Pat Hilbern

Sandy's Tea Society was so inspiring, I talked with my friend Ginger about co-hosting a Tea. Ginger quickly offered her home and we decided on June 28. We knew her patio would be perfect. After contemplating various themes for this special occasion, we decided on a Straw Hat Tea Party.

Utilizing my love for computer-generated crafts and rubber-stamping, I designed the invitations, place cards and a little recipe booklet of the foods we would prepare. I placed a lace yo-yo on the stamped and embossed teapot on each invitation and recipe booklet. I also crocheted and stiffened little cups on saucers and used them, as nut cups. Ginger purchased straw hats for each lady to decorate.

When Ginger and I worked our magic, her patio was transformed into a real tearoom. The lace Ginger tied on the chair backs complimented wicker, pillows, and bouquets of yellow tulips on the two tables. We knew our soon-to-arrive guests would be impressed by the elegance. Ginger and I could hardly wait for Debbie, Lorie, Shirley, Donna and Martha to join us.

We had a wonderful time decorating the hats. All were quite different: Peggy and Shirley decorated with patriotic items; Lorie and Debbie glued on colorful flowers; Donna used flowers to match daughter Jennifer's new home; Ginger used a candle ring and I used a rose swag. Martha "topped it off" by wearing her Minnie Pearl hat.

Our menu included Fruited Chicken Salad sandwiches, Cucumber sandwiches on party bread, Celery/Walnut sandwiches on party rye bread, cheddar cheese ball served with club crackers lemon cheesecake cheeseball served with gram crackers and vanilla wafers. We also feasted on fresh strawberries, apple slices, green grapes, red grapes, bananas and ever-popular cream cheese fruit dip. Blue butterfly trays, crystal and silver-serving pieces added to the festivities.

We sipped on flavored iced teas in our veranda-turned-tea room and wore our hats for pictures while being cooled by a couple fans. Then on to the living room for dessert and hot flavored teas. I had prepared Dirt Cake in Styrofoam cups set into small clay pots with a tulip "sprouting" from each one. The lace napkins Ginger purchased for our trip to Branson last year complimented the beautiful teacups and saucers Debbie provided for our hot teas.

While we visited, I brought out a walnut shell filled with 1 of 25 usable household items that can fit in a walnut shell. Everyone tried to guess what I had placed in this little nut. All were surprised when I opened it to reveal the contents. No one was in a hurry to leave, but when the time arrived, everyone left with their decorated hat, a crocheted cup/ saucer, recipe booklet and a tulip, plus some crocheted butterflies I had made.

Following our soiree, Ginger and I sat down to relax. Soon her husband arrived home, followed by my husband. We had a impromptu Couples tea party. Before my husband and I left, I fixed a plate as a treat for my mother who was unable to attend.

Our Straw hat Tea Party was a grand success. We have already scheduled our next Tea for August 30th and Debbie has volunteered her home. Ideas for a theme, invitations and favors are dancing in our heads ~ along with thoughts of Christmas Tea. Is that peppermint I smell?

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