Yesterday was bittersweet as Steph and I hosted what was probably our last tea party together. The tea party was to honor and welcome our friend Esme's newly adopted daughter, Tessa. It was a lovely afternoon spent in the company of some wonderful women and the adoring Miss Tessa. Even her grandmothers and auntie traveled from other states to be there!
It was also the last opportunity for me to see Steph for a while as she leaves at end of the week for Portland, her new home. I will never forget the fun that she and I have spent my kitchen, over the last few years, preparing for tea parties. I don't know how I will ever be able to host a tea party again as it will not be the same without her.
Tessa's welcome tea party was even more special because of the extra time Steph and I spent together preparing for it. We had a couple lunch meetings, we spent time shopping together, making and mailing invitations, and lots of time in the kitchen -- all filled with plenty of conversation and laughter. (Especially laughing at our baking disasters. Mine involved the dog eating all the tartlet shells that were cooling on the counter while we were away at piano lessons.)
The menu we came up with for Tessa's tea was simple as compared to other teas we've done, and it seemed like less work since we also had some help from friends.
We started with tea sandwiches: cucumber dill, chicken salad, and goat cheese-smoked salmon.
The sandwiches were followed by apricot-oat scones. These were made by Steph, and were so delicious! They had a layer of brown sugar in the middle - yum! Check her blog for the recipe that she promises to eventually post. We served these with homemade devonshire cream and homemade apricot jam.
For the desserts I made cupcakes and a small cake for Tessa. Her birthday is in a couple of days so I wanted to make a "take home" cake for her birthday celebration. The cake and cupcakes were vanilla, filled with raspberry cream. I made the cream with fresh raspberries and heavy whipping cream. I also used a little raspberry jam in between the layers and inside the cupcakes.
The colors we were using for the shower were pink and red so I went with a ladybug theme.
Along with the cupcakes we served lemon-raspberry tartlets (the second batch after the Pongo incident) and chocolate covered strawberries. I made the tartlet filling with homemade lemon curd and cream cheese. Our friend, Heather was kind enough to make the beautiful chocolate covered strawberries.
Steph also made a yummy punch that was served in this pretty punch bowl and glasses, which I inherited from her as part of her moving purge -- again, bittersweet!
Also as part of the red and pink color scheme, we made up flower bouquets from pink peonies, and red Gerber daisies. The peonies came from our yards, as well as from a friend's yard, who so kindly contributed the most of the pink ones. We placed the bouquets in decorative Chinese take-out boxes to incorporate a little bit of China into our party.
For party favors Steph and I also sewed these bookmarks using Asian fabrics that we found at our local craft/fabric store. We finished them off with a ladybug button.
A special thank you to my sister who helped us with the invitations. She has masted PhotoShop and worked her magic putting Tessa in a teacup (see above picture) as part of our invitation design.