Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Third Blog Anniversary - Part IV

During my three years of blogging, 32 different kinds of tea and numerous companies have been written about.  Some tea purveyors sent teas to review on my blog. It's been fun taking you with me [vicariously] to several tea tastings at two local tea shops - TranquiliTea and The Rendezvous With Tea.

I've featured more than 40 books, several tea publications and magazines, reviewed 12 movies and two T.V. Series - Mr. Selfridge, and, of course, Downton Abbey, which has appeared in many of my posts. British Royalty have also been favorite subjects on my blog, as well as other well-known people, deceased [Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen, Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford, and several others] and living - Author Susan Branch, and tea experts Jane Pettigrew, Bruce Richardson, Elizabeth Knight and more.

[Susan and me at her book signing]

[L-R:  Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson]

32 posts shared recipes, as well as the fun French Macaron [pronounced mah-Kah-Rohn] class that I took at Sur la table. 

Favorite restaurants, stores and purchases have also been topics. My passion for Detroit's legendary J.L. Department Store has made it's way into many posts [thank you for indulging me!].  

I've shared vacation spots and lots of fun places and destinations. I've written about many exciting things such as... estate sale finds... holiday events... and a long list of other subjects too lengthy to include in this post.

Many posts shared family happenings that were good...births, proms, graduations, an engagement, and some not so good... the death of both of my parents. By now you probably feel like you know all the members of my family.

[Marissa's Graduation]

[Tiffany & John's Engagement]

[Brianna's Senior Prom]

As I wind down this week of "looking back" I'm inviting you into my home [via the Internet]. If it were possible, I'd have every person who reads my blog over for a cup of tea, but an Internet visit will have to suffice.  Below is the place that I've called home since 1978.  It's where I hang my heart, and temporarily escape from the hectic pace of the world outside!

[The front door has since been painted red.]

Welcome to my home!  One step inside the front door lets you know you've entered the home of a tea lover [and one who loves the color blue]!

My living room is currently under renovation. The project didn't get underway until late October, and my hubby had to stop for the holidays, and cold temperatures are preventing him from working now. [His shop is in the garage.] Below are some "before" pictures.  I've promised myself the 'new' living room won't be as cluttered.  I think a garage sale is looming on the horizon this spring.

The drapes came down to make way for plantation shutters, and the Thomas Kinkade border and chintz wall paper on the half wall came down too.

The walls were painted a slightly different shade of blue.  Following Christmas the Graber plantation shutters were installed.  Below are some "after" pictures up to this point. I love the blue French toile wallpaper, and a matching valance will be made to go over the shutters.

Next we go into the kitchen/dining area - one large combined room, with no formal dining room. My indispensable Breville electric kettle sits on the counter next to my tea canisters.

A whimsical teapot and teacups hang next to the kitchen window above the sink.  A tearoom cookie jar and matching teapot sits on another counter.

The dining room table is probably the most used piece of furniture in my house, and is by far the most welcoming.  Countless friends and family members have sat around it over the past 37 years. What fun it was to welcome blogging friend, Judith [Lavender Cottage], and her husband, Glenn, to our table last year when they were passing through on their way back home to Canada.

The picture below was a comfort food dinner [chicken pot pie] for my girlfriend and her husband, using my Currier and Ives dishes.

The photo below best shows the dining area of the room.  The table was set awaiting the family's arrival on Christmas Eve this past year.

The teapot chandelier is one of my favorite things in the house.  It didn't take me long to decide the Casablanca light fixture/fan had to go when I saw this chandelier in the store.

The repro ice box [below] is my tea cabinet, and sits in the dining area. 

I wish you could drop in!  Someone has beautifully said, "Come and share a pot of tea, my home is warm and my friendship free."

The family room is just a step down from the dining area.  My talented hubby has put a lot of work into this room too, and completely changed its original appearance. Below, is how the fireplace mantel was decorated for Christmas 2014.

The fireplace as it appears the rest of the year.  

My hubby built all the wall units in the family room.  The lighted ceramic houses on top are all tea rooms, and are only displayed at Christmas time.

A favorite lamp in the family room.

 Below is the master bedroom where my hubby and I go for rest at the end of a long day.

Our daughter made the counted cross stitched piece below for us, and it hangs over the bed. Isn't it beautiful? 

Below is the guest room.  My hubby also made the bookcases to hold my large cookbook collection.

Below is my office where I've spent a lot of time lately putting the anniversary blog series together. My tea angels sit on a shelf in my office, along with a few teacups and small decorative teapots. As you can see, I  sometimes watch the Food Network Channel while I'm in my office.

Sometimes I even eat at my computer desk.  And I must confess that presently my desktop isn't this tidy.  [I had to say that before my hubby does!]

That concludes today's post.  Tomorrow will be the last post in my third blog anniversary series - Part V, my tea collections.  If you would have asked me prior to categorizing my blog posts how many collections I have, I probably would have said three or four, but I discovered I have 24 collections [a collection is least three of something]. Shhhh.... don't tell my hubby, but then he reads my blog so he'll see it anyway. I can already see him shaking his head at me.  ;-) My mother was right when she said she hopes I never have to move!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Third Blog Anniversary - Part III

As promised, today I'm sharing photos of some of the teas I've hosted in my home that were blog posts during the last three years, as well as some teas I've done at other venues. You'll see I have a passion for tea, dishes, and tablescaping - with me the three go hand-in-hand. I began with fall, and the seasons and holidays have calendar order progression.  I hope they won't put you in sensory overload. I'm cramming a lot into a few days so I won't drag my blog anniversary out too long.

It's always a pleasure to host a tea party in my home, and I blogged about 21 of them.  There were four 'traveling tea parties' that I blogged about, 24 tea parties that I coordinated for my church, and 11 tea parties that I did for business establishments.  I'm not featuring all 60 though.  ;-)

For seven consecutive years I hosted a themed birthday tea party for my daughter. #6 was the Anne of Green Gables tea that was featured in last Friday's post.  2014's theme [tea #8] would have been Downton Abbey, but between my mother's hospitalization, death, and the tasks that followed, it never happened.  I'm making up for it by taking her to England this May, and a trip to Highclere Castle is on the agenda.  That's better than a tea party, and we can hardly wait!

~ Fall Tea ~

I packed up all my things and took a 'traveling tea party' to celebrate my Aunt's 86th birthday.

 ~ I loved using tea tins as containers for the centerpieces ~

~ Halloween Tea ~

I hosted this tea for my high school girlfriends, and used their senior pictures as place cards. They were amazed that I still had them after all these years.  I confess!  I'm a saver.  ;-)

I did a Thanksgiving tea for a restaurant called Ardmore Park Place, located in an 1850's Victorian farm house.  It is pictured below.  The tea was a great opportunity to use my collection of turkey tureens as centerpieces.

[Photo courtesy of their website]

I'm sharing a few Christmas teas. Two were in my home - the Red Tartan Plaid tea [Sandy Clough china] and the Nutcracker Tea.  The other four are church Christmas teas where hostesses decorated their own tables.  

The flag's out.  Come on in for a tea party!

I tied gold teapot charms on the teacup handles as favors for the guests to take home, and placed individual fruit bouquets in ramekins at each place setting.

At the Nutcracker Tea, each guest took a chocolate ballerina home.

  Below are three of my tablescapes at the Christmas church teas.

"Snowflake Splendor"


"Tea Time"

 I couldn't resist including a picture of my sweet daughter, Lori, my firstborn.  

I was a tablescape presenter at the historic Longacre House in Farmington Hills, MI for their 2013 Christmas tea.

Three different years I invited neighbor ladies over for an Epiphany/Twelfth Night tea. Below is a tablescape from one of those teas where I used my "Petals" dishes.

A New Year's Eve tea for my hubby and me.  Non-alcoholic sparkling white grape juice so we could remember it the next morning! ;-)

A Valentine's Tea with my three older granddaughters, using my Old Country Roses china.

[L-R:  Marissa, Brianna, Me, and Tiffany]

A St. Patrick's Day tea for two Irish ladies - my mom and my aunt.  

The Sullivan sisters were great sports and wore the tiaras I bought for them!

[L-R:  My Aunt Frances, Me, and my Mom]

Knowing my mom and aunt would appreciate my passion for J.L. Hudson's, I picked up my mom and took her, along with the fixings for a traveling tea party, to my aunt's house.  We had Hudson's famous Maurice Salad for our tea time together. These are very fond memories now that my mom is gone.

~ My first King Cake for Mardi Gras ~

~ An Easter Tea ~

~ Three Church Mother's Day/Spring Teas ~

"Here Comes the Bride."  I made eight cookie bouquets as centerpieces.  Another one of those "what was I thinking???" projects!  ;-)

It was a bridal fashion show, and I had several bride models, but I'm only showing my family models in this post.  My granddaughter, Tiffany, modeled my mother's 1939 wedding gown. 

Both of my daughters-in-law modeled their own wedding gowns.

[L-R:  Sharon and Samantha]

~ A "Springtime in Paris" Tea ~

[L-R: My Mom, Me, and Daughter, Lori]

~ In Honor of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee ~

Since Chocolate Biscuit Cake is one of the Queen's favorite tea time treats, I made individual bite-size cakes for everyone.  I have a lot of "What was I thinking???" experiences, but things always get done.  

 A Memorial Day cake for a family picnic on the patio with iced tea.

~ A June Pink Tea ~

~ A June Birthday Tea using my Blue Madrid Depression Glass ~

 And serving my most requested birthday cake - Chocolate Mound Cake.

I've done two White Bible teas, and am looking forward to doing a third one this August before my granddaughter Tiffany's wedding.

~ A July Patriotic Tea ~

 A 4th of July cake for granddaughter, Ellie's birthday.

Ellie was born on the 4th of July, 2012.  She's our little firecracker!

This post has to have some whimsy so I'm including two American Girl teas I did.  One was for the little girls at my church, and the other was a little girl's birthday party at Ardmore Park Place.

A couple of  'wannabe' American Girl dolls in the group.  ;-)

Lastly I'm including four informal, 'traveling tea parties' that I coordinated at my church's District campgrounds on a lake.  Not all tea parties have to be fancy, but they can still be nice.  I prepared everything at home and transported it to the campgrounds.  It doesn't get any easier than disposable tablecloths, eating utensils, and the lunch was packed in disposable take-out containers.  Clean-up was a breeze - everything went in the trash can!

~ Sunflower Theme ~

~ Apple Theme ~

~ Sands of Time Theme ~

Here they are all stacked up in the refrigerator at the campgrounds dining hall just waiting for tea time!

~ Bird Theme ~

The End.  Whew!  I'm tired just thinking I did all these teas, but each one was rewarding and fun. Tea parties are such a wonderful way of ministering to others.  Thank you for allowing me to share them with you. All photos are protected by copyright, so please don't share them elsewhere unless permission is given.