Tea on Tuesday

It's the end of  a windy, warm day, and I am just getting to tea.

Short but sweet (I hope) post- fab and fugly thrift store find today- could not resist- it will be in my Etsy shop soon, along with last week's violet chocolate pot and orphan teacup).

Tea, sweet, iced, and Lipton was enjoyed in the newly penned up grazing area for the horses.
In my soccer mom chair (with a footrest and double drink holders, no less!), finishing up Nicholas and Alexandra, Keeping an eye on the horses- with the woodpeckers calling to each other, the river running, and the wind whipping thru the trees!

And, when heading back to the house- I met up with the first little toad of the season!!!

He's a bit camera shy........
Please feel free to join us every Tuesday for tea - visit Patty  and Kimmie for a list of other tea lovers!!!

ATC Swap

Just a quick look at the almost finished ATC I am making for the online group, In This House and Garden.

It is called Meet the Artist created by  Connie. ATC's are definitely not my specialty- but it was fun to do. My fingers are dried out from the Modge Podge!  Tonite I will be scanning this, and then tomorrow getting my fingers full of glue again, as I put it on 20 cards, then add finishing touches.

The rules are to take a photo of yourself (face) and add a body, however you want. Decorate the card- then using white gel pen, decorate the card to finish it off. It's me, in my jeans and T-shirt (daily uniform), surrounded by lady bugs (which infest our house), and a tea cup.

My daughter laughed and said it was sooo me - so, I guess I was somewhat successful!! She is a tough critic!!!

Hydroponic Garden

Now, this post should probably be on my other blog - but, here it is!

I was watching Martha the other day, and her guest was a local nursery owner. I know not everyone is a fan of Martha Stewart, but she can be a source of real inspiration - and she does know her stuff - or will have an expert on who does!

The gardener showed her how to make a hydroponic garden- it caught my interest, 'cause in the early 70's I sold hydroponic plants for a while. It was a direct sale company out of Florida- potted plants sold in home parties, kind of like Tupperware. Instead of soil, lightweight porous pebble were the medium the plants grew in. It was a double pot system, with water in the outer pot, plants and pebbles set in the inner pot. It worked really well, and pots were alot lighter without all the soil.
Since I love plants, this was right up my alley. Back then, tho, it was an idea before it's time, or else I just never found the right audience, because I was not too successful at selling them!! But I loved them, and had a house full!!

Since our weather has been so iffy and rainy, my husband has not been able to plow  my veggie patch. I am yearning to get out there and put the plants in the ground and GET BUSY GROWING!!!!

It is still a bit early for most planting, but lettuces and onions, and root veggies are ok for now.

Anyway, this Martha version of hydroponics is quite simple. It is basically growing plants without soil. The roots will grow toward a water source, and it makes it easier (and cleaner) to have indoors.

Martha's method uses a cheap styrofoam lidded cooler from the Dollar Store.  Looking at the link above gives lots of ideas - one of which is using a blue plastic bin - we have tons of them left over from our move- that will be my next hydro garden base!!

It was a beautiful day out, so I thought today would be a great day to start- til the wind picked up- and sitting on my front porch to do this was like being inside of a wind tunnel. Soooo, everything was done on my kitchen counter (dirt everywhere)- how I wish I could convert my vintage goat shed to a potting shed!!!

First, I traced the outline of the top of a plastic cup on the inside of the lid.Then cut it a bit smaller than the circle drawn.  Depending on the size of your container, you can make 6 or more circles. The cup is going to sit inside the hole. I found a small pumpkin carver perfect for carving out the holes in the styrofoam.

Next, make a small hole in the bottom of each plastic cup.

Now, you need perlite and dried sphagnum moss.   Both are available at the local hardware store or nursery. Sphagnum can be found at craft stores also.
My bag of sphagnum had been sitting in the garage - note the hole in the bag - and the indentation within the center of the moss? An enterprising little mouse apparently thought this was the perfect place for a nest!!! So, I gingerly opened the  bag in the garage, just make sure I would find no surprises- ! Mouse long gone, fortunately!!

Next, put a thin layer of sphagnum in the bottom of the cup, covering the hole, then fill with perlite.

Get the potted greens - lettuce, spinach, etc, carefully clean the dirt off the roots, and put the plant in the perlite, being careful not to crush the roots.I used arrugula, red lettuce, butter crunch lettuce and spinach.

Line the bottom of the cooler with a black plastic trash bag, fill with water.

Place the plant filled cups into the holes you already made in the underside of the lid. Put the upside down lid on top of the cooler - add more water by watering the plants. The water level in the cooler should reach up to the bottom of the cups, or almost to the bottom, to inspire those roots to grow toward the water.

Since lettuce and spinach prefer cooler climes, I keep them outside, but in a sheltered place without direct sun. I might move them in the sun while it is cool, but once those temps start creeping up, I move them back to the shade.

Now, this should give me lettuce for lunch right outside my back door.

I don't think this process will work very well for root veggies, so I will have to be patient 'til my garden is tilled!!!

My husband was out spraying the lush weeds in my veggie garden(even tho' I HATE spraying "weed" killer)- the areas between rows that were covered have no growth - but the rows that had veggies are now full with wild things!!!! The soil has been too sodden to get in there with the tractor or rototiller. I did find some red onions that did not come up last year - they are popping out now. I pulled one, just to see how it was doing - and they do need to stay in a while longer. But I chopped the greens and froze them, and the onion, tiny tho' it is, is in the fridge waiting for dinner!

So, gardening is starting, altho' slowly, here at Mountain Meadows!!!!

Tea on a Rainy Tuesday

I am going to take a hint from Patty's post of last week, and have a floral theme.

Our wild violets are blooming now, and they are a favorite of mine.

When we lived in the suburbs, in our first house, I would walk to the park, and bring home wild violets and transplant them in a heart shaped garden on my front lawn.

Seemed like a good idea, at the time. But as prolific as these little flowers are, each year, they would spread and spread, growing outside the confines of the little stone heart.

The lawn was my husband's pride and joy, and anything that was NOT a blade of grass, was strictly forbidden to grown in his lawn. I must say, that has been a battle, that he has consistently lost over the years!!!

Now that we live in the country, within wide expanses of green- it just gets his goat, to see little wildflowers popping up between the blades of grass, but that's life in the country!!!

He does get his jollies tho, from eradicating unwanted flowers and "non grass" from the hay fields- and that is necessary- wild things will take over a hay field, crowding out what you need to grow.

But, I digress.......back to the violets.
As tiny as they are, their resilience is admirable. Bugs, feet, tires, or flooding will not stop these little purple and white warriors from prevailing!!

Since violets are a favorite, I was thrilled to find a violet theme tea pot and cup in the thrift shop trash. Actually, its shape looks more like a chocolate pot.....but who cares!!

The finial was broken off, and the teacup was an orphan, with no saucer. Found a matching saucer (thanks, Nathalie), and glued the knob back on, and as a pair,  they are good to go!

My tea this morning is one of the French ones (thanks, Teresa!) The Vert a la Menthe- green mint, made by Dammann Freres. I make mint tea with fresh mints from my garden, this French tea is as good! Those French....!!!LOL

I have another violet cup and saucer. Altho the thrift shop pair are run of the mill, made in Japan, this cup and saucer below are Royal Tuscan fine bone china, made in England, Woodland Violet pattern. Despite the other's lack of "pedigree",I love them both equally !!

woodland white violets


                                            unknown woodland whites

                          Mayapple season is also a sure sign of spring............

While my husband may be unable to discern the differences in the "sea" of green, you can spot the white violets (upper right in photo), and the purple dead nettle (upper left), above the mayapple.

I am going to keep an eye out for the flowers on the mayapple, I always seem to miss that!!
The dead nettle makes a beautiful photo op in open fields, altho the flowers are tiny, when in profusion, they form a beautiful layer of purple over the green field.

The dead nettle (also called red henbit, I think) and the mayapple, are medicinal, but not ones I would attempt, or recommend, to use. Dead nettle can be used as a tea. Both have laxative properties, but the mayapple for the most part is poisonous. So, look but don't touch!!!LOL

Thanks for joining us for tea - please drop by Kimmie and Patty for a list of tea drinkers.

Absolutely Art

Neat little shop in Wisconsin - here's the link!!!

Thanks to the Beekman Boys for putting out the link!!

They've been at a fair in Wisconsin all day - and sending pix to FB of all their discoveries!! Thanks, guys!!!

An Upcycled Easter

Just thought I'd share some of the newest upcycling I've done. Some pieces are available at Julieanna's, some are staying right home with me!!! It is hard to part with things sometimes!!LOL

Close up below of the piece above- vintage silverware, an orphan blue lustreware saucer, and a jam jar. Real eggs and flowers can be substituted- faux eggs and greenery are easier for the shop!

The one above has some local Harry Lauder Walking Stick branches- they will last forever.

An ATC from a recent Bad Penny/Linen Shelf swap fits perfectly with the Easter theme.

                                      Vintage silver goblets and candlesticks have a new use.

                This is my favorite little thrift store bunny - he looks like a piece of molded chocolate.

                                                   This last one is waiting for the glue to dry!!

               Even tho it is POURING outside today (again!)- this is a sure sign that spring IS here!!!

Sketchbook Project Tour 2011

Just a reminder to those in the DC area - the Sketchbook ProjectTour will be in DC this Friday and Saturday, April 15 and 16, at the Hillyer Art Space, 9 Hillyer Ct,NW- from 12 noon to 6 pm, both days. 

It's free- and afterward, you can take a walk and see the cherry blossoms. The government did NOT close down, so the sights are open for all!!!

Look for my book (The View From Up Here/Ooglebloops/#24634). Its brown suede cover should make it easy to pick out from the thousands there - HA!

Also, artist Neva Gagliano has a book there, joining scores of other wonder-full artists!

Next stop on the tour is Seattle, Washington, on June 10-12.

If you get to go,at any of the tour's locations,  say hi to my book and take pictures!!!!

If anyone in blogland has a sketchbook in the tour- leave a comment with your name and book theme - so folks can look for yours also!

Wool Felter Extraordinaire!

Jody Lunsford, of Roanoke, Va - made it to the Martha Stewart Show today.

She creates AMAZING wool felted creatures, and did a demo on the MS show.

Jody also presented Martha with life like replicas of her precious French bulldogs.
Makes me want to dig out the felting needle...................................

UPDATE! She won the MS contest for creativity - received a BMW!!! Nice!!!

(this photo is from the Roanoke newspaper article- hope they don't mind me sharing!)

Tea on Tuesday

Today's tea is an old timey favorite - that I had never had before!

Sassafras tea- meant to be enjoyed cold - I tried it hot - and it was just as nice. Kind of a licorice flavor- I could see this mixed in with a fizzy water.
Along with this - since it is the season - a piece or two (or more!) of maple sugar candy!! Yum!!! haven't had these in years- but the local grocery just got some in!
Note- the sassafras has zero calories - since the maple sugar candy doesn't!!!

Also got another happy mail package - from Teresa- my "supplier"! :>)

Some teabags of mugicha, and the real thing to make the Japanese summer barley tea. It can be made as sun tea or the traditional way.

On a tea related note - here is one of the tea kettle cozies (sweaters) I crocheted, that are in Julieanna's shop. I forgot to take a photo when it was complete - there are hand dyed wool flowers on top. Two different styles are available- this one is adjustable to fit different sizes.

Please feel free to join us each Tuesday - visit Patty and Kimmie for a list of all the tea partiers!!

Tea on Tuesday in April

I have a headache today - so this will be an odd assortment of pix!!!Fortunately, I preposted most of this!!

I am sipping my mugicha barley tea, in hopes of spring and summer actually showing up at some time!!!

If you have never visited Robyn Gordon's Blog- it is a MUST!!!  This link  is a recent post of hers- that is just perfectly suited to today!!! Make sure you check her other posts - she is an accomplished carver, and always has wonderful artists and links to explore.

My recent hrift store finds: this is a cool 1920's pot, the top finial pulls up with the tea strainer attached.

 Definitely a keeper, altho I wouldn't use it!!! A bit too much age and wear on it!

Here is another aluminum vintage, even mini-er, teapot/coffee pot, with a tiny red handle to remove the strainer.

I am going to have to start hanging these teapots from the ceiling!! Alot of them are turned into wind chimes, but these are too cute- I'm leaving them just the way they are.

Some tea related stuff I made for gifts and for Julieanna's shop - business card cases, chalkboard trays, and some tea drip catchers. The drip catchers are a great way to use up left over fabric scraps! I wrote about these in an earlier post- Donna makes some adorable ones for sale- see her blog.
I bought some from her, and played around to make a couple for myself (I gifted away the ones I got from her!) I've been making my with 3 half circles instead of 4- so far, it seems to work since I have smaller scraps to work with!!!
  The chalkboards are made from vintage, tarnished silverplate trays. The one pictured is an old pewter tray.
The business card cases are all different- can be found at Julieanna's or ordered thru me.

And for some non- tea photos - here is a soon to be new member of our equine family:

His given name is Forrest Creek - he is a one year old mini donkey- his every day name will be Yoshi.  He is tooooo cute!!!!

Please drop by any Tuesday for tea - visit Patty or Kimmie for a list of other tea partiers