Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Let's Have Tea! - Chapter 2

"The world is round so that friendship may encircle it."
                - Teilhard de Chardin

Several years ago a friend was having a birthday and we wanted to give him a surprise party.  We could accommodate 50 people for the party but made a list of only 25 of his friends.  They were each asked to bring a friend who didn't know the guest of honor.  The evening of the birthday all the "friends" hid upstairs and the "unknowns" were in the party room.  When the guest of honor was brought to the room all the "unknowns" greeted him with "Surprise!".  As he searched the room for a familiar face the shock started to show on his face.  Several of the "unknowns" told stories that only "friends" would know and that set the shock deeper.  We finally realized our poor birthday guy was going to truly believe he had lost touch with reality and all the "friends" poured into the party room with a "Surprise!" chorus of their own.  He has always been a gracious individual but what he said that evening touched us all.  He thanked the "friends" for the party, for their friendship, and for enriching his life because as of that evening he had made 25 new friends.

Following the wonderful lesson I learned that evening I had invited 11 friends to the Tea asking each of them to bring a friend of their own knowing that by the end of the afternoon I would know 11 more wonderful ladies!

With it's beautiful grounds and rooms, Mosteller Mansion hosts many weddings and other special events.  The lady coordinating all of the activity for all events is Lee Bogle.  Lee and I worked with the Mosteller Mansion chef, Joseph LaMarca, on a menu that we felt sure would have something delicious for everyone.

As with a traditional Victorian Tea we served finger sandwiches with cucumber or ham fillings, a beautiful selection of fresh fruit, and (everyone's favorite!) chocolate-covered strawberries.  We added fresh salmon on mini bagels, cream puffs filled with chicken salad, assorted cheeses, and a warm-from-the-oven raspberry and blackberry cobbler.  Hmmmmmmm!  The featured teas were Stash Premium; Chai Spice Black, Peach Black, Chai Green, Blueberry and the two favorites:  Mango Passionfruit Herbal, and Lemon Ginger Herbal.

The ladies started to arrive, found a favorite teapot....

....and food, fun, and friendship circled the room!


Time for a little break.....

And now the Show!

Victorian Dressing From The Inside Out
"How Did They Wear All That Stuff??!!"

Victorian underpinnings can be just as beautiful as the elaborate dresses and gowns that covered them.  With the help of a vintage dressform named Victoria, I showed the ladies examples of combination undies, pantaloons and chemises, corsets, corset covers, trained bustles, lobster bustles, cage bustles, and petticoats.

Lacing a trained bustle...

Lacing a lobster bustle...

Using a present-day dressform named Vickie, the ladies were shown the layers as a Victorian lady would have dressed for a daytime stroll in the park.  Embroidered stockings and lace-up boots, underskirt, overskirt, collar and cuffs, bodice, hat and hatpin, gloves, chatelaine and reticule, fan, and parasol.

At the end of the afternoon we all agreed on two things:  First that we had had a magical time!  The world with all its challenges was furthest from our minds for these several hours.  We had stepped back in time and lived as our grandmothers and great-grandmothers had lived, enjoying each other's company and the beauty of Victoriana.  Secondly, we agreed we had to do it again!

Lee and I planned a series of Teas over the next several months.  A Mad Hatter Tea with a hands-on hat-making class, a Victorian Weddings - Traditions and Superstitions Tea, and a Victorian Christmas Tea.  Sadly, Lee left her position before our dreams came true.  But as I said before, a dream only fades if you wish it so......................so who knows what might happen.....and when!

With love,

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