Teacup Thursday: A Botanical Teacup with a Bit of History

This tea cup is made by one of our favorite china companies, Royal Albert. This one is from the Summertime Series.
"Thistle" is an old English name for a large group of plants with a dubious reputation with many believing its "roots" trace back to the primeval curse upon the earth. The thistle is a hearty weed which spreads easily, and can take over good grazing ground. In fact, in our county, the weed is banned and farmers are required to keep this invasive weed out of their fields. When we purchased our farm 8 years ago...we had no knowledge about this noxious weed; we actually learned of it when we received a notice from the DNR that we had a couple areas infected and that it needed to be removed within 10 days. We cannot tell you how many Memorial weekends we have spent walking the fields trying to rid them of this much determined weed. Thankfully, after a good two-three years of dedication, we have cleared our fields, however, it is something you have to constantly stay on top of. Although, we will agree, the flower head is quite pretty...and the little gold finches enjoy the seeds...it is very painful to touch as the leaves have very sharp prickles and gloves are needed when removing it.

As ones who enjoy everything English, we found ourselves quite curious as to why the thistle had regal stature there. Apparently, history books tell us that during the reign of Malcom I of Scotland, Norsemen attempted to capture the Staines Castle by wading across the dry moat in bare feet only to find the moat had been overgrown with the common cotton thistle. Thankfully for the Scotsmen, the painful cries of the warriors roused the castle guards and the Norsemen were defeated. To commemorate this victory, the flower became the emblem of Scotland.

Due to our unpleasant encounter with the "thistle," this pretty tea cup, would not have been one we would have naturally gravitated too on it's own, but it happened to come in a lot of 15 English tea cups we acquired last summer. However, after investigating it's English history we have a deeper sense of appreciation for this plant of 'ill repute!'

Other's Who Are Participating in
Teacup Thursday!

Artistic Tea Friends

A couple of years ago, Miss Spenser was trying to find someone to tutor her in her watercolor interests... so she decided to pray about finding a mentor. Not long after, look who showed up at the Tearoom ~ one of Iowa's Premier Watercolor Landscape Artists, John Preston!  Here's a picture of John and his lovely wife, Cindy. They came to our Out of Africa Tea that we hosted in October of 2008.  John is an avid Tea Drinker... see Tea is not just for women! :) We have enjoyed our friendship with them immensely.

Here's an exibit, ANNUAL LANDSCAPE SHOW,  that's currently on display at the Olson Larson Gallery in Valley Junction, IA. For those of you who live (or used to live) in the Midwest, you will see that John Preston has the talent of capturing the beauty of the rural countryside!   We hope to own one of his works one day!  Enjoy!!

"Apres Les Bain" (After the Bath)

Teacup Thursday: Pretty Flowers in a Pretty Teacup

This Pretty Little Flower Teacup was given to me last week as a birthday present from our dear friends, Char and her sister Candy. Char always has the knack for finding the perfect gifts! 

Don't the Flowers add such a lovely touch!!??

They smelled wonderful!!

Candy and Char

Here they are pictured at the Pioneer Tea. Char is also is very gifted in putting together costumes for our themed events!  

Other's Who Are Participating in
Teacup Thursday!

Coconut Rhubarb Dessert

Coconut Rhubarb Dessert

TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min.

4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups water
1/8 teaspoon red food coloring, optional
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) butter pecan cake mix
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, melted
Vanilla ice cream, optional

In a large saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, water and food coloring if desired. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender; cool slightly. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; sprinkle with cake mix. Top with coconut and pecans. Drizzle with butter.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve with ice cream if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

Most Romantic/Thoughtful Husband Award

We just couldn't let this one get by us... so we decided to give an award this past Mother's Day for the "Most Romantic/Thoughtful Husband". We received a phone call from, Joe, a few days before Mother's Day requesting a gift certificate to attend our Anne of Green Gables Tea in June for his wife, Carmen, their two daughters, and the daughter's Grandma.  When we were taking the needed reservation information, he was very adamant  that we kept it a secret!

Carmen and her husband were high school sweet hearts and have been married 14 years  as of May 25th of this year ~  Carmen says, "He is the most sweetest, loving, and caring husband. I am truly blessed to have him in my life..." Way to go Joe!

Highlights from our Spirit of a Pioneer Woman Tea

Pictures of the Tables and Foods ~ Enjoy!

Blue Willow Dinnerware very popular in the 1800's

A Delightful Tea Meal...
Smiling Faces... Happy Memories!!

Reflection on this Past Weekend

What a wonderful time I had this past weekend with my family, celebrating both my birthday and Mother's Day. I wanted to share with you tea loving friends a couple of my special gifts.

On my birthday, Saturday, I opened up a lovely gift containing this pretty Teapot made by Price, I love transferware...especially scenes of English countryside!

After Saturday was over, I thought all the gift giving was over, but no...the kids surprised me on Sunday morning with a few other items...and, naturally, a teapot was one of the special items received. This beautiful Rose Teapot made by Arthur & Sons, Stattfordshire, ENGLAND.  As roses are one of my favorite flowers to collect in teapots and cups, you can only imagine how thrilled I was upon receiving this gift!

For lunch Miss Spenser served Strawberry Fruit Soup, Ham and Cheese Quiche, and Cream Scones served with Violet Jelly and freshly whipped cream...it was yummy...and for dessert, we enjoyed leftover Chocolate Fudge Birthday Cake...it was a most glorious day!! Hoping all mothers out there enjoyed an equally beautiful day with their families!

Teacup Thursday: A Good Replacement

Remember last week when we talked about Good Intentions and the teacup that was intercepted?? Well, here's the replacement:
Royal Albert ~ "Rose Cameo Pink"
I think you'd agree, it makes a Good Replacement!

Other's Who Are Participating in
Teacup Thursday!

Violet Jelly

During a walk one morning, I came upon a patch of pretty little wild violets; I was very excited when I spotted these violets as I had never noticed violets growing out here before! With the upcoming Pioneer teas these cheery little blossoms inspired me to try a batch of violet jelly. The recipe was very easy and fun to make – plus it looked really pretty on our tables and tasted delicious! Here are some pictures of the violets as we prepared the jelly and listed below is the recipe we used! Has anyone else made jellies out of flowers??

Fresh Violets!
The Violets Steeping... Look the water's turned blue!

Pretty Purple Violet Jelly!!

Violet Jelly Recipe:
2 Heaping Cups of Fresh Violet Petals
2 C boiling water
1/4 C Well-Strained, Lemon Juice
4 C Sugar
3 oz Liquid Pectin (Certo)

Wash petals well, drain and place in heat-proof glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep for about 30 minutes to 24 hours. It usually takes about 2 hours fro violets. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.

Place jars and lids on rack in pan deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.

To make hte jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into reserved infusion in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil for two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.

Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly invert jar on tea towel for about 5 - 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator.
Makes about 4 to 5 half-pint jars.

The Virtuous Woman ~ Proverbs 31

We are participating in Bernideen's Tea Time Topic for today: 
"The Virtuous Woman ~ Proverbs 31"
Don't you think that's a perfect topic for Mother's Day?
Here is a picture of a lovely cameo my sweet Grandma Cherryholmes gave me in my late teens (my Grandma, as a young girl, in the photo). This Cameo is something that I have cherished for many years now; interestingly enough, it sparked my interest in collecting cameos. When my Grandma gave me this little sweet pin, she told me that it meant, "Beautiful lady." I had always believed that to be true...and over the years I have tried to find information concerning that, but to no avail; however, despite that...to my grandma, that's what it meant, "Beautiful lady."
The Proverbs 31 Woman has always represented to me..."A Beautiful Lady;" wow, what a beautiful Cameo she would be! Over my 49 years...I have tried to exemplify her ~ her examples of virtue, faithfulness, reverence, goodness, industriousness, endurance, provider, good wife, good mother...kind, and so forth. I must admit, some of her virtues are definitely easier than others to follow...but in my heart of hearts, I desire to demonstrate them all. As I wear my cameo today...it is a sweet reminder of my dear grandmother who demonstrated beauty to me in so many wonderful ways, and it also spurs me on to be a better "Beautiful Lady," a modern-day "Proverbs 31 Woman."

Bernideen's is a lovely tea shop located in the heart of Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs...it's definitely on our "bucket list!" Enjoy her blog too...it's all about tea, tea parties, hospitality, food, and decorating. Thanks Bernideen for the thought-provoking topic!

Teacup Thursday: #2 ~ Good Intentions...

This lovely little teacup came from an ebay purchase a few years ago. Since Miss Spenser was 13 yrs old, I have given her a teacup every year for her birthday. I thought this teacup was so delightful that I decided to purchase it for her... upon its arrival I did FIND it Very, VERY delightful... so, naturally, I decided I'd have to keep it for myself! I'm sure if you saw it in person you would agree and not think less of me for being so greedy!   Be watching next week for the post on the Teacup she DID receive!  (smile)

Other's Who Are Participating in
Teacup Thursday! 

New Soap Arrival!

See our latest addition:
"Fresh Milk Shea Butter"

Now you can take a bit of Country Home with you the next time you visit Miss Spenser's!

Don't forget to try our other delightful fragrances:
Rosewater and Jasmine
Lavendar Chamolie
Gardener's Soap

Perfect Mother's Day Gifts! 

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...

What a busy week we had last week! Two Charter Buses - just days apart...one on Wednesday and one on Thursday with 44 people each time. We were blessed to have our neighbor/friend (and newly adopted sister!!) Cindy Carter help us out....she was perfect...couldn't have asked for a better helper!!

I am sure our neighbor wondered what was going on...he was out mowing his lawn on Wednesday, a beautiful peaceful day, when this big charter bus came rolling down the country road...I am sure the farm animals wondered what this new vehicle was too! (smile).

Enjoy some photos of the day! Off to get busy for our Celebration of the Pioneer Woman this coming weekend...everything is coming together very well for this program....we are excited to bring it to you! Have a blessed Monday!

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