Friday, July 12, 2024

Tea with Jacqueline


You just never know what's going to pop up on the Library of Congress web site. This image is described as "Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of presidential candidate Senator John F. Kennedy, seated at a table with a tea service, during a tea for women journalists." That woman in the background at left is just thrilled to be there, isn't she?

Fashionistas, what do you call this neckline? Is it a variation of a rounded Peter Pan collar? Whatever the case, I agree with those who say she was our most stylish First Lady ever, and I've always admired the classic, feminine style of her clothing.

The photo was taken by photographer Warren K. Leffler on October 5, 1960, and you can find it here.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

"First for Women" and tea tips

First things first, I've gotten in touch with my friend Deberah and hope to be able to share her tea- and mint-processing techniques with you soon! Meanwhile, I wanted to tell you about some interesting tea news I came across last week. I think I'm still on some mailing list for former magazine editors, and I get some good freebies that way, like a free year of First for Women. Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips, daughter of Beach Boy Brian Wilson (and who doesn't love the Beach Boys?), was on the cover of the new issue.

I always enjoy reading about women who've been successful in losing weight. I've lost a few pounds in recent months and think my 2-1/2 miles of walking a day is surely helping, and I nodded along as I read that Carnie drinks tea at night as part of her healthier eating.

Then elsewhere in the magazine, I came across this tidbit that was most interesting. It suggests drinking iced green tea and says that "once the tea reaches your bladder, it destroys 80 of the troublesome bacterial strains that cause UTIs," according to Italian researchers. I've never had a urinary tract infection (thank you, Lord!), but I know so many who have, so if tea can help prevent that, yippee. If you suffer from these or know someone who does, this may be a tea tip worth passing along!

Monday, July 8, 2024

Deb's Tea & Angela's Cake

Recently, I had just finished enjoying a nice lunch with my friend Deberah when she handed me a lovely surprise of some tea she'd made from her Camellia sinensis plant, along with a bag of mint leaves to enjoy in my teas as well.

As soon as I opened the jar of "Deb's Tea," I knew I was in for a treat. Honestly, the scent reminded me of a fresh bag of Darjeeling tea, and I'm happy to report that the taste reminded me of it too. What an accomplishment for a tea grown in a backyard in Newnan, Georgia!

And the icing on the cake, literally and figuratively, was that I got to enjoy it with a slice of the Italian Cream Cake my friend Angela shared with me at church yesterday. I have not been eating desserts nearly as much over the past few months, but I sure enjoyed this one! What's the best tea and/or dessert you've had lately? I'd love to know!

Friday, July 5, 2024

A Fourth of July hike … and a new tea is christened

My friend Tammy is an experienced hiker, and yesterday, I joined her for a hike at Coleman Lake in Alabama!

I’d seen one of my nieces earlier in the day, and she liked the T-shirt I wore, which seemed appropriate for the day since it says “Spilling the Tea Since 1773.”

The lake was beautiful, and although our hike was hot and humid, I made it! We saw wildlife …

And giant ferns …

And even went by an old, old Baptist church.

Afterward, we went back to Tammy’s house for a fabulous dinner of grilled steaks, baked potatoes, Vidalia onion, corn on the cob, salads, and fruit.

But what I wanted you to hear about was a drink she invented, a combination of Simply Peach and Milo’s sweet tea, a Southern favorite. I told her it was like a peach Arnold Palmer, but she pointed out that Mr. Palmer didn’t have anything to do with it, so we settled on the name McPeachy since her last name is McSwain.

I will be looking for this tasty drink the next time I visit the grocery store. Tammy says it’s a seasonal blend, and I absolutely loved it. I'll bet some of you would enjoy a McPeachy too!

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Have a Happy Fourth of July!

I'm a day early, but I wanted to go ahead and wish you all a Happy Fourth of July! And may God Bless America!

Monday, July 1, 2024

A patriotic tea trolley makeover

It was time to do something new with the tea trolley décor, so for July (and maybe the rest of summer), I've pulled out Old Glory and some blue-and-white tea wares!

The Bicentennial plate was a thrift store find during a trip to Wisconsin to see family a few years ago.

This tea came from my friend Nancy's shop, the Carriage House in Senoia, and I told you about the Tetley tea tin last week.

I have just a few blue-and-white tea wares, but they all seem to play well together.

And it seemed appropriate to include a plate commemorating the Boston Tea Party.

A few more things may get added, but here's what I have so far. On Thursday, Lord willing, I'll be one of 200+ folks from my church who have volunteered to hand out water bottles along the July Fourth parade route downtown, then I'm going hiking and swimming with a friend. How will you be celebrating?

Friday, June 28, 2024

A delightful new teacup card

I'm learning to work smarter, not harder, so when my friend Kathy shared photos of the teacup-themed dies she'd recently ordered, I quickly asked, "Can I use them next time I visit you?" And as expected, she responded with an enthusiastic yes. But what I didn't know was that she would be sending me a beautiful card she'd made with them as well!

Kathy is a perfectionist when making and mailing her cards, so she pays extra for hand-cancellation, but I'm too cheap—uh, thrifty—to do that, so if your card from me gets a little smashed in the mail, well, I tried.

But the other surprise was that she went ahead and sent me some of the die-cut teacups so I can start practicing with this card design! (If you're interested, too, she got these from The Greetery here.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Some Tetley Tea history I never knew …


A few months ago, I was at a local antique mall to spend a gift certificate my husband had given me. I spotted a neat vintage Tetley Tea tin that I thought I might use to decorate with one day, so I came home with it. Well, I've been gathering some red, white, and blue items to decorate with sometime before July 4, and it occurred to me that this could work.

I just love knowing that this tin once contained "100 tea bags." I wish tea came in such tins today. Don't you?

But I clearly didn't pay close attention to all the words on the tin when I bought it, because only this week did I note that "Savannah, GA" was printed on the tin. Excuse me? So I googled some Tetley history, and lo and behold, the Tetley entry on says, "Across the ocean in the United States, Tetley Tea Incorporated was continuing to grow due to the popularity of the tea bag. In 1950 the company opened a plant in Savannah, Georgia …" Who knew? I did not, and from now on, I will do a better job of actually reading *all* the words on the tea tins I purchase!

Monday, June 24, 2024

Are you ready for Leon Day tomorrow?

Did you know that tomorrow is Leon Day? Leon, of course, is "Noel" spelled backward, so we Christmas collectors like to celebrate Leon Day because it marks the halfway point to Christmas. For that reason, when I was at the Goodwill in Fayetteville on Saturday, I was happy to find some goodies I can use to decorate at Christmas. I am planning (and praying!) to make it as joyful as I possibly can, perhaps hosting a few teas for the many friends who have been so kind to me this year. The red-velvet heart-shaped candy box at back (just $1.09) is actually for my Valentine stash, but it occurred to me that a red velvet one might have a use at Christmas, too, so we'll see.

These little porcelain cupcake stands ($3.09 for two) struck me as something it would be nice to have on a tea table.

And these vintage-looking Santa Claus napkin rings ($2.09) don't appear to have ever been used. I think they are adorable!

So I was already in Christmas-planning mode when my friend Patty, another Christmas-decor collector, handed me a gift bag at Sunday school yesterday. She knows I don't always have access to the new Hallmark Christmas catalog, so she brought me the new one along with an ornament in memory of Alex, which I thought was incredibly thoughtful. He'll certainly always be a part of my Christmas celebrations, and I was so touched to realize that others are still thinking about him too.

Have you bought any gifts or decorations for Christmas 2024?

Friday, June 21, 2024

A trick for viewing those old stereographic images …

I've shared quite a few of the Library of Congress's stereographic images over the years, especially after I developed the skill of looking at them properly. (You can Google articles online that tell you the basics, but it's rather like looking out a window at the horizon and ignoring the windows themselves.) But when I discovered this LOC image the other day, published in 1902 and titled "The preparation of tea in Japan. Firing tea," I stared and stared but just couldn't get it to work for me.

Then I had the thought, "What if I pulled the image up on my iPhone instead of my laptop?" And that worked! In fact, it became one of the best, most detailed 3D images I've viewed yet. So I hope that perhaps viewing it on a phone instead of a computer will work for some of you!

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A new way to dispense honey

Isn't this place setting lovely? My friends and I oohed and aahed over the pretty dishes at the Emerald Chandelier last week and especially these gorgeous pink scalloped chargers and rosy dessert plates.

We were quickly served hot tea, and it was so refreshing to get tea that was properly prepared and piping hot! Marie and I had the Snowflake Tea, a coconut and almond tea, and Peach Gingersnap Tea, both quite delicious, while Cynthia opted for a black tea instead.

It's rare that I come across something new on a tea table, but this honey dispenser was so nifty that I asked if I could buy one to take home with me, and I was delighted that the answer was yes! (Both friends did so as well.) The teas I had were both quite tasty without honey, but as soon as I saw this gadget, I wanted to try it. The dispenser sits above a small bowl of hot water, and I could see immediately that this would be a great way to keep the honey pourable. One quick press of the handle and I had a little honey come out the bottom of the dispenser and into my teacup!

When you're done, owner Teresa explained, you empty the hot water from the bowl on bottom and can plug the dispenser to have it ready to go next time.

I thought this was such a brilliant and easy way to serve the honey, and I'm looking forward to using my dispenser with many cups of tea!

Monday, June 17, 2024

The Emerald Chandelier tearoom in Griffin, Georgia

When my friend Marie (seated) called a few weeks ago to say that she and another friend, Cynthia, wondered if I would like to join them in visiting the Emerald Chandelier tearoom in Griffin, I said yes! It was a beautiful day, and perhaps not surprisingly, this was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I've had in months.

As soon as the tea tray came out, I quickly remembered why I have always enjoyed going to tea.

Our tea started with this Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup. Knowing I would be having afternoon tea at 4 p.m., I had skipped lunch. Considering all the food we got, I should have skipped breakfast too! I was quite hungry by the time we arrived, and this soup was fabulous with its thick, creamy texture but not so much of it that it prevented me from enjoying the rest of the meal.

Here you can see the Salmon Pizza on Pumpernickel, Cucumber Canapés with Lemon-Basil Butter, and at back, the Peach Soup.

Here are the Empanadas and Ham & Apricot Pinwheels. 

And these are the Pimento Cheese Gougeres. The sandwiches were plentiful and tasty. And I couldn't help thinking of that old adage about how "we eat with our eyes first," because my eyes were definitely impressed by the presentation here. I enjoyed all of the sandwiches, but the salmon and the cucumber, as always, were my favorites, although that flaky gougere oozing cheese was a close runner-up.

By the time we got to the sweets, I was quite full, but I did manage at least a bite of everything, from the House Scones to the Blueberry Pearl French Macarons, butterfly-shaped White-Chocolate Lemon Linzer Cookies, and Petit Fours. The macaron was my favorite, as I am quite the fan of these little confections.

I was so busy chatting with my friends that I forgot to get a picture of the exterior of this adorable tearoom, but fortunately, I later realized it was pictured on this banner in the entryway.

We were impressed by the food, the service, and the pretty dishes, and the rooms were so lovely that we had to wander around and check them out.

This emerald-colored wallpaper was charming. The menu at this lovely tearoom changes every two months, so now I'm thinking perhaps that's a sign of how often I need to go.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the teas we had as well as a new-to-me teatime gadget that I used that day, a contraption I'd not come across before!

Friday, June 14, 2024

Finally trying my "Battle Buddy" tea

Life has, of course, been very different over the past two months as I’ve been adjusting to life without Alex here. The other day, I discovered some tea that I hadn’t tried yet, a tea that I clearly remember buying on our visit to see family in late March. The name “Battle Buddy” struck me as meaningful, because Alex was my husband but also my “Battle Buddy” in life. We had the same slightly warped sense of humor and lots of the same thoughts about things in the news, and I can’t tell you how many times over the past two months I’ve thought, “I need to remember to tell Alex that such and such happened” and then remembered that oops, I’ll have to wait and tell him in Heaven, assuming I still care about the tidbit once I get there. So this tea had seemed a little “precious” to me because it was the last one I bought on a trip with him. This week, though, I looked at it and thought, “Just drink the tea!” I know he would tell me it was stupid to save this tea just because it was the last one I bought when he was still here on earth. And so I tried the tea.

This is the second tea I got that day from Skirted Soldier, a female-veteran-owned company, and I had already forgotten that their teas appear to be hand-packaged in this nice drawstring tea bag. It had a lovely vanilla scent, and I had a feeling the flavor would match.

I’m happy to report that the taste was as yummy as the scent! It was a rich black tea with lots of vanilla and a hint of the spearmint, orange peel, and bergamot flavors, so it was quite a complex blend and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m glad I went ahead and tried it, and I think my "Battle Buddy" would be too. (I'm also grateful I have so many good tea memories with him. They're a blessing to have!)