Friday, February 2, 2018

Plans To Be Made, Teas To Be Planned. . .

Greetings to you, All Dear Friends of The Tearoom!

A New Year has begun and plans are beginning for more upcoming tea-related events!  On this cold but sunny February morning, we find Mr. Bear and Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle hard at work, having a breakfast meeting to discuss the Teeny Teas for this summer.

(As always, please click on the images in order to see them larger.)

I've made a new dress to keep Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle warm on these cold winter mornings.  It's extra long to keep her feet warm and made of fabric printed with a map of Paris to remind us all that we are all Parisians in our hearts!

As you might expect, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is busy setting the table for breakfast.

The table is nearly set now.

Springtime often comes very slowly to the Land of The Tearoom and so we rely on the cheerful colors of vintage millinery pansies to keep our spirits up until we can once again spend our days in our porch garden.

Being so close to Valentine's Day, our diningroom is decorated this morning with a mini version of the Print-and-Cut Valentines from my Etsy shop Velvet Revived, made into a bunting.

We have included in our bunting a fun picture of little Victorienne, the beloved paperdoll sister of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Bear, and her friend Purple Kitty!  This picture was from the Mad Tea Party from two summers ago and so it reminds us of warmer days ahead.

Bright colors and mismatched vintage pieces will make our meeting just that much more lovely! And, we are enchanted by our newest vintage piece, this charming Kittykat pitcher!  She will add something extra fun to pouring our cream for our tea and strawberries!

There are lots of fun aspects to planning these Teeny Teas you know: sewing, crafting, cooking, photographing, blogging, even selecting the dishes to use.  

I love seeing these little vintage pieces, put together in a mismatched way. I love the way the rose pink of the cups, saucers, teapot and sugar bowl look with my favorite red and white transferware plates.  They are actually what are called "butter pats", a tiny plate that used to be commonly used to hold small pieces of butter.  I love finding these tiny vintage treasures from various Etsy sellers.

The sweet crocheted pansy doily that I placed under the purple transferware plate being used as a tray for the teapot, sugar bowl and cream pitcher is one that belonged to my great-aunt Edith (since I found the pattern to make them with her possessions when I inherited them, I think it's distinctly possible that she made this lovely doily.  I just love the pretty, soft colors it is made from!)

When looking for tiny bowls for this tea, I found myself frustrated that I could not seem to find vintage bowls to match my other teeny tea items.  Then it occurred to me to look for vintage salt cellars from Etsy sellers and so, I was able to find some just the right size to hold our strawberries and cream for breakfast this morning!

Getting a "Good Morning" hug from Mr. Bear is really the best.
His being a bear makes him a hugging professional, you know!
He's so warm and smells so nice!

Here he is, admiring our cheerful bunting!

He has a seat and gets ready for breakfast...

...when he spots that new Kittykat pitcher!

I start serving the yummy cheese scones,
hot from the oven!

Butter for your scone?

A serving bowl and spoon for our strawberries and cream.

Tiny vintage souvenir spoons like this one from Paris and these sweet little sugar tongs are used as serving utensils.

Serving the strawberries that we froze at the end of the summer, chopped with a bit of sugar. They are a welcome reminder of how happy we will be when summer returns!

Clever Kittykat pitcher, waiting to add cream to
our strawberries and tea!

Ahhh...a hot cup of tea on this cold morning is most welcome!  (Our favorite morning tea is Awake, a malty English Breakfast tea from Tazo.)

A swirl of cream in our tea makes it even nicer!

Of course a bit of raw sugar makes it even nicer still!

And finally, our scrambled tofu, with finely chopped cilantro, jalapeño and grated fresh ginger.  We make ours the way it was made at Teaism, the wonderful pan-Asian tearoom about a half a block from our apartment in Washington, DC.  With all of the fresh and spicy flavors, it makes a warming start to the day, made even nicer with the warm cheese scone with melting butter.

A warm and cozy breakfast on a cold winter morning.

While finishing our tea and scones, we begin our meeting.

Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and Mr. Bear are quietly discussing their plans for the Teeny Teas we will be having this summer on the porch.  We can't quite make out what they are discussing, but we can see that as they are talking, they aren't so much taking notes as making drawings in their notebooks.

They are both being very secretive and don't want to reveal their plans yet, but they are willing to let us see their drawings...

A madeleine?
And...something else...a cake perhaps?

And is this a sandwich?  But what are the symbols underneath?
And something else...perhaps some sort of dessert?

Here, Mr. Bear was hard at work on his drawings.

He is not telling us any more about the tea plans than Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is, but he will tell us that he is quite serious about outwitting that wiley chipmunk Snackyface before he can manage to eat all of the blackberries this year!  His drawing of a blackberry is just to remind him that he will not be outwitted this year!

His other drawing is of his dear friend Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle!  Not exactly a drawing relating to their plans, but he knows how very important she is to the planning of our teas, not to mention what good friends they are!

For now, they will keep their plans to themselves, but please keep checking back.  You wouldn't want to miss even one detail when they are ready to reveal them!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Bat's Meow: A Halloween Teeny Tea...

Greetings and Happy Halloween to All Friends, Old and New, of The Gossamer Tearoom!

The day has finally arrived for the much-anticipated Teeny Tea, which I have called "The Bat's Meow".

But before we begin, I would like to send love and hugs to my friend Jessie, who is lucky enough to have a Halloween birthday!  Wishing we were there to be celebrating with you in person, my dear friend!

And now...the wait is over...

In as much as our last two teas were set in warmth and sunshine, full of pansies and garden green-ness, today's tea is set in the dark of night.  And so, where do we find ourselves today?

On this foggy Halloween night, we take a slighty bumpy ride in a horse-drawn carriage, over ancient cobblestone streets, through the murky night.  Close to one of the secret entrances to the catacombs, one only known to the most avid of cataphiles, we find ourselves at an address in a narrow street. We were told to look for bats in the windows...

We walk up a small, winding staircase, wallpapered with weathered, aubergine paper, covered in sepia flowers, trailing up, leading us upstairs...

We enter this small, warm, jewelbox of a space, lit only by flickering candles and tiny white and purple bee lights...

The first one to enter is little Brownie McNutt and we bring his old little red piano in, placing it in the corner, close to the tea table.  His twinkly-plinkly music has come to be an expected treat at these teas.

As soon as the piano is placed in the corner, Brownie sits down and begins to play.  The others begin to file in:  Mr. Bear, loveable old brown softie; Thursday and Hyacinthe, both girls dressed in their favorite black velvet outfits; Teddy and Mr. Mookie (these teas are all they talk about for weeks before they occur).  New guests to our teas IceBat and BigToe come in quietly and hearing the plinky music being played by Brownie, make themselves comfortable next to the piano, where they stay for the evening.

(Click to hear some lovely toy piano music)

The walls are dark red and cream brocade, the carpet is warm, dark purple velvet and the room is decorated for Halloween.  Dancing Madame Corbeau hangs behind the piano and a garland of tea-stained ecru ribbon, hung with the same bats that led us to this room, hangs over the tea table.

We have also brought our favorite Halloween book with us "Thirteen O'Clock" and after tea, we will be reading it together!  Ooooh!  Spooky!!

Our menu tonight is inspired by the flavors and feelings of Halloween:  cheeses ripening in dark caves; mushrooms and truffles growing on forest floors; windfall crabapples found under trees covered with leaves turning shades of orange and gold; warm, buttery caramel; clouds of powdered sugar covering handmade marshmallows, flavors of dark chocolate, bramble and stone fruits, the crunch of dark, malty tea leaves in buttery cookies...

Even in the warmth of summer days, spent on my beloved front porch, I knew that my beautiful container garden, lush with flowers, vegetables and herbs had only a limited number of days left in this year and so I knew needed to create floral arrangements for the Halloween tea of a less ephemeral nature.  Using bits of paper, vintage dictionary pages, rubber stamps, wire, paint and rubber stamps, I created these, which will not wither or fade...

Tiny purple and white bee lights illuminate the darkness.  I just love the way the light comes through the porcelain of the dishes.  The lights added spooky effect to the faces of the guests as well!

For additional light, I made these "Paris In the Fog" lights!  I made them from my printable "Paris in Your Pocket Diorama Kit" from my Etsy shop Velvet Revived (you can click on my Etsy Mini in the sidebar to the right), three battery-operated candles and a piece of stuffing batting from my sewing supplies.  I love the flickering, glowing light they add to our tea table!  On the edge, you can also get a glimpse of the spiderweb banner I made for the front of the table.

Everyone begins to take their places at the table...

As you can see, we have tied our favorite candlesticks with bows of black organza for the occasion.

As always, our own dear Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle will do the serving of the tea treats!

Everyone is very excited for tea to begin!

The first treat Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is serving tonight are Truffle Cheese Toasties: truffle cheddar, melted over squares of Pane bread and topped with red pepper hummus and a grinding of black, green and white peppercorns.  A warm and yummy start to our tea!

Our next tea treat is a bit of nostalgia for me. Port wine spread on pumpernickel bread was always a favorite of my mother's and mine, so here, I have piped some on rounds of the bread.  The dark brown and shades of yellow and orange are perfect for Halloween, don't you think?

The last tea sandwich is a delicious, but unusual addition.  It comes from "The London Ritz Book of Afternoon Tea" and was originated by Alice B. Toklas, partner of the writer Gertrude Stein.  In 1920's Paris, while Ms. Stein conducted salons with the likes of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and others, Ms. Toklas was busy cooking for these events and these sandwiches were one of the treats she made.  Very finely chopped mushrooms are sautéed in butter, then a beaten egg is added and softly scrambled with the mushrooms.  A small pile of freshly grated parmesan cheese is added when the mushroom mixture has cooled slightly.  It's being served today on rounds of Pane.

Mr. Mookie and Teddy cannot wait to try the sandwiches!

There's a plate of sandwiches for Brownie, IceBat and Big Toe to share at the piano!

(Click to hear more toy piano music.)

And now, it is time for our tea! Our Brambleberry tea looks quite magical in the pitcher, lit from behind!  Tazo's Brambleberry Tea is a favorite of everyone here tonight with it's yummy flavors of marionberries, apple juice, lemongrass and peppermint.

Tea at the piano with Brownie, IceBat and BigToe.

(Click to hear still more toy piano music.)

And now, it is time for the tea sweets!

These are Black Forest Cookies, my own invention.  I have adapted the Gluten-Free Chocolate Sablé Cookie recipe from Clotilde Dusoulier, added a piping of cream cheese with powdered sugar and vanilla added and then topped it with gelée made from plain gelatin cooked into cherry/pomegranate juice.

This is a buttery cookie, fragrant with the additions of Tazo's Awake tea and Stash's Earl Grey tea.  The tea leaves have a small crunch and add malty tea flavor to the delicate cookies.

The next treat: Homemade Marshmallows!  Melt in your mouth clouds of yummy!  

Our last treat is a particular favorite of our Mr. Bear!  Caramel Crabapples may not be to everyone's taste, but he remembers them from when he was a bear in the woods.  All bears, rabbits and hedgehog members of our Family especially love them!

Hyacinthe is served a marshmallow.

Mr. Bear is so enjoying his tea this evening!
What a very dear member of our Family he is.

A plate of sweets at the piano.

And of course, caramel crabapples for everyone!

And now, it is time for reading our book!

Thank you so much for attending The Bat's Meow today!
And wishing you all a Very Happy Halloween!

All photos today were taken by me, except for the images of the bats, three of the tea pictures and the "Paris in the Fog" lights picture, which were taken by my husband, Victor.

Decorations at the tea today:
Madame Corbeau purchased from Ragged Caravan Etsy shop.
Bats by Mizna Wada from her Mizna DIY blog.
Candlesticks and sugar tongs used to serve the guests were purchased from my friend Laura's Etsy shop Provoquer La Curiosité. (Also, Mr. Mookie used to live with Ms. Laura, before his transformation.)