Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Willow has an interesting post about this song at the Manor.

Auld Lang Syne
(original lyrics)

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
Sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’t in the burn
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine,
And we’ll tak a right guid willie-waught
For auld lang syne!

And surely ye’ll be your pint’ stoup,
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

Happy New Year Year or Hogmanay from the Tea Society!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Sweet Rosebud

Today my daughter turned two and we've spent the day celebrating with family. Happy birthday sweet Katherine Elizabeth. This sweet song reminds me of you...

The Song Of The Rose Fairy
by Cicely Mary Barker

Best and dearest flower that grows,
Perfect both to see and smell;
Words can never, never tell
Half the beauty of a Rose --
Buds that open to disclose
Fold on fold of purest white,
Lovely pink, or red that glows
Deep sweet - scented. What delight
To be fairy of the Rose!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Wishing all of you in the Blogosphere a very Merry Christmas from the Tea Society...I will be away for the next few days celebrating with my family but will return very soon.

Blessings to all!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Christmas Questionnaire

At the Christmas Tea on Saturday, two friends inquired about a couple of ornamental candle votive covers that I had on our mantel in the parlor. I had been debating on how to display them this year so placed them there to keep safe from my inquisitive toddler's little hands.

The artwork on the votive covers is that of William Bougeureau(1825- 1905), an artist whose work I absolutely adore. With that said, it's perhaps no surprise that a few years ago when I found two of these covers with his work on them, I literally squealed (Yes,squealed) in the store and snatched up the last two. I just knew that seeing them illuminated by candlelight would be mesmerizing. The above image is his Madonna of the Roses and I didn't realize that when I placed it on my Great Grandmother's old parlor table, beside our tree, that the roses in the branches would be captured in the backdrop of the Bougeureau. I love it when unintended things like that happen.

The above is just an explanation of the photo for this post so that brings me to the title, Christmas Questionnaire. Janeen from the lovely blog, Chachaneen, posted this on her site and invited anyone interested to post their responses as well. I couldn't resist joining in and invite anyone else to do the same on their blogs.

Christmas Questionnaire:

1. Fresh Tree/Fake Tree?- I have a mixture of fresh greenery and artificial this year but to me it's no contest...Fresh! Next year, it will be ALL fresh around here and no more artificial tree.

2. Favorite Ornament- A beautiful Madonna and Child from the Vatican Library.

3. Favorite Christmas Song- Greensleeves/What Child is This?

4. Favorite Tradition- I had to add more than one..Going to Lessons and Carols and Christmas Eve Service with my family and all the wonderful baking and cooking.

5. Favorite Gift Ever Received- Shortly after Christmas on the 28th, giving birth to our daughter.

6. Favorite Christmas Meal- Baked Ham with all the trimmings and of course pecan pie and tons of tea:-)

7. Favorite Christmas Cookie- My Grandmother's Christmas Rocks and Mother's Peanut butter fudge.

8. Favorite Place to be- With my family...

9. Favorite Memory- Two Christmases ago, knowing that the birth of our daughter could happen at any time and anticipating her arrival, and always remembering how excited our son gets on Christmas morning.

10. Favorite Christmas Movie- Scrooge(1970) and It's a Wonderful Life.

Now, feel free to join in and post letting me know you've done so.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Last week Betsy at My Five Men posted an homage to her favorite version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. That classic version is a favorite with me as well but I must say that my absolute favorite version is the 1970 musical aptly titled, Scrooge, starring Albert Finney as the cantankerous old Ebenezer. I have to watch this version every year and am preparing to watch again this weekend. This version has captivated me since I was a wee girl and draws me into Dickens' London like none other. I did a bit of digging on this adaptation and found a very interesting fact about the movie score. That old familiar song, Thank you very much, indeed received an academy award nomination for best original song. And here I thought that song had been around for much longer. The scene above is where Ebenezer so jubilantly joins in on the rousing rendition of this great song as the crowd takes to the streets in a spectacular choreographed funeral march, all the while Mr. Scrooge is completely oblivious to the minor detail that it is in fact his death that they are celebrating with such enthusiasm. I might add that if you recognize the actor portraying Tom Jenkins, the character leading the rendition and dancing on top of Scrooge's coffin, it is none other than legendary British actor Anton Rodgers, former star of the British comedy series, May to December.

Below is a listing of all the great numbers in the movie:

Overall, the film was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award in the UK, one Golden Laurel award, four Oscars, and five Golden Globes in the U.S.A., in which Albert Finney won for The Best Motion Picture Actor in a Musical/Comedy in 1971. Finney was only 34 years old at the time he was chosen to play both the old miser and the young man Scrooge of flashback scenes, but his performance was widely praised by the critics and the public.

A number of well-known British actors appear in the film, such as Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley's ghost, Dame Edith Evans as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Kenneth More as the Ghost of Christmas Present....( my personal favorite ghost:^)...Rebecca)

(from Wiki)

A Christmas Carol - opens the film. It is sung by a chorus over the opening credits about the joys of caroling. An instrumental bit in the middle is a medley of Christmas Carols.

Christmas Children - sung by Bob Crachit and his children walking home anticipating Christmas morning.

I Hate People - Scrooge's song on his way home from work.

Father Christmas - a comic relief song performed by a group of urchins following Scrooge right after his "I Hate People" song.

See the Phantoms - a brief, dark song sung by Marley as he and Scrooge fly through the dark sky, surrounded by phantoms.

December the 25th - a rousing jig at Fezziwig's party.

Happiness - sung by a young Scrooge and Isabel, while they enjoy each other's company.

You...You - sadly muttered by the older Scrooge, watching himself let Isabel go.

I Like Life - belted out by the Ghost of Christmas Present and an at first reluctant Scrooge.

The Beautiful Day - performed by Tiny Tim for his family.

Thank You Very Much - Scrooge is unaware that he is seeing his own funeral in the future. He finds everyone singing and dancing on his coffin, "thanking" him for dying. This song received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

I'll Begin Again - Scrooge's song of redemption when he wakes up, relieved to be alive.

The finale is a huge medley of reprises. First, Scrooge marches through the streets singing I Like Life, then dons a Father Christmas outfit and is paraded through town by the kids singing a happier version of Father Christmas. Following that is a massive reprise of Thank You Very Much performed by the entire town, delighted and grateful at the lender's profound change of heart. Finally, Scrooge goes home and speaks to Marley through his doorknocker, which the spirit had appeared in earlier. Scrooge thanks his partner for all the help and then leaves for Christmas dinner with his family. A chorus sings a reprise of A Christmas Carol as the film draws to a close.

Enjoy the clip....

Monday, December 15, 2008


( Our Christmas Card)

Last week,after posting about the origin of the Christmas card, MMM from Steamed Sponge, one of the greatest blogs around in my humble opinion, posted a request to see my card. Each year I start thinking of the perfect card around October and sometimes before. My selection this year is certainly one that reflects our life at the moment with our two young children so full of energy, exuberance, and enchantment. I must admit that I normally gravitate towards Old Master museum cards with celestial beings or the Holy Family but this year, these children peering through the window to see Santa and his sled dashing through the Christmas sky, with the sweet church visible as well, reminds me of the importance of teaching our children what this holiday truly means, while endeavoring to entertain and balance their visions of sugarplums, presents, and of Father Christmas.

Now, after adding details of the Christmas tea below, I must get busy addressing and stamping or it will be 2009 before anyone receives our card. Happy addressing!

(Christmas Tea with the Tea Society)

Saturday was our annual Christmas Tea and Tea Cup exchange( I will post my tea cup later in the week in another post). We had a wonderful crisp December afternoon and had a successful unveiling of the Tea Society's first official tea, Christmas Clove Tea from the Ladies' Historical Tea Society. This concoction has a specially blended black tea base with the addition of whole cloves. Very simple yet quite delicious and was happily very well received. Our menu began with a savory of tomato celery soup with cocktail cheddar muffins. We continued with orange glazed scones, assorted tea sandwiches, and delectable seasonal candies to end. Along with the Christmas Clove tea, we savored cups of Yorkshire Tea and Sugar Plum Spice Tea. After we enjoyed these delicacies we retired to the parlor with our trusty Lizzie, content in receiving praise and attention from each lady, where we exchanged tea cups and spent the next hour or so in great conversation and enjoying one anothers company.

I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends. The ladies in the society are among the most generous and gracious women I have ever known. Though a couple of our cherished members were unable to attend, due to travel or other obligations, it was a lovely afternoon. I want to take a moment to recognize one of our most special members, Paula Porter. Paula has been with the Society since we began as part of the Ladies' Tea Guild back in 2003 and it was her perseverance that persuaded me to preside over our chapter of the guild. Paula was unable to be with us on Saturday but left a surprise for us. Each lady received a breast cancer angel to hang on her tree as a token from Paula who has battled this horrible disease too many times to recall. Paula is a beacon of hope and an example of profound faith and strength through the most trying times imaginable.

Paula, if you are reading this, we love you, pray for you and cherish you more than you will ever know. We are so grateful that you are a part of our lives. May God bless and strengthen you, my dear sweet friend.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


From: Food History: The History of Scones

This Scottish quick bread is said to have taken its name from the Stone of Destiny (or Scone), the place where Scottish kings were once crowned. The original triangular-shaped scone was made with oats and griddle-. Today's versions are more often flour-based and baked in the oven. They come in various shapes including triangles, rounds, squares and diamonds.

Actually, Scone is the old location. The Stone of Destiny isn't there anymore. According to The Stone of Scone (reprinted from "The Highways and Byways of Central Scotland" by Seton Gordon (b. 1886)

A few miles up the river from Perth is the site of the historic Abbey of Scone, where the kings of Scotland were crowned. But the glory of Scone has long departed, for, even in the time of the writing of the old "Statistical Account"...."on the spot where our ancient kings were crowned there now grows a clump of trees." At Scone the Coronation Stone or Stone of Destiny was "reverently kept for the consecration of the kings of Alba" and, according to an old chronicler, "no king was ever wont to reign in Scotland unless he had first, on receiving the royal name, sat upon this stone at Scone, which by the kings of old had been appointed to the capital of Alba." The Stone of Destiny, now in Westminster Abbey (at the time this was written), is an oblong block of RED SANDSTONE, some 26 inches long by 16 inches broad, and 10 1/2 inches deep: on the flat top of the stone are the marks of chiseling.

Some think the word "scone" has nothing at all to do with the Stone. Some say "scone" came from the Gaelic word "sgoon" and rhymed with "gone". Others believe the name is derived from the Dutch word "schoonbrot" meaning fine white bread or from the German word "sconbrot" meaning 'fine or beautiful bread'.
Whatever the origins, there are many recipes for scones and toppings and ways to serve them. Try this delectable one below:

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cups poppy seed
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup orange juice
1 large egg
1 tsp orange peel
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix all dry ingredients together. Cut butter into flour mixture
until it resembles cornmeal.
3. Beat the egg slightly into the orange juice; add liquid mixture to
dry mix and gently shape dough into a ball.
4. Cut the ball in half, and pat each half out on a floured surface
into a circle about 1/2 inch thick, and 8 inches around. Cut into
wedges and place on a baking sheet.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Christmas cards have always been a favorite staple of the holidays for me. I love selecting special cards to send to friends and loved ones and especially enjoy the thrill of seeing the first cards of the season arrive in the mail box. It's such a joy to see how each person's character truly shines through by the cards they select. With this wonderful tradition on my mind, I want to share a bit of background information on the history of the Christmas Card. And, as a matter of fact, our first card of the season arrived today!

History of the Christmas Card
(from Wiki)
The first commercial Christmas cards were commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in London, 1843, and featured an illustration by John Callcott Horsley. The picture, of a family with a small child drinking wine together, proved controversial, but the idea was shrewd: Cole had helped introduce the Penny Post three years earlier. Two batches totaling 2050 cards were printed and sold that year for a shilling each.[1]

Early English cards rarely showed winter or religious themes, instead favoring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. Humorous and sentimental images of children and animals were popular, as were increasingly elaborate shapes, decorations and materials. In 1875 Louis Prang became the first printer to offer cards in America, though the popularity of his cards led to cheap imitations that eventually drove him from the market. The advent of the postcard spelled the end for elaborate Victorian-style cards, but by the 1920s, cards with envelopes had returned.

The production of Christmas cards was, throughout the 20th century, a profitable business for many stationery manufacturers, with the design of cards continually evolving with changing tastes and printing techniques. The World Wars brought cards with patriotic themes. Idiosyncratic "studio cards" with cartoon illustrations and sometimes risque humor caught on in the 1950s. Nostalgic, sentimental, and religious images have continued in popularity, and, in the 21st century, reproductions of Victorian and Edwardian cards are easy to obtain.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Pumpkin
By J. G. Whittier

Ah! On Thanksgiving Day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip, and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?

O, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling;
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces were carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn heap, with hearts all in tune,
Our chair a broad pumpkin, our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who traveled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

Then, thanks for thy present! - none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Gold-tinted and fair as thine own pumpkin-pie!

I'll be away from the blogosphere for a wee bit but shall return next week.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 17, 2008

( Recipe and image from Martha

Makes about 8 dozen
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves, (from about 8 bags)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 (8 ounce) sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Whisk together flour, tea, and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
Put butter, sugar, and zest in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; slowly mix in flour mixture until just combined.
Divide dough in half. Transfer each half to a piece of parchment paper; shape into logs. Roll in parchment to 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log and force out air. Transfer in parchment to paper-towel tubes; freeze 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
Bake until edges turn golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time for Tea:Tea and conversation with thirteen English Women by Michele Rivers

Here is a delightful book about the customs and traditions of tea by English women from many different walks of life. This book would be a great Christmas gift for the tea enthusiast and ritualist. Thankfully, there are more than a few of us still left out there.

From the Inside Flap
Time for Tea offers a delightfully unique expression of why English society has so steadfastly preserved its teatime tradition. Thirteen English women, ranging in age from six to eighty, share their very candid and entertaining reflections on why the teatime ritual -- in all its incarnations -- is such an indelible fixture in their lives.

From Virginia, Lady Bath, to Winifred Westcott, a dairy farmer, from Anne Slade, a retired ballerina, to schoolgirl Hayley Richards, a farmer's daughter, we are treated to the surprisingly moving and engaging medley of these women's memories and dreams, as they discuss their own teatime traditions and their lives with us -- over a cup of tea.

The women also share their family teatime recipes for delicious cakes, scones, crumpets and jams, and suggest an appropriate tea to accompany them. Along the way, we explore the secrets of an English specialty tea shop, see the inside of a tea blender, learn how to brew a perfect pot of tea and how to make an authentic cream tea.

The women's stories are beautifully framed by spectacular photographs of the breathtaking English countryside, which perfectly complements the peace and serenity of a good English tea.

Monday, November 10, 2008

TEA SOCIETY LUNCHEON AT IRISH ACRES( LHTS members: Darleen Chamberlain,Polly Singer( visit Polly's wonderful website), Natalie Ferguson( owner of Zip Zip Vintage Sewing Blog), yours truly in the red wrap, and Mary Justice. Thank you, Maureen Burdon, for taking this photograph for us.)

Saturday afternoon, 5 members of The Ladies' Historical Tea Society and one guest enjoyed the exquisite ambiance of Irish Acres Gallery of Antiques and the delectable cuisine served at The Glitz Restaurant, housed in lower level of the facility. We have made this excursion an annual autumn ritual for our society. This unique place is always a very popular destination for those of us in Central Kentucky and beyond. A mere walk through the seemingly ordinary, yet very tall, front doors of this former school and you are transported into a virtual wonderland of exquisite beauty and feast for all the senses. For more information and photographs of this enchanted destination, click on the link in the following paragraph.

Irish Acres Gallery of Antiques displays 32,000 square feet of American and European furniture, glassware, china, crystal, silver, linens, dolls, jewelry, rugs, decorative accessories and International giftware. Irish Acres offers something for everyone, from the curious browser to the serious collector.

In closing, I must share what I had for lunch: Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Pistachio chicken stuffed with apples topped with a delicious chutney and served on top of basmati rice, and for dessert a slice of pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust covered with praline sauce. And last but not least, two cups of Earl Grey Tea. Heavenly!

Friday, November 07, 2008


Giovanni Boldini Italian, 1842 - 1931
Portrait of the Marchesa Luisa Casati, with a Greyhound
Date: 1908

The Marchesa Luisa Casati, who was born into a wealthy family of Lombard textile manufacturers, was renowned for her extravagance. The poet Gabriele d'Annunzio once claimed that she was the only woman capable of surprising him. Boldini is supposed to have first met her in Venice, when he helped her retrieve pearls from a seven-metre long necklace that had broken. She would parade though Venice dressed as a gondolier and accompanied by a cheetah on a leash.
(Source: 'Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters: The Andrew Lloyd-Webber Collection')

A few weeks ago, we applied to adopt a Greyhound. We sent in our adoption application, finished our home visit with a representative on Sunday, and got the news last night that our application was approved. Now, the wait is on...The dogs presently in the adoption program did not fit all of our family needs( cat safe, child friendly, and companion for our aging Sheltie) so the search begins for that special one that we will welcome with open arms. Having been a former Greyhound owner, I am excited and thrilled beyond words that we will at long last be blessed with another of these most beautiful, kind and loving creatures. Of course, I couldn't let this post escape without applying some historical facts about this breed. Now, tea and Greyhounds?... I suggested if we adopt a male that we call him Earl Grey..How perfect is that? My husband wasn't as enchanted with that prospect as my son and I were so I suspect that one has been vetoed. For those of you who have read The Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, you will note that the heroine/tea shop owner/super sleuth of the novels, Theodosia, does in fact have a dog named Earl Grey.

I will be chronicling all of our Greyhound adventures on another blog soon to be published as well as a few posts on this blog as well. For now, you may indeed find some of these facts below about this ancient breed very interesting.

1. Greyhounds are the only canine mentioned in the Bible (Proverbs 30:29-31) King James Version.

There be three things which go well, yea,
Which are comely in going;
A lion, which is strongest among beasts and
Turneth not away from any;
A greyhound;
A he-goat also.

2. Greyhounds are one of the oldest purebred dogs, dating back to the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Paintings inside the tombs of the great Pyramids depicted greyhounds.

3. A law passed during the reign of King Canute stated that the destruction of a greyhound should carry the same capital punishment as the murder of a man.

4. At one time in England it was forbidden for commoners to own a greyhound.

5. General Custer was a greyhound fancier.

6. President Lincoln had a greyhound in his family coat-of-arms.

7. In 1804, Australia issued a proclamation ordering the destruction of all dogs except greyhounds and sheepdogs.

8. In 1886, Charles Frederick Holder assembled a pack of greyhounds and trained them to chase fox, jack rabbits and coyotes. The hunters rode in the style of English fox hunting, and Holder was instrumental in the formation of the Valley Hunt Club in Pasadena, California in 1888. In 1889, the Valley Hunt Club held a "beautiful fete" to show off their hounds and celebrates the ripening of the orange. The resulting event, the Orange Parade, ultimately became the Pasadena Festival of Roses and is now known as the Rose Parade.

9. The mythical Greek Goddess Diana is usually pictured with a greyhound at her side.

10.John Barrymore, the famous actor, always kept his house full of greyhounds as pets.

11.Bo Derek, the actress best known for such movies as 10 and Tarzan, owns several retired racing greyhounds and is a great advocate of greyhounds as pets.

12.For many, many years the Lincoln car had a greyhound as a hood ornament.

13.Greyhounds are the fastest breed of dog, reaching top speeds of 40 mph.

14.Greyhounds can see clearly for up to a half-mile.

15.Many people who are allergic to dogs are non-allergic to greyhounds due to their short hair, sleek coat and skin type (which has more oil to it, thus less dander.)

( Greyhound Facts from Greyhounds of Shamrock )

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


No matter how many different blends of teas I try, I always return to the timeless Earl Grey. This week, I wanted to pay homage to this comforting old friend with a little background information on the tea and the man. Some of which, is reportedly myth and legend...No wonder I have such a fascination with this blend. Twinings Earl Grey blend is reportedly Queen Elizabeth's favorite tea.

The Earl Grey blend is named after the 2nd Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s, who reputedly received a gift, probably a diplomatic perquisite, of tea flavoured with bergamot oil[1], taken from bergamot, a citrus fruit typical of southern Italy.

Descended from a long-established Northumbrian family seated at Howick Hall, Grey was the second but eldest surviving son of General Sir Charles Grey KB (1729–1807) and his wife, Elizabeth (1743/4–1822), daughter of George Grey of Southwick, co. Durham. He had four brothers and two sisters. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he acquired at those schools a facility in Latin and in English composition and declamation that enabled him to become one of the foremost parliamentary orators of his generation. Grey was elected to Parliament at the age of 22 in 1786. He became a part of the Whig circle of Charles James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and the Prince of Wales, and soon became one of the major leaders of the Whig party. Grey was noted for advocating Parliamentary reform and Catholic emancipation.

The tea legend usually involves a grateful Chinese mandarin whose son was rescued from drowning by one of Lord Grey's men, although this blend of tea was first made from fermented black Indian and Ceylon teas. As green tea is much more popular in China than black tea, it seems somewhat unlikely that they would have had a recipe for what we now call Earl Grey to bestow on visitors, though over the years many other varieties of tea have been used. In addition, Lord Grey never set foot in China. Another version of the legend has the son of an Indian raja being rescued from a tiger by one of Grey's servants.

Jacksons of Piccadilly claim that it was they who originated Earl Grey's Tea, Lord Grey having given the recipe to Robert Jackson & Co. partner George Charlton in 1830; according to Jacksons the original recipe has been in constant production and has never left their hands. Theirs has been based on China tea since the beginning.

Variations on Earl Grey
1.Twinings also has a proprietary branded tea variety called "Lady Grey" made with lemon and Seville orange in addition to bergamot. Also of note is that Twinings received an official endorsement from the sixth Earl Grey, Richard Grey, whose signature appears on packages of Twinings Earl Grey.
2.The beverage company Snapple has released a tea beverage based on Earl Grey called Snapple Classic Tea Earl Gray.
3.Many boutique tea stores sell a similar blend with added rose petals known as French Earl Grey
4.A beverage called "London Fog" is a combination of Earl Grey, steamed milk and vanilla syrup.
5.Earl Grey teas made with extra large amounts of bergamot are often called "Earl Greyer". (wikipedia)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Picture of 1912 Suffrage March, New York City


Before 1917, the only states in the Union that granted the vote to women were in the West. Women were granted the right to vote in Wyoming Territory in 1869; Utah Territory in 1870; Washington Territory in 1883, state of Wyoming in 1890; Colorado in 1893 and in Utah in 1896. As a result: the first woman elected to Congress was Jeannette Rankin of Montana; first elected mayor was Mary Howard of Kanab, Utah; the first elected mayor of a major city was Bertha Landes of Seattle, Washington; the first elected governors were Miriam "Ma" Ferguson of Texas and Nellie Taylor Ross of Wyoming.
(Text Content From Outlaw Women)

Friday, October 31, 2008


( A view from our parlor)

It has been such a treat for me, a certified ghost story enthusiast, to peruse my favorite blogs and read some wonderful tales of haunted manors, castles, and the like. With the season of ghosts and ghouls at its peak, I think it’s time for a little background history on our house here where many of the Tea Society gatherings take place.

My husband and I were newlyweds when we purchased our home in June of 1994. According to the deed records, the present structure was built between 1894-1896. We delved, like most new owners of such an old home, into past deeds and documents to uncover some interesting facts like that a water line was first run to the home in 1915 paid for by a Mrs. Henrietta Bedford and that at one point the room which is in fact our parlor was used as a kindergarten complete with a sand floor.We also know that the house has been struck by lightening and has withstood a tornado. All that aside, we know of some other unique attributes that the house holds. We purchased the house from the Estate of a Mrs. Hazel G. Adams and are in fact only the fourth owners of the house (an amazing fact considering many of the surrounding homes have been converted into apartments or duplexes at one time).

The question I hear most often since purchasing this old house is, "Is the house haunted?" My answer is, perhaps. I believe we have had a residual haunting where actions or significant events have been imprinted in time and repeat with no knowledge of us. I have never actually witnessed an apparition but I have smelled roses and lilac perfume in the dead of winter, usually in February, as have a couple of guests and a family member or two. This also seems to happen whenever we begin any renovation project and my husband frequently smells cigarette smoke, yet no one in our home is a smoker. I have heard what sounded exactly like a child running upstairs, so loudly that I would have sworn it was my son( around 5 years old at the time) only to find him sound asleep in his bed when no one else was in the house.

Not long after moving into the house, a friend from college spent a few days with us here. That first night of her arrival we had a late evening in the parlor reading aloud and enjoying some red wine along with the comforting companionship of our then only dog, a regal Afghan hound named Anastasia. Anastasia was a naturally aloof dog yet on many occasions I would catch her staring into the foyer at our stairs and she would begin whining for no apparent reason. I thought it odd that she would become so agitated but just assumed it was a peculiarity or some little quirk that she possessed. Yet, not until our friend visited did I truly realize that our hound may have seen something a little more unsettling to her keen canine sensibilities. Let’s return back to our evening of recitations and flowing burgundy. Well, to fully appreciate what I’m about to share with you, it might pay one mind to understand that my friend was not a spiritual or religious person in the least. She was in fact a self-proclaimed no-nonsense agnostic and she proudly touted that title. However, this particular evening at our house made her rethink her beliefs or lack there of. Whilst I was reading a portion of a story that I had been writing, I noticed my friend looking towards the French doors that lead from our parlor to the foyer. She stared intently and then suddenly became quite ashen. She looked at me and then looked to the floor and back to the foyer. She then,visibly quite shaken, said to me, “Rebecca, I just saw a woman on your stairs.” My husband and I quickly made our way to the French doors to find nothing at all there. We looked at one another in disbelief and then asked our friend what this woman looked like and asked her to describe to us exactly what she saw. She described a woman in a white dress. She said it looked like a very old-fashioned wedding dress. She said she seemed to glide down the stairs, turn at the French doors leading to our parlor and continue on through to the end of the foyer. My husband and I were speechless. Not because either of us had ever witnessed anything remotely like this but because we had never told our friend the history of our house. We had never told her that it was built by a prominent physician in town as a wedding present for his daughter and that she and her husband were in fact the first owners of the home. Was her image what our friend saw? Was it this presence or recording of a repetition that Anastasia the hound took notice of? And, is it the lingering aroma of her perfumed scent that we and others have smelt from time to time? I rather think it may be.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Continuing with the present theme of comfort food here at the Tea Society, my favorite hearty fall and winter dish is a delicious pot roast with harvest vegetables served with a side of mashed potatoes and mini Yorkshire puddings covered in gravy from the roast. This Yorkshire Pudding recipe is one that I always use because it's very easy and it tastes delicious!

Yorkshire Pudding

2 eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
reserved meat drippings

Beat eggs and milk in small mixer bowl until smooth; add flour; salt, nutmeg and pepper, beating until well blended. Let mixture stand for 30 minutes. Pour 2 teaspoons of reserved pan drippings from pot roast into each muffin cup; heat in a preheated 400 F oven for 2 minutes. Fill muffin cups ¾ full with batter, bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve plain or topped with gravy.

Serves 6

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Lady Grey

Lady Grey is a fragrant, bright and light black tea scented with bergamot and citrus notes of oranges and lemons. It is a unique blend from Twinings. This delicious black tea has a light and gentle citrus flavour that is both relaxing and refreshing. Lady Grey is perfect in the morning with breakfast or for afternoon tea. Enjoy it with a little milk, or with sweetener, or to your liking.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


One of my favorite things about autumn is the wonderful comfort food waiting to be made and devoured. This recipe is so quick and easy and is a favorite at our house.

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can (4-ounces) chopped green chilies, drained
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cans (16 ounces) BUSH'S BEST Great Northern Beans
1 can (14.5 ounces) chicken broth
1 ½ cups finely chopped cooked chicken breast
Shredded Monterrey Jack or Colby Jack cheese (optional)
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)
Tortilla Chips

In large skillet, cook onion in oil for 4 minutes or until transparent. Add chilies, flour and cumin; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add beans and chicken broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken; cook until hot.

Garnish with cheese, sour cream and salsa( I don't usually serve it with salsa), if desired. Serve with Tortilla chips to dip or crumble.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


What says autumn more than the aroma of hot apple cider? Well for a nice alternative, how about hot cinnamon apple spice herbal tea? The aroma of this tea steeping reminds you of hot apple cobbler baking in the oven. This tea should be subtitled comfort tea. It's perfect for a cool autumn evening.

The all-American flavor of apples and cinnamon in this deliciously comforting herbal tea is actually a product of global collaboration, with spicy Vietnamese cinnamon and a lively tang from Thai and Chinese hibiscus. Cinnamon is an ancient spice, and was often presented to monarchs and other leaders as a highly valued gift. Its piquant flavor is the perfect complement to the sweetness of juicy red apples in Cinnamon Apple Spice herbal tea.( from Celestial Seasonings)

Thursday, October 02, 2008


The Joy of a Falling Leaf by Arthur Rackham

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats (1795-1821)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

( I've been invited to a wonderful gala at Willow Manor)

( Now, where could my date have gone to? Why is that dashing Scotsman still following me?)

( Oh! There's my date!!!)

( Gary, you look smashing.)

( What do you think of my gown? )

Monday, September 29, 2008


Most everyone has seen at least one Lassie movie in their lifetime and if you are a dog lover like me you’ve probably seen most of the ones made. Oddly enough, an enchanted re-telling of this classic tale (or should I say tail?) filmed in 2005 somehow escaped my attention until this weekend.

“This is the 11th movie about Lassie, according to the producers. It is a remake of the 1943 film, Lassie Come Home, and is based on Eric Knight's 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home.[1] The movie was filmed in Scotland, Ireland and on the Isle of Man, and though acclaimed by a number of critics, was generally poorly received at the box office. A New York Times reviewer praised the film, saying it "...balances cruelty and tenderness, pathos and humor without ever losing sight of its youngest audience member" and also exclaimed, "This 'Lassie' exhibits a repertory of facial expressions that would put Jim Carrey to shame".[1] (From Wikipedia)

I can’t believe I missed this movie when it was in theaters. The 2005 version of Lassie, directed by Charles Sturridge, is set in a Yorkshire mining town on the eve of World War II. The Carraclough family, (Jonathan Mason, Samantha Morton and John Lynch) struggling to afford food and basic necessities, is forced to sell their beloved collie, Lassie. The new owner is the Duke of Rudling, played by none other than the splendid Peter O'Toole, often accompanied by his charming niece, Cilla (Hester Odgers). When Lassie is taken from her homeland to live in the Duke's remote castle on the northern coast of Scotland, she is determined to defy the odds and return to her home and to Joe Carraclough, the little boy who loves her. This arduous and incredible adventure for our favorite Collie, who just happens to be Hey Hey II or Lassie the 9th-a direct descendent from the original Lassie, Pal, is set against a stunning series of bucolic British landscapes. Through the ordeal, Lassie encounters human and natural dangers as she finds help in unexpected places while making her way across the country to reach her home. The re-telling of this classic story is heart-warming beyond words and contains the perfect formula for a wonderful movie. The Tea Society and Lizzie the Sheltie highly recommend this version. Click on Lassie to see the wonderful trailer on Youtube.

Friday, September 26, 2008


(Twinings Peppermint Tea served in Harvest Time Tea Cup and Saucer by Johnson Brothers)

My favorite way to make mint tea is by an infusion(tisane) method. This is simply done by pouring boiling water over the herb and then steeping for 3 to 5 minutes. If you don't have fresh mint on hand you can use 1 to 2 tsp of dried peppermint leaf to 8 oz of hot water. However, when I discovered that Twinings has a Peppermint Tea (featured in the above photo) I wanted to at least try it to see if it measured up. Home infusions will always reign supreme for me but this offering from Twinings is quite smooth and tasty. It's a nice alternative to the tisane if you don't have fresh mint on hand. I had two cups this morning as a matter of fact.

Here is a bit of background on peppermint taken from the University or Maryland

Peppermint ( Mentha x piperita ), a popular flavoring for gum, toothpaste, and tea, also serves as a calming agent to soothe an upset stomach or to aid in digestion. Because it has a calming and numbing effect, it has been used to treat headaches, skin irritations, anxiety associated with depression, nausea, and other digestive disorders. It is also widely used to treat symptoms of the common cold.

Peppermint plants grow to about two feet tall. They bloom from July through August, sprouting tiny purple flowers in whorls and terminal spikes. Simple, toothed, and fragrant leaves grow opposite the flowers. Peppermint is native to Europe and Asia, is naturalized to North America, and grows wild in moist, temperate areas. Some varieties are indigenous to South Africa, South America, and Australia

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup oil
1 16 oz can of pumpkin
2/3 cup of water
4 eggs
1 cups raisins (optional)
½ cup nuts (optional)

Mix everything together and bake in greased loaf pans in a preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Fill the loaf pans about ½ full of batter. To test the bread: insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf and if it comes out clean, it is done. Do not over bake as that will dry out the bread.

This is wonderful served with Yorkshire Gold, Darjeeling or English/Irish Breakfast. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The Song of the Michaelmas Daisy Fairy
by Cicely Mary Barker

"Red Admiral, Red Admiral,
I'm glad to see you here,
Alighting on my daisies one by one!
I hope you like their flavour
and although the Autumn's near,
Are happy as you sit there in the sun?"

"I thank you very kindly, sir!
Your daisies are so nice,
So pretty and so plentiful are they;
The flavour of their honey, sir,
it really does entice;
I'd like to bring my brothers, if I may!"

"Friend butterfly, friend butterfly,
go fetch them one and all!
I'm waiting here to welcome every guest;
And tell them it is Michaelmas,
and soon the leaves will fall,
But I think Autumn sunshine is the best!"

In the spring of 2007, the Tea Society had a delightful Fairy Tea and plant exchange. At this tea we each contributed an herb or flowering plant to exchange with one another. The theme was that of Victorian Fairies and of the life of English Illustrator, Cicely Mary Barker. I’ve been a fairy enthusiast for many years and have had a fascination with Barker’s artwork and writings. I have a collection of her flower fairy figurines, which I tuck in wreaths, plants, arrangements, and even the Christmas Tree. My daughter’s Baby Book is even the Cicely Mary Barker Flower Babies Book and I dare say, The Black Bryony Fairy, reminds me very much of our sweet Rosebud. Below is a bit of background information on Barker as well as some wonderful images of her art work as well as vintage photos from various stages of her life in England.

The children's classic books of Flower Fairies are what made Cicely Mary Barker famous. She had already received considerable praise during the first world war for her pictures of children at work and play, and in religious, literary and national themes.

Cicely Mary Barker was born in Croydon on 28th June 1895 and died in 1973 in Worthing. From 1907 she lived at No 17 The Waldrons and in 1924 she moved to No. 23 where her sister Dorothy eventually opened a small kindergarten school.
Cicely suffered epilepsy and was in poor health for much of her childhood. She was educated at home and this was where she taught herself to paint and draw. At this time she was greatly influenced by the illustrations of Kate Greenaway. She believed in recreating the beauty of nature in art. The plants and flowers she created were completed with total botanic accuracy and the fairies were all based on children she had observed, not only at her sister Dorothy's kindergarten but from all walks of life. Cicely’s principal artist influence has been credited to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She appreciated and shared their philosophy of being true to nature in her dedication to accuracy in depicting flowers and plants and in the manner in which her fairies represented the spirit.

Supported by her family and attending evening classes at Croydon School of Art she began by making postcards - a good way of getting public recognition for her art. At the age of 16 the Croydon Art Society awarded her second prize in a poster competition and she was elected to life membership of the Society - the youngest person to receive this honour.

Cicely had strong Christian beliefs and illustrated Christmas cards, hymns and bible stories. One of her commissioned works 'The Parable of the Last Supper' is housed at St Georges's Church in Waddon and the seven sacraments decorate the front of her own church St. Andrew's.

(So much like my daughter...)

( Cicely is seen here with her elder sister Dorothy.)

(A later photograph of Ms. Barker. She died on February 16, 1973 at the age of 77. Coincidentally, it was the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of her first ‘Flower Fairy’ book that year.)