Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Adding a bit of light and sparkle to my life, a great thrift store find! Silver Teapot and Coffee Pot Lamps!

There is a few thrift stores I frequent where I live and each is special to me for a different reason. I often will go to the thrift store when the "spirit moves me" or when I get a few stolen moments.  I get a thrill when I find a treasure, often an inexpensive tea cup and saucer, small knick knack  and I don't often spend more than a few dollars, however it is my birthday month and well the find I got last week had me going over my thrift store budget but I think you can see why I simply had to have these and you may want to make your own! I found both a Silver coffee pot and tea pot that had been turned into lamps!!!

Other than having to polish these beauties I could not believe a reason someone would want to get rid of these treasures but I am very glad they did! At $25 each, these working lamps truly spoke to me.
With a tiny bit of silver polish and cloth I made short work and brought these beauties back to life. They are now in my bed room and the perfect bedside reading lamps. The hospital thrift store I purchased them from benefited from my purchase and whomever thought to give these a new life, certainly brightened mine.
If you would like to learn how to make your own I found this youtube video that might get you inspired to try making your own.

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a great thrift store find!
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

Monday, April 8, 2019

Karen's White Bean and Spinach Soup A Left Coast Crime Gala Dinner Copycat Recipe

I am still honestly in awe from the Left Coast Crime Conference that was held in Vancouver last month at the Hyatt. I was as impressed with the venue as I was with the amazing talented room of writers I shared the evening meal with on the Saturday evening.  The gala dinner and lefty awards were hosted in the ballroom of the Hyatt and the 4 course meal was outstanding. I had the vegetarian meal and it was something I am still dreaming about.

The sit down meal I fully enjoyed and the dinner conversation as well. One of the items that stood out most for me was the soup that was served to us upon sitting. I asked what it was and was told it was a white bean cream soup.

It was the oddest shade of green, buy something I fell in love with as soon as it hit my tongue. I regret not asking for another bowl! I found it hard to concentrate on the conversation at the table as I was trying to deconstruct the soup in my mind so I could make it again. This past Saturday I did just that, in my own way. I am sharing the recipe with you on the chance you might also enjoy it as well. I know I will make this soup again.

Karen's White Bean and Spinach Soup
2 cans of 19 oz white kidney beans
1/2 a frozen package of chopped spinach
1 lt of Chicken Stock
1 cup of water
1/2 a large white onion
2 stalks of celery
2 tsp garlic
2 tablespoons of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste (I added Slap yo Mama Spice instead)
1 tsp thyme
*1/2 cup sour cream (I used lactose free) as a garnish or blend in the soup

In a large pot, with 2 tbsp of butter melting over medium heat place 1/2 of a finely chopped onion and 2 chopped stalks of celery.  Saute over medium heat three to 4 minutes until the onions and celery start to turn translucent. Add your 2 tsp of chopped garlic and stir until evenly distributed and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes. Add your chicken stock and water, Bringing the broth upto a boil, add your 1/2 package of frozen spinach. Boil over medium heat until all the spinach is combined, stirring and breaking up the spinach as you go. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender (or regular blender)   once the beans, broth and spinach are combined spoon into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream.
I loved making and eating this soup, I hope you will too.
I even used my childhood bunnykins bowl to eat from.

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a recipe today I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Karen's Easter Potatoes and a bit of family history and mystery...

It is just a month since my father passed away and like all survivors, those of us left behind have the responsibility to go through the material items that are left behind. If you are new to my blog my dad passed away in March and my mother before him in September of 2010.

My sister and I were going through his worldly possessions and this overwhelming task was made somehow a bit lighter in finding one of the many notes my father would leave my mother everyday of their marriage.  My father would often leave before my mother and leave her a quick note in the most beautiful handwriting, on the table beside her book so that it would be the first thing she saw when she sat down. These were sometimes scribbled on scrap paper, the back of receipts or envelopes and often discarded at the end of the day, so how in the midst of my sadness and grieving this one particular love note survived not only the passing of my mother, but also my father and ended up in a box of photos destined for my place.  As I flipped through the old family photos this one particular note caught my attention, I smiled at the memory of note, and as I unfolded it I found a recipe of mine, in my mother's handwriting on the back for Easter Potatoes.  I don't think I had made them since 2005 when the recipe was copied down by my mother after a telephone call we had.
Having this once loved recipe was a particularly exciting find, how it ended up in the box is a mystery but one I am happy to have stumbled on. So I made it again and thought I would share with all of you....
 Karen's Baked Easter Potatoes

1 package of thawed frozen shoestring potatoes (I used two boxes of dried that I got a costco and rehydrated them)
1/2 a white onion
1 cup cream cheese
2 cups sour cream
2 cups of grated medium cheddar
1 can of cream of chicken soup
2 cups of corn flakes
1/4 cup Butter
Salt and Pepper (*I have since discovered Slap ya Mama spice so I used that instead)

Preheat oven to 375
Thaw or rehydrate your hashbrowns and add to a large metal bowl. Use a box grater to grate half a large white onion and add that to the bowl. Use a spatula to add and combine cream cheese and sour cream. Mix well until evenly distributed. Add one cup of the cheese and combine. *Add some of salt and peper Open the can of cream of chicken soup and stir that into your mix.  In a 9X13 baking dish that has been sprayed or greased spread out your potato mixture. 
In a medium sized bowl place your cornflakes and the remaining cheese. Melt the butter in the microwave and add to your cheese and cornflake mixture. Stir until combined and place on top of the potato mixture and spread evenly. 
Place your baking dish into the oven and bake one hour or until the potato mixture is golden and bubbly. 

Thank you for joining me today for a cup of tea and a recipe. I look forward to sharing more with you again soon. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

May Day Murder by Jennifer David Hesse

I read May Day Murder in January and with all that had been going on in my life I realized only this morning that I had yet to review it. Jennifer David Hesse, is one of my most favorite Paranormal Cozy authors. The Wiccan Wheel Mystery Series Main character is Attorney Keli who tries hard not to announce her religious faith to the world, preferring the life and freedom of an solitary witch, yet somehow no matter what seems to happen it is her faith that she calls upon or is called into question to help solve murder mysteries. In May Day, Keli is put to the test almost immediately and when Keli is made a person of interest the web gets more and more tangled. Keli finds herself questioning everything including her faith. This is a great read and one I know that many of you will truly enjoy.

Spring is in the air, but for Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni, murder is the only thing blooming . . .  Keli’s looking forward to Beltane, the time-honored Wiccan holiday that celebrates life with feasting, ceremonial dancing, and ancient Celtic rituals. But since recently leaving her law firm and opening her own practice, Keli has more on her plate than simple abundance. Still, she always has time for a friend. Erik, a Druid from a neighboring town, has had a run of bad luck he blames on a curse cast by his ex-girlfriend Denise, a practicing witch whose expertise in the dark arts can’t save her from her own deadly end. When Keli finds herself a person of interest in the investigation, she begins to wonder if she herself might be cursed. With a little help from her friends, including her devoted boyfriend Wes, Keli aims to find out who poisoned Denise. What she uncovers is a witch’s brew of spells, hexes, and black magic that raises questions about her own Wiccan worldview. As the community gathers for the May Day festivities, it’s up to Keli to stop a killer from springing ahead to another murder . . .

This Kensington release is out now and waiting for you to pick up and enjoy. I am not an Amazon affiliate, and you can find it on Amazon by clicking here. 

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Report From Left Coast Crime and A Lesson In Gratitude...

They say you should never meet your heroes, and after this weekend I cannot fathom why! I had the most amazing opportunity to attend Left Coast Crime here in Vancouver this weekend and I got to meet some of the most amazing people in the writing world, many who I have long respected, read and cherished, I got to see in the flesh. I was in complete awe, had many "fangirl" moments and very much inspired to return to work.

 Working on something that gives me a huge creative outlet, a great escape and the opportunity for joy is what writing, reading and blogging gives me. As readers of my blog you may already know that the last year has been very difficult for me as I have been trying to navigate my way through one of life's hardships and reflections. It has not even been a month yet since my father's passing and while I have taken quite a bit of time to mourn and process, and struggling with the realization that I am an orphan, I feel reborn and I have found that like spring I am feeling inspired to bloom again.

This past weekend I met, laughed, shared, ate and learned from some of the best in the business. I made memories I hope I never lose. I found a sense of not just belonging but acceptance in who I am, what I do and what I love. It was truly magical.

On Friday, I had an opportunity to share what I know and what I love with two people I have respected, and whom I have looked up too. Their books I have read and taken to heart and to whom I had a chance to entertain in a reciprocal way. 
The gracious nature of these literary heroes was not at all lost on me.
Posing for photos, waves and winks, hugs and handshakes, in that personal connection, not only did I get the opportunity to meet the authors but I got a chance to connect with the characters they created.
The words of encouragement, the engaging discussions, the professionalism and the perfect moments, kept coming and coming all weekend long.
It was an opportunity I can honestly say I never could have imagined and getting to share space and time with these amazing people, their positive energy, their creative mindsets and a chance to let them know just what a profound effect that their work has on readers like me was second to none.
It took a bit of courage on my part, placing anxiety and self doubt aside, to connect with and chat with and even get photos with those authors I so look up too and admire, boy am I glad I did. 
From the book room to the banquet hall gratitude, carried and overroad social anxiety.

Sometimes you leap and you fall, sometimes you leap and the net catches you, sometimes you leap and you are inspired. . .

Sometimes you leap and find the courage and then your hair fails you... Excitement over vanity...
Autographs and opportunities...
And a truly amazing time had by all. 

Thank you all for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy look back at Left Coast Crime 2019. Thank you to all my sisters in crime for making this happen! I look forward to reading, reviewing and continuing writing. 
May you all take that chance, to meet your heroes. 
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Kathleen Bridge's Murder By The Sea

This May the third book in the By The Sea mystery series will be released and I got an advanced copy to read and review from Netgalley. This is a treat for me as I have been a fan of the series since book one and could not wait to see what would happen next.  In Murder by the Sea, main character Liz finds herself finally settling back into familiar patterns and enjoying herself at a New Year's Eve Costume Party, only to be accosted by her ex on her families hotel property. Not the start to the year she is expecting when her ex turns up found dead the next morning. With so many suspects and the blame shifting in her direction, the situation feels quite dire, the twists and turns in this one, in the end the twist I did not see coming but truly enjoyed. This is a book not to be missed!

It's been quite a year for novelist Liz Holt. She's overcome a lot and is finally feeling at peace with her new life at her family's hotel, the Indialantic by the Sea, on the beautiful barrier island of Melbourne Beach, Florida. She's exactly where she needs to be to ring in the New Year at the Florida Writes Literary Masquerade Ball. But when her ex-boyfriend surprises her at the ball, she can't disguise her anger, and the two engage in a very public argument. Naturally, after her ex is found dead on the hotel grounds, shot through the heart, Liz tops the suspect list. With the help of family and friends, she needs to clear her name before the real killer waltzes away scot-free . . .
You can find Murder By the Sea on Amazon by clicking here... (I am not an Amazon affiliate)
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Carol J. Perry's Final Exam

Over the weekend I finished Carol J. Perry's Final Exam. This Witch City Mystery is out now from Kensington and is a great paranormal mystery read. I fell in love with this series from book one and get more excited with each mystery instalment. I love the relationships in this book, main character Lee is easy to like and understand, her relationship with her aunt and her back store is endearing. In this book we learn a little more about Lee's aunt, and about the reason why perhaps her aunt never married. I could not put this book down and am so excited that it is out and you can read it now.

 Life at the house on Winter Street is abuzz with preparations for Aunt Ibby’s 45th high school reunion, and Lee Barrett is happy to pitch in, tracking down addresses and licking envelopes. But as a field reporter for Salem’s WICH-TV, her priority is to be on top of the town’s latest news before anyone else.
 When the local police dredge up a vintage sports car containing human remains, Lee is thrilled to be the first reporter on the scene. Once she learns the car is connected to the cold case her boyfriend Pete happens to be working on, her powers of investigation are quickly alerted. But it’s her Aunt Ibby’s emotional reaction to Lee’s TV report that puts her on the case. With the help of O’Ryan, her psychic feline sidekick, she’ll have to unravel a tangled past of secrets and promises to stop a killer from making history again . . .   

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sharing some sad news...

For a while now I have not been posting daily and I miss it terribly. I have also not been able to read as much as I would like, but I am trying.  I wanted to share a bit with you about why that is. My father passed away this past Sunday afternoon.

In December my father took a turn for the worse. Having been very ill for quite sometime and stubborn I might add, my sister convinced my dad to go to the hospital. I knew at the time this was going to be a very difficult time for all of us but mostly for my father.  I have known for a very long time the extent of just how ill my dad had become.  I have watched him deteriorate over the last few months and as hard as it was to watch for me, it had to have been a million times harder for him.

After 12 weeks in hospital and two days in hospice I am sad to share that my father's journey has come to an end.  I am sad but also relieved that we were able to honor his wishes.

This past summer we had the amazing opportunity to celebrate my father's 65th birthday in Mexico. It was amazing, we had 22 members of our family there and my father truly enjoyed it. I will take those memories with me and choose to remember him that way rather than the last 12 weeks.

Thank you for letting me share this grief so publicly. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Duffy Brown's Tandem Demise

Last week I bought myself Tandem Demise, Duffy Brown's most recent book in the Cycle Path Mystery Series. I have been a huge fan of this series since I bought and read the first two. I was sad when Berkley let the series go but thrilled that Duffy was able to finally publish this one. Tandem Demise has everything I loved about the first two books and more. I was surprised by the hook and twist ending but loved each and every turn to get there. If you are looking for a great follow your heart mystery, with a perfectly flawed and clumsy main character, and a idyllic setting you must read this series!
I bought my book on and read it on my Kindle app on my Ipad, the other two I have in paperback. I missed the paper in my hands but I could not put the kindle app book down. A great read!

Smugglers on the hunt, a police chief on the run, lost loot and a dead wedding planner have the Mackinac Island regulars riding in circles After solving two murders, bike shop owner Evie Bloomfield thought life on Mackinac Island would settle into boredom until she finds out Nate Sutter, island police chief and once-upon-a-time under cover cop is on the run. Some badass guys from Nate’s Detroit days think he stole money from them in a champagne smuggling operation and now they’re headed to the island to get their loot. Evie is determined to help Nate because he’s a good cop, Nate is determined to keep interfering Evie and island locals out of harms way, and the crooks are determined to get their money. To add to the island’s problems there’s a dead guy on the dock and the new wedding planner is more interested in playing bedroom bingo than ordering bridal bouquets. With the help of Fiona, Evie’s BFF and local newspaper editor, Evie is determined to prove Nate innocent, figure out how champagne smuggling, bodies on the dock and a bad wedding planner are tied together and not wind up taking a long walk off a short pier herself

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Murder in an Irish Pub by Carlene O' Connor

I finished Murder in an Irish Pub by Carlene O'Connor yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was surprised that I actually had this one figured out! I was pleased with myself as there were so many great plot twists and details in this wonderful cozy mystery and series. I love the main character Siobhan, a new Guarda (Irish Police Officer) and her family. A tiny Irish village overrun with excitement of a spring fair and a professional poker tournament, dealing with a surprising locked room death/murder. It was rather impressive how this one unfolded. I truly enjoyed the story and the ending blew me away. This is a must read cozy series especially if you love a good Irish tale.
 In the small village of Kilbane in County Cork, for a cuppa tea or a slice of brown bread, you go to Naomi’s Bistro, managed by the many siblings of the lively O'Sullivan brood. For a pint or a game of darts—or for the poker tournament that's just come to town—it’s the pub you want. 
 One player’s reputation precedes him: Eamon Foley, a tinker out of Dublin, called the Octopus for playing like he has eight hands under the table. But when Foley is found at the end of a rope, swinging from the rafters of Rory Mack’s pub, it’s time for the garda to take matters into their own hands. Macdara Flannery would lay odds it’s a simple suicide—after all, there’s a note and the room was locked. But Siobhán suspects foul play, as does Foley’s very pregnant widow. Perhaps one of Foley’s fellow finalists just raised the stakes to life and death. With conflicting theories on the crime—not to mention the possibility of a proposal—tensions are running high between Siobhán and Macdara. Soon it’s up to Siobhán to call a killer’s bluff, but if she doesn’t play her cards right, she may be the next one taken out of the game . . .

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Pie Hard by Kirsten Weiss

Greetings readers! I am happy to report that I have read and am ready to review Pie Hard, a new Kensington release, February 26, 2019 by Kirsten Weiss. This is the third book in the Pie Town Series, and in my opinion is the best so far. In this cozy mystery, main character Valentine Harris finds herself in one heck of a crazy reality check, I was entertained and intrigued through the entire book and never had it or the multiple and clever plot twists figured out. I struggled to put the book down and very much enjoyed long stretches of this book whenever I could. I think this is a terrific book and a fun series. I loved the title, the premis, cover and book.
Will Val pie hard on national TV? Business at the bakery may have slowed down, but Val Harris isn’t about to eat humble pie—not until a reality cooking show decides to whip the struggling Pie Town into shape. If Val can tolerate criticism from an abrasive pastry chef during filming, the free publicity might turn the unusual opportunity into the sweetest deal she didn’t know she needed. Except no one in San Nicholas has an appetite for dessert once murder steals the spotlight. When the show’s bossy producer gets pushed to her death, Val and her flaky, septuagenarian pie crust expert, Charlene, follow crumbs in hopes of finding the killer. But with cameras still rolling and the shocking identity of the victim’s replacement a guaranteed recipe for disaster, Val needs to stay cool long enough to solve the crime and keep Pie Town from falling apart—or else she just might go up in smoke before she ever graces the small screen.

Pie Hard can be found on Amazon by clicking here (Please know I am not an amazon affiliate.) 

Thank you for your patience, and for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tuesday Tea and National Bubble Bath Day

I started my morning with the latest addition of Tea Time Magazine. I love this publication and am so excited and inspired with each issue. I love the Pink Teacups on the front and was inspired to pull my Aynsley one down off the shelf for this mornings me moment and tea.

 I was thrilled to see that Author Sarah Fox's new book Wine and Punishment was mentioned in the magazine! This is on my TBR pile right now! Click here to learn more. 

 Tuesdays in the tea shop for me is tea tin filling day and boy is it one of my most favorite things about working here. Filling the tea tins and the store with the most amazing aromas, this one is our Spa Blend and it tastes as beautiful as it looks. I even brought in my sewing scissors for our ribbons which I was pre cutting for our products today, I thought it was fun to tie some left over on the end of my scissors, just a touch of whimsy...
One of my favorite authors Lorna Barrett, shared that today is National Bubble Bath Day, now that is a day I can get behind for sure! I know what I am going to do later today, I will stop and pick some up on my way home from visiting my dad in hospital tonight.

I found this amazing site with a great recipe for a Flower and Milk bath, I have made these before and I love the idea of making this as part of Bubble Bath day, the Milk does foam so I am counting it as a win and I love the idea of adding tea or flowers to the bath.... Click here for the recipe from My Healthy Homemade Life. 

Thank you for joining me today for a quick cup of tea and a great way to celebrate and include tea in your everyday life. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Rainy Day In The Tea Shop, Murchie's Afternoon...

Today is January 3rd and I am safe and warm in my tea shop, sipping Murchie's Afternoon Blend from my favorite cup and saucer in the shop (I bring my own from home, I maybe moving in one cup and saucer at a time). I am watching and listening to the rain fall as I eat my lunch in a very quiet shop.  Over the last few weeks the shop has been full and busy, but the rain today has slowed down our foot traffic and only a few die hard customers have made it through my doors. 
I have lots to do in the shop so I am not un busy, but I wanted to share a little story of my own from the tea shop about our Murchie's Afternoon Blend... 

Some of you may know that I live in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Growing up we made trips to Victoria B.C. which is an Island off the West Coast Of Canada and about 2 hours away by Ferry. When I was a young girl I went with my grandmother to a very old and famous hotel called The Empress. This hotel is just steps from the inner harbor in Victoria and moments away from the equally impressive parliament buildings. On one very special occasion, one of a handful of times in my lifetime, we had tea at the  Empress Hotel. That was the first time I ever had Murchie's Best (then called Empress Afternoon Blend) Tea. For me it is one of the most iconic teas Murchie's makes. This blend of Ceylon, Keemun and Darjeeling teas has an effervescent quality and a clean rich taste.,_Victoria,_BC.jpg

Years later (about 19 actually) my grandmother was dying from bone cancer and she lived in Ontario which is about 3,000 miles away, from where I live. I went to Murchie's and purchased the tea now called Murchie's Afternoon for her and mailed it so that she could again enjoy that tea. My grandmother passed away 5 days after my first son was born, almost 18 years ago now. It is nice to have this tea memory and to know that the recipe has not changed even though the name and packaging has changed, the taste is still perfection. 

Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a tale from the tea shop. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at