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Monday, June 28, 2010

Tea Cup Tuesday Beauty

Hello All, welcome to another Tea Cup Tuesday.

I am naming today's "Beauty" because I think the cup I am showing today is very beautiful. I only recently came to have this cup. This is a coffee-can style cup. The pink color is amazing. The gold details bring out the beauty of the flowers and colors. It is a generous size as well. I wish I had an idea who made it so I could guess at the date, but there are only a few tiny gold handwritten numbers that read, "1039".

I loved it when I saw it,
and even though it doesn't have a backstamp, I wanted to bring it home with me.

Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at home, it had a crack in it. It was probably already cracked and it just found the trip in the car too tiring. I know how it feels. So I was only a little disappointed. For some reason, when I find something that has a defect, I feel quite loving towards it. Sigmund Freud would have something to say about that!

Such a delicate pink color!

It reminds me of my doggie's veterinarian. He has a cat with a broken back. His back legs do not work at all and he manages to get around anyways.
My husband asked the vet about him and he said that he thought the cat was still having a good life, and that it sent a message to everyone who saw him that just because something is broken doesn't mean you throw it away.
My heart melted when I heard this. I know that I cannot compare a cup to a cat, but the sentiment still holds true.

Everything and everyone is valuable. No matter what.

I may not ever be able to drink from this cup,
but I can still drink in its beauty every time I look at it.

Thank you all for stopping by today. I am so glad you could come by. Please visit Martha as well, she has the most gorgeous tea cups I have ever seen.

If you would like us to come and see your tea cup, please make your post first, and then come back and sign up with Mr. Linky below. All you need to do is fill in the two blanks and you will automatically be signed up. I did have some trouble last week commenting on some of your sites. I am not sure if it was my computer or not. If it happens again I let you know. I visit everyone's Tea Cup Tuesday entry each week, just so you know, even if you don't see my post : )
Hugs to you all!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

French Friday and Giveaway!

Happy Friday Everyone!
I am thrilled to be showing you more of what I experienced in France.
Last week I took you on a trip through Marie Antoinette's Petite Trianon. I also offered you a free French Postcard download and a chance to win a Limoges Tea cup and saucer. You can still sign up today to win (winner chosen next Friday). Just make sure you mention in the comment that you would like to win.

Now for today. I would have to say what I miss most about Paris is walking down the small narrow streets, you never knew what delightful spot you might come upon...(there seemed to be an endless supply of small narrow streets!).

One day I turned the wrong way while heading to the subway and found a special place.

A romantically quaint sidewalk cafe. So sweet and you could smell the delicious food.

This was on an exceptionally narrow street that wound up and around very old buildings

Here was a table waiting just for us!

The menu

These flowers were growing in pots near the seats. They smelled heavenly! I have never seen roses like this, it was so gorgeous it was almost unreal.

There are millions of people in Paris, and millions (it seems) of narrow streets and cafes. You would think that this would create an atmosphere of rushing, with busy people preoccupied with their lives. But it doesn't feel like that at all. It feels relaxed. It looks as if Parisians cultivate beauty. You regularly see people walking with flowers, and of course fresh baguettes. And in the evening, people are walking towards a cafe in search of a good meal and a great glass of wine. We spent a number of nights sitting at a little round cafe table with our bowl of olives, glass of wine, fabulous salad, just watching people walking by. I saw some amazing fashion, and incredible shoes! One thing I noticed right away, I never saw anyone walking in white running shoes. You know how here in America, we wear them all the time. Very sensible...very comfortable. But not in Paris, even older women wore great looking shoes. Absolutely fascinating.

Here is my French Friday Giveaway! If you haven't commented yet that you would like to win it, please do so. This is a tea cup and saucer by Limoges. Very delicate. Just lovely.
Thank you so much for stopping by today.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tea Cup Tuesday-Yea!

Happy Tuesday Everyone!
I am happy to share another tea cup with you as well as a little history behind tea and tea cups.
From a little research I have found out that the tea cup has developed in England in response to the newly available tea from China. Before this time, only coffee and chocolate were availabe (early to mid 1600's). King Charles II queen was from Portugal and already knew about tea, and talked her husband into finding a way to bring it to England. So tea came to England in the 1660's. Tea was very expensive and cost from 6 to 10 British Pounds per lb, and that was in the late 1680's! Imagine that!

The cup itself seems to have started out as handle-less cups and the saucers with tall sides. The British did not like this at all and eventually, developed a handled cup and a shallow saucer. But it wasn't until the 1740's that they developed a "soft paste" that could produce pottery anything like Chinese porcelain. By 1815 a "hard paste" had finally been developed that made fine white "bone China", by adding calcined animal bones. Adding to that, taxes on tea had been cut, making it possible for more people to afford it. Pottery factories grew and many of the companies we see backstamped on our antique cups sprang forth.

This is just a small snippet of the information that is out there about the history of tea and tea cups. I hope you enjoyed it.

Now, on to the cup!
My cup this week is new to my collection. I fell in love with the bold colors and the simple earlier version of the rose. I also really like the gold trim.

This cup has a really good feel, the handle and weight are just right. This may not be my most gorgeous cup, but it is really comfortable to drink from.

I just love the flowers on the plate. This is such a great springtime or summer cup and plate.

"It was William McKinley (the 25th president of the USA) who introduced the highly protectionist McKinley Tariff Act of 1890 - this imposed tariffs on many imports (including pottery) in order to make it easier for the American manufacturers to sell their products. It was a requirement of this Act that all such imports carried the name of the country of manufacture.
This provided well-known marks such as "Bavaria," "England," "Nippon," - indicating the country of manufacture".

"In 1921 the Act was amended to require the phrase "Made in" preceding the country of origin, The labeling at individual British potteries varies somewhat from the 1891/1921 dating requirements described above (e.g., Wedgwood adopted the "Made in
England" around 1908/10 and may have used it on some pieces as early as 1898)".
Reference-thepotteries.org General Guide To Pottery Trade Marks

If a backstamp includes "bone china" or "English bone china" it was made in the 20th century.

Using this information, I am guessing that my cup was made somewhere between 1900-1921.
It doesn't look that old at all!

Thank you so much for coming by for a visit today. I appreciate every single one of you!
Martha and I love to stop by and visit your place and see what tea cups you have to share.
Just fill in the two blanks below in Mr. Linky, and you will automatically be signed up. Please make your tea cup post first and then sign up. Thank you so much, and don't forget to visit Martha, she always has beautiful treasures to share as well as an interesting post.
Hugs to you all
p.s. If my friend Cheryl is reading this, my phone was not working in the mountains at all. I will hopefully reach you tomorrow : )

Thursday, June 17, 2010

French Friday and a Freebie!

Hello All
Welcome to French Friday, where I share something from my recent trip to Paris. I have adored all things French for a while now and going to Paris was a real dream of mine. The trip went very well, and my husband and I had a terrific time.

Today I want to share about Marie Antoinette and her Petite Trianon. Her first home away from Versailles. It is not that far from Versailles actually, about a 15 or 20 minute walk.

After visiting the palace, we began walking the enormous grounds behind it. There are gardens and pools almost as far as the eye can see. We came upon the Grand Trianon first, this was King Louis XIV recreational residence. Then we went to the Petite Trianon. It is built in the neoclassical style. It was the originally built by Louis XV for his...um..."special lady" Madame de Pompadour, but she did not live long enough to live in it, and Louis the XVI gave it to Marie as a wedding present. The key he gave her was on a ribbon with 531 diamonds (I wonder if the number was significant?). Marie decorated it in her her new home away from home in her own style. Here she could live more privately, more peacefully than in the palace. It is a much more intimate place than the huge gilded rooms of Versailles.

Walking into it is walking into a small palace. The first thing one sees is the enormous winding stairway, gilded with gold, heading to the second floor.
The rooms are small with very high ceilings. Some of the furnishings are original to Marie's time, most are not. But they have preserved it well and it is a beautiful place to walk through.

The beautiful staircase

The famous "M" on the balustrade of the second floor

Some of the dishes used in the Petite Trianon

The kitchen, which was fairly large. I couldn't help but imagine how it would look fitted for today. It is a lovely room.

This tunnel is behind the kitchen

Here are some garden tools. They are adorned with fancy ribbons


More Gorgeous!

The music room

The most exciting part to me was visiting Marie's bedroom and private sitting room.

I could hardly believe I was there, in the same room that Marie actually lived in, with furnishings that she herself used. It was truly unreal. I didn't want to leave. In fact, I went through the house, especially these rooms, three times! I think the security man was looking at me funny on the third time in Marie's room. Then again, it could happen a lot there.

Big grin on me!

What surprised me was how small her bedroom was. It was such a lovely room with sun pouring in the windows. But it was simply decorated and there were few furnishings. Her bed is small compared to her bed in Versailles. It looked like a plump twin size. But oh so cozy!
It wasn't easy to take photographs (no flash allowed), so we have only a few that turned out.

I had planned to spend two days at Versailles, but the truth was, I was exhausted from the one day. So we only did one full day. I am excited to think about the next time I visit there. There is a great deal of walking to be done. Next time I will know where to rent one of those golf carts!

Here is a lovely French Vintage Post Card that you can copy and use in your art.
(Please do not use it to sell copies of it in anyway). Thanks so much.

Now, if you have stayed with me through this extremely long post....I have another giveaway to tell you about!

This is a Limoges tea cup and saucer, made in France. It is my next giveaway!
Limoges makes such delicate cups, and this dainty cup will be one of yours soon. This photo makes it just a tad brighter than it is, but it is really a lovely cup! I have still have two for myself!

Please state in your comment if you would like to be included in this giveaway and I will put your name in the hat. The giveaway will take place two weeks from today.
I wish I had a cup for everyone of you. I appreciate all your super kind comments! I appreciate that you take the time to stop by.

Thank you all so much for coming by today.
I hope you enjoyed our little visit to the Petite Trianon.

As a side note: Two women in 1909 said they were at the Petite Trianon and slipped through time, saw Marie and others of that time and then returned.
They wrote a book about their experience called "An Adventure". Follow this link to Wikipedia where you can read more about it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mixed Media Girls

Hello All and Happy Wednesday!
I have spent the last two weeks catching up from being away. Hence, no art from me since before my Paris trip! I have missing my room and my "stuff".
Today I did get to put the finishing touches on something I have been working on a little here and there.

I found these two ladies in a box filled with other old photos at an antique shop. They seemed to belong together, and I really love how they look, so I brought them home with me. I began to wonder about who they were and what their lives were like. Thinking about this I began to work on a canvas to express what I was imagining.

Lydia and Mable had two different lives.

(The photo makes the pieces look a bit pink, which they are not, also, I have set the canvases on a book since the lace hangs down below the bottom a bit)

Lydia was very lucky indeed to be hired by a family to care for their children. She was appreciative of her opportunity and her ability to take the burden off her parents to care for her. She was even able to send a little money home each month.
But she missed them dearly! So each week when a letter arrived from home she would cherish the few moments of freedom she had to sit in her little attic room, drink her tea and read her letter as slowly as possible. She treasured her letters from home and kept them in a cigar box under her bed. In between letters she would pull that box out at night and read them again when she was particularity homesick. They gave her great comfort and helped her to manage until she could see her family again one day.

Here is where she is counting the days she has been away from home

Mable (below) was always thinking about fashion.
Her family may have been struggling to make ends meet, but that didn't stop her from laying in bed at night dreaming about ribbons and silk flowers, satin and beads! She spent all her spare time drawing her favorite fashion accessory and pouring over the leftover magazines her mother brought home from the wealthy family she cooked for.
But Mable wasn't content with dreaming for long. No, she had a plan. And she worked her plan, year by year until she owned her very own chapellerie ......... hat shop! And even though she was successful she still lay in bed at night dreaming of ribbons and silk flowers, satin.......

I made some hat pins with vintage pearls and rhinestone rondelles.

On the sides she has written out a list of what materials she will be needing to order

I made these two pieces on 5x5 canvases using a 100 year old hat shop receipt and a 100 year old letter written in French.

Thank you so much for coming by to look. Today I think I will start working with beads again and see what I can come up with.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tea Cup Tuesday in the Backyard

Summer is on it's way. It is hot, and sticky here in N.C. , but that is o.k. We have been having a nice breeze on and off and surprise thunderstorms as well. One minute the sky is bright blue and five minutes later ominous clouds are moving in, the wind picks up and big fat drops of rain begin pelting down. So exciting. I love a good rainstorm!

Tea Cup Tuesday today! I am so excited to show you my newest find, it is not that old, but I am really enjoying having my tea in it. I went out antiquing last week with the sole purpose of finding some tea cups. I had a very enjoyable day poking around a tiny town called Selma, which is almost entirely antique stores.

I love this color of blue for a tea cup, and the gold filigree on the edges and sides are fabulous elegant touches. This is a "corset" shaped tea cup.

For today's tea I have baked a chocolate cupcake with Very Vanilla Frosting. It is gluten free by the way!

As you can see below, this is an English tea cup made by the well known company of Ansley. I am having difficulty in dating this one, even though it has a backstamp. It could be from the 1920-30's, but the cup doesn't look that old. I found a site that said after the 1960's that backstamps were mostly blue and sometimes black and pottery color. So I am stuck with probably a date in the 1930's

The beautiful plate.

The flowers inside the cup.

I have been totally enjoying my visits to all of you who post about your tea cups. Thank you so much for joining us! Martha and I are always eager to see what you are sharing. If you want to join us this week, please make your post first about your tea cup and then come back and sign up with Mr. Linky below. Just fill in the two blanks and then you will be added to the list.
Don't forget to visit Martha, she always has the most gorgeous china!
Hugs to you all,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

French Friday-Hooray!

Today is another day to share with you something French.
I have been thinking about Paris all week and what I love so much about it.
I decided it was the walking around town that was so enjoyable. You never knew what you might come across next.

I miss the beautiful bouquets of flowers available at all the corner florists. I also saw some of the most incredible rose bushes ready to take home.
Walking down the narrow streets you would see all kinds of people and businesses.

This is one of my favorite cobblestone streets. It is early in the morning in this photo and no one is at the little cafe yet. But it will be filled with people very soon. On this street are two lovely tea rooms as well as a journal store that I bought some fab paper in.

There are an untold number of apartment buildings in Paris, some in great need of repair, some very modern, some really old, and some that are gorgeous. This one above is in the gorgeous category. I imagine myself living in one of these apartments overlooking the park below.

While out walking one afternoon we turned a corner and saw this beautiful old church. This is L'eglise Saint Severin.

Just Beautiful!

All the churches have incredible stained glass windows as well as totally gorgeous paintings.

It was a really special treat to visit this one.

Here is a small flea market we came upon on another day. Here they had about 20 stalls of all kinds of things...old books, old tools, old and newer jewelry, hats, scarves, nick nacs......

Furniture, teapots, coins, luggage, textiles (I drooled over!)......

ooooh La La!

They also had many stalls of fruits and veggies as well as cheese, olives, breads and desserts.

One way to save money in Paris is to buy food at these markets and make your own breakfast and lunch. Then you can save your money for fantastic restaurants at night!

We often came upon unusual vehicles

I can not imagine FedEx using this one in Raleigh : )

And of course, I must leave you today with another peek through a bakery window.

These photos only show a little of what you might see walking the streets of Paris. Such a delightful city! Thank you for coming by today and sharing in my memories.
Tonight I will pick the winner of my little bundle of French findings. I showed a sneak preview in last weeks French Friday post.

Tonight I will have a photo along with the winners name. You can still enter by leaving a comment today if you haven't already.

Next week
I will tell you about another giveaway along with a post about one of Marie Antoinette's homes

Hugs to you all!
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