WELCOME

WELCOME to the Take Joy Society. We are a group of ladies who first met because of our love of Tasha Tudor's art and lifestyle. We are broadening our focus to include other artists/writers/people of interest who embody Tasha's philosophy to Take Joy in all the good that life has to offer. Here you will find a record of our get-togethers and resources to help you see that the gloom of the world is but a shadow so that you, too, can Take Joy!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Italian Adventure Get-Together

The Take Joy Society gathered at Cindy's house yesterday to see the pictures from her trip to Italy in September. . . .

Their party of four visited the ancient ruins. . . .

....traveled through bucolic landscapes. . . .

....ate delicious, beautifully presented food. . . .

....saw charming scenes such as these. . . .

....visited Murano where the famous glass is made. . . .

One of the items she brought back from Murano was this miniature vase for her dollhouse room. . . .

This room is rather amazing because she made just about everything in the room, including painting the miniature paintings. . . .


Our craft was to make a miniature pie and a miniature book.  We started with the pie.  Cindy gave us bottle caps to use as pie tins and modeling clay to make the crust and fruit. . . .

While our strawberry, lemon meringue, and blueberry pies baked we sat down to this beautiful Italian-themed tablescape to have pizza--shrimp/artichoke, cherry tomato/basil, sausage/green pepper, mushroom/black olive.  This was served with lemon water and lemon hot toddies. . . .



Our second craft was to make miniature books.  Cindy made the inside book lining using shaving cream and two colors of paint to give it a marbled effect.  After gluing that to the cardboard cover, some of us glued leather to the outside while one used the marbled paper as her cover. . . .
The books could be strung onto a cord to be worn as a necklace, or put in a dollhouse along with the pie.  Our finished crafts. . . .

Thank you, Cindy, for a wonderful Italian Adventure!

.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Simple Abundance - November

Simple Abundance

November is the pause between Autumnal color and Winter white in many parts of the country.  It can look bleak and dreary oftentimes.  Perhaps that's why November was chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving--to give us something to look forward to that encourages us to be grateful for what we already have.  It is also a time to gather family near and far and celebrate the bond of kinship.  I've hosted Thanksgiving for so long that the few times we've been invited to another's home it just did not feel like Thanksgiving to me.  Tradition carries with it heart memories.

My menu is always the same except I like to try different vegetables every year.  Sometimes I add soup.  I also like to vary the way I make the sweet potatoes.  I've not changed the Sausage Sage Dressing or Shaker Corn Pudding I've made for many years now.  I've always made Heavenly Hash (also known as Ambrosia) and pumpkin pie--two things my mother always made.  And of course the Turkey!  But we did try Splatch-cock Turkey one year.  Since this is the only time of year we have a whole turkey, it is special.  I love making the table look festive and always use the tablecloth I made many years ago.  Last year I added name tags with my own illustration. . . .

As a young child we always went to Mamaw's and Papaw's farm in Mississippi for Thanksgiving.  I remember going along to pick out the turkey at a farm down the road.  There were always lots of cousins to play with.  By the time I a teenager we'd moved north and we'd usually go to my other set of grandparents.  One Thanksgiving, however, my mother hosted her parents and four siblings and their families.  There were cousins galore that Thanksgiving.

This month Sarah Ban Breathnach suggests these Joyful Simplicities from "Simple Abundance". . . . 


πŸ¦ƒ   Write your own personal grace and offer it for the first time on Thanksgiving.

πŸ¦ƒ   Fill a basket of food and take it to a shelter the day before Thanksgiving.  If you have children, let them hep you shop, load the basket, and deliver it with you.

πŸ¦ƒ   Don't rush out the day after Thanksgiving to do holiday shopping with the rest of the world.  Instead, make a pot of homemade turkey vegetable soup, write out a shopping list for the Christmas pudding ingredients, create an Advent wreath, and start listening to holiday music.


The Thanksgiving before my mother died I had everyone write what they were thankful for on the back of an artificial leaf.  I put them in an arrangement that I bring out each year.  Her leaf is always there to remind me of that Thanksgiving.

We often still have family the day after, but once they leave I will start thinking about Christmas.  I'll put away my autumn decor and bring out the winter things.  Then I'll start making lists of what needs to be done when for Christmas.

If you need a Turkey Soup recipe here is one I posted last year from Mary Mason Campbell's book, "The New England Butt'ry Shelf".  Drag it to your computer desktop to print. . . .



What about you?  Do you have Thanksgiving traditions?  Would you rather host the dinner or let someone else host it?  Do you have any special memories from your childhood Thanksgivings?


.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mexican Adventure Get-Together

This year the theme for the Take Joy Society get-togethers will center around our travel adventures.  Today I was the first to share.  I took everyone to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.  They saw my photos, ate and drank chocolate, and played with clay.  If you have not already followed along on Morning Musings you can catch-up at these links to see the photos:

I take you on a tour of our hotel in the center of Merida. . . .


In this post I talk about what I liked about our vacation and what I did not like so much. . . .


This post talks about the cuisine, my shopping experience, and the architecture. . . .


These posts were about the museums, culture events, and side trips we took. . . .



The last one is a slide show of scenes from Playa del Carmen. . . .


At the end of my slide show I showed them these YouTube videos. The first one explains how cacao (pronounced ca-COW) beans are grown.  I passed around raw, roasted cacao beans for everyone to sample. . . .

             

Next we watched a video of how cacao is used to make drinking chocolate. . . .

             

Then I passed around samples of ki'Xocolatl (pronounced kee shoc-co-LA-tal) chocolate (72% cocoa) while they watched a video of the Choco-Story Museum in Uxmal, Mexico. . . .

             
You can read more about the history of chocolate and its importance in Mayan culture HERE.  To make it easier to read the article click on the Show Reader View bar (left hand side of the URL box).

Now it was time to sample another traditional food of the Yucatan--guacamole.  I used my Mexican daughter-in-law's recipe (avocados, onion, roman tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt), but added cacao nibs (raw chocolate pieces) after reading David Wolfe's "Top 5 Reasons to Love Raw Cacao" where he claims it's a recipe thousands of years old. . . .

We started with Green Tea with orange zest & cocoa bean shells that I brought back from Mexico.  Ken made the tortilla chips from scratch--he made the tortillas from "pre-cooked yellow corn meal" from a local Latino market, then cut them into pieces and fried them in oil. . . .


On the table is a model of a Mayan Calendar.  I also set out more chocolate nibs. . . .

Later I made a pot of Taza Chocolate Super Dark drinking chocolate using water, which we drank while working on our craft.  Because it was 85% cocoa everyone added a little more sugar. . . .

For our craft I made air-dry clay.  This is the tutorial I used. . . .

            
I used lemon juice instead of vinegar so I did not add the peppermint oil.  I microwaved it four 15-second intervals.  After the 24-hour wait I found it to still be limp, so I added more cornstarch and kneaded it several more minutes.  Then I put it in the refrigerator and by today it was just the right consistency--so you will have to play around with it a bit until your clay looks like hers when you pull it apart.  If you add the color to it, it will make it softer and harder to work with, so you may want to wait to paint it after it is dried.

Here we are working on our projects.  I handed out books to get ideas. . . .

Cindy is making a Day of the Dead figure from the Tree of Life book.  The Mexican Tree of Life folk art is intricate and individually expressive of the artist's imagination.  This page gives you some close-ups of these beautiful art pieces.  . . .

She also made miniature flowers to go in her miniature flower pot that is drying upside down. . . .

Chris made a decorated bowl and will paint it once it is dry.  She used a glass bowl lined with cellophane to form the bowl shape. . . .

Carol used cookie cutters to make different ornaments for her grandchildren to paint. . . .

I made a folk art apple tree with a dove.  I added paint to my clay before molding it. . . .

It was very relaxing to work with the clay.  Let me know if you make the clay and what you created.

Next month Cindy will take us to Italy!


.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Simple Abundance - October

Simple Abundance

If I could pick only one favorite month of the year I'd have to choose October.  I'm sure it has to do with the vivid colors this time of year.  Spring's colors are certainly lovely, but the colors are more pastel except for an occasional bright red tulip🌷or deep yellow daffodil.   I can see myself in Anne Mary Lawler's description of October "dressing in flame and gold like a woman afraid of growing old."  I've always loved color and tend to buy colorful clothing, but as I grow older I find that colors speak to me even more.

This month Sarah Ban Breathnach's Joyful Simplicities from "Simple Abundance" include these possibilities. . . .

🍁     Plan an outing to a pumpkin patch of farmers' market.  Select the perfect jack-o-lantern, but get an assortment of smaller pumpkins on which to carve different designsπŸŽƒ, like checkerboards, hearts, or the moon ad starts.  Pie pumpkins are the perfect size for creating luminaries for steps or driveways, and midget pumpkins make charming votive candle holders for dinner tables.

🍁     Create a seasonal table.  Set aside one small space on which to arrange an autumnal still life:  wheat sheaves, pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, or bittersweet, with bouquets of dried flowers and preserved autumn leaves.

🍁     If you live in a four-season climate, take a Sunday drive in the country to revel in Mother Nature's flamboyant fancy dress.  Pack a picnic.  Linger as long as you can.

🍁     Mull cider and/or wine on the weekends for an autumn cup of cheer, especially delightful after raking leaves!

For years I planned an autumn get-away for my family during the long Columbus Day weekend.  The boys loved hiking in the woods and following the trails to hidden water falls.  Now that it's just the two of us our choices of when and where to go and where to stay have opened up considerably.  The world-wide web has certainly helped facilitate finding wonderful places.  Here are some we've been to. . . .
Eagles Mere, PA

Glenlaurel Inn, Ohio

New Castle, DE

Skyline Drive, VA

Western Maryland

World's End State Park, PA

Little Grand Canyon, PA

I also love decorating my house for Autumn.  I even change my dining room curtains from blue to red and summer paintings to autumn scenes. . . .



It is also a time to change my menu.  Now I'll make Sausage-Bean Chowder with pumpernickel bread, Meatloaf with acorn squash and baked potato, Beef Brisket with mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts, Chili with crackers and butter, Sauerkraut and Pork with potato pancakes and peas, Beef Stew with corn bread, to name a few--all dishes I haven't had in months!

What about you?  What delights you about Autumn?  Do you change your decor?  Go "leaf peeping" (as it's called in my part of the country)?

.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Simple Abundance - September




In Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance" she gives us suggestions each month for ways in which to enjoy the month.  Here are a few of Sarah's Joyful Simplicities for September:

🌻   L' Γ©tΓ© c'est fini, as the French say, so end summer on a high note.  Make a really big deal out of the last cookout of the summer.  Serve your favorite summer recipes with a final flourish.  Linger in the twilight, watch the sun go down, and bid summer a fond adieu.

🌻   On Labor Day weekend take 15 minutes to write down all the things you wanted to do over the summer but never got around to.  Put your list in an envelope.  When you get your next year's calendar, paperclip the envelope to the first day of June and open it then.  Try to block in some time on your calendar to make postponed pleasures a priority when summer returns.

🌻   Celebrate the autumn equinox (22nd) with a festive dinner of homestyle cooking.  Do this especially if you live alone and rarely cook a descent meal for yourself.  Bring home a small pot of mums for your dining table.  Draw hearthside and light the candles, pour the wine or cider, and enjoy the simple pleasure of comfort food.  Have you ever tried an English "fidget pie," a traditional harvest meal?  It's composed of potatoes, onions, apples, and ham pieces in a vegetable stock seasoned with a little brown sugar, salt and paper.  Pour into a pastry shell, cover with a top crust and bake as you would any filled pie.

🌻   Observe the autumnal festival of Michaelmas (29th), which is the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel.  This ancient English harvest festival dates back to the sixth century.  Legend has it that on this day the devil was driven out of Heaven by St. Michael and landed in a patch of blackberry brambles.  It's traditional to have blackberry treats--pies, tarts, or jam on scones for tea on this day.

🌻   Start making your Christmas list this month so that you won't be frantic in December.

🌻   Take a walk under the huntress moon (16th).

I always buy potted mums in September for my porch then plant them in the garden before winter. . . .

Sarah writes, "Since ancient times, September has been viewed as the beginning of the new year, a time for reflection and resolution....... It seems to me that January resolutions are about will;  September resolutions are about authentic wants."  Sarah asks this question:
What do you want more or less of in your life, so that you can love the life you're leading?
When my children started school September became the beginning of my year.  It's been hard to break the habit even though it's been seven years since my last child went off to college for his final year in September.  I always felt bittersweet this time of year.  I was glad to see the worst of the heat and humidity come to an end, but sad to no longer have my sons about, even as I was glad to have more time to myself. This time to myself allowed me to reflect on my life.  Making new resolutions would always come out of it.

September is also special for me because it's my husband's birthday month.  We spent a wonderful week on Martha's Vineyard in 2012 for his birthday.  We stayed in a carriage house that had a small garden behind it where I'd write in my journal each morning before we went off to explore more of the island.  You can read about it on Morning Musings starting with this Post and clicking on the next one for a total of eight more . . . .

And September is the month Gabriel came into my life in 2008. . . .


What about you?  What does September represent to you?  Do you have certain rituals or celebrations like Sarah suggests?  Special memories?

How would you answer Sarah's question?


.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Links - August

A new tab has been added to the top of the page:  Web Sites

Check out Gratefulness.org

Monday, August 1, 2016

August Celebrations

Mary Mason Campbell writes in "The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac," illustrated by Tasha Tudor, that, "A day in August is the day to go blueberrying.  A full lunch basket, a blue sky and soft breeze, and a favorite blueberry pail are the only requisites."  She goes on to say, "A farmer's wife once told me, 'Blueberryin' is just like miklin' a cow; you pull the berries off the branch just the same way.'  A bunch of twenty-five or thirty blueberries is a good handful to grasp and pull with a quick gentle motion that does not tear the berries."

Ms. Campbell gives us her recipe for Blueberry Jam. . . .


For many of us Blueberry picking season is over, so I'm also including her Summer Squash recipe. . . .

In "A Time to Keep" Tasha Tudor tells us August was the month to celebrate her daughter, Bethany's birthday.  But it is also her own birth month.  This year we celebrate the anniversary of her 101st birthday on the 28th. . . .


The big surprise at the end of the day was the birthday cake floating down the river. . . .

Bethany's birthday celebration was delightfully told in Tasha's book, "Becky's Birthday". . . .


In Tasha's "Around the Year" August is the signaling of the end of summer. . . .



 It was also a time to do some canning of summer's bounty. . . .

This concludes my year of monthly celebrations with Tasha Tudor.  

The Take Joy Society is taking a break from our monthly activities as we gather around one of our members whose husband is under treatment for a serious illness.  

.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•
Take Joy!