Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine's Teapot Garden Flag

I like the addition of garden flags to our landscaping,
especially at this time of the year when there are no
blooming colors in the yard.
I was so happy to find this pretty Valentine's teapot garden flag
at Michael's today. 
Don't you just love it when you are shopping and
a tea-themed item just happens to be right there in front of you?!?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Aunt Mary's Crocheted Doily

This post is result of a January 24th post by Rachel at Lawn Tea. 
Rachel is a talented blog writer with southern roots, who often writes
about family memories which are similar to my own childhood memories
of growing up an Appalachian family,
but that is a story for another day.    
I hope you will go to Rachel's blog and back a couple of posts to the "Craftless" post
about her memories of crocheting family members.  
 My mother and aunts, especially my Aunt Mary, crocheted especially
 during winter weather similar to what we have
experienced here in Kentucky recently.
Today, I am featuring a crocheted doily made by Aunt Mary.
I use it as a small table topper (below) in a spare bedroom. 
Aunt Mary used the table and doily in her home the same way.
The table top is 24 x 11 inches, to give you an idea of the size of the doily.
Aunt Mary was a teacher in one and two-room schools in rural Kentucky,
before moving to Florida where she taught in a small elementary school
until retirement when they moved back to Berea.
  I visited Aunt Mary and Uncle Aden in Florida every summer for years.
 I am so thankful for those times we shared.
After my uncle's passing, Aunt Mary developed many health issues and became blind,
and sadly, crocheting was one of the activities she missed most.
I was honored to be her caregiver,
and I am honored to have a few of her "treasures" including this doily.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Vintage Trentham Violet Trio

This week I am sharing photos of a vintage Violet Teacup and Saucer Trio
made by Trentham Bone China, Ltd. at their Royal Crown Pottery
in Longton, Staffordshire in the 1950's.
These are decorated with purple violets with green foliage and
trimmed in gold.  The plate is 8 inches, which is my favorite size for afternoon tea.  

Floral teacups are my favorite.
I have many patterns with roses, and have recently been adding
more violets to my collection.  
I especially like the floral design inside the cup. 
What designs and colors do you look for when collecting teacups? 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Milk Oolong

 Today's cup of tea is a Milk Oolong.
This is one of several different teas I received as a gift from a friend.
This tea is from Gong Fu Tea in Des Moines. 
I had read about Milk Oolong, but don't recall drinking it before today.
 Milk Oolong has nothing to do with milk.
It is tightly rolled and lightly oxidized tea.
 See the beautiful unfurled leaves after steeping. 

From the Gong Fu Tea website:
Milk Oolong

This semi-oxidized tea varietal has a very distinctive “buttery” characteristic to its liquor that is the result of a unique combination of harvest-timing coupled with processing technique. The leaves are selected from tea plants growing in the mountains of Fujian province, China at elevations between 1600 and 4000 feet above sea-level. The plucking must then occur only on a morning following a precipitous drop in temperature in comparison to the day before. The hand-picked leaves are then removed to the tea factory where they are carefully oxidized in climate controlled rooms, steamed and rolled, then dried and packed for the enjoyment of the lucky few tea enthusiasts that have access to this rare treat

I am so glad I received this tea as a gift.  I appreciated the opportunity to
taste it, and I look forward to my tea friends tasting it.
The "buttery" taste is not my choice for a refreshing cup of tea,
but I will try it again on a different day, for m "second opinion."
Possibly, a future blog post...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Traditional Tea Bag Holders

 Do you use Tea Bag Holders, also sometimes known as Tea Bag Caddies?
Only a few of my "collection" are shown here. 
I often receive them as gifts, as several above are. 
Or, I purchase them as souvenir items,  as the Whittard of Chelsea
 and The English Rose Tearoom ones in the photo.
From the internet,
"Traditionally, a tea bag holder is a dishware accessory.
A traditional tea bag holder's purpose is to provide tea drinkers with a place,
 other than the saucer, to put the used tea bag."
It goes on to say,
 "when individuals steep their tea cup by cup, liquid runoff from the saturated
tea bag pools in the saucer and can be messy.   
Use of a tea bag holder allows the tea drinker to place
 the saturated tea bag in a separate receptacle."
Tea bag holders are often shaped like teapots, but can be of other themes,
including domestic pets, such as cats and dogs.  
Since I don't use mine to hold wet tea bags,
I have found a few different uses for them.
To hold my rings by the kitchen sink when I wash dishes,
to hold earrings or pocket change in the bedroom,
and to hold small items on my desk.
Do you have a collection of tea bag holders?
According to my friend and tea blogger, Marilyn, if you have
more than three of an item, you have a collection.
Do you have unique shaped tea bag holders? 
I admit, my favorites are the traditional teapot shaped ones.
Do you have a unique way to use or display tea bag holders? 
Please share your ideas!  

Monday, January 20, 2014

January Snowdrops Teacup Trio

This "Snowdrops" teacup trio set is from
the Royal Albert January Flower of the Month series.
I looked for a pretty white floral bone china teacup for January,
and this is what I found.
  Can't get more perfect for a snowy tea day than Snowdrops!


Friday, January 17, 2014

My First English Cream Tea Memories

Continuing from my previous post...
This is a scanned 1995 photo of me having my first
English Cream Tea at Small Talk Tea Shoppe in
the beautiful village of Broadway with our host family.
Since that time, Broadway has become one of our favorite
towns to visit when traveling in England.
We returned in 1998, 2002,2003, and 2008.
It is past time for another visit! 
From the Book "The Teapot Trail, The Cotswolds" by Davina Burton,
"It's impossible to name just one Cotswold village that
displays all the most attractive characteristics of the region,
 but on any short list Broadway must come very near the top." 
Above 1998 photo: Tisanes Tea Shop in Broadway

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Tea Journey and Blogging Anniversary

I am often asked about how and why I began on my tea journey.
Growing up in the south, everyone drank sweet iced tea  or "ice tea" in the summer. 
My mother kept a box of Lipton tea bags in the kitchen cabinet,
and gave me hot tea to drink when I was sick.
She kept that box of tea bags for years.  She wasn't a tea drinker,
but I had developed into one.  However, back in those days,
I didn't know the difference in old bagged tea compared to good loose leaf tea.
In February, 1993, I visited Bruce and Shelley Richardson's Elmwood Inn Tea Room.
That was my first "formal" afternoon tea experience.
In July, the same year, we traveled to Denmark with our
younger daughter's teenage folk dance group. 
During that trip we stayed with host families. 
We learned that everything and everyone stops at three
for a coffee or tea break.
Since I drank tea, our hosts provided me with tea at three.
When we arrived home after that 17 day trip, I had a major three o'clock tea habit.
The 1994 book, If Teacups Could Talk, by Emilie Barnes,
 was the first book about tea I purchased. 
The beautiful Shelley teacup, also in the photo above, was given to me by my Aunt Ida
in the 1980's along with about a dozen of her prized teacups
she had collected while out "antiquing."
The Shelley was the only English teacup she gave to me at that time. 
Her gifted teacups were the beginning of my "tea cup collecting."
I began collecting English teacups during our first trip to England, Scotland
and Wales in 1995, again traveling with the teenage folk dance group,
and staying with host families. 
Our first homestay, on that trip, was with a family in Evesham,
on the edge of the Cotswolds. 
 Our host family took Glenn and me to the Small Talk Tearoom
 in the delightful village of Broadway for our first ever "English Cream Tea." 
We purchased my first Chatsford English teapot
and several teacups that day.  
The Tea Journey continued with several more trips back to England,
 Scotland, Wales, and Denmark,
and many American tearoom visits. 
Along the way I have participated in several tea education classes and seminars,
including the memorable 2007 Tea in London Tour and the UK Tea Council's
Tea Master Class with Jane Pettigrew.
It will be interesting to see how the tea journey continues in 2014.
The teacup and teapot collecting, and tea travels eventually led to this blog.
This week I am celebrating my Friendship Tea Blog Anniversary. 
I began blogging on January 16, 2008,  with no real expectations.
Blogging has been therapeutic at times, and stressful at times.
However, the best reward from blogging has been the friendships
developed over the past 6 years with other bloggers and blog readers.
Join me in celebrating this week by enjoying a cup of tea.
Thank you!  I appreciate you all!
From the book, If Teacups Could Talk, Emilie Barnes says:
"It's not the tea...that makes teatime special.
It's the spirit of the tea party."

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Vintage Royal Standard Teacup Trio

The readers of my blog know I collect vintage English teacup trio sets.
A trio includes a teacup and saucer and "side plate."
This pretty bone china set is Orleans Rose by Royal Standard. 
I am drinking Organic Bai Mu Dan (Silver Peony) from Red Blossom Tea Company,
a family owned tea shop in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown. 
We visited this tea shop several years ago.  I order fine teas from their website


I am linking with Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Vanilla Tea in a Vintage Paragon Teacup

My Sunday evening cup of tea is Harney and Sons Vanilla Comoro,
a Decaffeinated Black Tea with Vanilla.

I purchased this pretty teacup trio at a church "tabletop sale"
at Bourton-on-the-Water while visiting England
nearly 12 years ago.  If my memory is correct,
I paid 12.50 British Pounds for it.  We visited with the very nice
 ladies selling what we call "white elephant" items. 
We have wonderful memories from that trip. It was
Austin's first trip to England. He celebrated his 3rd birthday
 in a tea room. *Big Smile*

Friday, January 10, 2014

Family Then and Now

Above, Peyton's 1st birthday.
Below, just a few days before this 9th birthday.
Staying in earlier this week during the cold temperatures and
snow gave me time to reflect, and time to appreciate our family.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gluten Free Baking Today

No school again today in Kentucky due to the extreme
cold temperatures, so it's a good day for
gluten free coffee cake made with
King Arthur Flour gluten free all-purpose baking mix.
This was my first attempt at this very easy recipe.  
As you can see in the photo, there is a corner missing.
A yummy warm sample jumped out of the pan and onto my plate.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Keeping Warm With Tea

Keeping myself and my teapot warm today
with zero temperatures in Kentucky.  

Tea Time Magazine 2014 Event

I have been asked by Tea Time Magazine to share the following information.

Looking for a thoughtful and memorable gift for a true tea enthusiast or perhaps a one-of-a-kind weekend getaway? We have the perfect suggestion: A trip to Victoria, British Columbia, to attend An Occasion for Tea February 7–9, hosted by TeaTime magazine.

The weekend will feature lectures and tastings of rare teas hosted by contributing editors Jane Pettigrew, James Norwood Pratt, and Bruce Richardson; an exquisite afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress Tea Lounge; a special presentation by Pettigrew and Richardson (authors of A Social History of Tea) that delves into "Tea at the Time of Jane Austen"—and much more. This unique opportunity to meet and spend time with TeaTime editor Lorna Reeves and other internationally recognized tea experts is sure to be unforgettable. Please join us for An Occasion for Tea, an unparalleled weekend in breathtaking Victoria, British Columbia, and an event that any tea lover and enthusiast will not want to miss.

For more information, please e-mail, call 205-262-2205, or click here.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What is a Tea Party?

"A Tea Party is a gathering of friends sharing a pot of
good tea, good food, and good conversation."
by Linda


From tea parties in my home, to quaint tea rooms,
 and grand hotels,
2013 was an amazing tea party for me with friends and family!
We shared many pots of good tea, too much good food,
and hours of good conversation and laughter. 
We look forward to continuing enjoying tea parties in 2014.
What makes a tea party for you?
Tea or other beverage?
Table décor?
Tea party theme?
Dressing up or casual?
Celebration of birthday or other event?
I want to hear all your thoughts and ideas!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Holiday Family Travel and Adventures

 Melissa, Tim and Peyton joined us for a few
days of holiday family fun in Hilton Head Island.
Peyton and Austin could not resist the ocean.
However, the indoor heated pool was their favorite. 
 We go to Hilton Head every summer for a week, but
this was our first Christmas break trip. 
 Dinner at the Salty Dog Café is a family tradition. 

 We watched movies, played board games,
miniature golf, shopped, and enjoyed great restaurants.
 Our New Year's Eve celebration included a delicious dinner
and flaming desserts at Hugo's.
And, an early birthday celebration
for Peyton who will be 9 years old in a few days. 

A ukulele like Austin's.  
We arrived home New Years Day afternoon. 
2013 was filled with many adventures
both good and difficult, and many great opportunities for
fun travel and afternoon teas. 
We are thankful for many blessings, especially
Melissa's continued recovery from October 30th open-heart surgery. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Skillets Café and Grille transformed their pretty
Christmas tree into a festive Happy New Year tree
while we were in Hilton Head between
Christmas and New Year's Day.  
Skillet's is our favorite restaurant on the island for breakfast.
They have a great gluten free menu,
and the best ever grits! 


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