Monday, January 26, 2015

My favorite grow a blog!

Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage is having a "favorite things" tea party to celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of her Blog tea party--happy blog-iversary Sandi! 

I had a horrible time coming up with a favorite, but I narrowed it down to two(ish).  One was a gift  and the other is a reminder of my dream vacation.
First, an Old Country Roses 25th Anniversary tea trio with my OCR teapot. 

The teapot (with matching creamer and sugar) was a present from my parents on my 30th Birthday.  This is still the only larger sized fancy English bone china set I have. 

But on to the main event of this part of the post:

This 25th Anniversary set with its rose arbor and cottage was a gift from my sister (and mother).  My sister tracked the set down for me.  Definitely the prettiest landscape pattern I have--and I have a bit of an addiction to landscape patterns.

I love to travel, one of the reasons I started this blog was to share pictures and stories (and tea) from my adventures.  If you've visited me before you might recognize this picture:

It first appeared in one of my favorite posts--about my trip to London and tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace (here if you would like to read more about it). 

I didn't buy a set of these while I was over there (I found a set with a unicorn in Scotland and couldn't say no) but I regretted not getting this set so much that in the end I ordered the teacup and saucer.

This set is so detailed and gorgeous!  Lots of color, flowers and gold in interesting designs influenced by the different palaces that are cared for by the Historic Royal Palaces.  Their website describes the pattern as follows:  "This exquisite fine bone china tea set is exclusive to Historic Royal Palaces. The delicate details have been inspired by the gardens at Hampton Court Palace,

  the golden gates at Kensington Palace,

the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London

and the gold border detail on the Reubens ceiling at the Banqueting House."   

As you can see, I visited all those places!  The set is also (appropriately) made in England.

Here is a better look at the front of the saucer:

Now all I need to do is get the luncheon plate!

I'm joining these tea parties this week:

Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea

and...Grow your Blog!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

If Teacups could talk

I received this book (If Teacups Could Talk) from two of my friends a couple of months ago.  Not only was I really excited to receive a new tea book, it was nice to know that they had been thinking of me since they saw the book and thought I would like it.  The subtitle was especially appropriate--"sharing a cup of kindness with treasured friends." 
The book has beautiful pictures, fun quotes, information about tea traditions, interesting stories about tea, as well as suggested ideas for tea parties with menus and recipes. 
 I choose these pages to share on the blog not only for the pretty illustrations, but also for the heading--"Fill me with Tradition."  The ceremony of tea is very old, with different customs all over the world.  It's so interesting to think of where the tea cup you found in a local show may have come from.  Who might have used it?  Where has it traveled?  What stories have they heard?  If only teacups could talk! 
But then, that might make for a disturbing tea party.  I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a new one to add to your tea book collection.

Monday, January 19, 2015

For you, a blue winter tea cart


Winter uses all the blues there are.
One shade of blue for water, one for ice,
Another blue for shadows over snow.
The clear or cloudy sky uses blue twice-
Both different blues. And hills row after row
Are colored blue according to how far.

Excerpt from Blue Winter by Robert Francis

I seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut this month--this week's tea continues my blue tea party theme.  This set by Gracie China I found in Homegoods last year.  I keep telling myself that I will only get vintage or antique sets because I have a pretty nice sized collection now, but Gracie China is so enticingly priced! 

I found the teapot first and I wasn't going to buy it, but I turned a corner and found the creamer and sugar, and then in another aisle the teacup and saucer sat waiting.  There is a pretty gold design in the trim and a gold net-like pattern on the saucer and the tops of the teapot, creamer, and sugar.  There are also pretty little details in the roses and other flowers in the design, including a couple of butterflies.  I thought it looked like an expensive set, even if it had an inexpensive price tag. 

No tea cart tea would be complete without a snack though, so I pulled out an old gold favorite.  I bought a blue iced sugar cookie star while I was at the grocery store today and enjoyed it with a bit of tea.  Delicious!

Also joining us for tea today is one of my Royal Doulton Figurines.  This particular one is called "For You" and includes a little plate on the bottom that can be personalized.  She is a perfect match to this tea set with her white and blue dress with pink accents.

My house has been a bit of a mess lately, but I finally have almost all of my Christmas stuff put away.  Some Valentine's decorations may have snuck out already...I don't know what to do with myself without a holiday to decorate for!

Thanks for stopping by!  I'm joining these tea parties:

Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea

Sunday, January 18, 2015

And...another tea tin!

I have one last Celestial Seasonings tea tin to share--another of the free ones.  This tin was actually the first one that I found.

Sleepytime Lemon Jasmine, decaf green tea.  I really like this Sleepytime blend.  You can really taste the lemon and the jasmine.  I'm usually not a fan of decaf teas, but this one really does taste like green tea.  I think it is a great way to unwind after a long day. 

I actually never tried this tea before, I bought it because I saw the "free collectible tin" sign and wanted to see what it was.  So, I guess it worked as a come on!

This tin also has a quote on the back:

"One kind word can warm three winter months."  Another good winter quote, and it's a good piece of advice.     

Monday, January 12, 2015

First snow

Last week we had the first snow of 2015, which inspired this week's tea party of frosty blue on a blanket of white.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Stood hard as iron,
water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.
~Christina Rossetti
I especially like to walk among the sleeping trees in the half-lit silence of winter dawns. The trail I follow winds and twists, new patches of mixed woodland appearing at every turn. That morning, I reached a point where the path turns sharply left to follow a small ravine. In spring, ephemeral ponds—lively with salamanders, loud with frogs—form in the creases of the forest there. But in frozen winter, I expected nothing beyond silence and wind.

So I did not see them at first, three deer beside three empty larches. When I made them out—gray-dun hides against a gray-dun world—they were motionless, white tails aloft like flags of distress. I stopped in my tracks, thinking how lucky I was to meet the animal my Celtic forebears called the spirit of wildness on that auspicious day."

-   Patricia Monaghan,
Singing with Deer


'I am the Winter Flower'
she said
'the opposite of the Summer Ones.'

'My blooms
peak in deep snow
and I weather
hail, sleet and bitter cold.

My Summer Kin
know the Sun.

I live beneath
White Winter's Glow
blizzard wind
as furies blow.

~Lonnie Hicks, An Icicle Kiss
I was obviously having a lot of fun with quotes this week.  This teacup is Queen Anne.  I found it in a thrift store for $5, which I thought was a pretty good buy!  My house is still full of Christmas decorations that I am in the process of taking down.  I'm always a bit sad after Christmas--the decorations just serve as a reminder that I have to wait a whole year until it is December again.  The cold and snow aren't helping much, but at least they bring home that its now January!   
Thanks for visiting!  I'm joining the following tea parties this week:
Bernideen's Friends Sharing Tea


Sunday, January 11, 2015

More Celestial Seasonings tins--Sleepytime Vanilla

I was at my local grocery store looking for a new relaxing tea to have before going to sleep (especially since it's been so cold this past week) and I came across a couple of the Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime teas with free tins inside!  After finding this tea tin, I looked into it on the celestial seasonings website (see here), and apparently it is just a couple of the sleepytime teas that are a part of this offer.

The tin was on top of the teabags once you open up the bag that the tea was in.

 Here is a closer look at the front of the tin,

and here is the back.

"People don't notice whether its winter or summer when they're happy."  What a nice quote to go with this tin, especially since it has such a tranquil scene of a beautiful spring or summer day and I got it in the middle of winter!

Sleepytime Vanilla is a combination of Sleepytime's chamomile, lemongrass, and spearmint with vanilla.  I could really just taste the chamomile and the vanilla.  I liked this tea, but it is not my favorite of the sleepytime blends (but more on that another day).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tea Pleasures--a new tea magazine

It's freezing out today, so I'm enjoying sitting in front of my fire with a new magazine and a cup of tea (in my new mug of course!).  What makes it even better is that it is a tea magazine!

This magazine was just hanging out in the checkout line of my local grocery store, so I knew it was meant to be! 

Victoria is published by the same company that publishes Tea Time magazine, and I did recognize some of the pictures and recipes from previous Tea Time issues, but there were a couple of party ideas/recipes I hadn't seen before as well as some interesting articles.  Here is a look at the table of contents so you can judge for yourself:
Definitely a great way to end a Saturday.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Celestial Seasonings

I have one last Christmas present that I wanted to share. My aunt visited the Celestial Seasonings factory in Boulder, Colorado.  I've never been, but she told me that they have a large gift shop full of all different sorts of tea stuff (sounds like my kind of place!). Anyway, she brought me back a couple of gifts from her visit:

a mug and a beautiful tea tin!

I am totally enamored with the tea tin:

("A little of what you fancy does you good"...I agree, and I totally fancy this tin!)

Here is a better view of the front of the mug:
 and the back of the mug.

Who wouldn't like beautiful teacups and flowers flying past mountains?  Sign me up!  I really like all the steam rising out of the cup--it really makes you want to have a cup of that flying tea.  The mug is so pretty, I almost don't want to use it.  I have slight problems with breaking things, which is why I usually use mugs even though I have pretty teacups--mugs are much thicker and harder to break when you drop it while washing it in the sink!

In case you were wondering, this tin has the design from Celestial Seasonings chai tea.
India Spice Chai Tea
(picture from celestial seasonings website)

I wasn't able to find a box of it in my local stores before this post, but now I will be on the lookout so I will have at least tried the tea in the flying teacup!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

First Post of 2015

I was playing with taking pictures today with one of my new Christmas gifts trying to make a New Year's vignette.  Below is my favorite of the bunch. 

One of my favorite things about having this blog is coming up with idea for pictures and then having them work out (or at least trying too get them to work out--it is always disappointing when the execution doesn't turn out as I hoped).
Here are a couple of the other ones I took:




I think I've gotten better in the past year, but it is definitely a work in progress.  The teacup in these photos was a Christmas gift from my parents and is Royal Albert's Polka blue vintage.  Now all I need is the luncheon plate :)