An Easter Tea and Scone Recipe

Easter week is here and with it I have put together an easy Easter table setting for you. My hope is that it brings you joy and inspires you to create a beautiful tablescape in your own home. Celebrating Christ’s resurrection is a glorious reason to celebrate…

On our table are the sweet momma and baby bunnies from this post.  There is a selection of teas both caffeinated and herbal for visiting bunnies to enjoy. Softened butter for warmed scones will also make our friends feel right at home.

Our table is set for a simple dinner tea. Colorful plastic eggs and a special bunny ornament grace the table. Candlesticks were added then subtracted as they detracted from the simplicity of this tablescape. Sometimes simple is better…

A new table runner found at HomeGoods during the winter graces our table and repeats our bunny theme. 

I love its sweet rabbits and the French style it has!

Are you doing anything special for your family as you shelter indoors this Easter Sunday?

I learned a neat idea this morning on a Zoom call with friend April J. Harris as one of the other ladies on the call said she and her husband would be having Easter dinner via a Zoom-type call with their children so everyone could be together virtually and celebrate Easter!! A really wonderful idea…

A simple scone recipe

 I think I have shared these baking powder biscuit-style scones before with you but it never hurts to share a good recipe again… :)’

Classic Cream Scones
Fine Cooking magazine, Winter 2004
published by freelance writer Carol Anderson
reviewed for a newspaper (unknown)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour                                                                 For the glaze:
1/3 cup granulated sugar                                                             1 lg. egg, beaten with
1 Tbsp. baking powder                                                                  1 Tbsp. milk
½ tsp. salt                                                                                          sprinkle sugar on top
½ cup dried currants (or any dried fruit)                                             
6 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes                                   
¾ cup heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
Position oven rack in lower third of the oven; heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment paper sprinkled with flour. 
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add currants, tossing until evenly distributed and coated with flour (I put dried cranberries in my scones this time).  Cut in butter with pastry blender until the largest pieces are about the size of peas.
In a small bowl, stir cream and egg yolks just to blend.  Add this all at once to flour mixture.  Stir with a fork to begin combining the wet and dry ingredients, then use your hands to gently knead mixture together until all dry ingredients are absorbed into dough and it can be gathered into a ball.  Don’t overknead.  **Tip: if you don’t have any cream on hand, replace with sour cream thinned and whisked with a little milk. 
The dough is sticky at this point.  Set the ball on floured parchment paper and pat it gently into a round that is 1” thick.  Cut round into 8 wedges (*I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter).  Separate wedges slightly.  Brush scones with glaze; sprinkle a bit of sugar on them. 
Bake until the scones are deep golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a wedge comes out clean.  This will take 13 to 15 minutes. 
Slide the parchment onto a rack and let the scones cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  Makes 8.
***Carol Anderson says in her article that “good scones follow three basic rules of biscuit making: plenty of cold butter and cream, a light hand when mixing, and a high oven temperature.  **My tip: If you’d like to make your scones like those you’d have as a mid-afternoon tea, make a bigger round scone.  The one I had in England was a bigger scone and was meant to eat almost like a meal.
*originally published in this post here.

Tea time!

Thank you  for joining me for tea today and I hope you have a wonderful Easter with good food, lots of FaceTime and phone calls to family and friends!

Share Your Style will be up tomorrow but after that I am going to take a small break until next week. Thank you, dear friends!

Jesus is risen indeed!!!


For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NIV 
Paul in his first letter to the people of Corinth, about 55 A.D.

Blessings to you this Easter,

A Rosy Valentine’s Tea…

Valentine’s Day is  one day away and with last month’s illness I have been behind in sharing with you, but today we catch up a bit with our dining room table set for a Valentine’s tea…

Valentine’s Day is my second favorite holiday after Christmas and I thought I’d begin this tea with a look at our hutch. I just love decorating our white china hutch with tea sets, favorite romantic cards, and various plates and platters. 

This year I have the pinkish-red transferware I found down in Frisco, Texas set throughout the hutch. The pretty florals and farm scene of each transferware piece really sets off the white of the hutch. I love how it sets off everything else around it, too!

Over the weekend I baked some scones to take to the Napoleon and Josephine Regency tea at friend Laura’s home. These few were leftover and Mr. Ethereal and I have been munching on them throughout the week.

Our tender plants come indoors when the temperature dips to 32 degrees and below, and this Valentines week has been COLD! Northern winds have swept into North Texas but inside it is nice and toasty. 

This weather is perfect for wearing warm pink and red sweaters for a “Valentinesy” feel and for enjoying visits with friends. Welcome! Please come sit down… 

Our local Winco grocery store had these lovely roses on sale so I brought home a bunch, trimmed them to fit this Old Country Roses pitcher and added some green fronds from the mini palm tree we have. A little floppy and loose I love the dark and light pinks of these tea roses!

Teatime is always a staple here at Chapman Manor and for this tea I’ve taken out the two leaves I usually have in our antique oak dining room table. For my birthday years ago, my father-in-law made two more 11″ leaves so this table can seat 10 – 12 comfortably and grows to 102″. In its 55″ square configuration, it is the perfect size for intimate conversation among friends. Perfect for our rosy virtual tea! 

Vintage French Limoge, Austrian and German tableware grace this table along with modern and vintage teacups and saucers. The blue plate underneath the scones is French and very old. I found it while thrift-shopping a year ago or so for $4.00 ~ it is a lovely flow blue.

The tablecloth is the same one I used in a story my first Valentine’s Day blogging.  In that post I had our two little Staffordshire dogs up in the hutch. I love the bright white California light we had there at that home! (This reminds me I should change out the lights in the chandelier here as these have a yellow cast. Amazing the difference…)

Love this card I found years ago mounted in this frame! The
hand-painted bowl above was a gift from a friend; her mother
painted it back in the early 1900’s.

On my agenda for this year is repainting the dining room and kitchen a pale grey or a white. What color do you think I should paint in here? This tan color is just not me…

I thought about painting these walls a pale aqua or pale blue, really a tinted white hue. I think that would be very pretty and would help brighten up this space. Maybe a white above the chair rail and an aqua below?

Getting back to our tea… Looking back over to the china hutch, a pair of love birds nestle inside the framed door cubby. British royalty commemorative teacups sit on a Wedgwood Sarah’s Garden platter below. The wheat-backed scroll piece is part of the hutch and came with it ~ part of what I loved about this cabinet when I saw it in a shop in Temecula, California, called Enchanted Home.

Here is a better view of the whole china hutch. The transferware really stands out and complements this year’s Valentine’s Day tea table. I’ve also used the checkered napkins I sewed for last year’s table when we were still living in our trailer. 

These napkins are a good size and are perfect for picnics in summer, for use around Valentines (and in posts, of course!) and for Christmas time, even, with their red and white checks. I bought a yard+ and made eight 12″ napkins and they have been used a lot. They are the perfect size for luncheons and tea time!

A couple last looks at this Valentine’s table set for our tea… I realized late that I had teacups set out but no teapot. A small faux pas! Here is the fix with a pretty sugar bowl, too.

Much better!

Let’s enjoy our teatime together ~ lemon curd is always on the menu and perfect spooned onto our scones…

Sharing with
Thursday Favorite Things ~ Follow the Yellow Brick Home

Happy Valentine’s Day to you,
dear friends,

An Ethereal Regency Tea…

This past Saturday  was a beautiful weekend filled with ethereal Regency costumes, sweet treats, finger sandwiches, talks on buttons and Regency-era sewing implements and, of course, a bit about the 200th anniversary of Napoleon and Josephine’s reign over France, and more. 

Come with me to a tea-fête fit for a king {and queen!}…

Gracie and her mama… ;)’
Laura of Decor to Adore  held a Napoleon and Josephine tea at her home here in the greater Dallas metropolitan area this past weekend. Held to commemorate the 200th anniversary since their reign (I believe) the tea was a resounding success!

I didn’t line myself up right as this was an “interactive mirror”
where one could put him or herself under the bicorn hat! I was
just trying to get a decent selfie, ha!… Love the bar cart!!!
I was one of many on Laura’s wait-list and luckily for me, someone dropped out so I was able to attend!

A few of the guests awaiting the next talk after tea.
Several guests including Jayne and Dartanyan (both left).
Here Laura is telling us about the upcoming courses of tea and as everyone chooses where to sit for high tea. Guests who happened to sit at a spot with a red dot upon their napkin were surprised with a sweet handmade pin cushion favor!

Twenty-five guests in total, many of whom are members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Costumers Guild, all dressed in Regency (English, 1800-1815 approx.) and Federalist (American, same time period) attire enjoyed a lovely afternoon.

Twins! Becky and her daughter who came along to help
share the family’s collection of buttons on cards and boxes.

Button, button… Who has the button?

The first talk was given by Becky Coker who belongs to the Fort Worth Button Club.  Becky shared some of her extensive button collection which are labeled and attached to heavy cardstock. She talked about all the different types of buttons from metal buttons, enamel and resin buttons, bone, shell and so much more. At the end of her talk, Becky passed out a letter-size pamphlet to each guest covering many of the different types of buttons ever made. Truly, truly interesting!

Here is the “Ice Skating” button…

Aren’t these Bicentennial commemorative buttons cool?!

One button was called “Ice Skating in Central Park” which cost $600 and could be sold for that amount today. One member asked how old was Becky’s oldest button and she answered that she has one from the mid to late 1600’s. Really incredible!

Everyone enjoyed learning this mini history lesson about buttons. Unfortunately, I was late in arriving so I only heard the last 20 minutes or so of Becky’s talk but I enjoyed what I did hear, and I am sure you would have enjoyed her talk, too.

Laura playing mother for each guest as she pours Ladurée tea.

Napolean and Josephine’s High Tea begins…

Our high tea began around 2:00pm with a black tea from the bakery house of Ladurée. (Funny, all this time I thought Ladurée was a parfumerie!)

The second tea course was a rose tea which was quite lovely and from a local source here in Dallas! 

The charcuterie and cheese board decorated with orange
pomanders and French flags… Tasteful and tasty!
Guest brought either a savory or a sweet to share. Laura and her attendees put together the main platters, of course.

Small dessert plates were perfect for partaking of each small savory. The French-wrapped crackers with gold foil stickers were gifts from Laura to each guest. Mine held small chocolates, hard candies and three pretty buttons plus red confetti!

I brought Victoria Magazine’s scones as my sweet carried in a Longaberger cake-taker basket ~ perfect for taking scones and more to parties! (Sorry no pics thereof except the heart-shaped scone, above.)

Laura shared that this cone of sugar is how you would have
received your sugar back in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

Tiered trays held the day’s fare as well as single platters with the cutest éclairs decked out as battleships flying the French flag or pierced with little swords! The French navy couldn’t have looked better or more regimented… 

Soft brie and cream cheese, red grapes, almonds and other fare typical of the time period were shared. I think my particular favorite was the custard or le flan. Oh my! C’était délicieux! {I had two small helpings…}

Gorgeous roses in teapots on every tea table!

A cute shot of Laura serving tea…


Holley is dressed in period style! She has been to England several
times and has a friend there whom she purchases old sewing pins
as well as other ephemera for sewing work.

Holley’s Regency Sewing Boxes

Here I will only share just a couple of photographs as Holley had so many incredible sewing implements to share that this short section wouldn’t do her talk justice. 

Love love love the paper etching which was either there in this sewing box originally or was added to replace the original mirror (which must have broken) when it was restored. Did you know old sewing boxes held mirrors? These boxes were multi-purpose items which were used as vanity mirrors for their owners and sometimes contained vials of perfume for cleaning one’s hands while doing whitework, etc.

One Regency era sewing box with its steel needles, tiny snipping
scissors, small barrels for thread, and mini lidded compartments
for holding sewing accoutrements.

As in Becky’s talk about buttons, had I been there earlier I would have a separate post on those, too.

Your author in the Regency era dress she finished hemming at
12 noon ~ hence why  I was late to the button talk before tea…

Throughout the day, Laura and a few other ladies had leftover fabrics for sale. Quite a few ladies bought goods for future projects, including myself.

The final fun of the day was a white elephant gift exchange where stealing was encouraged and several ladies, including Becky!, were vying for tins of buttons and laces. I came home with a beautiful lavender turban with pearl beads swirled into two fashionable pins along its front!

As the day came to a close everyone packed up their plates and favors, fabric they purchased, and said their farewells and thank-you’s to our hostess. French style was everywhere you looked and I particularly loved Storybook Cottage’s front door and little entryway garden…

Love the ostrich plumes and all the whole French style of Laura’s front door basket!

Isn’t this mini garden just perfect? Of course the statues had me as soon as I walked up…

And a fun last shot of Laura and her Gracie…

Sharing with
Shelbee on the Edge
April J. Harris
Blogging Fifty

Such a wonderful day,

Decorate Your Coffee Table for Fall ~ August Pinterest Challenge

Welcome to our August Pinterest Challenge hosted by my friend Cindy of County Road 407, and if you are new to my blog, French Ethereal, a hearty welcome to you! For all of my friends and for everyone stopping by from Lora B. at Create and Ponder, I’m glad you are back for a visit. 

This month’s Pinterest Challenge is all about creating a coffee table display gathering ideas and inspiration from a beloved Pinterest photograph. Let’s check it out, shall we?

Yvonne who writes at Stone Gable created this lovely tabletop display on her gorgeous wood coffee table. Don’t you just love it? It was part of her summer home tour this past year.

Let’s look at this coffee table in more detail: 

Yvonne has an old packing crate used here as a tray to corral a fun grouping of objects. The warm woods of the tray, the gorgeous coffee table itself and a woven basket down below bring in a nice warm wood-look ~ perfect for that transitional look from summer to fall.

Yvonne also used three pieces of white stoneware which lighten up this tabletop display: an Italian pitcher holding those gorgeous hydrangeas from her yard, a small white vase topped with a sweet boxwood ball and a white acorn finial.

The finishing touches are three burlap-wrapped books used to add height for the boxwood vase, a metal mixing ball, and a polka dot insert for the bottom of her tray.

Florals and greenery bring in a nice touch of nature to this coffee table setting. My coffee-table display looks very different but still uses many of the same elements. 

Here is my tabletop display again:

Whites are always part of my decor ever since I made slipcovers for these two sofas and painted this coffee table. I looked through my collection of baskets as I was going for a wood-themed basket to gather my collected pieces. I had already used the white tobacco basket in our spring Pinterest Challenge and again when I created another summer coffee table display for the 4th of July.

And since I do have an old crate but it’s buried somewhere in our garage at present, I looked instead to my tea cart where all of our silver and tin serving pieces are stacked for another way to corral my goodies! 

LOVE this photo! It was taken late in the day with the sunlight streaming through our back living room windows. A mirror project piece is in the background waiting to be fixed (previously moved out of today’s photos).

That’s the beauty of finding a photograph of something you like on Pinterest is that you can adapt it to fit your style and what you already own. I like an English and French country style so this is what I normally look to do.

It’s not always necessary to go right out and buy something new though I certainly love to do that, too.  Just look around your home and pull in pieces from your home decor stash and begin to build your look.

The elements I pulled from our inspiration photo were having a tray to gather some of my elements, using whites and wood in my tabletop decor, and adding bits of nature and a few books for height. 

The coffee table adds its wood look with the two 1/4″ thick birch luan wood inserts replacing broken glass from long ago plus the table itself is painted carved wood.

Here I’ve brought in pearly white Sarah’s Garden tea cups from my Wedgwood tea set, a gift from my husband for Mother’s Day one year. I’ve paired them with my Royal Winton’s Welbeck teapot bringing in pops of yellow and some much-needed florals. 

Two interior design books by favorite authors, Charles Faudrée and Courtney Allison (who writes the blog French Country Cottage blog), plus an English flower press bring in the stacked look and add lift to my father’s retirement present, a life-size American Goldfinch crafted by renowned Fairfield, Connecticut wood carver Dave Farrington.  

My gardening gloves were over in the laundry room as they are freshly cleaned (I’d pulled a noxious poison ivy weed with them!) so I added them here for even more nods to nature.

For a bit of metal candle holders in sparkly gold and ombré were brought in. Inside are two pumpkin-scented tea light candles which will scent our home nicely as we move into fall next month. 

Since I was going for a late summer-early fall look, I brought over the bee skep pillow I found at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center summer-sale  in June, and added the pumpkin pillow found at HomeGoods during an end-of-season sale last fall with its bright pops of teal. 

These two pillows round out the look I wanted with repeats of yellow, a look of golden grasses and a bit more florals. They also really complement the chintz flowers in the Welbeck teapot and tie everything together in this early fall coffee table vignette.

A quick recap:

Although my tabletop look is different than the inspiration photograph, I’ve carried over all of the same elements of the Stone Gable coffee table with the use of whites, stoneware, florals, woods and a bit of metal. The use of all of these elements together create a nice balance and welcoming coffee table look.

How will you use this to inspire you in your home decor?

Many thanks again to Cindy of County Road 407 for hosting our Pinterest Challenge and I hope you’ll stop over and visit Paula at Sweet Pea who is next as well as the other ladies on today’s tour. Please come back by if you don’t have time to visit everyone today ~ the links will be here! 

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An English Breakfast tea in the Garden…

Summertime breakfast  enjoyed outdoors is heavenly and on this lovely, perfect summer morning a breakfast table set for two was laid…

Ready for a friend to visit and a morning tête a tête as soft breezes whisper through shady overhead branches…

Lord, grant that our time together be steeped in serenity, sweetened by sharing, and surrounded by the warm fragrance of your love. Amen.

 A Teatime Blessing ~ If Teacups Could Talk, Emilie Barnes
We settle in for a nice breakfast warmed by the summer sun complete with fresh cranberry biscotti and a chocolate croissant
to share. German wine glasses provide cool water while hot tea (just one cup, please!) and a small prayer warm the soul.

A bit of a European breakfast, really! 😉

A mid-century rose-strewn  tablecloth begins the scene for this rosy tea. Goldenrod placemats are laid next reminding us of summertime harvests coming soon. 

English pink transferware plates act as chargers and repeat the deep pink of the tablecloth’s roses. 

Vining Limoges luncheon plates are last to be set on this summery table and another chair is pulled up in case another friend shows. This chair adds it’s warm wicker beauty to the day…

English Breakfast tea is served in mismatched teacups; a silver spoon rests casually alongside. Simple napkins with pink checked edging are older Simply Shabby Chic ~ large enough to cover one’s lap and dainty enough for this casual breakfast.

Previously two visitors came for their own tasty treats…

Late this week my mother-in-love is coming for a visit with my father-in-law. This table setting may just well appear again for my tea drinking family!

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; If you are too heated it will cool you; If you are depressed, it will cheer you; If you are exhausted, it will calm you.”

William Ewart Gladstone, shared in If Teacups Could Talk
by Emilie Barnes

A stack of dishes when breakfast is done… Prettiness in a cup.
Sharing with
Friday at the Fire Station ~ A Fireman’s Wife

Happy tea to you,

An Easter Friendship Tea…

Our home is finally ready to share a bit more… I busted a gut putting books away in our three big bookcases all this past week but with good reason! Having friends over for tea is one of my passions and it is also good motivation for getting boxes unboxed; finding homes for things while organizing and cleaning; and then enjoying the fruits of one’s labor with those friends over for tea…

This is a bit of a double-feature tea as I reset the table from last week ~ I found the egg cups like literally 5 minutes after last week’s 10 on the 10th post went live – really! So the next morning when it was sunny I shot this quick table recreated for you. The eggs were already boiled and made a nice addition to this
spring table setting. I kept this table setting sans tablecloth as the nest-look of the woven gold placemats along with the bare golden oak of the table really created a nice contrast.
Our friendship table however was styled using a Battenberg lace tablecloth I have had for years, some vintage tableware pieces and a big bunny in mind.  Turns out the bunny competed with the flowers in the vase because of his size so… Out hopped our sweet little rabbit from the china hutch to grace this Easter table.

The sweet butterfly dessert plates I found after Christmas 2017 and shared previously at this tea table setting.

Our first roses…

Last week’s flowers have mostly faded away but the big white mum and some of the white daisies were hanging in there so I recut their stems and used them to fill in this mini bouquet. Our first Queen Elizabeth roses were just opening up and I am happy to share them from our new garden with you here.

 Little vintage butter pats were set out in case we decided to do tea bags instead of loose leaf ~ always a nice choice! Plus they are just too cute to leave in the cupboard as this tea was all about sharing favorite rose tea things with two friends.

Here are my friends ~ Laura (left) and Cindy (on the right).

You may know these ladies!

I have wanted to have several friends over since we moved in and many of you know me from the old days at our last home in California ~ I went to tea once a month for 18 years as part of the Victorian Tea Society there. I began this blog sharing several tea parties I had like this one and this one plus tearooms I’d visit.

Laura of Decor to Adore and Cindy of County Road 407 came over and we had a lovely tea luncheon! Cindy brought a Caesar salad to share and Laura provided a lovely English sparkling lemonade, which I had never tried before ~ very tasty both!

A little view outside the window this week.
We talked about blogging and how it has changed (something I’m sure you’ve found, too!), gardens, fabrics (Laura and I sew quite a bit) and dying fabric. You name it; we discussed it!

Scones mixed with homemade self-rising flour, Craisins and chopped pecans were filled with raspberry jam and mock Devonshire cream were the first course ~ delicious if I do say so myself! Making these scones was easy too as I was able to just roll out the dough right on the granite countertop of the island. 

We drank our English lemonade plus cups of freshly brewed English Breakfast tea. Really refreshing! 

A photo I posted on Instagram.

Chicken salad sandwiches were served on large croissants cut in half along with juicy fresh fruits ~ tart strawberries with green and red grapes. These comprised our second course along with Cindy’s salad.

We were all hungry and ate our fill. After a visit to see my new craft room we came out and chatted in the living room.

Cindy asked why I didn’t have this Shabby Chic bolster pillow out in the living room since florals are my thing ~ I don’t know. I hadn’t gotten that far with my decorating yet (or my thinking, since I’ve just been unpacking for what seems like forever…).

I am glad she thought of it though and brought this pillow out ~ it really adds to the room!  I had asked the girls if they would help me decorate in here as this house feels more contemporary than our previous homes. I have a lot of “littles” and my decor needs some editing to bring it up to date. Laura suggested having a swap with other friends ~ good idea!

So excited about this Regency pattern to use with this fabric!
Oh, I have to tell you the girls brought lovely gifts as housewarming presents! Laura spent a lot of thought and time hand-dying several yards of fabric a wonderful dark green. She also brought over a bunch of older sewing patterns for ideas to make a costume dress for attending future teas. I was and am still totally amazed…

This hat I refashioned to wear two ways ~ as a bonnet and then
with the mop cap over the back as a second look.

Laura dyed this fabric to go with a Regency bonnet I fashioned from a hat she gave me last fall so I could attend the Dickens Festival and a tea at the Lasker Inn with her down on Galveston Island. We had a really fun time that weekend and also previously when I visited the DFW Costumers Guild.

Love the green of this serving piece! So pretty…

 Cindy brought over a gorgeous large green-glass server for iced tea and other drinks. I am also thinking could act as a terrarium when not filled with ice tea, water with floating lemons and cucumbers, or lemonade. She had it wrapped in a beautiful bag ~ both came from HomeGoods, a favorite store we all like to shop.

Very thoughtful gifts both, thank you, Ladies!!!

Our final course included a lemon poppyseed cake with orange zest in the mix for a light citrus flavor. We ate this over in the living room with more tea and our water. Sorry I didn’t snap any photos as we were deep in conversation. 
And just a final couple of photos including one of me as I rarely get in photos since I am usually behind the camera. 😉

I should have looked in the mirror before snapping this selfie, lol! Not the best hair day… Staying up filling bookshelves until 2:00am didn’t help, either. 😉

More work to be done unboxing but you can see how the living room is shaping up.

A lovely Easter tea day with the greatest Gift
remembered this day as well!

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  Happy Easter to you,

Happy Valentine’s Spot of Tea Alfresco

Happy Valentine’s Day to you!  Today I thought I’d share our newest acquisition in a special tea party set alfresco in my little Prairie Home garden!…

In my last post  I shared how I found this beautiful oak and walnut tea table/library table on Craigslist. I was just browsing our local Craigslist looking at possible furniture pieces which would be smaller than some of our case goods in storage. For the new home of course. 😉

Well, I sent a text to Mr. Ethereal at work and asked him what he thought. He was okay with the purchase if I paid cash.

Picking up this French Provincial table in the steady rain.
We have been working the Dave Ramsey plan and paying cash for everything over the past year, plus paying down old debt beginning with the lowest balance first, then snowballing payments into the next credit card/debt to pay them off.

A very good program btw if you are looking to get out of debt in an orderly fashion but not leave yourself strapped for cash every month, like some debt repayment plans will do to you. Trust me on this one!

I am inlove with this table! Love the carved details and the
shell atop the middle of the bottom stretcher… delicious!
So on Sunday I pulled money out of savings but with the weather so crazy windy that day and Siri taking me to a different teller location, I called and spoke with the seller and we rescheduled for Monday.

This little table made the trip home with me!

After our morning Bible study at friend Peggy’s home in Denton on Tuesday, I came back home and lifted this beauty out of our SUV and set her on our pallet porch. If you didn’t know it was a pallet the wood almost looks like hardwood flooring… 

I am totally in-love with this French style table and I am excited to share this first tea on it with you! I’ve used the little Valentine’s checked napkins and set the table with the J. Broadhurst teapot and sugar bowl and various teacups and little vintage plates.

I had baked and frozen some muffins a couple of weeks ago so it was easy peasy to pull a few out and they thawed beautifully while I snapped away…

I didn’t think to borrow the sugar bowl’s lid until after I was mostly done shooting pics, so… The teapot is naked in most of my photos. Oh, well! 

Keep calm and soldier on… 😉

Still love our angel with these garden roses and low
boxwood hedge in the background.
Just because… From last year and from California. 😉

Eventually I did sit down and really have some tea and polish off one of those banana chocolate chip muffins. I posted my view from the bench in highlights on Instagram.  🙂

Tea time was wonderful!

This time of year is especially nice to be outdoors as there are no bugs to bother, the breezes are light and the sun is warm without burning… This was my day
al fresco; I need to do this more often. We all should, weather permitting. 😉

Mr. Yoda kept me company and would sit under the bench or move out to the grass to watch for passersby. He has enjoyed being here at Wagon Master RV Park and Alpaca Farm and has really learned to love visiting people and has one good dog friend, Rusty.

Evening as the sun was going down…
Through the looking glass… i.e. our trailer’s little window.

This has been a good home… We close on our new Texas house tomorrow and will officially be handed the keys in two weeks. March will be crazy busy going to California to pick up our household goods but things will settle down after that.

Let the March madness begin!
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Happy Valentine’s Day!

French Ethereal Reloaded: A Valentine’s Cake & Recipe

In honor of  St.Valentine’s Day 

I baked a scrumptious German Chocolate Cakefor tea and had friends stop by to partake.:)’

*I am republishing this post with updates for you as it was a good one!  Everyone seems to love chocolate cake so with that, here’s this updated post for you.{almost as good as Alton Brown’s Good Eats Reloaded!}

The recipe is for this deliciously decadent chocolate and coconut cake is from The Hershey Chocolate Treasury Cookbook {linked but not affiliate} 
a lovely recipe book my husband and I picked up at the Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania the summer after we were married.

I think Amy was about 20 years old in this photo.  She is 26 years old now and lives with her roomy down in Austin, Texas.

This is my daughter’s favorite recipe book and she was always baking us something wonderful from it when we were still together in our last family home.

You know… that gives me an idea of what I could send each of the kids for Valentine’s this year…?
Kind of excited about this!

If you are looking for something, anything chocolate ~ this cookbook is for you and has loads and loads of delicious recipes from cookie squares to cakes to ice cream cake rolls ~ most of them tested by my family!

Photographs are from our last home in California ~ still looking for a kitchen window here in Texas which has a nice view out to a yard.

So, here’s the promised cake recipe and the cookbook:

 Hershey Cookbook
This book is linked for you if you’d like to order it online.  I am not currently an Amazon affiliate but thought you’d like this book.  It’s One to Order.

Hopefully you can see the recipe on the page.  Nice thing about computers is we can make our pages MUCH BIGGER when we need to by resizing, Lol!  Because this is an updated post, I can’t mess with this photo, sorry! (I tried.)

This German Chocolate Cake recipe is easy to whip up and the icing is placed in the bottom of the cake pan making it an easy cake to make, indeed!

Here is our former dining room table set for a festive Valentine’s Day tea ~ with mixed sets of Limoges china dessert plates and various cups and saucers.  The table is brightened up with a homemade tablecloth and napkins set.

I did find some cute tablecloth and napkin fabric available at Joann’s online and here is a link for similar fabric so you can make your own set! {affiliate link ~ thank you for checking this out.} 

Quick Sewing Tip

Tablecloths and napkins are some of the easiest things to sew if you are new to sewing: all straight edges and squares and rectangles. Just buy 2 1/2 yards of 45″ wide Valentine’s fabric, wash and dry (some widths may be less)

Iron out the wrinkles and then cut off a 1 1/4 yd. piece (45″).  Turn under 1/4″, twice, on each side to the fabric’s wrong side, ironing flat.  Fold each corner in creating a triangle and tuck that in mitering the corners as you finish straight stitching each seam.  Easy peasy!

The remaining 1 1/4 yard you’ll divide into squares to create the napkins.  Here’s where you’ll need to do a little math: 

If you want to make 10″x 10″ finished napkins, you need to cut 11″x11″ squares (which takes into account turning under all the edges), and so on.  

From 1 1/2 yards we can create (6) roughly 14″ sq. maximum napkins (45″/3 pieces across = 15″x 15″ cut squares).  Fabric is rarely true to 45″ so plan on cutting 14″ squares to create 13″x13″ finished napkins.

For (4) 20″ finished napkins, cut four 21″x21″ squares.  It’s all personal preference. 

There are etiquette books which tell what size napkins you need for what type of meal (and when) you are serving, whether it is a luncheon, a tea, or a dinner.  I personally don’t think that it is always necessary to be particular with all that; however, it is fun if you are serving a formal dinner. 

Check out my post linked here to see my review of this napkin etiquette book.  

Since my birthday just passed, it would be wonderful to have this for a treat for this coming weekend… 
I might be baking another of these later this week…  ;)’

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Happy salivating, 😉

Christmas Teas with Friends New and Old

Christmas is  the such a wonderful time of the year truly and I find it such a blessing to be a guest at other friends’ homes! Getting to share the season with friends and family is such a treat and today I wanted to share two special days with you all. 

Two special luncheons where friends gathered to share the Love of the season… Pour yourself a hot cup of tea or another favorite beverage as this will be a bit of a journey; however, I hope you will be truly blessed…

Two luncheons  so different in decor and style of home but very much the same… The first place we are visiting today is my friend and Bible study teacher Peggy Hayes’ home in Denton. 

We held our last study of the year where two special stories about the birth of the Christ Child were shared.

Peggy read to us from the gospel of Luke ch. 2…

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while a Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.


There was no room at the inn… 

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And an angel appeared…
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
A few tears ensued and smiles spread all around as we finished out study time and felt His holy presence.

Friends Peggy Luigs (L, Peggy #2), Carrie Ballard (back) and Peggy Hayes
(R, Peggy #1), our hostess.

 Our potluck menu

We moved all our study things off the table and shared our potluck luncheon of homemade chicken tortilla soup made by Peggy #1. A Raspberry Balsamic vinaigrette-topped salad with chopped pecans, mandarin oranges and ruby red Craisins and baby Roma tomatoes. There were tortilla chips for crunching on top of our soup and sides of crackers and cheeses and delicious Kosher bologna.

Now I don’t tend to “shove the Dove” as Pastor Brian used to say not to do at Calvary Chapel of Murrieta some years ago, so only a few times a year will you hear me really pour my heart out for our Creator.
Today is one of those days…

One of the many wonderful crosses in Peggy’s home.
Peggy’s home is filled with red everywhere ~ her favorite color! She also loves quilts and a casual country decor using long-loved and thrifted finds to create her loving home.  She has many beautiful crosses and Nativities, of which I’ve shared a few.

I shared a post last year about the scripture quilts which Peggy makes for friends ~ so inspirational! 

L-R:  New friend Jane, Carrie, Peggy #1, Peggy #2, and another new friend
Nancy, who is a pastor’s wife.

Food for thought

Here’s the gang! This was a wonderful day with good food of both kinds to nourish our holiday season-wearied souls. I for one am really glad that the Christmas Story was read as I needed to hear it again.

I hope you needed it too.

Laura’s super cute ornament display in her kitchen ~ based off the one I’m linking here!
Tea at friend Laura’s home  was the very next day and she invited three friends from her church to come hang with Cindy {who writes the blog County Road 407and myself for the day.

Laura as you know writes the blog Decor to Adore 
and has become a good friend over this past year as has Cindy. We like a lot of the same things just as my friends in California do ~ decorating our homes for each season, thrift shopping and antiques.  And of course a heart for Jesus!

Don’t you just love this pink decorated Christmas tree in it’s little cart??!

Laura’s theme

When Laura was thinking about what colors she wanted to do this year for Christmas her daughter suggested pink {I think it was} so Laura took a look through her Christmas decorations and ornaments to see if there was enough…

Happily there was enough and a pink-and-white decor for the Christmas season enveloped their beautiful home! 

This beautiful china hutch is part of a set of antique oak pieces brought
back from their living in Germany when Mr. Decor was stationed overseas.
Love, love the villages and castles on these vintage china pieces ~ so pretty!
Which goes along with the pinkish-red transferware china Laura collects ~ another similarity we have as I found some Johnson Bros. china a couple of years ago just after we moved here to Texas.

Here is a simple Christmas vignette on this blanket chest in their foyer complete with a sweet German Bavarian-style Advent carousel on top.  Fresh greens from their trees outside complete the decorations and show the Advent piece to its best advantage.

In a hutch in her living room near their Christmas tree sits a display of white ironstone creamware decorated with silvery Christmas balls set on beds of snow. Little cottages and tiny decorated chalets sparkle in the cabinet’s light… 

And more little Christmas houses beckon over on the antique carved server in the dining room.  Soft wisps of angel hair snow cozily wrap snow drifts around the town and church…

And the Gunn’s two weenie doggies came and visited with us, too!  This little guy is now 16 years old and such a lover and so jaunty in his Christmas neckerchief…

I apologize for not getting a good shot of both of them. I did try but you know how it is with kids and dogs and photographs ~ too much excitement to sit still!

A place setting for Jesus

After much visiting and meeting new friends we brought our soup bowls into the kitchen and served up the delicious chicken, spinach and cheese tortellini soup ~ heaven in a bowl!

Love this alcove for the range and all the brick!  The copper pans and sieves
remind me of the copper pans and moulds my mother collected.

Sprinkled with little slivers of parmesan cheese and pine nuts the soup had a nice crunch that satisfied all of our palates.  

I believe this is Johnson Bros. “Friendly Village.”

The Advent wreath

As we began the meal, Laura had us each in turn light a candle as she shared the story of the Advent wreath and what each lit candle means ~ this is a wonderful tradition her family has celebrated for years!

Each part reminds us of the coming of Jesus. The circle of evergreen branches represents “eternity.”
The candle lit in the center represents Christ as the “light of the world.”  The other candles lit in turn beginning on the fourth Sunday before Christmas represent as follows:

1. “Prophecy candle” ~ traditionally a purple candle and the first lit, in remembrance of the prophets but mostly Isaiah as he foretold of the coming birth of Christ.  This candle represents “Hope.”

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, NIV) 

2. “Bethlehem candle” ~ or the “Love candle,” symbolizing Christ’s “Manger,” and is the second purple candle lit.

“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12, NIV)

3. “Shepherds candle” ~ which represents “Joy” as the shepherds heard the Good News and went in search of this great news.  This is the third candle lit and it is traditionally a pink or rose-colored candle.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:8–11, NIV)

4. “Angels candle” ~ lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the Sunday before Christmas, is the third and final purple candle lit.  It represents “Peace.”

My own little scene at home…
The symbolism of the day was not lost on us and more happy tears were shed for a baby born long ago whose sole purpose was to come into this world to save us all from sin and claim us as His own.

Our next course was a lasagna Laura made and served with a light salad which was wonderful! There wasn’t much talking around the table as we were just enjoying the meal and the ambiance.

After visiting for a while longer, we were ready for dessert and I brought in my Victoria Sponge…

This naked cake was what I brought to share and didn’t look this pretty when it first arrived ~ LOL!

A funny story: I made a cake the day before but it completely flopped and didn’t rise.  I tried using Splenda instead of regular granulated white sugar and probably overbeat the mixture, so… Don’t do what I did when you mix your cakes, friends! 😉

These two vanilla sponge cakes came unfrosted from Wal-Mart’s bakery here in Denton, Texas and thankfully theirs were wonderful!  Put together with lemon curd in the middle and a Mock Devonshire Cream frosting topped with berries and sprigs of rosemary, since I didn’t have a sweet pine tree close by.

The Great Cookie Exchange

Laura had set up a fun cookie exchange between all her friends and each of us was gifted with a Dollar store lidded bowl for taking our loot home.  

This is Cindy and she is sooo sweet!

Here is Laura with Gerlie on the left.

Yours truly cutting us all BIG slices of the cake.

Here are Cindy who is my other blogger friend (L) who also lives close by in pink {was definitely the color of the day!} sitting next to Nancy {I think? I am terrible with names and I do apoligize and will correct as I ask forgiveness!}.  She and the other Cindy were running off soon to help feed a group of people their church supports.

And here is gang #2!  
These last photos are courtesy of Laura Ingalls Gunn of Decor to Adore
who lovingly sent the to me.

Two lovely days meeting and sharing a meal in our Savior’s honor with old and new friends.
Much to be thankful for…

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Christmas blessings to you,

A Step Back in Time ~ DFW Costumers Guild

“I’ve come to issue an invitation…” so said Colonel Brandon in Jane Austen’s classic story of romance and lost love, Sense and Sensibility, and shared beautifully in the movie adaptation thereof starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman as the colonel.

Step-forward 200 years to today…

A few weeks ago I felt like I had gone back in time to the early 1800’s when I was invited to attend a tea put on by a group of re-enactors from the DFW Costumers GuildHeld at River Legacy Park in Arlington, Texas, the setting for the tea transported those who attended to a gentler time…

Play this while you read this…

My two favorite photos ~ this one and our lead photograph!

Love is not love when it alteration finds

nor bends with the remover to remove…

~ part of Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare

My friend Laura who writes Decor to Adore invited me this day and I am so glad she did!  Everyone visited for the first hour or so and enjoyed seeing each other and their costumes.  A few of the ladies had either just finished making a new bonnet or a new dress and everyone was stopping to admire the new fashion.  For myself, it was fun just taking it all in…

A shot right out of a Merchant-Ivory film!
I love the authenticity of the dresses, the peplum over shirts, the hoop skirts, bustles and petticoats worn underneath to fluff each skirt out in its style, and of course the hairstyles, bonnets and hats!

Meet Jane  

This lady is the first person I met from the guild and her name really is Jane!  She is exactly what I picture the real Jane Austen to have looked like in real life.
We had an impromptu portrait session, too, which was lots of fun!

Mother and daughter ~ Love this!  🙂

Love the family portraits!

I have shared my love for Jane Austen before in
this post and I probably will continue revisiting
Ms. Austen’s genre and books from time to time.
It is definitely one of my favorite periods in history.

On this day two members of the Victorian Fencing Society came to spar and share a little on the art of fencing and some history.  The children were enthralled and after the demonstration they were invited to come up and try to fence a little themselves.
Such fun!

The trees and sitting pavilion cast a lot of shadow on our fearless
fencers (?) so much had to be tweaked to get these photos right. 😉

Dueling with rapier swords, I believe.
Sharing how one scores a point with a touch.

More discussion on technique and demonstrations with this sabre. These gentlemen explained about their outfits and that their quilted protective vests are actual fencing gear redesigned to look the period. 
Don’t you just love these costumes?

Here Laura visits with these ladies and this sweet little chihuahua held most of the day by its owner.

Colonel Brandon: Miss Dashwood, Miss Marianne – I come to issue an invitation. A picnic on my estate at Delaford if you would care to join us on Thursday next. Mrs. Jennings daughter and her husband are traveling up especially.
Elinor Dashwood: We should be delighted, Colonel.
Colonel Brandon: I will of course be including Mr. Willoughby in the party.
Marianne: I shall be delighted to join you, Colonel.

~ from Sense and Sensibility Quotes

Some sat down to tea straight away as we arrived around 2:00p.m. but the ground was still damp from the week’s rains so later everyone moved to the pavillion and picnic tables spread with scarves and tablecloths in period appropriate styles.

Madame upon arrival ~ loved her costume, which is why I took this!
Then I felt badly because I hadn’t rushed over to help her but was
shooting pictures of her instead… 😉  

Laura served us sandwiches from Panera as it was a super busy week for her (wedding business + blog + family and life) which were wonderful paired with the two teas she brought in traveling thermoses.

Other ladies brought chicken and hummus, cheeses and small petit fours to share with everyone.  I had a few cinnamon chip scones and banana chocolate chip muffins in the freezer so I hurriedly arranged them on a pretty plate and brought those to share.

The tea was a wonderful outing for everyone and I am happy to have been invited to take part!

Here is the whole group in the late afternoon’s setting sunlight… Very ethereal day, Ladies and Gents!!!

Sonnet 116: Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds





Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
William Shakespeare, published 1609

Here’s the link to Peter Doyle’s song from the film titled Throw the Coins.
Play it while you read this…
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Blessings to you,