Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumn's Glory

I couldn't help but notice the moon this evening whilst driving home. I was so distracted by it's big smiley face peeping through the clouds that I sat a full thirty seconds at the traffic lights on green before I realised I ought to go through. Apart from the fact that the moon was huge it was also shining as bright a big silver button on a black coat. This year has a very special harvest moon or so I've read. It happens to correspond with the autumn equinox when the sun rises and sets precisely east to west. Apparently. So what has this got to do with anything you might ask? Well nature is a wondrous and fascinating thing don't you agree? Moreover it means that summer is definitely on it's way out and I know this not because of any celestial phenomenon happening way above my head but because there's a real autumnal nip in the air now. In fact I'm writing at this moment with a thick woollen blanket wrapped around my shoulders. My toes however, are freezing.

So what have we got to look forward to as the seasons hurtle towards the depths of cruel winter?

Autumn Tea SetAutumn actually is my favourite time of year. I love seeing the changing colours and kicking through the heaps of fallen leaves on the ground. How can you resist all that crunchiness beneath your feet and the feel of tactile hard skinned horse chestnuts? The time for boots and scarves and Halloween. In Britain this is quickly followed by Bonfire Night when we huddle round a raging fire on a cold damp evening and eat semi cooked potatoes baked in the embers. Oh yes there's plenty yet to look forward to. In celebration of all things autumnal we have of course collected together some fabulous seasonal tea sets.

The above is from the 1930's and made by Grindleys. The maple leaf pattern captures the spirit of autumn wonderfully with muted shades of green and purple with scarlet red and golden yellow. The teapot is a hedgerow feast of ripening blackberries. Just perfect for this time of year to make a piping hot pot of tea and as the berries are in plentiful supply I suggest a slice of apple and blackberry pie and cream.

Autumn Leaf Teacup Stack
The teacup handles are especially stylish. Art Deco style certainly. Useful too for your frozen fingers on November 5th if you're outside watching the fireworks. They are a really clever comfortable design.

Royal Tudor Hedgerow Rose Pattern Tea Set
This next tea set is vintage Royal Tudor Ware by Barker Brothers. Lovely warm orange and white wild roses accentuated against a deep green leaf. Made from ironstone it has a pleasing robust feel to it with a nice hard glaze. It makes me feel cosy just looking at it. This set I can imagine sitting comfortably on a large oak kitchen table. Placed firmly at the hub of the household.

Royal Tudor Teacups
The prospect of autumn's arrival gives a girl the sense that it's time to turn to the house and withdraw indoors on those long dark nights. The tea set below has a real country cottage and sweet homely style. Made by Royal Vale under Ridgways in Staffordshire this pattern I believe is aptly called 'homestead'.


Royal Vale Homestead Tea Set
There's a real touch of vintage nostalgia featured in the design. A chocolate box thatched cottage and garden it certainly does imbue the notion of 'no place like home'.


Country Cottage Teacups
The pattern is repeated on the jug and sugar bowl too. Welcome home! Put the kettle on won't you?

Royal Vale Homestead Tea Set
Finally we come to this super special tea set again in a 'homestead' pattern. Can you believe that it was made back in the 1930's? The condition is fabulous and I can only assume that whoever was lucky enough to own this collection kept it reserved for rare celebratory occasions.


Johnson Brothers Homestead 1930s
It's by Johnson Brothers 'Pareek' and as you would expect from this world renowned company it is indeed exceptional quality earthenware. In a lovely creamy glaze with the prettiest hollyhocks again in a cottage garden.

Johnson Brothers Homestead
The plates are a lovely shape as is the sugar bowl and milk jug below. It certainly is a rare find.


Johnson Brothers Homestead Teacups
I do hope that you enjoy your autumn as much as I am planning to. If you're off to collect conkers, kick leaves, splash in puddles with your wellies on, pick apples, bake them or just to keep warm by the fire when the cold wind blows, then do have a wonderful seasonal time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Victorian Style

How do you fancy a spot of tea with the Queen? Okay I'm not talking about our reigning monarch Elizabeth. We're not posh enough to be invited to the Palace for afternoon tea. I'm referring to Queen Victoria. Let's go back to a bygone era when corsets were tight and manners impeccable. We have some delightful tea sets dating back to Victorian times. The porcelain has a lovely old tactile feel to it. It's hard to describe unless you actually pick it up and hold it in your hands. Delicate and fine. Light as a feather. Perfectly imperfect. There's a cliché which much to my alarm I catch myself saying with increasing frequency. "They don't make 'em like this anymore!" However, it's true. They really don't.

antique yellow teacups saucers and tea platesThese beautiful teacups wouldn't look at all out of place in a smart tea room. We don't have one of those in our local vicinity so we prefer simply to take our tea at home from an exquisite tea cup. They don't come any more authentic than these. For the effect of full splendour you could arrange them beautifully on a silver tea tray and serve the tea from a silver teapot.

antique yellow and gold cake standWe've put together a matching cake stand for your dainty bakes and savouries. Topped of course, with a matching teacup to fill up with sweets.

mixed antique pink and yellow tea setIf you prefer to mix and match then you will love this eclectic antique set. There's a gorgeous rose garland and a pretty pink and yellow teacup in this tea set for three.

2 tier antique pretty pink cake stand This two tier antique cake stand completes the look. Present your cupcakes and whoopie pies in Victorian style. Just don't forget the silver spoons!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Three Pink Cake Stands

When a box of dusty vintage china wrapped in newspaper was placed on the table in front of me I had no idea that hiding amongst the contents would be a small collection of the prettiest pink tea plates. On discovering them after a bit of rummaging I was practically grinning from ear to ear. Show me a powder pink plate and I'm a very happy girl. These were a heavenly shade of pink and made by Grosvenor Bone China. The back stamp revealed that they were destined for Fortnum and Mason no less. The quality is just exquisite. I've never seen such microscopic brush strokes on a piece of china. Some of the little tinted leaves are less than a millimetre and they are faultless. I couldn't wait to reuse them and they were quickly transformed into fashionable cake stands.

pink cake standI've teamed one of the saucers up with a new Royal Albert (aptly named) Pink cake plate and a Royal Grafton tea plate then topped it off with a Foley teacup. It's prettier than a cupcake with pink icing.

The above picture shows the hand painted border over transfer print. Those little flowers and leaves are really teeny tiny. I can't imagine the concentration and skill it must have taken to produce such fine work. It takes a magnifying glass for me to see it!

pink teacup cake standI'm really pleased with how the pattern and colours worked so well with the saucer and Foley tea cup. I would have put a little flower posy in the top but then you wouldn't have been able to see the floral motif inside the cup. *sighs* It's so pretty!

cupcake stand pinkOne of the pink tea plates was used to create this simple three tier cake stand. Again matched with a Grafton China plate from our stock though this one is slightly larger. They could have been made for one another.

tier cake stand pinkThe base plate is from Royal Albert's Zandra Rhodes 'My Favourite Things' collection. Classic Zandra with her love of wiggly lines. Mixing vintage with new designs can work beautifully. The reclaimed plates were in brilliant condition and had clearly been very well cared for. Pieces that show signs of wear and use look fabulous when mixed together for 'shabby chic' cake stands but those that have been kept in pristine condition in granny's beloved china cabinet are reserved for matching with brand new.

pink cake standThe final cake stand I'd like to share with you is also pink! Once you get started on a theme it's hard to know when to let it go. Saying that, I'm pleased that the pink mood continued. The cake stand below has a gorgeous Tuscan china cup and saucer at the top. How I wish we could find many more as lovely as this one.

mad hatter cake stand pinkThe middle is a Dolphin china pink plate lavishly decorated in gold. Lush!

pink teacup cake standNow what if you filled the cup with biscuit fingers and took some luxury chocolates out of their cardboard packaging and arranged them on this cake stand instead? They wouldn't stay there very long! I may just have to succumb to the temptation....yum!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Website Now Open!

Finally! Crikey! At long last......

cake stand heaven now open for businessOur brand new website is open for business! You can now find us at Cake Stand Heaven. Pour yourself a nice cup of tea, settle down in a comfy chair and come and browse our latest collections. We will be adding lots of gorgeous products daily.

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