Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gift Baskets for a Silent Auction

The Miss America Tea with Kirsten Haglund [2008 from Farmington, MI], is rapidly approaching - May 15, 2014.   This is a fundraiser for The Kirsten Haglund Foundation, which helps those who struggle with eating disorders often not covered by insurance.

As a committee member I volunteered to donate two baskets for the silent auction.  The themes of my two baskets were Tea Time and Hair Care.

It's hard to visualize all the items above fitting into one basket, but they did!   The basket contains two teas [Harney English Breakfast and Bigelow Constant Comment], a tin of brown sugar cubes, King Arthur Cherry Almond Scone Mix, Lemon Curd, Honey, three kinds of cookies, tea-themed beverage napkins, and a 5-pc. Herman-Dodge tea set.  I hope the bid is good, and the recipient has a happy tea time!

My beautician donated a $45 gift certificate for a hair cut, so I filled the basket in with a two-way mirror, professional brush, combs, hairspray and shampoo.

Baskets ready and waiting to be delivered to yesterday's committee meeting.

Our meeting was first, followed by lunch - Green and Red Pepper Soup.  Yum!

After lunch we assembled more gift baskets.

It was a productive afternoon with 20 baskets ready for the silent auction.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Special Tea for a Special Occasion

I love Amy Lawrence's teas at Afternoon to Remember Fine Tea and Gifts.  When Prince George was born she created a new tea blend in his honor, called Sweet Royal Delight.  The fine black tea is flavored with chocolate, butterscotch and caramel.

~ Delicious ~

I'll be serving Sweet Royal Delight tea at the 7th Annual Ladies' Spring Tea that I'm coordinating for my church on Saturday, May 10th.   While it's not a Mother's Day Tea per se, a lot of ladies will be bringing their mother since it's held the day before Mother's Day.  

This tea will suit the occasion perfectly.  Everyone loves the Duchess of Cambridge in her role as "mum" to sweet little Prince George!  By the way, it's Prince William and Kate's third wedding anniversary today.  How quickly three years have passed since all the tea parties that were hosted in honor of their wedding.

[Internet Photo from New Zealand Tour]

He is definitely a "Sweet Royal Delight!"

[Internet Photo from New Zealand Tour]

For local readers, there are still seats available for this tea.  The price is $20, which includes a delicious Chicken Piccata luncheon at the Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Shelby Township, MI. 

Janet Wedell will be presenting a fun and informative jewelry and scarf program that everyone is sure to enjoy.

I would love to have you join me!  E-mail me if you are interested in attending or would like more information.   The cut-off date for reservations is May 4th.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sampling Teas from Ocean of Tea

Ocean of Tea recently contacted me to ask if I'd like to sample some of their teas.  The company is based in Tempe, Arizona.  I selected two teas, Ti Kuan Yin Oolong, and Earl Grey Premium, and I sampled them yesterday.

The first tea I tasted was Ti Kuan Yin [which translates Iron Goddess of Mercy].  The package said the tea was hand-harvested from the Wu-Yi tea bush [the Wu-Yi mountains are the birth place of oolong tea], and made by traditional techniques developed in China's Fujian Province.

The leaves were tightly rolled before they were infused, and as you can see in the photo above, they expanded considerably after.  According to package instructions the tea yields 3-4 steepings.  I sampled two steepings.

The color was a light golden yellow.  The tea had a fresh, delicate vegetal taste with a hint of nuttyness.  I didn't detect a floral taste, but there was something I couldn't quite distinguish until I went to their website and read one taster's description of dried apricots.   I concurred, that was the hint of fruitness I tasted.  The tea was very smooth with no bitterness or astringency, and I enjoyed it very much.

The second tea I tasted was Earl Grey Premium.  It was less complex than the oolong, but definitely not lacking in taste and flavor.  Some Earl Grey teas are so overpowering with oil of bergamot, that they give the tea a bum rap.  But not this one.  It was perfectly balanced.  I could detect the presence of bergamot, but in a complimentary way, not at all intrusive.

This was my first experience with Ocean of Tea, and I highly recommend their teas and will order from them in the future.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Reflection...

[Internet Photo]

Do you remember the song in Disney's Mary Poppins musical, "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go a most delightful way"?  Sugar was the remedy for the unpleasant medicine.

We are constantly bombarded with unpleasant news occurring in our sin-sick world. It could be very discouraging if it weren't for the sweet presence of Jesus in our lives to provide peace and stability.  The Psalmist said, "O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him."  [Psalm 34:8 KJV]   Jesus is indeed life's best sweetener!

May God bless your week!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Visiting Henry Ford Museum

Yesterday my hubby and I were chaperons for our granddaughter, Isabella's, third grade trip to Henry Ford Museum.

Jerry and me waiting for the school buses to arrive...

And here they are!

Right photo L-R:  Zoe, Isabella, and their teacher.

~ Lunch time near the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile ~

~ The vintage diner price for tea was .05 cents ~

The display below piqued my interest.

Notice the tea kettles on the 1840 [left] and 1930 [right] stoves.

Below is a 1775-1780 folding camp bed that George Washington slept on as he toured the battlefields in New York and New England.  Notice his teapot on the floor near his bed. 

Jerry's first job in high school was a night manager at McDonald's, so we had to photograph the "Golden Arches."

Zoe and Izzy on the bus that African-American civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, was riding in 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, when she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger.

~ Amelia Earhart ~

~ Isabella ~

What a fun day!  There's something for everyone's interest at the museum.  The girls had fun in the two gift shops too.  ;-)

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