Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tea, silver spoons and garden markers....

I have been disturbed of late by the rising cost of my favorite coffee. I could blame it on inflation, but this particular coffee is the ONLY one that went up in price at the grocers, by $3 a bag, making it a $10 bag of beans. A very small bag of beans.

 Therefore, I plan to protest... by switching from morning coffee, to morning TEA.

This is not a huge problem, for I dearly love tea.

and have no shortage of teacups or teapots.
But I really love my morning coffee boost. I drink it very strong, using  triple the amount that most folks use, more of an espresso. Tea has been a "during the day and after dinner" beverage for me.

 My question, for you tea aficionados is this: Can you suggest a really strong and delicious tea using loose leaf teas?  Do you have any special tea rituals? I have enjoyed witnessing the Japanese Tea Ceremony..it is so relaxing and beautiful. And English tea time is elegant. How do you take your tea?

 If YOU are frustrated over the high price of coffee ( and everything else) I have a creative way for you to take out your frustration and end up with something useful for your garden. 
First, you will need a sledgehammer,
and a regular hammer. Don't worry, I am not urging you to vandalize the nearest coffee shop. 

YOU WILL ALSO NEED  a metal stamping letter set.
Next you  will need a few old spoons, forks, knives. Silver-plate is preferred.
 I purchased this as a lot of mismatched flatware.

 Now find a nice piece of concrete and secure  a spoon  beneath a brick, or some such thing...
 Now you will POUND the holy heck out of that spoon, until it is flatter than a pancake... this is fun!!
Next use the metal stamps and hammer to tap out...

Use a black marker across the letters and wipe  off quick as you can.

This will accentuate the word .

 Make lots and lots of them.
Knives and forks are very tricky.
 But they work just fine
 I was a bit shaky on this one..

 I love these!
They are great in any garden whether you marking  seeds, veges, or herbs.
Leave them in all year. When your perennials disappear into nothingness, and you are wondering, next spring, what on earth used to be there, 
you will know.
It will keep you from digging into something you shouldn't.

I recently paid $5 a piece for some of these "garden markers" at a garden show, then I just decided to make my own.
 Let's face it, they look better than popsicle sticks,  they will last forever, and they make lovely gifts for  gardening friends.

  Oh, I didn't smash ALL those spoons. Some of them were so beautiful, with dates of 1884 and 1847!
I am shining  these up.....
to stir my tea.


  1. Jeri, Those are the coolest plant markers I have ever seen!! Love them :-D

    Blessings and Hugs, Linnie

    ((( how are the Bees)))?? (read in a gleeful whispery voice);-)

    and by the way it has been "mousekin" quiet these past few days...could they
    be sneeking around with Dimity Doormouse
    again??? hmmmm...better check the cheese....

  2. Jeri, I loved your story and photos. Good luck in your coffee protest! (I tried it and caved in after about 2 days). I love your illustrations and pet photos. Such a delight to see the sweet little family members.

    Wishing you a wonderful week,

  3. JERI!!!!!! THIS IS A GREAT IDEA! I have seen these around but I have never seen it DONE BEFORE MY EYES! Great way to get out those FRUSTRATIONS, TOO WHILE CREATING ART!!! NOW....we are HUGE tea fans here at Rabbit Hill, with Tea Rat and all and HE recommends loose leave EARL GREY. BLACK AS BEATRIX'S FACE.....I do take mine with milk but BLACK is awesome....that will WAKE YOU UP IN THE MORNING!!!! Everything I love to eat is going up in price! I LOVE GRAPES and the other day they were $4.99 a pound! WHAT IN THEE SAM HILL?



  4. What a wonderful idea! Thanks for the little tutorial.

    We like our coffee in the morning, one cup each, except on Sunday mornings when we have two.

    When we drink tea it is usually an herbal tea sweetened with honey.

    Hope you find a lovely tea to boost your mornings.

    Have a wonderful week Jeri.


  5. That's a great idea. Pussytoes? I have never heard of that. I will look it up and try to find it here. Love, love, love your blog. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x4

  6. What a great idea! I just saw a mix match of flatwear at a thrift store and wondered how I could use the old pieces. Love repurposing! We buy our beans at Sam's Club, a 2 1/2# bag for 13.98 (Member's Mark Arabica Rainforest certified). Starbucks same size is $17. I have to have good coffee or tea, one of the pleasures of life. I love hot tea in the cold months but I am totally addicted to iced tea with lemon and stevia in the warmer months! Jayme Goffin at Tales from the Coop Keeper had a tutorial on roasting your own green beans recently...

  7. What a perfectly wonderful idea! You are so inventive :)

    I don't use loose tea as I detest any tealeaves floating or sinking in my cup. I do, however, love tea and we start our day with several cups. I enjoy flavoured Ceylon teas for everyday use...my favourites are Earl Gray, Orange and Lemon and I like herbal teas on occasion, with honey and lemon on the side :) I have not successfully acquired the taste of Green tea. I love your pretty teacups...it tastes so much better in a pretty cup, doesn't it?

  8. How pretty are your flatware markers!! You've inspired me to make some from pieces I bought for next to nothing over the years just because I thought they were pretty. Now I'll be able to see them each time I go to the garden. You smart thing, you!

    I prefer either Twinings English Breakfast tea with their Earl Grey coming in a close second. I make taking tea a ritual by choosing either one of my dainty china cups, preferrably one that has insects painted on it, or a thick red ware mug, depending on my mood. Next I choose a spoon. If I pick an insect cup, I'll usually choose my tiny silver spoon with the beautiful little beetle perched on the end of the handle. I love insects and the little beetle spoon is so special to me. If I pick a red ware mug, I'll usually choose my dad's old baby spoon. He gave it to me before he died and it went through his eleven other brothers and sisters before it came to him. Do you know the kind I mean? Maybe it's called a toddler spoon as the bowl is bigger than a baby spoon bowl and the handle is curved under the bowl. My father did not come from a wealthy family, but this spoon is silver and is pretty worn after so much use. It's more than a hundred years old and it makes me think of all the little ones who used it so long ago and of my father who knew I'd love having it. I put just a bit of natural sugar in my tea to sweeten it up a tad...not much though, as I like my tea robust. Oh, if I use loose leaf tea, I brew it in a little heart shaped tea ball or a tiny little house that has its own saucer. The important thing about taking tea, for me at least, is that I don't want to rush it. If I have to rush, I'll just drink something else until I can spare the time for tea. I don't much like coffee, so it's usually Diet Coke for my jolt of caffeine.

    My friend Rosie has orange juice every morning in a gorgeous crystal goblet that she says makes her feel extravagant. I say we should surround ourselves with things that make us feel good. Orange juice from a crystal goblet makes Rosie feel good even if the rest of her breakfast is blah.

    This evening after supper, I plan to sit on the front porch, take tea and devour your two books. I can hardly wait.

    BTW, I saw my name on one of the eggs and was excited to think I might win your print. Drat, my egg must have been one of the slow ones. So, so fun savoring the anticipation, though.

    Love from Diane in North Carolina

  9. Dear Jeri,

    I love the plant markers! Except mine would probably be rearranged by the resident Junior Gardening Club (which would make things REALLY interesting!).

    As for tea, Yerba Mate has lots of perk to it (I can't sleep if I drink it in the afternoon), but I think it probably costs more than coffee! :)

    I was sticking sticks all around my plants the other day to chicken proof them, and thought of you.



  10. I love these spoon garden markers!

  11. There are many kinds of tea in Taiwan. Black tea, green tea, mountain tea, wulong tea, Oriental Beauty Tea.
    What's your favorite tea?

  12. HARA, will you bring me some loose tea from your trip? I would like to try the oolong and the mountain tea> We miss you!

    DIANNE, What a wonderful tea ritual you have! I too love insects and wish I had an insect spoon, how clever! There WAS a silver baby spoon in the bunch of flatware I purchased. I couldn't bear to smash it, so I'm keeping it in my sweetener dish.

    MARQUETA, We found a bunch of wire hanging basket containers (cheap at Wallmart) using them upside down over the new plants is really helping with the chicken problem.

    ANGIE, I really don't know how long I can hold out. I really love that morning cup of java.

    Joycee, Now you know that it was fate that made you see that flatware! Hey, they also make great table placemarks for tea parties.

    ANITA! What are all those wild critters doing running around your neighborhood? They must want you and Ruben to tell them a story.

    DEB< I bought that little groundcover just because I thought the name was so cute! they produce tiny pink flowers.

    RAINEY< you must make some of these for your wonderful gardens! You can buy the metal stamps off Amazon.

    Desiree, I am not sure about the loose leaf, as I have always used bags before, but it is said that the leaves do a lovely little dance as they swirl about the cup and settle to the bottom.

    LINNIE< I KNOW those little Mouskins are here, Dimity has taken them on a feild trip to gather "forget me nots", to adorn their little straw hats. As a matter of fact, I just got a peek at some little grey ears poking slightly above the grass.

  13. I am just going to have to start a list entitled "Jeri's clever craft ideas"...this will be at the top of the list!!!
    So incredibly charming..I must pay attention at the flea market, and gather some 'treasures' to repurpose for my cottage gardening.
    Blessings, dear friend!

  14. What a fun project! I have the stamps in two sizes, now to look for spoons.

  15. Christie and Nell Jean... Go to EBAY, type in silver plate flatware . You will find so many spoons you won't know what to do with them all>

  16. I love my coffee, I love my cheap Kmart Capuccino maker even more. But yet I like my hot tea. Guess I'm just not too picky.
    My favorite tea bag is by Red Rose Tea company. I only have one store in my town where it can be found. It can be ordered on line too.

  17. I love to smash silver plate too but I make windchimes and vases and recipe holders with them. Thanks for the idea of using my letter stamps too. I never thought of that.

  18. What a wonderful idea for the place of flowers in the garden ! Thank you Jeri.

    Tea ? I love tea ! I can't live without my cup of tea in the morning and in the afternoon.
    Nice week Jeri, and kisses for all your lovely animals.

  19. I love these! I have seen them made with stencils, but these are so much better and would last forever.

    Thank you for visiting my blog! I always love coming to yours, it's so peaceful.

  20. What wonderful plant markers! I've never heard of metal stamping letter set, but I'll do some research.

    As for tea...I love tea and tea parties of all kinds. I'm quite fond of The Republic of Tea and Whittard tea, always loose leaf. Tea always tastes best in the the most translucent pretty teacups and least it does to me.

    Wonderful post!

  21. Good morning Dear Jeri~
    I must tell you as I agree with the above comments... this the most interesting name posts i ever seen in. What a great gift for garden lovers!!!! I absolutely LOVE THEM!!!*grin*
    Like you, I love coffee... not like you , I am NOT willing to switch to tea, although I do drink tea in the afternoon and evenings.

    I grow up in a coffee farm. Coming from very humble beginnings, momma and papa could not afford to drink the milk from our own dairy cow because they were for sale.Coffee was added to our milk to make a cup and because warm drinks keeps you fuller for a longer period of time. I was 2 years old when i started drinking coffee!!LOL
    The doll is ME!I am thrilled that you thought that!!!!
    thank you for coming and leving me a note. it made me smile!Warm hugs~

  22. Oh, Jeri, I am just dying to try this out! I have so many of those stamps but haven't thought to try this. Thank you for a wonderful tutorial. I can scarcely wait to do it! I had a lovely cup of chocolate vanilla tea the other day in NYC and it was the most beautifully perfumed tea I've ever had. You can find it at teadistrict(dot)com and search chocolate vanilla tea.

    Your blog is so inspiring. Each post is better than the one before! Thank you for sharing.

  23. what a fun fun post! I love Earl Gray with a dash of sweetener, honey or vanilla sugar. Often I throw in rose petals and buds, a tiny sliver of orange peel, one mashed cardamon seed, hum, I think that is all.
    I love coffee too. Also i love match, powdered green tea. I often add a bit of frothed milk to it- almond or coconut.
    Your spoons are gorgeous, such a great idea. Thank you for your book advice, you are so kind.

  24. Great idea! My wife will love this. She is also a big time tea person. I'll stick with my coffee :-)

  25. love the spoons but it is hard sometimes distroying something old and collectible for a newer art form.

  26. Pretty great idea. I was at a tag sale last year that had old silverware for real cheap like 10 cents. Now, don't you think I should have bought quite a few? I bought only 3 or 4. Will remember this. Hopefully. Best wishes. Linda

  27. Hi Jeri
    I left a comment days ago. Must be flying around blogland with all the others.
    What a GREAT idea.. Only you would think of this... Would make a wonderful gift.. I must show my sister, she would love them.
    Did you have a chance to attend the Paris Party at Anita's? OH WHAT FUN.. Simply magical...
    Enjoy your weekend

  28. Jeri, what a clever idea to create those cutlery plant markers.

    You should still indulge your love of coffee though - perhaps on alternate days!

    Being a tea addict, I'm a little embarrassed to admit to drinking Earl Grey (tea bags) with milk, in a plain, white 'builders' mug!!! x

  29. What a great idea for garden markers! I love it. I just have to find a stamp set like that. And you're right, they WILL last forever. Thanks for the idea.

  30. Knock Knock...
    Letter for Dimity Doormouse..

    Bonjour Dimity Doormouse!
    So happy to hear you received my postcard from the Louvre.. I plan on staying awhile so I will send another soon. I am a country mouse at heart so not to worry. I will not come home with a French accent. I would be happy to pick up a wee wedge of Munster cheese for you.

    p.s. I think you would look dapper wearing a beret.. I will go tomorrow. I just love to shop on the streets of Paris.
    Sincerely, your friend and admirer,

  31. OH JERI!!!!

    Balzac is quite sassy

    but nonetheless sweet

    for when you are playful

    he sits are your feet

    he always will keep you

    on guard and alert

    while playing and digging

    about in the dirt! Teeeheeee

    oh what a quick and "dirty" attempt to respond to your witty comment!!! Do you like him? Oh dear, how embarrassing for you, the QUEEN OF DETAIL to see my scribbles. Oh heck, this is me, VOILÀ...I am having fun and that is all there is to it. Art appreciation is so broad that there has to be someone that will get my humor one day and give me a chance...oh well, I SURE HAD FUN CREATING HIM and thank you dear, dear friend. HOW WAS YOUR ART SHOW? I bet you charmed 'em all!!! Any discoveries on good teas? I believe Tea Rat is in the process of brewing up some suggestions for ya! BIG HUGS, Anita

  32. OOOOOPS....I meant to say, HOW EMBARRASSING for ME for YOU, the queen of detail to see my scribbles!! Anita

  33. Oh he would no doubt keep Hamish and the gang RUNNING for their lives! Aren't these button-eyed little bugs so cute? HAPPY DAY DEAREST! Anita

  34. Hi Jeri,
    Thanks for visiting old Rattus Scribus. He and Tea Rat have fun with, shall we say, trying the patience of literary aficionados everywhere.

    I loved your idea for making your own plant markers -- simple and fun to do, but incredibly classy.

    About your coffee and tea problems, Tea Rat has included the following response.

    Rattus Scribus


    Dear J. Landers,

    I am assuming for the purposes of this dissertation that by "strong" you mean high caffeine level, rather than strong in flavor. Regardless, the two usually, but not always, go hand in hand.

    It will be difficult to find teas that will match anything like the caffeinated potency you have been enjoying with your coffee as you prepare it.

    There is a basic two pronged approach to having very strong tea: the type of tea and the length of the steeping. Unfortunately, most people cannot abide the bitterness that often results with longer than recommended steep times, and such results of course will have to be buffered with cream, sweeteners and the like.

    Only experimentation will allow you to find a combination of strong tea, long steeping and condiments that may best harmonize with the demands of function and the predilections of your palate.

    However, it is simply bad form to put certain condiments on certain types of tea. But as it sounds that you are in a desperate condition, I cannot condemn you for breaking with convention in this department.

    If you prefer black tea, some Irish blends are quite strong, combined with long steeping it will get stronger, but so will the bitterness.

    However, let there be no equivocation. Even the strongest teas -- such as Lapsang Souchong, LiChee, Darjeeling, or a roasted Oolong or Fukamushi sencha, and of course a respectable Earl Grey, weigh in at about only 60 milligrams of caffeine per 8 oz cup.

    This of course cannot match the caffeine potency of even regular coffee -- which is about 175 milligrams per cup -- much less the corrupti..., er, I mean the concoction you earlier described, the caffeine content of which most creatures can scarcely imagine.

    My next suggestion shatters all propriety, since of course I believe tea to be far and away superior to coffee, as the sun is to the moon. But, as I noted earlier, you are desperate -- poor thing. Therefore, I believe that you may find greater success in both function and flavor by simply finding another type of coffee and/or or method of brewing that does not require a second mortgage to support.

    Some time ago, an acquaintance introduced me to a Latin coffee called Bustelo. It is made in 6 cup stove top espresso maker (which in Spanish is called a "greca"). Once made, the espresso contents are poured in their entirety into a single large vessel and consumed sans condiments, which provides the smartest kick; or poured into a waiting receptacle containing milk or cream and subsequently lightly whisked, with or without sweetener.

    I do hope that these suggestions were helpful to you. Should you need further aid, please do not hesitate to cry out. I am here for you.

    With sympathy and affection, I remain your

    Tea Rat

  35. Hi Jeri
    I have been out and about today. I just read your kind note on my blog. Oh yes... I would LOVE some wool!! If it is not any trouble.. This is so very kind of you.. Thank you so much!
    Enjoy your evening,

  36. Years ago, when I was living in Vermont, I bought a set of wind chimes made out flattened silverware. They are quite charming. I must dig them out of storage.

  37. Oh my gosh, I was just thinking about these garden markers the other day and wondering how to make them. Thank you!

    You have a lovely blog, by the way.


  38. I love your spoon markers, what a great tutorial. Could you please tell me where you purchased your stamp sets? I can't wait to try this.


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