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!
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 alone...in 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.
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.