Friday, September 30, 2016

Sapphires of September

In autumn the riotous colors sway
a dance of crimson, amber, and bronze

jewels set amidst golden light
contrasting against the sapphire sky

Nature's yearly adornment
made beautiful in its time.

Hello everyone!  I have a different job temporarily (and have all summer actually) and it is taking up a lot of my time, but I have big plans to post more regularly through the end of the year, so here's hoping!  At least I managed to cheat and get this post up before the end of September! 

Unfortunately, its been rainy and icky all week, so this is just a quick post for September's gemstone of the month--the sapphire.  I was hoping to take pictures outside, especially since the sapphires don't look very blue, but these pictures came out surprisingly well--considering! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hawaiian Ti luau

Aloha!  As summer is coming to a close (and boy did it fly by), I thought it was the perfect time to host a Hawaiian luau!  And, since I love tea parties, I had a Hawaiian ti luau, or a Hawaiian tea feast! 

I decorated my basement "party room" with palm trees and colorful paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling.

And here is a closer look at the table:

I found a lot of the Hawaiian decorations at the Dollar Tree, including the colorful tiki water glasses in the picture, the hula dancer napkins, and the hibiscus "placemats" at each place, which also served as the menu.

First, we have the savories

(pineapple rounds and cucumber pua (flowers))

(kalua pig on Hawaiian rolls)

(fried rice in dollar store bowls)

I served tea in my clear crystal shell teacups (in addition, every place setting had clear etched glass plates I found in a local thrift store)

For some added tropical flair, I served a guava flavored blooming green tea.  Slightly sweet, but very good, plus it is always fun to serve a blooming tea!

Next I served the scone course, tropical melody (dried tropical fruits with bananas and coconut milk) and white chocolate macadamia nut, with pineapple jam and clotted cream of course!

Taking a step back (as we get ready for dessert) here is the "centerpiece" of my Hawaiian decorations, a vintage 1970s Hawaiian travel poster from American Airlines (I borrowed it from my mother) set on top of my basement "server," which was also decked out with a hula skirt!  

And now for my personal favorite, dessert!

(Blue Hawaii cupcakes, mini pineapple upside down cakes, and hua'ai (fruit)).

While we were waiting for guests to arrive (and for me to finish my party prep work--one day I will finish on schedule), I served Blue Hawaiians in tiki glasses.

And one last view of the room before I say goodnight:

Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoeFarewell to thee, farewell to thee
E ke onaona noho i ka lipoThe charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers
One fond embrace,One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au'Ere I depart
Until we meet againUntil we meet again
ʻO ka haliʻa aloha i hiki maiSweet memories come back to me
Ke hone aʻe nei iBringing fresh remembrances
Kuʻu manawaOf the past
ʻO ʻoe nō kuʻu ipo alohaDearest one, yes, you are mine own
A loko e hana neiFrom you, true love shall never depart

~Chorus, Aloha 'Oe, by Queen Liliuokalani

This week I'm linking to Home Sweet Home at The Charm of Home

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Peridots to the end of summertime

August's gemstone of the month, the peridot, is under represented in my jewelry box, but I did find a couple of pieces to to the deck!

It can’t be summer, --that got through;
It’s early yet for spring;
There’s that long town of white to cross
Before the blackbirds sing.
It can’t be dying,-- it’s too rouge,--
The dead shall go in white.
So sunset shuts my question down
With clasps of chrysolite.
~Emily Dickinson

So summer may not be quite "got through," but I am definitely ready for Ms. Dickinson's "rouge" season.  Especially when I go into one of my favorite stores (Homegoods) and they are already getting their fall/Halloween stuff out!  Also, I'm ready for an end to the heat and humidity! 

As for the tie in of that poem to today's post, chrysolite (and olivine for that matter) have both been used as names for peridots in literature and history.  Peridot has particularly interesting lore--when set it gold, it  dispels the "terrors of the night."  In fact, "the belief in the virtue of the peridot to dissolve enchantments and put evil spirits to flight was probably due to the association of the stone with the sun, before whose life giving rays darkness and all the powers of darkness were driven away."  The Curious Lore of Precious Stones:  Being a Description of their Sentiments, by George Frederick Kuntz, 1913.

Where time is drowned in odour-laden winds
And Druid moons, and murmuring of boughs,
And sleepy boughs, and boughs where apples made
Of opal and ruby and pale chrysolite
Awake unsleeping fires; and wove seven strings,
Sweet with all music...
The Shadowy Waters:  The Harp of Aengus

What a beautiful image of an apple orchard!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ruby Red

For her worth is far above rubies...

Welcome to my first (and only) July post to celebrate the gemstone of the month (for a couple more hours at least)...the ruby!

Now I was thinking about what would be the best cup and saucer to set off my ruby and white topaz ring, and immediately thought of an old favorite--Old Country Roses.  But to spice it up a bit, I didn't go for a "normal" OCR...instead I pulled out my 25th anniversary OCR set...

The roses bloomed
An arbor filled
with deep ruby
fragrant yellows
and soft blushes
of pink petals.

accompanied by the OCR hat I made a couple of summers ago.

I feel as if I had opened a book and found roses of yesterday, sweet and fragrant, between its leaves.
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island.

(This is how I feel every time a find a lovely L.M. Montgomery quote--so many great childhood memories among the pages of her books!)

O For a garden of the olden time
 Where none but long-familiar flowers grow,
 Where pebbled paths go winding to and fro,
And honeysuckles over arbors climb!
There would I have sweet mignonette and thyme,
 With hollyhocks and dahlias all arow,
 The hyacinth inscribed with words of woe,
The small blue-bell that beats a dainty chime
For elfin ears; and daffodillies, too,
 The sleepy poppy, and the marigold,
 The peony with petals manifold,
And ragged-robins, pink and white and blue.
 All these and more I'd have, and back of all
 A thousand roses on a mossy wall!

~John Russell Hayes, An Old-Time Garden

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Roses and pearls

“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”  

~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

And precious the tear as that rain from the sky,
Which turns into pearls as it falls in the sea.
~Thomas Moore

Wow, June has just flown by!  I figured it was now or never for June's gemstone of the month post guessed it...pearls!

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask?"
A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”

~Inspired by Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

A string of pearls is:
The simplicity and ease of begonias
but  the beauty of the capricious rose.
The pure white of  bone china
warming like a cup with tea
when pressed again skin.

When I was trying to think of what I was going to match with the pearls, I figured what would be better than my pretty new Royal Albert teacup with roses (June's flower of the month).  This is one of those very lucky finds when you are in a random antique store and you find a cup for only $5!  That is definitely within my budget :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hydrangea woodlawn parlor

I'm on year three of my potted hydrangeas--and this year they are looking extra big and beautiful!

I took them away from their normal spot on my portico, and set them out around back for picture taking purposes.  I think this is the first time I've set a tea in my backyard that was not on my deck, so you can see better the "woods."

Hydrangeas adorn
the little woodland garden –
a splendid parlor!

 ~Matsuo Bashō (松尾芭蕉:  1644-94)

So here is my hydrangea parlor.  I'm sure you can tell the theme for this tea--blue for the lovely lacy hydrangeas!


 And here are closer (and somewhat artistic!) pictures of the sets I choose for today's tea:

Royal Albert's Caroline with blue forget me nots,

and Royal Albert's Inspiration.

And one last attempt at an artistic picture inspired by last night's bedtime tea, which had a great quote on the teabag tag:

There is pleasure in the pathless woods.
~Lord Byron

I'm so glad you could join me!  I'm linking to the following parties:

Monday, May 30, 2016

New Basement!

I meant to share this over the weekend, but better late than never!  I'll try and post this week's party tomorrow, but first I wanted to share my new finished basement.

First the large "rec room" area (i.e., where I had the Tour of Italy tea):

(By the way, the table is just a 6 foot folding plastic table.  With a long tablecloth, it isn't even that noticeable!)

My plan is to eventually put up a photo collage on a part of the wall for each country I've been too.  I'll have to do an update post when I'm done (or hold another basement tea!). 

As you can see, there are two doors to the left of the picture.  The door on the right is a bedroom/office:

(I know such exciting décor--two whole flower pots in the window!  The door in the corner is to the closet)

Next up we have the other door--the bathroom:

A closer picture of the glass tiles in the bathroom:

This bathroom is fancier than my master bath!

Finally, what is probably my favorite room, my storage closet room!

My Christmas and Halloween decorations are semi-organized!  There is room for some of my tea stuff too--I moved my tiered trays to their new home down here, so I also had the added bonus of organizing my kitchen cabinets to flow a bit better too! 

I even have room for more shelves! 

Just so you know, the floor isn't wood or laminate.  It is actually a vinyl flooring that I picked out because my parents have had some flooding problems in the past in their basement, and their vinyl floor always made clean up just a bit easier, so I thought vinyl would be a much safer option.  Doesn't it look like wood?  I am very happy with how it turned out.