Monday, July 16, 2018

Fun Weekend

After breakfast on Saturday my hubby and I headed to the Utica Antique Market on 21 Mile Road east of Van Dyke at the K of C Picnic Grounds. It's the largest outside show in Southeastern Michigan with 100 different dealers. It's held one weekend in May, July, and September, and has been happening since 1986.  

The temperature was hot on Saturday, but the cloud cover made it manageable.   When we arrived around 11:00 a.m. there were already lots of shoppers.        


Can you believe, with all those vendors I came away without making a single purchase!  I saw a black and gold teacup that I pondered, but the saucer had several scratches so I left it behind.  I also saw a box of ladies nylons from J.L. Hudson's department store, but since I already have a box I passed on those too.  It was fun looking even if I didn't buy anything. 

The highlight was meeting one of my blog followers who was camera shy.  Vivian recognized me from pictures on my blog and stopped to introduce herself.  Thanks, Vivian!

Sunday was a Japanese tea tasting at Tea Haus in Ann Arbor, MI.

Shiga is a 'Sister State' of Michigan/Ann Arbor.  It is a prefecture [a district under the government of a prefect or magistrate] in Japan, east of Kyoto.

Lisa McDonald, owner of Tea Haus, traveled to Shiga in May and shared her experiences and some of the teas she brought back at a tea tasting yesterday.  She spoke to a tearoom filled to capacity, and was so interesting and informative.  

Lisa received her tea sommelier training in Europe [Germany], and she's probably the only one in Michigan to do so.  Her certification took two years of classroom training and two years of apprenticeship.


She shared that the Japanese brew their tea stronger than we do in the States, but they drink it in smaller vessels - not large mugs like we often use.  

The first tea we sampled was a first flush Sencha, very freshly harvested.  It was excellent, as were all the teas we sampled.  It was mild [not a strong grassy taste].  The color was a pale, clear greenish-yellow.  The color confused me because when I ordered Sencha tea at the Asian restaurant recently [I blogged about it on 7/11] the brew was very green [the color of Matcha] and opaque.  I saw the pyramid tea bag which definitely contained green tea leaves, not Matcha powder, so now I can't help wondering what tea I drank???  

Roasted chickpeas were served with the Sencha.  They were roasted with olive oil, salt, garlic and green tea and were very good.  Crunchy similar to a peanut.

Lisa told us that while some teas in Japan are still plucked by hand, 75% is mechanically harvested.

Tencha green tea is the base used to make Matcha.  She told us a lot of tea being sold as Matcha isn't really authentic Matcha - it's other grades of green tea ground into powder.  ;-(

The second tea we tasted was Kukicha - a toasted tea made from stems, stalks, and twigs.  It had a greenish-brown color.

It was served with Kukicha Panna Cotta over Strawberries.  Yum!  All the food we sampled was made in-house at Tea Haus' sister business - Eat More Tea.

The third tea we sampled was Bancha, second flush.  I didn't get a picture of that tea.  I guess I was so busy enjoying the Soba [buckwheat] noodles topped with an Egg Pancake that I forgot! Bancha is the lowest grade tea on the market in Japan, and is a popular tea consumed daily. It's made from mature tea leaves and stems from the autumn harvest.  [It's plucked later than Sencha].  It's taste was more vegetal than the Sencha but still good.

The fourth tea was Gaba which is cured in nitrogen chambers.  It is said to give a mellow boost of caffeine.  The tea undergoes a special oxygen-free fermentation process.  This tea was served with a Matcha Gelato and Chocolate Truffle.  

One of the tea farms Lisa visited was high up in the mountains, where she said the age of the pluckers was 72 and older.  The area was not a place where younger girls and women wanted to live.  Consequently 2/3 of the tea grown in that area that could be picked, goes unpicked.

The last tea to sample was a black Gyokuro - which I forgot to photograph.  It was deliciously smooth and mild - maybe my favorite of the five, but they were all good.   Black tea is not dominant in Japan, and Lisa said black tea is processed only every 3-5 years.   

She showed us a photo of the first Tea Garden in Japan.  It wasn't large, but it was beautiful.

The event was $28 per person and well worth it.  Tea Haus is located at 204-206 N. 4th Avenue in the Kerrytown District of Ann Arbor.  Lisa has been selling quality teas at Tea Haus for 11 years and has a wall of approximately 180 tins of teas to choose from.  If you like quality teas pay her shop and café a visit.

Linda [not pictured], Barb, Louise, and their friend, Sandy, attended the tea tasting also.

If you recall, the first night of our Southern Tea Time Getaway we had a fun gift exchange. Barb told me she had something for me but it was too bulky to tote around in the van. Yesterday was the first I had seen her since the trip, and she gave me the gift then.  It was packaged in a lovely pink, Parisian case.

Inside was a beautiful Lenox Butterfly Meadow tea set.  Thank you so much, Barb!

As you can see, it was a very nice weekend!  Now a new week unfolds...

Friday, July 13, 2018

Lavender Festival 2018

My hubby and I drove a short distance today to Armada, MI to attend the 16th Lavender Festival.  It was a beautiful day for visiting all the vendor's booths at Blake's Orchard.

Program and re-entrance "bracelet."

Entrance where we paid our $7 per person admission fee.

Just inside was a Michigan State Agricultural Extension booth.  It's our boys' alma mater so I had to take a picture!

This was the first day of the festival and it will continue thru Sunday, so I didn't think it would be as crowded today, but it was bustling with people.

Lavender honey and the bees that make it.

~ Jerry and Me ~

Lavender booths galore.

The Teatroiter was there again this year with her loose leaf teas.

She had small sample glasses of Green Cherry Blossom Tea that was so good I bought a package. 

Buttons anyone?  $5 a jar.

Teapots repurposed into yard art.

The Dobre Pierogi tent was back this year.  Their pierogies are very good.

We got four Potato Cheddar Pierogies.  Yum!

~ The Tea Boutique ~

~ Embroidered Tea Towels ~

Lovey's was a new indoor shop this year.

Beautiful tea set - The teacup says Happiness is a cup of tea.  The teapot says There's always time for Tea.  The teacup was $29 and the teapot was $50.  Since I just purchased the Royal Albert teapot, I was content to simply admire it and walk on.

You can't go to the Lavender Festival without getting a cold glass of Lavender Lemonade.

Isn't this gal who was working in the Lavender Lemonade tent cute?

My hubby's an ice cream lover so he wanted a dish of Lavender Ice Cream too.

Then it was time to call it an afternoon and head back home.  I didn't realize Blake's grew Christmas trees too, but we parked near acres and acres of them.  I'm enjoying summer too much to even think about Christmas right now.

My Kate Spade teapot locket arrived in today's mail.  I couldn't wait to open the package and examine it when we got home.  I'm so glad I purchased it because it's lovely.

One can work up an appetite walking around in the summer sunshine, so I was eager to try a new recipe for a Quinoa Salad that was in a Southern Lady magazine for our dinner.  

It was my first time to prepare Quinoa and oh my goodness, it was so good and very healthy.  Marinated Artichoke Hearts, Roasted Red Peppers, and Kalamata Olives are part of the recipe - very Mediterranean.

Our summer dinner.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

LaBelle Antiques and Hobby Lobby

LaBelle Antique Store in St. Clair Shores, MI is my favorite antique store.  They price items low to sell and to keep their inventory moving.   I used to get my hair cut at a beauty shop that was just a couple of blocks away from the store, so I paid them a visit monthly.  Sadly, my new beauty shop is nowhere near LaBelle's so I haven't been there in over a year - much too long!

Yesterday when I was coming home from lunch in Grosse Pointe, I decided on a route that would take me right by LaBelle's.  What fun to look around in the store again.

As I was browsing, I saw 14-pieces of Royal Albert Petit Point china [made in England,  not outsourced to another country], which included the large teapot and five dinner plates. I didn't get them, but they stayed in my thoughts all night.

In 2016 when when Cheryl Nix, owner of Tea by Three Tearoom, had one of her first liquidation sales, my hubby bought me 19 pieces of Petit Point for $38 [7 square luncheon plates, 6 teacups and 6 demitasse cups] for Mother's Day.  You may remember me blogging about it.  I've used them for my Bible study luncheons.

I decided to go on E-bay today to price the large teapot and dinner plates.  The teapot ranged from $79 to $224, and the dinner plates ranged from $11 to $44 each, plus shipping.  The price for the 14-pieces at LaBelle's was just $60, so that cinched it - I went back today and brought it home with me!  Besides the teapot and dinner plates, there is one cake plate, four bread and butter plates, and one teacup and saucer.  Now I need to keep my eyes open for a sugar and creamer.  I like the uniqueness of the square plates.

Do you like to shop at Hobby Lobby?  It's another favorite  store of mine.  Last week I paid them a visit looking for a pedestal to set a floral arrangement on.  Since the pedestal is considered furniture, it was 30% off and I got it for $12.60 [including tax].  It's made of a chalky material like plaster of Paris, and is heavy and sturdy - not lightweight plastic.  That's all I was going to get - the pedestal and nothing more!

But how could I keep from looking when they carry so many beautiful things?  I must confess to being a little bummed when I saw all their fall merchandise on display already.  I'm not even close to thinking about or welcoming fall's arrival.

As you know, I'm drawn to blue and white like a magnet, and when I saw a lovely blue and white tea canister, I couldn't resist.  After all, I had a 40% off coupon in my purse which made it a very affordable $15.89 [with tax].  

These purchases meant some former things had to be removed from the shelves to make room for the new, but I don't mind switching things around occasionally.  As the old proverb says, "Variety is the spice of life"!