Saturday Morning Tea


In continuing with my fervent wishes for spring to arrive, I am sipping a very fragrant Floral Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong this morning. Inhaling the aroma of this tea brings memories of that first moment in late spring when you are standing by an open window and the breeze brings in the heady scent of lilac to fill your senses.

Aromatherapy in a cup to dispel the iciness of a long, harsh winter that is still hanging on into February.


The leaves are intensely green, especially after steeping, and rolled into curled shapes during processing. This tea is lightly oxidized making it more like a green tea, with vegetal notes in the flavor. The lilac fragrance bursts its sweetness in my mouth with each sip.


This tea is named after Guan Yin (also spelled Quan Yin or Kwan Yin), the Chinese Goddess of Mercy. Well loved by her people, there are many stories about her kindness and compassion. It is said that she was a Buddhist many years ago and, after living a life filled with great love and giving, she had earned her place in Nirvana, or heaven. As she was passing through the gates, she heard a cry of anguish come from the Earth. She decided to turn back to the earth and find her immortality in the hearts of the suffering. Her Chinese name roughly translates to “The One Who Hear the Cries of the World”.


I steeped the leaves in water under the boiling point (about 190 degrees F) for 3 minutes. The leaves gently released and opened during their time in the hot water. It’s like a tea leaf’s little hot tub. Aaahhhh…..


The liquor is a very pale straw color, the same color as my new teabowl. I purchased a set of 4 teabowls from In Pursuit of Tea. Handmade in Japan, each tea bowl hold approximately 4 ounces. Very sweet.

A kind word is like a spring day.

~Russian Proverb

Tagged again

I’ve been tagged again for a meme, this time by Arline. So, I’ll try to think of 7 more random things about myself.  Let’s see…

1.  I am a voracious reader, reading about 2-3 books a week. When I moved 5 years ago, I discovered just how many books I actually owned so I gave a lot of them away and vowed to visit my public library more. I add books to my queue online and the library e-mails me when they arrive. I love this relationship!

2.  I love stories about Goddesses. Some of my favorite books when I was a child were about Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses. Years later as an adult, I delved deeper into Goddess lore and ancient Goddess centered cultures. This led me to express this intense interest in my artwork by creating fabric Goddess doll pins embellished with beaded hair, charms and symbols.

3.  In the summertime during thunderstorm season, I am a doppler radar nut. I love anything weather related, especially lightning, thunder, wind and cloud formations. I think that I was a metereologist or a storm chaser in a former life.

4.  I am a devoted Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan.

5.  4 1/2 years ago, I had a frozen left shoulder. My physical therapist said that it was so bad that I would never have full range of motion in that shoulder ever again. I never injured the shoulder so no one could explain why that happened. After 6-8 months of intense physical therapy and reiki treatments and the most painful moments of my life, my shoulder healed completely.

6.  I love sweet and salty things together, like pretzels and M&Ms. I rarely eat them but I love them.

7.  I have lived in 5 states – New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Kansas and Massachusetts.

I am supposed to tag 7 more people but instead, I invite anyone who would like to play along to join!

Bead Show Adventure

This past weekend I ventured out in the pouring rain to the Whole Bead show in Providence, RI. I’ve been attending this show for years and it’s always been easily accessible off of Route 95, at the Holiday Inn on Atwells Ave. This year, however, they decided to change the location to the Rhode Island Convention Center on Sabin Street. I got lost going by the Mapquest directions but quickly stopped and asked for directions. Ah, why didn’t the directions mention that second left? Argh. Back on track, I found the parking garage and followed the signs up to the 4th level. Thinking of that Seinfeld episode where they get lost in the parking garage, I made a mental note of where I parked my car and headed in.

To say that the halls at a convention center are monstrous is putting it mildly. The booths were set up in a square grid with extremely bright lights illuminating all. The combination of the vendor lights with the hall lights bouncing off the tables of glittery beads gave me an immediate sense of disorientation as I stepped through the hall entrance. I decided to do a walk through to give myself a sense of who was there and what they had to offer. I was also on the lookout for my favorite vendors. Alas, with the change in venue came a change in vendors and I couldn’t locate my favorite stone bead seller, Raj from Oregon. My favorite seed bead seller was there, however, but his inventory of seed beads was half of what it usually was. I did manage to acquire some unique muted fall tones.

I feel another free-form piece starting to brew.

I got some good deals on pearls (75% off) and a beautifully unique bone pendant of Guan Yin’s head cradled in a hand. As I have a pretty extensive bead stash at home, I’m always on the lookout for a unique seller besides the usual stone and crystal beads and precious metal findings. I found one on my way out. Susan K. Nestor Studios from Ann Arbor, MI creates stamped resin pendants in various muted colors like I’ve never seen before. What really caught my eye, however, were the stainless steel and colored silk neckrings she had on display. I’ve been searching for something simple to highlight some free-form peyote and polyclay pendant ideas I’ve been gestating and these were just perfect.

I’m looking forward to playing with my new beads!

A Wonderful Surprise

Last Friday afternoon I visited a dear friend who, as I arrived at her house, revealed that she was taking me somewhere special and that it was a surprise. Oooo, I love surprises so we got in the car and drove to the next town. The surprise was a hidden gem of a store called “Second Look Books”, located in Plainville, MA. They sell second hand books but what captivated me as I walked through the front door was the abundance of crystals and gemstones on display in every nook and cranny of the place. Laura took one look at my face and said, “I knew you’d really like it here!”

Tumbled and rough stones were placed all around the room on windowsills, on tabletops, in overflowing baskets and hidden inside small spice drawer cabinets. When we arrived, the proprietor Sue, was busily making little stone cairns by gluing small stones, one on top of another. She was very helpful in sharing information about the metaphysical properties of the various stones as we delighted in one treasure after another. Above is my little cache of carefully chosen objects.

The goddess and polar bear are both carved of bone. The rectangular cabochon in the middle is a septarian nodule containing yellow calcite crystals. I was very drawn to its unusual formation and color combination. The jade piece on the right is called the Knot of Eternity or endless knot, being described as “representing the interweaving of the Spiritual Path.” I have always loved this symbol and thought it would go well with my faux jade bracelet just completed.

I decided to put a magnetic clasp on my bracelet with a couple of brass Chinese coins on either side. Originally, I imagined making a toggle clasp with one of the coins but the inner square is too small for a toggle. Has anyone had any experience with magnetic clasps coming undone? I thought a safety chain might be a good idea but then there will be a fair amount of chain hanging from the clasp area because it would have to be long enough to get the bracelet over someone’s hand. I’ve worn the bracelet several times to test it out and it has stayed firmly clasped. The other idea I had was to place a hook and eye on either side of the magnet clasp so one could hook it after the bracelet was clasped. I was also thinking about dipping the clasp into some liver of sulfur to darken it a bit.

Yesterday was a wild weather day with severe thunderstorms moving through the area most of the afternoon. We even lost power for a couple of hours. Our black lab Jack, was glued to my side while I sat and started the beadwork around one of my mokume gane polymer clay cabochons.

My September Journal page


I have finished my September journal page, entitled “The Harvest Goddess of Abundance and Gratitude”. Only 12 days behind schedule!

She embodies the cycle of the harvest from the birth of the seed to its growth and manifestation to its harvest and production of more seeds to its dormancy to the rebirth of the seed. The cycle spirals on. The sun rises and gives warmth and nurture to the growth of the seed and its harvest. As the Goddess’s harvest progresses, the leaves fall gently through the air all around her. They will return to the earth to nourish the next seeds.

So, this piece represents the abundance of our harvest and gratitude for what has manifested from the seeds we have sown. Acceptance of the natural rhythms of the earth and a turning inward to contemplate how our seeds have grown and manifested in this cycle.

What do you think?