Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Than a Tea Book

I attended a very special afternoon tea at Elmwood Inn in Perryville, KY on March 18, 2004, hosted by Bruce Richardson. The tea was a lovely, intimate affair with about 30 guests and featured special guest and speaker Norwood Pratt, one of the world's leading authorities on tea and tea lore and author of the New Tea Lover's Treasury. This book is a history and guide to teas of the world and is one of many books in my personal tea library. But, this one is more than just a book, it is a reminder of a very special and memorable tea experience!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Aunt Ida

The photo above shows a framed photo taken in the early 1960's of my Aunt Ida. Notice the hat she is wearing in the photo is the hat on the stand. Aunt Ida will be 95 years old in December. She was my Dad's sister and is the last living of four siblings. She is very special to me and my family. Years ago, Aunt Ida gave me several beautiful teacups from her collection and today they are the foundation of my own teacup collection. Today my 7 year old granddaughter, KJ, and I visited Aunt Ida in the nursing home. She was so very happy to see KJ! Aunt Ida thinks my grandchildren are the best children ever! I certainly won't disagree with her on that!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Variety of Tea

The corner basket in the top two photos sits on my kitchen counter with the three tins of tea I am currently drinking, Mayor's Cup (hot), Apricot (iced) and Lemon Rooibos (hot and iced) from Elmwood Inn Fine Teas. The basket also holds a tea timer and a 1 cup measuring spoon. The shelf in the bottom photo is where I store a variety of teas. These teas were purchased online, at various tea rooms and during travels. In addition, some were gifts from friends. This is not the most organized way to store my tea, but it works for now. Perhaps one of these days I will get a new kitchen with lots of custom-designed tea storage space.... A tea lady is allowed to dream isn't she?!?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Family Weekend

It was a jam-packed fun family weekend! The kids (young and old) spent lots of time in the pool, playing with toys and games (including the Strawberry Shortcake Tea Party DVD board game), watching movies, visiting with neighbors, going to their favorite pizza place, beading and making jewelry with Aunt Melissa , to Cracker Barrel for breakfast after church, a backyard BBQ and many photo ops including family photos at a friend's outdoor photography studio. Whew! Lots of loads of laundry for Grandma and just enough time to pack for a week at the beach!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kentucky Summer Evenings with Iced Rooibos

My favorite tea is black, black blends and white. To cut down on caffeine late in the day, I recently started drinking rooibos in the evenings. This is Lemon Rooibos from Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, a blend of South African rooibos and lemongrass. A tall glass of iced lemon rooibos is a refreshing beverage on hot, humid Kentucky summer evenings.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Princess Arrived

Kaitlyn (KJ) declared that Kentucky looked so very beautiful and it was good to be "home" again, from the window of the plane as she and Grandpa landed. As you can see, AJ was happy to welcome her for a 3 week visit. We made a list of what she wants to do while she is here. I'm sure I'll be reporting back about a few of our fun adventures. Bear with me for the next 3 weeks because computer time won't be high on my list of priorities!

Children's Teapots and Tea Parties

I am getting my children's teapots and tea sets ready for the arrival of Princess KJ, our 7 year old granddaughter. She will arrive this evening for a 3 week visit. We have many fun activities planned to do while she is at Grandma and Grandpa's. I have promised her a tea party. It doesn't have to be a fancy tea party and I don't have to prepare a bunch of gourmet foods. PBJ sandwiches, cupcakes and cookies will work for the menu, because this tea party is not about the food or the beverage. This tea party will be all about making memories with Grandma!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Danish Tea Memories

The Summer 2008 issue of TEA a Magazine arrived in my mailbox yesterday. In this issue is an article about Tante T's, a tea salon Copenhagen. The article is about tea (of course), having an authentic Danish cultural experience and traditional Danish cakes and breads.

This article brought back wonderful Danish travel memories for me. Our little town of Berea, KY has a long-standing Danish-American exchange program. GJ and I have been to Denmark twice. During the first visit in 1993 GJ discovered the most fabulous pastries, cakes and breads in quaint bakeries in every village, town and city we visited including Copenhagen. During that trip, I became totally and completely addicted to 3 o'clock tea. Every afternoon at 3 o'clock no matter where we were or who we were with (even on a pig farm!) every Dane we met took a coffee (kaffe) or tea (the') break. After 17 straight days of drinking tea every afternoon promptly at 3:00, I was hooked! Upon arrival back in the USA my body ignored the 6 hour time difference and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon it was tea time! That, believe it or not, was the beginning of my incredible tea journey!!!

The teapot in the above photo was purchased in Viborg, Denmark (Danmark) during our second visit in 1998. I debated for a long time before choosing that particular teapot because it is so different from the others in my collection, but I chose it for its Danish modern look. It is a reminder of a beautiful country, people and culture and my memories of 3 0'clock tea time. Thanks to TEA Magazine for bringing back Danish tea memories.

Received Blog Giveaway

Angela at Tea With Friends recently announced a giveaway for this cute teapot tape measure. I thought it was a tea-riffic gift for a tea lover so I put my name and comments into the drawing. I was so pleased when Angela informed me I had won. The package arrived Saturday with the adorable teapot tape measure and additional surprise tea goodies enclosed. Thank you Angela!

I visit Angela's Tea With Friends blog every day. She writes about a variety of fun tea things from tea gadgets, tea foods, tea products, vintage tea books and more! If you enjoy tea and the art of afternoon tea, be sure to visit Angela's blog.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Just Plain Fun To Read

A very special thank you to Carol at Charli and Me for presenting Friendship Tea with this very special "just plain fun to read" award. I am honored Carol enjoys reading my blog. Charli and Me is a fun blog about the adventures of Carol and her cute Schnauzer.

I began blogging in January. Through the blog world, I have met and communicated with many nice and interesting people. I have learned from and laughed with many. I appreciate everyone who visits Friendship Tea and thank those who take the time to leave a comment.

"Friendship Tea" is about the adventures of my family, about enjoying spending time with my friends, about life in the beautiful state of Kentucky, and about my passion for all things TEA.

I am passing this special "just plain fun to read" award on to my friends Stephanie at Steph's Cup of Tea and Nancy (and her sister Susanna) at Rosemary's Sampler. (Stephanie, Nancy and I met in March 2007 while traveling on the Tea in London tour.) After reading both of these friend's blogs on a regular basis, I became inspired to begin the journey of blogging.
Also, I pass the award to my daughter Melissa, at Peyton's Mamasita a fun blog where I can keep up with the daily activities and lively adventures of Peyton, our precious three year old grandson adopted from Guatemala.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Old" Girlfriends Weekend (part 2)

It was a fabulous weekend with the "Old" Girlfriends, aka the "Berea Babes." When we get together our priorities are to eat and talk. And, that is what we did!

Lunch and shopping on Friday was at The Glitz near Versailles, KY. (scroll down to previous post for photos) We gathered for a potluck supper Friday night at my Aunt Ida's Tea House, where we were joined by Belle. Lunch on Saturday was at Papa Leno's, our favorite pizza place on the Berea College Square where Becky met us. (second photo) After a day visiting around old neighborhoods and the local cemetery, and shopping at the candle factory outlet and crafts shops of Berea, "The Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky" four of us had dinner at the historic Boone Tavern Hotel. (bottom two photos) The top photo was taken this morning at Cracker Barrel The seven "Berea Babes" (Barb, Ticky, Patty, Karla, Jennifer, Linda and Paula) gathered for breakfast, lots of hugs and a discussion of what to do and where to go for our next gathering.

See ya next time girls!!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Weekend With the "Old" Girlfriends

Thirty plus years ago after our high school graduation, I reconnected girlfriends to celebrate our 50th birthdays. Every year since, we get together for a day or a weekend. The girls are here this weekend. They arrived today in time to drive to The Glitz at Irish Acres in Nonesuch, KY for a fun lunch and shopping. Irish Acres is an old schoolhouse in a rural area in the heart of horse farm country that has been turned into an amazing antique and gift shop. The Glitz Restaurant is in the basement of the building and is decorated "glitzy" as you can see in the photos above. The dessert in the bottom photo is their signature dessert, the Nonesuch Kiss. It is a meringue shell covered in hot fudge sauce and sprinkled with sliced almonds with a scoop of coffee ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top. Yummy!!

We had a nice lunch and a fun afternoon of shopping, then continued on into the evening with a pot luck supper of mostly finger foods where we were joined by two more high school girlfriends. I look forward to another fun day with the girls on Saturday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shopping for "Treasures"

Yesterday I had an unexpected free morning so I drove to my favorite home furnishings and antique consignment store in Lexington, Room Service. I have found lots of treasures there to use when serving tea and to help furnish my little 1936 "tea house." Yesterday I brought home 10 clear Sandwich Glass salad plates to match the 12 I found in a local antique shop a couple of years ago. I also picked up this hand crocheted doily and the small English bone china creamer and sugar bowl in the photo above. I forgot to take a photo the set of mirrored bookends I purchased before taking them to the house. I was happy with my shopping trip. I made it out of the store for less than $80 and my spirits were lifted.

A little "Retail Therapy" works wonders to cheer up a girl!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tea Bag Charm and Caddie

I found this tea bag charm and caddie in a gift shop at The Biltmore in Asheville, NC. It is a matching set shaped like lemon slices. The package says the "tea charm bag holder will elegantly steep" your tea. And you use the matching caddie "to rest your bag and spoon."

Did I need it? No. I drink loose leaf tea.
Did I want it? Yes! It was too unique for me to pass up!

The charm is attached to a chain with a clip at the end. You attach the clip to a "stringless" tea bag then drop the bag into a cup/mug before adding hot water. I used a PG Tips teabag to demonstrate in the above photos. After the tea brews, you lift the bag out of the hot tea by using the charm.

I know there are other ways you can remove your teabag -- like using a spoon or special tea bag tongs. But, in my opinion, neither of those methods will create the conversation like a tea charm will. And, anyone who shares tea with a friend, co-worker or family member, knows that tea is a lot about the art and joy of conversation!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Tea Book with a Surprise Bonus

I found this little book in a Hendersonville, North Carolina antique mall. It is TEA, Delectables For All Seasons by Maryjo Koch, published in 1995. The book has the usual basic tea information and history, a few recipes and unique graphics. My copy is a used book purchased at a bargain price. The surprise bonus that came with the book is a newspaper clipping of a recipe for Charleston Tea Plantation Wedding Punch. There is no indication of when or what newspaper the clipping came from. Therefore I will give credit to the Charleston Tea Plantation

Charleston Tea Plantation Wedding Punch
4 cups brewed tea, chilled
4 cups apple juice, chilled
2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice, chilled
2 (1-liter) bottles club soda, chilled
Fresh orange and lemon slices
Fresh mint leaves
Combine tea, apple juice and pineapple juice; refrigerate until serving time.
Pour mixture into large punch bowl.
Stir in club soda immediately before serving.
Garnish with fruit slices and mint leaves.
If desired, float an ice ring in the punch bowl.
Yield: 30 to 36 servings

I haven't yet made this recipe, but the combination of juices and tea sound good. I'll give it a try soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

"Crafty" Teapots and More

There are several potters with beautiful teapots at the Berea Craft Festival. But, I passed on the teapots, and purchased this calligraphy and watercolor "Women are like teabags" piece by Kentucky artist Wendy Gould. Now, I just need to find a spot to hang it!

Kentucky Wildcat Fan

AJ was drafted to be a model at the Berea Craft Festival for Paddyprints Wood Fabric and Face Stamps. The artist, John, obviously chose the stamps appropriate for AJs outfit of Kentucky Blue. With the addition of the wood stamp leg "tattoos" and sun visor, he turned AJ into a more obvious-looking Kentucky Wildcat Fan than he already was!

These are really neat little products. Last year I bought two different sized teapot wood stamps which can be used on fabric (permanent) or the body (temporary).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Berea Craft Festival

AJ and I visited the Berea Craft Festival this morning. Berea is the "Folk Arts & Crafts Capital of Kentucky". This event is one of several outdoor craft fairs held each year in this special little town.
The weather this morning was perfect in the outdoor setting under the trees of the Berea College Forest at Indian Fort Theater, the home of a former outdoor drama, located just 3 miles east of Berea.
The top three photos show the beautiful pottery of Sarah Culbreth, of Tater Knob Pottery, a long-time family friend. I snapped Sarah demonstrating one of her most popular pieces, a "Spoonbread Baker."
The bottom two photos are of the booth of the jewelry of R.C. Thompson, another long-time friend. Bobby Craig, as he is known locally, is a multi-talented artist. He wins the "best decorated booth award" nearly every year at this event. I love the unique way he displayed his beautiful bracelets and earrings among the moss and wood in the planter in the bottom photo. The moss will be replanted and anything else that can, will be back in its natural habitat at the end of the 3-day event.
You might wonder how AJ, a typical nine year old boy entertained himself while I was shopping and visiting with friends... Well, it was easy! While he listened to the live music scattered through out the grounds, he started munching on a country ham biscuit, then moved on to a lemon shake up and a funnel cake!!! It was a fun morning!

My Tea "Bags"

I purchased the silver teapot shaped purse in the top photo several years ago from the gift shop at Lady Marpelet's Tearoom in Cookeville, TN when my friend Mary and I were there for afternoon tea. Even Mary was surprised when I bought it because I am very conservative in my clothing and accessories. I couldn't resist it as a joke on Daughter # 1, Melissa. She gave exactly the shocked reaction I expected when she saw it. I got a good laugh out of it. It was worth the price I paid just for that! I did eventually carry it to one tearoom and it's been hanging around since.

The other two tea "bags" are actually tote bags I use to carry "stuff" in. The middle one was a gift from Elmwood Inn when I participated in their Tea 101 seminar in 2001. The bottom one was a treat for myself purchased at Harrod's in London while I was on the Tea in London Tour 2007.

Although I drink loose leaf tea, I am always on the lookout for just the right tea "bag".

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tea Themed Board Games for Children

These children's tea games are part of my collection of tea things. And yes, I bought them for myself. The grandchildren think I bought the games for them. *smile*
AJ and KJ, the two older children, have enjoyed playing the Teapot Game for years. I recently added the Tea Party Game because our little princess, KJ, is coming to visit Grandma and Grandpa later this month and I know she will enjoy playing it.

I have a variety of children's tea sets and children's tea books as shown in a previous post. If anyone reading this has other children's tea or etiquette games your children or grandchildren enjoy, please let me know. I would like to add them to my collection, for the children, of course!! *wink*

English China Tea Mugs

In May I posted about the redecorating I was "encouraged" to do by the #1 Daughter (our first born.) Click here to see that post. The top photo shows how the shelf in my home office looked after her suggestion of "out with the baskets and in with the teapots." She was right. The baskets are no longer important to me and I really do like the shelf better with teapots and family photos as she suggested. (Thanks, Melissa.) At the time of the redecorating, I had enough English bone china mugs from previous trips to England, to hang on the kitchen shelf, but not enough for this shelf in the office. So, I went on a "mission" and returned in June from our trip to Britain with seven souvenir bone china mugs or tankards, beakers, or whatever the Brits choose to call them. A very nice addition to my decor, in my opinion. And, I guarantee they will last a lot longer than the souvenir tee-shirts purchased by GJ and AJ!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Tea Gift from a Neighbor

This little resin Boyds Bears and Friends™ "Emma and Bailey... Afternoon Tea" was a gift from Joyce, our 85 year old neighbor from across the street. It was left over from her recent church fund raiser yard sale. The price tag was marked $3, but apparently nobody wanted to purchase it because the teacup has a noticeable chip. Joyce is aware of my passion for tea things and thought I might "appreciate" it. I assured her the chip just gives the little piece personality, and that I would proudly display the adorable little piece among my tea collectibles. She was very pleased.

The following quote is on the bottom:
"Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joy , and dividing our grief." ~ Addison

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