Friday, 20 March 2009

Spring, Spring . . . beautiful Spring, and a Giveaway!

"The wood is decked in light green leaf.
The swallow twitters in delight.
The lonely vine sheds joyous tears
Of interwoven dew and light.
Spring weaves a gown of green to clad
The mountain height and wide-spread field.
O when wilt thou, my native land,
In all thy glory stand revealed?"
~ Ilia Chavchavadze, *Spring *

Well, it's official now! It's Spring! I do love the spring, that beautiful time of the year when everything around me seems to take on a greenish hue. The branches of every tree and bush are covered with tiny buds just waiting for the warmth of the sun to burst out into leaf and the banks of the roadways are filled with blooming Primrose. Tis the season of yellow as well, as daffodils wave their golden heads in the warming breezes, and can the birdsong ever be any prettier than it is at this time of year? I watch the blackbirds challenge each other in the mating dance of spring in the grass of my garden, and if a person is very quiet and looks very closely, one might see the dance of a March hare across the fields, dry yet, soon damp and soon after that filled with the prancing bloom of wildflower . . .

To celebrate the birth of Spring, I have decided to do a delightful "Welcome Spring" giveaway. I have not done one for a while and have been storing up a few goodies just for this reason.

What would spring be without a Garden Tea Party? I love Tea Parties and this lovely book is filled with lots of delicious ideas of just the perfect sweets and savouries to serve on just such an occasion! I love Tea Parties so much that I just might give one over the next month or so and share it with you all. In the meantime this book is up for grabs in my giveaway.

You heard me wax on last weekend about this beautiful smelling candle. This lovely scented candle would be the perfect addition to a Springtime Tea. "Sweet Pea . . . the one I truly love." I just adore this candle and I am throwing one of them into the giveaway so someone else can fall in love with it too . . .

How could one have a tea party and not invite Ladybirds! (Or ladybugs as they are known in North America.) Yes, I shall be giving away a delightful little box filled with milk chocolate Ladybirds. These little Ladybirds could indeed be flying away to your home!

"Make A Wish", and I am including 4 of my handmade greeting cards, just for you, each one with a delightful springtime print of one of my images on the front, including this one that I just finished yesterday, entitled "Make A Wish." (I shall be posting the full image on my art blog, Blossom Time Creations, later today, so do pop back over to have a look later on!)

And there you have it, a lovely book, a sweet candle, some lovely chocolates and a set of springtime greeting cards, just for one lucky person. To be included, just leave a comment here at the end of this post. If you would like your name to be entered twice, just post about it on your own blog, and then let me know you have done so!

What would a Springtime Tea Party be without some delicious cookies to serve? Why, it's just not a tea party without at least one or two different ones! I made these lovely little biscuits the other day to share with my work mates and they went down a real treat!

*Crisp Butter Thins*
Makes 48

These beautiful crisp cookies have a buttery, melt in your mouth texture. They smell heavenly when they are baking and one can hardly wait for them to cool before sinking their teeth into their sweet deliciousness!

2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco, Trex, or White Flora)
again, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the butter and the shortening with an electric mixer until light and fluffy and totally amalgamated. Cream in the icing sugar, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, until well combined. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of your bowl from time to time.
Cover with plastic cling film and then place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F. Scoop out small bits of the chilled dough and shape into 1 inch balls. Place the dough balls on an ungreased baking sheet, pressing down with the tines of a fork to flatten. Place at least 2 to 3 inches apart. Keep the dough chilled in the refrigerator in between batches until all are done.

Bake until golden, but not browned, some 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing with a spatula to a cooling rack to finish cooling completely. Store in a tightly covered container.


  1. What a lovely give-away. You are so thoughtful and generous. I need to get myself together and do a belated 100th post give-away. It has been on my to-do list but it hasn't gotten done. Shame on me.

    The cookies look so good.... but then everything you make looks so good.

    We just got home from the temple... I am about to turn into a pumkin so I'd better get to bed before the clock stricks twelve.

    I am sending love your way.... I know that you are just a key stroke away...Hugs to you dear friend. I hope you have a nice Fri.
    XOXOX Lura

  2. Hi dear Marie!!!

    Oh - what a wonderful giveaway! Everything looks so fantastic! I just love the cards that I bought from you. They are in my office giving me inspiration every day! And those little ladybugs are adorable!

    I hope you have a very relaxing Friday !


  3. Happy spring! I hope the snow melts soon here.

    That cookie recipe looks wonderful.

  4. p.s. I probably won't win your give-away... I am usually not the lucky one.... but that's ok... because I have my fairy candle you gave me and I love it.

    I love your new paintings.... adorable


  5. I am so pleased to be able to say farewell to winter ,and Welcome spring ,I love your cards/paintings ,you are so multi talented Ja xx

  6. What a nice giveaway!! I'd love to win this one!! I've had some high tea's at hotels/restaurants, but I've never made one at home. I plan to have one though: I'm turning 30 this year and since my birthday is in July and on a Sunday I thought that would be perfect ot hace a Tea Party!

    Have a nice weekend!

  7. Yellow IS the colour isn't it? I like forsythia myself but the glorious yellow doesn't last 5 minutes.

    We went past a huge holly bush the other day and there was such a tweeting going on inside it. There must have been dozens of them. From the joyful singing of those birds it must be a very popular place for nesting.

    And a tea party! Ooooh, can I come? I'll be good!

    love, Angie, xx

    You are such a generous soul Marie

  8. Ali from Ireland20 March 2009 at 09:11

    I read your blog every morning and always find your words such an inspiration.

  9. What a sweet and generous person you are Marie.The gift give away goodies look lovely,I especially love the chocolate ladybirds.
    Your cookies as allways look scrummy,I can feel my waistband expand as I gaze upon the photos of them!!!
    I send you love all the way from the South Coast of Africa.
    have a blessed day

  10. pick me! pick me!


  11. yay a giveaway!! I'm in...;-)

  12. I could just eat one of those biscuits. They look lovely.

  13. What a wonderful Spring granddaughter and I love to have tea parties, (especially when her little brother is napping, then we din't have to use the plastic cups and saucers!!!)
    Have a great weekend.
    Hugs, Barb

  14. Your wonderful give-away is a perfect way to celebrate the beginning of spring. Please include me in your drawing. You are so creative with your blog,cooking, and artwork! Thank you sharing your inspirational thoughts every day!

  15. Oh, Marie! Such a lovely post about spring and what goodies you have! Count me in! Much love, Raquel XO

  16. Yay its Spring!!! I just wished I lived somewhere I could see all the beautiful flowers and trees!! Have a great weekend!!!

  17. This is an exciting giveaway. Everything looks fresh and
    spring-y! We've been working in our back garden this week and trees and plants are sprouting out all over here in Texas.

  18. I love all your giveaways Marie! Always you give loveliest things I think.
    There begin the Spring I whish you a really nice Spring. Here begin the Autum but is OK I really love Autumn. Is still hot but I hope the next week maybe we have some lovely autumn days.Huggs and kisses to you and Todd, nice weekedn, Gloria

  19. Marie I just LOVE your blog~everything about it warms my heart. Have a wonderful spring at Oak Cottage. I should name my cottage too. I think The Redwood Cottage would work!

  20. Dear Marie,
    Your blogs are always delightful. I am mostly your 'blogstalker.' But for or this post, I will come out of obscurity because I would love to be the winner of your giveaway.

    When you first expressed that there would be a giveaway I didn't really care. But the prize is so wonderful that those thoughts untwisted as each precious gift was disclosed.

    Why would I love to be the recipient? I could create a beautiful tea party for 2 people who love YOU! Lura and Jan. They could be OUR guest. The cards would contain the invitation. The food, candle and candy would all be from you. How lovely that would be. Maybe you could come too!??

  21. This sound like a great giveaway. If you've seen my blog lately you will see that I won a giveaway for the first time in my entire life. I sincerely doubt that luck could strike twice, but it's fun to enter. I feel like I've won every time I wake up in the morning, or anytime my Darien asked to be picked up and carried and I still have the strength to do it. Please do enter my name in your giveaway, even though I feel like winner already. Thank you Marie.

  22. Oh Marie, what a lovely give-away. Does the candle truly smell like Sweet Peas? Sweet Peas are my very most favorite flower. I grow them each year in all colors. I simply love having a big scraggly bouquet of Sweet Peas on the kitchen table. In the next week or so, I'll be soaking Sweet Pea seeds, getting them ready to plant.

    Garden Painter Art

  23. Hi, Dear Marie...Happy Springtime to you, sweet friend! Your giveaway is sooo lovely and very generous (as yours always are!)--such beautiful treasures. Do count me in on the fun! :o) Those cookies are right up my street...mmm...Tomorrow we will be out most all day--shopping & errands and then family visit in the evening so I may not be online at all tomorrow--LOL! But so looking forwarding to chatting with you on Sunday! :o) LOVE to you all there ((BIG HUGS))

  24. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway. Those ladybug chocolates are just to cute.

    Cookies look so yummy...I will have to try them out.

    thanks again

  25. this is a FABULOUS giveaway! that candle sounds divine. maybe if i think positive thoughts, i'll win:) i think i can i think i can i think i can!

  26. What a neat giveaway. I love seeing what your cards look like so I must request to be added to the drawing. The cookie recipe is intriguing but I don't cook anything that uses Crisco :( It is so bad for your heart. Could you just use all butter?

  27. Wow, Marie, what a great giveaway! I'd love to have that book and if I don't win I may go and buy it.

  28. Oh Marie, what a wonderful giveaway :) I would LOVE to be entered and even better if I got to win all the great things ESPECIALLY your handmade greeting cards.

    Thank you for visiting my food blog Full Bellies, Happy Kids. I'm so glad you did and so glad you enjoy it :)

    I have GOT to try those cookies, those are my favorite kind. YUM!


    Full Bellies, Happy Kids
    Diary of a SAHM

  29. Good heavens, those cookies look so good. I'm actually salivating!
    Those cookies and a warm cuppa? Oh, my.

  30. Oh sweet wounded wuffles! I wish so badly I could fly to England and have a Spring party with you and eat these fabulous cookies! I wish someone would make me rich already!

  31. Hi Marie. Thanks for hosting such a nice giveaway. I read your blog all the time and I love all your great country recipes that often remind me of Nova Scotia. I mentioned you and your giveaway in my blog too. Have a great day.

  32. You always have such lovely give-aways, please enter me. I will be baking those cookies this weekend for my grandkids when they come over to help me in the garden!!

  33. Marie I'd love to win this giveaway - what a fun thing! The cookies look so good but I've been craving cookies this week so I guess I'd better break down and make some. Blessings, marlene

  34. Happy Spring to you!! The butter thin cookies look delicious and perfect.

  35. Whata wonderful post as usual Marie.As you know my pooter is going infor afacelift tomorrow and I don't think it will be back until the end of next week.I would love to be a winner of one of your delightful givaways.I believe I was on holiday the last time you did one and missed out.So please put my name in the bag thankyou.He-He.Bless your kind heart.The thins look delicious I adore these kind of biscuits they are my favourite.Enjoy spring hooray at last it is here.It's been a wonderful day today.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  36. Hi
    What great things to give away...I dont expect to win but would love to know where to get the ladybirds from! Hope you enjoyed the beatiful spring weather today xx

  37. I'll do whatever it takes to get 4 more of your darling cards, so here I am. Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog, I always enjoy hearing from you. I, too, am thrilled that Spring has sprung!!

  38. Lovely looking Butter Thins Marie!
    I also love the make a wish picture!
    Sorry I've not been about - I'm still decorating and in between working is getting too much!

  39. Thank you for your good wishes and prayers think I am on the mend now but ended up in hospital for a couple of days. Speaking of Ladybirds we had two in the garden today and a queen bee too. Spring is Springing. Loave ajoan

  40. A very happy Springtime to you Marie :)

  41. Marie,
    I can't wait to try your recipe- both the Butter Thins AND the Hermit Logs! I was in need of fresh, new cookie recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  42. Yes I will post on my blog about you and I d love to get a sweet pea I love that scent. wonderful and Love the butter cookie recpise. so please enter me n twice. Here is my email address and my blog is loris life lessons.

  43. What a lovely giveaway! I'd love to win. I'm going to make those cookies this weekend. They look delicious.

  44. You have such wonderful recipes!

    Your giveaway is a very generous one indeed - the ladybugs are so cute!

    I believe you gave away a cute little Fairy Dust candle in the past - quite like the Sweet Pea candle...I looked all over for one and they don't sell them in the States! :(

    Deborah in North Carolina

  45. The competition is stiff, I see.
    Good luck with your decision.
    Everyone loves you!
    I have made a post on my blog regarding your blog as per your
    instructions! Mission accomplished!

  46. Those cookies do look nice and buttery and good!

  47. The cookies look so delicious. One of those and a cup a tea would be so good right now. :)

  48. Your blog is one of my very favourites and I try to visit with you every day. We are welcoming autumn to our hemisphere and your post has just reminded me that I need to plant some sweet peas. They are one of my favourites. AS I am from an English family afternoon tea and high tea are favourite meals to share.

    Enjoy spring while I settle into the cooler months of the year.

  49. I love the arrival of Spring - the clear blue skies & sun make a more frequent appearance, the flowers are coming out and it is generally more cheerful than the winter! The one wintry thing I will miss, however, is my cosy winter pyjamas!
    Oooh what gorgeous looking cookies: I would eat a lot of those very quickly! What a lovely give-away - I love tea parties :)

  50. Hi Marie - How kind of you to have such a lovely giveaway - and another great-looking recipe - if these are as good as your chocolate snowball biscuits, I'll be well pleased!!

    On another note, so sorry to hear about your rejection in your next post. I LOVE your artwork - that little girl pulling the hedgehog is SO CUTE! Don't be discouraged - keep on paiting!! Love Miriam

  51. What a great heart-felt post. I love spring too because not only is it beautiful, but it is getting warmer everday!! Your cookies look fabulous. It is a joy to cook with you each week!

  52. Happy Spring! This a wonderful way to celebrate this new birth of the earth.
    What a sweet give away! All the gifts are are so lovely. We love the Lady Bugs!And your art work is incredible.
    The cookies look so yummy as do all your recipes!
    Marie, you are so sweet and so very talented. I love your paintings! The Lord has sure blessed you with many special gifts!

    Enjoy a fabulous week end!

  53. Hi Marie
    I would so love to win your giveaway! Isn't spring wonderful?
    Have a happy weekend.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  54. You are so generous and your recipes and musings very inspriring.

    Jen in CO.

  55. I love your blog. Oak Cottage must be looking bright and cheerful with spring flowers popping up everywhere. This sounds like a wonderful give-a-way, thank you for your uplifting words and thoughts, not to mention the delicious recipes.

  56. What a generous person!
    Qould be lovely to win the tea parties book! For a reason however, my friend is trying to raise money to go on a mission to Africa, and we're having a tea party fund raising even for her in a few weeks! :)

  57. I founf you over at Amy's place - Meh. I love to cook so I'll definitely be back to chek things out over here when I have a bit more time! Wishing you a happy spring! Martha :-)

  58. What a generous and lovely giveaway. Please include me in the drawing if it's not too late.

    And BTW, don't get discouraged that your cards were rejected. Your artwork is really delightful. Jusr think of each rejection as bringing you that much closer to the publisher who is just going to love it.

    And another BTW I know of several authors who kept getting rejected and finally self-published (like the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull way back when--probably before your time) and their books wound up being runaway bestsellers.

  59. Great contest! I am so excited for spring to be here and our garden to start blooming!

  60. What an awesome giveaway! I love the book because I love afternoon tea and While I love it, I have never had one myself. THis book probably has some great ideas and recipes. Thanks.

  61. I love tea parties too! What a great giveaway. Thanks for the opportunity! :)

  62. Marie, I love your talent!! The cards and paintings are beautiful! I love browsing your site, it always makes my day better!
    Hugs and love to you my friend!

  63. 3lly3476@eastlink.ca23 March 2009 at 12:08

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  64. I'm catching up on posts now that we're back from our trip to France, I hope you and Todd received our postcard OK. As much as I like to go away I am ALWAYS so glad to get back home again - I'm a real 'homebody'!
    The give-away looks lovely and is so very thoughtful of you to do this. As usual the recipe is one that I can see myself making for the family, they love home-made biscuits!

  65. What a lovely giveaway! Those ladybirds are so adorable!
    I, too, love a good tea party.
    I must try that delicious recipe.


  66. A delightful giveaway and I would love to have your special tea-time treats to host a tea party in New Hampshire and think of you. I should have more tea parties...a wonderful activity.

    And chocolate ladybugs! How cute!

    I will be linking to this on my blog, dearie.

  67. Mmmmm...what yummy looking cookies! I LOVE cookies (probably too much) with a cup of tea, of course. You have a wonderful blog. Thanks for offering such a lovely spring giveaway, Marie! : )


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