My Tea Parties

Tea Party at Northrup House Front Row L to R: Joan Downey, Jeanine Strock, Joan Augustine, Sheila Schlotterbeck, Patti Toomey Back Row L to R: Mary Hutinett, Donna Trout, Cathy Gresham, alma Benard (hidden), Ruth Baker, Patsy Krokstrom

Sheila Schlotterbeck
Chanute, Kansas

I have just joined the Sandy's Tea Society and I wanted to tell you about a couple tea parties that I have had.

It all started when I saw an ad in our local paper, "Come to Tea at The Northrup House." I thought that sounded like fun! I called the owner, Kathleen, and she'd never had a party for grown ups before, only little girls, but said, "why not?" I asked ten ladies to go with me.

Our tea was held at Northrup House Bed and Breakfast (which is now closed). First, we had a tour of the Victorian Mansion and learned of its history. Upstairs in the dressing room we all donned hats, gloves, jewelry, etc. to look pretty! Kathleen had two dining tables set up for us. She served wonderful treats on china dishes and then we played "old maids!" Most of us hadn't done that since we were little, and we're all middle aged now. It was a fun two hours and when we paid the bill, Kathleen gave us a nice sachet.

That was so much fun I decided to have my own tea party at home, with a few changes. I invited seven friends to an informal garden tea party. I made the invitations, each one different, using scrapbook papers and stickers. I told them to wear a straw hat and their garden clothes and bring a start or seeds from their garden for the Friendship Garden I was starting (I'm new to this hobby). I painted a six-inch flowerpot for each one (all different) and filled them with flowers to take home. I also made jar "lacies" for each one. These are round linen doilies with a fancy lace edge and beads hanging down. In Victorian times they kept bugs out of the glasses!

We used pretty paper plates and cups and ate at the picnic table on the patio. I put a dark green tablecloth on the table with a purple one on top, diagonally. I also scattered packets of flower seeds through the middle, which they each took home. Since I am new to gardening we discussed different flowers and voted on whether to pull or leave some unidentified plants. As it turned out, we were wrong! We pulled the flowers and left the weeds. We laughed at how our husbands mowed, pulled, or accidentally poisoned our precious flowers. Everyone had a great story to tell.

I served chicken almond sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, ham/apricot jam sandwiches, fresh fruit compote with ice cream, cranberry bread, nuts and iced tea. Everyone had seconds.

I had also decorated brown lunch bags with a garden motif by fusing garden fabric to the sack and tying a ribbon to close it. Inside were little garden stakes, gloves, decorations, etc. We drew a number and the first one picked a sack. Number two could either take a new sack or take number one's sack and so on. The more the merrier for this game. Everyone goes home with a sack and a great memory!

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