Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"DEAR VALENTINE"

" Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell"....(Joan Crawford).

This February, I'm all about making my own little ATC valentine cards... It's fun it's easy and inexpensive.
Nowadays it's so easy to send a romantic e-card and I have done that a few times... but, I just find it so impersonal and ( sigh) I'm in love ... with the whole idea of Valentines... SO, I brewed myself a nice pot of Rootibus tea and pondered which cup that I desired to drink from today.
It seems, I go through this ritual, every time I make tea ... What's my mood? ... Is it a sunny day? .... and ... What do I love? .... DO you have a teacup ritual( Hee Hee) .... TODAY ...I feel happy and creative and I'm loving all the sunshine that's pouring into my windows....mmmmmmm!!!!

What are some of things you love and how do you choose your teacup? I love roses. I love the colour pink . I love all things that twinkle and glisten like gold ( Ha Ha) and I love fine, light porcelain ... so .... this pretty Nippon tea set captured my heart. Infact, I'm singing " I FEEL PRETTY ", from Rodger and Hammersteins' musical and would dearly love share this cup and saucer with you all on this sunny, Teatime Tuesday.
The cup is stamped " Imperial China " with a trademark crown insignia, hand painted and nippon , so, I know it was made in Japan, perhaps around 1940 .... I searched the all nippon markings online, but unfortunately didn't find it amongst of the myriad of oriental stamps ... however, some were close, but not exact.

I contented myself knowing that I got this Nippon beauty for such a steal . It was purchased on Vancouver Island, Canada, over twenty years ago for five dollars. That was, of course, before all the prices soared on china teacups. I should have bought more. ( Ha Ha) ... Now I couldn't touch it for less than fifty dollars.
It boasts a very decorative side band of karat gold around the edges of both the cup and saucer. The handpainted roses, stems and leaves have also been tenderly outlined with the midas touch.
The delicate artistry on the saucer is a work of art, that could be brilliantly displayed and hung on a wall. It does seem such a shame, to put the cup on this lovely saucer, as wide brimmed mouth, covers a lot of the beautiful floral details.
Often, I turn this cup, upside down to display its rather pretty bottom ( ha ha) which is also hidden by the lip of the saucer. Today, I shall warm my hands on it's " Pippa" bottom, enjoy my tea, read Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry" How Do I love Thee " .... and endeavour to create more Valentines ...
What's on your Valentine agenda? I do hope that it includes, stopping over for a teatime chat and hugs ... The scones are hot and I have bowls filled with cinnamon hearts for all my teatime Valentines.. Wishing you all a sun filled day of Happiness and Love.

Monday, January 23, 2012

" THE SCENT OF ROSES "



" There should be beds of Roses.
banks of Roses, bowers of Roses,
hedges of Roses, edgings of Roses,
pillars of Roses, arches of Roses,
fountains of Roses, baskets of Roses,
vistas and alleys of Roses."

It's so delightful to participate in the " Tea Time Tuesday " Birthday festivities with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage ... especially since the theme is " Roses " ... How excited I am to share three of my childhood teatime treasures with you today.... beginning with my beautiful " Black Beauty " teapot and coffee pot from Germany( above).

I've been collecting this particular set since early childhood .It has a black matte finish with a single hand painted pink rose contrasted with gleaming gold trims. Perhaps rose painted teapots should be filled with rose tea.

Oh yes..Let's make a pot of Garden Fairy Rose tea ... but sh-h-h-h don't tell the fairies that I'm sharing their recipe with you ... So .... how do Garden fairies make rose tea ?

It's easy .... A freshly made tea of dried rose petals is a pleasant cooling drink on warm summer days.... All you have to do is collect petals to be dried before the blossom unfolds.Use 2 heaping teaspoons per cup of boiling water and sip away on your day dreams !!!

I have included some rose pictures that I snapped at the Samurai Gardens in Japan ... Hubby and I took five hundred plus photos of roses... Can You imagine !!!! ha ha .. I quess we love roses.
..This is the teacup and saucer that spurred my love of collecting teacups ... brought all the way from Scotland . It belonged to my grandmother Susanna Mitchell, and was passed onto my mother as a wedding gift when she travelled to Canada as a War Bride. A few delicate pieces were damaged and broken on the overseas journey in the convoy ship ... but I feel thankful that five cups and saucers, a large cream and sugar and eight dainty side dishes survived ... I call them my five graces.. after my eighty- eight year old mother, "Grace, who serviced in both the British and Canadian Airforce during the second world war.


It's a precocious little number that demands attention ... because of the bold contrast of the red,white and black . If china could talk ... oh my goodness what stories it would tell me ( ha ha) . I love it !

The markings are small and I'm supposing that it's called " Old Royal" as you can see there is not alot of information on the back.


The pottery is a very fine, light porcelain that is delightful to touch and drink from.

Here I am sneaking in another gorgeous old world rose from the Samurai Gardens in Japan. This delicate blossom possessed such an intoxicating scent that I couldn't stop inhaling ... It was truly euphoric !!!!
Another pretty cup that I bought on ebay is this old chintz pattern, Rosalynde made by James Kent Ltd, in England.,circa 1920+. It bears my namesake , only an older medieval spelling. The name, Rosalynde, Roslin, Roslind, means " surrounded by roses ". I do believe it is the perfect pattern for the " Rose Chintz Cottage" Birthday party... Don't You !!!

See how prettily the cup sits within the fluted saucer, just like a nosegay of flowers on the table.
Chintz is a highly collectible item, most often purchased by dedicated collectors. The pieces are usually marked on the bottom with the manufacturer and pattern names.

One set is marked with the number one and the other a number seven ... I'm not sure what these marking symbolize ... possibly the run or colour code.

The cup and sauces vary in shape, size and design. You can see that one is a little bigger than the other... Which one do you like best?
I'm a bit of a curious cat and started to wondered why we all have this widespread fascination with 'roses' !!!! ... So I read up on it with Carl G. Jung's book " Man and His Symbols ". According to the learned doctor, the circle created by the roses petals is symbolic of " Self " .

No doubt you have noticed the variety of abstract circle figures in Zen paintings and abstract mandalas that appear in a lot of European artworks ... A splendid example are the rose windows of cathedrals. ... The Roses are apparently representations of the " Self" of man transposed onto a cosmic plane .... Hmmmm .... those are pretty deep rose petals ...Today, I think I'll stick to simple gardening .( Ha Ha)

My last little beauty is a Royal Albert cup and saucer .. again, there is no name on the bottom. Due to her dramatic appearance... I called this tea set" The Diva".
She's a hoity toity little lady that I'd love to sip from, after the opera... perhaps 'Der Rosenkavalier' ( The Rose bearer or Cavalier of the Rose ). I think that the saucer is prettier than the cup with all the outer frilling ...Tra-La-La-La-La ...It really does have a musical edge!!!

There are hundreds of tea sipping songs that come to mind... My Wild Irish Rose, The Last Rose of Summer, Paper Roses, Rose Marie, I Never Promised you a Rose Garden, to name a few... So what tune do you hum or sing while brewing your morning tea?


Lately , I've busy mixing and creating new teatime adventures .... and noticed that, teas composed of garden grown herbs and flowers are gaining popularity . Notably, they soothe without sedating and refresh without the nerve jangling effects of drinks with caffeine.

A little experimental brewing and sipping in life is always fun . Can you imagine a special blend or two of your own making. How fabulous would your own teatime brew be !!!! ....

2012 has brought the explorer out in me . I have a a huge desire to move in new directions and that includes making my own tea ( Ha Ha) Would you care to join me ?


Goodness enough partying Ladies ... It's time for me to read your blogs, I can hardly wait ... Sandi, Thank You for sharing your enlightening visions of "Tea Time Tuesday " Anniversary with us all ... " She who must have beautiful roses in her garden must have beautiful roses in her heart"... Big Hugs to you.

I leave you now with a few rose facts to ponder .... Did you know that no two roses smell exactly alike... Did you know that roses love garlic ... Did you know that Cleopatra entertained Anthony in knee- deep roses ... Did you know that one hundred and fifty people can be seated under the world's largest rose tree, sipping their tea .

Did you know that I'm wishing you all a " ROSY day !!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

" TEA AND HONEY "

" Baby , It's cold outside " ... Br-r-r-r-r-r-r- , Winter has arrived in all it's glory ... Achoo-o-o-So snuggle up with a box of kleenex, your computer and a cup of tea and honey.( sniff sniff) Don't even think about going outside ... especially since it's Teacup Tuesday.

Excitement , excitement, I get to choose my Tuesday Teacup...It doesn't take much to keep me happy... a few posies, a shiny lustre and an odd shape...Yes sireee...Odd has my interest today.

I'm not sure if it's the headcold or the medication but this cup is not round ... It has quite a sassy golden halo on the rim that fools you into thinking it's circular, when actually it's a square rounded off. The best word for this tea duo is delightfully " warped ."( ha ha)

Now which corner should I try to drink from. This Japanese artist got so creative that he /she added a few more extra curves just for dripping and drooling ... never mind the sipping.

The whole design is just plain old fun, infact perfect for a sniffling day. It's a perky little piece of Japanese lustreware that just sort of makes you smile and do silly things like, counting the posies. Yes, there are fifty- five painted roses and daisies !!!!

Time to make the tea !!! Sweet Sakura is a mild flower blend that I used in Japan. It's a lovely light tea ... but today I'd like something a little stronger.
Come on little cup... Straighten up .... Don't lay down on the job ... Let's get creative .
Normally I don't sweeten my tea , however, I found these sweet organic honey spoons in the cupboard.."Yummy" . Honey has been around forever and is known as the nectar of the Gods. In the Bible, the promised Land is referred to as the " land of milk and honey "
Maybe I should make a cup of " Honey Milk Tea"

2 orange pekoe teabags
1 cup boiling water
5 ice cubes
4 tsp. sweetened condensed milk
3 tsp. honey

Directions:
1. Steep the teabag in hot water, until the colour turns dark red( 3-5) minutes/discard teabags and let the tea cool.
2. Combine the ice cubes, sweetened condensed milk, and honey in a glass or shaker. Pour in the tea and mix well. ( If the milk is still warm, the ice will melt; add more ice if desired) This strong flavourful tea is ready for you to enjoy.

On second thought . I think " Honey Lemon Tea" might add a little zest to my palate. It's a sweet and sour tea that my mother used to make for me. You can taste the honey and then the lemon, so pucker up. Yum, yum, yum... It's great for sore throats.

1 cup water
2 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. white sugar, or to taste ( optional)

Directions:
1. Pour hot water into a cup. Add honey and heat in the microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Stir in the lemon juice, mixing until honey dissolves, then add sugar if desired.

Delicious flavorful,versatile honey can be used in so many ways. My very, very favourite cold remedy tea is," Ginger Lemon Tea and Honey ".... but BE CAREFUL , this tea has a real bite !!!!

1. Boil water
2. Grate one piece of fresh ginger root
3. Get a thermos ( 1 quart )
4. Put Ginger in thermos.
5. Squeeze half a lemon.
6. Put lemon juice in thermos
7. Add 2 tsp. honey( or to desired sweetness)
8. Pour boiling water into the thermos
9. Cover and let sit for 20-30 minutes
10. Strain and ENJOY.

Now ... Tell me ladies ... Is this cup round or square ?

Tea can be sweetened by a number of different substances, such as sugars, sugar substitutes but honey is my personal favourite. What do you put into your tea? I've heard of people putting crushed garlic into their brew. I think I'll pass on that one...( Ha ha) and just enjoy a cup of chamomile tea with you.
I have just enough time to post this and read a few of your teatime stories in blogland ... before nodding off ... z-z-z-z-z-z .... Thank You for your kind visits, Ladies .... Goodnight and Sweet Dreams !!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

" EMMA'S TEAPARTY"

Life wouldn't be complete without an imaginary dolly's teaparty... and Emma is ready for a cup of tea... Since, it's only Emma and I in the music parlour ...Would you like to join us?.It's rather nice to have a teaset befitting a dolly... My, oh my, but it conjures up all kinds of childhood memorabilia. Did you have a little china teaset when you were young? Wasn't it fun to pour the imaginary tea, chitter chatter with your friends and politely add one and two lumps of sugar,while munching on a shortbread.....What a happy past-time !!

Oh, I almost forgot to show you, another little present that was under the tree from Santa.... Yes, this lovely green tea set is another creation of Canadian artist... Cynthia Davis. (davissfabergeeggs@ns.sympatico.ca )
It reminds me of the coming Spring ... which is only 3 or 4 months away ( ha Ha)..Wishful thinking!!!!

I'm quite smitten by this egg artisan. See how delicately she has trimmed the cup and painted the flowers. The teapot is a chickens egg, balanced on a tiny wooden base and the cup is a pheasant egg, beautifully coated in an pearlized finish. OOPS....The only thing missing is a saucer for the cup. ( Ha ha) ... but then who's drinking from their saucer!!!!

In many cultures, the egg has long been considered a token of love and friendship . It's a miraculous source of new life, believed to possess great magical powers... so it is the perfect vessel for our much loved teatime.

In her creations, Nova Scotian Artist,Cynthis Davis utilizes a wide variety of unique eggs starting with the smallest Zebra Finch, budgie,diamond dove, love birds,parakeet, button quail, cockatiel, robin, bob-white quail, pharaoh quail, serma chicken, pigeon, Japanese bantams, Hungarian partridge, guinea hen, pheasant araucana chicken, tinamou, chicken, duck, blue duck, turkey, peacock, goose, swan, rhea, emu, ostrich, and the most unusual and largest alligator eggs. WHEW ... that's alot of eggs !!!!

I do love the intricate features of these tiny vessels... Take a peek inside ... there's room for a wee spot of nectar.... Would you like a sip?

Emma and I have certainly enjoyed the pleasure of your company today... and hope that you will visit us again soon. We found a teatime poem in our online travels .

I'm sending you love and tea,
To warm your winter's day.
Think of me as you pour your cup,
And all the good things we would say,

If we could be together now
Instead of miles apart,
We sip our tea and memories
The sweet warmth fills the heart. "

(Written By: Susan Young)
Savour the teatime flavour and ENJOY your day !!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

" FABERGE TEA "

The tea fields of Japan are breathtaking...It's where I originally discovered the essence of a first and second picking of tea. The aroma and taste of this earthly foliage is branded into my olfactory nerve forever.

In North America we buy tea in a can, in a bag, in jugs, by the mug and in a cup at restaurants. In Japan, you learn the ancient art of loving tea.
It's impossible to look at the fields( above) and not be dazzled by the beauty of the tea growing in rows ... Funnily enough, I didn't even know tea grew on bushes like this so, I akin it to an educational art form. You're never too old to learn ( ha ha)

One could never imagine the difference of drinking loose, fresh tea from a handmade Japanese cup ... especially if your smelling the bouquet from a pot of Jasmine tea ...mmmmmmmmm... It is truly amazing .

That is why, I am forever hung up, on the euphoria of Jasmine. I import it from Japan in bulk, in first and second picking packages .

My husband brings me gifts of Paradise Jasmine Tea instead of chocolates ... and ... It makes me HAPPY. I love everything related to teatime, so this Christmas, I was treated to an egg- xtraordinary selection of presents ... Teacups and teapots created in the form of Faberge styled art.
Here is one of my beautiful eggshell teapots, crafted by Nova Scotian artist, Cynthia Davis. It's simply fascinating that anyone could design so creatively from an eggshell. Of course, we all know about the famous Faberge eggs owned by the Csars of Russia,(1885) but have you ever seen this delicate artform in reality !!!!

Egg history is fascinating ..... It's an age-old art that dates way back to 800A.D .. and it still delights the eye ... Isn't this a little darling !!!
Some of the eggs are intricately cut and designed with inlaid adornments. And the egg opens by use of hinges, which are fastened to the shells to form the tiny doors. This particular egg is , a goose egg which is approximately two and a half times bigger than a chicken egg. It wouldn't hold much tea though. ( ha Ha ) ... Actually it's only for ornamentation or for those who have a big imagination, like me!!!
As you can see , the lovely geisha has no problem sipping from her pottery cup and admiring the artistry of this Canadian Artist ... If you're interested in learning or seeing more of Cynthia Davis' teapots, cups and Faberge Egg creations... Contact her at : davisfabergeeggs@ns.sympatico.ca

I have another little set to show you next Tuesday... So please, stay tuned for something egg-stra sweet.

Ladies ... Thank You for the pleasure of your company today ... I'm a little giddy, as I didn't have time to make a cup of tea for myself .... So, now I'm off to share some New Years teatimes at your blogs ... May I ask, what brand of tea are you serving today ?


Sunday, January 1, 2012

" HAPPY NEW YEAR "

INSPIRE yourself ... Fill your new year with artistic dreams and wishes ... Give yourself space to journey far and beyond the creative limits.

Today is January 1st .. the beginning of a new adventure for us all . When I think of the months to come I am encouraged to rally creatively and to stretch the limits of 2012. Perhaps, I shall endeavour to create more ATC's , paint with my acrylics , create more Mataro or Washi dolls. Goodness , I might even try a new tea.( ha ha)
May I extend warm wishes to all my dear friends here at the "Grand Lady" .... and welcome you to enjoy the odd cup of tea that is filled with the sparkle of excitement, zest of adventure and the twinkle of something new to fill your heart.

A sweet cleansing of the spirit is always good for the soul ... Please do take the time to care and love yourself ( hug, hug)... to pause for a moment of relaxation ( mmmmmm) and to smell the roses( ahhhhhhh) .... that are certainly going to bloom!!!

Go for it Ladies .... This is your time for growth and exploration .... ENJOY yourselves and please do add a little extra sugar to the teacup if you wish .... YOU DESERVE IT !!!

" HAPPY NEW YEAR "