Thursday, April 24, 2014

New Tea-themed Treasures

Tuesday I met five high school girlfriends for dinner, but before that occurred, another girlfriend and I went on a little shopping expedition.  The first store we stopped at was Gracious Seasons. There were so many lovely things I could have purchased, but only one linen tea towel and a silver rabbit [which has since been repainted gold] ended up leaving the store with me.

The chocolate-looking rabbit came from the antique store at our second stop.  I had never seen a ceramic rabbit that looked like an edible chocolate bunny until this week when I visited Two Cottages and Tea blog, and saw one pictured in a vignette.  Needless to say, when I saw this rabbit I knew he was coming home with me to be gently tucked away until next Easter - he won't melt and will keep his good looks from one year to another, and he has no calories. What could be better!

Also at Plaza Antiques and Connections, I purchased this lovely teacup.  It looked so spring-like and was only $10.00.  It's made by Royal Albert and is part of the Festival Series.

As I continued shopping I saw a pretty little cream pitcher in the same pattern as a Shelley trio that I got in England.  This pitcher isn't a Shelley though.  It's backstamped Victoria C & E.

A bit of research revealed the C & E stands for Cartwright and Edwards Ltd., Victoria Works 1912 +, Straffordshire Potteries.  The price was right for $5, so it came home with me too.  

Below it sits with the Shelley trio, and as you can see the pattern is identical.  Obviously potteries shared their patterns, but its name isn't given on any of the china pieces.

My last treasure to share is a Beatrix Potter figurine, Tom Kitten.  I acquired him on a separate antique outing a couple of weeks ago.  It's my first Beatrix Potter figurine, and reminds me of Susan Branch. The lady in the antique store told me he was a bargain at $10, made by Royal Albert.  I've never hosted a Beatrix Potter theme tea, but perhaps this is the beginning of one!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A New Tea Book

A while back Harney Teas had a weekend book sale.  I received an e-mail notification with the subject line:  "Cozy Up with a Book and a Hot Cup of Tea."  I can't resist tea books, and one I had never seen caught my eye - "Royal Teas with Grace and Style."  I ordered it, and want to share it with you.

[Front Cover]

[Back Cover]

The author is Eileen Shafer, and the book was published in 2010.    The book jacket reads, "Eileen Shafer guides us through hosting and serving a proper afternoon tea fit for a queen with more than 50 recipes for savories, sweets, and teatime beverages..."

There are 13 chapters with 30 color photographs,  tea quotes and sayings by famous authors, and lots of recipes for tea time.  It's a lovely addition to any tea lover's library.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Planning a Downton Abbey Birthday Tea

For the past seven years I have hosted a theme tea party for my daughter's birthday, and this year's theme is going to be Downton Abbey.  Lori has watched season 1-4 and loves the series, so I know she'll enjoy this theme.

I've been collecting ideas and putting them in a folder, along with magazines containing articles about a Downton Abbey tea.

Last February my friend, Angela, at Tea With Friends blog, wrote a post about the February 17, 2014 issue of Women's World magazine that featured an article, "Host a Downton Abbey tea party."  I tried to find the issue, but it was off the news stands, so I had to order it as a back issue.  

If you should ever miss a particular issue, here's how you can order a back issue:  
[1]  Write a short note stating which issue you'd like to receive.  "Women's World" is published weekly, so provide the exact month, day, and year that you need.
[2]  Send a check or money order for $2.50 per copy if you are a U.S. resident.  [$5.50 per copy in U.S. funds] if you live outside the U.S.
[3]  Mail the money order or check, along with your request to:
Woman's World
Back Issue Department
270 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
[4] Include your mailing address and phone number [including area code] with your payment.

My issue was waiting for me when I returned from Kentucky, so it took about four weeks.

Another tea time item I ordered thanks to Angela, is fabric with Highclere Castle [Downton Abbey] printed on it.  

It arrived last week, and I just love it.  I only ordered a yard and a half, because I will use it to make a center cloth [topper] to go over the main tablecloth, and six napkins. I can envision it coordinating beautifully with a gold metallic undercloth - perfect for the Crawley family, and my family too! ;-)  The fabric can be found online at Keepsake Quilting.  It is 44 inches wide, and $11.36 a yard [plus shipping].

I'm definitely looking forward to planning this Downton Abbey tea party!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Downton Abbey Tea at O'Mara's

On Tuesday, April 15th, three friends and I went on our monthly outing to O'Mara's for Afternoon Tea - this month's theme is Downton Abbey.  It was practically a sell-out tea [which included several gentlemen], and was one of their best teas!

[L-R:  Cindy, Sandy, Me, and Linda]

We ate by candlelight.  

Lady Sybil's picture was on our table.

Violet the Dowager Countess of Grantham was at the next table.

A lamp of Downton Abbey [Highclere Castle], and face masks of the characters were on the tables.

The servers were in maids costumes.

I started out with Strawberry Tea, but quickly switched to English Breakfast.

For the soup course I selected Lobster Bisque.

The savories consisted of:  A Lady Mary Cucumber and Caviar Sandwich on White Bread; Lady Edith Black Forest Ham, Swiss Cheese, Cranberry Dijonnaise, and Bean Sprouts on Pumpernickel; and Lady Sybil Roast Turkey with Chai Apple Butter, Apple Slices, Cheddar Cheese and Field Greens on Wheat.

Our entree was Robert the Earl of Grantham Hunter's Beef English Pie, with Mushy Peas. It was the perfect entree for this theme, and very delicious.

Chef Anita demonstrated how to make chai apple butter that accompanied Lady Sybil's sandwich.

We also had O'Mara's signature Baked Brie wrapped in Puff Pastry with Honey Lavender Butter and Toasted Walnuts, and Fresh Fruit and Crackers.

Dessert was Violet the Dowager Countess of Grantham Scones with Cream; Cora the Countess of Grantham Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Custard and Orange Whip Cream; and Isobel Crawley's English Cinnamon Sugar Butter Crumpets served with Fresh Berry Compote.

Kudos to O'Mara's for a job well done!

*  *  *

Today I'm joining the following blog parties:
Antiques and Teacups for Tuesday Cuppa Tea
Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for Friends Sharing Tea
Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Internet Photo - Simon Dewey, Artist

The Resurrection

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen! ..."  Luke 24: 1-6

May God bless your week!

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Surprise Gift of Art

Are you familiar with Paper Toile [tole]?  I wasn't, until a friend recently gifted me with a beautiful print. Many layers of pictures are cut and glued together to create a dimensional look instead of a flat surface picture.  The more layers that are used, the more realistic and beautiful the picture is. The art work is sometimes referred to as multi-dimensional paper art, and shadow box art.

My picture has 8 layers, and the fact that it's a tea scene, makes it even more special.  To fully appreciate its beauty it must seen in person, but this blog photo will have to suffice.  It is matted in a beautiful 12 1/2 x 14 1/2 cherry shadow-box frame.

The skill and patience required to produce this type of art is amazing, and I'm grateful to be the recipient of such a lovely gift.

This is the written paperwork that came from the artist:  "Paper Toile probably gets the vote for the most diverse, yet most realistic form of art.  An art form for over 200 years, Paper Toile is highly prized for its total uniqueness.  Several prints of the same 80 pound paper picture are painstakingly cut by hand using exacto knives and artful skill.  Artisans know of the costly expense and consumption of time required to master an image.  They must have knowledge of cutting as well as what to cut, what to keep, what to throw away, and how to glue, block, shape, and form.  Through determination, persistence, skill and great cost, we, as a group of artisans, have created an opportunity for you to be a proud owner of one of our handcrafted works of art.  By purchasing our prints, glass, matting, wood and other essentials in magnum quantities, plus doing all the work ourselves, it enables you to enjoy the realism and uniqueness that this fine art has to offer.  In the world of art, Paper Toile in all respects, is art that really stands out."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

An "April Showers Bring May Flowers" Tea

On Saturday, April 12th two friends and I traveled to East Lansing to attend another of Cristy Bennett's tea parties [this was the 13th tea party of Cristy's that I've attended]. It featured flowers, butterflies and parasols.  As always, it was lovely!

 ~ Tablescape Photos ~

The personalized menu card, floral arrangement, and bag of chocolates were our favors to take home.

Now for a little tour around Cristy's home which is decorated to carry out the theme.

This one place setting is where Cristy's husband, David, sits.

The tea began with a glass of  Sparkling Cherry Juice.

We were served Goji Berry Green Tea throughout the meal.  The first course was chilled Raspberry Soup with a Raspberry Pinwheel Scone.

The second course was Springtime Spinach Quiche; Three-Veggie Salad on a Pita Petal; and a refreshing Raspberry Gelatin Fruit Salad.

The third course [dessert course] was a slice of Key Lime Raspberry Cheesecake. 

I've made my reservation for her next tea on June 14th - Royal Garden Promenade - an elegant, formal gardenscape.   I'll be sure to share to blog about it!