Special Share From Emily!

Emily attended the Afternoon Tea talk on Saturday, April 25th at the Ringwood Public Library.   Today, I got a wonderful email with a picture of her tea pot.   Enjoy!

Teapot From Emily - Ringwood Public Library Tea Love Talk - Saturday, April 25, 2015

Teapot From Emily – Ringwood Public Library Tea Love Talk – Saturday, April 25, 2015. Thank You, Emily!

Remember, if you attend a Tea Love talk, let the organizer know if you are bringing children and I will make sure to have coloring pages on hand.

Another Great Tea Love Talk, Another On The Way, And Dying Easter Eggs With Tea

First and foremost, I want to thank the Fairfield Free Public Library for hosting  me this past Thursday!   It was another wonderful group with some insightful guests.   Unfortunately, I did arrive a little late but everyone was very gracious, gave me ample time to set up, and I think we had a lovely conversation.   I got to hear from people who brewed tea in an Indian fashion – strong with milk – people who had Kombucha tea (which they said was delicious), and others who absolutely hated tea but was willing to give it a try (he said he would always be a coffee drinker at heart, but I am glad he at least gave it a shot!).   We talked about the affect that the staple and glue has on a cuppa (while I found no evidence swaying either way, try and use loose tea anyway) and how green tea can assist with weight loss.

Second, I have another Tea Love talk coming up!

Tea Love Hosting Children's Event at West Milford Township Library

Tea Love Hosting Children’s Event at West Milford Township Library

Yes, West Milford Township Library asked me to return, but this time, for a children’s talk.   I will be hosting an afternoon tea with all the boys and girls (fancy dress is required!), teaching them about the afternoon tea history, having a relay race, a mini fashion show where they can show off their tea cups, and breaking for lunch and a book.   Come on out, it’s bound to be a lot of fun!   And Tea Love will be giving out prizes at the event 🙂

Finally, onto a fun topic that I wrote about for the Riverdale, New Jersey newsletter – dying Easter eggs using tea.

Everyone knows that tea stains.  Teeth whitening commercials always address those pesky coffee and tea stains on your teeth that will be magically removed with one application of their fine product.  Clothing commercials feature red wine, coffee, and split tea mugs dashed across lily-white table clothes, only to be removed with the power of baking soda, peroxide, and awesome stain-fighting power.  But, with Easter just around the corner, children and adults alike can use the staining power of tea to make their own tea-infused eggs.

You can dye the eggs with one of two methods – the standard dip method where, rather than use food coloring tablets, you would use tea, or a method where you can give the eggs a marbled look.

To use the standard sip method which will produce an egg similar to your other Easter eggs, take your eggs and put them in a mixture of a tablespoon of vinegar, a cup of water, and a very strong-colored tea such as a raspberry herbal.  Allow it to soak refrigerated for a minimum of two hours, though the longer you leave the egg in the tea, the stronger the color will be.  When you take the eggs out and start eating them, you should get a slight taste of tea with each bite.

For a different look, you can also try the tea egg method.

Marbled Tea Eggs

Marbled Tea Eggs

According to blogger Ellen Easton, writer of Tea Travels, the tea eggs, also called marbled eggs due to the marbled look they get when they are shelled, are sold in Asia as tasty snacks or appetizers.  One can often find them on the streets being sold by vendors, though you can also find it in the restaurants and even convenience stores as well.

According to blog Appetite for China, to create these, hard boil the eggs prior to dying.  When the eggs are cool enough to handle, gently crack the eggs either by rolling them in a paper towel or by tapping them all over the shell with a spoon.  You want to be careful not to break any of the shell off the egg so that you get the cracks and lines but not a huge splotch of color.  Put the eggs back into the water and add two tea bags of black tea, ½ cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar, 2 pieces of star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper, and 2 to 3 strips of dried mandarin peel.   Cover the eggs by an inch, then bring the water to a boil.  Lower the heat then to a bare simmer, and allow the eggs to stay for at least one to two hours or until you reach the desired flavor and color.

When you are ready to serve, get the camera and watch the pleasant surprised faces as people get to see your lovely creations.

My Valentine’s Day Tea Box Creation – Revealed!

So, as many of you have seen on Tea Love’s Facebook page, I have been talking about how I used an old tea container for my boyfriend’s Valentine’s Day gift.

A while back, my sister-in-law gave me some chocolate mint tea in this charming wooden box.   She wasn’t a big fan of it, but she thought that I might like the tea.

The tea was rather tasty, but I must admit, my main attraction was to the box:

My box of chocolate mint tea from my sister-in-law.

My box of chocolate mint tea from my sister-in-law.

The top slides back and forth on the top, keeping the tea inside fresh.   While the box is not made of a high-quality wood, nor is it very durable, it is not exactly meant to last forever.   However, for some reason, I just could not bring myself to throw away this cute box.   Something stopped me.   It had way too much potential and, as an avid crafter (after all, I have made earrings and necklaces out of used tea bags!), I knew I would find some use for it.   Thus, I stored it away for safe keeping.

Then I met my boyfriend, Camilo.   Also an avid artist and a tea lover, he thrives on the creative.   You can often find him at my Tea Love talks, helping me unpack, repack, serve tea, and just chatting away with anyone with a listening ear.

Camilo's And My Recent Trip to the Museum of Modern Art

Camilo’s And My Recent Trip to the Museum of Modern Art

Well, I got into the television series Dr. Who, a BBC show with a time-and-relative-dimension-in-space-traveling alien., not too long after he and I met.   We were both quickly hooked on the show, often binging on numerous episodes a night just to see what adventure our Doctor would be going on and see how he would save the universe from imminent destruction.   We constantly talk about the show, read about it (especially my friend’s Dr. Who and Theology blog, Whovian Theology), and generally just act like five-year-old children when anything Dr. Who-related comes up.

Then, for Valentine’s Day, I got an idea – why not make Camilo a TARDIS (the ship that the Doctor uses to travel)?

The Actual TARDIS From The Show

The Actual TARDIS From The Show

So, after a bit of clay molding, painting, gluing, nailing, and frustration, I finally produced a TARDIS worthy of the Doctor.

My Creation!

My Creation!

Since the box was starting to part, I decided to nail the side together to keep it secure.   Then I white-washed it so that I had a clean surface (as much as I love tea, I did not want the tea branding to show up underneath the paint).   Using some clay, I constructed the top of the TARDIS, which was also the hardest (the lantern kept breaking off, so that was slightly annoying).   I sanded the box down for a more secure fit, did some painting (including glow-in-the-dark paint so that the TARDIS would “light up” at night), and filled it up with some candy.   Voila!    A TARDIS made from an old tea container!

Timeline of the TARDIS

Timeline of the TARDIS

Have anything you have made from old tea products?   I have heard some people who have used their containers for candles and others who have “flower tea pots”.

Share your creations here in the comments or go to Tea Love’s Facebook page to share a picture!

And The Winner of the First Ever Tea Love Contest Is…

Cynthia S!!!!!!!

Cynthia, congrats!   Tea Love will be shipping out your packages of iced tea (much needed for all of these hot and humid days!) and a beautiful box of Red Rose tea with a collectible nautical figurine.

Here's What Cynthia Won!

Here’s What Cynthia Won!

Hopefully you can post the photo of your figurine to Tea Love’s Facebook?

In the meantime, curious what Cynthia wrote to win the box of tea?   Read on 🙂

***

My Story

Like many of the Boomer generation, I grew up in a large family, not rich but never felt poor. Most Christmas times, we got pajamas and underwear, and not the fancy ones, the practical ones sturdy enough to pass down the line, along with the shoes, dresses, coats.

Well, that was fine. We were happy just to open the presents and decorate the tree. One Christmas, though, I got the most wonderful gift, I thought. It was a real china tea set. It had a teapot, the creamer and sugar bowl and four, count them, four cups and saucers. I played with that set for hours, on rainy days. I could pretend I was had so many friends who enjoyed my teas.

I still have that tea set and to my credit, from five years old till now (60+), I never broke one piece. It probably cost $2.00 when new but to me it is priceless. I thank my mother for saving it for me, so that just maybe, I will be able to pass down to my nieces’ kids.

Happy Easter From Tea Love!

First and foremost, HAPPY EASTER!!!!   Here is a picture of some tea-dyed Easter eggs 🙂   Learn how to make them here!

Some Lovely Tea-Dyed Easter Eggs :-)

Some Lovely Tea-Dyed Easter Eggs 🙂

 

Second, I want to thank everyone who came out for my Tea 101 – A Brief Introduction this past week!   We had about 20 people total show up (a full house!) and I am in the works of planning other talks across New Jersey 🙂   Stay tuned!

I want to give a thank you to the librarians at the Hickory Corner Library for their delicious scones, wonderful tea pots and lovely set-up for the event, as well as the Friends of the Hickory Corner Library, who made it all possible.   Make sure you keep your eye on their calendar of events for more fun talks on their website!

I also want to give a shout-out to my friends over at Tea Spot, who provided the tea that everyone was raving about!   The owner always does a fantastic job and knows her tea well.   If you ever find yourself in Cranford, New Jersey, pop your head in for a cuppa 🙂

While at the talk, there are two questions that I wanted to follow-up here and address:

Q – One person mentioned that her mother had the unfortunate diagnosis of kidney stones and was instructed that she would need to give up tea.   Why tea?

A – Tea, it turns out, contains oxalates, which primarily makes up a kidney stone.   These nasty-little buggers can be found in high concentrations in the plant, but low to moderate concentrations in the brew due to the small amount of leaves used for brewing.   Teas do have different amounts of oxalates depending on the type, according to the Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition with black tea in tea bags and loose tea leaves measuring 4.68 and 5.11 mg/g tea, respectively, green teas and oolong tea ranging from 0.23 to 1.15 mg/g tea, and herbal teas ranged from not detected to 3.00 mg/g tea.   If black tea is imbibed with some milk, then the calcium binds to some of the oxalates and cuts down on the amount that you are drinking.   All the same, it’s best to keep away if that’s the doctor’s orders.   If you REALLY cannot give up tea, make sure you mention this to your doctor to find out what the best plan is for you.

Q – How much caffeine is in a cup of tea?

A – While at the talk, I explained that depending on the tea, you’ll have different amounts of caffeine content.   There’s no set, “Oh, each tea has this much caffeine.”   However, the caffeine content of tea is typically much lower than coffee.   Find a comprehensive list of caffeine content at The Mayo Clinic, in case you have a sensitivity to caffeine or you just want a tea that will not keep you up all night if you drink it at midnight.

Thank you, all, again!   I’ll keep you posted for more tea talks soon 🙂

The Idea Of Old – Tea Dying

One of my friends has been in full-blown wedding mode as of late, purchasing her dress, veil, etc, in order to prepare for her big day (date TBA).   As we sat in her room and she modeled all the frilly laces and dainty satins in front of me, she said excitedly, “And I have your next blog!”

“Oh?” I asked.   I write about tea, not weddings…

“We’re going to tea dye my veil and shoes!”

Well, she proved me wrong; she did provide me my latest blog!   While we have yet to dye her shoes and veil, I am sure that will be a blog for later.   However, I do want to talk about the process of dying items with tea.

The idea of dying fabric with tea is to give it an antiquated look, allowing for a pleasant beige hue.   The process is generally forgiving, so long as you are not aiming for a very particular shade.   If you are, make sure you hover over the fabric, checking it every so often to be sure that it is the shade you want.   You can always go darker but it is much harder to go lighter, is a general rule of thumb for all crafts.

First, find the fabric that you want to use.   Natural fabrics, such as cotton and muslin, work best.   If you can, get a test sample and work on that first.   The worst thing is ruining a nice blouse because you thought the fabric would take well to the tea and it… well… didn’t.   While tea can be washed out with a bit of bleach, I am sure that you want to avoid that route and, at the same time, avoid doing an unnecessary load of laundry.

Make sure that the fabric is nice and clean to get proper results.

Now, make a whole boat-load of tea!   Throw hot water into a bowl (avoid any materials that might react with the tea, such as copper, to avoid getting an unwanted result) and add 3-5 tea bags to brew yourself a bowl.   If you are doing a lot of fabric, I have read that you can put your washing machine on the hot water cycle and add 5-10 tea bags for similar results.   However, as that sounds risky for the machine (if anything goes wrong, you will be out $200-$500), I would not highly recommend that.

Just like an Easter egg, dump in your fabric and ensure that all parts you want dyed are covered.   Swirl it around a bit and make sure all the air bubbles are released as well.   You can also dab it on like a wood stain in order to gain a blotchy effect, spray it on for a speckled effect or even paint on the tea.   Warning that, no matter what, you will never get that perfect, “even” shade throughout the fabric.

Such a Gorgeous, Rich Auburn Color!

Such a Gorgeous, Rich Auburn Color!

Every ten minutes, pull your fabric out of your “dye” and see the shade.   Want darker?   Leave it in for longer.   Fora faint stain, 20 minutes should suffice.   For a dark stain, you might want to put it in for an overnight soak.

When you get the shade that you want, rinse the fabric a few times so that the stain stays but you’re not still soaking it.   Hang it up to dry.

In order to keep your lovely stain, make sure that you hand-wash this particular fabric.   Also make sure you use a light soap instead of a heavy detergent that might strip away all of your hard work.

An Example of the Finished Product

An Example of the Finished Product

Keep in mind that, while I did research this relatively simple process, I have not tried it myself.   Practice with caution and do the best you can!   You might want to have a party later to sip up all of that left-over tea, too…

Did you give this process a try?   Post your photos here or on Tea Love’s Facebook page for all to see!

Once I get to dyeing with my friend, I will be sure to post some photos as well.

Contest Alert! Contest Alert! Contest Alert!

Hello my fellow tea lovers!   So, after much thought and consideration, I thought that it might be nice to have a “side business” of selling my Tea Love necklaces and earrings 🙂

I can customize the Tea Love necklaces with any colors that you would like and I can find pendants to substitute for the heart, if desired.   However, the earrings are not as easily customized, though I will be happy to try it if asked!

Me Rockin' The Earrings

Me Rockin’ The Earrings

Isn't The Necklace Pretty?

Isn’t The Necklace Pretty?

I plan to sell the necklaces at a base-by-base price, though they will not run more than $15 + shipping and handling.   Allow two weeks for manufacture and shipping.   Interested?   Shoot me an e-mail at cafelegi@aol.com and we can talk 🙂

In the meantime, I do want to give away a pair of earrings and a necklace to one lucky reader!   How do you do it?

1 – Like my page on Facebook.

2 – Tag Tea Love in a post, telling the world about the blog!

3 – I will pick a random name and will notify you via Facebook.

The contest will run from now until June 30th.   Hurry up and like!   I will work on a customized necklace for the winner.

The best of luck to all!