Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Special Christmas White Tea





Hello Tea Friends,
Hope you are enjoying the magic of the season and not feeling the stresses that can be attributed to Christmas.

This year I acknowledge that I'm pretty behind with shopping and cards, but I'm trying my best not to let this dampen my spirits.



Last night I listened to some classical Christmas music and finally sat down to address my cards. 


I set out a plate of peppermint bark, Danish butter cookies, along with a cup of fantastic white tea.


Wednesday night I made a large cookie sheet of peppermint bark. I broke the pieces and wrapped them in cellophane bags. Makes a nice simple gift!
This is all that is left...I definitely need to make some more.


Last July I had the pleasure of experiencing afternoon tea at Tea's Me Tearoom in Hillsboro, Oregon. It remains the best food I've ever enjoyed in a tea room. 




White Christmas Tea  

I've been really eager to try more white teas recently. Even during a July heat wave, I ordered this tea while at the tea room. I loved it so much I bought some to take home and I waited until this Christmas week to drink it again. The tearoom has an online shop where I plan to purchase more of this tea.

The tea is a natural blend of Mutan white tea, vanilla, almond and cardamon. So delicious! It's really smooth and light with no after taste. Plus, it's not overly sweet.



A peek inside the bag



Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Best wishes for a blessed day,
Nora


I'm attending these following tea parties:










Sunday, December 6, 2015

Teapots on the Tree

I hope all of you are enjoying the start of the Christmas season. Our weather has cooled considerably and we are now finally able to wear sweaters. 
It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...
~The house is decorated and the outside lights went up yesterday.
~I certainly haven't finished my shopping, but I know what I want to gift each person on my list.
~I want to "treat" myself to a new Nativity scene. Growing up I had one with a lit background for the stars. I would like one in that style again. I've been looking on amazon.
~I've cut out some new cookie recipes from HGTV magazine and Southern Living. I really want to try and bake the red velvet cake featured on the December issue of Tea Time Magazine. I look forward to a big baking day soon.


After teacup collecting, ornaments are second on my list of favorite collectibles. I love glass ornaments! I also look for ornaments while on vacation and each Christmas we choose an ornament that represents something/s that happened to us during that particular year. 


I'm trying to add more tea related ornaments to my collection. This one was gifted to me three years ago. (Funny how the tree lights show up prominently in the photos.)


I purchased this last Christmas on the Royal Albert website. It's Old Country Roses, but it's no longer made in England. (They are currently having a sale on ornaments.)

While these ornaments are not tea related, they are made by the same potteries as our beloved teaware:


Belleek Harp

Belleek Snowman


Nollig Shona (Merry Christmas in Gaelic Irish) Bell
Royal Tara China 

Do you have any tea related ornaments?

Happy Tea Time,
Nora

Saturday, December 5, 2015

And the winner is....

Ruth W. is the winner of the adagio Holiday tea sampler!
Please email me your mailing address and I'll ship your tea. (The link to my email address is on my profile page.) Enjoy and congratulations! Thanks to everyone that entered the giveaway. My next giveaway will be in February in celebration of Teacup Tales's first anniversary.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Welcome December with a Tea Giveaway!


Welcome December!
A month of decorating, cooking, entertaining, gift giving and of course tea drinking is heading our way! No matter how much I plan and organize, this month remains a busy one.
My goal is to remember the real reason for the season and simply just enjoy being in the moment.

Today's featured teacup is Royal Albert's Flower of the Month December cup and saucer: Christmas Rose



This teacup and saucer features a Lenten rose, holly and berries. The cup shape is Montrose.





I've been wanting to collect this series for some time and purchased my first (this) one last December on ebay. Next I would like to add the June teacup to my collection since it is my birth month, but the prices are pretty high for this series. Here's a pictorial link: Royal Albert Flower of the Month Series



Royal Albert began producing this series in 1970.

Well, this December teacup needs some tea. So what better teas than holiday ones? 

Thanks to Kitty (Kitty's Kozy Kitchen) because she introduced me to adagio Teas when I was looking for a quality chai. While ordering a new chai online (which I'll review later), I saw they had a holiday tea sampler (featuring gingerbread, candy cane, pumpkin spice and chestnut teas).  I thought it would be a perfect gift for one of my Teacup Tales' readers. This is my first giveaway!


You can learn a bit more about these teas here. Each sample makes 8-10 cups of tea.



If you would like the opportunity to win this holiday tea sampler, please let me know in the comments section. A name will be drawn using Random Picker on Saturday, December 5. The winner will be announced on my blog and that person can email me their address. (Open only to U.S. addresses...so sorry to my Canadian & int'l readers.)

Good luck!
Nora

"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
                                       ~Norman Vincent Peale

I'm joining these parties for tea:







Monday, November 23, 2015

A Delightful Dessert Tea

Greetings Tea Friends,
During the fall and winter months, my desire to bake and my intake of desserts definitely increases. Desserts provide comfort on cold nights along with a pot of tea. Too often the dessert teas I've tried have been overly sweet and artificial tasting. I feel as if I need to drink a glass of water afterward.
I am happy to report my dessert tea dilemma has been solved thanks to a tea from Plum Deluxe. Plum Deluxe sells organic loose leaf teas and is located in Portland, Oregon. 

The owner, Andy Hayes, reached out to me to sample some of his teas and now I'm delighted to share Coconut Macaron Dessert Tea with you. 

(sorry for the glare)

The ingredients are organic black tea, honeybush tea, Rooibos tea, coconut pieces and natural almond essence.
The steeped tea is golden brown in color with a scent and taste of light caramel. 
I look forward to serving this tea after holiday dinners with dessert. It will complement not overpower desserts.

Today the tea is served in a thirteenth brown mark (2008-2010) basket weave Belleek mug.

In addition to the individual teas at Plum Deluxe, there is a tea of the month club and a really informative newsletter that I subscribe to via email. 
As a writer I really enjoyed the descriptions of the teas; they reminded me of ones on wine labels. 

Hope this week brings you sweet tea and desserts,
Nora




Sunday, November 15, 2015

See you next week...

Hello Tea Friends,
I'm looking forward to sharing a wonderful new dessert tea with all of you next week. I've been swamped with work these last two weeks and haven't had the chance to do a proper post. So sorry! Funny how work gets in the way of life.
I hope to visit your blogs this week though.
Until next week,
Nora 

Monday, November 2, 2015

My November "Simple Woman's Daybook"

Welcome Tea Friends to November!
I thought I would try something new this week. Last month or so I read an interesting post on 
doodles 'n' daydreams titled "The Simple Woman's Daybook." I've always enjoyed journaling and thought this would be a nice exercise for myself and something to share with all of you. Sometimes it's healthy for us to get out of our "blogging" comfort zone.
Hope you enjoy seeing a little glimpse into my life. 
See you next week at our regular tea time,
Nora




For today...Sunday, November 1

Outside my window...to the left the branches of the pomegranate tree are bowing with the weight of the fruit. There's much less fruit on the tree this year, but the pomegranates we have are large and a beautiful burgundy color. To the right, the leaves of my Japanese maple tree are dry and curling at the edges. I'm hoping it's just due to fall and not drought related.

I am thinking...it's time I should make a Christmas shopping list. I know Halloween has just ended; but I really want to enjoy this holiday season and don't want shopping to be the focus. I want to plan a Christmas Tea for some of my oldest and dearest friends.

I am thankful...everyone is healthy in my family. It's not something I ever want to take for granted. I thank God for this.

I am wearing...a light blue nightgown with a pattern of cute angelfish. I look forward to getting into my pj's each night after being in work clothes all day.

I am drinking...my favorite tea from a local tea room. It's a black tea called French Vanilla. I never tire of it.

I am going...to Target tomorrow to return a pair of pants and hopefully not buy anything else. Target is one of those stores where it's so easy to pick up little things here and there and end up with an expensive charge.

I am wondering...why my favorite football team lost their game today and if they will improve during the season.

I am reading...After You by Jo Jo Moyes. It's the sequel to Me Before You which was one of my favorite books from last year. It's the type of book you keep thinking about months after you finished it. My book club read it and all of us were speculating about what will happen to the main character. I guess I will find out soon enough in the sequel. The movie is set to be released March 2016.

I am learning...the relaxing power of coloring! As a child, I loved coloring books and using my big box of Crayola crayons. Recently I purchased an adult coloring book at JoAnn's titled, The Secret Garden by Johanna Basford  of Scotland. The illustrations are incredibly beautiful and intricate.
                                                                   (from the internet)
In my kitchen...blueberry muffins. I've been trying to bake once during the weekend. My work schedule has been busier than I would like so the weekends are a time for baking and more involved dinners.

I am creating...a snowman embroidered stocking. I've been "creating" it for two years now and definitely hope to finish it this Christmas. I need to reduce my computer time to get this and other craft projects completed.

My quote of the day...
Enjoy your week and thank you for reading!
If you want to learn more about this type of daybook, please visit The Simple Woman's Daybook.





Sunday, October 25, 2015

Antique "Star Border" Shelley




Greetings Tea Friends,

I hope this post finds you in good spirits and enjoying the blessings of autumn.

I am enjoying the subtle changes in the garden. We are still experiencing temperatures in the high 80's so the roses are flourishing. The cut roses here are from my Pinata rosebush. It's always a surprise which colors will bloom.



As many of you know, Shelley teacups are my favorites. Their artistry is remarkable! A while ago I was on a mission to find an antique Shelley to add to my collection. Of course I found many on ebay and Etsy, but the costs were quite prohibitive.  A couple of months ago I did find an antique Shelley ~ very simple but still an antique!



So this brings us to our featured teacup...a Late Foley Shelley in the Star Border pattern (#10333).
Gainsborough Shape


I have learned this "pattern was entered in the Shelley pattern book during or after 1908 and was still in production in 1919 when numbers were transferred from the old to the new pattern books."
                                      ~ from The Shelley Tea Ware Patterns by Sheryl Burdess




Backstamp from 1910-1916
Someone (recently) wrote the pattern number on the back

"Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage."
                          
                                                                                                 ~Catherine Douzel

I wonder about the voyage this teacup undertook to arrive in my house.

I look forward to sharing a different type of post next week which features a bit more writing and a glimpse of everyday life. (The Simple Woman's Daybook) Fun to get out of our comfort zones and try something new. Back to teacups the following week.
         ~Nora

I'm joining these parties for tea:







Sunday, October 18, 2015

Apple Crisp with Chai Tea

The Farmers' Market is the perfect place to witness the bounties of each season.
I like starting the weekend with a visit to our local farmer's market Saturday mornings.
Apples were the choice fruit! I purchased organic Gala apples and decided to make an apple crisp with them. When choosing apples, I do buy organic due to the high levels of pesticides found in the non-organic ones. The stand was selling Gala, Fuji and MacIntosh.


I thought the Gala apples would add some natural sweetness to the crisp.

Since I made a several cobblers over the summer, I was looking for a crisp with a different crumb topping. I found a recipe online (surprisingly) from Rachael Ray's sister.


What I liked about this recipe was the graham cracker crumb topping. It was a nice change from the traditional oat one.

Here's the recipe and how I tweaked it a bit.
-I used eight small Gala apples.
-I baked the crisp in a deep dish pie plate.
-I omitted the white sugar.
-I used both the half cup of flour and a heaping cup of crushed graham crackers.
-I baked it for fifteen minutes. Took it out of the oven and poured four tablespoons of water into the crisp. Covered with foil and baked for an additional five minutes.


The Results
I really enjoyed the graham cracker topping! There needed to be more binding within the apples. Next time I will mix some flour among the apples.
Nice breakfast crisp


I like serving pies and other dishes from this decorative pie plate. It was a gift from my cousin.

When pairing teas with a specific food, I like to serve a spicy or bold tea with a sweet treat. Chai tea has so many different flavors and dimensions to it. These are my favorites in tea bag form. Twinings and Stash (not photographed because I ran out) make a bold strong chai. Good Earth Vanilla Chai is a sweet fulfilling tea and one I take to work frequently.

I am still on the hunt for a loose Chai. It's been difficult to find one that has the spicy and sweet balance that I enjoy. Please share if you have found a loose Chai you savor.


I chose a red and green teacup in honor of apple colors. I have featured these two teacups before. The cup on the left is a Royal Albert and the other one is a Ridgway. (The morning light was bright and producing shadows so I headed inside.)

"Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness."
                                                                                             ~Jane Austen


Have a wonderful week filled with tea and friendship,
Nora


Sunday, October 11, 2015

My Teacup Exchange ~ from The Enchanting Rose

Dear Tea Friends,
I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Stephanie's Teacup and Mug Exchange through her incredible blog, The Enchanting Rose. This was my first time participating and I chose to exchange a teacup. Stephanie played matchmaker and each participant was given the address of our match and some basic likes of our "soon to be new friend." 
I had the honor of sending a package to Lynn who has an amazing blog, Quaker Hill Farm. Because of this exchange, I discovered her blog which features her beautiful home in Indiana and her talented crafts. Check out her pretty painted pumpkin post! I feel blessed to have made a new friend.

I have been so eager to share about the package I received a couple of weeks ago!

After opening a nicely decorated large box, I discovered that Stephanie herself  sent the package! I feel as if I won the jackpot of teacup exchanges as Stephanie certainly spoiled me with many one of a kind items. Come take a look and see...


The star of the exchange was the lovely teacup itself!
It is a Spode Copeland with an ornate floral design.
The side of the handle has a floral design on it as well. I adore teacups with designs on the inner cup.

The scalloped saucer adds so much to the set. 
The artistry of the pattern is amazing. I'm overjoyed to welcome my first Spode to my teacup collection.

Stephanie wrote and made a personalized card to me which contained beautiful and unique tags in the front pocket. The tags are so pretty; I almost don't want to use them.


Of course every teacup needs some tea and I was gifted with many different types of Twinings Teas. Stephanie made this wonderful fabric teabag holder that sits upright. 


I love this adorable teacup coaster that Stephanie made. She has an Etsy shop, Rose Petal Blessings, where she sells these gems. I think these coasters will make wonderful gifts. I must purchase some!
Beautiful decorative frame 
I will bring this to work as my desk needs some beauty.

Is this completely clever or what?
Sweet birdie too

Stephanie knows my favorite color is orange.
I've already been using this beautiful table runner. 
So perfect for the fall!


Just want to share how some of the items were packaged with the cute labels.

Thank you Stephanie for coordinating this amazing teacup and mug exchange! It brought and continues to bring joy to so many! I will cherish all of these items and most importantly your friendship.
~Nora

"The greatest gift in life is friendship, and I have received it."

                                                                                                                       ~Hubert H. Humphrey

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fall Hues in the Morning


Welcome to October!
Finally there have been hints of fall in the air with cooler mornings, two quick rain showers and earlier sunsets. Still we are having eighty degree temperatures forecasted for this week.
This weekend I took the Halloween tubs out of the shed. This year I'm going for more of a fall theme in terms of decorations vs. a Halloween one. I put many items back in the tubs. The nice thing is the fall decorations can be left out for Thanksgiving as well. I absolutely love the colors of fall! My own wardrobe has many orange and brown items in it. There is something soothing about peach and tan hues.

On Saturday I set up a simple tea time under the pergola in the backyard; hence this will be a simple post.


Come join me for some cinnamon raisin bread and Stash's Chai Tea. Costco sells really thick sliced raisin bread- a nice sweet and quick morning treat with tea. (Sorry for the poorly lit photos. Too many shadows in the early light.)



Today's featured teacup is a demitasse Royal Crown Derby. Love the peach colors with the gold lined trim.
My great aunt started my teacup collection with English demitasse cups.



"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
~Albert Camus


Backstamp indicates 1921-1965
Royal Crown Derby also has a date cypher under the backstamp. I found the cypher guide online and learned this teacup was produced in 1925. I'm happily surprised by this.

A couple of quick scenes from the garden:

After weeks of scorching temperatures and an aphid attack, the day lily has finally come back to life.


Hard to see but the dwarf Meyer lemon tree is going through a second bloom. Love the smell of lemon blossoms! (You can see the two green "soon to be lemons" on the bottom right.)

I participated in the teacup exchange from Stephanie's Enchanting Rose and can't wait to share the incredible package I received. Did any of you participate in this exchange?
The purple bird statue in last week's post was part of my gift and so was the orange tablecloth/table runner from this post. I look forward to sharing much more once I get the go ahead!

In the meantime, enjoy your early fall tea times!
Nora