Friday, October 9, 2015

Plum Deluxe Tea and Books

On Sunday afternoon, October 25th, I'll be returning to Shorepointe Assisted Living for their monthly Afternoon Tea and program.  This month my subject will be a local personality, Mrs. Henry [Clara] Ford, even though she's been deceased since 1950.  

In 2005 I wrote a magazine article about her, as well as planned a theme tea in honor of Henry's 147th birthday.

While thinking about my upcoming Clara Ford presentation, I received an e-mail from Andy Hayes of Plum Deluxe Signature Teas in Portland, Oregon. He wondered if I'd be interested in sampling some of his teas, and share them on my blog.  His teas, which are a tribute to his mother who lost a 6-year battle with breast cancer, are hand-blended in small batches, organic, fair trade, and non-GMO [genetically modified organisms].  I told him I'd be happy to sample his teas, and selected his #1 seller, 'Reading Nook' Black Tea Blend.

My research on Clara Ford was 10 years ago, so I stopped at the public library earlier in the week to check out Clara's biography to refresh my memory.  For the record, Clara was a tea drinker.  ;-)

When I returned home, a package from Plum Deluxe Tea was in the mail, as well as Susan Branch's 'hot off the press' book, The Fairy Tale Girl.

Inside the package from Plum Deluxe Tea were three samples - Reading Nook blend [black tea], Afternoon 'High Tea' [white tea], and Pumpkin Spice Tea [Honeybush and black tea blend].

Since I've got two books to read, the first tea I chose to prepare was 'Reading Nook' - black tea blended with rosebuds, lavender and chamomile. The packet says it pairs with creativity, reading, writing, conversation, and relaxing.   

The dish on the left [below] is the dry leaf, and on the right is the infused leaf.  You can see how one teaspoon of the dry leaf more than doubled in size after steeping. The taste of rosebuds wasn't as pronounced as the lavender and chamomile, but the dry leaf has a mild, pleasant floral aroma.   

The disciplined, studious side of me said I needed to read the biography first while drinking my complimentary mug of tea, while the fun side of me wanted to delve into The Fairy Tale Girl. Which book do you think won out?  ;-)

The Afternoon 'High Tea' white peach tea [blended with apricot pieces, marigold petals, and pear essence], and Deluxe Pumpkin Spice Tea will be reviewed later, and I'll forgive Andy for referring to Afternoon Tea as 'High Tea'.   ;-)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Yates Cider Mill

I don't know if clear skies in October with 70 degree temps is Michigan's Indian Summer, but it's perfect for visiting the cider mill.  There are a few to pick from in my area, and Jerry and I opted for the closest one yesterday afternoon - Yates Cider Mill in Rochester MI.

We weren't the only ones who wanted to visit the cider mill - it was bustling with people.

Inside the barn you can watch the cider making process.

My cold cider and cinnamon sugar donut was yummy!  Jerry opted for an apple hand pie instead of a donut. We sat down on a bench to enjoy our treats, but there were so many bees buzzing around we ate in our car.


Apple trees and tea plants are both great gifts to enjoy from Mother Earth, plus a whole lot more!

As you can see, most of the trees haven't started to turn colors yet.

A meandering Clinton River tributary behind the cider mill.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A New License Plate and a Good Fortune

I've had my current license plate for ten years, and Public Act 179 of 2013 prohibits Michigan Secretary of State from renewing any plate that is 10 years old, effective this year.

When my plate expires in November, it'll become memorabilia.

A number must now precede letters. My hubby and I played around with a few combinations, but in the end the new plate doesn't vary much from the old one.  We ordered it Monday, and await its arrival.  I have ten years to ponder the next plate.  

Our favorite Chinese restaurant was the place for our main meal yesterday afternoon.  I especially enjoy drinking oolong tea now with fall's cooler temperatures.

One of the fortune cookies said, "A friend is a gift you give yourself."  How true!

After the restaurant I continued shopping for 222 Fifth Harvest Festival dishes, and made more progress.  I found a set of four dessert plates and salad plates.  Still no teacups, only mugs, and those aren't my preference.   The search continues...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Newest Tea Finds

In the post about my visit to the Royal Eagle Tea House last Friday, I promised I'd share what I bought in their gift shop, and at La Belle's antique store.  

My built-in living room shelves are full, but I keep finding more blue and white things to put on them, like the small milk pitcher in the Blue Willow pattern. I knew my purchase was going to a good cause at the monastery.  [How's that for rationalization?]

And I did manage to find a spot for it on one of the shelves with other Blue Willow pieces. 

At LaBelle's I found four vintage hand embroidered linen napkins.  Shown below is a sugar bowl, but the other three have a cream pitcher, teapot, and teacup embroidered on them.

~ A small blue and white tea set ~

The tea bowls remind me of the size used in the 1700's, holding only a few small sips.

And there was, indeed, a spot for it on a shelf.  

And lastly, vintage salt and pepper shakers with a mustard jar.  

The front and backs are different.  Zout is Dutch for salt.

My search for fall dishes in the Harvest Festival pattern continues.  Yesterday I went to another Marshalls store and found one salad plate, and a set of four napkins to match the tablecloth I purchased.

On the clearance rack I couldn't resist an oversized teacup that holds 15 oz. for just $6. 

That concludes my latest finds.  Have you been shopping lately?  What did you purchase?

Monday, October 5, 2015

A New Recipe and Fall Tablescape

Last Friday I went to Dollar Tree to purchase four leaf place mats.  I had seen them on a previous visit, but was in a hurry and passed them by.  Of course, when I returned they were all gone.  After stops at two other Dollar Tree stores, I finally found them. A few doors down from Dollar Tree was a Marshalls, so I had to make the trip worthwhile!  ;-)  I found a pretty fall tablecloth, and four matching 222 Fifth dessert bowls in the Harvest Festival pattern. Then I spied a pair of ceramic acorn salt and pepper shakers that went nicely with them.

You've heard the saying one thing leads to another... well, Saturday morning when my hubby and I picked up our youngest granddaughter for the day, a HomeGoods store was right near where we met our son.  A quick visit yielded the teapot and footed cake plate in the Harvest Festival pattern. Now I'm on a quest to find the dessert plates and cups and saucers. 

[Footed Cake Plate]

Temporarily, I substituted a cornucopia filled with fall leaves and flowers on the cake plate.

The lovely teapot is why I want to acquire the other pieces.

In the meantime I'll use my amber Tiara Sandwich Glass dishes by Indiana Glass.

I baked a cake to go on the cake plate yesterday afternoon. I discovered at my high school reunion website that one of my classmates is also a blogger.  She posted a pumpkin pound cake recipe with brown butter glaze that I just had to try.  Making brown butter was a first for me. The cake and glaze are delicious, and the recipe says the cake gets even better after sitting for a couple of days.   Harney & Sons Cranberry Autumn tea goes perfectly with it.

The recipe can be found here at the Red Painted Cottage blog.

October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.

Anne reveled in the world of color about her.

“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill—several thrills? I’m going to decorate my room with them.”          ~ Lucy Maude Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 16.

My Anne of Green Gables tea party can be viewed here.

Happy Fall!

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I'm joining Rose Chintz Cottage today for Tea Time Tuesday
Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday
Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for Friends Sharing Tea