How do you forgive yourself?

How do you cultivate patience?

How do you remain true to your unique life's path?

Congratulations to last week's giveaway winner, Esmerelda!
(Her name was randomly chosen from the commenters.)

Thank you for sharing and for reading.  This has been a very meaningful series for me!