Sunday, May 31, 2015


SUNDAY, JULY 6, 2014

Today's Writing Prompt: Therapy

Have you ever been in therapy / counseling / mental health care / group therapy / family counseling / whatever you want to call it?

Yes.  Many many many years ago.  That's all I am willing to say.  Not that I'm embarrassed or anything.  Everyone needs help once in a while.  It is just that this story isn't just my story so I'm not willing to share it.  

Challenge: Follower

Scrapbook a layout about following the crowd.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Six Word Saturday


Six Word Saturday

Describe your life or current situation using exactly six words.

I'm huddled by the air conditioner.

Challenge: Prize

Scrapbook a layout about winning a prize.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Independence . . . or the proper way to make a cup of tea.

FRIDAY, JULY 4, 2014

Today's Writing Prompt: Independence

Happy Independence Day from the USA!

Today, write about how your life would be different if the US were still a British colony.

If you don't live in either the US or the UK, write about how different your life would be if your home country were currently a British colony (None of this commonwealth nonsense, I mean a true colony.)

Well one thing is for darn sure . . . people would be spelling words properly . . . it is neighbOUr not neighbor.

And another thing . . . people would start making tea properly again . . .

George Orwell's 11 Golden Rules for Making the Perfect Cup of Tea

In 1946 English novelist and journalist George Orwell published an essay in the Evening Standard entitled "A Nice Cup of Tea." For everyone who's ever believed there's an art to making a good cup of tea, you'll definitely enjoy Mr. Orwell's 11 "golden" rules for the perfect cup. Read the full essay below:
"A Nice Cup of Tea" by George Orwell

Originally published January 12, 1946 in the Evening Standard.

If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:

First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.

Secondly, tea should be made in small quantities — that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britannia ware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

Fourthly, the tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realized on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes — a fact which is recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.

Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.

Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.

Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.

Eighthly, one should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.

Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.

Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

Lastly, tea — unless one is drinking it in the Russian style — should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.

These are not the only controversial points to arise in connexion with tea drinking, but they are sufficient to show how subtilized the whole business has become. There is also the mysterious social etiquette surrounding the teapot (why is it considered vulgar to drink out of your saucer, for instance?) and much might be written about the subsidiary uses of tea leaves, such as telling fortunes, predicting the arrival of visitors, feeding rabbits, healing burns and sweeping the carpet. It is worth paying attention to such details as warming the pot and using water that is really boiling, so as to make quite sure of wringing out of one’s ration the twenty good, strong cups of that two ounces, properly handled, ought to represent.
Would you like to have George Orwell tell you himself?

My Oddball Sampler Afghan is FINISHED!!!!!

Many many years ago I started making the very odd squares which make up the oddball afghan. I finished 5 or 6 of the squares and then life got in the road. After sitting in a basket for several years I must have given them away.

I started this same project again during the Summer of 2012 . . . 3 years ago . . .

. . . and this evening I finally finished it . . .

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Challenge: Scrapbooking

Scrapbook a layout about scrapbooking.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about journaling or create a page in your art journal about art journaling.  Just get creative!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Challenge: Trends

Scrapbook a layout that deliberately follows or defies trends.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

Recipe - Buttered Fiddleheads

Recipe - Buttered Fiddleheads

2 servings
Soaking 10 min 
Preparation 5 min
Cooking 10 min
70 calories per serving 


200 gfiddleheads
1 tbspbutter, unsalted14 g
1 pinchsalt [optional]0.1 g
ground pepper to taste

Before you start

Fiddleheads may be poisonous if eaten raw. Make sure you wash them well, soak at least 10 minutes to reduce their bitterness, and cook them in plenty of water.


  1. Prepare the fiddleheads: wash them well and soak them at least 10 min.
  2. Steam them 10 min or blanch them 15 min in a pot of boiling salted water. Drain them and shake a few times to remove excess water.
  3. Return the fiddleheads to the pan, add the butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook an additional couple minutes over low heat, with stirring, until the butter has melted and the fiddleheads are well coated and lightly coloured. Serve.

Tanka Tuesday: Friends


Tanka Tuesday: Friends

It's time for the next installment of Tanka Tuesday!

Tanka is a form of poetry similar to haiku. It's short, and the lines don't need to rhyme. The just must have a set number of syllables: 5/7/5/7/7.

For more about tanka, see the original post here.

Today's tanka prompt is friends.

We share together
We work and play together
Sometimes we're silly
Sometimes we are serious
My friends are like oxygen

Movie Review: Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

A while back I took a "quiz" on Facebook to determine how many of the top 250 movies of all time I had actually seen. I scored 100 out of the 250 movies that were listed. If I was unsure about seeing a movie I didn't check it off so my score could possibly be much higher.

And then I started thinking that perhaps instead of binge watching old TV series I should binge watch movies. I decided just to take on the top 100 movies for a starter. Now I'm very sure I am going to agree with quite a few of the entries on this list but I already know I'm going to argue about a few as well.

So here is #98 of the top 100 Movies of all time according to IMDB:

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

This movie has actually been remade a couple of times but the 1935 edition is the original, starring Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, and Franchot Tone.  Mutiny on the Bounty won the Oscar for best movie in 1936.

After watching the way the crew are abused for one day too many, Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) successfully leads a mutiny against the ruthless Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton) on the HMS Bounty. Bligh and his supporters are cast adrift in a small boat in the middle of the ocean. Somehow the castaways manage to survive and are rescued. A year later Bligh captures the mutineers and they face the music for their crimes.

Excellent acting and tons of drama. A great movie to watch.

Challenge: Learning

Scrapbook a layout about something you enjoy learning.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

MOOCs are amazing . . . Massive Open Online Course . . . but I think my addiction to them may be part of the reason why my DTDL . . . Dreaded To Do List . . . got so far behind.  I've actually had to put MOOCs on hold until I get caught up.  But I miss them so.

Doing it in Public

MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2014

Today's Writing Prompt: Doing it in Public

Have you ever fallen asleep in public? On the train on the way home maybe, or laying on the beach perhaps? Do you consider sleeping in public embarrassing, or dangerous, or just relaxing fun?

Once in a while . . . Sometimes there was a break between classes when I was a "mature" student at Western University and I would find a comfy chair to relax in.  At one point in time we had to read this horrible boring droning somnolent book about why it wasn't the AXIS soldiers fault that they did bad things during WWII.  Not only was the argument lame and stupid (to use technical jargon) but it was just awful writing.  I could never get more than 2-3 pages read before I would just nod off.  It didn't matter where I was.  But if I was in a comfy chair I usually only lasted 1-2 pages before crashing.  I was fair game for anyone who wanted to steal my books or purse . . . and oh how I wished they would steal that particular book . . . so I developed a system of wrapping my book bag and purse handles around one ankle and tucking the bags between my legs and the chair.  I knew I was going to fall asleep.  And I always did.

I never did finish the book but managed to get far enough in to it to write a decent paper.

African Lion Safari, Hamilton ON

Last Father's Day, I purchased tickets for all the available children and grandchildren to spend the day at African Lion Safari.  We got a fabulous rate which included a bbq lunch because it was Western Alumni Day.

The only other time I was here was as a child and I remember very little except a baboon pooping on the white car in front of us.  I must have been very shocked or amused to retain this particular memory.

I think the thing I love most about this place is that, while some animals are in enclosures, most are roaming free and it is we humans who are enclosed on trains, buses and boats to see these beautiful animals.

I actually wanted to go again this year because we were not able to see absolutely everything on our visit . . . and Western Alumni was offering the deal again this year . . . but this years Father's Day "theme" is going to be old cars . . . sigh.

This was Hal's favourite part of the day . . . he had always wanted to ride on an elephant . . . Look at the big smile on his face.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Recipe - Steamed Quinoa

Recipe - Steamed Quinoa

4 servings
Cooking 15 min
170 calories per serving 


1 cupquinoa180 g
2 cupswater500 mL
1 pinchsalt [optional]0.1 g


  1. Place the quinoa in a fine strainer and hold it under cold running water until the water runs clear, then drain well.
  2. To cook, use two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Combine the liquid and quinoa with salt to taste in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the grains are translucent and the germ has spiralled out from each grain, about 15 minutes.
  3. Serve.

What Kind of Writer?

SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 2014

Today's Writing Prompt: What Kind of Writer?

What kind of writer are you?

If you use journaling prompts, you're a writer (perhaps a journalist?) However I know several of you write professionally as well. Are you a poet, a novelist, a copywriter?

I am an amateur journal writer . . . but I do write books about scrapbooking.  My books and my paper piecings are how I pay for my crafting habit.  If you are interested in seeing my books, click on this link

Challenge: History

Scrapbook a layout connecting history to your life today.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

Challenge: History

Scrapbook a layout connecting history to your life today.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Six Word Saturday!


Six Word Saturday

Describe your life or current situation using exactly six words.

too much too fast too tired

Challenge: Travel

Scrapbook a layout about a place you are about to visit.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

Challenge: Travel

Scrapbook a layout about a place you are about to visit.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Challenge: Gifts

Scrapbook a layout about gifts you received for a special occasion.

Don't scrapbook?  Journal about this or create a page in your art journal.  Just get creative!