Saturday, March 22, 2008

If Teacups Could Talk

This week's Gracious Hospital-i-Tea Blog-a-Thon topic is "literature" as related to tea. It was really difficult for me to decide what to write about, as I enjoy gathering many things in written form that pertain to tea and the tea experience. Stationary, scrapbooks of tea-themed verses, tea cookbooks, and a shelf or two filled with tea related books are all within my scope of 'enjoyment' and 'collection'. As I thought about this post, I decided that I really must start with the book that got me interested in this fine art.

Emilie Barnes wrote a now well-known book in 1994 called "If Teacups Could Talk". In it, she shares her love for teacups and the hospitality associated with tea service. She states that if teacups could talk, her house would be full of conversation. . .because her house if full of teacups! She tells how even cracked and chipped teacups in her collection are precious to her, as they represent a memory of an occasion or of someone who is special to her. Her book includes many topics where she shares how tea has helped to fill her with serenity, friendship, tradition, memories, courage, comfort, beauty, celebration, and imagination. Scattered throughout the book are tea quotes, bits of information for serving a cozy tea party, tea recipes, and many beautiful pictures! Emilie never runs out of great ideas, and this book is filled with them! Have you ever thought of having a tea in the moonlight out on the lawn? Or how about asking a tea guest to bring a yard of wallpaper to a tea party, and then having them cut-out a placemat from the paper for the tea table? Unique, special, and creative --- Emilie Barnes has thought of it all with this delightful and classic book on tea!

With the first book so successful, Emilie Barnes continued the tea tradition with several other tea related books. The "Twelve Teas of Friendship" is another lovely book in which she gives ideas for a year of monthly teas with friends (2001). Tea topics range from celebrating with new friends and old, cozy relationships, caring, having fun together, milestones, togetherness, nature, shared work, laughter, memories, stories, and family. Delicious recipes, teatime tidbits, quotes, and a plethora of ideas fill this book!

In "Friendship Teas to Go" (2006) Emilie Barnes shares ideas for specific themed teas. Great recipes, ideas for decor, quotes, beautiful pictures, and prose are included for themed teas such as Country Tea, Heart-to-Heart Tea, Remembrance Tea, Neighbors Tea, Tarts and Tea, Princess Tea, Lilies Tea, and more. In this book Emilie continues her trait of writing as though she was sitting in your living room and chatting with you personally. This book totally draws you in!

"The Twelve Teas of Christmas" (1999) is a book filled with not only the essence of tea, but the true meaning of Christmas. Filled with wonderful thoughts on hospitality, this book contains a wealth of recipes, decorating and gift ideas, and much information on using tea to celebrate the holiday season. She does a great job of sharing the true meaning on the holiday in this book.

I know that this book has been a major influence in many who love and enjoy the art of afternoon tea. If you were planning on sharing about Emilie's tea books for your post this week, please do! We each come from a different viewpoint and field of experience. I would love to know how Emilie's books have influenced you. Write on!


  1. I also love Emilie Barnes books on tea and have several of them in my library. Now all I need is more time to have tea parties!

  2. Anonymous7:52 PM

    Emilie Barnes, along with the talented artists who liberally illustrate her books, has done a lot to foster the tradition of tea and friendship. I, also, have several of her books, including, like you, If Teacups Could Talk as one of my first tea books.

  3. What a delightful idea and the books are lovely. I'll have to give this some thought and see what I can come up with to help with this clever celebration of tea.

  4. Anonymous3:48 PM

    These look like marvelous books. I'll have to keep a look out for them at Goodwill!
    I've got a couple litera posts for this week. My first one is up. Blessings...

  5. It's wonderful to see all these books devoted to tea. I know that one of my favorite artists...Sandy Lynam Clough...has done the art work for several. I'm always looking for one of her tea calendars!

  6. I also have these books and enjoy them very much! I'll work on my post tomorrow!

    I'm enjoying reading all the tea posts from everyone!


  7. I have always enjoyed Emilie Barnes and have seen the If teacups could talk but not the others! I will have to keep a look out for those!

    Truly and inspiration!

  8. ~~Emilie Barnes
    A REAL favorite of mine as well..she is what she writes in person as well.

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  10. Books are like best friends, full of comforting pictures, ideas and ways to enjoy life to the max. Love your post and Hospital-i-tea! blog-a-thon. Do I just link to your site by leaving a comment here and having a link to you on my blog? I'm not sure how this works.

  11. I too adore Emilie Barnes! I have her tea books, books on organization, and several devotionals by her. My friends call me Emilie in honor of all I have learned from her! Great post, if I didn't own her books, I'd be running out to get them!

  12. Emilie Barnes has so many tea books that I adore. I recently discovered one that she wrote for children as well. Lovely post. Blessings, Karen

  13. I'm going to look into this book more as it sounds great. It also sounds like it would make a wonderful Christmas gift!

  14. Anonymous6:58 PM

    LaTeaDah, what a beautiful collection of books you have! I am so excited you shared them so I have a starting point, it sounds like I need to start my collection with at least one Emilie Barnes book, thank you for sharing.

    Kathi :)

  15. Anonymous6:52 AM

    Clearly, I need a few new tea books. I'm so glad you organized this -along.

  16. What wonderful books! Definitely need to add them to my library. Thank you for sharing!

  17. I imagine Emilie's books are wonderful. One of the little books I have--and can't find at the moment--each chapter is by a different English woman who shares the ritual of taking tea each day. Some are formal and some are very casual. It was very entertaining to read. I may become a tea regular yet ;-)

    I loved seeing your daffodils and crocus and wildflower. I'm sure you're glad spring has sprung! The double primroses--gorgeous!



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