Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween

I began my morning with a bowl of Pumpkin Oatmeal and a cup of Genmaicha [Japanese green tea with roasted brown rice].  Yum!

Then I switched over to a cup of Cinnamon Chai to go with a slice of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread that I made last night.  I'm taking three loaves to work today to share with coworkers.

Have a bewitching day!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

50th Birthday Celebration

Sunday was a non-stop day beginning with church, then going to Shore Pointe Assisted Living to give a presentation at the resident's monthly tea party.  My topic was the Fashions & Accessories of Downton Abbey.  

I shared three of the fashion houses that the Crawley women [and other real-life ladies] would have purchased their high-end garments from:  The House of Worth - Charles Frederick Worth is considered by many to be the father of haute couture.  Lady Sybil liked the designs of Paul Poiret - the French designer who American women called "The King of Fashion". Among his creations are the harem pants that Lady Sybil wore.  And lastly, Madame Lucile or Lady Duff Gordon.

We talked about jewelry [the choker/dog collar necklace that Queen Mary always wore], sautoirs [long single strand necklaces], and, of course, tiaras.  Hats [mainly cloche and wide brimmed], gloves, purses, shoes, hand fans, and undergarments.  Corsets evoked the largest response from the residents - they all remembered the restrictive corsets their mothers wore.

Regrettably, I didn't take a single picture, and the facility was decorated so beautifully for fall.

My hubby doesn't usually go to my presentations, but immediately following Sunday's program we left for Marysville, MI to meet-up with our family to celebrate our son, Steve's, 50th birthday.  

We were the first to arrive at River Crab / Blue Water Inn on the St. Clair River.   It's a very nice restaurant and the place Steve chose when we took him and Sharon out for their 25th Wedding Anniversary.

There were 13 of us - the only ones missing were Lori's three children [now adults with families and activities of their own].  We enjoyed a wonderful evening together, and I'm overwhelmed with how quickly 50 years have sped by.  I clearly remember the night Steve was born, and am so thankful for his life.

~ Lori and Dave ~

~ Landon, Jeremy and Steve ~

~ Steve and Sharon ~

~ Sharon and Brianna ~

~ Ellie, Samantha, Brooke and Izzy ~ 

~ Dad and Mom ~

I'm so blessed with the family God has given me!   Jerry left a while ago for Chelsea to attend Landon's last football game of the season.  I stayed behind - still in recuperation mode but I'm making progress.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Lucille Ball Presentation

I'm feeling a bit under the weather today after a whirlwind weekend, but I got through it and that's what's important.  Thankfully I'm off work today and can rest up.

The Lucille Ball presentation for the Friends of the Warren Library last Saturday went well. They told me on Friday night that they had extended the count to 140 attendees - mostly women but there were a half-dozen or so men present who were Lucy fans.  It's incredible that 30 years after her death she is still hugely popular.

The event was held in the cafeteria of the Warren Community Center [former Warren Consolidated High School that closed in 1992].

Photo below shows just one section of the cafeteria.  It was filled with attentive and responsive attendees.   Tea and sweets were served.

I don't have a large collection of I Love Lucy memorabilia.  If I keep getting requests to speak about her I'll have to work on increasing it. I especially wanted the I Love Lucy television teapot, but that was for my tea passion.    Lucy wasn't a tea drinker - coffee was always in her cup.

I prayed I'd get through my presentation without coughing, and I only had to stop once to take a sip of warm tea and put a cough drop in my mouth, and then I was good to go.   It was a 50-minute program.

My sweet girlfriend, Lori, surprised me and came even though she's heard me talk about Lucy once before.

Lynn Anderson, a local fashion curator and collector of vintage clothing, came dressed as Lucy with her bottle of 'Vitameatavegamin' from the Season 1 [1952] episode 'Lucy does a TV Commercial.'  Her girlfriend, Rose Anne was Ethel.

We didn't get to take pictures of all the memorabilia that attendees brought but we got some.

This couple drove 3 hours - from St. Joseph, MI on the western side of the state.  Now that's really a Lucy fan!  She had her I Love Lucy purse that her hubby bought her, and she said he was a fan first, and then got her hooked on Lucy.

There were children present who watch the I Love Lucy reruns [or DVD's]. A new generation of Lucy fans.  One attendee told me her mother came to live with them from Italy in the 1950's.  She didn't speak a word of English, yet she loved watching I Love Lucy.

It was a fun day and Sunday was another presentation on an entirely different subject.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Family Highlights and More

My blog is primarily about tea but every now and again I share highlights about my family.  Last Sunday we went to our youngest son's church in Ann Arbor.  It's a large non-denominational church called 2/42 Community Church - based on Acts 2:42-47.  They have four services every Sunday morning, and we attended the 11:00 o'clock service.

We arrived early before the 9:30 service had ended, so we waited in the large foyer for our family to arrive.  There were coffee bars situated around the foyer and I spotted a tea display for those who aren't into coffee.  Nice for tea lovers to be thought about.  ;-)

The reason for our visit was Isabella and Landon [our grandchildren] were going to be baptized at the conclusion of the service and Jeremy [their dad/our son] was privileged to do it.  Izzy went first, followed by Landon.

What a joy to see them publicly proclaim their faith in Christ and their desire to live a life pleasing to Him. Our other son, Steve [who is a pastor], participated in a grief share service recently for high school students in his community when a 9th grader committed suicide. How sad someone so young had no hope and felt life wasn't worth living.  I'm so thankful my grandchildren know the Giver of life and the hope He brings.

We enjoyed a fun day at their house after church.  Izzy is a 9th grader and attended her first Homecoming dance recently.

Here she is with her mom [Samantha] and younger sister, Ellie.

Steve and Sharon's oldest daughter, Brianna, is home from Nashville until after Christmas and it's great to see her again.  She finished summer courses for her graduate studies, and will resume classes the first of the year.  She's studying to be a Christian counselor.  Below is a photo that was taken since she came home.  Bri is a tea lover so she has an extra soft spot in my heart.  ;-)

Brooke, her younger sister, is a senior in high school this year and below is one of her senior pictures.  Senior pictures sure have changed since I was in high school so many years ago! A lot more casual and true to life than oil portraits.

My hubby finished his 2019 GM retirees student corps job for this summer [teaching inner city kids life skills], so he turned his attention to a project for our daughter and son-in-law - building a fireplace surround for an electric fireplace heating unit they had.

My handyman with his project in the garage [his workshop] before it was delivered.

In Lori & Dave's family room.

They were quite pleased and said they've been enjoying it on these crisp fall nights.

I bought my first Christmas present last week and it arrived in the mail yesterday.  Now to be able to hold off until Christmas before giving it to her. [Lori only reads my blog randomly, so I think I'm safe in sharing it here.]  She was born at 11:11 a.m. and I can't tell you how many times I've looked at the clock when it said 11:11. When I saw this Luca & Danni bangle bracelet I had to get it for her.  Whenever 11:11 comes up on the clock, I don't make a wish [even though this is a 'make a wish' bracelet].  Instead I say a prayer that God will bless and watch over her wherever she is and whatever she's doing, or if I'm in a place where I can text her, I'll do that and tell her she's loved and I'm SO grateful God sent her into our lives. I'm thankful to be her mom.

Below is the view from my office window this morning looking into our backyard.  The maple tree leaves are falling, and Jerry will soon be raking them up marking the end of another fall season.  The tree on the left always drops its leaves before the one on the right.  For what it's worth... I'm not ready for cold weather!

This morning I decided to sample one of the Masters teas Adagio sent me awhile back - Ti Kuan Yin Oolong.  It was harvested in April 2019 so it's very fresh.

It's an oolong from the Fujian province of China.  It's tightly rolled and the notes say it's an extremely time-consuming tea to produce [over 12 distinct steps in processing].

The aroma was slightly vegetal at the onset, but I didn't pick up on the gentle collard greens or spinach taste until after it had sat in the cup for a couple of minutes.  It has a smooth, mild taste and with no astringency.  I didn't detect any toasted nutty or floral taste, but it's very good and produced a light golden color. It'll yield multiple steeps, so maybe a nutty or floral taste will come through then. Taste is very subjective and doesn't always match the descriptions, characteristics, or profiles attributed to it.

I have a busy weekend ahead - a Lucille Ball presentation on Saturday for the Friends of the Warren Library. They advertised in newspapers far and wide [it's a membership and fundraising campaign], and the event filled at 125 with a waiting list.  No pressure for Saturday's presentation, mind you, but everyone loves Lucy so how can I go wrong!  This will be my fifth presentation about her life, and I've written three different scripts.  I'm not going to reinvent the wheel for Saturday.  I've been reading thru all three scripts and will select the one I like best or will combine parts from all three.  

Sunday is my monthly presentation at the assisted living facility - Accessories of the 1912-1929 time period [Downton Abbey].  I did an abbreviated version for The Whitney Downton Abbey tea, but Sunday's presentation will be much more detailed because I'll have more time.  I thoroughly enjoyed this research.

So now you're up to date on all my latest happenings, and I hope I've made up for the fewer and farther between posts lately. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Postal Deliveries

The postman has been delivering some fun tea items to my door that I want to share with you.  

I was recently contacted by a sales rep from Adagio Teas asking if I'd like to try this year's Advent Tea Calendar.  I said, "Sure!"  I can't write any reviews yet because I won't begin sampling them until December 1st, but I've never had a tea from Adagio that I didn't like. The Advent Calendar arrived a couple of days ago.

Twenty-four days of delicious gourmet teas - a new variety each day to help make the Christmas Season merry, bright, and filled with good tea! It sells for $29 and has great customer reviews.  To read more about it click here.  What a fun gift for yourself and/or another tea lover - not that I'm trying to rush the season!  ;-)

I also recently ordered the Downton Abbey tea set from World Market, and it arrived this week too.  It's not fine china, but it's fun to have for a Downton Abbey tea party.  I love Lord Grantham's quote on the side of the teapot, "Golly gumdrops, what a turn up!" as well as the crown finial on the teapot and sugar bowl lids.  I think they're still in stock.  The teapot sells for $19.99 as well as the sugar and creamer.  I got mine for 30% off during their Friends and Family promotion.

Republic of Tea has the rights to Downton Abbey teas.  They created three new blends to coincide with the Downton Abbey movie:  Lord & Lady Grantham's Tea - a black tea with royal spices;  The Bates' Tea - premium plum pudding black tea; and Violet & Mary's Tea - caffeine-free ginger mint herbal tea.   They are individually priced at $12.50 in a Downton Abbey tin of 36 tea bags, or you can get them in a combo package.  World Market sells them, but I ordered mine directly from Republic of Tea.

And last, but certainly not least, a surprise package arrived from Texas from a friend and follower of my blog containing a tea towel with the picture of the angels that adorn the exterior of Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas.  Thanks so much, Frieda!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Double the Pleasure

With only two guests coming to Afternoon Tea at The Whitney today, I got the day off and my hubby and I went to see the Downton Abbey movie a second time.  The theater didn't precede the showing with a review of the six series as the advance showing did, but we didn't need it.  

After my research on Royal Tiaras, I recognized immediately the tiara Mary, Princess Royal, and Countess of Harewood [portrayed by Kate Phillips on left] wore in the film.  I glossed right over it the first time.

[Internet Photo]

She's wearing a replica of the Queen Mary Fringe Tiara made by Garrard in 1919 from a tiara [that doubled as a necklace] given to Queen Mary as a wedding present from Queen Victoria.  She gave it to the Queen Mother in 1936 and she loaned to Princess Elizabeth and Princess Anne on their wedding day. Just before Princess Elizabeth left for the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the tiara snapped and the court jeweler had to be rushed over for an emergency repair.

Much like the Kokoshnik tiara, it was designed to look like a fashionable Russian headdress with 47 diamond bars.  Queen Elizabeth, II inherited it upon her mother’s death in 2002.  

Four generations wearing the tiara.

[Internet Photo]

Princess Mary fascinated me because so little is ever mentioned about her.  I enjoyed reading about her life after seeing the movie.

As you can imagine, there were a lot of tea drinking scenes that took place in the movie.

When I went to see the Dressing Downton Exhibition at the Biltmore Estate in 2015, no pictures were allowed [as was permitted at the Winterthur Museum Exhibit], so I bought the costume book.

The book states the Crawley women, and other aristocratic women of their time, embraced haute couture.  They would have been attracted to the House of Worth, the foremost fashion house established by British designer, Charles Frederick Worth, headquartered in Paris, with a location in London.  

Lady Sybil was attracted to designer Paul Poiret who trained at the House of Worth before branching out on his own.  

In the Downton Abbey movie, Queen Mary's dresser said that she trained under Madame Lucile [Lady Duff-Gordon], the leading British fashion designer from 1893 to about 1922. She was an innovator of couture styles, opening her first shop in London in 1893.  She incorporated as "Lucile Ltd." in 1903 and her business expanded with salons in New York City in 1910, Paris in 1911, and Chicago in 1915, making it the first leading couture house with full-scale branches in three countries.  She was the first British-based designer to achieve international acclaim for a global couture brand.

Titanic buffs know she was a first class passenger on the ship along with her husband Cosmo Duff-Gordon, and her assistant.  They survived in Life Boat #1 with only 12 passengers on board. A lot of scandal surrounded their survival, but in the end they were exonerated. Currently I'm reading the book, The Dressmaker, a novel about her - fiction and fact mingled together and I'm enjoying it.

Have you seen the Downton Abbey movie yet?  Several articles have stated that because of its success a sequel is likely.  We can only hope!