Friday, December 30, 2022

One last Christmas hurrah!

My stepson, Hunter, and our grandkids, Bella and Owen, came down yesterday for a visit, so I left all the decorations out and made a quick and easy brunch for us all to enjoy! Alex liked it and said he hoped I got a picture of everything, and I was glad he said that because I did decide to stop and take some photos.

I love making a good old-fashioned sausage breakfast casserole since it’s assembled the night before, and all you have to do is pop it into the oven the next morning.

Using a vintage Christmas tree cookie cutter, I made Brown Sugar Shortbread.

This Betty Crocker Toffee Bar recipe is one I’ve made before. So quick and easy and sooo good!

I’d already made ambrosia, so I scooped some into these mini glasses for a nice presentation.

And just so the boys wouldn’t go hungry, I made mini and larger-size ham biscuits (well, Bisquick biscuits; I was going for easy).

Didn’t want the guys to use the ladylike tea and toast sets, so they got ceramic dishes from Martha Stewart.

Bella and I used these Salem China tea and toast sets that I found last year—the first time they’ve been used—and I think they're so cute and cheerful.

Here's another view. We happily sipped our Earl Gray from them!

We had a great time visiting with these three!

But the biggest news of the day: Bella, who is about to turn sixteen, just got her first set of wheels, so it was a Merry Christmas indeed!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Friendship gifts of tea!

I am so suspicious by nature that I am rarely surprised. This year, however, I must say that tea friends old and new have greatly surprised and delighted me with some tea gifts that were thoroughly unexpected and thoroughly enjoyed! First, when I met my friend Joy for Christmas tea recently, she gave me this yummy-smelling Southern Sweet Tea candle. I've never seen such a thing!

And isn't the pottery pretty? I love things with a crackle-finished glaze, so I will enjoy using this piece even after the candle is long gone.

Also that day, Joy brought along something that she thought I already had, and she suggested I use it for a blog giveaway. Well, guess what? I did *not* have this lovely Willow Tree Angel of the Kitchen by Susan Lordi, so — surprise! — I'm keeping it. (But I will make up for it by trying to find some really cool things for my Valentine's Week giveaways in 2023!)

Another day before Christmas, a gift from Cara in Iowa appeared in the mail. What could it be? It was something I think is especially divine: Peach Tea Cotton Candy. I haven't had cotton candy very often since I was a little girl, but I have certainly always enjoyed it. Cotton candy is one of the best candy treats ever, and this peach tea flavor is wonderful and really is reminiscent of peach tea!

And look at the design of the lid! Once I polish off the cotton candy (which will occur sooner rather than later), I'm going to use the cute container in my craft room. This thoughtful gift also came with some delicious caramels and Christmas tea bags. What a fun, fun, fun surprise!

And last week, I received a package from Teresa, a tea blog reader from Ohio whom I had the pleasure of meeting during Phyllis Barkey's Southern Tea Tour way back in 2018. Inside was this …

A Santa mug plush throw! Can you believe it? I'd certainly never seen a blanket with my beloved Santa tea mugs or I would have purchased it immediately. What a delightful and well-timed gift! I'm sure you've been reading about (if not experiencing) cold temperatures all across the country, and here in Georgia, we are absolute wimps when it comes to cold weather. Once I got through oohing and aahing and showing off this blanket to my husband, I snuggled right under it, and to be honest, I haven't moved much since (except to go eat some more cotton candy or light a candle, ha!). Lots of tea and hot chocolate have been enjoyed beneath this blanket already!

And last but not least, since my dear friend Kathy recently moved several hours away and is still unpacking, I assumed she wouldn't have time to send her famous handmade cards this year, and that would have been understandable. Then I got *this* lovely card from her in the mail and was so tickled, as I can tell she made it just for me with all the cute pink colors and the sweet mug.

So there you go! I got some truly wonderful teatime treats for Christmas, and I'll bet you all did too. Did friends or family (or yourself) gift you with any tea-themed presents? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, December 26, 2022

Happy Boxing Day!

Santa isn't the only one who will be enjoying some R&R and a cup of tea today!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas!

"For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."
— Luke 2:10, 11
Merry Christmas, tea friends!


Friday, December 23, 2022

Finishing touches …

Last year, I shared my "Santa mug" cabinet with you all and got so many nice comments that I thought I would share this year's version. I've found or been given so much great vintage stuff that now, vintage goodies of every sort fill almost every nook and cranny, including the dancing Mr. and Mrs. Santa that a shopkeeper friend mailed me a few weeks ago. I had seen dancing Santas before, but I never knew he came with Mrs. Claus! The teacups were a tight squeeze behind them, but hey, I got them in, and the pretty green bell at front? That was a surprise gift from my friend Joy last year!

And just this week, I made a porch pickup after a new writer friend told me she had some old pieces that were her mom's, and I could have them if I wanted to come by for them sometime. She sent pix of these three caroling angel bells, and I thought, "Are you kidding me?" These pieces are like gold to collectors of vintage Christmas goodies—if you can find them. I promised her I will give them a good home, and she obviously believed me. When I got home with the bag, she had included the Santa planter behind them too! Yippee!

To my surprise, I discovered I have a boot collection. See the one at left that says "Merry Christmas" on the green band at top? That was once a candy container, and I bought this piece solely (ha!) because of what was on the bottom …

Isn't that delightful?

This year, I also came across (finally!) a few vintage knee-hugger elves. Pretty sure I remember these guys from my childhood Christmases of the sixties.

There's a particular booth that I always visit at the antique mall in Douglasville, and the vendor there clearly loves old ephemera as much as I do. I found some old jingle bells and ornament hangers in the original packaging for just a few dollars, and I love them so much!

Alex and I keep saying we really dislike this old wallpaper in the kitchen and need to have it removed and painted over, but he pointed out that, for once, it actually goes well with the decor! Today, I hope to get those last cards in the mail, deliver a few gifts, then maybe read or take a nap as I shift gears from parties and presents and get ready to celebrate the *real* gift—the baby in a manger! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas, friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

DAVIDsTea — A Christmas Treat

I don't know how I found this deal, but a few weeks ago, I was doing some online shopping and saw that DAVIDsTEA had a holiday tea sampler on sale for just $12 (usually $29). I purchased it and was soon notified that my order was delayed for some reason, but that was fine since this was just a gift from me to me. And when it came, I was delighted with the packaging and will keep these little tins for storing loose tea when I travel.

This Candy Cane Crush tea, which I've enjoyed before, is a creamy black tea flavored with white chocolate, peppermint bits, and snowflake sprinkles. Another favorite is Sleigh Ride, an herbal tea with cinnamon, apples, almonds, hibiscus and beetroot, and I can't wait to try all the new ones too.

The slide-out box makes for a lovely presentation, again making me wish I'd ordered these as gifts for tea friends. (I did note that they're having an early Boxing Day special where you can buy one and get one free on certain items through December 22, so if you have some after-Christmas gifts to buy, you may want to check these out at

I'm spending the week cooking, card making, and wrapping gifts, and with a cold front bringing in temps as low as 11 degrees this weekend (!), this cold-averse Georgia girl will be sipping lots of hot tea in the days ahead just to stay warm. If you've even had a moment to buzz by this blog this week, how are you spending these days leading up to Christmas?

Monday, December 19, 2022

A Christmas Wedding for Madison!

Those of you who've been reading this blog for a while may recall seeing photos of three little girls at tea over the years, my nieces Madison, Cari, and Amelia. Madison married her sweetheart, Logan, yesterday in neighboring Carrollton, and I found myself wondering where the time has gone!

It seems like just yesterday that we were doing this! (Amelia hadn't yet joined the world.)

The venue was a historic home that is now an event center, and it was beautifully decorated for the holidays. They had spacious rooms upstairs where the girls could get ready, and that was where I got a picture of my sister, Rhonda, and niece-bridesmaids Amelia and Cari. I can't believe how grown-up these girls are now!

I got there early so I could a) change into my gown and b) nose around the place. I'm glad I did, because I found an unexpected surprise in the form of some display cabinets with tea wares, like this lovely blue double-spouted teapot …

And some pretty red transfer ware!

I had assumed there would be tea to drink, and there was plenty of it at the buffet-style reception, but when I saw lemonade, too, I knew what I would be drinking: an Arnold Palmer!

Here's my sister's family (minus bride and groom) following the ceremony.

And here are Madison and Logan cutting their wedding cake.

Madison thoughtfully spent time with all of us, and Aunt Jane was obviously very happy to have her photo taken with the bride.

And here I am with my own sweetheart! It was truly a beautiful day, and we're all wishing Madison and Logan a long and happy marriage!

Friday, December 16, 2022

A "Grande" Christmas Tea with Joy

Wednesday morning was a yucky wet one at my house just south of Atlanta, but I was still eager to head north since I would be meeting my friend Joy and five other ladies for tea at the Grande Event Tea Room in Ball Ground! The drive was an easy one with no stalls interrupting my commute—a rarity for Atlanta—and before I knew it, I was being ushered into this beautiful old home-turned-tearoom and enjoying a warm, cozy setting, delicious tea and treats, and soothing Christmas music. If there's a better way to spend a rainy day, I haven't heard of it!

Joy and I are at back (she's in red and I'm in black), and we were joined by her friends Jan, Joan, Debbie, Helen, and Sandy (I hope I spelled their names right; correct me if I didn't, Joy!). I'd actually had tea with Sandy and Joy once before, and Joy had also hooked me up with Helen, who is going to be one of my beta readers for my new cozy mystery series, so I immediately knew half of the group, and the other ladies were just as delightful as I knew they were going to be. One thing I've learned over the years is that if a tea friend introduces me to her tea friends, we're going to like each other. (There may be a bad apple out there somewhere, but I've never met her.)

We began our Christmas tea with a light, refreshing pear salad, which was as tasty as it was pretty!

We all oohed and aahed when the three-tiered server came out, and while I usually like the scones, they have rarely been so good that they were my favorite of all the treats. I must tell you that these Christmas-tree-shaped scones had a great flaky crust and were perfectly soft on the inside, and now I want to go make scones again!

Frankly, I was too busy having fun and socializing with Joy and all these ladies to write down all the names of the foods we ate, but I can say that I enjoyed it all. My favorite tea sandwich was a roast beef one, and while I enjoyed all of these sweets ("cheesecake shooters" was a particularly fun idea!) …

My favorite was these festive and fudgey brownies with sprinkles. You just can't make chocolate too rich for me, so this was a decadent treat—and in just the right amount.

We had jam and cream to eat with our scones, and I couldn't help noticing that it was served on a plate that's the same pattern as my everyday dishes, Johnson Brothers Rose Chintz. Fun!

We were seated in a lovely room at the front of the house, which I personally enjoyed because a) we were warm and cozy there and b) I'm a tearoom busybody and like seeing everyone who comes in and what sort of group they're with. But I had to go steal a peek at the other rooms …

And they were lovely as well! It's been so long since I've been to a tearoom—Joy and I realized that our last attempt to meet for tea was canceled at the beginning of the pandemic—and we truly had a "Grande" time at the Grande Event Tea Room. If you're a local, you can learn more about it here.