A cozy Sunday afternoon tea

Sunday, May 31, 2015

It's cold and rainy here in Michigan this afternoon.

After church I had to put on a sweater and turn the heat back on!

Perfect afternoon for a spot of tea and some reading, curled up in my favorite comfy chair.

This teacup and pot just seem to exude coziness.

I found two little brown transferware bone dishes at our farmers' market yesterday. So versatile, I think. You can put rings in them when doing dishes, tea bags, a little snack . . . 

My book club is reading In the First Circle by Aleksandr Solzenitzyn. I've been reading for a week and am only a third of the way through. All these Russian names are confusing, and I have to keep consulting the list of characters. Russia under Stalin was not pretty.

Love this book light. We do not have great lighting in our family room, so this really helps. 

I'm also a week behind in my Bible reading. I'm doing a chronological plan this year. Not going to do this again. All OT, without any NT, for most of the year, is a little heavy-going.


Thank you all for your kind and encouraging comments about my plans to start getting my hair back to its natural color.

Here's another reason to stop the coloring . . . 

(Ignore those stripes!) Look at all the broken hair around my hairline. Hopefully, all this will grow back in as I stop coloring.

I am joining Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday.

Ready to embrace my silver hair?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Everyone, and I mean everyone,* has told me No! Don't Do It! You're too young! You'll look OLD! My hairdresser refused to even discuss it.

Oh my. Am I really ready for this?

People say they like my blond hair and blonde highlights. I probably do look younger as a blonde. But I feel fake.

My real hair color is a medium brown. But, if you have any gray at all, you understand that roots aren't as noticeable when you're a blonde. 

So I've been a "blonde" for about 20 years.

Every four weeks I pay for color. And every few months I pay for highlights.

After only three weeks, I have noticeable roots.

In the summer, the sun lifts that blonde so much that my hair looks like straw. And it looks greenish here. Ugh.

I've been wanting to go natural for about five years now, but everyone has discouraged me. My family has practically freaked out. They don't want an "old" mom. I even went to a different hair salon, and they refused to help me transition to my natural hair. No. You're too young. We won't do it. Really?

I've been looking at pictures of gray/silver/white-haired beauties on Pinterest and reading some blogs by women who have ditched the dye and are sharing their experiences of going natural.

Some put up with the "skunk stripe" for months and patiently wait for their hair to grow out. Others just get it over with, and chop their hair to a short, spiky look, then grow it out. Most seem happy and  feel more authentic. They cite the cost, the time, the trouble, the pressure by society to look a certain way, the chemicals . . . all as reasons to go natural.

Some do what I'm doing . . . getting a colorist to help with the transition by adding silver highlights.

So hard to show the colors properly.

(All the same color, in different lighting.)

Yes, I got my hairdresser to do it. She was not happy, let me tell you. In fact, she doesn't even know that my ultimate goal is to go natural. She just thinks I'm embracing a trend (some younger women and models have been sporting gray recently).

But once she saw the result -- we took my hair down two levels, darkening it to more its natural color, and then added silver highlights -- she loved it. She even took pictures, and wants to add more silver next time.

I felt slightly vindicated.

My goal is to not have her color the base, and just do silver highlights and medium brown lowlights until I can transition to a full head of natural.

And if it's a little dull, I can always enhance with those high- and lowlights. After all, I have no idea what I'm going to get. White, silver, gray? How much? It'll be fun to see.

The big thing is that I'm starting to feel more like myself.

And remember my last post about color analysis, and seasons? I used PicMonkey to do a little test.

Look at the difference! I normally wear the top shade of pink. But look how nice a brighter shade looks with the silver. I'll be experimenting a bit.


Oh, my friends, this is not a comfortable post for me to do. I really don't like taking my picture, and putting it up. And I'm afraid someone will say the new color looks awful. And sometimes I feel all this is rather shallow. After all, it's only hair. Sigh.

But I bet many of you think about these things, too.  Do you color your hair? Or are you embracing your true colors? Or, on the fence? Please share.

* except for you, mom. thanks!

What's your "color season?"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Remember the old Color Me Beautiful color analysis from the 80s?

Back then, somebody told me I was a Summer.

That has always kind of worked for me. I like the cooler colors anyways. 

soft summer colors
Recently I've done some research on color analysis, and wow, the information out there quickly got overwhelming. There are online quizzes, and whole blogs and Pinterest boards devoted to the twelve seasons.

Yes, twelve now. Every season has a "true," a "light," and a "soft" version (although I think Color Me Beautiful is still doing just four seasons).

I bookmarked a couple dozen different pages of color charts and analysis, and did a lot of reading.

As far as I can tell, I'm a Soft Summer.

But, after all my research, I decided to follow some of the "rules," discard a few, and, when all is said and done, use the info how I want.

Yay. One more way I can see I'm finally confident enough to do my own thing.

Here's what I'm doing, as I think of colors for my new wardrobe. (29 pounds down, only 5 to go!!)


any yellow-based reds or blues


gray (dove gray to charcoal)

pink (light, rose, and fuchsia)
blues, especially periwinkle

Soft summers are supposed to be able to wear creams, taupes, rosy browns, and green. But, other than brown, I've never liked those colors so they're not on my list. Limiting myself to a certain color palette isn't restricting -- it's freeing. Not so many choices, and everything goes together.

And I'm subtracting browns and creams for another reason, too. I'm going to start transitioning to my natural hair color. My silver "highlights" aren't going to look so great with those colors. (More on this in my next post.)

Another "rule" I'm breaking is that of wearing white. I'm not "supposed" to wear it, but I really like it. And I think white always looks nice on people with white/silver streaks. So I'm keeping it.

A couple "rules" I thought you might find interesting: Nobody, except winters, should wear black. (And even though I've read black is recommended for people with white or silver hair, I won't wear it -- it's too hard and cold for me.) Unless you love it, then I say, wear it!

Blues and purples are universally flattering. In fact, everyone can wear every color -- it's just the particular shade and intensity. I'm better in cooler, more muted shades. Some look better in bright colors. Or warm colors.

So, after all this research, it comes down to -- I'll wear what I like and feel pretty in. Did I just waste a bunch of time? No, not at all. Thinking through all this and defining my own "colors" will save me lots of time and money in the future.

Do you know your colors? Do you dress according to your "season?"

Be pretty if you can,
witty if you must,
                             but be gracious if it kills you.  -- Elsie de Wolfe

"Your softness is your strength"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I am an introvert, rather soft-spoken. Not shy and not a pushover, just quieter. I love my friends and family, but I have a great need for alone time, to think and reflect and process. I'd rather read a book than go to a party; I'd rather have a good heart-to-heart with one good friend than make small talk at a party, a particularly exhausting task.

Because of this, I have often felt overwhelmed by people who are loud and aggressive and opinionated. At times, I've felt completely steamrolled by these personalities.

Just to keep my head above water around them, I've felt I should push myself to be more out there, stronger, more aggressive, louder, more vocal in expressing my opinions . . . just more something . . .

But, not too long ago, someone told me, "your softness is your strength."

It was something of a watershed moment, and I have thought of it often since.

It's a relief to know I don't have to "compete" with stronger personalities. That they aren't going to swallow me up. That there is a dignity and strength in quietness and rest.

A quiet answer, a listening ear, a well-considered, thoughtful opinion is just as important, maybe more important, than the loud, attention-grabbing headlines that make the news.

It doesn't mean I'm a doormat.

And knowing this has helped me to better quietly, and without the drama I've felt I needed to "compete," express an unpopular opinion or belief, without apology.

Softness is strength, too.

Tea and a treasure from Colorado

Monday, May 18, 2015

Today I'm having some of this tea my mom brought me from Colorado when she was here for a visit.

It came from our friend Bernideen's shop in Old Colorado Springs, which we visited when I was out there in March. Not only is the tea in pretty packaging, it tastes delicious, too.

My mom also brought out this gorgeous, vintage quilt. The hexagons (hexies, as quilters call them) were put together by my great-aunt back in the 1950s. My mom assembled it all about 15 years ago.

Check out these fun retro prints!

Such a special treasure.

No treats today with tea, because last night I had a piece of this chocolate raspberry cake. Yummy!

Here's a pic taken of us at our youngest son's graduation last week from Hillsdale College. Also shown with my husband and I are our daughter and oldest son. Daughter-in-law has a new job, so wasn't able to attend.

Had a whirlwind of activity the past two weeks. I'll be round to visit you all soon. xo, Deborah

Oh, and a p.s. I just acquired 71 -- yes, 71!, books this past weekend at a huge library book sale. My bookshelves are rapidly filling up. Got some real treasures.

Linking with Sandi's tea party.

More happy things

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pots and pots of tea

Hard hugs

Early morning trips to the airport

Late-night conversation and laughter


Poignant goodbyes to dear friends

Vases overflowing with flowers 

Letting go

Holding on

Wrapping paper and ribbon

Favorite cookies baked with love 

A time to laugh 

A time to cry

New beginnings

Old loves

I'm busy with graduations, birthdays, Mother's Day, an anniversary, family and friends. Will visit with you all soon. xo.

A few happy things

Thursday, May 7, 2015

This past weekend, we hosted three open houses and a scarf and jewelry bazaar to raise money for indigent women in northern India. A friend brought two huge suitcases filled with lovely items from India to sell. We enjoyed authentic Indian food, including chicken curry, naan bread, and chai while we shopped. 

My entire living and dining rooms were filled with tables loaded down with goodies like these . . .

100% silk, lightweight yet warm, and just gorgeous!

All hand sewn!

Wish I wasn't allergic to wool
Authentic pashmina wool -- rare and gorgeous

Another happy thing that has happened recently is the revival of our 31-year-old Maytag washer. It was sounding like a helicopter taking off every time it started to spin, and all my books on the other side of the wall were slowly inching off their shelves every time I did a load of wash.

We thought it was time to get a new one, but so many people told us not to. You'll never find a washer as good as that one, we were told. Our long-time repairman agreed. Appliances have a built-in obsolescence these days and don't last more than 7 or 8 years if you're lucky.

So, the old Maytag has been repaired, and is working as good as new. On average, that machine has probably done a load of wash every day for 31 years!


And, in preparation for buying a new wardrobe, I am having fun researching my "colors" again, looking at various styles of clothing, and trying to plan my "capsule" wardrobe. Hey, it's fun, and something to do when everyone else is eating dessert!

I'll share some of my color research next week. I remember doing this back in the 80s. No real surprises, except that it seems I shouldn't wear pure white. Makes sense. That's the only thing I've been doing "wrong" it seems. "Wrong" is in quotation marks because, really, it's not like these rules have to be followed. I just see them as helps.


The best happy thing is that our youngest son is graduating from Hillsdale College on Saturday. My mom is here, and our other son is flying in today. We'll have the whole family here for a couple days. He has a job, and will be relocating this summer (but we won't dwell on that now).

We are enjoying some warm weather this week; it will be into the 80s this weekend!

High-protein waffle recipe

Monday, May 4, 2015

Several readers asked me to share the recipe for the waffle I posted about last week.

This recipe, slightly modified, comes from Tone It Up.

1 large banana
4 egg whites (I usually add the yolks of two of them)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon milk (can use regular, coconut, soy, or almond -- I use almond)
2 scoops rice protein powder (see below) -- chocolate or vanilla flavored

Blend well (I use my Nutri Bullet) and cook in an oiled waffle maker. Top with fruit of your choice. Can serve with a small amount of organic maple syrup or butter, if desired. I skip the syrup and use a little pat of organic butter. 

Makes 2 large waffles. 

This is the protein powder I use:

These waffles have 15 grams of protein per serving (I guess more if you use your egg yolks). One of these keeps me going all morning long -- more than you can say for a regular white flour/white sugar waffle!

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs