Thursday, May 29, 2008

Victoria Chintz Teapot

I love this tea set. I purchased it in London in March 2007 when I was on the Tea in London tour. It is from Whittard of Chelsea and the pattern is Victoria Chintz. It was the featured 2007 Mother's Day teapot and I thought it was a very appropriate gift for our daughter, Melissa, who along with her husband adopted a precious little boy from Guatemala. And, yes, Melissa, I took this photo on my last visit. Melissa, a former Consumer and Family Science teacher, one of my best tea buddies, attended and completed the Bruce and Shelley Richardson's Elmwood Inn Tea 101 Seminar with me in 2001.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Teapots and a B-O-Y

Seven years ago I was told by the pediatrician to "child-proof" my house. We had daughters and a lot less "stuff" the first time we were parents, and I don't remember needing to do a lot of "child-proofing." Well, I soon learned when AJ began toddling around and getting into everything that a B-O-Y is different! He was then, and still is at age 8, lots of fun and very active! GJ made the shelves in these photos and installed them on our sun porch for the purpose of keeping teapots out of reach but where we can enjoy seeing them.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Vintage Hall Teapot

A friend found this teapot at a yard sale and brought it to me. It is a vintage 1940s - 1950s made in the USA, "windshield style" gold label 6 cup teapot with gold trim, by Hall. The shape is very different from the other teapots in my collection.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Pouring Teapot

This is the final week for the Gracious Hospital-i-tea Blog-A-Thon. I have really enjoyed participating with my blog, and I have enjoyed reading all the posts of the other participants!
The assignment:
"This week is all about sharing about teapots. Do you have one? two? three? Or more? Is it for display only or do you use it for tea? What is the tea server you use most? Your favorite teapot (or is it something like a quart jar?). Tell your teapot story, give its history, and tell what it means to you. You can share more than once if you'd like. Antique, new, Asian, English, or something in between --- we'd love to know!'
I have nearly 50 teapots in my collection. A few of my teapots are too delicate or too sentimental in value to use (in my opinion) and are for display only. Several of my teapots have been collected during travels around the world and several are special gifts from friends and family. Most of my teapots are what I call "serviceable" teapots. These are the teapots I use on a daily basis for our family. Others I use to serve from at tea parties. All of my teapots displayed on shelves and tables throughout our house.
The top photo is an everyday serviceable Sadler teapot I picked up at a yard sale in London, KY a few years ago from a lady who bought it in London. England.
The tea set in the middle photo is a Royal Patrician Rose Tree Chintz tea set I ordered. I use this teapot at nearly every tea I serve to guests.
I also frequently use the tea set in the bottom photo. It is a Royal Worcester purchased when we visited the factory several years ago.
Some of my teapots have already been featured in previous posts. Most of my teapots are made in England. I will be featuring several more teapots through the next few posts and some of those are not English made. I hope you enjoy seeing my teapots as much as I enjoy collecting them!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

# 1 Again!

The MUSA Red Rockets were undefeated through the spring soccer season and tournament in the Under 10 mixed division. It was fun to see them win again after their fantastic fall season! Way to go rockets!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome To My Home Office

Some Bloggers show photos of their homes starting with the entrance and all the way through every room. I enjoy seeing those photos and believe it gives the reader a bit more information about the personality of the Blogger. I need to do a little house cleaning and redecorating before I feel comfortable showing every room in my home. But, here goes with my home office, the place where I write the Friendship Tea Blog. Sometimes I listen to music or TV (listen to it more than watch it). Sometimes, when the phone isn't ringing, I enjoy peace and quiet and the view out the window above my keyboard.
This room, like others in our home is decorated in an eclectic style with a mixture of handcrafted, traditional, heirloom and modern furnishings.
So, how did I rate such a great room all to my own in our house? I previously ran two home-based businesses, including a tour company and a Longaberger­® branch from here. After closing the tour company and dropping the responsibilities as a Longaberger Branch Leader, I moved a bunch of baskets out and added a single bed sleeper sofa (chair and a half) to make space for our granddaughter when she visits. This is my favorite room in the house. You will always find a bone china mug of tea on my desk when I am working. Today it is filled with freshly brewed Elmwood Inn Fine Teas Mayor's Cup. Can you count the teapots?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Out with the Baskets and in with the Teapots!

You may recall the #1 Daughter (the first born) told me a few weeks ago I needed to reorganize. Her suggestion was "out with the Longaberger® baskets and in with the teapots!" She is coming to visit soon, so this post is to prepare her for the change. Unfortunately, daughter-dear, be prepared -- the baskets are stacked in storage bins so the basket-clutter was just moved to a different location! I have collected a lot of baskets in 13 years of being a Longaberger consultant.
BTW, if you want to visit our very talented handmade-jewelry-maker and super-organized daughter's blog, click here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tearoom Visits and Teatime Memories

Anyone who knows me knows travel, trip planning and afternoon tea are passions for me. When we take family vacations or business trips, I am the tour planner in the family. We like to have afternoon tea in different locations. I research tearooms on the internet and in tea publications and plan as many afternoon teas as possible during travels. I have been visiting tearooms since 1993. I collect souvenir menus, business cards and other mementos from those visits and take lots of photos of the food, decor and more. The thought was, I would have ideas of what to do when I got ready to open my own tearoom. Life's circumstances and the care for 4 elderly ladies in my family changed my tearoom plans. I also realized, here in Ky, a tearoom is a restaurant and requires 24/7. Besides, as much as I enjoy planning, making and serving afternoon tea, I enjoy going to tea better.
In 2000, Joette, a PA friend, suggested I journal my afternoon tea adventures and sent me a cute Susan Branch notebook to write down the basic who, when, where and how information. The notebook worked for that but I continued to collect photos, menus and mementos in a box and a file. I looked for tea journals online and found several, but none worked well for me. Another friend, Mary, suggested I start putting my "stuff" in a 3 ring binder. That works well for my needs. I supplement with a purse-sized notebook to take with me on tearoom visits to jot down notes. When I have time, I write up a summary of the tea, put it in a plastic page cover in a 3 ring binder along with menus, photos, etc.
Tea in seven countries and 16 states and too many tearooms (including 3 trips to England) to count later, I have four three ring binders, several small notebooks, several photo albums and a box of teatime memories. It may not be the most technical or organized way to keep my tea treasures, but they sure do bring me a lot of pleasure when I look through them!
OK, computer gurus, I hear your groans. One of these days I hope to make time to scan the "pre-digital camera days" photos and bring my teatime memories into the 21st century. But, right now I am too busy planning my next tearoom visit! Details coming soon to this blog!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Teacup and Tea Kettle Gardening

Guess who was the first person in our KY town to rush to Wal-Mart to buy advertised "teacup" planters? OK, I admit it. I was probably the only person in our town to go to the local Wal-Mart for the purpose of buying teacup planters! I just can't pass up an opportunity to buy a pretty teacup and saucer!
I found the old tea kettle in the bottom photo at an antique shop in Cookeville, TN while visiting Lady Marpelet's Tea Room. When I spotted it, I immediately knew I wanted it for Hens and Chicks plants. My friend, Mary, provided the plants and they have survived in the tea kettle through two winters.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tea Room Ventures and Venues

This week's Gracious Hospitality Blog-a-thon assignment is:
"Share all about one of your favorite tea rooms. Use photos and descriptions to tell about the decor and ambiance, menus, service, and what makes this tea room special to you. Does this tea room have a gift shop? What kind of special treasures does it contain?"
I have visited many tea rooms during travels around the world. One of my favorite tea rooms is Lady Marpelet's in Cookeville, TN.

In 2004, I met the owner, Diana Bloomer, at a special afternoon tea event in KY, prior to the opening her tearoom. We bonded immediately! Her "dream" for what her tearoom should include was the same as mine. Although I no longer hope to open a commercial tearoom, I am so happy for Diana that she did! Lady Marpelet's Tea Room is located in Cookeville, TN several hours south of me along a scenic and curvy route. Lady Marpelet's is located in a one floor cottage-style house. The various rooms of the house have been converted into theme dining rooms, a nice gift shop and a commercial kitchen. I have been able to visit on three occasions. Each time the hospitality and afternoon tea menu has been delightful!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Enjoy a little quiet time with a nice cup of tea.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Set The Table, Tea Is On!

This week's Gracious Hospitality Blog-a-thon assignment is:

“Share a creative afternoon tea table setting. Linens, serving pieces, teapots and teacup, tea accoutrement's and accessories, centerpieces, tea trays or three-tiers, and more. Show one way you enjoy creating a memorable tea experience. This is your opportunity to show the world the fun you have when you create your own special tea experience. Then. . .invite over a friend or neighbor and share some tea together. That way all your work is not for ought.”

I might be able to complete this assignment before the week is over, but just to cover the bases, these photos are from an afternoon tea I hosted a couple of years ago. My friend Mary wanted to honor her aunts at a special event, so Mary and I hosted a tea at my home. There were 10 of us around my dining room table. I set this table with a variety of English china teacup trios. All place settings are different, but each person's cup and saucer matches her plate. I use vintage napkins collected over the years and a variety of china teapots to serve the tea. This tea was in July so also I had a glass of ice water at each place. I use three tier servers at the tea table. I provide a printed menu at each place for the guests to keep. Favors are usually at the guest's place when they arrive at the table. They were given at the end of this tea and I forgot to take photos.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Afternoon Tea With Friends in Loveland, OH

I have met several very nice ladies across the USA through online tea chat groups. I had the pleasure of meeting two of those special ladies, Susan and Gwen, for tea at Miss Annabelle's Tea Parlor in Loveland, Ohio on Saturday. We chatted about tea, travel, family and online tea friends. We had a wonderful afternoon, drank many cups of tea, and look forward to getting together around the tea table with more tea friends in the future!

"Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things." ~Saki

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Kentucky Ladies Can Put Away Our Hats

Photos by Raciya H. Ismail, Lexington Herald-Leader staff photographer.

Thank you to everyone for the nice comments on my Kentucky Derby posts. By now everyone probably watched the happy (Big Brown) and sad (Eight Belles) outcome of the race.

Our local newspaper, the Lexington-Herald Leader had a special section on the event. You can read details and see a variety photos at including an article and the above photos of the Kentucky National Guards own Derby Party in Iraq complete with Derby pie, bourbon balls, alcohol-free mint juleps, hats and "horse" racing!
Today's after-Derby brunches are over, the celebrities are on their way home and the big hats are being put away. Planning will begin for the 2009 Derby festivities tomorrow!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Run For The Roses

Enjoy the Kentucky Derby the Run For The Roses. (click on links)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Derby Eve Party Time

The most famous Derby Eve party in Kentucky is the Barnstable-Brown party in Louisville, hosted by twins Priscilla and Patricia, once know as the Doublemint Gum twins of TV commercial fame. This is the party where the late Anna Nicole Smith met photographer, Larry Birkhead a few years ago. My invitation must have gotten lost in the mail because I didn't receive one. Oh well, no problem, I just heard on TV I can tune in tonight to see a live broadcast.
Still planning your Derby Party? Here is another recipe for you.
Cheese Straws
2 Cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
6 Tabsp. butter, melted
1 Cup flour, sifted
2 Tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Cream the cheese and butter in a mixer at slow speed. Mix in the remaining ingrediends. Place on a cutting board, patdown flat and cut into 4 inch strips. Place on a well greased baking sheet so they do not touch. Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes or until they are crisp and dry (not brown).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Horses or Hats?

OK, I admit it! I am a "people watcher" and although the horses were magnificent on Wednesday, I took more photos at Churchill Downs of the hats! These hats are made by Anne Sawyer, the official Hat Designer for the Kentucky Derby Festival. The beautiful young lady in the two middle photos is Christina, Anne Sawyer's assistant. She sat at our table at lunch and gave us a little scoop on a celebrity to watch for on Saturday wearing one of their hats. Want a clue? think Dancing With the Stars... you'll have to watch TV on Saturday and see if you spot it!

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