Beady Eye Candy

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A couple of weeks ago, I made some bead purchases during my trip to Michigan. Twisted together are Mexican fire agate, turquoise, and sugilite, purchased at Munro’s Crafts in Berkeley, MI. I usually like to purchase stone beads at the bead shows I attend but they had an irresistible sale going that day I visited. I couldn’t resist these gorgeous strands! I found the fire agate oval bead at the Bead Haven in Frankenmuth, MI the following day.

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At the same bead store was a whole wall of bead hanks where I found these beauties. I’ve never done any bead crochet and I thought it was time to learn. So, that’s my plans for these gorgeous beads. I especially love the second hank from the right. It’s so earthy looking.

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I seem to be drawn to variegated colors lately and these glass beads spoke to me from their little hooks on the wall. Don’t they like great just as they are?

Saturday Morning Tea

A cool, rainy day in New England. Even though the skies are dreary and dark, this rain is heartily welcomed as we are experiencing low rainfall and drought right now. It’s wonderful to wake up every morning to bright sunshine but it’s always beneficial to have a balance between the sunshine and the rainfall to nourish our gardens and trees.

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This morning’s tea is a Chinese Oolong called Tie-Guan-Yin Tribute Special. This type of tea was offered to the Chinese Emperor as tribute during the Song Dynasty in China. A very special tea indeed. As you can see, the dry leaf is rolled in such a way that it curls upon itself. There is a a hint of the full leaf there.

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After a 3 minute steep in 180 degree F water, the leaf opens to reveal its structure. The unfurling of the leaf during steeping is often referred to as “The Agony of the Leaf”. I’m not sure why they actually term the meeting of water and leaf “agony” because it is a beautiful sight to watch the leaves open up. The aroma of this tea is like walking through a blooming garden and being surrounded by its heady fragrance.

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The tea liquor is pale, a light greenish straw color. The flavor is delicate with notes of lilac. This would also be a perfect tea to sip during a winter snowstorm to conjure up images of a colorful summer garden!

Saturday Morning Tea

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Whereas last Saturday gave us cool early morning temps, this Saturday morning it is already 85 degrees and promises to climb into the 90s. So, the heat of summer has not entirely left us yet!

Inspired by the heat and humidity, I have chosen a lighter tea today. It is an infusion of tea flowers instead of the leaf of the tea plant. For caffeine sensitive tea lovers like me, it can be a wonderful beverage choice for late afternoon and evening as it only has a hint of caffeine in its flowers. Most of the caffeine is concentrated in the new leaf growth of the plant. The flower petals are white on the plant but turn a golden yellow when they dry.

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The tea liquor is amber colored and its taste is fairly robust for an herbal with hints of honey and nuts. I also like to make a blend of half tea flowers and half white tea. This not only decreases the caffeine level in the resulting cup but also results in an interesting blend of flavor notes as well, depending upon the white tea.

Tea flowers are also very good as an iced tea. Ok, time to turn on the AC and ice the rest of my tea flower infusion!

Saturday Morning Tea

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This holiday weekend I am in Michigan visiting my parents for a nice relaxing mini-vacation. Today I am enjoying a China Black tea, a full-bodied, earthy brew with hints of smoke and red wine.  I like to first sample the reddish liquor plain but then add milk later on with the second cup to richen its flavor. 

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A China black tea, with its earthy comfort, is a perfect cup for the first day of September in Michigan where the morning temperature reads a cool 59 degrees.  As I sip my tea, my eyes take in my cache of treasures from The Bead Haven bead store I visited yesterday.  Stay tuned for the full eye candy report when I return home!

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