Friday, January 30, 2015

January giveaway: Tea Pleasures magazine


Goodness, I almost let January slip by without offering a giveaway! Now I should have done this one earlier because I know many of you already have a copy, but if you don't, I'd love to give one of you a copy of this new special issue from Victoria Classics, Tea Pleasures.

If you'd like to be entered to win, just leave an "Enter me" comment to this post between now and 7 a.m. Monday, February 2. (U.S. and Canada only, please.) Good luck!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A fun puerh tea tasting courtesy of Teavivre

Puerh, I’ll admit, is a tea that’s not to everyone’s liking, but I enjoy it. It’s got an unmistakably earthy taste that is quite different from the girly, frou-frou flavored teas I normally enjoy. This tea is produced in Yunnan, China, and after production the leaves go through a fermentation process and are often made into “cakes” of tea. As you can see here, this sample of puerh tea was originally part of a cake.

I recently received a package of puerh samples from Teavivre, and I was intrigued to note on the packet that some of the samples arrived “raw,” in cake form, and some are in pyramid tea bags.

The first sample I tried was the cake form on the left, Menghai Golden Buds Tribute Ripened Puerh Cake 2009. The package said to brew it at 212 degrees for 3-10 minutes, and I opted for the 3 minutes. I loved the extra earthy taste of this puerh. I like the flavor of puerh anyway, but this one had a richness to it that I especially enjoyed. Later, I tried the pyramid tea bag containing Ripened Loose Puerh, and I noted it said to steep it at 212 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes. Okay, I thought. We'll see … But you know, after 9 minutes I had a tea that looked as dark as coffee and another great, earthy tasting puerh, not oversteeped and not bitter at all. I still consider myself quite a puerh novice and haven't yet developed my palate enough to call these teas anything but "earthy," but I do recommend trying any tea at least once. These teas are very different from my usual flavored teas, but it's nice to shake things up once in a while, and I'm grateful Teavivre allows me to do just that!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Got an extra $26 million lying around?


I was looking up some interior design articles online when I happened upon a real estate listing in Washington state that caught my eye. It was for this $26.8 million home on Mercer Island, Washington. It's huge and gorgeous, naturally, but what most intrigued me was the next to the last line in the description: "Scone and tea room by the putting green." Now that's a luxury I could live with!

If you click here you can see the gallery of photos, but unfortunately the individual photos are not labeled. Now I am quite eager to know which one is the scone and tea room. It's the one "by the putting green," but I see lots of photos that I suppose could be by a putting green. (Any golfers reading today?) I'm guessing it's one of those pretty white rooms, but I don't see teawares or tea-themed art in any of the rooms to help me out here. Your thoughts?

Please let me know if you figure it out. Or if you decide to buy the house!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Starting African violets in teacups

My garden club has its first meeting of the year tonight, and none too soon, because I'm ready to kick off the gardening year! Some years ago, I had great success growing and rooting African violets. When I got married and moved to a new home eight years ago, the light from my kitchen windowsill didn’t seem to make the violet leaves happy anymore, so I had no luck with rooting them, merely rotting them instead. But I’m not one to give up easily, so I kept sticking African violet leaves into a small vase of water on the windowsill.

I still have not been able to obtain that stem with roots that I used to acquire so easily once upon a time, but what I have found, to my surprise, is teeny tiny little plants that are growing underwater and attached to the stem!

Now how does a plant like this grow underwater? I don’t understand how it does this at all, but online research tells me that it is possible, so I'm hopeful that maybe these miniature plants will grow big and strong.

As you can see here, I’ve removed three of the underwater leaf groupings and plopped them in some potting soil in a pink demitasse cup. Only time will tell if they make it, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Do any of you grow plants in teacups? If so, what do you grow? I’m eager for garden season to get here this year, and my windowsill garden is providing a bit of amusement until that happy day arrives.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Double Berry & Almond Tea Muffins


I think I see a pattern here. On Sunday afternoons, I like to make a sweet treat to enjoy while watching "Downton Abbey" later in the evening. This week, I saw I had an extra bag of cranberries left over from holiday baking, so I looked online for a simple cranberry muffin recipe. I found one from Ocean Spray here, and I liked the fact it included blueberries as well.

But naturally I ended up tweaking the recipe a bit. I used fresh cranberries instead of dried, I flavored the milk with a berry-flavored tea, and I added slivered almonds. The result was exactly what I was hoping for, and it couldn't have been any easier to whip up. I think even Mrs. Patmore would be pleased with the delicious results!


Double Berry & Almond Tea Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons sugar, divided use
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 berry flavor tea bags (I used Celestial Seasonings' Cranberry Vanilla Wonderland)
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, chopped in half
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 12-cup muffin tin with baking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt. Heat milk for 2 minutes in microwave (or boil on stovetop), add berry flavor tea bags, and steep for 5 minutes. Discard tea bags, then combine egg, milk and oil in small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Add cranberries, blueberries and almonds. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until brown around the edges. Yields 12 muffins.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Teatime Tale #4 - The Women's Ministry Committee Meeting for the 42nd Annual Spring Tea


The Women’s Ministry Committee Meeting
for the 42nd Annual Spring Tea

            Catholics, I am told, believe in the doctrine of Purgatory, an intermediate state after death where the heaven-bound undergo purification in order to achieve holiness before entering heaven. Southern Baptists have something similar, only we call it the Women’s Ministry Committee Meeting for the Annual Spring Tea.
            Starla Mooneyham has called the meeting this fine Saturday morning in January so we can decide on the menu for our 42nd Annual Spring Tea. The Spring Tea is second in importance only to the Second Coming at my church. Women pull out their best china and set a table in springtime pastels. We're supposed to do this because we love the Lord and want to reach The Unchurched, but the truth of the matter is that some women—looking at you, Eloise Wilson—like to show off their table-setting skills and family linens.
            Starla knows that I, Brenda Johnson, am the president of the local tea society, so I'm sure that's why she invited me to be on the committee again. Ten of us were asked to prepare a tray of our favorite tea sandwiches, and today we'll choose five of them to serve at the Spring Tea.
            Now I didn't have to think twice about what to make. Friends always rave about my Waldorf Chicken Salad on Mini Croissants, so I whipped up a bowl of chicken salad last night and made the sandwiches this morning. I don't like to brag, but I've basically perfected this recipe, so I’m sure it’ll be chosen. I almost feel sorry for the other ladies since not all of us can have our sandwiches selected, but what can I say? I've been making tea sandwiches a long time. I will not apologize for that.

            Starla calls the meeting to order and asks Ann Simpson to pray. I wish she had called on someone else. Ann believes in informational praying, the kind where the pray-er feels that she has to give God a news update on the pray-ee. "And Lord, we ask you to be with Carolyn, because she couldn’t be here today since her sinuses are acting up again. Dear Lord, we just thank You that You can solve her sinus problems and work on that unspoken marital need of hers all at once, dear Lord." After what seems like an eternity, Ann decides to wind things up, and we all gather round to sample tea sandwiches.
            I don’t eat one of my own sandwiches, of course, because that would be tacky. Instead, I double up on Mary Lou Carter's pimiento cheese sandwiches. Mary Lou can hardly boil water, bless her heart, and you do not want that woman making a thing for the fall bake sale. I’ll tell you that right now. But Mary Lou makes the best pimiento cheese of all of us, a fact I find no less miraculous than Jesus turning the water into wine.
            Marcia Brown brought some cucumber sandwiches she cut out with a cute little flower-shaped cookie cutter. They taste fine, but a plain old cucumber and cream cheese sandwich isn't very imaginative, in my humble opinion.
            Starla offered to make the tea for our sandwich tasting, which I knew meant she’d bring some off-brand from the dollar store. I cannot seem to convince these women of the importance of using quality loose-leaf tea. Starla wouldn't know quality tea if it jumped out of the tea tin and slapped her upside the head, but she's the one leading the ladies this year, so I don't say anything. As usual, I just keep my opinions to myself.

            After about thirty minutes, we're all through eating sandwiches. Ann notes that the group has always voted on the sandwiches by secret ballot. Starla, however, wants us to discuss our favorites openly and agree on the selections. That suits me fine, but I don't know how some of the ladies will take it when theirs aren't chosen.
            I am not at all surprised when Starla points to the tray with my sandwiches—or what used to be my sandwiches, since only one is left. I'm accustomed to this. She picks it up and says, "These tasted great, but they’re a bit large for the luncheon plates. We'd probably need to cut them in half, and I'm sure Brenda would rather we not do that. So thanks for bringing these, but I think we need to go with some smaller sandwiches."
            To say that I am stunned is an understatement. Does Starla not understand that women love my Waldorf Chicken Salad Mini Croissants? Is she unaware that my recipe once appeared in Southern Lady magazine? Where does she get off saying my mini croissants are too big, anyway? Who died and made her the tea sandwich queen?
            "Brenda, do you agree?"
            I quickly realize I’ve missed something. "Sorry. I was busy thinking about what I'm cooking for Sunday dinner tomorrow. Could you repeat that?"
            "We just wanted to see if you like Marcia's cucumber sandwiches as much as everyone else does. They seem to be the favorites."
            "Yes, they’re very good," I say, forcing a smile. Very good if you don't mind a boring, overused, underimagined tea sandwich that looks like a third grader assembled it.
            "Great," says Starla. She adds cucumber sandwiches to the list that also includes Mary Lou’s pimiento cheese sandwiches, Starla’s own egg salad triangles—which I personally find a little low-rent for teatime, but I don’t say anything—and two sliced fruit sandwiches, apple and strawberry, that just happen to have been made by Starla’s two best friends. Nobody ever serves two fruit sandwiches at a tea.
            But I don’t care. Like I say, I always keep my opinions to myself. If these women want to behave like a bunch of teatime amateurs, why should I care?
            I’ve been thinking of becoming a Methodist anyway. I wonder if they have a Spring Tea?


Friday, January 23, 2015

An unexpected gift of teawares

This week I had a meeting with one of our clients, and as soon as I sat down at the table, she placed this sugar and creamer in front of me and asked if I still collect teawares. "Yes ma'am, I sure do," I said, and she told me she is cleaning out some things and wanted to give me this cheerful yellow creamer and sugar set that belonged to her late husband's grandmother. Can you believe that?

Even though I call this woman a "client," which technically she is because I'm assisting her with a project, I consider her more of a friend since I've known her for nearly 30 years now. I was so touched that she wanted me to have these pieces. I like the shape of the handles on this lidded sugar bowl.

And the creamer is lovely as well, with its gold design around the middle reminding me of lace. Each piece is about 2-1/2 inches tall, and I think they'll blend just beautifully with lots of my teawares, including the Royal Winton Welbeck Chintz I decorate with each spring.

The backstamp says "Goldcastle, Made in Japan," and that's a new name in china to me. It's fun to have a new company to research, and it's even more fun to have a treasured gift from a friend thoughtful enough to share some teawares!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Simple Truth Organic Guayusa Teas

One of the lovely things about having a blog is that I am able to search the blog for things I've written about in the past. This week, when I saw some bottled Guayusa herbal teas at Kroger, I thought, "Oh, I just tried hot Guayusa teas a year or so ago, I believe." To my surprise, it was much longer ago than that. (Go here if you want to read about these teas.) The new bottled Guayusa teas are from the Simple Truth line of organic products at Kroger, and I decided to try both the Lime and Guava flavors.

The good news is, each 16-ounce bottle of tea has just 5 calories, and there's no fat, sodium, carbs or sugars. That's the good news. I did detect the fruity flavors in both the lime and guava varieties.

The bad news, alas, is that these teas don't taste too great. They're not the worst bottled teas I've ever tried, but they're not ones I'd buy again either, largely owing to the almost medicinal aftertaste. I thought $1.59 was a great price for such a healthy bottled herbal tea drink, but I really want my teas to taste good, too. Have you tried Guayusa teas, hot or bottled? If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Golden Tips Giddapahar Muscatel Black Tea

Every once in a while, my taste buds grow weary of the flavored black teas I usually sip and beg for something different. So this week, I looked through the teas on my tea rack and found a sample I hadn't yet tried, some Giddapahar Muscatel black tea from Darjeeling, India.

This tea was a sample I received from Golden Tips, and I have thoroughly enjoyed their teas that I've tried. When I opened the packet, this one had that nice scent of wood shavings I have come to associate with the freshest teas. The leaves ranged from black to golden brown.

When I steeped them, I detected a musk type of scent, the sort of thing I find in some women's cologne (and usually do not like). But I was intrigued, and when I sipped the tea, it had a rich, full flavor, almost perfume-like but yet subtle, and I very much enjoyed the copper-colored liquid with its notes of musk. It was nice to sip a single estate tea for a change, and this one from Darjeeling gets two thumbs up!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Papercrafting revisited

I'd honestly been meaning to go online to order some photos and catch up on scrapbooking, but I just hadn't taken the time. Then came that frightening little e-mail from Snapfish letting me know I had just a few days left to pony up an order or they'd delete those photos I'd uploaded. Yikes! So, I got busy late one night and ordered photos from Christmas, Thanksgiving, last year's big birthday trip to Europe, and more. Who knew you could order 300 photos and barely make a dent in the backlog? At any rate, once the photos were on the way I realized I needed to buy a new scrapbook, so I did. And that meant I needed new scrapbooking papers for the background, so I was naturally interested when I saw these pretty ones for $4.99 at Ollie's Bargain Outlet over the weekend. "Victorian Parlour" is the name of this pad of paper from Colorbok.

There at the store I flipped through it to make sure it was frou-frou enough for me, and it was. I love this rose design paper with the handwriting and doilies in the background. Perfect!

"But wait, am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?" I thought. Yes. And when I saw this pretty teapot, teacup and teakettle paper, I knew this was definitely the papercrafting pad for me. Now, if I could just have about two weeks with nothing to do but catch up on scrapbooking, I think I'd be in good shape!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fun (and almost-free) tea finds from T.J.!

So I had a $10 gift certificate to use at T.J. Maxx, and when my Aunt Jane and I went shopping over the weekend, I used it to buy a new teacup and tea towel. I went *slightly* over my certificate amount by choosing a $5.99 teacup and a $4.99 tea towel, but I was quite pleased with my almost-free purchases!

The tea towel is so colorful and springy. (And yes, I know there are actually two of them here, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you which one I favor!) I hung it on my oven door in the kitchen as soon as I got home. I am so over thinking I am going to save the best for last or later. I'm now using the newest/best/favorite tea towels. I am now sipping the favorite "Downton Abbey" tea instead of saving it for last. (My current favorite, BTW, is the Butler's Pantry blend with Carson and Mrs. Hughes on the tin. I am quite addicted to the honey flavor!)

One of my kinda-sorta decorating goals is to fill my tiered teacup stand with four turquoise teacups. I had only one before Saturday, but when I saw this one, I decided the color was perfect. The pattern is called Adelaide Turquoise, and it's from 222 Fifth, whatever that is, made in Indonesia. I also decided I enjoy drinking a very large cup of tea out of this oversized teacup. So, did you all find any new tea goodies over the weekend? Please share!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Teatime Tale #3 - Put a Lid on It


  Put a Lid On It

           It’s another snowy morning here in Cleveland, Ohio, as good a time as any to sort through that box of stuff that belonged to Grandma Prescott. I’m still unsure why Mom gave it to me. There are some old letters Grandpa wrote to Grandma during World War II. We’re lucky Grandpa came back since so many men didn’t. Think I’ll set those letters aside to read this afternoon.
            Here’s one of those cardinal figurines Grandma used to collect. She did love her pretty red birds.
            What’s in this old pillowcase? I don’t remember seeing this when Mom gave me the box. A tarnished silver teapot. Hmm. The lid doesn’t come off. Oh, it’s got a hinge. Guess you’ll never misplace the lid that way. What does it say on the bottom? “The Heery Brothers Tea Room.” Hey, that’s the old tea room where Grandma worked when she first met Grandpa. Or at least I think that’s what Mom always said. I’ll have to ask her about that next time we talk.
            I wonder why Grandma kept this old teapot?

* * *

            Alice Fay Davidson loved her job at the Heery Brothers Department Store Tea Room in Cleveland.  She’d worked there a year now, hired the same week she graduated from high school in 1942.
            Heery Brothers was Cleveland’s most upscale department store. Women were eager to work there for many reasons, not least of which was the employee discount. Alice liked knowing she could always afford a new scarf or blouse each payday, proudly taking each new purchase home in one of the store’s famous shopping bags with salmon-colored geraniums on them.
            The other reason Alice enjoyed her job was that like most 19-year-old women, she was eager to get married and start a family, and a lot of handsome men shopped at Heery’s. She had dated the boys in high school, but that was the problem—they were just boys. Alice was looking for a man.
            One Wednesday afternoon, some time between taking Cobb Salads to two ladies at Table Three and delivering the check to a mother and toddler at Table One, Alice saw a man at Table Four who nearly made her drop her order pad. She was about to place it back in her apron pocket when she glanced up and saw the man in uniform boldly watching her. He didn’t even try to hide his interest.
            Alice quickly looked away, but she couldn’t forget that face. Those eyes.
            She headed to the kitchen to pick up another order, and when she got there, Blanche Monroe, the manager, whistled at her.
            “What’s that for?” Alice asked.
            “Don’t pretend you didn’t notice the good-looking Air Force guy at Table Four,” Blanche said. “We all think he looks like a young Nelson Eddy. You should go after him.”
            Alice laughed. “Don’t be silly. Men like that have more girls than they can shake a stick at. I think he just wants a hot meal, that’s all.”
            “Sure,” Blanche said. “If you say so.”          
            Alice had to admit the man was good-looking. She composed herself before going over to take his order.
            “Hi, I’m Alice.” A blush rose on her cheeks. “Can I get you something to drink?”
            “I’ll have a small pot of tea,” he said. “By the way, I’m Frank Prescott.”
            “We don’t usually have men order tea here,” Alice said. “Most men order coffee.”
            “My mother was British, so I grew up drinking tea,” Frank said. “Old habits die hard.”
            “Well, that explains it then,” Alice said, smiling a little more than she meant to. “I’ll be right back with your tea.”
           
            Filling one of the small silver teapots in the kitchen, Alice was grilled by Blanche and her fellow waitresses.
            “What did he say?”
            “What’s his name?”
            “Where’s he from?”
            But Alice didn’t have time to waste. She took Frank’s tea to his table and poured him a cup before taking his lunch order of Almond Rarebit, a popular cheese and toast dish. No one joined him for lunch, and when she took him the check at the completion of his meal, he was extra friendly, telling her he was in town on business from Wright Field over in Dayton.
            “How long have you worked here?” Frank asked.
            “A year. I couldn’t decide whether to go to secretarial school or not, so I thought working here would help me earn some money while I decide where I want to go in life.”
            “I’ve got an idea of where you can go,” Frank said, his blue eyes twinkling.
            “Oh, really?”
            “Yes, there’s a great new band playing over at the country club Friday night, and I’m invited and can bring a date. I think we’d have a swell time. Unless …”
            “Unless what?”
            “Unless you’ve got a fellow.”
            “No, I don’t,” Alice said. “And thanks. I’d like that.”
            Frank pulled out a small notepad and pen. He asked Alice for her phone number and address and said he’d see her at seven p.m. Friday.
            “It was nice meeting you,” she said as he rose to leave. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw two of the waitresses watching them.
            “You too, Alice. And by the way, that’s some of the best tea I’ve ever had. You make it nice and strong here, just like my mother always did. Or maybe you’ve got a magic teapot. Is that it?”
            “Could be,” Alice said. “You’ll have to come back and try it again another day.”
            Blanche, who had suddenly decided she needed to refresh the flowers on Table One, overheard the whole conversation.
            “Give me that teapot,” she told Alice once Frank left.
            “Why?”
            “I’m putting it up on the shelf and saving it for your wedding gift. You’re going to marry that man.”
            “Don’t be ridiculous, Blanche. You can’t know something like that.”
            “Just hand me the teapot and put a lid on it, will you?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yogi Raspberry Passion Perfect Energy Tea

The last Christmas gift I had yet to try from 2014 is this Raspberry Passion Perfect Energy blend from Yogi Teas, which was among the goodies I received from my sister's family. On a wet and gray week like this one, an energizing cup of tea sounded like just the ticket!

The teabags are individually wrapped, a feature I always appreciate. The company has a rather lengthy description of this tea: "A complex and delicious blend of Organic Green Tea and Organic Assam Black Tea invigorate the body, while natural amino acid L-Theanine promotes calm, mental focus. Ayurvedic herbs Organic Gotu Kola Leaf and Ashwagandha act to balance and energize naturally. Raspberry, passion flower and a hint of sage combine for a delicious and intriguing tea that is sure to energize the body while calming and focusing the mind with every cup." While I can't say the tea gave me more energy (or mental focus, alas!) than any other cup of tea, I can say that it was mighty tasty. Raspberry teas can range from wimpy to too-tart, but this one was just right, and I enjoyed the fruity flavor.

Did you catch a glimpse of the teabag tag up top? It reads, "Love is where compassion prevails and kindness rules." I quite agree!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A teapot quilt and "Downton Abbey" fabrics

Is this not one of the prettiest quilts you've ever seen in your life? It's called the Garden Tea Party quilt, and it's in the new catalog from …

Keepsake Quilting. I got mine in the mail this week and almost threw it in the trash so I wouldn't be tempted to buy anything, but alas, their catalogs are far too pretty and interesting to throw away. This year has started off with a bang workwise and I've had no time to quilt, but it certainly never hurts to look and be inspired. This catalog also features several new collections of "Downton Abbey" fabrics, so if you've been hankering to order them, you can visit the fabrics online here.

But this Garden Tea Party quilt has my heart. It features lots of applique (far beyond my skill set) and is a Block of the Month quilt (I've tried two of those quilts and quit both of them when I got behind), so I know better than to sign up for these $39.99 blocks for six months, no matter how gorgeous. Still, a girl can dream, can't she? And even though I know I'll never make this quilt, some of you super quilters out there might want to give this quilt a try!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Joie's Silicone Tea Infuser

It's time for my first try-a-new-tea-infuser experiment of the year, and this time I tried the Joie Silicone Tea Infuser I got along with some Christmas goodies.

Here's what the infuser looked like in the package. I liked the fact it is shaped like a teabag, and it is heat resistant up to 500 degrees, so I'm not really concerned about my tea getting that hot!

The "teabag" pops open easily, and I added about a spoonful of Vanilla Tea from Adagio.

You close the teabag infuser until it locks into place, then plop it into your teacup just as you would a regular teabag. As you can see from the very first photo, it kept the leaves in and yet allowed my tea to steep just beautifully. I had my doubts this $2.99 T.J. Maxx gadget would a) stay closed and b) allow for proper steeping, so I must say I'm impressed with the results!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Teavana's Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea

I remember reading a few years ago that Starbucks was acquiring Teavana, but since I rarely visit a Starbucks that just wasn't on my radar. Last week, I happened to notice a display of Teavana teas in the Starbucks cafe in my local Kroger store, and I hit the shopping cart brakes when I saw that familiar Teavana name.

There were several varieties that looked intriguing, but the one I purchased was this Jade Citrus Mint Green Tea. I've been very pleased with the Teavana teas I've tried over the years, and this citrusy green one sounded great. I haven't been consuming much green tea lately, so this would be a nice way to add a little green tea to my daily tea consumption.

Here's what the 1.5 ounces of tea looked like in the plastic bag that came in the tin. The Teavana website describes the tea this way: "Refreshing and invigorating, this green tea blend is a bright citrus balance of lemon verbena and lemongrass with a hint of spearmint and rich China Chun Mee green tea base." Here's how I describe it: "Mint. Mintmintmint. Just mint. Nothing but mint." I tried it again another day using more loose tea, but there was no difference in taste. I'm not sure what happened to the "bright citrus balance" in the tea, but someone obviously forgot to put it in my tin. The Teavana teas I've purchased from their store at Lenox Mall over the years have been exceptionally good. This one tastes fine for a mint tea, but it wasn't supposed to be purely a mint tea. So although I'm sure I'll stop by a Teavana store anytime I'm near one, I'll be skipping the $8.95 tins at Starbucks. Have any of you purchased Teavana tea from Starbucks? I'd love to know if my experience is just an isolated incident!

Monday, January 12, 2015

A tea trolley vignette for January

So last year I didn't quite make my goal of arranging a new vignette on my tea trolley every month. I won't say which month I stopped in, but let's just say some fall teas and brown-colored objects had to be removed to make way for this new decor featuring winter whites!

It wasn't hard to find some teacups that were predominantly in this color palette.

One of my all-time favorite teacups is the Wedgwood Bicentenary Celebration teacup whose design features the handwriting of company forebear Josiah Wedgwood. It took me years before I ever found one of these teacups online, so this one is very prized.

I've used this little pot of flowers from Michaels for a few months now, and the handwriting ties it in with so many other things I love. Behind it is a favorite photo of my husband and me at tea.

The white teapot is one I used at my wedding reception. Behind it is a Mary Randolph Carter book, "For the Love of Old," that I've had for years, and I reread it this weekend.

The subtitle is probably one of the best ones I've ever read because it told me this author is a kindred spirit. She writes in the book, "In an era that is desperate to be young and new and hip and cool, I choose old." I do too! (Sounds like something Robert, Carson or Violet might have said on "Downton Abbey," doesn't it?)

So, I used a few things old and new to decorate for January. Now, just 11 more vignettes to go!