Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Cristy Bennett's Grand Finale

Last Saturday my girlfriend, Lori, and I traveled to East Lansing to attend Cristy Bennett's last theme tea.  It was a bittersweet day, and an emotional one for Cristy.  She's been doing teas since 2011.  They've all been incredible labors of love, with one topping the other. Nobody does tablescapes like Cristy!  I forget the total number of teas she said she's done [I know I missed a few], but I've attended 28 with great pleasure. 

Saturday was a beautiful day for travel, and Cristy's home welcomed us from the curb.

~ Front Porch ~

This final tea was in honor of Queen Elizabeth II, and was a red, white, and blue tea.

As usual I was a shutterbug and tried to capture everything.  This was the beautiful British tablescape.

The first floor of her home is decorated in the theme.

~ Wall decal ~

Queen Elizabeth tea cozy Cristy ordered from England.

Cristy showing us the details of the cozy from the back.

You can't see it in the photo, but the Queen is even holding a teacup in her hand.

Shelf next to the tea cozy on the antique secretary.

Quilted wall hanging that Cristy had made for the tea.

~ Cristy's antique buffet ~

~ Union Jack Flag below buffet ~

Lori and I donned our red, white, and blue in honor of our country on this side of the pond, but we're fond of our 'Mother Country' too, and have been blessed to visit England three times.

~ More beautiful tablescape photos ~

Gold edible crowns decorated the sugar bowl!

~ My place setting ~

Menu card that we got to take home along with our individual bouquets of flowers, place card, and white lace purse filled with Dove chocolates.  The Queen does love her purse!  ;-)

As always, David [Cristy's husband], distributed warm, moistened hand cloths for us to freshen our hands before the tea began.  Then Cristy led in a toast with chilled Sparkling Cherry Juice.  We drank Twining's Darjeeling black tea throughout the event - Queen Elizabeth's favorite afternoon tea.

Chilled Blueberry Soup with a Dried Cherry-Almond Pinwheel Scone

Red, White, and Blue Chicken Salad, Cheddar-Parmesan Cheese Crown, and Bacon-Lettuce & Tomato Pop.

~ Dessert was a delicious slice of Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Tart ~

 ~ A few photos of Cristy's decorated Dining Room ~

The Queen would have been proud being honored in such a special way!

Here's the special couple who have opened their home to so many.  Thank you, Cristy and David for providing us with many beautiful tea times and wonderful memories.  What a great ending!  Elizabeth II is the Queen of England, but Cristy is the Queen of Teas!

In my next post I hope to put links to all the teas Cristy has hosted so you'll be able to view them easily without having to search through seven years of posts.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Lori's Birthday Teas - Conclusion

Lori's 7th birthday tea, and the last one I hosted, was in 2013.  The theme was Gone with the Wind.  I wish I knew then what I know now, because I could have been more creative.  I visited the Gone with the Wind Museum in Marietta, Georgia in May 2018, and have a couple of theme cookbooks and additional memorabilia now.

Invitation Cover


Menu Card

I used Rhett and Scarlett commemorative plates as part of the tablescape.

Gold tassels as napkin rings represented the tie-backs on the green velvet drapes/portieres that Scarlett ripped from the window to make the dress she wore to visit Rhett in jail to seek his financial assistance.

Favors were a four leaf clover charm since the O'Hara family was Irish.

Hot tea was Irish Cream [Black Tea]
and Iced Tea was  Sweet Georgia Peach 
Scones were Emerald Isle Cream Scones with White Chocolate Chips and Peach Preserves. 

 Scarlett's Carrot Soup with Cheese Wafers [Lady Bird Johnson's recipe]

I chose savories that I thought might have been eaten at the barbecue Scarlett attended at Twelve Oaks:  Barbecue Sandwiches with Coleslaw, Melanie's Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, Ashley's Sweet Potato Angel Biscuits with Country Ham, and a Deviled Egg.  In the little glass cup was a Georgia Peanut Salad.

~ Dessert was Rhett's Praline Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce ~

We played a fun Gone with the Wind Quiz after we ate.  One of the questions was:  The liquor used in making Gone with the Wind was really what?  [a] Tea  [b] Cold weak coffee or [c] plain water died brown.  The answer [a] tea.

Unfortunately, Betty had fallen and suffered a serious injury so she wasn't able to join us at this tea party but Ruth was there, along with Tiffany, and Lori's pediatrician doctor friend, Melissa.

I bought the scrapbook album pictured below to put all the tea party pictures in for Lori, but as yet it's a project waiting to happen!

If I can get my act together between my job and a tea I've scheduled at church on September 7th, I'd love to host another tea party this year. A Downton Abbey theme would be fun.  Lori and I both loved the Downton Abbey PBS Series, and we visited Highclere Castle in 2015.  It would be great to have the tea party right before the Downton Abbey film is released on September 20th.  I saw there's an 'official' Downton Abbey cookbook that will be released in September too, but I think I can pull off a theme menu without it since I already have several Downton Abbey cookbooks.  My mind is swirling with ideas.  I'll keep you posted.   

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.