Monday, July 28, 2008
Gift from a new tea friend
I know I'm not the only tea lover who is also a crafter and thus a fan of some creative individuals in the arts and crafts world, particularly those who contribute to Somerset Studio, Somerset Life, and other publications from Stampington and Company. So when I wrote a blog post about one of them last year and heard from her, I was thrilled! Connie Govea Stuart's art has long been some of my favorite in those magazines, because I just love her style. She has also featured tea motifs in her work, which made me love it even more. The first time she commented on this blog I figured it was just a polite "Hello." When I later learned she was a returning reader, I was so pleased that someone whose work had given me so much pleasure found my little blog worthy of repeat visits. (I feel the same about the rest of you, by the way, but ... she is a paper arts celebrity, y'know.)
Connie and I have actually e-mailed a few times, and one day she mentioned trying to find one of those "tadpole tea strainers" I wrote about a while back, the one that was kinda ugly and didn't even properly filter the tea leaves. She wanted one for some artistic purpose, not a tea purpose, so I told her I'd be glad to mail her the one I wrote about, and did. (I'm hoping one day I'll get to learn about what she does with it!)
Soon I got a sweet e-mail saying she had received the "tadpole," and she was sending me some sort of thank-you in the mail and to be looking for it. Really wasn't necessary, I said, but I thought perhaps she'd send a teabag or two of some new tea she had mentioned enjoying. She did send the sample of tea, but oh, you will not believe what ELSE she sent! This has to be the BEST arts and crafts gift I have ever-ever-ever received, and I just can't keep this to myself because I know *this* group will appreciate the gift. So, with the giver's permission, I'm sharing the good news. First, there's the package itself. My husband laughed when I took a photo of the package before opening it, but hey, if Van Gogh sent YOU a package, wouldn't you want to remember it?
After opening the box, I quickly started saying "Oh my goodness!" A lot. If you look at the right hand side of the box, you can see Connie's business card with the logo from Somerset Life. That would be THE Somerset Life! Oh. My. Goodness.
The first bit of eye candy that struck me was these Japanese cupcake papers. If any of you have Rachel Ashwell's book "The Gift of Giving," these remind me very much of the colorful, ethnic grocery finds she was so fond of using. I have always hoped to find some of these one day and cannot WAIT to use these at an upcoming tea!
And look at this fabric bundle! With matching ribbon! It's already putting me in the mood for fall, and I even know what I'm going to make first. Look for it soon ...
This candy box has a sweet sentiment, doesn't it? And check out the silk flowers in the background ... some with handwriting on them! I LOVE things with handwriting on them! Expect to see these in some future tea-themed work of my own.
Connie has a friend opening a new tea room in the San Francisco Bay area and thoughtfully enclosed a card for "if I'm ever in the area." Actually, DH and I were talking about how, if overseas travel isn't a good idea next year, California is our U.S. choice. And now I have a tea room that's calling my name! I just love the name of this place, Crown & Crumpet, and whoever designed their teapot crown is just brilliant. Crowns are so "in" right now. I hope they have T-shirts with this logo on it when I arrive ...
The teabags I thought she "might" send were indeed here! And in a sweet little glassine bag. I am a sucker for glassine bags. Love 'em!
And here's another one ... packed with Japanese candies, the bag has retro graphics I just adore. Cute orange stuff now makes me think of orange-loving Steph from Steph's Cup of Tea.
It was only on second exploration that I discovered a paper umbrella and these cute cones. Hmmm. Which friends will be getting these?
Here's another wonderful idea from Connie that I plan to borrow: With your tea gift, include an assortment of tea-themed paper napkins! My favorite is the one at front (so classic, so tea), but I also love the one with the petits fours, and the lemons with HANDWRITING, and the one with the language that I don't know what it says, and the one at back that has a multitude of tea bowls. California must have some great shopping sources!
And Frivolitea, whose crafts I so enjoy, will understand how touched I was that this gift included a magnificent array of paper ephemera. Aren't the teacups at top just lovely! And everything else too ... numbers and letters and roses and ladies and ... oh my ...
But I have to say, my favorite item from this truly wonderful gift was a piece of original art from Connie herself. Isn't this gorgeous!
And here's a close-up. Don't miss the lady hidden in the teacup. This is so great, it looks just like something that would be in Somerset Studio! Oh, wait a minute ...
And finally, even the handmade card is sealed in teacup style. I apologize for the photo overload of today's post, but as you can see, I was (and am) pretty excited! But I also wanted to always remember what it was like to receive such an unexpected and extravagant gift. And when, in the future, you see pieces from this box in my own work, you'll know where it came from. Thank you for sticking with me today, and again, THANK YOU CONNIE for absolutely making my day!