Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Tea Cat is "On"

Today I thought I would shake things up a bit and drink something other than my standard black tea. It's white tea today.

(Carole sent it to me for my birthday last November.)

The peek of "Nebraska" behind my cup and saucer is a souvenir creamer I found at the thrift store for a dime-- I put 2% milk into my tea.

And honey (not pictured).

I really need to visit Nebraska sometime.

I've driven through, but haven't stopped to see anything.

Jill lives up there.

Can you say, "Road Trip"?!

Don't worry, Jill, I won't just suddenly show up on your door step unannounced.

But now I am rambling, so let me bring you back to tea...

The white tea is loose, but instead of messing with a tea ball (because we all know they leak tea leaves), I just throw the tea leaves into my teapot and pour water over them. Like in the "old days". Then I just use an old, homely, but functional, mesh strainer to pour the tea through. I feel so Victorian to have so many tea implements on my tray. heehee.

Only mine aren't highly designed, fancy silver things.

(Those stay on display in my china cabinet.)

The Cat, so many of you have commented on in the past, is my one and only tea cozy. That's why you rarely see a teapot in my posts. I like my tea HOT from first to last pour. He is also the one and only cat in our house (I don't care much for felines as house pets- I am a dog person).

My tea tray is the oasis of calm in the middle of whatever artistic chaos I have going on. Today I am assembling a junk journal.

Visit our hostess Kimmie to see who else is having tea today!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Asian Reveal and a Peek

Wonderful artwork arrived from Patty a few days ago, along with a lot of Asian goodies from her stash! I sent her a round coaster to alter (each of the Queen Bees got the same from me) with the request to do something on the front and simpler on the back. I don't which is the "front", because I think both sides are gorgeous!
This beautiful vintage postcard was among the extras Patty enclosed. I love all of the round shapes in her "one, two, three" design side of my coaster. The bit of blue paper you see is from a paper umbrella I enclosed as inspiration for this swap.
This is the cheese box, I have yet to alter, to hold all of my Asian coasters when they come home.

(No, the coasters won't be used to hold drippy beverages- the art will be strictly to take out and admire!)

And here is a small peek of the art I finished for Linda this weekend. She sent each of us a chipboard house cut-out to alter.

I think I shall tackle a toasted kipper tin next...

You can find the Queen Bee blogs on my side bar.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Alter a Postcard

Find a boring postcard with potential.
This man looks very interested in something.
Amazed even.
His neck must hurt from gazing upwards for so long.

He is lost in the majesty of the fantastic rock formation created by millions of years of lime rich water dripping from the ceiling of the cave.

Surely not!

No, let's give him something truly amazing to admire!

You may have a large clip art collection to glean from.
I have a lot of rubber stamps. And old, yellowed, newspaper.

Let's make some art!

Sand the surface of your card to not only remove the original image, but also to give something for your glue to stick to.

A rock formation that took millions of years to achieve its glory, sanded away in minutes.

Let's not dwell on it.

It's only art.

The sanding also gives the card an artsy look.

People will be impressed.

Like it took forever to achieve that "look".
Careful not to sand off your spectator.

We need him!

(Ow! His neck must really hurt!
I am starting to feel sympathy pains.)

Glue down your fabulous art piece for the tourist-turned-art-patron to admire.

Add words. I type mine on yellowed paper (of course!) using an old typewriter (doesn't everyone have one?)

Okay, so our man is not really an art patron.

No, he is just a common Joe who just exited off I-70 at the sign that read, "World Famous Art on a Stick". Just down the road from Stuckey's, which we all know if where you will find pecan rolls.

He is nonetheless, impressed.

His wife, Martha (not pictured), nods in agreement.

They want one for their den, but are told that none are available for sale.

They are told that the artist is suffering and has lost all inpiration to create.
And the t-shirts have sold out.
They are back ordered.
(but I digress again...)

So instead our man Joe and his wife (Martha, who is not pictured) buy a postcard in consolation and add it to their shoebox of travel memories. The Last Supper Made of Lint. The Eiffel Tower assembled from toothpicks. The Leaning Tower of Pisa created (3/4 scale) from various shapes of pasta. They also stop to buy a pecan roll on the way back to the freeway...

Don't forget to alter the back side too.

And sign it.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Of Chicken Salad and Friends

First off, here is the recipe for this delicious salad. It was a big hit with my friends, Susan and Amy, who came for lunch last Wednesday.
I would suggest two additions to the salad when you make it.
1. Increase the curry to a heaping teaspoon or even two level teaspoons.
I found it too mild, as-is and added several more dashes of curry and remixed the salad.
2. I also added a couple teaspoons of apple juice (but any fruit juice you have on hand will do) because I found the salad was too dry using straight mayo. Definitely make it a day ahead so the flavors have time to "marry". It also allows the curry to stain the salad it's signature yellow color.
The recipe says 6 half cup servings. The three of us polished off the bowl and used bread to wipe it clean of the dressing! Curry is good stuff! Yum. So that is my other suggestion. (3). Make more than you think you need. The salad is excellent eaten as a leftover-- but you may not have any!
I have to mention the serving plates that I used. They are those glass hostess plates you find at sales, in their original boxes, with matching punch cups. I had bought mine 3 years ago for a couple dollars at a local garage sale, but never really looked closely at them (never used them!) until this lunch(eon). Beneath the indentation for the punch cup is another sectioned area with a funny lip on it's edge.... to hold a lit cigarette. It was a built-in ashtray! A perfectly acceptable thing at one time to smoke while eating, but now I think blaacchh! It was a conversation starter at our lunch (we are all non-smokers).
Although we are all tea drinkers, I served wine. Red, because it's all I had, but it was perfect with the curry. Susan makes jewelry (she is a beadaholic among other things) while Amy draws, paints and does mixed media stuff. She does a lot of commission work- mainly murals. So we talked art, old friends, thrift stores (Susan worked at one) and the time flew. As soon as they left, I wanted to schedule another "play date". These gatherings need to be less rare. Susan is moving to Nebraska this week, but Amy and I are tentatively planning a wine and cheese picnic on the acreage she and her husband bought. They have their "city" house for sale and are dreaming about moving to the country. A story for another post.
To recap, make curried chicken salad and invite friends over.
Serve wine.
Discuss dreams.
And make plans to do it again.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Teacup Rubber Stamp Winner is....

I almost didn't post today because for two days I have been cleaning like a woman possessed.
Yes, hard to believe, but it makes perfect sense.
I have to be possessed in order to clean!
(and of course I am drinking tea as I compose this post!)
Sunday I opened up the house to let in the beautiful spring breeze and in the process exposed my poor winter housekeeping.
Dust bunnies were blown from their formerly secure hiding places,
the fresh air coming in exposed the less than pleasant smells inside
the balmy breeze made me want to shed some layers.
Or in this case "piles".
Piles of winter coats, bags of hand me down clothes intended for a neighbor's child, stacks of VHS tapes, mountains of miscellaneous books, magazines, catalogs, kids' school work (saved), etc., etc.
All were dispatched to where they were intended or into the trash.
And that was just the dining room!
I still have more cleaning to do!
Today is trash day so it seems fitting that my rubber stamp drawing was done in an empty waste basket.
Congrats Amy!
Go tell her how envious you are that she won.
Because you know she would enjoy it.
And I haven't forgotten my promise to report on my curried chicken salad lunch with friends.
Stay tuned.
And you may have to tolerate my ramblings about spring cleaning a little longer. I am only just scratching the surface of my studio. I started today when I tumbled over the stacks of stuff on my floor to get to my computer chair. It's inexcusable.
Maybe I need to start my own blog feature... Take Out the Trash Thursday (Why Wait 'Til Saturday to Clean?!)
Have you been possessed lately?
Oh, by the way, if you want to visit other Tea on Tuesday bloggers, go see our hostess Kimmie.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Latest Buzz

The Queen Bees are at it again with another swap.
Carole gave the suggestion that we make kits of similair items to send to each of us.
Believe it or not, this is our biggest challenge yet since some of us sent very unusual items to alter (smashed and toasted kipper tin, an embroidery hoop with some fabric but no hints or instructions...)
I started with Margaret's lot since I am most comfortable with paper. She sent us each a different "bloke" and a BINGO card of some sort for our base.

I created "Handsom Dan" (named so for obvious reasons!) who wears a ridiculously large tie tack (spinner).
And because I was messing around with the layout while I was working at the Post Office (shhhh, don't tell the post mistress), I gave Dan a postmark halo as a souvenir (although he is no saint!)
This is just a peek. You will have to watch Margaret's blog for the whole reveal.
Three kits to go...
You can find the Queen Bee blogs on my sidebar.
OH! And please stop by my previous post for a giveaway, if you haven't already!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tea, Curry and a Teacup Giveaway

I have "city" friends coming over for lunch tomorrow so as I sip my usual black tea with a little milk, I am also snacking on raisins and hunting for a curried chicken salad recipe. I found one quickly at Kraft Foods. The inspiration was a forgotten spice jar of curry that I found in my cabinet. I can't tell you how old it is (which means "too old") but it still tasted fine. Some raw veggies and home baked bread on the side and we will be set for hours of visiting and noshing.

Now for the Giveaway portion of this tea post...
This is the "teacup" I am sending away to one lucky person who leaves a comment between now and next Monday night.
I have been slowly listing my humungous rubber stamp collection for sale in my etsy shop, but this one I would like to gift to a tea drinker, or someone who just likes teacups (they hold gin just as well!)
Most of my stamps are used, but this one happens to be brand new (I had another teacup stamp that was my favorite to use).
I will announce the winner next Tuesday.
For more Tea on Tuesday posts, see Kimmie's blog.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ah, Spring!

This is not a stock photo I pulled out of my stash from this winter. I took it this morning! We had freezing rain, plus a couple inches of snow fall over night. And it is currently (as I write) snowing more. We could have a couple more inches fall by this evening. So much for a warm up and thaw during the day!

It does look pretty though, so I cannot complain too hard.
The weird thing is hearing song birds twitter right through all of this.
(I heard them singing while I was out taking these pictures!)
They are ignoring this slight set back (Snow? What snow?!)
and continuing their courtships.
It will be warmer this week (genuine spring weather!) and nests will need to be built!
So while you may find lush photos of crocuses and tulips bursting into bloom on other blogs,
all you will find here is dormant hostas (and weeds!)
Perhaps I should have planted some bulbs. :)
In any event, spring has not quite sprung in my little part of Missouri.
But anything can happen in a week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Found in a Book

Yes, I am still tearing apart books.
For most of them, it's an improvement.
For some, their covers were coming off anyway.
I just helped the process along.

Case in point.
A 140 year old copy of "Elements of Analytical Geometry".
The covers fell off in my hands without much tugging,
but the spine is permanent.
I would have to chisel it off and it's not worth the damage.
The pages inside have the most beautiful coloring so
I may part the book out.
Or not.

Look what I found inside.
Century old vegetation.
I can't part with it now!
It would be like sellng King Tut's tomb.

Another book has priceless verse.
"The Mastery of Words (Book One)"
is full of little gems.
They need to be cross stitched on samplers or
recreated as an altered book page.
Another pearl for you, from the same book-

The is the way the morning dawns:
Rosy tints on flowers and trees,
Winds that wake the birds and bees,
Dewdrops on the fields and lawns.

Isn't that too precious?
From a spelling book written for kids in grades 1-5.
It's a keeper!
You won't find this book in my etsy shop,
but you might find other things you can't live without.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Afternoon Tea at the Corder P.O.

No teacup photo today.
I am working at the Post Office this week and am using my personal collection of "stock photos".
I am drinking tea though.
Earl Grey.
In a thermal cup.
Which means it is scalding hot for the first 10 minutes, then tepid (blaaach!) and finally cold.
If I were Postmaster, I would have a hot plate and water kettle in the back room, but I am just the "PMR" (Post Master Replacement) which is also an achronym for "temporary help".
The current Post "Mistress" does not even drink coffee so that appliance sits in the back room covered in dust.
I won't touch it, no matter how desperate I am for coffee in the morning.
But I go home for lunch (one block away) and come back equipped with my afternoon survival beverage.

It is a cold, rainy day today (not snowy as in my stock photo).
I love rainy days at the P.O.
The swish of traffic on the wet street outside, the ticking clock and the occasional patron who comes in for postage and a bit of gossip.
I live in a small town.
The pace is slow.
And I know more about some patrons than I care to know.
They mistaken me for a bartender and tell me their problems.
For more Tea on Tuesday posts, visit Kimmie's blog.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Disintegrated Ornaments Revealed

If you read my blog two months ago, you saw these shining Christmas ball ornaments and learned that I was putting them outside to weather in the, um, er, weather. They were free after Christmas ornaments from my local thrift store, so I had absolutely nothing to lose with the experiment.

And, in fact, I have gained everything, by doing nothing.
Two heavy snowfalls, rain, wind and temperature extremes did all of the work.
This is my kind of project!

Now, I have some lovely rust...

Pitting and flaking...

Mottled textures...

And general decay.
Aren't they GORGEOUS?!
The trick is to place them into a container that has drainage (so they don't soak in standing water) and shelter from the wind (so they don't get buffeted around and break).
A basket would be good.
Mine were on a soft bed of dead grass in a large, stoneware crock with no bottom, in front of a friend's antiques shop.
Then you pray for harsh weather and forget about your project for about two months.
Mine were off-site, but even my friend Liz forgot to look in on the ornaments.
Now she swears she is buying every box of old Shiny Brites to do this herself.
I think that means her crock is booked for next winter...
I don't know what I will do with my shabby sparklers, but it just might be something as simple as heaping them into a bowl for display
decorating an unconventional tree.
Can you say, "Junk-le bells?"