Friday, December 31, 2021

Last Day of 2021 - Sharing My Christmas Gifts

I'm enjoying a relaxing day at home today and thought I'd share my Christmas gifts before the season comes to an end, but I plan on leaving my decorations up a little while longer to enjoy. When do you take your decorations down?

My family was very good to me...  my opened gifts are the only ones still under the tree.

My hubby gave me a new Breville electric kettle.  The old one that I got in 2011 is still working, but he wanted me to have a new one handy whenever the old one decides to quit. He also gave me 12 plaid napkins that I've been wanting, and the books, Christmas at Highclere, and A Taste of the Nutcracker - all the recipes are inspired by the classic ballet.
I highly recommend this electric kettle - mine came from Sur la table, but other stores carry it.

I'm glad I got to visit Highclere with my daughter in 2015.

From my daughter and son-in-law, a box of chocolates by Maralyn in Grosse Pointe, MI - Toffee dipped in Milk and Dark Chocolate that is absolutely delicious.  Ironically, the box was wrapped in Nutcracker ribbon.

And a fabulous Shutterfly album of pictures from our trip to England together in 2015. What a treasure!  I've made several Shutterfly albums as gifts to family members but this is the first time I've received one.  Lori did a beautiful job putting this album together.

From Steve, Sharon, Brianna and Brooke... Four Nutcracker Spreaders, the Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook, and a Christmas teacup night light. 

The spreaders completed everything I needed for a Nutcracker tablescape.  Jerry finished assembling the Nutcracker centerpiece for me and it came out beautifully.

If COVID wouldn't have prevented the tea gathering planned for yesterday, Nutcracker was going to be the theme.  I even bought a Nutcracker apron to wear [a Christmas present to me from me], but the theme will keep until next Christmas.

Jeremy and Samantha and kids gifted Jerry and me with two generous gift cards to Zehnder's and Bronner's Christmas Wonderland [open year round] in Frankenmuth, MI. The store opened in 1945 and is the world's largest Christmas store.  A previous post shared our visit to Zehnder's this past Tuesday, but the parking lot at Bronner's was so full we decided to postpone going there until after the holidays.  We still have money left on the Zehnder's gift card, so we'll be returning to Frankenmuth soon.

They also gave me a gift box of Wow & Flutter loose leaf tea - Ceylon Juniper, Winter Chai, and a herbal, Strawberry Tulsi [basil].  Included in the box was a package of EZ brew tea filters.  I had never heard of the company before and discovered they're a Michigan based company in Milan, MI.  Aside from selling their products online, they're also available at farmer's markets and select stores.  Samantha bought the teas at the Agricole fresh food market in Chelsea.

I'm sipping a cup of the Strawberry Tulsi as I type this post and it's very good - healthy too!  It contains lemongrass, apple pieces, tulsi, spearmint, strawberry flavor, rose petals, and basil essential oil.

Izzy gave me a box of milk chocolate covered cherries and a box of dark chocolate covered cherries.  My love for the candy goes back to my childhood when I used to get a box every year for Christmas.  She also wrote the sweetest note inside a Christmas card - definitely a keeper!

Sweet little Ellie gave me a tin of chocolate candy and two ornaments she made.  I told her the mitten ornament could almost double as a teapot!  ;-)  She wrote a thoughtful note to Papa and me too.

Jerry and I also got a gift card to Olive Garden from granddaughter Tiffany, John and girls.  

This concludes my last post of 2021.  Thank you for reading my blog this year.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

An Outing to Imlay City, MI

I was supposed to have some ladies for tea today, but due to an illness we had to reschedule.  

Last night while looking through estate sale notifications and pictures, I came across a sale in Imlay City with items that piqued my interest.  The ad read, 'A Beautiful Victorian Sale!' with 570 pictures to scroll through.  What caught my eye was a long dining room table filled from end to end with Crinoline Lady china, and on china cabinet shelves too.  I have never seen a collection this large before.  

Imlay City is just 39 miles north of my home, and an easy drive.   The sale began at 10:00 a.m. so my hubby and I left home at 7:45 to make sure we got there early enough to be among the first shoppers to enter the house.  The 14 room, 2 story Queen Anne house, built in 1890, was full of antiques - a lifetime of collecting.

Being a history lover, I researched the provenance of the house.  It's known as the Charles Palmer House.  Mr. Palmer was the founder of Imlay City and a big part of its development. The house was formerly the Imlay City Museum and went on the market in 2016, and is currently on the market again.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 and is also a Michigan State Historic Site.

 ~ Front Door ~

All the interior light fixtures and wood trim in the home are original.  I loved all the pocket doors.

I knew the dishes I wanted to see were in the dining room, so I went there immediately when we were admitted.  To my surprise and amazement, no one was looking at them so I was able to take my time examining everything for chips, cracks, and crazing, and decide which pieces I wanted.  Some were dish sets that couldn't be separated, but most were individually priced, and manufactured by several different potteries in England.

So what did I purchase?  A teapot, creamer, two cups and saucers [I already had two at home that were gifted to me] and four dessert plates.  I researched prices online before going and was pleased to get everything for $100.

The handle on the teapot is a gold key - very unique.  The manufacturer is Lingard Webster Potteries [Daniel Lingard and James Webster] Stoke-on-Trent, England - former partners with James Colclough.  The company dissolved in 1975.

The teacups, saucers, and dessert plates are by Trentham Royal Crown Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, England.  The company went bankrupt in 1957.   The hallmark indicates they were manufactured from 1952-1957.

The cream pitcher is by Empire Porcelain Co., Stoke-on-Trent, England.  They were in business from 1895 - 1967.

My limited research revealed the Crinoline Lady china was made in the 1930's thru the 1950's.

With my treasures paid for and in hand, we left without checking out any of the other rooms in the house.

I first became acquainted with Crinoline Ladies while planning the 2018 Southern Tea Time Getaway [which was originally called Southern Belle Tea Tour, cancelled in 2017 when hurricane Irma went through all the states on our itinerary].  I used the Crinoline Lady as a logo and had her printed on the tins of tea that were given out to the group members, as well as on the front of the gift bags, and she was also on the cover of the booklet that a lady in our group made for everyone.

Finding these dishes today brought back many pleasurable memories, and I look forward to using my 'new to me' tea set in the future.  I've decided I'll pair them with my Madrid light blue Depression Glass dishes since there's light blue in the background.  I'll be sure to post when I use them.

This has been a fun week visiting the Detroit Historical Museum, Frankenmuth, and Imlay City.  There's no plans to go anywhere on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

An Outing to Frankenmuth, MI

One of our Christmas presents from our son, Jeremy, and his family was a gift card to Zehnder's Restaurant in Frankenmuth, MI [about 85 miles north of where we live].  It's always so pretty there at Christmas time [very quaint German city], so we decided to make the drive today.  We left home well before noon while the roads were clear so we could return home before the predicted late afternoon snowfall. 

~ Arriving in Frankenmuth ~

Frankenmuth is a popular day trip destination for many Michiganders and out-of-state tourists.  On one side of Main Street is Zehnder's and on the other side is the Bavarian Inn, but the food is the same in both places, specializing in fried chicken dinners.

~ Bavarian Inn ~

Zehnder's was quite busy, but we got a table for two very quickly.  The restaurant was beautifully decorated for Christmas.

We opted for their family style chicken dinner and it didn't disappoint.  It began with their chicken noodle soup, salads [cranberry and coleslaw], cottage cheese, garlic toast with cheese spread and liver pate [I told Jerry he could have my share of that!], and stolen and white bread with strawberry preserves.

Sometimes I have to be content with a generic teabag, but it went well with my meal.  I forgot to tuck one in my purse from home.

Next came mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, egg noodles, squash and fried chicken [we opted for white meat only].  It's all you can eat which means refills on everything, but we couldn't even eat everything they brought out the first round much less refills.   They provide carry-out containers for leftovers, but we didn't bring anything home.  

Our dessert was a dish of orange sherbet.

After our meal we walked to Rau's Country Store on Main Street.  I couldn't resist buying the metal sign below for the next time I do a shoe presentation.  I already own a replica pair of the red shoes just like those in the picture.

Santa and his sleigh was a good spot for a picture of Jerry.

Then we made our drive back home.  

The teacup sweater I wore was a Christmas present from me to me from Talbots and it's 40% off the sale price right now for any tea lover reading this post [cheaper than what I paid].  It's available online at Talbot's website, and is very comfortable.  I love mine.  [No affiliation with Talbots.]

They're reserving the silk scarf that goes with it at a local Talbots store because it's sold out online.  I'll pick it up in the morning.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Detroit Historical Museum - Hudson's Holidays Exhibit

I belong to Facebook's J.L. Hudson's Department Store group, and recently read that the Detroit Historical Museum put together an exhibit titled Hudson's Holidays open through December, with a "Free Sundays" promotion. 

Today was a beautiful clear day with a high of 41 degrees, and the last day to take advantage of "Free Sundays", so after church Jerry and I drove to Detroit to see the exhibit.

The exhibit was spread out between the lower level, and levels one and two.  The lower level was "The Early Years."  I took many pictures, but will only share some of them in this post. The portrait below is J.L. Hudson, the store's founder.

Level One featured Hudson's Toyland and an original horse drawn delivery carriage.

Level Two was my favorite because it featured Dining at Hudson's and Fashions - the two areas I've focused on in my research.

~ Dining at Hudson's ~

I don't have a large collection of Hudson memorabilia, but it was fun to see the pieces I do have shown in the display.

So glad I got to attend this exhibit!