Friday, March 30, 2012

I'm a Little Teapot...

My attention can be captured with something  I like much easier than something I have no interest in.   Now you know how much I like teapots - so what better object for a teachable moment than a teapot?    Remember that little preschool song, "I'm a little teapot, short and stout.  Here is my handle, here is my spout..."?  That song has a whole new meaning for me in adulthood.

One day awhile back my doorbell rang and there stood my former pastor holding a shopping bag.  He explained  he and his wife were sorting through their belongings in preparation for a move, and knowing how much I liked tea and tea parties they  wondered if I'd like their silver plate tea set.  As he removed it  from the bag he mentioned it was tarnished and  needed polishing.  I thanked him for thinking of me, and said I'd be happy to become the new owner.  Upon leaving he jokingly said, "When you get it all polished take a picture and send it to my wife."  [Don't you just love male humor!  ;-)]

After he left I looked at the tarnished teapot sitting on the table and realized how symbolic it was of humanity.   It was functional in its current condition, but it wasn't very pretty.  The environment had dulled it and prevented it from manifesting its full potential.  It needed to be polished and restored.

Sometimes life makes me dull and tarnished too, and I need to be restored through Bible reading [my manual/handbook for living] and prayer.   No other "polish" will do.  Without it I'm unacceptable for service.

I did indeed take a before and after photo of the tea set, but it was for my benefit and not the pastor's wife.   The picture  is a simple reminder that my Creator wants to restore my spirit so I can manifest the full potential  He has planned for my life.   I so want to shine for Him!

Wishing everyone a glorious Palm Sunday as we celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.   Hosanna in the highest!   He is worthy of praise and adoration!

Tea time with God.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tea Whimsy

I like elegant tea things, but I also enjoy whimsical ones too, and both are found in my home.  Today's post is all about tea whimsy.  This is the rug that greets you as you enter the front door!

In the Kitchen:   Matching cookie jar and teapot - although I didn't purchase them at the same time or at the same place.  The cookie jar came from an antique store in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and the teapot came from an antique store right close to home.

Tea and/or Cookie Tins

Tea trays and a teapot cutting board.  My granddaughter, who was five at the time, spotted one of the tea trays while we were shopping before I noticed it. 

  Do you find that tea-themed items just seem to jump out at you at the store?  ;-)

This hanging teapot arrangement was designed to hold votive candles in the cups, but that's not feasible where I put it.

In the Dining Area:   Teapot Chair Cushions

  I found these teapot tassels  for my china cabinet doors in a mail order catalog.

In the Family Room:  This teapot phone is functional, but we don't use it.  I couldn't resist the novelty.

 A teapot / teacup lamp Christmas present one year.


In the Utility Room:  Hooks for hubby's jackets.

The Guest Bedroom:   This rug is beside the bed so my guests will have sweet dreams about tea while they're visiting!  ;-)

Thanks for viewing my whimsical tea things!

Today I'm linking to Bernideen's Tea Time Blog for "Friends Sharing Tea!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Tea Truck for Hubby

One step inside our front door immediately lets guests know that I have a passion for tea.  My hubby's a good sport about my tea décor, and in a way he aids and abets my passion with his excellent woodworking craftmanship.  I have to brag on him a bit here...  He built one entire wall of bookcases and a curio cabinet [to display my teapots] in our family room.  The cabinets wrap around onto a second wall extending almost up to the fireplace.    [He also built the fireplace mantle and enclosure which was pictured in yesterday's post.] 

One day he jokingly said, "There's not a manly room in the house!"  He's not a hunter or fisherman so there's no animal heads or mounted fish to compete with, and he's never talked about building himself a "man cave" in the basement [except for his woodshop].  But one day while I was shopping at Cost Plus/World Market, I spotted something that I thought might fit the bill for something manly.  I bought it and brought it home to him.   If nothing else, I knew it would give him a chuckle!

  It sits on top of the computer hutch in our office.

Inside the compartment was six boxes of Twinings English Breakfast Tea [which he happens to like], so it turned out to be a good purchase!

Now I need to order a book on the history of Twinings.   I so regret that I didn't visit Twinings on either of my two visits to London.  Does that mean I need to return someday???

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vintage Folding Stands

The first time I saw a wooden three-tiered folding stand was at Magnolia & Ivy [tea rooms in Georgia and Florida].  Owners Kay and Terri said their's were close-outs at Bombay, and they were searching  sources to reproduce them.  They stood them next to tables to hold filled teapots to free up space on the tabletop. 

When my husband and I traveled to Elmwood Inn before it closed, I saw the stands used there too.  I was told theirs were vintage and not reproductions.  My interest was piqued and I began researching them.  I found they go by an assortment of names...  curate's stand, Butler's stand, muffin stand, pie stand, and cake stand.   The repros are called plant stands.

I knew I wanted one and kept an eye  out for them in antique stores, and I found one!  They're perfect for displaying teapots.

A friend showed me a different style - a squattier, rectangle shaped stand with only two shelves, but it folds-up like the three-tiered stands.

Imagine my delight one Saturday afternoon in 2007 as I was wandering through an outdoor antique show, and spotted one!  The seller said he found it on a buying trip to England a couple of months earlier, and said it was called  a "pastry stand."   These seem to be a little bit harder to find than the three-tiered stands.

 I am happy to have found both of mine.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tea Cozies

I love anything that's associated with tea, and there's always  fascinating things to discover, for example tea cozies - or is it cosies?  I guess it all depends on which side of the "pond"  you live.  In the United States we  spell these clever little teapot "jackets"  used for keeping  tea piping hot, a cozy, but I've read the British spell it cosy. 

It was  fun reading the history of  tea cozies.  Apparently, the cozy  became popular in Britain after the price of tea became affordable.  Teapots became larger and larger pots meant finding a way to keep the tea hot. 

The story goes, an early 1800's British farmer mistakenly placed his woolen hat on his teapot, and returned to find the tea still warm - making a hat the first predecessor of cozies! 

Afternoon Tea became popular during the Victorian era [thanks to the Duchess of Bedford],  which influenced the invention of many new tea accoutrements.   The history of the tea cozy may have begun as early as 1660,  but it wasn't documented until 1867, and many surviving antique tea cozies today are from the Victorian Era.   It was inevitable that something would be created to keep the tea hot so  female gatherings in aristocratic closets or bedchambers wouldn't be cut short  before all their juicy gossip had tumbled out.   ;-)

Tea cozies were also a means for Victorian ladies to show off  their needlework skills.  Every style of needlework was used - needlepoint, crewel, embroidery, ribbon work, etc..

Tea cozies flourished, and the craze made it's way across the pond to this country.  They were made from wool, cloth, lace, and some were crocheted or knitted.

I don't have a lot of tea cozies because I  use  tea warmers, but  below are the  cozies  I own.

The first cozy was hand-made by a friend.  The second is a Thistledown "wrap around " tea cozy, and the third is a "dome" tea cozy .

In 2002  I  joined a  local tea society.  I met many wonderful ladies and learned a lot.  One of the ladies in the group made reproduction Victorian porcelain half-doll tea cozies and pin cushions.  Before she moved out-of-state,  the president of the tea society took me over to her house to view her beautiful handiwork.  I purchased a half-doll tea cozy and pin cushion.

Front View

Close-up of porcelain half-doll

Back View

She sits on top of one of my Sadler teapots.  Isn't she lovely?  I'm  afraid of getting tea stains on her beautiful dress if I actually use her, so she just sits  looking pretty!

Antique porcelain half-doll cozies, pin cushions, dresser dolls and boudoir lamps first appeared in Germany as early as 1840.  They were in such demand that they were produced by the thousands, not only in Germany, but in America, Japan, and France.  Some had carefully styled hair wigs. 

Everything is sewn by hand, and I'm happy to have them even if they aren't antiques.

I belong to a tea-themed E-group called Afternoon Tea Across America [ATAA].  Back in 2004 there was a discussion about vintage teapot carriers or "Carriage Cozies."  I was  fascinated by them.  Imagine my delight when I entered a tea room with my girlfriend in 2005 and spotted one!  Below is a photo of the tea room [Sheila's Tea], which is sadly no longer in business.

Gift area of the quaint and eclectic tea room

Below is the vintage teapot carrier.  I've read different accounts for its use.   The term "Carriage Cozy" came about because it carried the tea and  teapot by carriage - perhaps to a picnic.   It is said servants also used this cozy to carry the tea and teapot  from the downstairs kitchen to  their employers upstairs.   The cozy made transport easier, protected the porcelain teapot, and most importantly it kept the tea warm. 

My cozy has been recovered inside and out, but the hardware is old.   Antique cozies would have been filled with lamb's wool for insulation, while the exterior would probably have been tapestry.

My girlfriend thought mine was a purse at first glance... and others think it resembles a bowling ball case!  The interior of the cozy is very soft and protects the teapot, but during Victorian times, I envision tea sloshing out of the spout during transport and making a  mess of the lining.  [If tea was, indeed, transported in the pot.]

This type of cozy is still made in Holland today.  Their website,  refers to them as "tea cosies with steel frames."  If you have any other information to share about the function of these cozies I would love to hear it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shopping at the "Grand Dame" of Woodward Avenue

This is a 1956 photo of shoppers in downtown Detroit,  and the J.L. Hudson's Department Store.  [The DDD blocks stand for Downtown Detroit Days.]  I vividly remember my mother and I riding the bus downtown for all-day shopping excursions at Hudson's when I was a child.  

Photo Courtesy of Central Business District Foundation

 Upon entering the bronze doors, there was so much to see and explore.

Davis Hillmer Collection, Courtesy of Detroit Historical Museum

Close-up of name plates on the exterior wall of the store in the photo above.


The J.L. Hudson store was massive, filling one square city block of Woodward Avenue [the "Motor City's" main artery].  It was spread out over  25 floors, 17 of which were devoted to retail, two half-floors, a mezzanine and five basements - two of which housed the world's biggest "Budget Store," which was a store within "THE" store dedicated to thrifty shoppers.  At one time, Hudson's was the tallest department store in the world.  It's shopping floor space totaled 49 acres - the equivalent of 1,200 averaged-sized 1940's homes.   More than one-half million commodities were sold in that shopping space.

Vintage Linen Postcard of J.L. Hudson's Department Store

Hudson's was rated number two in the nation's three largest department stores in the mid-1960's, both in sales volume and building size.  Macy's main store in New York City was number one and Marshall Field's was third. 

My earliest recollection of the gigantic store wasn't "Toyland" on the 12th floor, but rather the walnut paneled elevators and the friendly, neatly uniformed operators who greeted shoppers upon entering, closed and opened the folding safety gate, pressed the operating buttons on the wall panel, and called out floor numbers before exiting.   Those elevator rides were real "tummy-ticklers" and reminded me of amusement park rides! ;-)

As a high school teenager, my girlfriend and I went to the downtown store to purchase our outfits for "Senior Dress-up Day."  And when I became engaged I filled out my bridal registry  at the flagship store.   How exciting when those green Hudson delivery trucks pulled up in front of my parent's house, and the driver emerged carrying wedding presents to  be delivered to the front door.   

Davis Hillmer Collection, Courtesy of Detroit Historical Museum
Millinery  was on the first and seventh floors.  Ladies of earlier times always wore a hat to tea rooms or almost any place for that matter!    The two vintage hats pictured below are from J.L. Hudson's.  The turquoise hat still has the original price tag of $3.99 attached.   

Gloves [also proper dress apparel] were located in the first basement.  The vintage ecru lace gloves  pictured below still have the original price tag pinned inside of $1.00.  The  vintage  kid leather gloves have the original price sticker of $4.00 attached.   Jewelry was sold on the first, third, fourth and seventh floors.

Women's hosiery was sold on the first floor.   Going bare-legged was unacceptable - except during WWII when there was a limited supply of hosiery and women resorted to painting their legs with leg-makeup as an alternative.     Hudson's reserved a portion of their hosiery allotment during the war for their female employees so they wouldn't come to work stockingless.
Davis Hillmer Collection, Courtesy of Detroit Historical Museum

I found this box of women's hosiery in an antique store and knew I had to buy it when I saw the color of the hosiery printed on the end of the box was "Teatime!"  

 Nylon stockings were still being sold since pantyhose hadn't become the rage yet!

This concludes my series of posts on the J.L. Hudson Department Store.   I hope you've enjoyed reading it half as much as I've enjoyed writing about it.   Hopefully  it has  stirred fond memories of the department store where you shopped in days gone by.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dining at J.L. Hudson's, Part II

Joseph Lowthian Hudson, was the founder of the department store that bore his name.  

He was the second child born to Richard and Elizabeth [Lowthian] Hudson, at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England in 1846.  His father was a tea, coffee and spice merchant, and a part-time Methodist preacher.  With his British heritage, and strong Methodist tee-totaling beliefs throughout his life, I like to think he was an avid tea drinker!

Below is an early 1900's Hudson's Ad Card.   The back states: "Hudson's, The Leading Retail Clothing House in America."  I like that Mr. Hudson put a teapot on his ad card!

According to a 1947 Hudsonian employee publication, the five restaurants and tea rooms were staffed with 110 waitresses, eight cashiers, and twenty hostesses.  A waitress' workday began at 10:15 a.m. with a class period where  her supervisor went over every menu item for the customer's benefit.  Then managers inspected each waitress for neatness of hair, hands and nails, hose and shoes.  Uniforms and aprons, had to be spotless.  She was back at her station by 11:00 a.m., and from then until closing at 3:00 p.m. [or whenever the last guest left] her routine was pleasing one customer after another politely, and with a smile.  A Hudson's waitress knew that when a customer stepped into one of the restaurants, they ceased to be a customer and officially became a guest.  Many a guest left with good will for the entire store because they liked the way their waitress served them.

Waitresses having their hands inspected before starting work. 

  Mezzanine Tea Room waitresses being briefed on the menu for the day in 1954.

The classic Maurice Salad was synonymous with Hudson's in later years.  No one seems to know exactly who Maurice was.   Some say he was a chef at the Detroit flagship store where the salad made its debut.  Whoever he was, his salad remained on the menu for more than fifty years, where it seems to have made its first appearance on a Riverview Dining Room menu. 

When Hudson's flagship store closed in 1984, the company merged its other locations into the  Dayton-Hudson Corporation, which later became Target Corporation.   Hudson's became defunct in 2001 when the stores were re-branded Marshall Field's.  In 2006 all Marshall Field's stores were incorporated into the Macy's chain.   With all the changes that  occurred, the Maurice Salad survived, and is said to be the number-one seller in Macy's Michigan "Lakeshore Grille" restaurants.   

The cookbook, Someone's in the Kitchen with Dayton's, Marshall Field's & Hudson's, printed in 1992 by the Dayton-Hudson Corporation, contains the recipe for the Maurice Salad that was such a closely guarded secret for many years.  It's also in The Marshall Field's Cookbook, and has been featured in Detroit newspapers.

 Maurice Salad Recipe
1 lb. ham, julienned
1 lb. cooked turkey breast, julienned
1 lb. Swiss cheese, julienned
1/2 cup slivered sweet gherkin pickles
1 hard-boiled egg, diced
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
8 - 12 pimiento-stuffed green olives for garnish

2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons teaspoons onion juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup mayonnaise, reduced-fat or regular
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Salt to taste

To prepare the dressing:  In a small bowl combine vinegar, lemon juice, onion juice, sugar, Dijon and dry mustard; whisk well to dissolve the sugar.  Whisk in the mayonnaise and parsley.   Season with salt.

[Note:  Bottles of Maurice Dressing can be purchased at all Macy's Michigan locations.  I've heard Onion Juice, found in the spice section, isn't readily available in grocery stores in other states, but a grated onion will easily produce onion juice.]

To prepare the salad:   Arrange a bed of lettuce on each plate.  Top with meat, cheese, diced egg and slivered pickles.  Garnish with 2 olives and serve with dressing on the side.   Um, Um Good!    Recipe serves four.

I recently had a cup of Canadian Cheese Soup and Popover at Macy's [which was also a Hudson's favorite] accompanied by a "Starter" Maurice.  The photo is not the full-size salad.

The only thing missing that would have made  a complete Hudson's meal was a hot fudge ice cream puff,  but I was too full to eat another bite!

Hudson's will be the theme of our Ladies' Spring Tea at church this year, and  Canadian Cheese Soup, Maurice Salad, and Hot Fudge Ice Cream Puffs are on the menu.   I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dining at J.L. Hudson's

I've eaten in some of Hudson's suburban mall restaurants when they still existed, but regrettably never in any of the flagship store's dining rooms or tea rooms.

In Hudson's early years, their restaurant was located on the 7th floor and was known as The Café.  In 1928 the 13th floor became home to three formal dining rooms - The Georgian Dining Room, The Early American Dining Room [reserved for non-smokers], and the Pine Room [which later became the Beef Emporium - a popular business men's luncheon spot]. 

Below is a 1929 Georgian Room lunch menu.   Tea was .20 cents for a single serving and .30 cents for two.  Among the selections were English Breakfast, Darjeeling and Orange Pekoe blends.

The Georgian Room

Davis Hillmer Collection, Courtesy of Detroit Historical Museum

A 1953 Restaurant Menu  

In 1958 the Georgian and Early American Rooms were combined to create the Riverview Dining Room with the ability to seat 450 guests

The Mezzanine Tea Room and Basement Tea Room opened in 1928.   In 1947 the Basement Tea Room transitioned to cafeteria-style dining.

In 1962, the elegant Mezzanine Tea Room converted to a buffet named Picadilly Circus.  The days of leisure lunches at tables covered with fresh linen cloths set with silver and fragile china became history.  July 1946 menu below.

Attempts to find archived photos of the Mezzanine Tea Room were unsuccessful, although a photo exists of the Mezzanine Soda Fountain which also opened in 1928 and was adjacent to the Mezzanine Tea Room.  

I purchased my first dishes with a J.L. Hudson back stamp in the summer of 2011.  The dealer said they were used in the tea room, but it's unverified.

The four silver-like pieces in the top row  below are made by International Silver Co. and are "silver soldered" [a metal alloy used for joining metal surfaces].  They are heavy and durable and bare marks of much use.  All pieces are back stamped J.L. Hudson Co. and were used in their dining establishments.  The bowl was used for ice cream, the cream pitchers are 1 1/2 oz. and 3 oz.   The tea pot wandered off to Texas before I purchased it and brought it back to Michigan [via E-bay]!   All of the flatware has the name Hudson's engraved on the handles either in front or on the back.  The earlier pieces are silver plate and the later pieces are stainless steel. 

The dishes below have the identical back stamp pictured above.  They're Royal Bayreuth, made in Germany, US Zone.   To date I've found the dinner plate, salad plate, bread & butter plate, berry bowl and cup and saucer.  The search continues! ;-)  These are said to have been used in Hudson's dining facilities too.

Tomorrow's post will continue on Hudson's eateries.