Monday, November 30, 2015

A Victorian Christmas in Dundurn Castle

Every year, Dundurn Castle--Hamilton's Downton Abbey--is decorated in Victorian style for Christmas. Built in the 1830s, the 40-room mansion is now a designated National Historic Site of Canada. 

Photo courtesy of the internet
In 2013, I enjoyed the Victorian Christmas display at the historic castle.

The display of transferwares in the kitchen.

I need one of these tray tables in my bedroom! 

I also coveted the secretary desk in the sitting room.

A sprig of mistletoe hanging by the front stairway.

The dining room was beautifully decorated in cedar boughs, ribbons and dried flowers.

The Drawing Room featured a Victorian table-top tree. 
The costumed interpreter explained that the ornaments on the table were part of the gift exchange on Christmas morning. Interestingly, the Christmas gifts were not wrapped...perhaps the parents waited until after the children went to bed to bring down the presents?

One of the children was the lucky recipient of this miniature tea set.
If you'd like to see Dundurn Castle when it's not decked out for the holidays, you can take a virtual tour here.
Another Christmas tradition on my bucket list is to attend Canada's oldest tree lighting ceremony in downtown Dundas. Unfortunately, I missed this year's ceremony again. D'oh!

November was a busy month at work, but we made time for a tea social where we enjoyed some sugar cookie sleigh ride herbal tea.

Since the popular tea Advent calendar by David's Tea is too pricey for this frugal gal, I decided to create my own! I'm not particularly crafty so I was thrilled when I found this HUGE stocking Advent calendar with generous pockets at HomeSense last year.

I will be enjoying 24 days of tea while I countdown the days to Christmas!

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

In early November, I went to the Hamilton Potters' Guild's Fall Pottery Sale. You can view the beautiful teawares from the spring sale here.

The fall sale was the perfect place to shop for Christmas decor and gifts for the pottery fan.

There were many cute (but pricey!) ornaments on sale.

Ornaments featuring classic Christmas carol. 
Alas, there were no tea-themed ornaments so I left empty-handed.

This adorable nutcracker was from HomeSense. 
Sadly, the $60 price tag prevented me from bringing the nutcracker home with me. 

After 3 months of pumpkin and other spiced teas, I'm ready for the Christmas teas! 
I've always wanted to try Celestial Seasonings' Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride herbal tea so I was excited when I finally found it at our local Bulk Barn. Love the teapot sleigh on the box cover!

I purchased this "Tea Time" mug by Greg Voisin at last year's fall pottery show.

The sugar cookie sleigh ride herbal tea was a light and sweet tea ...
...but Celestial Seasonings' Candy Cane Lane green tea is still my favourite Christmas tea!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mum's the Word!

I missed the annual Hamilton Fall Garden and Mum Show this year, but was able to catch some mums at the Royal Botanical Gardens when I was there for a conference last month.

The RBG's autumn display included pumpkins, chrysanthemums, and interesting purple flowers that resembled cabbage heads.

I always keep an eye out for black teacups during my treasure hunts and scooped up this pretty pair at the local antique store last year for only $5 each! 

The Paragon backstamp includes the name of the pattern: Mums.
Chrysanthemum is the birth flower of November.

Pink, yellow and purple pom pomp mums adorn the outside of the demi cup.

The wide-mouth teacup has the colourful mums inside the cup.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Abigail's Tea House

A couple of years ago, a new tea room called Abigail's Tea House opened up in the County of Brant.

Abigail's Tea House is located in the old bank building on the Main Street of St. George, Ontario.

The gorgeous decor made me swoon.

Birdcage chandeliers! Tin ceilings! Peacock wallpaper! 
I wanted to take them all home with me!

 Tea lovers will have difficulty selecting a tea from the menu of 40+ loose leaf teas.

Teapot pretties

At my first visit in 2013, my friend and I enjoyed this delicious Ploughman's Plate for two.
 It was so filling that I didn't have room left for scones!

When I returned in 2014, I tried the daily quiche--it was the best quiche I've ever had!

This time, I had room for the fluffy scones with preserves and Devonshire cream.

Abigail's Tea House gets top marks for ambiance, food, and service! 

"Abigail’s tea house is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life." 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Scarecrow Saturday 2015

Last week, my office had another tea social. The theme for October was a no-brainer: Halloween!

I brought in some black teas and my Fire King peach lustre teacups and saucers.

My co-workers brought orange and black-themed treats.

 Our mini jack-o-lanterns. 

Last weekend was "Scarecrow Saturday" in downtown Dundas. This is an annual competition where local merchants create scarecrow displays that reflect their store or Halloween themes.

Village Bakery
 This little piggy went to market...

Left: Picone Fine Foods; Right: The Keeping Room
Veggie tales

Left: Ellenoire; Right: Bling on King (top), Strawberry Fields (bottom)
 Spa Day

Cumbraes the Butcher Shop

Mooey Cyrus' street performance of "Wrecking Ball".

Taylor's Tea Room
 This was my favourite: "The guard of Buckingham Palace". 
Taylor's past scarecrows were also fun:  

The Kitchen Witch
Now let's click our heels three times and join Sandi's new party...

I'm also joining the following parties this week: