Sunday, November 29, 2009


Well, after a very long and successful day hitting the antique shops in the downtown area, I will be ready to unwind at 7:30PM(CO time of course) with some wonderfully charming guests, a delicious dinner, glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, and perhaps a brief appearance from our charming host if we are very lucky. He is indeed a busy man, though.

We will be dining at the elegant Century Dining Room at Hotel Jerome and we can meet here in the lobby. I'll be standing next to the fireplace dressed in this:


See you there:-)...


(Here I am( in red of course) waiting at the station with a lovely lady who shared a lunch car with me on the train.)

For today, I wore the red and black dress with red cloche on the train ride.. Amazingly, the dress didn’t wrinkle at all;)….It was quite comfortable, actually…The green number on the left is what I’m about to slip into for an elegant formal dinner and cocktails later this evening. My ,it is much colder here than in KY, but I trust our host to make sure there is a fire blazing to keep those of us used to a bit warmer climates, nice and toasty.

This is what I’ll be wearing as I venture to some antique shops tomorrow, and the formal gown is what I'll wear for dinner…Oh, perhaps our host, Betsy, Willow, and the charming Bach and his lovely Lady Cat might accompany me to dinner on Monday? Anyone else care to join? It would be splendid, don’t you think?

Stay tuned on Tuesday for a surprise for the Tea Society followers, to commemorate my 200th post, and the unveiling of my special attire for the actual day of Mr. Toast's Christmas Tea...:)


(Part 1)

As the sun is shining brightly on this final chilly Sunday in November, I find myself eagerly waiting at the train station for my long journey westward to Aspen. I have packed my last hat box and finalized my wardrobe selections for the tea event of the season, Christmas Tea with Mr. Toast. As many followers of the Tea Society will no doubt make an appearance on Tuesday, I am so looking forward to chatting and hobnobbing with each of you. Can you think of anything more lovely? If by chance there are some of you who have not yet registered, you still have time to do so.

As for tomorrow, well, it would be a perfect time to explore the city and perhaps take in a few antique shops? I just might find a lovely vintage tea cup and saucer to bring home with me.

Until we meet in Aspen,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving to all the wonderful followers of the Tea Society. I hope you have a lovely holiday celebration...

I shall leave you with this suggestion: Instead of having coffee with your pumpkin pie, try a nice Assam or Ceylon( Kenilworth OP No 317). They pair splendidly with most foods and will truly warm your soul.

Monday, November 23, 2009


C.S. Lewis said, " You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me". That quote has always spoken to me, resonating on a near spiritual level, as I suspect it has with more than a few tea and classic literature lovers. Sadly, I seem to have a difficult time finding a modern work of fiction that will hold my attention span long enough to bewitch and captivate me or worthy to apply such a brilliant quote to. That is, until I stumbled across a gem of a book called The Thirteenth Tale. This Gothic suspense novel cast its spell and entranced me from the first page until the very last one. The book is set in atmospheric Yorkshire, against a mesmerizing backdrop of Heathcliff-esque moors and the grey skies of a wintry Northern England. With this particular setting, the Bronte associations manifest from the beginning and strengthen with repeated references to Jane Eyre. This book is actually the first novel by English writer Diane Setterfield and the eloquence of her writing transported me into a time where words truly had the power to weave a tapestry in the imagination of the reader. I dare say I had to remind myself, repeatedly, that I was indeed reading a modern work by an unknown author and not one of my much cherished classics from Dickens, Bronte, or Du Maurier. Ironically, one of the very few critical comments I have read about this book is a rather shallow complaint that it was not 'modern' enough: that the eccentric characters and lyrical language hearkened one back to classic English literature. Said critic was then quick to note that she in fact loathed the classics. I found it quite amusing how in direct contrast to the critic's analogies, Setterfield's nostalgic, intellectually stimulating writing style and vividly intoxicating descriptions courted and romanced me, securing that a hard bound copy will be purchased for years of repeated readings. I shall slip a copy into my book shelf, perhaps between Wuthering Heights and of course Jane Eyre. It is also worthy to note that there are plenty of wonderful tea references in this book. Given that added treat, what tea might I recommend to drink whilst cuddled in your favorite chair by the fire with this book? Yorkshire Gold, of course!

Below is a brief synopsis of the story from Wikipedia:

Vida Winter, the most famous novelist in England and quite possibly the world, has never been forthcoming when it comes to her past. Her entire life is a secret, and for fifty years reporters and biographers have attempted to discover the truth. With her health quickly fading, Ms. Winter enlists a bookish amateur biographer named Margaret Lea to bear witness to the tragic story of the Angelfield family, their eccentric beginnings as well as their demise. Margaret, who has family secrets of her own, must unravel the mysteries of the past in order to reconcile not only Miss Winter with her ghosts, but also Margaret with her own.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Late Warnings:

I was thinking of the phrase "better late than never" and how in most cases it seems innocent enough. However, my mind took a turn to when being late actually results or has resulted in devastation, especially when being precisely on time or even early could have prevented a catastrophe. A great example of this is in the case of the Titanic tragedy of 1912.

On Titanic's maiden voyage from Southampton, England, she cast off and departed precisely on time. That was on Wednesday, April 10, 1912 at noon. On Titanic's second day at sea, the wireless operators began receiving the first of many iceberg warnings from a number of ships in the North Atlantic,some of which reported that they had been forced to cease their voyages due to encountering dense icebergs and ice fields. However,Titanic's Captain Smith ignored the warnings and continued on, powering the vessel at full strength with the ferocity of its 30,000 horsepower engines blazing.

As history has revealed, not all the ice warnings reached the bridge. Tragically, the wireless had broken down on Friday night, and a number of unsent messages multiplied, destined to remain in a sort of limbo until the radio was fixed. As the operators worked to clear the backlog, most of the messages were of little importance- a large number of them from elite passengers sharing the wonders of their trip to friends and family. Consequently, because the operators focused on these mundane messages, late ice warnings were never delivered to Captain Smith or his officers. In fact, the California, a near-by ship, endeavored to contact Titanic as late as 10 minutes prior to impact with the ill-fated iceberg. The response from Titanic? The wireless operators told them to "Shut-up!". At 11:40PM Titanic hit the iceberg. The lookout on duty, Frederick Fleet, was the first to spot the iceberg. Mistakenly,he believed it to be a small mass a mile or so away from the ship. He rang the "three-bell alarm" and then telephoned the bridge. It was then that first officer Murdoch shouted, " Hard a starboard and full speed astern!"...It was too late.

Sadly, we all know how this story ended....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


(Wearing "Elizabeth" with my friend Kimberly seated next to me-click on photo for a better view of the hat)

(The Nonesuch Kiss)

A while back, I posted about “The One that Got Away", the hat that I christened, “Elizabeth”. Well, I did track down the antique dealer and she was more than happy to send “Elizabeth” to me, packaged beautifully with a wonderful clear plastic form so the hat would keep it’s shape during shipping. After the arrival, I waited until the perfect time to wear ‘her’ and that time at long last arrived this weekend. The Tea Society made our annual lunch to Irish Acres and The Glitz located in a very small, quaint little hamlet called Nonesuch, Kentucky. This wonderful place is owned by sisters Jane DeLauter and Emilie McCauley, daughters of Arch and Bonnie Hannigan who opened Irish Acres 22 years ago. Jane, accompanied by her two-year-old border collie/shepherd mix Rudy, oversees the antiques portion of the facility - while Emilie is Grand Dame over the The Glitz.

The virtual wonderland is located in a classically styled two-story structure, built in 1936 and used until 1981 as an elementary school. After an extensive remodel, the building now contains 32,000 square feet of display space, showcasing “American and European furniture, glassware, china, crystal, silver, linens, dolls, jewelry, rugs, and decorative accessories." The cellar restaurant, the Glitz, offers some of the most delectable cuisine in the area. The meal begins with a chilled spiced apple cranberry refresher followed by an appetizer, entrĂ©e, and dessert. You can often find such wonderful dishes as Hungarian Mushroom soup( the best I’ve ever had), Seafood bisque, a chicken puff pie, brie en croute with sugar-coated grapes, beef tenderloin with a remoulade sauce, and for dessert, their signature dish, the Nonesuch Kiss. The latter being a concoction dreamt up in the kitchen of Emilie McCauley. She said that she longed for the taste of malted milk balls from her youth so began measuring, blending, and tasting until she created a meringue shell layered with jamocha ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, almonds and a cherry on top. And did we devour that delectable dessert? You bet we did! Along with some hot Earl Grey to nourish the soul.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


(Faber's Euphonia)

(Faber's Euphonia 2)

(Alexander Graham Bell)

Telephone and Euphonia

We're all very familiar with Alexander Graham Bell and his contribution to developing a workable telephone, but how many of us have ever heard of Joseph Faber?
Faber, a German astronomer living in America, traveled across the Atlantic with P.T. Barnum to unveil his cutting-edge “Euphonia” at London’s Egyptian Hall in 1846. The astronomer had spent the previous 17 years perfecting this bizarre offering, and had even smashed and destroyed an earlier version of the machine after American audiences ignored his invention. The complex device was controlled by 17 levers, a bellows, and a telegraphic line. It was fashioned with the movable replica of a human face, which was able to faithfully replicate human speech. At the exhibition, Faber made his peculiar invention sing a haunting rendition of “God Save the Queen”.

In spite of the support and promotion by Barnum, Faber and his Euphonia became the subjects of ridicule. One of the Euphonia’s few devotees was a Scottish speech professor named Melville Bell. His son was none other than Alexander Graham Bell. The younger Bell made various attempts to reproduce speech, the most successful of which finally resulted in the workable telephone. Consequently, it was Faber's device that modern inventors credit with being a catalyst to Bell's prototypes. Unfortunately, Faber never realized how he was indirectly responsible for Bell's working device. Sadly, he destroyed his Euphonia and took his own life in the 1860s .

This is a description of the machine:

About this device:

" It is a speech synthesizer variously known as the Euphonia and the Amazing Talking Machine. By pumping air with the bellows ... and manipulating a series of plates, chambers, and other apparatus (including an artificial tongue ... ), the operator could make it speak any European language. A German immigrant named Joseph Faber spent seventeen years perfecting the Euphonia, only to find when he was finished that few people cared."

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I stumbled upon a fun questionnaire at ChaChaneen’s blog and she gave me permission to post it over here. I thought the questions were interesting and gave a nice glimpse into the real people behind the blogs. I’d love to learn more about my fellow bloggers if they feel so inclined to answer some of these questions.

1. What is your favorite thing to snack on while you're blogging?
~I’m usually drinking tea and perhaps nibbling on a cracker. ~
2. What is one thing you wouldn't want to live without?

3. Beach, Mountains, or Farm? Where would you live if you had a choice?
~Of the three, I would say the beach but not your typical touristy place, rather an ancient coastal village with lots of colorful legends and history…
4. What's your least favorite chore/household duty?
~ I love to cook but hate doing dishes ~

5. Who do people say you remind them of?
~This is funny. I’ve been told that I could have been one of The Corrs - It must be the coloring.

6. Prefer parties and socializing or staying home with the family?
~I really am a home- body. I‘d rather curl up by the fire, with my children safe asleep in their own beds, and dogs lying at my feet, than be out on the town..
7. What's your all time favorite movie?
~It’s a tie between…Pride and Prejudice(w/ Colin Firth) and Immortal Beloved~
8. Do you sleep in your make-up or remove it like a good little girl every night?
~I definitely remove it.

9. Do you have a hidden talent or a deep desire to learn something that you've never had a chance to learn? What is it?
~I’d love to learn to sew properly. I‘m so mediocre at it. I’d also love to learn to knit and ball room dance-the foxtrot is where it‘s at for me.. A hidden talent? I am actually a decent singer, but I only sing occasionally in choir. I sang a solo once when I was 14. I was so terrified that I think it traumatized me forever. Oddly, I’m not shy, though and have little difficulty speaking in front of crowds, but singing in public is a different story.

10. What's one strange thing you're really good at?
~Blending Tea…

11. What first attracted you to your spouse?
~His long dark hair~

12. What is something you love to smell?
~Lavender, rain, and a perfume called Misha by Mikhail Baryshnikov. It’s still the most heavenly perfume fragrance I‘ve ever smelt.

13. Tell something about you that you know irritates people.

I get quiet when I should talk. I often am very passionate about something, but clam up when I really should stand my ground. I’m a bit too reserved at times.

14. When you have extra money, what's the first thing you think to do with it?
~I am quite conservative, but I’ll spend it on something that I‘ve had my eye on for some time, like a perfect hat!

15. Are you a silent laugher or a loud laugher? What makes you laugh the hardest?
~It really depends on the situation, but I’m usually a silent laugher. My children are always making me laugh and Keeping Up Appearances is a great show to watch when you’re blue.

16. Where is your favorite place to shop?
~The antique shops in Franklin, TN.

17. What's one thing you'd do more often if you had more time?

18. Are you a big spender or frugal?

19. Who is your favorite character of all time?
~Elizabeth Bennett~

20. Would you want to be famous?
~No. I love my privacy and solitude far too much to ever want to be a celebrity.


Friday, November 06, 2009


This week I had the pleasure of watching Cheri`, starring the beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer and the handsome and talented Rupert Friend. Here is the synopsis from the novel by Colette:

Cheri, first published in 1920, is considered Colette's finest novel. Exquisitely handsome, spoilt and sardonic, Cheri is the only son of a wealthy courtesan, a contemporary of Lea, the magnificent and talented woman who for six years has devoted herself to his amorous education. When a rich marriage is arranged for Cheri, Lea reluctantly decides their relationship must end. Cheri, despite his apparent detachment, is haunted by memories of Lea; alienated from his wife, his family and his surroundings, he retreats into a fantasy world made up of dreams and the past, a world from which there is only one route of escape. In her portrait of the fated love affair between a very young man and a middle-aged woman, Colette achieved a peak in her earthy, sensuous and utterly individual art. Cheri caused considerable controversy both in its choice of setting - the fabulous demi-monde of the Parisian courtesans - and in its portrayal of Cheri. ( From The Nile)

I had been longing to see the recent movie adaptation of this romantic drama, and was so pleased with this Art Nouveau visual feast and wonderful costume extravaganza. Being that my favorite period in fashion is the Edwardian period, I was in seventh heaven with the lovely ensembles and millinery. Below are some wonderful images from a film that I highly recommend.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009



"The first cup moistens
my lips and throat.
The second shatters
my loneliness.
The third causes the wrongs
of life to fade gently
from my recollection.
The fourth purifies my soul.
The fifth lifts me
to the realms
of the unwinking gods."

Chinese Mystic Tang Dynasty

Sunday, November 01, 2009


The rains left and a wonderful cold front moved in, making for a perfect Halloween Night. The kids reported it was the best one yet. I never tire of watching them get so excited and getting so much joy out of trick or treat night... David only has another year left of getting to enjoy this, so he wanted to make the most of the evening and he certainly did. He got more compliments from the adults 35 and over than the kids. I suspect they took a trip down memory lane with his ensemble.

Oh, and the stairwell in the photos? Yes, it is the very one where some rather strange things have occured. Well, we have had a few strange things happen this week and something very strange happened last night at the top of the stairs, but I will save that tale for another time........

( Me with the kids just as the early round of trick or treaters were arriving)

(Katie as a bee)

(My son was really getting into the whole 80's rock star thing)

(David channeling his best Joe Elliott(Def Lep)...and yes, that was MY Union Jack shirt once upon a time:-D )

(We saw a beautiful double rainbow just before sundown)

( Me and Katie :)...