Saturday, March 29, 2014

Pretty and Pink

Indian Hawthorn
Rhaphiolepsis indica
"Springtime is the land awakening.  The March winds are the morning yawn." ~ Lewis Grizzard

The cold winter we had definitely pinked up our almost 28 year old Indian Hawthorn bush.  It is the prettiest it has been in years.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Netflix Stars - HappyThankYouMorePlease

4.75 stars.  What a nice, easy-to-digest indie movie!  Sundance Film Festival Best Drama Audience Award winner, too.  Four separate story lines you pick up occurring in the middle of living life.  Very easy to get caught up into them, not unlike watching a soap opera.    There are some great lines, especially in the scenes with Sam #2 and Annie.  Josh Radnor, the writer and lead actor (Sam #1) and director, was also in Liberal Arts, which I thoroughly enjoyed, too.  You'll also like the soundtrack with Jay May and the Shout Out Louds - Which unfortunately is not available as a separate CD.  However, if you click here, you'll find the list of songs so you can create your own playlist.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursday Tea Time - Color it green

This week - Yogi Green Tea Super Antioxidant 

Cost:   $2.99-$3.99 at supermarkets, Whole Foods
Number of teabags:  16
Caffeine:  Yes (21 mg)
Type of tea:   Green, herbal
Steeping time:  3 minutes
Add ins:  Nothing at all needed -- I did try adding a little unfiltered honey, but it actually made it too sweet!
Ingredients:  Organic green tea, grapeseed and arnia (potent antioxidants to combat free radicals), organic lemongrass, licorice, jasmine green tea, all organic: alfalfa leaf, burdock root, dandelion root and Irish moss (?! no idea what that does)
(Note:  Because of all their herbal ingredients, always check with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have medical condition)
Fragrance:  Floral citrus
Opinion:  This is a nice, organic green tea.   Sweet and not bitter.   All the ingredients play nicely together to create a good balance of flavor.  It tastes great iced or warm.  I especially cheer that it can stand alone without any additional sweetener.  The licorice and jasmine take care of that just fine.
I also like their tea tags.  And the boxes.   You can open and then refold them back into a box, wrong side out.  And decorate them while you are sipping your tea!  Google or check Pinterest and see what others have done.
Rating: 3.75

Yes it is

Just add color!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wednesday Work in Progress - A Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose

I am extremely happy how this turned out! (I also made the vase several years ago)

Here are the other three in the series, from bud to vase.  It's funny how on different days you can get  different results...trying new techniques and experimenting with different colors and paint.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rock it!

Right after I said aloud, "I want to get rid of this scraggly rock rose bush," it blooms into constellations of stars in the night.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Peggy, A to Z

See the top of my sidebar?  I'm finally doing a blog challenge, "Blogging from A to Z"
Stay tuned to see what I do for each letter of the alphabet!

Want to do the same?  There's still time.  Sign up here!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Yarka, Yarka

Head's up on a great deal!
Hobby Lobby is discontinuing their Yarka watercolor sets.   In particular, the location near Bay Area Boulevard off of I-45 (northbound side).

Originally $8.99 and $6.99;  the 12 color and 8 color sets are now $5.39 and $4.19 respectively.
How to choose?!  At that price, I got both.  And bonus - the set of 12 has two built-in palettes!

I love to collect art supplies, especially those on sale!  It's fun to experiment and try new techniques with new toys.
(Watch for upcoming post on the pink, green, yellow and orange sheets of tin I bought - as soon as I figure out what I'm going to make!)

Anyways, being new to watercolor, I hadn't heard of Yarka, so I Googled it.    Only to find that people loved the brand and the great results…and compared to the online prices, I had a find!

...Balanced on top of the Bristol Smooth paper pad I had originally stopped by to purchase.

Just have fun. Smile. And keep putting on lipstick ~Diane Keaton

Costco in Sugar Land has clearanced-priced the Christian Dior Cannage Couture Collection All Over Makeup Palette - Item #775221.   (The retail price is $72!)

At first I was a little hesitant, because all you can see in the clamshell is the photo on the box, not the actual product.  But having gone to Sephora earlier and leaving disappointed, I thought I would give this a chance.  A couple new eyeshadows/blush/lipsticks would have cost more than this.

And I'm glad I did grab this.  I love all the colors, just perfect for Spring.  Nothing too flashy, just elegant colors.  To sum it all, it's just, pretty - and I feel pretty putting them on and facing the world.

I think it is designed to be a travel kit, but looks nice enough to leave on my vanity.  And when I do travel, I'm bringing this with me!

Garden Update

The nicotiana is in full bloom!  It's about 3 1/2 feet tall.    The fragrance is intoxicating, especially in the evening.  Hummingbirds even stop by near sunset.  It is a prolific reseeder.  Definitely consider growing this in your garden.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Upcoming Jo-Ann's Pattern Sales

Weekend Sale - March 27/29
Simplicity - $1.99

April 3/5
Butterick - 5/$7  ($1.40)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursday Tea Time

This week - The Art of Tea Mandarin Silk

Cost:   $11 at Oasis Juice Bar in Galveston, Texas
Number of teabags:  1.5 ounce loose tea
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Oolong tea fusion
Steeping time:  3 to 5 minutes.
Add ins:  Nothing!  It is perfect as is!
Ingredients:  Oolong Tea, Organic Lemon Myrtle, Organic Marigolds, Natural Flavors
Fragrance:  Apricot-floral-citrus,  mellowed with vanilla
Opinion:  This was highly recommended at the Oasis Juice Bar.  Given the lovely name and thinking of mandarin oranges, at first I feared it might be citrus-based -- meaning migraine for me, but hooray, it isn't.  It just has a citrus-y flavor and aroma combined with vanilla.  The associate at Oasis said it is one of her favorites and very popular.  I can see (and taste) why.  It's a loose tea and the label directions say to use a teaspoon - it does puff up. But the website says to use a tablespoon.  Go with the teaspoon.  I can see why this is award-winning and a bestseller, you will, too.
Rating: 5

Light and pretty!

Hello Spring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday Work in Progress - Wintergreen'd

My Dad as a little boy

Dad and Grandma

Grandpa and Grandma
In watercoloring class, we learned how to transfer photos and sketches using wintergreen oil.  A very cool technique!

All you need is wintergreen oil --

Synthetic works great and is cheaper.  Some pharmacies will have it, you can also check the baking aisles.  Humco is one brand, and the one we used in class - which you can order online or contact them and they will let you know which stores in your area carry it.
I actually found mine at Bulk Apothecary at a great price with affordable shipping RetailMeNot has coupons for them, I got an additional 10% off!

-- Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper
(make sure it is Smooth, not Vellum - they look very similar, says the girl who now has a pad of Vellum paper)

-- Q-tips

-- A page folding tool/bone paper folder, or any rounded/smooth edged tool to rub/transfer the design without destroying the paper in the process.

-- Photographs or sketches which have been photocopied.  Not from your printer.

Bonus if the copier you are using has "use original color" feature.
I printed these photos from the computer as "photograph" and was so happy the sepia color came through on the photocopy and the transfer!

Unfortunately, regular colored photographs do not work as well.  The transfer is very faint.

Also remember that your transfer will be reversed from the original.  Be mindful of letters and numbers.


1.  Place your copy face down on the Bristol Smooth paper.  It helps to tape a few corners/edges to avoid smearing.  You should also tape the Bristol paper to a foam board or other firm surface.

2.  Using a Q-tip, dip it into the wintergreen oil and apply to a small area of the copy.  Note:  It dries quickly!   About 2 inches was workable for me.

3.  Take your paper folding tool and rub firmly.  I found a circular motion worked best instead of just one direction.   As you can see, by the time I got to Grandma and Grandpa, I got better!   You can even see the cigarette he's holding!

4.  After it dries, you can enhance the details with pencils - lead, charcoal, Prisma, watercolor….PITT pens…or try tinting with a little watercolor paint or thinned gouache…even making it three dimensional with glitter, beads, scrapbooking embellishments, etc.

This is a great way to reproduce your work/sketches and treasured photographs and pictures.  The ones I used were printed from a cousin's email on my printer.    You can also play with reducing or enlarging the size of the transfer photocopy.  You can also selectively transfer within the photocopy.

I can't wait to give the ones of my Dad to my Mom in a pretty frame!  I will post the final results before I do!

Here's a link to the finished photo -


Today is National Oatmeal Cookie Day!

“I'd make oatmeal cookies."
"I would. That's just what I would do."
He lifts one hand from the steering wheel and pinches his chin. "Because the world is changing so fast all the time. There's nothing you can do but just say, 'cool,' and roll with it. But some things can stay the same. Flour is still flour. Vanilla still smells like vanilla. Say a giant fireball is motoring toward us right now from Alha Centauri. Okay, universe. You expect us to run and scream and kill one another? Sorry, we're making oatmeal freaking cookies.”

― R.A. Nelson, Breathe My Name

And here are three recipes I have tried and enjoyed.  (I would say my favorite is the Oatmeal Raisin one.  They truly did "vanish" around the house after I made them.)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pecan
This is from the December 2007 issue of Cooking Light Magazine - Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies

*The reviews were mixed on this, so I took some, but not all of the advice and followed part but not all of the recipe.  The one thing I did which I regret, was adding Penzeys Cake Spice instead of cinnamon.  Some of my testers liked it, I didn't really.  Perhaps I put too much in, almost 1 teaspoonful.  I've used this in other recipes with great results - especially cinnamon and raisin bread.  But not this one.  I don't think it played nicely with the chocolate chips.   Which I used regular sized as opposed to the mini chips.

I also added an extra egg white, as some others reported the dough as dry.  The one thing I did do was weigh the flour as opposed to just using measuring cups.  That could be a reason why some had a dry dough, perhaps too much flour.  

And I always use unsalted butter.  I skipped the parchment paper, just because I am lucky to have the Williams-Somoma Gold Touch cookie sheets!


1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)*
1 cup regular oats
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened*
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg*
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate mini chips*


Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk; set aside.
Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add vanilla and egg; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until combined. Stir in pecans and minichips. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until edges of cookies are lightly browned. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

Oatmeal Raisin

These are the Quaker Oats "Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies" recipe found on the underside of the lid. 


1/2 Cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 Cup  firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1 Teaspoon(s) Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon salt (optional)
3 Cups Quaker® Oats (I used old fashioned, uncooked)
1 Cup raisins


Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Makes 4-5 dozen

Oatmeal Pecan
And if you like nuts instead, this Oatmeal Pecan cookie recipe also a favorite of ours from Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious magazine.  The secret ingredient is Rice Krispies!
Click here for the December 2, 2007 post.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Thursday Tea Time - Bee Buzzed

This week - The Republic of Tea Hi CAF Teas - "Gingermint Green"

Cost:   $11.99 at Whole Foods
Number of teabags:   50 !
Caffeine:  Yes
Type of tea:   Oomped up Green
Steeping time:  1 to 3 minutes.
Add ins:  Just a little honey ; )
Ingredients:  Green tea, ginger, spearmint, peppermint and green tea extract.
Fragrance:  Speartminty-ginger
Opinion:  You know when the steeping time starts at 1 minute, this is going to be a strong tea!   Comparatively.  Premium green tea has 25 mg caffeine.  This has 50 mg.  Coffee has 100 mg.  So you won't get jittery, just a nice boost.  And a boost in flavor.  I really like this combo.  I may try a bag each of Yogi Tea Ginger and Trader Joe's Mint Medley when I don't want the caffeine later in the day or after dinner.  This particular flavor was featured on as a 2014 Food Trend.
There were several other flavors in this line.  I went back to grab the Caramel Black tea (140 mg) and the Toasted Coconut Black tea (123 mg) but they were gone.  Hopefully they've restocked.  They will definitely be morning teas!  0.0
Rating: 4.5

Bee Clever!

Bee even more clever!

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday - Cheery Cherry Pie

Actually February 20 was Cherry Pie Day. . .

I love how this turned out!

The sketch

Halfway point
I was really happy with the fork and the melted part of the ice cream!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Love, Forever

Stewart Beach
Galveston, Texas

"I am forever walking upon these shores,
Betwixt the sand and the foam,
The high tide will erase my foot-prints,
And the wind will blow away the foam.
But the sea and the shore will remain

`Kahil Gibran