Monday, October 31, 2022

Some new teatime stamps I just love!

Months ago, my thoughtful friend Heather notified me of a half-off sale on a stamp-and-die set she thought I might like, this Rose Tea set from Altenew. She was right and the price was right, so I ordered it right away, but it's been such a busy summer and fall that I've pretty much made only the cards I've absolutely needed for specific occasions. Yesterday, however, I decided it was time to make a frivolous just-for-fun card, so I finally opened this set and got to work.

I love having all these choices of sentiments, teacups, and the rose and leaves.

And it was only once I was coloring it that I realized this is the only tea-themed stamp I've ever seen that features a *pyramid* tea bag. How very modern, and those Tea Forté folks in particular should love it. If you're interested, this stamp-and-die set is here (but not at the price I found, alas).

And when I was tidying up, I came across another tea card I made with the Cup of Tea bundle from Stampin' Up last month. This is the card I made nine of as invitations for niece Madison's recent bridesmaids tea. I handmade the cards and printed the insert with the time and date info to go inside. I made an extra one for Madison after I got the others in the mail just under the wire, and I haven't even given it to her yet! If you're interested in this stamp-and-die set, it's here. (And if you need a demonstrator, let me know and I'll hook you up with my friend Kathy, the crafting queen.)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Brisk Iced Tea … from Dollar Tree!

Whenever I post about my dollar-store discoveries of tea, I picture some of you sitting there in your fancy ladies' parlor, wrapped in a velvet tea gown, nibbling at cucumber sandwiches, bone china teacup in hand, and murmuring to the servants, "Good heavens, Jeeves! Is she doing one of those low-rent tea reviews AGAIN?" And the answer is yes. Yes, I am. Today, it's my Dollar Tree discovery of these flavored teas from Brisk Iced Tea. 

First up was the Pineapple Passionfruit flavor. I love all things pineapple, and I was happy to see that this tea, while it did contain "instant tea" (alas) also contained "green tea," so that was a plus. I liked the flavor, but I liked it in the sense that I like a Capri Sun juice drink if I'm at some kids' event and it's the only cold beverage at hand, if you know what I mean. Pleasant-tasting enough, but not quite enough "tea" flavor to make me buy it again. The Strawberry Melon flavor? Well, I haven't technically had Kool-Aid in years, but it reminds me of the Kool-Aid I had as a child. So there you go. We try these "economical" teas so that you don't have to!

One thing I do recommend: the cute new Tervis tumbler that I found at Publix recently! We love Tervises at my house, and I'd not seen a floral one before. (But I'll be using it for some different teas once these fruity drinks are gone!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

A birthday visit … and a little thrifting on the side!

Last Tuesday, Alex and I flew to Wisconsin and arrived late that night, so we were there Wednesday morning to surprise grandson Michael, who turned twelve that day! It was so fun seeing him and his brother, Andrew, since our Badger Boys are growing up so quickly. Here we are with the boys, and we love visiting in the fall since the leaves there are so stunning, with rich golds and some orange colors that we never see down South.

We like to give birthday gifts that remind Michael of his Georgia roots, and it doesn't hurt that the Georgia Bulldogs are currently ranked number one!

We enjoyed a fish fry with family, several afternoon walks through my stepdaughter's lovely neighborhood, and even a trip to a coffee and tea shop/bookstore in Green Bay (where I ordered tea, of course). We also enjoyed lunch one day at a stir-fry restaurant called HuHot that we like but don't have back in Georgia. And whenever we were out and about, Alex asked if I wanted to hit some thrift stores. I found a few things so lovely that I had to carefully pack clothes around them in my suitcase so I could get them back to Georgia—especially this "Daily Bread" plate I found at De Pere Christian Outreach, a thrift store where my stepdaughter's in-laws volunteer. I think this handled plate is one of the prettiest "Daily Bread" plates I've ever seen, and at $4, it wasn't about to be left behind.

Are any of you Fenton glassware collectors? My parents were actually Fenton dealers years ago, so we love us some Fenton in my family. But I did not have this ruffled rose vase. Again, $4. And despite the TSA folks who always seem determined to rattle my suitcase or purse (or me), I had this vase wrapped in a thick sweater, and it made it safely home on the plane. Isn't it gorgeous?

I also like the St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores I discovered in Wisconsin years ago, and this $1.69 Christmas dessert plate matches a teacup and saucer I bought at an antique store a year or two ago.

St. Vinny's also had these 95-cent McCall's recipe booklets (from 1965), which include some Christmas and Valentine's Day recipes that I will try to recreate someday, so these were fun finds as well. I always enjoy our trips to Wisconsin, but I sure wish I could move this lovely state (and especially some of those who live there) a little closer to me!

Monday, October 24, 2022

Fa la la la la … and fabric!

We were in Green Bay, Wisconsin, visiting family last week, and on Saturday, we stopped by their local Walmart for a few things. I like to check out all the Christmas needlework magazines, and this cute Hometown Christmas quilt caught my eye on the cover of the November/December 2022 issue of Love of Quilting.

Then I flipped over a few pages and saw this photo of a Tea Time table topper and knew I had to have this issue.

Later, once I started actually reading the magazine, I found a Coffee Time scrap quilt that I think would be lovely made with teatime fabrics as well.

And while this charming Tea Party quilt pattern wasn't featured in the magazine, I enjoyed reading about quilter Wendy Williams and her whimsical designs.

Now I rarely check the fabric aisle at Walmart, but I saw that the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, now has a line of fabrics matching her pretty floral wares, and that display caught my eye (I'm still thinking about checking my local Walmart for some of these fabrics). Then I noticed they had a box of miscellaneous fat quarters nearby, and these Christmas ones caught my eye!

So if you're a crafter/quilter/needleworker of any sort, this magazine and/or this fabric may be something you want to look for before it gets snapped up this Christmas!

Friday, October 21, 2022

Delayed gratification … it's a good thing!

Many months ago, I was browsing at Hobby Lobby one day when I noticed that Sizzix had some new Tea Time dies featuring a teacup filled with flowers. Now ever since Hobby Lobby stopped offering a 40-percent-off coupon every week, if a product isn't on sale, it will usually be discounted the very next week, so I've gotten good at waiting for a desired item to be on sale, especially a fairly pricy set like this one, which was $22.99. This time, I apparently let so much time pass that these dies were even more on sale—75 percent off!

These were fun to use, but oh my, it's a lot of work for one little old card. Each of these pieces has to be die cut and punched out and affixed to the card. I made this pink one first.

Then I went for more of a fall palette with this teal-colored card, which was my favorite. I am a slow card maker, so each of these took me about an hour to make. Still, if you're into paper crafts and like this idea, you may want to check the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby before these Sizzix Tea Time dies are all gone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Yes, I've tried a cigar!

It's always fun when a new tea vendor reaches out, so I was most pleased when a package from Sri Lanka landed in my mailbox the other day!

Kaley Tea says that they "grow tea organically and regeneratively, amid a variety of spices and fruits. We handpick the finest tea leaves from this single garden and handcraft tea, as folklore has it, with the healing palms of our artisans." I received several nice samples, and the two I chose to try first were  the Green Tea Cigar and the Orange Sunshine Tea.

First, this Orange Sunshine Tea was a nice brisk black tea. I steeped it for three minutes and found it a little too brisk (but I do not like my tea as strong as some do). The tea can be resteeped, and when I steeped it for another two minutes, I liked it even more.

But what I was really eager to try was this Green Tea Cigar, which was definitely a new type of tea for me! It's rolled into a tiny little bundle, and you steep the whole thing.

Of course, I wasn't thinking and steeped it in my teacup instead of another vessel, so I had to strain the tea into another cup and pour it back in (because I wanted to use this newly thrifted teacup!).

I really liked the fresh, rich, slightly vegetal taste of this green tea. I don't recall having a green tea that resulted in such a golden brew before. It had only the merest hint of any astringency, and I quickly resteeped this tea and enjoyed several cups of it. The "cigar" is certainly a novel way to present tea, and I'm grateful to Kaley Tea for sharing these samples. Go here to learn more!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Santa mugs on a tea towel!

A blog reader in Toronto, Elaine, recently sent me an alert about a product she thought I might be interested in, and she was certainly right! It was this tea towel featuring vintage Santa mugs, designed by a Louise Pretzel (love her name) for Anthropologie!

I couldn't order this tea towel fast enough (and wish I'd had it to mention in The Vintage Christmas Cookbook). When it arrived, I noted it even had some metallic gold highlights, which is perfect for Christmas. In just a few more weeks, I'll have this out alongside my Santa mugs, from which I'll be sipping peppermint tea all season long.

When I visited the Anthropologie website, I found a few more items by this designer that I needed (or "needed") as well. Including wrapping paper—which I'll probably hoard like a priceless craft supply and use just bits of a time—and a stamp set.

And would you check out this lovely stamp set—with eleven Mr. and Mrs. Santa mug stamps, no less! I thought $24 for eleven stamps and two full-size ink pads was actually a great buy.

I can't decide which stamp I like best. This winking Mrs. Santa is awfully cute, isn't she?

But this guy looks like many of the vintage Santa mugs in my collection. I'd never heard of graphic designer Louise Pretzel before, but boy, has she made me happy. (Thanks again to Elaine for the heads-up!)

Friday, October 14, 2022

The new issue of Tea Time and some fascinating political history!

Okay. Please turn to pages 87 and 88 in the November/December 2022 issue of Tea Time. Did you know about this bit of political history involving tea? I did not!

What? You don't subscribe? Or your issue hasn't arrived yet? Okay, well, here's the deal: There's an article titled "How Tea Swayed Voters in 1952," and it's all about how John F. Kennedy's Senate campaign had a grassroots effort to hold tea parties that would be attended by Kennedy or his family members. Katherine Ellis writes, "Elegant invitations were sent to women who 'made the list,' but if a woman who wished to attend wasn't initially invited, she could contact the Kennedy campaign office and be added to said list. The teas were held in private homes and hotels, often on Sundays, and women would dress to the nines to drink tea poured from silver urns and savor delicate finger foods with the opportunity to be graced with the presence of the illustrious family."

The article says the first Kennedy Tea was held at the Bancroft Hotel in Worcester, Massachusetts, and nearly 5,000 people showed up—4,000 more than they'd planned for—and all got to shake hands with a member of the Kennedy family. Some 33 of these teas were held.

And of course Kennedy would go on to win that Senate seat and later the presidency. I am just flabbergasted that I have never heard of these Kennedy Teas before. Have any of you? Do you know anyone who attended a Kennedy Tea? I am thoroughly fascinated by this bit of history!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

'Tis the season …

One of the fun things about shopping for the holidays all year round is that I always have something new to play with when the actual holidays arrive. I recently found a few more 99-cent Santa mugs at Goodwill. These aren't vintage, but I thought they were cute and will blend well with my collection.

Did I say collection? Well, I've started a new one. I decided these amber-colored glass sherbet dishes sure would be fun to use at Thanksgiving. It's not my year to host (it's my sister's), but if I start now, I'll bet I can gather the 18 or so of these I'll need to serve something yummy in at Thanksgiving next year. I've started finding them for about a dollar, and that's about the max I'll pay. I want this to be a totally thrifted collection!

And here's another one.

While I had Thanksgiving on the brain, I bought a cute new Nordic Ware pan at Goodwill for just $1.49. 

I'm planning to use it to make "festive" shaped cornbread, as I don't really have the time to learn to decorate a pumpkin cake! Have you started any new collections, thrifted or otherwise?

Monday, October 10, 2022

A wedding celebration in the country

So back in March, my niece Cari eloped (!), and after we all got over the shock of that, we knew we wanted to have some sort of celebration in honor of her wedding. My sister, Rhonda, offered to host a reception for family and friends in the fall, and we couldn’t have had better weather for it than we had on Saturday! Here are Cari and Blake in the gazebo in front of my dad’s house (my sister lives next door to him).

Rhonda, who is an excellent cook, made the cake herself, and niece Madison ordered a personalized topper from Etsy, which I thought was perfect for this country-themed affair!

Rhonda also had a food tent erected, and since her family is very proud of their Texas roots (her in-laws are from Texas), we had a spread of make-your-own tacos and nachos and enchiladas and …

Sweet tea! I drank many cups of it that evening.

There were lots of photos, including Cari and her siblings …

And Cari and Blake with her siblings and their significant others!

The golden light filtering through the trees cast a magical glow on the whole celebration.

The pretty fall flowers my sister had gathered seemed perfect for this brief but gorgeous little window of just-right weather that we seem to have here in Georgia at this time of year.

And I do believe my country-loving niece and her husband (not to mention the guests) thoroughly enjoyed themselves!