Monday, May 30, 2022

Friday, May 27, 2022

A teacup rain chain

This pretty verdigris finish teacup?

I now have eight of them thanks to a new rain chain I bought over the weekend! I've had teacup bird feeders and teacup wind chimes, but I'd never even seen a teacup *rain chain* until I spotted this one at a cute shop called the Vintage Owl in Lavonia, Georgia, last weekend. Originating in Japan, rain chimes, I learned, were designed as an alternative to gutter downspouts, a decorative way to collect water or direct it away from the house.

But this huge sweetgum tree in my front yard had a metal swing arm mounted on it when we moved here sixteen years ago, so I removed the bird feeder I'd had hanging there and hung the rain chain. It's been raining a bit off and on all week, but I'm waiting on a real gullywasher to see how this piece performs. I have a feeling that rainstorms this summer are going to be much more fun to watch!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Two new teatime totes


When I got to the crafting retreat last weekend, I was excited when my fellow crafter Heather showed up with a new Thirty-One tote I had ordered from her. This is my fifth tote bag from Thirty-One, and I absolutely love them all. Normally, you pay shipping and handling and have the order shipped to your house, but she told us retreat gals a few weeks ago that if we wanted to order something and just have her bring it to the retreat, she would offer free shipping. As you all know, one of my favorite words is "free," so it was the perfect time to order.

I'd had my eye on this canvas tote, and I decided it would be perfect for holding my teatime craft supplies, and it is! I've bought canvas bags before that were sort of flimsy and fell apart, but this tote is thick and sturdy, and I plan to use it for many years.

When I was packing up to head home, I just tossed all of my current project supplies inside, and I'm pretty sure that's what I'm going to use this for—the current project only. I also plan to use it to transport teatime supplies when I'm doing a tea party on the road, things like jam and whipping cream, special sugars, teaspoons, sugar tongs, etc. 

It has one large pocket at front, one on each of the short sides, and two on the back (but it's so new that I haven't even filled them yet). But oh, I love me some pockets! (I'm assuming most of you have heard of Thirty-One and already know a consultant. But if you decide you would like to order a tote like this for yourself (it's the "Canvas Storage Caddy") and you don't have a consultant, click here to use mine. I haven't asked her for permission, but she's such a lovely and generous person that I can't imagine she would object to a new customer!)

One day at the retreat, we went shopping, and I found this teapot basket for just $4 at the Lavonia Antique Market. When I got home and was unpacking the cards I'd made, I discovered that this basket is the perfect size for holding lots of completed cards!

The two types of cards I make the most are thank-you cards (pure joy) and sympathy cards (not so much), but I know from experience how much a handmade card can mean to someone who is grieving, and I'm determined to get ahead on sympathy cards so I will always have one ready to pop in the mail. So between my new craft supply tote and my card basket/tote, I'm feeling a little more organized—and grateful for the fun new teatime totes!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Craft retreat at Lake Hartwell

Last night, I got in from a lovely four-day craft retreat on Lake Hartwell with a dozen crafting friends. The group includes a couple of us from Newnan, quite a few from Savannah, and one who flies in from Texas. We always assemble on Sunday morning for a group photo before we start heading home, and here's this year's pic.

Previously, we gathered in Pine Mountain, Georgia, but that crafting cottage was all booked up for the spring, so our group started looking at other venues and decided to give this crafting cottage on Lake Hartwell a try. We loved it and have already made plans to go back in the fall and twice next year!

Rocking chairs and a swing on the front porch, a screened-in deck overlooking the lake, and another swing near the dock leading down to the lake were just a few of the many amenities. I should have taken more photos of the lovely home, but I was too busy chatting and crafting. I think all of us, though, managed to steal a few quiet moments alone. Here's a photo I snapped to send my husband while we were chatting on the phone one evening while I was away.

Downstairs, we each had our own crafting table complete with lighting, outlets, trash can, and a clamp-on water bottle holder. (Forgot to take photos! Sorry!) But what I did remember to photograph when I got home was the primary craft I worked on at the retreat—new cards I made using the Cup of Tea bundle from Stampin' Up. I had ordered the supplies from my demonstrator friend Kathy and asked her to just bring them to the retreat. 

This is a sample of the cards I made, and I had so much fun making them!

This turquoise card featuring some of their pretty new papers was one of my favorites to make.

But they have so many teapot and teacup papers, I'll be making teatime cards for quite a while to come! Naturally, we enjoyed some shopping at the local boutiques and antique shops while we were at the lake, so later this week, I'll share some of the teatime goodies I found, including something unique for the outdoors!

Friday, May 20, 2022

Surprises in the mailbox

A surprise birthday gift came in the mail the other day from Susan B., and isn't the wrapping lovely?

I'll be out of town at a crafting retreat this weekend, and I'll be taking this tag along a) to show off to my friends there and b) to use as inspiration! Interestingly, this pretty tag features a tipping teapot, one of which I took on my last crafting retreat when we all had tea together!

And inside the pretty pink tissue? A cheerful new Wet-it! Swedish Dish Towel. And as I told the thoughtful Susan B. in her thank-you note, this *almost* makes dishwashing fun again!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Calming chamomile

A new herbal tea blend at Ollie's caught my eye the other day, and it was this "Unwind" Passionflower & Camomile tea from Twinings, which, curiously enough, is a spiced apple and vanilla blend. I found the description a bit confusing, but then I read on and discovered that it contains all of those things, so there you go. (The Brits, by the way, can spell it "camomile" all they like, but I'm going with "chamomile" because that missing "h" drives me nuts.)

As always, I prefer that tea bags be individually wrapped, both for freshness and because that makes them portable.

And this tea was a lovely change from the usual chamomile teas I've tried. The tiny bit of spice and the sweetness from the apple and vanilla made this a great treat, like a dessert tea, and I'm happy to have discovered it, especially since it was just $1.99 a box at Ollie's. Are you a fan of chamomile tea?

Monday, May 16, 2022

Some Most Pleasurable Reading: Eden & Vine Magazine

Have you noticed that sometimes, social media nails it on their ad preferences for you, and sometimes, they really, really don't? I actually kind of like it when my various news feeds suggest articles and products I would never be interested in, because that saves me time (in reading) and money (in ordering). So there's that. But when an ad popped into my feed a while back (on Instagram, I believe) for this absolutely gorgeous magazine called Eden & Vine, a magazine "dedicated to the cultivation  of beauty and truth in everyday life," I checked out their website here and liked what I saw, so I ordered the latest copy. Isn't that cover delightful?

I turned the page and found yet another beautiful rose image inside, printed on thick card stock.

Then, when I turned it over, I found it included a favorite psalm, Psalm 91. I wasn't expecting a keepsake, so that was a fun surprise gift.

The photography is simply beautiful, and some of the articles are sweet devotional type pieces, like this one inspired by a mom's afternoon walk with her little boy (the mom in this case happens to be the magazine's founder, and after reading this piece, I already like her).

What I was not expecting, but was delighted to find, were several articles on tea! I once tried ice-steeped tea, but I did not know that it was called Kouridashi tea, so I enjoyed learning more about that process here.

I also found a recipe for matcha popsicles with blueberries and cream, so I'll be picking up some popsicle molds soon to give these a try. The magazine is what I'd call a "luxury magazine" purchase ($21.99 per issue), yet I'm pretty sure I'll be a regular now because the quality and articles aren't like anything I've seen anywhere else. There's even an Eden & Vine "Teahouse" with tea for sale, so I'm convinced I've found some wonderful new kindred spirits here. (No affiliation, just a very happy customer who didn't want to keep this yummy new publication to myself.)

Friday, May 13, 2022

Arizona Green Tea Fruit Snacks

A thoughtful reader alerted me to the existence of these Arizona Green Tea Fruit Snacks a while back, and I finally came across some at Ollie's last weekend.

May I just say that I find the term "fruit snacks" for candy a little odd? I mean, fruit is a snack. I'm talking mandarin oranges (my current favorite), apples, pineapple, mango, peaches, blueberries … you get the idea. These snacks are gummies. I'll eat a gummy once in a very great while, but they're not usually my thing.

These flavors include Original (the original Arizona tea, I guess?), Apple, Mandarin, and Plum. When I studied them up close, I realized that they're in the shapes of oriental fans and Arizona tea cans, which is rather clever. And they taste … like pretty much every other fruit-flavored gummy I've tried, but these do contain green tea extract. And since these were a teatime novelty, I was happy to try them. Are any of you gummy fans?

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A surprising teapot find

A few tea wares have been on my bucket list for a while. One of them is a stacking teapot, but they're a bit on the pricy side when I spot them online, and like a lot of things, I didn't want one that bad. Still, when I was checking out antique stores in Griffin last Wednesday, I went to one called Treasure Seekers, and this flat little teapot, sugar, and creamer caught my eye. Could it possibly be …?

I stacked the creamer and sugar and they fit. I wanted to stack them on top of the teapot, of course, but the lid was taped to the pot, and I didn't want to remove the tape without getting permission from someone in the store. So I walked the set up to the counter and explained to the pleasant woman there that I *thought* this was a stacking teapot, but I'd need to remove the tape to be certain. She said sure, pulled off the tape, and voila, the set stacked up as pretty as you please. "Well, I learned something new today," she said. "I've never even heard of this before." 

I told her not to feel too bad, that probably only tea nerds know what these things are, and that made her smile. The design is called "Pompadour" by Lord Nelson Ware in England, and I was happy to get this set for $25.

Even the teapot lid is pretty! A set just like this one is currently listed on eBay for $139.89, so I'm curious to see if it ends up selling. The price on my set was certainly right, and I considered it a birthday treat from me to me! (But I do not intend to collect these. Unless I should happen across one for 99 cents at a thrift store, one stacking teapot is plenty!)

Monday, May 9, 2022

Some book (and tea) love comes to Senoia

A new bookstore opened in nearby Senoia a few months ago, but I hadn't been able to take time out for a visit. On my birthday last week, I decided that a visit would be a fun way to start my day, so off to Senoia I went!

Although I saw plenty of tempting titles, as I always do in a bookstore, I must confess that I didn't get very far in looking at the books because I was so delighted to come across these Novel Tea Book Tins! (Can you guess which one of these I purchased?)

I think the idea of book-themed tea tins is just so clever!

There's a book and a tea for everyone!

So here's what I came home with. (Did you guess correctly on the tea?)

I'll always love Beatrix Potter—and her influence!

When I got home, I realized that in addition to the packet of tea, the tin also included a bookmark and two bookplates. Cool!

The puerh tea was good too! And now I'm envisioning a whole shelf of "Novel Teas." (Or maybe I could actually buy *a book* the next time I visit Book Love!)

Friday, May 6, 2022

Recipe for a Happy Birthday!

So my birthday was Wednesday (58, for those who wonder, and I'm grateful for each of those years), and the day started on a lovely note with some wonderful gifts from my husband. He apparently went to great lengths in his shopping this year, finding things related to writing and books as well as several goodies pertaining to teatime. The gift that thrilled me most, by far, was this vintage recipe tin with a teakettle on it that he found at an antique mall!

This makes my fourth box of these old recipes that I've gotten in the last year, and I read these things like they're the latest hit novel, trying to piece together the life of the woman who collected them. (This woman was a fan of chocolate and prunes. Go figure.)

He also surprised me with the latest issue of Daphne's Diary, an export that doesn't seem to land here in the US until several weeks after it's published, so the Easter issue was the newest one, and it had so many lovely things inside!

Like these bunny rolls for Easter. How fun!

And a springtime cake. I'd love to learn to make a cake like this.

Then I came across a feature on teas! Really, turning each page was like opening another gift.

Sometimes, the magazine even includes pull-out posters in the back, and this issue did as well. And look what the design is this time!

A teapot with handwriting in the background. Wow! Definitely started my day off in a fun way before I went shopping in nearby Senoia and Griffin for some birthday splurges. Next week, I'll share what I found along the way! (You can probably guess an item or two …)