A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! Christmas Tea, Tree and Biscuits!

Is it looking and smelling wonderfully festive at your home???
It is in mine, albeit in a mild, understated fashion...

My tree is up... decorated with crocheted snowflakes and other crocheted ornaments made over the years, hand beaded ornaments when that was the thing in the 1970s, Victorian antique blown glass ornaments, and  demitasse teacups. They make great ornaments, and I have a LOT of them!
The photo above is a Shelley Heather demi...

there are cross stitch and plastic canvas ornaments too from cross stitch ornament patterns through the years...

Spode demis, George Jones, Noritake, Limoges, Johnson Brothers, Haviland, Occupied Japan... pretty well anything I fancied or inherited...

Do you have any repurposed ornaments on your tree? I have decorated my tree with antique postcards too...

Another Shelley... this one is called Lakeland...

My little Christmas tea yesterday was prompted by both a tea I found and the arrival of a box of English biscuits... cookies to Yanks!

The tea was a boxed Christmas duo from Stash Teas.
The Christmas Morning is a mix of black and Jasmine Green Tea... a change from the usual spiced blends for Christmas teas...

The Christmas Eve tea is really a Tisane as it is herbal and is quite nice too!
It contains cinnamon, orange peel, spearmint and clove. More the spiced Christmas tea, but nice, and no caffeine.

With a Brit background, Christmas pudding, figgy pudding, etc is always lurking in our minds this time of year, so it was fun to receive this box of Christmas Pudding biscuits (cookies) from the UK.

Tey are quite nice... sort of a shortbread with currant bits, orange peel and spices. Perfect with a cuppa!
Oh... and the china is my family Royal Doulton vintage 1940s Rosebud pattern... sort of like Hyancinth's hand painted Periwinkles, only rosebuds!

Some of my Christmas cross stitches are out... they bring such memories of where we were and what was going on in our lives when they appear each holiday season...
Have a lovely day, a cup of tea with a friend and rejoice in the blessings we have... not what we lack...

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Christmas Things, Spode Christmas Tree Marks, Mary Berry Christmas Cake

Are you ready? I am still a little behind due to a bit of a setback for my Honey who just learned of the death of his oldest sister in the UK.
But he knows he will be seeing her again, and he is doing well with the news.

It is a difficult time of year for many who have lost loved ones... and we pray for those who are struggling...

A few days ago I pulled out my Christmas china and teas... such a part of the Christmas season...

Th Pacific Northwest early morning teatime photo is  a favorite Queen Anne Noel Poinsettia teacup from the 1950s with hand applied enamels. A few years ago, I acquired a set of 12, but the last... except this one that I have saved for me... sold 2 days ago.

The Christmas teas by Republic Of Tea are lovely... mine came in a 2 pack with Downt Christmas Tea and Mrs. Patmore's Pudding tea. 

A couple of days ago, another teatime in the sunroom was sort of started by my Harney and Sons Holiday tea and a package of scrumptious Ghirardelli dark chocolate peppermint bark and a seasonal teacup...

I was decorating, and came to the box with the crocheted Christmas trees my mother made me about 30 years ago that I treasure...

The teacup was a favorite Spode Christmas Tree teacup, that has become quite a popular pattern over the years. Originally made in England, it is now made elsewhere.
You can tell from the marks, when and where they were made, but I have to disagree with comments on a Facebook afternoon tea group, who felt that if the mark had just England and not Made In England, it was recent and made elsewhere, but that is not the case oftentimes.
Spode Copeland is a great example... still operating under the Spode name, but mostly not in the UK.

The pattern was a Copeland Spode design from 1938, and the first marks look like this... and notice, although long before any pottery production was moved out of England, it is just marked England, and not Made in England. From 1891, that was the only requirement if the item was to be sold in the US, and many potteries took years to do that.
Whether the item mark was England or Made In England, until recently, it made no difference, it was all made in England, and was an individual pottery's design decision.

This maek dates to the 1970s, and after various inter-pottery negotiations and money changes within management, Copeland was dropped. But the Spode Christmas Tree was still being made in England, and the mark says England.

Times have changed again in the Potteries, and after several decades of changes, pottery closures, and changes of ownership, this 1990s mark doesn't say even England, because it is made in either Indonesia or Thailand.
Something else to consider... it it says Dishwasher Microwave safe, it is recent.

But moving on... 

My tea is Harney and Sons Holiday... which is delicious! A black tea with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon. Delicious!

And a seasonal favorite... the Ghirardelli dark Chocolate peppermint bark.
Having grown up in the San Francisco bay area where Ghirardelli came from, I fonly remember going every Christmas to the Saint Francis Hotel Garden Court for Christmas tea with my parents and Nan in gloves and hat... it was San Francisco in the 1950s, and you wouldn't be seated without them!
Then it was off to see the light at the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate factory and to their shop for peppermint bark, and on to Blums Chocolates for other seasonal goodies!

Ghirardelli Square is now a boutique shopping mall with upscale condos, but still lit at Christmas!

And the St. Francis, now a Westin Hotel, is still serving a great afternoon tea in the Garden Court...

Ahhh... the joy of sweet Christmas memories!

Making a Christmas cake was also a memory with my Nana... I don't often have time nowadays... but we have a neighborhood monthly get together next week, and I am making this...

Mary Berry's Christmas cake bites 
Makes 28
For the cakes
175g (6 oz) apricots, chopped
3 tablespoons brandy
175g (6 oz) butter, softened
175g (6 oz) light brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
175g (6 oz) plain flour
225g (8 oz) raisins
225g (8 oz) currants
225g (8 oz) cherries, quartered, washed and dried
or the icing and decoration
A little apricot jam, warmed
500g (1 lb 2 oz) packet
Ready-prepared almond
Paste (Golden Marzipan)
500g (1 lb 2 oz) packet
Ready-to-roll white icing
Step 1
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/Fan 140º/Gas 3. Grease and line a 30 × 20cm (12 × 8 in) traybake tin with non-stick baking paper.
Step 2
Measure the apricots into a small bowl, pour over the brandy and leave to soak overnight or until all of the brandy is absorbed.
Step 3
Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
Step 4
Bake for 1–1¼ hours until golden brown. Insert a skewer to test – if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Set aside to cool.
Step 5
Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and then roll out a rectangle of marzipan the same size as the top of the cake. Lay this on top of the cake, and then brush the marzipan with a little more jam. Roll out a rectangle of icing the same size as the cake, and then cover the marzipan with the icing.
Step 6
Slice into squares and serve with a cup of tea.

Wishing you a wonderful, festive, fun, friends and tea filled week!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Greeting December! Christmas Reading, Favorite Things Books, Teacups, Tea Punch

Hi there! I hope you had a marvelous Thanksgiving weekend...
and here it is December!

In the UK it is traditional to greet folks with the phrase...
"white rabbits, white rabbits"
which is said to bring you good luck for the month...
my English Nana and I always did it growing up!

I found this on Pinterest, and think it's an even better way to start the month of December.....

As a great reader, the beginning of Christmas finds the appearance of some beloved Christmas themed books from my bookshelves... 
Jan Karon's Shepherds Abiding is always on the list...

There is always A Cup Of Christmas Tea...

2 wonderful Miss Read books...
No Holly For Miss Quinn, and...

A 2 book holiday combination of Village Christmas and The Christmas Mouse... charming and heartwarming tales...

And Miss Read's Christmas Book... a compilation of seasonal exerpts from her books with scriptures, poems, songs, recipes and legends of the season.

I also read on my Kindle Jane Austen And the Twelve Days of Christmas for a fun look into Jane Austen's Regency Christmas world, while enjoying her sleuthing!

And for a festive cuppa tea while putting up the tree or doing my seasonal reading...

A pretty English bone china teacup with hand applied enamels by Queen Anne from the 1950s...

The pattern name is Noel... which is perfect, isn't it?!

This is a pedestal teacup, but I have had other versions in different shapes from Queen Anne, so apparently it was popular and folks liked different shapes.

This a great recipe from a link from a newsletter from Bigelow Tea a few years ago for Sparkling Constant Comment Tea Punch.
I like to share it this time of year, because it is perfect for so many gatherings.

Sparkling “Constant Comment” Tea Holiday Punch

4 cups water
Bigelow Constant Comment tea bags
2 quarts Sparkling Water**
1 12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 12-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple with juice
Garnish with Orange Slices

Yield: Yields 25 4-oz. servings.


In a saucepan, bring water to boil, add tea bags, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Allow tea to cool; then chill.

Just before serving time, combine tea, sparkling water or Champagne, juice concentrates, and pineapple in a large punch bowl.
Garnish with Orange Slices

** Celebrating a special event? Spark it up by substituting 1-1/2 to 2 bottles of Champagne for the Sparkling Water

I like to share antique postcards on the blog at this time of year... and do on my Facebook page, so the one a bit above is for December 1st, and this one is for December 2nd. Some are from my personal collection, some are from open sources, and some are available at Antiques And Teacups.
I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!


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