Friday, May 31, 2024

Simpson & Vail's Literary Teas — Emily Dickinson Jasmine Tea Blend

While I've enjoyed some Simpson & Vail teas a few times before, I'd never had the chance to try anything from their Literary Tea Line, blends named in honor of famous writers like Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Beatrix Potter, and the poet Emily Dickinson. So I was especially pleased to get to try the Emily Dickinson blend that recently arrived as a gift from Susan B.!

This jasmine tea blend contains jasmine tea, rose petals, jasmine blossoms, marigold petals, and blue cornflower petals, a lush-looking combination that made me eager to try it, especially since I love jasmine-flavored teas!

And to my delight, this one had the jasmine taste I love along with a slightly sweet finish that made this feel like a rich treat. It's truly a lovely combination of flavors, and if you're interested in these teas yourself, you can learn more here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Receiving a surprise birthday gift in the mail!

Tea friend Susan B. in North Carolina recently surprised me with a birthday gift, and I’m so honored. I loved absolutely everything she sent!

First, I’ve been wanting a pretty new kitchen towel for a while now but haven’t spotted anything cute, so this one is just perfect and is now hanging in my kitchen!

I use tea bag rests to hold my single-cup tea infuser baskets, and this rosy one is a stunner!

Finally, I’d heard of these Literary Teas from Simpson & Vail for years but had never tried one. This Emily Dickinson Jasmine Tea is a blend that I’ll be reviewing here on Friday, so stay tuned …

Monday, May 27, 2024

Friday, May 24, 2024

Recommended Reading: Summer 2024 Flea Market Décor

If you read Monday's blog post, you may recall that I was starting to research old chalkware figurines. Well, on Wednesday, I popped into Barnes & Noble in search of the new issue of Flea Market Décor, and guess what? It has an article on …

Chalkware! It answered lots of my questions, and the article by Karen Wilhelmsen notes that, "Chalkware was first created in the late 1800s as more affordable art that mimicked the look of high-end porcelain pieces."

There was also a fun article on some Lefton collectibles that I'd never seen before.

I've had lots of vintage tea bag rests over the years, but I've certainly never set eyes on this one, and I wouldn't have known it was by Lefton.

There is lots of eye candy in this issue, including a charming cottage photo with a display-style magazine rack in the room! I could use one of those.

I also enjoyed this vignette with capodimonte, which my mother collected, and these lovely old teacups as well. This was quite a fun issue of the magazine, so if you're looking for some holiday weekend reading, you may want to check it out!

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A fun find in coasters

Now that warm weather is here, I’ve been drinking a lot more ice water, iced tea, and iced fruity drinks. And when I discovered that my coasters weren’t performing well anymore, it was time to look for new ones, and look what I found!

The funny thing was that it never occurred to me to look for tea-themed coasters. I simply wanted some ceramic ones, not thin paperboard coasters, so I began searching Amazon for ceramic floral coasters, and these are the ones that popped up!

The designs are lovely, they're cork-backed so they won't scratch table surfaces, and I’m already enjoying using them. They were just $9.99 here for the set of six, so I wanted to share the link in case some of you are interested in getting new coasters as well.

Monday, May 20, 2024

A funny thing happened on the way home from the history program …

The other night, I attended a local history program at the University of West Georgia’s Newnan campus. The topic was early education here in Coweta County, and I was intrigued to learn more about the College Temple female academy that once existed in Newnan, as I lived nearby on College Street when I was a young reporter just beginning my career in journalism. My friend Dorothy, whom I first met years ago through the historical society, had brought along a bag of goodies she’d been meaning to give me, and I was delighted to receive this chalk ware piece featuring two ladies at teatime.

Dorothy said she's at the stage of life where she’s trying to get rid of things (I need to be doing that, too, I suppose), and I believe she said she found it at one of our Atlanta-area antique markets. She joked about a little dust that came with it, but I’m a bit nervous about cleaning an old figurine like this, so before I apply any soap and water, I’m researching chalk ware to make sure I don’t do any damage. I especially love the ladies’ bonnets.

And of course it was fun to see the tea wares on the table as well.

Also in the bag? Two new-to-me teapot ornaments that Dorothy wanted to pass along. So I learned that one of the advantages of living in a small town is that you never know when you’ll show up for a history program and leave with a gift!

Friday, May 17, 2024

Some delightful new crafting supplies

When I was at my friend Kathy’s last week, she gave me a birthday gift that included some delightful crafting goodies, which is so appropriate since crafting is one of the many areas in which we have bonded over the years. I haven’t even had a chance to play with them yet, but I have some new stamps with roses on them, and I know they will produce some beautiful designs.

There was also a devotional coloring book that will be great to color in as I watch/listen to the news (and who doesn't need a pleasant activity to distract them while watching today’s news programs?).

And I was pleased to see that the page on my May 4 birthday is a verse telling us not to worry. God has helped me be less of a worrier over the past few years, and I believe that’s a lesson a lot of us women need help with. (If you do, too, along with reading your Bible, the best source of help I know, I recommend the book Anxious for Nothing by Max Lucado.)

And the gift I couldn’t wait to share with you was something I’ve never seen before, these tiny little wooden teapots to use in crafting! Each one measures 2 inches wide and 1-1/4 inches tall. Kathy said I could embellish them with designer paper, and that was one of my thoughts, too, but I’m also thinking each one could become a pendant or a pin. I know you tea lovers will probably have some ideas as well, so what would you suggest?

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

A beautiful new tea cozy from a thoughtful friend

Friends near and far have been so kind to me over the past month, and one of the many lovely kindnesses came in the form of a new drop-in “Snuggie” tea cozy made by my friend Bernideen. Isn’t this gorgeous?

And here's the back. As I was auditioning teapots to get the honor of going inside this tea cozy, I naturally gravitated toward many of them with pink designs.

But then my new-ish Blue Willow teapot, which was sitting nearby, caught my eye, and I realized the blues in the fabric pattern pair beautifully with the blue in the teapot’s design.

This tea cozy features elegant vintage embroidery and vintage crochet, which I just love. I treasure this piece, and I especially treasure Bernideen's friendship and so appreciate her kindness to me. (And if you’re in the market for a new tea cozy, go here to visit her Etsy shop and prepare to be impressed!)

Monday, May 13, 2024

Enjoying tea and chicken salad (and family!) in Savannah

While I was in Statesboro last week, I got in touch with Alex's cousin Berta, who lives in Savannah, and it turned out that she was available for lunch the next day!

So the next morning, I headed over to Savannah and met her for lunch at the Starland Café. It was one of her suggested locations with nearby parking available (a big consideration in Savannah), and when I saw that they had Iced Earl Grey Tea on the menu, I knew that's where I wanted to go for lunch.

Berta ordered a panini that she said was very good, and I ordered the Red Grape Chicken Salad that came with grilled ciabatta bread, and it was great. The tea was every bit as delicious as I'd expected it to be, and the chunky chicken salad was so filling that I took over half of it home and had it for dinner that night. (I've also learned that bread reheated in a toaster oven is a lovely thing.)

Since this was a quick visit, I was glad I spotted some Spanish moss in the trees near the café. It just isn't a trip to Savannah if you don't see some Spanish moss!

An hour before our lunch, I stopped by the City Market for a little shopping, and I had forgotten what a great "gallery town" Savannah is. I have an idea for a cozy mystery series set in Savannah (after I finish the two cozy series currently underway), but it doesn't hurt to go ahead and do a little research when you're in town. So the Stephen Kasun Fine Art Gallery was right up my alley!

And look: more Spanish moss in one of the gorgeous paintings! I'm already looking forward to my next visit to Statesboro and Savannah and plotting what I want to visit when I do. Have you visited either place?

Friday, May 10, 2024

Lunch at the Historic Beaver House Restaurant in Statesboro, GA

Before I even arrived in Statesboro, my friend Kathy had already said she wanted to treat me to a special birthday lunch, and I was delighted when we pulled up to the Historic Beaver House Restaurant in downtown Statesboro. It was so charming!

The food is served family-style, and it was all quite tasty.

The crispy fried chicken was my favorite, but there wasn't anything on that table that wasn't just delicious, including the properly sweetened iced tea!

I also enjoyed checking out the decor, like this large ceramic teapot.

And Kathy was first to spot the pretty tea towels on display.

It was definitely a ladies-who-lunch kind of place, which I of course loved.

So if you're ever in Statesboro, do yourself a favor and enjoy lunch at the Beaver House Restaurant!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Twinings Brew Over Ice Peach Iced Tea K-Cup Pods

There are friends who say "Come visit anytime," and there are friends who say "Come visit anytime" and really mean it, and my friends Kathy and John fall into that second category. So I am spending a few days at their home in Statesboro, a Georgia town located about an hour from Savannah, and when I ran by Publix for a few things I needed yesterday, I was passing by the tea aisle when I spotted these Twinings pods that I knew I could use in their Keurig since I don't have one in my own kitchen.

Peach tea is my go-to flavor when there's a new tea to try. I've had so many peach-flavored teas that I can tell pretty quickly how one is going to rank. This one appealed to me because it's designed to be made hot but then poured over iced tea.

So yes, the ice melts quickly, but the resulting tea (which smelled delicious when brewing) had a rich, full flavor. My only quibble was that it seemed to want a little sweetness, so I popped a packet of Stevia in the glass, and then it was just right. Now, I know tea purists like to use only fresh tea leaves (me, too, usually), but for a quick glass of iced tea, I really like the convenience of these pods. Have any of you tried these or any of the other Twinings flavors?

Monday, May 6, 2024

A cup full of mercy

My friend Beth Y. sent me the loveliest note and gift last week, and I was so very touched. She said she'd had me on her mind and in her prayers, and she happened to be visiting her son in Birmingham, Alabama, when she went to an art show in nearby Hoover and saw these pieces by a friend. This one made her think of me!

Specifically, the line about God's mercies being new every morning struck her as something appropriate to share with me, and I so agree. That's a message that is always spot-on, isn't it?

The detail on this piece was so fun to check out, like the "beads" that make the tea and the piece of glass that forms the lemon.

And it's signed too! And now this thoughtful gift is hanging on a cabinet in the dining room where I can, indeed, ponder this hopeful message every morning.

Friday, May 3, 2024

"The Garden Maker's Book of Wonder"

My friend Deberah dropped off an early birthday gift for me the other day, and I was hooked the moment I saw the beautiful cover of The Garden Maker's Book of Wonder by Allison Vallin Kostovick, offering "162 Recipes, Crafts, Tips, Techniques, and Plants to Inspire You in Every Season."

This book is so charming, and I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to come across quite a few tea tidbits, like this one on how to brew a perfect cup of chamomile tea.

Or this one on making sage tea. And these aren't the only tea references in the book. If, like me, you hanker to do a little more in the garden this spring, this is definitely a book I would recommend!