April 22, 2014

Valley of Roses

Every year in the town of El-Kelaa M’Gouna, Moroccans celebrate the rose harvest with The Festival of Roses. The souqs are packed with rose-scented gifts that fill the air with their floral fragrances. Children hand out lei garlands, traditional Berber music plays through the streets and a Miss Rose is crowned for her beauty and talents.

Inspired by this tradition we threw our own mini-festival, complete with rose flavored snacks and handmade paper leis!

Tea Collection's Moroccan Rose Festival

Tissue paper flower garlands hung from the ceiling and real roses filled the room. Photos were snapped in front of our mosaic rose backdrop and a good time was had by all! Soon, you’ll have your chance to celebrate this Moroccan tradition at a store near you. On May 10th, over 50 Tea retailers across the nation will each host their own Rose Festival and we can’t wait to see your #TeaRoseFestival photos! Stay tuned for details.

Want to throw your own Rose Festival?

Friends & Family Event

Tea Friends and Family Sale

For two days only we’re giving our extended family and biggest fans 20% off everything Tea! Use code FRIENDS20 at checkout 4/22 & 4/23 – And, be sure to share the love with your own friends and family – who doesn’t love a good sale? Shop now!

April 21, 2014

Noah the Dromedary

Noah is a 17-year-old dromedary who played a big (literally, big!) part in our catalog shoot. Often called one-humped camels, dromedaries – or Arabian camels, are most commonly found in Northern Africa. Both male and female dromedaries stand over 6 feet tall and live to be about 45 years old weighing up to 1,322 pounds (600 kg). They eat all types of leafy plants – even the thorny ones! Their hump stores about 80 lbs of fat, which gets broken down into water and energy when food and water are limited. Dromedaries have a very fast rate of rehydration, drinking up to 5 gallons of water per minute! Fun facts:

  • Dromedary camels are much more common than two hump Bactrian camels.
  • Baby camels are born without a hump.
  • Dromedaries can close their nostrils to prevent sand from entering inside their nose during dust storms.

April 18, 2014

Learning Languages

Meyer

Zid Zid Handmade Modern for Kids

I have been a fan of Zid Zid Kids for a long time, admiring the work of Julie and Moulay.  They create beautiful items for play and home, all made in Morocco by hand. I find the pieces and overall aesthetic to be so charming. 

Moulay and Julie live in Morocco and speak French, Arabic and Spanish to their children daily – so it was only natural that their next endeavor would be a creative hands-on language program for children! Petit Zarafa is a play-based multi-language learning subscription website for little citizens ages 2 and up.


My children have Chinese flashcards that they play with when their grandmother visits from Taiwan, but we haven’t picked them up in a while.

The combination of the activities with learning lessons, grasping different sounds with familiar tasks, is inspiring to me.  My kids love playing with games and are currently learning letters & numbers at their own schools – it will be interesting to see what they gravitate to most with this program.  In general, my kids love listening to stories… I’m sure my mom, a former French language teacher, would love to teach them French stories.  It would be magical if they could speak a little bit of French when we visit my sister in Europe this summer.

Are you teaching your children a second language? What do you find works best? I’d love to know!

April 17, 2014

April Crafts for Babysitters, Nannies and Families

Earth Day Activities

Warm weather opportunities are popping up all over. But with the possibility of April showers, there are a number of indoor activities to plan for eager (and antsy) kids. Here are few crafts that can build excitement and enthusiasm for the season. Plus, they’re perfect for nannies and sitters looking for more hands-on projects to engage kids.

Washcloth Bunnies
Bath time is often a struggle. Make it a little more fun with double-duty bunnies. You can create these little rabbits out of brightly-colored washcloths that can later be used in the bath. Check out this example.

Eggcellent Crowns
Using plastic eggs and hot glue (kids will need help with this!), there are a few fun filled ways to create festive headdress. Encourage their creativity by allowing them to add whatever accessories please them. Here are some images to jump start your creativity.

Recycled Nature
Here’s a project you haven’t done since preschool, but perfect for an Earth Day lesson. Grab a pinecone from the yard; tie about a 12-inch piece of yarn or ribbon in a tight knot around the top so that the ends hang evenly (these will then be tied around a tree). Spread peanut butter or honey all over the pine cone. Then pour bird seed onto a plate and roll the sticky pinecone over it.  Hang the pinecone on a tree — and tie another knot. Gather around and wait for the birds to come.

Re-create the World
Who doesn’t love an excuse to make marshmallow rice treats? Your kids will love sculpting a globe out of the yummy dessert and covering it with green and blue sugar. As a sweet bonus, try putting some gummy creatures on the earth too! Give a little planetary talk, discuss the amount of water versus land and explain how we need to take care of these elements… And then dig-in!

Beautify Something
Whether it’s your front yard or a neighborhood eye-sore that needs a little sprucing, nothing helps decorate more than flowers. In honor of Earth Day, head down to your local garden center (preferably by bike, it’s Earth Day, after all!) and buy some blooms. Then get planting. Tip: A perennial flower will allow your kids to see their hard work year after year.

Matzo House 
Here is an April-version of the wintery gingerbread house! Encourage your children to play with their food (finally!) by creating this Matzo house that is fun to make and actually tastes good too.

We were so thrilled to have Care.com on board for our Hello Little Citizen sweepstakes we thought we’d invite them to Studio T!  Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and global parenting expert at Care.com

 

*photo courtesy of purchasepawprints.com

April 15, 2014

DIY Tassel Necklace

DIY Tassel Necklace via Tea Collection

Inspired by Studio Deseo‘s designs seen in our spring and summer, we came up with this DIY to help you create your very own tassel necklaces.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Gather materials. We’ve got your pom pom and tassel tutorials here and here.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 1: Pull a 50 inch piece of thread through one of your needles. When your thread is halfway through the eye, knot the double strand at the head of the needle. Thread and knot the 2nd needle with the two loose ends. You should now have one double stranded piece of thread roughly 25 inches long with a needle at each end.

Step 2: Take six 8 inch pieces of yarn. Knot the yarn into the thread about 8 or 9 inches up from the needle. Braid the yarn and thread together until you’ve come to the end of the yarn, knot together again. It’s okay if the sides are uneven!

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 3: Thread a pom-pom through each needle, pull pom-pom all the way up, touching each side of the braided yarn.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 4: Thread glass beads through both sides. After roughly 2 inches of beads, attach a tassel. (Do so by pushing your needle through the top of the tassel)

Step 5: Continue stringing beads, then string another tassel.

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 6: String more beads, then attach a pom-pom. (Do so by pushing your needle through the center of a pom-pom)

Tea Collection Tassel Necklace

Step 7: Cut the double strand at the head of the needle to divide your thread into two separate pieces on each side.

Step 8: String beads through each piece of thread (4 strands total) ending each with a different colored bead, leaving about an inch and a half of thread.

Step 9: Thread a needle and attach a tassel to each string to finish off your necklace. Knot each string to make sure each end is secure.

Step 10: Enjoy!

We styled this necklace by leaving it open and layering it with multiple Peppercorn necklaces. You can also gently tie the two sides together (just after the first two pom-poms) for a more traditional necklace look.

April 14, 2014

Meskouta Recipe

Moroccan Cake Recipe

A traditional Moroccan cake is referred to as Meskouta in Arabic. Most often made with either orange juice or yogurt as the main ingredient, you’ll typically find them served plain with no frosting. The recipe will vary depending on which family you ask and while it’s most commonly baked in a bundt pan, this cake is much lighter than any other cake you’re used to seeing in this shape. We think this is the perfect dessert to make with your little ones – only 10 minutes to prep and out of the oven 40 minutes later!

What You’ll Need:

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Or, you can go by these “Traditional Moroccan Measures” we came across when making this recipe…

4 eggs
1 level soup bowl of sugar
1 tea glass full of vegetable oil
1 heaping soup bowl of flour
2 sachets of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tea glass of fresh orange juice
zest from 1 or 2 oranges
1 sachet of vanilla sugar

Prep:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside. Juice and zest fresh oranges. Beat together eggs and sugar. Gradually beat in oil. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt, and orange juice. Mix until smooth, adding the orange zest and vanilla.

Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes or until top is brown and cake tests done (toothpick should come out clean). Allow cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn onto a rack to continue cooling.

 

April 12, 2014

Asia: Through the Eyes of Matthew and Adam

April 10, 2014

Passport to… Glee Kids

Glee Kids North Carolina

Each month Studio T  features one of our retailers.  This month we caught up with Noelle and Jim Garstka, the husband and wife team behind Glee Kids in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Glee Kids North Carolina

Have you always lived in Chapel Hill? 
We moved to Chapel Hill in 2011 shortly after our third child was born.  After 8 years in the Bay Area we decided to relocate our family to the East Coast and attempt to slow things down a bit.  Although we love (LOVE) California, our careers were all consuming and we had very little time to enjoy the wonderful things around us.  Chapel Hill is a vibrant, small town with so much to offer.  It is family focused and we spend very little time in our cars, which makes a huge impact on our quality of life.

How was your business born?
Glee Kids opened in 2008 by a local mom who, after spending years in California and New York, saw the need for a modern children’s boutique in Chapel Hill.  In 2012 she decided to move on and sent out an email to her customers about the closing sale.  As a customer, I was heartbroken to hear this news and contacted her to see if she was willing to sell the shop – three weeks later we were business owners.  This didn’t exactly follow our plan to “slow things down”, but we were and continue to be excited about Glee Kids and our involvement in the community.

Where is the last place you traveled?
The last place I traveled was New York, which was supposed to be a quick trip to finish up our fall buying for the store.  But thanks to a snow storm, it turned out to be five glorious days alone (yes, my husband was stuck at home with all three kids), in a pretty hotel, with a coffee shop below and plenty of great things to see and buy.  I read a book, made lunch and dinner reservations, stepped in lots of melted snow puddles (lesson learned) and recharged.

Glee Kids North Carolina

Your best friend is visiting your city for the first time and only has 24 hours to explore—what would you tell them to do? 
Oh wow, to narrow it down to a single day – too much pressure!  Well, after waking up at the Carolina Inn, you should step outside and take a nice long walk around the University of North Carolina campus.  The weather here is quite nice and should make for an enjoyable morning.  After working up an appetite, I would suggest grabbing something delicious from Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and taking it over to Caffé Driade to devour with a great coffee.  Although Glee Kids is in Chapel Hill, we are but a few short miles to Durham and Duke University, so a visit to the Duke Gardens is a necessity.  It’s incredibly beautiful and always full of visitors and families.  Since you are already in Durham, you should have lunch at Nana Taco and don’t forget to order the Mexican Chocolate milkshake…spicy.  After lunch, you can head back to University Mall in Chapel Hill where you will find Glee Kids, Kidzu Children’s Museum and many other local shops.  Southern Season is not to be missed and you can find the perfect gift at Peacock Alley.  And since you somehow scored tickets to the UNC/Duke game you can take a shuttle and get a taste of some great North Carolina basketball.  After the game, head over to the bar at Lantern for great drinks and food and then walk back to your beautiful suite at the Carolina Inn.

What advice do you have for local mothers?
One of my favorite parts of working in the store is hearing all the wisdom I get from our precious grandmothers.  They always have such great perspective and remind me to relax and stop putting our children’s lives under a microscope.  Someone recently passed on a piece of advice – “if it isn’t dangerous or mean, let it go”.  Invaluable.

What types of events and promotions do you run in your boutique?
We try to have fun in store events, facebook promotions and partner with our neighbors.  Sometimes we have the fairies come in to do “fairy hair”, other times we hand out balloons at Kidzu Children’s Museum and we always offer our GG’s (Glee’s Grandmas) 10% off their purchase.

What is one thing your customers would be surprised to learn about you? 
Hmmm…I talk too much so our customers probably know everything!  Some of them might be surprised to find out that I am software consultant for a California based company.  Or they may find it funnier that I twirled a baton as a kid!