Happy Fourth of July!! We hope you all have a wonderful 4th...we are so excited because we will be spending it with family...the cousins are all around the same age, so they are looking forward to a really nice time together.
With the holiday here, we thought today it would be fun to share with you another one of our favorite transferwares - Liberty Blue - Historical Colonial Scenes. The scene on the cup is of Paul Revere yelling, "The British are Coming...the British are coming..." How fun to have a bit of history on a teacup! Have a great weekend!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and flour loaf pan. Rinse the blueberries from the mix with cold water and drain well. Combine muffin mix and contents of packet in medium bowl, breaking up any lumps. Add egg, oil and water, stir until moistened. Fold blueberries and lemon peel gently into the patter; pour into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before slicing. Serve with whipped cream cheese or lemon cream cheese.
June has been known for centuries to be the "perfect" month to marry. The Victorians believed that June was the "perfect" month as the month of June was named after "Juno," the Roman goddess of marriage, who, if you wed during her month, would bring prosperity and happiness to the couple. For a Victorian girl, her wedding day was one of the most important events in her life...her mother had generally began preparing for it from the moment she was born...for you see, the Victorian girl had no other ambition, but to marry, make a home and become a mother...what a noble thought!
I particularly love reading the section about Meg's wedding in "Little Women," it's just the sweetest story, and of course, Meg was married in June...
"The June roses over the porch were awake bright and early on that morning, rejoicing with all their hearts in the cloudless sunshine, like friendly little neighbors, as they were. Quite flushed with excitement were their ruddy faces, as they swung in the wind, whispering to another what they had seen, for some peeped in at the dining room windows where the feast was spread, some climbed up to nod and smile at the sisters as they dressed the bride, others waved a welcome to those who came and went on various errands in garden, porch and hall, and all, from the rosiest full-blown flower to the palest baby bud, offered their tribute of beauty and fragrance to the gentle mistress who had loved and tended them so long."
With this said, we are paring down on our collection of vintage clothing and we have a special Victorian/Reproduction Wedding gown we are offering for sale. This beautiful 1890 gown is entirely handmade of Ivory Silk Shantung, featuring an exquisite, "antique" rose point lace Bertha collar. This "authentic" lace collar rests over the entire bodice and shoulders and closes in the back with tiny crochet buttons. The close fitting sleeves are finished with deep cuffs of delicate "antique" lace. The skirt skims the body and another long panel of "antique" lace adorns the front.
This special bridal gown incorporates a bit of the past with the lovely antique lacings and a bit of the future with the beautiful ivory silk. The size on this gown is a generous Size 12, and possibly, a size 14. This gown can be yours for only $400, please call 641-342-1547 or e-mail if you are interested.
Our family has had the tradition of Friday Night Pizza with a Movie for years. After a busy week with work, school and tea parties, we find that we all look forward to this fun family evening together. Sometimes we sit down at the dining room table with our pizza, other times, we congregate around the coffee table in front of the t.v....regardless of how we partake in it, we have found that this is one of those grand "bonding" moments as a family...tradition is a great thing!
Here's the recipe for our home made pizza dough...it's very easy and delicious too! As for toppings, here are a few ideas over and above the usual traditional red sauce pizza: Use your favorite BBQ Sauce, top with cooked chicken, monterrey and jack cheese, green onions and cilantro. Another idea is a taco pizza, cover the pizza crust with a can of refried beans seasoned with some dry taco seasonings, fried hamburger, monterrey and jack cheeses. Once baked, you can top it with the typical taco toppings, i.e. lettuce, avocado, salsa, chips, etc. Be brave, use your imagination, who knows what delightful combination you may come up with! Enjoy!!
Friday Night Pizza Dough Recipe
3/4 C Warm Water
1 T Yeast (plus 1 tsp. sugar)
1 Heaping TBSP Honey
2 C flour
1 TBSP Oil
1/2 tsp. Salt or Garlic Salt
Combine the warm water with the yeast and 1 tsp. sugar. Cover and let stand about 5 minutes. Add Flour, oil, honey and salt. Mix well. Knead for about 8 to 10 minutes. Roll out on a floured surface; add toppings, bake in a 400 degree oven for about for about 15 minutes. Makes 1 14-16" pizza.
One of our family's favorite things is Nature Studies; we have found that it gives your child a regular opportunity to get in touch with God's creation. One of my personal favorite books that has encouraged me with Nature Studies is an old book, which, thankfully, has been reprinted: The Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady, by Edith Holden.
This lovely book displays a record of England's countryside through the changing seasons. Scattered throughout are various quotes, poems and personal thoughts. Every page has beautiful paintings of birds, butterflies, bees and flowers, which reflect Edith's deep love of nature. Edith never shared her book with any one...for 70 years it lay undiscovered. Thankfully, for us, the book was published, and we have the rare privilege of peaking into the pages of this nature lover's delight.
Back in 2001, a sweet friend of mine, Deb Christiansen, gifted me with this tea cup which is made by Noritake. It's my understanding that different pieces have different monthly designs from the book on them. My tea cup today is from the month of October "Then came October, full of merry glee ~ Spenser." Miss Spenser used to love this special cup, because it was one of those rarities...the person who wrote the poem actually spelled their name like hers, with all "s"!
Here's a picture of our Friend Deb - sipping tea from her own Edwardian Teacup and Teapot. Hope you enjoy this special tea cup today...I am blessed to have such great friends...Thanks Deb!!
This past Sunday afternoon, we had just finished dinner and were getting ready to relax for the day...Miss Spenser was off to get her "beauty" sleep and the rest of us were just being...well, just being plain ole' lazy when the phone rang. On the other end was Emily Carlson, one of our local t.v. station's reporters. She said she wanted to come out and interview us about the tea room....I said, "Oh that's nice...when?" She said, "Today, in about an hour??" Who could turn down this kind of publicity? So I sweetly said, "Sure." Then I proceeded to hang up the phone, screamed a bit, and started soliciting little busy bees to help me straighten the house up!!
Emily wanted to highlight Don for Father's Day and how the tea room and his family helped him through the rough time of unemployment last year. Here's a link to the podcast...hope you enjoy it...it will at least give you a glimpse of the tea room and my amazing family!!
We couldn't resist posting a bit on our "worker in training." This past weekend, Grayson our 8 year old, was in charge of collecting the linens and spraying them down. We gave him a bottle of Resolve “Spray -n- Wash” and told him to go over each napkin, spraying down any stains. Being a boy, naturally, he was eager to do anything with a "trigger," it must have felt like a squirt gun to him!
He did a great job... however, he must have been “Trigger-Happy” as he used almost the entire bottle on 40 napkins! ha... In astonishment over the fact that the bottle was nearly empty, I asked him why he used so much??? He responded..."Well, I wanted to do a good job..."
We have had several people inquire about Tea Time Thursday. Tea Time Thursday came about because we were finding that out of "routine" we were using the same tea cup day in and day out. What a shame when we have so many pretty ones! So, we decided that on Thursdays we would select a special tea cup and use it for that day...we thought the idea was fun, so wanted to share it with our readers. If you'd like to join us, please let us know on the Wednesday before and we will include a link to your blog link! You don't have to say anything special about the tea cup, just share with us a lovely picture or too...it's supposed to be fun and not a "duty!" Participate when you can...hope to see you there!
The Willow Pattern, more commonly referred to as "Blue Willow" is a classic pattern with a distinct landscape which includes the weeping willow, pagodas, three men on a bridge and a pair of lovebirds forever kissing, all on a blue and white background. This type of stamp on porcelain is known as transferware; the background always white while the foreground color depends on the maker.
The Willow pattern originated in Staffordshire, England, around 1780 by an apprentice potter, Thomas Minton. There are many stories about where the legend/story of the Willow pattern came about. One story tells that it was invented 200 years ago to promote pottery sales, others say the legend was told in China more than a thousand years ago and brought to Europe from Eastern lands by the Crusaders. This happens to be our favorite version, much more romantic - it portrays a rich Mandarin whose young daughter elopes with his secretary. The lovers are overtaken on the bridge by her father, and are then transformed into birds and flutter beyond his reach.
What a fast week this has been...Tea Cup Thursday is here again! This week's special tea cup is:
My dear friend Char, an avid antique collector, knows how much we love tea cups. On one of her outings, she happened upon this lovely pair and shared them with Miss Spenser and I...so, today will be "double fun" as we both get to enjoy our own Tea Cup Thursday! In preparing for Tea Cup Thursday, we had fun doing a little "tea cup research" about the stamp on the bottom. If we are correct, these tea cups are very old! The marking on the bottom is "Welmar" which is diagonally placed inside a shield emblem. Apparently a German China Company by the name of Fasolt & Eichel produced tableware, porcelain, decorative china, coffee and tea sets from 1846-1917. Don't you just love old things?!
The Teapot pictured in the photo is one of our new additions to the gift shop area...if you are interested, let us know, we have a limited supply available.
See these yummy treats...they are really easy to make. Living in the country, sometimes in between grocery runs, I am told by the kids that we have "nothing good to eat around here." Have you heard that before?! Well, these treats are so easy to make, and most generally, you will have the ingredients on hand...here's the recipe:
Saltine Toffee Crackers a/k/a Bribe Bars
• 1.5 sleeves of saltine crackers
• 1 stick (4 oz) butter
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 cups chocolate chips
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with Parchment Paper
2. Arrange the crackers in a single layer on a baking sheet so that there are no empty spaces in between them.
3. Place the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir while the butter melts, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Once boiling, carefully pour the sugar-butter mixture over the crackers on the baking sheet in an even layer, trying to cover most of the crackers. If you miss some spots, don’t worry as the toffee will spread in the oven.
4. Bake for five minutes, until the toffee is bubbling all over. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for one minute.
5. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the hot toffee, and allow them to sit for one minute to soften and melt. Once softened, use a spatula or knife to spread the melted chocolate over the entire surface of the toffee in an even layer.
6. Refrigerate the pan to set the toffee and chocolate for about 30 minutes. Once set, break into small uneven pieces by hand, and enjoy! You can store the uneaten saltine toffee in an airtight container for up to a week - If they last that long!!! :)
This recipe also works really well when you need to motivate/bribe. The other day, the kids, who live in the upstairs level...needed to do some housework. I hadn't been up there for awhile, and when I did, well, let's just say I was a bit shocked. SO...I told them if they got everything cleaned up - "company-cleaned standards" then I'd make them these yummy treats...It worked! Within an hour or so, everything was looking pretty good!!
So, whether you need to do a little bribing or there's "nothing good to eat in the house" these treats are your ticket!! Enjoy!