Tag Archives: tea party theme

A Springtime Tea Table: Birds of a Feather by Angie Brown, Tea Time Magazine

Tea Time Magazine is one of our favorite resources for tea inspiration. Along with their large and loyal following, we expect you’ll agree!

With Springtime in our thoughts, please allow us to direct your attention to Tea Time’s article for a bird themed tea table. It includes slideshows showcasing three different ways to decorate: Classically Elegant, Playfully Childlike and Casually Refined.

Birds of a Feather by Angie Brown

Birds of a Feather by Angie Brown.

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 these recipes for Salmon Mousse Tea Sandwiches and Apple-Pomegranate Gellies.

Apple-Pomegranate Gellies shown with Pear-Walnut Gellies

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

Music For A Tranquil Tea

You’re having a tea party! The teas are selected; savories and sweets prepared. Linens pressed, silver polished, tables set and on down the check list. Fresh flowers, guest favors…check, check and double check!

What about the music? Is it really necessary?

While music isn’t the most important ingredient to a lovely tea party, it is key to the atmosphere you create for your guests. Think of it like the makeup on your face. With makeup, the goal is to enhance your natural beauty. You want people to say “you’re eyes are lovely”, not “you’re blue eye shadow is lovely”. Likewise with music, you want to choose pieces that will enhance the experience for your guests, not detract from it.

The logical next question then is which music to choose?

While the options are many, we submit the following observations. Music that contains words or is too loud competes with the conversation in the room. Fast paced or hauntingly slow music is usually less than peaceful. The best music will provide a tranquil backdrop to your gathering.

We’ve concluded that our favorite music for tea parties involves the stringed instruments by classic composers. You will find a short list of our favorites below. Feel free to add to our list. We love to hear your thoughts!

Tea Party Music Suggestions:

Bach Concerto for Violin & Orchestra in E Major, Mvt. I

Bach Double Concerto for Two Violins & Orchestra in D Minor, Mvt. II

Vivaldi Symphony in C Major, No. 44

Vivaldi Symphony in D Major, No. 30

Vivaldi Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8 (Spring)

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Have a Charity Tea

With great empathy, we’ve watched the news from Japan this week along with all of you. Our hearts break for the stories of loss and alternately rejoice through tears for every life saved, every act of courage and bravery. In the face of such destruction, it is easy to feel small and insignificant. However, these are the times that require our action and affirmation of all that is good in each of us.

So, what can you do? Well, what are you good at? Are you a good organizer? Are you a good baker? Do you love to decorate? Do you know a lot of people? Do you love a good party? Perhaps a tea party?

Japanese Geisha Girl Tea Table

If you’re answer is yes, we suggest a Charity Tea. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just send out invites and plan a tea as you normally would with one small change. Ask your guests to bring a donation of any amount, large or small. You’ll be surprised at how your little bit can add up when you put it all together.

Below are some ideas to spark your imagination and philanthropy!

1. Who should we give to? If you are seeking to help the  Japanese people, American Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse are a few good suggestions. These organizations are already in the country with people and delivery systems in place. Other possibilities are a local children’s hospital, food bank, cancer society or disabled veteran’s group. Just look around or ask your guests for suggestions and pull one out of a tea cup during your tea party.

2. If your tea is small enough, total up your donation while your guests are present so everyone can share in the accomplishment. Otherwise, be sure to send out a donation total with your thank you notes.

3. To accompany your donation, write a short letter or card together with your guests and have everybody sign it.

Silk Fan in Box

4. Give your guests a remembrance of the day such as a Japanese fan, nice chopsticks, bamboo coasters or a pretty candle.

5. Make it fun. Share good food & good company for a good cause. You’ll be glad you did!

World’s Best Scones Made Even Better

Cranberry Pecan & Triple Chocolate Scones

What’s different? Since scones are basically a sweet biscuit, we dropped the egg. Additionally, we reduced the milk and added two Make Ahead Options. These options allow you to make scones in as little as 20 minutes. We’re especially excited about Make Ahead Option #2 which goes from freezer to oven. We hope you enjoy this new & improved recipe!

World’s Best Scones (made even better)

Makes 24 small scones, 1 1/4 inch (our favorite size) or 10-12 scones, 2 inch or 8-12 wedges.

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder (Yes, that is a Tablespoon.)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
6 Tbsp. butter
6 Tbsp. (3 fl. oz.) milk
1/4 cup chopped nuts, if desired
1/2 cup of one or two of the following, if desired: currants, raisins, dried cranberries, dried chopped cherries, chocolate chips, cinnamon chips, dried chopped apricots or apples, etc.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add one or two of the above dried fruits, nuts or chips or leave plain.

Make Ahead Option #1: At this point, you can turn the oven off and seal this mix in an airtight container (such as a plastic bag) and store for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place. When ready to use, place mix in a large bowl and proceed with step 2. You’ll have tea & scones within a 1/2 hour if you multi-task on the tea. 🙂

2. Cut butter into dry ingredients until approximately the size of peas.

3. Measure vanilla into a small bowl and add milk. Pour most of the vanilla milk  into dry mix and stir to moisten. Dough should be moist enough to form a soft ball, but not sticky. If needed, additional milk may be added 1-2 teaspoons at a time.

4.  Turn dough onto a lightly floured cutting board and press out with hand to approximately 1/2 inch thickness. Tip: Do not knead dough and use as little flour as possible to keep the dough from sticking to the board.

Sparkling White Sugar Crystals

5. Cut into desired shapes and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Lightly brush tops with milk if desired. Sprinkle with raw sugar crystals or Sparkling White Sugar crystals such as those found at cake decorating supply stores or King Arthur Flour. Raw sugar crystals can be found in the baking aisle of many grocery stores. Tip: If using a biscuit cutter or glass, dip the cutting edge in flour first.

Raw Sugar

Make Ahead Option #2: At this point, place your scones on a cookie sheet and freeze. When completely frozen, wrap scones well in plastic wrap and foil. Well wrapped scones will keep at least one month. When ready to use, proceed to step six, using frozen scones. Do not thaw first. You’ll have scones within 20 minutes! 😀

6. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on size. The 1 1/4 inch scone will be done in about 10 minutes. Sprinkle again with large sugar crystals while scones are still hot for visual appeal. Best served within 1 day of baking with butter or clotted cream and jam. Store in airtight container if serving later in the day. Tip: When baking, start checking your scones at the minimum baking time. You can always bake longer, but overdone is ruined.

Check out our Triple Chocolate Scone recipe too!

Tips for great scones: Scones are like biscuits. To get a tender, flaky scone, the dough should be handled as little as possible and you should always use cold butter and cold milk.

For more tips, check out our article on Squidoo: How to Make Great Scones.

Some of our favorite combinations are:

Cranberry-Orange Pecan:  1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/4 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 tsp. orange zest

Cinnamon Chip: 1/2 cup mini cinnamon chips and 1/2-1 tsp. ground cinnamon

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Tips for Tender, Tasty Scones

Cinnamon Chip Scones

It’s early morning and I’m making mini scones (about 6 dozen) in preparation for a meeting…pumpkin, cinnamon chip and golden raisin. A good flavor combination considering the season. Crunched for time, I’m resorting to my favorite box mix, Iveta Gourmet, which has me out of the kitchen and on my way  in an hour. I love that mix!

As I’m patting and cutting 4 bowls of dough, I find my inspiration for this post. How many times have I served scones only to hear this comment, “These are scones? But they taste so good!”?

While I appreciate the compliment, scones aren’t difficult to make. The appeal of a good scone is in the texture as well as the taste. It should be a little crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. So without further comment, here are my tips for tasty, tender scones.

– Use cold butter or margarine and cold milk.

– Scones are basically a sweet biscuit, so follow the same rules: Don’t overmix and handle the dough as little as possible.

– When rolling out the dough, use as little flour as possible and roll to about 1/2 inch thick. Remember to handle the dough as little as possible. I’ve found that patting out the dough with my hand allows me to use less flour.

– Cut out small scones instead of large. I use a 1-2 inch round cutter. It’s a great size that your guests will appreciate.

– Don’t overbake! I know this is obvious, but still important.

– Make your scones the morning of your event. Remember, scones are basically biscuits, and therefore, will get stale more quickly.

Turbinado Sugar

– For extra table appeal, sprinkle your scones with coarse sugar before andafter baking. You can use raw sugar, demerara sugar, turbinado sugar or decorative sugars. I pick up decorative white sugar crystals from our local cake decorating shop and keep a vanilla bean in the sugar for extra aroma and flavor.

– If you’re crunched for time, don’t be afraid to use a mix. I’ve got a favorite scone recipe, but there are some good mixes on the market. As I mentioned, my favorite is Iveta. With a mix, you can have scones and tea ready in about 30 minutes.

If you’re looking for a good scone recipe instead of a mix, I recommend this one: The World’s Best Scones. As always, we’d love to hear your comments or questions.

Happy Baking!                                                                                                            Michelle in Customer Service

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Making Chai Tea

As the weather in Southern California is finally starting to hint at autumn (a cool 78 degrees!), our thoughts around the office are turning gratefully to rainy days, good books and a good cup of hot tea! It’s funny what you miss when you don’t have it. In the middle of January, I’m sure we’ll be looking fondly toward Summer having forgotten the sweltering heat.

With those thoughts in mind, it occurs to me that now might be a good time to post a refresher on making that spicy good tea, Chai. Much has been written on this cold weather favorite, so let’s just share the brewing basics.

Brewing Chai:  Place 1 heaping teaspoon of tea for each cup into your teapot. Pour boiling water into teapot. Cover and let steep for 5-10 minutes – yes, this is more tea and a longer steeping time for a good strong brew.  While the tea is brewing, put 1 teaspoon of sugar in each of your cups – this can be adjusted to taste, artifical sweetner also works fine. Adding sweetner helps open up the exotic flavor of this spicy blend. Add milk to your cups (about 20% of the cup’s volume). When the chai is ready, strain into cups and enjoy.

Personally, I use one packet of Splenda – yes, I know it might kill me. AND I do use cream instead of milk because I like the added body and that “slickery” feeling the cream offers.

If you like a full bodied tea with strong flavors, we highly recommend Chai tea. It’s a terrific brew for Autumn & holiday gatherings. We have an exceptional Vanilla Chai available in our store, should you like to indulge yourself. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

You’re invited to click Teapots ‘n More and browse our newest selection of teapots, tea accessories, teacups, tea miniatures and english bone china tea sets.

Paper Doilies: The Decorating Wonder!

Party Decorating on the Cheap
Need a cheap, versatile decorating idea? Two words: Paper Doilies!

We had an epiphany shopping at the local Walmart, which judging from the information already on the internet was late in coming! We needed doilies for store use and purchased a 24 pack of round paper doilies in three size (12″, 8″ & 6″) by Wilton for $2.00.  Such a deal! That’s when we realized the awesome, cheap decorating power of the paper doily.

Think about it. Need to decorate a cake? Paper doilies and powdered sugar. Decorate a table? Paper doilies. Place cards? Doilies. Invitations? Doilies!

So, with a doily in hand for inspiration, here is a list of basic ideas as a springboard for your imagination and some links to ideas from other creative people. Please share your great ideas as well. If you’ve got a Walmart nearby, go for the Wilton Cakes display. I’ll bet you find paper doilies…the decorating wonder!

If you can’t find paper doilies, here are some online resources:  from Create For Less – 32 Assorted Round White Doilies for $1.94, from Kids Crafts Plus – 96 Assorted Round White Doilies for $7.45, from Sur La Table – 48 Assorted Square White Doilies for $9.95. We also noticed some good deals on Ebay and Etsy searching under Paper Doilies.

Paper Doily Ideas:

1.  Decorate a cake with doilies.  Lay a doily or doilies in  a pattern on top of a dark cake such as chocolate,  gingerbread or even brownies. Sift with powdered sugar and carefully lift doilies. For the prettiest look, be sure to use a doily that does not have a solid circle of paper in the middle.

2.   Use large doilies as place mats under table settings. This is most effective on a colored tablecloth.

3.   Dress up serving plates/trays with doilies or set off a special dessert with a doily.

4.   Arrange different sized doilies on a colored tablecloth and cover with sheer fabric or tulle netting.

5.   Take the same idea as above but make a doily table runner.

6.   Use a doily as an invitation.

7.   Dress up a paper napkin by folding it inside a doily. My thought here is to fold a square napkin in half lengthwise and fold a round doily in half. Then place the now rectangular napkin in the now half-round doily and give it all a good crease.

8.   Use 4″ round doilies as place cards at each table setting.

9.   Decorate small favor boxes with small doilies.

10. Make a luminary table decoration with white paper bags, candles, sand, paper doilies, glue and scissors. While your bag is still folded up, scallop the top edges with a scissor. Glue doilies on the inside of your bags making sure to glue all edges to the bag. When dry, add 1-2 inches of sand and votive candles or battery operated votive candles. Remember the safety of your guests: never leave a burning candle unattended.

11. Make a Paper Lace Garland – a charming idea from Project Wedding!

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Bookworm Tea Party

A Bookworm Tea Party
For your book club or bookish friends!

This tea party offers a delightful few hours with good friends, hearty food and great books which your guests bring! Imagine the conversation as each guest shares a little about their book. Find a creative way to exchange your books such as pulling them from a box, exchanging with the person across from you or a variation on the Christmas gift exchange game. Before you leave, plan another tea party to return the books and share your reading adventures!

Make or purchase invitations that look like books or are book themed. Ask your guests to bring a favorite book to temporarily exchange. Include a purchased or handmade bookplate for their convenience with instructions to complete &  paste it in their book before arriving. The bookplate is a thoughtful way to ensure that your guest’s books eventually are returned.

Indoor decorations:
Set an informal, comfortable tea table with big mugs instead of tea cups, cushions on the chairs, and placemats or tablerunners.  Roll forks, spoons & knives in napkins and tie off with raffia or ribbon. To your napkin scrolls, attach a quote from a famous person on reading, books or tea.

Keep your centerpiece simple: a bowl of apples with greenery, a flowering potted plant, old books or your guest’s books artfully stacked.

Give a purchased or hand made bookmark.  Click here for several bookmark ideas.

Traditional English Lunch Menu:

Pair a simple green salad with one or two of the following entrees:

Heinz Baked Beans on Toast
Fish n’ Chips
Toad in the Hole
Shepherds Pie
Cornish Pasties

Serve one of the following for dessert:

Fresh Fruit
Brown Sugar Shortbread Cookies
Gingerbread Cake & Lemon Sauce

Serve a good all day tea such as English Breakfast with milk and sugar.

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Red Hat Themed Tea Party

A Red Hat Themed Tea Party
Based on the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph

This silly tea party is based on the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph. You may recognize it better as the poem “When I am an Old Woman”, the calligraphy version copyrighted by Elizabeth Lucas*. Consider this idea for a tea party with your Red Hat Society Chapter or as a fun way to initiate new members. Let it be a “jumping off” place for your own imagination and creativity!

Make out your invitation on long rectangular sheets of paper. Wrap them up like a scroll around something silly such as a kazoo, a small pickling cucumber, or a funny pen/pencil. Tie closed with a red or purple ribbon. Hand-deliver or send in a small mailing tube. (Don’t mail the cucumber!)

Outdoor/Indoor decorations:
Make a sign that says “If old and tired, sit here.” Attach to the sidewalk or a walkway where your guests will see it. Mark the spot with a big red or purple “X”.

Place a small dish or bowl of “store samples” on a table inside your front door. Have toothpicks available next to the dish and a sign that reads “Free Samples”. The samples could be cheese cubes, sausage bites, olives, small pickles, mini quiches cut into quarters, etc. Place the dish on ice if it will be there for more than 15 minutes.

Make four sections of a picket fence using Popsicle sticks. Spray paint the sections white, red or purple. When dry, glue sections together into a box shape. Place a vase of red, purple & pink flowers inside the “picket fence” box. Make a small sign that says “Flowers courtesy of Other People’s Gardens” and attach to a long stick. Place sign in vase among flowers.

Add to the table the following items:
– a small jar with a sign that says “Donations for butter accepted”

– an old fashioned Sales Counter Service Bell

– short sticks scattered around the table so that your guests can practice running their sticks “along the public railings” (your picket fence table decoration).

Purchase red and purple paper placemats from a party store to place under your centerpiece or under each guest’s table setting. You can use them as they are or cut them into the shape of a large hat. If you are really ambitious, you can decorate the “hat” placemats with paper flowers, ribbon, etc…

Any one of the following is sure to bring a laugh!

Purchase a “terrible shirt” for each of your guests from the local thrift store.

Roll up a pair of lace summer gloves and tie with a purple ribbon for each of your guests.

Roll up used pencils and business pens in a paper coaster from a local restaurant and tie with a purple ribbon for each of your guests.

Purchase bookmarks** of the poem “Warning” aka: “When I am an Old Woman…” for each of your guests. These could also be part of your table centerpiece if you place them in a slipper or sandal on the table.

Make a starter jar of “Brandied Fruit” for each of your guests to take home. Be sure to include instructions for “feeding” the jar. (See our recipe for the starter instructions on our recipes blog, teapotsnmore.wordpress.com.)

Menu Ideas:
Many of the following recipes are available on our recipes blog, teapotsnmore.wordpress.com.

Red Hat Tea (available from the Red Hat Society store in two flavors)
Chicken Salad Ribbon Sandwiches
Cucumber Sandwiches
Toad in the Hole
An assortment of small pickles on skewers
Brandied Fruit over Pound Cake Slices
Red Hat Tea Cookies
Mock Clotted Cream
Jam or Fruit Curd

Quick alternatives for Toad in the Hole:
– Cooked sausages rolled in biscuit dough and baked
– Frozen Mini Quiches with cooked sausage added to tops before baking

* Copies available for purchase at http://www.elizabethlucasdesigns.com.

**Bookmarks are available through Elizabeth Lucas, www.elizabethlucasdesigns.com, and the Red Hat Society, www.redhatsociety.com.

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Quilter’s Tea

Quilter’s Tea
Inspired by Quilting Bees where great relationships are made…one stitch at a time!

Invite a group of ladies together. Maybe you have something in common such as a hobby or a volunteer organization. Great relationships require some work, so here’s where they can help you. Ask them to bring some favorite small thing from their home for the centerpiece (hopefully they will bring an interesting knick-knack which they take back home of course) and to complete one of the following phrases: My best childhood memory is…, My most embarrassing moment was…, One of my favorite quotes is…,The subject I loved most in school was…, You’d be surprised to know…, You’d never guess it, but I am really good at… Have them share their phrases around the table along with the good conversation that follows.

Centerpiece Idea:
Cover your table with a quilt. Get a sewing basket and place a flowering potted plant in it (be sure to protect the inside of the basket with plastic or cellophane). Use Spanish moss to hide the plant pot. Trail a measuring tape or two out of the basket and scatter a small assortment of buttons on the table. Place your guests knick-knacks in various positions in this centerpiece, ie: peeking out of the basket or plant, etc. (Or ask your guests to place them as they come in.)

Hostess Gift Ideas:
A collectible thimble, a bag of novelty buttons, a candle, a small potted plant, a homemade treat or something reflecting the interests of the group you have invited.

You’re invited to click Teapots ‘n More and browse our newest selection of teapots, tea accessories, teacups, tea miniatures and elegant tea sets.