Yesterday I woke up thinking about my middle child, Steve. 51 years ago on that day, the Lord blessed us with his life, and it hardly seems possible the years have passed so swiftly. In the photo below I was holding 8 lbs. of happiness and joy. I can't physically hold him in my arms anymore, but he still brings us happiness and joy.
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Monday, October 26, 2020
Last Friday I received an e-mail from Dianne, one of my blog readers from Canada. She attached a photo of a treasured silver-plate 'spooner' she inherited from her mother.
Dianne read my post about teapoys and wondered if I had any information about her lovely piece of tea equipage. Her mom always called it a 'spooner' and kept it well-polished, and in pristine condition in her china cabinet.
I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon/evening trying to research them, but there is very little written about them on the Internet. They go by various names including: Master Sugar Spooner; Spooner Sugar Bowl; and Covered Sugar Bowl/Spooner.
To muddy the waters further, 'spooners' were more commonly known as glass vase-like containers that held teaspoons, and were kept on the table for easy access whenever a teaspoon was needed. One reference said some Victorian hostesses who weren't financially endowed, and didn't have enough teaspoons to put at each place setting, assembled what she had and put them into a glass spooner and set them on the table for use. Some spooners had handles on the sides, and some didn't as shown below.
Victorians loved having serving accessories for everything, so a glass spooner is very easy to confuse with a celery vase. They almost look like they could be interchangeable. Below is my mother's spooner.
There were also rectangular or oval porcelain dishes that were made for serving celery. Gotta love the Victorians for all their table accessories!
Back to silver sugar spooners... They were made in sterling silver, but most vintage ones for resale on the Internet today are silver-plated with a bird finial.
Imported luxuries - which sugar at one time was - required decorative containers. Refined white sugar was a symbol of status, wealth, power, and self-indulgence. S0 a combination sugar bowl and spoon rack made of silver was an optimal way of containing the luxury as well as being a beautiful piece on a properly appointed tea table. Silver flashed a beautiful message of hospitality with intentional implications of status and prosperity. One author referred to it as "Putting a Formal Shine on Teatime." Another called it "Dining in Splendor." Much more recently Alda Ellis said, "Silver is the table's jewelry."
Silversmiths lavished their artistry on every element of tea equipage, and Victorians saw spooners as a necessary tea [and coffee] serving accessory. Manufacturing of them began to decline in the 1920's and they went out of popularity after WWII when it became tiring and boring to keep them polished and shining brightly. I enjoy using silver serving pieces and don't mind polishing them. Do you use silver pieces at teatime?
For a time sugar spooners were misidentified as jam dishes and were used to serve jam at tea time or with the mealtime dessert course.
This is the extent of what I could find out via my personal library on tea equipage as well as the Internet. Surprisingly [and regrettably], there's not a lot of information available about them. If you have additional information about silver spooners to add to this post it would be most welcomed.
Friday, October 23, 2020
A couple of days ago I went to Partridge Creek, an upscale outdoor mall in Clinton Township, about 10 miles from my house. Whenever I go there it's usually to Chico's, P.F. Chang's or Sur la table, which sadly closed this spring. I'm hoping their other location at Somerset Mall is still open since I have gift cards to spend.
It was a lovely day for walking around Partridge Creek, and I discovered a new tea shop.
I went to The Henry Ford website for details, and unfortunately admission tickets are sold out for this weekend and next, but thanks for the heads-up, Laura.
You could accurately say it was a tea-lightful day!
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
I'm looking for a vintage buffet/sideboard to antique and put on a long wall in my family room for all my table linens. Currently they're stored in four different places and I'd like to have them all together. In searching for the buffet/sideboard I went to Facebook's Marketplace. Have you ever shopped there? I haven't found the right one to bring home yet, but I did find a like-new Farberware 36-cup stainless steel urn.
I use my own urns at The Whitney because I don't want to brew tea in a vessel that was preceded by coffee. Yuck! I have four Farberware urns already [I love them!]. We've got a Halloween Tea coming up on Oct. 31st where I'll be serving three different teas, so another urn will be great.
On Monday, my hubby and I drove out to the small rural-like community of Leonard, Mi [about 32 miles away] to purchase the urn for $40 - a good price considering they're over $100 new. We enjoyed the beautiful fall scenery along the way, including pumpkin patches. Did you know Michigan ranks fourth in the US in pumpkin production? I do my part to bolster pumpkin sales by putting 1/4 c. pureed pumpkin in my oatmeal every single morning. I'd have a hard time eating oatmeal now without it. It's yummy and healthy - rich in Vitamin A.
I'm looking forward to sitting down with the two newest publications I received from Hoffman Media over a cup of tea. Can you believe the Christmas issue of Teatime magazine is out! While I hate to think of it, Christmas is right around the corner!
Speaking of sales... I had two $50 gift cards for Chico's, and I'd been receiving e-mails from them highlighting flash sales, so I decided to make some online purchases. I'm very pleased with what I got. I wore this leopard print jacket to work last Saturday.
While in Sam's Club yesterday I found a warm fleece Eddie Bauer hoodie jacket and long sleeve tee to wear at home this winter. The two together came to only $25. They were out of the pants in my size, so I'm off to another Sam's Club as soon as I finish this post. Hopefully I'll find them. I get so cold in the winter months [can't convince hubby to put the thermostat above 70 degrees], so this ensemble will keep me nice and comfy.
Saturday, October 17, 2020
The day kind of snuck up on Jerry and me this year. I didn't realize its arrival until I went to the grocery store yesterday [Friday] and saw the floral displays. Jerry's a fan of dark chocolate so I got him Sea Salt Almond Bark and Sea Salt Caramels. He got me flowers.
I was curious about the origin of Sweetest Day, so I looked it up. It is not a second Valentine's Day. It began in Cleveland, Ohio in 1922 when Herbert Birch Kingston decided to bring a little happiness into the lives of orphans, shut-ins and others who were often forgotten. With the help of friends, he distributed candy and small gifts to Cleveland's underprivileged.
American Greeting Card Co. said people from Northeast Ohio have been taking the holiday with them when they move to other parts of the country, but Ohio is still the top state for Sweetest Day sales, followed by Michigan and Illinois. Texas, California and Florida are also among the top ten. It is always celebrated on the third Saturday in October. [Incidentally, Boss's Day preceded it by one day on Oct. 16th.]
My Aunt's grandson drove up from Nashville, Tennessee area to spend some time with her this week. He'll be going home tomorrow, but he posted this beautiful picture on Facebook holding his Nannie's hand. It just seemed appropriate for Sweetest Day.
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
COVID-19 has changed the way we do many things. Virtual meetings have replaced 'in-person' ones. Such is the case with the three-day Tea Summit sponsored by World Tea Conference/Expo and Questex Hospitality. I recently received an e-mail inviting me to register for the summit free of charge, so I did.
Monday was the first day of five sessions with informative speakers, and it continued yesterday and will conclude today. I have enjoyed it immensely. Approximately 2,000 people are attending from around the world, so the sponsors are very pleased with the response and success.
Matcha Organic Japan is a group of tea farms in the village of Nabeshima in Shizuoka, Japan that came together to form a cooperative. Matcha [or Tencha as it's called before the leaves are ground] needs to be grown in the shade and requires a lot more effort than other teas. The tea is organic and is not grown with pesticides or herbicides. The founder of the company was the 4th presenter on Monday, and showed how to prepare Matcha [quantity, water temp., whisking, etc].
I have a Japanese Tea Ceremony gift set that contains a chawan [tea bowl] and chasen [whisk], but I put it in such a safe place, I couldn't find it to prepare my tea sample for Happy Hour on Monday! Even without proper whisking, it was still delicious.
We learned that tea consumption is up during COVID-19 for health purposes as well as comfort. And Millennials lead tea demographics with 87%, and Baby Boomers close behind at 80%.
Yesterday's summit began at 2:00 o'clock and the first presenter was Sebastian Michaelis, Head of Tea at Tata Consumer Products [home of Tetley Tea]. Tata is the second largest tea packer in the world. As a professional tea taster, Sebastian was incredibly interesting and I enjoyed his presentation very much. Did you know your taste buds are more astute in the morning, and they regenerate every two weeks?
As mentioned in my last post, my 93-year-old maternal aunt is dying of cancer, and I decided I should visit her yesterday while she's still alert. The cancer is spreading rapidly [it's now in her lungs as well as liver and bones] and she's very frail. I'm not a tower of strength when it comes to these kinds of situations, and I was really concerned about keeping my emotions in check while in her presence. But I needn't have worried, because she was happy, smiling and upbeat the entire time I was there and her mood was contagious. She's the perfect example of what every Christian should strive to be like during their last days on earth. We sang hymns together and had the best visit. If this is what's meant by "dying grace" then it's what I want when my time comes - perfect peace, perfect rest, no worries or fears - just ready to meet Jesus. She's always been a big tea drinker, and I'd like to give some credit to the calming virtues of tea, but in reality it's all about her personal relationship with Jesus Christ and knowing she's ready to spend eternity with Him.
It's time to get ready for day 3 of the virtual tea summit, so I'll sign off for now with wishes that all my readers have a wonderful day!
Thursday, October 8, 2020
I hope you're enjoying the month of October so far. We are having beautiful fall weather in Michigan this week - temps in high 60's - low 70's with beautiful blue skies.
Last Sunday my hubby and I traveled to Ann Arbor/Chelsea to attend church with Jeremy and Samantha and the kids, and then we all went out to dinner afterwards for a belated birthday celebration for Izzy and Jeremy. They chose a Mexican restaurant, Los Tres Amigos.
On Tuesday I had my life-long girlfriend and her husband for dinner before their move to Florida later this month. I had hoped to invite a small group of classmates for the get-together, but with COVID-19 they were afraid to venture out. We actually had a better opportunity to visit with just the four of us.
When I was putting my menu together I was thinking fall and Oktoberfest [my girlfriend is of German descent]. Below is a picture of my tablescape.
After dinner we looked at my Shutterfly albums from grade school, junior high, and high school because they were in all three. It was a fun walk down memory lane. How blessed we are that our friendship has continued throughout all these years.