Friday, January 24, 2014

A Jane Austen -"Grow your Blog" Tea Party

There seems few better means of escaping the cold grey days of January than with good books, good friends and steaming cups of tea, so when the delightful blogger Vicki of Two Bags Full announced she would be hosting her second annual Grow Your Blog Party this month, (a fabulous way for bloggers and readers to meet and mingle), I immediately thought a tea party post with a literary twist would be fitting for celebrating this wonderful, if only virtual, gathering of creatives. 
 Coincidentally, one of my absolute favorite novels was first published on the 28th of January, and although that was over two centuries ago, in 1813, it is still wildly popular to this day.
The much loved Pride and Predjudice addresses very human themes which seem as relevant in modern times as they did in 19th century. The elegant language, vivid characters, witty observations and picturesque settings make this book truly a delight.
So why not celebrate the 101 anniversary of this timeless classic with a tea honoring it's author Jane Austen. Although the idea of a formal afternoon tea party as we know it, precedes Austen's time, we'll fudge the timeline a bit and with some semi-scratch tea treats and a few easy projects, enjoy the romance of the Austen era, if only for a few hours.
Please note, this is more a fanciful celebration of the spirit Austen's time and novels than an authentic regency experience, so please pardon any historical inaccuracies.
Tea Party Invitations
You'll Need
invitation printout large enough to hold tea bag
individually wrapped tea bags
blank cards or folded card stock and envelopes
I've seen this idea for invitations in shops and a while ago created a version for my sister in law's bridal shower tea. For this Austen theme fete I combined elegant vintage tea and frame images from the the Graphics Fairy
First, I simply printed and cut out my image. Then using a small craft knife cut a small slit along the top edge of the teacup following the design. 
I applied glue around just the very edges of the back of the image, avoiding center area, and attached to folded card stock (I chose a lavender shade). I let glue dry and slipped a tea bag into the cup (it is said Jane enjoyed tea from the Twinings Co.)

Menu Ideas
For the menu, any favorite traditional assorted teas, finger sandwiches and sweets are perfect fare. For my tea, I've included "not quite homemade" tea cakes and provided some links to a few other easy tea time recipes
   For wonderful historic regency recipes, visit Jane Austen U.K and for fascinating information about customs and fashions and more, pop over to Jane Austen's World.
Mrs Bennett's Lace Tea Cakes
"No Lace. No lace Mrs Bennett, I beg you"
                  an exasperated Mr. Bennett, Pride and Predjudice
Though frustrated with his wife's constant preoccupation with fashion finery, even Mr. Bennett might not object to a lacy sweet treat.
For the Tea cakes
Lacking for a proper (or for that matter, any) kitchen staff,
I enlisted the help of trusty Sara Lee for this easy treat.
Slice slightly thawed cake into desired shapes with a knife or cookie cutters and brush off extra crumbs. Set on wire rack over wax paper lined pan
Icing glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar
3 teaspoons Corn syrup
3 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon orange extract (or desired flavor)
Blend ingredients together until smooth and glossy. 
Add small amounts of extra corn syrup if icing is too thick. 
Pour over cakes spreading evenly on sides and allow to set. Icing should dry to smooth shiny finish that is firm to the touch (this can take up to 40  minutes)

For the "Lace" Accents
Though there are many elaborate edible lace techniques and supplies sold in baking supply shops, I thought I'd try a quick and simple low cost method using colormist food color spray available at many craft stores or some supermarket baking sections, and some paper doilies.
Simply lay doily gently on iced cake, spray with colormist and carefully remove.


Warning: Colormist can stain skin and fabrics, so take care to avoid mishaps.
(I had purple hands for a good 24 hours)

For more PennyWise tea time recipes try
left to right
Earl Grey shortbread spoon cookies 
with lemon curd from my Tea at Downton Abbey Post
 Syllabub 
A more authentic historic recipe my May Day post
Cucumber baskets and Scones 
from Teatime on the Bunny Trail

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery"
                  Jane Austen on her writing

Fan Favors
In Austens time, fans were not merely portable substitutes for air conditioning but were wielded as important yet subtle ways to express oneself and send messages to potential suitors. With that in mind it seemed fans would make fitting favors and though these are easy DIY paper varieties rather than fine antique silk and lace, they make fun keepsakes. Using scrapbook paper, humble clothes pins and craft accessories, these more contemporary versions feature Austen quotes and characters.
this charming image shows young ladies mastering the movements of this must-have accessory from a delightful collection of regency and vintage images at the blog bumble button

I found an adorable kids paper fan craft project at mrprintable and though it's geared toward little ones, I adapted it for this easy more grown up DIY 
You'll Need
Decorative paper & printouts of regency images
Wooden clothespins (the type used for dolls)
Paint in desired colors
Assorted Ribbons, Accessories & faux flowers
I received a delightful Pride and predjudice paper doll book by Dover publications from my aunt, and made copies of the characters on the cover (not wanting to cut into it). 
My craft store carried this perfect scrapbook paper book from DCWV called "Dear Jane" filled with quotes and beautiful patterns. 
To begin, I painted the clothes pins with craft paint and let dry thoroughly. 
I then created a few collages of images and words and copied them onto standard sized copy paper. The lighter paper provides less bulk and makes folding easier. (Each fan requires 2 sheets.)
Once happy with your designs simply glue 2 sheets together (at the shorter width) and channel your kindergarten skills by folding paper accordion style. 
I then trimmed the white borders off of the sides and while still folded cut a scallop edge for interest.
Insert folded paper into slit in clothes pin, trimming excess paper to fit if necessary and wrapping with clear tape.
*I slipped an oversize toothpick in the clothespin behind paper to keep it from being too floppy 
For the fun part, Camouflage tape by wrapping ribbon around top of clothespin and add coordinating flower or button accent.
Then wave coyly and work your magic!

Tea Time Accents
Second hand books tied with ribbon, make "novel" props
Tea Chest
Jane experts claim she had the honor of holding the key to the family's tea caddy (the leaves were far too precious to be under the watch of household servants ) For my tea, I reused a humble thrifted jewelry box which I had repurposed into a tea caddy for my Downton Abbey post.          
Rolled script spruces up faux floral and ivy


"There's nothing like staying home for real comfort"
                               Jane Austen, Emma


Thank you so much for stopping by and please pop over to visit more (than 500!) blogs from around the world participating in this wonderful party!


a little Austen humor
from somee cards


Centuries later, he's still a heartbreaker - tote bag from-cafepress.uk

84 comments:

  1. Love your post - and totally love super duper ♥ Mr. Darcy!!!

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    1. Thanks Michele!
      I'm a big Darcy fan (the Colin Firth version especially lol)
      Cheers!

      Delete
  2. Wow, I love the way you think! And so many creative details...I'll be back :)
    Enjoy the GYB Party!

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    1. Thanks so much Quinn!
      So glad you stopped by- this Grow Your Blog party is such fun :)

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    2. I actually forgot to mention earlier (I was racing around from blog to blog) that I am one of Vicki's volunteer greeters for the Party! Clearly I need to work on my social skills. I think possibly some of Jane Austen's characters had similar issues... ;)

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    3. You're too funny! I'm sure your social skills are just fine- That's so nice of you to help out -wow- over 500 blogs- that's quite an undertaking!
      I'm going to try to work my way down the list- this was such a great event for Vicki to plan :)

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. A delightful post and blog and so many creative ideas!! I just love the literary twist and am now a follower too!

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    1. Thanks so much Hettienne!
      So glad you enjoyed the post and delighted you'll be following! :)

      Delete
  5. oh my, where to begin? this post is lovely! I'm visiting from the GYB party, and am your newest follower! thank you for all the inspiration.

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    1. Thanks so much Deborah-
      I'm a big fan of tea parties so this was lots of fun to put together!
      I'm so thrilled you'll be following :)

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  6. Wonderful wonderful post! I love how you did the pound cake tea treats!!! So creative and fun. Joining you from the GYB party!!! You have a new follower.
    ~Tanya

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    1. Thanks so much Tanya!
      The treats are sooo easy to make- so glad you enjoyed the post and delighted you'll be following!

      Delete
  7. i love Earl Grey - Jane Austen fan always. Mister Darcy. ( :
    hi there. i'm Beth from E. Lizard Breath Speaks - so nice to meet you through the Grow Your Blog get together/party. ( :

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Beth!
      I'm an Earl Grey and Darcy fan as well lol- This blog Party is such fun!

      Delete
  8. Don't know how, but I missed this post entirely...*good grief*
    Have left a comment on the meringue post :D
    x

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    1. LOL - Thanks so much Claire!
      So glad you stopped by- I read you had trouble following on your other comment- so sorry -will try to figure out what's wrong- I'm not terribly techy :)
      Cheers

      Delete
  9. I am having fun finding new bloggers to follow...love sewing and quilting. Greetings from Oklahoma, USA. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

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    1. Hi DebraKay!
      Thanks for visiting- I'm so jealous of those with sewing skills- I keep trying to learn but have no talent for it- I'll pop over for a visit! :)
      Cheers

      Delete
  10. Hi: Love the tea party. Always fun to visit a TEA SISTER. Have a wonderful week. Blessings, Martha

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    1. Thanks so much Martha!
      I'll use any excuse for a tea party :)
      One day I hope to have a lovely teacup collection like yours!
      Cheers

      Delete
  11. I've just became a tea fan in the past year after getting off of cola drinks. I love your beautiful idea for the tea bags and party ideas. I am your newest follower and hope to be back soon! Thank you for stopping by my blog and the sweet comments. Come back soon!
    Teresa Young
    www.foxhollowtales.com

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting Teresa!
      I'm a big tea fan too- it's is such a fun drink to enjoy :) I'm so delighted you'll be following PennyWise and was so happy to find your blog through Vicki's party!
      Cheers

      Delete
  12. Visiting and following from The Dedicated House. You have so many great ideas. I am Pinning this for my next tea party at home. My friends and I did a holiday one and it was so much fun. I blogged about it here. http://georgielee.blogspot.com/2013/12/christmas-tea-parties.html

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    1. Thanks so much!
      Tea parties really are such fun- I've never done a Christmas tea so i'll pop over to your blog - love getting new ideas! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  13. What a wonderful theme for a tea party.

    Who doesn't love Jane Austen?

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    1. Thanks so much!
      I just think books and tea work well so together- and needed something to celebrate during this January deep freeze lol

      Delete
  14. I love not only the idea for the tea party ,but the instructions too ! Your humor made the post for me though, especially the e-card. I am glad you showed us the way to make tea cakes the very easy way.

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    1. Thanks so much Kathy,
      My baking skills are sort of hit or miss so I try to find shortcuts- they actually tasted very good - (my husband ate all the leftovers and tried to blame the cats) Just love that ecard- I have a few more on pinterest
      So glad you stopped by!
      Cheers!

      Delete
  15. So delighted to have you drop by my place for tea at The Writer's Reverie, Christina! I was swooning over your P&P Jane Austen teatime here - loving the fans!! I am a HUGE Janeite and really am quite remiss in hosting a Jane tea, myself, after almost three years of blogging! Definitely need to do something about that . . . Joy to you - and hope to visit again soon! Follow me on facebook - til I figure out which plugin to use on WP, I'm lost for keeping track of followers since I migrated in September. Gah!
    Kathryn Ross @ The Writers Reverie

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. oops! typos!
      Thanks so much Kathryn! So glad you enjoyed it!
      I've been wanting to do an Austen theme for a while now too and when I realized P&P was first published in January it seemed as good an excuse as any :)
      I'll be following you on facebook -( my following gadget has been quirky too ) and popping back for visits!
      Cheers
      Cheers!

      Delete
  16. Oh my goodness. What a truly lovely tea party! Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors of all time. In fact, I just reread Pride and Predjudice for the umpteen time this summer. I am happyily following and looking forward to more fun.

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    1. Thanks so CatieAn!
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post- I just love that book as well - it just never gets old!
      I'm delighted you'll be following
      Cheers

      Delete
  17. Your post is priceless! Now I am going to have to have a tea party too. I am looking forward to following your posts and having more fun. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks so much!
      This was lots of fun to put together- I'm delighted you'll be following :)

      Delete
  18. Oh my, so pretty and such a fun idea. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, marty

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    1. Thanks Marty!
      Thought I'd be a little whimsical with this one- Thanks again for hosting your fun linky parties!

      Delete
  19. Haha just perfect ! luvd your tea and all the creative crafting =)

    TY for helping keep P&P alive ...

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    1. Thanks so much!
      It was lots of fun (if not historically accurate) to put together- I just never get tired of P&P :)

      Delete
  20. Such a fabulous tea party! Love everything! Now following! Thanks for sharing!
    Sherry

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    1. Thanks so much Sherry!
      so glad you enjoyed the post and delighted you'll be following :)

      Delete
  21. Hey Christina, what a fun concept. I am so glad I stopped by and got to have tea with Jane Austen. Everything is lovely and I wish I was actually there because now I am hungry. Thanks for the quick tutorials I am going to try my hand at some fans. It has been lovely getting to know you.

    Hugs
    Caroline

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    1. Thanks Caroline!
      Your welcome any time lol- I'm a big Jane fan so I knew eventually I would tie her into a post somehow- Would love to know how the fans turn out
      Cheers
      Christina

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  22. What a thoroughly delightful post. I love it! Nothing better for the gloomy weather than your prescription. Thank you. Thrilled to be a new follower. Glad I came by via GYB.

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    1. Thanks so much- so glad you enjoyed it-
      This winter has been so dreadful- but tea seems to make everything better! :)
      So happy you stopped by and delighted you'll be following!

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  23. What fun, glad I stopped by from GYB, Vicky

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    1. Thanks so much Vicky-so glad you stopped by!
      Hasn't this party been great?

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  24. One of my favorite timeless stories! Gorgeous tea cakes - creative! Beautiful tea and party ideas! I do appreciate you sharing with A Return to Loveliness,
    Kathy

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    1. Thanks Kathy!
      It's one of my all time favorites too! I really enjoy your return to loveliness linky parties and so glad you enjoyed the tea!

      Delete
  25. Lovely blog! Stopping by along the blog party route! Enjoy the party!

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    1. Thanks for visiting Hula-la! (love the name)
      Vicki's blog party is such fun!

      Delete
  26. what a fun intro post for the party - I feel like I was also at a tea! I really like the way your blog is set up - clean and easy to find things. Thanks for visiting me in Singapore!

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    1. Thanks for visiting from Singapore!
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the party post - it was such fun to create-
      I'm still newer at blogging so I'm still learning :)

      Delete
  27. Hi Christina-it is always such a pleasure to visit your blog. You are so generous with making everything a thorough experience, and this post was no exception. I love Jane Austin, too. Glad I stopped by :-)

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Maggie!
      I had a lot of fun putting this together- nice to know there are so many Jane fans out there :)

      Delete
  28. Hello Christina
    Oh yes - I love Pride and Prejudice and love reading it again!
    The series with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy was a fave too - soooo gorgeous!
    A beautiful tea party – I’m so happy to join you today! I was born in the wrong era I feel as I love those genteel times.
    This is a wonderful intro to you and your blog Christina and I'm now an enthusiastic new follower!
    I'll be back once the party winds down to say hello again.
    Thank you for visiting and following me too!
    Hugs
    Shane

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    1. Thanks so much Shane!
      Sometimes I wish I had a time machine too lol! and I agree 100%- no matter how many times someone remakes P&P, Colin firth will always be Mr. Darcy :)
      So glad you enjoyed the post and delighted you'll be following!
      I really enjoyed your blog and so glad I found it through Vicki's party.
      Cheers

      Delete
  29. This is such a wonderful tea! What a fabulous theme. I love Pride and Prejudice. . .Oh, Mr. Darcy! The fans are so cute and I love the color mist idea! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks so much Jann!
      Tea and Jane just seemed to go together :) and I'm a big Darcy fan as well- swoon-
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and always enjoy your lovely linky parties!
      Cheers

      Delete
  30. I count as one of my great Comforts , the knowledge that my daughters continue to read Jane Austen. Love your JA tea. Here is a link to the JADG just for giggles.

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    1. So glad to hear your daughters are enjoying Jane's work!
      It is amazing that is just as popular today- and so glad you enjoyed the tea-
      I think the link didn't work :( would you be able to resend - my computer is acting up lol

      Delete
  31. Just love the theme! What a wonderful idea. So nice to meet you at the party! ~Terri

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting! Nice to meet you too! The blog party has been such fun :)
      Cheers

      Delete
  32. Hello. I live in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. Nice to meet you.

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  33. I like all things creative n thrifty and I found you from the GYB party.

    I don’t have a lot of blog time in for I just started blogging when I joined the blog party it was my New Year resolution. 600 entries and I am Reading my 434 blog and more to go. Whew a lot of good read and great giveaways too. I know the importance of having blogging followers so I dropped everything and doing the web work. My site http://overboardcreations.blogspot.com/ and contact info is ovr_brd@yahoo.com I believe inspiration comes from all facets of life even knowing the great people out there with wisdom and knowledge the do's and don'ts and even the wonders of life from a personal point of view. And loving the crafting networks. Followed on Bloglovin. and have to revisit. couldn't see all the photos load and had to go to work

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    1. So glad you visited Dawn!
      I'm still reading the blogs from the blog party too :) There are so many fun blogs out there and sometimes so little time!
      Thanks and I'll pop over to your blog

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  34. An absolutely delightful post. Thank you so much.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and delighted you enjoyed the post! :)

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  35. Thank you for putting together such a fun tea party Christina! I have enjoyed myself, and the tea and cake were delicious.

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    1. Thanks so much Dasha!
      Your welcome any time :)

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  36. Great post - I feel so welcome. Thank you. I enjoyed my visit immensely.

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    1. Thanks so much- this was such fun to put together!

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  37. I love all of your wonderful ideas! You are so creative and have a beautiful blog! Sweet hugs, Diane

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Diane!
      This was a fun party to put together and so glad you enjoyed it!
      Cheers

      Delete
  38. Hi Christina,

    I haven't had enough time to visit all the great blogs, so I just chose those wose names sounded most intriguing. Your blog name surely did -- and I am glad that I found you that way! I love, love, love the way you post and share your projects. I will surely come back for more!

    Lots of greetings from Germany,
    Birgit

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    1. Thanks Brigit! Guten Tag!
      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post! I'm still visiting blogs from Vicki's party too!
      I chose the name Pennywise because I love sharing ideas which are affordable to everyone- I didn't know it was the name of a scary heavy metal band- but too late hahah)
      Thanks for visiting and for your kind words- please stop back again
      Cheers

      Delete
  39. Oh my gosh... wonderful! Popping over from Chantille-Fleur to say hello... think I'll grab a cuppa and stay a while now too! Hazel x

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    1. You're so sweet -Thanks so much Hazel
      You're welcome to tea anytime!
      Cheers

      Delete
  40. Oh, I just adore your blog Christina! I followed you from mine - thank you for joining - I've joined yours, too. I just love all of your wonderful tea time photos, tips and tutorials! ~Cynthia Crane, TheCranesNest.com

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    1. Thanks so much Cynthia!
      So glad you enjoyed the post and thrilled you'll be following! I was so happy to find your charming blog - the "Grow your blog party" was such fun!

      Delete
  41. I wanted to thank you for this excellent read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked your site to check out the new stuff you post.
    Make Money Blogging

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  42. What fun ideas, Christina!!
    I especially loved your lace tea cakes :) :).

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Love to hear your comments and suggestions!