Meadow Quest

For this adventure, I am savoring this:

Hello to you! It is late summer, when the colors of the day are bright and the wind is warm. The wildflowers are in full bloom and that’s when one goes questing for meadows. Would you like to come with me? 20170814_200042

The picnic basket is packed. I brought peach cake, ginger beer and tiny sandwiches worthy of the Edwardians themselves! Of course I brought a blanket to sit upon too and a hat to hide under (unless you’re the sun-seeking kind). Logo_1502763102099

So where do we look for meadows? First, we step out the door. And before you know it, we’re winding along a wondrous little trail. I have a feeling it’s not going to give up it’s secrets all at once!Logo_1502762701621

Each turn, just like a labyrinth, may shower us with surprises.

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Flowers on the path,

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Or perhaps friends we never knew we had.

 
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But it will keep us guessing.

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Until finally, in the glimmering light, our path gives way to a wide open meadow!

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The high grass moves around us like the swelling sea.

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And each step takes us further into the clover and the thistles. Through countless waves of wildflowers whose names we wish we knew.

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Oh, and what a perfect spot to take in the view!

There is magic in our meadow. It speaks to our wild side. Wishes are whispered, dreams; remembered.

We could take a flower or two and press them between the milky pages of a book. To paint them later perhaps? But the meadow will stay with us in the hollow of our hearts and memories. It will come to us again and warm our toes when winter turns the ground to stone.

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It will always be ours.

 

 

 

COPYRIGHT © 2017 Elizabeth Mayne, QuillCastle.ca

Artfully Postal

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Epistolary.

e·pis·to·lar·y  əˈpistəˌlerē/
adjective: epistolary (of a literary work) in the form of letters.
“an epistolary novel” literary relating to the writing of letters.

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We lead epistolary lives. And we communicate in a multitude of ways. Emails are fast, they’re a dime a dozen and we toss them out all the time. But hand-written letters are special. These are pages that have been touched by your loves ones, who thought of you, took the time to tell you so and sealed it with a kiss. That little parcel of love and sunshine travels thousands of miles to get to your door and has it’s own secret adventure on the way.

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Letters are things you not only keep but treasure. They are archives of our relationships; proof we were missed. Proof that we are loved.

 

So I thought I’d share one of my secret pleasures with you, in the hopes that in spite of this digital age, you might be inspired to write more letters yourself and help keep the art of hand-written letters alive.

 

Logo_1517355838662These days it’s not easy to find the time or the inspiration to sit down and write to someone. But there is a jolly solution!

 

When I moved to Canada, many years ago, I wanted to keep in touch with my family. Many of them were not online and phone calls were expensive. So letters were a charming, old fashioned way to do just that. I treated myself to some really beautiful paper and lined envelopes. Over time I added to my stash. I dabbled in fountain pens and colored ink (that’s a whole other post mind you!) rubber stamps, embossing powder, stickers. Oh my, the stickers!

Soon I was looking for any reason to write a letter.

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Letters gave me an excuse to practice my handwriting, to muse about this wild, wintry place I now called home and of course, to think about those I loved so much.

 

I was creating mail art! And it’s every bit as fun as it sounds.

 I love to thumb through second-hand books for illustrations (old children’s books are great for this) and cutting them out is almost free therapy!

Is there anyone you’ve been meaning to write a letter to?

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It’s your turn to get wistful.

Get romantic.

What do you see when you look out to the landscape?

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Express yourself with cut outs from magazines, old cards, vintage wrapping paper, maps, star maps. Stamps from around the world are tiny works of art and can be found on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/StampsByFlorence?ref=l2-shopheader-name

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Play around with themes or juxtaposed subjects

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Or write the teeny-tiniest letters imaginable!

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You can find the World’s Smallest Post Service @   https://www.leafcutterdesigns.com/gifts/tiny-mail-stationery-kit/

Let a Blank envelope inspire you.

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And meet the tape runner! Your new best friend and indispensable tool when working with paper!

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Get crazy with rubber stamps and glitter gel and embossing powder. Doodle all over it. Draw. Water color. Write poetry or your favorite quote.

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Seal it in wax with your initial.

And remember the golden rule:

if you want to receive letters, you have to write some.

 

If you don’t have a penpal and you want one, you can visit the Letter Writer’s Alliance. https://letterwriters.org/

Not only will you find all sorts of goodies to buy and free print-ables (like secret agent stationery, Yes please!) but they also have a penpal Swap service
and you can request to be paired with a penpal from somewhere around the world!
https://letterwriters.org/pages/pen-pal-swap

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Make a new friend, or remind an old one that you love them. Impress them with your creativity and confetti the world with your masterpieces.

 

 

I would love to hear what you think! Please leave me a comment or question and feel free to follow my blog.

 

Write on my friends!

COPYRIGHT © 2018 Elizabeth Mayne, QuillCastle.ca

The Queen’s Cupboard

Beautiful music for a winters day:

 

 

Outside, the snow is deep. The wind is bitterly cold. We cuddle up inside our cozy homes with blankets and electric fires- real ones if we’re lucky! And winter makes us all masters of comfort.

 

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For me, there is no more comforting place than the kitchen. It’s where we brew the coffee and cook and bake. And even if there’s nothing else to eat, there is always eggs and butter and bread at our house.

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But there’s one thing all cooks, foodies, nibblers and squirrels have in common and that is a cupboard crammed with delicious things to eat!

As the queen of my kitchen, I call mine the Queen’s Cupboard.
And why not?

You might simply call yours the pantry. What matters is that it’s filled with things that delight you.

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 One of the hardest parts of winter for me is that the smells of the world are all locked up and sleeping. So when I cannot smell the roses, I need only to rummage through my Queens cupboard, peruse and open the treasures there.

It’s like coming back to life!

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Obsessed with jam? Truly,  I am!

Just look at those tiny strawberries suspended in sugar. They stud buttered bread like jewels in a crown.

These are Marron Glace (candied chestnuts) and coveted by angels in the know.

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These are Glace Clementines; summer perfectly preserved!

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I scour the shops for Scented teas and Turkish coffee,

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for precious vanilla (made from orchids and therefore anything but “plain”!)

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And I keep a stock of Leatherwood honey and Marmite, of truffle oil, Rose water, Fleur de sel, Christmas puddings and Amarena cherries for the cold, dark winter.

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I love colorful stacks of mismatched plates to set my toast upon,

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And a cheerful collection of cups, of course!

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So my squirrel friends, what do you keep in your cupboard?

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COPYRIGHT © 2018 Elizabeth Mayne, QuillCastle.ca

Anatomy of a Tea Cup

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If you are like me and you enjoy the finer things, the vintage, and the “just don’t make ’em like they used to things”, then we are kindred in our love of treasure! We know how to scour a room and find the charm among the Knick-knackery.

I can’t resist a beautiful tea cup and these days, china cups are easy to find and not too expensive. Knowing the anatomy of a tea cup might just help you find that perfect vessel for your morning cuppa.

 

1. How do you take your tea?

By this, I mean do you prefer it properly scalding or do you like it towards the tepid? The mouth of the tea cup can make a big difference. Consider how deep the cup is. If it’s shallow and wide-rimmed, the tea inside will cool off much faster than a deep one with a smaller rim.

 

2. To hook or to pinch?

Some handles are made to be pinched rather than allowing your finger to hook through it. I look for a handle wide enough to easily hook my finger into. Then I never have to worry about dropping scalding liquid in my lap!

3. Inspect for cracks.

There might be a hair-pin crack in the cup and although these don’t tend to leak, they can lead to further breakage. Just keep in mind that antique shops rarely accept returns!

 

4. Look for a stamp

Makers of good china will put their stamp on the bottom of the cup or saucer. Bone china is the strongest of all the porcelain or china ceramics.

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There is a whole world of knowledge when it comes to antique China and although I do have some favorite makes and models, to me it’s more about the individual cups than the brand name. Be it English, Bavarian, footed or filigree I hope these tid bits will help you find that perfect cup.

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Pinkies up!

 

 

COPYRIGHT © 2018 Elizabeth Mayne, QuillCastle.ca

The Keeper of the Bears

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Like most little girls, I loved to visit my grandmother. I called her Pummy.

Pummy’s love of teddy bears had been a life-long passion and her collection was proof. She had more bears than I had ever seen in one place!

Bear lovers know that a well-loved bear is a distinguished guest at any party. And when it’s a tea party, only real china will do.
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Pummy would take every cup out of the cabinet so we could consider each one. I held them as if they were live baby birds; all beautiful and each with different colours and patterns. My favorite was pink with roses and vines encircling the rim.Logo_1516052314198
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We would set out the cloth and the cups, a sugar bowl, a pitcher of cream.

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Then sit with the bears all around us, sipping tea with our pinkies up and comment on the quality of the shortbread.
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Before my grandmother passed away, she gave me that cup. It meant the world to me that she’d remembered not only the cup, but all the sips, the long-lost crumbs and secrets shared with bears.

After doing a bit of research, I learned that my teacup is a century old, as were the two bears she left me in her will.
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So now I am their keeper and the one who makes the tea.

 

 

COPYRIGHT © 2018 Elizabeth Mayne, QuillCastle.ca