Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Taking Time Out For HospitaliTEA

Oh wow, I have just had the busiest month and the next few months will be the same as I put time into establishing this little mother/daughter business. On the weekend we attended our first big craft fair. It was a lot of work but setting up our table with the tiered stands I have been making and the teacups, crystal and other high tea accessories I have been collecting was a lot of fun. I wanted to give people an idea of what a special occasion table could look like if they were to buy or hire some of our tiers and other china. The sweet little posies in teacups were a final detail that made our stall look so beautiful. Snipped from a $5 bouquet from Aldi!

On the day over 4,500 people attended these markets and our stall drew lots of admirers. We sold a few stands and all of our soy candles in teacups. At the end of the day and after many a conversation with people who visited our stall and other vendors we came away with a much clearer idea of what direction to take this little business in. Lots of older ladies were attracted to our stall and some dear ladies told us they thought our stall was the best out of all the stalls there. Quite a compliment if you had seen some of the stalls and the beautiful handcrafted wares for sale. But old ladies don't need anymore china (that's what they tell me!) so the bridal market is definitely something we are now aiming for and I now have permission to collect china to set up a little hire business. Joy oh joy!

 It's quite a family affair as we attend the garage sales each weekend with each child given instructions to spy out china first before clothes, books or more nerf guns. Told my son I will sell his nerf guns in a garage sale if I find any more peach foam bullets in the laundry baskets! Any other mothers relate?

In addition to our usual monthly local markets, I will be exhibiting (with permission to sell) at an annual ladies conference next month and I have been asked to attend another three craft markets before Christmas, two being out of my region which would involve travel. After lots of discussion with the family we think the money might be better spent on an ad in the bridal supplements that the local newspaper publishes. This region has lots of resorts which are popular wedding venues and vintage style weddings are very much in vogue. I know of one photographer who told a friend that eight out of ten weddings they photograph have a vintage theme. What do my readers think? I'd love to hear your feedback.

 Waiting to cut her birthday cake!

 I have so much on at the moment and blogging has to drop down my list of priorities. Our family is also going to get involved in a ministry to international students. Even before that takes off, my friend's son from Germany is coming to stay with us and his mother (my penfriend from the age of 15) is also coming over at Christmas so lots of hospitality is on the agenda! We had the opportunity to use some of our china at a dinner party for my daughter's 15TH birthday recently. We had four guests from Saskatchewan, Canada who were staying in our town who we invited to come along on the last minute which added much talk, mirth and merriment to the evening. They sang the Canadian National Anthem for us. It was so loud I'm surprised no koalas fell out of the trees! The world is coming to our doorstep and we have lots of supplies for hospitality! Everything is working in so well together. Hence the name for this blog post!

As to my blog I will post when I am able (I want to simplify it and give it a fresh design sometime too) but right now I need to take time out for the business of tea. I've added in something else to my life so something has to give. I would love to keep sharing what I am learning as we set up this little business which is still very much a hobby. If you would like me to share some insights from my own experience thus far from time to time that could help others who are thinking of establishing a home based business please let me know.

Monday, August 13, 2012

These are a Few of my Favourite Things

What if you had to leave your home and were only allowed to take with you one tea chest. What would you take and what would you leave behind?

 I've given this some thought - not sure if I could squeeze it all into one tea chest but I wanted to share with you some of my favourite things from around my home. Some of these pictures may be familiar images to my long term readers but I'm still without my own camera so having to rely on photos from my archives and thought this would be a fun post to do!

1. Without a doubt, my green wine goblets would be carefully wrapped and be placed into that chest. I just love how they transform my table. We don't just use these glasses at Christmas time. They come out for special family dinners, when we have guests and on other occasions. I don't even need to have flowers or candles - these goblets always make the table look and feel special.

2. I have acquired a lot of china recently (oh you want to see the china trios I found at an estate sale on the weekend!) but if I could take with me only one set it would be this dinner set because it was given to me by my husband as an anniversary gift. He chose it, he knew I would love it and I did. That is why it makes it onto my list of my favourite things!

3. Another of my favourite things is something for the Christmas Table. I have a lot of Christmas decorations but if I could choose only one, this wreath would be it. It has graced our Christmas table or other tabletops around my home for many years. I love handmade as opposed to mass produced items. It is special because it reminds me of Christmas, my favourite time of the year. I created it and designed to complement my favourite green wine goblets. It was the work of my own hands Simply put, it was made with love.

4. I would have to find some room for teacups in my tea chest but which ones? That would be a hard decision but let's stick to my favourite colour which surprise, surprise is green! I just love the delicate design of these vintage Noritake 'Daphne' teacups - they come with a coordinating cake stand so I might just sneak that into the chest too!

5. This is my tea chest, not my children's but if I had to choose just one toy that belonged to my children that I will never give away it would be my son's Paddington Bear. He did travel from darkest Peru to the front window of a vintage store where I found him waiting for me to claim him. My little boy loves Paddington but he loves his red boots more, he steals them and puts them on before heading out into the garden to play. He has his own gumboots but prefers Paddington's wellington boots. They are genuine P.B boots so I have to reclaim them and return them to the bear. I take very seriously that request on his tag 'Please look after this bear'!

6. Faded floral drapes - They might be faded but they are faded and floral and faded and floral just goes together. I sometimes tell myself that they are dated and make my house look like grandma's place but it must be the English heritage - I walk into the living room or hall and these drapes say 'Country' 'Cottage' 'English'. There's no denying it - I love them so you can keep your oatmeal tab tops and your 'new retro inspired' prints. This is my home, my sanctuary and I must decorate it with what I consider beautiful!

7. My collection of favourite family photos in frames. A house does not feel like a home to me unless it has at least one grouping of family photographs in frames. This is my life and the people who are most precious to me on display. No artwork however valuable could take the place of these pictures. If you offered me the Mona Lisa in their place I would turn it down. I could show guests the digital photos I have stored on electronic devices but I'd rather have them stop by the piano and look at the smiling faces in silver, pewter and rose embellished frames!

8. Books. A home must have books! Oh I know I could slide a kindle or other electronic reader into my tea chest but I would need to take some real books, made from paper with pages that I don't tap to turn. But there is only so much room in the tea chest. Which books would I choose to take? I have my favorites lined up together on the bookshelf. A battered Bible, my collection of Elsie Dinsmore and Violet books by Martha Finley that I have yet to read to the twins and the gift books by Emilie Barnes my favourite homemaking author who was my mentor thanks to her writing before the days of websites and blogs.

If  I could take only one picture book from our collection it would be this one! I intend to read this to my future grandchildren one day when they visit me at Christmas.

 And I know I could browse pinterest for inspiration for decorating my home but it is still not the same as your heart rejoicing as you turn pages with a book of beautiful images in your lap when you are curled up on the sofa. If I was allowed just one interiors book this would be it. I love the title of this book 'Home Living life beautifully' and the things that I have chosen for my tea chest are those that help me to do this. China, books, photographs. Notice that no appliances, electronic devices, clothes, toys (apart from Paddington) or gadgets feature on my list of favorite things.

 Each item I have chosen has a memory attached. The green glass goblets that will always be a reminder of our family dinners at home and our love of hospitality. The china cups that will bring back memories of our family's crazy obsession with garage sales and finding beautiful and practical things for our home without having to spend a lot of money! The books that I read to my children that didn't just keep them entertained or amused but encouraged them to have Godly attitudes and inspired them to live a life of their faith (that's why those Elsie Dinsmore books are so special)

So that's it, these are just a few of my favourite things. Oh yes, there are other things around my home which I love but I've realized there is a lot of stuff I could live without. And yes, I know that I cannot take it with me and the Bible tells us not to lay up treasures on earth but to lay up treasure in Heaven. I hold on lightly to even my favourite things but I don't believe as Christians that our homes should be only be spartan and utilitarian, devoid of decoration. They should be a taste of Heaven! I need beauty in my life. I purposely have chosen some items for my home that I consider to be both useful and beautiful. What about you? If you were told you could only take with you one tea chest what would you choose? What are some of your favourite things?


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