Friday, July 20, 2018

"Tickled Pink" with my new teacup – seriously!

This week, for only the third time in my life, I had a guy friend give me a teacup. He gave me two, actually, but first I wanted to write about this one, Vernon's "Tickled Pink" pattern. Now if you had to guess, when would you say this set was made? Based on the contemporary graphics, you're probably not guessing the 1800s or the 1930s, are you?

If you guessed anywhere from 1958-1965, you'd be right (at least according to I don't have any retro-style teacups, and I must say that I'm quite charmed by this set! It's also a great example of the dishes that were popular during the era of midcentury modern design, which also happens to be the era in which I was born, which I suppose makes me midcentury modern as well. I even love the name of this teacup's pattern, "Tickled Pink," and its retro styling makes me want to crank up some tunes by Petula Clark and Diana Ross and the Supremes! Now, my only problem is that I'm trying very hard to convince myself that I DO NOT NEED the darling teapot that matches this teacup. (But if you want to see it, click here.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Fruity summertime teas

I've still got a few more T2 teas to try thanks to a marvelous Christmas gift from a friend, and this week, I sampled two more of these individually packaged loose-leaf teas.

First, I tried the Very Berry Fruitea tisane. I have always loved berries, and this flavor reminds me of those berry-flavored popsicle treats they sold at Six Flags Over Georgia when I was a little girl. With elderberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries, this is possibly the berriest tea I've ever had. Now this berry-flavored tisane was a little tart, as most of the berry teas seem to be, but it was still quite good. It was the fun and fruity tea I expected, and yes, even in July, I enjoyed it hot!

Now I sincerely hoped I would like a tea called Southern Sunrise, but oh my goodness. As soon as I opened the packet of loose-leaf tea, I could imagine I was in some heavenly herb shop with all those lovely mingled scents, including—did my nose deceive me?—grapefruit. Why, yes! It contains grapefruit, white hibiscus, and lemongrass. And when I steeped the tea, I actually found myself leaning over my tea mug and simply inhaling the glorious scent. The taste? It lives up to the scent, I'm pleased to say, and even reminded me of the grapefruit taste of Fresca, although I can't tell you the last time I actually sipped a Fresca. Both fruity tisanes were delightful, and I'm so pleased to have come across two new, great-tasting herbal teas!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Bath & Body Works Shower Steamers with Tea

I must say that the coupons I've received in the mail from Bath & Body Works this year have indeed been successful in getting me into their stores. The other day, I was at the mall in Douglasville and had a coupon for a free full-size bath product, so I marched into the store, nabbed my free bottle of "Beach" bath gel, and headed to the counter, telling myself, "Don't look around. Don't look around." Alas, the lady in front of me couldn't get her debit card to work, so while that was being figured out, I glanced at the display I was standing next to and spotted, in the faintest type imaginable, the word "Tea." Sigh.

Shower Steamers. With eucalyptus and tea. Designed to help me "Focus." Naturally, I had to take these home with me. So much for a totally free visit. (That lady was still trying to get her debit card to work when I left the store, so a clerk from the sister business next door, the White Barn, came over and said she could check me out. Sold!)

So Shower Steamers are a new concept to me, but they're certainly easy enough to use. Unwrap, place on the shower floor out of the direct spray of the water, and voila! Soon, you're inhaling this lovely scented steam. I definitely recommend this product, which you can find here. And when I got home and Googled, I found that there is a whole line of these eucalyptus-and-tea products at Bath & Body Works. Next time I get another coupon, I may explore some more!

Friday, July 13, 2018

The tea mug giveaway winner is …

Nancy Carolan! And I've just sent her an email, so this mug will soon be winging its way to her home for summer sipping. Thanks to all who entered!

Paging Penelope Barker …

I have long been interested in women who are trailblazers. Years ago, when I was beginning a career in journalism, I interviewed a local woman who was one of the first female airline pilots for Eastern Air Lines. She was smart, funny, and pretty. And when I interviewed her, I believe she was still restoring her "Painted Lady" Victorian home. She was one of those women who truly seemed able to do it all. No wonder I love the saying, "The one who says it can't be done should never interrupt the one who is doing it." So forgive me if I'm a little excited about having discovered an image I'd not seen before of a trailblazer in tea history, Penelope Barker, who led the Edenton Tea Party of 1774 in North Carolina, one of those protests held near the time of the Boston Tea Party. She and 51 other women decided to boycott tea in protest of the Tea Act passed by the British Parliament in 1773.

First, look at Mrs. Barker's face. Picture her as a sassy southern blonde with long hair. Couldn't that be Reese Witherspoon? AmIright or amIright?

At any rate, her intriguing image comes from a booklet I found *for free* on the Library of Congress website, The Historic Tea-Party of Edenton by Richard Dillard. Interested? You can access it here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My latest Goodwill find: Christmas decor or story idea?

As I've written about many times, I prowl the thrift stores for vintage Christmas decor all year long. Teacups, Santa mugs, serving dishes … I love them all, and at thrift stores, the price is always right. But recently, I bought a Christmas plate for two reasons: it had a pretty aqua color, but more important, it has a story!

On the front, it says, "Thank you, Lord! Ann Rowley (or Rawley)." There is, of course, always plenty we can thank the Lord for, and I wondered what made Ann so boldly thank Him on this plate she painted. Just life in general? Maybe she was grateful that God saw her through a sad or trying time? Maybe she was (is?) just a thankful person and found (finds?) it natural to be thankful to the Lord?

Then on the back of the plate, I read, "To: My Classmates of '53. We did have fun!!!! didn't we? Love ya! Ann." Now how many of these Class of '53 classmates do you think Ann made plates for? I'm thinking somewhere between four and eight. I'm picturing them all together at a tearoom one Christmas, each one unwrapping her plate and oohing and aahing over it. And one of them passed away, and so the plate landed at Goodwill when an unsentimental daughter (or one who, like many of us, is simply out of storage room!) was going through her mom's things.

I even Googled a few obituaries for Ann Rowley/Rawley (I'm still not sure which it is), hoping to find one who was a china painter, but I decided it might be more fun not to know which Ann this is, and what her real story is. I love this plate, and the mystery it presents makes me love it even more. If I write a book one day based on an old handpainted Christmas plate, perhaps some of you will remember that you first saw the idea here!

Monday, July 9, 2018

July Giveaway: Turquoise Tea Mug

I came across a great new oversized tea mug at T.J. Maxx recently, and I bought one for myself as well as one for the July giveaway! I like to sip tea out of something sturdy when I'm working upstairs in my office, so this is my new "workweek" tea mug.  I think this "Made in Portugal" mug is a perfect summertime mug with its pretty seaside color.

If you'd like to win a tea mug just like mine, simply leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST on Friday, July 13, 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, July 6, 2018

"A Tea Spoon," circa 1907

So now that I've figured out how to correctly view these vintage stereographic cards, I am having fun looking for new tea-themed ones on the Library of Congress website, like this one cleverly titled "A Tea Spoon."

This image is circa 1907 from Berry, Kelley & Chadwick in Philadelphia. (Please click on the link up top if you're interested in trying to view it stereographically, as the LOC image is larger than the space here permits me to show.)

I wish I could tell more about the actual tea wares in this photo, but the expression on the man's face is definitely worth the price of admission!

Monday, July 2, 2018

A weekend in the North Georgia Mountains

This weekend, I was in Tiger, Georgia, a small town in the North Georgia Mountains, where my friend Shannon Alley (mother of my friend Liz) was having a book signing for her book of poetry, Time Stands Still in Tiger, which I edited for her earlier this year. It made my day to see Shannon holding court at the local assisted living facility, and she had a steady stream of customers for the entire two hours of the event!

Check out the cake they had made for the occasion!

As a thank-you from her daughters, Alex and I enjoyed a stay at the White Birch Inn, a charming bed and breakfast nearby, in downtown Clayton. We discovered Clayton a few years ago and have made a habit of visiting each fall, so we were delighted to stay at this lovely inn!

The inn and gardens were so beautiful …

And I loved everything from this birdhouse …

To this patio, still gorgeous after an overnight rain!

A few years ago, Liz told us about the Clayton Cafe, and Alex and I had a great fried chicken lunch there one day. The next time we went up, they were sold out of fried chicken, so we knew to get there early this time. We were a tad skeptical since the Clayton Cafe has new owners and has been refurbished, but the chicken was just as great as before! Furthermore, we struck up a conversation with a lady at the next table over. We learned she is from Tampa but comes to the North Georgia Mountains in the summertime. She left a few minutes before us and said, "Oh, by the way, your lunch is on me, and welcome to Rabun County." When we found out she had just taken care of our tab, we were speechless at this gift, just because we were friendly, I guess! Who knew? (Alex and I have decided we want to "pay it forward" sometime soon! I l-o-v-e spreading kindness in today's world!)

After Shannon's book signing, I enjoyed some shopping in downtown Clayton, and while I didn't find a tea postcard, I sure enjoyed browsing through the many stacks of postcards at Prater Collectibles & Antiques, a place I love to visit when I'm up there.

And I was about to think I would leave the town without spotting anything related to tea, but then I saw their outdoor display featuring this. So with a fantastic book signing, a delicious lunch, some fun shopping, and a tea sighting, it was a great visit, so I'll leave you with a few more images from my whirlwind weekend!