Saturday, July 11, 2020

What I have been working on...

Hello dear readers, I have been absent working on my tea trailer and hope you will indulge me for today's post. I had my trailer professionally painted and got her back on July 1st.  She went from Hunter green, to sparkling red, a thin line of robins egg blue and white on top. I was so excited to get her back after ten days in the shop.
The Wet West Coast, has lived up to it's reputation this summer but even in the rain I think she is a beauty!
July 4th, I invited the design team for a trial run of our tea and craft party, something I hope to incorporate with our mobile tea room, our trial run was a great success.
I have so many ideas and projects to do before we can get her up and running for local events and parties, but so far everything is coming along beautifully.  A good time, great treats, tea and the promise of a better tomorrow has been helping me get through these trying times. I truly wish I could bring our Timeless Tea Trailer to you, and we could sit and chat, craft and read.

Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with all of you. I hope to have more updates, crafts, tea times and book reviews for you soon.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

A Design to Die For Party and You are Invited!

I am really excited to be hosting a virtual party all day long On Thursday July 2nd on my Beyond The Bookmarks Facebook Page, in celebration of Kathleen Bridge's Newest book in the Hamptons Home and Garden Series.
 Discerning cozy mystery fans who delight in well-developed characters, rich detail, and a smart plotline will find that Kathleen Bridge’s A Design to Die For is their cup of tea!” —Ellery Adams, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

Montauk’s first annual Designer Showhouse was meant to be a collaborative event, so decorator Meg Barrett can only despair at the group of cutthroat designers scheming to sabotage each other on the project, not to mention the oddball collection of ghost hunters slinking around to investigate a supposedly haunted cottage. But when one of the owners of the showhouse is found murdered on the rocky beach below, Meg suddenly finds herself clashing with local police because of evidence that points to her as a prime suspect.

Desperate to clear her name and track down the real culprit, Meg discovers that many of her fellow designers despised the victim for his unscrupulous business dealings, while others were speculating about his extramarital affairs. And as more secrets emerge about both the deceased and the many outsiders who have come together for the showhouse, Meg realizes she’ll have to decipher a murky pattern of clues to escape the killer’s deadly designs on her . . .

Includes scrumptious recipes and vintage decorating tips!

Just like in the series the Facebook party, will have recipes, design tips, crafts and so much more. Posts will be happening often and you can check out throughout the day to help us celebrate this fun series. I hope you will join us on the Beyond The Bookmarks Page by clicking here. 

Thank you for joining me here today for this fun announcement and I look forward to seeing you on Facebook! I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Cherry Cobbler From Back Yard to Table

For the last week I have been watching the tree in the yard produce the most plump, sour cherries and I simply could not resist picking a few from the yard to make some Cherry Cobbler for my afternoon tea. It is recipes like this one that make me miss my dad so very much, I know he would have loved this in his hay day. The tart cherries, made the most delicious cobbler and while I could not share it with him, I did take one of the pans to my upstairs neighbor.
I harvested only the ripe ones and only about 1/3 of the tree. I washed &pulled out the pits, and then made a simple syrup with water and sugar, and placed the cherries in the pan to boil and reduce in the syrup for about 5 mins.

I assembled the other ingredients and in under an hour, the most fragrant and bubbly cherry goodness came out of my oven, mind the mess I think tomorrow will be the clean out the oven day...

Here is the recipe if you would like to try to make your own. It can also be easily done with a tin of fruit.


Fruit Cobbler
Preheat the oven to 350
1/2 cup of butter
1 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
1 1/4 tsp of baking powder
1 can of fruit or Two cups of fresh fruit brought to a boil in one cup of simple syrup

In your baking dish melt the butter. While it is melting place your flour, sugar and baking powder in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Add your vanilla to your milk and add that to the flour mixture stir until incorporated and pour the batter into the pan over the melted butter. Top with the fruit in the syrup if you are using fresh, or the entire can including the juice over the cake mixture. DO NOT STIR.
Place in the oven and bake for about 50 mins or until golden brown and butter bubbling. Serve it with ice cream if you wish, whip cream or on it's own.
Thank you for joining me for a tea time recipe today. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Up Date on My Tea Trailer

For those of you who are new here, due to Covid-19 I lost my job, which was in a tea shop, and which I loved. On the day I lost my job, I purchased this 12 foot 1964 Vanguard Trailer. Putting in motion my long had plans of turning it into a mobile tea shop and tea room. I have put years of imagination into making this dream become a reality and while acquiring the trailer was only one part of the plan, phase two has already begun.
I will be changing her colors completely and this is the red I selected for the bottom. A friend commented on the name as "redo20" as in "redo 2020" I think many of us would love a do over. But while I anxiously await her makeover from the shop. Behind the scenes have been even busier.
There were uniforms to consider and purchase....
A young and enthusiastic design team, who came up with the name and the logo, hand drawing then making a computer rendering, and sending me messages with their hard work, which I fell in love with and set out to create the merchandise and uniform tops to compliment the bottoms.
 The test kitchen has been in full swing as well, trying out recipes and menu planing...
Taking advantage of the fruits of the season being available to us we tried out strawberry shortcakes...
and now we wait for the paperwork, the painting, the fun that stands to come, from our Timeless Tea Trailer.
Thank you for joining us for a cup of tea and an update on the tea trailer. We hope to share more goodnews with you again soon.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

Earlier this week the tea shop I used to work at pre covid-19 re opened without me. While the parting has been a bit of a sad one, It did mean that the mail that had been stopped do to the shop shutting down, made its way to me. Among the packages was the book A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan, which was a birthday gift sent to me by my friend Lin.  From the moment I held this book in my hands I was sure it was going to be a special one. Once I started it I hated to put it down. Reading well into the morning hours, far past my bedtime, page after page, devouring a story that I felt so strongly contacted too, one I craved to know more about. This is a book of historical fiction, or at least that is what the author claims, but with such realistic and relatable characters, vivid settings and events that make you feel like you are a part of the story not just reading it, this was a truly special book.

It follows the lives of the Orchard sisters, from the time of their powerful and great Grand-mere Ursule and the five generations that follow from the early 1800's to post world war 2. It is rich in content, vivid in imagination and a book I never wanted to end.
This book came out in 2017 and was the perfect book for me during this covid-19 times. It touches on the hardships we all face in circumstances we cannot control and is a true story of survival, perseverance and hope.  I absolutely loved it.



A sweeping historical saga that traces five generations of fiercely powerful mothers and daughters -- witches whose magical inheritance is both a dangerous threat and an extraordinary gift.
Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mère Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her.
Even so, the Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew.
The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.
But when World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever - not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history.


You can find it on Amazon ( I am not an affiliate) by clicking here. 

I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Cup of Tea, An Accident and A Great Centerpiece...

“She is a beautiful piece of broken pottery, put back together by her own hands, and a critical world judges her cracks while missing the beauty of how she made herself whole again.”
-JM Storm 

My tea photo from this morning,  American Beauty is the pattern name, and I bought the mug at a thrift store, brought it home, washed it and then it broke, such a pretty pattern I wanted to do something with it so I decided to make a small center piece planter bowl for my table. This weekend I also found the tray that the scone is on, paying $4.99 for it. I do love how it looks together. 
I thought I would share with you how I made it, on the off chance you might wish to make one too. 
I used stones and the planter tin from Michael's the Craft Store and they were on sale for 60% off, craft foam from the dollar store, along with a succulent (also from the dollar store, my green thumb doesn't work indoors), paper, jute rope and a bit of hot glue. 
I lay the foam down and pressed the broken cup into it. I then pressed the succulent in the cup to see how to arrange it.
I wanted to put the cup towards the bottom of the planter edge, 
I then removed the cup and foam and added just some craft paper, as the plant is fake I wanted to add something on the bottom so I did not use up all the rocks.
 I then put the cup and succulent on the paper and poured the rocks around it. Hiding the craft foam as I went.
My helpful crafting companion...

Lastly I added the jute cord around the planter and glued the bow into place and then on the backside I added another dab of glue to hold the cord in place. 

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a look at my tea time craft today. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Fathers Day and A Few Cups Of Tea


Today is Fathers day and the second for me with out my dad. I expected things to be a bit easier and I think in some ways they are now that the day is here but the reality is the last two weeks with the emails and adverts for fathers day did make me have feelings of frustration, anger and sadness.
For my sons fathers, I helped them make a shirt for their dad and the are spending the weekend at his place.


Personally though, I still cant seem to bring myself to visit my parents memorial site, or my brothers, for me I know they are not there and I don't feel pulled to go visit, I feel guilty about that but perhaps I am just not ready.

The week has pretty much gotten away from me as school wraps up for the boys. I have not done much reading, crafting or baking. Just been in survival mode.

I have plans and exciting news though on the Vintage Trailer I am working on though, she goes for her make over paint job this week and I am so excited. I promise and update with photos soon.

Thank you all for hanging in there, for talking a pause when you need it, by allowing me to share my  journey with all of you and for joining me here for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Custom Swap Barbie Kitchen Witch I created

I have really been having fun indulging my creative and inner child with a fun swap in a group I belong to on Facebook. I created for my partner a Kitchen Witch Barbie. Like me she remembers the love and fun of the Kitchen Witches that were popular in the 70's+ and I thought that since my partner also liked Barbie it would be fun to make her a Kitchen Witch Barbie.


I bought a pattern to make a cape, and it was easy and fun to sew, I ordered a Barbie that looked like my partner on Amazon.ca, bought some Barbie Shoes (the others will go in my nieces Advent Calendar) and set out to find and make play scale size kitchen witch items for the accessories. I made a broom with a chopstick and paper and strung a crystal chakra necklace with gemstone chips.
I included in the accessory tin, the saying that all kitchen witches come with and some tiny bottles filled with herbs (empty, I found them at the dollar store) and some Barbie utensils. I made a small star sign that says Kitchen Witch and included a teacup and saucer completing the tin. 
I had so much fun working on this for the last week and have mailed her to my partner, I cannot wait for her to receive and hopefully lover her like I did.
Thank you for indulging me today with a look at one of my swap preparations, I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Monday, June 15, 2020

Stop Hate Go Love Project

Yesterday I participated with more than 7000 people in an on line class, all of us painting a powerful project with Yaymaker from home. I  found this to be a very powerful and emotional project.  I live in Canada, the class was taught from New York and California, and I saw posts on Social Media of people working on the project in England, Canada and all over the USA.
The intro from the owner and the team lead in California echoed the sentiment I feel and have felt through this process of the last few weeks. This project really helped me express artistically and in a way that reminded me of how much work needs to be done, personally and through out the world.


I had not considered myself racist person, I realize that that is not even enough, and I am listening and trying to educate myself, on the issues surrounding systematic racism and on going hatred that lives in all our communities.
Art therapy has been something I have been actively participating in for the last two years and I have found it has a profound effect on me. Being able to express myself through art and creativity feeds my soul and I find I learn so much through it.

I want to thank the people at Yaymaker (formally Paintnite) for opportunity to participate in this project and support the #blacklivesmatter movement through art.
To learn more about Yaymaker, please click here.

As part of the event which was Free from Yay Maker, they are raising money for the following Charities. Please consider supporting programs like these or ones in your own area.
Black Table Arts

Embrace Race 

Colors of Change 

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a look at my Yay Maker Project for Stop Hate Go Love.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Carving out a bit of normalcy and supporting local thrift stores in my area...

Yesterday was Prince Philip's 99th Birthday, shown here in my morning photo from yesterday, in my favorite photo of the Queen and her husband, I hear reports that even at 99 he is still making her Majesty laugh. In this photo I have one of my recent thrift store finds, you see the local thrift stores have just re opened and I have already found some great treasures.
I could not leave this Coronation Cup from the Queen's Coronation, on the thrift store shelf and paid $5 to have it on my table, I love Corgis and this made me smile, I used it as a vase yesterday but it is also a great cup.
 Yesterday I took a me moment and ducked into one of my favorite thrift stores and picked up this beauty for my pen pal and tea leaf reading friend in Alberta, the cup and saucer were $2.99, I cannot wait to ship it to her.
For my trailer and tea shop on wheels in progress I got a great deal on a three tiered tea tray, which is metal and adorably painted, for $14.99, it had is price tag from Winners still attached at $24.99, I washed it up better than new and can't wait to take it to the tea trailer, name still in progress.
 For the find of the week though has to go to my Silver Birch, Royal Albert tea tray, sugar and creamer find! $19.99!!!!
This week things have started to feel more normal with a few more shops and services opening here where I live but please know I am following the precautions,  supporting local and sustainable business in my community. I am also not unaware of the climate of stress, anxiety and frustration that is all around us. Political, Riots, Protests and the state of the world are not lost on me, I understand that I will never understand, I am listening and educating myself, supporting where I can to make the difference I would like to see in my area, and I am still carving out a bit of happy, self care and time for personal progress.
Thank you for taking time to join me for a cup of tea, some great thrift store tea finds, and a hope and change for a better tomorrow.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Something about best laid plans and the future...

Dearest readers and faithful followers of this blog, how is it June already? I apologize yet again for the length between posts. This new normal of covid-19, still has my world a tad sideways, though thankfully no longer totally upside down.
 I have both good and disappointing news to share with you. I will start with the disappointing news, that like a million other Canadians, in March I lost my job in the beloved tea shop, at the time I had hoped that it was temporary, but I learned last week that due to a few circumstances out of my control  I wont be returning to Murchie's Tea full time. I am disappointed but understand and appreciate everything the Murchie's Tea Company has done for me and continues to do for me. My hope is that perhaps I can return in some capacity in the future. I am currently freed up to continue with helping my two kids at home with their school work as I have done for the last 10 weeks.  On the same day that I learned that I wont be returning to the tea store, I took a leap of faith and am starting to turn one of my long term dreams into reality.
I purchased a 12 foot vintage trailer and this is going to become my long dreamed of tea shop and tea room on wheels. I have been planing and dreaming of doing this for many years and the opportunity from finding the trailer, to the price and condition and even finding an affordable parking spot, all came together. 
Over the next several months, and while I am looking for full time work, with the help of some amazing friends I have gathered for my team, I will be making small changes on the inside of the trailer and some major paint changes on the outside of the trailer. I spent my Saturday morning diligently creating some themed items for my trailer....
 Oddly enough, I purchased my mugs, cups and saucers at our Dollarama store, and then found the perfect teapot at my local thrift store that just opened and I paid $4.99. Using my Cricut Joy machine I was able to personalize them to suit the trailer perfectly...
The enthusiasm for this project I have found is becoming contagious and I am grateful for my friends who have jumpped on board to help make this dream a reality.
Much work to be done but a good time frame to work on it, and the planing and putting the work in is even something my 12 year old is thrilled about.

The plan is to transform this trailer into a food cart, store and tea room on wheels, with attention to working on catering events and parties, ladies nights and farmers markets. I am truly excited to share this part of my journey with you all today. 
While I have no idea what is around the corner, I take comfort in the fact that I am able to work towards putting something that has been a dream of mine into a tangible reality.
So up next, pick a name for it, change the glass on two windows, and a paint job...then a crash course towing it with my VWBug...

Thank you for joining me today for a cup of tea and catch up, I hope to have more to share with you again soon, now that I have found my misplaced kindle and charger, perhaps I can get back to reading, then there is sewing, crafting and oh yes updating my resume.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com