Come to Tea: An Elegant Garden Gathering - BabyUniversity.com - Baby and parenting forums and reviews
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#1 of 4 Old 06-08-2004, 02:35 AM - Thead Starter
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This might also work as a great birthday party for a little girl!
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Perhaps nothing says "garden party" like having afternoon tea outdoors. It's a charming reminder of bygone days and childhood make-believe. Outdoor spaces of all kinds, including balconies, can be successfully adapted to a tea party.

Tea parties span generations and will be enjoyed by your most sophisticated women friends or all the giggling little girls of your
acquaintance.

What makes an elegant tea party? Look at these factors.

Flowers
Plan to hold your tea party when your garden is in its fullest bloom -- perhaps it's lilac time, June roses, or peony season. Be sure to cut some of the blooms for the tea table vases. If you don't have a garden, buy an armful of flowers at a farmers' market or stop by a country ditch and pick bunches of wild daisies and Queen Anne's lace.

Invitations
Send handwritten notes by snail mail. Your guests will recognize your party as an elegant affair and dress accordingly! Typically, tea is held around 4 p.m. -- perfect for day-blooming flowers. Include an invitation for the little ones to bring along a doll or teddy friend.

Table Setting
The more elegant, the better. Stash the paper table covering and the plastic glasses just for today. Instead, use a crisp linen
tablecloth, pressed cloth napkins and your best bone china cups and saucers. If it's a little girls' party, you might want to invest in
two or three miniature tea sets.

Try to have adequate seating for everyone. Consider setting your straight-back indoor dining chairs outdoors. They can add an elegant touch, whether left unadorned or covered with flowered chintz.

Hats
Encourage all of your guests to wear hats -- big-brimmed, floppy and flowered. If the party is for little girls, collect old hats, scarves
and silk flowers at a thrift shop, yard sale or discount store. Make decorating the hats a fun activity at the party. You can also include a box of flowery cast-offs for dressing up. Include "grown-up" shoes and old jewellery -- anything that will make the little ones feel elegant. Tea time is a fun way to introduce young ones to "elegant party" manners.

Food
Other than teaspoons, no cutlery should be required at tea. All sandwiches and sweets should be dainty finger-food. Try sandwiches of watercress, cucumber, or egg with the crusts removed and cut in quarters. Sugar cookies and petit fours are traditional sweets. You can substitute mini-cupcakes or tiny tarts.

Tea
One of the first things that I learned in seventh grade home economics class was how to brew a proper pot of hot tea, but that was many years ago. I suspect that tea-making is becoming a lost art.

Tea is actually the common name of one plant: Camillia sinesis. The three basic types of tea -- black, green and oolong -- are
distinguished by the amount of oxidization that the tea leaves have undergone. The more than 3,000 varieties of tea in the world are all derived from those three basic types.

Herbal teas -- more properly, tisane or infusion -- are made from a wide variety of flowers, herbs, barks, berries, fruits and spices.

At a minimum, offer your guests a traditional tea and a caffeine-free herbal choice. Have milk (not cream!), sugar and fresh lemon wedges available.

So, dust off your teacups and your manners and sit down with your girlfriends for a proper tea party. It's a lovely summer interlude!
*******************
Debbie Rodgers, the haven maven, owns and operates Paradise Porch, and is dedicated to helping people create outdoor living spaces that nurture and enrich them. Her latest how-to guide "Attracting Butterflies to Your Home and Garden" is now available on her web site. Visit her at www.paradiseporch.com and get a free report on "Eight easy ways to create privacy in your outdoor space". Mail to [email protected]

~*~Brenda~*~
mom to Drew (16) High School At Last!
mom to Ally (10) 4th Grade, Baby! WooHoo!

Parenthood:  That state of being better chaperoned than you were before marriage.  ~Marcelene Cox  Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.  ~Marilyn Penland
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#2 of 4 Old 06-23-2004, 08:47 PM
 
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I think that Roxanna and I need to have a tea party
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#3 of 4 Old 07-03-2004, 01:56 AM
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This is great! I am planning a garden tea party mid July.
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#4 of 4 Old 07-07-2004, 01:15 PM
 
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Sandra, I would love to hear all the details! I want to have a tea party myself
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