Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Good Morning!
I thought I would shock everybody by actually joining in with the tea drinkers over at Elizabeth's on T Stands For Tuesday today.  Usually my thermal mug sits patiently with me in the mornings while I journal...
...but this morning I made some Yin Hao Jasmine tea... 
...in my little Yixing tea pot.
I apologize to anyone who can read Chinese if the seal is upside-down.
The cup I'm drinking from I actually found at Tochi's in Fargo years ago.
I love how it is partially glazed and rough to the touch.  I bought two of these beauties.
The makers seal on the cup is probably upside-down, too.  I obviously cannot read Chinese.
I know.  You're probably surprised that such a Scandinavian born with coffee flowing in her veins would have tea paraphernalia--but about twenty years ago when I was working at the factory where I injured by arm I worked next to this fascinating middle-aged man who barely spoke English and always had tea next to his machine.  I think he was from Thailand, but I don't trust my memory to swear on that.
No one else would talk to him.  It took a while to understand the thick accented English, but he didn't mind repeating if I asked him.  Slowly I discovered that he had sent home for a young wife and they fought all the time, he said, because she was not a traditional wife.  His disappointment was deep.  The young wife embraced the American music and dress and, worst of all, a bad attitude and defiance of his authority.  
He missed his homeland to his core.  He told me how a goat fell through the thatched roof one day while they were eating their meal--threw his head back and startled me with his rich laughter.  I wondered what other joys his sad heart had tucked away in that narrow chest.  I would listen as he explained an alien belief system that included things like dropping blood in pans of water to foresee something or other...and burying something in the ground for a year and checking it before they decided to build on a piece of land...all the details are sketchy now.  I think I wrote a few of his tales down back then, but I don't know where.  If I run across them I will share them with you.  :)
Because of my friend and his constant offering me some of his tea (and it wasn't as horrible as I imagined--LOL!), I became became very curious about tea and joined The Tea Club for a couple of years and got their magazine The Art of Tea, too.   (I wonder if they're still around?)  I discovered that teas are as complicated as wines (which I know nothing about).  It makes a difference where they are grown, when they are picked, how they are treated after they are picked and for how long...and whether anything was added to them (like jasmine flowers).  
I was lost in the maze, but I did learn a smattering about premium teas--and still have a shoe-box sized container filled with tea samples that I have always kept in dark, dry, cooler spots.  I discovered that I consistently loved most white teas, jasmine, and chamomile--and that I tend to like my teas black/plain like I like my coffee...but there are a few that need a dash of milk to tone down the sharpness.  (Each tea came with a card telling you what the optimum steeping time was and whether to drink it with or without milk.)  Joining T-Tuesday gives me a really good reason to try to make up a little bit of tea every week, doesn't it?  ;)
   As usual, I digress--LOL!  
It was warmer for a couple days--in the 20s.  
We've had snow, a little sun, and a lot of clouds.
When we have sunny mornings, as you can see, it is almost impossible to take pictures of Miss Karma waiting for swallows on a warm 28 degree morning because of the bright reflections. 
Karma was running around here chock-full of beans thinking it was spring again--LOL!  But then it dropped back down to 20 below--hehe!
Me?  I did finish one step in a huge project.  Managed to iron on fusible interfacing to the backs of some pieces of the faux-suede...
...and a hunk of worn green leather from the back of an old coat (Leah brought over several years ago to add to our leather scrap bin).
I only had three small packages of fusible interfacing to use that I had ordered from Amazon over the last year or so.  Didn't want to buy a big amount until I knew if my journal cover making plan was actually going to work or not.  ;)
I have had it in my head ever since I made my first coptic journal--what?--4-5 years ago?--to make some writing/dry media/drawing journals with cloth/thin leather covers.  
Okay--I apologize--this post keeps growing on me--LOL!  I'll be lucky if I finish it today--hehe!  Some of you may remember that one of my early coptic journals was made from this thick red leather that was in Leah's leather scrap bag purchase.  I had to dig it out and show you.  This is one of my darlings that I have been unable to actually use, to be honest.  Here she is...
...filled with 140 lb. watercolor paper... 
...complete with mistakes made while learning coptic stitching. 
I just love her! 
That's when I searched and found Volcano Arts online.  They were the only place I could find back then that had longer eyelets that could go through this thick leather.  
She just needed eyelets, right? 
My little red darling.  And she is little.  Only 4 3/4 by 6 inches.  (All my first journals were quite small.)  I tucked her safely away from my clumsy, juicy-watercoloring hands.  Maybe the time has come to very carefully kill my darling?  ;)
What a journey this morning!
I watched Derek on Netflix streaming and have been thinking a lot about kindness...
 Okay!  I'd better stop right here and now before I go off on another tangent or something triggers another memory--ROFL!  Have a wonderful week!!  Do you have a hard time killing your darlings?  Do you have favorite things you love too much to use?  ;)
I think I have posted this quote before, but I do love it.
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
Philo of Alexandria 


  1. I love Derek. I have things I love too much to use, such as the pillow cases my Grandma Goltz embroidered. They sit on a shelf, waiting for The Hurricane to inherit them so they can sit on her shelf. Speaking of The Hurricane, she knows quite a bit about tea and knows some Mandarin. I will not order her to check out the Chinese characters on your blog, however, because she would tell me to go to hell. She's teaching this semester so she'll be crabbier than usual.


  2. What a great post. Sounds like an elderly Chinese man I met when I moved to Kansas City. It was fun talking to him, and he also would repeat anything if I didn't understand something he said.

    I'm glad you are digging into that box of goodies from years past. It's best to use things before they are not usable. And I like that each tea steeps at a different rate, depending on the type. It's always good to know.

    Is that one of those pots you are supposed to run water over to "season" it? I've seen that entire setup, and the tea takes on a very different taste.

    Thanks for sharing T(ea) today. I truly enjoyed the energy of this post. Of course, you aren't the only one who went on forEVER (grin).

  3. I've got to run, but I wanted to tell you I made it through the long post, with interest the entire time! I don't remember that quote, so I'm glad you put it in here again. :-)

  4. love the little tea pot - and 'meeting' the thailand gent thru your memories. :)

  5. I am a tea drinker and I love that quote!

  6. Interesting story about your friend from Thailand...everyone has a story to tell if we just take the time to listen. I love your thought for the week. Stay warm and cozy in all the cold and snow!

  7. I really enjoyed your post this week. It was interesting to read the story about your co-worker. So much to learn from others.

    Your tea cup and pot are beautiful!
    Glad you showed/used them this week. Happy T Day!

  8. I love tea, too, and I was so very touched by the story of your tea drinking friend. What a good heart you have for taking the time to talk with him and get to know him. I'm sure that meant so much to a lonely soul.

  9. I always forget about T Stands for Tuesday maybe I'll get a quick post in tonight.Better late than never :)I love your teapot and cup.... I love pottery . The weather here has been frigid too. WE got more ice and snow last night which made going to work today a real challenge... I wanted to turn around and go home but knew I wouldn't be able to get back up the hill that I slid down when I left our subdivision :( Thankfully it was clear by the time I got home from work.

  10. Good to see you are still around and busy as ever! This cold weather again...yuk! I hope you are staying warm especially the windy days.
    I have some stuff this too good to use but I am trying to get over it:)

  11. So many good things in this post. Enjoyed hearing about your co-worker and your introduction to tea. The red journal is just wonderful. I do have a problem putting the first mark in a new sketchbook. Just have to take the leap.


  12. Hmmm... Is that Chinese label upside down or not... now that's going to bug me...

    I wonder what it says? It's like the invisible ink - only some people can read it! But I looked for the symbol for "tea" and don't see it on the label. I wonder if it is a "fortune tea label". :)

  13. Dear Rita, "Derek" is new to me so I'll need to go to Netflex on my iPad and watch an episode to see what it is.

    As to using our treasures: Years ago--when I was a freshman in college--my parents brought mom's mother (Grandma O'Mara) to see me. She brought me a quilt she'd made just for me. She'd used material that had been in mom's clothing and in mine as a child. She cut and pieced and quilted and the final gift was one I treasured.

    I told her I'd keep it good and not use it, but she said, "No, Dodo, I want you to lie under it every night and think about the love I have for you." And so I did. It is now tattered and frayed, so I keep it in a plastic bin, wondering if I can do anything to renew it. I cherish that quilt. Peace.

  14. Your tea pot looks so cute, the journal looks really nice you are so talented and have more time for these things then I, I am forever running out of time and not getting things done

  15. Cute little tea pot. I'm not a tea drinker (unless I'm sick and need fluids) and I don't drink coffee, but I know there are a lot of different kinds and flavors out there.

    I liked the story of your co-worker. Sounds like an interesting man.

    Love the quote. Have a great week! (and keep warm!)

  16. Anonymous11:32 AM

    What a lovely teapot and mug! I like your snow shots too.

  17. Hello friend..what a lovely post..gorgeous red covered book..such fun..you will create much magic with that gem!Loved your sharings about tea..jasmine is one of my faves.. enjoyed your story..yes it is pretty marvelous how many kinds and ways and types of teas and how to enjoy them..yes just like wines! Hugs to karma..wishing you a fantastical day!

  18. I madly love things and then I fall out of love and hide them away. Whenever I find them again I cannot remember why I loved them so much.

    Stay cosy, it looks like it’s cold over at your place.

  19. I want to learn more about tea. I've only ever tried the boxed bags. I don't like coffee (unless it's the fluffy cappuccino, sugar-filled stuff!) and I thought tea would be a great alternative. So far I haven't found anything I love. :/


  20. I love your post. As a British tea drinker it was lovely to read about the teas and those cups and pot are darling.
    Love love love your journal. I made my first last year and this month I decided to vandalise it. We are hoping to visit New York later this year so I am filling it up with notes, dreams and wanna dos!
    Love that quote.
    Thanks for popping over.

  21. Your co-worker sounded like he would have been a fascinating person to talk with. So many wonderful stories to share that he had kept to himself. The goat story is really funny! Your book turned out beautifully. Your art work is truly an inspiration!


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Have a really great day! :) :)