Monday, February 23, 2015

Lunar New Year Tea

Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Happy New Year in Mandarin)

Please join me for a Lunar New Year tea. Jasmine Yin Hao (silver tip green tea from the Fujian province of China) will be served in our double happiness cups and we'll enjoy a feast of many traditional New Year dishes. (Sorry the background is similar to last week's post. I packed my red tablecloth with the Christmas decorations.)

Now that the meal is over let's sit back, relax and watch a lion dance. Albeit this will be a tiny dance from a tiny lion. Feed him lycee (red envelopes) for good health and fortune in the new year.

Another pot of tea will be served from a very special tea set I purchased when I traveled to China years ago. This Sichuanese tea set is designed to be used during the Chinese wedding tea ceremony. Each ceramic piece is covered and wrapped in an indigenous reed.

We can set our cups on several antique Chinese nesting tables given to me by my great aunt. I was always intrigued by these tables as a child.

The inlay of the cut mother of pearl is remarkable. Unfortunately the top table (not shown) has lightened due to sun exposure. I love that my Irish aunt became quite a collector of Asian art. She started with teacups and her antique collections grew from there.

Thank you for celebrating Lunar New Year with me!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gold Teacup Party

Welcome to my gold teacup party! Today we will drinking one of my favorite flavored black teas-Paris by Harney and Sons. To make sure we don't lose track of time, my antique carriage clock will keep us on schedule. Don't you just love getting lost in a good book while drinking tea?

While looking in my curio chest I was surprised I have four gold teacups in my collection. All were given to me by my great aunt Johanna. Above is an Anysley and a Royal Doulton.

This beautiful Royal Crown Derby is one of the featured cups of this week's teacup party.

This pattern's name is "Gold Aves." Aves is the scientific classification name for birds. (Who knew I would learn so many new things while blogging?) Anyway this pattern is still being produced today. Royal Crown Derby is owned by Steelite International and its production site is in Derby, England. There is a visitors' center with a museum, factory tour and shops. I would love to visit there one day! Here is the link to the current tableware selection in the Gold Aves pattern:

Royal Crown Derby's markings are very specific. Instead of a backstamp which indicates a time period, Crown Derby's Roman Numerals indicate an exact manufacture year. According to the date mark page on their website, my teacup was made in 1969 and the Gold Aves pattern was launched in 1970. This makes my teacup one of the originals of the pattern! I was pretty excited to learn this fact. 

This miniature demitasse teacup is a Limoges and is the other featured teacup of this week. I always admired it when it was in my mother's curio chest. The size is so unique and makes the cup appear extra dainty and fragile. I was unable to learn its production year unfortunately or any specifics about the pattern. While this is the only non-English teacup in my collection, it holds a special place in my heart. One of my dreams is to travel to Paris one day.

"Stories are like fairy gold, the more you give away, the more you have."

Thank you for coming to my gold teacup party today. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Is It February?

While this is not a tea post per se, I find that tea lovers tend to be nature lovers and gardeners so I thought those of you who live in snowy areas may find these photos of an early spring appealing.

Two weeks ago I noticed green shoots all around my front and back yards. I was a bit frustrated because I thought they were palm tree shoots which are really invasive. To my happy surprise the shoots were daffodils! I still can't believe we have daffodils in February! It's so early. We are currently experiencing unusually warm temperatures. Just looking at daffodils makes me smile! 

Yesterday while on a walk I spotted a white cherry blossom tree already in bloom. The beautiful pink ones are also in bloom.  (Hopefully allergy/hay fever season doesn't arrive soon.)

Are there any signs of spring in your backyard?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day (a bit early)! Hope you take the time to concentrate on something or someone you love this weekend whether that means sharing it with someone else or doing an activity that brings you happiness. Love comes in many forms. 
For my tiny tea party this week I had a hard time finding pink and red teacups. My collection is mostly ivory and blue. I think when I initially starting collecting teacups I was concerned about acquiring too many pink teacups that I avoided them.  Now I'm seeing a real need for pink and red cups in my collection.

 Marshmallow chocolate hearts (Lula's choclates) from a trip to Monterey, California are the sweets.

The featured teacup is Tuscan which I inherited from another great aunt. I'm not too familiar with Tuscan patterns, but I really admire the crisp detail and combination of colors. This is the only Tuscan in my collection.

My tablecloth/runner is a gift from my friend Marilyn. It's so lovely. I'm in awe with quilters' talents. 

Happy Valentine's Day to my readers!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Something Simple

I just love three day weekends! In honor of President Lincoln's birthday I have the day off from work. I began my day with an early morning dog walk and then settled back home with a cup of Twinings Lady Grey tea. My good friend purchased this tea in London for me during a recent trip along with English Breakfast and Assam. It's not a regular tea I drink, but I do enjoy its lemon flavor and believe it would make a great iced tea. 
While hosting larger afternoon parties is fun, I always look forward to having one or two friends over for a casual cup of tea. On this rainy morning I invited a friend for tea, bagels and strawberries. Definitely simple! Nothing too fancy! I really cherish these relaxing times connecting with friends over tea.

My friend quilted this padded trivet and the pink depression glass plates were purchased at a local antique fair.

About thirteen years ago I found these English bone china "mugs" at a department store in Ireland. I bought four of them and use them all the time for brunches. They work equally well for coffee and tea. I love their vibrant colors.

"Come and share a pot of tea,
My home is warm and my friendship’s free"
    Emilie Barnes

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How It All Began

This is a fitting way for me to enter the world of blogging with the teacup that started it all. 
First of all, welcome to my blog-Tea Cup Tales and my first post! Over the past year I have been so inspired and motivated by fellow tea bloggers that I decided to create my own blog. Thank you for beginning this journey with me. More about me later...

Growing up I routinely liked to peer into my mother's curio chest and examine all of its treasures. This demitasse teacup was always on the middle shelf. Little did I know it was waiting for me. My great aunt, an impressive antique collector, purchased the teacup for me when I was a very young with the hope I would bring it into my own home one day. As I have begun to collect my own teacups I began to wonder about this teacup's origins. 

This teacup is one of the last teacups made in the Shelley factory circa 1960s. It is a Sheraton 13289 with the 1940-1966 backstamp. While researching I discovered this particular pattern was produced for the Canadian market. I wonder how it made its way south to the United States? Where did my aunt acquire it?

Do you remember your first teacup?