Welcome to my Teeny Tea today, in honor of Valentine's Day! For me, this holiday holds a lot of special meaning. My mother loved making things and giving gifts for most of the holidays and because both of our birthdays were close by, I believe that Valentine's Day was probably one of her favorites!
(As always, you may click on any of the images to see them larger.)
I also love Valentine's Day because all of the reds, pinks and purples are so cheerful in the middle of the coldest part of the winter.
Where I grew up in Casper, Wyoming, there was a small shopping center only about a block away from our house and she and I could walk there and go shopping at the Ben Franklin's Five-and-Dime Store, Ralph's Bookstore (which sold paperback books and was also a card store) and Donnell's Candies (which made most of their own candy right there in the store! Oh, the lovely smell of the caramel and vanilla corn and caramel apples being made in the back!!). With all the little items we got from these places, we put together some very special holiday celebrations!
Nostalgia is very much a part of this holiday for me and so I have decided that today's tea will not only celebrate Valentine's Day, but will also be a Foundling Tea, and so today, we welcome some of the more shy members of The Doll and Animal Family who have come to live with us. Most of the family members who are joining us today have been adopted or rescued in some way and we celebrate each of the imperfections. We are so glad they are all with us today.
Let's go meet all of the family members before we begin our tea, shall we?
Some of the dolls who are members of my vintage Doll and Animal Family belonged to my mother. She told me that she didn't remember ever naming them (which I found surprising), so I've named most of her dolls to make reference to names in her family.
You will notice that, sadly, her dolls are not in the best condition any more. Knowing how careful she was about taking care of her possessions, I would tend to think that she may have received them in the condition in which you see them. My mother was a small girl during the Depression and her parents could not afford to buy Christmas presents for their children, so there was a local organization which gave toys to families such as this. I really do believe that this organization must have put these dolls together from different doll parts! Bébé Agnes' arms are too small for her body and Bébé Noisette's arms were attached to her body with nails! Some of the dolls' legs look as though they were repaired with some kind of cloth tape. When I came to live here and adopted them, I took some of my old clothes and made some new clothes for them, which they desperately needed.
Everyone is welcome in our family of the broken, the lost, but now, not forgotten.
Here he is, wearing the steampunk top hat I made for him! As you can see, it comes with a very impressive monocle for seeing things better!
The monocle is able to be moved out of the way and held in place by repurposed clock spring when not needed!
The rest of the guests became members of our family when I adopted them from various places.
Willow was sent to me by my dear friend Richard. He found her on the streets of Washington (Richard is a genius at finding useful things there) and sent her to me. I cleaned and repaired her carefully and made a dress for her. Now she is ready for our lovely tea today. Oh how we wish our Richard was here with us to have tea! We all send hugs to you!!
And so, the table is all set and ready for tea...!
As usual, getting fresh flowers this time of year can be problematic (considering the snow keeps us house-bound for much of the time right now!). Luckily, there are rubberstamps and vintage buttons to be made into cheerful bouquets!
Here is our menu for today, which is all sweets and tea (what more appropriate holiday for an all-sweets tea than Valentine's Day?)
I love using rubberstamps to create my menus!
Alice wanders through The Dessert Garden...
And speaking of gardens, our party is just full of flowers today...
Coconut cream cakes with chocolate ganache
and topped with chocolate roses
Delicious coconut cake (which I made from this recipe), covered in the chocolate ganache recipe which topped a chocolate banana marble cake recipe from Jill Colonna's Mad About Macaron blog, baked in a rose chocolate mold from Lékué and then, finally, topped with chocolates, made from the same mold! Frankly, I am obsessed with these chocolate molds! They not only make chocolate-making a breeze, the silicone is able to withstand temperatures up to 428 degrees F (and as low as -78), so they made creating my tiny cakes today so easy. I just can't say enough about them! So many creative uses for them.
If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have seen this photo I posted a few days ago:
I made this white chocolate pansy pop with the beautiful antique French chocolate mold, given to me by my friend Laura.
What a treasure!! It just made my imagination soar to think that there were once chocolates made in such beautiful shapes as this!
Since we were not aware of what metal the mold is made from, I made an impression of it from food-safe silicone and then made a mold of that impression. The chocolate was melted and molded from this mold. After it hardened, this is what I did next...
Did you know there was such a thing as edible paint? I didn't, until I started to do research for another project (which is still a secret, but one I hope to be able to let you in on soon). So, I ordered a couple of bottles and I painted the chocolate!
And lastly, our cookie tray...
Strawberry and raspberry shortbread hearts
(adapted from a recipe from Truffles the Sheep on Twitter)
and kourabiedes (recipe here).
This beautiful little box holds a single tea bag from a very special place! Laura visited Paris and Versailles for the first time last summer and she sent me a box of special things she had gotten while she was there. This tiny box was one of them! The tea in it is from Nina's in Paris and it is made especially for the Marie Antoinette collection at Versailles! It is a black tea, delicately scented with roses and apples from the Potager du Roi (The King's Kitchen Garden)! To find out more about the tea, the garden and Nina's tearoom in Paris, please take a look at this link. There is also an excellent fictionalized account of the Potager du Roi and other gardens in Versailles in the movie "A Little Chaos", about André LeNôtre, who did actually design the gardens there (as well as many other gardens in Paris). The late Alan Rickman directed it and in one of his last roles, plays King Louis XIV.
Our music for today is from the wonderful French composer Eric Satie:
We have so many lovely guests today that we didn't have room at the table for everyone, so everyone is just having a nice time, enjoying their treats on their laps, picnic-style!
And so, may I offer you some tea?
Do you take cream and sugar?
Hyacinthe, Crispina and Thursday enjoying their tea treats!
Tulip and Mr. Mookie are watching out for their baby brothers and sisters and making sure they have some cookies! What a good big brother and big sister they are!
Thank you so very much for joining us for tea today
and Happy Valentine's Day!!
(Completely boring note: Apparently, Blogger is no longer allowing Open ID and Google + comments. If you have been trying to leave me comments here and they have failed, this may be the reason. If you wish to leave me comments and find you cannot, I can always be reached on Twitter and Instagram from the links in my sidebar. I do sincerely appreciate each person who takes the time to read my blog posts, even if they cannot or choose not to leave a comment!)