Tuesday, March 25, 2008


"Anna, the seventh duchess of Bedford, began the institution known as "Afternoon Tea" in England during the 1840's. She commonly had a "sinking feeling" in the late afternoon because the customary lunch was only a few snacks and dinner was not served until eight o'clock. So she began taking tea and cakes at five o'clock and inviting a few friends."La Tea Dah of Gracious Hospitality is hosting a tea event for several weeks and this weeks theme is Litera-Tea. Where you share a favorite quote, passage, or tea themed book. Also for this weeks event you are to share how you use tea or tea themed items to minister to others. I am going to cheat a bit and do two posts in one as I missed the first week last week which was Teacup-a-Story where you share a story about your favorite tea cup.
One of the ways I like to minister with tea is by having a tea party in a basket. Above is one of my tea cupboards in my kitchen. You will notice at the base of some of the pots is a small place to plug in an electrical cord. These little electric pots are called, Hot Pots, and were made in the 50's through the early 70's. I started collecting them many years ago before they became so expensive and have quite a collection. I will pack up a pot, cups, saucers, linens, a variety of teas, and a sweet treat, and then drop by to host an impromptu tea party to minister to some one in need. The time always includes a hot cup of tea, a tasty treat, and a time of prayer. After the tea ceremony, I pack up the basket and quietly leave hoping to have eased a burden, lifted a heart, brought comfort, or just shared in friendship.
I see our hostess has already posted on all the Emilie Barnes tea themed books, all of which I happen to own and adore. I had the privilege of meeting Emilie and Sandy Lynam Clough, a very talented artist who illustrates many of Emilie's books with her wonderful paintings, at a women's seminar held at a local church a couple of years ago. She is every bit as delightful as her books!

I'd like to add a delightful Devotional tea themed book entitled, A Tea For All Seasons, Devotional Moments to Savor and Share, by Mary Pielenz Hampton. I found this little gem in a local flea market and love it. This book is based on Scripture, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which begins, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven..." The author has chosen phrases from this passage to base her tea themed events around. Each section has a recipe, a Scripture reference, and a devotional thought. This is a wonderful resource for women's ministry events, small intimate gatherings, or a quite retreat just for yourself!One of my favorite illustrators of children's books is the late Kate Greenaway. There is such charm in her drawings and her writing. Below is a picture of a piece she wrote entitled, A Tea Party.Taken from, A Little Cup of Tea, Quiet Moments With A Friend, which is printed by Brownlow Publishing Co., Inc.

"You see, merry Phillis,
that dear little maid,
Has invited Belinda to tea;
Her nice little garden

is shaded by trees, -
What pleasanter place
could there be?
There's a cake full of plums,
there are strawberries too,
and the table is set
on the green;
I'm fond of a carpet
all daisies and grass, -
Could a prettier picture be seen?"

~Kate Greenaway~

Below is an illustration from one of Kate's books, Marigold Garden, of which I happened to find a first edition copy in a flea market several years ago and snagged it for $3.00! I was thrilled to say the least.THE TEA PARTY

In the pleasant green Garden
We sat down to tea;
"Do you take sugar?" and
"Do you take milk?"
She'd got a new gown on-
A smart one of silk.
We all were so happy
As happy could be,

On that bright Summer's day
When she asked us to tea.

~Kate Greenaway, Marigold Garden, pg. 42~

One of my all time favorite tea time passages is from Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. Marilla has just given Anne permission to invite her bosom friend , Diana, to tea. Anne, with her great imagination, muses upon how it will be, but if you know Anne and her penchant for getting into scrapes, then you know her musings were just that!

"I can just imagine sitting down at the head of the table and pouring out the tea," said Anne, shutting her eyes ecstatically. "And asking Diana if she takes sugar! I know she doesn't, but of
course I'll ask her just as if I didn't know. And then pressing her to take another piece of fruit-cake and another helping of preserves. Oh, Marilla, it's a wonderful sensation just to think of it. Can I take her into the spare room to lay off her hat when she comes? And then into the parlour to sit?"
Now for my Teacup-a-Story! I had a hard time deciding which cup to feature but I finally decided upon my very first real china cup. It is actually part of a tea set that my grandmother gave me when I was five years old.

It was nearing Christmas time and my grandmother wanted to give me something special for Christmas. Being the only girl, and loving to play with the plastic red and white cherry tea set she kept for me at her home, she thought she'd like to try and find me a real tea set. One day as she was shopping in a the five and dime store, Ben Franklin's, she came across a tea set that was perfect.

Money was tight at the time and she saw the price with disappointment. She wanted to be fair and this tea set cost far more than she could afford and much more than she would spend on each of the boy cousins. She left the store without making the purchase. A week or so later she found herself once again at Ben Franklin's looking at the tea set. She noticed the price had been drastically reduced. After seeking out a store clerk she found out the reason for the reduction, one of the little saucers had been broken so the set was no longer complete.
My grandmother, thinking that I was only five and would probably not notice, decided to purchase the set anyway. She wrapped it up in Christmas paper and presented it to me on Christmas day after we arrived at her home for our annual family celebration. She watched with glee as I carefully opened the package and lifted the lid to the box. She said a shine like she had never seen before lit my eyes and my grin stretched ear to ear.

I began to carefully lay out the set and the first thing I said after hugging her and thanking her was, "Well Granny, there is a saucer missing!" She was trying to think quickly how to explain when I saved her from explaining, "That cup must be an extra in case you break one!" She just smiled and said, "I supposed that is what it is for."
It wasn't until I was older that I knew the whole story of why tea set had an extra cup. And it wasn't until then that I realized how special that extra cup with the broken saucer made a little broken girl from a broken home feel that she could still be a part of a whole set, even if one of the relationships was fractured. My extra little tea cup still remains a part of the set, which is a whole set even if a piece is missing, it still belongs, and so do I.

Miss Sandy


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story. I was so touched by it. Your tea set is beautiful

Carrie said...

What a precious story!

Arleen ~ The Tea Room said...

What a lovely and thoroughly detailed post. Thank you for including the sheet music, too! I'm so glad to have found your blog, and I'm glad you're part of LaTeaDah's Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon! ~ Arleen

ceekay said...

Thank you for visiting my blog. I enjoyed the story of your precious tea set. Definately a keeper.

Linda said...

I have many books on tea, but not the ones you show here. Thanks for the charming descriptions!

Tammy said...

I really enjoyed this heart warming "tea" post!

Pam said...

Perhaps you were just a LITTLE busy last week hosting your delightful Easter Parade!! :-) I found your blog through Fete et Fleur, and really enjoy your writing style. Loved your story today about the tea set and the extra special cup! AND tell your husband, I thought sleeping beauty and peeping cutie were precious!! he he Pam

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Your stories often bring up tears...not sad tears, but this story does touch me. How clever a little one you were to think about a thing in a different way.

And the image of a tea basket all laden with treats and the accoutrements for a proper tea. Sigh. I want to be more like you when I grow up! I have one friend who loves tea. The others are always getting a pot of coffee instead, but never in a picnic basket. Just wonderful!

And you've met Sandy Lynam Clough? You can't imagine how much I love her work. I always look for her tea time calendars. I have the sheets of same lining the inside of closet doors so as not to waste them. Do you know if she's been ill? Her publisher wrote me in 2006to say that she wouldn't be doing calendars that year, but I notice that she didn't do one this year either. I miss that wonderful surprise of turning the calendar to a beautiful new page.

Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Sandy!
Your story of the tea set is so warm and wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with us. God has such a way of telling us important things in the little things doesn't he? Sherry

Mrs. V. said...

You have such a beautiful blog ~ thank you for visiting mine. All of your decorating is so lovely!

Anonymous said...

I just loved your tea set story! So touching. I'll just bet that God probably meant for you to have that slightly imperfect tea set all along. You've touched hearts today. Thank you.


Wanita said...

What a wonderful ministry - sharing tea with friends in need. And the story of your tea set is precious. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the story about the tea set your grandmother gave you and all of the other things you wrote about. It's exciting meeting a noted tea author like Emilie Barnes, isn't it? A Tea for All Seasons is new to me so I'll have to look for a copy.

Melissa @ The Inspired Room said...

Great post, full of loveliness. I enjoyed your tea set story.

I've always adored Emilie Barnes and especially her tea book.

And, I like the idea of the Tea Basket ministry!

Happy day!


Heather@Mommymonk said...

Oh Sandy, you have such a way of making a piece of china minister to a soul!

I do wish you could come with your special tea pots and visit me someday :) It sounds almost magical.

I must agree that Anne Shirley's tea party was quite a memory for me as well. But my own children's tea parties have been equally exciting and filled with memories.

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

I love that story!

Now that I am a Grammie, I can just feel how excited she became that she could give you the tea set she really wanted to give. :)

Grace Yaskovic said...

totally wonderous post and beautiful music Your blog is lovely, I have to Thank La-Tea Dah for giving me the chance to view so many new blogs

kahti said...

I've stopped by several times this evening, I'm trying to visit everyone who posts a tea story. Your blog header is so beautiful, it's a wonderful piece of artwork, is it yours?

Your tea party in a basket sounds so wonderful, what a great idea and blessing you must be to so many.

Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more of your stories.

Kathi :)

The Knitting Blog by Mr Puffy the Dog said...

How wonderful that you take a tea party to those who need uplifting. Truly you are bringing light into a sometimes dark world.

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

What a sweet story about your tea set! Thanks for the poems and excerpts from the other books. I would love to find a Kate Greenway book like that! What a bargain!

Isn't this blog-a-thon fun!


Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I'm back, just remembered I forgot to comment on your collection of electric tea pots! That's a neat thing to collect!

I also forgot to comment on your tea party in a basket ministry, such a wonderful idea! I took a tea party in a basket to my 92-year-old friend last year.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

You had a run-in with a mob of wasps who hit you in the head and gave you a goose egg to prove it? Now that's an amazing story and there'd better be more!

Seriously, though, I hope that you are okay!

Rachel Whetzel said...

Thank you so much for visiting my blog!! Your tea set is stunning!! It reminds me that I need to talk to my mother about having tea with her soon.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading and learning so much - thank you for posting this article!
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Judy said...

What a wonderful story...and what a treasure that tea set is (imperfections and all!).

My childhood tea set looks much like yours...it also has one broken piece (but it never came that way)...I treasure it as well.

Marina Capano said...

What a wonderful story!! see you! xo xo

La Tea Dah said...

Miss Sandy, I was very blessed by your tea blog-a-thon post. Thank you so much for being a blessing to me! Your child's teacup story was meaningful and precious with such a lovely and loving ending and analysis on your part. And I enjoyed our Hot Pot collection. I have three such pots, but have never thought of using them for a basket tea party. Instead I take along a 'boring' thermos of hot water, but I like your idea better!

Enjoy a lovely day! I'm so glad you are part of our blog-a-thon!


drucillastitches said...

Thank you for sharing your story along with the wonderful pictures, what a blessing you are!!

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