Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A new tea shirt …


For years now, I have made it a point of enjoying my 1-1/4-mile walk through the neighborhood between 5 and 6 p.m. each weekday. It's always been a nice way to end my workday and a pleasant time of disconnecting from computer and cellphone. But this year? I'm here to tell you that this lifelong lover of hot weather can't take the heat anymore. I cannot. So now I'm walking early in the mornings before the Georgia humidity ramps up. And this year, I realized I've tossed so many old, worn T-shirts that I genuinely needed some more casual tees. So I was thinking of July 4 when I saw this shirt and ordered it!

This exact T-shirt design is no longer listed on Amazon or I'd share a link, but plenty of similar ones are still available. So if you need a "walking" shirt or a "Fourth of July" shirt, you may want to hurry and check out the tea-shirt offerings!

Monday, June 27, 2022

More Aldi tea-shopping success

Success! Now this is the last time I plan to write about Aldi for a while, but I must tell you that I was absolutely delighted to go back and find these two teas that Susan B. had told me about. I had looked only in the regular tea and coffee section of the store, and she mentioned that she found her new teas in the middle aisles with the specialty foods. I returned and looked there, and voila, there they were!

I got both the Tropical Green Tea, which was light and refreshing, and the Peach Rooibos, which I absolutely adored! I'm a fan of most rooibos teas anyway, but this peach-flavored one tasted exceptionally fresh and had that caramel-like finish that I always enjoy in rooibos teas.

And goodness knows I need to stop buying a new sweet every time I go in there, but … may I just say that these Coconut Spritz shortbread cookies are divine? Alex agrees. A lot of the store-bought shortbread cookies I've tried were dry and hard, but these were light as air and oh so buttery.

And last but not least, if you're a fan of flavored sparkling waters like the La Croix drinks, try this Passion Fruit Sparkling Green Tea from Aldi. I rarely drink soft drinks anymore, but when I crave a little carbonated something, I reach for these low-calorie drinks, and I liked these even better than the La Croix ones!

Friday, June 24, 2022

For Leon Day 2022: A tale of two Christmas plates

You know that tomorrow is Leon Day, right? "Leon" is "Noel" spelled backward, and among those of us who collect vintage Christmas decor all year long, Leon Day is definitely a red-letter day since it marks exactly six months until Christmas. Thinking about this day also reminded me that I'd been meaning to mention two lovely Christmas plates I've found this year that have presented me with a bit of a dilemma. First, there's this T&V Limoges gilt-trimmed holly plate I found at an antique mall early in the year. I'd been wanting one of these ever since I joined the Golden Glow Christmas collectors' group last year and first learned of this beautiful old china (the article I read is featured here). The plate was behind a display case, and I remember thinking I'd give up to $40 for the plate because I was pretty sure it was worth that or maybe even a little more. 

When the clerk pulled it out for me, sure enough, it was the T&V Limoges I'd read about it. It was only $8, so I couldn't scoop it up fast enough, and all the way home, I planned to get on eBay and find some more of these for $8 or so. To my everlasting shock, these plates sell for hundreds of dollars each! I like it, but I don't like it *that* much. One like mine is currently listed at $325 on eBay (or a set of five for $1,300). The only matching teacup and saucer I've ever seen was $250. Ouch. So … I'm keeping my little gold mine of a plate for now, but oddly, I liked it better before I knew it was so valuable. Is that crazy? (I think it's that I'm afraid to use it now.)

And on a similar but much less worrisome note as far as collectibles go, I found yet another lovely single Christmas plate at Goodwill a few weeks back, this time just $1.49.

As soon as I saw this frilly pink trim and color palette, I marveled that I had never seen this pattern before. And as with the T&V plate, I hoped I'd find others on eBay. There's only one that I've found, and it's $34.95 (free shipping). That's a maybe, but only a maybe, because if I can't have three more, I'll probably just stick with the one. I've seen teacups with the same border in a rose pattern but not with the Christmas tree pattern. lists a footed cup and saucer, salad plate, and bread and butter plate in this Châtillon pattern, with no photos, but they have none of the pieces in stock. So here I am, idly wishing for not one but *two* new sets of Christmas dishes to someday materialize. I'm planning to go thrifting with Aunt Jane tomorrow on Leon Day, so wish me luck—and don't forget to start shopping for your vintage Christmas pieces now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

For inquiring minds …


On Monday, when I told of my recent Aldi shopping excursion and mentioned that I had been unable to score the two teas that Susan B. in North Carolina had found, it didn't occur to me that I should have listed the teas that I didn't find here at my local store. And since several of you wondered what the teas were, I got permission from Susan to share her photo here!

These two teas look right up my alley, especially since I love tropical flavors as well as anything Peach Rooibos, so I plan to visit my store again this week in hopes of finding them. If you do as well, good luck!

Monday, June 20, 2022

Aldi's — a source for tea lovers


When tea friend Susan B. emailed last week to say that she'd found some fun new teas at Aldi, I immediately made a mental note to stop by the next time I was near ours, and that was Saturday. What I actually *needed* was carrots and raisins to make the carrot salad that Daddy always likes on Father's Day, but I picked up quite a few treats for myself as well, including the comestibles that made the above teatime snack possible.

I didn't find the teas Susan did, so I will have to make a return trip, but I did find these two (and for just $1.19 each). I haven't had English Breakfast tea in a while, and for some reason, the idea of a nice brisk black tea suddenly appealed to me. When I opened the package, I was happy that the tea bags even *smelled* like fresh tea. I absolutely loved this tea and had two cups, hot, which tells you something, as it's already pretty hot and humid here in Georgia, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this tea. I haven't tried the lemon tea yet, but I expect it to be good as well.

And when I was looking for the tea, I came across these "Cakebites," which were a delightful cinnamony treat. While not quite the quality of homemade, they were nonetheless rather tasty, with very tender cake layers, and these three bites were just enough to feel like I'd had an indulgent little snack that afternoon.

Another indulgence? These Lemon Crème chocolate bars. Since a serving is two bars, I realized that a single tiny bar at a time, slightly smaller than a Kit Kat wafer, would be a nice 105-calorie treat alongside a cup of tea, and the lemon filling was sunny tasting but not too tart.

I am still rather new to Aldi shopping. This was, I believe, only my third or fourth trip to the store, and every single time, I forget that you're supposed to take your own grocery bags. I was about to find one of their dollar bags to hold my groceries, but I saw some pretty totes for just $8.99 that were spacious and comfortable to carry. The rubberized, lightweight metal handles called out "craft supply tote," so this is the one I got instead of the flimsy bag, and it held all of the above items plus my carrots and raisins, some artichoke hearts for Alex, and a bag of mandarin oranges. And I plan to return soon to see if they have the teas I originally went after!

Friday, June 17, 2022

Tea Time magazine - July/August 2022

I'm just now getting around to reading the new Tea Time magazine, and of course I knew I would enjoy it since it's their annual British issue.

But what I did not know was that there would be so much Wedgwood history in this issue, and I absolutely love books and articles about Wedgwood china. Bruce Richardson is the author of a piece titled "Josiah Wedgwood: Britain's Pottery Tycoon." It mentioned a few things I already knew—Jane Austen shopped at Wedgwood; Josiah was the grandfather of Charles Darwin—but it also mentioned something that if I ever knew it, I had forgotten it: Josiah had a wooden leg, having had a leg amputated as a result of childhood smallpox! Richardson quotes William Gladstone, who wrote, "In the wonderful way of providence, that disease was probably the occasion of Wedgwood's subsequent excellence," noting that Wedgwood "was the greatest man who ever, in any age, or in any country … applied himself to the important work of uniting art with industry." I find this fascinating!

But wait! There's more! The next feature, titled "A Tea Set for Friendship and Peace," written by editor Lorna Reeves, tells how Wedgwood was commissioned to make 3,000 tea sets commemorating King George VI and Queen Elizabeth's 1939 visit to the US at the invitation of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, particularly significant as it was the first time a reigning British monarch had ever visited here. Check out this teapot with the King on one side, the Queen on the other, and an American eagle finial on top. Can you imagine finding one of these? (And yes, I've looked on eBay. No luck.) I so enjoyed these two articles on Wedgwood, and if you're not already a Tea Time subscriber, you may want to pick up this issue if you, too, happen to be an Anglophile!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Hyleys Coconut Tea with Dark Chocolate


I was in the mood to try to a new chocolate-flavored tea when I spotted this one on Amazon Saturday morning. I ordered it and that Tea at the Palace cookbook that morning and had them in my hot little hands Saturday night, thanks to the magic of Amazon's same-day delivery. That was a first for me!

Interestingly, this tea is a green tea, not a black, and the coconut flavor was quite pronounced, with the chocolate flavor definitely in second place, and I really enjoyed this tea! Hyleys is a new name in tea to me, though. Are any of you familiar with this vendor? If so, are there any other flavors you recommend?

Monday, June 13, 2022

Some (much-needed) pleasure reading: "Tea at the Palace"

Happy Monday, friends! It's a much happier Monday for me than it has been lately. My husband, Alex, has had heart challenges he's been managing well for years, but he had a scary heart-related episode two weeks ago that landed him (and thus me) in our local hospital, where the doctors did a great job of adjusting his medicines so that we could finally come home. One of the most bizarre things was that he had hiccups for five straight days! That was incredibly frustrating for him, and we finally sent an email asking our prayer warriors at church and our Sunday School class to pray about this. He also got some new medicine shortly after this, and the hiccups stopped the next day. I jokingly (I thought) asked the doctor whether she thought it was the medicine or the prayer, and she pointed both hands upward and said, "Hey, I give all the glory to Him!" So if any of you would feel led to include Alex in your prayers in the days ahead, I would be grateful. He's home now and feeling well, and my greatest prayer is that this will continue. Now as any of you who've "lived" at a hospital for any length of time will recall, it's easy to lose track of the days there. Only when Alex turned the news on from his hospital bed one morning did I realize that it was the week of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, and I nearly missed it. It was so lovely for both of us to just watch the celebration coverage for a bit and get our minds off hiccups and hearts! Not surprisingly, I came home determined to catch up on all things royal, and that's one reason I ended up ordering this lovely new book, Tea at the Palace by Carolyn Robb, who once served as personal chef to the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Because Robb cooked for TRH The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales at many grand palaces and castles, she organized her book into chapters based on the teatime treats that would have been served at each royal residence. I particularly enjoyed the aerial views like this one of Kensington Palace.

The food photography is wonderful, and I loved the floral-themed treats in the chapter on Kew Palace, which is known for its Kew Gardens. These miniature Rose and White Chocolate Cupcakes are definitely the sort of thing I would enjoy serving at teatime.

And now that Georgia is seeing temperatures in the nineties, I am naturally thinking ahead to fall, one of my favorite times of year and definitely my favorite *baking* time of year. These Caramel Apple Turnovers are going on my fall baking list.

While most of these recipes would be suitable for any tea, I was pleased to find this charmingly British recipe for Gingerbread Soldiers with Sentry Boxes. What clever treats! Robb's tidbits about cooking for the royals are quite fun to read as well, and if you, too, like teatime and the royal family, this is definitely a cookbook you'll enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Le Petit Déjeuner … with tea?

I always love coming across new tea-related images on the Library of Congress website, but one that I found this week is a little puzzling. Titled "Le Petit Déjeuner," the print "shows a young woman sitting at a table, reading a letter(?), and having tea or coffee."

Okay. But that sure looks like what I call a Turkish teapot, that metal contraption with a stick-like handle rather than a circular handle. The image is a French etching from 1770-1820, so I sure would have expected to see a traditional china teapot in the photo. (Any readers happen to know about French tea wares of that period? If not, I guess I'm off to do some more research!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Celestial Seasonings Vermont Maple Ginger Tea

When I was at a Whole Foods store not long ago, I came across a new blend of Celestial Seasonings in a maple flavor, one of my favorites, but I don't normally drink what I think of as fall-flavored teas until much later in the year.

This herbal blend sounded too good not to try, though, so it went home with me, and it was delicious! I've only found this one at Whole Foods, but it has a lovely, smooth maple flavor with a touch of ginger, and surprisingly, I like it anytime, including in this warmer weather when I usually drink only black teas and fruity blends.

And while Celestial Seasonings always has great graphics, I thought this one was especially fun. Have any of you tried this blend? I'm sure a fan!


Monday, June 6, 2022

China finds , the Queen's red box, and a bucket list bracelet!

On a recent Saturday of thrifting with Aunt Jane in nearby Carrollton, I came across some fun finds that were just too great to pass up. 

This RS Germany cup and saucer set at Goodwill looked so old and Victorian that it immediately caught my eye. I stood there holding it, examining the back stamp with my readers on and trying to decide whether I really needed this $2.99 set, when I heard, "Angela!"

I turned around and saw my friend Yana, who lives in Newnan and is originally from Ukraine. Yana designs all the beautiful, romantic jewelry she wears (and sells), and I had to take a selfie to share with a friend who knows us both. ("Look who I ran into!") Yana took a look at my teacup and said that yes, I needed that.

But the ReThread thrift store in Carrollton is where I really racked up! I had already decided to start collecting pretty butter pats with roses on them, and this $2.99 piece, Haviland French Limoges, fit the bill. I need about a dozen of these small (2-1/2- to 3-inch) pieces to fill a display case I've got, but I'm not in any hurry to find them and will add them only when I find them at bargain prices like this.

I also picked up this red velvet case just because it was so unique! Can't decide whether it will hold craft supplies or my vintage tea-themed valentines or even jewelry, but it was just $6.99 and reminded me of Queen Elizabeth's famous red boxes.

But the REAL find of the day was this bracelet. Those of you who've read my Junkin' Jewelry mysteries may (I hope!) remember that my main character's cat is named Miriam Haskell in honor of one of her favorite jewelry designers. And while I had a few pieces of Miriam Haskell when I was a teen (I've been into vintage for a longggg time), I currently own not one piece. I love the jewelry, but I am just not willing to shell out the hundreds and even thousands of dollars this costume jewelry currently commands. I took one look at this pretty purple-and-magenta bracelet in the case at ReThread and suspected it might be Haskell. 

When I saw the signature, I had to have it. Just $45? It's probably worth ten times that, so yes, please. I asked to try it on, and then I mentioned that I noticed a few stones missing. I debated for half a second, remembering there are services that will replace rhinestones on old jewelry, and before I could say, "I'll take it," the clerk said, "Since there are stones missing, how about $20?" I was stunned but delighted, so I'm betting this lovely piece will make an appearance in an upcoming book!

Friday, June 3, 2022

Celebrating Queen Elizabeth!

Didn't the Queen look lovely on the balcony at Buckingham Palace yesterday for her Platinum Jubilee? I was so happy to see that smile, and her dress and hat were beautiful. I was so sorry to hear that she wasn't feeling well afterward, so today, I'm sharing photos of my Queen Elizabeth coronation teacup and other memorabilia as I wish her well!

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Seeking advice from floral-design friends!

Recently, I found a pretty blue chintz flowerpot at a thrift store for just $1.99. I love the pattern (I think I used to have a teacup in this same pattern), and I thought this piece would be fun for growing herbs like the mint I enjoy in my summertime tea. But some old floral oasis has practically petrified inside, and I am worried about harming the flower pot if I keep trying to chunk away at it. Soaking it in dish soap didn't do it. Neither did leaving it out in the rain for a few days.

I've never arranged flowers, but I'll bet *somebody* here has done so and knows what to do about stubborn oasis. My Googling has not produced any possibilities I feel safe trying, so if any of you know how to get dried oasis out of a flowerpot, I would be more than grateful if you'd share it!