Friday, January 16, 2009

The Heritage Quilts Book Club Tea


Yesterday I had the privilege of hosting my first tea party of the year, and at my local quilt shop! Last fall, Heritage Quilts and Fabrics in downtown Newnan formed a book club that reads books on the topic of quilting. We started out with Jennifer Chiaverini's wonderful Elm Creek Quilts books, and now we've switched over to Earlene Fowler's mystery series, all of which have a quilt pattern as the title. This time we read "Fool's Puzzle," and since I had signed up to provide refreshments a few months ago, I knew that National Hot Tea Month *had* to feature a tea party. Is that not a gorgeous backdrop with all those lovely quilts? And the ladies were so appreciative of this little tea party, they actually clapped for me! Is that sweet or what!

I've done a "traveling tea party" quite a few times now, for up to 30+ folks, so I have learned that a picnic basket and some thick bath towels are wonderful for transporting teacups and saucers, or in this case, tea and toast sets. I kept the menu simple for this "Cream Tea." We had two flavors of scones (chocolate chip and cranberry-walnut) with fresh whipped cream, lemon madeleines, and those Apricot Darjeeling Tea Cookies from yesterday. (Marilyn, if you happen to be reading, I loved telling everyone that my "blog friend" from Marmalady's makes all the the tea-infused jams I love!) I prepared English Afternoon Tea in the Mrs. Tea maker, and I had brought thermoses of boiling water for the Ginger Mango Green Tea. I also brought small bottles of water for any non-tea fans (although I think everyone actually tried some tea) and a jasmine display tea.

There were 10 of us, which was just about perfect since that's the number of matching tea and toast sets I had. I could've fudged with a few extras, but it was nice we had precisely 10. I had found some wooden quilt block looking puzzles on clearance at Michaels for just 60 cents each, and I bought a dozen as tea party favors and hoped for the best. I was happy when quilter Joanna opened hers and started moving all the little pieces around. That's exactly what I expected a fellow quilter to do!

Since I had taken the day off work, I was able to enjoy a very leisurely shopping experience after the book group finished up. And thanks to my new friends, I learned some wonderful techniques these fabric fanatics have used to sneak new fabric into their homes: Transfer it into a grocery store bag before going in the house. Place it in your car's trunk and then don't remove it 'til your DH goes to bed at night. Once it's in the house, put it in a box and slide it under the bed and it'll never be detected. Great advice, all. (Could also be applied to sneaking new tea and teawares in the house, not that any of us would ever need to do that ...)

I love seeing what new fabrics and patterns Kris gets in, and I enjoy going in sometimes just to see what new quilts are on the walls. She also has a wonderful, calm atmosphere in the shop, so sometimes when work gets hectic I take a break by walking over to chill for a bit. There's often some nice music playing in the background, and the women who work there have always been happy to answer every silly question I've ever had.

And here's Kris Townsend, the proprietress herself, who pretty much always has this smile on her face! Her store just celebrated its third anniversary in December, and I am thrilled the shop continues to do so well. Kris also knows I aspire to go into business one day myself, and she has been very kind to answer my (somewhat nosy) questions when I've asked. She is definitely someone I will look to as a mentor.

If you visit our famous Courthouse Square someday (and please let me know if you do -- I'll meet you there), here is what to look for from the street.

Just across the street, renovations continue on our beautiful Coweta County Courthouse. I hope these photos have whet your appetite to visit downtown Newnan if you're ever in the area!

12 comments:

parTea lady said...

What a lovely tea party you hosted. How wonderful to have all those lovely tea and toast sets. Your selection of dainties and teas look delicious.

The book club sounds like fun. I have read one Earlene Fowler book "Broken Dishes" and enjoyed it. I miss the book club that used to meet in my home. We read books with a tea theme, including most of Laura Childs Tea Shop Mysteries.

The closest quilt shop in my area is Quilts N' Fixins in Jonesboro. I didn't know that there was a quilt shop in Newnan. Now I have another reason to make the trip.

Marilyn said...

Thanks for putting in the good word for Marmlady's. I just love quilts. I am sorting my books yesterday and today and realized I have several interesting books on quilts. Next month on Monday's I will be blogging about quilts. I am looking forward to getting back into quilts. I have some vintage quilt blocks I want to make into small tea mats/quilts for serving tea.

Denise ~ Charleston, South Carolina. said...

What a nice tea, Angela! Re your comment: "I learned some wonderful techniques these fabric fanatics have used to sneak new fabric into their homes: Transfer it into a grocery store bag before going in the house. Place it in your car's trunk and then don't remove it 'til your DH goes to bed at night. Once it's in the house, put it in a box and slide it under the bed and it'll never be detected..." ha ha ha My best friend Mary does the same thing, but with dishes!!!! I'll have to tell her that she's not the only one who does that!

Carol said...

Your tea spread looks positively delicious, Angela. Did you make the scones yourself? If so, would you be willing to part with the recipe for the cranberry walnut ones? They sound tasty!

Angela McRae said...

Yes, I made them, Carol, and here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Cranberry-Walnut Scones

2 cups all purpose-flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons margarine, chilled
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a scone pan with cooking spray. (I use the Williams-Sonoma scone pans.) In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add 6 tablespoons of chilled margarine and combine using a pastry blender until the mixture consists of pea-sized crumbs. Stir in cranberries and walnuts. In separate bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until blended. If mixture is too stiff, you may want to add another tablespoon or so of milk. Spoon batter into pan and bake for 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Yields 8 regular size or 16 mini-scones.

Linda J. said...

A Book Club reading on the topic of quilting surrounded by beautiful quilts hanging on the wall of an older building in downtown historic Newnan, GA and a tea party by Angela. How perfect is that?!? Of course the ladies loved it (and you)! Congrats on a lovely traveling tea party and celebration of National Hot Tea Month!

Ginger said...

What a great tea party and what a nice looking quilt shop. You don't happen to know the name of the pattern used for the heart quilt (center) in the first photo? It's lovely.

Carol said...

Thanks so much for the scone recipe Angela! I can't wait to try it! By the way, I agree with Linda--what could be better than a tea party for book club members surrounded by beautiful quilts in a historic building? I'm starting to think I need to leave the Left Coast and move to Georgia...

ChaChaneen said...

I'm catching up on my blog reading, missed ya this week! What lovely day this was! A book club and quilting atmosphere all in one! Fabulous! Thanks for sharing and the pictures were great too!

Angela McRae said...

Ginger, I enlarged the photo of that quilt and the sign on it says "Heart Crazies Class." Hope that helps!

Kathy Bo said...

Oh, how I long to be "home" in Newnan! I try to visit Kris' shop every time I'm in town and sometimes am fortunate to arrive for Fat Quarter Saturday! The pictures are wonderful and the tea party looks just delightful! I'd give a whole plate of scones to have been there!

Sheila said...

Love to hear of ladies combining tea and books! Thanks for sharing your wonderful idea with us.