The Ladies' Tea Guild

Monday, March 17, 2014

Irish tea and treats for St. Patrick's Day

Well, even though I'm not Irish, how can I pass up celebrating a holiday that honors a nation of tea-drinkers?  My mom always makes a corned beef, cabbage and potato dinner, and has lately started buying Irish beer for my dad and brother.  I, on the other hand, am more a fan of cider and wine rather than beer, and much more a fan of tea and treats.
I've made seed cake, shortbread and soda bread before, but not barmbrack, which according to modern recipes, is a fruitcake where you first plump the dried fruit in hot tea and then add it to the cake.  I may have to try that today for elevenses (morning tea and treat at 11 a.m.), which according to some Irish cultural websites, is as much an Irish tradition as an English one!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Finally finishing a project ...

Photo: Elizabeth Urbach
Several months ago I began to make a dress for the museum where I work.  We conduct custom tours for 3rd grade classes in our Victorian house, and the tours include a short dress-up session and photo opportunity.  The girls' costumes that we use are Jessica McClintock and similar Edwardian-inspired dresses from the 1970s through 1990s, that are not only historically inaccurate for the time period of the house (1855 - 1875) but they're getting really ratty, faded, and in need of replacement.  But hey, they were donated 15 years ago (i.e. FREE) ...

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)