13 April 2016

The Magic of the Tea Tray

I am a hardened tea drinker. I think there are about 40 varieties of tea in my tea cupboard (yes, the tea has it's own cupboard). I will drink hot tea when it's 90 degrees and I will drink iced tea in a blizzard. I just love tea, of all kinds, hot or iced, in any weather. But my usual way of drinking tea is a mug or two in the morning while I'm doing other things. I am always "fizzing around" (as my mother says)... I am one of those people who have to work at relaxing. One of my long-term "life WIPs" is learning to relax; not just to stop, but to relax.

I've had a favorite teacup for many years. Several years ago I bought a little teapot to match it. And they just sat in a cupboard. Why? Oh, lots of the usual reasons a busy person has for not taking an extra 30-45 minutes to do something just for them. That 30-45 minutes could be used to... do something else that needs doing. One of the things I constantly have to remind myself of is that relaxing is "something else that needs doing." For years I struggled with this concept to the point that I wouldn't sit and stitch unless everything else was done. While I've gotten better about allowing myself stitching time, I can always stand further improvement. 

A couple of months ago I bought a tea tray. A few weeks after that, I found a couple of tea towels that match my teacup and teapot. Last week I found and ordered an adorable little creamer & sugar set. (Do you see me slowly and carefully sneaking up on this relaxation thing?) 

At long last... behold! My tea tray:

The magic of this tea tray is that it is one of the very few things that can bring me to a screeching halt. It has that weird sedative/stimulant effect that stitching has. It is at the same time both calming and invigorating. Perhaps it is invigorating because it is calming. It makes sense as the reverse of the effect it is meant to counter: busyness is draining. Pressing the pause button on busyness allows time for our batteries to recharge. Everyone knows this... the trick is finding not just what makes you stop, but what makes you relax.

I was pondering all of this and I realized that for me, there is much about taking the time to make up a proper tea tray that resembles getting a project ready to stitch: putting together my favorite things, getting everything prepared, anticipating the enjoyment of sitting quietly and doing something that relaxes me. With stitching, collecting my supplies is one of my favorite parts of the process. I've learned that taking the time to prepare a pretty tea tray is just as much fun as actually sitting down and drinking my tea. The preparation time (a whole five minutes!) was partially what was keeping me from indulging--"I'll just boil the kettle and have a quick mug"--and yet it's the preparation time that heightens the enjoyment. It feels special. Things that are special take time, as every stitcher knows.

Here's my favorite teacup... a thick, heavy, diner china. I have a gorgeous tea set of Russian porcelain that was a wedding gift, but for my every day tea tray, this is my favorite. It was made by Sterling China of Ohio.

Here's my fat little teapot in a cheerful cobalt blue. I can get three cups out of this, which is just perfect for just me. This teapot comes in lots of colors and is available here

My tiny new creamer & sugar set... the perfect size to fit on my tea tray, available on Amazon. 

And a sweet little spoon rest I've had for years. I don't remember where it came from.

And that's my magical tea tray. It's very simple, very inexpensive, very casual. The most valuable things about it are the time invested in it and the calm it creates... just like my stitching. 


  1. It works because it is now a ritual with accoutrements. Good for you! Your tea tray is lovely. All you need is a flower in a vase. I love it!

    1. Kate, I got a tiny bud vase at the dollar store, but nothing is in bloom yet! ;O)

  2. Enjoy your tea tray and accessories along with the time it gives you to stop and relax! I really like your teacup.

  3. I am like you, constantly doing things. I don't drink much tea. This is really neat. When I finally make the time to relax it is with a very good book on the recliner with two poodles. (Mabel does not prefer lap sitting.;)

  4. How sweet is that.I too am a tea drinker,and have lots of tea in my tea cabinet,probably not 40 though.I even cross stitched a sign for my cabinet that says "Tea",just need to do the framing/finishing on it.Like you were i never take the time to use my teapots,just use a mug.I generally have 2 to 3 cups for breakfast alone..

    Your post did bring back a lot of memories for me though,as my bff and i used to make tea in a teapot and enjoy it and our time together solving the problems of the world..Then life got too busy and it fell by the wayside.I should shock her the next time she comes over and have my teapot and cups at the ready..Lol

    I always enjoy your blog.TFS and enjoy all your teatime..

  5. I too am an avid tea drinker and have a tea cabinet. I love your tea tray and all the things that go on it. I love to relax with a cup of tea and a good book whenever I can. Enjoy your relaxing tea time.

  6. Tea is my drug of choice, I think i was weaned to it bout a hundred years ago.
    I love the ritual of preparing tea, either for a tray, for visitrs or just for myself.
    I do believe it tastes so much better from a china pot & in fine bone china cups. I could however always be wrong.

  7. I absolutely love this post. I am a firm believer in making time for special little moments and you have created a sweet ritual with your tea tray.

    "Relaxing is something else that needs doing"....words of great wisdom!