Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Tea (with Photos)

I am writing this a few days into December. I've been listening to Christmas music instead of talk radio some of the time and have now learned that the Hallmark Channel is channel 312 on DirecTV.  I've watched every imaginable Hallmark movie and actually got weepy during a couple of them this afternoon.

What is up with that?

I spent the entire weekend doing events that were somewhat festive and the time flew by just like the weekends always do.  I spent Friday evening setting up a table for a ladies' tea at the church where I hosted a table.  At first I panicked a little bit because I really wanted the table to look beautiful...but I do have Spode Christmas Tree china and friends that know how to make a table look lovely. 

Funny how when you ask God to give you opportunities to stretch beyond your comfort zone...He is always willing to answer that prayer.  The ones to have eighty pounds mysteriously drop off of your body or have someone leave you a gazillion dollars because your name begins with the letter K...not so much.

Anyway, I'm rolling the suitcase that I purchased for Big Dave in with the china that I have collected over the past twenty-five years toward the Fellowship Hall.  I know!  Ingenious, right?  Leave it to a bunch of church ladies to figure out how to transport an eight piece place setting of china, a teapot, decorations, and whatever else in a suitcase.  Actually, I'm already a professional in transporting tons of stuff from point A to point B because I'm a scrapbooker. 

So, I arrive...and I'm desperately trying to find a spot where there aren't many people who have "that table"- you know...the one that looks like Martha Stewart did it or is just so dang cute that you have to fight that urge to wish ten pounds on the girl who put it together.  Because my friend Nedra was creating the center part, I was trying to get two tables together.  I finally decided that it would be best to just choose some by the door as the ones in the back were already set up and were super-cute.  I started unloading my suitcase...the gold chargers to go under the china...and was just happy to be a part of this whole female bonding ritual...and competition.

Anyway, Nedra used some red burlap and some greenery that she "borrowed" from some bushes that were located within walking distance of her front door.  She tucked the burlap and turned it all into a lovely presentation.

(I like to use words like "presentation" because I'm actually a frustrated society page writer wannabe...but whatever.)

After fifteen cell phone calls and delivery of a cool music CD by a friend who thought I needed to expand my musical horizons (and it was Christmas yay!) was done.

Except that while I was doing all of this...another lady showed up to decorate her two tables.  I should have sensed that it was going to be some serious decorating on that table when I saw the wooden reindeer sitting atop a bed of pooled gold lame' fabric.  (That's pronounced "luh-MAY" as opposed to "lame" for those of you who are not entirely sure if I'm dissing the fabric or not.  Just think of it as something that Liberace would wear and leave it at that.)

For the record, I absolutely adore gold lame' fabric.  I'm not entirely sure what that says about me.

Or perhaps I do.  Yikes.

I left that night feeling pretty good about everything.  Yes, I recognized that there were tables that looked a lot like mine (apparently Spode Christmas Tree china is ridiculously popular)...and I saw that I could have stepped out a little bit and added a few touches here and there that might have added just a little something more.  Frankly, I thought just adding Splenda packets to the table was a big deal.

And it was.

Plus, everyone really loved my teapot.  My folks bought it for me after our 2006 trip to London...and I have enjoyed it more as a decorative piece than as something actually functional.  But, hey, if you have to have a teapot, and everyone has already raided T.J. do what you have to do.  I was also happy to note that it is as much substance as it is style.

Rock on.

The next morning, I attended a wonderful holiday open house where I had the chance to stop and speak to a number of folks that I don't get to see all of the time.  I got to handle that peppermint bark craving I'd developed from looking at the Williams-Sonoma website one too many times...and had a lovely time.  After a run through CVS and Petco (coupons, know how it is...) I went back to the church to complete the whole setup and get ready for the ladies to arrive.

All 200 or so of them.

I had the chance to photograph all of the tables and I'll post them below...but before I was my table.

Okay, you have to imagine that there was a Spode tray with goodies where you see the red burlap to get the full effect.

I went into the kitchen to pick up my goodies and then went to photograph all of the tables.  My camera either fell out from exhaustion or because it knows that the warranty is up and that it is almost Christmas.  I'm not accusing Kodak of a conspiracy...but I suppose it's possible.

After everyone arrived, there was a charming table of ladies including my sweet friend Judy...and we ate and enjoyed what had obviously taken a lot of time to prepare.  Everything tasted delightful...and the ladies were so excited as we watched a fashion show spontaneously begin shortly after everyone was seated.

Following the fashion show, we were treated to a wonderful talk by Bonnie Whitaker - who took out her makeup bag and reminded us of how we should be looking at our inner beauty as we put on each cosmetic each day.  When she finished, a beautiful girl did a mime routine to "You're Beautiful" that just brought tears to my eyes.

See, it isn't just the Hallmark Channel that is capable of doing this.

After the tea, we repacked our bags, cleaned up, and made our way back home.  We made new friends and had our hearts warmed by seeing old ones.  We created something beautiful...and made the effort to pamper the ladies at our tables with just a few minutes of "girl time" during the busy holiday season. 

It was tiring...but worth it.  Here's the photos that I took before my camera breathed its last.  Enjoy them...and imagine how lovely it was to be a part of this.  It was, you know. 

This is what a gazillion little cranberry thingys look like.

These scones totally rocked.  However, there were leftovers, and a certain Sunday School class (not mine, sadly) is going to be anti-scone at some point in time or victims of aversion therapy.  They have plans to serve them for the next three weeks.  Scones will freeze, right?

This is some kind of bacon and tomato tartlet thing that was quite awesome.

Amazing lemon squares with a blueberry on it just to make it classy. 

Seriously, folks, red velvet just about anything is amazing. 

Hi Elizabeth!  She's holding a tray that went on each table.  I kid you not.


This was the oh-so-fabulous reindeer table done by my friend Debbie.

Is this not cute?  I loved the little red square and the jars with cranberries floating along with greenery, water and floating candles that sweet Emily put together.  It was so original and creative.  Loved it! 

Pretty, yes?  The little gingerbread men were lovingly made by Lynn Autrey for all 200 of the guests.

I loved the silver tea service and tray on this table.  Not to mention the cute thing they did on the plates.

On top of the tea tray in the center of the table was a really pretty Andrea Chipser ornament.  Great idea.

Martha Stewart wuz here

I loved the nutcrackers on this table and the cute little green plates.

This was one of my favorite tables done by my friend Jennifer who doesn't have Christmas china but she managed to pull off a seriously cute table.  Look at how the ornaments and silver items just make this table! 

This table was right behind mine and I was talking to one of the ladies and then the other before I had a minor freak out at the revelation that they were identical twins.  I thought I was losing my mind for a minute.  Is this table not gorgeous?  They used little floral stems around the paper napkins as napkin rings.  Added color and oh-so-cute!

Folks, this table is just classy to me.  Loved it.

This is my sweet friend Nedra's table.  She is such an original...look at those chargers and that beautiful Johnson Brothers platter she used.  It belonged to her grandparents. I didn't breathe easy until I put it in her hands today.

Loved the angels and the simple greenery with the red placemats.

Another Martha Stewart table.

So elegant!  Love the gold and white.  Simple...but definitely elegant, yes?

Loved the cute little party favors, and this whole presentation.  (See, I snuck in that word again! :))

Cutest Santa teapot ever. :)

Sometimes less is more...and just right.

Loved this one as well because of the multilevel plates for the food, the ornaments and Santa and the red chargers.  I seriously need some red chargers!

Pretty table...and those red chargers again!

Another presentation of Spode Christmas Tree china with a gorgeous silver tray!

Okay, maybe I need silver chargers too...

Okay, this was "Best of Show" in my humble opinion.  The next photo is a closer up version of the centerpiece.  This was such a lovely table.  Lots of work and love went into it.

The promised...

Snowmen!  Such a cute table, yes?

Beautiful plates and teapot.  Very lovely.

This was another of my favorites.  Such a pretty table!

More Spode Christmas Tree china with a brown cloth underneath and wooden tray.  Nice change of pace...(that I'll be ripping off here at home...)

I loved the crystal ice water glasses along with the stunning silver that Miss Rolena had on her beautiful table!

Colorful and absolutely lovely!


  1. Hey Karen, Glad you enjoyed yourself! Just an encouragement for you...those scones will magically appear at our JBUG party Wednesday night, along with some of the other goodies!
    Love you,
    Donna O.

  2. Thanks for sharing the photos. It was a lovely afternoon and Bonnie offered such an inspiring message. Everything was just wonderful.....from the message, to the fellowship and the food! So glad you captured our time together!