Aug 29, 2011

have a product you would like to be reviewed or a specific shop in mind? leave a comment or contact me using my e-mailing form!

I really want to do more product reviews. people who sponsor a product review will receive three full months of advertising on my sidebar.

have a shop that you really like and would like to see it featured here? just leave the link in a comment!

love always,

garden giveaway {no. 8} :: etsy chat with pieces of april

Before, I introduce the last sponsor of my August Garden Party, I would like to take a moment and thank all of my guest writers and my sponsors of this month. My "gardeners" did such a lovely job tending my garden! 

I also wanted to thank Miss Bethany especially for contacting a sponsor and arranging such a lovely giveaway, and congratulation Miss Haley on winning the lovely earrings. {may you enjoy those ;)}. 

Alrighty, the last giveaway of my garden party is sponsored by.... 
{click the banner to visit shop}

April is such a sweet person and her shop is filled with the cutest handmade delights; 'twas my pleasure to interview her to-day :: 
Me :: How delighted I am to have you here in my garden. Thank you so much for joining me to-day. 
Would you mind starting by telling my readers a little bit about yourself?

April :: My name is April. I am originally from West Texas but now live in South Louisiana. I am hispanic which is why you will find some of my items have a Spanglish (Spanish & English) name. My wonderful husband Michael and I have been married 8 years. I have a chocolate labrador, Daisy who is my little baby. I love fishing, college football, and anything my husband cooks!

Me :: What encouraged you to start an Etsy shop and when was it opened?

April :: Two reasons compelled me to open my shop. One, my mother who is an artist needed help opening a shop. Secondly, I had recently quit a full time job at a stationary store to help my husband with his trucking business. I missed the creative side of the stationary business but did not miss the long hours so I opened my shop to keep that creative part of me alive.

Me :: Are there any particular Etsy shops that inspire you?

April :: I was an Etsy customer before I was a shop owner so I have quite a few different shops that I love. Two shops that have inspired my craft are Woodland Belle (she makes her work an art form) & ; Earmark is another great shop which I love. They are both so unique.

Me :: Name a few of your top-selling items. 

April :: My top sellers are bobby pins in sets of 3 and custom rings. I love to help someone custom design their rings in a favorite color or flower. As an added perk I customize gift tags by adding a personal message, name or quote.

Me :: What is perhaps, the most enjoyable part about owning your own shop?

April :: The relationships I create with other shop owners and customers from all over the world. I now have customers who keep up with me and my daily life. We even chat up a storm on Facebook. 

Me :: What inspires you as a crafter? 

April :: My mom. She thinks outside of the box. Her ideas never end.I also find inspiration where most others do, in the highs and lows of life, in love and sadness, my dog Daisy, and my husband Michael.

Me :: I love your shop’s name! Is there a specific concept or story behind it?

April :: My mother named me from the song "Pieces Of April" by Three Dog Night, a rock band. Her inspiration became mine and it just seemed to fit the shop so well since every little thing I make is a little piece of me. 

Me :: For the new Etsy shop owners out there, do you mind sharing a few of tips or things that you have learned through experience?

April :: I have learned the importance of a great photo. Customers should touch and taste with their eyes. I think if you provide a nice shop front with a few great quality items you will find success. 

Me :: Is there any thing else you would like to add? 

April :: I believe in doing what I love even if I only get to do it part-time. I am so very grateful to you for allowing me to share a little about myself and for sharing Pieces Of April with your readers!

Thank you so much, April, for allowing me to interview you! I hope that your shop flourishes with business this year! {I LOVE all of your products!!!}

a peek into the shop 

April sells some of the cutest things 'round including...



hair clips...

and paper goods....

the giveaway

Dear April sweetly and generously agreed to give away a little packet that consists of three beautiful bobbies as well as a pair of rosette earrings...

Are they not darling? April specifically reserved this listing just for my garden party!
 I am quite jealous of the winner, for this color pallet is one of my favorites. :)

Ahhh, purple regal and rich. This set is made up of 3 Gold Plated Bobby Pins and a set of earrings.

Bobbies: Large Rose, Medium Dahlia and Orchid, in different shades of purple 
Earrings: Lilac Rose Bud on Gold Plated Posts Pins measure about 3 to 2 1/2 inchesEarrings measure a little under 1/2 inch

Special thanks to April for contributing this lovely packet of bobbies and earrings.

:: important information :: 
{before entering, please carefully read the information below} 

{one} You must complete the mandatory entry before completing extra entries.
 {If you fail to complete the mandatory entry, all other entries will not count, thus, you will not be entered in the giveaway}. 

{two} You must leave separate comments per entry you complete. 
{I use when choosing the winners of my giveaway. If you leave all of your entries in one comment, it will be accounted as one entry}. 

{three} Giveaway ends Monday, September 5th, and winner will be announced soon thereafter. 
All the past giveaways from this month have been extended to the beginning of September.

{four} The winner will have 24 hr. within the time of the announcement to contact me about her prize.

{five} Giveaway is open to young ladies in US only.

:: how to enter ::

:: mandatory entry :: 

alternate text
{click to visit} 

Visit April's shop, and let me know what catches your eye in her shop.  

 :: extra entries :: 

heart April's shop. 
add April to your Etsy circle. 
like April's business on facebook. {link is coming soon} 
spread a little love to my guest posters, and read their articles, leaving a sweet comment.
{{leave separate comments per article you comment on}}
be or become my follower on this blog, on facebook, or pinterest.
{{leave separate comments per one you complete}}
post about this giveaway on your blog or facebook.
{{leave a separate comment for each you do}}
enter one of my this month's past giveaways.
{{leave separate comment per giveaway you enter}} 
purchase something from April's shop{worth ten entries; leave ten comments} 

You may begin entering now!

Pretty Things By Meg Giveaway Winner!!!

lillian earrings.
Hello Ladies!
I am so excited about this giveaway and so thankful for each of the 63 entries that we got! I just drawed the winner using and I am pleased to announce that the winner of the Lilian earrings from Pretty Things By Meg is comment number 28: HALEY!!!!!!!

AM, August 23, 2011

LOVE your Royal Daughters of the King blog!!

I am so excited for you Miss Haley! Since we are pen-pals and I have your mailing address I have already contacted Meg with your info and we will get you your earrings ASAP! Congratulations! {I can so see you going crazy with excitement right now! ;D}

Also, one last thing! Be sure and remember about Megs generous coupon code for 20% off your next order at Pretty Things By Meg! The code is: GRACE20 And with all her lovely items I'm sure you will find something that you like! :D

Thank you so much to each lady who entered and also a special thank you to Meg for sponsoring this lovely giveaway! God bless you all!

Bethany Ann

Aug 26, 2011

Oh, hello, friend! Would you care for some tea?

There are few things I love in the world so much as a good cup of tea. Worries and fears seem to seep away as I listen to the pleasant bubbling in the kettle and spoon some golden honey into the bottom of a flowered teacup. As I pause to sip the delicious liquid, I am completely and wholly content... that is, as content as we sinful humans can be. :P

"Tea is a cup of life." ~Author Unknown

Dear Miss Grace, the keeper of this lovely garden, was kind enough to let me share my heart with all of her readers today. I had many things about which I would enjoy writing, but every time I pondered the matter, "tea" kept appearing and reappearing in my mind. Of course, I was happy to oblige, since tea happens to be one of my most favorite things. 

"A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards." ~A.A. Milne

tea |tē|
a hot drink made by infusing the dried, crushed leaves of the tea plantin boiling water.

Now, since I like to be extremely thorough, I have chosen to include a very brief history of tea, to give this post a little background. There is a legend that a Chinese emperor first discovered tea in 2737 B.C. when tea leaves blew into his cup of hot water--this tale is not fact and we cannot be sure if this is really how the delicate beverage originated. No matter how it came into existence, though, we do know that tea has been enjoyed by many in the East for thousands of years, while those of us in the West have only been drinking it less than five centuries. 

"There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

In 1589, the Europeans were first exposed to tea when a Venetian author suggested it to be the reason behind the Asians' lengthy lives. After that, tea slowly began seeping its way into the Western culture, starting with the Dutch, who brought back green tea from the East in 1610. In 1662, it is stated that tea-drinking became so chic (due to the fact that the queen was a tea-drinker) that it replaced ale as the most popular beverage. Although it was rumored that black tea was enjoyed in the colonies, it wasn't until the year 1690 that tea was first publicly sold in a shop in Massachusetts. And of course, who can forget the famous "Boston Tea Party" in 1773 when American men--dressed as Indians--raided the British ships and dumped chests of tea into the harbour, all in protest against the British tax on tea. In 1840, it is told that the Duchess of Bedford introduced the British custom of afternoon tea, which has remained a tradition ever since. 

"There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea." ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

There is a common misunderstanding among Americans that "high tea" means a fancy afternoon tea. This is untrue. Afternoon tea (also called "low tea") takes place late in the afternoon. High tea, however, is taken around supper time and a much heavier meal accompanies it. The rules of British etiquette when it comes to tea-drinking are very specific. Here is something I found on a website about what is and what isn't considered proper:

"In order for one not to spill the hot liquid onto oneself, the proper way to hold the vessel of a cup with no handle is to place one’s thumb at the six o'clock position and one’s index and middle fingers at the twelve o'clock position, while gently raising one’s pinkie up for balance.

"Tea cups with a handle are held by placing one’s fingers to the front and back of the handle with one’s pinkie up again allows balance. Pinkie up does mean straight up in the air, but slightly tilted. It is not an affectation, but a graceful way to avoid spills. Never loop your fingers through the handle, nor grasp the vessel bowl with the palm of your hand.

Do not stir your tea, with your tea spoon, in sweeping circular motions. Place your tea spoon at the six o'clock position and softly fold the liquid towards the twelve o'clock position two or three times. Never leave your tea spoon in your tea cup. When not in use, place your tea spoon on the right side of the tea saucer. Never wave or hold your tea cup in the air. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer. If you are at a buffet tea hold the tea saucer in your lap with your left hand and hold the tea cup in your right hand. When not in use, place the tea cup back in the tea saucer and hold in your lap.  The only time a saucer is raised together with the teacup is when one is at a standing reception.

Milk is served with tea, not cream. Cream is too heavy and masks the taste of the tea. Although some pour their milk in the cup first, it is probably better to pour the milk in the tea after it is in the cup in order to get the correct amount.

When serving lemon with tea, lemon slices are preferable, not wedges. Either provide a small fork or lemon fork for your guests, or have the tea server can neatly place a slice in the tea  cup after the tea has been poured. Be sure never to add lemon with milk since the lemon's citric acid will cause the proteins in the milk to curdle.

And now we come to the all-important question: loose-leaf tea or tea in a bag. My mother and father much prefer the loose leaf tea, and I will admit that it tastes more authentic. We can only purchase it a few times a year, because it is very expensive (we buy from Teavana). As for myself, I am quite content with a cup of Irish Breakfast (my favorite!) or Lady Grey tea. I also enjoy African Roibos, which a friend of ours introduced to us, and Vanilla Chai. While the tea in a bag is very simple to prepare (boil hot water, add the tea bag for your prefered amount of time, and add sugar and milk to taste), loose leaf tea is not quite so easy.  We purchase it in cans, on which there are instructions for how to brew the specific type of tea. There is a special metal tea bag in which the tea leaves are placed, and this is put in the teapot to brew for the requited amount of time. When finished, you pour your tea into a teacup, add milk/sugar/honey, and enjoy!

"We had a kettle; we let it leak: Our not repairing made it worse. We haven't had any tea for a week... The bottom is out of the Universe." ~Rudyard Kipling

I would be very blind if I were to end this post without making mention of something vastly important--tea parties. For if there is one thing that can improve teatime, 'tis a lovely friend with whom to share it. We have a very charming book called Let's Have a Tea Party! by Emilie Barnes (yes, I did have to include a book in this post :P), and it lists many creative and fun suggestions for how to plan your very own tea party. From a garden tea party to a Little Women-themed gathering, this book includes everything: even down to invitations, a suggested menu, and decorations. I loved pouring over it for hours when I was younger--is it any surprise to you that the Little Women and elegant British tea party ideas were my favorites? 

There are many other things I could include, such as what baked goods taste oh-so-delectable when paired with tea, but I'm afraid this post would turn into a full-length novel if I were to do so. Thank you so much, dearest Grace, for allowing me to tend to your garden for the afternoon. 'Twas a delight.

Happy tea-making, ladies!

"You can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me." ~C.S. Lewis 
Elizabeth Rose (also called Elizabeth, Lizzy Rose, or just plain Lizzy) is a young lady trying to do her best to live her life to His glory in a sinful world. She is far too old-fashioned for her own good. She loves long skirts, lace, window seats, and chatting with dear sisters in Christ over a cup of Irish Breakfast tea. Elizabeth is happily living at home, taught and instructed by her dear parents, along with her many little siblings. She blogs at Living on Literary Lane, where she reviews works of literature, posts poems, and shares her thoughts on every important matter under the sun, and at Unsinkable, an event blog she hosts with her sister dedicated to the centenntial of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. Teatime is her favorite time of day, and she wishes she could somehow share it with you over the Internet.