Monday, March 29, 2010

Vintage Sadler Teapot

While roaming around the Florence (KY) Antique Mall recently, I spotted this pretty pink vintage teapot.  I picked it up and discovered it is a Sadler, made in Staffordshire, England. 

Well, anyone who knows me very well, knows that traditional round shaped English-made teapots are my absolute favorite. So, guess what?  This pretty hand-painted vintage Sadler teapot came home with me!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Final Book Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to alinvilleblue.   You won the fourth copy of THE TEABERRY STRANGLER by Laura Childs. 

I will send the four winners names and addresses to the author.  Watch for your autographed copy to arrive in your mailbox. 

Thank you to everyone for the comments and participating in this generous giveaway provided by the Tea Shop Mystery series author,  Laura Childs.   

Friday, March 26, 2010

4th Book Giveaway — "The Teaberry Strangler"

Congratulations to the winner chosen by of the 3rd copy of author Laura Childs'

I want to say a very special "thank you" the author for the generous giveaway of FOUR copies of "The Teaberry Strangler".  This is the 11th book in the Tea Shop Mystery series and recently made the New York Times Bestseller list.  
In addition to these mysteries, Laura Childs  also writes Scrapbook Mysteries

 Make a comment on this post by 11:00 pm on Saturday night to enter this drawing.  All comments from the past three giveaways will be included in the drawing (except for the winners, of course).  Therefore, you will have an entry for every comment you have made on the book giveaways this week. 
If you posted a comment all four days, you will have four entries, three days of comments = 3 entries, two days of comments = 2 entries, and one comment = 1 entry.

All four winner's names and addresses will be sent to the author who will mail copies of "The Teaberry Strangler"  to the winners. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

3rd Book Giveaway — "The Teaberry Strangler"

Congratulations to the winner chosen by of the 2nd copy of
All four winner's names and addresses will be sent to the author, Laura Childs, at the end of the final drawing.

Did you know that Laura Childs is actually the pen name for the author, Gerry Schmidt?  And, did you know she does all her own tea research for the Tea Shop Mystery Series of books?  There is a list of tea resources at the end of  "The Teaberry Strangler".  These include tea publications, websites , tea vendors and tea blogs.  Many of the resources the author used for the tea and recipe research in this book are very familiar to readers of my blog. 

Thank you for the comments on  the 2nd giveaway mentioning a favorite tea food.  And, Martha E. did not win because she likes my Southern Cream Cheese Scone recipe!!  It was a random drawing.  However, I promise to post the recipe here soon!  

Leave a coment on this post before 11:00 p.m. Friday night to enter the drawing for the 3rd copy of "The Teaberry Strangler" to be given away.  Please mention a favorite tea you enjoy drinking.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2nd Book Giveaway — "The Teaberry Strangler"

The winner of the first copy of THE TEABERRY STANGLER chosen by is —  Valerie Zagami of Tea and Trinkets Blog

Congratulations Valerie! I will email you for your mailing address.  I will send the names and addresses of all the four winners to the author at the end of the drawing.  She will autograph and mail the the books to the luck winners.

In addition to a great tea mystery, the author, Laura Childs, also includes recipes of foods mentioned throughout the book, and a list of theme tea ideas with menu suggestions. 

Do you have a favorite tea sandwich, savory, scone or sweet you enjoy with afternoon teas?  Please leave a comment before 11:00 p.m. Thursday night and we will draw the 2nd book winner!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Laura Childs, author of The Tea Shop Mystery series  contacted me to request a review of THE TEABERRY STRANGLER,  her 11th book in the Tea Shop Mystery series released on March 2, 2010.  And, she has offered a very generous giveaway to readers of this blog.  See details at the end of this post.

From the inside cover of the book:
"It was the Dickensian evening Theodosia Browning had hoped for.  Flickering candles lined the narrow cobblestone alleys of Charleston as shop owners, dressed in cloaks of yore, threw open their back doors to shoppers.  Visitors took advantage of bargains on antiques, heaping bowls of crab chowder — and of course Theodosia's delicious teas. 

But when the clock strkes ten, the alleys clear except for one body discovered by a horrified Theodosia.  It's the strangled form of Daria, the map store's owner.  Many locals have shown interest in buying her shop — but enough to kill?  Plus there's been a customer hell-bent on getting his hands on a certain not-for-sale map.  In this case one can hardly throw a scone without hitting a suspect. 

Most alarming of all the theories, however, is Detective Tidwell's: that the killer mistook Daria for Theodosia herself.  And if that theory holds water, the killer's work isn't done..."

Linda's Comments:
This is a quick-read, fast-paced mystery with many tea references, a sprinkling of fun and elegant Charleston social events, and lots of information on the Charleston area historical attractions and geographical locations. 

While reading the many references to tea and afternoon tea foods in this book, I felt like I was in Theodosia's Indigo Tea Shop with Drayton brewing tea and Haley whipping up delicious finger sandwiches, savories, scones and sweets in the kitchen. Many of the recipes are included at the end of the book. Oh my! What fun for a tea-lover like me! 

The storyline was good and the author kept me guessing right up until the end of the book as to the identity of the murderer!  If you enjoy mysteries and/or tea, I believe you will enjoy reading THE TEABERRY STRANGLER!!

Laura Childs, the author, generously offered a giveaway of FOUR copies of "THE TEABERRY STRANGLER" to readers of this blog. 

I will hold four drawings over the next 4 days.  I will announce the winners here and contact each winner by email for a mailing address.  At the end of the giveaway, I will send the names and mailing addresses of the winners to the author, and she will mail an autographed copy of the book to each winner. 

To enter the first drawing, please leave a comment to this post from now until 11:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 24.   

You will have an opportunity to enter the daily drawings until 11 p.m.on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  

Have you read any of  Laura Childs Tea Shop Mysteries or her other books?  You can learn about her books here.  

Do you enjoy visiting the Charleston, SC area?   My aunt and uncle lived in Mt.Pleasant for many years(mentioned in this book).  My family has visited the area numerous times. Charleston is one of our favorite southern cities.  Learn about Charleston here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Afternoon Tea at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Earlier this month I posted about my family's favorite place for afternoon tea,  the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.  I didn't realize at the time of that post I would be enjoying tea again on Saturday in the beautiful Palm Court of this historic downtown Cincinnati hotel with family and friends.

The food, tea and service by our favorite server, Michael (see photo) were excellent as usual. The Netherland Plaza afternoon tea includes a "bottomless teapot" and generous servings of savories, scones and sweets.  All that, combined with shopping, visiting with family and friends made for a perfect day!  

In the top photo (Left to right):  Mary, Linda, grandson PJ, daughter Melissa and Lana.  This was Lana's 2nd afternoon tea experience.  I love sharing tea time with friends!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Tea Time Wall Hanging

I received this beautiful quilted wall hanging in the mail from Phyllis as a surprise gift! 
Tucked in the box was a note from Phyllis saying that due to a recent rennovation to her family room, she no longer has wall space to hang this treasure, and knowing we recently added several rooms to our home, she hoped that I would have space for it in my tea-themed guest room. 
Here it is!  It is beautiful!  Thanks so much Phyllis.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Afternoon Tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel at Waterton Lake NP

In August 2003, we enjoyed afternoon tea at the Prince of Wales Hotel
at Waterton Lake National Park in Alberta, Canada
 is our family's choice for "afternoon tea with the best view."
The table set with beautiful Royal Doulton - Royal Albert
Lady Carlyle china, the delicious menu, and the
servers dressed in Scottish plaid kilts, added to the magical ambiance
of this afternoon tea experience. 
Waterton Lakes National Park is the Canadian extension of Glacier National Park.
We had tea on two different afternoons. 
Can you see the hotel in the background in the
photo below on Waterton Lake?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

God willing, may our tea
be steeped in serenity,
sweetened by sharing,
and surrounded by the
warmth of your love.

~ Irish Blessing ~

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tea For One

I'm not a big fan of "Tea For One" sets, but I really like this one! 

First, I love shamrock pattern for the month of March.  Second, it is not the usual huge, clunky "Tea For One" set most of us are familiar with.  This set is made by DJB Ceramics in Staffordshire, England and is fine bone china.  The cup is actually the size of a delicate teacup.  The milk jug and sugar bowl are the perfect size for one serving.  The bottom photo shows the set compared to a normal-sized mug.
Will you join me for a cup of tea in celebration of St. Patrick's Day?

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Birthday Teacup

Thank you to everyone for the birthday greetings last week!
This beautiful bone china teacup and saucer was made by Arklow in Ireland. 
The pattern is March Narcissus and was given to me by Mary. 
It's a very appropriate gift for a tea-loving March birthday gal!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kentucky's "Old State Capitol"

The weather was fabulous last Saturday when we visited Frankfort, our state capital. 
The building in the background is the "Old State Capitol" used from 1830 until 1904.   The building is still open to the public and is located at 300 Broadway in south Frankfort within easy walking sistance of various Kentucky historical buildings and museums.
To see our 2008 visit to the current Kentucky Capitol click here.

A Teapot...

My favorite teapot

~From the Tea 2010 Daily Calendar, March 12~

"The difference between a tea kettle and a teapot — a kettle is used to boil water and usually made of metal, and a teapot is used for serving on a tea table and made of silver, porcelain, china or pottery." 

This teapot was a birthday gift from my husband
(with thanks to Daughter #1 for shopping while we were at tea in Cincinnati)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Vintage Teapot for My Birthday

Thank you Mary,  for the beautiful hand-painted Gibsons Lusterware 1950's vintage teapot, sugar bowl and milk jug set made in Staffordshire, England. 
Mary knows I love English teapots.  She found this set in a Lexington Antique Mall just in time for my birthday.   

Yep, I'm a year older today, but it's OK since I have a new teapot to help me celebrate!

By the way, in case you wonder why the set includes a "milk jug" and not a "cream pitcher" — it is because the British use milk in their tea, never cream!  Cream is too heavy for tea.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alice in Wonderland — The Movie

Photo of AJ in the Alice in Wonderland Room of The Tea House in Cornelius, NC
July 2009

AJ completed his homework in record time on Tuesday afternoon so we could have time to go to the theater to see the 3-D version of Alice in Wonderland, the delightful Disney production of the Tim Burton movie just released in theaters on Friday. 

 AJ and I declared this fun movie a winner!  
He loved the 3-D and I'm a major fan of fellow Kentuckian, Johnny Depp.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Phyllis' Festive Mexican Dinner & Tablescape

Thank you to my "tea friend" Phyllis Barkey for sharing her photos and menu of a delightful Mexican-themed "Dinner for Eight" she and her husband hosted at their Michigan home Sunday evening for several new couples in their church. 

Phyllis' menu included a Mexican Savory Cheesecake garnished with chunky salsa and served with  Tortilla Chips, Tortilla Soup, Chicken Rotel served with Mexican Cornbread, and Fried Ice Cream.  The beverages served were Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Tea and Non-Alcoholic Margarita Punch.  

I just love the the tablescape using festive dinnerware, a  red table cloth, placemats and napkins, and (my favorite) sunflowers in the blue glass vase! 

Phyllis, thank you for sharing!  Your themed tablescape and the act of opening your home to share your hospitality with others are inspirational to me!   I hope everyone will enjoy these recipes.

Phyllis' Recipe for Tortilla Soup
1 large whole chicken breast, split [skin on & bone-in]

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 [28 oz.] can crushed tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth [reserved poaching broth]
1 [4 oz.] can chopped green chilies
1 [16 oz.] bag frozen corn
1 [15 oz.] can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 [10 oz.] can Enchilada sauce [I used Old El Paso]
1 teaspoon cumin
1-2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 [8 count] pkg. corn tortillas [6 inch size]
Vegetable oil
Grated Mexican 4 Cheese Blend
To poach chicken, place halves in a 4 qt. pan and completely cover with cold water by 1 inch. Add 1 chopped carrot, 1 stalk of chopped celery and 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped. Bring ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, cooking for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, allowing chicken to finish cooking in broth for another 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and when cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces or shred. Strain cooking broth [discarding vegetables] and reserve for soup.
Heat one to two teaspoons of vegetable oil in skillet. Saute onions and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in spices, tomatoes, Enchilada sauce, and reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Stir in corn, chicken, black beans, and green chilies. Simmer 15 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly brush both sides of tortillas with vegetable oil. Cut tortillas into 1/2 inch strips. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake until crisp -- about 15 minutes.
To serve, sprinkle a few tortilla strips in bottom of bowl. Ladle soup over them. Sprinkle few more strips on top of soup and sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve immediately

I'm so happy I could contribute a little bit to the success of this dinner by providing my recipe for non-alcoholic margarita punch.

Linda's Non-Alcoholic Margarita Punch Recipe
2 (12 oz.) cans frozen limeade concentrate, undiluted
1 (12 oz.) can frozen lemonade concentrate, undiluted
1 (1 oz.) bottle orange extract
6 cups water
1 (3 liter) bottle lemon lime soft drink (7-up or Sprite) chilled
Stir together first 4 ingredients. Stir in soft drink and serve immediately over crushed ice.
Yield 1 ½ gallons.  I use a pitcher to serve.

Thanks again, Phyllis, for allowing me to share your beautiful tablescape, menu and recipe for Tortilla Soup!

Note:  I apologize for the spacing problem in this post!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Victoria's The Essential Tea Companion

A new book in my tea library, The Essential Tea Companion Favorite Menus for Tea Patries and Celebrations by Victoria, was published in 2009.  This hardcover book includes the best photos and recipes from previously published  Victoria books, The Charms of Tea, The Pleasures of Tea, and The Art of Taking Tea.  The book includes theme tea and menu planning ideas, a list of sources for tea and tea accessories, and a guide to afternoon tea places in the USA and abroad.  The guide is a bit outdated, but I've never seen one that is not, in my opinion.

If beautiful tea photos insipre you, as they do me, you will find this book a nice resource.   

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tea Time Memories — My First English Cream Tea

July 1995
Our first Cream Tea experience was at the Small Talk Tea Room in the beautiful village of Broadway located in the Cotswolds in England.  In the photo above, the Gledhill family, who had learned of my interest in afternoon tea, hosted GJ and me for our very first and most delightful Cream Tea. 

For those who may not be familiar with "cream tea", it is a pot of tea served with a Scone, Clotted Cream and Jam (usually strawberry). 
Thank you Gledhill family for teaching me about the English Cream Tea on tour first trip to the Britain with the Berea Festival Dancers.
The Cream Tea experience has been repeated numerous times on many trips to England after 1995.
What a delightful tea journey it is been! 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Afternoon Tea at Chelseas Village Tea Room in Asheville, NC

Afternoon Tea at  Chelseas Village Tea Room in Asheville, NC
November 2007
Asheville, NC is a great place for a "Girlfriend's Getaway"

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Afternoon Tea at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

The Netherland Plaza is one of our favorite grand hotel afternoon teas.  Although we had stayed at the hotel and been there for various events over the years, these photos were taken on our first family afternoon tea at the Netherland Plaza celebrating my birthday in 2008.  Since then we have enjoyed several holiday and family afternoon teas at the Netherland Plaza. 

Note to my family:  Hint! Hint! My birthday is just around the corner!

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz Carlton in NYC

Our family enjoyed Afternoon Tea in the Star Lounge
 of the Ritz Carlton in New York City July 2007.
We were seated on a love seat and side chair
in the Lobby Lounge
and tea was served at a low table set with beautiful
Wedgwood china.  
The first course was served on a small silver 3 tier server.
This was a selection of delicious sandwiches and savories.
  After we ate those, the tea specialist (server) asked if we wanted more.
8 year old AJ requested more of 2 different sandwiches. 
Note: Several, but not all, Grand Hotels offer to replenish.
The second course was warm scones served with
Devonshire cream and Orange Preserves from nearby Sarabeth's.
The abundant third course of beautiful and delicious sweets and pastries,
 was served on the mini silver 3 tiered server.  
This was a delightful afternoon with unlimited pots of tea!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Afternoon Tea at the Pierre Hotel in NYC

Afternoon Tea at the Pierre Hotel
July 2007
Afternoon Tea at that time was served in the Rotunda.
Currently tea is served in the Lobby Lounge 

Menu at the link below:

In 2007, when we enjoyed our Pierre Hotel tea experience,
the tea selection was loose leaf Harney and Sons tea.  The teapots
were not set on the guest tables, so we had to wait for the server
to refill our cups. 
The set menu was served on a three-tier-server
shown in the photo above. 
AJ, who was 8 years old, was very impressed by
 the edible gold on the chocolate pastry.

Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons in NYC

Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons Lobby Lounge in New York City
July 2007
This tea service was a little different because
we were given a menu of 5 savories, 5 sweets,
and a selection of teas. 
We were told to choose a total of 6 savories and sweets
and a loose-leaf tea.
In addition, each guest was served a scone with
marmalade and Devonshire cream.
The scone had a sugar es-wash topping, almost
like a meringue and was yummy!
Our selections were served uniquely plated.
The photo of the plate is mine.  I chose more savories
than sweets.  I prefer non-sweets therefore I liked the idea of choosing
selections from the menu.
The tea pots were set on the table for us to refill our own
cups.  The loose tea had been brewed in t-sacs.
The server refilled our pots with hot water at least twice each.
That's a lot of tea!

You can see 8-year-old AJ enjoying one of his pastries above!

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