Holidays, 2015

Holidays, 2015
A Winter Scene - red door, a dusting of snow, and a vintage bicycle

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to host a tea party in someone else's house....

Remember a while back when I catered the desserts for the Art Auction that

my former high school (where I was employed) was doing a fundraiser to create scholarships for needy students???? Well, I also donated a tea party for eight people.  The winning bidder (who is the gal in the hat at the end of the table in the foreground) then contacted me and set up a date that she wanted.  I then sent her a menu to choose from, which included 3 different sandwiches, 4 desserts and 2 tea varieties.

She chose:
  • roast beef with herbed goat cheese
  • savory cream puffs filled with curried egg salad
  • traditional cucumber and cream cheese

For her desserts, she chose:
Madagascar vanilla merinques dipped in dark chocolate
Lemon madeleines with lemon zest frosting
Lemon tarts with fresh blackberries
Traditional Cream Puffs with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Her teas were:

Susan Branch's favorite....earl grey with lavender and rose petals  (which was a HUGE hit)
and Boulder Blues....a green tea with rhubarb and strawberries (made in Colorado)

I arrived about 2 hours before the event and brought the linens, dishes and serving pieces, made the sandwiches, boiled the water for tea and got everything ready....when the guests arrived, they chatted a bit and everything was on the table for them to enjoy....

I'd make sure teacups were filled with piping hot fresh tea, but basically stayed in the kitchen and tidied things up so that I'd be ready to clean up as soon as her event was over...

I think that she and her guests were pleased and I received lots of wonderful comments, which, of course, made me feel awesome.....One of the guests was a teacher I used to work with, so there was a hug and a few personal exchanges there, too....which is so nice....I miss that community of colleagues so much!

So, come along and see the party!

I did say the auction was for EIGHT, right?  Well, one call decided to bring her 16 year old daughter along, so we had NINE instead.  Thankfully, I brought extra of everything, including the dishes!

For this event, I used my Desert Rose pattern....I have LOTS of vintage teacups and saucers, but not enough that match for this many.....but Desert Rose is now considered vintage, too!! (first came out in the 50's)

the plates on my tiers are removable, so guests were able to pass around the goodies

sandwiches went so quickly!

I even brought along my silver teapot...

the owner of the home provided water and water glasses for anyone who wanted some

Here are the cream puffs on the bottom, lemon madelienes, and vanilla meringues on top.  On the plate was another dessert which I forgot to mention....MY GENOISE....I created mini genoise cakes with my fresh berry compote and freshly whipped was a hit!

Look closely and you can see the little teapot place card holders I brought, too....

The conversation was continuous...I think everyone had a great time...of course, the hostess is charming....I don't know her personally at all, but what a sweet gal!!

Back in the kitchen, the 'son' had some dessert with me and their kitty licked whipped cream off of the plate.  I was enthralled with this kitty as she (Natasha) looks JUST like our cat who recently passed.  I almost slipped her into my cooler and took her home!

some guests brought the hostess little gifts, which are on the table here

I took this photo from her kitchen you could see all the snow here

and in another direction.....just beautiful, but NOT fun to drive in!
After I do something like this, I always ask myself: "What did I learn?"
Here's what I learned:
1.  I love to bake. PERIOD.  And since I learned I'm gluten intolerant, I haven't done as much.  I baked most of Friday and all of Saturday morning prior to this event.....the kitchen smelled glorious and I was in HOVEN....that's heaven in an oven!
2.  I love to do good things for others.  It made me feel good to donate to this give back to a school that brought me so much joy and love
3.  I need to continue to follow my passion....there is NO WAY I can make any money doing this....with all the time and money spent on this one event, I would have to charge $1,000 to make a living....considering my time, ingredients, cost of running oven, transportatio to and from, etc.....I need to have place where people come to me.  This is not cost effective
4.  I love to serve others and if YOU want to sit down and have a cup of tea with me, we'd better go out; otherwise, I can't sit down long enough for a conversation; I'll be wanting to get up and get you something.
5.  I love to bake.  Did I already say that??

I would have LOVED to have you all there.......but thankyou for peeking in!!! xo


  1. Dearest Joann,

    I would have loved to be sitting in one of those seats, or even in the kitchen helping you. Everything looks so pretty and picture perfect. The dessert dishes are beautiful. My absolute favorite thing has to be the silver teapot! How lovely!! And your desserts look especially delicious. I am certain the ladies had a wonderful time with you as the baker and event organizer. I love to bake too! I am so with you on that one! So glad you had a wonderful experience. I knew it would be! Thank you for sharing it all with us! Happy Monday, sweetheart!

    Rosinda xoxo

  2. Just beautiful Joann! I hope that the hostess paid a lot to the charity for this immense privilege! Wow, what a spread. The sandwiches alone sound amazing without the cakes....and I love the idea of offering a tea choice too! You took so much care and trouble over the details, it just shows what a kind and giving woman you are. So happy to know you - this post made me proud you're my friend!! Stay safe in the snow (getting cold here too, a clear, frosty night with a gorgeous moon...but no snow for us yet!) Love you xoxo

  3. I want to go to a tea party you are giving! Everything looked just delicious and was so beautifully laid out! I'm so glad that the snow didn't stop you and you were able to get there safely and back home. I hope that the winning bid was extremely high, because for those goodies, the cozy atmosphere you set and the good cheer you brought, it should have been! I wish I had your snow, then I could be off from school and finish decorating our house, then I could just sit on the couch with Mr. Michie drinking hot chocolate and stare at the lights! Love you! xox

  4. Sweet Joann,
    What a lovely tea party you created for those lucky ladies. The table looked like tea time at a five star hotel and the sandwiches and sweets sounded so delicious. I haven't had breakfast yet and your pictures are making my stomach growl, lol! Good Job!
    Follow your heart, you have talent to spare and will be able to use it to the fullest one day soon. B & B or Bust!

  5. Dear, dear Joann!!
    It was a spectacular tea!! I cannot believe that you transported all the dishes and silver, the snow! All that you made sounds divine...Sandy is right. You are a very talented lady and are exploring your passions! What a wonderful thing for you to donate! I have worked on fundraising for charity events and would have been so honored by your donation!!! Love and holiday hugs, Sherry xxxx

  6. Joann, I'm just amazed at this! What an incredible job you did, what an incredible talent you have! I think you're right on track about having people come to you. You would have a tearoom extraordinaire. How I'd love to visit it! Not many people have the talent and drive to do something like this, Joann. You are truly special, and I know you're going to find the perfect creative outlet. xoxo


I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you....It REALLY makes my day!