Yesterday was a fun filled day in Manhattan. The four of us, my niece and nephew began the day with brunch at Katz's Delicatessen on New York City's lower east side. This classic deli has been around since 1888 and is said to be the city's oldest and best. We had knishes, blintzes, hot dogs and more. Everything was delish!
Katz's walls are covered with pictures of the many movie stars, politicians and athletes that have eaten here. There is even a sign which points to the table where Meg Ryan and Billie Crystal sat during the famous deli scene filmed here in the movie When Harry Met Sally.
Next we went to the Tenement Museum. Visitors tour carefully restored apartments in a landmark tenement building at 97 Orchard Street and learn about the immigrant experience of actual past residents. This structure dates back to 1863 and was home to an estimated 7,000 people from more than 20 nations between 1863 and 1935. Fascinating and informative, we definitely plan to visit this museum again.
The lower east side is chock full of interesting sights. Our next stop was a place called Economy Candy. Since 1937, Economy Candy is an old-fashioned,
family-owned candy store that sells hundreds of kinds of chocolates,
candies, nuts, dried fruits and all the old-time candy you had when you were a kid. I was surprised to find my favorite 1960's gum called Teaberry. Do you remember the TV commercials of the Teaberry Shuffle song performed by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass?
Other places of interest we came across were a cool guitar shop called Rivington Guitars, a store called Las Venus filled with 20th century mod furniture and accessories, the Blue Moon Hotel and the landmark1887 Eldridge Street Synagogue, all shown above.
Our last stop was mainly for my daughter who adores dill pickles. A shop called The Pickle Guys sells pickled everything, from pickled cucumbers to tomatoes, olives, peppers, carrots, garlic, okra, string beans, mushrooms, celery and kraut. The pickles are barrel cured in salt brine with garlic, spices and no preservatives using an old Eastern European recipe. Hannah was in pickle heaven!
We had a great day exploring the lower east side and it was the perfect place to celebrate both my husband and niece's birthdays. What a fun, vibrant neighborhood brimming with retail shops, restaurants and culture.
Yesterday was my husband John's birthday. He started off his special day opening his gifts before I had to leave for work at T-Party.
I wanted to give John something really special, so I decided to reunite him with an old friend.
This photo was taken on a Martha's Vineyard beach when John was five years old. He's holding a favorite toy; his inflatable Dino the dinosaur. But moments after this picture was taken, a strong gust of wind blew Dino out to sea!
I was determined to find another Dino for John. I searched eBay and sure enough, I found a vintage one in perfect condition!
John and Dino are together once again!
After the gifts, John enjoyed breakfast and paddle tennis with the kids while I was at work. Later on, we had a nice dinner out together. We'll continue the celebration today with a drive into New York City. It's our niece's birthday tomorrow so we'll have brunch together and then head over to a museum.
Bernadette, one of our loyal tea patrons, hosts an annual Halloween gathering at T-Party every year. She has a lively group of friends who really get into the spirit of the holiday. Below, Bernadette, in the orange jacket, meets and greets her crowd as they are arrive for tea. I love how she used that cute little fabric pumpkin as her purse!
Cynthia created very special trays replete with candy corn for this group. Everyone had a wonderful time and was so appreciative. What a nice bunch.
Toward the end of their tea, I heard many say "same time, next year." Then they remembered that our building is slated for demolition and we'll be moving out by June. Where we are moving to is still a mystery as we have yet to find a suitable and affordable location.
We do hope to see Bernadette and all of her fun friends next Halloween.
Today is the first day of our Halloween theme teas at T-Party. With treats like devil's food cupcakes and pumpkin cheesecakes, it's sure to be a spook-tacular week.
The ever talented Joan Barere, of our Knit Nook, made a wonderful crocheted spider web to decorate the corner of the tea room.
As I've mentioned before, we have the nicest customers. The photo above shows the cute pins that Birdie, a tea patron, made for Cynthia and I to wear this week. So sweet!
This hall tree at T-Party has witches hats at the ready as Cynthia and I will be good sports and dress up for our Halloween teas. As far as the broom goes . . . that's how I got to work this morning!
It's my day off from T-Party today, and in between the errands and laundry I felt like getting a little crafty. Since I am a bit of a vintage button freak, I'm always looking for reasons to dig through my vast button collection. After rooting around for a while, I decided to make an all white button bouquet. It's really easy and if you'd like to give one a try, here's how . . .
What you'll need: an array of buttons, 22 gauge green florist stem wire (cut to 18 inches long), green floral tape, needle-nose pliers, wire cutters and green polysilk leaves.
How to make the bouquet: sort through your buttons and decide on a color scheme. You'll need both interesting small buttons that you can feature on the top of each blossom and more plain large ones to be used under those. Begin to stack multiple buttons on top of each other to create dimensional flowers. Fold the florist wire in half and thread both wire ends through the button holes, staring with the smallest to the largest button in the stack. Using the pliers, twist the wires tightly together under the last button. Add florist leaves and wrap the wire stems in floral tape, starting at the top and working your way down to the base.
Arrange your flowers in a vase and you're done! Isn't it pretty?
On Thursday, T-Party was thrilled to welcome The Royal Tea Club. Thirty members, who arrived from Pennsylvania by bus, were heading to Newport, Rhode Island for a weekend trip. We were honored they chose to stop at T-Party along their way.
Because of the enormous construction project in front of our building, it was a real challenge for their large coach bus to maneuver around. But the bus driver was skilled and in they came.
This club began in February 2005 by a group of women who love to go to tea. They schedule one or two tea events per month and enjoy traveling, incorporating visits to tea rooms in their excursions.
They have around 265 members from nine states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Maine and Massachusetts.
As stated on their web site, The Royal Tea Club's purpose is to have fun and fellowship (similar to The Red Hat Society, without the hats). They were a wonderfully spirited group and it was our pleasure to serve them.
I miss the days when my kids would come home from school with their backpacks filled with art projects. But I still have several of their artistic creations displayed around our home. The rest of their prolific work is stored away for them to peruse through someday.
Here's the bulletin board in our mud room, chock full of creativity from many years past.
These two pieces, above, pay homage to Pablo Picasso. Hannah's painting on the left is reminiscent of his "Blue Period" and Jacob's self portrait is based on Picasso's Cubist portraits. Note how the left half of him is rendered as a pepperoni pizza, one of his favorite foods!
Hannah's 9-square picture of pretty flowers, above left, reminds me of a quilt. Jacob's painting on the right was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers.
Hannah painted this sweet rendition of a polka-dotted caterpillar back when she was in nursery school over a dozen years ago. It graces a windowsill in my home studio.
This crayon drawing was a gift from Hannah for our ninth anniversary nearly 11 years ago. I love how she didn't make John quite tall enough so she placed him standing on a rock!
Now our children are both in high school and their backpacks are filled with heavy textbooks instead of art work. But I still enjoy these wonderful pieces hanging in our house.
I hope you enjoyed this little art show.
If you're in the mood for a little bargain shopping, take a peek at the T-Cozy's sister blog, Kitsch Encounter. All of those vintage goodies have been marked down to make way for more items coming in November.
Have fun browsing!
This is my eighth month of blogging, and one of the things I've enjoyed chatting on about are my collections of all things vintage. As we all know, a collection is a group of at least three similar things, so acquiring a collection isn't all that difficult. The challenge is finding fun new ways to display and use these vintage items.
Here's a medley of some of my vintage treasures that I've blogged about . . .
The pieces I collect fill our home with beauty and whimsy. They are pure pleasure and I hope you've enjoyed seeing them.
And there is more! Stay tuned as I plan to share additional collections with you over the coming months.
We field many questions everyday about T-Party. Here's an overview of some helpful FAQ posts. (Simply click on the bold red type to be redirected to those particular posts.)
Did you know that T-Party is not only a tea room but a retail shop as well? Find out more in the About Our Shop post.
In Tea Time Basics, we review everything you'll need to know about how to make a reservation and what to expect when you join us for afternoon tea at T-Party.
Most people wonder why we ask if you want our Grand or Petite Afternoon Tea when you make your T-Party reservations. This post explains why.
T-Party is the perfect spot for a larger Private Party. This post covers how to book a special affair like a bridal shower, special birthday, baby shower, Sweet 16, book group, or business gathering.
Cynthia and I are both moms and we know how stressful planning kids birthday parties can be. That's why we offer Children's Birthday Parties here at T-Party.
People often need help hosting a tea party at home. Here's some information about our Catering Services.
Every so often we are asked about Tea Manners. If requested, we’ll do an etiquette lesson during a child's birthday party or for a Brownie troop working toward earning their manners badge. This post provides a little tea time etiquette.
Some other topics I've covered in our Friday FAQ's are: how we began this business, T-Party's dress code (or lack thereof), the Red Hat Society, a recipe for our beloved brownie cakes, special groups at T-Party, and how to launder vintage linens. To see more, just click on this blog's "Friday FAQ" category.
And if you have a burning question for us, simply leave a comment and I'll be happy to answer it in another Friday FAQ.
T-Party is truly a cozy place. And now that cooler tea drinking weather has arrived, T-Party is extra-cozy!
Browse around our shop and you'll find all sorts of tea cozies to assure you'll have a warm, well-dressed teapot this fall.
And if you come down with a cold, these charming tissue cozies, made by talented Janet of Primrose Design, are perfect to tuck inside your purse or coat pocket.
Sewn from fun, vintage-inspired fabrics, each cozy comes with a package of tissues slipped inside. They are beautifully crafted, have a loop and vintage button closure and are only $5 each. Just look at how sweet they are . . .
With the colder weather finally here, Janet's tissue cozies will surely handle a bout of sniffles in style!
Classes begin last week in T-Party's new Knit Nook. Not being a knitter myself, I found it fascinating to overhear all of the discussions about yarn, needles and everything else that goes into knitting something.
Above left, Joan instructs beginning knitter, Anne, as she starts a hat during the Do the Continental class. Rosemary, a more experienced knitter, takes pointers from Joan on the Hallowig she's knitting out of bright green yarn. There is still room in two of Joan's upcoming classes; the Tea and Knit Salon on October 13 from 3 to 5 p.m. and the Web Master crochet class on October 18 from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Call T-Party at (203) 662-9689 to register for a class or for more information.
Joan and her Knit Nook have certainly enhanced our shop and added a fun new dynamic to T-Party.
Lately, it's been a little quiet here at T-Party due to the huge construction project that is underway right in front of our sweet little building. So it may seem difficult to find us these days given the ominous presence of bulldozers and ugly fencing, not to mention the construction dust and debris. However, T-Party is alive and well. Our building will not be torn down until after our lease is up (at least 8 months), so we wanted to be sure you knew that we're not going anywhere just yet. That is, as long as our loyal customers continue to patronize our shop.
We'd like to think that T-Party is a local gem, unique in today's monolithic, bigger is better, world of retail chains. We hope you'll continue to support "the little guys" out there, not just T-Party, for what they bring to our communities.
We're a tiny "Mom & Mom" business searching for a suitable and affordable new location. These days, most retail rents in our area are well beyond our means. Therefore, we haven't found the perfect new home for T-Party yet, but we're still trying.
It's that time again! Here's my latest installment of fun and funky items for sale on our sister blog, Kitsch Encounter. You may be asking yourself, "Why buy vintage?" As I mentioned in my recent post, Old Things, New Uses, buying vintage makes the most of an item already in existence as opposed to creating a new one. The ultimate in reduce, reuse and recycle!
Take a look at what's new this month . . .
These vintage items have been well loved but still have a lot of life left in them. Perhaps you can come up with some creative ways to use them in your home.
Click on the photos for larger views, or follow this link to Kitsch Encounter for more pictures, descriptions and prices. If you have any questions, simply leave a comment. I’ll do my best to get right back to you.
And remember, if something in a prior T-Cozy post has caught your eye, let me know and we’d be happy to sell it to you if it hasn't been nabbed by someone else first!
Remember back in June when we received that wonderful gift from Julie of "Jane's Apron" fame? It was a tea towel with the embroidered message Tuesday We Bake! This sweet little towel continues to help our customers understand why we don't serve tea on Tuesdays at T-Party. That day is for retail sales and baking only.
Cynthia and I switch off working every other Tuesday, so I was home today while she was at the shop. But I did a little baking, too; not for T-Party, just for my family.
I like to bake every now and then. And I am fortunate to have a husband who is a fabulous cook and does 99.9% of the cooking in our house. (Thank goodness!) I also have two teenagers who like to help out in the kitchen when time permits. My daughter is the real foodie in the family. Often times this past summer, I would come home from T-Party and she would have made delicious muffins or brownies from scratch. She is always inventing her own vinaigrettes and sauces. A big fan of the Food Network, she was thrilled several years ago when we got tickets to see Emeril Live.
My son's specialty is baking pies and peanut butter cookies. Back in July, he discovered a simple recipe for banana bread in Emeril Lagasse's There's a Chef in My Soup cookbook. We've been making it ever since, whenever we have bananas that have gotten a little too ripe to eat.
I decided to surprise my kids when they got home from school today with some banana muffins. The recipe is for bread, but I only had one large over-ripe banana, so I cut the recipe in half and made muffins instead.
Of course, with volleyball practice, a soccer game and homework, these muffins will end being a bed time snack rather that an after school treat. That's the way it goes in high school. My kids' days are way too long!
If you'd like to give this easy bread a try, here is Emeril's link to this recipe called Go Nuts for Banana Bread. Enjoy!