Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Tea-themed Shopping

A couple of weeks ago one of the members of the Facebook group, Afternoon Tea Across America, posted a picture of a Steinbach nutcracker holding a tea tray with a blue and white teapot, sugar bowl, three cups and three plates that she bought at Tuesday Morning.  He's 15 inches in height.

I did a program on Steinbach nutcrackers, so I was very familiar with them.  They are said to be the world's best hand-carved nutcrackers for over 200 years.  The Germany company was founded by Herr Christian Steinbach, and the company is still going strong six generations later. 

The day after Daphne's post I stopped by the Tuesday Morning store near my house.  They had several nutcrackers, but not the one with the tea tray.  There are four Tuesday Morning stores in suburban Detroit, so I called two to no avail, and couldn't get through to the fourth store.

Daphne kindly provided Tuesday Morning's product line phone number and the SKU number.  I was told the Bloomfield Hills store [the one I hadn't been able to connect with] had one.  I happily drove the 25 miles and the nutcracker is now mine!  It's a Christmas present to me, from me!  ;-)  It retails for $120, but Tuesday Morning's price was $59.99.

He's the second tea-themed nutcracker I own, but my other one isn't a quality Steinbach, although I think he's a knockoff of a 1997 Steinbach.

[My Knockoff]

Steinbach Mad Hatter which currently sells for $374.99 - waaay beyond my budget!

According to German folklore, Steinbach nutcrackers were given as keepsakes to bring good luck, and to protect homes from evil spirits and danger - like a trusty watchdog.  They became popular and collectible in the United States in the 1950's after many of the GI's who were stationed in Germany during WWII brought them home after the war.

I also bought three pair of tea-themed socks to keep my feet warm this winter [all from different sources] and a couple of pair for gifts.

Lastly, I ordered a Sandy Clough two-year purse calendar for me and two of my girlfriends.

I purchased a few small things for the youngest grandchildren that I won't wrap, but will give them on Christmas Eve to keep them occupied until it's time to open presents.

I didn't know they still made pick up sticks.  Remember the colored plastic sticks that used to come in cardboard cylinder containers popular decades ago?

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  I haven't been able to find any tea-themed boxed Christmas cards this year.  If you have, please share the source.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Friends Who Came to Tea!

When I left for work this morning I anticipated 7 guests for tea.  When I arrived at the restaurant, I discovered 19 guests were coming.  I had to get myself into high gear, but everything worked out fine.  

Cristy Bennett, the lady who does the phenomenal teas in East Lansing that I blog about, had e-mailed me a while ago to tell me she and her husband David had made reservations for today.  I was looking forward to seeing them, and was delighted they brought Cristy's sweet mother, Lila, too.  It was a pleasure to serve Cristy, since she's usually the one serving me.

My girlfriend, Lori, and I will be attending Cristy's Celtic Christmas Tea on December 1st. I'll be sure to blog about it.

Annual Christmas Tea at The Whitney

Whitney's Fourth Annual Christmas Tea will be held on Saturday, December 22, 2018 from 12:00 - 2:30 p.m.

It will be hosted by Mary Jones of Intu Tea [the restaurant's tea purveyor].  The event will include live holiday music, a very special Christmas menu, special guests, and presents.

Tickets are $75 per person and are available through eventbrite.

Seating is limited, so don't delay.  Any local readers who attend, please make yourself known to me.  

*  *  *

As promised in my last post, a tour of the mansion to see the Christmas decorations in several of the rooms [I didn't go up to the third floor for pictures].  It's definitely beginning to look a lot like Christmas at The Whitney!

~ Grand Hallway Fireplace Mantel ~

~ Reception Room Mantel and Christmas Tree ~

~ Drawing Room Mantel and Christmas Tree ~

~ Formal Dining Room Mantel and Christmas Tree ~

~ Library Mantel and Christmas Tree ~

~ The Study Mantel and Christmas Tree ~

The music room wasn't decorated yet, so we'll ascend the Grand Staircase to the second floor.  Those are the 16 steps [plus 10 more next to them] that I climb multiple times every time I go to work.  Love the exercise!  ;-)

~ Mantel in Mr. Whitney's Bedroom and Christmas Tree ~

~ Mantel in Mrs. Whitney's Bedroom and Christmas Tree ~

~ Mantel in Mrs. Whitney's Sitting Room and Christmas Tree ~

Mantel in daughter's bedroom - either Flora Ann's or Katherine's, we don't know which, and Christmas Tree.

As with anything, the decorations are much prettier in person, but for readers who can't visit the Whitney a photo tour is the next best thing.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Mother / Son Lunch Date

Today should have been a work day, but I didn't know there were four Afternoon Tea reservations when I went home yesterday, so I thought I had the day off.

My son, Steve, has never been to The Whitney, and has been wanting to visit.  Today was a light day for him, and since I thought I had the day off we decided it was the perfect time to go to lunch there.

We were seated in the Library, and Paul was our server.  I ordered African Nectar Rooibos herbal tea to go with my meal.

Paul brought each of us a shot glass of hot Maple flavored Apple Cider garnished with fresh diced Apples.  Yum!

Steve ordered Calamari as an appetizer.  He said it was the best Calamari he ever had.

His entree was Shrimp and Grits with Cajun Andouille Sausage.  

I've been very diligent about sticking with the diet to correct a health issue, so I ordered a grilled Cauliflower Steak with grilled Asparagus and Baby Carrots with a Black Bean Burger.  It was not only healthy, but delicious.  I came home looking for a Black Bean Burger recipe on the Internet, and found one I'm anxious to try.

Dessert for Steve was a Key Lime filling in a White Chocolate Cup.

My kids and their spouses have all created Bitmojis for themselves, but that's beyond my technological skills, so during lunch Steve created a Bitmoji for me - albeit a 30 year younger version of me.  ;-)  Have you created a Bitmoji of yourself?

After lunch, I took Steve on a quick tour of the mansion.  It's decked out in Christmas splendor right now, with a Christmas tree in every room, and all 22 mantels decorated. Below is the fireplace in the Great Hall.  I took some pictures on Wednesday to accompany an e-mail I'll be sending out about The Whitney's Christmas Tea next month, and this pic was one of them.

I'll take you on a Christmas tour of the mansion in my next post.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Parade Company, Part II

They have about 180 paper mache heads that were made in Viareggio, Italy.  Some of them are 50-60 years old.

~ Actual parade photo. ~

Sharon let Jerry put on a Raggedy Ann head, and then she took our picture.  Jerry was surprised how lightweight the head was - about 5 lbs.

Tom Selleck and Aretha Franklin.  They will be honoring Aretha in this year's parade.

~ Aretha was the parade's Grand Marshal in 1990 ~

Tom Selleck posed with his "Big Head."

This will be Rosie the Riveter's first year.  Behind her to the right is famed Detroit Red Wings hockey player, Gordie Howe.

~ Henry Ford ~

I took pictures of many other heads, but because of space won't post all of them.

~ Paper Mache Ducks ~

~ Parade Photo ~

~ Motown Float ~

~ Jazz Float with Billie Holiday ~

Wayne State University's huge float commemorating their 150th birthday.  It's one of the new floats this year.

The 'Super Hero' is 26 ft. tall and the float's name is "Warrior Strong".

My favorite new float is by Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield.  It depicts wellness with a large cup of tea, along with fruits and vegetables.  I couldn't resist having my picture made by the jumbo Styrofoam teacup!

The most important float of all will be Santa in his sleigh pulled by his reindeers.

~ Sesame Street Characters ~

~ Wise Old Owl ~

The tour ended with Sharon taking us into the sewing department where the costumes are made.  Over 3,000 costumes are stored at the studio.

The lady in the photo below has been sewing parade costumes for over 30 years.

Hudson's department store stopped sponsoring the parade in 1979.  Art Van saved the parade in 1990 by becoming the sponsor, and the furniture store is still the sponsor even though Art Van died and the store has new owners.

It was a wonderful tour and I highly recommend it for local readers.   For those who aren't local, I hope you enjoyed taking the tour vicariously.