'Puff-Sleeves' for Ronda ~ Part 4

You've all waited and now here you are… the finished Dress!!
Instead of a purple/pink sash,
Ronda choice red to go along with her bridal colors.

Now Ronda has her very own dress with “Puff Sleeves”!!

Thank you for joining us in the creation of this pretty dress. Hope you enjoyed the series! I know I enjoyed making it for my dear friend Ronda!!

If you'd like to see pictures of Ronda in her Puff~Sleeve Dress, join us again in July! I'll be posting pictures of Mr. Jamie and Ronda Kelley at their Canadian Wedding Celebration. They will be renewing their vows this summer at Lucy Maud Montgomery's (author of Anne of Green Gables) church in Leaksdale, Canada. I'm sure the pictures will be lovely!




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Teacup Thursday: "A Child's Tea Set"

Brew me a cup for a winter's night.
For the wind howls loud and the furies fight;
Spice it with love and stir it with care,
And I'll toast our bright eyes,
my sweetheart fair.
~Minna Thomas Antrim

We are in the middle of Winter! (Remember, I don’t really care for winter!) But with that said, we are halfway through it and in only a few short months it will be Spring! I remember one of our first winters here in the country… it was very cold, snowy and LONG! It was during that winter that Mom read us Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter. She would read to us in the afternoon, we’d all sip tea and dream of Spring!

This little Teacup and Teapot we found at an antique shop. Their size is small and childlike ~ Mom thought it would be perfect for her grandchildren to use someday! haa-haa!!



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Recipe ~ Gingerbread Waffles

Spice up a cold winter morning with a batch of these homemade Gingerbread Waffles. These are delicious fresh, but if you don't have time, make them on the weekend, once cooled, place them in a ziplock baggie. When your tummy says it's hungry, all you have to do is pop one in the toaster!! Try it with our Elizabethan Lemon Curd imported from England...it's delish!!

Gingerbread Waffles

2 C Flour
2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Eggs (separated)
1 C Molasses
1/2 C Buttermilk
1/2 C Butter, melted

Mix all the dry ingredients together; in a separate bowl, mix together egg yolks, molasses, buttermilk and melted butter. Meanwhile, in a mixer, beat the egg whites until they form a soft peak. Fold wet ingredients into the dry and begin to mix; gently fold in the egg whites. Preheat waffle iron; add 1/4 C batter, cook according to manufacturer's directions. Remove from iron; serve warm with dusting of powdered sugar, maple syrup or lemon curd. Serves 4-6

'Puff-Sleeves' for Ronda ~ Part 3

Bodice and Sleeves:

The sleeves on Anne’s dress are definitely “Puffy”. That was the fashion back then!! Some even joked that the women had to turn side ways to get through the door!

Here’s a picture of the sleeves pinned into the mock-up bodice:

Finishing up the bodice and adding the lacy collar:

Lace and Ruffle Neckline

Added a little bow on the end of the sleeves for a sweet touch

Almost finished!!

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How to Brew a Perfect Pot of Tea

 “A hardened and shameless tea-drinker, who for twenty years diluted his meals with the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle had scarcely time to cool; who with tea amused the evening, with tea solaced the midnight, and with tea welcomed the morning.” ~Dr. Samuel Johnson (he wrote this about himself)

When I first read this, I thought someone was writing about me! Yes, I do love tea and I’m sure you do too! But it’s come to my attention that there are ‘some’, and we won’t say ‘who’ to protect the innocent, who do not feel confident in the art of brewing tea… but never fear, on this post we listed instructions on “How to Brew a Perfect Pot of Tea” below!! We hope this inspires you to drink more tea this year!! With that said, let us raise our teacups high to Tea and the New Year!




1. Warm your china teapot with hot tap water. This will help your tea stay hot longer. Once your teapot is warm, discard the tap water.



2. Fill your kettle with fresh, COLD water. Cold water has more oxygen in it. Your tea will taste more lively if you use fresh, 'cold' water. Set it to boil...


3. Fill your paper filter (available at Miss Spenser's) with loose leaf tea (also available at Miss Spenser's)  We recommend a "tea" spoon of tea for each 8 oz. of water.  
  4. Once the water has come to full boil, place filter inside teapot and pour boiling water over. This step is called, "The agony of the leaves." (don't you think that sounds romantic!?) Secure the edge of the filter with the teapot lid so that the leaves don't spill into the pot.  Brew for the recommended time - 3 to 5 minutes. (Tea times are different for various teas, so consult the steeping time.)  Be sure to set the timer! Don't brew longer than 5 minutes because that's when tea starts to get bitter!



5. When it's been the allotted time, remove the tea leaves.



6. All done!! Sit back and relax... and enjoy that nice cup of tea!! Keep us posted on your progress!

Teacup Thursday: "Coclough China"

“The taking of Tea can be as comforting as a warm embrace.”

This teacup here is made by Colclough China in Longton England. It has a pretty little blue border that goes around the top of the cup and outer edge of saucer. To me it looks and feels really old! Something I’d imagine a heroine from a Jane Austen novel to sip tea out of!
Till next time,
~Miss Spenser


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Teacup Thursday!

Exciting News for Princess Diana Fans!


One of our special blog followers from Kansas City just informed us that today the Kansas City Star announced, "Diana, a Celebration" will be making its way to the Kansas City Union Station March 4 through June 12.

Two years ago, Miss Spenser, our special friend Cindy, and I traveled  to Cleveland, Ohio to see this exhibit.  We were told at the time it probably wouldn't be in the states again...so naturally, we hopped in the car and made the 13 hour trip...my hiner was tired...but it was SOOO worth it. 

We would highly recommend this special Exhibit.  It's the next best thing to visiting Althrop.  The cost is $23.50 for non-members of the Union Station and $10 for members.

THANK YOU Jenny for letting us know this fantastic news!! 

'Puff-Sleeves' for Ronda ~ Part 2

Skirt Ruffle:

Anne's Skirt Ruffle
I love how Anne’s Skirt flows as she walks around! It’s a two layer skirt – one of silk/satin and the other made of the striped sheer. These two layers are what creates the flowing looks as she moves around. If you look closely you’ll see there is a lot of detail on her skirt. A ruffle, bound with a satin ribbon and then few layers of ribbon stripes at the lower end of the skirt

Here are some pictures of the beginnings of the skirt:
(ignore the wrinkles)

Plain Skirt without the ruffles

Close up of the Ruffle

Skirt with Ruffle and Ribbon Trim

Stay tune for more pictures next week!! 





Teacup Thursday: "Spode's Tower"


My copper kettle whistles merrily
and signals that it is time for tea.
The fine china cups are filled with the brew.
There’s lemon and sugar and sweet cream, too.
But, best of all there’s friendship, between you and me.
As we lovely share our afternoon tea.
~Marianna Arolin

Make sure to take time to sit down with your dear friend
 and enjoy a cup of tea this year!  
Spode's Tower by Copeland made in England




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'Puff-Sleeves' for Ronda ~ Part 1


Spenser and Ronda

The tearoom has brought Mom and I many wonderful friends… and last year June, the tearoom brought be a very special friend, Ronda Kelley. Ronda is originally from Ontario, Canada, but met and fell in love with an ‘Iowa Boy’ and now lives with her husband in Boone.


Anne Shirley reciting "The Highway Man"



Ronda is a true Kindred Spirit and loves everything “Anne”. Ronda, her husband, and a friend attended our Anne of Green Gables tea back in June. After the tea she confessed to me that “she’d always dreamed of having a dress with puff sleeves”.


She loved the dress that Anne wore in “Highway Man” scene. Since I love sewing/design/costuming… I immediately knew which dress she was talking about!


Ronda thought it would be neat to wear it at their Wedding Anniversary Celebration up in Canada this year! This project sounded like too much fun for me to pass it up! So, we began discussing and planning the creation of this beautiful dress!


I studied the movie’s dress and drew up sketches. We went to a few different fabric stores in Des Moines… at the first one, we found some fabric that would work. From the movie it looked like there was an ‘overskirt’ of sheer striped fabric. I had in my mind what I wanted but hadn’t ever seen any fabric in person like that before. We tried one more fabric store, and there it was… laying over in the modern apparel… cream, sheer striped fabric! I couldn't belive it! I wanted to scream... It was perfect!!
Come back next week to view the progress I made on the skirt! 




Teacup Thursday: "A New Year's Resolution"

Happy New Year Everyone!
Today is our first Teacup Thursday of 2011!!
I thought it would be fun to have share with you during the month of January some of our blue teacups.

This one here is pictured with my Sense and Sensibility book. It’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions to read this book. I’ve seen the movie several times and in many different versions! It’s one of my favorite stories written by Jane Austen.  I'm sure many of you can relate with me when I tell you I’ve started this book a couple times, but then get busy and forget to finish it, but this shall happen no more! 2011 will be the year that I read it! (to the end!) 

Do you have any good books on your New Year’s Resolution list??

New Year Blessings,
~Miss Spenser


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Teacup Thursday!



Love Letter Tea ~ Coming this February!!

Love Letter Tea 
Saturday February 12 at 11 a.m.
(Sunday, Feb 13 at 1:00 p.m.)
(when playing video pause the music below)

Lose yourself in the romance of very special love letters by four famous (and not so famous) individuals. Each letter will be performed in full costume. While enjoying the performances, indulge in a delightful, deliciously prepared four-course tea. Celebrate love and friendship with friends or your special someone. Call today - 641-342-1547 to make your reservation!

Cost: $26.50/person (includes tax)
RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED - Thank you

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