Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Been One "Sweet" Year

As I turn the calendar to February, I'm reminded of something other than Valentine's Day. At the end of the week, it will be one year since I started this blog!

Please come sit down and join me as I look back on a fabulous year thanks to all of you.

I have made some sweet cinnamon swirl bread.



Friday I came home from work and took a double take. The front yard has about twenty sprouted daffodils alongside the lawn! While I welcome these cheerful flowers now, I was hoping for them to bloom closer to spring time. Crazy west coast weather!

I will be serving a "tiny spot of tea" of your favorite tea in this Shelley demitasse teacup which was the inspiration for this blog.

Growing up I always peered into my mother's curio chest and looked at her collection of teacups, Waterford crystal and other bone china pieces.
My great aunt, an avid antique collector, began a teacup collection for me as soon as I was born. One of these Shelley demitasse cups was one of my first teacups. The other "red" teacup is featured in my first post titled "How It All Began." My mother housed these teacups in her curio chest until the day I finally had a chest of my own.


This pattern #13290 is called Sheraton. The cup is the mocha shape or also referred to as coffee can. Other Sheratons come in red and blue. It was produced toward the end of Shelley's production years near 1966, even though the backstamp indicates 1940-1966.

This pattern was made for the Canadian market. I wonder if my great aunt purchased it at an auction (which she loved to frequent). It still is in brand new condition.

As I began to arrange my teacups in the curio chest I became more and more interested in their histories and origins. I took greater pursuit in learning the names of the potteries and years of production. I was eager to share all of this new found knowledge, but few were honestly interested. While looking up teacup information, I came across several blogs and discovered there were others just like me! I was and still am fascinated with these blogs. My knowledge of potteries, tea, recipes and parties continues to grow on an almost daily basis.  I wanted to be a part of this tea community so I took the plunge and began Teacup Tales on February 5, 2015 with the intent of focusing on English bone china teacups, their origins and the tales to discover.

Some posts that generated the most views:

I have to admit I was (and still am) really intimidated to be in the company of so many talented women. Your blogs are truly works of art! I knew I would learn so much by blogging, but I never anticipated being so warmly welcomed into this wonderful cyber community and for the sweet friendships I have made. 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Nora

I look forward to sharing my Valentine Friendship Tea Party with you in two weeks.

This sweet bread is delicious with tea in the morning. The cinnamon swirl looks like a happy face smile. Here is the recipe from allrecipes.com. It's super easy (and fast) to make.

I'm bringing my teacup to the following parties:











Monday, January 18, 2016

Tea Time Truffles

Hello Tea Friends,
Hope your 2016 is starting off in the right direction. 
I'm pleased with my initial attempts toward following one of my resolutions/goals. My goal of carving out more time for crafts has been achieved (well it's only been two weeks) and I look forward to sharing some Valentine related ones with you soon. Thank you for your supportive comments last post as I transition to blogging every other week. I've been really looking forward to reconnecting with all of you this week. I have today off of work so I'll be able to enjoy reading many other blogs. Yippee!

I am planning a Valentine tea with some friends that I haven't seen in a while. While reading Rachel Ray's magazine (January/February 2016 issue), I came across a truffle recipe called Chocolate-Tea Truffles. This piqued my interest and I "practiced" it last night.



Usually I only make truffles during Christmas time, but I thought they would be a nice dessert addition to the tea especially since Early Grey is one of the ingredients.




You only need minimal ingredients for these truffles.


Here is the full recipe:

1. Place 12 ounces of chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (61% cacao or less) in a medium heatproof bowl.

2. In a small pan over medium heat, bring 3/4 cup heavy cream just to a simmer. Remove from stove top.

3. Add 1 tbsp Earl Grey Tea (loose leaf or from 3 tea bags) to the hot cream.

4. Let steep 15 minutes.

5. Return pan of cream and tea to a simmer.

6. Using a strainer to catch the tea, pour the cream over the chopped chocolate. Stir until melted.

7. Cover and chill until just about firm (approximately 2 hours).

8. Using a 1/2 oz ice cream scoop or a tablespoon measure, scoop up the chocolate and roll into balls.

9. Roll chocolate balls into crushed shortbread. Chill.

I modified the measurements of the recipe a bit since I was doing a practice run. I only used 4 oz of chocolate so I only needed 1/4 cup of cream. This produced six truffles. I used Campbells Shortbread Fingers too.

 My family happily ate the truffles (rather quickly). It was fun to display them on my new ceramic stand from Home Goods along with tulips from the Farmers Market.



Today's featured teacup is one I shared with you before on this post. It is my oldest Shelley in the Star Border pattern.
I liked the combination of orange and green among the plate and teapot.

Thank you for reading,
Nora

I'm joining these parties:







Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ringing in the New Year!



Welcome 2016!
Happy New Year! 

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to the unknown possibilities of 2016.

Even with all of the activity surrounding the last two weeks, I was able to reflect on last year and challenge myself for what I would like to see in my life for the new year.

Waterford Crystal Bell

"And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been."  
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Reflections

As I relax and drink Peet's "Winter Solistice," from my new vintage Irish mug, I think about some of the changes I would like to see happen in 2016. Some involve this blog.

Starting this blog was one of my highlights of 2015. I have "virtually" met so many wonderful women that are such strong examples of friendship and faith. I look forward to continuing to post and learning and drawing inspiration from all of you.

My work demands have really increased since September. Clearly I've noticed that I'm not reading, entertaining and doing crafts as much due to this increased workload. Since these are dear to my heart, I need to make a change and I've decided to post biweekly on Teacup Tales. Hopefully the offline benefits in my life will be noticeable. Thank you for understanding. 
 All the best,
Nora

"The new year stands with us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals."


I'll be attending these parties: