One of our favorite parts of volunteering with the royal court at the Great Plains Renaissance Festival is hosting the Queen's Tea. The first year we did it, we just scooted chairs from the court closer to the thrones, and had the kids munch on cookies and sip punch while the queen and princess chatted with them.
As fun as that was, we wanted to make it more of a program - something returning fair-goers would look to year after year. So, we added story time. We chose books with a fairy tale theme, or a princess theme, and more recently a dragon theme. We had props, and tried to really engage our audience.
This last fair, we moved teatime to a separate area adjacent to the throne area and under its own sun-fly. But having the kids perch on adult sized chairs just wasn't cozy enough. The kids were wiggly, and wanted to see the pictures closer.
If you were a Girl Scout in the mid to late 1980's, you might remember making "sit upons" out of inexpensive vinyl table cloths and stuffing them with newspaper. These went with you to meetings and camp, so you never had to sit on the cold, damp ground or on bare floors.
Being a more formal occasion than a Girl Scout meeting, we upgraded to corduroy, upholstery fabric, and velvet scraps pieced together to make big squares. We still backed them with damp-resistant inexpensive vinyl tablecloths though, and stuffed them with plastic grocery bags that we collected over the months.
We made a wide variety of pillows (as we had a wide variety of scraps), and put tassels on the corner to add a small renaissance flavor. They've been far more popular with our younger guests than the chairs ever were.
“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature.”-Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
Do you have a friend who seems to have always been a part of your life? That friendship that feels as special and as comfortable as your favorite piece of clothing?
What a joy it was to plan a bachelorette party for our dear friend, Heidi. Who else but a true friend would want exactly what I would want for a bachelorette party? No, not an extravagant trip to Las Vegas, nor an evening of bar hopping, nor (thankfully) some party with penis-shaped ice cubes and flimsy, gaudy lingerie.
We are ladies, after all, so we took the opportunity to celebrate, and ran with it. We planned a day of brunch, spa appointments, and afternoon tea.
There were only five of us for the tea, but we didn't let the size of the party limit the menu!
As we were all coming from elsewhere to meet in Kansas City, I reserved a hotel suite with a separate living room and bedroom, making sure it came with a small dining table. We also made sure the menu was made of foods that could survive traveling in a cooler, and reheating in a microwave if necessary.
On the food menu was chicken salad in puff pastry, sausage rolls, soft pretzel bites, cucumber and grape kabobs, strawberries with brie, chocolate cupcakes, and petit fours, We had a variety of teas, and mimosas, of course. A good mix of American food, with nods to the British roots of afternoon tea.
For the table, I hauled my great grandmother's real linen table cloth and napkins along (when else am I going to get to use them??), a variety of china teacups, saucers, and desert plates, tea pots with cozies, creamer, sugar bowl, and a flower vase. I'm sure it was more elegant than that hotel suite had seen in a long time.
In lieu of a banquette or sideboard, we used the room's wet bar/kitchenette area to set the food out. All together, this looks like just my kind of party. Plenty of delicious treats, and more importantly, time to relax with dear friends to celebrate a new chapter of life.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!