Saturday, October 31, 2009

merry halloween!

... there's a swap that I'm in that I've been putting of and putting off ...
I just didn't have any ideas!

.... the job was to alter a mousetrap ....
argh! you try it! it's a unique and puzzling challenge to say the least!

.... now I just wish I hadn't put it off so long.
I want to spend the rest of the day making loads of these for my friends ....
before Halloween is OVER!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

a mini junk drawer?

28 tiny things that all fit into a matchbox:

I found an interesting photo pool on flickr ......
I had to give it a go myself :)
Just a bit of fun ..... on a small scale.
Check out the link - there are some amazing pics!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

hello sunshine

Dried grapefruit slices hanging in my kitchen window ....

... a fun way to have sunshine indoors all winter long ....

.... when we bring in our fir tree in December,
I'll festoon the branches with these golden orbs ....


Here's the "How To:"
Slice your grapefruit into 1/4 inch slices.
You should be able to get about 6 slices per grapefruit.
Place a paper towel on a cookie cooling rack and place your slices on top of that.
Bake in the oven on super low (I set it to 170f).
After about 1 hour, flip the slices over.
Continue baking until nicely dried - but not brown.
About 4 hours total.
You can do this with lemons, limes, giant pomelos, yellow grapefruit, ruby grapefruit, even tiny kumquats would work. It makes a lovely and natural home decoration, gift tag, tree ornament - you name it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a good day for tea

It's a dreary day here in Western Washington.
Snow is falling in the mountains.
Rain is falling here.
I'm staying warm and cozy indoors with my tea :)

Today's tea is "Orange Dulce."
Dulce means sweet, and this tea does have a natural sweetness to it.
I think it might be orange blossoms.
Do you see the heart shaped petal in the mound of tea?
I've also pictured my very cool fold-over tea bags ... so much easier than a ball strainer.
Today is a good day for knitting too :)

These are the finished sweaters I made for my girls.
(Don't look too closely - you'll see the mistakes!)
But they love them - and feel an imaginary hug from Mom when they wear them to school.

This is a scarf I began ..... and it's got me excited for Christmas preparations.
Scarves and other quick knits are perfect, cozy, loving gifts to give.
This is a bulky wool on size 9 sticks.
The pattern is soooo easy!

Cast on 22 stitches.
Knit 2 Purl 2 - row 1.
Purl 2 knit 2 - row 2.
Knit row 3.
Purl row 4.
For row 5, repeat row 1.
For row 6, repeat row 2.
Purl row 7.
Knit row 8.
Repeat rows 1-8.

If this scarf doesn't come out very long (I only have 1 skein of the wool), I'll make a button hole and sew in a large button and it will be one you can button together .... more like a neck warmer. In any case, I'll show it when I'm done.

Cheers! and Happy Tuesday :)
Please visit my other Tea on Tuesday friends:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

art recipe


one line of pen to form the mountain
pressed fern leaves

combine ingredients in the above listed order and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

carve your own

I saw this technique over on Annette Quirke's blog a few weeks ago and knew it was something I HAD to do! She has an amazing collection of her own carved stamps - and they're so colorful from much loving use - they look like candy.

This is what I needed to give it a try. I already had the Speedball cutter - and the erasers were found in the stationery department of my grocery store. Gotta love that! Geninne's Art Blog has a great tutorial if you're interested in trying it too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

on sweetness

Today is "tea on tuesday," but I just wasn't much in the mood for tea.
It's Hot Cocoa instead.
This morning I got to thinking about my blog(s), what does it all mean to me, why do I do it, and the evolution of it all.
I guess what got the wheels turning was listening to the radio while driving around this morning. KUOW is our local NPR station and this mornings guests were local women with food blogs. They were talking about blogging and the weirdness of it, the love of it, the compulsion of it, the community of it, the evolution of it.
Why blog?
Oh it's just so sweet!
Maybe it's weird taking pictures of tea, spiderwebs, summer flowers, art and other homemade things .... but it's all for love.
And the result?
evolution (aka personal growth)
community (aka friendships)
and sweetness.

Sweetness like this Hot Cocoa:
(recipe is from Jamie Oliver "The Naked Chef")
  • Put some milk on to boil (but don't boil it)
  • Add 1 tablespoon each of cocoa powder and sugar to a mug.
  • Pour some of the milk, at the "warm" stage, in the mug to dissolve the cocoa and sugar.
  • Plop in a marshmallow or two.
  • At the "almost boiling" stage, froth the rest of the milk with a whisk.
  • Pour into your mug, being careful to spoon the froth in over the top of it all.
Please visit these other lovely bloggers for their tea on tuesday:

Friday, October 16, 2009

finished journal page

My fire annuals were all painted on the same page - so I added the bit of homework I had done in researching them and now have a completed journal page.
Thank you for all of the wonderful comments along the way ....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

a wild lotus

(Lotus strigosus)

This is another fire annual in my little series (see these posts).
From what I read about this one, it grows in "disturbed earth."
I imagined giant bulldozers and earth movers creating housing pads for sub-divisions .... a common sight in Southern California ..... they do more than "disturb" the earth ..... but maybe this miraculous plant is one that would erupt out of such a horrid place in the spring after the winter rains.
These wildflowers are truly miraculous.
Growing in fire scar areas and disturbed earth.
You go girl.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

tea and their teabags

.... do you ever hate to throw away the envelope your tea bag came in?
I made this little Christmas tree ornament using Constant Comment envelopes.
The technique is a simple origami fold and you can learn more about it by googling "Tea Bag Folding." ( I had a link here, but it was a bad one - sorry folks)
You don't fold the actual tea bag - just a square cut from the envelope it came in.
In fact, you can use any kind of paper you want to - but you get the best results if every square (or tile as they're called) has the exact same pattern on it.
My example uses a simple kite fold - probably the easiest fold there is.
It's a blustery day outside .....
perfect for a cup of this particular tea ....
my very very favorite of all .....
Constant Comment from Bigelow.
Please join the rest of the Tea on Tuesday gang:

Monday, October 12, 2009

about the slippers

..... a couple of days ago I posted a picture of all the slippers I'd made for myself and my girls last winter ....

This is the pattern I used
(the company is called Fiber Trends),
and here's their website,

I made these slippers as a very beginning knitter.
All I had ever made before this were garter stitch scarves on size 17 needles.
How do you spell e-a-s-y?

Have a beautiful day
no matter what comes your way!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

another fire annual

.... in THIS earlier post and THIS earlier post you can see and read about the California Fire Poppy and the miraculous event of particular wildflowers thriving in a fire scarred chaparral area.
Here is another such flower:
Phacelia brachyloba.

Someone wondered about the paper I use ....
.... it's a watercolor journal that was a gift from my Dad.
The journal paper is handmade 100% cotton rag and made in India.
It's quite thick and heavily textured.
You have to be careful because it doesn't tolerate "scrubbing" too well ....
.... so I'm learning to live with any mistakes I've made and not try to fix them.
Also, any pencil marks are not very easily erased because of that same problem.
It's a good paper to have in a journal.
Erasing and scrubbing are counterproductive to journaling.

Thank you for all of the wonderful comments on this particular series.
The sense of community in bloggerland is just exactly what I love about it.
It's the next best thing to being back in art class again :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

slipping into the next season

freshly washed slippers
I knitted and felted these last winter
I'm thinking I'll be making them all over again
.... the feet have grown
and they want to keep their favorite colors
(my pink ones still fit though)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

finding color

here are my fire poppies again.
in the earlier post, Elizabeth had commented,
"I love that your drawing of the fire poppy has not yet seen color."
here I've done them with only color and no black lines at all.
finding color.

growing up tea

How did my 11 yr old grow up so fast?
.... it only seems like yesterday she was pouring "air tea" for her dolls in these Thumbelina sized cups .....
today she brewed her own cuppa before facing the day and its particular challenges
Montana Gold Tea - which she purchased herself because:
"Mom, I don't want to have to always have to ask you if I can have a cup of your Montana Gold Tea."
Which, if you've tasted it, is precious like gold.

Are you interested in playing in a teacup swap?
My sidebar has a button link to take you there if you are ..... it should be fun!
Please also visit:
and Judy
.... some of the Tea on Tuesday gang :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

the fire poppy

This miraculous flower is among a precious few species that ONLY emerge and carpet the ground following a wildfire - specifically a wildfire of the California type - burned chaparral and sagebrush overgrowth. They are called "fire annuals" or "fire followers," and their seeds will lie dormant in the soil for 50 years or longer - and only germinate after a fire. Fire poppies will grow profusely for several years but will eventually disappear again as the chaparral plants return.

The regular chaparral plants such as sagebrush, black sage and laurel have very strong toxins which permeate the soil around the plant and act as germination inhibitors. But these toxins burn away in a fire and other plants seeds will flourish - this is what gives a "fire scar" bounteous flowers that haven't been seen in years.

There was a house fire in our neighborhood this weekend - fortunately no one was hurt - but the house is a "total loss."

Have you got something in your life that is or was a "total loss?"
Watch for those precious miraculous things that will germinate ONLY in those conditions.
I know that might sound preachy - especially if you're in the thick of things right now - but just try to remember the fire poppy .......

Friday, October 2, 2009

down for the count

no fever though ....
.... just a real danger of OD'ing on tea, soup, cable news, and a Ken Follett mystery.
hoping you're in better shape :)