Monday, March 30, 2009

A Good Cuppa

London Cuppa round teabags have been what I like to call my everyday tea for quite some time.  It is a fine tea containing Assam and Kenya teas blended in London, England.  It comes in boxes of teabags or in tins of loose tea.  It is a great morning tea with a rich, robust flavor and takes the addition of milk very well.   I can usually find boxes of these teabags at my local Marshalls at a good price. 



I’ve recently learned that Royal Doulton have joined London Cuppa and has the Royal Albert range of teas.  Their rose chintz tea tins are so pretty and the tea comes in many flavors, such as apricot & peach, strawberry, apple, mango, English Afternoon, green and many more.   Their website is at

So, I think I’ll grab one of my favorite cups and take a tea break right now.



Friday, March 27, 2009

Bliss for quilters – Shop Hop 2009

The 10th Annual Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop started yesterday and runs for four days ending on Sunday, March 29 at 5 pm.  This is a wonderful event for avid quilters, sewers and crafTea people.  How could it not be fun to visit nine great shops, have your passport stamped at each one, enter to win terrific prizes, shop, visit and be inspired.  Each store had a theme, such as Saturday Morning Cartoons (Jonesboro, GA), Christmas Morning (Newnan, GA), It’s a Birthday Party (McDonough, GA) and lots more.

This morning I visited one of my favorite shops and had fun at their birthday party.  All the staff were decked out in their pretty pink aprons and birthday tiaras.  I talked to Kathleen, who was giving a demo on a great system for quickly sewing placemats and napkins.  She was also handing out and stamping passports and presenting a gift to each attendee. 


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After having a look around the shop, I headed to the classroom area to check out the mini quilt show.



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There was just so much to see.  I met two lovely ladies who are members of the Busy Needles Quilt Guild of Henry County.  They meet at A Scarlet Thread the first Thursday of each month at 1pm.  I can’t wait to attend the meeting in April.  They were selling raffle tickets on a wonderful quilt and I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo of it.


I think they did a wonderful job at the shop with their “Magic of Childhood” theme of birthday party.  The fabrics rolled into little candle shapes was so cute and the quilt behind the check out register was so bright and cheery.  You may have guessed that it is near impossible to leave the shop without buying some goodies.  I had one of the pretty party princesses cut me some fusible interfacing and some Timtex. 

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I’m looking forward to making the pretty fabric flowers (maybe I’ll decorate a hat, belt or tote bag) and a set of tea party placemats and napkins.  This is the first year that the Shop Hop has a charm bracelet, with a charm for each shop.  Also, some lucky person that visits all nine shops and has their passport stamped at each one, will win a $100 gift certificate to each shop - $900 value.  Well, it won’t be me, but I couldn’t be happier to have visited this one shop.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My z becky brown tea handbag

One Christmas my husband gave me this customizable handbag.  It is so much fun to change it to suite different moods, functions, etc.  I like to carry it as a conversation starter; there are always lots of people interested in hearing about my tea theme bag.


This design was put together with mementos from a visit to The Tea Room in Savannah, GA.  It was such a surprise when we arrived right in the middle of a photo shoot for Bruce Richardson’s updated book The Best Tea Rooms of America.  I have a signed copy of the older version.  It was a bit of a shock when the owner asked us if we wanted to meet Bruce and Shelley Richardson. 


He was very gracious and allowed us to take photos and interrupt his work (I’m on the right, my friend, Connie is on the left).  It has always been my regret that he closed his tea room in Kentucky before I was able to enjoy afternoon tea there.  I have been fortunate to have had afternoon tea at four of the tea rooms listed in Great Tea Rooms of America.  The Farmhouse Tea Shoppe, Dunwoody, Georgia (now closed), the Grand Floridian Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the Magnolia & Ivy, Sandestin, Florida (now closed) and The Tea Room, Savannah, Georgia.

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Although I didn’t have an opportunity to have tea at the Elmwood Inn (afternoon tea there ended July 31, 2004), I do have the wonderful book A Tea For All Seasons – Celebrating Tea, Art and Music at the Elmwood Inn by Shelley and Bruce Richardson.  It has beautiful themed teas by season, such as Fireside Tea (January), Irish Tea (March), Tea In The Rose Garden (June), Kentucky Harvest Tea (October) and so many more.  The recipes are fabulous.  My favorite flower is the calla lily, so of course I adore the May Flower Tea Sandwiches shaped like these flowers.

If you are interested in the Z becky brown bag try

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Chai – Spiced Black Tea Latte

I found something new at BJ’s today.  They had cartons of Tazo Chai in three packs and for the bargain price of $2.99 after a $2 instant rebate.  This spice tea of India is, to me, a delightful beverage.  I like it with a base of strong brewed Assam.  Although I’ll probably never taste the real deal in India, sold everywhere by chai-wallahs (tea sellers), there are still many types to enjoy here in Georgia.   


The Tazo Chai is very convenient to make a quick cuppa.  Just mix equal portions of the concentrate with milk, soy milk, almond milk or whatever you prefer.  It can be served hot or cold.  Although it contains honey, I like to add a little extra.  Their recipe also includes black pepper, which I usually don’t add to my own recipe.  Cardamom, ginger and cloves are always added when I make chai.  Cinnamon, allspice, pepper and fennel are also good.


This cup of tea does not look very strong, probably because I go easy on the concentrate to cut down on the bite of the pepper.  Although I prefer my chai made with black tea, there are many commercial preparations made with green tea or herbal tea.

For convenience, I keep a jar of condensed milk mixed with spices in the fridge.  It will keep for a long time. Then I can make a quick cup of chai whenever I like.  Just mix 1 tsp cardamom, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cloves and 1/2 tsp nutmeg into 14 oz of condensed milk.  I like to use the low fat sweetened kind.  To make a cup of chai, brew a strong cup of black tea and stir in 1 or 2 heaping teaspoons of the spiced milk.  Easy!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let The Hunt Begin

Last Saturday was such a pretty day, there seemed to be a yard sale on every corner.  It was difficult not to get side tracked on my way to the quilt shop.  Every spring I tell myself that I’m really going to try and find some sales each weekend,  and then the next thing I know it’s fall again.  By November they seem to be few and far between.   Anyway, I’m off to a good start, with several new items found at bargain basement prices – usually a dollar or less.

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I really liked this pretty Sadler cream and sugar set from England.

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    I have craftea plans for this Blue Danube sugar bowl.  It was missing the lid, but it will be perfect for my mini lamp base.  The Royal Staffordshire “Liberty” jug will be great to put out milk for a larger group of tea drinkers (less trips to the fridge, yeah).   


One of my favorite places in Florida is Sanibel Island.  I love the beach, the shells, the gulf waters.  That makes it hard to resist a pretty starfish paper weight.

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Books are another of my “can’t pass them by” items.  I knew my brother-in-law would want this book.  Hopefully, I’ll soon find a couple of nice bookcases in my yard sale travels.


My grandson has loads of books that we found at yard sales.  That’s a good thing, when you consider the retail price of most books these days.   He likes to go with me sometimes, but he tends to not be too selective about the toys he buys.  Well, he is learning the “thrill of the chase” and can develop a good eye for bargains later, with Grandma’s help.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Wonderful Quilt Shop

I was so excited to discover A Scarlet Thread quilt shop in McDonough, GA.  It is a great shop, quite large with many rooms to explore.  They offer over 6,000 bolts of fabric, hundreds of patterns, books, magazines, tools, threads and so much more.  I could spend hours exploring, and I have.  


They have the Handi Quilter and are authorized dealers of Baby Lock. 

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It is so stimulating to wander around surrounded by a kaleidoscope of color and texture, checking out the made up samples of tote bags, purses, aprons and quilts.  This is bound to get your creativity flowing.  

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You couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere, or nicer staff.  Everyone was so pleasant and willing to help with fabric selection, etc.

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This is a shop that I could spend a lot of time at.  I’ll be checking out the classes offered in April and keeping up with the shop blog “A Thread of Red”.  Today was their first giveaway.  What fun! 

Friday, March 20, 2009

Quilt Show Purchases


It is so much fun to shop for tea themed items.  I found some pretty fabrics with cups and saucers.  Maybe I will sew a pillow case and a tote bag with them.  They are not going into a quilt; not until the other nine tops are finished.  I could not find a coordinating green for the above fabric – it doesn’t seem to be a popular shade of green – could a neutral or pink work?

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I also found patterns and stencils.  My girlfriend, Pam, (who is a wonderful quilter) showed me the best kind of pins to buy and she also found the lovely black and white cups fabric for me.  The blue and white  fabric has the names of different teas – isn’t it great.  We all worked together to find special items on each others lists. 

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It was surprising to find so many tea related items in one trip.  Now I need to get busy and use all these great items and not let them get lost in the craft room stash.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Mountain Quiltfest

Last weekend was the 15th Annual Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN.  I attended the show on Saturday with a couple of friends.  We managed to look at the quilts, shop the vendor booths and see the Antique Quilt Bed Turning at 4pm.  We arrived in Pigeon Forge on Friday morning and were able to visit the Cherry Pit quilt shop (fabulous), a couple of others and the Wild Plum Tea Room.  The hot spiced plum tea and the chicken salad was delicious.  We sat on the sun porch which was a little chilly, but they did have a heater stationed right behind me.  There were a few gifts available and I bought a miniature cup and saucer for my dining room tea tree. 

Mountain Quiltfest 

The quilt show is a real bargain – free admission.  Since it is held in two separate locations – Music Road Convention Center and Smoky Mountain Convention Center – there was a free trolley running between locations.  Mighty handy when the weather is dull and rainy.  It is such fun to see the variety of quilts displayed and the amazing workmanship and creativity of the makers. 



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We came home Sunday night, tired but with lots of pictures, fabric, patterns, stencils, sewing tools, etc. 

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I talked to a lovely lady at the show who had one of her quilts on display.  She told me that her quilting career began at 63 years old – she is now in her seventies. Her piece was great and she was kind enough to tell us about the many quilt techniques she has tried.  What an inspiration – maybe there is still hope for me to actually finish one of the bed size quilt tops that I have pieced. 

Betty - began quilting at 63 

Mark your calendars for next years show March 10-14, 2010.  I know that I want to be there and perhaps sign up for a couple of the many quilt classes that are offered.

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