Monday, January 19, 2015

A Winter Morning Mantelscape

I've just about got the Christmas decor corralled and put away! It takes me a bit longer due to a late Dec birthday and and early Jan birthday in the family. Although, this year, I will say, not as many holiday decorations came out of the attic.
I found a darling wool pom-pom wreath tutorial over at Stonegable and treated myself to a few hours of "me time" to make it. I just love the soft texture and feel of this wreath! So much so, that I couldn't decide where to hang it, it looks great everywhere!
So this month, it takes center stage in my living room on the mantel. I've hung it on my vintage mirror with a suction cup, but I bet a command hook would work too.
I have two buffet style lamps on either side of the mirror for much needed lighting. I'm on the look out for new shades!

 I wanted to use my small boxwood wreaths from Christmas, I just love them!

They are balanced out with a cute faux boxwood ball in my vintage silver champagne bucket. 
And you know me & 3's! The mercury glass pillars hold wonderfully scented candles and create that triangle. With an eye for height and the rule of 3's you can get a great display set up in no time! I go into more detail about the Rule of 3'S in my tutorial here.

My wool wreath is the star of this show, but the different metallics and shades of green make it a great mantelscape, don't you think?
I'll be sharing this mantel over at:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Meet the Earl and his many shades of grey

Would you believe that the Queen of England, the fictional character, Jean-Luc Picard and I have something in common? Yes, indeed! We all proclaim our preference for Earl Grey tea!

Earl Grey tea has a very distinctive flavor. In fact, the more I talk tea with people the more I hear from them about their likes and dislikes in the realm of tea. The conclusion, you either love Earl Grey or you don't! But I continue to test this theory and offer tea tastings of my favorite blend.

If you've never tried this particular tea blend, let me take a moment to describe it to you. Earl Grey tea is a blend of black tea, usually an Assam with bergamot.  This is a type of citrus that originated in Italy and is believed to be a cross between a lime and a sour orange. The rind of bergamot contains a large amount of essential oil. This is then infused with the Assam tea, giving the tea a pungent distinctive flavor.

In the past, Earl Grey tea, named after Charles Grey, Second Earl Grey, British Parliamentarian, Reformer, and Abolitionist was a stand alone blend. Now, tea blenders are bringing this tea to new heights by adding flavors and colors! These new shades of Earl Grey widen the palate of the blend and can turn those nay-sayers into sippers.

When looking at these new shades you may find  a Lady Grey blend typically has less bergamot and adds a touch of lemon to the tea. 

Lady Lavender Grey, adds a touch of lavender to the tea, rounding out the bergamot with the lavender. 
Dowager Countess Grey lightens the tea blend with a fruity note of raspberry. 
The Earl's Finest is an Earl Grey lover's tea, with an extra punch of bergamot!

All these different shades of Earl Grey tea blends have something in common, they are best sipped without the addition of milk. Sugar may be added, but in most cases, you'll find it isn't necessary.

Experiment with the steeping time as you enjoy your tea, note the subtlety of the citrus flavor changes and the presence of the black tea comes to the forefront as the steeping time increases. I prefer my steeping time at 3.5 minutes, but then I do not like to drink a bitter cup of tea! 

For those of you who just adore this fine tea blend, you can rejoice in the fact that it is widely used to bake with! Yes, the tea can be added to give zing to shortbread, The infused tea leaves can also be ground into a fine powder and be added to chocolates, salad dressings and more!

Are you an Earl Grey fan? Have you tried it in your recipes? 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tea Parties on Parade! 2014 in Review

 I just love a parade! Watching all the people go by, the music, the colors, the pure enjoyment and festivities of it! That's how I felt as I sat back and looked at all the tea party tablescape photos I took during the past year. If someone had walked by and tossed candy at me while I was looking I couldn't have enjoyed myself more!
Let me line up the parties, create the floats, and march them all past you! (And oh yes, duck as the last few go by, I wouldn't want you to get plunked by a couple of lollipops as they get tossed!) Click on each image to see more photos from the original post.
Alfresco Iced Tea Party
link will take you to catalog-see pg 2

 Red, White and Blueberry Fresh!
Red, White & Blueberry Fresh!
Will you be my Bridesmaid" 

Guess WHOO's coming to tea?

A little fall loveliness!

Grateful & Blessed!

Holiday Tea Bar

Reflecting on a New Year see pg 5

Feel free to comment on your favorite parties and make suggestions for upcoming themes! I'll be sharing these parties at: