Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tea and Books Saturday #17 - "Time for Tea"

Time for Tea
By Mary Engelbreit
Andrews McMeel, 1997

I first read this book at the time it was originally published, but a recent reading of "Time for Tea" made it feel like a whole new book to me. Of course, those of us who love artist Mary Engelbreit's lovely tea-themed artwork can't help being drawn to a tea book that is all-Mary, all the time. Ever wondered why her work so often features teawares? "When I was little, my sisters and I were constantly holding tea parties," says Engelbreit. "There was always one going on somewhere around the house—in the yard, in our bedrooms. And even then we were into collecting, picking up tea sets at dime stores and garage sales. The magic of tea is still very much alive for me, and the subject certainly has a way of popping up again and again in my illustrations." And aren't we glad it does!

This small gift book is a fast read and would also make a great introductory tea book for a friend just learning the pleasures of teatime since it includes a handy primer on some of the most popular teas. There are lots of ideas for helping children enjoy teatime—such as a Nursery Tea for the dolls and teddy bears and a children's dress-up tea party—but there are also ideas for adults, such as a Wedding Tea and taking tea in the garden.

There are lots of Engelbreit illustrations featuring tea, which is reason enough to enjoy this book, but there are also some lovely photos of teawares and tea collectibles. I also learned a tip I don't remember ever reading before: knitters (and crocheters, I would add) can place a ball of yarn in a teapot and pull it out through the spout in order to keep the yarn tidy! Now that's a fun idea! So this book was like a brief teatime chat with a friend: It was short, sweet and utterly enjoyable!


  1. Maybe you can help. I have a silver tea service, or a tea and coffee tea service, I'm not sure. There are two pots, one slightly larger than the other as well as what I gather is a kettle that sits on a stand with a burner. There is also a tray, a creamer, a sugar bowl and a "slop bowl." How do I actually use such a service to serve guests? What is the function of the kettle, since the tea would already be in the teapot? What is the etiquette of the slop bowl?

  2. Angela, I too have enjoyed this book for a long time. Thank you for the review which brings it back to mind.

  3. I think tea is more popularnow than when Mary wrote this book.
    It is fun to reread our tea books -I love that and always have stacks around. Lately I carry file folders of tea party foods back in forth to work. There is so much information on line- I copy recipes constantly and love seeing what others (like you!) are doing!

  4. Ok, I think I have this on my tea book shelf. I must go find it and re-read it. I do love her tea themed pictures.

  5. I just saw some Mary Englebreit
    cookie cutters at Michaels!
    teapot, hat, posy, cherries,scottie
    dog cutters-napkins etc.

  6. This book is in my tea library also. I must go pull it out and reread it. Love the knitting tip.

  7. I purchased my copy of this little book at an antique mall in Hendersonville, NC while traveling several years ago. It is one of those books that is fun to take out and re-read from time to time.

  8. I have and adore this book as well, I refer to it constantly for embroidery inspiration.

    I'm glad this came up on your list of tea books :o)

    Have a great day!

  9. I love Mary Engelbreit and so miss her magazine.

    - The Tablescaper

  10. What a lovely book. I really enjoy Mary Englebreit too.


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