Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Good Tuesday one and all!
Two posts in a row! Hooray! So, you are perhaps wondering what this photo is????? It is my plan! As you are all aware I am sure...we are in a "recession" with prices of food and transportation rising daily, I mean hourly....it is almost scarry if you stop to really think about it, which I choose not to do except that we have these two really great raised beds in our yard. About 8 years ago I decided to do the Square Foot Garden thing and my sweet husband built me these two coffins for that purpose. It is sooooo easy to work in these guys, but I just frittered away my time and did not do much at all except grow some tomatoes, fairly unsuccessfully and lots of weeds--very successfully! What is growing quite nicely there now in one corner is a very healthy sunflower which I am thrilled about and take as a sign that God hasen't given up on me being a gardner of edibles. I plan to raise lots of very good eats from these two coffins and want you to hold me accountable. I will keep you updated on the "harvest". This weekend is the soil prep and first plantings. I am thrilled. Want to make my own salsa, spaghetti sauce, et al......
Hope you are making a plan to fight this recession in one way or another!

Monday, April 28, 2008

April Showers

Good Monday Morning friends,
Already a week has passed....I have been keeping busy. Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me full of fun, creative, positive, talented, generous new "friends" who don't know me at all, but who have made a big impact on my life already! I enjoy Elizabeth who is a contributing editor for Romantic Homes and had lots of input in their new book Vintage Vavoom (which, btw, is excellent!). Now Elizabeth said she was enjoying using burlap in everything everywhere....which gave me an idea....our sofa is a lovely Laura Ashley that is about 12 years old...maybe even a year or so older! I love the floral upholstery but frankly, it is getting pretty worn out even cleaning does not remedy the ravages of time and wear. So, altho I am no upholsterer, and am well aware of my limitations in the field of industrial-type sewing...I decided to attempt a "no-sew" make over for little "Laura".

This "look" is achieved totally without sewing! I used quilting straight pins with the little white balls on the ends...anyway, I used fabric I bought at Walmart. The burlap turns out quite nice actually. I was worried about the smell and shedding....well, it does smell for a day or two and does shed a bit also, but only for those couple of days, then it is quite nice! The toile is great and if you really wanted to splurge, you could do it all in that, but might be way too busy. I covered two cushions in the other toile fabric and show that too...well. I have my summer great room make over all finished!

Thanks to Elizabeth !




Monday, April 21, 2008

Good MONDAY Morning

It is sooooo green here in NC. Guess we are totally politically correct! We got lots of lovely rain and every living thing is responding.

As I have said before, as of this July, we will have owned our home for 20 years, wow. when we bought the house the builder informed us we would probably need to have the house painted in about 7 years. Ha! I thought, we will not be here that long. Oh how wrong I was....the place has been painted 5 times (once because of the housefire)! We have gone through 2 water heaters, 3 heat/ac units, millions of lighbulbs and of course the FIRE. Raised our daughters here and is known as "home" to all our grands. Our son came here after getting out of the Air Force and we have moved into the house a total of 3 times ourselves! Arrowhead Way is Home. I have always desired a cottage. I have never wanted a McMansion. I like cozy and tidy. I wanted a cutting garden and a vegetable garden...lots of peonies and iris and lilacs too....so, got them! The deer like the iris a lot. Would love to have a nice fence around our yard so I could enjoy the flowers a bit more.....We (I should say: Paul) put in two raised beds that resemble coffins. This year will be a dedicated vegetable garden...I PROMISE. I love the Square Foot Gardner book, it is full of great ideas for getting the most our of a small piece of land! I am going to grow a ton of tomatoes, squash, green beans and zuchini and fill my freezer!!!
This is the "pantry" in my kitchen. I have, since day one, used this for dish storage. As you can see....I am a dish collector. I love particularly, Homer Laughlin China. The patterns are so "cottage" and charming. I just enjoy looking at them and oh, a table set with miss-matched HL, it is a beautiful sight. When I had my tea business, I needed to have enough china to serve 200. Bliss....I gathered lovely pieces all around....alas, my tea business (the one where I catered food) ended and I had no real use for over 200 dessert plates (altho, I loved owning them...) I sold quite a few to another tea shop owner....along with many cups and saucers....I have well over 100 sets in my own private collection as of now. I also enjoy Lenox China and Royal Daulton and of course Wedgewood, but these are high-end and not as easy to come by, so I just have a few and would never use in a tea business. Homer is great for a tea business, he washes up nice in a commercial dish machine and if you do break one, well....there are many more.
Now, my pantry is located in what used to be the laundry room....we have no washer/dryer so I have a nice room, lined with shelving for all sorts of storage. I do our laundry at the laundromatt. Remind me to tell you about it someday.....

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Hello everyone,
I love lists...they keep me focused while they also encourage me to proceed as well as show me where I have been! I NEED LISTS. If I do not have a list somehow whatever I am endeavoring to accomplish developes a problem. Also, if I have a list it is much easier for me to stick to purchasing only what is on said list...if I have no list, my eyes wander...sometimes...when they are wandering, they land on an item I know I should have on a list, any list, FIND ME A LIST! Above is one such item....the great huge conche (faux) shell....

Here is the shell filled with lovely campanella which will bloom all summer long on our back porch. I also love our back porch. Years ago we decided to screen in our exsisting deck and have never regretted the decision, we use the porch 9 months out of the year and the enjoyment it has added to our lives has been way way more than the amount of the project!

These guys hang out on the porch 24/7.

Here's a view from the table in our kitchen/great room/keeping room. Love the way it "opens" up the whole place.

Fiona loves the porch as well...........
The pollen is bad and I have to sweep daily. It gets so thick that it is like ice skating the floor is so slick....but we must tolerate the pollen as it comes with all the glorious spring flowers and shrubs that are such a joy.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Happy Saturday,
I know I am a bit late in posting, sorry. Now, why oh why is this underlining ever word? Can't even see the command for this....oh well....
So, here's what the room looks like that we did the tea class in this past week. It is a "50's" look room, very cool.

This is a view of all my tea necessities! Love this huge cart, make toting all this stuff ever so much easier! (btw, notice no underlining? don't know why, but thanks).

Chris and her daughter Jill were able helpers!

Here's the group of girls getting ready to begin the class. These are 6th grade girls and all were charming, intelligent and polite! We had a good time, I believe.

The "Apronistas!" Ready to being "work"

Some girls made fruit kabobs, others filled phylo cups with chicken salad and garnished with a tomato piece. You can see how intent they are.

A couple of girls set the tea tables which was a difficult assignment because tea tables are not set up like every other kind of eating arrangement. They had a sample to follow and they did a beautiful job!

These girls are making the tea! after some instruction, they did a perfect job! Great work!!!

Garnishing is very important for a tea tray! Both of these girls are true artists! They made each 3-tier server look breathtaking. (we talked about how a tea satisfies all 5 senses and garnishing is a feast for the eyes for sure).

So now we are ready to take off the aprons and have a seat for tea!

Tea parties are the perfect "photo op"



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Tea Class

For those of you who do not know it, I am a tea educator...along with all the other titles I go by in my tea journey. I give hands on tea classes to all ages. Tonight, I am doing a tea class for a group of 6th grade girls for their "fun night" at church. In my class, I teach how to make a perfect pot of tea using loose-leaf tea (no tea bag tea here!), I also teach how to make a cucumber sandwich, set the table correctly, garnish a 3-tiered server and then everyone washes their hands, gets an apron on and draws an assignment. I have everything prepared for assembly and the work begins. We make the sandwiches, fruit kabobs, set the table make the tea...and when it is all finished, we take off our aprons and have our tea party! It is alot of fun, very educational and tasty all at once. Our menu for tonight is : Currant Scones with lemon curd, creme friache, strawberry jam. Cucumber sandwiches and chicken salad in philo cups, fruit kabob with whipped dip, Italian cream tea cake, peach tea and English caramel tea. I will take some pictures of the evening and post them tomorrow. For now, I am all set. Will make the scones this afternoon, the tea cakes are done, need to be iced, the cucumbers are sliced and spent the night between absorbant paper towels, the dish-ware is all loaded into the car and I can relax a bit until around 3....need to be at the church by 6, the event begins at 7 and I want to be out of there by 9. (these girls have school tomorrow!).

It is a lovely sunny day. I am headed to the Dollar tree looking for some garden watering cans of some sort to use as centerpieces on the tables....I have plenty of blooming plants and bushes in my yard to fill these containers. You must have fresh flower(s) on your tea table!




Friday, April 11, 2008


These two teapots are the same except that teapot on the left is all embellished with gold. Teapot on the right is un-adorned.
The (L) teapot belonged to my mother and she received it as a gift from her grandmother, my great-grandmother Graybeal before I was born (I believe that is correct, Mom?). For as long as I can remember I have loved this teapot. I did not know my great-grandmother all that well although she lived to be in her 80s and died when I was a senior in high school. She was a quiet woman who sat silently with hands folded in her lap. She wore those dark black lace up shoes and her ankels were always swollen....I remember that vividly. I could hardly match that lady with this glorious teapot....shows you just how immature and shallow a child I was. Her name was Abbigail and at that time I thought it was a horribly old fashioned name...now, it is quite popular once again, while no one is named Cathy anymore (ironic, huh?). Oh, if I had only known how deep and poignant the story of Abbigail's life...or had even taken time to ask her, but she was not the kind of approachable sort of person, at least that is how I perceived her to be at any rate. She gave that teapot to my mother telling her that "every home should have a teapot". Oh, Grandma Graybeal, you and I are kindred spirits after all. I admire your strength and courage and regret my youthful shallowness. She married a handsome man from Morocco, Spain and left her home and family to travel west. They had two sons: Raymond (my grandfather) and Leon. Then, Mr. Mimran just disappeared! I have so many questions, but only blanks as no one living can give the information. Years later, while doing a search on the internet we discovered the name Mimran is a Sephardic Jewish name and that almost all people with that name fled Morocco and now live in Israel! MORE QUESTIONS!
As for the teapots....my mother knew of my love for that teapot and one time while visiting my folks in Arizona she gave me the teapot. (thank you Mother). It is priceless to me. One evening, while playing around on ebay I put in a search for vintage teapots and lo and behold....another match to my old teapot was in an auction with only 7 minutes left and the price was 7.99 with no bids yet! Well, I put in 8.99 and waited that 7 minutes.....no one else offered a bid and I got the twin for 7.99!!! They are both marked U.S.A. on the bottom too. So, each teapot has it's story. Teapot (L) is 60 years old....don't know age on teapot (R) it looks brand new and I will be able to make tea in it, the older version is not in the condition for using as a teapot, but flowers look great in it and I think that is what my mother used it for for years as she is not a big tea drinker. So, there you have A Tale of Two Teapots!
Moral: Ask your grandmother a couple of questions about her childhood, youth, courting, loves....get to know her, you will never be sorry.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A lovely surprise

I planted a lilac bush because I love the flowers, their smell and the shape of the leaf...I planted a lilac bush before I learned that lilacs do not do well in North Carolina. I am a woman from the midwest, the "heart" of America, Kansas City, Missouri....where simply everything grows...and grows and grows. You dig a hole, you put a seed or a cutting or a plant in that hole and shove the good earth around it, water if you remember, weed if you must...but sooner or later you will have something great, be it green bean, tomato, geranium, petunia or yes....lilac. So, I planted that lilac in "hopes". That was 12 years ago....and look what I have in our front yard!!!

This spring has been the best for our lilac. She is bursting with lovely highly scented bunches of blooms. She has usually put out a couple of lovely bunches of blooms, but that was all....now, we do have at least 10 "volunteers" around the base of the mother bush! But this year, we are rejoicing. I think the fact that we cut back a huge wax myrtle that over shadowed the lilac, whatever the reason, we are thrilled! Also another bit of good garden news. We planted a white dogwood tree at least 18 years ago...the same time we planted the red bud...well Mr. Dogwood just was never happy in his spot, he tried valiently to survive against all odds, each spring he would bloom and leaf and struggle. I would give him pep talks and encourage him to do his best, we loved him...no matter his size. And he did hang in there...until last summer, terminal something happened overnight and sadly, we were forced to cut down our sweet dogwood tree. BUT....lo and behold, we now have a dogwood volunteer...an offspring of our little old fellow....growing right next to our lilac! This guy looks happy and healthy and I will give him the history of how he got here and remember our brave and valient dogwood as I do!

I love this time of year as the perenials start coming out and the shrubs start blossoming...all's right with the world. I do hope you have something blooming in your yard and you rejoice.




Sunday, April 6, 2008


Good Sunday morning friends!

The dh and I are in Atlanta this weekend. We had a chance to see dear friends from over 30 years ago. Karen and Ron live in New Mexico and we don't get a chance to see them often, so when we found out they would be so close, of course we "trotted" on down! The drive down was very enjoyable because #1 it was a Saturday and the roads were quite a bit less crowded. and #2 the roads were excellent. An easy 7 hr drive. Along the way we saw.....


Friends, for me, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!!!

Now, we are staying in a lovely spot in Buckhead. Today we plan on attending church with our friends and then lunch and a bittersweet goodbye. Dh and I will stay on another night and find something to do while here. I have heard the new acquarium is quite impressive....who knows. It has just been very relaxing and fun to see our dear friends and get away for a bit.