Friday, October 21, 2016

Fall Tablescapes

Since purchasing my new computer I've been sorting and organizing mega photos. Today I'm sharing fall photos from previous posts spanning four years.  I hope you enjoy them.

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall in Michigan

Some of the trees in southeastern Michigan are beginning to turn beautiful shades of red, orange and gold.  Last Sunday evening, I snapped the photo below at the home of one of our church families when Jerry and I went to Bible Study.

 Their home is beautifully decorated for fall.  That's Jerry on the porch ready to go inside.

This past Tuesday Jerry and I took some time to go to local Yates Cider Mill.  It's an activity I like to do at least once every fall.  The skies were overcast and it was windy, but the temperature was a warm 77 degrees.



~ We got a quart of cider and two apple pocket pies. ~

~ Yum! ~

Saturday will be another fun fall activity - our church's annual hayride, trunk or treat, and chili cook-off competition on our church property.  I'm making my  smoky pumpkin/turkey chili made with Lapsang Souchong black tea.  I'll be sure to blog about the event.

I've already blogged about the chili and provided the recipe in my very first post when I began blogging in 2012.  You can see it here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Remembering a Woman of Virtue

When reading Tea With Friends blog on October 6th, I was saddened to learn well-known author and speaker, Emilie Barnes passed away on August 31st.  I never had the privilege of meeting or hearing her speak in person, but when I first became smitten with tea in 1998 her book, If Teacups Could Talk, was probably the first tea book I purchased.  The pages of my book are filled with yellow highlights.

[Internet Photo]

Her obituary said she authored more than 80 books.  What an accomplishment! I went to my bookshelves to see how many are in my library.

I have three devotional books: The Tea Lover's Devotional, A cup of Hope, and Fill My Cup Lord. And 12 tea-themed books besides If Teacups Could Talk:  A Tea to Comfort Your Soul; An Invitation to Tea; Everything I Know I Learned Over Tea; Friendship Teas to Go; Join Me for Tea; Let's Have a Tea Party [children]; The Spirit of Loveliness; Timeless Treasures; The Twelve Teas of Celebration; The Twelve Teas of Christmas; The Twelve Teas of Friendship; and Welcome Home. 

If Teacups Could Talk is filled with wonderful 'tea-isms'. 

"If you really want to, you can grab a quick cup of tea...but you'll miss one of tea's most beautiful benefits - the blessing of slowing down to enjoy it." 

"The relationship-enhancing properties of tea make it a wonderful vehicle for getting to know someone new, for patching up a misunderstanding, for sharing good news, or supporting one another in bad times."

"The most beautiful part of any tea party are the faces of friends."  

And last, but certainly not least is the teatime blessing she shares on the very last page of the book: "Lord, grant that our time together be steeped in serenity, sweetened by sharing, and surrounded by the warm fragrance of your love.  Amen"

Emilie was granted 78 years to live on this earth, and she definitely left it a better place than she found it.  Only eternity will reveal how many lives she touched.  

I would say, "Rest in peace, Emilie" but somehow I don't think she's resting.  She's probably busy planning a tea party in Heaven!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

From This to That!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm not a techy person.  I've mastered certain aspects of the computer, but I've drug my feet on getting a new i-phone. I finally took the plunge and bought a new Apple 6s phone on September 27th, but my old number remains the same. Now I've got a new phone, and a new desktop computer to learn. That's a chunk of technology for someone like me, but learning them has been easier than I thought.

My trusty little Canon camera that's taken all the photos shown on my blog up until now will be retired as I use my i-phone camera going forward.

Here's to coming up to speed with technology in the 21st Century... or at least attempting to! I'm glad some things in life never change, like a good cup of tea!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Belated Birthday Wishes

Since I was forced to interrupt my MI Tea Tour posts with computer woes [I have since purchased a new computer], I didn't want to interrupt a second time to wish my youngest son, Jeremy, and his daughter, Isabella, a Happy Birthday on September 29th.  It's so special when father and daughter share the same birthday. Samantha [Jeremy's wife] gave him the best birthday present he'll ever receive when she gave him Izzy! Even though today's post is belated I wanted to share our celebration with them.

It's hard to believe Izzy is 11 now and in middle school.  Below is her 2016-17 school picture.

She had an assortment of birthday presents in her gift bag, but I think the expression on her face revealed she liked the outfit from Justice best of all.  She's growing up when she likes clothes more than girly toys.  Landon and Ellie looked on with approval.

Jerry made Michigan State Corn Hole Boards for for Jeremy's birthday gift.  They'll be perfect for tailgating.  As you can see in the photo below Landon's corn bag toss is in mid-air.

As Bill Murray says in one of Jeremy's favorite comedy movies, What About Bob?, below is a picture of "the fam".  ;-)

I baked a triple chocolate cake for the happy occasion.  Jeremy's favorite is Boston Cream Pie, but because of transporting it over an hour away I opted for a cake that would travel easier and wouldn't require refrigeration.

~ The birthday duo. ~

~ Make a wish and blow out the candles! ~

I love this family!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tea Around the World

The Sunday after I returned home from the MI Tea Tour [Sept. 25], I was scheduled for my monthly program at Shorepointe Assisted Living.  I had established my theme earlier, so it was just a matter of completing my research.   

Below are some of the ladies who had gathered for a simple Afternoon Tea. 

~ My display table. ~

Before I began my presentation I gave each of the attendees their own imitation passport with stamps from China, Russia, and Japan - the countries I was covering during the presentation.

Since China is the birthplace of tea and the world's largest producer of tea, I began my presentation with that country.  I took a tea brick, gaiwan teacup, and Chinese tea basket.  I also included a plate in the Blue Willow pattern, so I could share the legend. While the pattern is from England's Spode potteries during the 1790's, the inspiration came from scenes depicted on Chinese porcelain.

I hope to acquire a Yixing teapot before I do this presentation again, and a hat the female tea pluckers wear when they harvest tea leaves.

From England I moved on to Russia.  Did you know tea [along with vodka] is the country's national beverage?  As soon as a child is old enough to sit at the table, he or she is considered old enough to drink tea with the family.  Their tea philosophy is "tea time is all the time." 

Since Russia's love of tea is embodied in the Samovar, I took mine, along with a podstakannik [tea glass holder]. 

I only have one teacup from the Russian Lomonosov porcelain factory in the Cobalt Net pattern, but I didn't take it because I didn't want to risk breaking it.

I was glad I had the opportunity to return to the Russian Orthodox Monastery in Harper Woods this year for Afternoon Tea.  Several of the residents said they had been there too.  

While visiting NYC this past May my family and I also went to the Russian Tearoom - a great experience - and I went to Chicago's Russian Tearoom in January of this year. I enjoy the mild smoky taste of Russian Caravan tea. All of these experiences helped to enhance my presentation.  

The last country we discussed was Japan.  After having recently witnessed a Japanese Tea Ceremony on the Michigan Tea Tour, this part of the presentation held special fondness for me. I took along a Japanese Tea Ceremony set that I've had for a long time which only included a clay mixing bowl and bamboo whisk. The traditional Japanese Matcha tea that was included was so old it was brown instead of the normal vibrant green!  ;-)

To my list of acquisitions mentioned above, I'd like to add a Tetsubin teapot, bamboo tea scoop and water ladle, a porcelain tea bowl, and fresh Matcha tea before my next presentation.  

It was a fun and informative hour with the residents, and they said they'd like me to expand to other countries, so when I return on October 23rd I'll be discussing tea in Portugal, Great Britain and the United States. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

An Unexpected Gift

Shortly after returning home from the Michigan Tea Tour my hubby carried in a large package from the postman. The return address was from Teresa W., a tea tour participant from Ohio.  I thought maybe she was returning something she mistakenly packed of her roommate's.

The only way to find out was to open it!  To my surprise and delight, it was a very thoughtful gift for me.   The tea-themed box alone was lovely.

Inside were several fabulous green tea spa products.

Thank you so much, Teresa!  I'm looking forward to pampering myself.  I can just imagine soaking in the tub with a scented green tea candle burning, while sipping a cup of green tea. I may never want to come out!  ;-)