Saturday Morning Tea

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Wow, we made it through the month of February! Time is marching on and we are poised to enter the month when Spring officially starts. Hoo-ray!

There are already small signs of Spring’s imminent arrival.

It’s light out when I rise at 6am every morning.

Where there was once a hushed silence there is now birdsong here and there.

When I go outside, the air feels softer, milder.

Yesterday I saw the tip of a hyacinth gently nudging its way up through the earth.

People are smiling more…

This morning’s tea is a China green called Sparrow’s Tongue Lung Ching. Grown in Zhejiang province, its name comes from its resemblance to bird beaks.

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This little beak is closed for the moment. The leaf is a fine plucking of the first 2 leaves and a bud at the tip of each tea bush stem, the new tender growth. It is minimally processed so the leaf retains its original appearance. It looks freshly plucked, a beautiful spring green.

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Lung Ching tea is a popular green tea from China. You can read more about it in one of my previous posts here.

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I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The aroma is very clean, fresh and light. The tea liquor is a pale muted yellow with a smooth vegetal taste. There’s something about this tea that is very calming.

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Can you see the whisper of steam rising from my teabowl? I love its speckled glazing. It reminds me of the speckling on a birds egg.

As I gently sip my tea, I listen to a CD called “Silk and Bamboo”, an ensemble by harpist Patricia Spero and flautist Tim Wheater. Here is the description from the CD cover:

“Silk and Bamboo brings together the meditative sounds of the traditional silk strings of the Chinese Harp or Cheng and the wonderful sounds of bamboo and wooden flutes.”

The achingly beautiful sounds of the harp and flute weaving their magic together is lovely to listen to while sipping this gentle green tea.

A moment of serenity after a busy week…

Studio Wednesday

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This week I finished 2 projects – my glazed polymer clay heart and pearl necklace and my first knitted pair of socks.

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I sculpted a heart out of white Premo and after baking, carved some words onto the front and embellished with thin, extruded polymer clay snakes. Using acrylic medium and mica powder, I created a glaze and applied at least 4 layers to the heart, letting dry overnight in between applications. Using 20 gauge antiqued copper wire, I created the metal components of the necklace. The faceted lavender pearls are knotted on hand dyed silk cord. As I carefully put this necklace together, I thought about my dreams, especially the one about buying my own house.

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My second sock knit up more smoothly as I knew what I was doing the second time around. I now understood about not knitting the whole round with the “waste” yarn and adjusted the instructions accordingly. Since I used bigger knitting needles – US 10 – and very thin yarn, the pattern came out lacy looking. They’ll be perfect to wear in the warmer months ahead.

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Today I worked on a free-form peyote bracelet, a custom order in a fall color palette. It felt so good to get back to placing the tiny beads on my needle once again, if only for a little while. I find my shoulders hunching up with tension very quickly while I bead so I need to be very careful with that.

Today was my last official Studio Wednesday. I felt sad but am excited to begin the next phase of my life. A new adventure. A new house. All my own.

He is the happiest, be he king or peasant,

who finds peace in his home.

~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Saturday Morning Tea

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As winter unwinds and we reach out towards spring, I am thinking of spirals once again. How you can come around full circle in your life and you are not exactly at the place where you began but a notch up and further along on your journey. It isn’t a circle but more like a spiral. Time isn’t linear at all because it brings us back around to experiences that keep whispering their messages to us.

So, in all my musings on spirals, I chose this morning’s tea because it has an amazing leaf artfully shaped into spirals. The leaf appearance reminds me of a black tea version of Pi Lo Chun, Green Snail Spring. It is called Yunnan Spiral Buds from Yunnan province in China.

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I steeped the leaves for 5 minutes in boiling temp water. The spirals released into long thinly rolled threads.

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The dry leaf has a pistachio fragrance with a cocoa undertone. The cocoa tone steps to the forefront in the steeped tea’s aroma and lends itself to the taste as well.

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The tea liquor is not as dark as other Yunnan black teas I have tried. Its rich amber glow reminds me of a Darjeeling color but the flavor is very different.

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While the color is lighter, the taste is very full-bodied with that dark cocoa richness. I am enjoying my tea in one of the teabowls from the set I purchased from In Pursuit of Tea. I love everything about these small 4 oz. teabowls – from the rough texture of the glaze to how they cradle perfectly in my hand.

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Today I am attending a Mystical Art Tea Party at my dear friend Laura’s house. A wonderful gathering of kindred art spirits enjoying tea and delicious food, conversation and hugs.

There is no hope of joy except in human relations.
Antoine de Sainte-Exupery

Studio Wednesday

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I finished my first sock! I have to say though that I found this very challenging despite my many years of knitting experience.I think that there was a typo in the directions when it said to knit one round with “waste” yarn. When it came time to remove the waste yarn and place the stitches on my needles, I ended up with the sock being split into two pieces. When I read the directions and saw that I was supposed to have a lot less stitches than I actually had, I knew there was an error somewhere. So, having just learned the Kitchener stitch to weave the toe stitches together, I wove part of the 2 pieces together (the sock “front”) until I was left with the correct amount of stitches to make the heel. Then I continued with the directions as they were written. Whew! Now that I have started my second sock, I know what to do about the waste yarn knitting round. I think… I do like the yarn but it’s very thin and would work better with another pattern and smaller needles.

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For my glazed heart pendant, I created some copper wire components, antiqued them and then glued them into the pendant with epoxy. I have a whole pile of antiqued wire pieces to be cleaned with steel wool first and then I can start assembling the necklace.

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I’ve also returned to my bead crocheting, this time with some gorgeous Montano hand dyed silk cord. I was concerned about whether the silk cord would be a good choice for bead crochet so I wrote to Lydia over at the Beadwrangler website. She was kind enough to write back, telling me that I could use any kind of cord I wanted as long as it worked for my project. She went on to say that she has experimented with many different kinds of cords, including silk, and encouraged me to do the same. Thanks so much Lydia! With a “bead soup” of coordinating colors and this silk cord, I want to create a multi-strand chain stitch necklace for my “Grow” pendant.

It is with great sadness in my heart to tell you that in a couple of weeks I will no longer be in my studio on Wednesdays. My life circumstances have changed and I find myself having to move again into my own place. So, I will need to work full-time again. That being said, however, I will still be working in my studio in the evenings and on the weekends and will be glad to share whatever projects I’m working on at the time. Even though I won’t technically be in the studio on that day, I will still be exploring the Artful Life and I invite you to join me in my explorations to be shared with you in my Studio posts.

A dear friend recently shared this poem with me. Called Love After Love by Derek Walcott, it really resonated with me at this time. Enjoy!

The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,


and say, sit here.  Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you


all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,


the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit.  Feast on your life.



Saturday Morning Tea

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

It is a sweet day, perfect for a tea party. Won’t you join me?

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Today I’m sipping a different kind of tea. Well, actually it is not a tea at all. It is an herbal called South African Rooibos, rooibos meaning “red bush” in Afrikaans and pronounced roy-boss. The rooibos bush is grown in South Africa and harvested and processed similarly to the tea leaf. The leaves are picked and then bruised to release their volatile oils and flavor.

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As you can see, there are small pink candy hearts in my rooibos, a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. This is called Rooibos Candied Almond because there are also small pieces of almond in the blend.

The liquor is an amber color with a candy sweet fragrance and taste. However, the sweetness has not covered up the natural citrus, vanilla taste of the  rooibos. This is a wonderful “tea” for a children’s tea party as it doesn’t contain any caffeine.

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We’ve experienced some warmer temps this past week. Along with a day of rain and high winds, our snow piles have shrunk down to reveal patches of grass here and there.

I can’t wait to see peeks of green emerging from the soil.

Enjoy sweetness this day.

When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace. ~His Holiness the Dalia Lama