Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More Winchester Fun

After having a great time at the Apple tea, my mother and I went to a favorite antique store in Winchester.  I saw some great teacups:

I managed to refrain from buying any, but I did get a couple of cream soups for a good price so I would have about ten or so.  Obviously my new area of interest is serving a soup at my next tea--we'll see what happens!  I actually don't usually buy teacups--they have to be a terrific deal.  My collecting "habit" is three piece sets (tea trios).

When I was walking down from the upstairs room and I also saw this chandelier:

It's teacups and saucers!  This would be adorable in a tearoom.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Apple Harvest Afternoon Tea in Winchester

Today I'm sharing an Apple Harvest Afternoon tea hosted in Winchester, Virginia, which is a perfect theme for the location.  According to Winchester's government website, Winchester is known as the "Apple Capital" because it is one of the largest apple export markets in the U.S., and is the largest in Virginia.  There are even apple sculptures all over town--including this one located near the town square. 

(picture from the internet)
Aunt Becky (my aunt who enjoys tea and holds beautiful tea parties) arranged this afternoon tea at her church--Opequon Presbyterian Church.  I just loved the older church on the site (they built a new sanctuary in 2005), which dates to 1897.
Here is our ticket for this event:

As guests walked in, we were met with different tables all decked out in the apple theme.  Volunteers signed up to sponsor the tables, and provided all of the china, linens, flatware, and decorations.  I took pictures of a few of the tables to share:

(matching white and gold plates with all different teacups!)

(I bet this table smelled nice with the dried apple rings)

(gorgeous centerpiece with green hydrangeas!)

(very pretty teapot fresh flower arrangement, and aren't these apple napkin rings terrific?)
As you can see there were lots of tables, including a few I didn't get a picture of. I think around 60 tickets were sold, although there were a few no shows.  I think there were definitely around 50 people who came.  I wish I had taken a few  pictures to show all the lovely hats people wore, but I was too busy being enthralled by the lovely table settings.
Speaking of hats, they were a major part of the decorations, with hat stands full of lovely hats placed all around the room.

We choose our own table, and my mother (who had gone with me) and I chose the one below:
I didn't get a good close-up, but the napkins were lovely with a bit of crochet around the edges.  Here is a better look at the centerpiece that had apples in the vase with sunflowers and a pretty fall pick.
I choose the setting below:
Every place setting had a menu and an adorable apple shaped favor
with a wonderful surprise...a teabag!
The different foods were served buffet style, starting with the savories.
(starting at the top:  cucumber, cheddar pinwheels, and pineapple morsels)

(Southern ham biscuits and egg salad in the background)

My favorites were the pineapple morsels, which had pineapple, walnuts, and cream cheese on raisin bread, and the cheddar cheese pinwheels.  Delicious!
Next we had apple-cinnamon scones with Devonshire cream and strawberry preserves.
As the perfect end to this wonderful tea, we had four different desserts:
(starting at the top, triple chocolate bites, madeleines, and Russian Tea cakes)
I didn't get a picture of the fruit kabobs on the buffet (unfortunately I was a bit off my photography "game" that day), but I got one of my plate of goodies!  My favorite was the Russian tea cakes.  

But I skipped the tea!  I was so impressed with how much food must have been prepared in order to serve 60-some people, but the tea really blew me away.  There were three different teas served--one for each course!

We started with a lovely Lady Grey, which is always a favorite.  Next a Jasmine green tea made its rounds followed by a tea I should have known would show up--Aunt Becky's favorite Ginger Peach.
I can't imagine serving that much tea!  Aunt Becky later told me she had prepared a tea concentrate for each type of tea that she then diluted with hot water.  Everything tasted perfect so the tea concentrate worked wonders.
My mother and I had a lovely time and the tea was for a great cause as it also raised money for breast cancer research.

(as a quick side note, isn't this hat lovely?  It's made of glass!  Tea guests could place additional donations in this appropriately pink hat).
Thanks so much for visiting!  I know that Aunt Becky reads the blog sometimes, so I just wanted to share what a wonderful job she did and just how lovely everything turned out.  I still can't even imagine doing a tea for that many people--but I saw it happen perfectly! 

This week I'm joining these tea parties:

Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
Bernideen's Tea in the Garden

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Orange Cupcakes

I've been totally obsessed with pumpkin lately.  Completely.  So in that spirit, I'm sharing...orange cupcakes with orange buttercream!  At least oranges and pumpkins are the same color :).

Orange Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoon fresh orange juice (squeezed from same orange)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (8 oz) container sour cream
1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.  Beat in sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.  Stir in orange juice.
2.  Combine all-purpose flour and next 3 ingredients.  Add orange zest whisking to combine.  Gradually add to butter mixture alternating with sour cream, beating until blended.  Place in cups, filing 2/3rds full.
3.  Bake at 350 for 22 to 24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Cool on wire racks.
Orange Buttercream
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
4 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp orange extract
1 1/2 tsp orange juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbls heavy whipping cream
Whip butter until soft.  Add orange extract and orange juice.  Beat in sugar, one cup at a time, until icing consistency.  Add salt to taste.  Add heavy whipping cream, 1/2 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency.  Make sure you have already added the orange juice to the icing and have completely mixed it before adding cream as the last step. 
*Add one drop red and one yellow of liquid food dye if you like the soft orange color in the picture.
I'm sure I will be posting more pumpkins stuff soon, but I thought I would get this in before October officially starts. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Farewell to Summer and fairy tea parties

Late summer, early fall is such a mix of different flowers.  My hydrangeas, which for months have had slightly faded pink blooms, surprised me with a gorgeous new bunch of purple:

(in case you are wondering why purple, I bought two plants with blue flowers that have now changed to pink and green, so while the new flowers are trying to come in blue, the pink is winning out).
I live near wonderful trails through woods (I can't wait for the leaves to start changing color), and a creek.

While I was walking along I saw purple thistle (unfortunately no butterflies were around--I haven't seen many butterflies at all this year),

and false sunflower (also known as oxeye).  So many yellow flowers lined the path along the woods:

I also thought this would be a good time to share my fairy garden now--it has gone a bit wild:

The fairy now has some guests for tea--a monarch butterfly flutters on the verbena above,

while a tiny frog hides under the mini petunias.

The petunias barely bloomed this summer, but all of the sudden they seem to have bounced back! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Tea Cart Welcoming Fall

Happy Fall!  Within the last couple of hours we had the Fall Equinox, which is the official start of the season. 

An Autumn Tea

Leaves in burnt orange, red, and gold
flutter on the wind, whirling
then fall
like tea
cascading down into a cup
To savor and delight
Until the last drop
revealing the cold stark white

What better way to usher in the season than with pretty dishes on a tea cart?

In the background is a bronze colored maple leaf I found at Homegoods on top of a small piece of red jacquard fabric.  I think I went a little crazy with the pumpkins, but I just kept adding more.

First my pumpkin teapot:

 My mother found this small teapot for me at Marshalls a couple of years ago.  I've never actually used it for tea--I use it to store splenda on my counter throughout the fall.  But for today, we'll pretend it's full of a nice pumpkin blend.

On the other side of the tea cart is another find from Homegoods that I picked up a couple of years ago, an amber glass pumpkin:

In this picture you can also see the china I choose for today's tea--Royal Albert's Keepsake.

This is my favorite "autumn" set--the orange colors just look like fall to me!

In the center of the plate I have a new depression glass bowl I found for $4.  I think this is the Federal Patrician pattern in yellow (or amber, I guess, although this is lighter than my other amber pieces). 

I love depression glass, especially when it has fancy designs.   I think green is supposed to be the most common depression glass color, but I always seem to find the yellow designs.  

I'm serving a special soup in my new bowl that also matches the theme:

This is the pumpkin soup in the latest issue of Tea Time. 

I just used canned pumpkin which made the soup easier and it turned out fine.  I really liked it--it definitely tasted like fall to me!  I just garnished it with a bit of nutmeg, but I would probably swirl on top some heavy whipping cream before serving it at a tea to make it look a bit fancier.

Thanks for joining me for this week's autumn welcome tea!

This week I'm joining these tea parties:
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage for her autumn tea party!