Monday, October 31, 2016

A Wizarding World Halloween Tea

I'm so glad you can join me for a spell this Halloween!  Some of you may be no-majes (or Muggles as I've heard those without magic are called in the UK), but all are welcome here!  My parlor is all decorated,

and I've looked through my books for the best recipes,

I've set out all my special ingredients,

and found the perfect pot for my pumpkin tea brews,

so I'm ready for some magic in my kitchen!

Maybe a Pumpkin Fizz to begin--an American twist on Pumpkin Juice?

(My friend Lauren brought me these beautiful flowers as a hostess gift!)

I have set out two place settings, so please choose your seat,

so we can get to the feasting!  Each place setting has a menu,

And here are the results of all my mixings:

As always with my parties, first we start with savories!

These cucumber sandwiches, served with cream cheese mixed with ranch and dill, have witches hats of their own and the pimento cheese is served on fresh pumpernickel flying bats. Firewhiskey was a nice touch with marmalade and brie, with  Acromantula eggs ending this course.  Have you read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?  I've heard that text has a whole section on those giant spiders.

Next we have pumpkin cranberry scones, with clotted cream and pear butter.

(the pear butter also had maple flavors!)

And I hope you still have room, because it is time for dessert!

I've heard my pumpkin pasties are as good as those served on the trolley on the Hogwarts Express, but my personal favorite from this party are my chocolate frog cupcakes.

The mini-chocolate frogs are just like those served by Honeydukes in Hogsmead (I would know, I just visited last year!).  The cupcakes are chocolate with milk chocolate ganache filing and white chocolate buttercream.  Very chocolate-y if I do say so myself!

Before you go please take your favor,
 a selection of fall teas,
and I hope you had an enchanting evening here with me!

There are five different owls in this tea party post.  Did you find them all?  I wonder if we use Owl post here in the US?  I guess well find out in a couple of weeks when Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits the theaters!

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Happy Halloween!  I'm posting a new themed party tomorrow (clue in one of the pictures in this post for what the party is), but I wanted to share my Halloween Disney post for this year...because I've done one for the past two years, so I think it is now a thing :). 

My outside decorations are Disney themed, and I was very disappointed I couldn't find new Disney Halloween decorations this year--so I took matters into my own hands and made wreaths. 

They are so easy!  Three wreaths (two smaller ears and one larger for the face), some wire, then pic decorations (small leaves and flowers), and done!  The small wreath above I made for my sister.

For my pole wreath above I used the same three wreaths as for my sister's, but I filled the two smaller ones with small fake pumpkins (I pushed wooden chopsticks through the fake pumpkins to anchor them in the wreaths, cutting off the excess with the wire cutters I already had out) and painted a flat wooden pumpkin I found in Walmart for $3 in orange to cover up what was originally on it (something like "welcome harvest") and then drew a Mickey face using a black Sharpe and instant Mickey face!

  I also decorated the larger face wreath with some flower and leaf picks to give it a bit more color.  I think it turned out very cute!

I also made one for my front door with a large "face" wreath and flat bird nests for the ears.  One Halloween ribbon bow later--I have a Minnie wreath on the door to go with the Mickey wreath on the pole.

I did end up finding one new decoration for this year in the Christmas lights section--a projection light of mouse heads in different colors to go with my inflatable Mickey and Minnie!  You can see them in the background in these nighttime pictures.

 So my Halloween decorations are definitely multi-hued--just like October's gemstone of the month--the Opal!

The orange of these flowers (both real and china) really brings out the milky opalescence of the pretty opal stone, but there is an orange opal as well...

The ring above is chrome diopside (the green stone) and orange fire opals from Mexico!

 You are ice and fire,
The touch of you burns my hands like snow.
You are cold and flame.
You are the crimson of amaryllis,
The silver of moon-touched magnolias.
When I am with you,
My heart is a frozen pond
Gleaming with agitated torches.

Opal, by Amy Lowell

Friday, October 21, 2016

Lavender orange spice tea

Happy Friday (and this totally counts as a timely post for this week--a whole day and twenty minutes still left in the week!). Tonight's small post is really "Waterford part II--the tea inspired pictures!"

So going back to a couple of weekends ago and the Waterford fair, I saw a purple tent with goods from Renaissance Lavender, a lavender farm in Lovettsville, Virginia (located in the same county as Waterford).

Many of the teas looked good, but my interest was spiked by the combination of lavender, oranges, and spice.

The tea was delicious and was surprisingly perfect for fall.  The spice brought to mind many of my favorite autumn teas, with just a hint of dried orange peel, and the after hint of floral lavender.  Simply wonderful!  Then again, I have yet to meet a lavender black tea I don't like.

The tea also reminded me of a lovely tea party that Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage had a couple of years ago in October mixing purples and orange, so...

(I'm not sure what I was thinking when I took this picture cutting off part of the plate...I guess I tried?)

And now to pull in a bit of the Aldie post (also in Loudoun county) with my "highland" bouquet with dried lavender sprigs,

Ah, the days may be sullen and sober,
The nights may be stormy and cold;
But, for him who has eyes to behold,
The violets bloom in October!
~Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832–1911), "An Autumn Violet," c.1866 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Waterford Fair

This past weekend I traveled back to Loudon County, Virginia to the 72nd annual fair in Waterford, Virginia.  Waterford, which was established around 1733, is a National Historic Landmark district. 

As we wondered past the beautiful old homes,

a few, like one below called Old Arce, were open for tours.  The main part of this home was built in the late 1700s, then added onto in the early 1800s in the Federal Style. 

The home was filled with the owner, Brian Whelan's, art, which made for a vibrant tour with the mix of the historic features of the home, including 18th century furniture he and his wife had collected, and the modern brilliantly colored art.  See his website here, if you are interested in checking out the artwork.  This picture was over the fireplace in the dining room and was gorgeous in person!  

But I digress.  Some homes were Victorians,

and other log cabins.

We passed the second street school, which was built in 1867 to serve as a school and church for Waterford's African-American community.

Some houses had beautiful flowers,

which made for a pretty walk for everyone, including some in period clothes!

We also stopped for a bit for some music at the corner store,

before stepping inside

where in addition to all sorts of jams, fruit butters, and baked goods, I was excited to find tea, this time from a West Virginian blender, the Larkin Company.  Waterford is located pretty close to the West Virginia line.

(Pumpkin pie might have traveled home with me)

But the Waterford fair was more than just a historic homes tour and a walk through its lovely historic core--it was also a large craft fair that basically took over the town.

Some wares were for sale in tents,

(A whole selection of lavender teas from Renaissance Lavender farm in nearby Purceville, Va.  One of these might have come home with me too)

others in old outbuildings or barns

(All of these figurine were made from old vintage chocolate molds by Vaillancourt Folk Art)

(I loved these Halloween santas!)

and yet others in this historic mill, dating before 1830.

There were reenactors,

Wagon rides,

antique farm equipment

 and all sorts of food, including a wine and beer garden with Loudon County libations.    I might have partook ;).

The day was just a little cool, and it was definitely looking and feeling like fall!