Archive | December 2009

Tea on Tuesday: Friendly Village

Friendly Village

Friendly Village

Tea on Tuesday, the last of the year (how did that happen?) is green tea (my morning favorite) with the Friendly Village from Johnson Brothers. The wooden Chinese puzzle box was a gift from a cousin many years ago and the fan above was a gift from a wonderful meal at a Chinese Restaurant in China Town (downtown LA) probably just as many years ago. The post card is a Rembrandt drawing and the book is a wonderfully illustrated gentle journey into a magical forest realm.

dinner plate

dinner plate

These were the only pieces of precious china that I had to serve special dinners on for many years. This set is really unique as each piece of the place setting has a different illustration from an imaginary country village.
The dinner plate is titled “The School House”, with this lovely image set in a quaint winter setting.

friendly village bread plate

bread plate

I love the patterning around the edge of the plate too! I was given 6 place settings when I was first married by a very dear friend. The bread or roll plate is titled “Sugar Maples”.

salad bowl or berry bowl

salad bowl

The salad or berry bowl is titled “The Covered Bridge”. We sometimes use this as the pie with ice cream bowl too!



The cup and saucer are titled “The Ice House”. After a lovely meal it is a special treat to drink coffee from this cup, using the sterling silver spoons that belonged to my grandmother. Our daughter considers this china as our “special holiday memories” china, I do too!

happy new year

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to you and yours, and please join the rest of the tea time buddies over at Kimmie’s!

PS: See you next year!

Friday’s Favorites: Decorating the Tree(s)

christmas tree with moon and star ornaments

Celestial Christmas

I love to decorate for the holidays, for every holiday I do a little something, but I seem to enjoy decorating for the Christmas holiday the most. I enjoy the lights, the baubles, the ornaments, the stockings, the candy canes… all of it seems so festive! When we were growing up we had a plastic tree, which my dad hung with colored lights, then my mom, sister and I decorated with glass ornaments and tinsel. The felt tree skirt above was our tree skirt while growing up. Our tree was always festive, but I longed for a real Christmas Tree.

Our very first tree as a young family was real, and it cost $5.00, it would have rivaled Charlie Brown’s tree before the ornaments. At that time we had very little money (not that this has changed all that much), and I hand-made all of our ornaments, our stockings, and all of the other Christmas decorations. I also hand-made all of the Christmas presents that we gave to our family and friends. How I did this with a full-time job, a young daughter, and a career as an artist I do not know.

Our ornaments and collections have out grown our first tree, and now I decorate eight trees (and as I no longer wish to cut down a real tree these are all artificial), including the mantle over the fire-place. Every tree has a different theme, and I change the themes around so that every year it is a little different. The above tree (which is the largest, 4 ft.) rests on a vintage sewing machine, and sits in front of our picture window. This year I have decorated it with our collection of moon and star themed ornaments.

decorated mantle

Festive Mantle

This is a picture of our mantle with Gwen’s stocking in the middle (made of moire and hand embroidered); Kevin’s to the right (made of vintage cotton velveteen scraps and hand embroidered); mine to the left (made of vintage Jacquard and lace). The theme for the mantle this year is Angels and Santas.

tiny glass ornaments

Vintage Tree

This is our vintage glass ornament tree (3 ft.), the figural ornaments all reproduction but they look old-fashioned with no ornament bigger than 2″; this tree stands in the middle of our china cabinet. Grouped around the ornaments are small bells that were attached to Christmas Crackers that we bought one year, small colorful glass balls and a few strands of vintage mercury glass beads. I placed an old felt stocking around the base of the tree and for the topper I hung a metal tree with hanging ornaments that was a gift from a friend.

frog ornamnets

Kevin's Frog Tree

This tree sits to the right of the above tree, it is about 18″ tall and it is Kevin’s very own frog tree. I have mentioned before that I gave him the hobby (see Two Many Frogs) of collecting frogs, and this is one more addition to his collection. I hung glass Mardi Gras beads that I found at the thrift store and included butterfly and lady bug ornaments to represent the gals in his life. The tree that sits to the left on the opposite side of the china cabinet is my Angel Tree, which I featured in a Tea on Tuesday post Angels and Hearts.

Tree by the Sea

Tree by the Sea

This is the newest tree for our collection, it is about 12′ tall. The tree rests in a large abalone shell, and is decorated and surrounded with shells. I made a crochet garland that is supposed to look like kelp, and attached small purple shells in the strand. I purchased most of the shells and star fish that are around and on the tree except for the small abalone shells that you see in the branches.

glass baubles

Glass Baubles, Santa and Snowmen

This tree is also new for us this year, being that we have so many ornaments now, and stands 3 ft. tall. This tree is manly decorated with vintage mercury glass ornaments and garland, I also included our collection of glass ornaments that were made in traditional shapes. The tree topper is from my CuddleNots class that I taught in September. I have surrounded the tree (which sits on our china cabinet) with Santas and Snowmen and Reindeer and Wise Men.

I have another tree full of handmade hearts, which rests next to the fireplace, one in the kitchen which I featured in a Tea on Tuesday post In the Kitchen, and the dining room table is festive with candles and ornaments.

I wish you a joyous day, and hope that it is filled with family and friends. Love to you and yours, Christen

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Birthday Flowers

cut flowers

Birthday Surprise

Monday was my birthday, and I got a wonderful surprise from my daughter, she sent me flowers and they arrived just after we got back from our walk. I have received flowers from a florist three times in my life, once by my loving husband, once from my best friend and his husband, and Monday from my daughter.

Pretty cool kid, I love her so much!

Happy day to you, enjoy, I hope that you receive flowers every day, even if they are in thought only. Christen

Tea on Tuesday happened on Thursday


Santa's comin' to town..

Tea on Tuesday happened on Thursday this week, life sometimes gets in the way, and this week a few things got in our way…. But enough of that, glad that I could join the group even if I am a little late!

The vintage Santa mug in the center of the picture is one of a set of four different Santa faces. The tradition in our house when we were kids was to bring these mugs out on Christmas Eve and drink cocoa and set up the cookie tray and glass of milk for Santa.

These are a few of the Santa’s that I have collected over the years. I think that my favorite is the fairy Santa sitting to the right. I bought him twenty years ago at Nordstrom’s and he sits on a place of honor on the mantel. The green and red ribbon on the left I have had for many years, I have used it to trim a few Christmas dresses for Gwen and a few ornaments. I have a paper Santa garland, Santa playing cards (which we use for game night Christmas Eve), Santa pins, old fashion Santas, and even a wind up Santa on the sled toy for the cats to play with.

For festive jewelry which I wear while decorating the trees I have the green ornament necklace. It is beaded with size 15 seed beads, and was a gift from a student of mine. I just bought the vintage bell earrings this year and will wear them with the necklace and the tree pin (with bells), tonight!

Well my friends happy day to you, and if you wish to share tea, coffee, or even cocoa with a group of wonderful friends visit Kimmie at Art in Red Wagons!

Enjoy, Christen

Tea on Tuesday: In the Kitchen

kitchen christmas tree

Kitchen Christmas Tree

Well I got the “Twinkle ON” in the kitchen last week. I have had this wire tree for years, and every year it has a different theme, this year it is in the kitchen. I am collecting old kitchen spoons and tools and hope to have an old fashion display of these rusted metal treasures, (no plastic please!).

vintage cookie cutter ornaments

vintage cookie cutter ornaments

My dad used to build wooden frames shaped as stars or ornaments, and cover them with these really big light bulbs (seen on the tree), and then he would put them on the roof of the garage, and we lit them all through out the month of December. He usually hung lights up all around the front of the house too.

vintage cookie cutter ornaments

vintage cookie cutter ornaments

These are a few of the light bulbs that we found when we cleaned out the garage. I glued green hooks and flowers to the top so that they could hang as ornaments. In the last few years of his life he really liked to use only the blue ones;  he would frame the archway to the front of the house with these.  I am glad to have the few blue ones here because it reminds me of him.

I have been collecting cookie cutter molds and this year I found a great stash at one thrift store, so for .25 each I now have enough to decorate this tree. I added a ribbon bow, ribbon loop, and two flowers to the top of each of the ornaments.

tea cup

Green Tea

Tea today is “Yogi Green Tea” which was a gift from my tea-cup swap partner Judy. I found this really wonderful retro ’70’s tea mug at the same thrift store that I found the cookie cutter molds. Serendipitous adventures always make me SMILE!

Happy tea to you, have a lovely day, and please join Kimmie and the rest of the “tea swigging group” for a cup of joy and good friends!

Tea on Tuesday: Angels and Hearts

angels and hearts

Angels and Hearts

Tea today is actually coffee because it was really cold this morning, and I always warm up with a cup of Joe!

I finally got the “Twinkle ON” and decorated the house for the holidays. I normally set up a few small trees around the house because the cats play on the one large one I have. Each tree is filled with ornaments of a  specific theme. This process takes me a few days to decorate and move the items that are not in the theme with the trees.

Here is my tree  with angels and hearts. My mom called me her Christmas Angel; I suppose it was because I was born on the 21st of the month (certainly not by any angelic behavior, or so I’m told). Each year she gives me an angel for my collection, and here are just a few. Perhaps this is why I love things with wings, with all of these angels floating around for inspiration!

And of course I love hearts! I just bought this candle holder with hearts on it, and I love it!

I hope that you are enjoying your day, please join Kimmie and the rest of the group for Tea on Tuesday!

Happy day to you, love Christen

Tea on Tuesday: Brambles and Berries

vintage tea cup

Bramble Berries

Well it is the first of December and I haven’t quite put all of the Thanksgiving decorations away, and so therefore do not have any of the Christmas decorations out yet. Perhaps later on this week I will have time and the next post I will share my holiday spirit with you.

vintage tea service


Tea today is a celebration of sorts because I finally found a cup to go with my “Bramble” set by Wade. My first piece was this little saucer (plate?) that had belonged to my grandmother. I have had this since the early 80’s, but could never find any other pieces to accompany the sweet little piece.

A few years ago I started looking for pieces on eBay, and I found the little sugar and creamer, then the larger pitcher and plate; but never a cup.

This week while visiting my best friend Phred, in Morongo Valley, we took a trip to a little thrift store and I found this dear little cup with the same “bumpy lumpy” surface. Yeah! The cup was made in Japan, and a whopping .49 cents and it matches, so who cares if it is not a true “Bramble” piece! It is a tad small to get a good swig of anything, but the “Bramble” set is small anyways, so it is just perfect as far as I am concerned.

I decided to keep with the English and berry theme and have a nice Blackcurrant black tea by Ahmad Tea. Very yummy indeed and great with a cup full of raspberries (which I ate before I took the pictures!).

vintage teaspoons


I found this intriguing fork and spoon set at the Del Mar Antique show a few years ago, they sit with this tea set in the cabinet. The faeries have the look of Thai dancers, but I am not sure where these were made.

The lovely wool reticule in the background is all hand embroidered in images of thistles and vines. It was probably made at the beginning of the last century and is more Scottish than English but is also a part of my heritage, so I think that it works.

All of the crochet pieces were found in thrift stores, except for the largest one in the background which was a gift from a friend. The lovely vintage piece of lace with some Irish crochet pieces (again part of my heritage) is actually composed of many different precious strips and is just waiting for the right project to present itself.

I included my “Grapevine” set of jewelry, just to keep with the color theme, and because I like it so much.This set of jewelry is made entirely of beads stitched into grapes, pea pods and flowers. A little tedious but so fun to watch the pieces take form one bead at a time.

I just finished the embroidered runner this weekend, which actually started as a vest, then ended up as smaller pieces along with a few pillows. The runner is made from ribbon worked flowers and silk ribbon embroidery, with a few vintage ombre ribbons. It sits to the back of the china cabinet, behind the Bramble set.


My Best friend Phred and Me

My husband and I had a nice week off, visiting friends (Phred above), hiking, eating turkey and relaxing. I hope that you were fortunate enough to enjoy the holiday week as well. Until next time, happy Tea to you! Please visit Kimmie and the rest of the group for a spot of friendship and brew!