Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Thrift Store Therapy---Earring Holder

I've been getting into wearing small studs lately. They are usually scattered all over my dresser in disarray. That is, until I found this spectacular vintage cat earring holder at the Salvation Army thrift store! Couldn't be cuter!

If you want to see my tutorial on making the mother of pearl button studs shown above, go here.
Or, if you'd like me to make you a pair see here.

I am linking up with YoungHeart for the Weekly Thrift :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Stoic Gnome  Tea With The Squirrels 2013

Two weeks of fog! A temperature inversion has caused a dense, gray mist to hang endlessly over the valley. I have begun to feel like the fellow above---grim and stoic. I've escaped the fog a few times (see previous two posts) but its always still here when I get back.

I was on my daily route yesterday when I came across these guys, coming out of the mist:

They were running across the street (hence the blurry picture). This is a flock of wild turkeys that frequents the hilly parts of the city.

You don't want to get too close to them. Turkeys can be fairly aggressive. Many people consider them a nuisance but I think they are rather majestic. Of course, I don't have them on MY lawn, and maybe I would feel differently if I did :) Technically, they are not wild so much as "feral". I have mentioned this before, but I will again: if you are at all interested in birds, wildlife or even spirituality, see "My Life As A Turkey" which is a documentary about a biologist who spent a life-changing year as a mother to a flock of wild turkeys.

Well, it did rain a little today so maybe the fog will finally lift. Then maybe my "mood inversion" will lift with it :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

The best way to handle winter doldrums is to fully embrace winter---that is what I did on Sunday. I have never been snowshoeing and I decided to go ahead and try it.
snow shadows  2013 Tea With The Squirrels

I borrowed my husband's snow shoes, grabbed a good friend, who also has never been snowshoeing, and headed out to my old stomping grounds, the area around Willamette Pass.

It was a ridiculously perfect day, clear blue skies and plenty of snow, all powdery and glittery:

This is the area I hike in the summer and I had been obsessed with seeing it in the winter time.

Odell overlook
What a magical winter wonderland! And here is my beautiful mountain, Diamond Peak, with her full winter mantle of snow:

I had camped out on her flanks in the summer see here, and was freezing cold then---I can't imagine how cold it must be up there now. And very avalanche-y I am sure!

Here is a small lake I usually see when hiking in the summer:

We spent around 4 hours snowshoeing. It was great fun! I think I needed smaller snowshoes however, as I fell a couple of times, tripping over my own feet. That, or I am just clumsy :) And boy, are my legs SORE today!  I personally love cross country skiing, and now snowshoeing, because you are away from all of the hustle and bustle of downhill. Its relaxing, and you can fully appreciate the landscape you are in. Plus, it is far less expensive!

My friend thought this looked like some kind of snow creature :)

I am very lucky to live in an area where the ocean and the mountains are just a 1 1/2 hour drive away. Plus, we have such dramatic landscapes here, due to our geological past. I left the mountains today with a great feeling of well-being.

Dear viewers, all the photos in this post are my own and are copyright 2013 Tea With The Squirrels

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Snow Queens

see more of Merle Pace's magical work in her Etsy shop MerlePaceArts

1945 Andersen's Fairytales

illustration of the Snow Queen by Arthur Szyk

When I was a child I was given a old copy of "Andersen's Fairytales", circa 1945, with illustrations by Arthur Szyk. I was enchanted---and slightly shocked, because if you have read any of Hans Christian Andersen's unaltered fairy tales then you know that they can be quite visceral. "The Little Match Girl", "The Red Shoes" and "The Fir Tree" all made quite an impression on me. By far, though, my favorite story was, and still is, "The Snow Queen". The mystical journey undertaken by the girl, Gerda, vastly appealed to me and the Snow Queen was such an enigmatic character. When she appeared in the Narnia stories as Jadis, the White Witch,  I was further delighted---and the two characters melded together for me. So much so that when I recently reread the old Andersen story I found myself asking "where is the faun and the turkish delight?".

Much later, as an adult, I purchased these gorgeous Folio editions of Andersen's stories:

Andersen and C.S Lewis cemented the Snow Queen archetype in our modern minds, but of course the character is no doubt based on older stories, such as those about the Norse goddess Skadi, and maybe also the goddess Hel, a ruler of the Norse afterlife.

Another manifestation of the snow goddess that I am very fond of is theYuki-Onna of Japan. She is beautiful, with long black hair, white skin and blue lips, but is ruthless and capricious. If you can get a chance to view the 1960s Japanese movie Kwaidan, which consists of four ghost stories, including "The Woman of the Snow", I urge you to see it. It has a very otherworldly quality achieved through painted backdrops, interesting lighting and haunting, spare music. The Yuki-Onna also appears in Akira Kurosawa's film Dreams.

Here are some other Snow Queen-related Etsy finds:





Saturday, January 5, 2013

I awoke a few days ago to a frosty world.

frost on my sage plants

 Looking out my window in the very early morning, I caught a flash of ruddy color through the freezing fog. A small flock of robins had descended on my bushes, presumably looking for a breakfast of insects.

via OSU Extension Service

I find these months after the holidays the hardest to bear--Jan, Feb and March seem so long and often so dreary. Our winters are usually grey and rainy with not much snow. I am planning a snow camping trip to the Cascades to break up the monotony and have started sewing my owl dolls again.

"looking hard for/ moments of shine/ from twilight /to twilight" Aurora Bjork

I do love snow and cross country skiing and I like being able to bundle up in the armor of coats, scarves and tights. But my favorite seasons are the ones with the equinoxes---autumn and spring. So, by the end of February I am often madly dreaming of what vegetables I am going to plant in my garden, how I am going to decorate my "outdoor rooms", and where I am going to go for my yearly week-long hike.

And I guess that is the beautiful thing about winter---the dreaming :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Today is JRR Tolkien's birthday, hooray! The doll above has been on my "want" list for awhile now. He was made by Debbie Ritter, who specializes in various character dolls. I primarily collect 70s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit items, but I love fan art as well and toy figures from the more recent movies. There is a special place in my heart for the 70s Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit movie and the 70s Ralph Bakshi Lord of the Rings. I know many people think Bakshi's effort is a choppy mess of a movie, but I like its magical, almost hallucinatory quality. Dear viewers, I still have not seen the new Hobbit movie! Gotta wait until the crowds thin out---not a crowds person :) Someday in the future I will share some of my more interesting vintage Tolkien finds.