Jane Austen Birthday Party: Decorations

Party time!

So I have been planning my Jane Austen 29th birthday party for a few years, and when the lockdowns happened last year I began to grow worried that I wouldn’t be able to have it. But we moved down a tier, so I decided to continue and we had such a wonderful time.

So in my previous posts I went over the invitations, the prizes, and now I thought I would discuss the decorations.

You know how I like to party plan!

So the first thing I decided was to reuse the table runners and Jane Austen framed quotes from my bridal shower. Yes, even though the marriage didn’t work out the decorations from the party did.

So besides the floral table runners and framed quotes: I also used three of my teapots as vases and filled them with fake flowers. Each one sat in a wicker tray and of course had books and doilies. The white teapot with the diamonds on it and the Chinese teapot both used to be my grandma’s while the doilies were made by my abuelita. Even though they couldn’t be with me, it was nice having them there in spirit.

On the food table, I used another teapot to hold flowers and placed my Mr. Darcy in a stick from Modesto Jane Con. I had wanted to do that with all my teapots, have different Austen heroes, but I just ran out of time.

I also put flowers on the dessert table, and around the cake although I forgot to take a picture of it. The cake sat where the little cupcakes are featured in this picture.

So far all the decorations were ones that I already owned, which saved me a lot of money. I only had to pay for the tablecloths ($1 each at the Dollar Tree). I also hung up Chinese lanterns in the trees and was able to get a pack of 5 for $9 on Amazon.

For plates I could have just gone to the Dollar tree, but for $18 I found this pretty floral set of 144 Pieces (Serves 24) of Pink Floral Paper Plates, Napkins, Cups and Plastic Cutlery. Since I hadn’t spent that much on decorations, I decided to splurge on it.

In the back of the above photo, you can see how we also put these flowered hoops up in the tree and decorated my parent’s backyard bench with lace and flowers. The tables were borrowed from our church or ones my mom owned. The chairs were a mix of borrowed ones from church and ones we owned.

As I mentioned in a previous post, from the beginning I wanted to have a teacup for everyone and have those be part of their favors. All the cups I purchased were about $2-$4, most being $2.50. I found a few in local thrift, resale, and vintage shops-but I really lucked out when I went to Reno and their Goodwill had sooo many. I laid them out on a table and let everyone pick out the one they wanted to use.

I’ve been having so much fun sharing all these things with you, and even though the party has ended I will be continuing to share all my other party plans!

For more of my Jane Austen Birthday plans, go to Jane Austen Birthday: Prize One

For more Jane Austen party ideas, go to Jane Austen Birthday: Teapot Piñata

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Northanger Abbey Audiobook Narrated by Anna Massey

I Tried Madsen Creations’ Reusable Cloth Teabags

 

MadsenCreations gave me this reusable teabag in exchange for an honest review. 

So when I first heard “cloth teabag” I wasn’t quite sure. We all know what happened the last time I experimented with a different kind of tea bag.

I also had a few other qualms, being cloth wouldn’t the dye get into the tea? MadsenCreations assured me that she pre-washes every one so there won’t be any issue with that.

Hmm…

I was also wondering about the bags keeping the tea inside as you just tie them closed instead of having a built in closure. But she assured me that you fold it over twice and nothing would come out.

Hmm…

I also wasn’t sure if they would work for repeated usage as I don’t drink just one cup of tea, and when I do it is actually the size of two cups. Wouldn’t it stain the bag? Wouldn’t it be hard to get the leaves out? Madsen Creations told me that each bag holds 4 tsp of tea, so plenty for me. She also said that the rounded edges makes it easy to clean out. Dump the leaves, rinse, and let the bag dry or drop in you washing machine. 

I loved that as I have several infusers and the one I use the least is the one that is pointy on top as it is hard to get the leaves out.

Also being cloth I realized this would be perfect for any size cup or teapot. It can easily work for any cup you have or squish into a teapot with a small opening. And holding 4 tsp, it is perfect for a tea party. 

So I brewed myself a cup and tested it out.

This works fantastic.

It is super easy to use, just put your tea in, roll the top over twice and tie it up. Steep the amount you need to, clean out the tea, rinse, and you are good to go. You can wash it in the washing machine or hand wash in the sink.

Now I really like to drink tea, so after rinsing my teabag of the leaves I just leave it out to dry on my drying rack. Then the next day I use it again.

I’ve been taking it to work every day as it is so nice to not worry about my infuser getting crushed in my bag, spilling the tea out, or having to take a tin and teaspoon. I just pack it with tea in the morning, put it in the pocket of my bag and then use it at lunch. I bring it back in my washed lunch container and let it dry, then repeat for the next day.

The other really nice thing about this is that the teabag floats, so if you have a tall glass or mug you are using, it is really easy to remove when it is finished steeping.

This also is great when you are at the end of your tea. Often the last bit of tea in the tin is too small and comes out of your infuser when it is steeping. With this cloth one you won’t waste any tea as you can use up the very last bit of it. 

These also make cute gifts or favors as you could pack a friend some tea to try. 

Right now she has the options of getting four for $10 and they come in Harry Potter, Frozen, Star Wars, Justice League, and Care Bears; but you can always DM her and request a specific one. 

I highly recommend it for any tea fan. If you love tea, add one of these to your collection of infusers.  

For more tea posts, go to Lavender and Earl Grey Scones

For more on Madsen Creations, go to I Won the Madsen Creations Giveaway

For more on tea accessories, go to How to Clean Your Tea Infusers

In other news, I will be taking a small vacation and won’t be posting on here for the week. I still will be on Instagram, and tiktok (I have quite a few ideas I want to post)

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea

So usually I only review Jane Austen books, or ones related to it (Catherine Morland’s Reading List  or Non-Austen Reads for Austen Readers for example). But I saw this picture book in the library and thought it was too cute not to share.

And at cookies!

So the story starts with a grumpy queen who hates her cup of tea and sets off to find the perfect cup of tea.

She starts off in Japan meeting a little girl named Noriko, cuddles some kittens, and learns how to make Matcha tea.

Then to India where she meets Sunil and they play ball and make Chai Tea.

After that she journeys onto Turkey where she meets Rana, dances, and makes Turkish tea.

After all her adventures, she heads home where she makes a cup of English tea and thinks.

She then decides to hold a tea party and invites her new friends-having learned that true happiness comes from having someone to share a cup of tea with.

It is such an adorable book and introduces children to fun, friendship, and four different ways of making tea.

And eat scones!

For more tea posts, go to Cranberry, Brie, and Rosemary Bites

For more children’s books, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

For more on Matcha tea, go to Blueberry Matcha Smoothie

For more on Chai tea, go to I Won the Kumi Crochet and Tea India Giveaway

Heirloom Tomato Tart

Do you like pie? I love pie!

LOL j/k

So when I saw this recipe on Tea Time Magazine‘s instagram I pinned it with plans to make later.

Back in October, @SpilltheTeaWithLucy did a 31 Day Tea Challenge and Day 17/31 of 31 Days of Hallotean was an Autumn Tea Bake. Since I had just baked some sweets prior to this with The Magician’s Nephew Tea Party/Book Club/Bible Study, I decided to make something savory instead. This is my take on Tea Time Magazine’s Heirloom Tomato Tart (I had to substitute a few ingredients) and since tomatoes are red I decided to pair it with Cederberg Tea Co.‘s Classic Red Tea. I also had to use a pink and red mug to match. This cat mug was a gift from a friend Christmas 2019 and part of a 4 set of cat mugs.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Package of Refrigerated Pie Dough (I used Phyllo dough I had bought to make the Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry as the store was out of puffed pastry, but my sister had bought me some so this was all leftover)
  • 1.5 Cups of Coarsely Grated, Sharp Yellow Cheddar Cheese (I used leftover Fotina Cheese from Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry)
  • 1/2 Cup of Mayonnaise (I substituted with Hummus)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Chopped Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon of Green Onion
  • 1/4 Teaespoon of Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Olive Oil
  • Garnish with pepper and additional fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice tomatoes, cutting larger tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and smaller ones into 1/8 inch slices.
  3. Arrange tomato slices in a single layer on paper towels, sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 30 mins.
  4. Unroll pie dough, and press into a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom, trimming and discarding extra dough.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine cheese, mayonnaise, parsley, green onion, and pepper-stirring to blend.
  6. Spread half the cheese mixture into the bottom of the pan, in a thin even layer.
  7. Blot tomatoes dry with paper towels.
  8. Place a large tomato slice in the center of pan on top of the cheese mixture.
  9. Cut several tomato slices in half and arrange around the center slice. Fill every space.
  10. Spread remaining cheese mixture in an even layer on top of the tomatoes.
  11. Apply thinner tomatoes on top of cheese mixture in a pleasing pattern.
  12. Sprinkle with vinegar and drizzle with olive oil.
  13. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and cheese mixture is hot and beginning to bubble.
  14. Remove from oven and let cool, before removing from pan.
  15. Garnish with pepper and parsley if desired.
  16. Serve at room temp within 3 hours of baking.

 

This was delicious, it was like eating a fancy tea pizza, and you all know how much I love pizza.

It was incredibly delicious and I would most definitely make it again.

For more recipes, go to Lemon Gingerbread Cake

For more Tea Time Magazine recipes, go to Fotina Flower Puffed Pastry

For more pie recipes, go to Mini Apple Pies

For more on pizza, go to My Week With Jane

For more tea posts, go to Turkey-Apple Tea Sandwiches

Why Don’t More People Talk about Mrs. Goddard?

So to be honest, I never really thought about Mrs. Goddard, from Emma, other than she was the woman who ran the home/school that Harriet lives and attends.

Emma 1996 AKA the Gwyneth Paltrow version.

In fact, I never gave her a second thought until a while back I read the book A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma.

But when you think of it, Mrs. Goddard is a pretty amazing woman. She is a widow who has managed to not struggle in poverty but become a mistress of a school-not a college or upper education, but a really pleasant place for kids to learn some skills and live and grow.

“Mrs. Goddard was the mistress of a School-not a seminary, or an establishment…where young ladies for enormous pay might be screwed out of health and into vanity-but a real, honest, old-fashioned Boarding-school, where a reasonable quantity of accomplishments were sold at a reasonable price.”

She has a house and garden, feeds the children good food (that in itself is an amazing kindness-think of Jane Eyre and the slop they eat), let them have freedom to play in  the summer, etc. All I could think when reading this was all the horrible girls schools you read in fiction-Jane Eyre’s terrifying experiences, the way everyone bullies and looks down on Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, the mean Miss Minchin in A Little Princess, etc. I would much rather go to Mrs. Goddard’s than any of those other ones.

I mean Becky is treated horribly for having a mother who was a dancer/actress (often a codeword for prostitute), but her parents were known and married. With Harriet, she doesn’t know who her father is-but she isn’t treated badly or excluded like Becky, at Mrs. Goddard’s Harriet and any girl there can have a happy and pleasant time.

I also think that for Mrs. Goddard this school isn’t just financial security, but for someone who never had children of her own, she can enjoy mothering all these girls.

I just love how in all of Austen’s stories creates all these wonderful characters and makes them so alive. She’s not in the book a lot, but in it enough to appreciate her.

For more Emma, go to Achy Breaky Heart: Austentatious (2015)

For more on Mrs. Goddard, go to A Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma

For more character studies, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You