Me Loves the Thrifty Loot

Yesterday I went to my favorite thrift store, which I like to support because it runs a local women's safe home shelter. I found some great silver pieces to use for my tea party buffet tables which will need some TLC . Like I need any more......but I can't resist silver serving pieces!

But the pièce de résistance was when I was paying for everything (I also got some cool tee shirts for number two son) a volunteer worker was pricing stuff behind the counter, sitting on the floor. I leaned way over the counter and spotted a plate on the floor and firmly requested (because a lady next to me saw it too) May I please see that plate? It was gorgeous! Loden green and mulberry, like my company colors! The floral pattern with the curvy edges is screaming at me with beauty. I assume it is a cake plate because of the cut-outs on the two sides (?). But it is a standard size plate, not larger like a cake plate.

On the back, it is stamped in red Royal Coburg Germany with a crown emblem. Any of my antique dealer blog friends out there know anything about that maker?

And everything was 50% off! Gotta love that. I was doin' a jig when I left the store! So, now where to hide everything for a while so hubby doesn't notice "more stuff"? I'm running out of hiding places....


I forgot to mention the procured pretty-in-pearls earrings.

Sometimes after polishing and cleaning, me thinks that I would not use the piece for use at my tea parties. Either it just didn't have the post-cleaning sparkle factor, there is too much wear or it is just icky. So I'll find another use for it.

How do you like my new key & cell holder I'm going to put by the front entry?

Fluff and function!

P.S. So why is it I will spend a couple of hours cleaning thrift-find junk, when I should be cleaning my house?



No longer a swap virgin

In a session of going into a very deep blog surfing journey (you know how you click on a blog, click on their blog links so on and so forth to the point you have no idea how you got there.....) I came across Rebecca's blog and read about their next Sweet Goodness Swap . I have always wanted to participate in one, but was always too late.


And it is a PINK and GREEN swap. Score - my fave colors.

The details are:
Theme: SPRING! and a bonus theme of Pink & Green

Details: You will send your partner 6 items that are in the color scheme of pink and green. At least one of these items should be hand made and one should be second hand or thrifted. The others can be crafting supplies, candy, paper, you name it! Easy right? Well here's the catch . . . each item must represent one letter in the word SPRING.

So for example (but not limited to):
S - sewing supplies
P - pencils
R - really pretty yarn
I - "in my opinion this is a cool mug" (LOL)
N - nicely knit monkey
G - gummi bears

As you can see, you have room to use your creative license to make things fit.
HINT: Both P for pink and G for green are in there and no we didn't plan that.

I just got my swap buddy assigned to me!
Her name is Heidi and this is her blog.
I feel like I'm in junior high again and have a new penpal.

WooHoo! New header!!

A big cyber {{{{hug}}}} to Sarah who led me in the right direction on how to change my blog header.

You rock! Thank you so much!

So..........whadya y'all think of the new banner? Of course I will probably change it, like, three times now that I know the trick.

Blowing an air kiss to Sarah!

Also, Phyllis thank you for your input. I absolutely love Avalon Rose Design.net - where were they when I re-designed my Romanza Events website not too long ago? I love that romantic style!


Newbie Blogger Needs Your Help!

So, being new to the blogging world I could use some help. I really loathe the boring header. I've been trying to figure out how to upload my own graphic banner to it. I don't know code.

Can someone give me some advice on how to upload my own header or direct me to someone I could pay to create me a custom template?

I'd appreciate it!

Thanks in advance! Risa

Tea time coloring pages

Someday I will have a "how to" tea party book published. I already have the title, content, photos (in my head) and everything. It's number 102 on my list of life goals. In the meantime, I do my research and dream of who I would love to illustrate my someday children's tea party book (number 103). I love the work of Michal Sparks, she's done the art for Emilie Barnes' books on manners for children.

Anyhoo, I came across Michal Sparks' website and she offers free coloring pages, and some of them are of a teacup, teapot, tea treats etc. Click here to find the links under Complete Coloring Book to download the coloring pages (you'll have to right click, "save as" to your computer, and then print).

These are great for Mommies, party planners, teachers, Grandmas, Sunday school teachers etc. for a tea theme time. There are also some darling bookmarks on manners to print.



The Party Planner & The ParTea Planner

David Tutera & me at The Special Event Convention

Shabby in the City left a comment to my **blushing** post:

"Your designs make me think of David Tutera-the party planner...do you know him? His show, I mean"

Yes, I know of David Tutera and his gorgeous work. I think I have tivo-d all his shows, and own most of his books. I still want to get his new book on Big Birthdays. I have actually had the pleasure of meeting him twice. Because of my wedding & event consulting business Romanza Events, I attend wedding & event-related seminars and conventions. The first time I met him was May 2005 at The Wedding March where he was a guest speaker, and he signed my book.

The second time was at The Special Event Convention at the L.A. Convention Center in Jan. 2007. He was just standing at one of the trade show booths, and I introduced myself, we chatted a bit, and then I gave him my business card of my The ParTea Planner business. He cracked up from the play on words. Really nice guy. But while I was talking to him, his violet colored contact lenses were distracting me - he is so darn cute, why the fake color lenses?



After adding my Sping Fling Tea Party (see post below) link to Artsymama's tea party, a very kind visiting blogger left very nice words and also a post on her own blog Shabby in the City about my work on my website. Here are some comments:

From Shabby in the City:
"I have now devoured this person's blog and her website. Of all the t.v. shows on design and party planning I've seen, of all the magazines on display and home decor I've seen...NOTHING has struck me like her website has. Go when you have lots of time and see these slideshows which are set to music! Beyond entertaining and inspiring...I'm still shaking my head..."

Replies to Shabby:
"Wonderful link! I have always suspected I needed a few tierd serving pieces -- but never realized I would develop a burning need for decorative tongs to pick up finger food. Thank you for helping lead me to this realization by pointing the way to the beautiful tea party images! "

"Oh what a wonderful site that was! With all of these talented women and beautiful sites...how is a girl ever supposed to get any work done? lol"

Thank you for the kind comments. Now if I could just get HGTV, maybe Tea Time Magazine or even the peeps at Martha to notice me.......

Theresa from Heavenly Chic sent this note:

"I wanted to say thanks to shabby in the city I was introduced to your awesome site. I was in AWE myself the entire tour, how BEAUTIFUL. I am so inspired now to have a teaparty with my daughter and friends. And do not worry, I too have a daughter (5) who does't do the tutu thing :)

Thank you again for having such a lovely site and I can't wait for my next visit and for the next tea party pictures. Thanks for your sharing your ever so inspirational designs. Martha Stewart who? Oprah needs to see your site, she loves having parties."


Theresa HeavenlyChic.com

Thank you for the compliment Theresa!


Spring Fling Tea Party (with two puppies & a lonely tutu)

Today is the virtual Spring Fling Tea Party to celebrate the first day of spring that was graciously hosted by fellow blogger Artsymama and apparently is quite the international affair! I am looking forward to visiting all the other participating tea partier blogs to see what they did.

Here is the Spring Fling Tea Party that I created for my daughter and myself. But then "the boys" crashed the party and had to join in the fun. If you would like to view all the photos taken of our tea party, please take a peek - there are some darn cute ones!!

I decided to have our tea party in my daughter's room. Initially I wanted to do it in our backyard, next to our little fountain, but it has been cloudy and chilly - uncommon weather for southern california.

When I designed my daughter's room close to three years ago when I was pregnant with her (after two boys), I was inspired by the colors of this teacup - the "American Beauty" by Royal Albert. I also had visions of us having tea parties in the corner under my favorite chandelier (that I gave a makeover to, another great eBay find). I cannot believe that today is our first official tea party in that corner! Where did the time go? And today she helped me in the kitchen for the first time when I/we made scones. See the gallery of photos to view her with flour everywhere.

So not only is it the first day of spring, it's the first time baking together, and the first time having a tea party in her room!
So after all the preparations were made, I attempted to change Raina into a pink ballet body suit thingy (can you tell she's my only girl - I don't even know the names of the clothing!) and a pink tulle tutu. Kicked and screamed. Wanted NOTHING to do with it, like tulle was scary and evil. It laid on the floor....

But we did have a great time. Here are the details...

On the table: Usually I like to mix things up a bit, use different patterns for the china etc. But with my pink & green theme, I chose to be more matchy-matchy. You can't tell in the photos, but my teacup is the standard size American Beauty and Raina's is the demi size. The flowers in the milk glass vase were cut from the yard - the only thing bloomed. And the pint-sized bunnies were a find from the .99 cent store, stuck in moss in tulip champagne glasses. The serviettes are just cut from fabric with my favorite scallop-edge pinking shears.

On the menu: for savories we ate chicken, grape, apple and pistachio salad sandwiches and cucumber, watercress and cream cheese sandwiches. The homemade scones were almond cream and blueberry scones. For sweets (I purchased from my favorite bakery) lemon bar bites, an almond tart, chocolate dipped strawberries, coconut macaroons, sugar cookies and mini pink cupcakes with green sprinkles. The kids drank sparkling pink lemonade and I drank Garden Party loose leaf tea which has a nice, floral flavor to it with a hint of Earl Grey.

Giving "Puppy" some tea. Puppy is her love-y.

Giving "Sprinkles" some tea. Sprinkles was adopted at her two-year birthday party.

The girls.

The boys crash the tea party. They know a good homemade scone when they smell one.

So thank you Artsymama for inviting and inspiring me to have a tea party on the First Day of Spring!


Artsymama's Virtual Tea Party Coming UP!

I am so excited! On Wednesday, March 21st Artsymama is hosting a virtual tea party, and I will be joining all the other tea-loving bloggers for this international event. If you would like to join us, or get additional information view her invitation.
I'm thinking I'll bring out my "Garden Party" loose leaf tea for this occasion.....


Mrs. Lewis' Baby Shower Tea Party

Today was the Baby Shower Tea Party hosted by my son's 2nd Grade Class, that I volunteered to organize one week ago. It was so much fun, the kids had a great time and so did the moms who attended. Mrs. Lewis is a wonderful teacher and very sweet person. She deserved to have something special! Here is a recap and link to photos to view the photo gallery.

The decor consisted of blue and green, a welcome diaper wreath hung on the door, the student's tables each had a diaper "cake" centerpiece, the buffet had another diaper cake, and the cupcake tier had a diaper cake topper. I made them all.

As the kids arrived the girls were provided a boa to wear. Even some of the boys wanted to join in!

To begin the first activity, I gave Mrs. Lewis an unstuffed teddy bear - "Baby Brad's 1st Teddy Bear". All of the kids were given a piece of stuffing and a small card. I asked all the kids to write down a "blessingway" (an old Navajo tradition of providing the soon to deliver mother-to-be a gift - usually beads made into a necklace to wear during delivery, but ours was a teddy bear) on the card. Each child read out loud their blessingway and then filled the bear with their stuffing and passed it on. Most of the blessings were "I hope your baby is healthy / happy etc." one child hoped the baby gets a motorcycle! They were all very sweet and Mrs. Lewis enjoyed their well wishes. See the photos to view the cute tee shirt that the teddy wore. All the cards were collected and given to Mrs. Lewis.

The next activity, four students were selected to play a Bootie-Licious game. Basically it is a baby bootie attached to the end of a piece of licorice. Hands behind their back, whoever ate down to the bootie won! Then Mrs. Lewis opened some gifts, meantime we had a pillow case available for the kids to sign for Mrs. Lewis to take a pillow to the hospital with their special message.

Next were treats and tea! There was a wonderful buffet of egg salad sandwiches, turkey & ham sandwiches, cheese & crackers, blueberry & cream scones, strawberries, fruit, cookies, mini muffins, brownies, etc. The most popular with the kids seemed to be the mini powdered doughnuts! The ladies sipped Cream Tea or decaf Mint tea and the kids had apple juice served to them from silver teapots.

For the next activity, four students were selected to see who could drink the most milk from a baby bottle. Those poor kids cheeks must have been sore!

After the grand finale of cupcakes (I got to use my new Cupcake Courier) -my sons helped me make the candy pacifiers - see above- and it came to an end, everyone cleaned up and Mrs. Lewis was left with wonderful gifts and a warm memory of her special 2nd Graders and their Baby Shower Tea Party in her honor.

When I spoke with the Principal briefly she said when she heard about the teddy bear blessingway, she almost teared up!

Click here
to view the photo gallery of this event.


Hey, cut it out!

Found these cute cutouts on eBay. They are approximately 3 1/4" to 3 5/8" tall, made out of birchwood.

I'm going to paint them and do ___________ with them { not sure }.

Any suggestions? What would you do with them?


Cupcake Courier News

I have been wanting to carry my cupcakes to my tea parties in one of these Cupcake Couriers for a long time. But I am a color snob, and did not care for the "soft blue sky color" which is the only color it currently is available in. For some reason, blue does nothing for me....

But I really need them for some tea parties I have coming up and called to order, even if it is blue. So today I just happened to talk with Jennifer Gunn, the mom-of-two-inventor and designer of the
Cupcake Courier to order a couple and mentioned I really like the pink and wished it was available. She joyfully informed me that the shipment just came in, and is being transferred to their warehouse from the port!
They will be offered in other translucent colors if pink is not your color.

YAY! I can get them in PINK! I can't wait to get them and show pics!


Tea Party Apron to Sew

So cute! This is from a new crafty mag called Adorn.
Click here for the pattern and instructions.

My Cupcake Cuddler

Sometimes it just doesn't stop. It's like a 80's song that is looping in the background of my head.

Creative epiphanies.

It's sometimes annoying and I wish I could turn it off, like the 80's song. So many times throughout my day I will be doing one thing, and I'll have a creative thought and then I'm off doing the new thing to see how it'll turn out. I swear I have Adult ADD.

I have a bridal shower tea party coming up on April 15th, and the bride-to-be wants some "suthern" touches to it and wants a red velvet cake. So instead of the traditional sheet cake, I suggested red velvet cupcakes. But I wanted to dress them up a bit. Just ribbon wasn't enough.

{ Side note - whenever I hear of red velvet cake,
Steel Magnolia's "Nothin' like a good piece of ass" quote from Drum Eatenton always comes to mind. Greatest movie with the greatest memorable quotes, ever! }

So the other day, there is a stack of paper doilies on the counter and I had a creative epiphany to make them into a cupcake cuddler. I took a 6.5" doily, put a water bottle on top of it, and wrapped the doily up and around it. Then I laid the bottle and doily on it's side, then tied the ribbon around it. Done!

Of course I eventually HAD to eat the cupcake (from Trader Joes - so good, a dense very-vanilla cake with cream cheese frosting....mmmm....all 20 fat grams of mmmm!) so it was so easy to just pull the ribbon and eat it off the doily. Pretty and functional!

You spend me 'round, 'round, baby
'round, round
Like a record baby, 'round, 'round...


A Baby is Brewing

I volunteered to coordinate a Baby Shower Tea Party for Mrs. Lewis who is my son's 2nd Grade Class' teacher, she is due very soon. She is a wonderful teacher and I really want to create a memorable class shower for her.

We'll have to work fast as it is next Friday, so I just sent out an
Evite to all the student's moms. It's the easiest way to organize parties in my opinion. It would have been cute to send out a real invitation home with the students, but time is of the essence. This "baby is brewing" graphic is what I used to customize the Evite invitation template.

I will post pics after the shower.


Guess I'm on a cake kick this week....

For some reason I keep coming across darling teapot cakes - I'm not even searching them out!

This one is from a very cool cake maker blog Pink Cake Box. Check her out! They are works of art!


Get Beneath the Surface

Some of my most beautiful pieces of silver that I use for my buffet tables were not so beautiful when I found them.

I confess to having a lil' bit of a shopping disorder -aka- retail therapy. But I'm not a mall rat or standing in line at the Nordstrom Half Yearly sale early in the morning, kind of shopaholic. I have an affinity for the cheap stuff. Second-hand stores, thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, Big Lots or 99cents Only Stores. Hubby says my minivan is on autopilot to all the local thrift stores and requires no GPS for them.

It's the challenge I guess, of perusing aisles and counters of junk to then have your gaze fall on *it*. It just happened last week. I had to go to a local second-hand store to find a winter jacket for my son's camping trip because all the department stores only had their spring/summer stuff out. I found the perfect Old Navy jacket for $3 bucks and then meandered over to the kitchen wares. Sitting on the top shelf was a very tarnished silver bride's basket. My heart raced. Could it be? Quickly I snatched it and did a quick look-over...no dents...no silver rubbed off...no scratches. But it was almost black with tarnish, perhaps why it had been passed over. I have been wanting a bride's basket for a long time, and all the ones on ebay were too pricey! My new find was only $13 bucks. I couldn't wait to get home to start polishing it off to see what was beneath the tarnish.

Out came my favorite silver cleaning product, a tub of
Wipe Ease wipes and began removing the tarnish. After discovering these wipes I will never use goopy silver cleaner or useless cloths again - these wipes work! It took several wipes and some elbow grease, but once it was rinsed off and dried, the silver just shined and sparkled! And the engraved detail that was now apparent was beautiful. Oh, I was so proud of my new find, it just made my heart sing! For those of you (who have even read this far) who collect antiques or silver KNOW EXACTLY of the feeling I am talking about.

So never judge a piece if it is tarnished. Underneath is a shiny, sparkly thing just waiting for someone to know its true worth, and to take the time and elbow grease to discover and appreciate the beauty. Just like ourselves, those around us and our loved ones.....get beneath the surface.


Do me a favor?

I love favors. I personally think it is a party sin to not offer a guest a parting, take-home favor. Even if it is a cheesy-kitchsy-dust-collecting favor, at least it is something the guest can choose to remember the occasion by. That is, unless of course it is an edible favor.

But it is another opportunity to include an additional layer to the event's details. "Give the photographer something to photograph" is what I always tell my bridal clients.

So favors add a lil' something to each place setting.

Click here to view some of the ParTea favors I've added to the website for purchase. More are coming soon!


Let Them Eat (Teapot & Teacup) Cakes

I have high aspirations to someday make some of the creative tea theme cakes I've come across. I have every size frosting tip, tons of bags, supplies, sprinkles galore and a bunch of molds - yes, I even admit that I fell for buying the Bake 'n Fill cake dome molds - remember those commercials?. It's still in box....but I have everything I would ever need JUST IN CASE (part of my event planner hoarding issue I have) I want to make a cake.

But let's be honest, if I need a theme cake I'll probably end up calling one of my
amazing cake vendors to make it for me! But I definitey want to try it out someday.

Here are some links for how to's for these teapot & teacup cakes.

The Southern Living teapot cake (as seen here)

The Wilton teapot & teacups directions.

A variety of tea party cake photos from real cake makers at Coolest Birthday Cakes


Teacupcakes - is that a new word?

I came across this very cute picture on Flickr. I can't wait to try making this some time for a tea party!

Click here to view the rest of Kylie Lamberts other beautiful works.


Smells Like Spring!

Driving up the main street to our home, there have been some beautiful plum trees that are really starting to bloom. For a couple of weeks I have admired them passing by, but today I actually stopped to take their picture. I am really trying to slow down to enjoy the little things that makes my heart sing.

The perfumed fragrance hit me before I even got close enough to take a picture. I'm glad I pulled over. Seeing it was pretty enough, but to inhale it made it extraordinary....

...and of course it IS my favorite color - pink!

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