Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hummingbird Cake

I don't know how a "Hummingbird Cake" got it's name. It is a southern recipe many cooks make in three layers with a wonderful cream cheese frosting. My mom baked it in a Bundt pan with a cream cheese frosting. I could not find her recipe so I found a couple of Bundt cake versions online and combined them to make this recipe. I baked this cake on Christmas Eve.
Hummingbird Cake Recipe
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups salad oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple, with juice
2 cups chopped bananas
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Sift together dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add eggs and oil, stirring with dry ingredients until moistened. (Do not use an electric beater.) Stir in vanilla, finely chopped pecans, pineapple and vanilla. Spoon batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert the cake and remove from the pan. Cool completely.
Option One:
In a small bowl combine 1 Tbsp. melted butter, with 1 cup sifted powdered sugar. Add enough pineapple juice to make glaze of drizzling consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake. Can substitute rum for the pineapple juice.
Option Two:
Traditional Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, 1 box powdered sugar, 1 stick butter, 1 tsp vanilla
Mix all together and put on cooled cake.
We enjoyed this cake with many cups of Darjeeling tea.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Tea Time Gift

Melissa (#1 daughter) and family surprised me with this beautiful tea time purse. Melissa arranged for my friend Leona to make this special purse for me as a Christmas gift using The Tea Time Magazine fabric I bought several years ago but had never used. Leona is a very talented seamstress and made this bag to Melissa's specifications with the addition of the embroidered teacups along the top. Thank you Melissa and Leona!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Cup of Christmas Tea

Take time to enjoy a Cup of Christmas Tea with family and friends!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Conversation

I received this little book as a Christmas gift in 2001 from a friend. The Christmas Conversation Piece is a list of 300 questions to ponder and amuse you, your family, friends and guests during the Christmas season. The questions would be fun to use at a Christmas Tea or Boxing Day Tea.
Some examples of questions are:
If you could spend Christmas anywhere in the world, where would you want to be?
If you could have visited the Christ child just as the Three Kings did, what would you have brought as a gift?
You've been chosen to host a sensational Christmas celebration on TV: What three guests would you choose to make it the best Christmas special ever?
What is your favorite Christmas scent?
What would the perfect winter wonderland be like for you?
What Christmas movie - old or new - do you think is a must see for everyone every year?

This little book of delightful and thought-provoking questions was written by Bret Nicholaus and Paul Lowrie and is listed online at various sites.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tea with Santa

You are invited to come sit at the kitchen table with me and share a cup of tea served by Santa. I found this little fellow in small, medium and large sizes at a local florist last Christmas. Can you guess which size(s) I bought?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Decor in our Home

Our 7-foot family Christmas tree is decorated with and eclectic mixture of hand crafted ornaments by our children and from bazaars and and many collectible ornaments from our travels as well as gifts from friends. We downsized this year to a slim tree and moved it to a different location in our living room so that we would not have to rearrange as many pieces of furniture as we have in the past. This tree has multi colored lights, the choice of GJ and AJ. Our previous tree had clear lights.

The photo above is the table in our entry way. I painted the ceramic boot over 30 years ago. The train is one of several Christmas trains. The guys in the family love to ride historic steam engine trains.

The adult daughters are celebrating Christmas morning in their own homes with their children, so we only have our three stockings hanging waiting for Santa to fill them. Finding filled stockings on Christmas morning is a family tradition in our family for adults and children. Another train on the mantle.

Our Christmas train has been downsized from the electric trains of past years to fit on the living room coffee table. This is a battery Thomas on a wood track. Grandson PJ has our big collection of Thomas trains now. The electric trains have moved to the basement of the other house. A stack of Christmas books replace my tea books on this table at Christmas time. I hope you enjoyed this little tour of our living room. It is obvious I favor traditional red and green Christmas decorations!

Tea Themed Christmas Tree Ornaments

I have been collecting ornaments for my tea-themed Christmas tree for about 13 years. Also, some of these ornaments are gifts I received as gifts from friends and family. This tea-themed tree began as a 2-foot tree and now I have enough ornaments to decorate this 4.5-foot tree, a 2-foot tree, and to put a few on our big family tree!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tea Themed Christmas Tree

This is my tea-themed 4.5 foot Christmas tree with the Dept. 56 Dickens' Village Series Mrs. Brimm's Tea Room below. My tea village outgrew the table where I have displayed it at Christmas the last few years.
I will need to find a different location for the village next Christmas to make strolling from one tea room to the other more convenient for the folks looking for a nice cuppa.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Collecting Christmas Village Tea Shops

I have been collecting Christmas Village tea shops for several years.

The first Christmas Village tea shop I purchased is the NOMA Dickensville Tea House (left above) I purchased at Lowes. It is marked 1995. My newest one is a Department 56 Christmas In the City Series, Russian Tea Room. I purchased it on Ebay.

The Mistletoe Tea Room (left above) was purchased at WalMart a few years ago. Lady Ann's Tea Room (Towne Series Santa's Workbench) is on the right.

Potter's Tea Seller on the right above is from the Heritage Village Collection by Dept. 56. The Tea shop with the ladies in the window on the right is from Big Lot's Christmas Streets 2004 collection.

The Saturday Evening Post Norman Rockwell Collection Tea Time is on the right above and Kohl's St. Nicholas Square Rosie Mae's Tea Room is on the right.
I have eight tea shops displayed on this serving table at the end of my dining room. I will show the ninth one in my next post. Some years I display them with snow on the table, but stopped using the snow with grandchildren running around the house. I like the way the lights in the tea shops reflect on the glass table topper. The little characters on the table are various ones I picked up here and there. The children and I like to move them around to different positions in the little tea village.
My tea friend Phyllis in MI also collects and displays Christmas Village Tea Shops. She has set me on the trail of finding some of the shops I purchased in recent years. I was delighted to find a couple of the accessory pieces on our Thanksgiving trip to TN.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy 95th Birthday Aunt Ida

Today is Aunt Ida's 95th birthday. She is the last living member of my dad's family and the last of the four elderly ladies (my mom & 3 aunts) for whom I have been caregiver to. She currently requires 24 hour a day care because of severe arthritis and lives in a private room at The Terrace, a beautiful nursing facility in our little town. They had a special celebration lunch for her today. AJ, GJ and I visited with her and took gifts from family and friends.
Aunt Ida is very special to me and my family. She has been a widow for 40 years and lost her only son to a terrible illness when he was only 21. She has been like a second mother to me. I have many fond memories of spending time with Aunt Ida when I was a child. She traveled with GJ and me when our girls were young. The girls loved to stay overnight with her and dress up in her clothes and use her perfume and make-up. Aunt Ida gave me my first etiquette book when I was 16 years old, and as a young adult, she started me on the journey of collecting beautiful teacups.
GJ & I acquired her house a few years ago when she needed to downsize and we have turned it into a tea house/guest house with a woodwork shop in the basement for the guys. I call it "Aunt Ida's Tea House." It is not a commercial tea room, but is a private tea room "by invitation." She is very pleased we were able to keep her little 1936 house and so are we!
Happy 95th Aunt Ida!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Handmade Christmas Card

I received this adorable handmade Christmas Card from Marilyn at Delights of the Heart. Marilyn and I have been online tea friends for several years. She began blogging a few months ago. The little angel charm is tied to the top of the tree. On the back it says "made for an angel." So cute! The card is so creative and would be easy to make. Marilyn used white card stock for the card and stitched two cut out green paper Christmas trees to the card. The stitching runs from the top to the bottom of the card. It came flat in the mail and I folded the top tree to make it 3-D. Thank you, Marilyn!

Just this week I read that angels are the # 1 Christmas tree toppers!

Christmas Themed Tea Tables: Christmas Joy, Plaid Tidings & Winter Greetings

Christmas Joy

Plaid Tidings

Winter Greetings
This concludes the photos from the December 6 fundraiser tea. I appreciate the comments from everyone who enjoyed seeing the different Christmas tea table themes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Christmas Themed Tea Tables

Did you ever have a silver Christmas tree? My family had one back in the 1960's. It had a spotlight with revolving colors that appeared to change the tree to red, blue and green. My mom and I thought it was awesome! Oh, what wonderful memories! *smile*

Patty and I like the way they had the greenery and silver trimmings around each mug.

This table was decorated by the director of the Liberty Place. It was very pretty with silver and blue snowflakes. Her "napkins" were fingertip towels.

Christmas Themed Tea Tables: Let it Snow

Let It Snow! This pretty blue and white table featured snowmen and snowflakes.
Tables were sponsored/donated by individuals, businesses and churches. Note the "extra" teacups on some tables. Although hostesses were asked to supply teacups and saucers, the facility provided teacups for tea so that cups could remain clean for the auction. It seemed obvious some hostesses had "insider' information because some did not provide teacups with their table decorations. (as in the top two photos). Another communication glitch, in my opinion, but all turned our well in the end and $2025 was raised through the table auction.

The table below was beautiful. I wish I had thought to ask what her theme title was. Note the favors at each plate. They appear to be "Christmas Tea." It was difficult to really see everything on the tables at the event. I noticed even more details when I looked at the photos.

Traditional red and green were used more than other Christmas decoration colors.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Themed Tea Tables at The Liberty Place Fundraiser Tea

This table was professionally decorated and donated by Room to Bloom. It had been on display to promote the fundraiser tea in the weeks prior to the event. It is certainly an Elegant Navtivi-tea.

The table that sold for $200 was the Kentucky Tea Table. Bybee Pottery has been handmade for 200 years on a limited basis here in Madison County, KY and is a very popular collectible. Notice the pitcher centerpiece and the Christmas Tree ornaments among the various plates, bowls and mugs. I was very impressed someone sponsored and donated this table!


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