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Hats and gloves

The shop has some really pretty vintage winter hats. What I don’t have pictured are the gorgeous feather hats. I listened to a really interesting This American Life broadcast about how feathered hats were the tops in fashion in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The broadcast was really about rare bird feathers that were stolen from a private collection and out on the black market. It was a great lesson about feathered hats. I doubt that mine are rare feathers and it they are, I’m letting them go for a song. Lol

The tea drops came in and oh my! 😍

I’m figuring out displays for these puppies and I am so excited for our tea customers to try them!

I’m going to try and do the ever popular “unboxing” and put it up on the website soon. I am anxious to get these out. They are a tad bit expensive in that they are looking like they will be $1.25 per mug so they are a nice treat for yourself or for a sweet gift.

Tea Drops is a woman owned small business that I am so happy to welcome into The Stillroom.

Just a little something can go a long way!

Oh, if you want a small sample size jar of clotted cream, come and get it now! Expiration date is at the end of February and due to lack of demand, will not be reordered. Expire dated wares need to be pulled although they are good beyond the stamped date on the product.

Wah

“Herbs do comfort the weary brain with fragrant smells which yields a certain kind of nourishment.”

~William Coles, 1656

Yes, Yes, cinnamon and clove are the warm spices that we seek during the cold months for obvious reasons.  They make us feel warm and toasty and the fragrances are heavenly.

To me, there is no finer scent than something sweet and tasty from the oven.  Now, I cannot tell a lie, I do not like to bake. However, if it is a simple recipe, I’m all in!

Forget bowls of flour and sugar and powders and butter and cream and flavor and additions!  No wonder I don’t like baking!  But, Rabbit Creek has cracked the code on how to make a pretty darn good scone without all of the messy fuss.  Heavy cream is all you need to add to these mixes to produce a bakery quality pastry.  Is it a pastry? Is it a biscuit?  Is it cake? Is it a crumpet?  Is it the best, flaky and most moist scone you will ever produce from your oven with the least amount of  elbow grease?  I have to say yes. They are a warm, hassle free treat to have with your tea.

Scones are famously not super sweet so it’s not like a decadent cinnamon roll.  If a sweeter finish is desired, the cherry almond can be enhanced with a kiss of almond confection glaze or how about a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top? I do have a sweet tooth so I usually add a sprinkle of turbinado sugar on top before baking or add glaze when they come out of the oven.

For the blueberry mix I add a splash of lemon juice and zest to powdered sugar to make a drizzle for a lemon blueberry scone. Stillroom tested and approved and so easy to make. So lovely a fragrance from the oven. Easy baking makes winter with closed windows not altogether unpleasant. Baked goods are a comforting fragrance for the winter weary brain.

“That there is a quality item, Clark.” – Cousin Eddie

I received an email that the new and trendy tea drops have shipped!  I do try to keep my small shop on point and as relevant as a tea shop can get in a small town. lol

My morning plan was to have the new scone mix flavors on the shelf today.  So far, the snow has had other plans.

Happy New Year!

Packing it up

Someone posed the question, “how long should we leave holiday decorations up?” It was interesting to see how many people had opinions on this subject.

My mom always said to leave the tree up until New Year’s Day or it will be bad luck. Some people say until Twelfth Night or Epiphany Eve. The Christmas season is basically from December 25th until January 5th, which is also known as the 12 Days of Christmas. I think it depends on a few things. If family members are on vacation, putting away a tree is easier if helpful hands are on deck for wrapping those precious memories and carefully putting them back into their totes. Help is nice for hauling away a tree to be recycled or boxing up a tree and putting it in the basement or attic until we meet again. There is also running the sweeper. For some it might depend on how many needles are on the floor or how bad your cat is.

This year, I put away mostly everything the day after Christmas but I leave my favorite things up. Those are usually glowing lanterns and books or art that depict the winter months ahead. I don’t think the bad luck thing really matters. We get what we get both good and bad. I also think a lot of people (me) just want to put this whole year behind us and it can’t happen soon enough.

I hope everyone is having a good holiday season and I hope you enjoyed the new way most of us celebrated. My brothers and sister still made all of the traditional foods that would have ended up on our family buffet for the Christmas Eve gathering. This year, we celebrated in our personal pods and it was a silent night for sure. It was funny because we all ended up with each others speciality. Smoked meats, halushki, pierogies, ham, brisket, cookies and gifts all made their way around the family block. We managed to be apart, together.

The parents are celebrating their 91st and 92nd Christmas season on this planet. They were sad at first but all of us came around, socially distanced, masked up and had great visits from wayyy across the room, in shifts and limited time slots. I don’t know if these are seriously against the rules of safety precautions we have learned to live with over the past year or not. I think we will all be ok.

My nephew has been called to serve in Bahrain over the next year so we won’t see him as he packs up and leaves for duty on January 8th or so. I think that’s his birthday and he is also a newly wed. It meant a lot to the parents to see him before he deploys.

We lost a family member this year to cancer which was so unbelievably unexpected. We lost a couple of acquaintances from Covid. Like so many others, weddings were canceled, funerals felt risky, Dr. appointments were shuffled. So crazy.

So, there were good things that happened too. The election ended on a note of hope and a vaccine is finally being doled out for this devastating virus. My sister used to host up to twenty people every Thanksgiving but this year, her husband passed. She and I regrouped (mentally) and decided to have a pod meal with our mum and dad. OMG. We had some great laughs that made us cry. Released endorphins. After dinner, we got my parents’ Christmas Tree out of the attic, put it up and brought her decorations down and let her take a few days to dress it up. She said she couldn’t do it and we said, no hurry. She had it done the next day! It looks beautiful as always. I will post a picture of it before we take it down, New Year’s Day.

The Stillroom had a good year. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that fact that we have so many tea drinkers out there! As so many of you know, The Stillroom shop opened on 9-11 mostly as a gift shop. This was before online shopping became the norm. On that fateful day, I made a small corner for people to have a complimentary cup of tea from The Stillroom. Soon, I started to get requests for other flavors besides the Wintermint (which they should really bring back) that I served. It was my way to promote comfort in these very trying days for anyone that wished to warm up and relax for a few moments out of their day. I do take comfort in having a fine cup of hot chamomile when I feel like I need a blanket and don’t have one. To me, tea is like a mental blanket. Anyhow, in no time, The Stillroom morphed into a full blown tea shop!

Granted, we don’t carry a lot of loose teas because the demand for the more convenient bag o’ tea is much greater. However, the Harney & Sons loose teas that we do sell are top notch! I get calls every now and again asking if we have loose tea. I say we are limited in selection but the quality is outstanding and if they need more of a selection, call the Blue Monkey in Squirrel Hill. Her tea store is awesome! The Stillroom operates on a smaller scale that suits our neighborhood and meets the demands of most of our tea connoisseurs.

This leads to the topic of tea brands. The changes over time as far as ordering tea from three thousand miles away has become rather difficult for a small shop such as The Stillroom. When we first started to order our tea from Portland, Oregon, no matter how large the box was, flat rate shipping was ten dollars and we needed to meet the 100 dollar minimum with every order which was great. However, over time those rates started to go up to the point where now the shipping is almost as much as the tea order itself! Plus, the minimum order is now hundreds. Unfortunately, The Stillroom can no longer incur this increase in shipping and rising order minimums.

My current plan for 2021 is to increase the inventory of the Harney & Sons Tea. Located in New York, they are a family owned and operated tea company. The Stillroom has carried limited varieties of Harney Tea since we first opened and they are now going to be our main supplier along with a few smaller companies that stock us with our blooming tea pods and the new tea drops that will be featured as a new product for the tea lover!

As Stash flavors sell out, I will do my best to replace those flavors with compatible teas from Harney. I hope this doesn’t upset the apple cart too much but it is me doing my best to be able to bring quality teas to the area in the future without having to shutter the shop.

So, on that news I am going to peruse the catalogs to see what kind of flavorful goodness I can bring to your cup in the New Year.

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for making The Stillroom your stop for this, that and the other!

How cute is this little guy? His aunt made him Grogu ears (baby yoda). Just when I thought Ricki couldn’t be any cuter. This fellow just spent his third Holiday with his adopted dad.

Birdie watching tv

Bird dog watching dog tv

Birdie watching dog shorts on TCM. As soon as “The End” came on screen, she stopped watching.

A little something I did for my parents on their porch. “Let the spirit of the season carry us away”

-Christmas Vacation

Mavis Staples

Food for thought

“All you can take with you is that which you’ve given away.”

-from “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Check out this video on YouTube:

Merry Christmas!🎁🎄

Something for the cat.