Posts Tagged ‘tea’

Lazy Shabbat

November 2, 2013

It has been a lazy kind of day.  A much needed rest.   I actually slept in – rare – and then spent much of the day relaxing with knitting in my hands, a cup of tea by my side, and the catbeast purring on my stomach.

I sipped a variety of teas, with a special treat of chai latte sent to me by Anissa in Germany in a package swap.  The chai – by Krüger – is apparently available in most supermarkets in Germany, but isn’t sold commercially here.  Although several cafés sell it.  Anissa sent two different varieties, and I’m trying to savour them slowly.   And keep them from kidlet…athough she was much happier grabbing the Kinder egg from the package.  Anissa told me she had to share the vanilla halvah I sent her – her husband’s eyes popped out when he saw it.

The tea mug – a much treasured Unique Sheep mug.  When I was in the Unique Sheep “Sip-n-Stitch” Yarn and Tea club a few years ago, one of the club packages included – logically enough – a wonderful mug.  Along with yarn, tea, and a couple of honey sticks (all three of them yummy).

sip n stitch 2


The mug was a prized possession, and used often… Until a couple of months ago, when it accidentally  got knocked from the table and smashed into smithereens.  I may have startled the neighbours with my wail.

So after searching the Unique Sheep website and finding zero mugs, I wrote to Laura and asked if there were any more to be purchased.  She wrote back right away, saying there were usually a few left over from the clubs, and asked me which design.  I sent her a picture, and waited.  A day later she wrote back to say she had found one remaining mug at the very back of the closet!  Not with black trim, though, but in green.  I told her green would be just fine, and asked the price.  She said she would be happy to replace the mug at no cost.  We finally agreed that I would pay for shipping.  And it arrived soon after.   (Indie business service just can’t be surpassed.)

unique sheep 2

So that was my mug of choice for my lazy day today.

And the knitting?  I finished two chart repeats of the Giraffe and have begun the third.

Giraffe 2nd repeat

Batteries recharged, and it’s time for a new week!!

Tea Is Roaming Again

November 4, 2011

The Ravelry ETTB (European Traveling Tea Box) has again arrived on my doorstep!  Well, it arrived at the post office, but never mind, I’m not bothering with insignificant details….  It only took a week to arrive from Wales, which is much better than average.

(privacy teacups added, of course...)

I happily tore into the wrapping – good grief, Sara, you really wrapped it thoroughly, it took a lot of swearing um, tearing – and was immediately hit by tantalising smells (tea) and sights (yarn)!

I dug right in and discovered…

Lots of yummy teas

and goodies

and yarn.

I’ve just finished trying a cup of  “teapigs” rooibos crème caramel, and the rest of that will be staying with me, thank you very much.  Also grabbed some of the Milford fruit teas, like the pear/pomegranate and the cherry/banana.  (Thank you, google translate)  Took a few samples of the loose teas.  And that was it for the tea stash.  Kidlet swiped some of the candy as well.

The yarn stash grew with the King Cole Riot, I couldn’t resist the colours.  (The colourway is called “cool”.)    I’m thinking….rainbow mitts?

And the wonderful little teapot-covered notions/small project bag has also found a home.  Even the material in the lining has teacups!

Now I have the weekend to decide what to add to the box before sending it back on its way, to Norway this time.  (Heads up, Ranveig!)   Fun to choose what tea/yarn/goodies to add.  I do believe there are a couple of stroopwaffels in the cupboard.  Now what else…?

I need another cuppa tea to help me think.  (~_^)

Tea Snob Heaven

April 17, 2011

Oof!  I’ve been busy with preparations for Pesach…well, at least I’ve been trying to get the flat in order.  Between that and work, and running after kidlet on vacation, there hasn’t been much time to blog.    (I’m not really running after kidlet physically, just emotionally … like sitting up all night when she goes to an all-night party/dance/club.  Still takes a toll…  And I’m very glad that I’m not 16 any more.)  Still have last minute shopping to do, too.

Sent out one swap package, and just about ready to send out another.  And waiting very impatiently for the Smart Ass Knitters April package.

What has arrived is the Traveling Tea Box from Steepster!    It began its multi-continent journey  in January 2010, and after several snags along the way has finally arrived on my doorstep from the US, and will then continue to the original starting point in Europe.

Oh, my.  As opposed to the Ravelry TTB, which is tea and yarn, this box is purely tea-related.  Very few accessories, just amazing teas.   I honestly don’t know where to start.  And how much I can take out without emptying the box completely!  I am not nearly as much of a tea snob as I am a yarn snob ( 😀 ), but this is just astounding.

First, some of the scented teas:

Also some pure-leaf (no scents):

Various and sundry other teas:

A few tins as well:

Some tea bags and storage, and a disc of music that I plan to listen to as I sip

If I have time, I’ll sort out what I’m keeping before tomorrow, but it’s doubtful.  I will be putting the box away for Pesach  (rotten timing!), but I foresee an orgy of tea tastings immediately following the holiday!  And probably more than one tea party.

Mm.  Glorious.

My posties know me by name…

August 5, 2010

Got some packages and surprises in the mail today.  I love packages and surprises, don’t you?

In the mail I got some signed bookmarks from Lorna Barrett to celebrate the release of her book Chapter and Hearse (Booktown Mysteries).

Then the packages.

I won a prize in the Dancing Cranes KAL last month, and it arrived!  Some Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock in the TidePooling colourway – really lovely!

Sara, who sent me the yarn, also sent a darling button for my collection:

Then my summer picnic swap package from Beverly in France also arrived!  Bev chose a theme of  “teatime on a terrace” for the package, and it’s wonderful.

A tablecloth made by her grandmother that reminded Bev of Alice in Wonderland, wrapped with some dried wildflowers. The little ceramic teacups were originally yogurt pots – to protect fingers from getting burned Bev knitted little  cotton sleeves.

Vanilla Rooibos tea from the Tea Zone.  Dark chocolate from Saint Domingue.  Sesame biscuits.  A pretty notebook.  A book of MFK Fisher’s journals and stories.  Lavender lace weight cotton yarn.  Some wool wash.  And a note that was also a puzzle.

I’ve been spoiled yet again.


And to add to the joy, California’s Proposition Hate Eight has been overturned!  By a Republican judge once considered too anti-gay to sit on the bench!


Enjoying more cuppas

July 24, 2010

My tea stash is growing more than my yarn stash lately.    That’s not an easy accomplishment.

Last month Harney and Sons had a big promotional discount,  so I was able to grab some of their teas I had long wanted to try.  (I had received some of their Vanilla Comoro in a swap and loved it.)

The Florence is a chocolate hazelnut black tea, totally decadent.  The Boston is also a black tea, this one with cranberries and almonds.  The clever travel case, called a tagalong,  has sachets of African Autumn – rooibos, cranberries and oranges.   And as a gift – because Harney & Sons always sends a little gift with an order – a packet of their Organic Green tea, with citrus and ginkgo.

Then, over at 52teas (a part of  the Zoomdweebie’s group), they had a clearance sale to make room for the oodles of new tea blends coming up.  Now how could I resist?  These are mostly limited edition teas, once they’re gone, they’re gone.

I got a good variety.  The Wild Cherry is a black tea, Sheri’s blend is rooibos with apricot and cinnamon, the Banana-Peach is green tea, and the last is “You Put The” lime in the coconut, you blend it with some green yerba mate, some lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemongrass, and then you drink it all up!  By the way, they’re having an even bigger clearance right now, only for US customers, so head over there and say hi to Frank for me!

If all this wasn’t enough, my second shipment from The Unique Sheep Sip-n-Stitch club arrived!  Yarn and tea, double goodness.

The yarn is Verve – a luscious merino fingerweight – in the Buccaneer colourway.  A Unique Sheep mug.  Honey sticks, which are totally unnecessary with this tea, which is SerendipiTea‘s Buccaneer blend – a mix of black, rooibos and nilgiri tea with chocolate, vanilla and coconut added.  Wow.  I almost burned my mouth trying to gulp this, it’s that good.  I have to confess I did not know what nilgiri was, and I had to google it.  From Wikipedia:

Nilgiri tea is generally described as being a dark, intensely aromatic, fragrant and flavourful tea grown in the southern portion of the Western Ghats mountains of Southern India.

Drank some fantastic tea and learned something new.  Not bad.  And I will find something very special for the yarn!

I discovered a new tea at a local café, too.  Ordered chai, and was served with Julius Meinl chai, a brand I didn’t know.

Properly brewed with milk and spices, with cinnamon sticks added.  I haven’t seen this brand for sale in the shops, though.  I guess it will remain a treat when out.

At work, a manager from one of our China branches came to visit, and since I made all his arrangements, he brought me a gift – jasmine tea from Suzhou.  It came in a beautiful tin, which I will use long after the tea has been appreciated.

Found a cute new tea accessory at the mall, to keep your tea hot.  It’s a cup/mug cover, made of silicon and with a rubber duckie handle.

The silicon fits snugly over any size mug and doesn’t heat up itself, very practical.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have one in purple.  And no sheep handle.   sigh

Finally, if you’re looking for that perfect gift for the tea lover you love, check out tea pillows!  They’re a bit beyond my budget, but certainly intriguing, and I’m wondering if I can make one of these myself somehow…

So…..join me in a cuppa tea?   Happy sipping!

Still swapping…and stash-building

June 9, 2010

As I was heading out to the post office with the parcel notice from yesterday,  I found another notice in the mailbox!  What fun, two packages today…I could get used to this.

And indeed, I received my tea swap package from Nora:

First, the fiber goodness: naturally caron SPA bamboo blend in the lovely berry frappe shade, and elsebeth lavold bambool (bamboo/wool) in a deeper shade of purple. Bliss! A lovely purple button. And a wonderful Swedish-flag-coloured tea cosy – with curls – that will definitely be put to use!!

The tea and edible goodness:  Davidson’s Vanilla Cream Spice that I couldn’t wait to try and was immediately steaming away in my Baa mug, Twinings Pomegranate Delight, two leaves and a bud tea traveler with african sunset – organic rooibos and lemongrass, Paris blend from Passiflora tea, some strawberry drops, and a jug of Connecticut maple syrup!!

In short, a truly wonderful package.

And the second parcel?   My yarn from Tasha for her Knitty Knitty Bang Bang contest!

a skein of A Verb for Keeping Warm organic merino worsted in jade –

and a skein of Lorna’s Laces’ Helen’s Lace in Sand Ridge – gorgeous lace weight!

My stashes – both yarn and tea – grew today with my new treasures, and both will be enjoyed!

Oh, and since the weather has unequivocably decided that it’s summer, our Stitch-n-Bitch group will become the Stitch-n-Beach group for the season. Although I’m sure we’ll miss our café, we’ll have fun trying all the places along the boardwalk once again.

Are you making any seasonal changes?

Swapping, Oregon style

June 8, 2010

Last month’s $10 swap was all about our hometowns.  I sent lots of goodies from Haifa and all of Israel, and yesterday I received my package from Jess in Portland, Oregon!  Thanks, Jess!!

First, there was reclaimed yarn from her etsy shop, 1000 yards of lace weight 100% wool, in the Columbine colourway – purples!!

There was lots of info about Portland and Oregon in general – places like the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and a bunch more brochures and maps – a Portland bookmark, postcards and flyers about places and events.  I was very curious about a “Kick-ass Crafters Battle” – a Rebel Craft Rumble by Scrap.  Jess says it’s a kind of an Iron Chef event with crafters, I love it.   She sent me a coaster with a sheep on it, and shells from the Willamette River.    I love this little rainbow Oregon umbrella pin.

There was also a box of Tazo tea – Green Ginger (with pear).  Now I like a hint of ginger, but I’m not a great fan of lots of ginger…like I love a snowflake floating by the window but I don’t like getting smacked in the face with a snowball. When I opened the tea, the ginger smell hit me like a snowball. It continued while steeping, so I cut the steeping time a little short in fear that it would just be too overwhelming. Luckily I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it. I taste the lemongrass and the ginger, kind of a peppery taste, but not the green tea so much. And the pear seems to be afraid of the ginger, it’s hiding pretty well. Maybe a little pear in the aftertaste, a faint finish.  The tea actually tasted better as it cooled, so I am definitely going to try this iced!!!   The box itself is very interesting reading.  (Of course I read the boxes, don’t you?)   There’s a lot about good karma – in how they harvest the tea, and in recycling the packaging. And how the Romans brought ginger from India to Europe.  They claim this tea is yin, yang and yow – the yin being the green tea, the yang the ginger, and the yow the pear. I would call this a basically yang tea.  But the one sentence on the box that captivated me was this one:

Tazo is an enticing source of wonder, inspiration, and antioxidants.

Now there is something to aspire to.

At the other end of the US, Nora in Connecticut has received her tea-and-yarn swap package from me.  She wanted to keep it unopened until I received mine from her, but I told her to go ahead and tear into it, I couldn’t stand the suspense waiting to see if she liked it!  She did like it, and I can finally reveal a couple of projects that were under wraps until now.  First, I made her a teacup cloth, in organic cotton.

I knitted my first bobble stitches for this, and I’m quite proud of them.

Nora also has cats, so I knitted up a little bumblebee toy for them, which was lots of fun.

Today I received a notice from the post office that there’s a package waiting for me, so I hope it’s my surprise from Nora.  When she thanked me for her package, she mentioned that I will see in mine that “great minds think alike”,  so now I’m very very curious!!

I do love swaps.

Form vs. Function

March 7, 2010

My friend Courtney posted here a while back about preferring function to form – I believe we were discussing tea mugs.  Her comment immediately came to mind when I ran across a new “design” for tea bags… Hanger teas.    They look like little “tea shirts” (get it?) on hangers.  

They would come packaged like this: 

And they hang on your cup thus:

 Now.  I’m all for cute and original ideas.  I adore cute and original.  I would absolutely support cute and original.  But what an incredible waste of space and materials in that packaging!  Next, if you’re going to design something, you must have at least a basic understanding of the function of what you’re designing!  

The best way to steep tea is loose so the leaves can open/expand as much as possible. When steeping loose tea and straining is not practical, one uses a tea bag. There are indeed tea snobs (just like with everything else… yarn.  *ahem*) who feel that the tea used in tea bags is so inferior that they won’t drink it.  The tea that is used in tea bags has an industry name—it is called fannings or “dust” and is usually the waste product produced from the sorting of higher quality loose leaf tea, although this certainly is not true for all brands of tea, especially in the case of many specialty, high quality teas now available in bag form.

The best tea bag design is one that allows the tea to expand as much as possible within the confines of the bag. One main problem with this design is that the tea shirt looks narrow and therefore won’t allow much expansion of the leaves.   Another problem is that the hanger anchors the bag to the side of the cup which further limits one side of the bag from expanding and allowing the leaves to interact with the water.

I just feel that this is such a waste of creative energy!  What good is a clever tea wrapper if the quality of the tea is compromised?  

I had to see where this came from, and my search led me to Yanko Design.  Their intro:

 Yanko Design is a web magazine dedicated to introducing the best modern international design, covering from industrial design, concepts, technology, interior design, architecture, exhibition and fashion. It’s about the cutting edge and the classic, the new and the rediscovered. It’s all about the best.

 I entered a wild world and started to wander around.  Among many other things, I found a designed-to-be-huggable coffee grinder – based on the premise that we should share more love and positive energy with our appliances.  (I’m serious here…)  I found 5-minute candles that come in a matchbook, floors that light up, a talkative table.  Also some high tech napkins that you doodle on and your doodles get transmitted to the napkin holder which is a mini PC in disguise. Don’t use these to wipe up stains.   But since I was on a tea-related quest, I forced myself to abandon these interesting distractions and continued on to items for tea.  

Then I found the Turtle tea kettle:

This is how the kettle works:

Add the loose tealeaves to the glass container and pop the cap on it and load it into the water filled kettle. Place your turtle kettle on the stove, set the timer on the cap, and wait for the ring. The glass container has very small machined holes so that the tea can be infused properly without moving about in the water. So after when you pour your tea to drink it, you won’t be sucking in the bits of tea leaves.

To boil water simply slap on the cap without plugging in the glass container and wait for the whistle to sound.

Made from ceramic, the kettle features a side window that lets you keep a check on the water levels of the container. The handle and timer cap is made out of a heat resistant phenolic plastic, making them easy to handle when hot.

A cute, new way to brew the cuppa!

 OK, another designer who has missed the point entirely.  You do not put tea leaves into cold water and then boil it.  You add hot water to the tea leaves.  Different temperatures for different kinds of tea.  Black tea, for example, requires a higher temperature than green tea leaves, which would be damaged by the hotter water.  The temperature will have as large an effect on the final flavor as the type of tea used.  Many of the active substances in tea do not develop at lower temperatures.   Basic, basic information.  Design FAIL. 

I also discovered the Creativi*tea Kettle:


A badass attempt at poetry, but anyways the point is, the Creativi*tea Kettle is an effort to hype up the mundane chore of making tea and adding color to the kettle by including the temperature-sensitive aspect to it.
Cold = darker shade of red; Hot = increasingly luminescent red.

 Well, ignoring the insulting comment that making tea is a mundane chore that needs to be hyped up, this isn’t bad.  

 There was also a pretty Avestruz Tea Set.  I like this design.  

Function over form.  Form is important.  I love art, and would love to surround myself with more of it.   The idea of integrating art into everyday routine objects is a wonderful treat for the soul.  But if those objects can’t do the job they’re meant to do properly, then they’re out.  For me, at least.   What do you think?  What other examples come to mind?


March 2, 2010

My Karma tea swap package has arrived from Mary!  All the tea she promised, and more.

Those are little tea candies next to the card… tea flavoured.

The recipe card is for Earl Grey Tea Cookies!  From the kitchen of Mary.  They sound so scrumptious that I’ll share the recipe here, for anyone who is tempted to try these yummies – I know I’ll be baking soon.

Earl Grey Tea Cookies

  • 5 t. Earl Grey tea  (~4 tea bags)
  • 3/4 c. boiling water
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. reg. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. +1-1/2 t. unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1/4 t.  vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 t. salt


Steep 1 t. of the tea in the boiling water for 5 min.  Strain & refrigerate until chilled.

In a blender, combine remaining 4 t. tea + brown sugar – blend into a fine powder.

In a large bowl combine tea sugar, reg. sugar, + 1/3 c. butter.  Beat on high (or by hand) until light and fluffy.  Add egg, 3 T. of brewed tea, vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Add flour and salt, incorporate gently.  Cover batter and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 min.  

Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C.

Grease cookie sheets.  Drop batter ~1 t. onto sheet – space ~3 in. / 7 cm. apart.  Use back of spoon to spread each into 2″/5.5 cm circles OR use bottom of flat drinking glass dusted with sugar to press each into circle.   Bake 8-10 minutes.  Edges will be light brown, most of center will be barely coloured.  Cool 1 min. on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies will keep in airtight container about one week, or freeze up to 2 months.

Mary’s comments:  Feel free to experiment with different teas for different flavours!  Mild flavours may not come out as clearly – I’d suggest sticking with black or green teas, or strongly flavoured herbals (i.e. peppermint).

Thanks so much, Mary! 

Off to brew some tea now…….

The Pay-it-forward Karma swap

February 24, 2010

Every so often I jump into the Rav Cuppa Tea? Karma swap.  Not as often as I’d like, considering what’s usually offered, but occasionally.

This pay it forward swap works like this:
– Someone posts “I have item A up for grabs, who wants it?”
– Someone else posts “Ooh, I’d like item A please! I have item B to offer!
– Another party says, “Item B looks great to me! I’ll offer up item C!”

And so on and so forth… Since you don’t get something back directly, that’s where the karma part comes in. Someone else will get your item and pass the gift along in the form of another gift to someone else. This way, people can offer up tea, yarn, or tea related items that they’re not interested in anymore, and items can make their way to people who will love them.

I just claimed an offer by Mary in Pennsylvania, with some black teas (some Spanish, some Fortnum & Mason), some green teas from Tea Haus (almond biscuit and baked apple), some rooibos teas from Tea Haus, and more!

My offer of a bunch of bagged and loose teas plus vanilla halvah was grabbed by Rike in Switzerland, so that’s going out tomorrow.

Also going out tomorrow is my “Make-a-scarf”  swap package to Lennette in Florida.  Can’t wait to see what she sends me!

C’mon, you didn’t think this swapaholic would neglect getting her fix this month, now, did you?