Saturday, March 18, 2017

Baby shower!

In addition to throwing a small tea party for my sister, I also helped with a friend's (Pooja's) baby shower in February.  Her mother threw a wonderful party for her at the house of one of her friends.  There were about forty people that came--which is definitely the biggest party I have been involved in!  Another friend (Amanda) and I were in charge of the "games" (really more activities as you will see), helped with the decorations, and I also brought some of the food. 

First, the decorations.  Because there were so many people, we were spread out in the entire first floor.


(Decorations on the piano in the living room)

(The "main" party room with the activity table, f/k/a the family room)

(The diaper cake another of Pooja's friends made on the present table.  It was really pretty, but, unfortunately, I didn't get a good straight on picture)

(Decorations in the kitchen)

The party also spilled over into the last room on the main level, the dining room, where all the "savory" goods had been set out buffet style.

I brought the tea sandwiches (unsurprisingly).

(pimento cheese fingers on wheat bread)

(cucumber cream cheese on white bread hearts and pineapple/cream cheese/pecan bites on raisin bread)

(curried egg salad on mini-croissants)

This was my first time making this many tea sandwiches, and it was definitely a learning experience.  The homeowner was a vegetarian (as were many of the guests), so all the food was also vegetarian (egg salad was okay, I asked ;)).  I figured spreads would be the easiest thing for me to make for this many people--46 had RSVPed, so I made 50 of each sandwich to make sure there was one for each person with a few extras in case more people showed up).  I made a big batch the night before of the pimento and the pineapple cream cheese and boiled the eggs.  I got out the cream cheese spreads first thing in the morning so they could come to room temperature while I made the egg salad (I think it tastes best fresh) and put the bread in the freezer (to make it a little hard so it is easier to spread the, well, spreads!).  My sister came over and was a HUGE help since she made all of the pimento cheese fingers and pineapple triangle sandwiches.  My mom also came over with our breakfast (hey, it was hard work) and she made all the egg salad croissant sandwiches. 

I had wanted one cut out sandwich, and decided on the hearts really because I could stretch the bread the farthest (one slice = two hearts).  One really cool tip I learned from preparing for this party is that you can cut out the shapes ahead of time and store them in gallon sized ziplock bags.  They stay fresh and are already ready for the party!  I had bags of twenty hearts that I put in the freezer in the morning, and took one bag out at a time while I made the sandwiches.  I will admit, it would have been way too much work to do these if I did have all the help that morning, but they did turn out really pretty!

I didn't get a good picture of it, but after each platter was done (and my sister also did a great job arranging them so they sandwiches fit and they looked pretty--she did catering deliveries in her past jobs) I covered them with slightly damp paper towels before my sister then wrapped them in plastic wrap.  As I said, Katie was a HUGE help.

Next up we had the desserts set up on the kitchen island.

The weekend before I made these shortbread cookies.  This was my first time doing the "poured" icing, and I think it worked out pretty well, especially the ducks. 

The pink ducks had raspberry flavored icing

while the yellow ducks were lemon, and the flowers were vanilla.

I kindof wish I had just made all different colored/flavored ducks in hindsight as the ducks were both easier, and cuter, I think.

There was one last station in the kitchen--the drinks.  I brought a pink punch (just the store bought pink party punch and ginger ale), and put duckies on top!

Next up, the activities.  Here is the table, with the "diaper messages" (guests just write a message on a diaper to cheer up the new parents in the middle of nighttime changes--so funny and really useful) and the onesie/bib decorating station.  Amanda had the good idea of a decorating onesie station, and I think it turned out really well, especially with a party this large.

We had fabric markers for those artistically inclined, and iron-ons for everyone else.  I found clip art on the internet that I then printed out on special iron-on paper and Amanda bought a book of different iron-ons.  Guests also could sign their masterpieces with the pens.

Here were some of the bibs. 

And here are the onesies:

(I searched for free clipart on pinterest, but I have blurred the pictures incase any of the clipart was not properly identified.  They turned out beautifully, I swear!).

Last, we have the prizes for the games (we also played present bingo and had a duck drawing) that I put together. 

Each prize had a theme. 
(Baby it's cold outside, so bundle up is on the tag, and the prize included a scarf, gloves, and a hat) 

In the picture above, the prize to the left says "Baby is brewing" and it s pretty chintz mug with a teapot teabag holder and tea, the one in the back is also "baby is brewing" but included a tall mug with coffee and chocolate covered espresso beans.  The two prizes in the front are shower gel with loofahs and the tag says "from Pooja's shower to yours" an the one on the far right includes muffin mix, a pot holder, and a spatula, and the tag says "Pooja has a bun in the oven, so can you!

One other prize was my favorite, but the picture didn't come out that well:

It is a mini bottle of Barefoot sparkling pink moscato, that I put a nipple on top of like a baby bottle!  The tag says "Cheers, Baby is almost here!"

After presents, Pooja's mom brought out the cake.

I think Pooja's party was a big success :)!

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Springtime Fantasy Teatime

Well, I'm definitely ready for spring (and the weather where I live keeps osculating between 70 and 30s/40s), so when my sister mentioned she wanted to go to tea with a couple of her friends and my mom suggested that I could just throw her one, I immediately jumped to ideas for pretty pastels and flowery china!

After I found the pretty unicorn cards on sale, I knew they would be perfect for this whimsical tea.

Guests were asked to choose a hat,

(some of the hats my mother and I made a couple of years ago)

and were given a glass of sparkling wine with blood orange and passion fruit flavors.

I set the table with different Royal Albert trios, the following four I found at Homegoods!

(Rose confetti)

(Love lilac from the Candy collection)

(Gratitude from the Miranda Kerr collection)

(Sitting Pretty from the Candy collection)

I think this is my first time using the pretty silverplate spreaders I found that look so nice with my flatware. 

Below is the menu for this tea:

Tea sandwiches:

carrot cake on cinnamon raisin bread, ham salad butterflies, curry chicken on a croissant, and cucumber flower sandwiches.

I served a black tea with roses and orange petals I purchased a couple of years ago in a small shop in Provins, France.

I served tea with cream and these cute pink teapot shaped sugar "cubes."

Next, scones served with clotted cream and Victoria plum jam, vanilla bean

and one of my classics, lemon cherry.

After the scone coarse I put a blooming tea on the table.  It was the first time my sister's guests had seen one and they seemed to really enjoy watching it opening up.

And, now that we were pretty stuffed, it was time for dessert!

(A new Christmas gift--a cheeky pink tiered tray!)

Starting at the top, lemon blueberry cheesecakes, Neapolitan cupcakes, and raspberry iced shortbread cookies.

Each guest also received a small favor of a chocolate and a teabag.  I used some left over black and white bags I already had, and found a pink decoration on sale at Michaels.

(Lady Carlyle)

This tea was really easy to put together and I really enjoyed mixing all the pastels with some colored glass water goblets and a pink glass creamer sugar. 

Thanks for joining me and "May all your dreams come true"!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tea in Culpeper

Hello everyone!  I know, it has been awhile (again).  I started out with such good intentions too.  Oh well, it is now the end of February, and I wanted to share my birthday tea while it is still my birthday month!  My parents took me to one of my favorite tea rooms in the area, Miss Minerva Tea Room and Gift Shop in Culpeper, Virginia. 

The owner, Pat, and our server were so gracious and nice!  We were a bit early, but were immediately seated

at our table with matching Johnson Brothers settings.

Sniffer jars of tea were brought over so we could decide which temped our tastebuds (and nose!). 

After placing our tea order, my sister, mother, and I wandered back into Miss Minerva's closet, to try on hats for a family picture.  They even had a crown for my poor suffering dad! 

After our bit of fun, the tea arrived, and Miss Minerva's does it in style with a full sized teapot for each of our selections (so the table got to try four different teas!).  Our waitress even matched the pot to each tea.

I choose Spring (black tea with ginger bits, apple bits, lemongrass, cinnamon, conconut flakes, pink peppers, cardamom, sunflower blossoms and red currants) served in this spring blossom Asian teapot.  I was VERY happy with my choice.

My dad's cheeky peach (fruity with ginger and cinnamon) in one of two "masculine" teapots.  She said the other one looked the same but was green.

My mother's Cherry Ice (black and green teas, cherries, apple and orange bits, hibiscus petals, safflower petals), which she really enjoyed (somewhat surprisingly to me--she is usually an Earl Grey type)

And finally, my sister's Wedding blend (Chinese mutan white tea infused with lemon, vanilla, and rosebud) served in a pot with little pink rosebuds.

After a couple sips, our food arrived on its three tiered stand.

First, the many savories

Starting at the top clockwise(ish) of the picture below, chicken salad (with fruit) on a croissant, roast beef wraps, mango chutney on crust, humus on a cucumber, egg salad on dill biscuits (my favorite), vanilla blueberry goat cheese on a date (very good too), and cheese and olive spread in a phyllo cup.

We had cherry scones served with jam and Devonshire cream

and desserts, strawberry petit fours, apricot cheesecake, and orange coolers (all wonderful!).  The orange coolers are a staple of the tea room.

But there was one more surprise...

A little cake to celebrate my birthday!  Everytime I have been to this tearoom they have been so gracious and the tea so nice--it had been a couple years since I had last come for tea, and it was wonderful to find it so consistently, well, wonderful!

Culpeper has a nice down downtown area with lots of shops, so we wandered around for a bit to burn off some of the tea calories.

(Really nice Virginia themed mural)

A wonderful birthday outing!  I have had a pretty busy month and one more activity coming up this weekend, so a bunch of new things for the blog (maybe even a party)!  I hope you can join me again :).