I hope you liked the photos I posted yesterday of my Valentine’s Day Tea! My girlfriends and I had the best time, and I’ve been so excited to share the pictures, tuTORIals and recipes with all of you. Now, it’s time to show you the tea bar, the tablescape and the delicious food we had on the table.
DIY Tea Bar
Because it was a Valentine’s Day Tea, the most crucial element to our afternoon was the DIY Tea Bar. I set up a make-your-own tea station, complete with different tea flavors, different add-ons, and the materials to make your own teabag.
I made tags for every item on the tea bar, which added that extra special touch. I love the way it looked!
Then, we all made our own tea. Here’s how I made mine:
- Select the tea of your choice – we had green, herbal, black and chamomile
- Using a piece of cheesecloth cut into a square, place your desired tea into the center of the cheesecloth using a small spoon
- Wrap the cheesecloth around the tea and use a piece of twine to tie the top of the ‘teabag’ off.
- Pour hot water into your teacup
- Place your DIY teabag into your teacup, and add any flavors/add-ons that you want! We had honey, ginger, sugar, pomegranate, orange blossom water, rose water, lemongrass and agave.
I chose herbal tea, and added some honey and ginger to it. It was delish!
DIY Paper Fortune Teller Place Cards
Next up, I decided to make paper fortune teller place cards (aka Magic 8 Ball) for each of my girlfriends. That way when we all sat down, we had a little game to play before we made our tea. I chose to use these as the place cards because I used to make these with my girlfriends all the time in high school, so it made perfect sense to replicate them for a girlfriends only tea! This is my take on origami. Here’s the tuTORIal:
- Japanese paper of your choice. I picked up this beautiful cherry blossom print at Paper Source
- Marker (sharpies work best)
- Fold a piece of your paper from corner to corner, making a triangle
- Fold that triangle from corner to corner, making an even smaller triangle
- Unfold everything. Your paper should have an ‘X’ crease. Fold one corner to the center of the square (where the X crosses).
- Repeat with the 3 other corners
5. Flip the paper over, and fold the corners into the center of the square, to make a small rectangle.
6. You should be able to open up the paper a little bit and create the shape I’m holding in step 6
7. Fold the paper back into the small rectangle and write your guest’s name on one side
8. Open up the paper into a square, so you have 8 mini triangles. Number the triangles 1-8.
9. Write fun or empowering statements across 2 small triangles underneath your numbered triangles.
10. Since we were having a girlfriends’ tea, I wrote fun ones like “Girlfriends + Love” and “Girlpower”, but you can write whatever you want!
11. Close the fortune teller so you can see the name on the outside and place around the table where you want your girlfriends to sit.
Then, once you all sit down, you can play with the place cards.
Now for the tablescape and food! I wanted to take elements of traditional tea party pastels and enhance them with vibrant Asian-inspired colors. I used red, pinks and mint. Here’s my picTORIal of the gorgeous table:
I love the idea of bringing your indoors outside. So we brought our antique kitchen farm table outside and made a cabana like set-up. Complete with my two treasured Slim Aaron prints that usually hang in our living room. I set the table for me and my 5 girlfriends complete with a DIY tea bar. I loved mixing my antique pieces with modern Asian elements. Then, I created an easy no-sew table runner by cutting, ironing, and using double sided tape to secure into place some inexpensive Asian-inspired fabric down the middle of my table. Then I added place settings in our colors.
In the center there was a vintage tea caddy filled with dim sum and candies. We had bao, shumai, and assorted dumplings, which accompanied the main course: Udon Noodle Soup (I’ll post the recipe for the soup tomorrow!).
Instead of decorating with flowers I placed a few small bonsai trees on the table, and filled them with sweetheart candies. I love the mix of tradition Valentine’s Day elements with Asian-inspired accents. The bonsai centerpieces also doubled as take-home gifts for my gals.
Each place setting was complete with a Japanese fan, a vintage tea cup, chopsticks, and for a fun pop of color (and flavor), a hot pink piece of rock candy.
It’s all in the details! I picked up these inexpensive placemats from the downtown Asian market and painted the edges with a pastel pink.
A proper dim sum lunch isn’t complete without soy sauce.
I made these gorgeous sake cocktails (I’ll post the recipe tomorrow). They tasted just as good as they looked!
I made the napkin rings the night before, by glueing a Japanese good luck kitty onto a flat braided red rope that I picked up at a local craft store.
I wanted to add some fun flair to my udon, so I added some heart shaped carrots, added a heart shaped egg and threw in some cubes of tofu. Check back tomorrow for the recipe!
Cheers! I also hung paper lanterns above the table in pastel colors.
Love my girls!
The dim sum looked beautiful on the table, and tasted delicious too.
We all made our own plates of dim sum, and enjoyed it alongside the udon soup.
And there you go! A gorgeous Valentine’s Day tea for my girls, complete with crafting, cooking and lots of girl talk. Also, thank you to my girlfriend Courtney Hart for doing my makeup!
After we enjoyed our dim sum, soup and tea, we headed to the kitchen to make our own oversized fortune cookies… Make sure to come back to ediTORIal tomorrow for the photos and the recipe! I’ll also post the recipe for the pretty pink sake cocktail you saw in today’s blog.
Photos: Stephanie Todaro Photography