Monday, May 20, 2024

A funny thing happened on the way home from the history program …


The other night, I attended a local history program at the University of West Georgia’s Newnan campus. The topic was early education here in Coweta County, and I was intrigued to learn more about the College Temple female academy that once existed in Newnan, as I lived nearby on College Street when I was a young reporter just beginning my career in journalism. My friend Dorothy, whom I first met years ago through the historical society, had brought along a bag of goodies she’d been meaning to give me, and I was delighted to receive this chalk ware piece featuring two ladies at teatime.


Dorothy said she's at the stage of life where she’s trying to get rid of things (I need to be doing that, too, I suppose), and I believe she said she found it at one of our Atlanta-area antique markets. She joked about a little dust that came with it, but I’m a bit nervous about cleaning an old figurine like this, so before I apply any soap and water, I’m researching chalk ware to make sure I don’t do any damage. I especially love the ladies’ bonnets.


And of course it was fun to see the tea wares on the table as well.


Also in the bag? Two new-to-me teapot ornaments that Dorothy wanted to pass along. So I learned that one of the advantages of living in a small town is that you never know when you’ll show up for a history program and leave with a gift!

Friday, May 17, 2024

Some delightful new crafting supplies


When I was at my friend Kathy’s last week, she gave me a birthday gift that included some delightful crafting goodies, which is so appropriate since crafting is one of the many areas in which we have bonded over the years. I haven’t even had a chance to play with them yet, but I have some new stamps with roses on them, and I know they will produce some beautiful designs.


There was also a devotional coloring book that will be great to color in as I watch/listen to the news (and who doesn't need a pleasant activity to distract them while watching today’s news programs?).


And I was pleased to see that the page on my May 4 birthday is a verse telling us not to worry. God has helped me be less of a worrier over the past few years, and I believe that’s a lesson a lot of us women need help with. (If you do, too, along with reading your Bible, the best source of help I know, I recommend the book Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado.)


And the gift I couldn’t wait to share with you was something I’ve never seen before, these tiny little wooden teapots to use in crafting! Each one measures 2 inches wide and 1-1/4 inches tall. Kathy said I could embellish them with designer paper, and that was one of my thoughts, too, but I’m also thinking each one could become a pendant or a pin. I know you tea lovers will probably have some ideas as well, so what would you suggest?

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

A beautiful new tea cozy from a thoughtful friend


Friends near and far have been so kind to me over the past month, and one of the many lovely kindnesses came in the form of a new drop-in “Snuggie” tea cozy made by my friend Bernideen. Isn’t this gorgeous?


And here's the back. As I was auditioning teapots to get the honor of going inside this tea cozy, I naturally gravitated toward many of them with pink designs.


But then my new-ish Blue Willow teapot, which was sitting nearby, caught my eye, and I realized the blues in the fabric pattern pair beautifully with the blue in the teapot’s design.


This tea cozy features elegant vintage embroidery and vintage crochet, which I just love. I treasure this piece, and I especially treasure Bernideen's friendship and so appreciate her kindness to me. (And if you’re in the market for a new tea cozy, go here to visit her Etsy shop and prepare to be impressed!)

Monday, May 13, 2024

Enjoying tea and chicken salad (and family!) in Savannah


While I was in Statesboro last week, I got in touch with Alex's cousin Berta, who lives in Savannah, and it turned out that she was available for lunch the next day!


So the next morning, I headed over to Savannah and met her for lunch at the Starland Café. It was one of her suggested locations with nearby parking available (a big consideration in Savannah), and when I saw that they had Iced Earl Grey Tea on the menu, I knew that's where I wanted to go for lunch.


Berta ordered a panini that she said was very good, and I ordered the Red Grape Chicken Salad that came with grilled ciabatta bread, and it was great. The tea was every bit as delicious as I'd expected it to be, and the chunky chicken salad was so filling that I took over half of it home and had it for dinner that night. (I've also learned that bread reheated in a toaster oven is a lovely thing.)


Since this was a quick visit, I was glad I spotted some Spanish moss in the trees near the café. It just isn't a trip to Savannah if you don't see some Spanish moss!


An hour before our lunch, I stopped by the City Market for a little shopping, and I had forgotten what a great "gallery town" Savannah is. I have an idea for a cozy mystery series set in Savannah (after I finish the two cozy series currently underway), but it doesn't hurt to go ahead and do a little research when you're in town. So the Stephen Kasun Fine Art Gallery was right up my alley!


And look: more Spanish moss in one of the gorgeous paintings! I'm already looking forward to my next visit to Statesboro and Savannah and plotting what I want to visit when I do. Have you visited either place?



Friday, May 10, 2024

Lunch at the Historic Beaver House Restaurant in Statesboro, GA


Before I even arrived in Statesboro, my friend Kathy had already said she wanted to treat me to a special birthday lunch, and I was delighted when we pulled up to the Historic Beaver House Restaurant in downtown Statesboro. It was so charming!


The food is served family-style, and it was all quite tasty.


The crispy fried chicken was my favorite, but there wasn't anything on that table that wasn't just delicious, including the properly sweetened iced tea!


I also enjoyed checking out the decor, like this large ceramic teapot.


And Kathy was first to spot the pretty tea towels on display.


It was definitely a ladies-who-lunch kind of place, which I of course loved.


So if you're ever in Statesboro, do yourself a favor and enjoy lunch at the Beaver House Restaurant!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Twinings Brew Over Ice Peach Iced Tea K-Cup Pods


There are friends who say "Come visit anytime," and there are friends who say "Come visit anytime" and really mean it, and my friends Kathy and John fall into that second category. So I am spending a few days at their home in Statesboro, a Georgia town located about an hour from Savannah, and when I ran by Publix for a few things I needed yesterday, I was passing by the tea aisle when I spotted these Twinings pods that I knew I could use in their Keurig since I don't have one in my own kitchen.


Peach tea is my go-to flavor when there's a new tea to try. I've had so many peach-flavored teas that I can tell pretty quickly how one is going to rank. This one appealed to me because it's designed to be made hot but then poured over iced tea.


So yes, the ice melts quickly, but the resulting tea (which smelled delicious when brewing) had a rich, full flavor. My only quibble was that it seemed to want a little sweetness, so I popped a packet of Stevia in the glass, and then it was just right. Now, I know tea purists like to use only fresh tea leaves (me, too, usually), but for a quick glass of iced tea, I really like the convenience of these pods. Have any of you tried these or any of the other Twinings flavors?

Monday, May 6, 2024

A cup full of mercy


My friend Beth Y. sent me the loveliest note and gift last week, and I was so very touched. She said she'd had me on her mind and in her prayers, and she happened to be visiting her son in Birmingham, Alabama, when she went to an art show in nearby Hoover and saw these pieces by a friend. This one made her think of me!


Specifically, the line about God's mercies being new every morning struck her as something appropriate to share with me, and I so agree. That's a message that is always spot-on, isn't it?


The detail on this piece was so fun to check out, like the "beads" that make the tea and the piece of glass that forms the lemon.


And it's signed too! And now this thoughtful gift is hanging on a cabinet in the dining room where I can, indeed, ponder this hopeful message every morning.

Friday, May 3, 2024

"The Garden Maker's Book of Wonder"


My friend Deberah dropped off an early birthday gift for me the other day, and I was hooked the moment I saw the beautiful cover of The Garden Maker's Book of Wonder by Allison Vallin Kostovick, offering "162 Recipes, Crafts, Tips, Techniques, and Plants to Inspire You in Every Season."


This book is so charming, and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to come across quite a few tea tidbits, like this one on how to brew a perfect cup of chamomile tea.


Or this one on making sage tea. And these aren't the only tea references in the book. If, like me, you hanker to do a little more in the garden this spring, this is definitely a book I would recommend!

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

A mystery gift from a thoughtful … friend? family member? colleague?


About two weeks ago, a mysterious package showed up in the mail. It was posted from Winston, Georgia—and I don’t believe I have any friends in Winston—and it contained this darling pair of tea-themed earrings.


Also inside? Eight delightful iced tea spoons!


They all have cute sayings on them.


And my favorite is probably this one, which proves the sender knows me well. The note that came with them read, “Angela, I thought of you when I saw these earrings! The teaspoons, well, they were screaming your name too! Enjoy! Love you!” The cursive handwriting looks like that of half of my girlfriends, but the note wasn’t signed. Was it an “anytime” gift from a fellow tea lover? A sympathy gift from a friend who wanted to cheer me up? An early birthday gift? I still have no idea who sent me these wonderful goodies, but I sure am touched that they did.

Monday, April 29, 2024

A new chapter begins …

 


Well, I think perhaps I’m ready to get back to blogging, but first, I just wanted to say a huge thanks to those of you who have sent cards, texted, messaged, or commented about Alex’s passing on April 10 (or as I like to refer to it, his “moving to Heaven,” as I believe that is a more accurate statement of things).

Alex had been living—and living pretty well—with reduced heart function for years, but about two years ago, in the summer of 2022, I nearly lost him. His heart function dipped, and he went into cardiogenic shock and spent several weeks in the hospital, finally coming home with a small but entirely mobile pump that infused heart medicine 24/7. At the time, I mentioned his hospitalization on this blog but didn’t camp out there (this was a tea blog, after all). Also, while we knew Alex’s prognosis was not good, he said he wanted us to try to live life as normally as possible and not be all “woe is me” during whatever time he had left. At first, we didn't believe that would be very long at all, and yet the Lord graciously gave us nearly two more whole years together! We would enjoy two more trips to Wisconsin to visit our grandsons and countless day trips together, seeing our Georgia granddaughter and grandson and exploring some fun new sites. Each night, we took turns praying and thanking God for his blessings that day. There was *always* something to be thankful for, even in the midst of his heart failure.

The photo above was from a Valentine’s tea at Tea Leaves and Thyme here in Georgia many years ago. It’s not the clearest photo, but I like it because it captures the way Alex made me feel, and I like that it shows his wedding band. Maybe we’ll get to enjoy tea in Heaven together once I get there. I miss this lovely man, who was truly the best earthly friend I ever had, more than I can say. But I wanted to start this week off by acknowledging my loss as well as the kindness of you friends, which has already brought me so much comfort. And next time, you can expect a more typical tea-related post here!


Friday, April 12, 2024

An update …


Friends, my husband's hospital stay ended with him moving to Heaven, and while I'm very, very sad for me, I'm overjoyed for him and know I'll see him again. Just wanted you to know it'll be a while longer before I'm blogging again, but so many of you have become true friends over the years that I wanted you to know. Please remember me in your prayers!

Here's his obituary: https://www.mckoon.com/obituaries/Alex-Mcrae/#!/TributeWall

Monday, April 8, 2024

Taking a blog break

Friends, my husband, Alex, is in the hospital, so I'll be taking a blog break for a bit. Hope to be back here again soon!

Friday, April 5, 2024

"Women with coffee or tea"


I do love a good vintage photo, and this week, I came across a real gem on the Library of Congress website. It's titled "Women with coffee or tea," and I'm saying it's tea because those sure look like sugar tongs that the lady on the left is using, and I think you're more likely to use those with tea than coffee.

I don't know what charms me most here: the tea urn, the crocheted tablecloth, the ladies' dresses and hats, or the teacups.

What do you notice?

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

A teacup fragrance plug!


On Monday, my friend Kathy, who often texts shopping alerts, notified me that Bath & Body Works had a teacup-shaped fragrance plug, and I hightailed it over to my local shop to see if they had it. They did!


Now, I've never had a fragrance plug and don't even know how the things work, so for the first time in my life, I actually *asked* for a B&BW employee to help me with something. (Back when stores used to offer customer service, B&BW was known for having a dozen of their employees assault you with fragrance samples and sales announcements the moment you walked in the store. I kinda miss it.) The nice young lady knew right where these were—much appreciated, as I was in a hurry—and she explained that it also required a refill.


So I got the "Queen Charlotte's Tea" refill because a) I liked the name and b) the liquid was a pretty turquoise color. The helpful young lady said, "Wouldn't you like to smell it, though?" I guess she could tell I was new to this sort of thing. "Um, sure." Happily, I liked my choice!

This gadget is apparently part of the Bridgerton collection for B&BW, but I've never watched the show and have only the vaguest notion of what it's about, but I don't mind that. I have a beautiful home fragrance toy in the shape of a teacup!

Monday, April 1, 2024

A magazine perfect for tea lovers: "Spring Baking"


Honestly, I can't remember the last time I was inspired to purchase a magazine full of nothing but recipes, but when I saw the lavender madeleines on the cover of Spring Baking the other day, I had to get it!


This magazine definitely met my rule of "must have at least three things that immediately catch my eye." First up: these Phyllo Apple Roses. I've seen rose-shaped treats like this before, but this recipe sounded quite doable, so I'm going to give them a try soon.


And Two-Bite Lemon Tarts? If those aren't designed for a tea tray, I don't know what is.


Are you a fan of honey? I am. And drizzled honey? Yes, ma'am! So this recipe for Honey Tea Cakes with Mascarpone (and crushed waffle cookies on top!) appealed to me as well. If you like baking your own treats for teatime, I believe you would enjoy this issue, no foolin'!

Friday, March 29, 2024

A vintage tea company image for Good Friday


Here's an oldie but goodie—an old advertising label from the Great Overland and Pacific Tea Co., and it's one of my favorite vintage Easter images because of the cross, so central to the Easter message for those of us who are followers of Christ. I hope you all have a very Good Friday and a blessed Easter weekend!