Monday, January 27, 2014

January activities

While the snow falls, and the winds howl around the house in January, I putter around the house putting Christmas decorations away, and chasing dust bunnies from corners.  Seems like the perfect time of year to clear out a few old things out to make room for the new.  To help me do just that, Home Depot had a sale on plastic storage containers, so I bought 4 new ones to help me organize and keep things stored  in the basement clean and dry.

I still have some things in cardboard boxes in the basement, and each time plastic containers go on sale, I buy a few more so I can get rid of cardboard altogether.  I am almost there.  Yahoo!

While going through some old boxes, I found a few a few treasures that seemed appropriate to pass along to the kids, so last Monday morning I had these two items sitting on the kitchen table awaiting the kid's arrival.
Grover came home with D1 after a shopping trip with Grandpa many years ago, and  Auntie Heather made the cat cushion for D1 when  D1 was a teenager.   Grover went home with JJ, and the cat went home with Danica.
Dani was quite thrilled that the cat matched her purple pants, but you can tell from this pic that she wasn't feeling at all well this morning. The cold germ was settling in for a major attack, and by the end of the week, she needed a day off school.
JJ was not being photo co-operative on this morning, but I took his picture anyway.    For some reason blog pics of the kids are scarce these days, so I have to use what I got.  Hence the pic above.  I'll try to do better next week.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Great-Grandma Pearl's Teacups

I think I have to go back and fill in some history before I get to Great-Grandma Pearl's Teacup, and this blog Tea and Memories will do some of that, but not tell the whole story.

When AC and I got married way back in the 60's, Teacup Showers were high on the list of themes for Bridal showers, and one of my friends planned one for me. I got some beautiful teacups at my Teacup shower, and treasured them.  Some of them are real works of art, and almost too pretty to use, but I use them anyway.  Tea just seems to taste better when sipped from a pretty cup.

The shower gifts, and my love of tea, started me on a lifelong search for other beautiful teacups.  But, more than the beauty of any cup in my collection, is the story behind it.  Yes, it is the story behind something displayed in my home these days, that makes the object worth a place on a table or wall, or in a cabinet.

Below is a picture of my teacup cabinet.  Some are from my Bridal shower, some are from AC's mom's collection, and others have been given to me by friends over the years. Each one has a story to go with it.  You will notice that there are also other treasured items tucked in between the teacups here and there in this cabinet. 

On the third shelf down from the top is a chocolate-pot sitting proudly amongst all the teacups.  My dad sent this to my mom, along with a teacup, from Italy, when he was posted there as a soldier during the war.   The chocolate pot made the journey without a chip or a scratch, but the teacup got cracked in transit.   I was never able to use it, but I display it with joy.

Most of the cups on the bottom shelf were from my shower
These three treasures sit on top of the teacup cabinet.  The teacup on the left is the one dad sent mom from Italy.  The one on the right is one of the teacups my niece Elisabeth used for her Angel Tea parties.  The figure in the center was left to me in the will of a dear friend who used to enjoy sharing a cup of tea with me.   The doilies were hand made by my childhood best friend's grandmother, Grandma Carpenter, and the pictures were a gift from another dear friend.   Memories swirl around each item.
In another corner of the room I have a tea-cart, and the arrangement there changes with the seasons.  I have a spring Apple Blossom set from AC's mom that I put out during spring, then my Summer Roses set sits on the tea cart all summer.   The set pictured above sits out in autumn, and also for Valentines day.   During Christmas I have mom's poinsettia cups on the tea cart.
This is my Valentine display.   D#2 found this tea set for me in a second hand shop in Calgary many years ago. I love it, and I think of D2 whenever I use it.  The cups are paper thin, and so elegantly painted.  What a delight to sip my herb tea from these cups.  The vases were a wedding gift for AC's mom and dad in 1936.  They add the perfect touch to the tea set display.
This year during our visit to Riverwood my sister mentioned my mother's teacups.  She had them all at the farm, and she said she was going to send some to our great-niece Frances, and she asked me if I would like one for Danica.  I jumped at the offer, and said Danica would love one, and JJ would too.  I also boldly asked for one for myself and D#1, so we could have a teaparty using Great-Grandma Pearl's teacups.   
JJ was very pleased with his, and asked so many questions about the picture on it.  He wanted to know the names of the flowers, and studied the cup and saucer intensely to take in every detail of the cottage. I knew he would love that one, because he is such a detail person.
Danica loved the pink roses on her teacup, and pretended to cool her tea before taking a sip.  Pink roses seems perfect for this little rosebud. 
 I am not sure, but I think this is a wild rose. I liked the shape of the cup and the soft colours, so picked this one for D1
And this is mine.  I chose this cup because it has lilacs on it, and lilacs bring back so many childhood memories. 
The home that I was born and raised in and lived in until I got married had a huge bank of lilac bushes all across the back of the yard.   I could see them from my bedroom window, and loved the way they looked in all seasons, but especially in May when they were in full bloom.  Oh the fragrance that would fill the air from those bushes.  My mother wasn't a gardener, so we never, as far as I can remember, had fresh flowers in the house, but when the lilac bushes were in bloom, we would have a bouquet of them in the house.

I can remember mom telling me stories of her wedding day on May 27, and how the church was full of vases of  lilacs and everyone commented on how beautiful they looked and how wonderful the church smelled.  It was one of her vivid memories, and now it is mine too. 

I can't see or smell a lilac bush without thinking of my childhood home, so this teacup from mom's collection seemed very appropriate for me.  Thanks for sharing mom's teacup collection with us Heather.  We will treasure the ones you gave us. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter Adventure at Riverwood - part VIII

Well, I finally got to the end of the stash of pictures I took at Riverwood during our winter holiday. Whew! It was such a beautiful winter wonderland at the farm this year, I kept my camera close at hand whether I was inside or out and took a ton of pics. 

Come along and enjoy this last walk with me.
We thought we would leave the snowshoes at the farm, and walk out to the road for this walk.  This is a picture looking up the lane towards the road.  I love the trees standing like guardians at the gate.
Once out at the road, AC took this is a panoramic picture of the area.   Oh so pretty.
Looking back at one of the outer buildings from the road.
Just down the road from the farm is the Owenbrook Golf course.    I have never seen anyone golfing there, but it is a pretty, well maintained course.

There is a pretty picture waiting just around every bend in the road.
A welcome sight.  The plows keep the roads in good shape soon after every storm.
Back at the farm, and ready for some hot chocolate once we go down the lane to the old farmhouse. 
Posing for a picture in front of a snow bank almost as high as me. Thanks goodness a plow comes to clear the drive after a heavy snow. 
The Playner Mill as seen through the trees, taken while I was standing in front of  the snowbank shown in the pic above.
One last shot of the hammock waiting for the snow to pass, and the summer sun to shine again.  Many a good book has been read on that old hammock.
So folks, that's it. Next week I'll move on to other things.  Hope you enjoyed the picture visit to Riverwood.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter Adventure at Riverwood - part VII

View that greeted me in the mornings from the back porch at Riverwood. I never tire of it, and it always brings me joy.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Winter Adventure at Riverwood - part VI

The farmhouse is old, and the windows are not the most efficient in keeping the cold out and the heat in.  That might not be good for the heating bill, but it sure makes for lots of fun for Jack Frost.  He was busy at work every night during the cold snap, and gave us fabulous works of art to marvel at every morning. 

Enjoy a saunter through Jack's Art Gallery with me...

Every morning there was a new masterpiece for me to admire, but by noon they were all gone, and Jack had a fresh canvas to work on the next evening.  He sure is a creative little fellow.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Winter Adventure at Riverwood - part V

The kids were always on the move and doing something new and exciting. On NY's Eve, a few hours before midnight, they announced that they were going outside to make a NY's greeting and we were invited to join them for the fun.  So, we bundled up as the temps were hovering around the -25 mark, and we went down the dark lane towards the road to set up Mary's camera on a tripod.  We were given sparklers, and ideas flew around about what to write with the sparklers when the camera clicked on.  Light settings were taken, auto timers set, and we were instructed on where to stand, and what to do with our sparklers.  AC and I stood at either end of the gathering and made circles in the air.  Laura, Heather, Brad and Brian made the number 2014, all backwards mind you, and Ben and Mary knelt in front of the crew making circles. 

The sparklers were lit, the camera timer set, and we all did our part waving the sparklers around as we were instructed.  It made a marvelous NY's eve greeting posted on FB for friends and family to see near the midnight hour.  Sadly I didn't get a picture on my little point and shoot, but Mary got a great one on her camera and AC captured it off Flickr for me

I am behind the circle on the left, Laura is the 2, Heather is the 0, Brad is the 1, Brian is the 4, AC is the circle on the right, and Ben and Mary are the swirls in front.   Happy New Year.
A couple of days later the kids announced that they were going to have a fun  photo shoot outside, and we were all invited to join them for the experience.  Ben prepared to toss a pot of boiling water into the freezing air while everyone gathered round to take pictures.   I stayed on the porch to take pictures of the photographers taking pictures. 
Total fun to see Ben make the toss, and hear all the cameras click repeatedly trying to get the perfect shot.  Mary is flat out on the ground trying to get a good angle.
I don't know how the other pics turned out, but this is the best shot of the instant snow I got on my little camera. The water exploded into a puff of snow, then cascaded down like frozen fireworks.   It was neat to see.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Adventure at Riverwood - part IV

The next day when we set off for our snowshoe walk, we decided to head down the Old Logging Road, instead of across the fields.We would be more protected from the wind along that wooded road.
We saw the kids skating down on the river and we waved hello as we passed by.
Then we set off down the Logging Road.
It isn't an easy walk, but a very pretty one.
We went as far as Maple Lane then turned around and made tracks for the warm farm house.
We stopped to take more pics of the kids skating on the river when we got back to the New Bridge area.
Looks like so much fun.
The girls came over to say hello while the guys were trying to clear more ice.
They were getting cold too, so they soon made tracks for the farmhouse.
View of the farmhouse from the skating area.
Such a welcome sight after a cold afternoon skating or snowshoeing. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Winter Adventure at Riverwood - part III

A winter holiday at Riverwood is special for many reasons, but the one at the top of my list is being able to step out the back door to go on a snowshoe adventure across the fields or through the woods.  123 acres of property with the Crowe River making up the border on the East, gives lots of room for making new trails, or trekking down the frozen river.  
In this picture you can see the shoes waiting at the back door, and how close the Barn is to the house.  The Old Logging Road is just to the left of the barn, and the river is just down the hill from the barn. 

The old oval, woven snowshoe is a favorite for walk on over the fields, but the newer slimmer design is better for trekking through the woods.  Much easier to climb over logs, or work through thick brush on a new trail. The yellow ones are ours, and have supported us on many a trailblazing walk through the woods.  You can easily get lost on the 123 acre property during any other season, but during winter it is easy to follow your tracks home, so we boldly go where no man has gone before! 
AC is all strapped in and ready to go.  In the -25 weather is was difficult to get the clothing just right.  We wanted to be warm, but not get all sweaty after only about 10 minutes.  We had to turn around on a couple of walks after just a few minutes because the wind was so strong, our faces were stinging from the cold.  We tried balaclava's one year, but glasses kept fogging up, and the wool around our mouths got all wet.  We gave them a pass this year and just went for shorter walks.
We wouldn't be having a picnic this day.
Brian and Elu joined us for the walk.
For our first walk we set off down to the Playner Mill and the  Swimming Hole to see the winter beauty down there.

Looks pretty in the snow, but the doors were snowed shut so we couldn't get inside.

I took a picture through the screen, and it still looked inviting.
From the Playner Mill we headed down to the Swimming Hole...
...the Friendship Bench was almost snowed under.
We trekked around taking lots of pics and had fun making designs in the snow.
One picture looking back across the fields toward the Playner Mill and the house way off in the distance. 
I peeked through the woods and saw this determined photographer looking for the perfect shot.  Everyone else in the family has big fancy cameras, but I still cling to my little point and shoot that fits neatly inside my mitt.