Category Archives: Gift Ideas

From Tea Time Magazine: Teapots by Amy Cates

This week, we’re sharing a nice article on teapots from Tea Time Magazine.

Teapots by Amy Cates

Teapots by Amy Cates

If you don’t subscribe to Tea Time Magazine, we highly recommend it for interesting articles, delicious recipes, inspiration and lots of extras! You can subscribe, give a gift subscription (a great tea gift that keeps on giving) or receive the Tea Time Newsletter at TeaTimeMagazine.com.

Our Tip: If you can afford a subscription to Tea Time Magazine, it is well worth the money as a resource that you’ll continually reference and share. Otherwise, get the Newsletter and check out the website! They’re free and the website has many wonderful resources like slide shows for making Candied Lemon Zest Curls or Sugared Flowers, printable recipe cards and many downloadable recipes.

For your next tea party visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our newest selection of english bone china tea setsteapots & tea accessories.

Candied Lemon Zest Curls Slideshow, Tea Time Magazine

Sugared Flowers Slideshow, Tea Time Magazine

Pecan Praline Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting from My Own Sweet Thyme

An awesome holiday cookie recipe…or an all year indulgence! Brown sugar, pecan cookie with brown sugar icing…seriously, what’s not to like?

We hope you enjoy it and thank you to My Own Sweet Thyme for posting it. FYI: This blog is worth checking out!

My Own Sweet Thyme: Pecan Praline Cookies with Brown Sugar Frosting: One of the best things about being a home cook is finding others who share that same interest. It is a delight to meet someone whose eyes …

For your next tea party, we invite you to visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our selection of authentic English bone china tea setsteapotstea accessories and antique tea cups.

Bone China Mugs for Tea

Lady Diana Rose Chintz Mug

C.S. Lewis said,

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

He might have liked a mug!

Check out this video for a preview of lovely Staffordshire bone china mugs available at Teapots ‘n More!

Visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our selection of bone china mugsenglish bone china tea setsteapots & antique chintz tea cups.

Dark Chocolate Ginger Molasses Cookies

A tasty cookie for the Autumn/Winter season and a lovely hostess gift or party favor along with the recipe!

Makes about 5 dozen.

¾ cup softened butter or good margarine such as Imperial
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsulphured molasses
1 egg
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
¼ pound candied ginger slices, finely diced
¼ to ½ pound dark chocolate, 72%
Additional granulated sugar

1. Reserve 2 Tbsp. candied ginger for decoration. In a large bowl, cream together butter and 1 cup sugar with a pastry blender or a mixer at low speed. Add molasses, egg and remaining candied ginger, beating until well blended.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix well. Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight.

3. Form dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

4. Bake at 375°F for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 1 minutes and remove cookies to wire rack to cool.

5. Melt chopped chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Using a fork drizzle melted chocolate over cookies. Before chocolate sets, sprinkle tops with reserved candied ginger.

6. After chocolate is set, place cookies in an airtight container and store in a cool place 1 week or freeze for 1 month.

For your next tea party, we invite you to visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our selection of authentic English bone china tea sets, teapots, tea accessories and antique tea cups.

Grimwade Brothers: Home of Royal Winton Chintz

One of the most successful chintz producing potteries, Grimwade Brothers, began in 1885 at the Winton Pottery, Stock-on-Trent when Leonard Grimwade invited his older brother Sidney to join his manufacture business.  Sidney was a potter, however, it appears that Leonard was the enterprising force behind the prosperity of Grimwade Brothers. He was described by business associates and employees alike as a man of vision, energy and generosity.

His company grew quickly receiving patents for a number of innovative products including the Paragon coffee pot with a removable strainer, a Safety Milk Bowl and a Quick-Cooker Bowl. Earthenware for the kitchen, toiletry, hospital, nursery and table was produced by the company. The chintz ware for which the company is well know may have been produced as early as 1913 in more traditional patterns such as Jacobean ware, Hampton chintz and Spode Chintz. These patterns were large and widely spaced.

Today, we generally associate chintz with smaller closely packed patterns. The first chintz of this nature produced by Grimwades was Paisley in 1923. However, the pottery’s first major success with a “modern” chintz pattern was the design Marguerite in 1928. This pattern is said to have been inspired by a design Mrs. Minnie Grimwade was working on a cushion at the time. The success of Marguerite was followed by numerous new chintz patterns during the next 20+ years. Some patterns remained proprietary to Grimwade such as Julia and Welbeck, while others were sold for use by other potteries such as Rose Du Barry.

Although Leonard Grimwade died unexpectedly in 1931, his company florished for many years. By the 1960s, due to a number of factors, the market for chintz had dropped off. The Grimwade company was sold to Howard Potteries in 1964 with the Royal Winton trade name kept intact. Various company buyouts proceeded over the years with the Royal Winton name still remaining. As far as we know, the latest company to trade as Royal Winton is still producing chintz ware. There are 12 patterns available with some of the most popular original chintz designs reintroduced in the 1990s.

Royal Winton chintz continues to be a favorite with collectors. Listed below are some excellent resources available for those who wish to explore the rich history of Royal Winton and English chintz ware.

This brief summary was gleaned from Collecting Royal Winton Chintz by Muriel M. Miller, Francis Joseph Publications 1996 available on Amazon.

Book Resources:

Collecting Royal Winton Chintz by Muriel M. Miller

Royal Winton Porcelain: Ceramics Fit for a King by Eileen Rose Busby

The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Chintz, 3rd Edition by Susan Scott

Chintz Ceramics by Jo Anne Welsh

For your next tea party visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our newest selection of english bone china tea sets, teapots & antique chintz tea cups.

The Wileman Shelley Pottery: A brief history

Shelley CountrySide Chintz

In a nod to all those wonderful & dedicated Shelley collectors, we’re starting off our history series on English Potteries with the Wileman Shelley works.

The Shelley pottery was prolific in producing a large variety of very fine patterns in fine bone china. As the Shelley Pottery, it operated from 1925 to the late 1960s. However, the pottery got its start under Henry Wileman. Around 1860, he was producing earthenware products at the Foley pottery in Staffordshire, England. He started a second pottery for the production of fine china which became the Shelley pottery.

The Shelley name comes from Joseph Shelley who joined the Wileman family as a salesperson. In 1870, Joseph became a partner with James Wileman, Henry’s son, in Wileman & Company. James ran the original earthenware pottery and Joseph focused on the fine china production. Joseph Shelley worked hard to produced the finest quality china and expand foreign export. His son, Percy, joined the business in 1881.

Example of Shelley Backstamp

Percy Shelley brought in top artists and litho designers thereby improving the appearance of the fine china wares. He was so successful that the reputation and demand for Shelley china grew both at home and abroad. Both Wileman and Shelley wares are still avidly collected today and the value of many patterns remains high.

Wileman Foley Demitasse Empire Shape

Upon the death of his father, Percy took full control of the pottery and ran the company for about 50 years. Around 1910, he became involved in a legal battle over the use of “Foley” in his backstamp which was the name of a pottery region. After losing, he renamed his manufacturing works Shelley around 1925. Thus the Shelley brand was born.

As is true of other major English chintz manufacturers, production and creativity was greatest from the 1920’s through the 1950’s with a brief drop in the years surrounding World War II. In 1966, the company was sold to Allied Potteries.

Wileman Shelley collectors have at least three collector’s clubs accessible online with a wealth of information on history, shapes, patterns and backstamps. For detailed histories & further research, please check out the following club sites as well as the reference books listed below and available on Amazon.

Example of Wileman Foley Backstamp

Online Club Sites:

Australasian Shelley Collector’s Club

The Shelley Group

National Shelley China Club

Book Resources:

Shelley Chintz: Unlocking the Secrets of the Pattern Books by Kelly Moran

Shelley China: Schiffer Book for Collectors by Tina Skinner

Shelley Tea Ware Patterns by Sheryl Burdess

More Shelley China: Schiffer Book for Collectors by Lee Jones & Russ Nicholas

Brown Sugar Shortbread

For your Autumn tea, try this easy & deliciously rich cookie with the taste of buttery caramels. It’s certain to become a year round favorite!

Makes about 3 dozen.

1 cup softened butter (no margarine)
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 ¼ cups flour

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.

2. Gradually stir in flour. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes.

3. Pat into a 3/8″ thick rectangle measuring 11″ by 8″ (about the size of a sheet of lined paper).

4. Cut into 2″ by 1″ strips. Place 1″ apart on ungreased baking sheets. Prick with a fork.

5. Bake for 25 minutes or until bottom begins to brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container 1-2 weeks or freeze for 3-4 months.

You’re invited to visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our selection of English bone china tea sets, teapots, tea accessories and antique tea cups.

Introducing Karen Bell Watercolors

Tea and Roses by Karen Bell

A few weeks back, we reintroduced the internationally acclaimed art of Marty Bell. We’d now like to introduce nationally acclaimed watercolor artist, Karen Bell.

Karen, a California native, finds unique inspiration in the mystery and beauty nature, flowers in particular. Her natural eye for dramatic contrast in light and shadow combined with the soft translucence of watercolor, make her subjects appear to bloom off the page in bold, vivid hues.

Irresistible by Karen Bell

This exciting artist has honed her skills under many watercolor masters. She credits two classic masters as important sources of inspiration: Claude Monet for his use of light and Georgia O’Keeffe for her dramatic use of color and subject. The influence of these masters is especially effective in her still life subjects.

Her extraordinary paintings are displayed in many fine galleries and personal collections. We recommend to you the dramatic and beautiful art of Karen Bell: a masterful watercolorist!

Morning Light by Karen Bell

Are you interested is purchasing Karen Bell Fine Art? You’re invited to visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our growing selection of Karen Bell fine art prints.

Silver Plate vs. Nickel Plate?

Acorn Demi Spoons

Once or twice a year, I pull out my lovely silver plated demi spoons for a special tea party. I already know how they’re going to look even though I carefully packed them in a silver cloth. Silver tarnishes and that’s just the way it is!

It’s not a terrible thing, but I always say “good thing, I don’t mind the polishing or these babies would be gone!” Polishing the silver is a labor of love and part of the preparation for a special event. However, there are ladies who don’t want the extra fuss. Is there an alternative to silver or silver plate?

There is indeed! Nickel plated tea accessories are showing up in the market place this year. The price is good and the look is so similar to silver plate that you’d have a difficult time telling the difference. So, which is better?

There isn’t really a clear cut upside to either silver or nickel plating. It really comes down to your own preferences.

As previously stated, silver plate and nickel plate have a very similar coloring and brightness. Although, nickel can appear a little brighter. The obvious difference is the tarnishing aspect of silver whereas nickel doesn’t tarnish so no polishing is required. That, in itself, is a big plus for some gals.

Cake & Pastry Tongs

The debate over nickel plate vs. silver plate seems to be most rigorous when discussing musical instruments or jewelry findings. Silver plate is considered more durable for musical instruments such as flutes or horns. In regard to wearing jewelry, one of the more common metal allergies is to nickel. 

In my opinion, the durability and allergy questions aren’t particularly important to our discussion. In the average home, demi spoons are usually only used a few times a year: not enough to worry about durability and not enough skin contact to worry about allergies.

So, let’s sum up! The color of silver and nickel plate is very similar. Durability and allergies don’t really matter in regard to demi spoons, tea service or serving pieces. In the end, it comes down to silver tarnish. If you’re fussy about polishing silver, go with the nickel plate. If you don’t mind cleaning the tarnish, go for the silver. Either way, your table is going to be lovely!

Are you planning a tea party? You’re invited to visit Teapots ‘n Moreand browse our latest selection of English bone china teapots, tea sets, tea accessories and antique tea cups.

Rediscovering Marty Bell

Three Pots of Daisies

As a child, three small paintings were artistically displayed in our kitchen. They were floral subjects on pieces of distressed wood: three pots of white daisies, a yellow rose tree and a close up of yellow daisies. These art pieces were special to my mom because they had been painted by a friend.

Years later as a new bride, my husband and I came upon an art display at a local mall. Romantic English cottages and victorian ladies were showcased. The flowers in one particular print caught my eye. They reminded me of those kitchen paintings and, feeling nostalgic, we went to find the artist. I was surprised to find she was my mother’s friend, but now more accomplished and growing in popularity. She remembered me, of course, and said she wanted to paint my face. I demured thinking she was just being kind. It was 1982 and this was the day we purchased our first Marty Bell.

The Gamekeepers Cottage

Marty Bell found her love for art early in life, but she found her high school art teachers didn’t offer the support and direction she wanted. In her words, “Our teachers would ask us to draw still lifes, like a broken tricycle or a baseball bat. These have their place, but who would want them on their wall forever? I would work with that for awhile and then I would start playing on my own with the paints. This is where I would get into trouble.”

After marrying and starting a family, she picked up art classes again. Her first teacher really encouraged individual creativity and eventually Marty started her own art school. In 1974, after traveling throughout England, Marty painted a few English scenes which promptly sold. From that point on, her life was not the same. Many paintings were selling even before she could complete them and what began as a hobby, had become a thriving art business. Her creations were sought by collectors, decorators and design firms. She gained international popularity and is considered the premiere painter of the English countryside.

Shefield Roses

With her passion for beauty, color and style, Marty Bell was a prolific and influential artist. Her work has been internationally collected and she enjoyed the respect of both her peers and fine art collectors. In her lifetime, Marty painted more than 3,000 oil paintings ranging from old English cottages and California landscapes to impressionistic pieces and colorful still lifes.

Her artistic vision continues to appeal to fine art collectors evoking a blend of warmth & nostalgia as attractive today as it was 35+ years ago. Those original three small paintings still hang, artistically displayed, in my mother’s kitchen and I still love my own Marty Bell prints.

Now, we invite you to rediscover the art of Marty Bell.

Miss Elizabeth’s Door

 

Are you interested in fine English bone china teapots and tea sets? You’re invited to visit Teapots ‘n More and browse our beautiful selection.