Thursday, October 01, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - More Fall Flavor Teas

This week - The Republic of Tea - Spices of Fall Tea - Pumpkin Ginger Tea

Price:  $11.99 at Cost Plus World Market (in stores and also available online), bought on sale 20% off $9.59.  I've also seen it at Whole Foods
Size:  50 tea bags
Caffeine:   Yes
Type of tea:   Black
Steeping time:  3-5 minutes
Mix ins:   Delicious as is, or for true decadence and to bring out a pumpkin pie, the vanilla even more, a splash of Natural Bliss.  It was also suggested sweetening with brown sugar to bring out the ginger more.
Fragrance:  Ginger, like a jar of pumpkin pie spicy
Ingredients:  Black tea, ginger, cinnamon, natural ginger and pumpkin flavors, sweet blackberry leaves, nutmeg, cloves, allspice
Opinion:   There are lots of pumpkin teas out there.  But this one tastes the most like pumpkin without being cloy or artificial.  I liked this was a black tea, as opposed to herbal, for a little extra buzz when needed.
Rating:  4, only because it is competing with so many other autumnal flavors out there, but it does hold its own amongst them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Abstract Glare

Hopefully I can get this painting back for a
moment to take another photo with the glass out!
Sometimes you can see and save parts of an abstract attempt.   The original painting was 10" x 13"  This is inside a 4" x  6" mat opening.    I loved the color and the layers in this section.

What was I trying to do?  Paint random stripes with pretty mid tones of permanent rose and winsor yellow and then partially paint over areas with a mixed black, which made some pretty greens.  Extend and fade out the rose and yellow upwards.  Then use periwinkle gouche under the stripe, along the edges and watered over the top.  Par the course, mine didn't look like the others in class. Thinking I was so done with this and the paint was dry/I didn't care, I leaned it against the wall upside down.  Unbeknownst to me, other forces (such as gravity) were at work.  What I didn't finish was done for me.

Right side up now

I absolutely loved the colors above, and actually turned those into cards.  But that lower right corner, as soon I isolated that in the black mat and frame, it sang.   So much so, my husband took it for his office.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Fall Flavor Teas

This week - The Republic of Tea - Paired for Life Herbal Tea - Pear Cinnamon

Price:  $11.99 at Cost Plus World Market, in stores and online.
Size:  36 tea bags
Caffeine:   No
Type of tea:   Herbal/Rooibos
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Mix ins:   Delicious as is, or for true decadence and to bring out the vanilla even more, a splash of Natural Bliss
Fragrance:  Pears!
Ingredients:  Rooibos, cinnamon, natural pear and vanilla flavors and sweet blackberry leaves
Opinion:   If you love pears, you will love this!  Thank goodness it is caffeine free/Rooibos so I can drink it all day.  It is like drinking a pear custard tart.   A great way to kick off the Fall Tea Season!
Rating:  5 - grab this the next time you are in World Market, or order it online -- I think it is an exclusive to them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Fall Equinox!


Happy Birthday Watercolor Wednesday

Hobby Lobby often switches out which line of watercolor inkjet printer paper it stocks - Strathmore,
Canson, etc.  And when they do, the old one goes to the clearance section.  You can grab a set of 8 5" x 7" cards with envelopes for around $5.  When I don't have time to fiddle with the printer and the computer, trying to center and adjust colors,  I found I can skip all that and paint directly on the paper.  Keep in mind it is 90 pound paper, so you can't get too wet and messy.  But it does take nicely to a few brush strokes.

First I drew and painted this heart inside.  Then I cut out circles/flowers on the front fold.  I kinda left textured edges to make it look more flower-y.  Added a few brush strokes of green for stems and leaves.  Just inside the front, I wrote "Birthday" and then the recipient's name underneath the heart.

This would also be a fun to take to other celebration levels such as  Halloween or Christmas or Valentine's Day, a cross or eggs for Easter. . .
Let fly your imagination and scissors and paintbrush.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Back to School and Welcome Fall with Penzeys Coupons!

The Back To School Penzeys catalog has a coupon for 1/2 cup of Penzeys Pepper, a $6.95 value with an additional $10 purchase.   And a recipe for Apple Pecan Pie.

And their Fall 2015 catalog has a coupon (12957C) for a free 1/2 cup jar of their new The Now Curry.   Along with a recipe for Salted Caramel Squares!

The front plate is mine
Go to the website or call 1-800-741-7787 to get their catalog and check out their spices and recipes. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Netflix Stars - Hot Pursuit

1/2 star - Only because of my effort to keep watching to see if it would get better and it did not.  Sofia is probably better in small doses and should stick with television and Modern Family.  And Reese?!  What was she thinking when she agreed to make this poorly-written excuse for a comedy.  Quite possibly the worst movie I've seen this year.  Save your time and your money.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Breakfast - Red Velvet Pancakes (with cream cheese topping!)

Today for breakfast we tried the Red Velvet My Favorite Pancake Mix we found at Cost Plus World Market yesterday.  I usually make my pancakes from scratch or Bisquick, but I must say I was impressed with the flavor and the texture of these.  Not too heavy, not too thick.  You just add an egg, water and butter/oil.

The color is a pretty dark red - I think these would be also nice for Christmas and Valentine's Day.  And, if you are feeling ghoulish - Halloween.   When I spilt a few drops of batter on the floor, yeah, it looked a little like a crime scene.

Sorry, no photo of the pancakes - they were inhaled.

For the topping I mixed 1/2  package Neufch√Ętel cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of milk and 2 tablespoons of confectioner's sugar to get a good consistency to spread over the warm pancakes.  An electric hand beater helped.

A one cup serving of the mix prepared enough pancakes to serve three people.  Next time you get an email coupon or are in the store, grab a can.   They have other yummy-sounding flavors.  And you can use it in your waffle maker, too.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fall into the Pink

A beautiful Fall day in Houston - This is my volunteer pink crape myrtle next to my fig tree. 

And while out and about, I found these pink daffodil bulbs at Kroger - $2.99 for 4.  There was a display inside the entry way near the floral department.   i just love throw off the shopper's club card tracking.  Let's see, ground beef, vitamin C, tortillas and...daffodils.  Of course!  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Netflix Stars - The September Issue

4 stars - A sometimes draggy look at the behind the scenes production of putting together Vogue's infamous September issue.   Besides insight into how Anna Wintour runs the shop, what I found more interesting was the backstory of Grace Coddington, the Creative Director.  You'll see a lot of parallels to "The Devil Wears Prada"

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Island Tea

This week - Natural Life Cyprus Wild Rose Tea

Price:  I received change back from a $10 bill at Maceo Spice in Galveston, along with a jar of Maceo's Fajita Seasoning - so I'm not quite sure of the price ; )  Their spices and seasonings are wonderful.   Honestly, they give Penzeys a run for their money and they are cheaper, too.  (And be sure to grab a jar of their tomato gravy (sauce) while you are there.  And a muffuletta sandwich.)
Size:  20 tea bags
Caffeine:   No
Type of tea:   Herbal
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Mix ins:   A little bit of Pure Beeing honey
Fragrance:  Roses
Ingredients:  Cyprus Wild Roses
Opinion:   This is a very nice, delicately scented and flavored rose tea.  (Sometimes they can smell and taste like Grandma's soap dish roses.)  It compares to The Steeping Room's Empress' Cup - only difference being the latter has black tea blended and this tea is herbal and caffeine-free.  It's nice to have a choice!  I really liked this tea, a nice change of pace and break from the more robust and spicy teas appearing as we are coming onto Fall.
Rating:  4.5

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Shadow Play

Shadow Play
Vase of White Lilies
10" x 13"

Drop it like it's. . .paint!  This was a fun and cool technique to create shadows by wetting the entire background and dropping in heavy paint for shadows.  

I found this tucked inside one of my red rope folders, still blue-taped to the foam board, while I was getting ready for the Fall semester of my watercoloring class.  I believe I may have painted this in the Spring or even Winter class earlier this year.   I remember painting it really fast and loose.  Time to "rip the tape" as my teacher says and find a frame for it!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Sketching and Gardening Adventures - Morning Glory and Red Hatch Chile Pepper

Volunteer Morning Glory
6 1/2" x 5"

Red Hatch Pepper
2 1/2 x 3 1/2"

Sunday sketchbook sketching and painting.  Did you know that Hatch peppers will turn red?  I didn't.   Haven't tried it yet.  I'm still trying to get more experience and get over my fear of adding shadows.  I'm happy with the highlights, though.

We planted moonflowers in the backyard and were growing them over a trellis.   And evidently purple morning glories!  They appeared about a week ago and are giving the moonflowers a run for the money/trellis.

Morning glory versus moonflowers

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart something good is going to happen to you.
May you find harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing that lies at the heart of time
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May you be set free from the prisons of guilt, fear, disappointment and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you and embrace you in belonging.

~ John O'Donohue

Monday, September 07, 2015

I am

Ever start out with an idea in mind and have it turn out differently?  And the harder you tried, the more divergent the direction and outcome.  Kind of goes along with today's watercolor in my sketchbook.

My inspiration was the Vera Bradley Fall Fashion 2015 advertisement in the September Better Homes and Gardens.  The issue with Brooke Shields on the cover.  (I must say this magazine has changed for the better.  I actually bought it because Brooke was on the cover.  So there, peeps in the magazine industry - that's a freebie for you.) Anyways, I have been intrigued with "I am" ever since I started listening to Dr. Wayne Dyer's Wishes Fulfilled meditation CD/iTunes download years ago.  And Exodus 3:14.  Then you start seeing it everywhere.  Engraved on a gold charm necklace of a wonderful and inspiring friend in watercolor class.  A Vera Bradley advertisement.    And so on.

The circles are from a paper receipt tube I've been waiting to get (thank you, Kroger) to use with my Gelli plates and printing.  You can see the cool effect in the second ghost print in my March 25 post when I first tried Gelli printing. And what happens when you pound it into still wet watercolor paper after painting, after reaching that point of no return to the original concept.  (Who says watercoloring is quiet?)

Honestly, I do like the final result (especially the tree/branches), and I am going to turn it into a card print.

Update 9-16-15  Hay House has put most of Dr. Wayne Dyer's audiobooks on sale, 80% off.  The Wishes Fulfilled meditation is now only $3 to download.  Grab it! 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

In the pink. . .

Strathmore Visual Journal - 90# cold press watercolor paper

Just playing around on a Sunday morning with a pink lily and 15 minutes waiting for everyone to get ready. . .
I can't wait until my watercoloring classes begin!

Friday, September 04, 2015

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

September 4-7  

Butterick - $1.99
McCall's - $1.99
Vogue - $4.99

September 10-12

Simplicity - $1.99
Burda - $2.49

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Thursday Tea Time

This week - The Republic of Tea Goji Raspberry Green Superfruit tea

Price:  $12.99 at Central Market
Size:  50 tea bags
Caffeine:   No
Type of tea:   Herbal
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Mix ins:   A little bit of Pure Beeing honey
Fragrance:  Raspberry
Ingredients:  China green tea, hibiscus, natural goji berry and raspberry flavors and goji berries
Opinion:   A good-for-you good-tasting tea.   If you love raspberries, you will love this tea.  The superfruit goji berries are bonus.  This tastes better iced than hot.  Hot might take getting used to, but I'm willing to try.
Rating:  5 for iced, almost a 4 hot.  

Beautiful color!

Slight edge towards iced

Dr. Wayne Dyer

What an amazing person!  But what a legacy he had and has left for us.

My Dad gave me a copy of this book back in 1980
If he passed Dad's muster, then you knew this guy was the real deal.

His Facebook page is posting these each day

Right now Hay House is offering the chance to watch his movie, "The Shift" for free until September 8.  It's a two-hour movie, which I forgot to mention when I sent the link to a friend, but it goes by so quickly and most certainly will resonate with you, too.  Here is the link -- or if that doesn't work, click on the movie title.

Also, several of his books in the eBook format are specially priced at $1.99 on Apple Nook and Amazon  I'm thinking this deal will be good for the month of September, but why wait?  Grab them now!

I also use and enjoy listening to this Moses Code mediation by Dr. Wayne Dyer and James Twyman, "I am - Wishes Fulfilled"   I try to listen to one, or even both of the 21 minute mediations at the beginning of my day or in the afternoon when I need a recharge/reset/recentering.

Introduce or reintroduce yourself and your higher self to Dr. Dyer.  You will be glad to have his guidance, insight and him in your life.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

What I Like Wednesday - YogaGlo

Thanks to lunch with a friend (shout out to Inge!) and commiserating about a lack of convenient and good yoga classes for 40+ year olds nearby,  she told me about YogaGlo.  For about the cost of one class, you can get unlimited monthly classes to enjoy in the privacy of your own home/studio or on the road.   

There are over 2,500 classes in all styles -- Hatha, Yin, Vinyasa, and more, and they are organized on your home page by Body, Mind and Heart.  I like how you can search by whatever criteria - looking for a Morning wake-up?  An Evening/Sleep preparation?  Afternoon pick-me-up?  Grounding and calming Meditation and breath work?   It's all here.  

And no more excuses.   There are 5 minute classes, 15, 20, 30, 45 minutes to one hour.  
I also enjoy the variety of teachers and I learn something new to benefit my practice and my body each time.   You will have fun discovering different ones, but to get you started, check out Steven Espinosa, Kathryn Budig,  Felicia Tomasko, Amy Ippoliti, Stephanie Snyder and Sally Kempton.

Give it a try!  Your first 15 days are free. 

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - One of Two for Tuesday

Always on the lookout in the tea aisles of any grocery store, I found these bottles of Celestial Lattes at the Signature Kroger today.  First I saw the concentrate in a quart size cartoon for $4.29.  Hmmm.  But wait!  Then I looked one shelf below and found the ready-to-drink bottles for $2.79, made with reduced fat milk.  Before I invested in refrigerator real estate and because premixed chai (powder or liquid) can be hit or miss (shout out here to Austin Java for making their own delicious chai blend! And good-to-know if you are traveling through Austin airport, they have kiosks there.  Try their raspberry caramel tea bags in case their chai is unavailable.) 

Anyways, on a rainy morning, these came home with me.  I tried The Godfather first - it had me at "cocoa"!

Ingredients:  Reduced fat milk, filtered water, cane sugar, brewed chai tea (black tea blend, caramel color, cane sugar, filtered water, natural flavor, honey, citric acid, cinnamon, clove, ginger, cardamom), potassium citrate, cocoa extract, pectin and espresso.

Calories 150, total fat 3g, sat fat 2g, carbs 27g, sugar 24g, protein 5g

Room temperature/cold - it was OK,  I would have poured it over ice, but I was wanting something warm.  So I poured the bottle into a mug and heated it.   It was pretty sweet.   I decided to cut it with some 2% milk, about 1/4 cup and heated it some more.    I have to say it's not bad.  The clove and cardamon are predominant, followed by a nice amount of cinnamon.  I don't taste the ginger or feel much heat.  I'd give it strong 3+  for its convenience if you are away from and missing your chai tea stash at home.  Perhaps take to work or if you are traveling and want to chill out/warm up without having to pay almost double at Starbucks.

I will up date this post later when I try the Dirty Chai.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Money Monday - Taped in Advance

Tape refills seem to be getting more expensive.  And it is a lot of money to drop to get them as a package of four or more, especially when you just need one.  I discovered that regular disposable tape dispensers often go on sale for Back-To-School,  but rarely the refills.  And, most importantly, you can pop out the roll - it will fit the roller insert, and put it in your permanent desktop tape dispenser.   I easily saved more than half off the refill cost with the sales.  While they may not as large as the refill size, there's plenty enough on there to last for awhile.  (Plus you can recycle the plastic disposable dispensers.)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Texas-Sized Moonflowers

With the Full Moon and lots of Miracle Grow, we had a bumper crop of moonflowers last night -- over 25 blooms, the fragrance was intoxicating.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thursday Tea Time - Trader Joe's Peppermint Tea

This week - Trader Joe's Peppermint Tea

Price:  Around $2
Size:  20 individually-wrapped tea bags
Caffeine:   No
Type of tea:   Herbal
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Mix ins:   A little bit of Pure Beeing honey
Fragrance:  Peppermint
Ingredients:  Peppermint leaves
Opinion:   This isn't like a candy cane peppermint.  It has a mint kick, with a nice warming aftertaste.  Not very strong, you may want to double up or brew a few extra minutes/leave the teabag in the mug like all the cool tea drinkers do.  ; )  Nice to soothe the tummy and your sinuses if you are feeling a bit congested from allergies or the remnants of a cold.
Rating: 3.5 only because of the delayed reaction mint flavor
Nice color for an herbal peppermint tea!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Raise your hand (or needle)

If you have used a Stretch & Sew pattern or still have a favorite in your stash.  Here is mine --

Per my note on the envelope,
Obviously they ran a little short!
Well-drafted, and versatile wardrobe patterns (a nod here to the stirrup pants of the late 80's/early 90's) - the skirt and the slim pants are still sewable and wearable today.  Beginning in the mid 60's, Ann Person wrote books about techniques on sewing on knits and designed patterns, sewing notions (Perky Bond!) in addition to opening stores and franchises.  She was probably the most instrumental in changing the Big 4 to offer multi-sized patterns and helping several generations learn to sew with knit fabrics.  She was inducted into the American Sewing Guild's Hall of Fame in 2004.  Sadly, Ann passed away on August 10 at the age of 90.  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Shuffle on - Number 4!

Pinkie the First

Well, on the positive side -- it is definitely an upgrade for the same price, 2 gig now from 1 gig.

iPod Shuffle #3, in Space Gray, is lost in outer (outside my purse) space somewhere.   There is a very remote chance it may be under my car seat when my purse tipped over.  That dark gray/silver makes it difficult to find in dark places, in and out of my purse.

Pinkie the First is definitely brighter and, for the win, has more space to load up audio books and podcasts for flying both in the pool and in the air.  But until then, it is staying grounded in a matchy Vera Bradley zip case.
Hooray for the Vera Bradley outlet in San Marcos!

Friday, July 24, 2015

North by North South East West

Inverted dinner and salad plates for circles!

A traced quarter made the perfect center circle!

Whoops - went over the lines!
I got distracted
watching the Astronaut Wives Club on TV
That's OK, that's now North!
And the center - The Moon!

Two coats of sealant makes the chalk disappear
and the pearl paint really pop

We needed a stepping stone near our front gate - to step over the mud and water when it rains.  Checking out Lowe's, hubby found a 12" square concrete stone and suggested I paint it.  Why not?  And why not a compass, oriented to the North on our land.  And on our iPhones.  Thank you, Apple!

Easy-peasy to do!    I used Craft Smart acrylic paint in Navy and Pool Blue (Craft Smart is Michael's house brand paint) and Martha Stewart's Mardi Gras Beads (purple outlined circles), Habanero (red), Carrot and Mother of Pearl.   FYI:  The Martha Stewart Mother of Pearl is a really good paint.  Grab it next time you are in Michael's and can't find anything to use your coupon'll love it.