Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Anne of Green Gables Tea Party (2015 ed.)

This year, as every year, I like to conclude the Lucy Maud Montgomery Reading Challenge with an Anne of Green Gables tea, in honor of my favorite of Montgomery's characters. I've been re-reading Anne this past week (and enjoying it thoroughly) and found my theme for this year's party inside of it.

Unlike past teas (see 2014), this time I decided to leave my Anne paraphernalia packed away but instead try to create the mood of one of Anne and Diana's favorite places instead. Inspiration for this year's tea was found here:

"I wish time went as quick sewing patches as it does when I'm playing with Diana, though. Oh, we do have such elegant times, Marilla. I have to furnish most of the imagination, but I'm well able to do that. Diana is simply perfect in every other way. You know that little piece of land across the brook that runs up between our farm and Mr. Barry's. It belongs to Mr. William Bell, and right in the corner there is a little ring of white birch trees--the most romantic spot, Marilla. Diana and I have our playhouse there. We call it Idlewild. Isn't that a poetical name? I assure you it took me some time to think it out. I stayed awake nearly a whole night before I invented it. Then, just as I was dropping off to sleep, it came like an inspiration. Diana was enraptured when she heard it. We have got our house fixed up elegantly. You must come and see it, Marilla--won't you?" Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 8, The Delights of Anticipation

Anne goes on further in her description of Idlewild (because really, her descriptions are always quite long and ornate):

"We have great big stones, all covered with moss, for seats, and boards from tree to tree for shelves. And we have all our dishes on them. Of course, they're all broken but it's the easiest thing in the world to imagine that they are whole."

To decorate the house for the party, I simply went outside sent my children outside to collect rocks, sticks and moss covered things. They enjoyed the sunshine and collection process and then I got to pick through their collection and had the fun of decorating with it! It was easy and quite cost effective and gave things (I think) a more natural feel. Instead of turning on house lights, we left them off and enjoyed fellowship using only natural light from the windows. Even though it was daytime, I also wanted to light some candles because that just makes things feel more calm and old fashioned as a general rule. (I am a big fan of calm and old fashioned!)

The menu was kept simple to allow for things (i.e., myself) to be more relaxed. I wanted to keep it "chicken based" since chickens were a primary source of food and money back in Montgomery's day.  (See this article.) We had gluten-free cream of chicken soup and egg salad sandwiches. Fruit was used as table decor and was also included on the menu. This time I opted for two different scones, both recipes of which were found on my friend Pinterest: sour cream scones and a variant on this recipe for "Apple Pie Scones".

I was kind of stumped on what to serve for dessert. I think at teas you can sometimes have too much dessert but then you simply must do something fun and a bit unique. I pulled out my copy of The Anne of Green Gables Treasury and was flipping through it with my co-host (i.e., my daughter) who was delightedly looking at the pictures and volunteering suggestions. She thought we should serve ice cream. But of course!!!

". . . ice cream is one of those things that are beyond imagination." Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 13, The Delights of Anticipation

So we served ice cream with apple pie and raspberry tart. Why raspberry tart?

"What a splendid day!" said Anne, drawing a long breath. "Isn't it good just to be alive on a day like this? I pity the people who aren't born yet for missing it. They may have good days, of course, but they can never have this one. And it's splendider still to have such a lovely way to go to school by, isn't it?"

"It's a lot nicer than going round by the road; that is so dusty and hot," said Diana practically, peeping into her dinner basket and mentally calculating if the three juicy, toothsome, raspberry tarts reposing there were divided among ten girls how many bites each girl would have.

The little girls of Avonlea school always pooled their lunches, and to eat three raspberry tarts all alone or even to share them only with one's best chum would have forever and ever branded as "awful mean" the girl who did it. And yet, when the tarts were divided among ten girls you just got enough to tantalize you. Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 15

(Photo/quote can be obtained HERE courtesy of Cranial Hiccups.)

Note: the desserts are not homemade. My husband was all for purchasing desserts to help keep the stress levels in myself down as I was hosting alone with my three year old. Sometimes you just have to cut yourself a break!

Our guests included my daughter's friends and their mothers (who would be my friends) and so we had some special mother/daughter time. Instead of playing games, I thought it would be nice simply to relax and fellowship with one another, which is what was done. Each guest was invited to tell the others what their favorite Montgomery book was and/or who their favorite character is. Then they were also invited to share whether or not they wish they had been named something different and, if so, what. This was a hilarious exercise and I learned a few things about my friends as they shared names and thoughts that they had in their own childhood and what names they thought were particularly beautiful now. The nice thing is that pretty much every guest was thoroughly satisfied with their given name. Happy, meaningful, beautiful names!

Besides that we talked books, politics, education, crafts, food, and generally enjoyed one another's company.

Tea was, of course, served. I opted to serve an earl gray (given to me by a bosom friend of mine), a lavender red herbal tea and then the Lemon Chiffon Cuppa Cake Tea from Republic of Tea.

The last particular detail I'd like to share is that I ordered some pecan roll candies after reading Lucy Maud Montgomery's journals earlier this month, wherein she stated these were her favorite candies. (Thank you, Maud, for contributing to our meal!) Using great amounts of self-control, I waited until the actual tea party to taste these candies. I liked them! Very much!


One of my friends also brought with her some flowers from our local Green Gables farm. (No joke! Real name!) Aren't they beautiful?

Here are some additional pictures for your enjoyment:

Note the beverage of choice "which starts with an R and a C." A must have at an Anne-related tea!

I'll leave you with this parting thought:

"I believe I could be a model child if I were just invited out to tea every day." - Chapter 22, Anne is Invited Out to Tea


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Oh, how I love this. :-)

*carrie* said...

Lovely! That framed sign at the bottom ("Carrots!) cracked me up.

When I was younger, I wanted to be named Victoria--or Karen, which is hilarious, given its proximity to my actual name. =)

Annette Whipple said...

Sounds like a wonderful time for all involved. I bet she loved co-hosting!

I love the idea of natural decor and lighting. :)

bekahcubed said...

How very lovely! Patterning after Idlewild seems a delightful idea. You're making me wish my daughter were old enough to cohost a tea with me (or even just to not interrupt a tea with endless nursing sessions - but that day will come sooner than I can imagine now, I'm sure.)

Barbara H. said...

That sounds like so much fun in every way! Love the printables. I'm all for having some purchased parts of a meal and reducing stress.

Susanne said...

Well how fun does all that look?

Julie @ Smiling Shelves said...

What fun! Sounds like Anne and Diana would have fit right into your party. And the food all sounds delicious!

Shonya said...

Oh! I want to come!!! What a simply delightful party! I think now I must re-read Anne!

Bluerose said...

This is so lovely!

I remember you mentioning in a post about pecan rolls being a favorite of LMM, but I didn't make the connection of what they really were. It's been a long time, but I loved those things as a younger person.

Cassandra said...

Beautiful, Carrie!! I want to come!! :D

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