Tuesday, December 1, 2015


A busy weekend ended in the most pleasant way after family gatherings, excessive eating, days off, shopping, visitors from out of town, traveling to and from. Even fun can be exhausting and now the week is starting again.  We all needed a respite moment, a time to leave the cares of the world behind, which is exactly what we did on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. after the Thanksgiving holiday.  I especially wanted to use this tablecloth today as it was embroidered as a wedding gift to me by my aunt, and today is her birthday.

Here is a rose napkin, demonstrated by one of the guests.  Its just perfect!  Thank you, Jan.

Though not yet December, and since I will not visit with many of these guests again before Christmas, I wanted to share a little of my teatime Christmas decorations with them.  Here's what I chose to set out especially in honor of the afternoon tea.

This three-foot high white tree is entirely decorated with tea party, teapot, teacup and Victorian ornaments, some of which I received as gifts and many that I picked out myself.  Along with the ornaments are two little tea sets that my youngest granddaughters simply love to touch and hold and carry around.

If you've read any of the other posts on my blog, you've learned that I love every aspect of planning a tea - from choosing the guests to the tableware, linens and of course, the menu. Always have a "B" list, if there are any cancellations.  Today I am sorry for illness that prevented one guest from attending, but happy that Deb was able to change her plans and join us for tea. There are so many sources of menu options, that there are almost too many. (not really.)

First Course:   Welsh Rarebit
                        Orange Olive Salad  Recipe - Christmas Cottage

Second Course:  Scones - Pumpkin
                                          Fig Orange  Recipe - Tea Time Magazine
                                          Mock Devonshire Cream

Third Course: Brandy Cream Tarts     Recipe - Christmas Cottage
                       Mini Cheesecakes

Tea:  Copper Country Connection, a black tea with elderberry flowers
         Chai Latte     Recipe - Christmas Cottage

I've collected many hats for my guests to choose from.  This afternoon I was delighted that every guest wore a hat, some bringing their own, and one choosing a "fascinator" which I recently made.  I guess it was only me that didn't wear a hat!

Lisa, Sharon, Kay, Jan, Kris, Deb and Nancy, your hat choices were divine.  And as promised, if the pictures I take aren't flattering, they aren't posted.

So what was so special about this afternoon tea in November?  It may have been the excitement of making....taking time for oneself after a busy holiday weekend.  Perhaps it was the wonderment of what a tea at Sue's was all about that made it special.  It may have been these things, but I believe what made this afternoon tea so special was the candied almonds.

There are three ingredients in making the candied almonds, each of which are wonderful in themselves.  Sugar. Butter. Almonds.  The marrying of these three ingredients together for a few minutes form a delectable, delightful topping.  And had I not already had a plan for the candied almonds, they wouldn't have lasted long in my kitchen!

The candied almonds reminded me of my hopes for any tea party.  Like the sugar, butter and almonds, each guest is individually unique and different.  A cup of tea and a moment alone can do wonders for a busy life.  But the combination of special linens, delectable foods and friends, new and old, blend us to create something very special - an afternoon of enjoyment in a new light.

Because we left the tragedies and world problems outside of the door, hung our wraps in the cloakroom (this dates us, but with a pleasurable memory), and entered into an afternoon of enjoyable conversation and friendship, we became like the almonds, butter and sugar, uniquely different, yet wonderfully new together. This is the  joy of tea with friends.

Make sure to find time in your life for a few respite moments to collect your thoughts and count your blessings.  And share yourself with others, considering the joy that candied almonds can bring.

Thanks for stopping by.  Until we meet again, may you be blessed today! SB

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