Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Strawberry Tea and Heart Box


Victorian Lady With a Parasol Showing How to Make a Strawberry Barrel, by Percy Tarrant, England 1881-1930
 
Most of my day is spent in various aspects of housework and homemaking. I try to do something creative and pretty every day, if I can, and I try to make something that does not take a lot of time. I do not enjoy finishing projects left over from the previous day, and cannot leave things out, so I choose things that can be completed quickly.
The scrap papers used in this project came from Walmart.
 
In the U.S., Valentines Day is for everyone; for the whole family, and so we have special teas and lunches for friends, give token gifts to relatives, make things from paper and fabric, and decorate our tables with special candles and rose centerpieces. Shops are full of cards for every person you can imagine, including nieces and nephews, grandparents, friends, neighbors. It provides much needed color and sparkle on some of the darkest winter days, so I have started early. I have already had a tea luncheon for a couple of ladies but I forgot to get pictures.
 
Today I have set up a tea for two with a box of sweets. Take a look inside:
 
The produce at our local Safeway grocery store is always fresh and crisp, and this week the strawberries from California are very sweet, so I have presented them in a handmade chocolate box. There are directions for this on the web, but I will show you how I did it.
With a paring knife, make a cut from the tip of the strawberries a little over halfway to the cap. Each one is carefully placed on the edge of the teacup.
 
The tea is made with berries also and tastes good with a little cream, like strawberries and cream. Just mash berries and put in a strainer that sits inside the teapot, pour boiling water over it and let it set for a few minutes.
 
The tea is very fragrant and is tasty with a drop of honey or maple syrup or turbano.

The tablecloth is a small blanket, called a "throw" and when I actually serve the tea, I put a piece of clear plastic over it. I removed the protective plastic for the pictures.

The heart shaped box looks good plain, as you see, above.

I wanted to use the miniature baking cup liners but they are hard to find in stores, so I analyzed what the paper cupcake liners looked like, and tried to make my own with parchment baking paper. You can get this now at the dollar stores. I remember when this baking paper was so expensive I rarely bought it, and when I did buy it I was reluctant to use it. The dollar store makes it easier for women to have luxuries to use in the kitchen, without the price tag

If you are a paper-crafter and have a special cutter, you can make circles really quickly, but if not, just trace around a small saucer.

I used a tiny little glass to make the miniature cups for the chocolate box.

Just center your circle of paper on the bottom of the glass and press a shape.

Move your fingers around the paper, pleating it as you go,

 

To secure it and make the pleats a bit more permanent, wrap a small rubber band around it and leave it on the glass for awhile.
 

 

As you can see, these hand made cupcake liners look pretty good. You can also make your own baking cups this way, to insert in the muffin tins when you are wanting to make miniature or regular muffins.

 

Filled with strawberries and arranged in a heart shape.

To make the box, I first placed the arrangement of muffin liners on a piece of scrap paper, and drew a heart shape around it. Then I folded the paper and cut half a heart and opened it up.

I used this as a pattern and traced three card stock hearts.

With a ruler I made strips from the card stock, cut them out and joined them with tape
And then taped them to one of the hearts.
 
You need to place the project on a round box to balance it while you tape the strip of cardboard around the heart shape.

Then, because I did not have time to find crepe paper or lace, I used more of the parchment baking paper to cut in strips and join together with tape for the pleated ruffle. Pleat with your fingers by folding and taping it around the box.


Cover the edges and tape by gluing another heart on top, so that it looks finished.

 

Tape the lid onto the box in two areas to make a hinge, as you see below. You can also make another box a little bigger, that will fit over the bottem box, but I wanted to make something more simple.

 

Decorate both sides of the lid with cut-outs from scrap papers, or leave it plain.

Glue strips of scrap paper to cover the tape on the sides of the box, or use other types of embellishments.

After experiencing the length of time this took, I would recommend making a tiny box with one strawberry. If you are a busy homemaker, sometimes a craft that takes too long will end up being less relaxing and more stressful to finish. I do not expect any reader to think they have to make this, because it was simply something I wanted to try. Sometimes reading about it and watching someone else do it is just as enjoyable as doing it.

The parchment paper can be used as a vellum paper for an invitation,place card or menu. I found colored staples at the dollar store a few years ago.

 

Instead of using staples, Punch holes with a hole-punch and tie ribbon through the vellum and card board, to make it even prettier.

In other news, I have been thinking more about stress. It is important to develop good health habits when you are young, in preparation for the life ahead when you might not have as much energy to handle a lot of stress. Someone recently sent me an article about learning to breathe more healthfully. It is done by breathing deeply through your nose, and out again slowly. This makes the sinuses and lungs work properly and is very good for your heart. At the slightest indication of tension, breath in slowly to the count of ten and out again slowly. Do it as often as you like and you might see a change in the tension all over your body.

You might find as you remember to breathe better, that a whole day can go by without a bit of tension, no matter what you hear or what happens.

I took a moment today to search for themes for Special events for ladies, and came upon a wealth of ideas from this site http://www.juliabettencourt.com which has theme ideas using seasons, spiritual subjects, and objects from the Bible that apply to women, using hearts, crowns, food, clothing, lights, and dozens of other things.

I hope you have a lovely, productive and stress free day.

 

15 comments:

Christine said...

Breathing properly, especially deep breathing can reduce stress.
I use to tell my children to take 10 deep breaths before going on stage or before anything that causes them to be overwhelmed. Worked every time!

Debbie Gnagey said...

I can't tell you how much your blog brightens my day! The tea sounds delicious and your china cups are so pretty. I also appreciate the care you take to present your table in such a lovely manner. Anyone would be honored to have tea with you. Thank you so much.

LadyLydia said...

Christine, our parents back in the 1950s used to tell us to clothes our mouths and breathe through our noses. When we got anxiety we were told to breath slowly.

Debbie, thank you for the comment and for visiting. I look forward to hearing more from you.

anonymous said...

Lydia,
thank you so much for another sweet, refreshing, uplifting, joyous and peaceful post.
I thank the Lord for you and how you have followed him. Keep up the good work and many blessing to you, your family and your ministry.

Mrs. J.

Bible Babe said...

Seriously, I'm creative, and yet I have never been able to come up with all the dainty and delicate projects that you do. I can look at them, then give them my own 'twist', but I take my hat off to you and your wonderful brain.

LadyLydia said...

All you have to do to get more creative is take something apart and figure out how you could make it yourself.

Katrinka said...

I very much prefer your home made cupcake liners over the store bought ones.

living from glory to glory said...

Dear Lady Lydia, I was just thinking this morning about being a part of a Valentine Card swap. They ask that they are handmade. I like the idea of it, but I am not sure if I should commit! Or I will be deep breathing through the process!
Maybe, I will try making a few of them to see how long it takes me.
I loved the little cups with the fresh strawberries in them!
This post has gotten me inspired!
Thank you for the compliment on my Blog! Blessings, Roxy

Joluise said...

What a sweet idea for a friend who visits. It wouldn't need to be only strawberries, could be hand made chocolates etc...

Stress and anxiety can be very debilitating for young and old alike, male and female. My son is 21 and suffering so badly we have organised help for him to learn the techniques and strategies to cope with life. It is very important to act quickly as it can spiral out of control.

Suzanne said...

What a sweet project. I always make a big deal of Valentine's Day. We have a "Tasha Tudor" tea, complete with a heart shaped cake with lots of frosting and coconut. The dolls join us too...LOL! Tasha always had joyous Valentine's Day celebrations and made fairs for her dolls--oh to have the time and creativity. Here is a post from one of our celebrations, if you care to share:
http://www.blueberrycottage.org/2012/02/tasha-tudor-valentines-day-greeting.html

Blessings,
Suzanne

Ellie Rae said...

Next time I'm going to save my Valentine's Day candy boxes for strawberries!

La Vie Quotidienne said...

The cupcake liners are brilliant and of course the heart-shaped container is wonderful. What a charming tea you have created.

LadyLydia said...

Thank you. I appreciate your visit.

LadyLydia said...

I have not has any sinus since I have been breathing properly

LadyLydia said...

I have not has any sinus since I have been breathing properly

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