Thursday, January 18, 2018

Photos Today

We had a great time of fellowship this morning with our Welcome to my Kitchen group.  We had 15 in attendance so that was a great turn out.  Here's my plate - homemade bread toast, raspberry yogurt, biscuits and fruit. It was delicious.

Of course, good black tea was in good supply served in china mugs.  It was very good.

This is was a new flavor for me.  It is Bakeapple Jam made with cloudberries.  They grow low to ground on marshy land which requires rubber boots and are picked in August.  It was home made and delicious.

The devotion was about giving and receiving encouragement.  Think outside ourselves and give a smile, a word or a hug. 

Our book exchange is going well with most heading home with books they have not read after bringing the ones they have read for others to take home.


I spent about 90 minutes at the Muttart Conservatory after running errands. The feature pavilion was celebrating Chinese New Year which falls on February 16 this year.

There were lanterns, parasols, and fans in those gorgeous reds and golds.

It was nice to unwind a bit with some photography.

Recent Photos

I tried Sour Cream biscuits this week.   I add dill and garlic powder to these which makes them yummy!

They turned out okay but they don't seem to brown the way the ones posted on the internet do.  I buttered the tops  and then put them under the broil for a bit to get this nice color. 

The stone in the background is a new addition to my kitchen.  It is 16 inches in diameter which is very large. But it held a full batch of biscuits which was the objective. 

I added a few pieces to my blue and white collection.  A nice Home Sweet Home watering can, a deep blue glass which I have but a tea light into and a very tall cut glass vase.

I have also collected a few lamps to my help light objects of my photography better.  These are great because they can hang or clamp.  They use a smaller light bulb so that gives me another level of lighting.  They are IKEA so good quality.

I also acquired these smaller still lights which have clamps.  They use chandelier bulbs which is again another step lower in power which will provide less light but will fill in shadows when needed. 

You will see that they are clamped to a stand.  Again, it was at the Thrift Store the other day and I thought that will work for providing lighting at different heights.  I believe it is a speaker stand.  It telescopes so I can clamp any of these smaller lights to it and move them up or down several feet.  Yes!  The base is heavy and will be very stable.

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption. 

I finished this book this week which a friend lent me. I totally enjoyed this read about the network of female spies during wartime.  They flew under the radar most of the time because men did not think they were smart enough to be spies.   Eve Gardiner and Charlotte St. Clair are brought together through an interesting connection.  Much of the story is based on true accounts of the women and men who worked in this system of information gathering and sharing in France during the war. I would recommend this book.

Sharing at Share Your Cup #280 hosted by Jann at Daily Cup with Mrs. Olson.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Hot Tea Month 2018

January is Hot Tea Month

 As many of us know a cup of tea is a pleasure, a healthy habit and provides a time to relax, unwind, and take a much needed breath in our lives.  There are many types of tea so one of every situation we experience.  Some have caffeine and will provide a boost in the morning and some contain no caffeine which are great for an evening hot drink.

“Tea is a very versatile drink. Each variety – black, green, oolong, herbal – has a unique taste, so Canadians can try different flavours, finding the ones they like best,” says Louise Roberge, President of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada. There’s a tea for every palate and a time for every tea, with research showing that Canadians predominantly drink black and green from early to mid-day and turning to herbal and decaffeinated in the evening. Check out this link for more details. Tea and Herbal Association of Canada

Masala Chai is my favorite and the one I am enjoying this morning.  A bit of honey and some cream and it is a perfect cup of tea for me.  I recently discovered a Saigon Chai which is quite nice as well.  For less caffeine I enjoy Jade Citrus Mint and Chamomile is my first choice for a late evening hot drink.

Take time today to celebrate and enjoy a hot cup or mug of tea.

Sharing with Tuesday Cuppa Tea hosted by Ruth   

Friends Sharing Tea hosted by Bernideen.

Monday, January 15, 2018

500 Teapots Vol 1

I placed made a request at the library to bring this book to my branch since I so enjoyed the 500 Teapots Vol 2.  I picked it up on Saturday once the temperature here went above -20C.

I chose the teapot top left in the mosaic because it is so unusual.  It is called Roll & Pour.  The one below that is gold, teal and acorn as a finial on the lid. The 3rd one is very interesting because it looks like a teapot escaping from a box.
The top right hand side teapot with yellow strips is just a great classic shaped teapot.  I chose the bottom right hand teapot for the oval shape and the wonderful colors.

There was no need for the teapots to hold tea or pour.  It was a challenge completed by pottery artists around the world.  It is a book filled with eye candy.  Just loved the book.

Sharing with Mosaic Monday #68 hosted by Maggie at Normandy Life.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Blog Giveaway - 2018 Goals

I have not made New Year`s Resolutions for many years.  Last year, I set some Self Development Plans.  I am happy with my progress.
Learn - I bought a new camera which allows me to take different photos than I am used to.  Continue to my Flickr challenges and learning new techniques.
Read - I read 20 books in 2017. This included novels, true stories, picture books, and books to learn a skill or find a project.
Teach - I taught my monthly card club and a couple of bible studies.
Relax - Most of my relaxing time was reading time.  Not too many coloring pages were completed.  I did watch TV but with over air antenna reception is sometimes a challenge.  I totally enjoyed `This is Us` show.
Move - I did do exercises at home and walked at least an hour each morning for spring, summer and fall.  I am only up 2 pounds over the holidays but that is due to this deep freeze weather we have been experiencing.  I have been hibernating.

Check the end of the post for the giveaway details.

I managed an update to the kitchen which was not had not been firmed up in my mind last January.

Here are my goals for 2018!

CREATE - I will continue to create cards for card club and decorative paper for my cards at the gallery.

I want to create a website to showcase my photography.

I am working on the development of a workshop for my show at the gallery in October.

I am preparing a Fruit of the Spirit bible study which will start in February.

I very soon will be making decisions about the subject matter of my 2019 photo calendars and setting up photography time to get those done by the middle of the year. 

READ - I have decided to keep a Book Journal this year.  I will record the title and author at a minimum.  Characters where appropriate and a general rating on whether I would recommend the book.

I will capture insights I have gained, things I have learned, and concepts I can share from my reading of each book

This book has a sturdy translucent cover with a coil binding which needed to be tightened. Fortunately, I had the machine to do the job.  Once, that was sorted out I cut some black letters with the Stampin Up Little Letters thinlit set and glued them onto the first page.

I have already recorded my first book for 2018!

MOVE - I will continue to move each day.

I can run the stairs, use the treadmill downstairs, walk outdoors, and use my exercise video.

I have been using the stairs more because as the elevators are being overhauled so we will be down to one for the next 6 months.  I don`t NEED to take the elevator unless I am hauling groceries so there is more stair climbing in 2018.

CONNECT - I have been totally enjoying our monthly `Welcome to my Kitchen` fellowship group.
My blog lets me connect with fellow bloggers and my Flickr challenges with other photographers.
Card Club and card challenges let me connect with fellow card makers.
I am wanting to add another monthly social activity to my calendar and am looking to join a `Scrabble`game time once a month.  There are a couple of options available in my area.
I would like to host a few more friends over for tea this year as well.

DE-CLUTTER & ORGANIZE -  If you have followed my blog you may remember I worked on my craft space in 2013Craft supply storage in 2015.  The storage room in 2016.

In 2018 I am going to work on my wardrobe.  It`s been 3 years since I have had to go to a regular day job so I need to clear out some clothes I have not worn in that long.  Mom pointed out when I was home for Christmas that my favorite denim shirt was ready for the rag pile. The photo above shows the worn out one and it`s replacement.  I need a new pair of indoor runners.  There is some `Big`clothes that I have been saving in case that now just need to go. 

My renewed interest in sewing has attracted some supplies to my home which need a home.  So, I will have get rid of some stuff to make room for this.  Some hard decision will have to be made and paper may be sacrificed for fabric.

HIT THE ROAD - I want to make a few longer road trips this year.  Some will end with visiting family.  Some will be photography destinations.  Some will be just to get out of the city and see some country.

It`s been a year since I retired and I want to get out more.

I have four 2018 photo calendar as give aways for those who leave me a comment on this post.  Please share your 2018 goals, plans, objectives and upcoming events.  I will pick 4 winners on February 7th.  Have a super day!

Share Your Cup #279 hosted by Jann at Daily Cup with Mrs. Olson

Anything Goes Pink Saturday hosted by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound

Monday, January 8, 2018

Good Blues

I have been adding to my collection of blue and white.

I found this blue & white shoe at a thrift store.  During a visit to an antique mall the same day,  I found a similar vase which was identified as an ivy planter.

I am planning at to create a 2019 photo calendar with my blue and white collection.  I have dishes and decorator items in blue, blue and white and white which will provide plenty of still lifes.  Look for the calendar later this year.

This is a lovely glass coaster in true blue to royal in an ombre pattern.  Love the bubbles in the glass.  It will work as a coaster or hot spot for a teapot.

I found this great bag at the thrift store which of course worked really well in my kitchen.  It is about 6 inches wide and 12 inches tall.  Since the update to the kitchen last summer I have not had a place to store medium sized plastic grocery bags.  I have placed it on my stove handle.
I use the large plastic bags in my garbage and I have a drawer to store those.
I see during my visit to a large chain store this weekend that they are now charging for plastic bags.  I have been using reusable bags for groceries for over 25 years.

A Christmas gift of yellow and navy blue & white tea towels.  Love it!

A true blue canister which matched my dishes came home with me. It now holds my Chai Tea bags in the tea corner.

This great blown glass ornament in the deep blue color which matches my blue and white collection.  It was in the Christmas ornament section but it will live with the rest of my collection.  It will no doubt appear in my 2019 calendar.

I have been looking for a teapot to go with my true blue dishes.  I found this one recently.  Color wise it is perfect match.  You will note that it has a matte finish where the dishes have a shiny finish but variety is the spice of life.

With 8 in my collection I am done buying teapots!

Sharing with
Mosaic Monday #67 hosted by Maggie at Normandy Life

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Christmas Thank Yous

I made my Thank You cards for the wonderful gifts I received this Christmas.

My tradition is to make my TY cards from the gift wrap on the gifts.  I had a few choices and I chose this one.  It is a double sided paper so again more choice.  I found the large snowmen not as inspiring but the strips of postage stamp images were just great.  There were several colors included as well so I could have a variety of card colors. 

I chose 5 colors - Red, Turquoise, Green, Purple and Pink for the cards, then I coordinated the greeting layer with that. I used a happy font for my greeting and I printed them on a quarter sheet of white card stock then trimmed the one side to make it 5.25 wide and ripped the bottom edge.  I cut the strips of images between the rows free hand.  Four across was perfect.  I just made sure I had one that matched the card stock.

This paper was on the gift from my niece and it worked wonderfully for this project.  Thanks so much!

I have been so blessed this year by friends and family.  A few gift cards, some tea related gifts, some yellow and navy for my kitchen, some nice scented shower gel, a couple handmade gifts and a turquoise scarf.

Recent Photos

Here's my new wreath for the front door.
The one I am using is a large evergreen looking one with silver accents I had made for my office door.  It came home with me when I retired.  The frame is 16 inches wide so 23 inches with the greenery. I thought I would replace it with a smaller one but then it blocked the peep hole so I decided 20 inches would work.  I wanted something I could decorate for each season.
I became aware of Geo Wire Wreaths at a handmade boutique I visited in early December.  They had a kit for sale using plastic straws and connectors but it would not be sturdy.
I decided I wanted a metal one so started my internet search.  Not finding what I wanted in Canada I was going to settle for a 23" flat one from Pottery Barn which would mean a visit to West Edmonton Mall, not my favorite place.  On Thursday, I thought I would check Canadian Tire's website to see what they may have on Christmas clearance since I was headed out anyways.  Well lo and behold if I did not find exactly what I was looking for on SALE!!  I have added a string garland of silver and gold beads and a single gold ball.  This will do for winter I think.

Another great book from Karen Kingsbury.  This one features 2 brothers and 2 sisters where one in each was affected by Down Syndrome.  The approaches one the way these children were raised were completely different.  In the girl's case she was encouraged to do all she could, provided with opportunities to grow and become independent.  While in the boy's case he was kept at home and spent his days playing video games and most everything done for him.  By chance, the boy is enrolled in the class for learning life skills to be independent and he flourishes.  He is diagnosed with epilepsy and the parents are reconsidering their decision.  The big brother has come home for a while and is no sure his brother is capable of independent living. The man and woman get to know each other and come to see a way forward for each of their siblings.  The life skills taught were taking the bus, cooking, managing money, getting along with others and prayer.

The sun is shining just beyond the clouds so hang in there.

I did spend some of my Christmas money and bought a Cherry Red Diamond Weave Nordic Mug which was on my list.  I added some tea sacks and some loose teas as well - Organic Saigon Chai and Organic Earl Grey.  I've only tried the Chai so far but I am happy with the taste.

I toned down my table to a white Battenburg table runner and the red table cloth.  I added the stainless steel tree folding table decor for a bit of a festive touch.

I clear glass plate holds a few goodies from the bake sales before Christmas.  Nanaimo Bars and Thumbprint cookies were a nice complement to a mug of Chamomile tea.

Sharing with Share Your Cup #278 hosted by Jann.

Bernideen's "Sharing Tea with Friends"

Tuesday Cuppa Tea hosted by Ruth.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Christmas Card Challenge - January - Yellow Star

This is my first Christmas Card challenge for 2018.

I chose yellow and black as the color combo for this card.  I selected a black card base.

I used the Stampin Up Bright and Beautiful stamp set.  I chose the medium sized star and filled it with yellow and outlined in black.  I cut it with the corresponding framelit from the Star Framelit set from SU.

I cut the printed star and a corresponding solid card from Summer Sun card stock.  I layered the stars onto each other then placed them onto the open card front and used a push pin to make a hole in all layers.  I installed the yellow mini brad in the center of the stars and then shifted the yellow star to create the 10 pointed star.

I used the hole in the card front to string some yellow thread through several times to create the star rays as shown.  I tied the thread and taped them in place on the inside of the card.  The star accent was mounted aligned with the rays and adhered with 3D foam tape.  I trimmed the greeting with even borders and used a corner rounder punch on the top right and bottom left hand corners.  The greeting was adhered to the bottom right hand corner of the card with 3D foam tape.

I am making fewer cards this year as I used quite a few less this year.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2018 Christmas Card Challenge

Here's my blog challenge list for 2018.  I hope some will join me in making Christmas Cards all year long.  Please leave me a comment if you are making Christmas Cards this year.

I have to confess I only gave out half of what I made last year because of issues of distribution.  This year, I am cutting back on how many I make each month but I love the challenge so I will carry on.  Giving cards is in such decline, that saddens me. 

2018 Christmas Card Challenge
Yellow Star
Embossed die cut
Red Heart
Foil paper
Navy Bethlehem
Sparkle background
White Snowflake
Watercolor background for diecut
Purple Ornament
Lavender with dark purple layer
Brown Gingerbread
Plaid background
Copper Wisemen
Stamped image
Gold Nativity
Circle on ornament
Silver Candle
Stamped or embossed
White Dove
Brad or die cut
Green Tree
Triangle or die cut
Glitter Snowman
TH Wonder

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a wonderful new year.  May 2018 bring many blessings and exciting new challenges.

We are in a deep freeze here but today things should turn around.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Recent Photos

These are Christmas Candles that Mom has put in her window for years.  I just love them.  They are electric, red candles with clear plastic halos around the bulbs.  There is greenery on the front side.

I was home for 3 days over Christmas and the weather was very cold.  Plug in cars and stay inside as much as possible.  I'm so glad Mom and Dad can get their exercise in the hallways and stairways of their building now and do not have to go out in this cold.

I had to go outside in -30C degree weather to take this photo.  I have applied a watercolor filter to the photo.

This is so Christmas to me.

I brought home three of these clear plastic bells for my Christmas tree from my trip south to visit my niece a few days before Christmas.

Loving clear and glass things makes photography a challenge.  I set up the tripod and still took many shots to get a few in focus ones. 

We are stuck in a deep freeze here in Canada.  I know that areas on the east have lost power and received tons of snow so I am grateful "It's just cold!"  We have ski hills closed, New Year's festivities cut back or brought indoors.  I have been hibernating with tea, books and TV. We are going onto a week of crazy cold.

My Christmas have been placed on my card  holder.   Of course, much fewer than in others years.  There are some great ones though.  The 2 central ones in the photo are ones I especially like - the watercolor red poinsettia and the soft nativity in warm tones.  I received some lovely cards this year.

I finished this book this week which was recommended by my sister. It is a true account of the author's work in Pakistan to build schools to educate girls.  The book's title was inspired by a saying Haji Ali shared with Greg Mortenson: "The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family...".

I found a Christmas mug at the thrift store while visiting my niece before Christmas.  Upon some research it is by Johnson Brothers - Victorian Christmas coffee mug.  One of my favorite makers. 

The bow is more burgundy than red which does not quite match my color scheme but I am happy with my purchase.  I had several to pick from and this one was light in comparison to the others and it just felt right.

Sharing with Share Your Cup #277 hosted by Jan at Daily Cup with Mrs. Olson.

Through my Lens hosted my Mersad.