Thursday, August 30, 2012

Heart Tugs

A year ago today, I embarked on the China/Tibet/India tea tour.  I can't fully express how meaningful that trip was for me.  It's been a year and I'm not done blogging about it.  I'll start writing about Tibet in a few days.  :-)  My heart is tugged by memories of the scenery, the tea fields, the food and the room friend and tour mates, the tour guides, the tea farmers, the tea brokers, the tea pickers.  I am so fortunate to have had this experience.  I'm wearing my very special tea scarf today as an homage to the tour.

Also tugging at my heart is my family.  It's hard to live far away.  I just returned from a family reunion (that's why I haven't blogged much). 

I was delighted to be able to give my niece her 5-year-old birthday present (a wee bit early).

It's a ceramic tea set with the cups/saucers, teapot and creamer/sugar shaped like flowers.  Each cup and saucer is a different color.  Of course, we had a tea party and she planned the menu:  Angel food cake cut into shapes, grapes and apples.  She tried milk in her tea, but didn't think much of it.  ;-) 

So this is life today, celebrating my niece and remembering my travels, and a bit sad that it all goes so quickly.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mt. Hood and Timberline Lodge

Mt. Hood, as seen from Timberline Lodge
We were standing at not quite 6,000 feet; the peak is at 11,249 feet

I've been quiet for a few days, but it's for a good reason.  My Aunt and Uncle have been visiting, and we've had fun times.  Yesterday we drove up to Mt. Hood and visited Timberline Lodge
Mt. Jefferson, from Timberline Lodge
 Timberline Lodge
The building is made from timbers and rocks in the surrounding forests, and adorned with beautiful things made from scrap materials.  The story of Timberline Lodge is inspiring.  A WPA project from the Great Depression, the Lodge put lots of folks to work - laborers and crafts people. 

One small portion of a mural carved from scrap linoleum

Beauty emerged from things on hand. The hooked rugs were made from old uniforms. Murals were carved out of scrap linoleum (Artist Douglas Lynch). Even the door hinges became decorative.

Beautiful door adornment from scrap metal

Our tour guide impressed upon us how meaningful it was to be a worker on the Lodge.  The work was long and hard, but it was a good job and people were in desperate need.  Despite the constraints and the challenges, the workers found the creative spark -- that desire to make beauty in our world -- and it still shines through today in the many details throughout the Lodge. 

Timberline Lodge has just celebrated its 75th anniversary.  Last year, one of the men who carved the massive pillars in the main hall came to visit.  He was nearly 100 years old.  He wanted to see the Lodge one more time.  He recently passed away, but you can see his tools and hear his story when you visit and take the Timberline Lodge tour.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meatless Monday 13: Easy summer salads (non-green) with berries

Berries, berries!  I live in the land of berry heaven.  Here are two ways I've recently incorporated berries into our meals.  Above, garbanzo beans, oil and vinegar, pepper, a bit of blue cheese and currants.  It was fabulous!

Below, one of my favorites, quinoa salad with blueberries and hazelnuts, two of Oregon's prize crops.  Recipe from Bob's Red MillI used fresh berried instead of dried, have used several different types of vinegar, and throw in fresh herbs.  This makes a big batch!  It's easy to halve the recipe. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Back Balcony: Before/After

OK, this one's for Mom and those of you who have seen my home...but I hope all of you enjoy! 

The sad back balcony, empty and with a winter's worth of green growth

The back balcony had been a pebble in my shoe all winter.  Early this summer, we transformed this space!  The DH scrubbed the floor with a wire broom, getting off all the moss and slime from the winter.  THANK you!  Then we added patio furniture and some color and visual interest.  I am very pleased with this cheerful space!

I made these flags from fabric scraps and hung some strips on the lantern
(which we don't use, so no concerns of fire)

Beautiful New Guinea Impatiens
We have lovely borrowed views from our neighbor's garden
And I've enjoyed entertaining from the balcony!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Another Thrift Store Treasure

This lovely little yixing-style teapot came home with the DH (dear hubby) from the thrift store. What a great surprise!  I soaked it in boiling-hot water a number of times and tested the pouring and the lid fit.  All checked out; it's a keeper!  And for <$5, I'm even more tickled with it. 

The pot has a stamp on the bottom and Chinese characters on the front, neither of which I can decipher.  It's perfect size for gong-fu brewing.  Since the unglazed clay is absorbent, I will dedicate this teapot to light, flowery oolongs.   The one I'm drinking here is a very light Ti Quan Yin.  The pretty little teacup is a souvenir from Xian, China, the teahouse on the grounds of the Terracotta Warriors.

Thank you DH for always being on the lookout for tea treasures!

The Ti Quan Yin hails from Harney & Sons.  I am ashamed to say this tea was two years old, yet both the aroma and flavor held up.  It has those typical high floral notes and bright flavor.  The little green balls expand leisurely and lend themselves to several round of steeping.  I tend to choose darker, more oxidized oolongs, but on a hot summer day (it's actually in the upper 90's today!), this was perfect.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Join Me in a Review of Paisley Tea Co Samples

Hello!  Paisley Tea Company has been kind to send me samples of its new products, and I'd like a few of YOU to help me in the review!  I'll pick two people from the commenters (one random, one my choice). I will send you samples and post your reviews here.  (No experience required and I will provide some guidance.)

If you're interested, leave a comment and be sure I know how to reach you.  ;-)