Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A surprise source of a new tea-themed charm

I have long preferred long necklaces, and to save time, if there's one I can just slip over my head as I'm headed out the door, so much the better. This long sterling silver chain was a gift from one of my Teen Board members back during my newspaper days (many years ago now), and it's the best chain I've ever owned. I've worn lots of charms on it over the years, and my new favorite was a birthday gift from tea friend Margie last month. But you know what it really is?

A keychain charm! She found it while looking for something unrelated on Amazon (we've all been there) and thought the charm would be fun on a necklace—and got us both one. While I've kept the keychain, I'm so enjoying having a new tea-themed necklace to wear. And it also makes me aware that key chains need to be considered possible sources of new jewelry. (Thanks again, Margie!)

Monday, June 28, 2021

Some tea wares get a new home — mine!


A few weeks ago, I got a call from Maxine, a lovely local lady I've known for many years, and she is now downsizing. She needed to get rid of some teapots and was planning a garage sale, and she wondered if I'd like to come take a look first. You bet I did, and one of the first ones I spotted was this decorative Old Country Roses teapot. It's not for food use, but since OCR is the pattern my mother collected, I had to have it.

And I've gotten to where I can spot a Sadler teapot from a mile away, so these two pretty ones caught my eye. As it turns out, I'll be helping my Sunday school class host a bridal tea next month, and guess what I'll be using? These colors are so soft and pretty that I know they'll work beautifully with the decor.

I thought this rose-strewn Japanese teapot was lovely as well. It's supposed to be musical, and even though the music box doesn't work (and I may try to figure out how to have that restored), I liked the teapot just fine on its own. And all of the teapots were just $10 each, so I was quite happy about that!

While I was at the table with all the teapots (she had dozens, so I showed much restraint), Maxine motioned behind me to ask whether I'd ever seen a tea-themed tree. Why yes, I said, and are you selling that? She told me that if I wouldn't make her dust them first, she'd sell the tree with all 25 ornaments for just $20, so yeah, that tree was going home with me. And I *happened* to have that collapsible black tote in my trunk for just such a purpose!

It was an instant upgrade to my ornament collection (I think only one of these is a duplicate to the hundred plus I already own!), so I can't wait to fill out my Christmas tree this year! And speaking of Christmas, did you know that June 25 was "Leon Day"? That's a new term to me, but I learned that collectors and crafters celebrate Leon Day ("Leon" is "Noel" spelled backward) as a benchmark for getting ready for Christmas, which on that day is six months away. Who knew?

Friday, June 25, 2021

The winner of the teatime cards is …

Denise! And I've just sent you a message, so hopefully, these cards will be on their way to you very soon. Congrats!

Bigelow's Lemon Ginger Tea with Probiotics

When I wrote about a new tea with probiotics not long ago, Vernona mentioned that she enjoyed Bigelow's Lemon Ginger Tea with Probiotics. After finishing a round of antibiotics that I was taking for an ear infection, I was (and still am) looking for drinks and foods with probiotics. How fortunate that I happen to enjoy fermented foods like sauerkraut and kombucha! 

I'm so glad that Vernona mentioned this delicious herbal tea. Even if it didn't contain probiotics, the taste is fantastic. The bright citrus flavor gets some zing from the ginger, and this tea has a richness that definitely feels like a dessert tea. The fact that it contains something my body really needs right now is wonderful.

And of course, Bigelow always gets bonus points for packaging their tea in individual packets. Have any of you tried this tea? If you haven't, I heartily recommend it—and probably need to go ahead and stock up!


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

"Carnegie's Maid" by Marie Benedict

"There is no coffee on the tray, Miss Kelley," Mrs. Carnegie said in a tone I knew to be condemnatory.

"I am sorry, Mrs. Carnegie. I thought the ladies wanted tea," I answered, blushing at the thought of Mr. Carnegie witnessing this chastisement.

"Mrs. Vandevort is a coffee drinker. You should know that," she said.

"My apologies. I will return to the kitchen straightaway."

From Carnegie's Maid by Marie Benedict

* * *

A few months ago, I enjoyed reading The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict, a book inspired by the intriguing real-life incident in which Agatha Christie disappeared for eleven days. So when the book group I'm in decided to read another Marie Benedict book of historical fiction, I was all in. This one was Carnegie's Maid, and while the young Irish woman in the story is a creation of the author, Andrew Carnegie was indeed the famous industrialist and philanthropist. He is often remembered for the many libraries he funded, including a beautiful one right here in Newnan.

Last year, Marie Benedict was scheduled to visit the Newnan Carnegie Library to discuss Carnegie's Maid, but alas, that was one of many events that got canceled in the early days of COVID-19. I do hope she'll be booked here again one day, as I'm definitely a fan of her writing.

In this book, a young Irish woman aims to help her struggling farm family during the time of the potato famine. She comes to America in search of work so that she can make money to send back home, and while her name is Clara Kelley, she gets mistaken for another Clara Kelley who was supposed to serve as a lady's maid to Andrew Carnegie's widowed mother. If you're like me, I have a real fondness for the lady's maid position thanks to all that Downton Abbey viewing, and it's fun to see this immensely likable imposter trying to live up to her new role.

I would have loved this book even without all the tea scenes, but the ones like the bit quoted above made this tale extra delightful to read. If you love history, tea, and strong women characters—and isn't that all of us?—do check out this book, literally and figuratively!

Monday, June 21, 2021

A teatime card giveaway

I haven't made any teatime cards in a while, and since you all liked them the last time I did a card giveaway, I thought it would be fun to offer another one! This time, I was inspired by some of my Stampin' Up stamps and papers from their new Hand-Penned Petals set (they're here if you're into stamping). In this card, I didn't use the stamps but one of the background papers, which I love for their soft watercolor look.

And I bought my tea-mug-shaped dies around Christmas, I believe, and decided they would be fun to combine with the Hand-Penned Petals floral stamp designs. I like how this card turned out!

And here's another view.

When I went shopping on my birthday last month, I bought these turquoise slimline cards at Rubber Stamp Fantasy in Marietta. When my friend Kathy gave me a gorgeous new embossing folder with a lacy design last week, I thought it would be fun to combine that lacy background with some old Stampin' Up designs of roses and teapots.

And I don't even remember the name of the company where I found this stamp design (a recommendation from Kathy, who kindly alerts me to tea-themed stamps), but it, too, combined well with that lacy design from the embossing folder, which I colored with pale-blue and green inks.

See the detail of the lace? I love it!

So these four cards—three plain and one thank-you—are now packaged up and waiting for their new home. Will it be yours? If you'd like to win them, just leave an "Enter me" to this post between now and 7 a.m. EST on Friday, June 25, making sure I have a way to contact you if you're the winner (email listed, linked to your comment, or in my files), and you'll be entered to win. Good luck!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Winding up the trip to Wisconsin

As I wind up my week of talking about thrifting and antiquing in Wisconsin, I thought that some of you might enjoy seeing how our grandsons have grown since I last showed you photos of them here on the blog! That's Andrew in front of me and Michael in front of Alex.

And here they are with parents Brad and Heather when we decided to squeeze in a last-night walk at Voyager Park along the Fox River in De Pere.

The views were stunning everywhere I looked!

As always, I can't resist taking a few flower photos along the way.

We had so much fun celebrating Andrew's ninth birthday, visiting with our Wisconsin family, and enjoying a little shopping along the way. So until the next trip, that's it from the Badger State, and thanks for reading, friends!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A new name in vintage Christmas tea wares


The Antique Mall of Greater Green Bay turned up several vintage Christmas treasures, including this cup and saucer and pedestal plate. I really, really love vintage Christmas wares, especially after focusing on them so much last year when I was working on my Christmas cookbook. So to find two vintage pieces that can be used at teatime was quite a treat, and I paid $5 for the cup and $7 for the plate.

I thought I'd seen just about every name in china that's out there, but "Norleans of Japan" was a new one for me.

An even older treasure, and perhaps my favorite find of the whole trip, was this plate. Yes, it's browned and crackled, but I absolutely love it. In fact, I just assumed it had some chips hiding in there, but when I got home, it did not. The back has what looks like a crack, but it doesn't come through to the front, so I decided this $2 find was absolutely worth it!

And a calendar from 1907? I love it. 

The old artwork of holly and berries is so soft and elegant. Reminds me of a vintage postcard.

The back has the word "semiporcelain" and a back stamp that I haven't had time to look up.

But the most fun thing about the plate? It wasn't until I got home to Georgia and unwrapped it that I realized there's more verbiage, only the original gilding (I'm guessing) has worn off, so I had to hold it every which way in the light to read "Merry Christmas, ZELL BROS., One Price Street, Unity, Wisconsin." Could this be from one of my beloved old department stores? Why, yes! Zell Bros. was a dry goods store, but alas, it barely outlived this plate. According to the Clark County, Wisconsin, history that I found online, "In 1909 fire started in Button Membrue's Hardware Store and spread north to Fred Wescott's Saloonand the Forest House Hotel which stood on the corner of P and 13. Then, it spread south to engulf Zell Bros. General Store, and August Weide's butcher shop and shoe shop." I read that and felt that I'd lost a friend!

And last but not least, I'd had my eye on a Lefton China Christmas angel, and this one ($15) was my most expensive purchase of the trip, which just shows how thrifty everything was. I can't wait to decorate with her this Christmas, and when I do, you know you'll see it here eventually!

Monday, June 14, 2021

Thrifting in Wisconsin—a loot shoot!


As promised, this week I'm sharing some of my thrifty finds from our recent road trip to Wisconsin. The Friday of our visit, Alex was kind enough to chauffeur me to four thrift stores (and a bonus yard sale) and wait patiently while I shopped.

When I came home and unpacked everything, it took up quite a bit of my dining room table.

You will not be surprised to learn that I came home with a new teacup. I *almost* came home with a whole set of this pattern, but after I put it all in my buggy, I thought, "Where will I put it all when I get it home?" But I could justify buying a single teacup ($1.53) and handled tray ($1.93). I realized I like flat pieces because they're easier to make room for!

Of course, there are exceptions to that guideline. This amber-colored Indiana Depression glass sugar and creamer in the Daisy pattern ($1.99 each) will be perfect on my Thanksgiving table.

This little salad-sized plate was a random purchase ($2) because I'm trying to find some aqua-colored plates to be used on the cover of the Dainty Dining sequel (which may or may not be finished this year, but I want some plates ready to go for styling the cover shoot with the food).

This twenty-five-cent mug was a fun find at De Pere Christian Outreach, which I learned is where my stepdaughter's in-laws volunteer. Several area churches combine forces to organize and run this amazing thrift store, which has only one employee, and they accept cash only. All proceeds go back out into the community, and I learned that some customers shop there multiple times per day since merchandise hits the shelves as fast as the donations can be processed and priced! It's got to be the cleanest, best-organized thrift store I've ever visited. This "jeweled" mug instantly struck me as something I can take with me when I'm out promoting Rubies and Revenge in a few months, to hold business cards, bookmarks, and/or pens.

There's a lot of cool bling hot-glued to this mug, but check out this button at right. With the crown and thistle, I'm assuming it's English. But who or what is the figure at left? The bottom design looks like two peas coming out of a pod. What if it's a rare button worth thousands of dollars and some avid collector begs me to sell it? (I can be reached at angelamcrae at charter dot net.) At any rate, I couldn't leave this fun mug behind!

Several of these pretty pieces came from the De Pere store as well. A platter for $1? Had to have it. Christmas is coming, and those oval plates are absolutely perfect for gifting a loaf of tea bread. (And say it with me: "It's cheaper than buying plastic trays at the grocery store.")

Here's a detail of a little saucer-sized plate from a St. Vincent de Paul store in Green Bay. I believe it was 53 cents (odd price), and it will be fun for fall decorating.

These bicentennial and rose plates ($1-$3 for the pink rose one) will be used for decoration, and the two blue floral ones will go into my giveaway stash. And I've taken up enough of your time for today, so on Wednesday, I'll share the fun Christmas pieces I found, including a $2 vintage Christmas plate that I absolutely love!

Friday, June 11, 2021

Finding some teatime "gold"

One week ago, I was in the midst of my "thrifting day" in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and I must say, the St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores there are a treat to visit. At the last one (and there were several, which I'll share more about next week), they had what seemed like acres of offerings, and in addition to lots of china and tea wares, they had the most upscale magazine section I've ever seen in a thrift store. It's set up like—and about the size of—your average Barnes and Noble. I happened to notice this Cross Stitch Gold magazine from April 2008. I knew it was a pricy British publication, and it looked brand-new, like it's never been read.

But it was only brand-new to St. Vinny's, and I noted this issue had been put out just that day, according to the date on the tag. Then I noticed a small inset photo of an afternoon tea sampler and had to look inside.

Yes, ma'am! I've been wanting to make a tea sampler for years, and I do believe this is one of the prettiest ones I've ever seen. I love all the tea wares and even the sugar cubes but especially the infuser spoon!

And I already have some cross-stitch linen I can use, so once I obtain the necessary colors of Anchor floss, I'll be in business!


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Fortnum & Mason's "Time for Tea" by Tom Parker Bowles


I just got home from a week-long road trip to Wisconsin (more on that to come!), but what did I take along for reading in the car? The new Fortnum & Mason cookbook Time for Tea by Tom Parker Bowles, who is the stepson of Prince Charles. I'd been eagerly awaiting its arrival and pre-ordered it so it would arrive the day it was published.

The charming illustrations by Zebedee Helm and photography by David Loftus really make this book so enjoyable. I loved the tea timeline.

And this clever illustration just made me smile!

There are 50 recipes covering everything from breakfast and elevenses to lunch, teatime, and even bedtime, and this Dundee Cake is one of the first ones I want to try since I've never made one. (I liked the tea-pairing suggestion of Spiced Rose and Fennel Infusion up top.) So if you collect teatime cookbooks, I definitely recommend getting a copy of this one!