Merry Christmas!

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. 
~Burton Hillis

Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Teacup Thursday: Royal Albert Heirloom Pattern

I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. 
~Charles Dickens

Here's a few pictures of our beloved Royal Albert Teapot and Teacup - Heirloom Pattern! It is so beautiful, but sadly the camera has never been able to capture it's splendor to the fullest!! I took many pictures this morning, but to no avail... these were the only two that were somewhat suitable! Maybe I should ask Santa for a new camera!!
Wishing all of our dear Tea Friends a very Merry Christmas!!!

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With a Grateful Heart

Thank you to every one on Facebook who sent up prayers for Donna's Dad -- and Miss Spenser's English Grandpa!! (His English heritage is far back...but with a last name like Cherryholmes...well, we like to pretend it's recent! smiles). On Saturday morning, Grandpa had a mild heart attack. The doctors did a lot of testing and scans of his heart; they have changed a few meds, sent him home with a new diet, and more hopefully, things will be okay!

A special "heart" thank you to all the heart doctors out there...medicine has certainly come a long way; we are so very grateful for that!!

Thought we'd share with you today a lovely photo-art that Zachary Hardin took. Notice how the handles refect a heart shape.  

Again thank you for all your 'heart-felt' concerns and prayers, they were very much appreciated! He's the best grandpa (and dad) that any one could ask for...we are blessed. Praying for many more happy and healthy years! Love you Grandpa!!

Teacup Thursday: "St. Nick's Tea Party"

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

Here's pictures of our little St. Nick's Teaparty! These are the new teacups that we received from our blogger friend Linda! Along with the teacups she mailed us this pretty pop-up card and yummy mashmallow cakes. Again thank you Linda for your thoughtfulness!

How did you celebrate St. Nick's Day?

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Happy Saint Nick's Day!

"'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung
by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas
soon would be there..."

Happy St. Nick's Day!! We are having fun celebrating by sipping some hot tea out of our new teacups and enjoying some festive Tunnock's Tea Cakes all sent to us by our sweet Blogging Friend Lady Linda! Thank you so much, what a pleasant surprise to find in our mailbox!!  I'll be posting a picture of our lovely teacups on Thursday! So be watching!

Teacup Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving "His Majesty"

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow." 
~Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Tea Friends! At this time of year, we bring out our Johnson Brother china, "His Majesty" to help us celebrate Turkey Day! Surrounded by friends and loved ones, may you cherish this Thanksgiving Day!

"Forever on Thanksgiving Day
The heart will find the pathway home."
~Wilbur D. Nesbit

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Picture Highlight from Holiday Hodge Podge

Last Weekend we had a fun tea party full of the festive Christmas spirit, smiling faces, and a yummy tea buffet!  Guests enjoyed ideas to help them with the busy Holiday Season and guests also participated by sharing heartwarming stories. Hope to do this again next year as it was so well received! Thanks for all who came out! Here's some pictures to tempt your tastebuds!  

Teacup Thursday: Magnolia Teacup

"Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company." 
~Author Unknown

Happy Teacup Thursday Everyone!

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Favorite Cranberry Salad

1 10 ounce package of Fresh Cranberries, washed and picked over
4 C Water
¼ tsp. Baking Soda
2 C Sugar
3 – 3 oz. boxes Strawberry Gelatin
4 C Miniature Marshmallows
2 C Apple, peeled and diced
1 C chopped Nuts, optional
1 9 ounce Can Crushed Pineapple, drained
2 Navel Oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 or 2 C seedless green or red Grapes, halved

Cook cranberries in the 4 C water to a boil. Add soda and stir. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in sugar, gelatin and marshmallows. Stir until melted. Let mixture cool. Add apples, nuts, pineapple, orange sections and grapes. Pour into a 9x13 pan and one 8x8 pan. Chill until firm. Will serve 20 or more.

Recipe ~ Poppy Seed Cake

The glaze drizzled over this simple cake is what makes it stand apart from other poppy seed cakes…Enjoy!!

1 pkg. Yellow Cake Mix
1 C Oil
1 C Sour Cream
½ C Sugar
4 Eggs, Beaten
¼ C Poppy Seed

Beat together all ingredients; pour into a greased and floured Bundt cake pan; bake at 325 for about one hour. (I always start checking at about 50 minutes). Let cool in pan for 10 minutes – invert and pour glaze over top. Serves 8-10

½ C Sugar
¼ C Orange Juice
½ tsp. Almond Extract
½ tsp. Butter Extract
½ tsp. Vanilla Extract

Teacup Thursday: "Pumpkin Teapot"

May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

Don't you just love this Pumpkin Teapot! I think it's darling!

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Teacup Thursday: "Think Pink"

THINK PINK!! -- National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrating 25 years of awareness and education. What a privilege we have to live in a time where we have screening available to help with early detection.
In honor of this month, we are posting a pretty pink teacup and teapot. We hope you enjoy!! Remember, early detection saves lives!! I had mine done…did you??!

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Teacup Thursday: Audrey Style

Happy Teacup Thursday!  Today, I'm sharing with you my "Audrey Hepburn" china... I'm not sure what the real name of this print is, but when I saw it in an Antique Store, I thought it spoke "Audrey". It must be the turquoise color that reminded me of Breakfast at Tiffany's!  I've had fun collecting different turquoise color pieces over the past few years to add to my "Audrey" set!

Anyone else a Audrey Fan like me?

"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner.
I believe in kissing, kissing a lot.
I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.
I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls.
I believe that tomorrow is another day
And I believe in miracles."
 ~Audrey Hepburn

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Autumn in England... The Mosaic of All Seasons

One of the first questions we posed to Alan and Ilse was, “What is Fall like in England?” Being the proper English gentleman that Alan is, he carefully informed us that the English refer to this season as “Autumn”, not “Fall”… which does have a lovely ring to it, don’t you think? It’s much more poetic and enticing than just plain “Fall” So…we are working on changing our vocabulary around here! (smiles)

Much like the States, Autumn is a time when the land sheds it lush green shades and turns mosaic in nature. Although ‘Autumn’s colours’ in England may not be as dramatic as one would enjoy in “New England,” the striking shades of golds, yellows and reddy-browns provide a brilliant display to please the eye.

How long it lasts is weather dependent and varies from year to year, but it’s usually best when they have had a dry summer. October is the month when weather patterns shift and they start to receive the tail end of the depressions that cause hurricanes on the East Coast. It isn’t uncommon for leaves to remain on the Oak trees well into November until they get the strong winds or frosts.

The Ridgeways have a Bonsai Maple which is looking very pretty now with a nice mix of greens and reds and some lovely mature Horse-Chestnut trees out the front of their home. They tell us the leaves are already falling and are an orange-brown…a glorious last hurrah before winter sets in.

Until next time, Alan and Ilse send their Kind Regards and Best Wishes!
Alan and Ilse

 Photography Credit: Alan Ridgeway

Teacup Thursday: Teatime Thursdays

Teacup Thursday is not only a busy and fun day here on our blog but, it's also a busy and fun day here at the Tearoom! We're open on on Thursdays by Reservations. This group of ladies joined us last Thursday ~ looks like they're having a good time, doesn't it!?

Hope you'll bring your friends and join us for
Teatime someday soon!

Tea beckons us to enjoy quality time with friends and loved ones, and especially to rediscover the art of relaxed conversation.
~ Dorothea Johnson

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Teacup Thursdays: Simple Pleasures

Nor rural sights alone, but rural sounds,
Exhilarate the spirit, and restore
The tone of languid nature.
~William Cowper

Oh, the Joys of the Country... it's times like these that I'm so glad that I live in the country. The fall leaves are beautiful! It's so wonderful to wake up to their brillance every morning! Knowing these days of Autumn are numbered, I hope that you all take time to savor these simple joys of Autumn! 

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Miss Spenser's Friends Across the Pond

Dear Tea Friends, please meet Miss Spenser’s Friends Across the Pond, Alan and Ilse Ridgeway of Horsham, England.

Last Fall, we received a note from Alan stating he’d like to visit our tearoom in 2011 while they were visiting family in the Des Moines area. He had filled out the contact form bearing an “English” address. Miss Spenser asked, “Is this guy for real?” (smiles) Well, we are happy to say, “Yes, these folks are for real!!”

This past June, we had the privilege of meeting Alan, his wife, Ilse, her sister, Erika, and her husband, Paul. Now, you can only imagine our concern when we realized that we would be hosting tea to ‘real’ English people!! Of course, we had done our research on English tearooms, but as you know, we hadn’t formally been there yet. We felt much like Mrs. Cratchit when she had her doubts about the flour concerning the plum pudding!! However, as soon as they arrived, they quickly put us at ease and Alan reassured us that we had the scones, “just right.” Whew!!
Alan & Ilse
From there, our friendship has continued to blossom and Alan and Ilse have agreed to share with Miss Spenser’s blogging friends ‘their’ England and ‘their’ life at least once a quarter. (We hope more often, but hate to impose too much!!) If there are things that you’d like to know about England, pass those questions on and we’ll see if we can get them addressed!

Be watching next week for our first entry: “Autumn in England.” You will not want to miss some gorgeous foliage!! Until then…warmly welcome our new blogging tea friends!!

Thank you Alan and Ilse for your willingness to share “a bit” of England with all of us here on Miss Spenser’s Blog!!

Teacup Thursday: Haviland "Autumn Leaf"

"Come little leaves," said the wind one day,
"Come over the meadows with me and play;
Put on your dresses of brown and gold.
For Summer has gone and the winds blow cold."
-Inspiration, October 1924

Isn't this Teacup lovely!? I received it for my birthday on Tuesday. I have always loved fall... so this Haviland teacup is perfect for me! It's called "Autumn Leaf".
The card in the background was painted by our artist friend, John Preston. My whole family and I feel so honored to be considered friends of John and his wife Cindy... John always sends us lovely cards for our birthdays!!

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Teacup Thursday: Pumpking TeaMug

"Pumpkin light, Pumpkin bright, first pumpkin I see tonight. Wish I may, wish I might, Wish I had a prizewinner tonight."

Happy Teacup Thursday!! It's beginning to feel a lot like Fall Time! Are you getting your Fall decorations out? We're unpacking our pumpkins, fall leaves, autumn teacups... and our fall flavored teas, Yummy!!

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