Christmas Tea Party – Cooking, Sewing and Crafting

This year was our neighborhood group’s turn to host the guild’s Holiday party, and we have been working on it for months. We set the theme last spring and began looking for the materials we needed. Settle in for a long and picture heavy post, as I catch you up on all the prep and secret projects, and show you the final result. We had a wonderful time, and the guild was delighted.

The first thing we decided was to make it an afternoon tea rather than a meal. We decided to make teacup pincushions for all the guests. Yep, we made 100 of them, taking literally months to scour thrift stores and estate sales for the teacups. We had a work day to turn them into pincushions, but some of our members needed to take a few home to finish. A circle of fabric is cut and a running stitch is sewn around the edge, then it stuffed with fiberfill, and pulled closed at the bottom like a yo-yo. The cushion is glued into the cup, and the cup is glued to the saucer.

Details are added, like trim and buttons, pins and little charms.

Next, the committee had the idea for all of us hostesses to wear an apron made from the same fabric. They gave us all a piece to use for the front, then we added the backing and straps from our own stash. Cut the top focus fabric and the backing to the apron shape. Cut two lengths of one-inch grosgrain ribbon at 52 inches long. Some members made straps from fabric, but I took the quick route.

Pin the ribbon end to the right side of the apron focus fabric at the top of the bib section. Be sure to leave some space on the sides for the seam allowance.

Make two small loops from the scraps, and place those to the tie points at the waist. The loops are 1-1/2-inches by three inches.

Put the backing on the focus fabric right sides together and stitch around the edges, leaving an opening at the bottom for turning. Then turn right side out and press. Stitch across the bottom to close the opening.

To wear the apron, take the ribbon strap from the right shoulder side and cross over in the back to the left loop. The left shoulder side goes through the right loop, then the apron is tied in the center back. The crossed straps do not get hung around the neck, resulting in a much more comfortable apron to wear for several hours.

Next, baking the treats. Each member on the baking team made a platter full of sweet treats. I decided to do cherry cupcakes. Now, before you ask, no the cake mix people don’t make a cherry flavor. So, using the principles learned from chef Sandra Lee in her Semi-Homemade show, I figured it out. Using a yellow cake mix simplified the prep. The cake mix calls for one cup of water, 1/3 cup butter and 3 eggs. I used a small jar of maraschino cherries, draining the juice into the measuring cup, then adding enough water to equal one cup. I removed the stems from the cherries, and put them in my little processor to chop.

Mix cake mix, butter, water/juice and eggs as directed, then fold in the chopped cherries.

I baked them in mini-muffin tins, and came out with 72.

They were frosted with vanilla frosting, and sprinkled with red and green sugar crystals for a festive look. Wrapped and ready to serve.

Next was the centerpieces. The committee made 15 of these marvelous Fold ‘n Stitch Wreaths. Click HERE to buy the pattern with template, and HERE for the fusible foam used inside for heft and stability. I was thrilled to win this one in the game to determine who at the table would get to take it home. I’m doing to make one of these to donate to our car club auction next year.

Then, one of our area members, Gail, decided that the napkins needed to be folded into Christmas trees. She did all 72 of them herself!! This is an easy fold, click on Christmas Tree Napkin Fold for a tutorial.

Finally the preparations were complete, and nine beautiful tables were set with mismatched teacups and plates borrowed from a local charity. We had asked the entire guild membership to make and bring a Christmas hot pad to the meetings prior to November. Those were all rolled and wrapped, and put on the tables for the member gift exchange. Each table hostess brought her own silverware. Small honey pitchers or bowls were on the table to have with the teas, along with mismatched sugar and creamer sets. We served a Christmas Black tea blend and an Herbal orange and cinnamon blend. These were put in teapots, also vintage mismatched. Lovely! I wish I’d gotten a photo of the teapots, they were vintage beauties, each and every one unique.

The buffet of treats had four platters of gluten free goodies on the end. I tried one of the brownies, and I couldn’t tell the difference.

All kinds of cookies and treats were on the tables beautifully displayed on lace tablecloths with poinsettias in fabric wreaths for decoration.

My cupcakes were in the middle next to a lovely tier of cookies. There were tiny pies and cheesecakes too.

Around the corner to the second section, those red cookies were shaped like strawberries. Someone went to a great deal of effort on those!

On a side table, we set out the extra teacup pincushions in case someone wanted to change the one they got for one that suited their taste more for color or style.

We had a lovely tea, and I came home tired after setting up the music, playing hostess, hanging up coats, serving tea, helping clean up and repack teacups and plates back into their boxes to return to the charity, along with a donation for their generosity.

I have three more parties coming up this week. It is such fun when the holidays start! What are your holiday plans for this week?

33 thoughts on “Christmas Tea Party – Cooking, Sewing and Crafting

  1. lynn bourgeois

    What a beautiful event. You all showed how much you care with these beautiful preparations. Great preparations, so much thought went into the tea party. I feel that you may just have made a lot of Christmas’s brighter, and the party and its creators will be remembered very fondly.

  2. Oh Carole! This is just fabulous! What a lot of work for you and your guild but boy, does it pay off! No wonder you were tired but what a terrific event down to the last detail. I’m sure every guest had a marvelous time…a day to remember.

  3. Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting

    Super holiday tea party!!! I’ve made wreaths from that pattern, too, and love the design! All those beautiful cookies!!! And love the folded Christmas tree napkins! Job well done, Carole, and friends!!!

  4. Kim from TN

    What a lovely start to the holiday season and the event looked well planned and everyone doing something to help out. I needed a new recipe to make all of our neighborhood friends a holiday treat and I will use your cherry cupcake recipe. It sounds perfect, thank you for sharing. I also appreciate the idea with an apron and the use of the ties, so nice to not have it around the neck and one size can fit all. We have our neighborhood get together next week and will do our tree before then. Happy Holidays to you and your family, Carole.

  5. what a great lot of work that was for you and your team! But it sounds like you had a lot of fun with it and I’m sure all enjoyed it tremendously. A fun event to kick off the holiday season. I made one of the tea cup pincushions once and like how they look.

  6. What an absolutely love tea party. Much thought and work went into it and I enjoyed every picture. Those centerpieces are spectacular and I followed your links to put the pattern and foam interfacing into my basket for the next time I purchase from Fat Quarter shop. If I get my act together, making those and buying a poinsettia would make lovely gifts for friends next Christmas.

    As always, I enjoy your blog even when I don’t comment. “What’s Carole up to now?” Always something good, whether quilts, food, gardening, table settings (I love your table settings), book reviews… I made your pumpkin citrus bread this week, freezing one loaf. The other loaf was gone in three days and there’s just my husband and me to eat it!

  7. Looks like a lovely tea party..the teacup pincushions are cute as well as the tree napkins. Good ideas.
    My project is making bunk bed drapes for the little girls…all 4 of them. Hopefully they will look like little houses.

  8. slmrn1

    Your Tea Party looks so wonderful. Certainly, an event I would have loved to attend. Everything so well planned and executed and everything just so charming. I love mismatched tea service. It’s adorable. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Cathy Walker

    Everything looked perfect! Looked like lots of work but job well done by all. I hope the participants appreciated it as much as I appreciated reading your account of the work involved.

  10. Carol Preston

    It was truly a special event!! Thank you for putting all the details in this blog post. A very creative group and appreciated by ALL!

  11. Diane Smith

    A special event like this for women at their busiest time of year is a way of starting the Christmas season on a festive note. The event reminds me of the many we have attended at church over the years. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Sharon F

    The tea party you hosted looks fabulous! It must have been so enjoyable for those who attended. Thanks for sharing about it, and thanks for sharing the instructions to make the cute tea cup pincushions. We don’t make a big deal of the holidays, keep it very low key. But it’s fun to read about the fancier celebrations.

  13. lois92346

    The spread of goodies looked amazing! Was there a cookie exchange at the end of the event? I love the simplicity of the apron construction. I’ll use an apron I already have as a template. I’ll have to remember to make that cherry cake recipe. Having the tiny bits of cherry in the cake sounds marvelous. You all did a wonderful job.

  14. Joan Sheppard

    So lovely! I’ll need to go back to this several times to see everything! Love the tree napkins! And the apron pattern is perfecto! One apron, fits the whole family! And I want to gobble up every single treat! Thanks

  15. Candy

    Carole, I want you to know how much I appreciate your blog, and the fact that it’s not full of ads and junk that make my iPad crash over and over! Thank you for that! I’m wondering what kind of glue you used for the teacup pincushions. I tried that once with a little tin teacup I found, but the glue didn’t hold the cup to the saucer. Have you ever made Christmas napkins that start with a lined semi-circle of fabric, then folded into a tree shape? They’re really cute and easy to make. Thanks for sharing your fun event.

  16. Becky

    Following your posts is such a joy~~wish I had your energy! I will be using your apron directions…love the simplicity of it. Your guild gifts and settings were beautiful along with all the goodies and teas. Another easy gift idea for tea saucers and cups was on “Krista Moser, The Quilted Life” post this morning that I will be making with magnets and Hod Podge.

  17. Mary

    What a lovely Tea Party! What a lot of work by everyone to make it such a happy day.
    Loved the Tea Cup Pincushions and the Apron. I always forget about an Apron until I’m all messy then remember I could have put an apron on!!
    I think you all had a lovely day with plenty of food and ‘nattering’ which you don’t always have time for when you are busy with Sewing. Now that the Christmas festivities have got underway there will be more fun times to come. :))

  18. Sue

    Carole, Thank you for sharing your guilds’ Christmas Tea set up. Our guild is so large that we do not have such an event, over 500 members. However these are some great ideas for our small group of 50! I will present them to the board and hope we can implement a few ideas for our much more casual potluck next year. I especially like the aprons and potholders for gift exchange!
    Merry Christmas,
    Sue from Deer Park WA

  19. What a party, wow Carole, you ladies thought of everything! The afternoon tea is a brilliant idea and those pin cushion teacups are fabulous! What a great event, lots of work by many and enjoyed so much by all I’m sure!

  20. What a fantastic way to celebrate the season, and sharing of your talents with the pin cushion coffee cups, lovely food and beautiful table settings. I hope that being a part of such a talented group gives you joy and inspires your creativity. Merry Christmas

  21. That was a cool theme and party Carole. I did a tea party wedding shower several years back and sourcing all the china sets for the tables was a challenge, but we found enough! Loved your sourcing with the thrift shop.

Thank you for commenting, I answer every one via email.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s