Monday, October 14, 2019

Giveaway: Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice!

I found these cute pumpkin spice–themed teacup socks on clearance at Joann last week, so I got a pair for me and a pair for one of you!


If you'd like to win the socks, simply leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST on Friday, October 18, making sure to include an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner, and you'll be entered to win. US only, please. Good luck!


Friday, October 11, 2019

Would you like a porcelain pantry?

I was catching up on my magazine reading the other night and was pleased to see that the new issue of House Beautiful is spotlighting kitchens. I've actually entered a few kitchen-remodeling giveaways online lately (a girl can dream, right?), but until I win, I'll keep collecting ideas for my perfect kitchen.

And boy, was I dreaming big-time when I turned to the page with this castle-inspired porcelain pantry! Is this not the most magnificent design ever for storing teacups? I couldn't stop staring at it!

Happily, the story is also online (and the pictures are clearer there), so if you're drooling already, check this out!




Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Loyd Green Tea with Orange & Mandarin

When I was at Tuesday Morning on Monday evening (ha!), I spotted a new brand of tea that looked good, this Green Tea with Orange & Mandarin from Loyd. Have you ever heard of this brand? I had not.

I liked that these were pyramid-shaped tea bags, as they do seem to allow the tea leaves to expand more. At $2.99 for 20 tea bags, it seemed well worth trying.

Now I love a good citrusy-tasting tea, and I have to tell you that this orange-flavored green tea is terrific, and I've had multiple cups of it already. As soon as I took a sip, I could practically taste and see the orange wedges in my mind's eye. Also of note: I do believe this may be the first time I've tried a tea made in Poland! Are any of you familiar with this tea vendor? If so, what flavors do you recommend?

Monday, October 7, 2019

Finally, it's fall!

Alex and I were thrilled when we stepped outside to go to church yesterday morning and found temperatures had finally dipped! Considering that it was 97 degrees just a couple of days ago, we are genuinely delighted to finally have some fall-like temps in our neck of the woods. And it occurred to me that the Welbeck chintz still sitting on my tea trolley needed to be switched up with something more fall-like.

So, these are a few of my favorite fall things: darker-colored teacups, for one thing. I don't have a lot of spice-toned teacups, but this top one seemed to fit my theme. It's a Royal Albert Prairie Lily set, part of their Provincial Flowers series.

Much less precious but no less loved, this grapevine teapot was a gift from a friend years ago, and I have had it on display somewhere in my house ever since I received it.

This golden-yellow teapot was one of my summertime purchases from a friend who is downsizing.

And this is what I'm sipping this week, a fresh new tin of Pumpkin Spice tea from Harney. What are some of your favorite fall things?

Friday, October 4, 2019

Finding tea in unexpected places … yet again

Recently, I ordered a copy of a 2015 book I'd read good things about online, Stitch Stories by Cas Holmes. Printed in the UK, this cloth-covered hardback book is packed with examples of unique textile art and was just the sort of thing I was hoping for to get my creative juices going.

I've been thinking of trying my hand at creating some sort of altered book, and I liked the techniques and pages and threads I found in this book, including this spread about printing with a gelatine plate. I love those messy threads for some reason!

And though I did see an image of a bowl that reminded me of a tea bowl, I did not expect to see this, Judith R. Shamp's The Zen of Tea, which is made of pleated tea bag paper and recycled bamboo. Isn't that amazing! I continue to be delightfully surprised by how many artists are inspired by tea, and I believe some of you would enjoy this book as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The sweet taste of fall

A friend who was recently in Highlands, North Carolina, brought me back some herbal tea from the Spice & Tea Exchange there. I've been to that shop before myself and was delighted to receive this Cinnamon Plum Herbal Tea.

This tea contains organic cinnamon, organic hibiscus flowers, organic currants, organic licorice root, and natural plum flavor.


When steeped, the tea has a nice dark wine color, and the taste is a refreshing plummy one with just a hint of cinnamon and a pleasant bit of tartness. My taste buds were ready for the fall flavors of tea, and this one was a great way to kick off the season. What's your favorite tea to sip in the fall? I'd love to have some new recommendations!

Monday, September 30, 2019

Am I blue?

Am I blue? No, but my newest teatime plate is!

This is one of two I found at Salvation Army while out with Aunt Jane on Saturday. I've never seen these particular designs before, but they remind me of the Capodimonte pieces my mother used to collect.

 The green-edged one has a tiny chip on one petal, but considering what I paid for them, I can touch it up with paint and live with it just fine!

 All these say on the back is "For Decoration Only," so there's no back stamp to investigate.

 My other tea-ish find? A 1999 box of Susan Branch cards. I've long been an admirer of her teatime art, but I've never before seen this design featuring a curate's stand (or tiered tea tray).

It was one of three designs in my $1.59 box of cards (14 of the 18 still present), so I was pretty pleased with my finds. Have you all had any good thrifting lately? (And if anyone can shed some light on the source of my plates, I'd be most obliged!)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Penelope Barker and her protesting friends

This is the political cartoon that appeared in the London press following the 1773 proclamation by Penelope Barker and the Edenton ladies that they would no longer "conform to ye pernicious Custom of Drinking Tea." The ladies were clearly being mocked for their stance, and I find that interesting. Women in this country recently observed the one hundredth anniversary of gaining the right to vote, yet women are still sometimes mocked for their political actions. I can remember not too many years ago when a local politician criticized his female opponent in a race by saying she ought to stay home and take care of her children instead of running for office. (Are you surprised to hear that he was soundly defeated?)

When Susan, my new tea friend in North Carolina, sent me those articles on Penelope Barker recently, she also included a list of the names of those other ladies who signed the document, and I eagerly scanned it, hoping to see a name from my own family tree, but alas, it wasn't there. But maybe yours is? If you visit the Edenton Historical Commission site here and scroll about a third of the way down, you'll see the article with the list of the ladies' names.

I already have more Edenton/Penelope books ordered since I am quite fascinated by the Edenton Tea Party, so expect more news about Penelope and friends as I find it. And I'm happy to know that this teapot (pictured on one of my own vintage linen postcards) stands in Edenton today as a tribute to the ladies of the Edenton Tea Party!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Penelope Barker Week continues …

In addition to knowing who Penelope Barker is because of her role in women's political history, I think it's also important to know that one of her relatives is the well-known tea expert James Norwood Pratt. In his New Tea Lover's Treasury, he writes, "In my own family, successive generations of womenfolk have disputed custody of a so-called Penelope Barker tea service, not always civilly. This handsome old silver pot and its companion pieces were once the possessions of our most notorious ancestor on the Barker side, a thrice-married and thrice-widowed forerunner of Scarlett O'Hara invariably known to us, her posterity, as 'Mrs. Barker.'"

Pratt notes that history has largely forgotten that Boston was not the only city with a tea protest. He writes, "The tale of Penelope Barker's tea party at Edenton has survived, however, handed down in our family along with the very pot that was present for the occasion. Generations of children have been suitably impressed by this big old pot and Mrs. Barker's phrase, 'the Pernicious Custom of Drinking Tea.'"

After drinking a "farewell cup," Pratt says, Mrs. Barker and fifty other Edenton ladies vowed they would no longer drink tea until the Tea Act, among others, was repealed. (Side note: Imagine having to enjoy your last cup of tea! Sort of like a death-row last meal, I suppose.) Pratt says the ladies signed a document noting their intentions, it was printed in a London newspaper, and soon after it appeared in print, "some anonymous New Englander fired 'the shot heard round the world' and with a prenatal disinclination for tea our Republic began struggling to be born."

Pratt says his family likes to think this was all "largely Mrs. Barker's doing," and he believes that "hot tea from her pot tasted better, I still think, because it was 'Pernicious.'"

Isn't that a terrific story?

Coming Friday: Who are the other women who signed the document at the Edenton Tea Party?

Monday, September 23, 2019

Why Women, Especially Those Who Love Tea, Should Know Penelope Barker

Recently, I mentioned that a new tea friend in North Carolina had gifted me with a cookbook and artwork related to Penelope Barker and the famous political protest known as the Edenton Tea Party in Edenton, North Carolina. I feared that I had written about Penelope and Edenton too often on this blog, but since several readers seemed unfamiliar with the story of Penelope and the Edenton Tea Party, I realized it's time to remedy that.

Because of the tax on tea in the colonies, protests against "taxation without representation" were happening in America well after the famous Boston Tea Party in December of 1773. In fact, I recommend to you a terrific little book called Ten Tea Parties: Patriotic Protests That History Forgot by Joseph Cummins. (I reviewed it here in 2012.)

The protest I am most interested in occurred in October of 1774, when Penelope and fifty other women gathered at the home of Elizabeth King in Edenton, North Carolina, to declare that they would no longer drink British tea or wear British cloth. The women were so incensed about the matter, in fact, that they signed their names for all the world to see on a document that read: "We the ladies of Edenton do hereby solemnly engage not to conform to ye pernicious Custom of Drinking Tea or that we, the aforesaid Ladies, will not promote ye wear of any manufacture from England, until such time that all Acts which tend to enslave this our Native Country shall be repealed." It was an incredibly courageous move for women of the day, and Penelope herself mailed the statement right off to a London newspaper.

In my next post, I'll share a little more of what I've learned about Penelope (much of it thanks to Susan in North Carolina!), and if history's not your cup of you know what, so be it, but I do ask you to please remember one thing: the Edenton Tea Party was the first public political action by women in this country! Now isn't that worth knowing? 

Coming Wednesday: One of Penelope's descendants is a famous figure in the tea world today. Any guesses?

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?