Tag Archives: celebrations

January 25, 2013

The best sights to see in London and Wales

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Sandra, our data guru, shares her travel highlights in the unexplored parts of London and Wales.

Stonehenge

L- R. Stonehenge, the White Hare in Llandudno, Titern Abbey, and Bath.

My brother and I traveled to the UK at the end of December to sight-see and visit our grandma and
uncle in the south of Wales. Since we’ve both been to London before, we skipped the standard tourist
stuff and took a lot of day trips before heading to Wales. Here are a few highlights from our trip:

London. Royal Ballet, one of the top ballet companies in the world, is a must see if you’re a ballet fan
or appreciate grace mixed with athleticism. Try to catch a performance with principal dancer Alina
Cojocaru.

Sightseeing tip: If you’ve been to London before and London Pass isn’t economical, Days Out Guide
offers 2 for 1 promotions with a valid travelcard from a rail station (must have the National Rail logo;
travelcards from London Underground won’t work) and it includes some attractions, such as the London
Eye, that aren’t covered by London Pass: http://www.daysoutguide.co.uk/2for1-london

Stonehenge. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and on my bucket list of things to see. The henge is roped
off so you can’t touch or wander among the stones unless you sign up for a special dawn/dusk viewing.
It was very cold and windy there so make sure to wear lots of layers if you visit in the winter!

Bath. Who doesn’t want to see the city where Jane Austen’s characters go to recuperate? Ok maybe
just me. The city of Bath is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has the only hot springs in the UK.
We took a tour of the Bath Abbey Towers (hilarious yet informative tour of the history of the abbey),
explored the Roman Baths, sampled the spring water at the Pump Room (tastes like warm iron, gross),
and ended the day soaking in the thermal waters at Thermae Bath Spa.

Tintern Abbey. Tintern Abbey is the first Cisterian monestary in Wales and inspired William
Wordsworth’s poem “Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s
poem “Tears, Idle Tears.” The surrounding Wye Valley has beautiful scenic walks along the River Wye; a
perfect diversion while waiting for the next bus back to Chepstow!

Llandudno. Llandudno is the largest seaside resort in Wales and has a Victorian promenade and the
longest pier in Wales. The town has loose ties to Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland as Alice Liddell, the
“real Alice,” spent her summers there. Most attractions are closed in the winter, so after walking along
the promenade and pier, we searched for Alice in Wonderland statues scattered around the town (there
are four: Alice, White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts).

January 21, 2013

A Call to Serve

Martin Luther King Jr and his daughter.

A softer side of MLK Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr once proclaimed, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?”  So, how are your honoring MLK Jr and his legacy?  Twenty-seven years ago President Reagan signed MLK Jr Day into existence and catapulted a ‘can do’ and ‘will help’ attitude into the American radar.  This willingness to lend a hand has been celebrated in South Africa for many decades, centuries even.  Ubuntu is the idea that we are all interconnected and what happens to you happens to me.  Desmond Tutu defined it as when a human knows “that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated… the essence of being human.” We can’t live without each other and we need to help one another out.

The idea of generosity and the call to serve has struck a special chord in Tadatoshi Akiba’s heart (Mayor of Hiroshima from 1999-2011).  He loved the call to action so much that he declared MLK Jr Day a holiday.  This really is a global celebration.  How will your honor MLK Jr?  Share with us on Facebook.  Remember every day can be a day of service to your community.

Check out Tea School Days- a no brainer to raise money for your child’s school.

*Image courtesy of Family Goes Strong.

December 26, 2012

DIY: NYE Mini Party Hats

2012 has been a whirlwind year filled with laughter, joy, celebrations for us at Tea!  We hope your year has been memorable as well.  What better way to say goodbye to 2012 and welcome 2013 than with mini party hats!

supplies for diy nye hat

Supplies for your own NYE mini party hat.

1. Download your free Mini Party Hat Printable.  Print it on heavy weight paper like cardstock.
2. Cut out your mini hat template.  Score the 3 lines to create slits for putting it together.  It’s best to leave this task for the parents as it does require sharp scissors or an Exacto knife.
3. Now time for the fun stuff.  Roll out whatever crepe paper streamers you want to use. Cut several 12 inch sections, we had about 4- 12 inch sections in varying colors.

Crepe paper streamers rolled out.

Step 3

4. Get your safety scissors ready and start creating the fringe!  Fold the streamer in half lengthwise (hot dog style).  We cut 1/2 and 2/3  way up the streamer to give it a varying look.  Then cut the long strand into 2 or 3 inch pieces for easy application onto the hat.

Pink and purple fringed streamers.

Start your fringing engines.

5. Dot the non- fringed part of the streamer with liquid glue.  Then apply the strands in a desirable pattern around the hat.  The more layers of fringe the better.  Naturally, you’ll want to overlap the layers of fringe.

Small dots of Elmer's glue.

Several dots of glue will do the trick to keep your fringe from flying away.

Half-way through fringing.

Partially done fringing.

6. Top off your hat with something festive and a smile!  Then attach your hat onto the headband or ribbon.

Mini party hats for all!

Happy new year!

December 20, 2012

Discover the World Tree of Hope

The World Tree of Hope decorates San Francisco’s City Hall.  Since 2006, the Rainbow World Fund (RWF) has encouraged individuals to inscribe wishes of peace and hope on 7,000 paper cranes that adorn a 25 foot tree.  Over the years, the tree has come to symbolize hope for the future.  It has evolved into a global symbol that has come to represent different cultures, sexual orientations, spiritual beliefs, and points of view.  If you could wish for something, what would you wish for?  Share with us on Tea’s Facebook.

San Francisco's World Tree of Hope

What’s your wish this year?

Cranes inscribed with wishes for a brighter future.

Closeup of the cranes.

Images courtesy of My Modern Met.

 

December 16, 2012

DIY: Holiday Gift Wrapping

We are well into the holiday season and it’s finally time to wrap some gifts.  Tired of the same old printed paper? Why not make your own?  You can purchase plain brown paper or even go green and use the inside of a brown paper bag.

Reasons we liked brown wrap paper:

1)  Your creativity can run wild- stamps, glitter, markers and more! You have a blank canvas to create.
2) You can personalize each gift.
3) It’s good for every occasion (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, birthdays, graduations, anniversaries etc)

Below are some ways we wrapped up our holiday gifts using, neon yarn, letter stamps, a brown paper bag, glittered pine cones, and of course glitter!

Neon string wrapped package.

Who doesn’t love a monogrammed present?

Show some color this holiday season.

Why not give them a sneak peek of the gift?

A fancy brown bag present with glitter and a snowflake.

A spruced up brown paper bag is an easy way to wrap a small gift.

Monochrome and monogram an instant classic.

Any budding fashionista will love the on-trend monochrome look.

Share this post with your friends.  Tis the season of giving. Happy wrapping!

 

December 6, 2012

diy: How to glitter acorns

Here is a fresh new center piece that you and your kids can make together!  We think there can never be too much enthusiasm for glitter especially during the holidays.

Elmer's glue, paint brush, loose glitter, and eucalyptus acorns.

All you need to create a festive holiday centerpiece!

When taking a walk one day, I realized how pretty these little eucalyptus acorns can be.  I thought to myself, there must be some craft that I could do.  Lo and behold there was! Glittered acorns.  Take a walk and gather some acorns with your kids, don’t forget to bundle up in your favorite Tea sweater first.  After you get home, shake out all the loose dirt, nobody wants dirt in their Christmas centerpiece.

Step 1: In many craft sessions, I have learned that it’s best to squeeze liquid glue into a paper plate or bowl so it’s easy for you to dip your paint brush into. Next, cover your entire acorn in glue. The more the better!

Step 1: cover your acorn in glue.

Step 1: Cover the entire acorn in glue.

Step 2: Next, sprinkle your choice of colored glitter all over the acorn.  Tap the acorn to rid of excess glitter.  It’s best to glitter over a newspapered surface for easy clean-up and recycling of glitter.  Shake and repeat the steps for as many acorns as you have.

Step 3: We let our acorn sticks dry standing upright in potted plants.  The dirt keeps the sticks and acorns from touching any clean surfaces.  Let it dry overnight and you’ll have centerpieces by the morning.  Santa did really come to town!

Glittered eucalyptus acorns.

Add some sparkle to your holiday party!

December 1, 2012

Passport to Cotton Tails

Each month Studio T will feature one of our retailers.  This month we are getting a glimpse into the mind of Miki, founder of Cotton Tails in Memphis, TN.  Learn about her store philosophy here.

Miki as a little girl at her first Ikebana lesson.

Miki at her first Ikebana lesson.

Tea: How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store?
Miki:
When my oldest daughter was born, I used to frequent a children’s store.  Every time I would walk in, I was completely ignored. I would find things on my own and would ask if someone would please ring me up! It was so frustrating but it was the only place to shop. When the opportunity arose, I felt I could start my own children’s store but have wonderful customer service. I don’t think Cotton Tails would be here today for 24 years if they had only treated me nicely at that store!

Tea: We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique?
Miki:
We do Saturday arts and crafts for the children every weekend. We do an annual Sidewalk Sale that people arrange their vacations around. Twice a year we have a calendar sale with a different category on sale every day of the month. We do seasonal events, like Mrs. Santa, silhouette artists, frozen yogurt treats during the summer and anything else we can think of!

Tea Collection display at Cotton-Tails

Our 2012 Nordic Holiday Collection at Cotton-Tails.

Tea: At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission at your store and/or in your life?
Miki:
I’ve ‘Been There!’ My mother is Japanese, and I was born and spent my early years in Japan. I have been very fortunate to be able to instill my mother’s heritage and customs into my life.  It has given me a better understanding of working with people from different nationalities and backgrounds.

Tea: How do you balance it at all? What tricks can you offer us?
Miki:
I do a daily list of what needs to be done at the store and check off accordingly.  I try to just put the top ten.

Tea: What do you do in your “spare” time?
Miki:
I love to cook and have friends and family over.

Tea: What is something that your customers would be surprised to learn about you?
Mikie:
I LOVE to dance! Really!

Leigh Rawdon and Miki in Cotton-Tails.

Leigh and Miki at the Tea Time event.