Monday, June 18, 2018

A Monticello for Steubenville teacup

I was in a new antique store in Dallas over the weekend, the Dali and Davinci Marketplace, when I spotted a new teacup for my growing collection of blue models. This one was the prettiest soft shade of a blue that had a touch of periwinkle in it, and the scalloped edges, rosy interior, and $6.95 price tag (and to my surprise, 20 percent off that) made this one a winner. But you know what another of my favorite features is on this teacup?

The backstamp! I'd heard of Steubenville but not Monticello made by Steubenville. That's got to be one of the most detailed backstamps I've ever seen, and I decided I had to do a little research. Steubenville Pottery Co. of Steubenville, Ohio, was in business from 1879-1959. The Monticello pattern was produced in the late forties and early fifties, and pieces were marked with a special backstamp listing the distributor, Herman C. Kupper of New York. I found an old ad for Monticello pieces, and it called these wares "Monticello—America's distinguished dinnerware" and said it was available at "better stores everywhere." I suppose so-called snob appeal has always been a selling tactic, yet how ironic that years later, I would purchase my Monticello secondhand.

But then again, if they'd just said "American's pretty dinnerware," that wouldn't have been much of a slogan, would it?

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Lavender & Honey soap winner is …

Holloway! And I've sent you an email so that I can get your mailing address. Congrats on winning!

The $1 "cahiers de broderies"

I found these "cahiers de broderies" at Dollar Tree over the weekend and immediately knew I had to get a couple.

The notebook comes with needle, embroidery thread, and an insert containing patterns for a few designs such as a cactus and a popsicle, but I opted to try something else and created my own design. But surely one of you can improve upon that, eh?

Just in case, I've got one more notebook set on standby, so I can always try a new and improved teapot design if I come across one. Suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer Night Tea Party, circa 1876

Now this is really random, but I found this photograph on the Library of Congress website and like it just because it's titled "Summer Night Tea Party." This is a detail of a shot from one of those old stereoscopic cards.

And here's an image of the full card itself, from Melander Photographer in Chicago, according to the info at left. The Library of Congress says little about this card other than the fact it was created circa 1876. My biggest question is, did children in Chicago really dress like that on a summer night back then? I'm currently sitting here in Georgia while wearing a lightweight T-shirt and knit slacks, and the A/C is going full-blast. Dressed like that, I'd have suffered heatstroke! (By the way, this is the first time I've been able to make myself "see" the photo in 3-D by staring at the images until they blend! Fun!)

Monday, June 11, 2018

June Giveaway: Lavender & Honey Soap

I found the cutest, most yummy-scented soap over the weekend and decided it would be great for the June giveaway! The Lavender & Honey soap itself has a delightful floral scent, but the packaging is what really caught my eye, something that surely any tea lover would enjoy!

So if you'd like to win it, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST on Friday, June 15, 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, June 8, 2018

A tea I can *guarantee* you've not tried!

Well, this is new! My friend Kathy, who is a huge dog lover, recently shared a video promoting a new tea that I've certainly never had on my tea shelf, Barking Mad Creations Herbal Tea for Dogs!

Now I haven't tried this tea, for obvious reasons, and I don't have a dog, but I have a feeling this quirky video would be of interest to many of you, and the product itself might be appealing to the tea lovers who are also dog lovers.

I only ask that you not serve me tea out of the same teacup your dog uses! It was interesting to read about how the tea is prepared for the dogs, though (never hot!). Do you suppose dogs like tea as much as we do? I mean, why not!

So what do you think about tea for dogs? Yes or no?

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Recommended Reading: "Pretty Handmades" by Lauren Wright

So a woman in Australia writes a craft book that is printed in Turkey and bought by a woman in Newnan, Georgia. If that's not the global economy at work, I don't know what is!

I was at my local Joann store the other day looking not necessarily for any particular craft book but just for something pretty. The day was gray and rainy, and I wanted something that "spoke" to me. Do you ever have a day like that? Well, this is what I came across, and I spotted the teapot and teacup graphics immediately!

Even a tea bag! When's the last time you saw artwork of a tea bag?

I wasn't at all surprised to find a pattern for a "Tea Party Tea Towel" inside. I don't care if I ever make it or not, I've just gotten so much pleasure from studying the pages of this lovely book!

Best enjoyed with a cup of yummy green tea, of course! I got my copy for 60 percent off thanks to a well-timed Joann coupon. That made this book's price about $8 and some change, less than the cost of many magazines, I note, but it's also available on Amazon if you don't have a Joann coupon handy.

Monday, June 4, 2018

The Cricut Cuttlebug & teatime paper crafting

So here's what I made this weekend!

My birthday was last month, and I used the Amazon gift card my husband gave me to get this Cricut Cuttlebug machine for die cutting and embossing.

And then a gift from my oldest niece funded the purchase of the prettiest tea-themed dies I have ever seen, this Vintage Tea Party line by Sara Davies of Crafters Companion, founded in the UK but with an office in the US as well.  I ordered my goodies on eBay from a seller in the UK when I found that I couldn't get all the ones I wanted on Amazon, but I have seen some of the line there and some in the Paper Wishes catalog, in case you happen to like them as well!

It's taking me a while to learn the tips and techniques of this brave new world of what I consider "fancy" paper crafting, but I'm up to the challenge since I am so enamored of all the pretty tea-themed dies I have discovered. This lacy one from the Vintage Tea Party line has so much detail! I'm having lots of fun with my new toys, and I plan to share some of the notecards and other crafts I make in the days ahead. If you happen to be a Cuttlebug user,  or perhaps you've long advanced to one of the larger electronic  Cricut machines, please share any tips and links you think might be of interest. I do know that my friend Joy got a Cuttlebug about the same time I did, so I'm quite happy I know at least one other tea lover who is exploring this form of paper crafting!

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Summer 2018 Upton Tea Quarterly

The latest issue of the Upton Tea Quarterly arrived this week, and as always, I found it to be quite enlightening and entertaining reading. In the front of the book, I learned that Darjeeling production has "decreased from an annual average of 5.5 million kilograms to 3 million kilograms in 2017," a reduction of nearly 67 percent (!). I haven't bought any new Darjeeling tea in a while, and sure enough, the prices are much steeper than I would have expected, so if we're looking for quality Darjeelings, I guess we can expect to pay more for them, thanks to "a worldwide surge in demand and a limited supply of quality tea."

So that's the bad news. The good news is that there's a delightful feature on Roy Fong, owner of the Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco and a name quite familiar to those of us who study tea in this country. My favorite quote of his: "Tea chose me. Looking back, there was no other path but tea."

If you'd like to check out this issue for yourself, click here.