Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Australia Day Celebration

Fun way to celebrate Australia Day here in the U.S. -- Reading and painting!  Leonie Norton is an incredibly talented botanical artist.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Go to Galveston - The Bryan Museum

Folding Fan Depicting La Salle's Expedition to Texas
Photo and description courtesy of The Bryan Museum, Galveston, Texas

This exquisite fan features 24 carved ivory sticks and guards (monture) with mother of pearl inlay, gilt, and uncolored stones, elements of Chinoiserie and, simultaneously, of the Gothic revival. The sticks themselves are delicately carved, pierced with small figures, and painted, with the six center sticks showing a flute player surrounded by trees and birds. Forensic examination of the paints used on the fan indicate that one of the colors is Prussian blue, which came into existence in 1704 and was widely available by 1722.

Just part of the impressive exhibits and collections of Southwestern art and history in the Bryan Museum.  We went there for the first time this weekend, and I was totally amazed.  The docents were knowledgable, the displays so well done.  Several have iPads with additional information and closeup views.  This museum is housed inside the restored 1895 Galveston Orphans Home.

Next time you visit Galveston, be sure to check out The Bryan Museum
1315 21st Street  (409) 632-7685
They are open Friday through Monday, 11 AM to 4 PM

Photography is not allowed inside.  However, check out their social media presence for photographs,  which you could not have taken better anyway.  Seriously, it is best to view, enjoy and appreciate all this in person instead of behind a camera lens. (Though I'm thinking discretely sketching might be OK if it is not too busy...I will ask first when I return.)

Facebook - The Bryan Museum - Galveston
Twitter @TheBryanMuseum
Instagram - thebryanmuseum
Pinterest - The Bryan Museum

There truly is something for everyone.  And a heads' up/shout out to departing/arriving passengers from the Galveston Cruise Ship Terminal, those interested in anything and everything Texana and Southwestern, people who sew will appreciate seeing the cowgirl/cowboy outfits, uniforms and clothing,  artists - go upstairs to the rotating collection of historical and contemporary Texas artwork and artists.  And children will certainly enjoy exploring the lower level.

What a great addition to Galveston!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Until we meet again

Pretty purple cross shell
found on Coogee Beach
Sydney, Australia

Within the past ten days, I lost two more wonderful friends.  Untimely early in their lives, and in mine.  I believe I am for the better from knowing them.  Melinda taught me to have fun - anytime, anyplace, and to just go for it.  Gwen was an amazing soul - our friendship spanned almost 30 years.  Yet when we would reconnect, she remembered the exact stopping point and we continued on from there.  I do not think she ever met anyone who not love her immediately.  These were the people you meet and become life-long friends instantaneously.

To them and all my other kindred-spirited friends who have departed, I miss you and will always treasure our memories together.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Thursday Tea Time - Up in the air

It all started in the air...Qantas Airlines serves Dilmah tea - one sip and I was hooked.

LAX bound to Sydney
Welcome aboard!
Australian sparkling wine
I really like this airline's beverage offerings
It's always wine o'clock somewhere during a 14 hour flight
and going over the International Date Line

Sydney to LAX
You can see the skyline in the background

I actually found this box on the campus of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, in their local IGA food store.  

Along with this magpie --

Keeping with the up in the air title theme...

Then I went to Woolworth and Coles and found more varieties of their tea.  And what is tea without cookies, too?!

Stopped to take a picture of my basket - in progress
Note the Higher Living brand of tea
The boxes were flying into my basket
As were these!
TimTam cookies
so many different flavors...!
In the stratosphere with my tea (and cookies and chocolate) finds.  
Watch for my upcoming Australian reviews.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday - Granulating Blues and Earth Colors

Fun playing with granulating Winsor & Newton colors!

Here's Cerulean -- 
then mixed with: 
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Burnt Sienna
Raw Sienna

I thought these looked like wonderful colors of the seashore

Cobalt (Left) and Ultramarine Blue (Right)
then mixed with: 
Raw Umber
Burnt Umber
Burnt Sienna -- Love the effect and how this mixed with Ultramarine Blue!  It looks like a night sky
Raw Sienna

Great colors for rocks

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Twice on Tuesday - Truffle Me

Special Tuesday Edition of Thursday Tea Time - so you can take advantage of this great tea on sale at Central Market.  Regularly $10.99, on sale for $5.49    Look for the tea on the opposite corner rack facing the coffee section, but the sale tag is on the other side with the rest of the Rishi teas.  Only this flavor is currently marked down.

Size:  90g, 3.17 ounces - loose leaf
Should make at least 30 cups.  
Caffeine:   No
Type of tea:   Herbal
Steeping time:  5 minutes  Bonus round:  It is also re-steepable for 7 minutes.
Mix ins:   Nothing!  Enjoy this wonderfully flavored tea all by itself.
Fragrance:  Chocolate mint!   Cocoa & spice
Ingredients:  Organic cocoa shells, organic roasted coconut, organic peppermint, organic cinnamon, organic cloves, natural chocolate flavor, natural macaroon flavor.

Opinion:   The fact this tea tastes great is one of many reasons you should grab it while you can, besides being herbal and no caffeine - you can enjoy it any time of day or night, guilt-free.  Settle your tummy and your chocolate craving.  I believe this is a limited edition/seasonal tea flavor.  I did not find it on the Rishi website.
Rating:  5

Monday, January 04, 2016

Just Another Monarch Monday

A temporary cover until I went back to Tea2Go to get a lid
Good excuse to get another tea!

Look carefully -
You can still see the caterpillar's stripes on the left one.
The just-formed chrysalis is still hardening

Beautiful!  Like a Christmas ornament
Bonus Scrabble and Boggle scoring points - that black attachment is called a cremaster
The three monarch caterpillars I found and rescued December 30 on the front garden Asclepias (milkweed) have formed their cocoons, and are in the pupa stage.  I always thought their chrysalis looked magically pretty - jade green with metallic gold dots.   Late next week is probably the earliest the butterflies will emerge - it can take 9-14 days.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Coffee Nut

In my travels, I love to try new coffee and tea places, (and shop grocery stores to check out their coffee, teas and spices...I can get lost for hours roaming the aisles.  I'm talking to you, Wegmans, and now Coles and Woolworths in Australia).

Woolworths is a grocery store in Australia!
Last visit to Rochester, Lori and I spent HOURS in here!
They also sell wine by the glass in their food court, FYI
; )

Let's not even get started with bookstores, Harry Hartog.  (More on that store later.  Suffice to say they had the nicest clerks who actually knew something about books and had wonderful suggestions which I accepted.  Lesson-up time, Barnes & Noble!)
A spinner, to boot!

I had to buy an extra suitcase to bring home all my tea and books.  Good thing I travel light to get to my destinations only to travel heavy on the way home.  And add to my luggage collection.  (Thank you, Travelite!  A very lightweight and purple-bonus! suitcase from Australian Luggage to hold all my finds and treats.  And an easy way to shop/bring my packages back to the hotel. )  As one friend so nicely put it, "How lovely!  A suitcase filled with tea and books!"

Anyways, I love the Yelp app and will use it to find even more coffee and tea places, even some undiscovered right here in Houston.  (Stay tuned for Tea2Go, which turned out to be less than 4 miles from one of my walking trails.  Talk about incentive!  Extra lap? Yes!  I will walk two extra laps for their Chocolate Cake tea!  Seriously good.)

While in Miami, we found Puroast, by taking a serendipitous wrong turn in the Brickell area downtown.  They had just opened less than two weeks earlier amidst all the construction in that part of the city.   Sadly we discovered it the day before our return to Houston.  What a cute little place and great coffee.  I so would have bought their little red rooster winter coffee cups had they been for sale, too.  Yes, I offered.
I could totally hang out here

After enjoying a yummy Bourbon Pecan latte, I picked up a bag to take home, along with a box of Vanilla Nut K-Cups.  Their deal is their coffees have more antioxidants and less acid than other brands.  To me, as more a tea than a coffee drinker, they tasted great.  Bonus for the other benefits.

Alas, I hadn't been able to find the Puroast Vanilla Nut locally.   I did find their dark roast K-cup at HEB, but I'm all about the odd and offbeat flavors.  And starting to panic as my Vanilla Nut supply dwindled.

Yesterday I stopped by CoffeeIcon in Katy to see if they may have it or could order it.  They didn't but would suggest it.  However in the meantime, they offered Don Francisco's Vanilla Nut as a free take-home sample.
the one to beat. . .
Local Winner!
Don Francisco's Vanilla Nut
While I was impressed with Puroast's claim to have less acid and more antioxidants, Don Francisco's Vanilla Nut punched it out and had a more vanilla flavor and a very pleasant nutty aftertaste.  Puroast seemed a little bland in comparison, but still very smooth and not bitter.  I would buy it again if I ever find it in the stores Puroast does not seem to stock this flavor on their website.  And I will be going back and grabbing some of the Don Francisco's Vanilla Nut for my refill box.