Monday, February 20, 2017

Hitting the teaware jackpot - Part II

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that I had received a teacup bonanza from not only a longtime friend but also from a friend of hers I'd never met before that day, someone who (to my amazement) also wanted to pass along some teawares. I so enjoyed the lovely afternoon I spent with these friends old and new, and after showing you the first batch of new teacups, I realized it was time to share the second batch of new teacups I received. Aren't they lovely? And all in mint condition!

I suppose my eye will always go to roses first, and this teacup is one I know I will enjoy using again and again!

But I must confess that my newfound passion for blues has me loving this one just as much. And too, I have long loved iris. (I still want to say "irises" for the plural, but the plant folks seem to prefer "iris" for both singular and plural.)

Also in the batch of teaware goodies I received was this gorgeous teapot that Jan, the one who gave it to me, remembered receiving as a young girl. (She's in her sixties now.)

Isn't the gilding on this piece just beautiful?

And of course I was all too happy to realize I had a new Wood & Sons teapot on (and in) my hands. Still can't believe my good fortune in receiving all of these delightful teawares but am incredibly grateful to have such generous friends!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Victoria Classics—Linens, Lace & Monograms

The loveliest new magazine I've seen in ages has landed on the newsstand, a Victoria Classics issue titled "Linens, Lace & Monograms."

As soon as I spotted it, I knew I had to have this one. I especially found useful page 17, which tells us the purpose of various sizes of napkins. Tea napkins, according to the article, are 12 inches square.

I was not at all surprised to spot a few teawares in these pages, but even if I hadn't seen a single teacup, I found it so utterly soothing to simply gaze upon pretty, filmy, lacy, feminine things for a while. I also enjoyed the stories about three enterprising women who followed their passion and made a business out of their love for vintage textiles. I suspect many of you would enjoy this issue as well, so if you spot it while you're out and about, you might want to take a peek inside!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Amazon gift card goes to …

Marilyn Miller! And since I know how to contact Marilyn, I've already got an email headed her way. Thanks to all of you for playing along on Valentine's Week this year, and I hope you have a very Happy Valentine's Month!

Teatime images from The Met

Would you not love to come across a teapot like this one someday? I hit the cyber brakes the moment I scrolled up to the eagle perched atop this silver teapot, which the Metropolitan Museum of Art says is attributed to silversmith Christian Wiltberger of Philadelphia.

And how did I happen to come across said teapot? My friend Lynn has once again alerted me to another wonderful new resource for digital images in the public domain, The Met, and I found this there. (You can click on the image to study the teapot in even more detail. It is exquisite!)

In addition to its images of teapots and other teawares, there are also images of famous tea-related art, including some well-known Mary Cassatt paintings (I have always loved her work), and some photos as well. There are so many great uses for these images, and not just blog posts! They can be used in presentations about tea, and I love the thought of using tea-themed artwork to create invitations to teatime. If you'd like to check out these images for yourself, I'll share with you the link that Lynn so kindly shared with me: This one. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The winner of the Mary Engelbreit stickers is ...

Misty! And Misty, I've just sent you an email asking for your mailing info so I can get these headed your way. Congrats!

Valentine's Week Giveaway #7

This valentine is large ( about 8 x 13 inches) and is actually a three-dimensional card that folds into place and stands, but I don't think you notice all the detail unless you see the scan. I love the saying on this one: "I pray that your Heart's Garden / May be set with Sweetest Flowers / That your life be like the Dial / Telling none but sunny Hours." Yes!

This card was given to Miss Bragdon from Edson McKenzie and Antonio Di Bona. I had to do a search for the name "Antonio Di Bona" because it sounded so exotic, and I found this on Some of you genealogists, could this be the right Antonio? If this is the Antonio who sent this valentine and he was 39 in 1940, that would mean this card was probably sent in the early 1900s, right? It's fun to imagine the past lives of my valentines.

I couldn't decide whether to look for more stationery or another book, so for the final Valentine's Week giveaway, I decided on a $10 Amazon e-gift card that you can spend on whatever you like! Please note: You MUST provide a way for met to get in touch with you if you're the winner. Just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, Feb. 15, and you'll be entered to win. Good luck, and I wish a very happy Valentine's Day to you all!

Monday, February 13, 2017

The tea towel winner is …

Beth R.! And Beth, if you'll send me your snail mail address via the email button at right, I'll get this headed your way. Congrats!

Valentine's Week Giveaway #6

This sweet valentine, dated 1938, is probably one of the older ones in my collection, and I've never seen another like it. "Serv-ice is my motto, so don't tea-ze me, be my valentine," says the little girl. Note the silver foil on the teakettle. You'd think that was just glued on the front of the valentine, wouldn't you?

But nope, it's actually inserted beneath a piece of paper on the back, which I found an interesting construction method. The card says, "To Mary Ellen from Wilda." Don't you love the name Wilda? I may have to name one of my characters Wilda one day in honor of this valentine! (I like the name Mary Ellen too, by the way, but I've known plenty of Mary Ellens but never a Wilda!)

And for today's giveaway, I found another package of these stickers that were such a hit once before. These are from Mary Engelbreit, whose cheerful designs never seem to go out of style. If you'd like to win them, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, February 14, and you'll be entered to win. (US and Canada only, please.) Good luck!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Irish Teatime Recipes winner is ...

Lynn K.! And Lynn, I've just sent you an email to be sure I still have the correct mailing address for you. Congrats!

Valentine's Week Giveaway #5

This adorable little valentine is one I'm especially pleased to share this year. You see, it was actually a gift from Heidi T. several years ago, but I accidentally filed it away with some non-Valentine's Day cards and didn't rediscover it until last year after Valentine's Day. I saw a listing for one just like this on Etsy (the only other valentine like this that I've ever seen), and I thought, "Wait a minute! I have that one!" And so I delved through every bit of paper in my office until I found it—and it was like receiving the gift all over again! I love that the sweet waitress is serving up a tray full of hearts at this teddy bear tea.

The card is signed "Your cousin, Marian H." I don't guess I've ever received a valentine from a cousin, but then I've never sent one to a cousin, either, so there's that. But I do have a "Marian H." in my family, one of my aunts, so I thought that was interesting.

Just as they were featured on today's valentine, teawares and hearts are also featured on today's giveaway, a pink tea towel that struck me as perfect for a Valentine's Week gift! If you'd like to win it, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, February 13, and you'll be entered to win. (US and Canada only, please.) Good luck!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The London journal winner is ...

Barbara Legener! And Barbara, if you'll send me your snail mail address via the email button at right, I'll get this headed your way. Congrats!

Valentine's Week Giveaway #4

"You're Tea-riffic, Valentine" says this sweet little undated card. There's no design or writing on the back, so I'm left to guess whether this card was ever actually given to someone, and if not, why not. I'm charmed by the eyelashes on the teawares here. A couple of weeks ago, I was out shopping on a Saturday when a neighboring car caught my eye because it had "false eyelashes" that I have since learned are called "carlashes." Click here to see some for yourself. I was tempted to leave a note on the windshield that read, "Please tell me you work in the beauty industry." Who knew?

And I decided not to give away any false eyelashes or carlashes, but since St. Patrick's Day is not too far away, today's giveaway is a sweet little "Irish Teatime Recipes" booklet. If you'd like to win it, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, February 12, and you'll be entered to win. (US and Canada only, please.) Good luck!

Friday, February 10, 2017

The stickers go to …

Sandy Garvey! So Sandy, if you'll send me your snail mail address via the email button at right, I'll get these headed your way. Congrats!

Valentine's Week Giveaway #3

Today's "You're my 'Cup O' Tea" valentine is an undated, perforated one with a smiling teapot and teacup, and they sure make me smile!

I like to picture some sweet child helping mom punch out the cards from one of those multi-packs like I saw at the store the other day.

And perhaps nowhere is a good "cup o' tea" more prized than in London, so I thought this London-themed journal would be appropriate for today's giveaway, perfect for anyone who's headed to England soon! If you'd like to win the journal, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, February 11, and you'll be entered to win. (US and Canada only, please.) Good luck!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The cookbook winner is …

Frances! And Frances, since I have your mailing address already, I'll get this book headed your way. Congrats!

Valentine's Week Giveaway #2

Today's vintage valentine is a thin paper one, which makes me think it is older, perhaps from the 1930s or 1940s. I love the heart design of the little girl's teapot!

I don't know who the valentine was sent to, but it was clearly "From Lea."

And for today's giveaway, we have a recent Dollar Tree find. Aren't  these stickers charming? (I apologize for the inclusion of the word "coffee," but please ignore it and focus on the teapot, teacups and tea bag!)  If you'd like to win the stickers, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, February 10, and you'll be entered to win. (US and Canada only, please.) Good luck!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valentine's Week Giveaway #1

Yes, yes, I know I said I was going to blog only three days a week this year, but then I realized it was Valentine's Week and thought, oh, dear, I do love hosting that full week of giveaways each year around Valentine's Day. So let's do it again, shall we? For each of the next seven days, I'll feature a vintage valentine from my collection, and there will be an overnight giveaway as well, so please check back each day to be sure you don't miss out! This valentine says, "Valentine You Suit Me To a Tea!"

And the back tells me it was sent to Marlys from Evelyn. When the valentines are undated like this one, I love to see the names on the back because they help me guess the age of the piece.

And for today's giveaway, I'm offering a rosy looking cookbook called "Macarons, Cookies, Bars & Biscotti." If you'd like to win this copy, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST tomorrow, February 9, and you'll be entered to win. (US and Canada only, please.) Good luck!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Teacups, trios, and a tea angel ... oh, my!

Last week I got a call from a dear friend who will be turning 80 next month. She said she's trying to clear out some things in her house, and she said she had a set of 12 Japanese Flower of the Month teacups that belonged to her late mother-in-law and would be happy for me to have them if I wanted them. She also had a friend who wanted to give me some English china teacups if I wanted them. Friends, I was there the next day!

When I got there, my friend informed me that the Flower of the Month pieces weren't just teacups and saucers but were actually trios! I did not know that these Japanese Flower of the Month pieces had been made as trios, did you? At any rate, I was thrilled to have these teawares with all their beautiful flowers.

They won't all fit on the tea trolley, so for now I am displaying six of them at a time. They are in absolutely pristine condition.

And when I got home, I discovered that also tucked into the giant box of trios was this charming Jim Shore "Angel of Hospitality." I'm still pinching myself that I was blessed with all these new treasures. Later this week, I'll show you more of the goodies from the very memorable day that I went home with 20 new teacups!

Friday, February 3, 2017

My February Coweta Shopper column

The Coweta Shopper that I write for has a new owner, a former colleague who was quite open to my idea of turning my "tea column" into a "cooking column" (I liked the idea of having a broader variety of topics to write about!) So I probably won't be posting it here each month unless the recipe happens to be something I think tea lovers would be interested in. Here, I shared recipes for two heart-shaped treats I think some of you might enjoy. Although I've written about shortbread on this blog plenty of times, I've never made these heart-shaped treats before, and I think they'd be perfect for Valentine's teas.

If you're not a local resident but would like to read this month's column, you can find it online here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A tapestry and tea

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Last week, my friend Lynn wrote to let me know of yet another online resource I might want to check out, the Getty Museum Collection website. I had not heard of this site, but following her recommendation, I followed this link and searched for the term "tea." I found lots of fun things to check out, but the image that most astonished me was this one, a tapestry titled, "Le Thé de l'impératrice, from L'Histoire de l'empereur de la Chine Series," which means, "The Tea of the Empress, from The History of the Emperor of China Series." Wow. Just wow.

This wool and silk French tapestry is circa 1697-1705, and the piece measures 165 x 75 inches. I cannot even imagine the work that went into this piece … but oh, how beautiful! I don't believe I've ever seen a tapestry depicting teatime before. Have you?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ready for spring … and teacup gardening

A few weekends ago, I was convinced the springlike temperatures meant winter was behind us here in Georgia, but alas, we've dipped back down to the freezing-cold fifties (that's freezing by *my* standards), so alas, I can only dream of spring. But I was delighted to find spring's return in the form of one of my favorite annual magazines! I found a copy at Ingles over the weekend, and since this magazine always seems to disappear quickly, I wanted to alert you fellow garden- and flower-lovers as well that Flea Market Gardens 2017 has arrived.

I love to incorporate old stuff into the garden, and since I've totally neglected my home's landscape for about two years now, this is the year I'm going to make myself whip things into shape. The first idea I fell in love with in this magazine, though, is an idea I want to use indoors: a teacup chandelier for displaying African violets! I'm rooting some new African violets right now, so I hope I can find a thrift store light fixture in time for some quick upcycling.

And while I don't know what this particular plant is, the cutline says to fill a teacup with "any low-growing, cool-weather-loving alpine plant," so I guess I'll be researching that. Isn't it lovely how the little plant spills out of the teacup?

Finally, another of those so-simple-why-haven't-I-thought-of-it-before ideas is to simply use vintage teacups as containers for tea lights when entertaining outdoors.  The issue also has lots of ideas for container gardens and fairy gardens, including one made using a vintage suitcase that is absolutely darling. So if you're like me and ready to putter in the garden but the weather's not quite there yet, be sure to grab this issue before it disappears from your newsstand!

Friday, January 27, 2017

A tea and teacup that are just dandy

Last year, a new friend gave me a nice big bag of tea samples to try, and the one I've been enjoying this week is the Organic Lemon Dandy tea from Divinitea.

This tea contains organic hibiscus, organic rose hips, organic lemon verbena, organic purple tulsi, organic lemon myrtle and organic dandelion leaf. It's a refreshing herbal blend that tastes like a nice marriage of citrus and berries (from the rose hips, maybe), and I'm enjoying it as a lovely change from all the mint and oolong teas I've been sipping lately.
And in honor of the new "Victoria" series on PBS, I reached for a teacup I've neglected for a while, one I bought in the gift shop at Windsor Castle a few years ago. The pattern comes from a Minton dessert stand purchased by Queen Victoria at The Great Exhibition in 1851, and I think it's a dandy teacup to use for my "Victoria" viewing this winter!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"Victoria" on PBS

So are you watching "Victoria" on PBS? I missed the first episode but caught up online and then watched it on TV Sunday night. Count me in! I had actually started rewatching my old "Downton Abbey" DVDs the other weekend, but then I realized "Victoria" was in progress and knew I wanted to watch.

Queen Victoria is well worth studying, and some years ago, I read a terrific biography of her (reviewed here with some Queen Victoria tea-related tidbits from the book). The show is, of course, as lavish and spectacularly filmed as I hoped it would be. 

And I noted on the PBS site that they confirmed it was indeed John Brown who "taught Victoria how to put a nip of Scotch in her tea."

If you haven't yet watched the show, click here to see a preview … and grab a cup of tea because you'll be hooked!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sandy's Brown Sugar Shortbread

Last week I was sorting some old notes and letters when I came across a recipe I had saved from my tea-loving pen pal in New York, Sandy. She had shared the recipe for her Brown Sugar Shortbread, which sounded intriguing since I've never made shortbread with brown sugar, only with regular old granulated sugar.

Over the weekend, I tried her recipe, and I was thrilled with how easy and delicious it was. And just three ingredients! If you'd like an afternoon treat of shortbread with your tea this week, I highly recommend this recipe.

Brown Sugar Shortbread

1 cup softened butter (no substitutions)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. (I used a hand mixer.) Gradually stir in flour. When blended, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead till smooth, about 3 minutes. I used a rolling pin that flattens the dough into a perfect 3/8-inch thickness and cut out cookies with a small teapot cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet, prick with a fork, and bake for 25 minutes, just until bottoms are beginning to brown. Yields about 40 (2-inch) cookies. And as Sandy noted on her recipe card, they are indeed quite yummy!