Friday, September 20, 2019

Five more hours till showtime …

Y'all, I don't go to movies that often. In February, I joined some friends who met me in Newnan for an evening showing of Gone With the Wind on its eightieth anniversary. Before that, I can't even tell you the name of the last movie I saw, and frankly, Acorn TV and Amazon Prime meet most of my viewing needs these days. But when I heard a Downton Abbey movie was in the works, I could not wait to get my ticket, and today's the day! And I've been preparing this week by using my treasured Downton Abbey tea strainer!

That soft golden light that signals fall is on the way is shining on my dining table, and I loved the play of light as I strained some brisk black tea with my DA strainer, a gift from Frances in California years ago. I should've thought to order some of the new DA teas, but since I didn't, I decided that using my DA tea ware would help me get in the spirit of the movie!

I plan to be munching on popcorn and in my seat at noon today. So who else is going to see the movie today or this weekend?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A tea kettle for the domestic diva

I don't remember why I started getting a free subscription to Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, but I do, and the new issue features "28 brilliant kitchens." I'm ready for a major kitchen redo myself, so I was quite eager to see some new kitchens and kitchen features.

I didn't get very far into the magazine, however, before I was distracted by a photo of this Dolce & Gabbana + SMEG Electric Tea Kettle, which will set you back a cool $650 at Williams Sonoma, and wow, isn't it gorgeous?

If you're good with that, then it behooves me to inform you that you blue-and-white lovers can also get a Dolce & Gabbana range hood ($5,000) that will be the envy of your neighborhood.

(Watch this blog, and when the D&G tea kettle lands at T.J. Maxx or Goodwill, I shall own one. Until then, well, a girl can dream!)

Monday, September 16, 2019

The weekend's finds … and some info I *hope* to find!

The Goodwill in Rome, Georgia, provided some goodies for both Aunt Jane and me on Saturday. I'm not quite sure what to call this cheerful Christmas figural … teapot? Pitcher? It's a one-piece deal and doesn't have a lid, so technically, can it be a teapot?

Yet I'm not sure I've ever seen a "figural pitcher," so … maybe I just won't call it anything.

I bought this for Christmas decor more than tea service, and the $2.99 price tag seemed quite reasonable.

I was even happier to find this vintage Christmas tin! I love-love-love to come across authentic vintage Christmas recipes and authentic vintage Christmas decor, and this tin takes the cake.

Or rather, it took the cake. A fruit cake, to be precise. And while I grew up with Claxton fruit cakes (and I happen to like fruit cakes), this one says Shirley Jean, and the address on the tin is Baltimore, Maryland. I expect my Georgia friends are more accustomed to seeing the Claxton name, but I'm curious to know if any of you non-Southern readers know the name Shirley Jean. Yes? No? Is there a popular fruit cake in your neck of the woods? I'd love to know!

Friday, September 13, 2019

The winner of the notecards is …

Audrey Stewart, and if you'll email me with your mailing address (to angelamcrae at charter dot net), I'll get these headed your way. Congrats!

And since so many of you seemed to like these cards, I will try to offer some handmade goodies again sometime soon!

Just one week from today, tea lovers!

In case you haven't seen this yet …

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A miniature Christmas tea set … of charms

When I was at Hobby Lobby over the weekend, I was breezing past one of their Christmas jewelry displays when I did a double take. Was that a tea set? I backed up. Yes, it was a tea set. Or a tea set's worth of charms, at least. I picked it up. Hmm. What would I do with this. Jewelry? Turn it into a Christmas fairy garden tea set? I didn't have a firm idea, so I put it back.

Then I stepped away and said, "Oh, shoot. You've done this before. You'll get home and think of the perfect use for this, so just save yourself some time and get it now." So I did. (Plus, the Christmas goodies were already 40 percent off, so I didn't even have to use my 40-percent-off coupon.)

I still haven't decided what I'll do with it, although I'm leaning toward filling in the holes with white Fimo modeling clay and treating this just like a miniature tea set. My other idea? Accents on Christmas packages and cards! Now that I look at it, though, the teapot really could make a cute charm on a necklace to wear with a pretty Christmas sweater. Maybe I should have gotten two sets of these charms. What would you suggest doing with them?

Monday, September 9, 2019

September Giveaway: Package of handmade teapot cards

I've been making cards like crazy lately, and after I recently gave a package to a friend who said she loved them, I decided to give away a package as this month's giveaway. So if you're someone who sends a lot of notecards to tea friends, I hope you'll want to enter!

I've packaged up a set of four cards, all featuring a cute teapot design from Stampin' Up's Tea Together Cling Stamp Set.

The two blue cards open horizontally …

And the two pink ones open vertically. All of them have a pearl embellishment in the center.

I've learned that I love embossing plain old card stock by running it through my Cricut Cuttlebug die-cutting and embossing machine. I used the Country Floral 3D Embossing Folder (also from Stampin' Up), and I just love the pretty floral design, which makes a great background.

So if you'd like to win this set of notecards, just leave an "Enter Me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST on Friday, September 13, and you'll be entered to win. US only, please. Good luck!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Two weeks from today …

So, Lord willing, I'll be at the noon viewing of the new Downton Abbey movie on September 20. My friend Kathy and I decided on our seats last night, and we're both so excited about seeing the movie. Kathy is my friend who is a Stampin' Up demonstrator, and she's thinking of doing a tea-themed episode of her new crafting videos soon, so I'll let you know when and if that happens for the benefit of those who would like to make more tea-themed gifts!

Are any of you trying to binge-watch the old DA episodes before the movie hits theaters? I am. When I'm crafting or doing needlework, I like to watch something "in the background" where I can catch a glimpse or two and still know what's going on, so this is perfect. I don't think I'll have forgotten much about DA, but just in case, a refresher course is probably a good idea. And a TV special about the movie is supposed to air on September 19, and you can read about it here.

To my knowledge, there are no Downtown Abbey teas going on in my neck of the woods, so I'm quite envious of those of you who have access to special DA events. If any of you are going to a special tea, or perhaps hosting one yourself, I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Volcano Green Tea from Carolina Parakeet

I've finally sampled the last of the new teas I purchased at the Carolina Parakeet Tea Room and Gifts in Anderson, S.C., last month, and this time, I was trying the Volcano Green Tea.

I was intrigued that this is a US-grown tea, and it is described as being "forest grown tea under canopy of Ohia trees & Hapuu ferns & processed in Volcano Village at 4000' elevation" in Hawaii. When I opened the package, I immediately noticed how very large some of the tea leaves are, such as the one to the left of the teacup and saucer here. It was easily an inch and a half long!

After steeping the tea according to the package directions for just two minutes, I took a sip and was impressed by the smooth green tea taste. As summer winds to a close, it was nice to skip the fruity teas I've been drinking and enjoy the pleasure of a pure green tea. I had several resteepings of this tea, and I loved knowing that it was grown in Hawaii. Have you enjoyed any US-grown teas lately?

Friday, August 30, 2019

A tale of two teapot … covers

I like to think I'm a pretty observant gal, but tea friend Margie wrote the other day and pointed out that the same teapot is on the cover of the current issues of both Tea Time and Victoria. Did y'all notice that? I didn't. (But hey, at least it's a pretty teapot!)

One of the surprises in the new Tea Time was the discovery that this teapot is by Sadler. Why a surprise? Because I think it looks so very much like …

This Wood and Sons teapot I have. With the ribbed base and the stripes of gold on the rim, handle, and spout, I just knew it was a relative of my teapot, which I received as a gift a few years ago, but apparently not. (And I am aware that companies borrowed styles and patterns, so there's that.) It's always fun to see how shapes and styles of teapots have changed over the years.

Something else that caught my eye in Tea Time: While I have never collected salt cellars, I've often admired them in antique stores and thought what a pretty (and affordable!) collection they would make. I'd never thought of serving lemon curd or jam in them, but what a cute idea!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

New artwork of "children having tea"

This cute scene of a children's tea is another of my recent finds from the Library of Congress website. I wanted to share it because this could make a cute graphic for promotional or crafting purposes, and I love it when others share such teatime freebies with me!

(One question: What is that rug, do you suppose? It reminds me of those shag carpets that are all the rage with young girls these days, but do you suppose that was some type of animal skin? I just found it a bit jarring to come across what at first glance looked like a modern-day rug!)

Monday, August 26, 2019

More adventures in thrifting … and thrif-tea-ness!

On Saturday, Aunt Jane and I hit up two thrift stores, the Blake House and Goodwill in Carrollton. I didn't find anything I wanted at Goodwill, but the Blake House Thrift Store was a winner. This pretty vintage cutlery holder caught my eye.

 I think the china painting on these old pieces is just so lovely. I did wonder why it was marked "8," though, as I knew it wouldn't cost nearly that much, as I've never paid more than $4 for anything in the store. Maybe it was pricing left over from an estate sale or garage sale?

And when I turned it around, can you believe the monogram I found?

I think it's safe to say this is one of my best thrift store finds of the year so far!

It can happily hold the teaspoons the next time I serve a buffet-style tea!

And in other frugal tea news, Dollar Tree has these two-for-a-dollar calendar sets where you buy the large calendar and get a mini as well.

Now the quality is exactly what you'd expect—which is to say, flimsy and cheap—but I like these small, lightweight calendars to hang on the side of the refrigerator with a sturdy magnet.

And I was happy that my birthday month had a pretty image. If any of you are planning fall or winter teas, it struck me that these might make nice favors or tuck-ins for a bag of goodies, so I just wanted to post an alert so that all the tea lovers can get to them first!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Some lovely *free* teapot graphics!

Several times this year, I've mentioned that reader Diane M. has been kind enough to share tea-related links that she thinks I'll find of interest. This week, I was looking back at one of the sites she referred me to earlier this year, and it's another link from the Graphics Fairy with graphics like this one. Isn't this teacup gorgeous? This particular graphic comes both with and without words on the front, and this plain one would be delightful as a tea party invitation, don't you think?

I like this one too. (All those flourishes!)

And this one! Actually, I can imagine uses for all of these. Scrapbooking, card making, Christmas and Valentine's crafts, used as iron-on designs for sewing projects (quilts, T-shirts, totes), and the list is endless. I'm so glad Diane shared this with me, and I wanted to share it with you!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Tea-Set … for the Piano!

Show of hands, please. Do any of you tea friends play a musical instrument? I know that my friend Joy is an organist, and I took piano lessons in my youth (and occasionally played at church if they were desperate), but I haven't tickled the ivories for years. I wish I had, though, because I found the coolest thing on the Library of Congress website, this Tea-Set Composed for the Piano by F. W. Ratcliffe, Louisville, Kentucky. Note that it includes "Tea Polka, "Young Hyson Waltz," "Bohea Schottische" (schottische means "slow polka"; I had to look it up),"Gunpowder Imperial March," "Sugar and Cream Waltz," "The Nameless Schottische," and "Clearing Away Galop."

The Library of Congress has included the two pages of the "Tea Polka," so if you play the piano and give it a whirl sometime, I'd love to know what you think of the tune. (Please note the dedication too. It's fun!)

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Mackenzie-Childs Teapot Lunch Tote

When I actually went to an office every day, I didn't bother to take a stylish lunch tote, but recently, I discovered a new need for one. When I go to my friend Kathy's for crafting day, she always offers to make lunch for me, but since I'd rather craft than eat, I got in the habit of just taking a protein bar or water. Then I took my favorite replacement meal, low-fat Greek yogurt, but I almost forgot it was in my craft tote. So I went online and did a search for "teapot lunch tote," and up came this little goodie.

The colors and the design just make me happy!

It's made of neoprene and polyester, and I love how they even captured the iconic black-and-white details from those pretty Mackenzie-Childs teapots I've been lusting over for years.

My tote is a little floppy since I'm typically packing only a few things so far—a large bottled water, yogurt, a few tablespoons of dry cereal to top the yogurt—but I can see that a sandwich and bowl of soup will easily fit inside when the weather turns cooler and I want a heartier lunch. I got my tote on sale, and then they were out of stock. However, when I checked yesterday, it was on sale again, so click here if you want to order one of these for yourself. Happy lunching!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Pu-erh Pistachio from Tea Bird Loose Teas

When I had the pleasure of visiting the Carolina Parakeet Tea and Gifts in Anderson, S.C., a few weeks ago, one of the teas I purchased to take home with me was this Pu-erh Pistachio. I have enjoyed pu-erh teas for years, and I like the distinctive earthy taste of them, but this is the first time I have come across flavored pu-erhs in a tea shop, so I had to try one.

This one consists of pu-erh tea, pistachio, natural flavoring, and rose petals (a surprise ingredient). It certainly makes for an attractive blend!

And I loved it! I could detect that earthiness I like in the pu-erh, but it was definitely moderated by the addition of the other flavors, and that made me like this pu-erh even more. I was so impressed by this tea that now I'm on the lookout for other flavored pu-erhs to try!