It’s a soft day today – as they would say in Ireland. A perfect day to curl up and get cozy in a comfy chair with a hot cup of tea, a little something to nibble on, with good company or just a good read makes for a nice little Irish Tea. Yesterday we started with the nibble part – a down to earth and really deliciously satisfying Apple Cake recipe that I call ‘An Honest Apple Cake’. And it is.
Now to set the tone with just the right environment. Every decision, I kept the integrity of Ireland and a tea in mind.
First, choosing the space. I chose our ancient little sitting room because it’s small and very cozy – off the grid as far as main traffic flow is concerned and very conducive to an engaging private party or a little idle chit chat. I already have a pair of wing chairs and a tea table in there, but decided to change it up and push the 3 pieces towards the end of the room, nestling them right up to the 2 front windows. Now it’s a matter of pulling together all the parts – the details – that make an Irish Tea come to life.
When I think of Ireland, I think of parts that are honest and down to earth – with a dose of antiquity and elegance – a balance of pretty and handsome. I think of natural materials mixed with beautiful handcrafted wares. The key here is unabashed mixing.
Here’s a listing of all my parts – the how and why:
The chairs are a pair of cream crewel upholstered wing chairs that are 18th century English Chippendale inspired. Draping an old woolen Irish knit throw blanket onto one of them makes it all the more inviting.
The tea table is an 18th century Country Chippendale antique. Love the primitive nature of this table and how it balances out the formality of the 2 wings.
The tablecloth is an over sized vintage tea towel that is unexpected and understated with its natural linen color, texture, and fringe. It’s just enough cover to set the table without hiding the entire thing.
The napkins are real Irish linen vintage kitchen towels I found at Brimfield. They sure do keep the authenticity going. I love how the spring green band and lettering ties so nicely to the shamrock arrangements.
The napkin rings are a braided jute roping that add a little nod to the sea.
The clam shells keep the seafaring idea going by utilizing them as containers (I was really challenging myself to think out of the box on this one) for my arrangements.
Four shamrock plants from the market (a no brainer) – 2 large, 2 small. Don’t forget to finish it off with fresh rich green moss (harvested from my backyard) – very Ireland.
The teapot and creamer are antique English Spode’s Tower Staffordshire. The vintage red and cream toile tea cozy was just one of those great finds at a church yard sale.
The dessert plates are a creamy white porcelain and are new (and inexpensive – Homegoods – enough said). The leaf shape adds form to the table as well as a nod to nature and spring.
The cups and saucers are a married combo – the cups are Wedgewood of Etruria and Barlaston that I’ve had for some time and are in use everyday. The saucers I found at an antiques shop for $1 a piece – Queensware Creamware. Love the hunt scene on the cups, the embossed laurel wreath on the saucers, and the rich French vanilla cream coloration for both.
The utensils are mixed. Simple monogrammed 18th century nickel teaspoons have a beautiful old patina. Wood handled antique iron forks add a little more of a handsome and slightly rugged vibe to the mix.
Hand painted shell is just one of those little oddball finds from one from my favorite antique shows (love when that happens). It makes for a nice little surprise tucked into the mix.
Last but not least, the music in the background is key. It really is “the closer” for the whole thing. So for the tunes today, a little ‘Chieftains’ is just perfect.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!