Tea Blog-a-thon ~ Decor-a-Tea

This weeks theme is decorating with tea items, or tea collections etc. I’m getting ready for my posts and wanted to remind you that’s it’s not to late to join in. Head over to Gracious Hospitality for the themes each week. Then you can click on the link below my collage to see other posts for this weeks theme. Here’s my first contribution to Decor-a-Tea.


The tea set and dishes are Royal Albert Moss Rose. The napkins and napkin rings are Target clearance. The glasses and clear glass plates on top of the Moss Rose plates are from Goodwill. The tablecloth is a quilt I bought at T.J.Max. The runner is a piece of dotted swiss fabric with lace that I found at Goodwill, too. The salt and pepper shakers are a gift from a friend who purchased them in Victoria, B.C. I love to find things here and there to add to my different ideas for place settings. When I find bargains it’s easier to justify adding them to my collections. I’ve gotten a lot braver in throwing odd things together and most of the time it works out well. Enjoy…

I’m headed to the airport now to return to Southern California. I will add some more Decor-a-Tea posts from there. Have a wonderful week everyone.

To see more Decorating Tea posts click here.

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Litera Tea ~ Anne of Green Gables

I just recently read Anne of Green Gables for the first time. I had seen and enjoyed the movies. This is a great quote from the book during a conversation with Anne and Marilla as Anne anticipates going to tea at the manse (a clergyman’s residence).

“But all things have an end, even nights before the day on which you are invited to take tea at the manse. The morning, in spite of Matthew’s predictions, was fine and Anne’s spirits soared to their highest.

“Oh, Marilla, there is something in me today that makes me just love everybody I see, ” she exclaimed as she washed the breakfast dishes. “You don’t know how good I feel! Wouldn’t it be nice if it could last? I believe I could be a model child if I were just invited out to tea everyday. But oh, Marilla, it’s a solemn occasion, too. I feel so anxious. What if I shouldn’t behave properly? You know I never had tea at a manse before, and I’m not sure that I know all the rules of etiquette, although I’ve been studying the rules given in the Etiquette Department of the Family Herald ever since I came here. I’m so afraid I’ll do something silly or forget to do something I should do. Would it be good manners to take a second helping of anything if you wanted to very much?”

“The trouble with you, Anne, is that you’re thinking too much about yourself. You should just think of Mrs. Allan and what would be nicest and most agreeable for her.” said Marilla, hitting for once in her life on a very sound and pithy piece of advice. Anne instantly realized this.

“You are right, Marilla. I’ll try not to think about myself at all.”

Enjoy a little tea in my library in celebration of Litera-tea!
My first Litera post about Russian Tea is here.

For more Litera-Tea click over to Gracious Hospitality.

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Tea Week Two ~ Litera Tea

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.


During the 19th century, samovars gained increasing popularity in major cities, such as St. Petersburg and Moscow, and became inseparably bound to the Russian way of life.

Classics of Russian literature, like Pushkin, Gogol and Chekhov, regularly mention samovars in their works. Chekhov even coined an idiom: “to take one’s own samovar to Tula”. This phrase is still understood and occasionally used by Russians, with a meaning similar to the English “to carry coals to Newcastle”.

“To carry Coals to Newcastle, that is to do what was done before; or to busy one’s self in a needless imployment.”

 Railroad companies in Russia recognized the practicality and popularity of samovars, and fitted long-distance sleeping cars with them. Luxurious cars of the Trans-Siberian railroad were first to adopt this custom. Gradually, the samovar in a railroad car was replaced by the boiler of potable water, known as титан (titan) in the Soviet Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:
A samovar (Russian: самовар, literally “self-brewer”) is a heated metal container traditionally used to brew tea in and around Russia, as well as in other Slavic nations, Iran and Turkey.

A traditional samovar consists of a large metal container with a faucet near the bottom and a metal pipe running vertically through the middle. The pipe is filled with solid fuel to heat the water in the surrounding container. A small smokestack is put on the top to ensure draft. After the fire is off a teapot could be placed on top to be kept heated with the passing hot air. The teapot is used to brew the заварка (zavarka), a strong concentrate of tea. The tea is served by diluting this concentrate with кипяток (kipyatok = boiled water) from the main container, obtaining a lighter or darker brew function of drinkers’ tastes.

“To have a sit by samovar” means to have a leisurely talk while drinking tea from samovar, and it is a Russian expression reflecting the popular attitude towards its use.

In older times it was an economic continuous source of hot water. Various slow-burning items could be used for fuel, such as charcoal or dry pinecones. When necessary, the fire in the samovar pipe was quickly rekindled with the help of bellows manufactured specifically for this use.

In modern times, the samovar is mostly associated with Russian exotica and nostalgia.  During the Olympic games of 1980, an incredible amount of samovars were sold to visitors from abroad, thus affecting the samovar: it gained international recognition and became a symbol of Russia.

I don’t ever remember using tea-cups in our Russian gatherings for tea. Typically a glass was used served with a bowl under it. Many of the children and older folk would pour their tea into the bowl and drink it out of the bowl. There were fancier glass holders called podstakahnyik that I’ve posted a couple of pictures of here. Literally translated it means under the glass. Any Russians out there can correct me if I got that wrong. Russia has two national drinks, tea (chai) and vodka.

Tea is “Chai” in russian, (not the now popular Chai drink you find at Starbuck’s). Chai is just plain old steeped tea with boiled water added to your desired strength.  In our Russian culture it is an important part of a meal. We usually have it at the end of a meal. Many times we’ll have it in the middle of the day too. It’s has been associated with rest, comfort and refreshment. It’s just common for us to say at the end of the meal, “Chai?”  or “Who wants Chai?”

When I have my “russian” crowd over these are what I serve chai in. I have 12 of them and they are perfect to see the strength you want your tea to be. Some add lemon, some add cream, some have it black. I’ll have to share in a later post the varenya that my mom and other russian ladies make to add to tea. It’s a fruit based syrupy liquid to sweeten and flavor your tea instead of sugar.

For more Litera Tea posts click over to Gracious Hospitality.

Eggs and Kulich

Our Easter preparations are on their way.

Katie colors the eggs each year.


I decorate the show piece of our food celebration, the Kulich (Russian Easter Bread). I did say decorate. I didn’t say I baked it. That is still on my list to do before I die.


We will celebrate all day tomorrow with friends, family, food, hallelujahs and hosannas to our Resurrected King.

Blessings on all your preparations and celebrations…

Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.

Teacup-a-Story ~ Week One


March 16 – March 22
Teacup-a-Story ~
Share a picture of your favorite teacup and saucer; describe it and tell it’s history (or make up a story about it’s past). Why is it meaningful to you? This would be a good place to share about the details of your teacup collection if you have one.



These cups are each special to me for different reasons. The first one was made in Russia. My heritage is Russian and I was happy to find this cup and saucer at Goodwill on one of my shopping trips there. I really enjoy blues in dishes so that’s another reason I like it.
The second photo is a tea-cup from the tea set that I bought as a souvenir when I was in England in 1973. I really enjoyed the shape of the Royal Albert china. After we were married we traveled to Canada and were able to add to my original tea set with a dinner service for 12. Besides blue and white I find pink and green very pleasing to my eyes.
This next tea cup and saucer are from my MIL’s stash. Her brother gave her a set of dishes in this pattern as a wedding gift. I love the flowers and the history that goes with this sweet cup.
The last cup is from a set of dishes that I saw in a model home that we walked through before we bought our home in Ventura, California in 1984. When we moved in to our home the housing development had a model home furniture and accessories sale and I bought the service for 4 for $25.00. I was a happy camper. The pattern is English Chippendale/Johnson Bros./ England.

I never collected tea-cups but I inherited and bought them here and there when one caught my eye. You can visit LaTeaDah and see more Tea-cups with a story.

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Table is Set for Corned Beef and Cabbage!


My kids are coming over for dinner, corned beef and cabbage. I’ll be making some fun green drinks and we’ll eat and celebrate being together and surrounded by green. I’ll post the people photos later! 🙂


I tweaked the table some more before my guests arrived.


My beautiful children, with one missing and Dear is in California till Friday, so dinner for four.

The meal was enjoyed by all…
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Fairest Lord Jesus ~ Hymn


Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring;
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fairer still the moonlight,
And all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.

All fairest beauty, heavenly and earthly,
Wondrously, Jesus, is found in Thee;
None can be nearer, fairer or dearer,
Than Thou, my Savior, art to me.

Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine.

Have a wonderful Palm Sunday and beginning of Holy Week everyone…

Holdren’s Steak and Seafood Birthday Dinner


Wedge Salad, Martinis, Porterhouse Steak, Rack of Lamb and a free Birthday piece of Mud Pie. All the food here was very good. We’d go again for a special occasion.


The Birthday Girl


The Guy who supports me in everything I do and always shows me love. Thank you Dear!

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Birthday Memories from Montebello!

Today is my birthday and I decided to go down memory lane and post some older photos and show you a little of my history.


First I’ll surround myself with things I enjoy. I do know how to pamper me 🙂


I think this is my seventh birthday because of the candles on the cake which would make this 1958.


This is our dining room at 4635 Oak Street in Montebello Gardens. We lived here till I was in 5th grade. My brother Fred, sister Vera, me, my cousin Jim and my sister Kathy who got cut off when I posted this (sorry Kathy)


This birthday was either 1960 or 1961 because there’s my little brother Steve in the high chair and he was born in December of 1959. This is the kitchen and my cousins around me are Tanya, Valia, Vera, Johnny, and you can barely see Walter. These next 4 photos were taken just last Sunday when we ended up driving through Montebello to go to a family function in Whittier.

While we lived on Oak Street in Montebello Gardens (Pico Rivera) my 3 older siblings and I would walk to the Montebello library to check out books. We’d head to Whittier Blvd. and have to cross this bridge over the Rio Hondo River to get to the library. It was approximately 2 miles each way.

The library was located at Montebello Park. This is the building the library was housed in where I spent many happy hours looking at all those books and trying to choose just 4. Now it’s a senior center.

We moved from Montebello Gardens across the river to Montebello when I was in 5th grade. This is our house at 305 Los Angeles Ave. When we lived here there wasn’t a second story and there wasn’t a chain link fence. Although a chain link fence would have come in handy after the twins (escape artists) were born…


This was my high school. Montebello High home of the Montebello Oilers. It’s totally fenced in now so they can have Lock-downs. How sad is that?! That’s a reality of our times. No fences in the 60’s!


The football field that I spent most Friday nights at during football season in high school. It’s under renovation.


In my junior and senior year I was a Song-leader and part of the cheer squad. I’m in the bottom row on the right.  Judy, my best friend from junior high and high school is next to me. Debbie next to her. The top row left to right is Kathy, Bet (yes we called her Bet), and Judy. You can see those same stands behind us. This photo was taken in fall of 1967. We’re seniors here and will all graduated in June of 1968.

These are the photos I had access to while I’m here at the condo in California. Tomorrow I fly to Seattle to see my kids and celebrate Easter with them. I’ll be there for a couple of weeks. I haven’t seen them face to face since January 1st so I’m really looking forward to my time with them.

This was taken last Easter in Edmonds overlooking Puget Sound at our good friends Dave and Jody’s. They started the tradition of eating  fish on Easter because that is what Jesus ate after his resurrection to show the Disciples He was alive.
Thanks for indulging me and I couldn’t resist the Beatles singing Happy Birthday to finish off this post. Thanks Myrna.
Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage. I’m working on updating my blog posts very slowly.