Tea Time Linens, Bertha, and Elf Fun

Scroll down for Elf fun.

one of a set of six hand embroidered mats

It’s a smile a minute around here with all of the Christmas activities.  Of course, most of the festivities focus on our grandchildren.  On a recent visit, 8 year old Laurel pointed out that we hadn’t had tea for sometime,  so how about now?

Laurel and Robert who are not discussing politics, religion or their health

Tea time is a good opportunity to use some of the pretty antique tea linens I have accumulated.

I pulled them out in a hurry and didn’t get an elaborate set up.  I’ve learned that lengthy preparations can kill a child’s enthusiasm for an event.

At least, it kills Robert’s enthusiasm.  He’d like to get down to the goodies and hot chocolate (he doesn’t do tea) ASAP. Laurel, however, would have been happy to cut flowers for a table  arrangement, make place cards, bake tea cakes and invite guests.

There are so many opportunities for instruction when having tea with them.  On this occasion, the spoons we used are engraved with “Bertha,” my great-grandmother’s name.

For variety, two patterns were used for the spoons as well as  the tea napkins.

Bertha is engraved on the handle

As I shared stories and memories of her, it was obvious that they could hardly imagine that I actually  knew some one who was  born 135 years ago.

We talked about how different her life was from ours, how cars and telephones were new inventions in her time. And Laurel wondered why anyone wanted her name engraved on her silver.  Robert wondered if they had marshmallows and whipped cream back then.

Then conversation shifted to Grandma Berls, the original owner of the fine china tea set.  She was the mother of Rebecca’s godmother who was an only child with no children.  So “Grandma” Berls, who was absolutely born to be a grandmother, doted on my Ryan and Rebecca as her grandchildren.  Robert and Laurel loved hearing stories about their father and Aunt Rebecca sneaking up to Grandma Berls house early in the morning and hanging May baskets on her door knob.

This dear woman, who looked like a Weight Watchers version of Mrs. Claus, always managed to step out to get her paper moments after they had hidden  themselves behind the azalea bushes.  After admiring the May basket flowers and discovering the giggling children, she always invited them in for milk and cookies, which just happened to be hot out of the oven—at 7 a.m. !

It was a sweet memory for me and another glimpse into their father’s childhood for the children.

Discussion of the linens with their surface embroidery and cutwork interested Laurel.  Robert lost interest in the tea party when the chocolate chip pumpkin bread was all gone.

Fun, fun, fun.  And then there was more.

Elf on the Shelf Fun

The children spent the weekend with us and could hardly sleep wondering what Peter, their personal Elf on the Shelf, would be up to in the morning.  This is what they found.

It was so much fun to download elf pictures from the internet. The frames were left over place card favors from Rebecca’s wedding.

Peter’s message to them brought this hurried response.

On their next visit they were introduced to Peter’s Elf family.

Peter’s cousins with bios.  Peter’s message reads, “Meet my family!  If you would like to take their pictures home with you, it’s okay.  Maybe  they will  remind you to be good.”

I had soooo much fun creating a life for each of the photos.  Here are a few of their stories.

Earl  is another very young elf.  He likes Christmas cookies and candy and always wants to come along to visit the children’s houses.  One time he came along and ate parts of a gingerbread house on the dining room table.  He nibbled on the marshmallow snowman,  swallowed the peppermints from the front walk and ate a whole caramel chimney.  Then he barfed on the way back to the North Pole and was sick all the next day.  He isn’t allowed to come along again until he is older.

Buster is so full of hot air that he was in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.  He keeps and eye on the children who are watching from the side of the street at the curb.  Buster talks too much and doesn’t know what he is talking about.  Sometimes he burps.  Sometimes he toots.  That’s what happens when you have too much hot air.

My cousin Elmer Elph always wants to be different.  He wears a green suit, different from the red suits all  the other elves wear.  He ends his name with “ph” instead of  “f’.”  And he is the only elf who likes brussel sprouts, “because they are green,”  he says.  But it’s okay to be different.  He’s family so we love him.

Robert and Laurel have divided up the Elf family and set up the photos on their dressers.  I hope it does, in fact, remind them to be good.

If any readers would like to duplicate this elf family caper, I’d be happy to share the bios.  Ask for bios in a comment and I will post them.  Happy Elfing!



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