Don't you just love this beautiful teacup from my Pinterest collection? What I like about it is the squareness of both the cup and saucer. Couldn't you just imagine drinking a nice cup of tea out of this, and washing down a freshly baked scone or tart? (Say yes!!!)
Well, I missed a week. Then I thought I had written the blog post and would just post it this week. Hello, I got the pictures ready, but forgot to write the post. Oy. (My excuse: I've been writing up a storm!)
Last time out, I invited readers to submit pictures of their own china cabinets. Two readers took me up on the challenge. First up, is Diane L. from Manchester, CT submitted two pictures. Here's her curio cabinet.
and here's a view of her dining room. Just lovely, Diane!
Suzann F. from Bethlehem, PA is a collector after my own heart. She has a lot of really neat collectibles she keeps in a number of cabinets and shelves.
Look at the detail on that drawer! Beautiful.
Don't you just love those turkey plates? I have a turkey platter with a similar design.
Pretty, pretty, pretty!
Thanks Diane and Suzann for sharing your lovely cups and plates with us.
Usually in my part of the woods, we see yard sales happening in early April, but this year after THE LONG WINTER, there were very few yard sales in April. In fact, I didn't see ANY. But last weekend it was almost warm (in the mid-50s) and not raining. (YAY!)
So, I was terribly pleased that at the first yard sale I stopped at I found a wonderful bone china teacup with ROSES. Yellow and pink. My FAVORITES.
The question for me is ... will I keep this little beauty, or will it end up as a giveaway sometime in the future here on this blog? I don't know. I really don't have room for many (any?) more cups. I have to decide if I really love it or now. That will take a few weeks of living with it to know for sure.
Oops! Missed a week. There's lots going on while I gear up for a BIG new project, finish up Booktown #9, and start a brand new series, while working on other shorter projects. Whew! I'm pooped! But never too pooped for teatime!
On of my favorite albums is called EVERY SONG TELLS A STORY by Randy Bachman (he of Guess Who and Bachman, Turner, Overdrive fame). He performs all his hits, but tells a story about how the song came to be written. I love it. I never tire of hearing the stories. Likewise, all my teacups have a story.
Isn't this ivy cup a beauty? I'm very fond of ivy ... but not growing in my yard. The former owners decided to use ivy as a ground cover around the inground pool. It not only spread around the pool, but took hold in the front yard--taking up a gigantic area near the garage. But it also turns out that ivy is a great place for mice to live. Eradicating the ivy has been a challenge, especially since it has taken over a portion of our neighbor's yard. They seem content to leave it there, while we constantly rip it out--and it just keeps creeping back. So, now instead of the mice living in our yard, they live next door and visit. We've been able to keep them out of the house, but they're still out there (quite a few of them drown in the pool every summer. And you know it isn't going to be me emptying those skimmers).
This lovey cup is the big brother to one my mother gave me (same pattern, just half size). If I'm not mistaken (and believe me, she will correct me if I'm wrong), my mother received her cup from a woman who taught her to hook rugs. "Marge" has been gone many years now, but when I pass her house, I always think of that little teacup. When I saw this one at a yard sale, I knew it needed to keep the other cup company.
Another of my yard-sale finds. I almost didn't buy it because there's a hairline crack in the cup, but during the past few years I feel kinship to the cup. Nobody's perfect, why should a teacup be perfect too? Its perfection lies in the pattern and the graceful handle. I think it's perfectly fine.
Lately we've talked about tea--what kinds you like to drink. Where you like to drink it and with whom. What you'd like to wear when having tea. Here are some of those comments.
From Beth H. in Dallas, Tx: "I'd definitely wear my tea dress with the pansies on it. It's not exactly vintage like Pixie's but it looks like it. I made it years ago by a 'vintage' pattern.
Debbie S. from La Vergne, TN said, "Since I've never been to a tea I would want to do it right. I think that I would go shop and find a dress similar to the one that was pictured (since what I have in my closet right now would not work). Gloves might be fun, I would love a hat but they don't always love me, LOL."
Margaret M from Melbourne, FL said: "I'd wear something gauzy, filmy probably in every and off the shoulder, topped off with a pert little straw hat."
Lisa M. from Centerville, GA said: "If I were ever invited to an afternoon tea, I believe I would wear something that Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn would wear...classic dress with a nice hat. I know this would be a special day that I would always remember."
Mary P. from Toowoomba, Australia said: "When I was a child & visiting my Grandfather & Aunt we would be there for afternoon tea. My Aunt would wear long flowing tea dresses, long strands of beads & have bare feet. She was certainly a free spirit. I can totally picture myself wearing the same."
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NEXT TIME: Let's talk about opening a virtual tea shop. What should it be named? How do you think it should be decorated? Hardwood floors or rugs? Retro, vintage, or elegant? What about the china? (Feel free to suggest a pattern!). (Next time, we'll talk about what to serve!) Leave your answers in the comments section.
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And the winner of the Bonyard tea sample from Latteda.com is Barbara T. from Moreno Valley, CA. We'll choose another one next week from the comments. (P.S. We'd love to hear how the previous winners have enjoyed their tea sample!)
Winter is hanging around into April, longer and more unpredictable than usual. That means there are still days when it seems like I have a death grip on the steering wheel for hours because of icy roads and rough conditions. Plus, we seem to have Olympic size potholes on our street. Simple errands cause my back muscles to knot. That’s when it’s great to come home to the words, “I put the tea on.”
I think this is one of the most thoughtful things you can do for a person.
Of course, as the dogs can’t be counted on to do that, it can only be the Little Mister. I truly appreciate this when it happens. It’s such a lovely thought and it’s a great way to unwind and share a little break together. I’m hoping to get him trained to set things up like this.
However, he’s a mug kind of guy. What can I say? Sometimes a mug is just what the doctor ordered. I know we all love (and I mean LOVE) teacups here on Teacup Tuesday, but tell the truth, do you sometimes take great pleasure in a very large mug of hot tea? Especially if it’s in front of the fireplace and there’s a dog or two to snuggle up with.
So tell me, does a cup or mug of tea make your day? Would you prefer to substitute cats for dogs? We make our own rules here – let’s hear yours.
As you know, I am crazy mad for bone china teacups -- so much so that I "rescue" them and try to find new, loving homes for them. That's what Teacup Tuesday is all about. I regift what was probably a gift from someone else and the happy cycle continues. The cups are once-again admired, appreciated, and hopefully used and enjoyed.
But here's a problem I've run into more than once ... people enter my contests and don't always give me complete information. Several weeks ago, Sharon S. won the bone china mug. YAY!
However, Sharon never signed up for my newsletter so I don't have any information on her, just her email address from when she entered the contest. I've contacted her via email twice, and left messages on Facebook for her to no avail. Sharon's loss will be someone else's gain, and that someone else is Cindy H. from Council Bluffs, IA.
Meanwhile, this weeks winner of the free sample of Boneyard tea (doesn't that sound mysterious?) from Latteda.com is Toni N. from Carol Stream, Il.
I've had a lot of fun with my character Pixie Poe in the Booktown Mysteries. As it happens, there's a scene in Book Clubbed (that will be debut in July) where Angelica holds a tea party at Haven't Got a Clue ... and Pixie and Mr. Everett can only stand there and watch the festivities with mouths watering. If you've read the latest Booktown Books, you know that Pixie only dresses in vintage clothes. If she went to a tea party, she'd wear something stunning like this dress.
Which leads me to this week's discussion topic: What would you wear to afternoon tea?
To enter, you need to answer the question and supply your SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS. (When you enter the contest, you agree to be added to my mailing list (if you aren't already there). Send your entry to Lorna @ LornaBarrett.com (close up those spaces).
By the way, I'd love to hear from past winners. Are you enjoying your cups? Did you enjoy your Boneyard tea? Email me and share your stories on Teacup Tuesday!
Be sure to drop by next week when my good friend Mary Jane Maffini (who also writes with her daughter as Victoria Abbott) joins us to tell us about her teacup collection! We'll announce the winner of the floral teacup on April 15th (since it's tax day, it may make someone's day!).
Last week, I asked readers to tell me about the kinds of teas they like to drink--bags or loose. Whoa! Lots of opinions there!
Judy D. from Getzville, NY said, "My favorite tea is Mint Brook Meadow’s Peppermint and Spearmint caffeine free Herbal tea. I came across this tea last Spring when I was shopping at Miller’s bulk barn located on Route 104 near Medina, NY. It is a very relaxing tea and is great if you have a slight upset stomach. I enjoy sipping the tea when I am reading, especially a great mystery book! Enjoy!"
Mare F. from Winsted, CT said, "I grew up with both loose and bags...leaves at my grandmother's and bags at home. My father even brought a jar of "instant tea" into the house but my grandmother shamed him so that it disappeared soon after. Tasted awful! Until the past few years I stuck with bags for convenience sake, but I find myself ordering more 'I'm at home and settling in' routine each afternoon. I've two cups with china strainers in them and then tea balls at home."
Ruth N. from Dixon, CA said: My oldest son and shared many a cup of tea. I lost him five years ago and I'm the only tea drinker left in the family. Down to a small pot instead of a big pot but lots of memories of our chats over a pot of tea. I use both loose tea and tea bags, my son always wanted tea bags like his Grandma from Scotland shared with him. I've branched out and try different loose teas.
Debbie C. Cottonwood, AZ said: "At the moment, my favorite method of brewing tea is by teabag because there is a wide variety of places that I can buy them here in town. However, we've just had the cutest little tea shop open up in Old Town that sells it loose, so I've been itching to try that method as well. I made a brief venture in while I was waiting for my daughter to come dancing down the street with her ballet troop, decked out in one of her costumes for the Nutcracker for our town's Christmas parade. What can I say, it was love at first sight. However, I knew I'd have to ease my husband into moving a larger stash of tea into the house. Last time I brought home six new boxes and he just rolled his eyes at me. Good thing he loves me. Honestly, I think I just grew accustomed to drinking tea from a teabag from the time I was little. We would heat the water up in my grandma's old teakettle and then pour the water into a what would now be considered a vintage brown drip McCoy teapot that already had a few bags in it waiting to be steeped. Those were precious days sitting in my grandma's kitchen, sipping on tea while crunching on cookies. It reminds me to make the most of the time I have with my family. But, that doesn't mean I can't be adventurous and try other methods."
Mary P. from Australia said: "I use both loose leaf & tea bags. I have some very fussy family members who insist upon "real" tea. I generally just add the loose leaf to the pot - no infuser at all. The fun part is reading the tea leaves afterwards. (I'm still waiting for the tall, dark, handsome stranger to appear.)" Antonette N. from Carol Stream, IL said: "I also love tea and try lots of different ones. On vacation I try to find a local tea - or at least one that 'feels' like the location. Current favorites are White Blueberry by Adagio Tea and Pomegranite Green Tea by Republic of Tea."
Vanessa P. from Seahurst, WA said: "I too have had many teas that I found only once or received as a gift and then could not find again... my solution is to go see Vicki at my local tea shop; Cascadia Herb'n Tea! She has actually created blends for me!"
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And The Winner Is...
Brenda T. from Howard City, MI winds the tea for one pot and teabagholder. She said: "I usually use a tea bag, not because I think it is the best way to make tea it is just a convenient way for me to make my tea. Such a pretty little tea set! Would love to win and share with my grand daughters!"
Tracy R. from Paducah, KY winds the free tea sample from Latteda.com. She said: "To be honest, I have never had tea from loose tea leaves. I am a huge coffee drinker, but I am starting to enjoy tea more. I have a terrible cold now, so I am having a hot cup of tea that is from the Boston Tea Company. My hubby, Jeff, got me a trio of tea tins for Christmas. Right now I am enjoying Jasmine Green from this trio. This is the first time I have had it, and I really like it. I will have to try the loose tea and see which I prefer. I love Teacup Tuesdays!"
P.S. I still haven't heard from last week's winner (Sharon S), although I e-mailed her. If she doesn't get back to my before next Monday, we'll be giving the bone china mug to another reader.
Next week ...
Okay .. are you old school and boil your tea water in a kettle ... or heat it in the microwave? Confess all!
Last week the topic was recipes and I'm rather disappointed to say that there were only two entries on that account, and both were WONDERFUL. But we did have two prizes (a lovely teacup and a free sample of Boneyard tea from Latteda.com) that will be rewarded.
The first of two of my daffodil teacups.
As runner up, we have Strawberry Soup, from Jenny Ellis She wins the free tea sample from Latteda. She said: "This may seem a little strange since it's a cold item but ever since I had it at a tea house in my hometown I adore it. It's chilled strawberry soup. Also since her recipe was printed in the local newspaper, I have occasionally made the soup myself. I've already checked to see what ingredients I already own so once it starts to get warm outside I can make the soup myself. She also makes a chilled pumpkin soup that is yummy in the fall."
Strawberry soup Ingredients 1 pound frozen strawberries with juice (if any) mostly thawed 3/4 cup powdered sugar (not necessary to sift) 1/3 cup grenadine 1/2 cup imitation vanilla 2 cups (1 pint) sour cream 3 cups half and half
Directions In a large blender, add the ingredients in the order listed above. Blend on high (or puree) for about 15 seconds until no chunks of berries remain. At this point, you may divide this in half and freeze part for later. Add approximately 1½ cups half and half to each batch. Blend well. Makes about 20 to 24 servings total. Note: if using fresh berries, cut in half, add 1/3 cup sugar, shake well to make juicy before doing soup.
And the winner of the floral teacup is Lorie Mink, for her recipe for ... Starbucks Lemon Loaf. She said: "I really enjoy the Starbucks Lemon Loaf with tea. I found a copycat recipe through Facebook, but am unsure of who shared it as I only copied the recipe and not the name of the person who shared it. However, a Google search showed there are several versions of this recipe. I love a good lemon cake and as I am not that proficient as a cook, found this recipe easy to follow. I made it the first time for a couple of friends and we enjoyed it with English Breakfast tea. I have since made it for a work potluck and even substituted the flour with a gluten free all purpose flour so my husband (who is gluten intolerant) could enjoy it too. It is fast becoming one of my specialties and there is nothing I like better than a slice of this with a good cup of tea."
Starbucks Lemon loaf Ingredients 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 eggs 1 cup graulated sugar 2 tablespoons butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon lemon extract 1/3 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup vegetable oil
LEMON ICING 1 cup confectioner's sugar; plus 1 tablespoon 2 tablespoons milk (I used 2% milk) 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Use a mixer to blend together the eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla, lemon extract and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredient into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Add the oil and mix well. Pour the batter into a well- greased 9x5-inch loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into center of the cake comes out clean. Make the lemon icing by combining all the icing ingredients in a small bowl with an electric mixer on low speed. When the loaf is cool, remove it from pan and frost the top with the icing. Let the icing set up before slicing.
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Next Week's Giveaway
What is your favorite tea blend? Orange pekoe? Earl Grey (hot or cold)? Send your preference and explain why to contest @ lornabarrett.com (close up those spaces) and you might win the lovely rose bone-china mug at the right! Entries will be taken until Monday March 17th.
Don't forget, you'll also be in the running for a free tea sample from Latte Da -- two chances to win!
Thank you to all who wrote a fond memory of teatime. I thought I'd share a few that involve the special bond between mothers and daughters.
"My favorite memory is of my Mother, She loved tea and had two cups every morning. She would have one cup in the afternoon too. I can still see her sitting in my kitchen drinking tea. She lived to the age of 91, so I guess it was a healthy thing to do." --Diane L., Manchester, CT
"When my daughter was young we would go to the large closet and open it up and choose a "special cup" from our collection. Many were my grandmothers and mothers. They collected from auction sales since I was young. When people would come to visit they would choose their favorite cup. There are never two the same. My daughter would choose a different one every time and we would use pretty colored sugar from "Hess's Department Store" and have tiny shortbread cookies, wear vintage hats and discuss clothes and "pretties". She is turning out to be a wonderful and lovely young woman and I think it all started with a tea party."--Suzie F, Bethlehem, PA
"After a busy Christmas, my adult daughter and I went thrift shopping at a local store that benefits the local hospital. We found beautiful teacups there and bought two cups with matching saucers. That evening after my husband went to bed, my daughter and I had tea in our "new" teacups. My daughter lives in San Francisco so I don't get to see her that often. When we get together we always have tea in the evenings when it's quiet. It's a time that I look forward to and I hope that it will be a happy memory for her as well." --Suzie S, Santee, CA
"When I was a little girl, my mother would have tea with me. She would give me a cup more than half filled with milk. She called it 'Cambric Tea.' I've always had my tea with milk and sugar." --Barb W, Skandia, MI
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And The Winners Are!
The (randomly-picked) winner of the Dutchess teacup is Deb L. Her teatime memory was: "I guess my favorite tea time memory was from high school. I would go with my friend Janet with her to her house after school. She lived near the high school so we wound up at her house instead of mine. Whenever we had a particularly challenging day, her mom would make us both tea and we'd all talk about it. Every time I drink tea I think of Mrs. Richards."
The winner of the Boneyard Tea sample (courtsey of Latte Da and Betsy Bean) is Debbie B. I have contacted both winners via email to let you know how you can obtain your winnings!
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Next Week's Giveaway
Queen's bone china by Rosina
Teatime is celebrated (in one way or another) all over the world. Where in the world would love to have afternoon tea, and with whom? Send your answer to contest @ lornabarrett.com (close up those spaces) and you might win the lovely roses bone china teacup above! Don't forget, you'll also be in the running for a free tea sample from Latte Da -- two chances to win!
Today's teacup is a from my from my set of "good" china. I used it just last week. Every Valentine's Day, Mr. L and I have an afternoon tea. It's called Silver Maple by Royal Albert.
Last week on the blogger version of this blog, Loveamystery asked for a good scone recipe. Here's one I like and I included it in my cookbook, Recipes To Die For.
WALNUT SCONES 2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons butter, cold ¾ cup milk 1 egg ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped* 1 egg yolk 2 tablespoons cold water ¼ raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350º. Sift the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry blender (or a fork), cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Beat the milk and egg together. Pour into the dry ingredients, stirring until a dough forms. Add the chopped nuts, combining well. You can use an ice cream scoop to form the scones and place them on an aluminum (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet, or pat the dough into a circle and score with a knife.* Beat the egg yolk with the cold water. Using a pastry brush, glaze each scone with this mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold. (Hot is better! *You can substitute pecans or any other nut you prefer. Pistachios make an interesting scone.)
Yield: 10-12 scones.
(*BTW, I use a scone pan that makes perfect wedge-shaped scones.)
Here's what this year's tea looked like. (And no, we weren't able to eat it all. We love leftovers!)
~~ And now for the giveaway! ~~
Today's teacup is called Duchess, and isn't it pretty?
How can you win it? By sending an email to me at contest at LornaBarrett dot com and sharing a tea time memory you wouldn't mind sharing (I won't use last names) with everyone on the blog. I'll pick a name at random.
But wait! There's more! Betsy Bean from Latteda.com will send a free sample of Boneyard tea to another lucky winner every week. But you can't win if you don't sign up.
It seems like I have a bunch of different "reader' audiences. Not everyone reads all my books. Not everyone reads my blog posts. Not everyone sees my Facebook,Pinterest, or Twitter posts. That's a lot of people to juggle.
Something fun I do on my Lorraine Facebook Author Page is share pictures of teacups. I have a fascination with English tea and the beautiful china that goes with it. So I thought for a while I'd share some pictures of my teacup collection. (Don't get bored, guys--afternoon tea is full of wonderful goodies.)
Unfortunately, I no longer have the first teacup from my collection, which my mother gave to me. The cleaning lady broke it and my heart. But this is one of the cups from a set that my grandmother gave me (when I was much too young to appreciate it). I think it's gorgeous. Sadly, not many of the cups survived the trip from England to the US and I have far more plates and saucers than cups. Since they're all hand-painted (and slightly different), there's no way to replace those broken cups. I have seen duplicates of the cup the cleaning lady broke -- however not since she broke it (a year ago). If I ever see it again, I'll certainly buy it for sentimental reasons.
I am such a sucker for brown transferware; I have loads of pieces of it (all mismatched, all unique, all beautiful). I admired this cup in an antique shop and my mother bought it for me. Isn't it lovely?
This is my oldest teacup celebrating Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. It was a Christmas gift from Mr. L. We'd seen it in an antique shop in Centralia, Washington. I think I stared at the price tag as much as the cup. It was too rich for my blood. Unbeknownst to me, upon our return home, Mr. L called the shop and bought the cup. It was the favorite gift that Christmas!
These are just a few of the cups in my collection.
I must admit, I am also a teacup hoarder. I buy them at yard sales to make sure they are loved, and then I find them new homes. Would there be interest in a teacup giveaway?
Let's talk about it!
Meanwhile, let's make Teacup Tuesday a regular post for a while and see what comes of it. Maybe I could share some tea recipes, too. Would you like that? Let me know.