Blog-a-versary tea party and GIVEAWAY

Friday, February 28, 2014

Welcome to my three-month blog-a-versary tea party and GIVEAWAY. What's that, you say? You bloggers who have been at this four, five, six, or more years? A three-month blog-a-versary?! Seriously?!

Well, let me tell ya. I've read that most blogs don't last more than three months, and here I am, still blogging with no thought of throwing in the towel. I love it. So I thought I'd throw a little virtual party as a celebration.

My daughter was baking red velvet cupcakes a couple days ago for a party, so I "borrowed" some and poured some "champagne" (sparkling cranberry juice and ginger ale) to take some pictures. Well then, of course we had to eat the cupcakes and toast the blog together. My virtual party got real.

{FYI: She doubled the recipe for the cupcakes before realizing she didn't have enough red food coloring -- she needed six tablespoons. She only had three. But I thought the color was really pretty and looked red, not the dark reddish brown color that they usually are. If you like this color, halve the food coloring. The recipe is here.}

Then we had tea.

I cut the roses down for these next pictures.
The tea cup below is one my husband usually chooses if we have tea together. I suppose it's a little more masculine than my (mainly) pink cups. It is Royal Albert. 

The cup below is Queen's Louise.

As we were enjoying tea, look at what arrived. A box from Shawn at Poetry in a Pot of Tea. {Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit, I won two giveaway drawings during the Grow Your Blog party!} Shawn makes beautiful paper crafts. She sent me a lovely handmade card, tea, chocolate, and a cute little hand sanitizer. Look at how festive the packaging is. Love the bow on the tea.

Here's the card she made. And how appropriate! Another cupcake for my blog-a-versary! Thank you Shawn.

**** Blog-a-versary GIVEAWAY ****

I had so much fun giving away goodies for the Grow Your Blog event a few weeks ago (and getting them!), that I want to do it again. Here are the lovely prizes . . .

A beautiful colclough bone china tea cup in a buttery yellow and a sweet little vintage linen towel, both sourced from our local antique mall yesterday.

So here are The Rules . . . 

Leave a comment and let me know you are following me (if you're not following me, now would be a good time . . . ).

For a second chance to win, please help me out with some advice. If you are not a blogger, what do you like here? What makes you want to come back? If you are a blogger, what have you learned in your years of blogging that you wished you knew in the beginning?  Do you have any technical hints, like how to put watermarks on your photos? (I am sure there is a faster way than what I'm doing.) How do you handle comments? Do you respond to every one, or do you go visit them and comment there instead? What do you think about advertising? Any other helpful advice? Looking forward to hearing your ideas.

I will keep this open for a couple weeks and announce the winner, drawn randomly, on March 17.

(happy three months to you . . . dear bloggy . . .)

Linking with . . .

Anything Blue Friday

Home Sweet Home

Housekeeping help

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I have always had a fantasy about having household help. A housekeeper at the very least. Maybe a cook, a gardener/fix-it/all-around handyman. If I really start dreaming, someone to do my hair every morning. I once told my husband I could employ six people, no problem!

"Your tea, milady." (If I had staff, that silver tray would be polished.)
This is one of the reasons I love all those British period pieces. The Jane Austen books made into movies, Downton Abbey, Jeeves and Wooster . . . Such luxury, to read, write, and walk in the gardens (if I had some) while someone else takes care of the household tasks . . . I tell myself I would get bored, but I really don't think I would.

I don't mind organizing. In fact, I get a real satisfaction out of making things tidy. But cleaning the shower, mopping, dusting ceiling fans . . . I do it because I love a clean home, but even after all these years, I still get a little irritated when I clean. The more I do, the more I see there is to do. The never-ending-ness of it gets to me. 

When my children were growing up, I had chore charts, and they did a lot of the housekeeping with me. We were homeschooling, and we all had to pull together. It was a way to teach them responsibility. And it sure was nice having help with vacuuming and dishes. Now, it's all back on me.

I always thought I'd like Aunt Bee from the classic Andy Griffith Show and Jeeves, from Jeeves and Wooster. To have Aunt Bee busy in the kitchen, making food for us, and Jeeves making the fire and serving me tea . . . I love both of these characters, but I do wonder whether they would get along under one roof. They're so different. I have a feeling Jeeves would hurt poor Aunt Bee's feelings with his upper-crust ways.

So I have another thought. What about Carson and Mrs. Hughes from Downton Abbey? They get along very well. Seeing them hold hands Sunday night as they waded into the water together proves that. They are both extremely capable, and I'm certain that they would take very good care of us.

What do you think? Who would be your fantasy staff?


Look what sweet Lori from Morning Glories and Moonflowers sent me the other day for winning her Grow Your Blog giveaway drawing. A book, some lovely pencils, a fun dish towel (featured in the above picture as well), and a Starbucks gift card, all wrapped up in pretty packaging! Love it. So generous and kind of Lori.

And here's another Waterlogue picture . . .

Have a beautiful day sweet friends.

Pink elephant tea

Monday, February 24, 2014

Book club is tonight. I borrowed these beautiful pink cups from my daughter for our tea.

They are more modern-looking than any I own. Aren't they chic?

Look at how well this teapot matches. I just got it this weekend at a local tea shop. They were having a Downton Abbey tea tasting party. There were prizes and extra chances to win if you could answer Downton Abbey trivia questions. I was asked, "what event caused Matthew to be next in line as heir?" Of course, the answer was, "the sinking of the Titanic." Prizes to be announced later include official Lord Grantham tea, Downton Abbey jewelry, and more. 

I was looking for an everyday workhorse teapot that is comfortable to pour. The one I'm currently using is too long horizontally, and I always feel it's going to tip forward when I pick it up when it's full. My nice white Rockingham teapot got a major crack in it, and I've been looking ever since for another round white pot. But then I saw this pink beauty. I think I could use this every day, don't you?

The conundrum is that the teapot is mine and the cups are my daughter's. Hmmm . . . we'll just have to have tea together.

We picked up some prettily packaged tea. As delicious as this looks, I will leave it for my friends, as I mostly prefer plain black teas. I got some loose Darjeeling for myself and got my daughter some loose Victorian Earl Grey.

Here's the tea table . . . 

I have a tiny chocolate cake here because one of the book club ladies had a birthday Saturday. We'll sing "happy birthday" to her. Most of the ladies are very health conscious, and don't eat too many sweets so a small cake will be enough. They usually bring other treats as well. I will probably just add some fruit.

So what's with the elephant?

 I was thinking I needed a little black and pink decoration to match the cups, and before you know it, old Mrs. Elephant was getting a little makeover. I featured her little son in a previous post here. Those are real ivory tusks on this elephant which came from my husband's great-grandparents' time in Africa. She is atop a little cake stand on a piece of striped pink and white scrapbooking paper, and surrounded by pink and white baubles. Isn't she adorable?

I love crisply ironed linens, but I can deal with freshly laundered, slightly rumpled ones, too.

Below is a vintage apron I just laid on the table because I thought the fabric looked pretty with the dishes.

A notebook is always good to have on hand for jotting down ideas and thoughts . . .

I've been trying out this new Waterlogue app that I've been seeing featured on a few blogs. Here is one of the above photos . . . 

Isn't this great? It turns your photos into "watercolors."

On another note, feast your eyes on this delicious-ness. We went out for breakfast after church Sunday, and my daughter got this . . .

It had a sweet cream filling. She let me have a couple bites. Mmmm.

Thank you for joining me for my pink elephant tea. And thanks to all of you who have left such lovely comments.  You have been a wonderful encouragement to this new blogger, and I'm thankful to meet such truly kind people.

Linking with . . . 

Blue bling

Friday, February 21, 2014

Went to the consignment store this week, and found this bling-y blue number. Statement necklaces are in, so why not? Like I always say, sparkle is good for the soul.

And, wow, does this sparkle.

The saleslady looked doubtful. "What are you going to wear it with?" she asked me. "Jeans," I replied. She didn't say anything, only raised her eyebrows ever so slightly.

Here's some more vintage bling. It was originally a brooch, but someone added beads and a clasp.

On another note, this is how I usually feel about getting my picture taken . . . 

So you probably won't see pictures of me on this blog. Today was an anomaly. Just in case you were wondering . . . 

Consignment and antique stores are great places for vintage jewelry. Check carefully for any missing rhinestones, and make sure all clasps and pins are in good working order. I learned this the hard way. Sales are usually final. Another great source of vintage gems is your grandmother's or great-aunt's jewelry box. I think that vintage jewelry has much more character than something you might buy at J. Crew, for example, is a lot less expensive, and will definitely be one of a kind. (J. Crew's statement necklaces currently range from $55 to $248.)

 I say, take advantage of the trend and hop on the bandwagon. Enjoy the sparkles and bling. Give those baubles another day in the sun. Like all trends, it will run its course, and grandmother's jewelry will once more be retired. We'll be back to small, demure jewelry soon enough. And probably ready for it by then.

Linking with . . .

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