Monday, May 25, 2015

Everyday Life @ Lilly My Cat

Hello my dear friends.  I hope that you had a wonderful holiday weekend and are home safe if you traveled.  All is well here in Southern California with our gray skies (which I love).  I thought I would share something a little different today.  I read a lot of blogs and I'm always impressed with the beautiful homescapes people share.  But, there's never any papers, desk clutter, or cleaning items.  I love watching Venetia in Kyoto.  She's a British lady who lives an idyllic lifestyle in Japan.  She shares her lovely garden and unique kitchen but where are her papers?  Doesn't she get bills, need a computer, garbage can, etc.  It's never shown.  So, today I thought I'd share with you  a glimpse into my daily schedule/routine.

Sometimes I wake up early in the morning.  When that happens I sit and read a bit before going downstairs and starting my work. (I really don't "work" anymore.  I used to work outside the home and raised two dear children.  Now, I don't know how I would handle it)... First I switch off the outside lights..

Next stop is the laundry room or I should say "Lilly's Room".  Lilly is a big, hungry kitty.  She could eat all day long if you let her.  About 9 years ago, we purchased this automatic feeder for her (shown uncovered).  Magically, two times a day food appears for Lilly and is she ever happy.  Each morning I clean her litter box (no picture needed), fill her water bowl and her feeder.....

 Next up is her water bowl in the kitchen.  She also has a little food dish she eats her "lunch" out of each day.....

Monday is my day to do laundry (I never use that word "laundry" as I call it washing).  I don't have the luxury to have a clothes line (due to crazy covenants).  But, I do remember as a child getting the clothes off the line and the heavenly scent of freshly dried laundry.  I might add that I have this habit of getting the clothes out of the dryer the minute the dryer buzzes.  Then of course I have to fold them and put them away before starting my next chore.....

 On Tuesdays I iron.  I've always ironed on Tuesday for over 35 years.  Isn't that odd?  I even iron my pillow cases and the tops of my bed sheets.....

Here is a picture of my most favorite possession.  I couldn't live without my vacuum.  It's not that I love to vacuum but I cannot stand to see "stuff" on my floors.  I still "mop" my tile floors on my hands and knees with a bucket and cloth.  You may ask why I don't have a housekeeper.  Good question...probably because she wouldn't clean it like I want.  It's a bit crazy isn't it?......

On Thursdays I wash the sheets and clean the bathrooms.  And I'm always taking out the garbage, watering my plants and doing whatever else is needed.  But one task that I no longer have any patience for is paperwork.  You may ask why so many papers?  Well, my husband loves to invest in real estate (no, he's not a realtor, he's an agricultural consultant). But where my hobby is dishes, yarn, handbags, etc., his hobby is collecting real estate.  Luckily, we are in the process of selling some of these investments which will be a blessing.  I can hardly wait for the day (if it will ever come), when I have no properties except our residence.....

It's funny how people get set in their ways.  I look back now and I've always been a routine person.  I have my schedule and that's how I function.  It's not that I love this scheduled way of life but that's me.  I can't do something for fun (like knitting) if my work isn't completed.  Sometimes I wish I could change but I do get satisfaction taking care of my home.  And, I might add that I do not like change.  I like the feeling of contentment.  

Speaking of home, I received this lovely book Heart of the Home from my friend  Cathy at Morning Musings. This beautiful book is by Susan Branch.  I feel to fortunate that I was the winner of this giveaway!

I hope I haven't bored you with my weekly chores.  Wherever you are this week, I wish you the very best.  And, it's always a joy to hear from you.  Until next time,

take care,


Linking to the following parties:
Wordless Wednesday.... 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Anniversary Trip to Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

I can't believe that in less than a month my husband and I will have been married for 40 Years!  It only seems like yesterday.

Our children wanted to have party for us or send us on a trip.  We are a bit "tripped" out since we have a big trip planned for later.  My daughter came up with the perfect solution; a trip to Avalon. We had visited Avalon before via a cruise and only had a few hours on this beautiful island.  We were excited to spend an extended time and explore theses lovely surroundings.

We boarded the Catalina Express from Dana Point, CA in the morning for the one hour and twenty minute ride to Avalon.
Upon disembarking we stored our luggage at a facility since our check in wasn't until later in the afternoon.
It was lunch time so we headed to one of the first restaurants we saw.  The fish and chips were delicious.
Here's the view from the restaurant.
Avalon is such a pretty little place but the hills are so dry due to the drought.
Our children booked this accommodation for us on Airbnb.  It was very easy to find as the name "Grisham" was prominently displayed.  We stayed on the top floor of this 100 year old home.
My husband loves the water! So, he soon found his place on the deck with his shoes kicked off and his iPad in hand ready for his "work".

The following afternoon we walked along the waterfront to the Casino.  It's not a casino in the gambling sense but a historic building from the 1920's that houses a large ballroom and movie theatre.
Another historic building with the Casino behind.
A plaque outside the Tuna Club.
We took the Avalon Trolley up to the Wrigley Memorial Garden.
William Wrigley, Jr  from Chicago (yes, the same Wrigley who makes the chewing gum) came to Avalon in the 1920's.  He was responsible for the conservation of the island.  Mrs.Wrigley started this botanical garden of native plants.
This is the Wrigley Memorial where Mr.Wrigley was originally buried.
Here is a plaque commemorating Mr.Wrigley' s effort in conservation.
There are a large number of steps leading up to the memorial.  These bronze doors were specially cast for this memorial.

A plaque about the bronze doors.
Here's a close up of the art deco frieze of Catalina ravens inside the memorial.
Look at the view from the memorial.  Can you see the ocean out there?
Walking back down from the memorial, I walked through the gardens.  Here's a prickly pear flower.
I love this huge cactus...
Here's a pine tree.  I loved walking though this area as the scent of the pines and surrounding greenery was heavenly.

I thought you might enjoy a bit more information; here are five facts about Catalina Island:

1.   William Wrigley, Jr. (1861-1932) purchased a controlling share in the island back in 1919 for $3 million dollars.
2.  Wrigley's Chicago Cubs used to hold spring training on Catalina Island until 1952.
3.  The population of the island in the census of 2010 was just over 4,000 people.
4.  Bison roam the hills of this island.  They were originally brought over in 1924 by a Hollywood film studio for the purpose of use in a film.  They are still there today.
5.  Close to one million people visit this island each year.  Cruise ships bring in many of these tourists.

I hope you have enjoyed this little look into this amazing island.  Next time I'm going to share with you some more facts and photos about the Casino (pictured above).

I wish you a wonderful weekend and a wonderful Memorial Day holiday.  Be safe.

My best to you,


Linking to the Following Parties:
Five on Friday....
Handmade Monday... 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Five Cakes Including Syttende Mai "17th of May" Kransekake

Baking is near and dear to my heart.  I love cooking and creating in my kitchen.  I also love sweets, so anytime I have a excuse to make a cake, I take the opportunity!  I thought I'd share with you a new recipe and my link to How To Make a Kransekake which is so appropriate if you are going to celebrate Syttende Mai (Norway's Constitution Day). 

I was on a mission the other day to make a proper tea cake.  But, first  I needed (wanted) a specific type of cake pan and then a recipe that would work.  Does it ever happen to you that you see something in the store and you don't buy it and when you go back, you can't find it?  That's what happened to me in regard to a cake pan.  I had wanted to buy a 7" round cake pan.  It's a bit of a unique size as most are 8" or 9" round cake pans.  Instead, I found this fun little pan which measures about 7 1/2":

From one of my favorite blogs, I found a recipe and then converted the ounces to cups but it didn't turn out well at was so, so dry.  Then I found a recipe from Nigella.  I love her recipes as there's a little "switch" that converts it to cups.  Here's what I made today...

 Do you see the little "cup" at the can sample what you baked!

Pat's Orange Cardamom Tea Cake

1 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
2 T finely grated orange peel (I used tangerine)
dash of salt
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sifted self rising flour
1/3  cup plain flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour either a loaf pan or a 7 1/2" round cake pan (I line the bottom of the cake pan with a piece of wax paper or parchment paper).

In large mixing bowl, cream the butter and the sugar.  Add in cardamom, orange peel and salt.  Mix in one egg at a time, adding in a little flour as you go along.  Add in remaining flour and mix until mixture is well blended.  (Be careful not to over mix or you will end up with holes in your cake).

....notice my old, old kitchen center mixer?  I received it in 1984 as a gift from my dear parents and I still love to use this mixer.......

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes then take out of pan and let cool on a wire rack.  

I love the fine texture of this cake.  It's not too sweet and goes great with a cup or tea of coffee.

My dear friend Reem, make the cake pictured above.  It's Egyptian Kanafa which is made from kataifi dough which is mixed with butter, spices, raisins and nuts and baked until it's a golden, delicious color....

And, here's my version of Nigella's Marzipan Cake which is a very easy make.

A proper little tea cake served to me at the Hawaiian tea in Honolulu....

 And, last but not least here's my Kransekake which is so appropriate for 
Norway's 17th of May - Syttende Mai (click on the link to see how to make one).

Do you have a favorite cake recipe you always like to make?  If so, feel free to share below.  I recently bought myself a proper scale from Williams and Sonoma.  Baking with a scale is new to me but hopefully I will master it!  Wish me luck.

Wishing you the very best,


Joining in at:


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sadie's Teaset

My little granddaughter is expected in arrive later this summer.  My daughter and son-in-law have been busy getting her nursery all ready for her.  Although she hasn't arrive yet, it's as though we really know and love her already.

Last week my daughter and I (and my little grandson) had a wonderful afternoon in San Clemente. We always head to the beach when we go there but this time we had a lovely lunch downtown and strolled through some of the interesting shops.

We happened upon the cutest gift shop where they had a collection of tea sets.  My daughter told me she wanted to get one for Sadie's nursery.  When I returned home, I set off shopping via the internet.  I'm a bit of a "dish snob" when it comes to dishes.  I wanted to get her a proper set, made in Germany.

After spending a couple of hours looking, I realized that I had a tea set!  She could have mine.  I hadn't opened it in years but I knew exactly where it was (which is a blessing since moving there are still items that are packed away).

Here is my tea set.  It is over 50 years old!

When I pulled it down from the cupboard, the poor old box almost gave way.

I unwrapped it and gave it a good washing. 
You can see that it was made in Japan.  
And, I even had the original wrappings....
After getting it all washed and dried, here are all the pieces.  I remember as a child putting mashed potatoes in the little covered casserole.  There was still salt and pepper in the shakers!
I hope that little Sadie will have many years of enjoyment with this little tea set

 Here it is all set up for her in her nursery.  

It's always a joy to find something old and bring it back to life to use again.  My dear daughter didn't play with this set as she loved her papers and pencils.  And, I'm amazed that all the pieces are here, intact, after all these years.  I think it was my brother who gave me this set.

It's Mother's Day tomorrow and I want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day.  Enjoy each day and I wish all of you the very best.

My best wishes to you,

Note:  Last week my dear friend from Tales from the Riverbank tagged my blog for "Two Good Reads"

Two good reads tag 
I am honored that Lilly my Cat was mentioned.  To keep this tag going, I would like to add Gillie at Loving Our Vintage Life  and Homemaking Tales.  So ladies, if you'd like to accept the tag you have to copy the logo above, link back to this blog and nominate 2 others to be tagged. Have fun!

LINKING to the following parties this week:
Handmade Monday.....
The Art of Home-making Mondays..... 
Let's Talk Vintage..... 
Oh My Heartsie Girl...... 
Share Your Cup Thursday... 

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Story from Long Ago About Mt. Everest

Last week I mentioned about the devastating earthquake in Nepal.  This week I wanted to share with you a story that takes us back to 1924.  It takes place in this same, exact area of the world.

My home state of Washington is home to Mt. Rainier; a majestic mountain that has an summit elevation of 14,411 ft (4,392 metres).  It is one of the tallest mountains in the United States.  Mt. Rainier is also a dangerous volcano.  It's located in the Cascade Mountain Range of the Pacific Northwest.  (You may recall Mt. St. Helens which erupted in May 1980 is also part of this same mountain range).  Mt. Rainier National Park is located 54 miles southeast of Seattle. 

 I found this photo in my photo album.  This is Louise who was visiting us from England.  You can see majestic Mt. Rainier in the background.

Because of Mt. Rainier's presence, mountain climbing is a prominent sport in my state. There are numerous professional, world renowned mountain climbing guides.  One of these is Eric Simonson.  Eric is from Ashford, Washington which is located a few miles west of Mt. Rainier National Park. 

In 1999 Eric Simonson headed the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition.  Their purpose was to discover whether George Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew "Sandy" Irvine summitted Mt. Everest during their British Everest Expedition in 1924. This  1999 research expedition was primarily sponsored by the BBC.

George Mallory, was a 38 year old British school teacher.  He chose as his climbing partner 22 year old Andrew "Sandy" Irvine who was an engineering student at Merton College, Oxford.  Irvine was not a vastly experienced climber but he had the engineering knowledge to keep the vital oxygen equipment in working order.  That is why Mallory chose Irvine.  

The British Everest Expedition started out in March of 1924, arriving in Darjeeling, India. The expedition walked for several weeks into Tibet from India (the only way back then) to reach their base camp.  They had a time limit to conclude their expedition before the summer monsoon season arrived in June which would then bring heavy snow.   

On June 7, 1924 the last attempt to summit was made by Mallory and Irvine, climbing up the North Face of the mountain to a base camp.  This was where they would spend their last night on the mountain.    They set out from their camp on June 8, 1924 and were seen by a fellow team member.  They were less than 800 feet from reaching the summit when a snowstorm appeared and they were never seen again.  It was based on this last sighting as to whether these men made it to the summit.

For all these years it has been debated whether Mallory and Irvine summitted Mt. Everest.  Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay are credited with being the first to reach the summit in 1953.  For 75 years it was a mystery as to what happened to Mallory and Irvine.  Mallory's ice axe was found back in 1933 by an expedition led by Hugh Ruttledge.  In 1986 Chinese climber Zhang Junyan told a story about how his tent mate had happened upon "an English dead" in 1975 at 26,570 elevation.  This "tent mate" was killed in an avalanche so no further information could be obtained.

When Simonson and his group set out in the spring of 1999, they immediately found Mallory's well preserved body on May 1, 1999 at 27,000 feet.  At first they thought it was Irvine's body but upon closer examination, they found Mallory's name on the clothing tags.  And his hair had been bleached due to exposure to the elements all those years. 

The Search for Mallory and Irvine by Peter Firstbrook tells this fascinating story.

Mallory's body was found at 26,800 feet (8,170 metres).  He was found lying on his front with his arms oustretched.  This position suggests that he was "sliding" down the North Face.  His body has become part of the mountain, lying there all those years.  They did discover he had a serious injury to his forehead but the upper part of his body was well preserved.  They found a rope around his waist so it is thought that he would have been roped to his partner, Irvine, when he fell.

The researchers have put together a time line of Mallory's and Irvine's last day.  They have concluded that the earliest they would have reached the summit that day was at 7:00 PM.  This would have been at sunset.  Their descent would have been in darkness and without any flashlights.  Therefore, it is inconclusive as to whether they attained their goal of reaching the summit.

When you think about Mallory and Irvine's expedition, it is amazing that they did reach this far considering the equipment that was available at that time.  Among the items they found upon Mallory's body included his goggles, rope, scissors, altimeter and Swan Vesta matches.  They also found three letters addressed to Mallory from his friends and family which were perfectly preseved due to the cold, dry air.

The research expedition did not attempt to recover Mallory's body but they did perform a committal service over his body with one of the members reading from Psalm 103.  They buried his body under loose stones.

There's so much more I could add to this story but if you have an interest to find out more, please read this book.  Many of the artifacts that were recovered were later displayed at the Washington History Museum in Tacoma, WA.  Unfortunately, I did not attend any viewing of these items.

History never ceases to amaze me.  You never know where you will find something that is connected to another worlds apart.  So, here's my little story from my part of the world that connects to a different part of the world.

My best to you,