Friday, August 25, 2017

Summer memories: forever sand castle clay recipe

Although summer doesn't officially end until September 22nd, it seems the season is already winding to a close. Store shelves are  brimming with backpacks, pens and pencils and even festive pumpkins are making an appearance, all marking the inevitable approach of fall and end to those carefree Summer days.
So in a last ditch nod to beach season, I thought I'd craft a fun and easy sand castle that won't be washed away by the rising tide. 
With some easy homemade clay, shells and ocean inspired accents you can channel childhood memories and build your own mini tabletop grown-up castle for a fun centerpiece or summery decorative accent.
A variety of recipes for "sand clay" can be found everywhere online and ready to use versions of it are available for sale at many craft and art supply stores.
 I opted to make my own, and after some rather messy trial and error, found this DIY clay recipe used for delightful sand ornaments from Local Fun for Kids. It was quick and simple using staples you most likely already have on hand in your kitchen and craft supplies.

You'll Need
2 parts whole wheat flour
 1 part salt
1 part water
dash of glitter and craft sand (optional)
paper towel rolls
plate or saucer as base
moss or small faux plants (optional)
patience (these can take several days to dry)

This is sort of a "non recipe" recipe. Simply mix flour, water and salt to a clay like consistency, adjusting ingredients until the mixture is neither not too sticky or too dry. I added a handful of sand leftover from another project and generous sprinkling of gold and clear glitter, but these are optional. 
Then get creative and design your castle. I made a clay base and then created towers by covering a cardboard rolls with the sand mixture. 
I made a quick cardboard cone base for one for a pointed roof
Adorn with your choice of shells, faux pearls, sea glass or dried moss or faux greens. 

photo CPaul
The clay may droop slightly when drying but that just gives it that authentic beachy look. My husband joked that it reminded him of Gaudi's  famous cathedral in Barcelona
I built mine on a terra cotta saucer and perched it atop a smaller saucer to add a little height. Glass disks from a dollar store simulate water 
I then decided to give the saucer a quick light wash of pearly craft paint to work better with the sandy palette, an afterthought but an easy fix.

Simply display with shells a picnic basket or any beachy accents

vintage image from the Graphics Fairy

Thanks for Visiting!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Afternoon Tea at Tilly Mints

In an age, when drive-thru dining and mocha lattes in paper cups are sadly the norm, sitting down to a leisurely afternoon tea is truly an all too rare luxury. A cherished tradition in merry old England, finding a good cup of tea on this side of the pond can be a challenge. Imagine my delight to discover that a mere few minutes drive from my home was the most charming of Tea Rooms.
Nestled on a quiet side street in Souderton, Pa, Tilly Mints, embraces all the charm of an English Tea room (complete with red phone booth) offering wonderful menu options, friendly attentive service and even an on site gift shop for all of your tea needs.
Pop over to their website for their menu, hours, and the delightful story of how Tilly's got it's name.
We opted for the full tea, and it did not disappoint. Our tea included a soup or quiche and salad to start, followed by three classic tiers of elegantly prepared treats (Yes those are tiny ladybug tea sandwiches!) and they gladly provided delicious vegetarian options for our table as well. 
Tea aficionados will revel in the extensive Tea menu with whimsical names for their blends like "across a crowded room" or "last mango in Paris".
Love that the shop is named for the owner's "saint-like" patient husband
The gift shop brimming with delights for tea lovers
Trish offers genuine warm hospitality and an enthusiasm that only comes from doing something you truly love
Of course, there was a delightful collection of teapots
Hope to get back again soon