Tuesday, December 07, 2010


( Darleen opened her lovely home to the Tea Society for our Tea Cup exchange)

Sunday was certainly the day for special tea events. Not only did I attend Mr. Toast’s wonderful Christmas Tea in Scotland but I also found myself at our Tea Society Christmas Tea in Lexington, Kentucky. Wow…Two teas within a 24 hour period on two different continents..Hum…isn’t that some sort of record? ;)

Of course everyone in the blogosphere is still abuzz over our tea adventure at Torosay castle on the Isle of Mull but we also had a delightful late afternoon tea a bit closer to home and on a much smaller scale. Every year we have an annual member’s only tea cup exchange for Christmas. It was truly a wonderful relaxing afternoon spent in laughter and wonderful conversation among cherished friends and over the greatest drink on the planet, tea of course. And best of all, you always end up bringing home a special tea cup! I will post a glimpse at the Spode tea cups that I received in a future post. Thank you, Natalie!

(A glimpse at some of the delicious tea fare we enjoyed)

(The ladies deep in conversation)

(Darleen's amazing glass ornament filled tree)

(One of members, Carolyn F., had to leave early to attend an advent service but those of use remaining were: Seated( Darleen, our hostess, Natalie- wearing her Edwardian inspired creation- standing, Polly, Rebecca( me)in the center and Caroline B.>)

Our menu this year was: Fresh baked cranberry scones with lemon curd( Yes they were warm and delicious!), artichoke and roasted red pepper savories, Sally Lunn tea sandwiches with a spinach /cheese filling, sun dried tomato sandwiches, cranberry nut sandwiches, mini raspberry cheesecakes, fresh baked cookies, peanut butter roll, pineapple and banana nut breads. The teas served were: Czar’s Samovar (a robust aromatic blend of Ceylon with dried currants), Elmwood Inn Rose, and Kentucky Blend (A perfect black tea best enjoyed with milk and sugar).

What a wonderful way to spend a cold, blustery December afternoon...and such a lovely way to kick off the holiday season.

Friday, December 03, 2010


My dashing date is wearing Armani

My Evening Tea Gown is from Terani Couture( Recommended by Anne Hathaway)

Read below to catch up on the weekend adventure in Scotland

Scroll down below photos for a Saturday Update

Well, the grand weekend is upon us and I arrived at Glenbogle yesterday by rail.

After a rather bumpy ride in a rather beat up land rover through some snow-covered roads, Duncan McKay, the reliable yet rather clueless ranger and all around errand boy, managed to deliver me in one piece to the "stately" Glenbogle house.

I received a warm welcome from my charming host and date for the big Tea Event on Sunday, Archie MacDonald.

Here's a glimpse at some of my wardrobe on this adventure.

Happily, it seems the plumbing issues have been sorted since my last visit. There is in fact hot water in my private bath this time around and it actually runs clear! Yippee!!!..

There's not much time for leisure today. An art conservationist from Glasgow should be arriving any moment to help with the "authentication" of some of the paintings in question. That is, if we can manage to get Hector, Archie's father, to give us the key to the vault where they're being stored. He's up to something and doesn't want anyone to take a look at what he's got stashed away down there...hum...

Alas, I am looking forward to cocktails and dinner this evening. I think I'll need a couple! I chose this little number with a black wrap. Archie said that Hector will certainly approve...:)

Now...I just hope Lexie, the cook, will stop glaring at me. It seems she has a bit of a crush on the Laird and is not pleased at all with my arrival. Oh dear...yes, cocktails will be most welcome!

Stay tuned this weekend for our arrival at Torosay Castle on the Isle of Mull and for Sunday's big event. I'll reveal the final tea attire then.

What was in the Vault?

Well, we finally got the keys from Hector after Molly, Archie’s mother, knew where he was hiding them. She’s a gem! It seems Hector and his friend, Lord Kilwillie, had been hiding a 200 year old barrel of Malt Whiskey down there. Turns out, it may be worth quite a lot of money but Hector was afraid that Archie would want to sale it to help pay for some much needed repairs. Oh well…I think Archie may have won the first round, as he has seized the barrel and locked it away…However, I suspect this latest MacDonald debate is far from over.

Unfortunately, the paintings I was hired to authenticate were indeed forgeries…Quite good forgeries none the less but utter fakes. After all of the events today, Archie is not exactly in the best of moods so let’s hope the journey to Torosay castle and the grand Christmas Tea will get the woes of Glenbogle off his mind.

And, thank goodness Mr. Toast will have proper scones…Lexie’s were ice cold and as hard as bricks. I nearly broke a tooth on one this afternoon!

Until Sunday night my friends…

Most Teafully,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The blogosphere is of course buzzing with anticipation over Mr. Toast’s 2nd annual Christmas Tea…My, if you missed last year’s event, you certainly should revisit this spectacular gala. Mr. Toast is highlighting many special moments on his sidebar and throughout some of his posts. Please stroll over there to get a recap of the glorious event and to sign up to attend this year.

I have the perfect date for this Highland fling. I will be escorted by none other than the Laird of Glenbogle, Archibald MacDonald. Archie invited me to spend a few days before the event at his ancestral home of Glenbogle House. I just hope this time; the plumbing issues have been resolved. Keeping a castle in tip top shape can prove rather taxing, or so I’m told ;)... That ever so eccentric family and staff of his should make the stay very entertaining to say the least. It seems I will also be conducting a bit of business while visiting with the MacDonald’s. Apparently, the family are in an uproar over some ancestral portraits. The request was vague but has something to do with questioning their authenticity. Hum… Archie has asked for an Art Historian’s advice so, of course, I am more than happy to look into this for him.

(Here's a photo of my date, Archie, the Laird of Glenbogle. He's the handsome one, first step, in the middle of a cast of, err, characters. Trust me when I say that's the understatement of a lifetime.)

Ah, now that my date for this event has been secured, I must finalize my wardrobe. Check back after this Holiday weekend for a sneak peak. Hum...can't wait to see what Archie wears. He has been known to sport a variety of kilts so this should prove interesting.

And last but not least, Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!

Friday, September 24, 2010


(from Google Images)

For any of you who might be in the Franklin/Nashville area. You may find this event interesting. I've blogged about World Cup of Tea before and loved the experience at this tea room. And, what a worthy cause!

On Sunday, September 26th World Cup of Tea will join the fight to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer by teaming up with Songs For The Cure / 30 Days of Hope. We will have three seating times for lunch, 11:00, 1:00, and 3:00. Reservations are required. 100% of the proceeds go to Songs For The Cure / 30 Days of Hope. Music will be provided by Tonja Rose. Call and make your reservation today! 615-224-9778.

Menu for the event:
Southern Harvest Salad
Aunt Cecils Chicken Salad
Open Faced Cucumber
Hot Roast Beef
Apricot or Chocolate scone
$15.00 per person (Remember 100% goes to the charity.)

For more information you can check out the website for Songs for the Cure www.songsforthecurenashville.com or the website for 30 Days of Hope www.thirtydaysofhope.org

Monday, August 09, 2010


I have a new blog published today and will be redirecting my attention over there. For those of you who have been faithful followers here at LHTS, please come over to The Muse Within. I hope you enjoy this new direction and stop by often!

Friday, August 06, 2010


( A Friday evening stroll at Battery Park, Charleston, SC )

( Rosebud, adorned with lilac hat- Cherry Grove Beach, SC )

It's hard to believe that August is here again. I must admit, it has to be one of my least favorite months. The debilitating and repressive heat and humidity that we experience here in my neck of the woods is frankly, well, depressing. This week has been so deadly hot that merely walking from your front door to your car truly is a Herculean feat.

I prefer to take this time indoors to reflect on the coming fall, my favorite season. With reflections comes challenges and changes for me on a number of levels. First of all, after teaching private art classes on and off for the last 14 years, I have decided to return to school in order to complete a Masters Degree in Art Education. That will mean major changes in regards to juggling so many interests. It also means a new direction in blogging. Though I will maintain the LHTS blog, it will be scaled down to really only post pictures of, and scheduling for, tea events. Instead, I am focusing exclusively on creating a viable online presence as an artist. My website is nearly finished and with that there will be a new blog which will be published on August 9 called The Muse Within. This will be where I showcase my artwork,writing about the creative process, and all that inspires.

For those of you who have been so faithful and supportive at the Tea Society Blog, thank you. I do hope you will also join me at The Muse Within.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


(View of the East Battery)

(Spire top of St. Michael's Church..The Holy City)

(Cherry Grove Beach, South Carolina )

Hello Friends...Well, it's time for a bit of a blogging break...I will be away this weekend through next week but hope to resume regular blogging when I return. It's time to spend a couple of days in my favorite Southern City, Charleston, South Carolina, and then a week up the coast at Cherry Grove Beach. Farewell, for now...and enjoy lots of iced tea while you eagerly wait for the temperatures to cool.

Monday, July 05, 2010


It's a new week and another CT offering for this summer. The theme for this one was snack. I snack on chex mix but didn't feel inspired to draw that. However, I also love to snack on fruit and figured a couple of Bing cherries might work well for this. I used pen and ink again, my current favorite medium, and drew and shaded with stippling. There's some line drawing found around the stems and the form of the cherries. It's fun to alternate from line to stippling to give it a bit more depth and to play with the values in an unusual way.

Make sure to check out all the CT entries and look for the montage this week to see what the new theme will be.

Happy snacking!

Monday, June 14, 2010


( Nevermore: The Raven's Nook- Pen and Ink illustration on Arches cold-pressed watercolor paper)

Here is my Creative Tuesday offering for "Nook"...Granted, it isn't a conventional nook or cranny. However, it is to this 'Raven' who is perched in its own nouveau tree nook. The Raven, by Edgar Allen Poe was of course the inspiration behind the drawing.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


( Google Images)

June has arrived again and it's time for all the iced tea drinkers in the Blogosphere to celebrate this National Iced Tea month. I can't think of a better way to pay homage than to delve into the history of the beverage. Just how, when, and why did someone come up with this idea?

19th Century

1800's - English and American cookbooks state that tea has been served cold at least since the early nineteenth century, when cold green tea punches, that were heavily spiked with liquor, were popularized. The oldest recipes in print are made with green tea and not black tea and were called punches. The tea punches went by names such as Regent's Punch, named after George IV, the English prince regent between 1811 until 1820, and king from 1820 to 1830.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, American versions of this punch began to acquire regional and even patriotic names, such as Charleston's St. Cecilia Punch (named for the musical society whose annual ball it graced), and Savannah's potent version, Chatham Artillery Punch.

Iced tea's popularity parallels the development of refrigeration: the ice house, the icebox (refrigerator), and the commercial manufacture of pure ice, which were in place by the middle of the nineteenth century. The term "refrigerator" was used for the first patented ice box in 1803 and was common in the mid 19th century in the United States.

( Above information is taken from an article by Linda Stradley at What's Cooking America. )

The general consensus seems to be that Iced Tea was popularized(not invented as has been mistakenly attributed) at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. According to "legend", the heat was so sweltering at the event that visitors passed on the offer of free hot tea. It was then that a tea vendor ran tea through iced pipes to cool and chill the beverage. When people heard that there was free "cold" tea offered they eagerly tried this new way of serving their favorite beverage. The rest, as they say, is history.

I must admit, I prefer hot tea over iced. I know to some that is a bit of a sacrilege for anyone born south of the Mason Dixon Line. However, in spite of my affinity for the hot brew, during the summer months there's always fresh iced sweet tea available around here and I certainly enjoy more than my fair share. Cheers everyone!

Monday, May 31, 2010


Here's my offering for this week's Creative Tuesday, "Dotty Lady Bug". I was stumped with this one for some reason. The other day I wondered out loud, "What can I draw that has dots?" My three year old then turned to me and said, "Mommy, a lady bug has dots!" So, here you have it. A very quick non realistic 10 minute pen and ink lady bug drawn with dots:) Happy CT, everyone...( dot dot dot) :D

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


(Nashville skyline on a Sunday afternoon)

After several weeks of blogging about everything under the sun but tea, I felt it was high time I devoted an entry to something Tea-related since this is really supposed to be a tea blog. I had originally intended on writing a review about an incredible book that I got for Christmas but with a weekend getaway to Nashville ahead of me last week, I decided to wait until I returned to write about a place I’ve wanted to visit for the last couple of years.

This past Saturday afternoon, accompanied by my good friend, Kimberly, I ventured to a delightful Tea Shop called World Cup of Tea. The shop is, oddly enough, in a newer shopping center but it’s apparent from the charming flagstone path which leads to the front door that one should not be put off by the modern exterior. We were greeted with flags hanging in the window; the center one being a Union Jack, the others represented China, India, and other significant tea-drinking/supplying nations. As we approached the front doors, I knew instantly that I had to learn more about the owner of this charming Tea Shop.

Twenty-five years ago Rosemary Staggs, owner of World Cup of Tea, experienced her first afternoon tea in England. As a result, she fell in love with everything tea-related. Since returning from that magical trip she embarked on her very own tea education and devoted countless hours to the study of tea. “Her accomplishments include the completion of Pearl Dexter’s Tea School and the Elmwood Inn’s How to Open A Tea Room Seminar, a level one and two certification from the Tea Association of the United States and countless other tea seminars. She has traveled to both India and China to learn firsthand about the cultivation and culture of tea. Rosemary has been published several times in Tea: A Magazine and hopes to continue her study for many more years to come. Though many may consider her knowledge of tea complete, Rosemary will always consider herself a student of tea.”(From WCT website)

The uniqueness of World Cup of Tea is that Staggs has created a global tea experience just south of Nashville, Tennessee. You begin your tea encounter at the wall of samples where each container holds a different blend. There is a lovely selection of white, black, and green teas as well as herbal infusions. The attention to detail at this shop is certainly to be commended as well. Staggs provides lovely personal touches which make this tea house warm and extremely inviting. During the week you may reserve your very own tea tasting with Rosemary but since we were there on a Saturday, we were unable to take part in that. Full afternoon teas are also available upon reservations or a box lunch tea which is what we elected to have.

(World Cup of Tea)

(The dark woods and warm golden walls of this place added a soothing serenity.)

(Kimberly, in all her maternal glow, savoring the various tea aromas at the wall of tea. )

(Tea table)

( We elected to sit at a low Asian influenced table. The entire tea shop is designed for a relaxed intimate tea experience)

Oh, and which blends made it home with us? Kimberly chose a heavenly aromatic jasmine blend while I selected Czar’s Samovar. The Samovar is a fragrant fruity blend of rich China, Ceylon, and Nepal Black teas with sweet currants. This tea brews a deep, coppery color with a long, lingering aftertaste.

So, if you find yourself in the Nashville area, make the journey to Franklin/Cool Springs and spend an hour or two at the World Cup of Tea. It’s a must for any tea lover and a place I am certain to return to again and again.

Monday, May 03, 2010


(Past Dreams - paper cutting-pen and ink)

For this Creative Tuesday theme, Pure Imagination, I decided to try another paper cutting. First, I sketched the figure and then cut the paper from the drawing( using it as a template)..I discovered mid-way through that I really needed sharper scissors ...You live and you learn, though, right? I added an Art Nouveau-inspired design and then some outling(dots) around the figure and the decorative design with my trusty Faber Castell pen.

Dreaming or a euphoric dream-state was sort of the motivator for this one. Well, that and studying Pre-Raphaelite art for the last several months for a writing project.

Friday, April 30, 2010


It’s that time of year again in the Bluegrass State. Today is the Kentucky Oaks but tomorrow, May 1st, is the world famous Kentucky Derby. For most of us in Kentucky that means a weekend of Derby themed parties, dinners, and more parties! The Tea Society has had Derby Teas in the past where we’ve highlighted all things Kentucky, especially in reference to teas and food products. We've even designed our own Derby hats in the past years. But this year, with incredibly busy schedules from all, it seemed impossible to find a weekend where most of us could join together.

Some of our members are wearing their finest millinery and attending all the racing events. While our Polly, a well-respected and talented milliner, has been covered up in hat orders from around the globe. She will no doubt welcome a bit of breathing time after the race on Saturday. That is, until wedding season sweeps her up with more orders! For me, I think I will spend the weekend watching all the celebrations from a cozy seat in my parlor while sipping a hot mint infusion or a cuppa Elmwood Inn’s Kentucky Blend. On Sunday, however, I will take advantage of a tradition among many of the women in our region in wearing a fine Oaks or Derby hat to church on Sunday.

If by chance you would like a taste of the Derby, try the famous Kentucky Mint Julep(seen in the image below). Southern Living offers a recipe here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Some of my most memorable lunches came after church at my Grandmother Coleman’s house. She referred to them as Sunday ‘dinners’ and they were always around 12:30 PM, just enough time for everyone to get to her house after their various services. Lunch for her was hardly what one might have every day. We had Sweet tea, lemonade and coffee to drink (no soda pop at her house). The meal consisted of at least two different entrees. That was usually fried (always prepared in a deep black cast iron pot) or baked chicken with dressing (sometimes turkey), a roast of some sort and even meatloaf as well. She had two huge vegetable gardens so in the summer we always had fresh vegetable dishes, at least six-eight to accompany the main courses, and then of course two or three desserts to choose from. Of the latter, cakes, pies and cobblers were always on the sideboards to tease us throughout the meal. I will say that in spite of the massive “lunch” on the table, we always had room for my Grandmother’s famous apple pie. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. It amazed us all that she managed to have feasts like this every week and refused to have anyone bring a dish. It would have been an insult to her to do so and she truly lived to prepare those meals. For her, it was a way to insure that the entire family would always at least be together once a week to fellowship. Needless to say, after these huge lunches/dinners, no one seemed to have much of an appetite for supper and if we did eat later, we usually took leftovers home from Grandma’s.

These days Sunday lunch usually consists of a salad and soup or a sandwich and some fruit with a cup of tea. That’s quite a far cry from those wonderful Sunday afternoon feasts, but much kinder to my waistline.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


( Pieta` )

I was so thrilled with this Creative Tuesday Theme, Easter. This is such a beautiful celebration of Resurrection, redemption, rebirth, and renewal. It was fantastic timing because I had another project underway that fit perfectly with this theme. Our church issued a call to parish artists to create art for the stations of the cross, to use at our Good Friday service. I chose the 13TH station( 9th in some other observations), Jesus taken down from the cross. It didn't take long for me to know where to find artistic inspiration for this piece. I turned to two Pieta's, one of course by Michelangelo and the other by Carracci. The latter of which I drew the most inspiration from, with the poses of Christ and Mary. I used Michelangelo's work to inspire Mary's garment and head covering. I rendered the drawing with Derwent Graphic pencils on acid-free Strathmore smooth drawing paper.

The artwork will be on display at our church through Easter Sunday when after the service, there will be a silent auction for all the works. The proceeds will be donated to our mission team's Haiti relief trip.

Have a wonderful Good Friday and a very blessed Easter!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I’ve never been much on reading or believing daily horoscopes but I must admit to recognizing more than a few similarities between myself and my astrological sun sign, Sagittarius. In the past, I’ve even had friends musingly christen me the poster child for the 'Archer’s' characteristic traits. With that in mind, how about the rest of you bloggers? To borrow from that ever ‘dated’ line from the 1970’s , “What’s your sign?”…and do you think you fit the characteristic traits?

Sagittarians are eternal optimists. They have very positive outlooks on life, are full of enterprise, energy, versatility, creativity, adventurousness and an eagerness to extend most experiences for as long as possible( If they are pleasant, of course). They are dreamers and idealistic, drawn to travel and exploration. Because of this, they often select careers which will afford them that possibility. They are honorable, honest, trustworthy, truthful, generous and sincere with a passion for justice. Sagittarius is not a diplomatic sign like Libra and Scorpio. They are very straightforward, at times telling people more than they may wish to hear. They can be restless and dislike monotony. They are typically very extroverted and this lends well to situations where they will be in the spotlight. Like the other fire signs, they enjoy the outdoors. They are usually modest and are often religious. They are also strong-willed and good at organizing, a combination that gives them the ability to bring most projects to a successful conclusion( most but not all).

The sign in Greek Mythology is associated with the Centaur: half human, half horse. The Babylonians, however, identified Sagittarius as the god Pabilsag, a diety with wings and a lion's head.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


(For a wonderful dramatic reading of St. Patrick's Breastplate click here )

( In honor of my Irish O' Colmain (Coleman) maternal side)

( Drink lots of real green tea- Barry's Irish Breakfast of course! )

Wishing all of the friends and followers of the Ladies' Historical Tea Society a very Happy and Blessed St. Patrick's Day.