Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tea cup Thursday

The last in the series of 'green' tea cups featured for the month of March is this duo combination
of cups. The pale green set on the left does not have any markings on it. The bright green set is marked Royal Sealy China, Japan on the saucer.Frequently, guests to the tea room ask where I got my collection of tea cups. The original collection, of which these two belong,was given to me by my mother the year I opened the tea room. She had collected tea cups over the years, amassed about 40 or so, but had since moved on to collecting other gorgeous pieces, so was glad to gift the tea cups to me in order to make additional space in her china cabinet. Many of her tea cups are used for display purposes rather than be put into service. I also inherited a collection of tea cups from an Aunt. My cousin was happy that I would be able to use her mother's tea cup collection. Over the years, friends have also given me tea cups. They just 'know' that they belong here! The collection grows. The one question I can't easily answer? How many tea cups do I have? Not really sure! And it's probably best I don't count them.

We're happy to join Miss Spenser and others today for tea cup Thursday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Dolls' Tea Party

Another yard sale find, this little tea themed page from a magazine has been framed and hangs in the tea room. There's a lot going on with this page, titled 'Betsy McCall Gives a Dolls' Tea Party'.In addition to the cut out doll and her two little outfits, there is a short story. Betsy and her friend decided to host a tea party for the friend's four younger cousins, Jennifer (3), Maria (5), Lucy (6), and Amy (8) and their assorted baby dolls. Betsy made cookies and her mommy baked them. But in the end, her dog Nosy ended up eating every single cookie, including the crumbs. Dated 1965 by the McCall Corporation, there is an address to send 25 cents in coin (no stamps) for a sturdy cardboard paper doll of Betsy and her cousin Linda plus 18 new costumes.It also notes that you can purchase the new Betsy McCall Doll for about $3 and the new tea set, under $4 at leading toy and department stores. Such bargains!Wish I had the tea set!

Monday, March 28, 2011

All things tea

While shopping at a local church bazaar, this sweet Simplicity pattern jumped out at me. A Holly Hobbie Fashion from the mid '70's there was really no need to purchase this pattern. except that the little girls are all holding teacups or teapots. Sipping tea, sharing secrets, developing friendships, strengthening sisterly bonds, all over a cup of tea. I had to have it. Now, what do I do with it?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tropical Lizards

The iguanais a large
tropical lizard.They seem to enjoy the freedom of running around the Mayan ruins. Perhaps it's the camoflauge provided by the ruins. Some, larger than life. Can you find the truly ancient one?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Teacup Thursday

Another Teacup Thursday and another green teacup. This sweet little tea cup is marked England, Old Royal Bone China on the bottom. Although it is a green teacup, the blue flowers are very predominant in the design of this cup.

The tea towel is a souvenir from a trip to Harrod's years back. The tea towel features an assortment of tea cup designs and styles. The tea towel features 'Stock Tea and Breakfast services. Any piece sold separately.' Many of the teacups are marked with just a stock number, but others feature names such as Limoges China, Dresden Decoration, or Coalport China.

Visit Miss Spenser's and others for a trip through blog-land for more fun teacup designs.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Daffodowndilly by A.A. Milne

by A.A. Milne
She wore her yellow sun-bonnet
She wore her greenest gown
She turned to the south wind
And curtsied up and down
She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head
and whispered to her neighbour:
"Winter is dead."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tea cup Thursday

Today's tea cup features one of the few cups I have from Ireland. It is marked on the bottom Royal Tara, Fine Bone China, Made in Ireland. The delicate strings of three leaf clovers swirl around the saucer and up and down the ruffled tea cup. Celebrating St. Patrick's Day, the mint frosted brownies complement the tea cup with three leaf clovers using the same mint frosting that is underneath the chocolate icing.

We are happy to join Miss Spenser and others for Tea cup Thursday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Primroses - a Flower of Shakespeare

Sunny primroses are colorful flowering plants for cool, bright indoor locations. They can be planted outside after danger of frost and would prefer shaded, moist areas. In the heat of the summer ours often go dormant. A favorite plant of the fairies, primrose is said to attract fairies to the garden. This flower is also thought to have the power to render one invisible to the fae. A cousin to the Cowslip plant referred to in the Bard's writings especially in Mid Summers Nights Dream where it is known as the "Fairies Cup". Giving you a sense of the size of Oberon, the King of Fairies and Titiana, his queen.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Herbs of Shakespeare

Here's flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savory, marjoram. The Winter's Tale, IV, 4
Many herbs and flowers have been featured in Shakespeare's writings. He wrote about them lovingly using expressions that were not only poetical but also described what was observed on a daily basis. Flowers and herbs were also something his audience also could observe and understand and Shakespeare used many common roadside flowers for this reason.

The list of herbs and flowers used in his writing is long: Balm, Chamomile, Fennel, Garlic, Hyssop, Lavender, Rosemary, Parsley, Rue, Saffron, Thyme, Wormwood. Flowers include: Aconitum, Bachelor's Buttons, Carnation, Eglantine, Flags, Lily, Mallow, Oxslip, Poppy, Rose, Vetches and Yew. Then there is a long list of trees as well including: Apple, Cedar, Cherry, Hawthorn, Holly, Mulberry, Oak, Pear, Plum Quince and Thorn.

There's Rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember. . . Hamlet, IV, 5

Monday, March 14, 2011

Living Ball

At the recent garden expo in Harrisburg, this living ball of sedums and hens and chicks caught my eye. It is made with soil stuffed into a ball of natural grapevine and then the plant material is poked into the soil. It reminded us of our living wreath workshop, directions to make a living wreath can be found on this post on our blog.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Blue Mystique Orchid

Spotted this new orchid at the Stauffers of Kissel Hill Booth at the Pennsylvania Garden Expo. The grower gave this Phalenopsis Orchid a "special process" where the current blooms are a blue turning to a vivid electric blue as they mature. Rebloom next year will be white. Not my personal favorite but I watched as many of them sold. Blue is a tough color to find in flowers...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

PA Garden Expo ~ transformation

As a vendor at last months PA Garden Expo I was there during set up to see the show coming together. Fork lifts, skid loaders, bob cats moving block, mulch, trees and more. (Before)The room is kept chilly for the health of the plants. It is great fun to come back the day of the show and see the magic of how the designs developed. (After).
Before,and after. All the fresh flowers and blooms present a welcome relief to the long cold winter. It's confirmation that spring is on its way.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mayan Ruins

We spent several days exploring Maya ruins ~ the city of Tulum is a Maya fortress on a cliff above the sea. It controlled maritime commerce along this section of the coast and came to prominence in the 13th century. The commoners, with a population of about 600 people, lived outside the walled area. The ceremonial structures and residences of governors and priests were located within the walls.

Further inland, Chichen Itza was recently named a "New World Wonder" and is the best-known of the ancient monuments in the Yucatan. Impressive stone temples, pyramids, and several ball courts comprise this ancient city. El Castillo, the Pyramid of Kukulkan, was built with the Maya calendar in mind.Below, the Temple of the Skulls coupled with the stories of human sacrifice drew quiet attention from the youngest four in our group.
Astronomy, stars, and celestial observations played such an important part in the Maya way of life requiring modifications and additions to the Observatory over the years. The slits in the roof are aligned with the sun's equinoxes. And heading north and only a short drive from Chichen Itza are the ruins of Ek Balam. Only recently excavated (1997), these ruins have not captured the attention of the hoards of tourists, but they will in the future. We were practically the only ones roaming around, and were actually able to climb all over the ruins, including hiking the steps to the top of the pyramid. From the top, you can see overgrown hills to the north that hide yet untouched ruins. There is a sense of mystery surrounding all these ancient ruins and the life and times of the Maya. It was exciting to walk through history and imagine civilization as it once was.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tea cup Thursday

The delicate thistle adorns this English Bone China tea cup and saucer. Marked Aynsley on the bottom, complete with a crown, it is a colorful cup.

Miss Spenser and others are celebrating tea cup Thursday today. Be sure to visit them too!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Horse is a Horse

Several things must occur when we are on holiday.There must be an Afternoon Tea scheduled. There must be a visit to a herb shop, and there must be horses. We found a ranch south of Playa del Carmen that offers horseback riding along the beach.We walked along a nice stretch of beach, and then back into a shady area.It was a beautiful morning for a ride.
Our problem lies in determining which horseback riding location was more beautiful. These next photos are from our ride in Waipio Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii last January.
Absolutely beautiful, peaceful, tranquil, and pristine. It competes as a favorite ride for some while the ocean ride is a favorite for others.We like horseback riding... and these two experiences rank among the top rides we've done!
Saddle up!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It's Fastnacht Day!

Also known as Fat Tuesday, we celebrated fastnacht day in style this year with homemade fastnachts thanks to a special friend of the family. This Pennsylvania Dutch tradition was meant to use up all the fat in the house before Lent. A German word, Fastnacht means 'night before the fast'. You will find as much variety in the spelling of Fastnacht as you will in the recipes. Although they are typically heavy yeast-raised doughnuts, this treat was created using baking powder. Traditionally, they are cut into triangles to represent the Trinity. You might also find them cut into circles without the hole in the center. They might be square too. Either way, they still are tasty. Fastnachts 2-1/2 c. mashed potatoes 1 c. milk 3 eggs, beaten 2 Tbsp. melted butter 2 c. sugar 2 Tbsp. baking powder 5 c. flour Mix all ingredients together, adding the flour slowly at the end. Divide dough in half. Roll out 1/2 inch thick and cut into triangular shapes. Deep fry in hot oil, turning once, until done. Dust with confectioner's sugar.

Nopales ~ Cactus

We had plenty of opportunities to eat cactus while on our hiatus in Cancun. We had it sauteed with onions and green peppers, boiled, fried with corn meal flour, and pickled. We were thrilled to spot these cactus pads in the Mercado and look, the prickers are scraped off! Opuntia engelmannii (Prickly Pear Cactus) grow throughout Mexico. The spring pads provide a very tender vegetable. I understand the pads are used medicinally as poultice for wounds, much like Aloe is used. The fruit is edible as well, making a delicious jelly. Historically, used as a dye plant as well, the fruits produce a magenta or pink color. Gourmet Sleuth shares recipes, preparation techniques, and more on this website where they tout something delicious beneath the prickles.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rio Secreto ~ Maya Underworld

We entered the Maya "underworld" as we explored the wondrous cavern Rio Secreto, Hidden from view for centuries, apparently a local farmer was chasing a meaty lizard into the brush when the lizard ran down this large hole. The farmer followed the lizard, only to discover this hidden cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites and a series of chambers with rock formations which date back 2.5 million years. This community-based eco-park, declared a nature reserve, was opened to the public in 2008.

Outfitted with glamorous wet suits, footwear and lighted helmets, we trekked into the cavern. At times walking through the cave, and occasionally swimming through the emerald green pools, it was a truly unique journey. Our guide discussed the Maya underworld and shared about the rock formations, the bats, and the trees that send their roots down seeking water. At one point, all the helmet lights were turned off and silence and absolute darkness prevailed. Amazing.
Truly amazing.