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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Today I am grateful and give thanks for the following:

The promise of Phil. 4:13 – “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

A brand new printer/scanner, a gift from my brother.

The beauty of plants and flowers such as seen at the art museum event last Thursday.

The dedication of medical personnel who have learned their skills well and carry out their duties with kindness and concern for the patient. (Last Friday I had a procedure done which required putting me to sleep for a couple hours.)

All the best to each of you. Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

'French Tea' & Other Tea-Themed Books

Among the books at Oak Rise Cottage are many books about tea and related subjects. First I would like to share one of the latest books I’ve read, French Tea: The Pleasures of the Table by Carole Manchester. New York: Hearst Books, 1993.

This book was a delight to read from cover to cover. It has a great format for introducing a topic and giving the reader a full and complete introduction to varied aspects of the subject. While there is much information about English style tea, not much is readily available about how the French use tea. In French Tea Carole Manchester gives an account of the history of tea, the history of tea in France and the development of tea salons. In the process she lets the reader into the world of the tea salon and the sweet and savory accompaniments to tea that are served there.
As a carefully-made guide, this book also provides glossaries to tea terms, to French pastries, and advice on taking tea. There are beautiful photos of interiors with tea settings in interiors from tea salons, restaurants, hotels and private homes. I found it interesting also, to learn about tea sets in French pottery of the early 20th century.
For more on this book click below:

One group of my tea books focus on entertaining with tea:
Tea Time Celebrations by Alexandra Stoddard
A Little Book of English Teas by Rosa Mashiter
Country Tea Parties by Maggie Stuckey
Taking Tea With Alice – This presents whimsical tea parties.

Other books focus especially on recipes to be used in a tea celebration:
Scones Muffins and Tea Cakes: Breakfast Breads and Teatime Spreads, ed. by Heidi Haughy Cusick
Having Tea: Recipes & Tablesettings by Tricia Foley
The Teatime Cookbook by Steffi Berne
Totally Teatime Cookbook by Helene Siegel

Several books in my collection are on afternoon tea. This came about when the spring receptions for our poetry lecture series was an afternoon tea served with lovely English teacups. The books provided inspiration to make the occasions lovely and pleasant for the guests.

Afternoon Teas: Recipes History Menus (A Between Friends Cookbook)
The Book of Afternoon Tea by Lesley Mackley
The Afternoon Tea Book by Michael Smith
The Perfect Afternoon Tea Book: A Collection of Teatime Treats (Perfect Recipes)

Special Teas by M. Dalton King is a beautiful book of themed menus and recipes.
A book which gives history and advice on entertaining with finesse is:
How to Serve a Proper Victorian Tea: Using Antique China & Silver to Bring the Past to the Present by Caroline Pichney. I enjoyed reading the author’s anecdotes of her experiences travelling to England and France and other tea topics.
Teatime Tales & Rhymes – Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Tea Party Book: With Menus, Recipes, Decorations and Favors to Make by Lucille Recht Penner
The Charms of Tea: Reminiscences and Recipes. Victoria Magazine

Time for Tea Mary Englebreit
If Teacups Could Talk: Sharing a Cup of Kindness With Treasured Friends by Emilie Barnes; Paintings by Sandy Lynam Clough

Tea and Inspiration: A Collection of Tea Celebrations to Share With Your Lord and Your Loved Ones by Mary Pielenz Hampton
The Book of Herbal Teas: A Guide to Gathering, Brewing and Drinking by Sara Perry

Little gift books found in bookstores include -
A Child’s Tea Party
The Little Book of Tea
Teatime: Tradition, Presentation, and Recipes

Another category of tea-related books are collector’s guides to teapots and teacups and saucers.

Christie’s Collectibles: Teapots by Paul Tippett
China Teapots (Antique Collectors Pocket Guides) by Pauline Agius
Collectible Teacups and Saucers: Identification & Values by Jim and Susan Harran

In yesterday's mail I received a free tea book from It is titled Teapots written by Tina M. Carter. The subtitle is The Collector's Guide to Selecting, Identifying, and Displaying New and Vintage Teapots. Flipping through it I see many fascinating teapot designs of porcelain, silver and other materials.

Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to leave your much-appreciated comment.

{In the post that follows just below are links to detailed information on most of the books listed above.}

Links to Tea Books

For the convenience of readers who might wish more information on the tea books, this post has links to most of the titles mentioned in my post, "French Tea and Other Tea Books." The links are to Amazon.com. I trust you will find something of interest to you.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tagged – Four Things Meme

My dear blog friend Katherine of Yellow Rose Arbor has tagged me for a four things meme.

1. Joseph (The Bible Collection)
2. A Man For All Seasons
3. Pride and Prejudice
4. Jane Eyre

1. Queens, NY
2. Riverside, CA
3. Weslaco, TX
4. Denton, TX

1. Masterpiece
2. Barefoot Contessa
3. Colorsplash
4. Antiques Roadshow

1. England
2. Germany
3. Mexico
4. Greece

1. My brother
2. My sister
3. Irene
4. Esther

1. New York Pizza
2. Rice pudding
3. Artisan breads
4. Lentil Stew

1. Tower Hill Botanic Garden
2. Visiting family in Maryland
3. Enjoying Oak Rise Cottage with friends
4. On a cruise ship on the Agean Sea

1. Family Reunion – we will celebrate 50 years in the United States (1958-2008)
2. Spring and spring flowers
3. My sister’s graduation from medical school
4. Benefiting from regular exercise

1. Susan – Black Eyed Susan’s Kitchen
2. Tea – Foothills of the Great Smoky Mtns.
3. Jacki – Little Casa
4. Mary Poppins – atmosfera di casa

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Flora in Winter '08

On Thursday January 24 a friend and I went to "Flora in Winter" an exhibit at the Worcester Art Museum, a medium-sized museum with a superb collection of art works. This year’s is the sixth annual exhibit of floral arrangements which interpret works in the museum’s galleries.

I was not going to take my camera since most places do not allow any photography. But I slipped my digital camera in my purse and upon arrival at the museum asked about taking photos. I was told that it was OK, but no flash. One of the museum staff showed me how to turn off the flash of my camera and I was all set. The first two shots, no flash. But as I held the camera and walked around, it reset itself and the next one flashed.

This went on throughout the visit. The attendant in a particular gallery would tell me the no flash rule. I would reset the flash off, take a few photos, forget and then the flash would go off when I was in another gallery.
This (above) was without flash.This was with flash.

It was quite a nuisance, and each time I decided not to take any more photos. That decision went out the window, of course, as soon as I saw the next floral arrangement. Even though there were lots of people around in the galleries and public spaces, I was happily able to take forty photos. Of these, I had to discard three as someone had walked in front of the camera.
Floral designs in the galleries were done by area garden club members. Those in the public spaces (lobbies, etc) were done by professional florists. Most of the floral designs had a list of materials used. Did we ever see some interesting plants! And such inventive use of the flowers and accompanying materials. My photos just give a dim idea of the beauty on display. Click on each photo for larger enhanced view.

At the top of one staircase we found the bust of Flora in space overlooking the Renaissance Court with its fabulous mosaic floor.

This painting is interpreted with white hydrangeas, white peonies

This large arrangement in one of the lobbies was about 4 feet off the table and about 3 feet wide.
Here is a closeup of the variety of plant materials incorporated in this giant display:

This painting of a woman in red ["Lizzie B. Dewey" by John Singer Sargent] was interpreted quite closely with red tulips and white roses. Since the designer was late in her installation, we got to see her work on putting this together.

As we entered a gallery with pre-Colombian art mostly from Mexico, another visitor said, "There is something very interesting in there…." We saw it – an arrangement incorporating succulent plants, a stone surface, etc.

but it took another visitor to point out the work it was interpreting – a stone table in shape of a turtle. See on right:

For Winslow Homer’s painting, "The Gale" the designer interpreted the strong woman holding her child in face of the blustering sea. Two women who were judges of floral competition came by and helped identify the many different plants used.

The entrance closest to where we parked had this banner announcing an exhibit of American art from Winterthur Museum that runs through April 6.

Just outside the gallery with that exhibit the same image is interpreted quite literally by the floral designer, who draped a scarf around the large vase. The painting is "Sally" by Joseph DeCamp.

Each year the owner of Sprout in Worcester chooses to do the restrooms with some surprising design. Here is this year’s design for one of the ladies room. It put a smile on the face of each person who entered.
The design incorporated paper cutouts on the mirrors, and orchids amid ferns and various green plants.

Well it was a fun few hours that we spent at the museum. We were able to meet with and thank the museum staff member and friend who had sent us complimentary tickets to Flora in Winter.

I hope you enjoyed seeing these captivating floral designs. It was a sight for sore winter eyes for sure.

Friday, January 25, 2008

New Pine Hutch Display

Show and Tell Friday is hosted by Kelli at There is No Place Like Home.
In my January 15 post I introduced my Blue and White Teacup Collection which I had just unpacked from being stored for over a year. I promised that I would show it when I had arranged in the pine hutch in the kitchen. Here is a photo of the hutch with its new display:
At the same time I unpacked the cups and saucers I also unpacked all my books on tea – its history, entertaining with tea, etc. I hope to do a post on the books soon.

Well, having to find a place for both books and cups and saucers, I put several books in the pine hutch. Also included are a few accessories. I tried to place things so I could reach a particular piece with some ease. Each day I have been using a different teacup for my hot drink.

The cup and saucer I would like to tell about is in the "Palma" pattern from Alfred Meakin. It is next to the matching plate in the center of the second shelf.

I got the plate first. One day my sister told me by phone that she had gotten an addition to my blue and white dishes. She explained that her boss had come in to work and taken out this pretty blue and white plate. Why? Well he was going to use it as a saucer for the plant in his office. "Oh, no you don’t….I need that for my sister. She collects blue and white things. Let’s find something else for your plant."

In time she brought the plate to me and I really liked it. It is a very modern pattern with a pleasing design. I later ordered the matching cup and saucer from Ross-Simons.
To visit other show and tell posts please go to Kelli’s

[Other pine hutch displays were pictured in posts for October 9 and for December 12 ]

Thanks for your visit to Oak Rise Cottage and do come again soon. Your comment is always welcome.