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A Merry Christmas Tea!

Merry Christmas, Dear Friends!

May you enjoy the simple pleasures this season, experience too many joy-filled moments to count, and receive the true blessing of being surrounded by family, friends, love and laughter.

I promise this post will be short and sweet since we are in the midst of holiday celebrations and everyone must be so busy, but I thought you might enjoy a little confectionery treat.

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Today I am honouring my beloved mother-in-law, Ethel Ryan.  Ethel was a kindred spirit. We both loved the holidays.  I miss her every day and especially at Christmastime.  She loved tea and some of my fondest memories are of sharing tea together around her kitchen table in the quiet hours.

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I gave this sweet little figurine to Ethel one Christmas; she just adored sheep. Before she passed in November 2009, she wanted me to love it back into my own collection.  If you love Pinterest, and sheep, here’s a link to my board in her memory, “Beautiful Sheep for Ethel”:https://www.pinterest.com/lindam…/beautiful-sheep-for-ethel/

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In addition to sheep, Ethel loved Christmas trees and had a devout faith; hence the gingerbread selection!

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Since my last post, my husband and I created some new Christmas memories of our own.  We travelled together on a river cruise down the Danube, visiting European Christmas markets along the way in Hungary, Austria, Germany and Czech Republic.  It had been on my bucket list for decades and  was a dream come true.  I brought home traditional Christmas cookies from each region to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them.

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This is the collection of traditional Christmas sweets that made it all the way from Europe just a few weeks ago (cookie plate: gingerbread hearts, sheep and tree from Budapest, Hungary; Bishop gingerbread figure from Vienna, Austria; Springerle biscuits from Nuremberg, Germany; Mozart Chocolates from Salzberg (on the border between Austria and Germany).

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The little deer came from a Christmas market in front of Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna.

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The Mason’s Pink Vista teapot was a gift from my husband many Christmases ago.

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Fresh greenery adds a beautiful touch to any tea table. I like to elevate arrangements on fancy cake plates.

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The beautiful two-tiered celebration cherry cake from my sweet friend Pam Picco who lives here in Newfoundland!  She is an extraordinarily talented cake artist.  I just love what she created for me.

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The poinsettias are made from sugar!

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What a romantic Christmas cake!IMG_1724

This teeny deer seems to appear everywhere around our house!IMG_1762

My pink transferware collection is made up of pieces gathered from yard sales and vintage shops but they all seem to work together.IMG_1870

These gingerbread hearts, like all the confections on my tea table, are truly works of art! I really admire the talent of these bakers.IMG_1822

The picture inside this tiny frame is actually the cover of a pretty Christmas card that my husband received from someone he works with.  I trimmed the image a little and slipped it into a frame for the tea table…

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Springerele biscuits  are almost too pretty to eat, don’t you think!  We had a difficult time cutting that beautiful cake that Pam made but we finally managed to bring ourselves to do it…It was delicious and Ethel certainly would have approved!

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Thank you to The Charm of HomeRose Chintz Cottage and Rooted in Tyme for sharing my previous post “A Cuppa Cozy:  Cocoa-and-Cookie Station”.

Well, we have some visiting to do and still some presents to deliver! Thank you so much for coming by and leaving such thoughtful and kind comments.  It makes a difference.  Wishing you the sweetest holiday season,

Cheers,

Linda

 

I’m happy to be joining Pink Saturday, Saturday Show OffAmaze Me Monday, Creative Mondays, No Place Like HomeTweak It Tuesday and Inspire Me Tuesday, Wake Up WednesdayThe Scoop, Bernideen’s Tea Time Cottage and Garden Blog PartyWhat’s It Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Shabbilicious Friday, Feathered Nest Friday, Simple and Sweet Friday and What To Do Weekends.

A Cuppa Cozy: Cocoa-and-Cookie Station

Hello Dear Friends!

I’ve been away but am back just in time to share the holiday season with you! Thanks for your emails and comments checking in on me. It has been a very busy year and I’ve already been immersed in holiday decorating, albeit for fundraising for breast cancer research, as you can see from this recent photo in a local newspaper! Some days, you just never know where you’ll end up. lol  I’ve really missed my friends in blog land. So, let’s get to it! The kettle’s already on and I hope you can stay for awhile…

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IMG_1414In nod to the season, simple gestures of sweet holiday homemaking are starting to emerge at our house.

When it’s cold outside, I like to warm my toes and insides with a casual and convenient cocoa-and-cookie station.  It’s easy to do and a lovely little way to bring some big-hearted hospitality to the holidays.  I thought I’d share some photos of my hot chocolate bar from last season…IMG_1244A kitchen island, countertop, sideboard/dresser, or a tabletop tucked into a corner are all perfect places for a hot chocolate bar.IMG_1251The  hot chocolate bar in our house is set out on an antique table with a marble top and white cast iron pedestal base – it came from a favourite downtown cafe that was located within a well-loved gift shop.  When the owner decided to close the doors, she called me and asked  if I would like one of her tables – I ended up with two! YAY!  IMG_1238I start by gathering all the Christmassy “essentials”.  A large oval basket, or sometimes a tray or even a wooden crate, is used to neatly house all the things for the bar:  homemade marshmallows, peppermint stir sticks, cinnamon sugar, cookies under a glass cloche, linen napkins, spoons, candles and special cups.IMG_1324Pretty cups and mugs always make a beautiful statement. This one’s a favourite. It came from a cute design shop, By Sharpe Design, in the heart of the city.IMG_1242The toy soldier cookies were made by my friend Maria at Petite Sweet.IMG_1274

IMG_1288The pretty homemade marshmallows came from Sugar Mama’s bakery just around the corner.IMG_1249And, of course, don’t forget delicious cocoa mix and a bottle of fresh milk….IMG_1320Candles and greens add to the warm, comforting ambience.
IMG_1318Little people and big people love festive Oreo cookies dipped in white chocolate with crushed candy cane sprinkles!

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IMG_1276The glass cloche helps to keep the freshness in, although cookies never last long anyway.IMG_1275“Son of a Nutcracker!” That looks cute!IMG_1236When I’m hosting a hot chocolate bar for an open house or a brunch, I like to have bowls of mini marshmallows, chocolate curls and whipped cream at the ready.  A bottle of Baileys or Frangelico is available for those who like a curious kick to their hot chocolate.IMG_1259A touch of black anywhere always boosts things up a notch, don’t you think!IMG_1260Cozy pillows, a mix of heirloom needlepoint and with a touch of sparkle, on the chairs bring even more warmth to the vignette.IMG_1261A cup of cocoa is like a giant hug!
IMG_1262Napkins sewn from red-and-white ticking and a cozy rug under foot = a warm heart!  I also like to top jars with holiday stickers that say, “Welcome. You’re special!” It’s a sweet touch.IMG_1285I do love this time of year, although the damp cold that we often get, being on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, does get deep in the bones and I enjoy a hot cup of something to warm me up after a day out and about.

My goal this year is to bring it outside! On the porch or deck is a great spot to welcome family and friends home from outdoor activities, and you can add to the romantic holiday theme with a vintage sled, skates, buckets of apples, planters filled greens…you get the picture. If you have snow, build a for-real snowman nearby and gussie him up with mittens and a mug hanging from his twig arm! To further boost the spirits, pile up warm blankets on a bench and play Christmas music on the ghetto blaster!  Stay tuned…

Inspired.  Simple.  Beautiful.

Wishing you a warm and joyful holiday season,

Linda at Beautiful Ideas

IMG_1362Thank you to my Pink Days In Bloom garden fairy “Invincibelle” whose mom, Ann Marie, made this gorgeous cross-stitched heart for me last Christmas!IMG_1273PRAYERS FOR PEACE AND LOVE TO ALL

For those of you who live near, I hope you will join us for the next Pink Days In Bloom coming up…

0001kFJoining the party at:  Make It Pretty, Amaze Me Monday, Teatime Tuesday, Tweak It Tuesday, Inspire Me TuesdayHome Sweet Home, Feathered Nest Friday, Show and Tell, Simple and Sweet Fridays, WhatToDo Weekends, Share Your Cup Thursday, Creative Mondays, The Scoop, Wake Up Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, A Return to Loveliness

“Room to Bloom!” Guest Blogger at “Living Large in Small Spaces”

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Dear Friends,

Today, I am excited to be guest blogging over at Nancy Reinke’s “A Joyful Cottage”.  Do you know Nancy, particularly her “Living Large In Small Spaces” series?  It is really fantastic and so many fresh ideas await.

Nancy happened upon my post that I shared a few years ago about my mom’s tiny room at a personal care facility and thought her readers might be inspired by it.  I transformed my mom’s room there from an uninviting, lifeless space into a cozy, inspirational cocoon that she immediately loved the moment she opened the door unto it.  Elderly people, after all, enjoy beautiful surroundings the same as anyone else does. So, I hope you will join us over at Nancy’s blog, particularly if you have a special senior in your life.  Even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ll find lots more at A Joyful Cottage to set your thoughts going. You just might want to put the kettle on and settle in for a bit!

I am so honoured that Nancy asked me to share on her gorgeous blog today. I’ve never been a guest blogger before – ever- and I am very excited!  I hope you will drop by A Joyful Cottage for “Room to Bloom!” and say, “Hello” to Nancy.  See you there!

I would also like to thank the lovely Kathy, author of the blog “A Delightome Life” who kindly featured my last post, Kitchen Leftovers that Sparkle, at her a A Return To Loveliness party, and also to sweet  Sherry at “The Charm of Home” for featuring the same post at Home Sweet Home. You are so very kind ladies, especially since I was so late sharing those holiday images! Lol.

Thanks for stopping by. Wishing you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! EnJOY!

Linda

I’m partying at Make It Pretty MondayAmaze Me Monday, Much Ado About Monday, Creative Mondays,  Inspiration Monday, Teatime Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, Friends Sharing TeaTweak It Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesday, Wake Up Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday, The (not just) Homemaking partyWordless Wednesday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, What To Do Weekends, Show and Tell, Feathered Nest Friday, Simple and Sweet Fridays, Home Sweet Home.

Kitchen Leftovers That Sparkle!

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Dear Friends,

Because I promised, I am sharing the last of the photos of my holiday decor this past Christmas in our kitchen. I know, I know.  It’s February already! You’re probably saying, “Give me a break!” But I did promise to share them and a blogger friend reminded me of that, so here they are. And, I suppose it’s better late than never.  If you love Christmas like I do, and you do happen to find some little bits of inspiration here for your own decorating, well, you can file it away until Christmastime rolls around again.
I think my friend Madelief, author of a beautiful blog by the same name, will be surprised to know that the Christmas card she sent me all the way from Rotterdam in the Netherlands a few years ago, has had a place of honour on my tree every year since.  I just love the fairy image and romantic Dutch language, too.
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 It’s like hanging a miniature work of art on the tree!
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What do you think, Madelief? Dutch translation, please!
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The vibrant orange and amber hues of the tree are quite cheerful in this tiny corner of our kitchen room and Madelief’s precious card is a perfect complement.
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Honestly, I feel a bit sheepish about sharing these photos at this late date.  I hope they don’t keep you up all night with nightmares that  it’s Christmas again already! My last post, Be My Valentine, was a little shot of spring, but I’m afraid this post will bring you back to reality! If you are trying to escape winter, perhaps, then you might want to exit now. Lol  (I have to admit, though, I do love seeing again the reflection of our little kitchen tree in the mirror from this angle.)
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Here is the kitchen dresser when it was decked out with the most amazing gingerbread creations. If you want to see more photos of this amazing gingerbread house, you can check it out here at Gingerbread Dreams.  Do you like tin framed-mirrors?  I picked up this one at a lovely shop, Tin Roof Mercantile, in Nova Scotia a few years back. They were kind enough to ship it to me and it arrived safely. Thank goodness! It’s tremendously heavy.

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I just can’t get over these cute little footprints leading to the front door of the gingerbread house! Great job, Jindra! You are the gingerbread master!IMG_0725

All the gingerbread is edible but looked too pretty to eat. It did taste divine, though!IMG_0723

It made for such a sweet display.  The Portmeirion “The Holly and the Ivy” teapot was a gift from my husband years ago. The lush antique artistry is inspired by the 17th century English carol.IMG_0971

The little holiday tree sits in an urn on a table near the patio door and is trimmed with lovely baubles and sparkly twigs.  A mischievous elf peeps out from behind the tree!  Can you see him?IMG_0980

A winged creature up close… I love decorating with birds at Christmas.IMG_0979

 A little black always helps ground a room, even if it’s a Christmas ornament!

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A bountiful garland twines around a multi-tired shelf/wine rack in a corner of the room.IMG_0656

This luxe stocking came from a shop at Blomidon Inn’s House of Gifts in Nova Scotia. I’m always thinking Christmas, even on vacation! So, many holiday things seem to find their way into my suitcase or carry-on when I’m travelling.IMG_0653

“What is Christmas?  It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”  Ahnes M. PharoIMG_0631

More bird motifs…IMG_0695

A spray of glittered branches at the top of the tree gives it oomph and extra height!IMG_0694

Elf is happily decorating the tree!IMG_0689 Don’t you love this old-fashioned ornament with the wreath in the centre!  It reminds me of the ones that hung on my parents’ tree when I was a little girl.

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This cute Bethany Lowe snowman always puts a smile on my face.  I think I brought him back in my suitcase from Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia when hubby and I visited there in 2012 for the Grand Illumination in December that year.  You can see photos of the town of Williamsburg decorated in its holiday finery here at It’s Christmas Naturally.
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He is adorable, isn’t he!

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“Mr. Lady Killer” on the wall is my favourite thing in the kitchen!  My mom jokes that when she sees him, she craves an egg! Lol  Oh, well!IMG_1001

Pretty porcelain for a Christmas tea…IMG_0999

I enjoy the soft glow of lamplight from this corner of the room, especially late at night when the house is quiet, and I can sip leisurely on a glass of eggnog (non alcohol) before bed.  Thank goodness eggnog can’t be found on the store shelves here after Christmas! All those yummy calories!

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Eggnog cups…

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Festive fairy!

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Each of these amber glass jugs has a story.  You can see more of this collection at Christmas is Coming.

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Wintry window…More view of the kitchen window can be seen at Celebrating The Twelfth Day of Christmas.IMG_1049

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I gave my mom-in-law Ethel this sweet figurine many years ago. she adored sheep and I adored Ethel.  Hours before she passed away, she gave it back to me so I could love it in my own collection. IMG_1009

I have a ‘thing’ for fairies…IMG_0996

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A hot chocolate bar in a basket sits on a marble bistro table in a corner of the kitchen near the pantry cupboards.  It came from our favourite downtown cafe when it closed its doors years ago. We sat at this table many times over great meals and memories.IMG_1267

Homemade marshmallows, toy soldier sugar cookies, and Oreo cookies dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed candy cane – what more could you want?IMG_1266

Peppermint stir sticks and hot chocolate!IMG_1267

Sit Long, Talk Much…IMG_1265

Fantasy under glass…Does this little fellow come to life when everyone’s sleeping?IMG_0733

Mason’s Pink Vista transferware is yet another favourite pattern! I love collecting these vintage pieces.

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Vintage love…the black is pretty, too!IMG_1057

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The inscription on the teapot reads:  “A cup of tea for you, a cup of tea for me, to enjoy around the Christmas tree.” The needlepoint heart was a gift this year from one of my Pink Days In Bloom garden fairies. Thank you Ann Marie, mom of ‘Invincibelle’ (a.k.a Kierstyn). I treasure it! A true ‘work of heart’.IMG_1423

This is a musical Santa.  He revolves to Silent Night and has been part of our Christmas decor for over 25 years, when we brought him back from the Williamsburg Pottery, Richmond, Virginia. Apart from a little chip of Santa’s finger, it has certainly withstood the test of time.  He is a Christmas tradition at our home.IMG_1422

Romantic candle glow and snowflake sugar cookies…They were so good! Thank you, Maria! You are the sugar cookie queen!IMG_1418

A cuppa Christmas…IMG_1412

The toy soldier cookies AND snowflake cookies were made by my friend Maria. Aren’t they sweet!IMG_1324

Since I’ve gone this far with the Christmas pictures, I thought I’d go all the way and share this beautiful carol with you – Angels We Have Heard on High by The Piano Guys, Peter Hollens and David Archuleta.  The video is lovely also.  I love hearing a beautiful piece of music at any time of year. I hope you enjoy it, too. If you have a listen, maybe you’ll forgive me for all the Christmassy photos…

Whatever you’re doing and wherever you are, I hope you are cozy and warm, of good health and spirit. Thank you for all the lovely footprints you left behind on my recent posts.  Thank you so much to Jann at Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson for featuring “Be My Valentine” at Share Your Cup Thursday!

“Let Every Day Be Christmas”
by Norman Wesley Brooks

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.

Be My Valentine!

P1070225Dear Romantics,

I’m just popping in to wish you all a beautiful Valentine’s Day! Won’t you join me in a cuppa cherry tea and a little ‘spring dreaming’…

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“They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything.” Bill Keane

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“There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful as long as you keep loving and hugging each other.” Yoko Ono

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I just love anything under a glass cloche!P1070232

And, I love decorating with florals and birds and watering cans and… Lol  It just makes me happy!P1070229Are you longing for a glimpse of spring like I am? I was sifting through some old photos this morning and came upon these few, so I thought I would share them with you. If you, too, have cold temperatures and lots of snow where you live, then I hope these images will bring you some warmth today.

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Do you like to add little touches of whimsy to your table settings? What fun!P1070224

Of course, the china pattern is “Apple Blossom”, one of my favourites.  I know many of you share this particular dish love. My talented friend Maria makes these amazing sugar cookies.  Aren’t the teeny marshmallow hearts so sweet, too!P1070144“A little romance with one’s tea is good for the soul, I think…don’t you!” XOXOXO

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I love it whenever you take a few moments to stop by and am so appreciative of every second you are here. Wishing you a beautiful day filled with love, romance and chocolate and a wonderful week ahead!

Cheers, Linda

I am joining the party today at A Return to LovelinessFriends Sharing TeaShare Your Cup ThursdaySimple and Sweet FridayShabbilicious Friday, Fridays UnfoldedHome Sweet HomeShow and Tell, Show Off Saturday, What To Do WeekendsPink Saturday, Amaze Me Monday, Inspiration Monday, Creative Mondays, Much Ado About Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Tuesdays At Our Home, Friends Sharing Tea, Wordless Wednesday, WoW Us WednesdayHome and Garden Thursday.

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Reflections of A Romantic Christmas

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s 2015 already? Where did 2014 go! It seems the older I get, the faster it goes. Do you feel that, too? I hope you have time to stay and savour a cuppa with me and have a little tour. Many of you have already dismantled your Christmas décor and packed it away for another year.  At our house, though, the decorations will linger a little longer.  That’s probably no surprise to many of you who know how much I LOVE Christmas!

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The decorations went up hurriedly and very late at our place this year and, at this moment, it seems to be just a tremendous effort to take them all down. I think I have a little “after Christmas” fog setting in.  Like so many of you who enjoy your homes, particularly at Christmastime, I think the sparkle just seems to bring ours to life and makes it shine, making more cozy and inviting. The house itself seems to ‘smile’ and be happy. Magical! So, I want to enjoy just a little more…

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It makes me a little sad at the thought of not seeing all the festive trims again until next year. Although the year seems to pass so fast, I’m sure before we can blink an eye, it’ll be ‘that time’ again. Why don’t we just leave it up all year! Before I manage to get up the gumption for “the task” of putting it all away, I thought I would share some photos of a few sweet vignettes around the living room. I hope you don’t mind. I know it’s late.

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Meet ‘Queenie’. I have no clue about this carved wooden bust. I imagine it as having once been a prop in a Laura Secord candy shop. It’s probably not the case but can you see a resemblance at all? I dressed her up to the nines with a mask, some feathers, a piece of festive ribbon, a sparkly star and a sweet ornament studded with sequins . Her crown is actually a tree topper. It wouldn’t fit properly on her head at first, so I got out my handy wire cutters and snipped out the spiral piece that normally fits down over the top tree branch, and what do you know! Despite hubby’s warning that the entire crown would surely fall apart, it worked like a charm! Whoever this lady is, there is new life for her and she is having fun. I think she looks very mysterious which only adds to the question of her lineage.

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A little French inspiration is always welcome, n’est-ce pas!P1140119

This was ‘Queenie’ before her crowning glory and a little gold spray paint touch-up.P1140372

This Royal Doulton gal is called, “Happy Birthday 2010”. My husband gave her to me for my birthday that year.  She is a limited edition and was retired in December of that same year.

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“Girl reading” was found at a local antiques shop about 25 years ago.

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My husband did some research on her as I was preparing this post.  She is a chalkware figure probably cast in the 1930’s. The original was possibly created by Cristoforo Vicari, an Italian sculptor born in the 1800’s. It was after I had inserted the photo into this post that I saw her eyes for the first time!

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She is in great condition with only a few minor chips but that is what gives her such character.  I have loved her ever since I first saw her.  The statue is quite heavy.

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She has moved around the house quite a bit over the years. Another cuppa anyone?

C.S. Lewis — ‘You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.’

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Venetian masks are not just for Mardi Gras! Authentic Venetian masks are perched in wreaths, swags and trees around our home during the festive season.

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Can you spot the Venetian mask nestled in the treetop?

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I found this sweet ‘sisters’ photo in an antique shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan a couple of years ago.

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I have no idea as to the identify of these bow-topped girls. I just really loved the picture! And, don’t they look lovely for the holidays?

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Love the iced boughs in the trees and on the mantel…Since I couldn’t find any of the sprays anywhere this year, I bought the only garland I could find, pulled it apart and used the stems in swags and on tables for a coordinated look in the room.

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A little touch of glam on the table at the base of the ‘sisters’ photo, which is perched on an easel and displayed slightly above the table. I like elements with varying heights for interest.IMG_1112

There’s no need to secret pretty glassware away in a cupboard. Bring it out and celebrate it! An iced wreath sits at the base of a glass urn.

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Old crystal glasses are re-purposed as votive holders. Why not!

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Since I don’t often get to use my crystal glasses, I think this is a perfect new purpose for them.

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The glass urn holds some special ornaments, a small Santa and epsom salts for a snowy effect.

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Isn’t he so sweet?

P1140636I like to use mirrors as trays for glasses and also as the base for my vignettes. It ‘doubles’ the effect.
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Prized ornaments can also be found nesting in special glasses. This trio of ornaments would be lost on the tree, so I like to keep them separate where I can enjoy them to the fullest.

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Miniature framed photos of my dad who is no longer with us peek out from the tree branches every year since his passing.

IMG_0758They are photos of my dad in his youth. I like the ones with the cars. I think they are really cool. Lol
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Strands of chandelier glass hug the tree at the top, middle and bottom. I have these pieces for years and yeas and find new ways to use them every Christmas. I’ve even used them to decorate a wedding cake table. You can see how at The Gift of a Wedding.

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Glass ornaments hand crafted in Poland were purchased with gift cards from the Bombay Company that I had been given for Christmas. I was able to use them for the after Christmas sales when the ornaments were marked way down. Thank you to all!

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This beauty was a new after Christmas purchase this year. I pulled it out of a box tucked behind a piece of furniture in the shop and was so glad to find it.IMG_0963

I am loving the silver-gold combination this year in our living room this year.

 

IMG_0939And, of course, one can never have too many pillows!  Pillows are a wonderful to add texture to a space and make it cozy.

IMG_0958 I like that I can look at our tree and know that many of the ornaments were thoughtfully gifted by my spouse, family, friends, neighbours and co-workers!IMG_0957

Almost every ornament tells a story.IMG_0956This pretty was also an after-Christmas sale purchase.
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This ornament was, too! Don’t you love the lace on this baby? You can see a post about The Littlest Angels that I used here.  I sent my friend Carolyn on Prince Edward Island a pair of these sweeties a few years ago, so we have a set alike as a gesture of friendship.

IMG_0953You must have at least one bird in the tree! It’s tradition. There’s a nest in there, too…somewhere deep within the branches.
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The ornaments are just piled on in thick layers this year as we didn’t have a large tree in this room. I like the glass ornaments that allow the tree lights to shine through and cast a warm glow.IMG_0587Santa peeps out from a bell cloche in front of the fireplace.
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Some silver reindeer, a wee child and small glittery trees, too, set the scene.IMG_0761

Chicadees in the trees…The frosted snowy white bulb in the garland draped at the back is a favourite. A gorgeous wintry nod to the season…IMG_0605

More Santas and some sparkly stars that are showing signs of wear. “Never let anyone dull your sparkle!” Whoever said that had real insight.

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LOVE these! The little radio is similar to my husband’s radio that had belonged to his dad.

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A few more…

IMG_0777I so admire the people who craft these gorgeous ornaments. To tour a factory in Poland or Austria or Germany where they are so expertly made would be a dream come true! Have you ever been to such a place?

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I found these bulbs with the ‘Three Kings’ at Michaels early in the season! I had given a box of them to my beloved mom-in-law many years ago and she cherished them. She has since passed and they have gone to someone else in the family who also treasures them, which makes me very happy, indeed. When I saw these on the store shelf this year, I wanted to have them on my own tree as a reminder of my Ethel and her faith.

IMG_0766My friend Joan hand painted this heart for me. It is precious. Did you know that I hang it on my tree every year, Joan, next to my dad’s photo?
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A new ornament this year! Love a peace dove in the tree…

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The iced boughs and glass prisms tucked into the tree here and there gives a wintry feel to the tree and is a lovely contrast with the natural pinecones.

IMG_1072Reflection of the Christmas tree lights in a large framed print that hangs over the sofa…

IMG_1075What to do when you can’t find a full-size tree? I couldn’t find a full-size tree that I liked this year (you can see last year’s tree at The Snow Tree) , so we went with two smaller trees in urns that we previously used in other rooms.  I do miss my Snow Tree and will continue my search for a full-size flocked tree for next Christmas.

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This is actually two smaller tabletop trees of the same size, both in footed urns, that were used previously in other rooms. Can you see the Venetian masks in the tops of each tree?

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The trees are in footed urns and placed at graduating heights in the room. (This window is awaiting new curtains.)

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One of the footed urns is set on atop a wooden crate off the floor for some added height.

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The second tree is placed on the top shelf of a glass and iron wine rack that I dragged inside from out our patio deck. It had been out there all summer and fall and I was planning on bringing it into the house for the winter anyway. I draped a garland over the top and down the side of the rack to the floor and then decorated it similarly to the two trees. Since I didn’t have a single big tree this year, I had plenty of ornaments to go around.IMG_0762

This vignette is at the base of the tree on top of the wine rack. I think my favourite thing this year was the silver and gold striped ribbons! I am a ribbon addict. Here are some close ups of the vignette at the base of the tree.

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IMG_0597Can you see the wine bottles still in the rack below the tree?

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I thought I would leave the bottles in the rack. Hmmm…maybe I’ll have a small glass!IMG_0813

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Some more favourites…IMG_0961
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IMG_1082 An angel sits at the base of the trees.

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The teeny angel came from a Christmas shop in Banff many years ago when visiting my husband’s sister for an early Christmas. I always bring home a Christmas ornament or figure from my travels. Do you do that, too?IMG_0796

Some views of the fireplace mantel in the Living Room
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Chandelier strands and crystal prisms, gilded honecombs and natural pinecones, glittery ferns and iced boughs, illuminated mercury glass, shimmery ribbon, cedar sprays and pearly capiz shells together create a romantic scene and cast beautiful patterns on the walls.IMG_0507

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Crystal candlesticks normally reserved for tablescapes hold prized ornaments.IMG_0497

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I hope you enjoyed the “after-Christmas tour”, late as it was. Some would say better late than never.

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You can catch a wee glimpse through the living room door to the kitchen and dining nook. If you would like to see it decked out before all traces of the holidays are gone, please come back and visit before too long, that is if you can stand it and haven’t had your fill already. Lol  I won’t delay posting too long as I know it’s a bit late after all.  We are still doing some after-Christmas entertaining and so I will be sharing it with some friends over the next week.

That’s it for the living room until next year. Thank you for indulging me and for coming by and spending your precious time.  I hope you are enjoying a fabulous winter so far.

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

I am thrilled to be joining  Amaze Me MondayTeatime Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness and Friends Sharing Tea, The Scoop, Tuesdays With A Twist, Tuesdays At Our HomeWordless Wednesday, Wake Up Wednesday, What’s It Wednesday, WoW Us Wednesday, Wholehearted Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, The Homemaking PartyThursday’s Favourite Things, Home Sweet HomeShabbilicious Friday and Simple and Sweet Fridays, Feathered Nest Friday, Pink Saturday!

Celebrating the Twelfth Day of Christmas!

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 On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

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I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month. ~Harlan Miller

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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year to you all! My wish for you is good health, peace, friendship, love and many joy-filled moments in the coming year.

IMG_1038It’s early Monday and it is a quiet, Christmas card kind of morning with the snow falling and twirling to the ground like teeny feathers from heaven. Peaceful.

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For those living on many parts of our island, it’s a snow day for the children as schools are closed, or at least for the morning. Not here, though.  This beautiful scene won’t last long as the temperature is expected to climb to an unseasonable 11 degrees Celsius with rain, so all this fluffy snow will soon be washed away.  (I love this Bethany Lowe figure. Isn’t it precious?)

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Although I miss my garden at this time of year, the view is still beautiful, even from the kitchen sink!

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Who says rabbits are just for Easter?

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I’ve just made the bed (I like to dress the beds for Christmas) and am about to brew a hot cuppa.

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The house is so warm and welcoming at this time of year, so I am still enjoying. You can never have too many cozy pillows!

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A collection of hand painted Santas still sit on the dresser in the master bedroom.

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I am still listening to holiday music and sipping tea by the glow of the tree lights. I am loving this quiet hour. Hubby has left for work already and I am on vacation today (back to work tomorrow).

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I thought I would use the day to dismantle some of the decorations but on, second thought, I think I will enjoy them for the rest of this week and instead read some favourite magazines, be inspired and take some photos, something I haven’t had a chance to do all season.

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Maybe I’ll call up an old friend and invite her for tea. Pink transferware is wonderful at any time of year but especially during the holidays.

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I really like the Christmassy colours of this pattern.

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I know that many of you share a love for it.

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This is a nook in our petite kitchen/dining room. I love the sparkle! The house seems to say, “I’m happy!” and I want to share that. I hope it’s not too late.

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Well, Old Christmas Day is tomorrow, so I won’t leave it too long before I post some more images. Where did 2014 go?!

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I think I’ll start in the living room…

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The reflection of the lights of the Christmas trees in a framed print gives a magical feel to the room. Here are a few sneak peeks…

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The top of a Christmas tree…
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At the base of the tree…
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Special ornaments and a vignette under glass…
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Many thanks to Kerryanne for featuring my last post, Gingerbread Dreams, on her fun blog party Shabbilicous Friday! It was very sweet of you!  By the way, you might be interested to know that I gave that gingerbread house away but Santa brought me my very own gingerbread house! YES!
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The buffet/dresser in a kitchen nook is home to a fabulous smelling gingerbread display! (I tipped a little too far to the right when I snapped this one! Lol) Can you see the teeny footprints leading up to the front door of the gingerbread house. My friend Jindra is just amazing! APPLAUSE!
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I can’t thank her enough.  I’ve always wanted one for my own and she has made me a very happy girl, indeed! I get so much pleasure from looking at her creation.
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Look at that front door with the chevron wood-like pattern and pretty little wreath! You have to just admire her skill at detail! LOVE!
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It just makes my heart and feet dance together at the sight!  I hope it makes you happy  to see it, too.  I will probably be looking at this in my kitchen for a long time yet. I am very reluctant to put it away for another year. There are no ‘rules’ when to take down your holiday decor and if it makes you happy, then why not leave it for awhile longer! Celebrate Christmas every day, if you want – at least in your heart, that’s what matters. I love the spirit of the season and don’t mind one bit if it lingers awhile more.
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Oh, here comes the rain already! I’m glad I got those photos from the kitchen window when I did! This is the only snowman here today, on the kitchen table…
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I hope you’ll visit again soon! Thank you all for the very lovely comments last time.  I am always so excited to see your kind notes in my mailbox.
Wishing you a beautiful start to a brand new week,
Linda 

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Merry, Merry Christmas!

For unto us, a child is born!

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“Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” – Alexander Smith

P1130314Dear Friends,

So, this is Christmas! I’m just popping in to say, “Merry Christmas! Merry, Merry Christmas!” I hope yours is peaceful, filled with many blessings and that you find yourself surrounded by the special people in your life as you share in this wondrous time. Wishing each and everyone, the old and the young, a beautiful Christmas wrapped in tons of love and may all your dreams for Christmas come true. Embrace this day…

Linda

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Categories: CHRISTMAS

Gingerbread Dreams

IMG_0156Dear Friends,
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE  me some cedar at Christmastime alll through the house. Branches snipped from the garden and some brought home from the garden centres seem to appear here and there and everywhere throughout our home at this time of year.  Mostly what I use inside to deck the chandeliers over tables, on tables and sideboards – near wherever food is served – is from the nursery or florist, just because I want to be sure there are no little bugs dropping from the branches especially onto food tables.
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This is my favourite tree this year!  It’s fashioned from gingerbread stars in graduating sizes and sits on a wooden base.
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I also love the aromatic scent of sweet gingerbread mixed with the smell of fresh winter greens.   I thought today I would share some photos of a petite gingerbread house surrounded by bits of cedar clippings that was sitting on my sideboard (an old pine dresser repurposed) in the kitchen for a few days before I gave the house away as a gift.
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The teeny house was custom-built for me to spec and pinterest inspired. A lovely new friend, Jindra, who is from Czech Republic made it for me using the old-style European recipe for gingerbread made up molasses, honey and flour.  The house sits on a 7″ diameter gingerbread cookie!
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 It smells soooo goood and is entirely edible but will keep for years if looked after properly…
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 Isn’t it adorable how the door to the house opens?  And, the tree outside and the starburst on the tiled rooftop?  And the detail surrounding the windows!  There are so many things about this creation that I admire.

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Aren’t the cookies beautiful? The detail is just amazing on these tasty treats. I particularly love the gingerbread spheres.  They have tiny ribbons attached so you can hang them on the tree. Just precious!
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The stars are beautiful, too.
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And, the snowflakes!  There’s my little reindeer place marker.  He makes me smile! Lol
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 I used some rustic looking bird nests dusted with sparkly snow and some lace trimmed ornaments on the dresser. Somehow, they just looked ‘right’ to me alongside the gingerbread shapes.IMG_0200I nestled a teeny silver reindeer place marker inside each of the nests.
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 The ‘hot toddy’ mugs are waiting…Or, would you prefer some pretty pomegranate tea in nod to the season?
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 The ‘White Wheat’ ironstone pattern is a favourite.  I have had this jug for many years.  It has a timeless appeal.
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Darling doves are displayed on my mother’s cookie plate which belonged to her mother and is probably over a century old.
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When I last posted, I showed this dresser with a totally different look using amber glassware.  You can see it here. This is how it looked before fitted out with my vintage amber glassware…
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And, this is the after…
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 There is a beautiful decorative sparkle to the gingerbread when the light shines on it.
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Sweet message…
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 The “Holly and Ivy” Portmeirion teapot was a gift to me from my husband about 10 years ago. Ivory bottlebrush trees are also a weakness of mine. Lol
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 I often stack cake plates to add height and interest to a tablescape. Do you do this, too?  There are so many ways you can use them.
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Behind the ceramic tray, I hid a teeny photo of me sitting on Santa’s lap.  It was taken 2 years ago when hubby and I visited New York City for a week plus a day.  I spotted this wonderful Santa at The Plaza Hotel.  The last time before that I had my photo taken with Santa was 50 years earlier!  Lol  It was a special moment for me – even at my age, all these years later! Lol
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There is something very special about the inside of this gingerbread house.  Can you guess what it is?
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SURPRISE!  The house has its own teeny gingerbread tree with teeny gingerbread presents underneath it! The love is definitely in the details! Jindra has such an amazing talent! XO
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Hubby and I went to dinner recently hosted by our dear friends, Brendan and Marie, in their beautiful home.  It was a fabulous evening on all counts. We always look forward to our visits with them. I brought along the tiny gingerbread house as a hostess/Christmas gift. Our friends were thrilled.  I’m sure their grandchildren will be, too!  I was delighted to see the same look on my friend Marie’s face when I gave her the house. I surely must have had the same look on mine when Jindra first presented this sweet ‘work of heart’ to me!
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As soon as I arrived at my friend’s home, I asked for one of her many pedestal cake plates (she used to have a tea room) and went about arranging feathery bits of cedar around the perimeter of the plate and then sprinkling icing sugar over the stems to resemble newly fallen snow.  I used glass yogourt cups to hold battery-operated votives and then filled the glasses with salt, popped a few pinecones in place on the side of the plate and voila! A beautiful presentation.
IMG_0257 The gift tag was given to me a couple of years ago.  A thoughtful friend had an entire box of them custom made for me! The same friend who gave me this beautiful china and glassware you can see here at The Festive Table! There must have been a dozen or more tags in the box and so I use them for very special gifts.
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When I was sprinkling confectioners’ sugar over the cedar, some of the sugar fell on my friend’s Baby Grand piano. She really liked the look of it and so she decided to leave it just as it was…
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My friend served dinners and tea in this room for nearly 10 years up until last year.  When she closed the tea room to spend more time with her grandchildren, she converted the dining room to a cozy sitting room.
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I love the old gramaphone…Can you hear Christmas music?
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I love how this vignette turned out.  It reminds me of a beautiful Christmas card…
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Since I was a little girl, I’ve dreamed of having my very own gingerbread house. I just love this petite little house so much that I asked Santa to bring me one for Christmas.  Lol  We’ll see…
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I can’t wait to snap some photos of this year’s decorations on the outside of ‘the bungalow’.  I’ve plopped pineapples in most of my urns again this year.  The pineapple, after all, is the symbol of welcome so is especially appropriate during the holidays. I’m having fun with a few garden benches and birdbaths this year, too, setting up little cheerful vignettes. This is what our front door looked like last year.
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You can see more photos here at Beautiful Christmas Green.
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I’m hoping for a wee sifting of fresh snow so my photos will look Christmassy.  Last year this time, we were knee-deep in snow and had been for weeks. Although I am wanting a little snow for photos, I am more than happy that we are having such great weather.  Right now, though, it looks as though we will have a green Christmas this year, so the exterior photos can wait a few days.
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I’d like to thank Kathy at A Delightsome Life and Sherry at The Charm of Home for featuring my last post Christmas is Coming on their amazing blogs!
Thank you for stopping by, particularly at this time of year when we have so much to keep us busy with holiday preparations! I hope Santa’s good to you! Sweet wishes for a beautiful Christmas filled with peace, love, joy and a multitude of blessings…XO
Linda  

Christmas is coming!

IMG_0087Welcome, Friends!

You’re just in time for a cuppa tea!  I think you’ll agree that there is perhaps no other time of year as highly anticipated as the Christmas season. Like many of you,  I have begun making holiday plans and to get our home ready for Christmas.  I like to start early so I have plenty of time to enjoy the house in all its sparkle and glamour for as long as possible.  I think this is when the house looks its best.  I thought I would decorate first and clean after because I expect there will be glitter from one end of the house to the other by the time everything is finished!

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For a change, this year, I started in the kitchen with an old dresser repurposed as a sideboard.  (I normally start “Christmas at the End of the Hall” but change is good. A tin-framed mirror hangs above the dresser. I thought it would look nice with a generous pine and cedar wreath layered over it and then added a few glittery sprigs and delicate ornaments. The wreath looks very real.  What do you think?

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And, I began playing with a new camera that my husband bought for me! These images are of a few little nooks and crannies in our kitchen and are the very first photos I took using it.  I am really liking the way they turned out for a first try and I feel like a grown-up, finally! Lol  Now, I’ll have to look into that photography course that I’ve been wanting to do.  Maybe Santa will drop a gift certificate in my Christmas stocking…Hint.

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I’ve shared photos of my amber glassware before, but I thought you might enjoy seeing it again since these images are more detailed.  This pretty jug and juice glasses have been used to serve family and friends on many happy occasions throughout the years.  I remember finding it in an antiques barn by the side of the road when my husband and I were vacationing in beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. That was when we were first married and so many years ago that I’ve lost count.  Where does the time go?

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I love the daisy pattern and swirls.  It looks rather ‘snowy’, don’t you think.

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The sweet miniature reindeer is actually a place card holder. You can see the little slit in his back that holds the card.

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The carnival glass jug is a special treasure and quite old. It belonged to my great-grandmother.

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My prized egg nog bowl, circa 1950’s, has served up many holiday drinks topped with peaks of delicious whipped cream! I can’t wait for egg nog!

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The pedestal crystal plate that the bowl sits on belonged to my father’s mother.

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Aren’t the eggnog cups cute?  They fit nicely in the palm of your hand and the eggnog tastes even yummier in such a pretty cup!

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Sometimes I find unexpected places for precious ornaments.  You never know where you’ll find one around here!

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I like to tuck in family photos amongst the Christmas decorations here and there throughout the house.

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This photo is of my mom when she was in her twenties.  My mother lives in a seniors’ residence now.  You’re welcome to have a peek at her room that I decorated for her here: “A Room With A View!”

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I like to mix gold and silver when decorating for the holidays to allow more possibilities, rather than using all of one or the other.  These glasses with the bubble pattern are used for champagne.

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I love mixing in natural pinecones in our holiday decor.

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A few special ornaments are displayed on the stacked cake plates in the centre of the kitchen table.

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All the greenery is artificial but the natural pinecones help it to look fresh! With the addition of the pinecones, sometimes its very hard to tell whether the greens are natural or not.

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I don’t use all of our ornaments for the trees.  Here are some ornaments atop the Lazy Susan.  Others can be found in bowls, peeping out of stockings, dresser drawers, hanging from mirrors, on cake plates, under cloches…just about anywhere you can think of that could use a little surprise of glamour!  These green sprigs are faux, too!

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I like using cookies in the same way – in places where you’d least expect to find them!  These sugar cookies in the shape of snowflakes are part of the centerpiece for the table.  My friend Maria made them for me last year and I froze them so I could re-use them this year. When they are fresh, they are delicious.  I save these, though, purely for decoration and are not to be eaten!

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Aren’t they adorable!

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I am in love with these little reindeer place card holders!

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Pedestal plates can be used for much more than pretty desserts!

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The caribou look more like “cow-a-boo!”

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This is one of my favourite things! Gingerbread under a cloche!

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Last year, I hung these same cookies from an evergreen garland over the kitchen sink. Can you see the ‘straw holes’ where the ribbons were slipped through.  Gingerbread keeps well.

IMG_0062 Angels are a must throughout the house.  Don’t you love the ethereal look?

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I nestled a sprig of faux greenery and a teeny bird in her between her hands.

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I hope you have fun dreaming of your Christmas plans…I’d love to hear about them!

SECOND ANNUAL “CHRISTMAS WREATHS FOR THE CURE!”

For those of you who live in our area, please remember to get your holiday wreaths from The Wreath Maker as part of a fundraiser for breast cancer research and community programs. The Wreath Maker’s creations make wonderful Christmas gifts for friends, neighbours and clients, too! Why not give a wreath earlier in the season so the recipient can enjoy the magic leading up to Christmas! When you order a fresh holiday wreath by ‘The Wreath Maker’ this Christmas season and (mention Pink Days In Bloom), a portion of your wreath purchase will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Atlantic.

Wreaths come in various sizes listed below; all fit a standard size door. These wreaths are expertly constructed of fresh balsam fir, decorated with berries and pinecones, finished off with a weatherproof red bow!
Small – 14” ($25), Medium – 18” ($35), Large – 24” ($45) and Extra Large – 30” ($60)
I LOVE the look of an evergreen symbol of the season and circle of life on my front door or gate, especially during the holidays! I have been buying wreaths from The Wreath Maker for over 25 years. It is a beloved Christmas tradition for our family! Now, you can, too! AND, while you’re at it, create a future without breast cancer…Until next time!
Thanks for stopping by!
Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

Christmas Wreaths for the Cure!

 

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I am thrilled to be joining the party at Home Sweet Home, What to do Weekends, Feathered Nest Friday, Saturday Show Off,  Pink Saturday, Simple and Sweet FridayShow and Tell, Shabbilicious Friday and Christmas, Fridays Unfolded, Show Off Friday , Much A Do About MondayAmaze Me Monday, Creative Monday, Tuesdays At Our Home, Tea Time Tuesday, A Return to Loveliness, Show and Share, Inspire Me Tuesday, The Scoop, Teacup Tuesday, Friends Sharing Tea, Tweak it Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, What We Accomplished Wednesday , Wake Up Wednesday, The Homemaking Party, WoW Us Wednesday, What’s It Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Thursday Favourite ThingsShare Your Cup Thursday, Shabbilicious Christmas! YAY!

Something special in the air…

IMG_1078Happy Fall, Y’all!

The glowing, delicious days of autumn are here!  I just love this time of year when the air is fresh and invigorating, and the countryside is awash with vibrant reds and golds. Doesn’t it just put that extra zing in your step! And, of course, I love fall walks, crisp apples, apple crisps and EVERYTHING pumpkin!

In the garden, I swap out the ‘bloom boxes’ for ‘pumpkin pots’, filling urns and window boxes with gourds of all kinds and pumpkins big and small. It’s easy to do and is such an inviting look for fall. Hope is in the air everywhere!

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Thanks to the many supportive garden nurseries and friends, it was a fantastic Pink Days In Bloom season, with more to come… And, so, in the spirit of breast cancer awareness, I thought I would share some nice news with you today. The pages below are from a newsletter that I recently shared on Pink Days In Bloom’s facebook page.  You can click on any of the photos in this post to enlarge them. October may be Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but locally we’re streeetching it by a couple days to November 2nd!

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Bring a friend, or two, or three and make plans for lunch/brunch in the café and then head on up to the third floor Rocket Room to check out the fair.  I think you will be pleased with what the vendors have in store for you. Many of them have already begun working on one-of-a-kind items for this wonderful sale.0001YK0001vo

Did you know that each vendor at “The Little Christmas Fair” makes a $100 charitable donation in support of CBCF-Atlantic in lieu of their table space at the fair? (Some of the vendors don’t normally participate in fairs but they do this one because they have a real connection to the cause and they want to help.) Admission is charged on the door and then there are generally a few holiday-themed raffles. It’s a fun way to raise monies for breast cancer research and community programs.  And, of course, we depend on you and your family and friends to all come out in support and have a good time while together we are working toward a future without breast cancer!

I hope you will help spread the word so that we can make this year’s “The Little Christmas Fair” the best yet for our generous vendors who put their hearts and talents into supporting the cause, and for CBCF-Atlantic to help them continue to do their good work in creating a future without breast cancer.  Whenever you see something on the Pink Days In Bloom Facebook touting “The Little Christmas Fair”, it would be a really huge help if you would share it on your own page.  That will go a long way in helping to get the word out about the fair and bringing more people to the venue.

Of course, greeters and ticket sellers are needed again this year.  So, if you’d like to volunteer for a couple hours during the day of the fair (pretteee pleeease), let me know and I’ll put your sweet face on the schedule!  Doors open at 11:00 AM and close at 5:00 PM.  Volunteer shifts are generally 2-hour shifts with 3 persons working each shift. The shift times are 11AM – 1PM, 1PM – 3PM and 3PM –  5PM.  Email me at linda.pinkdaysinbloom@gmail and let me know which shift you’d prefer.  Even volunteers have a great time at the fair and many stay long after their shift is over to take it all in!  You’ll be contributing to something good! It’s a great feeling that will surely get you into the holiday spirit!
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WANT TO KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT? DISCOVER PINK DAYS IN BLOOM ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER.          Don’t miss a thing!  ‘Like’ Pink Days In Bloom on Facebook!  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pink-Days-in-Bloom/382061855145657    Follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/LindaPDIB

Thank you for your support and for dropping in for a visit today!  Cheers to a beautiful fall season! If you happen to be in St. John’s on November 2nd, I hope you will check out “The Little Christmas Fair!” See you here again soon!

Wishing you a beautiful day,

Linda

 

THANK YOU to the many wonderful bloggers who are sharing on their blogs this month about breast cancer awareness!  I am blessed to be able to share with Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Tea Time TuesdayWhat We Accomplished WednesdayWow Us Wednesday, Cottage Style PartyWake Up WednesdayWhat’s It Wednesday, The Homemaking PartyShare Your Cup ThursdayHome and Garden Thursday, Thursday Favourite ThingsFeathered Nest FridayRomantic Home, What to do Weekends, Home Sweet Home, Saturday Show Off and Pink Saturday. Love your blogs!

 

Tea from Sea to Sea!

Dear Friends,

 

I hope you all enjoyed an incredible summer. Mine was a busy one preparing our garden that was part of a Mystery Garden Tour fundraiser in July in support of our community’s botanical garden (175 people visited our garden on a single weekend) as well as attending Pink Days In Bloom fundraising events at local garden centres throughout June and August in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation – Atlantic.  I feel a little sad that summer is winding down and fall is coming on (although fall is my favourite season), but I’m delighted to be back at my blog and glad you are here visiting with me today.  It’s so heartwarming to be able to share with you all about a special tea that happened earlier this season.  It took months of planning, but was well worth the result.

On June 8th, a group of fellow breast cancer survivors and supporters celebrated “Pink Tree Day in the Park”.  The day was chosen to mark the Centennial Anniversary of our city’s beloved Bowring Park.  It also kicked off the Pink Days In Bloom fundraising season, an initiative that has grown from our small community here in Newfoundland throughout Atlantic Canada and beyond.  I am very happy about that!  Much gratitude to Proven Winners for this beautiful idea and the Invincibelle Spirit Campaign that donates $1.00 from the sale of every pink Invincibelle Spirit hydrangea to the Breast Cancer Research (BRC) Foundation in the United States.  I had the pleasure of meeting some of the wonderful and caring people behind the campaign in June 2013 when I was invited to the amazing Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Michigan to share with their major growers about Pink Days In Bloom in Newfoundland. 

“Pink Tree Day in the Park” began with the dedication of a special Pink Days In Bloom bench, together with a pink-blossoming tree, at a heartfelt ceremony to honour the lives of those touched by breast cancer. This everlasting gift has created a beautiful and serene rest area where park visitors, especially those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer, can find an especially meaningful place for reflection and rejuvenation, and to feel embraced within the park’s tranquil surroundings.
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A group of my fellow breast cancer survivors were the first persons to enjoy the new bench in Bowring Park! The Victorian-style bench was donated to the park in support of Pink Days In Bloom by a group of community-minded and kind-hearted business owners: New Victorian Homes, MacIntyre Homes and Renovations Inc., Ray Gushue Construction Ltd., Austin’s Contracting Inc., and J and P Contracting Inc.  A brass plaque inscribed with the names of the contributors is installed on the bench as a permanent “Thank You” to commemorate the occasion and to raise awareness. I will always be grateful for their kind gift.

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The occasion served also as a reminder of the importance of trees and gardens in our daily lives for healthy and beautiful living. I am thrilled that our city’s mayor, Dennis O’Keefe, and the founding chair of the Bowring Park Foundation, Bruce Templeton, were able to be there to help to cut the ribbon on the bench.  Olivia, the sweet Newfoundland, wore a pink flower in her ear. I think she instinctively knew that something very beautiful was going on!

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The Pink Days In Bloom signature garden fairies named ‘Pink’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Invincibelle’ joined the ceremony.  My friend, Joan, in the white hat helped the mayor to cut the ribbon.  Joan is also a survivor and has led a breast cancer support group, Sharing Our Strength (SOS), in our city for over a dozen years.  She is a beautiful spirit.  Thank you, Joanie, for all that you do every day!

Preview of “PDIB Postcard.pdf”

Aren’t the Pink Days In Bloom fairies lovely!  That’s Pink in the top photo, then Hope and Invincibelle. Their floral crowns were such fun to make, and I just love the way they turned out! I think the fairies love wearing them, too! Thank you to Erin (a.k.a. Pink), Jenn (a.k.a. Hope) and Kierstyn (a.k.a. Invincibelle) for volunteering with Pink Days In Bloom since the beginning in 2012! And, much gratitude to dear Apryl Stead of White Willow Photography for these gorgeous images.  It takes a very special talent to capture the image of a fairy. You must truly BELIEVE!

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My husband’s family donated a pink-flowering tree to the park in memory of my mom-in-law.  She passed away from breast cancer in November, 2009. She was a kindred spirit and I miss her every day. Helping us to do the planting was left to right: Bruce Templeton (founding Chair of the Bowring Park Foundation), Paula Tessier (Community Relations, CBCF-Atlantic), Dennis O’Keefe (Mayor of St. John’s), my husband and me. The maintenance team at the transit company where I work kindly painted our shovels pink!  It was a drizzly day, so tents were generously supplied by Bill Harris Tent Rentals who came through for us in a pinch last-minute and we were grateful to have some shelter from the cool wind.

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

The pink-blossoming tree that we planted on that day is a variety of cherry tree and will bloom in springtime. Spring blossoms represent new life and hope for the future.  The tree came from Pat’s Plants and Gardens, a participant in “The Pink Tree Project” and the first garden nursery in our province to host Pink Days In Bloom.  Pat and I have since become dear friends and I love her dearly. Whenever I get a crazy idea, and I tend to get a lot of them, Pat is always the first to, ahem, ‘volunteer’ her garden centre! Thank you, Pat, for your continued blooming support!  Here’s a little about Pink Days’s In Bloom’s “The Pink Tree Project”.

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Liz

PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead

My awesome new friend Liz Klose made her hat especially for “Pink Tree Day in the Park”! A delicate china teacup and saucer are perched at the very top of this beauty – I mean you, Liz! :-). Even the teacup is filled with flowers! She wore it the entire day and without even needing to see a chiropractor afterwards!  Now, that is stamina in my books! Liz is the Director of Memorial University’s Botanical Garden in St. John’s.  This year, the Botanical Garden joined Pink Days In Bloom and celebrated Canada Garden Days by planting a pink-flowering plant in support. Friends of The Garden (affectionately known as FOG) held a summer-long plant sale at The Garden in support of Pink Days In Bloom and CBCF-Atlantic.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of plants with pink-ribbon twists inserted in their pots is being donated for innovative breast cancer research and programs. FOG will host their annual two-hour plant sale at The Garden on Saturday, September 6th between 10 am and Noon and will also have a vendor table at our local Some Good Market on September 13th in support! FOG volunteers have been working hard all season long!  Thank you!

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My co-worker Joan watched the tree-planting ceremony from the warmth of the tea deck. My young neighbour Julie, on the left, later served us tea!  Her summer job was working with Red Oak Catering who catered our delicious tea.

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PHOTO:  Apryl Stead

Olivia, the Newfoundland, is certainly loved! She gets a hug at the end of the ceremony for being such a good girl. Newfoundlands are such gentle beings. They’re easy to love.

The bench and tree dedication was immediately followed by a celebratory Pink Days in Bloom “Sea-to-Sea Champagne Tea” FUNdraiser complete with magnificent musical performances by very talented vocalist Adam Hunt and pianist David Chafe of Newman Sound Men’s Choir. Harpist Vanessa Goodyear soothed our souls with her lyrical harp notes during the meal.  The sound equipment was generously provided by Canadian AV Inc.  It was so nice of them all!

The elegant décor was a gift from the beautiful Sue Sharpe (By Sharpe Design).  Our delightful and humorous guest speaker was Bruce Templeton (Author of “The Man in the Red Suit and soon to be launched “The Man with the White Beard). Both of Bruce’s books are published by Creative Book Publishing and are an inspiring, heart-touching read with an important message:  It’s not your presents that count; it’s your presence.  A portion of the proceeds from Bruce’s Christmas book sales help vaccinate children in various parts of the world against the dreaded polio disease. For every book sold, three children are vaccinated against polio. I’ve already bought no less than 14 copies of his book “The Man in the Red Suit” and have given them to friends, neighbours, co-workers and family on my ‘good list’ for Christmas. Let’s see, 14 books = 42 children who have been vaccinated! It feels good to know that.

During the Pink Days In Bloom tea, there were pretty park views all around, prizes and surprises, too!  We enjoyed a delectable menu prepared especially for us by Red Oak Catering that included steaming pots of tasty teas, fresh fruit salad, a selection of satisfying savouries, tiers of luscious house-made pastries and sweets, scrumptious fresh-baked scones with jam and cream, and delectable English trifle. What a fancy feast! YUM!

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And, here’s the really special part:  At the very same hour that we were dedicating the bench and pink tree, and celebrating over tea and champagne here in Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast, the incredible staff and friends at the beautiful Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, on the country’s west coast, planted a pink ‘sister’ tree in their hotel garden and hosted a Pink Days in Bloom Tea of their own in their world-famous Tea Lobby in support of CBCF – BC/Yukon.  Monies raised in support of CBCF in each region stay in the respective regions, which is a good thing. The fundraisers help support community programs where we live.

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Thank you Rebecca and team at The Empress for all your hard work!  And, thank you to Helijet for partnering with The Empress in The Pink Tree Project. Breast cancer survivor Karen Sabourin and her daughter Laurel helped plant the “Tree of Hope” in the Empress Garden! Aren’t these ladies adorable!

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This photo just makes me smile! 🙂

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Everyone who made a donation in someone’s honour got to write the name of the person on a tag and hang it on The Empress’ new Tree of Hope.  Photos of The Empress’ world-famous tea lobby are below.  You can see more photos here at my blog post “The Elegant Empress”.  I have always LOVED “The Elegant Empress” and now I love ‘her’ more than ever for being part of this initiative.

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Empress PDIB Tea Tray

The Empress’ culinary team outdid themselves!  WoW! Look at all those luscious pink desserts!

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Empress message of hope

Guests were invited to sign The Empress’ Book of Hope and write an encouraging message.  This is truly a beautiful idea.

Those unable to join us in person for the Pink Days In Bloom tea on June 8th, in either Bowring Park or at The Empress, could still share in the event through a virtual tea.  Whether at the office, the kitchen table or by the pool, one could simply pick up their cup in support and pledge online to help fund breast cancer research and community programs.  For Twitter lovers, tweets about their tea experience at hashtag (#PinkDaysInBloom) could be seen displayed on a screen outside the Tea Lobby at The Empress.  I really liked that idea, too.  It helped to bring everyone closer together.

I hope you enjoy the following photos of our Pink Days In Bloom’s “Pink Tree Day in the Park ” Tea. Some of the photos were taken on The Bungalow’s tea deck.  It was a cold, damp day in June but we hardly noticed!  The tenting and heaters on the deck made it cozy for guests who sat outside. And, the deck looked dreamy, too, thanks to Sue and her team!

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

Isn’t this a superb way to do a seating chart!  Many thanks to the lovely Sue Sharpe, By Sharpe Design, who contributed her design services for the tea.  Many of the photos were taken by the talented Apryl Stead, White Willow Photography. Thank you, Apryl, for sharing the day with us and helping us to remember every moment through your glorious images!

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

Jessica Smith, the amazing floral designer at By Sharpe Design, artfully arranged numerous delightful bouquets like this one!  Jessica’s wedding bouquets are simply divine and make me want to get married all over again just so I can carry one of her out-of-this-world bouquets. I do love flowers!

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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

I love my old Apple Blossom china. It is one of my favourite vintage china patterns. I used what I’ve managed to collect over the years on the tea tables, along with nearly all my pink transferware plus my teapot collection (about 30 pots in all gathered from antique shops, flea markets, garage sales – you name it) and dozens of vintage teacups (about 70 in total, I think). I can’t think of a more inspiring occasion to use pretty delicate china!  I never knew I had so many pieces until I started to dig them out of the nooks and crannies of the cupboards. It seems they were just begging to be used!  I borrowed the tiered sweet trays from my darling friend Marie who once operated the most elegant tea room.  We all miss your teas, Marie, my dear!

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This is one of my favourite teapots.Bungalowroom

A survivor friend captured the room’s interior just before everyone was seated. Do you see the Victoria Magazine placed on the seat of each chair? My neighbour Joanne did an exceptionally kind deed for me several years ago when I was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.  She organized a team of her gardening gal pals who cared for my garden when I could not. From June through September that year, they would unlatch the garden gate and let themselves in like little sprites flitting about weeding and watering to their heart’s content.  I wrote a story about my kindly garden fairies and their thoughtful deed. It appeared in Victoria’s Special Spring Gardening Issue in March. “Victoria” sent a copy of the issue for each tea guest at our fundraiser and I read an excerpt from the story during my little tea talk. You just never know sometimes what can grow from a seed of kindness…My real-life garden fairies inspired more than they, or even I, could have ever imagined!
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A survivor friend captured photographer extraordinaire Apryl working her magic behind the camera lense.
Victoria Magazines on chairs at Sea-to-Sea Tea
The tea deck looked very inviting. I have loved “Victoria” since the very beginning and have every copy of the magazine since it was first published in the 1980’s.  Doesn’t the spring cover complement the pink decor beautifully!
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Inside the Grand Hall of Bowring Park’s Bungalow was equally welcoming!
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I also used my set of 18 pink heart-shaped teacups for this day! I plan on using them again soon.

Heart Teacup

  I purchased the teacups several years ago online from Roses and Teacups. I wonder if they still stock them.
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 I like how the brew looks inside the heart-shaped cup, don’t you?
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead

Pots of tea filled with the tasty ‘Empress Blend’ were served at the tea tables compliments of The Empress!

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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
We also drank Buckingham Palace tea, a blend that I learned from the tea vendor, Britannia Teas, is served at the Queen of England’s annual garden party.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
These dainty twin teapots belong to my friend Marie.  I love their petite size.  Would you prefer regular or decaffeinated tea?
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Sue and Jessica filled romantic moss-lined birdcages and mason jars wrapped in lace and twine with bouquets of fresh blossom that looked as though they came straight from the garden!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Vintage teapots make lovely vases!  A confetti of pink rose petals sprinkled over the tables was a tender touch.
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
The English trifle was delicious and a big hit.  It looked decadent in a wine glass and topped off with a fresh mint leaf. It was gobbled up in no time!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
The prizes were colourful and useful!  I hand picked most of them myself. Many thanks to all who contributed to the auction table. Can you see the glass flower peeking out of the watering can from behind the cushions?  Liz made it from glass bobs n’ bits – again, Pinterest inspired!  She makes tons of them and they are for sale as part of fundraising at MUN Botanical Garden.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
My friend Pat won this delightful grouping.  She was thrilled to win it and I was thrilled for her.  Maybe I’ll get to sip some tea from a pretty pink-striped mug soon. Hint. Hint.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
The table favours were custom made by my friend Maria who owns and operates a catering company called Petite Sweet. There are swans in Bowring Park, so I thought it would be fitting to have swan cookies on the tables as take-aways.  Of course some pink-tree cookies had to be included!  Honestly, Maria can create anything from cookie dough! She never ceases to amaze me.  I am very lucky and blessed to have so many supportive and talenteded friends.
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 PHOTO CREDIT: Linda Ryan, “Beautiful Ideas” Blog
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Jessica and Sue’s floral arrangements in vintage teapots were oh-so-sweet, a perfect complement to the tea tables.
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Liz brought greetings on behalf of Memorial University’s Botanical Garden and personally invited everyone to their first Pink Days In Bloom during Canada’s Garden Days at The Garden. She shared with us a hilarious story about the trials of making that incredible hat – but stories told at the tea, stay at the tea! Lol  And, there were many funny stories!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Meet Gina, one of my real-life garden fairies who tended my garden along with my neighbour Joanne and two more of their gal pals.  Gina’s talented sister, Vanessa, played her harp for us while we sipped our tea. What a magical time! I love this picture! Can you tell how much fun we all had!
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 PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead
Gail Pearcey and her husband Bruce are shown here having a laugh during the meal. Gail is the dedicated President of Friends of the Garden.  The group is affectionately known as FOG. They are hard-working and knowledgeable volunteers who help out at Memorial University’s Botanical Garden.  There are all sorts of things to be done at The Garden, so if you’re willing to volunteer some time, they have a job for you!
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PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead
Everyone got in the pink spirit and wore the prettiest tea hats and fascinators.  Many of them gathered together on the Friday evening before the tea at Joanie’s house and made their headpieces themselves!  They thought they would surprise me. Mission accomplished!  🙂 There is nothing so pretty as a sea of tea hats, especially for a Pink Days In Bloom Sea-to-Sea Champagne Tea!  Well done, ladies.
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PHOTO CREDIT: Apryl Stead
This is one of my favourite photos from that day.  This group of breast cancer survivors really know how to have fun! They always make me laugh.  Laughter really IS infectious, isn’t it!  And, I think it’s true what ‘they’ say, “Laughter is the best medicine.”
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Jane wins a prize!  Don’t you just love that fuschia hat on her!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
YES! Debbie wins a prize! Just look at those stunning hats!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Debbie was excited to take home these sunny indoor/outdoor cushions, perfect for relaxing on the summer patio.
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Kelli-Rae high-fives Sondria (seated).  Sondria actually won the prize! Can you imagine Kelli-Rae’s reaction if she had won! Lol  Priceless!
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
I adore Sherry’s hat! The colour is gorgeous on her.  And, Barb’s fascinator is a beauty!  We had so many laughs! The entire day was a collection of beautiful moments.
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Sherry and Sharon are best friends. These beautiful women together lead a local support group, S.H.E. (Sharing. Hoping. Empowering), for women in our area with metastatic breast cancer.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Sondria was enjoying a lucky streak and won twice!  What’s a girl to do! I think I will ask her to buy me a lottery ticket. Sondria spearheaded the One out of Nine Project, a series of photographs depicting brave local women and their individual journeys through breast cancer.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Lenora’s going to enjoy some ‘me time’ watching great movies!  That’s ‘Invincibelle’ the Pink Days In Bloom garden fairy flitting out the door from the tea deck into the Grand Hall! You have to be fast to catch a fairy’s image on camera!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
I cart this dress form around to all the Pink Days In Bloom fundraisers throughout the year.  I bought the frame at Winners and the colourful bra at Wal-mart.  I added some silk flowers, pretty beaded leaves, faux ferns and a combination of velvet and sparkly sheer ribbons…Voila! Some Pinterest inspired beauty!
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 PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Dress Form
And, another… I use them often as props for fundraising events. This won has lots of tulle and even butterflies.
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PHOTO CREDIT:  Apryl Stead
Maria made this gorgeous tiered cake adorned with cherry blossoms.  My mom-in-law, Ethel’s, photo was perched at the top of the cake in her honour. After she passed away from breast cancer in 2009, I was diagnosed just four months later. I have carried her in my heart every step along the Pink Days In Bloom path. I think she would have loved Pink Days In Bloom!
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I asked Joanie to help me cut the cake that was served as the final dessert course at the close of the celebration tea!
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“Pink Tree Day in the Park” was an enchanting afternoon of cake, champagne, cherry blossoms and hope. It was truly a joyous celebration of life!
Cheers to survivors
Cheers to breast cancer survivors everywhere and to those who love and support them!
Empress PDIB tea friends
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It was a uniquely beautiful and touching ‘sea-to-sea sipper’, bringing people across the country even closer together in making a difference and working towards a common goal – a future without breast cancer. Pink Days In Bloom is flourishing throughout Atlantic Canada.  The dream is that it, along with “The Pink Tree Project”, will continue to branch out across Canada and together we will grow a future without breast cancer.
Join a growing movement
As many of you have come to know, Pink Days In Bloom is not JUST about FUNdraising, it’s about celebrating being together and helping one another get through the challenges. Having  breast cancer, or any life-threatening disease, is a time when we need that more than ever. Just to know someone cares means the world some days. I have met such an incredible circle of outstanding, brave women throughout this journey.
Thank You to everyone everywhere for being part of “Pink Tree Day in the Park” and “Sea-to-Sea Tea”, for reaching out, embracing others, sharing your hearts and demonstrating your support in so many ways.  It was a perfect day! We are already looking forward to next time…I hope you can join us!
National Tree Day is September 24th.  Planting a pink tree? Why not make it pink! There are lots of good reasons.

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Want to know what’s coming up next? Like Pink Days In Bloom on Facebook and follow along onTwitter.

If you’re in the area on November 2nd, I’d love for you to join us at “The Little Christmas Fair”.

 

 

 

 

Thank you for coming by! I hope you have a lovely weekend. See you soon!

Linda

 

I’m excited to be joining Pink SaturdaySaturday Show OffMosaic Monday, Busy Monday, Amaze Me Monday, Mod Mix MondayInspiration Monday, Tuesday Cuppa Tea, Tuesdays at Our Home, Inspire Me Tuesday, Teacup Tuesday, The Scoop, A Return To Loveliness,  Tea Time Tuesday, Tweak it Tuesday and Tea Time, Wordless Wednesday, WoW Us Wednesday, Wake Up WednesdayCottage Style Party, A Return to Loveliness, What’s It WednesdayThe Homemaking Party, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Thursday Favourite Things, Tablescape ThursdayFeathered Nest Friday Simple and Sweet Fridays, Show and Tell Friday, Home Sweet Home and What To Do Weekends, and am thankful for all these wonderful blogs and kindred spirits!

Pink Trees and Cherry Tea!

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Happy Spring,

Dear Friends!

Today, I am steeping one of my favourite teas – Kyoto Cherry Rose scented with natural cherry and rose flavours.  It is pale yellow in colour with a heavenly aroma and sweet taste.

Would you like a cuppa in my prized vintage China pattern? “Apple Blossom” is a stunning profusion of pink-petaled apple trees.  I LOVE this pattern!  I found it when I wasn’t looking at a roadside antiques barn while vacationing on Prince Edward Island a few summers ago! It was such a thrilling and unexpected find. Isn’t that always the way! I think I must have danced right out the door with my newspaper-wrapped bundles of joy! I hope one day to stumble across a matching teapot to complete the set.  I will just have to keep on treasure hunting…

I LOVE this pattern’s history in that it was insightfully commissioned in the early 1960’s by the Chair of Nova Scotia’s Apple Blossom Festival, then in just its second year. This enduring pattern is an artist’s rendition of springtime in Annapolis Valley when the apple blossoms are exploding all over the countryside. All these years later, the festival remains a much-loved annual tradition there.

I LOVE, too, pink-flowering trees! But you probably could have guessed that already? Each spring, I make a special pilgrimage to a particular street in the heart of our city that is lined with gracious century-old homes on handsome, mature lots.  One home on the street stands out from the rest.  Along its perimeter marches a legion of stately Japanese Cherry trees.  Their entangled branches, thickly laden with exquisite fluffy pink blooms, reach way out over the hefty black fence that rings the property, and bend down to the street like low-hanging frothy clouds of cotton candy!  Delicious, pure pink abundance!  My feet and heart always dance together at the sight.  It makes my day every time!

P1070224Wherever these frothy pink specimens grow in abundance, there is an intense ‘Bloom Watch’ and visitors queue by the hundreds to see the magic of the cherry trees unfurl in a fleeting spectacular show of renewal. Their pink vapour of nature’s perfection fill the landscapes with intense beauty, wonderment and emotion.

To the Japanese, the fallen petals of the cherry blossom symbolize a soldier who has died in battle long before his time. But Spring blooms also represent strength, rebirth and hope for the future…

Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow!” She was so right about that. To plant pink trees is to beautify our communities and to help grow a future without breast cancer…I believe! The seeds of Pink Days In Bloom’s “The Pink Tree Project” in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic Region are just beginning to be sowed…

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time already may know that I am a breast cancer “Thriver” and that when I was on medical leave a few years ago recovering from treatments, I decided to combine my love of gardening with the overwhelming need to do something, anything, to help fight this disease in some way…

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0001GpHere are several links to some of the articles about Pink Days In Bloom in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation-Atlantic Region that appeared in our local newspaper last year. It’s a bit of a story and I think these next few articles probably best summarize how the seed was first planted and how it has continued to grow and flourish with the support of an amazing group of like-minded, dedicated volunteers and a caring business community:
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PHOTO:  Pink Days In Bloom’s Signature Garden Faeries ‘Hope’ and ‘Invincibelle’ with O’Brien’s Boat Tours‘ mermaid mascot, Miss Shell, during ‘Pink Days In Bloom On the Sea!’ in the Town of Bay Bulls last summer…
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The Empress Hotel’s world- famous Tea Lobby is a glorious place to enjoy a spot of tea!  You can see some photos of this grand lady in my previous post, THE ELEGANT EMPRESS.
During “Pink Tree Day in the Park” and “Tea Sea-to-Sea” on June 8, at the same hour that we will be planting a pink-flowering tree in Bowring Park, one of our city’s most cherished parks, here St. John’s, Newfoundland on Canada’s East Coast, our dear friends at The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia on the Country’s West Coast will also plant a pink “sister” tree on their hotel grounds.
And, while we are celebrating and FUNdRaising over tea and champagne at The Bungalow, The Empress team will host a Pink Days In Bloom Tea of their own and “Sip in Support”. Isn’t that AWESOME!  
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On June 8th, you, too, can pick up your cup in support, whether on your iPad, in the office, at the kitchen table, by the pool or wherever you happen to be via a Virtual Tea!  I would love it if you could join us. Simply brew your favourite cuppa and click:  cbcf.org/GetInvolved/Donate.  Ask your family, friends and co-workers to join in, too. It’s that easy!
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For TWITTER LOVERS:  On June 8th, Tweet about your tea experience at #PinkDaysInBloom and your Tweets can be seen by guests of The Empress on a screen near their world-famous Tea Lobby, bringing us all even closer together in ‘growing’ a future without breast cancer!
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I am so excited about this next beautiful event! THANK YOU to our dear friends at The Empress for sharing in the cause! Please show them your LOVE! ‘Like’ The Empress on Facebook. Or, visit them at Fairmont.com/Empress-Victoria to discover their fabulous get-away packages and legendary afternoon teas…If you haven’t visited The Empress and Victoria yet, it’s a must to add to your bucket list!
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Read all about this exciting and meaningful event below! I hope it will help explain why I have been away from my blog these past few months!
I have met so many beautiful people on this journey. Thank you Proven Winners for the ‘Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea’ – a tough plant that is working hard to find a cure, to all the committed volunteers and amazing supporters.  Without you, it would not be possible.  It means so very much to me and so many others. XO  I hope you will join us wherever you are on June 8th for pink trees and cherry tea and for HOPE, AWARENESS AND SUPPORT!
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I hope you enjoy the photos of pretty china and the pink tree cookies made by my sweet friend Maria of Petite Sweet! Thank you so much for taking precious time out of your day to visit with me. Please leave your beautiful footprint to let me know that yo were here, and so I can visit you in return!  XO
Wishing you a beautiful day and Happy Mother’s Day weekend,

Linda

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P1070144P1070147P1070151P1070163P1070153A true warrior, like tea, shows his strength in hot water. – Ancient Chinese proverb

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Hope yours is a blue-sky kind of day…

I’m happy to be sharing today in honour of Mother’s Day at Inspiration Monday, Make It Pretty Monday, Tea Time Tuesday, Return to LovelinessMartha’s Favourite, The Scoop, Inspire Me Tuesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Do Tell Tuesday, What’s It Wednesday, Wordless Wednesday, Wake UpWednesdayWhat We Accomplished Wednesday, Before and After WednesdayHope in Every SeasonCottage Style Party, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Simple and Sweet FridayFeathered Nest Friday,  Show and Tell Friday, Fabulously Creative Friday, Shabbilicious Friday, Saturday Show OffWhat To Do WeekendsPink SaturdayThe Charm of Home, Bouquet of Talent!

The Elegant Empress

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Welcome, Dear Friends!

I am thankful you are here on this wintry day and I hope that your week went well.  Isn’t it hard to believe that February is here! What a hectic month January was.  I am relieved to finally be able to make time to cocoon a little with some of my most favourite magazines.

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Isn’t “Victoria” absolutely stunning? It is an all-time favourite  of mine published by Hoffman Media.  I have every issue since it was first published in the eighties and am thrilled to my toes that a humble little story of mine will be featured in the Chimes section of their March/April issue!!! Can you believe that?!!!  It is beyond a dream come true for me!!! Thank you, “Victoria!” I can’t wait…

I just read Tea Time Magazine , another favourite and also published by Hoffman Media.  Tea Time will be hosting “An Occasion for Tea” at The Empress in Victoria, B.C. next weekend!  Don’t you wish you could join in the fun!

While the kettle is on, would you like to join me in a little armchair travel?  For those of you who follow my blog, you might recall I mentioned in an earlier post (Majestic Hatley Park) that my husband and I had travelled across the country from Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast to beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia on the west coast a couple of years ago where  I attended a work conference at Victoria’s Fairmont Empress Hotel. For years, I had been reading about Afternoon Tea at The Empress and was excited to finally have the opportunity to experience it for myself!

Located in downtown Victoria, “The Empress”, as she is affectionately called, overlooks picturesque Victoria Inner Harbour.  The Empress is the best known landmark in the capital city and has hosted kings and queens, dignitaries and famous persons.  The likes of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Katherine Hepburn, Shirley Temple, Barbara Streisand, to name a few, have all stayed at ‘The Elegant Empress’.

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Just steps outside the hotel lobby you’ll find whale watching, gardens, castles and sight-seeing tours, shops, boutiques and restaurants, the Royal  BC Museum, provincial legislative buildings and National Geographic IMAX Theatre.  Within a short walk, you’ll discover Chinatown and Antique Row. The BC Ferries terminal is a 45-minute drive from downtown and a 35-minute ferry ride will take you to glorious Salt Spring Island. Go there on a Saturday for the artisan markets.

IMG_3189On the afternoon of our arrival in Victoria, there were crowds of people milling about under huge white tents on the hotel’s front lawn.  We were zealously informed by our cab driver that it was rumoured that composer/star-maker David Foster was hosting a benefit dinner at $10,000 a place. Pittance!  Lol

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PHOTO:  Looking  from the harbour side toward The Empress, there are vendor tables, ferry tours, foods for every taste, buskers, recreational activities – it’s all here, mere steps from the hotel in downtown Victoria.

After a 14-hour plane-haul from the opposite side of the country to finally arrive at our destination, I felt terribly dishevelled.  As we walked into the hotel lobby with our luggage in tow, we were met by a sea of women in the most glamourous ball gowns and eye-catching jewels that I had ever seen! Dolls in diamonds, curls and heels.  Suffering from lack of sleep,  jet lag and feeling a little dizzy from dehydration, for one fleeting moment I thought that they could have been mermaids straight from the harbour outside!  A mirage of sheer glamour. In the following hours and days during our stay, we heard the names of many stars who were reportedly staying at the hotel.  A few of my colleagues who were also attending the conference at the hotel, caught glimpses of famous stars here and there (I could tell a story or two).  But the biggest star in my mind was ‘The Elegant Empress’ herself! She Em-pressed me most. 🙂

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Photo:  Victoria Inner Harbour is just steps across the street from The Empress.

DID YOU KNOW?  The ceremony of Afternoon Tea at The Empress is over a century-old tradition and her Tea lobby is world famous.  Reportedly, in summer at the height of the tourist season, The Empress serves Afternoon Tea to more guests than most hotels in London, England! Can you imagine! That is Em-pressive, don’t you think! 🙂

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DID YOU KNOW?  The Empress had been owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway long before it was sold to Fairmont.  Back in ‘the day’, CPR was building hotels for customers who travelled its railway and ships. Through the years, during and following two world wars, there were business booms and slumps.  In the mid-1960’s, The Empress was being considered for demolition. After much public outcry, the decision was made not to tear down the deteriorating old hotel but to give it a cosmetic facelift. Later in 1989, it was “done right” and the iconic building was restored in a major way to its original splendour. Thankfully, for The Empress = Victoria as surely as Big Ben = London, the Eiffel Tower = Paris, or the Statue of Liberty = New York City. The big refurbishment was dubbed “Operation Teacup!”  Let’s go into the Tea Lobby and see how ‘they’ did, shall we?

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Royalty and ordinary folk alike have enjoyed the time-honoured tradition of Afternoon Tea in the famous Tea Lobby. Art and architecture.  Deep and comfy chairs and luxe upholstery fabrics.  Fancy-carved tables and vintage tea carts. Antique tapestries and patterned wool rugs. Breathtaking views, exquisite tea and silver tea sets.  Live piano music. Good company and lively conversation… All combine to create a memorable tea experience one soon won’t forget.

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IMG_2689On the tea menu are signature Empress scones, pastries, sweets and savouries expertly and freshly prepared in-house each day.  I wish I had gotten a photo of the carts and delectable desserts piled high on hundreds of multi-tiered trays but I was sheepish about snapping pictures of the food… Lol

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“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the ceremony known as afternoon tea”
― Henry James

IMG_2688PHOTO:  Waiting for tea to be served in a silver service and regal blue-and-red-and-gold William Edwards fine china…  William Edwards has been commissioned to create patterns for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and The Royal Household.  If it’s good enough for the Royals, then it’s good enough for moi!  Click here for an extensive Afternoon Tea Menu

DID YOU KNOW? The Empress has her own delicious blend of tea, touted as one of the world’s finest and I surely believe it! What an absolutely gorgeous, tasty, subtle cuppa!  After having umpteen delicious cups, I had to ask one of our servers what that blend was!  I was thrilled to learn that it was specially created for Afternoon Tea at The Empress and that it could be purchased at the hotel’s gift shop, where following Tea, I went straight away!  In the hotel’s signature Tea Shoppe, I loaded up on the pretty canisters of tea along with some teaware stamped with ‘The Empress’ to tuck into my suitcase for the trip home and so I could ‘relive’ the experience whenever I wanted .

Here are the blend ingredients as written on the tea canister:  Top seasonal quality tea from Kenya, South India, Assam, Sri Lanka and China.  Here’s what it looks like in the cup. YUM!  No cream or sugar needed…

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The bottom of the canister reads:  “Since its opening on January 20, 1908, The Empress has respected one of Victoria’s greatest traditions by serving Afternoon Tea in the magnificent lobby of the hotel. Sitting under a portrait of Queen Mary in front of the Tea Lobby’s two fireplaces, one can view Victoria’s Inner Harbour where the “Thermopylae”, fastest of all the Tea Clipper Ships, once anchored.”

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I am down to my last canister (apart from one that I am saving for a dear friend). Sigh. I am excited to know, though, that it can be ordered from the hotel shop or at http://www.fairmontstore.com.IMG_2493

PHOTO:  During  ‘Operation Teacup’, the Tiffany-style stained glass ceiling of the Palm Court was uncovered behind wood.  The beauty of the roof was thankfully restored and guests now can enjoy its sparkling light on the marble foyer at weddings and special functions.

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PHOTO:  Victoria’s Parliament buildings look beautiful at night from Fisherman’s Wharf. Their silhouette outlined in white lights creates a magical effect as the evening ‘blue hour’ approaches…

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PHOTO:  Captain James Cook (1728-1779) stands forever bronzed in confidence along Government Street as he looks upon The Empress with his back to Victoria Inner Harbour.

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The inscription at the base of the statue reads:

“After two historic voyages to the South Pacific, Cook was cruising the waters of the Pacific Northwest on his third and final voyage with his two ships, Resolution and Discovery. He was searching for the Western exit to the legendary Northwest Passage. In March 1778, they put into Nootka Sound for repairs and to trade with the native people. With him on the voyage were Mr. William Bligh as Master of the Resolution and Midshipman George Vancouver.”

The Empress is synonymous with Victoria.  Many say “she” is the city’s heartbeat and speculate that The Empress is what brings people to the Island.  One thing is for certain, residents have an emotional attachment to The Empress.  For many, she holds special memories of their most celebrated occasions in life. Vancouver Island with its resplendent beauty and relaxed pace, yet vibrant energy, is an ideal place to escape. We loved it!

The photos below were taken of some of the “Bling” displayed in the windows of the gift shops at The Empress.

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The well-kept grounds of The Elegant Empress are captured below:

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To complement its special tea blend, The Empress serves its own blend of wildflower honey harvested from the Chef’s own apiaries on the grounds.

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Jewel-tone irises abound in well-maintained flower beds. These photos can’t do them justice.

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Azaelas and rhododendrum trees abound.

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The Empress’ resident marmot likes to hang about on the grounds and entertain visitors!

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EMPRESS TEA TRIVIA:
– Cream actually masks the flavor of tea, so milk is used instead.
– Amber Sugar crystals are also used, as they help to enhance the flavour of the tea, since it is an unprocessed form of sugar.
– All teas are loose, as the loose teas are the most flavorful.

It was fun ‘digging out’ these old photos and reminiscing…I hope you enjoyed your visit! Before you go, I’ll pour you up another tea in one of my prized cups – this one was given to me by my cousin Eva. It was shipped all the way from Virgina Beach in the United States to Newfoundland, Canada!  It is a souvenir cup of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Thank you, Eva!

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My friend Eric gifted me the glorious white china teapot with creamer and sugar bowl and half a dozen matching teacups!  I just adore it.  It sits on my kitchen counter and I use it every chance I get! My friend Maria created these beautiful and delicious snowflake cookies, perfect for snowy days! Thank you all! 🙂

Wishing you a beautiful new week ahead,

Linda

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