Sunday, July 21, 2019

Lori's Birthday Teas - Part III

In 2011 the theme of the fifth tea party was The Sound of Music, and took us on an imaginary trip to Salzburg, Austria where the movie was filmed in 1965The invitation was a two-sided ticket.  

~ Front ~

~ Back ~

The centerpiece was a 1995 Maria Barbie doll, the main character in the movie.  I borrowed a rosary to lay by Maria's feet since she came from a convent.  Next to Maria was Austria's National flag, and a miniature beer stein.  

I made felt Edelweiss hats with individual names written on them as place cards, and the song, My Favorite Things, was the inspiration for the favors.  Swiss made Lindt Chocolate Truffle bars were wrapped in "brown paper packages tied up with strings."

~ Menu Card ~

"Let's start at the very beginning... a very good place to start..."
Tea - Hot Cranberry Autumn [black tea] and Iced Peach Apricot

Appetizer - Maria's Swiss Fondue in individual bread bowls.

 Scones - Liesl's Cranberry Scones and Jam

Soup - Captain Von Trapp's Potato Soup Garnished with Bacon Bits and Cheese

Main Entree - Friedrich's Marinated Pork Kabobs, Louisa's Spaetzle, and Marta's Sauerkraut

Dessert - "Crisp Apple Strudel" with Vanilla Ice Cream and Caramel Sauce 
[From the song, My Favorite Things]

Even though it wasn't an official menu item, I had to have a plate of jam and bread on the table from the song, Do-Re-Mi!

L-R:  Marissa, Ruth, Me, Lori, Betty and Tiffany

I tried to get a guitarist to come for a sing-a-long, but both my contacts had other commitments.  No problem, we still had the piano and two fabulous teachers to play it!   At the end of the afternoon it was "So Long... Farewell..."

*  *  *

2012's imaginary trip was to Prince Edward Island in the fictional village of Avonlea - the theme was Anne of Green Gables.   I had great fun with all the teas, but this 6th tea was probably my all-time favorite.

~ Invitation Cover ~

~ Inside ~

~ Menu Card ~

What fun making the place cards to resemble Anne's red braids and straw hat!

The favors were Trader Joe's Maple Leaf cookies [for Canada's National symbol, the Maple Leaf] and Werther's chocolate caramels since Anne told Marilla she dreamed that she had a lot of chocolate caramels, but always woke up just when she was going to eat them!  They were placed in green nylon drawstring bags!

I retired the keyboard dishes for this theme since pink roses were dominant in the tablescape.  Someday the keyboard dishes and tea set will be Lori's to have tea parties with her granddaughter's.

I ordered an Anne of Green Gables doll for the centerpiece and sat her on a slate board, since Anne broke her slate board over Gilbert's head at school!  The Anne doll has since been given to my granddaughter, Isabella.

Pink roses were significant since Anne thought roses were lovely, and pink was the most bewitching color in the world - even though she couldn't wear it with her red hair!

At 1:00 p.m. we sat down at the table to begin the tea with The Lord's Prayer, a rather unusual blessing, but that was the prayer Marilla gave Anne to memorize, and since it contains the line, "Give us this day our daily bread," it was fitting.

We had a toast to "Kindred Spirits" with "Bosom Friend Raspberry Cordial" - nobody got sick or tipsy like Diana Barry did!  ;-)

The tea was maple flavored black tea - both iced and hot.

The scones were savory and the soup was Corn Chowder.  Corn and Potatoes probably would have been grown on Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert's farm [main ingredients in the chowder], and potatoes are Prince Edward Island's primary cash crop.

More fun making the Anne Doll Salad!  Anne's hat was a cookie I decorated with a blue icing rim.  Underneath Anne's red leaf lettuce dress was a cold curried rice salad.

The salad was followed by Croque Monsieur [Ham and Cheese Croissant].  Anne might have eaten this at a fancy tea with Josephine Barry in Charlottetown.  ;-)

Dessert was Strawberry Tarts with "Sublime" [as Anne described it] Vanilla Ice Cream!

Tea Party Guests: L-R:  Ruth, Tiffany, Betty and Lori

I was going to conclude the birthday teas with this post, but because this is quite lengthy, I'll save the last tea - #7 - for tomorrow.  

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Lori's Birthday Teas - Part II

By the time the third tea came around [2009], I was into making invitations and a menu booklet to coordinate with the theme.

The menu booklet sat on an easel on the table surrounded by colored Mardi Gras beads and feather masks.  The booklet contained the history of Jackson Square in New Orleans, and how it was modeled after the famous Place des Vosges in Paris, France, information about New Orleans cuisine, and the tea party menu: Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo, Muffuletta Salad, Po' Boy Roast Beef Sandwiches, Beignets [in place of scones], Bananas Foster Bread Pudding w/Bananas Foster Sauce, and Iced Sweet Luzianne Tea and French Caramel Creme Brulee Hot Tea.

My inspiration for New Orleans was a chalk drawing of Lori when she was four years old.  We were vacationing in Louisiana and made a day trip there.  Local artists lined the black iron fence on the outside of Jackson Square in the French Quarter.  It was SO hot and humid that summer day, but Lori sat still while the artist drew her.  I framed it for the tea party and then sent it home with her afterwards.

I used luggage tags [for the imaginary trip to New Orleans] as the napkin ring, place card, and favor.

I also attached a musical charm to the handle of the teacup for everyone to take home.

The only food item I got a picture of was the Beignets, and that's because I took it before the tea party started.

Lori's two daughters, Tiffany and Marissa attended the tea party along with Ruth and Betty. Betty arrived a bit later so she's not in this photo.

2010 was a Parisian Musical Par-Tea
~ Invitation Cover and Menu Card below ~

An Eiffel Tower trimmed with pink flowers was the centerpiece, along with black and white Eiffel tower candle holders.  I dusted the rims of champagne flutes in pink sugar for our beginning toast of Sence Rose Nectar and Sparkling White Jasmine Tea.  In the photo below you'll notice a teacup with a brulee spoon sitting on top, and a brandy warmer next to it.  That was for our flaming oolong tea served just before dessert.  The hot tea throughout the meal was Mariage Freres Earl Grey Silver Tips, and the iced tea was French Caramel Creme Brulee.

Silk rose petals were sprinkled on the table top.

Regrettably, I didn't take any photos of the food at this tea either.  We began with Soupe A L'Oignon [French Onion], Cream Scones with Blackberry Jam, and our main entree was Ouiche Lorraine [recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking book.  It was SO good!].  Our cheese course consisted of Le Roule w/Herbs and Toasted Walnuts, Brie on a Baguette with Fig Spread, and Emmental with Champagne Grapes.  Dessert was Eclairs and Madelines.

Along with Ruth, Betty, Tiffany, and Marissa, Melissa, a Pediatrician at the Children's Clinic where Lori works also came.

Three more teas will follow in another post to finish up Lori's birthday teas.  I'm signing off now to go up to the hospital to see Lori.  She had knee replacement surgery this morning. My hubby and I were there at 6:30 a.m. to be with her before surgery, and I just got a text that she's out of recovery and in her own room now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Special Guests for Afternoon Tea

My daughter was blessed to take piano lessons from two lovely, talented ladies when she was growing up.  If you've followed my blog for any length of time you'll remember that when Lori turned 40 I wanted to do something special to celebrate her milestone birthday.  One day she casually mentioned that she hadn't seen Ruth and Betty for a long time, and it would be so nice to see them again.  That was my inspiration for hosting a surprise birthday tea party with both teachers present.   

That party was in 2007!  My, how time flies!  The tea parties turned into annual events thru 2013.  In 2014 my mother was in hospice at the time of Lori's birthday so I didn't have a tea party that year. Four years have lapsed now since we've celebrated Lori's birthday over tea.  But I recently received a phone call from Ruth saying she and Betty wanted to come to The Whitney for tea.  I was so glad to see them last Thursday, and so honored to be able to serve them tea again.  They're such special ladies!

Ruth [left] taught Lori in her elementary school years, and Betty [right] taught her when she was in middle school and 10th grade.

The Whitney has a baby grand piano in the Great Hall, so when Afternoon Tea was finished I got permission for each of them play something. Mr. Whitney had two daughters who were accomplished pianists, so if his spirit still inhabits the mansion [as has been said ;-)] he surely would have enjoyed their playing.

Just for fun I'm sharing photos from Lori's past birthday teas.  Maybe I'll be inspired to get back in the groove and host one for her birthday this year!  

2007's tea was rather basic, but they progressed into something nicer each year.  The theme for Lori's 40th birthday was a Black and White Music Tea.  

The centerpiece was a baby grand piano music box [a gift to Lori from me] and a picture of her playing a baby grand piano at her first piano recital [second grade].

A "Warm Welcome" Cinnamon Roll began the tea party in place of scones.  I ordered special keyboard china for the occasion, and made musical placemats.

 Rhapsody Strawberry Soup.  Hot and iced tea was served throughout the meal. 

~ Sonata Bartlett Pear Salad with Sugared Walnuts and Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing ~

Savories:  12:00 o'clock position - Steinway Key [Turkey, Cheese & Olive Tapenade], Opus Sandwich [Carrot &  Pineapple], Treble Clef Stuffed Tomato, and Concerto Sandwich [Curried Egg Salad]. 

~ Symphony Brownies garnished with White Chocolate Musical Notes ~

~ 2008 was a musical theme too, but with a different tablescape than 2007 ~

I purchased a musical teapot, sugar, creamer and teacups for this tea party.

~ Lavender Cheese and Crackers ~

~ Coconut Scones ~

~ Tomato Dill Bisque Soup with Teapot Crouton ~

~ Fruit Bouquet Salad ~

~ Jasmine Green Tea Sorbet ~
[Palate Cleanser before Main Course] 

Steinway Key Sandwich, Curried Egg Salad Sandwich, Avocado Salad w/Sesame Green Tea Vinaigrette, and BBQ Shrimp on Creamy Grits.  [I must have really liked the sandwiches in 2007 to repeat them again in 2008!]

Desserts:  Shortbread Lemon Square, Earl Grey Chocolate Truffle, and Pecan Tassie.

After our tea meal we went into the living room where Ruth and Betty played the piano and Lori sang [after some coaxing], "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" - a favorite religious song of hers.

~ The two piano teachers playing a duet ~

~ Lori ~

The theme for 2009 tea was "All That Jazz", and we traveled vicariously to New Orleans.  Since this post is already quite long I'll continue the teas in a subsequent post.