Friday, January 9, 2015

The "Hope Chest" Inspired Shower

Tea Party Shower for Kelly

Kelly's 'Hope Chest' Part 1
                                                                          
I found this silver plated teapot at a yard sale.  It didn't have a lid and was all tarnished, but I knew that it would make a beautiful centerpiece for Kelly's Tea Party Shower.  It went with us, filled with deeper pink roses, to the Tea Rose Cottage to decorate the gift table.

My original plan was to have my niece, Kelly's, wedding shower at my house.  I had fun planning the menu and even had a couple of small tea parties for friends to try out some new recipes.  All, of course, did not go according to plan.  Our home renovations were held up for several weeks and the house was a disaster with floors unfinished and furnishings everywhere but where they should be.  I had to go to Plan B...which turned out 'brilliantly', as my 21 year old daughter would say!


We had the Tea Party Shower at the Tea Rose Cottage in Ybor City (Tampa) and it was perfect!  The cottage itself is adorable, and the ambiance was perfect.  I booked the largest room and had ample space for the 18 guests.  The food was truly delicious and the service was wonderful.  Although I  was sorry that I couldn't host the party at my home, hosting it there was the next best thing and it couldn't have been better.

My beautiful sister, Kathleen, and her gorgeous daughter, Kelly, at the Tea Rose Cottage.
With Kathleen's daughter-in-law, Christie, her best friend, and my daughter.

I almost forgot to take photos of the delicious food but remembered soon after we started eating.
Kelly is my only sister's only daughter.  (Kathleen has two sons, too.)  She has delighted the family with her sweet and funny personality and her kind and caring nature all her life.  I wanted to show her just how much I love her with the shower and with my gift.  I have been reading a special blog over the past couple of years that greatly influenced my choice of a gift:  Miss Abigail's Hope Chest (click here to check it out).  Abigail's mother has been blogging about the things that she is making and putting into her young daughter's hope chest since 2010.  She has wonderful tutorials for all kinds of useful and lovely kitchen and household items.

A hope chest was traditionally what a young woman and her family would ready with all the things her household would need for at least a year after she was married.  Dishes, pots and pans, linens, heirloom garden seeds, photo albums, clothing, etc. would all find a place in the chest.  Recipes, sewing kits, bible, books, and family mementos were important to include.  As her family helped her prepare for her coming marriage, the young girl gained all the skills (cooking, cleaning, nursing, sewing, child-care, etc.) she would need in her new life.  

A great resource book about Hope Chests and what goes in them.
Kelly has a masters degree in counseling, has been a missionary in Africa, and has been living away from home for several years.  She is a modern girl and didn't even know what a hope chest was, much less have one.  (I am the very old-fashioned auntie in the family.  In fact, that is what my sister's children call me:  "Auntie"!)  Now, Kelly didn't have a hope chest, but she did have some things that would be considered essential parts of a hope chest:  notably, my father and my step-mother's wedding china and silverplate flatware and her father's mother's chocolate china service.  I determined to make my gift representative of the things typically found in a hope chest of yesteryear (updated, of course).  I wrapped all my 'bits and pieces' and added special tags explaining everything and placed them in a large white laundry basket.  When I gave Kelly a brief history of hope chests and explained why I wanted her to have one, she was very touched and nearly cried.  She loved it all:  the concept, the gifts, the thoughts behind each one.

The first gift was the tea set below, complete with infuser and special tea measuring spoon.  Victoria-Rose gave her several tins of good loose tea as part of her gift.  Recipes were collected from all present (and sent by those who couldn't come) and one of mine was how to brew a good pot of tea from loose tea leaves.  Every home needs a teapot, etc. for relaxation and the proffering of hospitality and friendship, right?

Teapot, sugar bowl, and creamer purchased at Home Goods.  The infuser, medal, and spoon were purchased at another great tea room, Milk 'N' Honey, in Tampa.
I included the medal with the little angel charm for Kelly to tie onto the handle of the pot if she desired.
The next gift set in the 'hope chest' (basket) was all about eggs.  For thousands of years, eggs have symbolized new beginnings, making this set a perfect addition to the hope chest of a new bride.  And our entire family LOVES deviled eggs and has them at almost every gathering.  I found the vintage gold-edged milk glass egg platter at our local Hospice Resale Shoppe.  It must never have been used as the gold edging was just perfect.  (The picture doesn't do the platter justice.)  The jello egg jiggler mold is another tradition in our families.  There are always a platter of 'jelly eggs' at every Easter gathering at our homes.  You can purchase them at the Jello website.  The shipping cost more than the molds!  (While I was at it, I purchased a mold for Victoria-Rose's hope chest and one for her friend, Lyda's.)



Auntie (me) & Kelly
Stay tuned for the next installment of Kelly's Hope Chest:  an heirloom nightgown.

Edited:  January 19, 2014 and linked to Tea Time Tuesday  HERE:



23 comments:

  1. OH! Karen! I am so excited to see your special hope chest gift. What a wonderful post. I love the tea theme. Miss Abigail received a gift of a full tea set from a very special friend and we are excited to use it for a special tea one of these days. I love how you have included meaningful family oriented gifts. I am very anxious to see the remaining item. And, I do have to admit that I am privately very pleased to have contributed in some way to your inspiration. Thank you for the pick-me-up!

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    1. You are MORE than welcome, Kathleen! I have admired your blog and all the special things you share for years! There are lots more things to share from Kelly's 'hope chest', many inspired by YOU!

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  2. How lovely!
    I had a hope chest and I have put away things for my children. What a lovely post.

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    1. Thank you, Nicole. I hope that you have put some of the gorgeous clothing that you have made your children in your hope chest for your children.

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  3. What a fantastic shower! Your sister is gorgeous & she looks just like you, Karen! Her DD is beautiful, too.
    I just think this is such a special idea...you make me want to start a "hope chest" for sweet Caroline right now. I think I will!!!!!
    Thanks so much for sharing all the details with us. I'm off to check out that link to Miss Abigail right now.

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    1. Thank you, Rett! I think it would be wonderful for you to start a Hope Chest for Caroline. She could help you make some of the things and then they would be tied to memories of the time you have spent together.

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  4. That is a wonderful shower! I love the hope chest gift idea. When my daughters are just a bit older I want to start a hope chest for each of them....I really wish I'd had one. =)
    Your sister really looks a lot like you! She's very pretty.

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    1. Thank you, Charity. Kathleen and I do look alike but only now see it. We grew up thinking people were crazy who would say so! Silly! I think you will love making things for your daughter's future.

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  5. This is one of the sweetest showers I have ever heard of and so meaningful. We must keep these things going. I had a "hope chest" and some things in it when I was young. I still have those things! What a wonderful aunt you are and she is blessed to have you in her life!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Bernideen!

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  6. What a wonderful shower. I had a hope chest and was always excited to add something new. My special treats included tea napkins my mom had embroidered when you was young. I still have them and treasure them.

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    1. How wonderful that you still have the embroidered napkins your mother made for you. What a lovely memory to recall every time you use them!

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  7. Hi Karen,
    What a lovely post filled with love and treasures for the bride-to-be! The tea set is really sweet and I love all the sentiments that accompaned her gifts. She is a blessed girl to have you for her Auntie. Thank you for sharing with us and joining me for Tea Time.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sandi. I feel blessed that I was able to do these things for her. She is a special young woman!

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  8. I love your updated version of the hope chest!

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    1. Thank you, Margie! I really had a great time making and organizing the "hope chest" gifts.

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  9. A Hope Chest Shower, what a wonderful idea. Love all the dishes and lovely food. Wishing her all the blessings. Hugs, Martha

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    1. Thank you, Martha! Kelly is a lovely young woman with a heart of gold. It was a pleasure to 'make and do' for her.

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  10. Dear Karen ...What lovely memorabilia .....
    A ' Hope Chest' sounds so fabulous and is certainly a lovely tribute to a young bride -to- be..Embroidered napkins and the sweet tea set will surely be treasured for years to come... It so nice to hear and see people continuing past traditions... You are a special Auntie. Thank You for sharing this lovely story...Hugs

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    1. Thank you, Zaa for your sweet words!

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  11. I had a hope chest. It had a few odds and ends. Primarily family memories but it did hold a dishes (8 place settings) for whenever I got married which I did about 2 years after I bought the dishes. Beautiful post!

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    1. Thank you, Carla. I am glad that you liked it! I had a 'hope chest', too, but it was my wooden toy chest. :) I gave it to my sister when she had her second child.

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  12. I love this party ! I had a hope chest and passed it on to our daughter. I think this is a tradition well worth keeping in our families. Everyone can use a head start on basic home necessities, especially things that are sentimental treasures as well and practical gifts.

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