Monday, May 10, 2021

Issue 3 The Homemakers Heart and tea week...


Ten days later than I'd planned, but some things you just don't rush. 
As I'm focusing on TEA this week on the blog you'll be delighted to know that I have included a new tea-themed pattern inside this new issue of The Homemakers Heart!

Whether you're planning a morning or afternoon tea time with friends, or you are home alone and in need of a relaxing half hour, create a lovely table setting and use the Tea Time tray mat as a resting spot for the sugar, creamer and tea pot. 

Having a few pretty items like this on hand will inspire you to cultivate a rather simple habit of setting the table, even for one, and enjoying your favourite brew with a special sweet treat each day. It could incorporate reading one chapter of a book, or a slow browse through a magazine (my favourites are Country Living UK, Daphne's Diary, Victoria, Country Homes and Interiors UK, and Period Living UK - all but two are available free online through my library so perhaps check your library as well?)

Once a month I do a big batch of baking and then freeze most of it. I wrap individual scones in parchment and then fill a container with them so I can pull out one after breakfast to thaw, ready for my tea time later that day. 

Delicious slices, tray bakes or bars are also excellent for freezing in individual portions and some of my favourite recipes have been shared here over the years. The added bonus to preparing in advance like this is always having something delicious on hand should family or visitors call. 

Covering our table with one of the many old linen or crochet tablecloths collected over the decades takes but a minute, and with a few specially purchased teapots on hand I can choose by size which one is suitable for the number of people around the table.

I have a number of hand made tea cosies in my linen cupboard, some of them shared on the blog as tutorials, and plan to make another this week if I have time. I bought two different sugar bowl and creamer sets years back - one is white and the other a pretty floral. These are also added to the tea table with tea spoons and an assortment of teacups and saucers. 

I think walking into a home and seeing the dining table set for tea is delight for the eyes and joy to the senses! When I visit my friend Rosie for morning tea she always has the table set with care and it heightens the fun we have together, lingering over multiple cups of tea and savouring sweet morsels of cake, muffins or scones, while we chat about everything under the sun.

If you've not made scones before, give them a go. They freeze perfectly and if you're a dab hand at making your own fruity jams then they will taste even better!

Here's my buttermilk scone recipe...

Preheat oven to 220C

2 ½ cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup buttermilk


Sift the self-raising flour into a large bowl.
Rub the butter through the flour with your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix the egg and buttermilk together.
Make a well in the centre of the flour/butter, and pour in the buttermilk/egg mix.
Use a flat blade knife to quickly mix the ingredients together – don’t over-mix.
Scatter some flour on the bench before dropping the scone mix out onto it. Knead swiftly into a ball and flatten out to a 1” height.
I make a rectangle and divide the scone dough into ten sections but you can use a scone cutter or small glass to cut circles out of the dough if you prefer the classic look.
Place the scones onto a greased tray, each scone just touching the other if you’re making round ones.
Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes until golden.
Serve with fresh cream and jam.

Perhaps you're not really much of a baker but like the idea of having something sweet on hand for tea-times? My granddaughters absolutely love the little cake slices by Mr Kipling and when they are on sale for $2 a box I am sure to buy a few and freeze them. 

Below are the Elderflower and Lemonade slices, but there are are some very fancy ones which the girls call 'unicorn cakes' that I often get. I'm not a cake decorator by any stretch of the imagination so having these occasional store bought fancies are fun (and delicious). The key to a lovely morning or afternoon tea is to enjoy it, not be anxious over what to prepare, especially if time is lacking or you don't enjoy baking. Remember, it's the way people feel when they are welcomed into your home and that's a mix of many things, not just cake or scones. 

If you're not a sweets person, finger sandwiches are so easy and delicious! I was watching a tea-time video the other day of a homeschooling work-at-home mother who did a very special afternoon tea for her daughters and she involved them in many of the steps, most noticeably the finger sandwiches. I can tell you now, I was salivating at the end and headed straight into the kitchen to make a couple of my own as the tea leaves brewed in the pot. 

During our eleven years of homeschooling, afternoon tea was (in my children's opinion) the most wonderful part of their day, and this video reminded me why. 

Perhaps you'd like to watch it...

Tea in Art...

I thought I'd take a leaf out of our year-long book study from 2019, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket, and look for some lovely tea-time themed paintings to share with you. I found some beautiful and thoughtful ones which varied from relaxed and homely through to Victorian high tea.

The paintings below are by Edward Antoon Portielje (1861-1949) and what I love about them is the 'ordinariness' of a tea break in every day life; in fact many of this artist's paintings incorporate tea, books and letters. 

The two women are happily engaged in letter writing over tea; whilst the young mother is enjoying tea as she cuddles her new baby...ordinary moments, yes?

The next painting is by Gregory Frank Harris and was a lovely reminder that we can still make an effort to create a lovely tea-time experience even when we're fact some of my best tea-times are by myself because I have consciously decided to stop everything else and treat myself to a small and elegant break from other activities around home. These are the times when ideas begin to form, plans are made, music is appreciated, Biblical passages become clear, my breathing slows and I am reminded once more how lovely the intentional slowing of life can be. 

Google "afternoon tea paintings" in images and you'll find many beautiful tea-themed artworks to peruse. I'd love to know which ones you liked best.

Before signing off today, my friends, let me encourage you to begin the habit of morning or afternoon teas if you don't already. And if you don't drink tea then you can make coffee or hot chocolate instead. Pop a flower from the garden in a little vase, glass or cup...choose your brew...plate up something delicious...put soft music on in the background...enjoy the moment. 

Oh, and don't forget to use the link below to download the free third issue of The Homemakers Heart.

DOWNLOAD Issue 3 The Homemakers Heart magazine

Missed the first two issue? No problem. Pop over HERE to the magazine page and download from there.

I'll be back on Wednesday with more tea inspiration and some things you may not know. I'll also have another tea-themed project you can make. 

God bless you, dear ones, and may the days ahead overflow with God's grace, His endless mercies, and the best things about the season - whether that's autumn where I am, or spring where you are. Look for lovely things to be grateful for and you will find them. 



Joanne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Good Monday morning !
Thank you for another wonderful blog post and Homemakers Heart !Such a joy to read :) The hours you spend with computer and camera must be uncountable. It seems that " just have to check this or do that on the computer" turns out to be quite a bit of time before one realizes how late it actually is. I know the feeling :)
Lots of great ideas such as goggleing afternoon tea paintings. Will do .
The tea inspired stitcheries are wonderful ! Tea time tray mat looks lovely.
I will be " flipping through " Homemakers Heart with a cup of tea. A great way to start the week !
hugs, take care,

Lin said...

Lovely post Jennifer. I have downloaded the magazine to enjoy later - thank you. At the moment we are enjoying our morning coffee outside in what we call the small garden - it's only this time of year that we can do that as earlier it is too cold and soon it will be too hot lol. But it is nice to make that special effort. xx

Kay said...

Thank you, Jennifer. I always look forward to your special magazines, they are delightful. x

Pilarín said...

Muchas gracias, Jenny!!! Voy a leerlo!!
Besos desde España,

Sharon Aurora said...

Tea time is a special time. I love having treats to go along with tea time. I remember as a kid special times spent with my grandmother having tea with her. And our family enjoyed it growing up as well. On one particularly amusing occasion, as I was spooning several spoonfuls of sugar in my tea, my dad picked up my cup of tea and poured my tea into the sugar bowl and handed the sugar bowl to me.

Thank you for another beautiful issue of Homemakers Heart.

Jenny said...

Thank you for another beautiful newsletter. Lovely patterns, scrumptious recipes & such encouraging words.

Allie said...

Hello my darling Jennifer!!! Love this post, so relaxing and yes, I set the table for myself - the guys eat in their caves, lol. It's a nice break with a book. Yesterday was Mother's Day here, so I have some lovely flowers to look at and smell - hyacinth is perfuming my entire home! Perhaps I'll make a cup of tea while I enjoy your latest issue; that sounds like a good plan to me! Love you girl!

Susan said...

I downloaded the magazine to enjoy later. Thank you so much, I really enjoy them.

Susan said...

Hi Allie, I miss your blog. I hope you are doing well on the other side of the state.

Tammy said...

Love todays post . Especially he recipes, information on tea, designs and the entire magazine.....I wish every woman had access to this beautifully made magazine....You hit it out of the ball park again. So much talent you have my freind. Thank you for the magazine & contents

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I've been given 2 different books on Tea Parties over the years. I love tea and tea pots and tea parties.

KingsailK said...

Thank you Jennifer always lovely to read as always and relaxing 🥰 Mary-Lou

Bobbie said...

I truly loved this post and your direction to stop daily for tea. It is such a way to truly take just a little bit of time for ourselves and our friends, I also want to tell you what a blessing your “post cards” have been. I have three friends who have had very distressing events in their lives lately and the postcard that talks about Got catching all our tears have been stitched and sent to each. Thank you for your wonderful creativity that blesses so many people. I’m not one to come up with the ideas but I am one to run with them. Blessings on you every day!

Janice said...

I love using our pretty tea sets, some matching, others mis matched. I have Mum’s beautiful china here, as well as some of Mick’s Mum’s. Add to that what we have collected over the years and we have plenty of variety. Each afternoon, after I get home from work, Mick and I sit down to either tea or coffee and a biscuit or slice. It is probably a bit late in the day for it, but we enjoy the time to sit and relax while having a chat about our day. It is one of our favourite things to da.

Jill said...

Thank you so much for the peaceful and lovely issue of Homemaker's Heart.

Angie in SoCal said...

This is precious. I so enjoyed your comments and the lovely video of making afternoon tea.