Category Archives: Tea

Handmade Teapot Card

Abbys teapot card

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find a decorated envelope in my mailbox. Inside was this lovely handmade card from my friend, Abby.

Unfortunately, my scanner doesn’t do it justice. The dimensional aspects are not clearly visible; both the teapot and the outer row of the daisies are raised.

I have been the blessed recipient of many of her projects and generosity.

Abby refers to herself a paper engineer. She’s very, very good at all kinds of paper creations like tumbling blocks and pop-up things, boxes, and much more.

Thank you, Abby.

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Tea Rooms and Books

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May 24, 2013 · 2:47 pm

SimpliciTeas Tea Room

My sister asked about the closeup photograph of the daisy in my last post. It was taken during our recent visit to the LoneStar Antique Mall’s tea room, Simpliciteas.

As you can see, I ordered the half veggie sandwich/half fruit salad; Joe had the soup of the day and a roast beef sandwich.

Their fruit salad is the best I’ve ever had – anywhere. Everything fresh, nothing overripe and much more than an ordinary honeydew/cantelope mixture. There are usually 7 or more varieties of fruit served with a poppyseed dressing on the side.


Dessert for me is almost always the orange cake; can’t remember the proper name. It’s a sponge cake base with a zesty orange filling and frothy topping. The serving is large enough to share, and a bit of a stretch for just one person, unless you’re still quite hungry. (This photo was taken during a previous lunch, when I was eating alone.)


Passed this booth as we were leaving. Wish I knew the owner’s name to share with you. It’s one of my favorite booths there; she always sets up her display as a fully decorated room and it’s lovely, isn’t it?

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Cafes/Restaurants, Fort Worth/Dallas, Local Shopping, Lone Star Antique Mall, Tea Rooms, Texas, Texas

Beatitudes Tea Room

When we’re out, my husband is quick to notice any Chinese, Thai, Indian or Barbeque restaurant.

Not really my cup of tea.

In fact, the businesses that catch my attention are antique malls, thrift stores, bookshops and tea rooms.

So, I was delighted when I spotted a new one: Beatitudes, one block off Main in downtown Grapevine, Texas.


A few days later I was reading the November/December issue of Tea in Texas, a free magazine available in many tea rooms across the state, and saw this article about Beatitudes.

So the next time my friend, Mo, and I were out at lunch time, we decided to give it a try.


We chose the Victorian dining room because I was very tired that day and the chairs seemed a bit more comfortable.

Next time – and I do plan on several next times there – I’d like to have lunch in the Country dining room. Very cottagey. (Spell check is going crazy with that word, but it gets the point across.)

As you can see, the decor is lovely, the atmosphere is serene.

The food was quite good. Complimentary appetizers were small scones and flavored butter.

I ordered the veggie sandwich and it wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was absolutely delicious.

For dessert, I had coconut cream pie, which was warm and it was some of the best I’ve ever had.

The shop offers a variety of Faith based gifts and vintage china.

So, if you find yourself in Grapevine near lunchtime (or breakfast), please give this Christ-centered business a try.

Here is their website.

Go here for the menu.

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Faith, Food, Grapevine, Internet links, Local Shopping, Tea, Texas, Texas

Annotated Jane Austen

In years past, I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Northanger Abbey. Her other books (Emma, Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility) I’m familiar with only through films.

But this summer, I’m in kind of a Jane Austen mood, and so am attempting to read the volumes I’ve neglected and possibly re-read the others. I decided to begin with Persuasion.
Grapevine Public Library has several different copies, and I was pleased to find that one is annotated and illustrated.

Front of the bookmark


One of the drawbacks of reading on my own (not in a bookclub) is the inability to share and explore with others the joys and frustrations of a story or an author or a subject. The annotations relieve this somewhat.

Oh, how I’d love to be in a Cozy Bookclub.

In person.

With nice cups of tea and biscuits.

Back of the bookmark


For now I will have to content myself with my hand-made Jane Austen bookmark and lots of sidenotes.

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Filed under Bookmarks, Books, Cozy, Crafts - Paper, England, Femininity, Fiction, Jane Austen, Jane Austen, Tea

A Day Out

A lovely day today – my friend Mo (also from Tulsa) and I went to the Lone Star Antique Mall in Haltom City. It was really nice getting out of the house – even though the winds were terrific.

First we had lunch in the tea room.

The handmade chocolates in the case are by Sweet Shop USA, Mount Pleasant, Texas. (Isn’t that a nice name for a town?)

The nice lady who provides live music was there today, and played the grand piano.

Several girls were having special lunches with their mothers or grandmothers. This sweet little girl rather timidly went up to talk to the pianist.

I thought it was very kind of her to play tunes today that the children would recognize, like the theme from Sleeping Beauty.

Our waitress (who was showing me her vintage apron) was excellent. (Sorry the photo is a bit fuzzy; I only took one, so it was this one or nothing.)

Next Time – the Formals.

For other posts about Lone Star Antique Mall, go here and here.

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Filed under Antiques/Vintage, Femininity, Local Shopping, Made in the U.S.A., Shopping, Tea, Texas

Hats and Tea Parties

The most enjoyable parties I’ve ever attended have been tea parties.

Two at the top of the list come to my mind this morning because they were at this time of year. I’ll share one now and later on another one.

The actual photos from the party are put away somewhere, so we’ll have to make do with illustrations from books and magazines and our imaginations.

In 1995 we were attending Bear Creek Bible Church in Keller. A very kind young woman (who had been our younger son’s 4th grade English teacher) and I were talking at church one day about the holiday let down and we decided to plan an evening tea as something special for the ladies to look forward to during that in-between time of Christmas and New Year’s.


She offered her home and it was a perfect setting for such a party, very Victoria Magazine-like. We carefully planned the menu with traditional English tea time crumpets (which I made from scratch), cakes, fruit, 2 kinds of tea and imported Devonshire cream (bought at The British Emporium in Grapevine).

All the ladies of the church were invited and encouraged to bring their mothers and daughters of all ages (the youngest was less than a year old). We requested that the each bring a favorite teacup and saucer and be prepared to tell us all where and when they acquired it.

And we asked that they all wear hats. Surprisingly enough in this modern age, they all did.

Paula – one of the nicest members of the church – brought her mother, who was an English war bride. She presented us with a short program about the history of the candy cane and contributed authentic British homemade fruit tarts to our tea table.

Books by Miss Read seemed to fit in with the program, so I did a short book talk on those novels. Classical music from the stereo played quietly in the background.


Gleaming silver, candles and flowers, lace tablecloths, books, old ladies in hats, china tea cups and Mozart – how could a party be better?

We were dressed up, drinking tea and using our best manners. It was a lovely time.

Townsend's Monthy magazine (?), 1830, Plate 562

Caption below illustration:
“This plate depicts the wonderful high bonnets and lace caps of the early 1830s. Note the lingerie cap, which used to be worn underneath the hat or bonnet, has been replace by tulle ruffles, flowers, and other interior bonnet trim in several bonnets pictured.”

Photo sources for this post are from:

The Hat Book, Juiet Bawden
The Charms of Tea, Victoria
Southern Lady Magazine, Winter 2001
Southern Lady Magazine, Winter 2003
Vintage Hats & Bonnets, 1770-1970, Susan Langley

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Filed under Books, Cozy, Fashion, Fun, Hats, Local Shopping, Shopping, Tea

Books Read in October, 2009

Timeless Treasures Previous Review Timeless Treasures by Emilie Barnes

Dancing with Rose Dancing with Rose by Lauren Kessler

After her mother died of Alzheimer’s, Lauren Kessler took her guilt (years of ignoring her mother) and her journalism and went to work in an Alzheimer’s facility as an aide. Her goal was to learn more about the disease and get first hand experience with patients, then write about it. The resulting book is fascinating and easily readable, but troubling. Troubling not simply because it’s a tough subject and was a very tough job (she has my admiration for being willing to tackle the unpleasant physical labor).

Whether intentionally or not, she comes across as a voice of authority on approach to the disease, family vs. caregivers and the personality changes. Kessler stops just short of saying that who these people have become is really who they always were. She seems to catch before herself saying that these are people in their purest form, without all the restrictions that we put on ourselves to live in society. To me this is a ridiculous, silly and empty-headed view of Alzheimer’s. It is obviously a left-over philosophy from her hippie days. In fact, she says that she and her husband joke about nursing homes of the future: hash brownies and Black Sabbath music.

Which brings me to my biggest complaint about this book: the hidden buddhism. She doesn’t openly name her philosophy until nearly the end of the book, which I consider a cheat. Early in the book, and even without knowing her religion, I saw a pattern developing that bothered me. A more honest approach would’ve been to state it up front.

This was the second book on Alzheimer’s that I checked out from the Grapevine Library that took a buddhist approach to the disease and caregiving. The first book I didn’t even bother to read. If she had been more forthcoming , I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this one, either.

Because the other reason I resent her and her book, is that I wrongly took to heart something she said about a family member who was calling on the phone to talk to their parent. She wrote that she believed that they did it more for themselves than for the patient and that the patient would’ve been better off if they hadn’t called. I don’t know if she meant this as a general rule for everyone, but I took it to heart. We live in another state and can only get up to see my mother about every 3 weeks, so I call her on the phone in between times. With only one exception, she seems to enjoy the calls. But there was once when she was agitated and I thought maybe Kessler was right and I shouldn’t call; that it was making Mama unhappier. So, for several days I didn’t. Then I decided to call and talk to the nursing staff and get their opinion because they deal with her afterwards. I asked if she seemed worse after the phone conversations, more unsettled. Each one of them said that she enjoyed them and they considered that it was better for my mother if I did call. Then I felt like a lousy daughter for having taken Kessler’s advice. I don’t even know if she meant it generally, but that’s how I took it. She sure seems to think she’s one of the experts after her experiences.

Mrs. Miniver, Amazon listing Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther Previous review of book and movie. Related post.

A spoonful of poison

A Spoonful of Poison

A Spoonful of Poison, by M.C. Beaton

Published in 2008, this is the 19th Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C. Beaton. Publisher’s Weekly referred to it as ‘saucy’, which I found perplexing. Surely I’m not more liberal than Publisher’s Weekly! Obviously that’s not so, therefore I really don’t know what they meant. There’s no hard language, descriptive sex or gruesome details.

Cozy mysteries are my favorites and I certainly think that M.C. Beaton is probably the best at this genre, after Agatha Christie. Of course, Christie was the best by far, but both the Agatha Raisin and the Hamish MacBeth stories and light, diverting and easy reads. One of the things I appreciate most about her books is the unexpected humor.

Sooner Cinema, Amazon listing Sooner Cinema – Oklahoma Goes to the Movies, Edited by Larry A. Van Meter

Being a native Oklahoman and a movie buff, I was very interested in reading this book. Van Meter is the editor, rather than the author, because the book is a compilation of 19 chapters by different writers, each focusing on either a film which was set in Oklahoma, or someone who was a native (i.e. Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory).

To be expected some of the chapters are better than others, but one that I found absolutely outrageous was the one by David Charlson called “Oklahoma Values in One Hour or Less: Gary Rhodes’ Banned in Oklahoma and Bradley Beesley’s Okie Noodling” .

Charlson is an instructor in English and Documentary Film at Oklahoma City Community College, which is really a shame. He is not a native and has nothing but disdain for the conservative atmosphere in the state. He is appalled that John McCain carried every single county in Oklahoma in the 2008 election (the only state in which this was true). He punishes conservative students who won’t watch one of his assigned films by giving them another choice: gruesomeness instead of child pornography.

Other chapters are about Cimmarron, True Grit, Silkwood,The Outsiders, Far and Away, Oklahoma Crude and The Grapes of Wrath, among others. The rest of the book is interesting, but Charlson’s chapter is so snide and irksome, it was a waste of time and money.

Handmade Home Handmade Home – Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule

Speaking of a waste of money brings me to Amanda Soule’s book. I bought this one while traveling home from Oklahoma and we stopped at a book store to stretch our legs. I should’ve known better than to stretch them in a book store because books are my biggest weakness. I usually buy used ones. Rarely do I pay full price and I have kicked myself repeatedly for doing it this time.

It is craft book, a sewing book, which is what I wanted. What I did not want was a new age/green/hippie book. But that’s what I got.

In the store, I briefly looked at the introduction (she talks about the family history of practicality, which I appreciate) and some of the projects like pot holders, wall pockets, and computer mouse pads. What I didn’t see until I got home was the publisher’s leaflet advertising their zen/new age books on family. Had I seen this, it would’ve been the Red Warning Flag: Carla, you will hate this book. And I do. I don’t even like the smell of it. They probably used strange ink.

Sewing books should be just that. I’m not interested in her personal beliefs. I don’t believe that I should have to carefully look through a SEWING book to see if I’m going to be offended. As I was for the “Women’s Cloth”. Gross. Just plain gross. Besides which Soule doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She wrongly opines “Disposable menstrual pads have become the norm only in the past 30 years or so …” (emphasis mine). I am almost 50 years old and disposables have been the norm and around a lot longer than me. How do I know? Because one of the things I collect is old magazines. Frankly I was surprised that these products and some of the ones I considered more modern were available as far back as they were.

So, there were happy experiences with books in October, and some which set my teeth on edge. And I didn’t even list the ones I started and gave up on.

My November reading is off to a good start. Kind of gets some of the bad taste out of my mouth.

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Filed under 1940s, Alzheimer's, Books, Cozy, Faith, Fiction, Movies, Needlecrafts, Oklahoma, Tea

Two Gentle Lessons

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Let me confess a prejudice: often I jump to conclusions about someone because of their appearance. Probably not in the way that would first come to mind about prejudice; not racially, but affluently. If a person looks … I’m not even sure how to say it … if they look wealthy or glamorous or very professional, I assume they’re unapproachable.

I Samuel 16:7 tells us that “man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

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The Lord taught me the first of 2 gentle lessons about this on the weekend.  Last Friday I had another really wonderful day with friends. It involved my favorite place in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex – Lone Star Antique Mall – here and here. Map here . My friend, her daughter and I went for lunch at SimpliciTeas. The tea room was full; as we sat on the old church pew waiting for a table, we saw a really beautiful purse hanging from the back of a customer’s chair. All brocade and lace and lovely fabric. My friend’s daughter wanted to ask the lady if she could take a photo of the purse. I recognized the style as a really expensive handmade kind ($400-1200) and told her that people who buy purses like that usually don’t want someone copying it. What I was actually afraid of, was that the girl would be rebuffed by an encounter and get her feelings hurt. The girl was behaving better than me because she wanted to ask for permission; I simply snapped the photo without asking.

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After we were seated, I could see the lady clearly. She was beautiful. Model beautiful. Really thin, long blond hair with highlights, a lace blouse, cream colored wool skirt, a knee length crocheted jacket, white boots and lovely jewelry. I’m a fairly friendly person, but I would never approach someone like that. Been burned too many times in the past. A few minutes later, she was passing our table and my friend’s daughter spoke to her. After the initial look of surprise, she was so gracious and friendly and we chatted for a couple of minutes. She mentioned that she was going to Branson, Missouri and I asked her if she read blogs (she does); I asked if she had ever read Warm Pie, Happy Home which is now Sugar Pie Farmhouse because that blogger lives in Branson. She said no, but that one of her favorites is Cherry Hill Cottage.

Now that’s ironic for 2 reasons. First: on Thursday one of my favorite blogs, Sweet Cottage Dreams, featured Cherry Hill Cottage as it’s most recent post. Second, when I went to Cherry Hill Cottage, I saw that she listed Sugar Pie Farmhouse in it’s list of favorites.

Second Lesson:  Friday night and Saturday morning was the annual District Singing convention in Decatur.  I look forward to this all year.  (I plan to post more about it later this week.)  One of the songwriters who attends is another beautiful woman who wears lovely clothes.  Now here’s another ugly thing about my prejudice.  I thought her husband looked like a humorless, cold person.  Now I realize that I based my judgment solely on how serious he looks when he’s singing in the quartet.  This was crazy and wrong on my part!  On Saturday, they sat down next to us at the lunch table and were both very friendly.  He said that they had never even seen those songs before they sang them that day.  No wonder he looked serious – he was concentrating.

How gracious the Lord is to me in the way he showed me this sin. Not with harshness and embarassment, but lovingly, in a beautiful place and eating wonderful Orange Cream Cake. He showed me that it isn’t enough that I don’t condemn a person because they look disheveled or odd. Years ago I learned that lesson from our sons’ friends. Our older son had punk friends. Red mohawks, piercings, awful clothes but they were never rude or disrespectful to me.

How thankful I am that God’s ways are not my ways.  Oh, to be like Jesus!

Here are a few photos from the booths at Lone Star Antique Mall. (I asked for permission.) I hope to take a few more next time I go.

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Timeless Treasures, a Review

Timeless Treasures - The Charm and Romance of Treasured Memories

Timeless Treasures - The Charm and Romance of Treasured Memories

Thinking about my favorite cozy books this week caused me to look around on my shelves and dust off a few of my old friends.  Some of my favorite non-fiction books about home and hearth are by Emilie Barnes.

Published in 1996, this slim volume has 7 chapters with topics such as the importance of family heritage, caring for heirlooms, collecting and storage.  Emilie writes that she inherited very few material goods from her family, but she is rich in stories and tradition and says that these are some of the most important family heirlooms.  The beauty of antique and vintage items are appreciated even if they came from someone else’s family.  She has several suggestions on where to look for them, her rules for acquisition (#1 is to only buy what  she loves) and what to do with the new treasures, and how to store the things that cannot be left out on display. However, she does encourage daily enjoyment of as many things as possible. And if something becomes a little tarnished from love and usage: “Those signs of aging are evidence of contact with real people and real lives. In place of that flawless, factory-bright finish, your timeless treasure will have the sheen of love and grace and character.

And, like a human being, your treasure will be all the more beautiful for having lived a little.”

Artwork by Sandy Lynam Clough

Artwork by Sandy Lynam Clough

She places particular importance on handmade things, whether it was the shelf made by your  grandfather, the lopsided clay pot made by your kindergartner or a crocheted doily you bought at an antique mall or thrift shop.  The importance of recording the origin, names on old photos and family stories is illustrated by many personal stories sprinkled throughout the book.

One story that particularly spoke to me was by her brother-in-law, Kenneth Barnes:

“All the years that I was growing up, a picture hung in my bedroom.  It depicted two small puppies napping on a table and a tiny kitten with its smiling face raised high in between them.  The caption read “Suzie.”  Many nights I went to sleep looking at Suzie and her companions.  The frame was old and hung from a nail by twine that wrapped around two thumbtacks, one mounted in each upper corner of the frame.
When I married and left home, I left “Suzie” behind and never thought to wonder what would happen to her.  She  was simply part of my childhood life, along with a ship clock with tin sails I had won for selling newspaper subscriptions.  After my  father died, Mom had a garage sale and part of the departed treasures included “Suzie” and the clock.
Thirty-two years later I was asked to speak at a meeting some four hundred miles from home.  I asked my wife, Paula, to join me on the trip, and she agreed to do so under the condition that we spend a few days afterward roaming the territory.  (I’m not really much for shopping and sightseeing, but she loves to browse in old shops.)
After the meeting I was driving down a divided road in a rainstorm.  Suddenly to my left I saw an antique shop that pulled at me like a magnet, tugging on me to make a U-turn and come back.  This I did.   As I roamed from table to table looking at all of the discarded treasure, my eye traveled to a picture leaning on a fireplace mantle.  The frame was very old.  The twine that hung from two corner thumbtacks was dark from years of collecting dust.   And there, in the center of the picture between her two sleeping companions, was my old friend Suzie.  On the same mantle sat my clock ship with its tin sails.
There was no doubt in my mind of the authenticity of my find!  The merchant made a sale, and I then realized the meaning of the phrase, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”  In this case, a timeless treasure because all those years in between faded quickly and, for a brief moment, I was that ten-year-old looking at my smiling friend Suzie, which I still cherish to this day.”

There are lots of interesting quotes throughout the book, such as this one by Jane Austen: “Her plants, her books…her writing desk…were all within reach…she could scarcely see an object in that room which had not an interesting remembrance connected with it.” Or this one from Flavia Weedn: “Some of its mane is gone, the paint is chipped, but that’s what makes it so wonderful. Don’t you just know it was well loved!”

Sandy Lynam Clough

Sandy Lynam Clough

The artwork by Sandy Lynam Clough, is romantic and evocative.

Timeless Treasures would make a nice gift for someone you know who loves family and vintage treasures.  It makes a nice gift just for yourself, too.

A quick search on the internet showed a lot of copies available, starting at $.01 +shipping.

It’s a lovely book and I highly recommend reading it with a nice cup of tea.

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