Wednesday, April 16, 2008


"If your tongue trips over 'oolong' and there's no place for your spoon,
If you end up with your cookie on your knee
If dainty conversation leaves you speechless far too soon,
You need some help surviving Ladies' Tea."

From the book, "Afternoon Tea at Pittock Mansion" Quote by Haddyr Leigh

This weeks challenge in Gracious Hospitality's blog-a-thon is Dressed-to-a-Tea. We are to share ideas for dressing up for afternoon tea. Is your favorite tea-time outfit a silk caftan, flannel jammies, or a dress with proper hat and gloves? Do you enjoy wearing tea prints to tea? Or do you prefer something more elegant? Lace and ruffles? A feathered hat? Long pink gloves? Satins and silks? Cotton comfort? Jeans and a t-shirt you say? That's OK - share it all !

Pictures of you in your tea time costume are welcome! But, if you are not brave enough to share a picture of "you", simply share something you think would be FUN to wear to tea. Remember, a tea can be anything from a formal afternoon tea - to tea in the park with a friend. It's whatever it means to you! Just for fun, go here to find out How to Dress for Tea.

I am really a casual tea kind of girl. Most of the teas I host are very intimate gatherings of just close friends and we have a come as you are policy, nothing fancy. I have to say that a typical tea outfit for me would include denim, linen, and lace. I would choose my favorite pair of dark washed jeans from Old Navy. Everybody needs a fabulous fitting pair of jeans and for me it is the flirt!
And I would pair them with a favorite gauzy white top with detailing of cotton crochet lace inserts and a row of white pearl buttons, layering it over a white tank top.A casual wedge with sisal detailing would be my shoe of choice.These are borrowed from darling daughter's closet. They have a bit of a summery feel and would grace my feet as pretty raspberry colored polished toes peeped out!If I decided to wear a hat it would be my favorite beach hat left unadorned save its gauze like scarf and jaunty bow.However, if the mood struck me I might add a splash of faded color by pinning on this vintage velvet flower that has aged and mellowed to a very soft peachy pink.

For jewelry I'd simply have to go with pearls, after all, a Southern girl has got to have her pearls! I'd choose the earrings that were a Christmas gift from my husband. I'd wear the ring I got in Hawaii, where we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, with its blue and white pearls and delicate gold plumeria leaves that twine around the tiny pearls, and a necklace I had made in Hawaii from a pearl I dug out of an oyster.
Were I to indulge in a fantasy tea, it would most certainly be held on the shore of the sea. The gown I would choose to wear was designed and sewn by Jaime of elyseREUBEN Coutour Gowns and is pictured below. (Since this is my fantasy tea, I'll take that figure to go right along with the gown!) I love the soft aqua color that is reminiscent of the clear aqua water off the coast of Florida. The filmy frothy over lay of sheer fabric give this simple gown an ethereal quality and would be befitting for any mermaid to leave her enchanted home of the deep and sip and stroll along the edge of the sea for a sunset tea! (Shameless plug here folks, Jaime happens to be my cousin and I am so proud of her work!)

No shoes will be worn with this gossamer gown as sand in your slippers is to unromantic! Only bare feet with pearly pale shell pink painted toes will be present and oh so much more pleasant for strolling in the sand, sipping by the sea, and dipping toes in the briny foam.
As the ocean breeze can get quite cool in the evening, I would take along my favorite wrap to ward off the chill. It is a soft, off white cashmere shawl with a simple fringe on the ends.To keep the shawl fastened against the breeze I would pin it with this vintage floral shaped broach. The broach is studded with the palest of aqua rhinestones that match the color of the gown and sports a large faux pearl center.Like the beautiful young model pictured wearing the gown above, I too will wear my hair up with a few loose trendils curling down. I'd adorn my up swept curls with a mermaid crown by pinning shells and pearls at the base of my gathered curls. Well, let me show you, like this:
(Yes, that is me and my very real hair, please excuse the gray, there is no gray hair in this fantasy!) And, of course, my jewels of choice will once again be pearls!For this tea I would keep it light and airy serving a honey lemon tea from an antique cup and saucer like the one pictured below that I found here.
This unique teacup and saucer has a nautical motif - the saucer is in the shape of a half-shell and the teacup appears to be a shell on the bottom half! The top of the cup is finished with a pretty floral painting and gold edging.

The menu will consist of Fresh Cubed Fruit with Honey and Lemon Dressing, Quick Lemon Crisp Cookies, and a delectable piece of chocolate to finish things off nicely! (OK Pam, I know you are reading this and shaking your head. I know, I don't like chocolate! This is my fantasy tea in this fantasy I like it or at least the sound of consuming it after a spot of tea!)
Honey Lemon Dressing for fresh fruit:
1/4 cup honey to 2 TBS lemon juice per 6 servings
Whisk together ingredients and drizzle over fruit that has been placed in dessert cups.
Garnish with fresh mint if desired.

For Quick Lemon Crisp Cookies, go here. You can also top these cookies with a glaze, which consists of powdered sugar, a bit of milk, and a dash of lemon flavoring. While glaze is still wet, you can garnish the cookies with a tiny bit of fresh grated lemon zest, yum!
I picture myself strolling along the edge of the briny deep swaddled in my shawl, gown swishing around my feet as I glide along sipping my tea and occasionally dipping my toes in the foamy edge. The feel of the sand beneath my feet is cold, wet, and wonderful! My stroll is set the music of the moody sea, lapping waves on the shoreline, an occasional punctuation in the air of the cry of a solitary gull, and the crescendo of waves against the rocks. The crescendo sends up a salty sea spray that glitters at dusk like diamonds dripping and dropping onto the sand. The air is fragranced with salt and brine and breeze that speaks of far away places from which it has traveled. My walk is aimless and my mind and emotions are set free as I drink the vast beauty of the fathomless deep that lies before me and the expanse of sky above me.

I feel very small standing there on the edge of the deep, sandwiched between ocean and sky. My mind fills with the thought that this is where He says he cast my sins, into the depths of the sea, a place I cannot reach, and He remembers them no more. My heart fills with the wonder of it all, the depth of His forgiveness, the bigness of his mercy, and the vastness of His love. I stand there truly feeling like a pearl of great price, His treasure beyond measure, comforted that He is so very big and I am so very small, for I know He is watching over me. The sun has set as I retrace my steps and pack away my fantasy tea. Thank you for joining me!

I realize I bent the rules a bit with this challenge but to be quite honest I found my dressing habits to be a bit boring so I thought you might be distracted from me keeping it real with a few pretty cups and yummy recipes. I did think about taking a field trip to a local vintage clothing store in the old part of downtown and taking photos but time is of the essence this week and a field trip did not fit into my plans nor did scouring the web for the perfect tea outfit. I'm off to see how lovely everyone else is dressed for tea!

Miss Sandy

P.S. For details and to sign up for my 100th post give away go here!


Kathy said...

What a lovely post! Everything looks very special.
Kathy@ Mimi's Garden

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

All that's left is for you to turn 'round so we can see your beautiful face.

Are you going on vacation? I ask because you've been so detailed about food and beverages. By the way, please invite me to your next tea, k?

That was a lovely way to spend some time, now I'm off to follow your link about the proper way to dress for tea.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. Everything is so pretty. Lovely post.

La Tea Dah said...

Miss Sandy, your post was perfect! Even without the yummy tea details of tea treats and beautiful china, it was perfect! I love your outfits for tea, but especially your first one. Casual, yet romantic. There's really something special about denim and lace mixed together. I love your gauzy white shirt --- which reminds me that I just found several in the same genre (white, gauzy, romantic) at TJ Max and wished over them for awhile (I bought Madden Girl shoes instead!). Your beach tea sounds dreamy and oh so lovely! And I must comment on your beautiful quote at the beginning from the Pittock Mansion. Have you had afternoon tea there? In the tea room before they closed it? It was pure delight! I was sad that they closed the carriage house tea room and am hoping they've opened it up again. Do you know? Have they?

Thanks so much for sharing! You put alot of work into this post and I enjoyed it very much!!!


Cori G. said...

Sandy what a wonderful post. Thank you for painting such a lovely picture of your fantasy tea. One thing you forgot...there's no fishing in that particular sea. I feel as if I've been on an enchanted little journey.
Grace and Peace to you.

marye said...

Now that is a TEA story that Anne Shirley could be proud of!
I love your descriptions. thanks for sharing.

Arleen ~ The Tea Room said...

Miss Sandy, what perfect outfits for tea! I love that you chose your favorite blue denim jeans. And your crisp white lacy top looks so cool, comfortable, and perfect for the occasion!

And of course I love the pearls! Yours are stunning!

Thanks for taking the time to share with us such a detailed and thorough post!

Catherine Holman said...

Hi Sandy,
I'm a jeans gal too. Since I work at home and paint all the time, most of my clothes have paint on them. Did you know that your "post a comment" font light green color is hard to see on the blue background? The darker green shows up good though.

Sweet Necessi-Teas said...

What a lovely post! Not only did you provide the outfits, but ideas for each tea. You are very creative! Thanks for sharing.

Steph said...

Very lovely, all of these items! And I think your jeans and linen and lace outfit is gorgeous.

Sandra said...

What a delightful post! I really enjoyed reading it. I love the white top and can just picture it with a great pair of jeans. I seem to have a weakness for white blouses/tops for some reason. :o)

I really enjoyed all the photos you sharing as well. Thanks!

Rosa said...

Miss Sandy,
I must say I felt like a was reading a beautifully written novel, your details are so vivid that I could just imagine you doing all these wonderful things!
I enjoyed it very much...very well
Take care,

Grace Yaskovic said...

I love the thought and effort you put into your post Miss Sandy, it was absolutely delightful to stop by and read!

bluemuf said...

I love the outfit you have chosen to wear to your lovely, yummy tea. The menu sounds devine and I would love to have tea with you in this beautiful spot.

Hugs Karen

Sweet Necessi-Teas said...

Hi Miss Sandy, Thank you for your lovely post on my blog. I, too, am vertically challenged at 5'1 3/4". I just wear what I like and don't worry what others think.... (I make my skirts because I love the feminine look and couldn't find them in stores.)

Pam said...

Loved your post, and loved your blue jeans and lace outfit, down to the last detail of jewelry and raspberry painted toes!! Thanks for sharing in the fun, and thanks for stopping by my blog! love, Pam

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