Category Archives: Tea

Mail More Chocolate

Chocolove chocolate bars, mail more chocolate, non-gmo chocolate, snacks for writing letters

Happy Weekend! Do you have any plans? I am going to my friend Jackie’s art opening on Sunday at Oak Park Public Library and spending the rest of the weekend getting ready for my own craft show next weekend. I’m a terrible procrastinator so it’s going to take some discipline for me to start this early. I have a couple of new Mother’s Day card ideas that I’d like to make for the show so, I need to start making them if it’s going to happen!

In other, mail-related news: I got a stack of mail themed chocolate bars for my birthday from my friend James. (He’s always on-theme!) The stamps and cancellations on the wrappers make them a perfect letter writing treat to send to a pen pal or a snack for a letter writing party. The candy bars are made by Chocolove in Boulder, Colorado and it looks like almost all of their bars have a little mail theme. Cute, right?

Have a relaxing weekend! See you on Monday!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. 🙂

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Fish Snack Sets & Green Depression Glass

vintage fish snack set, vintage snack sets, blue-green glassLast week I shared my paper finds, and today I’m back with the fun vintage dishes I’ve added to my collection. (My collection that has outgrown its space, by the way.) My favorite new find was a trio of blue-green glass snack sets. I had never seen anything like them before! vintage fish snack set, vintage snack sets, blue-green glassThey are pretty tiny…it’s hard to tell from the pictures, but the glass holds about three ounces and the plate is big enough for maybe a few crackers and some cheese? I thought they’d be perfect for a little beer or cider and nuts or cheese. Plus, who doesn’t love a good fish plate? (I did a little googling and could only find these and these…not as good as the blue-green ones with the original cup if you ask me.) green depression glass dishesAnd you may remember these dishes from Jackie’s Lighthouse Tea. They were Peggy’s and now I have a set of my own, including dessert plates to go with the cups and saucers and the creamer and sugar.

Now I just need to plan a little event so I can use them!

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Scottish Lighthouse Tea

Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse Tea, the partyMy friend Jackie is off to spend a month in Shetland as the artist-in-residence at a lighthouse! She will be spending the month of March working on her art and living in the keeper’s flat. I am crazy excited for her adventure. Last weekend, Peggy, Karen, and I threw her a little going-away party, a Scottish Lighthouse Tea. Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse Tea, the sideboard displayWe started planning the tea back in November and we went a little crazy with the plaid. Peggy has an amazing collection of plaid tablecloths, napkins, and runners that she brought over, along with loads of dishes, a Scottie dog, a lighthouse light, and many more additions to the table. Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse Tea, the tableWe set the table with Peggy’s dishes and a collection of lighthouse statues from my mom’s house. I also made a little banner from twine and plaid triangles and strung it up with two gold garlands I’ve used for a few parties. (All three fell down during the party–womp, womp.) Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse tea, placecardKaren made lighthouse place cards and we added a little Scottie dog shortbread cookie for each setting. Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse Tea, the place settings, vintage green depression glassWe tried to be really careful not to make the table look too Christmasy and I think we succeeded thanks to the addition of the blue plates and glasses and the black place mats. Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse tea, cocktail makingI mixed up a cocktail that was bubbly and tasty. (I’ll share the recipe later this week!) Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse Tea, the toast, sparkling rosé ginger raspberry cocktailWe drank cocktails and ate a cucumber appetizer before we sat down for the tea. Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse Tea, the foodWe enjoyed Waldorf Salad, bacon shortbread cookies, Meyer lemon & almond scones with clementine curd and Meyer lemon curd and Devonshire cream, and two types of tea sandwiches, ham with apricot cream cheese and chicken salad with grapes, thyme, and toasted almonds. (Thanks, Marissa, for the suggestion!) And of course, we drank tea! So much tea that we could have floated away. (We drank Barry’s, which has been my favorite lately.) Jackie's Scottish Lighthouse Tea, the cream puffsFor dessert, Karen made Scottish cream puffs, which were so delicious and really a perfect way to end our feast. It was so much fun and I love that I got to share the party with friends who appreciate all of the tiny details in the planning.

Cheers to Jackie! And if you’d like to follow along with her lighthouse adventures, she’ll be blogging about it here.

P.S. Thanks to Karen for sharing some pictures from the party!

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Scenes From Bunbougu Cafe

Bunbougu cafeOh Bunbougu Cafe! Please expand to my community!

I know, I know…it wouldn’t be the same. I wish more people in the US would embrace the marriage of cafes and stationery shops.

I spent a lot of time at Bunbougu during our vacation. In addition to spending my birthday there, we went back again and again for coffees and shopping. My favorite thing (other than my birthday dinner) was the snack you see above. I ordered a set that included a pot of tea and three tiny sweets. As you can imagine, I was blown away by the tiny office supply-shaped cookies. I ordered the strawberry matcha poundcake, the hazelnut ginger pencil cookies and the yuzu pepper key cookies. Everything was so flavorful and delicious–the keys were so peppery that my mouth was burning (in the best way possible!) There were other options on the menu (including a coconut flavored triangle and protractor) and you can see them here.Bunbougu cafeBunbougu cafeAll of Bunbougu Cafe’s menus are hand drawn (by one of their own workers) with gorgeous colored pencil illustrations of their food and cocktails. Bunbougu cafeOne of my favorite things to order was the caramel tea latte, a milky black tea with a hint of caramel-y sweetness. I’m working on perfecting my own at home since it will be awhile before I can drink one at Bunbougu again! If you received a postcard from me in Japan, most likely it was written at Misdo or Bunbougu…it’s the perfect place for mail! Bunbougu cafeBunbougu cafeBunbougu cafeBunbougu offers loads of unique stationery, desk items, pens and pencils, washi tape, office supplies… Many things are made in Japan and most of their offerings are from small makers and businesses. I saw many familiar American makers’ products too. I ended up buying two more silver boxes, pencils and washi tape.Bunbougu cafe

But my favorite “purchase” was my new membership at the Bunbougu Cafe. For ¥700, I now have my own membership card and a key to the stationery drawers at Bunbougu! Now each time I go, I can show off my key or my membership card and get into special events (if they ever occur during our visits) and unlock the stationery drawers at the cafe. I already left my business card in one and sifted through the pretty papers and pens…apparently too busy enjoying things to take a picture (sorry!)Bunbougu cafeSee you soon, Bunbougu Cafe!

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The How Green Was My Valley Tea

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I didn’t disappear last week…I spent all day Thursday and Friday reading the most lovely book, How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn. It was the March choice for my book group and we celebrated it with a green-themed tea at Peggy’s house. We all contributed a little something, but as usual, Peggy went above and beyond baking up a storm and choosing the perfect linens, dishes and flowers to set the mood. Seeing the daffodils throughout the room really made it feel like spring, even though we all came in our winter coats on a chilly grey day.

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Peggy made a leek, bacon and goat cheese frittata, rosemary pistachio scones, homemade lemon curd and citrus cranberry pull-apart rolls. Bobbie brought chicken salad cream puffs, Peggy (we have two Pegs!) made Irish soda bread, I made homemade ricotta and we enjoyed English breakfast and Highland Toffee teas along with mimosas. It was a tea to end all teas…so much deliciousness in one place!

We indulged and chatted and then spent a good part of the afternoon talking about the book…we always talk about the book. (We aren’t one of those book groups who just gets together to drink wine and gossip.) Everyone wholeheartedly loved How Green Was My Valley. It captivated me for two days, and over those long afternoons of reading, I had to remind myself to slow down and soak in the beauty of Llewellyn’s writing…

I keep reading several passages from the book over and over again. (I need to take it back to the library, but I can’t let go yet!)

There is good a cup of tea when you are feeling low. Thin, and plenty of milk, and brown sugar in the crystal, in a big cup so that when your mouth is used to the heat you can drink instead of sipping. Every part of you inside you that seems to have gone to sleep comes lively again. A good friend of mine is a cup of tea, indeed.”  [from chapter sixteen]

There is a lovely smell with tweed. Good it is, and honest, of the earth and of humankind, and a pleasure to wear, and always a friend to you. I had a brown tweed, the colour of a ploughed field in the pebbly soil, when leaf has been put down about three months before, and grass is just poking through, barely to be seen, but there. That, and a grey, the colour of spring rain, and almost as soft to the touch.” [from chapter twenty-two]

Throughout the book I was lulled into the comfortable arms of Huw’s memories growing up in a big family with strong and tender parents…and the book is peppered with tales that are sometimes shocking, sometimes horrifying, sometimes hilarious…very real for the turn of the century in a South Wales mining community.

I absolutely loved the book and I love that we chose to read it this month. It couldn’t have been a more perfect choice for a morning tea at the arrival of spring.

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I *Heart* David’s Tea

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Naoto & I had a tea date Sunday night. See him up there paying for our tea like a true gentleman? (The money comes out of the same account, but sometimes it feels nice not to have to be the one pulling out the card…it gives me an opportunity to take awkward pictures.)

David’s Tea has quickly become our favorite place. I read about it over a year ago here, and didn’t really give it a second thought…I mean, it was a Canadian shop and I wasn’t going to order tea online when I have a tea store in my neighborhood. (A tea store that I never shop at, by the way.) One day last summer while visiting Naoto’s office, I noticed that a David’s Tea came to his neighborhood–the design of the store made me take note–I love the clean, simple logo, the teal and the bright store! (I’m a sucker for these things!)

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Our first visit was a little overwhelming at first–we got attacked with samples right away. And once we said it was our first visit, the staff eagerly started pulling down tea after tea after tea for us to smell. Once we narrowed down that I don’t like chocolate in my tea (ew!) and I don’t like herbal tea (double-ew!) it was easy to narrow down the wide array of teas and focus on the black teas for my initial visit. (I love oolong and green teas, too, but to keep things simple, I wanted to stick with black on my first try.)

We’ve been going regularly since the fall to try out cups of tea and to stock up for our teapot at home. Naoto goes so often that he is known as the Matcha Man (he gets a cup of matcha every time he goes). I get something different every time I go. David’s has a really interesting menu of teas, with some really unusual choices. One of the first ones I tried was Root Beer Float, and it really does taste like root beer! (This is both tasty and weird…) Right now, I’m working my way through the menu one pot at a time. I get a cup of tea to drink in the store, and usually have them measure out one pot’s worth of something new to try at home. Once I know I love something, then I get a larger amount to have on hand.

We’ve tried more than a dozen teas so far and my top three are Ceylon Star, Cream of Earl Grey and my favorite, Glitter & Gold. Glitter & Gold is such a show stopper! It has cinnamon, gold sugar balls and silver sugar crystals in with the tea leaves. As the tea steeps, the sugar melts and it leaves your tea slightly sweetened and shimmering!! I sometimes feel guilty about making it for myself on a Tuesday afternoon, but who says you can’t have a little celebratory tea on a chilly winter day?

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They also have a gorgeous collection of tea cups and tea pots…

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…and a rainbow of other tea accessories.

The only bummer for me is that this location is more of a tea store/take-your-cup-to-go kind of place. There is a couch in the front by the window, so if you’re the only one in the store, you can sit there for a bit and enjoy your tea. Otherwise you can sip your tea and check out the teapots or take your cup to go. I still love this location though…the staff is so nice and helpful (and of course it helps to know the Matcha Man!)

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Christmas Tea

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Christmas is catching up with me…I have cards to finish, all of the wrapping to do, some last minute gifts to get and I was reeeally hoping to hand-make a gift or two. But work, the bathroom and other obligations keep taking over…and there has been some fun mixed in there, too…and clementines…about 500 clementines.

One of the fun things was book club on Saturday. We read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Have you ever read it? I hadn’t. Of course, I was familiar with the story. I think I’ve seen every version made and I am slightly ashamed to admit I’ve seen quite a few made-for-TV re-makes (Susan Lucci as Scrooge, anyone?) But reading the book was a new experience because of Dickens’ writing…it brought a more colorful picture of Scrooge’s overnight transformation to my mind than anything I’ve ever seen on TV or in the theater. And I have to admit, in such a busy month it was a pleasure to read something so short…especially considering next month we are reading The Count of Monte Cristo (which is more than 1000 pages!)

After book group Peggy had a few of us over for a Christmas tea. I wish I had taken more pictures (this phrase will be written on my grave!) but the photo above shows the festive table.

For the tea, Peggy served chicken salad and homemade egg salad sandwiches, homemade scones with homemade clotted cream, homemade lemon curd, homemade ricotta, homemade tomato jam and for dessert, homemade almond shortbread. She went overboard, in the best of ways…every bite was amazing and I drank so much delicious tea that I thought I would float away. After we ate we sat in the sitting room and enjoyed the twilight as the day faded into darkness. Peggy’s home is covered in Christmas cheer. She has a gorgeous assortment of Christmas dishes, ornaments, wreaths and lights–hundreds of twinkle lights! Being in her home put me in the mood for Christmas. Not in a let’s-go-shopping kind of way, but in a let’s-curl-up-on-the-couch-with-a-cocktail-and-enjoy-the-lights-of-the-tree-and-think-about-how-good-life-is kind of way…which is exactly what Naoto & I did when he got home from work on Saturday night.

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Christmas came early…

 

Davids Tea teapot

…in the form of a teapot.

I am an avid coffee drinker (obviously, you know this from these posts). But lately, especially in the afternoons, I’ve been drinking tea. Part of it is out of pure laziness–it’s way less mess to boil some water, grab a mug, pop in a teabag and enjoy than it is to boil the water, grind the beans, measure it all out into the French press… The other part is that it just feels nice to take a little afternoon break and have a spot of tea (read with a British accent) to warm up. So, I’ve started buying a few teas again and I asked for a teapot for Christmas (the specific teapot above, actually). Last night, on his way home from work, Naoto stopped and got it for me so that we could start using it tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Yay for early Christmas presents! And, as a bonus, it came with two free tiny teacups!

The teapot is from here. Davids Tea deserves a post all its own–soon!

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