Birthday Tea at Sea and Free Designs

I’m sorry it has been sooo long since a new blog has been posted.  Hip replacement, shingles and husband’s shoulder surgery has kept me too busy.  Now, at last, I can share this bit of Nana fun with you.~~~~

Grandchildren are just sooo much fun!  Fun is what we had recently on a cruise to Cozumel with our daughter and her family, including 10 yo Alastair and  Vivian Rose.  The occasion was to celebrate Vivi’s 7th birthday.

There, on board and overlooking the aqua blue Caribbean, she was the guest of honor at a genuine Fancy Nancy afternoon tea. It was pure delight!

Vivian Rose, wearing her smocked Ode to Joy dress (Maggie B pattern) and flaunting a purple boa, looks on the tea table set for the celebration. Note the lollipop centerpiece.

The birthday tea was a huge success.  Refreshments included pastries and dessert treats from the ship’s buffet accompanied with  Fancy Nancy Tea.  Feather boas and a chest of costume jewelry added to the elegance of the fete.

We had a fine time, or,  as was often said so many years ago in the Glenwood News column of our tiny local newspaper, “a good time was had by all.”  Several other ship passengers as well as servers stopped by to ask about the gala affair and offer Vivi birthday congratulations.

The tea also offered several opportunities to teach proper, ladylike behavior.

Vivian delicately wipes her mouth with her napkin–with no reminder!

She learned  that it is  impolite to discuss politics, religion or her health at a tea party or in any “polite” company.

“What’s politics?” she asked.   “Don’t worry about that now.  Just don’t talk about it when you find out.”    “Okay,” she obediently replied. What a good girl!

She listened attentively as her mother read Vivi’s new Fancy Nancy’s Tea Party book.  Little did we know she was already planning to soon host her own little tea party.

As her mother read, Vivian listened raptly to her new Fancy Nancy Tea Party book.

The idea for this event came about during her latest visit to our home.   We had been rummaging through boxes of my treasures in the garage when she came across a  few doll size tea sets. She was enchanted and asked if she could keep one.  We promptly had an impromptu tea party with her mother’s old Cabbage Patch doll (wearing a smocked dress) and a teddy.  Of course, she went home with the doll set, but I had this another in mind for her.

Having put aside this little porcelain set for her years ago, I presented it to her for her birthday at sea.   At the tea party she saw it for the first time. To me it has a distinctive Mary Engelbreit look.

Several years ago, Cousin Laurel was presented with the identical set and put it to use for several tea parties. At her Second Annual Tea Party,  guests were invited to bring their dolls.  It added a whole new dimension to the festivities.

To accompany Vivian’s service for 6, I made coordinating tea linens with monogrammed napkins.  The centerpiece is a painted flower pot loaded with jelly beans and lollipops.  Card stock leaves were added to the sticks to create a sugar illusion of a pot of sugary flowers..

Even before I was blessed with the grandchildren of my dreams, this tea set was the inspiration for a class I taught many times around the country.  Detailed instructions and the recipe for the Kindergarten Tea (now renamedFancy Nancy Tea) are included in this post 

The perfect machine applique’d bow design was ever so kindly digitized by Mary Alice Smith of Alabama.   The hand-look embroidered napkin corners are part of a set digitized by my dear friend, Suzanne Sawko.  If you would like the free tea linen designs (available only in .pes), please leave your request as a comment below.

Just hours after returning home from the port, Vivian insisted on hosting an impromptu tea party in her yard under the Florida sunshine.  I asked my daughter if she had reminded Vivi about forbidden conversation topics.

She replied, “I didn’t have to.  Vivi firmly instructed her guests what not to talk about.”  Her previously informed too cool brother, attending only for the Oreos and banana slices, just rolled his eyes.



29 responses to “Birthday Tea at Sea and Free Designs

  1. Lovely way to spend a birthday.

  2. Oh, Janice! So perfect! From Vivi’s Ode to Joy dress to the embroidered linens. I’ll be checking out the Kindergarten tea, too. My girl loves Fancy Nancy as well. I may be in the market for a tea set. And the book. As usual, you have inspired me, my friend!

    Please send me the embroidery files.

  3. Awwww, thanks, Terry. We are on the same track for sure. Your girls would love a Fancy Nancy tea party. You would likely get as carried away as I did–curlie cue ribbons (didn’t have pink and green on hand the night before we sailed), pastel colored lollipops (Bob said, “Does that really matter?”), extra jewelry and several extra boas. Nana joy for sure. You too!

  4. Thank you, Helen. Her mother always hosts beautiful birthday parties for Vivian. This one will be a precious memory along with the others. Thanks for your kind comment.

  5. Shirley Boyken

    You’ve given me some ideas…..again!! I currently have 3 Great Grandchildren and another expected in June so perhaps it will be another girl so we can have our own little Tea Party with the one Great Granddaughter that we already have. (I have an idea the two boys will also want to be included and that’s o.k. too) I would love for you to send me the files that so generously offered.

  6. I would love to have the napkin design. I would like to have a tea party with my great, great niece who likes to come to my house for a play date. Thank you.

  7. Could you please send me the embroidery files for the linens? My youngest daughter is 9 and received a china tea set for her dolls from her older sister this past Christmas. I’ll have to see if my local library has the Fancy Nancy tea party book. I’m sure my youngest daughter would enjoy it and like learning how to have a proper tea party.

  8. Hi Janice,
    The photos just put an immediate smile on my face. The dress, the linen and the children are perfect in all ways. I am always inspired by you. God bless you n your family always. I would love the design if you are able to send to me.
    I keep you in my prayers.

  9. Love this. I have a new great granddaughter and hope to be able to spend time with her at tea parties

  10. Vivi is living every little girls dream and doesn’t even know it! What a blessed life she lives! Every child should be so loved.

  11. Love the whole party idea. My granddaughter is a real Fancy Nancy lover. I would love to make her a set of her own napkins as well. You’re such a creative individual….I enjoy reading your posts.

  12. What a delightful post, and perfect tea party! It brought back memories of our parish nurse taking a little girl from the church to visit my mother for Fancy Nancy tea parties. Now that little girl is learning to drive! The years go so quickly – good for you for making precious memories with dear Vivian.

    I would love to have the tea party linen embroidery designs. Genevieve got a play kitchen for Christmas, and I can envision tea parties in our future.

    Glad that you have recuperated and are able to enjoy traveling. I have missed reading your posts!

  13. Thanks, Shirley, the designs have been sent. You can host tea parties anytime now!

  14. Terry, I’m not surprised your girls love Fancy Nancy–she is delightful! The designs have been sent so you just need to pull out some linen and schedule your tea gala. Party on!

  15. Ann, the tea linen designs have been sent. What fun it will be to have a tea party with your great niece on your next playdate. Happy stitching!

  16. Dena, the tea linen designs have been sent. Your daughter will have hours of fun with her tea set, especially after reading Fancy Nancy. That book even includes games, which our entire family played and enjoyed at Vivian’s birthday tea party. Lucky you to have this daughter! So much fun ahead for both of you.

  17. Willie, it makes me happy to know these photos put a smile on your sweet face! The designs have been sent so you can start sewing now for your darling great niece Charlotte. You ‘ll be tea partying with her soon!

  18. Linda, the tea linen designs have been sent. Happy stitching! Surely do miss seeing you and the SATB gang.

  19. No, Rheeta, she has no idea. She is loved so much, has so much, and has such a wonderful life, but no more than every child deserves.

  20. A, the tea linen designs have been sent. I hope you and your granddaughter will be tea partying together soon, with monogrammed napkins!

  21. Nancy, the tea linen designs have been sent. You can get started on a set for little Genevieve straight away! Thanks for writing and thanks for your kind comments. I love hearing from you and all readers.

  22. Hello Janice, What a lovely post! The perfect respite for these uncertain times. I recently discovered your website whilst searching for instructions on hemstitching. I am keenly interested in heirloom textiles and sewing and desire to make my own as opposed to purchasing. I sew on a Bernina 440, and hope to discover the perfect stitch or hemstitch on my machine – I am on a quest! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, information and beautiful creations! Best regards, Chris

  23. Jean Paternoster

    Please send me the Tea Linen Designs. Thank you

  24. Jean, the designs have been sent. I hope you enjoy stitching these and have an elegant junior tea party.

  25. Chris, what a kind, uplifting comment! It sounds as if we are kindred spirits, loving heirloom textiles and hemstitching. More than 35 years ago I began my quest in search of the perfect hemstitch and that search led me on a journey deep into heirloom sewing country. I wish you a journey as joyful as mine has been.


    This is absolutely fantastic. It looks like something fun that my own granddaughter could do. Please send the info for the linens.

  27. Marilyn, I’m glad the tea party idea struck your fancy. I’m sure you could have a grand tea party with your grandaughter. The files have been sent. Happy sewing.

  28. Just came across this post but it looks wonderful! I have been sewing for years but recently got an embroidery machine for my birthday and can’t wait to try it out. I would love to have the embroidery designs in pes format. Thanks so much for sharing them.

  29. Ginger, what a lucky birthday girl! Welcome to the wonderful world of machine embroidery! You will have more fun, more creative energy, excitement and delightful projects than you can imagine now. I will send the designs to you ASAP. Happy embroidering!

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