From bead soups to a free-form bracelet

A winter walk in the woods under a full moon.

As I wrote these words today I thought how appropriate to post this on the day of the full moon even though winter has now blossomed into spring.

My first bead soups have come together with needle and thread to create a story.  Unlike my other free-form bracelets with woven patches of color, this bracelet gradates from lights to darks with beaded cabochons woven into its fabric.

I love trying out new techniques and expressing them in my own voice.

3 moonstone beads finish my bracelet in a button and loop clasp.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

~John Muir

Saturday Morning Tea

When I returned home after work yesterday, I discovered that my internet connection was working once again. So, just as mysteriously as I lost it, so I regained it without having to call Verizon. I was so thrilled that I could take a long walk in the fresh evening air instead of being cooped up inside on the phone. What a wakeup call on how much I depend upon my electronic devices to just automatically work!

This morning’s tea is a yellow tea called Heirloom Yellow Buds, quite an impressive name. The tea leaves are plucked from heirloom tea bushes in the Yunnan province, located in the south of China. In terms of an agricultural product, heirloom is defined as “a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals”.

The leaves remind me very much of a white tea because most white teas consist of the buds of the tea bush. The whole intact leaf is a beautiful light sage green. Yellow teas are processed in a similar fashion to green teas, however, the difference lies in involving a moist steam heat and then covering the leaves with a cloth to allow the moist steam to develop the flavor. This process is repeated several times. I’ve written about another yellow tea and the process here.

In experiencing this tea – steeping, inhaling, sipping – the first word that comes to my mind is ethereal. It’s so light and delicate with a pale straw colored liquor. I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

So pale is the liquor that the true spring colors outside shine through.

The flavor is quite sweet and smooth with a whisper of apricot that lingers into the finish.

The azure sky reflected in my teabowl has not a cloud in it. The birds outside are welcoming another beautiful spring day as I quietly sit by the window sipping and meditating on the weekend ahead.

“Mystics report that every bit of the world radiates from one center – every cricket, every grain of dust, every dream, every image, everything under the sun or beyond the sun, all art and myth and wildness. If they are right, then we have no more important task than to seek that center.”

~Scott Russell Sanders

Mercury and my internet connection

After an interesting week of computer and network connection problems at work, I woke up early this morning to discover that I had totally lost my own internet connection at home. After an hour of plugging and unplugging, switching on and off, and trying to get ready for work, too, it was  time to leave and start my workday. And then later on in the morning, my cell phone wouldn’t allow me to make a call.

What is going on here, I wondered?

I found out that it’s all because of Mercury. The planet. It’s retrograde.

The definition of retrograde is “moving backward; having a backward motion or direction; retiring or retreating.

About 2-3 times a year, Mercury slows down so much in its movement that it appears to be going backward. We’re now in a retrograde period until May 11th. During this time, it’s not at all unusual for communications to go haywire, especially computers and any kind of communication devices. Oh, ok, so that’s what’s happening!

You can read more about this phenomenon here.

With all that said, I’ll be contacting Verizon when I get home tonight and, hopefully, this problem can be resolved quickly so I can share a cup of tea with you tomorrow morning. If you don’t hear from me, I am still trying to connect…..sigh…

Saturday Morning Tea

Hello tea friends! It’s good to be back home and share a cup of tea with you again. I do love to travel and see new places or revisit favorite places but it is always good to come home, especially after a full day of air travel. I felt my shoulders relax the moment I walked through my front door. Ahhh, home again.

This morning I’m enjoying a very special treat, one of my most favorite experiences of springtime – the first sip of a brand new first flush Darjeeling. This tea is from the Puttabong estate. Located in the mountainous Darjeeling district of northeast India and also know as the Tukvar estate, I’ve written about this estate before right here.

Unfortunately, the weather conditions in Darjeeling this spring were less than ideal but you would never know that when looking at the gorgeous leaf and inhaling the fragrant aroma of this tea. That said, the lower quantity produced this season has made these first flush teas very expensive.

This tea is processed as a black tea but because the plucking is from the first leaves of springtime, it has a very “green” feel to it, in both the dry and wet leaf and also the aroma and taste.

The tea liquor steeps to a deep golden color after 3 minutes in slightly less than boiling point water.

The aroma and flavor is of ripening fruit. It calls to mind a green banana that has just turned ripe enough to eat but still retains its not yet quite ripeness. So new, so fresh, so smooth.

I have one word for the flavor. YUM. How do you like that for a technical tea description? I just want to keep drinking this tea it’s so wonderful! Unfortunately, I only have enough for 4 cups of tea in the sample I have so I will savor each delicious sip. I have looked forward to this moment all winter long. Mmmmm….

My workplace is located 3 blocks from the starting line of the Boston Marathon so I have Monday off and a delicious 3-day weekend stretching out in front of me. I’ve been on the go for the last month so I am taking this opportunity to just hang out at home and do nothing.

What tea are you enjoying today?

Creating a Flickr Gallery for Inspiration

I recently read a post by Libby Mills on making a flickr gallery for inspiration. What a cool idea, thanks Libby!

I made some of my own galleries to inspire and delight.

Tea Bowls

Antelope Canyon

Fractal Art

That was so much fun! What inspires you?

“The glow of inspiration warms us; it is a holy rapture.” ~Ovid

Saturday Morning Tea

The rain clouds have finally parted here in New England but not without some severe flooding in certain areas. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the storm. I hope that the warm temps and bright sunshine help clear all of this water away and folks can return to their homes and businesses.

This morning’s tea is a Ceylon black tea from the Deniyaya estate, located in the Ruhuna district in southern Sri Lanka. I’ve written about another tea grown in this district here.

The plucking is predominantly composed of very fine tip, giving the dry leaf a “salt and pepper” look.  The fine, needle-like structure of the leaf reminds me of South African Rooibos.

Because of its fine structure, I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in boiling point (212F) water. It didn’t take up much room in my teapot’s infuser at all.

As I poured my first cup, I notice a pronounced, rich molasses aroma wafting up from the dark amber liquor.

I’m enjoying my tea in a new teabowl purchased from Salty Dog Pottery at a recent art show I attended. As I browsed around the show, I was immediately drawn to the soft colors and symbolism on this piece. The shiny glazing is created with salt!

I love the layered complexity of this tea. I taste cocoa, whispers of vanilla, hints of fruitiness and a smoothness that carries into the finish.

Today I am spending the afternoon with my precious 17-month old granddaughter who is here visiting from New Mexico. The day has graced us with warmth and sunshine so we are going to enjoy a trip to the playground and a long walk on the bike trail at a nearby pond. Oh yes, and a trip to the toy store for a Dora the Explorer doll! Ella loves Dora and calls her “Do-ba”, “Do-ba”.

What are you enjoying today?

You are the bows from which your children, as living arrows, are sent forth. ~Kahlil Gibran