Friday, January 30, 2015

Favored Tea Cups

"I'm late!  I'm late! I'm late for a very important date!  No time to say hello, goodbye.  I'm late!  I'm late!  I'm late!"  ( Sung by: The White Rabbit in "Alice In Wonderland")

I really wanted to be on time for Sandi's party at the Rose Chintz Cottage on Tuesday but too many things got in the way.  (There were so many meetings before and after school this week that I was just too tired to work on a post.  This is the first day this week that there isn't a meeting and I don't need to be at school early.)  She is celebrating the 5th Anniversary of her Tea Time Tuesday party and I wanted to join in on the fun.  The link below will bring you to the party and you can go, too! There are always so many lovely things to see at her parties!

The Spode teacup and teapot are part of a large set I have collected over the years that was begun for me by my wonderful stepmother and my father.  When my children were babies Mickey (that's what family and friends called her) divided her service for sixteen in half and gave my sister and I each a set for eight.  The following year, she gave us each a service for four as a Christmas gift.  Over the years, I have collected many more pieces and we enjoy them for two months of the year.  They are taken down and switched out with our everyday dishes and used for all meals from the last weekend of November to the last week of January.  They will be put away this weekend for another year.  I love using them!  And I hate putting them away.  Neither my Mickey nor my dad are with us anymore.  They both loved the holiday season and had many wonderful traditions that included cutting down their own tree, big tree trimming parties, baking and decorating delicious holiday cookies, and special Christmas morning breakfasts.  When I look at these dishes, I am reminded to count my blessings.  Mickey was such a gift to us and Dad was my favorite person from my earliest memories!  How blessed I am to have had them in my life!

The tea is Four Seasons Oolong from Teavana and it is delicious!

 I have a shelf in one of my glass cabinets that houses my collection of single pretty teacups.  When guests come to visit and share a cup of tea, I have them choose a cup from this cabinet.

Underneath the cups in the very back is a very special cup.  It is so well hidden that it can't even be seen in the close-up picture below.  It is hidden so that no one chooses that one!  It belongs to my very sentimental daughter, Victoria-Rose.

 I asked her one day which was her most favorite and she choose this one because,  "It looks just like my special baby blankie, Mama!"  That blanket is loved to being threadbare and worn out but was slept with for YEARS.  In her last year of high school, it was folded up and placed carefully in her hope chest.

 The next cup is my personal favorite on that shelf.  I love the color and the raised lacy design on the saucer and on the inside of the cup.  It makes me think of lace overlays on batiste dresses.  I love the color so much, that several rooms in my house are painted with shades of that celadon green.

This next picture shows my tea station in the kitchen of the kindergarten 'pod' of my school.  I make tea to share nearly everyday.  Some days are 'two pot days'!  The corn teapot is a vintage one given to me by a lovely volunteer who became my friend.  Some of the cups are gifts and many were found by me in various shops.  Many of my 'regulars' have chosen their preferred cup that they use all the time.  I love it!
 I chose to use the cabinets above to house luncheon dishes (for teacher work days) and extra cups/saucers and sugar/creamer sets for workshops and other meetings,  They also contain teas, honey, agave, etc.

Here the pot is ready with another delicious tea from Teavana:  Strawberry Pariso.

This cup and saucer is my favorite school set and was a gift from Grace, a former student.  It is 'Butterfly Meadow' from Lenox.  It holds a little more than most of the other cups and has a great handle for my fingers.  Grace chose the cup because she knows how much I love butterflies.  She is so sweet!
I adore the little ladybird beetle inside the cup!  It just makes me smile!

I hope that you have enjoyed this glimpse into my daily tea rituals and that you will visit Sandi at the Rose Chintz Cottage.  I will be back in a couple of days with another post of goodies made for Kelly's Hope Chest Shower Gift.

Edited to link to Bernideen's Friend's Sharing Tea weekly blog party.  Today she has a wonderful post about Beatrix Potter.  Click on the photo/link below to visit.

Friends Sharing Tea

May your day be filled with blessings and fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Hope Chest Inspired Shower, Part 6: The Shoe Bag and Round Travel Tote

This travel set was made as part of a "Hope Chest" Gift Basket that I made for my niece, Kelly's, Tea Party Shower last July.  (See HERE for details of the Tea Party Shower, an explanation of the Hope Chest' gift project, and the first set of gifts.  See Here, Here, Here, and Here for Parts 2, 3, 4, & 5).

In checking over the photos that I made prior to wrapping the gifts, I have made the sad discovery that I didn't take pictures of some of the gifts at all and many of the photos that I did take, are of very poor quality.  I  apologize! This set was inspired by some travel bags and totes in some of the Australian magazines:  Handmades . (I am no longer able to find them in the shops here in Florida and I treasure the ten issues that I have.  I don't know if they have gone out of business like so many of my other favorite magazines.  Does anyone out there know?)  I chose lavender and purple to complement Kelly's wedding colors.   The cylindrical shaped bag (shaped circular bottom) on the left was made with a Kona cotton and a lovely piece of lawn that my friend, Jana, gave me.  It had the hand of a Liberty and was a joy to work with.  The bag contained a pair of pretty vintage edged glass goblets tied with purple and lavender ribbons.  (One of the pictures I didn't take! :(   ).  I thought that the bag could hold some of the items she would be taking on her honeymoon.
 The bag above is a divided shoe bag made with more of the Kona cotton and a piece of an antique hand embroidered and crocheted dresser scarf.
 I lined it in the lovely lawn and divided the bag with more of the lavender fabric trimmed with ribbon.  I am hoping that she really uses the bag when she travels or that she uses it to store her beautiful wedding shoes.
My shoes are 'modeling' here!

I hope that you are enjoying taking a peek into the 'Hope Chest' Basket and that you come back later this week to see the bread basket cloth I hand embroidered for sweet Kelly and her husband.  I will also be sharing a post on my favorite teacups and linking it to Sandi's Tea Time Tuesday's 5th Anniversary Party.

Blessings to you!

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us.  Psalm 67:1

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Hope Chest Inspired Shower, Part 5: The Embroidered Hankie

Something Blue?

Please click on the photos to enlarge the pictures.  Photographing this hankie was difficult!

This will be a short post about a little gift addition to the 'Hope Chest' shower gift basket for my niece, Kelly's, Tea Party wedding shower.  (See HERE for details of the shower, an explanation of the 'Hope Chest' gift project, and the first set of gifts.  See Here ,  Here , and Here for Parts 2, 3, & 4.)

I collect pretty antique and vintage handkerchiefs.  I like them all:  embroidered, lacy, colored, and printed.  I often use them in my sewing projects.  I have made many of them into lovely little baby bonnets.  This one was a soft linen with a lacy crocheted edge.  I embroidered the blue flowers and green leafy vines with a lovely embroidery thread: DMC Floche.

The following description is from this website:
DMC Floche is a twisted thread made from the finest long fiber cotton, mercerized to create a beautiful finish. This superior quality thread is especially suited for fine embroidery.
DMC Floche is comprised of 4 non-divisible strands in size 16 thread, each strand equals two (2) strands of DMC Floss. Threads can be stitch in a single or multiple plies and slide easily through fabric. During the manufacturing process, the cotton is combed, singed by flamed and mercerized creating its beautiful finish. The end result does not knot, kink or fluff and is soft and gentle to the touch.

I deliberately embroidered in the center of  only one side of the handkerchief so that it could be made over into something else.  My thought was that Kelly might want to carry the hankie at her wedding (in her purse or whatever) and that she would give it back to me to turn into a little bonnet someday like the one I made below.

I'm a lacy hankie, as pretty as can be.
With a bit of stitching, a bonnet has been made out of me.
To be worn home from the hospital or perhaps on my christening day.
Please cherish and pack me away.
Then on her wedding day, a few stitches snipped
and a wedding hankie I'll be.
And if by chance it is a boy, someday he will wed
and to his bride he can present this hankie
once worn upon his head.
 Author Unknown

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Hope Chest Inspired Shower, Part 4: Bowl Covers!

Reversible Bowl Covers:  useful and attractive coverings to be used instead of (or over) plastic wrap.  They are great for taking to pot lucks and picnics!

This set was a small and quickly made gift addition to the 'Hope Chest' shower gift basket for my niece, Kelly's, Tea Party wedding shower.  (See HERE for details of the shower, an explanation of the 'Hope Chest' gift project, and the first set of gifts.  See Here and  Here for Parts 2 & 3.)

They were made with coordinating cotton print fruit fabrics from my fat quarter stash and narrow elastic in the casing made between the two fabrics.  Although I made them to go over three different sized glass bowls in my kitchen, they will fit over many sizes.  I simply traced around the bowl tops onto brown paper and added a couple of inches for overlap and seams.

This was actually the third set I have made of these covers.  I have given each set away as gifts and each time the recipient has to be told what they are!!!  The first thing they do is put them on their heads!  They think they are shower caps!  We all had a great laugh over them at the shower.  I will have to enclose a picture on a gift tag next time.  (Maybe not...  I love the surprise when they are told they are Bowl Covers!)

A little thought to ponder:  "It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth---and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up---that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."  
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Hope Chest Inspired Shower, Part 3: The Spring Kitchen Set

From A Light in the Attic  by Shel Silverstein
I think that everyone likes to see and to use things in the kitchen that make them smile... something to lift their spirits when performing the routine tasks of keeping an orderly and clean kitchen.  I wanted Kelly to have some little home-made love that would make her smile as she went about her new life.  This set started with pinterest pins of denim aprons.  They have always made me think of Kelly. She has always loved a good jeans outfit.  One of her favorites was a fancy denim skirt, blouse and jacket set we bought her when she was about six years old.  It was very fancy with ruffles and laces and she wore it all the time.  

While I was trying to come up with a jeans apron that reminded me of that little denim outfit, I was in Home Goods and picked up the pink towels you see in the picture above.  I was inspired by Kathleen of Miss Abigail's Hope Chest to try a little crochet edging.  I have several crochet books and know the basics but reading the patterns for specific edgings is a skill I am still acquiring.  Sooo...I made one up!  I had to use an awl to pierce the fabric over the thick hem to get my thinest crochet hook through at regular intervals and then did a a single crochet into each hole.  From there I did a row of double crochet and then chain stitched lacy loops that were attached with a slip stitch at regular intervals again.  I think it came out pretty but I really would like to learn to do some of the edgings in my books! I appliqued the butterfly from some scraps of fabric that coordinated and then added a band of the same fabric and some ribbon to the other towel.

The apron was made without a pattern.  I just used the backside of a pair of old jeans and bound the side edges in a blue and white lace.  The bottom has a ruffle of pink lace and two fabrics. 

Several of my pinterest denim pins were of totes/bags made of recycled jeans and they got me thinking of a reusable 'gift wrap' for this set for the Hope Chest Shower.  I took another pair of old jeans and just cut off the legs and sewed up the seam.  I added some little charms, tiny  bits of hand embroidery, more of the blue and white lace and some handles.  Done!

Kathleen, of Miss Abigail's Hope Chest has posted lovely crocheted dish cloths several times on her blog.  She even has tutorials for them and when I get a little help with reading the directions, I will be making some of those beautiful sets.  In the meantime, I was inspired by her to make a set of very simple pink dish cloths using single crochet and cotton yarn.  The border edging was just made up of chain stiches and slip stitches.

The cloths are straight and not wobbly, I promise.  I just had them tied up with the ribbon and they became creased.
Thank God for dirty dishes;
They have a story to tell.
While others may go hungry
We're eating very well.
With Home, Health, and Happiness,
I shouldn't want to fuss;
By the stack of evidence,
God's been very good to us.
Author Unknown

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Hope Chest Inspired Shower, Part 2: The Nightgown

An Heirloom Nightgown for Kelly

Goodnight Poem
 by Mykaela Maxino:
Touch your heart,
Close your eyes.
Make a wish,
Say goodnight.

Sky so wide,
Stars so bright,
Off the lights,
Sleep so tight.

Every bride needs a feminine, romantic nightgown, right?  

I made this gown as part of my niece, Kelly's 'hope chest' gifts (see previous post).  The nightie was made using a delicate pink Imperial batiste (a fine polycotton blended fabric) and pretty cotton lace from my stash.  I used a pattern from an old Sew Beautiful magazine and added a section of smocking below the high yoke.  I made it in the smallest size, but it was still very large on her petite frame.  I think that it would be perfect for mama/baby photos someday.  

The lace used on the front yoke was purchased from an estate sale along with a large box of other laces and trims.  What a find!  I did my best to match up the pattern and joined the strips of lace with a zig-zag stitch.  The lace around the neckline and armholes was from the same box of laces.  The cluny lace on the hem was purchased some time ago from Martha Pullen Co.

I apologize for the photos.  They were taken in the living room amidst all the commotion of the wood flooring being installed, and I didn't realize how out of focus they were until I had already given Kelly the gown.  The smocking was adapted from a smocked dress in another Sew Beautiful magazine.

Psalm 42:8:   But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.

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:

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