Monday, July 15, 2019

Teatime finds from Meijer

Several years ago, I went in my first Meijer supercenter, and I just loved it. We don't have those in the South, so when a Meijer opened near my stepdaughter's home in Green Bay a few years ago, I was happy to realize I can now visit it at least once or twice a year. Last week, I checked out their tea selections and went home with this Sweet Slumber Chamomile Mint herbal tea. At just $1.99 for the box of 20 tea bags, I figured I wasn't taking too big of a risk if I didn't care for it.

I don't often see teas flavored with chamomile, and this combo appealed to me. I was impressed that the tea bags were individually packaged, which is not always the case, especially with less-expensive teas. And I'm happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed this fresh-tasting minty chamomile tea.

And that's not all I found! Like most writers I know, I am addicted to pens and paper, so I was delighted to find these little 5 x 7-inch notebooks for just $1.49. (If you live in Meijer territory, there is also a pink one in this design family, but I'm just drawn to blues and greens lately.) So if you're a regular Meijer shopper, consider yourself lucky and know that some of your Southern sisters consider shopping there a real treat!

Friday, July 12, 2019

A pattern with a pedigree

The last purchase that I wanted to share from my friend Patti's estate sale preview last week is this trio. I do enjoy sipping tea out of a teacup with a nice wide handle, and I loved the elegant shape of these pieces as well as the pretty peach color of the roses. I see lots of roses in pink, but this softer hue is one I immediately found striking.

I can't say exactly why I find it so elegant (because after all, I still love me some pink), but this just has a certain charm about it. And the pattern?

Well, when I turned the pieces over, every one of them is marked Johann Haviland Bavaria and "Standard Pattern for US AIR FORCE." I've found matching pieces available online this week, but I have no idea what this back stamp means. I don't imagine some fighter pilot had his tea sloshing around in the cockpit, but were the pieces used at Air Force dinners, maybe? Anyone got a clue? If I don't learn the real backstory, I may just have to make one up and make this trio a "character" in one of my books. At any rate, this lovely set instantly became even lovelier to me when I realized that it has a connection to the US Air Force! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

A match made in Heaven

The trio sitting atop this plate is not a match, but wow, it's close, isn't it? Many Christmases ago, my mother gave me a box that contained the pink Depression glass I was collecting at the time. I set it aside until I needed to use the pink wares for a tea, I believe, and when I unpacked the glassware months later, I realized my mother had also included eight dinner plates just like the one at the bottom of the stack here. It's called "Primuline" by Homer Laughlin, and I've not yet come across a matching teacup and saucer.

So when I was at my friend Patti's last week and saw the unmarked trio with the bands of pale green, I just had to have it. It's not a match, but I am still delighted to have found it. In fact, I looked at her and said, "You don't happen to have seven more of these, do you?" (She didn't, but she is, seriously, going to ask her sister!)

I've had trouble remembering the name "Primuline" when I'm out and about, so this week, I told myself that "Primuline" is not a very "prim and proper" looking pattern. We'll see if that helps! And now, I'm going to have to memorize this coordinating unmarked pattern so that if I run across it or Primuline, I'll know precisely what I'm looking for!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Treasures from an estate sale preview

On Friday morning, I had the great pleasure of getting to check out my friend Patti's pretty tea wares as she prepares to downsize and, in preparation, hold an estate sale. She said she wanted me to have first dibs, which was quite thoughtful of her, and I left with a shopping bag full of goodies that I am happy to have since they will remind me of Patti, whom I first met in Bible study years ago.

Her prices were quite reasonable too, like just $8 each for teapots (this one from Wood and Sons) and trios.

I have had several pieces with this design and definitely wanted this pretty trio from Royal Staffordshire.

 And I'll have more to say about this set later, but this is actually the first thing my eye went to, for a wonderful reason. (I'll explain on Wednesday.)

And while I have quite a few tea tiles, or tea trivets, I'd never seen one with these pretty old roses, and I love the fact that the background color is a bright emerald green. I'm redesigning my author website and want it to be green and vintage-looking, and I have just not found very many lovely old things that are emerald green, but this is perfect and may end up in the opening page photo. And if you look at the top photo, at bottom left, you'll see a tiny sliver of another trio I got. It has an intriguing back stamp and backstory, so I'm researching that before I share more about it. So as you can see, I was quite thrilled with my lovely array of goodies from Patti's cleaning-out prior to her move, and now I have some fun research to add to this week's tasks. I think I like a good backstory as much as I like pretty tea wares!

Friday, July 5, 2019

The winner of the Christmas ornament is …

Joy B.! And I already have Joy's address, so I will be sending this to her shortly. Congrats, and thanks to all who entered!

William Penn's Tea Service

My husband has been ghostwriting a book for a client in Pennsylvania, and I've been reading parts of it over the past few days and enjoy learning more about the state. So perhaps it's no surprise that in my latest check of photos on the Library of Congress website, I was drawn to a photo of the silver tea service that belonged to William Penn, founder of the Province of Pennsylvania.

The Library of Congress doesn't have much to say about this stereograph photo, except that it was created between 1850 and 1900.

A similar image is available on the J. Paul Getty Museum's website, and it appears this tea service is now in the collection of the museum in LA, although it's not currently on exhibit. When I visit a museum, I always look for tea wares, and in my travels, I would dearly love to come across a tea service that was used by such an important figure in American history. Wouldn't you?

Monday, July 1, 2019

A Christmas-in-July Giveaway

It's time for my annual reminder that now really is the month to start Christmas shopping, especially if you enjoy decorating with vintage and thrifted Christmas goodies. Of course, it's possible to visit your local antique mall in November or perhaps early December and still find some goodies, but I know from experience that Christmas things are much cheaper when you find them at thrift stores earlier in the year. Recently, I found a duplicate of an item I already own, this 2006 Madame Alexander Christmas ornament from Hallmark, and it's in mint condition and still in the box. Goodwill had this for just $1.99, but I treasure the one I have just like it that was a gift from Lani, a friend in Hawaii, some years ago. If you'd like to win this one, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST on Friday, July 5, and you'll be entered to win it!

On Saturday, I found another tea-themed Christmas item at Goodwill, this teapot candleholder. I'm not sure I like that black and white on the handle and spout (it reminds me too much of the Chick-fil-A cow), but I like the shape and the fact that the candlelight will shine through the pierced design on the front at Christmas. Maybe I'll paint the black part gold. Maybe I'll paint the whole thing white.

Maybe I'll just use the bottom to hold a Christmas candle.

All I know is that for 89 cents, I saw a lot of possibility in this piece.

And this old Santa Claus bank isn't tea-related, but he was another recent 99-cent purchase. I've already collected a bag full of vintage Christmas goodies for this year's decor, and I have yet to spend $10, which is just the way I like it. My "stamping" friend Kathy has offered to get me started on making my Christmas cards for this year, and when I have a few of those ready to go, hopefully later this month, I'll feel like I've really made some pre-holiday progress!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Trader Joe's Mint Ginger Green Tea

Believe it or not, I have a sister who doesn't like to shop. But when we were in Austin, Texas, recently, I was delighted to discover that there is one store that I believe my organic-loving sister could camp out in for a while, and that was Trader Joe's, where I found this new loose tea.

Now Rhonda can go in store after store and not want a thing, so I stood there in amazement as she, in her first visit to a Trader Joe's, just oohed and aahed over the selection. She kept placing toiletries and cosmetics in her shopping basket, and it dawned on me that it's not that she doesn't like to shop; I just haven't been with her in the right kind of stores! As for me, my lone purchase, but one I was happy to make, was this green tea with mint and ginger.

And really, $1.99 for a chunky 1.4-ounce bag of tea is quite a bargain! This green tea blend is flavored with peppermint, ginger, orange and lemon slices, and dried sunflower. I love a nice minty tea, and this one has a super refreshing taste, with a price point that can't be beat. Have any of you tried this tea?

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The perfect thank-you gift …

Getting to enjoy Afternoon Tea in Senoia on Sunday was a privilege and an honor, as always, and yet they sent me home with a cute little silver pot that I could see had tea bags and some other goodies inside. There was some dip mix, a spice-scented mug mat (I love those!), and while I could see that there was possibly a teacup inside, I couldn't quite tell the design.

And it was this lovely teacup in a charming pastel pink!

Pink teacups with roses on them will always be among my favorites.

And I like how the design is at the center of both the teacup and the saucer.

The teacup is by Collingwoods Bone China in England, and I was surprised that this was a new name in tea wares for me. Are any of you familiar with Collingwoods? From my cursory online research, it appears that this company was in business from the late 1800s through the late 1950s. I love the pretty color and design of this obviously vintage teacup, as well as the fancy scalloped gilding, but mostly I love that it's a memento from my friends in Senoia, the perfect way for me to remember their Afternoon Tea of 2019!

Monday, June 24, 2019

A Historical Society Tea at The Veranda in Senoia

It is always such a pleasure to be asked to attend the Senoia Area Historical Society's Afternoon Tea, and this year's event was one of the best yet! It was held at The Veranda, a historic bed-and-breakfast inn on the National Register. I have so many great memories of The Veranda over the years. I've been to numerous teas there, and my stepdaughter's beautiful wedding reception was held there. I first visited the hotel as a young newspaper reporter and interviewed the then-owners, Jan and Bobby Boal (Jan was the husband, Bobby the wife), who were just some of the loveliest people I've ever met,  and they became known far and wide not only for their hospitality but also for their collection of kaleidoscopes. Today's owner, Laura Reynolds, introduced me to guests and carried on the inn's tradition of offering elegant events and warm hospitality!

I wasn't, of course, the first reporter to interview people at The Veranda, and I won't be the last, but you know who else conducted interviews there? Margaret Mitchell! It's widely told around these parts that she came to Senoia and interviewed Confederate veterans about their Civil War memories when she was doing research for Gone With the Wind. Quick note: If you like movies, Senoia is also the Georgia town where filming occurred for Fried Green Tomatoes, Driving Miss Daisy, and more recently, shows like Drop Dead Diva and The Walking Dead. So if you're into TV and movies, you need to know the name Senoia. It's pronounced by the locals like "Suh-noy," which rhymes with "boy." So getting to spend some time in Senoia is always a treat!

 The Veranda today.

What a welcoming porch! (And greeter!)

Here are just a few of the great hats I saw this year. I was so busy (I was also reading from and, at the end, signing copies of Emerald and Envy) that I somehow failed to get a photo of the winning hat, but the "record" fascinator at top right won Honorable Mention. How clever is that!

My fellow judges included my friend Corby Winters of The Coweta Shopper, shown with me here, and Senoia's mayor, Jeff Fisher.

Here are a few of the lovely tables that were set up in the various dining rooms at The Veranda.

And I couldn't wait to tell you about the unique menu they had this year. As everyone was arriving, we got to nibble on these cute crudité cups. I had skipped lunch (I've learned to do so because of their elaborate teas), so I found this a fun way to be welcomed to teatime!

Another touch that someone obviously spent a lot of time on: calligraphy place cards at each guest's seat, along with a beribboned souvenir menu and a floral sugar cookie.

Each table had a selection of teas from Harney & Sons, and I selected the Paris blend, which I have long enjoyed. I loved this gorgeous teapot that held the hot water.

And when the tea trays came out, we were all oohing and aahing. The menu: Mini Scones, Cucumber Radish Sandwiches, Pimento Cheese Sandwiches, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Assorted Cold Cuts, Totsie's Tea Cakes, Brownies, Lemon Tartlets, Strawberry Mini Cupcakes, Peach Mini Cupcakes, Cake Truffles, and Floral Sugar Cookies.

I have to tell you about a unique tea sandwich I ate, which I learned was made by my friend (and longtime historical society member) Nancy. It was these Cucumber Radish Sandwiches, and she laughed when I told her it was the most sophisticated cucumber sandwich I've ever had, and it was! She spread cream cheese on a thick cranberry bread and topped each piece with thin slices of cucumber and radish and a bit of rosemary, all speared with a black olive garnish and then the slightest bit of balsamic vinegar sprinkled on top. This flavor combination is not one I would have ever thought of, but I absolutely loved it. Everything I ate was quite tasty (and my favorite sweet was the mini lemon tart with its yummy, crumbly crust), but this sandwich deserves a special mention.

I also met a few other local authors and got invited to visit a book club, so it was a wonderful afternoon in so very many delicious ways!

Friday, June 21, 2019

Tea and turtles in Texas

When we were in Texas last week, my sister, niece and nephew, and my sister's in-laws all headed to County Line on the Lake, a barbecue place in Austin, for dinner one night. I love trying out unique new restaurants when I visit a new place, and this one was quite memorable!

It immediately endeared itself to me by having an "Arnold Palmer" listed on the drinks menu. I go to Chick-fil-A sometimes and ask if I can get half tea/half lemonade (I don't ask for an "Arnold Palmer" since not everyone knows that this is the drink made popular by the famous golfer). So while I can get it at Chick-fil-A, I've never seen this particular beverage listed on a menu before and was happy to find it in Austin. Plus, it's pretty with that ombre mix of the tea and lemonade. (Now that I'm in the "grombre" stage of growing out my hair from brown to gray, I'm noticing things that are "ombre" like never before!)

I had these brisket tacos, and they were awesome! (Half of them went back to the hotel with me and served as lunch the following day.)

In addition to the delicious food and the unexpected blessing of enjoying an Arnold Palmer with my meal, I loved the fact that they encourage the feeding of the ducks, turtles, and fish on the lake. Here Amelia is stocking up on their food.

I noted with interest that she was careful to bring her cowgirl boots to Texas with us!

Have you ever seen so many turtles?

I had not, and this was one Texas dinner I won't soon forget!