Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Share ideas for dressing up for afternoon tea. Is your favorite tea-time outfit a silk caftan, flannel jammies, or a dress with proper hat and gloves? Do you enjoy wearing tea prints to tea? Or do you prefer something more elegant? Lace and ruffles? A feathered hat? Long pink gloves? Satins and silks? Cotton comfort? Jeans and a t-shirt you say? That's okay --- share it all here.

Pictures of you in tea-time costume are welcome! But, if you are not brave enough to share a picture of 'you', simply share something you think would be FUN to wear to tea. Remember, a tea can be anything from a formal afternoon tea --- to tea in the park with a friend. It's whatever it means to you!

Whenever I think about the quintessential outfit to wear to tea, I think of something along these lines...

However, as I am unable to afford the prices of an Edwardian lawn dress, I'll just have to move along to the 21st Century where, in truth, I'd wear jeans and a t-shirt because I adore those rustic teas such as La Tea Dah has shared. You can see what I mean right here at her Cabin-Woods Tea dated September 13, 2007. That's the post that made me a regular visitor to Gracious Hospitality.

Oh, have you all seen the Celestial Seasoning dress made from tea bags? Probably as it was featured in January of 2006 at the New York Times.

It was auctioned off to benefit research for women's heart health. That would be a stunning outfit to wear to tea. Just watch out for the tea kettle!

Most of my real life experience with tea parties has been in this capacity.

1. source
2. source
3. source

Still, I can be a young girl at heart so I've fashioned myself a tea party hat and donned my tea party dress (you'll have to take my word for that). I still couldn't bring myself to wear the heels so instead I've decided upon sensible shoes. I do have a number of blogs to visit after all!

Enjoy your time exploring La Tea Dah's Dressed-to-a-Tea!

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Wee Tour

Inspired by Barbara's Walk-About House Tour, I've decided to post some photos taken Saturday on our way home from the big city. Once we were within five miles of home, I took photos all the way in and down to my own former home risking life and limb. Oh yes! Barbara has confessed that this photo taking of other people's homes can be scary, which is exactly why I put my camera on the sports setting, zoomed in, and just shot away as we zipped on by. It's not always perfect, but let's see what we have.

Sandi says that one day, if I ever find myself in her corner, she'll give me the tour of the great antebellum homes. What a perfect reason to head for Chesterfield County! She loves great old homes with a history. So do I and, though there are no mansions here, where I know something about the home, I will share. Otherwise, I'll allow the homes/scenes to speak for themselves. (I know this, there'll be a whole lot of painting going on after this rough winter.)

Let's get this show on the road...

Do those not look as if I had been standing in the center of the highway in oncoming traffic?

The following is an example of the ubiquitous New England Cape Cod style. This style has been popular since before the name was coined in 1800. This particular home is about 25 years old.

Yet another example of a Cape Cod or what is sometimes called a New England primitive. I can tell you that this home has beautiful wide planked flooring throughout and was completely restored in the primitive style some years ago. It is a beautiful home despite what some might consider its plain and unadorned exterior. (I think Robin will love it, though.)

We do have our share of "baloney architecture." (I think my current home qualifies and it has been an ongoing joke with the carpenter. Disclaimer: the following photo is not my home. ;>) Here, you'll see what I mean by "baloney."

I love barns...missed the entire house; at least, I got the barn!

This former one-room schoolhouse has been transformed to a cozy home.

On the homestretch...new construction

This old home has been lovingly restored over many years. It features so many wonderful architectural details including beautiful flooring throughout. It also features a "set down" family room where the former shed was. A common feature of New England homes is the attached barn, which this home has, but the photo doesn't show.

The next photo shows the brass deer (click on photo to see) located as an integral part of the landscaping beside the home above. I once had the brilliant idea to use the deer as part of a Christmas float in a parade. The homeowner gave me permission with a grin knowing full well that there was no way that I could use that deer. (It was placed there with a crane.)

Keeping it real...the trailer park...

Definitely on the home stretch.

The picture below is a good example of an attached barn. This was my former home and it was always great to walk out the back kitchen door, through the pantry, into the attached shed, then on to the barn where the car was located. Very convenient on cold winter days! This home features a wide planked kitchen floor that has been painted yellow and stenciled. The current homeowner has kept that feature. There are hardwood floors throughout, the horsehair plaster has long since been removed. It also has a front hall stairway and an open kitchen stairway. Lots of great architectural features. I could go on and on, but I'll stop.

And we end this picture story right in my daughter's backyard. We hauled in her purchases and she slapped her bedroom together in no time. I'm asking her for permission to show you those before and afters on Wednesday.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sabbath Rest

When we as Christians are not willing to enter into the Sabbath rest we are called to — resting totally in the truth of God's unconditional love and grace in Jesus Christ — we are behaving just like the Israelites. We are Christians, and we can't go back and become caterpillars again. We won't go forward either, so we make our home in the desert and settle for second best.

Source (permission pending)

To the hungry ones, to the humble ones, God will always respond by leading them to true freedom. ~Bob George

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you." ~Jesus (Matthew 7:7)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Two Thumbs Up

...way up for Sandi's Mama's Angel Biscuits! Six of us ate them last night so that's actually 12 thumbs. ;D

The dough is so easy to work with...

My old can biscuit cutter that used to get tossed into the recycling bin prior to the labeling...

Into the skillet for baking. I had to bake mine longer than Sandi suggested, but that may be because they are bigger. My batch made two dozen and not three as Sandi said. See that ugly one? That's mine! It was soooo yummy. This biscuit is a cross between a biscuit and a roll...so light, so fine.

And now to the table for a rustic presentation.

This recipe is a definite keeper and you can find it right *here.*

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What am I going to do when my snowbank is gone? Honestly, what am I going to do? Well I won't worry about that today. Here's the ugly mess. I am determined to keep this real.

What about a little contest hidden nicely here on Saturday's post? Yes! That's just the thing. Leave a comment about when you believe the last vestiges of snow will be gone from this scene and I'll send a little prize (no telling what it might be) to the one who comes the closest. Don't select a date that someone else has already chosen. This could be fun.

Warning: Some people have been known to cheat.

Like this neighbor and that one, too!

Have a great Saturday, everyone. (Hope to catch up with all of you later this evening.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Backyard Treasures

My Rhubarb Patch is Down There Somewhere

Have you seen the rhubarb growing in Lovella's garden? The thought of rhubarb already grown to that size made my head spin and it also made me wonder how my own was faring out in that Siberian wasteland I'm calling my backyard.

Yes! There is Life After the Long Winter

Covering it all back up again, I even prayed for it to thrive so that I might harvest enough for a pie. It's only been planted for two years and that means I'm not supposed to be harvesting a lot. I harvested nothing from it last year.

Then I turned my attention to the creek, which is flowing nicely...

and the gray birch that make me nervous since they don't appear to be as well established as I'd like; nevertheless, there they remain. I call them my sentinels.

Lastly, the deck, which is now in desperate need of paint. It's still laden with sheets of ice.

I can't take it anymore...let me just help this mess along...chop. chop. chop.

Oh my! Who knew that I had diamonds in the snow?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Sonnet Perhaps?

Sonnet #30

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste;
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long-since-cancelled woe,
And moan th' expense of many a vanished sight;
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoanèd moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.

But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.

~William Shakespeare

Once upon I time I committed that one to memory...I loved saying "bemoanèd." I remembered just enough to find it today. That's all.

I've only written one sonnet in my life. A bad one. Too awful to share here. Too awful to even consider entering a sonnet writing contest.

Perhaps you write poetry; perhaps you'd be interested in entering the "Bed of Roses" Sonnet Contest at A Prairie Home Companion. If you do, I hope you win!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It's the Little Things

As the old song goes "Little Things Mean a Lot." The older I get, the more convinced of it I am. It doesn't take much these days to give me pleasure in the simple joys. I've got lots of little things to share with you today.

These are some wee treasures that arrived in yesterday's mail from Among the Hedgerows.

Lynda tossed in the beautiful old-fashioned shoe tags as an extra, which was such a thoughtful thing to do. I love them! Thank you so much, Lynda! Do you see where I am putting my tags these days? Someplace where I can see them and enjoy them yet they'll be handy when tagging a gift. Look around, but don't look too far. ;>

Yesterday, Alison posted another marvelous list of Puttery Treats. Oh I love Puttery Treats!

What's any worse than seeing this in the laundry?

Well, besides this?

But we can change the first à la Puttery Treats to this:

And a few minutes of folding transforms that nasty pile, too.

(As you can see, I was desperate for a before and after!)

After all of the work on the tea cozy (see yesterday's post), I even made a little change to that. See?

On Monday, Pat gave such a wonderful link behind the scenes in comments for seasoned skillets. So many of you confessed that you didn't own a skillet, but I want everyone in the country to own a good skillet...at least one. So, for your browsing and shopping pleasure, I'm giving you the link to Lodge Manufacturing up front where you can see it.

This is my happy collection of skillets and cast iron pans that I keep seasoned by using edible mineral oil. I also treat wooden handles and my wooden utensils every month or so with the oil. You can use 100% vegetable oil or even shortening, but never use Canola oil or any oil that could go rancid. You can't go wrong to pick up the edible mineral oil as it lasts forever and is far easier to use.

Finally, as extra incentive to get out your cast iron skillet, to purchase one or to beg for one, here's the link to a recipe for corn bread in a skillet. Can you think of any better presentation for the supper table? Believe me, it makes people's eyes light up!

Have a fantastic Wednesday and don't forget to find a Puttery Treat Challenge to call your own! Remember: It's the little things...

Edited to Add: Yet another "Little Thing" as The Farmer's Wife is having a little giveaway and you can play along, too. Do you have a dear hubby who really needs to pay attention and notice things? Well "The Farmer" should pay better attention and that's what the giveaway is all about. Suzanne will be giving away his Farmall some beautiful dishcloths. Check it out!