Thursday, March 31, 2016

Springtime Bunnies

The birds sing their songs
pairing two by two
and bunnies softly step
through fields of swaying daffodils.

All who come will
witness something wonderful
an Easter awakening
as, from what once had fallen,
comes a new life.

And speaking of wonderful,
the White Rabbit would reply,
this place is Wonderland

And in Wonderland...
“Take some more tea," the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
"I've had nothing yet," Alice replied in an offended tone, "so I can't take more."
"You mean you can't take less," said the Hatter: "it's very easy to take more than nothing."
To which Alice replied
"Nobody asked your opinion"

Then to the hare, reminiscing,
Is it tea for two
or two for tea?
 But won't the White Rabbit
soon join me?
I followed this place
and don't know the way home.
I fear that soon
 I will have to stay
(my new Shelley set, a surprise find after we went for a drive and somewhat got lost, sort of)

Alice finally sat
and took a teacup
one of two with flowers
pink, white, blue, and green,
As the Hare returned with
the White Rabbit
and readied to pour the tea.

(the other set I found on that same trip)

But Alice rests her cup on its side,
still thinking deep thoughts
then asks
"How long is forever"?
To which the White Rabbit answers,
"Sometimes just one second."
Think Alice of the daffodil
Sunny and bright
as the day
until it is night.
Just so the daffodil blooms
until it does not.
What is forever
 to the daffodil?

Then the white rabbit sprang up
with some trepidation
But, alas, I don't have forever,
not even one second.
I'm late! he exclaimed
I'm late!  For a very important date!
Now no time to say
I'm late, I'm late, I'm late.

I'll share the recipe for scones--carrot cake of course since we have a tea of hares and rabbits-- later this week.  I hope you had a wonderful Easter! 
**Note:  This post contains shameless use of quotes from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll for my own purposes mixed in with my own verse.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter! (2016)

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter!

(My new flag for this year--so excited when I found this on Amazon)

(My front daffodils actually in bloom--a rare event)

Spring is definitely in the air and eggs in the trees!

(My parent's house--I don't have a tree in the front for eggs sadly)

"A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act."

~ Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Victorian tearoom fun

Wow, I've gotten a bit off schedule again (granted, it's been a while since I've really had a steady posting schedule).  I should really work on that...that said, here is my next post!  Last weekend I joined a friend at Sweet City Desserts in Vienna, Virginia.  Every month this bakery has a special themed tea.  You might have seen that I went there last month for their Valentine's tea. March's theme was a Victorian tea.

The tea started with a scoop of potato salad:

Next for the tiered tray:

First the savories:

On the bottom plate:  apple chicken salad on a croissant (my favorite of today's sandwiches) and cucumber dill on two different breads.  I thought using both wheat and white bread was a neat look.  the second plate held egg salad and olive tapenade (which I didn't like, but I'm not a big olive fan). 

Next we enjoyed two scones each.  Both were cherry and very good.

Finally, dessert:

 Victorian strawberry sponge cake and three cookies (chocolate coconut, a tea cookie, and a pecan shortbread).  Sadly I couldn't eat any of them because I gave desserts up for Lent.  My family seemed to enjoy the leftovers I brought home, so they must have been good!  I was sad to see the cake especially go into someone else's stomach...but Easter is coming soon. 

One fun thing about this party is that Victorian dress was optional.  My mother and I worked out an outfit from pieces in our closets to create a Victorian-esque outfit.

Here I am posing in my mom's dining room after the tea.

(See I told you I didn't eat the cake!  Here it is on my mother's Lenox china, Morning Blossom)

The pink and white Royal Doulton figurine is Margaret (my mother's name) and the yellow is young Queen Victoria herself.

Monday, March 14, 2016

St. Paddy's Day Tree

Happy early St. Patrick's Day!  

And of course, a bit of mood music

The pictures from today's tea didn't turn out as nice as the vision I had in my head...but oh well!

I brought some "spotted dog" soda bread scones (with Irish butter) over to my parents house for a small tea party, along with some of my shamrock sets--including my two new sets (the one on the left--Royal Crest, and the one in the back--Elizabethan).  All three sets are made in England. 
I make these scones every year for St. Paddy's day, and they always turn out perfectly.  I posted the recipe a couple of years ago here.

I choose to hold the tea in my parent's sun room, where they had left out their Irish tree from Christmas!

 There are some great ornaments on the tree, including a tea cup

Irish angels,

and even a shamrock shaped flag!

St. Paddy is even on the table.

And I'll leave you with a bit of an Irish blessing: 

May your day be touched
by a bit of Irish luck,
brightened by a song in your heart
and warmed by the smiles
of the people you love.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Aquamarine

But what is water without tea?
Cool and aqua blue
I grant you, 
But caffeinated and hot,
sadly not.

(Wouldn't this make for a pretty's 1000 carats!)
The aquamarine for March's gemstone of the month post required some extra thinking on my part as my jewelry box is completely empty of this stone.  Rather than cheating and using a much cheaper topaz, I figured I would go to where I could see huge aquamarines of all types--the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C. (which also happens to be not far from where I work)!

Sadly the Hope Diamond wasn't on display, but there was plenty of the light blue aquamarines to feast my eyes on, both in faceted

and very much uncut form.

I found it interesting just to compare the many different ways the stone develops. 

I also learned some interesting facts while I was reading the displays at the museum.  Aquamarine is the common name for the light blue version of beryl.

All of these stones are beryl, from the emeralds (yes real emeralds!), on the left, past the pinkish morganite, onto the yellow beryl (also called heliodor), to the green beryl in the front middle, with aquamarines on the right and the small display of red beryl (marketed as red emerald) in the front right.  Red beryl is very rare.

The aquamarine gets its name from the Latin, Aqua Marina, which means "Sea Water," due to its pretty blue color, of course.  With that in mind, there is only one set in my collection that would be the perfect match for this gem...

The Cliffs of Dover by Paragon.  The plate has the better view of the beautiful ocean against the white cliffs of Dover:

There'll be bluebirds over
the white cliffs of Dover
Just you wait and see.
~Vera Lynn