When the weather gets chilly, it’s time for a tea party! So we decided to invite the girls over for a real old-fashioned high tea. Kitty has lots of teacups, but we wanted a fun kettle and fancy spoons, too. And where better to find them than at the flea market?
We headed straight for our favorite silver guy’s booth. He has every type of silverware imaginable, from asparagus forks to bonbon scoops. We told him about our party, and he showed us two styles of spoons for tea: the long kind for iced tea and the little ones to set on a saucer. Jennifer needed the regular kind and picked out four ornate ones. Since the price of silver is so high these days, she opted for silver plate. (Just as pretty for a fraction of the cost!)
The silver guy also showed us a pair of claw-foot sugar tongs. He said they were a must for proper ladies who sweeten their tea with sugar cubes. So, of course, being proper ladies, we bought them too. And all five pieces for just $18. His wife had some copper kettles, but we had our hearts set on colorful enamelware.
We found some printed tea towels hanging across the way. We asked the gal why they are called tea towels. She explained that they were originally drying cloths for fine china tea sets. They were so handy, though, they ended up being teapot cozies, basket liners, and everyday kitchen towels. While she was talking, we fell in love with a pair of blue-and-white striped ones and snatched them up for $4. We should have bought more!
Two stalls over, we found dozens of teacups mixed into a table of bric-a-brac. Kitty started her teacup collection in college with a Limoges cup and saucer, hand-painted with roses. This time she found a bone china teacup with dancing storks. Jennifer discovered a Delft-style cow creamer to match the new tea towels and a tea bag catcher shaped like a teapot. We pooled our money and paid $24 for the lot.
We shopped the next few aisles without buying, then we found the enamelware. Jennifer immediately went for an orange kettle with a bell-bottom and tons of personality. The dealer was asking $28, which we thought was reasonable. When it’s a deal, it’s a deal!
Don’t save your vintage tea collectibles for Earl Grey in the parlor. These charming finds are so small, they fit into any décor. Brighten up your kitchen with cut flowers in a chintz teapot. Dress up a vanity with a gilded demitasse that doubles as a jewelry keeper. Or store cotton balls in an English tea tin on the bathroom counter. And a mini children’s tea set is small enough to fit anywhere!