The Mad Tea Party

A colleague of mine is battling cancer.  One of our former teammates decided to put together a book of fun pictures and get well wishes to cheer him up.  When I got the email soliciting funny photos I started thinking about what photo I should take.  What costumes did I have at home? What silly situations would be easy to set up and photograph?

Joey has had the Mad Hatter hat for many years.  He usually wears it for the All Saints’ Mardi Gras celebration.  My aforementioned love of tea means that I have lots of teapots and tea cups.  I decided that a Mad Tea Party was the way to go!

Mad Tea Party set-up

I pulled out a brightly colored table cloth, laid out my favorite tea things, and asked Joey to grab his camera.  Joey helped me arrange everything on the table.   We took dozens of test shots as we adjusted various objects on the table so that the scene looked awesome.  I have a new-found respect for people who dress sets for photo shoots and films.  Making things look good on camera is not at all the same thing as making it look good in person!

Staging the tea party

After everything was set up, I realized that actually pouring tea would add to the finished photo.  I made a pot of my favorite tea, Drum Mountain, which is a wonderful Chinese clouds and mist green tea.  Joey did not like the way it looked when I poured tea into the cup I was holding.  We decided it would look more “mad” if I poured tea into space – but I was not about to pour my favorite tea onto the table and floor!  That would be truly crazy.  So I got a bowl and arranged it so it was hidden from the camera, and that is where I poured the tea.  I naturally drank the tea between each set of photos!

Drinking tea

Joey and I had a really great time putting the whole thing together.  The final result was fantastic.  I set the photo as my cover photo on Facebook.  Tons of people liked the photo, and I also got lots of great comments.
Mad Hatter
The co-worker who is putting together the book of well wishes was thrilled. She asked whether all of the tea things on the table are mine, and where I got them all. Here is the answer…

The white china with grey flowers (like the cup and teapot I am holding) is my good china, which is Noritake, purchased for my grandmother while my Uncle Rick was on leave in Tokyo during his tour in Vietnam. I was luck enough to inherit this china. Along with a dinner service for 12, I have 14 cups and saucers, cream, and sugar. Joey got the matching teapot for me for my birthday a few years ago.

The brown and blue stoneware are my everyday dishes. Cups, saucers, and sugar. This is the stoneware I grew up with, and my mom gave it to me when I got my first apartment.

The blue and while flowered cups and saucers were a thank you gift (along with the big blue flowered tea pot that is just below my arm and the small creamer you see in the right foreground) from Sujata Prabhu Camp for being matron of honor at her wedding.

The blue pot at the very back of the table is actually an insulated pot. It is a Danish design, that I first saw on my friend Ellen’s table, and had to have one! I use it during the winter to keep my tea warm all day.

The silver kettle is my pretty electric kettle. It was a gift from my mother after I boiled all the water out of my regular kettle for the 900th time. I have two electric kettles – this one is prettier, so it made the picture. The other electric kettle actually lets you set the temperature to which you want the water heated. This latter electric kettle was a Christmas present from my sister-in-law, Christinne. Although I use the adjustable kettle more, I keep the one in the picture because sometimes you need to brew two pots of tea at once!

The green and white cups, saucers, cream, and sugar were a wedding present from my Danish friend, Ellen – they are Royal Copenhagen. The white teapot with knitted cozy is a chatsford teapot that I bought to go with the Royal Copenhagen tea cups.

The small green tea pot on the right with the knitted cozy (I made that cozy and the one on the white teapot) is actually Joey’s – I bought it for him b/c we like different tea in the morning, and the handle is wide enough to fit his hand.

The purple gourd with the metal straw is a matte cup from Argentina. I bought it as a souvenir when Joey and I went to Buenos Aires in 2004.

The big white cup with a blue rim (mid- table) is actually a soup mug with Winnie-the-Pooh on it! It was a wedding present from my godchildren’s mother, Rachel.

The light green pot with cherry blossoms and matching cups is something I got as a souvenir on my recent trip to Washington, DC. We went for the cherry blossom festival. Being such fans of tea, Billy and I visited the tea shop Teaism. This hand-painted porcelain teapot caught my eye.  I asked if they would ship it for me, paid for it, and it was waiting for me when I got home!

The Mad Tea Party was a mad success.  I got a fun picture to cheer up my colleague, a fun evening with Joey, a tasty pot of tea, and a trip down memory lane.  Time well spent!


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