Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tea at Tiffany's

I had to lighten this photo so you could see it better. This was the view from where we were sitting. Of course, there are paintings and pictures and tea paraphenelia all over that I didn't photograph. There was a bridal shower going on in the adjoining room to the right.

I picked the salad sampler which was a serving of each of three different chicken salads, plus a couple of wedges of tomato and cucumber, and a croissant and some crackers. All of them were delicious. While we were waiting for this plate, we had a scone and a small scoop of a cheddar cheese ball with some marmalade that was quite tasty too. And of course, the hot tea. I also ordered a cup of pumpkin soup which I've had elsewhere and loved, but this one wasn't very good. Too bland and thin.

My sister ordered a different plate that included your choice of two of the chicken salads on croissants and a dish of cole slaw. We were both stuffed! We ordered our desserts to go (a blueberry cake and bread pudding).

The atmosphere was delightful, but our waitress was obviously new and hovered way too much. Tea rooms pride themselves on their hospitality and ability to make you feel welcome, but sometimes I just want them to go away so we can enjoy the experience. I was disappointed in the tea serving. We got a teapot of hot water. Our tea was choices of the usual flavored tea bags you can buy in any grocery store. I think I got spoiled at the last tea room I went to. They steeped loose tea in your own individual pot and you got a strainer to put over your cup to filter out the tea leaves when you poured. There was a tea cozy over the teapot which made it easy to handle to pour (no burnt fingers) as well as keeping the tea hot. They timed the brewing before bringing it to you so that it was just right. But I do have to admit that most tea rooms do exactly what this one did...a pot of hot water and your choice of teas. The owner seemed stressed too.

Afterwards we visited the many antique malls around the Crown Point courthouse. I'm starting off with the set of pillowslips I purchased for $5. To be honest, I wouldn't have paid much more for these. The pillowslips are in excellent shape, hardly used, if used at all, but they've been washed so I assume they were used. Can you see how limp the tatting is on this? I could probably iron it and get it to look a little nicer. I could go to a LOT of trouble to make it look really good by pinning and blocking....but these are pillowslips, meant to be used. do you keep a tatted edging looking nice on linens? For one thing, use a good thread. A good crisp 6 cord thread will hold it's shape much better than this soft one. You shouldn't have to do that much to it after washing. This is why I don't use the "crochet cottons" you find in Walmart and K-Mart. They tend to clump a bit after washing and implode on themselves. The cheaper the thread, the less quality, the harder it is to tat up, and the quicker it is to deteriorate. When I first started tatting and heard the mantra, "use GOOD thread", I tended to blow it off because I had tons of crochet cotton. Why would I want to go buy some expensive thread that I didn't have the money for when I already had all kinds of thread? But I did eventually buy some Cebelia. Cebelia is not a 6 cord thread but it is a good thread that tats and crochets up very nicely. Between that and some 6 cord thread that I somehow acquired, I understood the difference. Even size 12 DMC tats up so much better than Southmaid or Coates size 10 cotton. And....I have only completely gone through maybe 5 or 6 balls of thread in the 10 years I've been tatting. It goes a long way and is well worth the money.

I certainly don't need any more hankies for my collection but I can't pass up a good deal. I prefer to buy them without edgings and I love the embroidered or cutwork hankies. I love shadow embroidery, drawn thread work, and applique. I did find some hankies with tatting, but as I said, I prefer them without an edge and ...well, they weren't that outstanding. I got all of these for $1.25 each and then 20% off of that when I got to the checkout!

There are a few more hankies here, plus this nice ecru mat begging for a tatted or crocheted edging. I've put some colored cardstock under a few of the hankies so you can see the cutwork, or as in this one, they've cut a design and turned it under and stitched it. I'm just so fascinated by this kind of work. I've emailed the Hanky Lady to see if she can give me some background on whether it is handmade or machine made. The stitching is so perfect I would think machine made but the edges have to be rolled under and I can't see it done any way but by hand. I saw one on her site with a short edge like this but not the wide design. This one goes in about 1 1/4".

I got this bag of thread with a size 13 crochet hook. There are also some crocheted motifs - might be nice for a crazy quilter. The white thread is DMC cordonnet size 70. The crocheted motifs are made from a size 10 thread though and feel soft like the thread on the pillowslips.

I am curious about the "exclusive time-saver stitch-saver clip" on the crochet hook. It is clearly that gold thing on the handle end. There are no instructions on how to use it and I don't have a clue myself! I may have to check with some crochet gurus.

This little thing is made from wood molding and is decorated with buttons, a scissors charm and ric rac. I'll probably replace the ric rac with something else. I love the buttons and the snap. The hooks are handy for very small tools, like strivers or small embroidery scissors or a small tape measure perhaps.

This was my next to most expensive item. The pillowslips were $5 and this was $3. I hesitated but I so much want to see how this ornament is put together. I don't like the beads, but once you know how something is done, you can substitute whatever you want. All in all - it was great. I spent $22.00 even there...and got an Aunt Jane's 1972 vintage magazine too!

I didn't get to tat along when Diane Saunders offered this tulip but I'd been printing out the pages and decided to tat it last night (at 11:30 p.m.!) It looked quick and I needed a little something to wind down. I didn't realize there was a stem...I got done around 1:30 a.m. It wouldn't have taken so long but I emptied shuttles 4 times from previous threads by tatting little blossoms so you could probably tat this in an hour easy if you had your shuttles wound and ready to go.


  1. Wow. I wish there were treasure troves like that here.

    On another note, your sister and you look really alike! I hardly look like my sister.

  2. Thanks for your insight on thread... I've been teaching Mom to tat this weekend, and we had been discussing the various threads available. Your info was very helpful!

  3. Sorry you were disappointed in the tea room, but sounds like you had fun anyway. If the crochet hook is like one or two I have, it works this way - when you get ready to put your crochet down, you slip the loop up under the saver thingy to keep it from pulling out and unraveling your work!


Emails and comments both are welcome and always read.