Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tea on the Titanic


Several years ago while browsing used cookbooks online I came across the most fascinating find titled Last Dinner on the Titanic.
 I had tentatively reserved it in my "wish list" for a while as I was worried there was something a bit macabre about recreating soups and desserts that were served on the evening of such a tragic event. But soon the romance and splendor of the era of transatlantic travel won me over, I clicked "buy" and days later was poring over the captivating old photographs, intriguing historical facts, and authentic recipes.
April 14th marks one hundred and one years since the fateful sinking (alas I hadn't begun blogging for the century mark).While countless people around the world will commemorate this historical date with a variety dinners, ceremonies and events, I figured I'd honor the occasion this year in one of my favorite ways, having a tea party.

Regular readers will note that I borrowed some ideas and props from my Downton Abbey Tea Party post, both being of the Edwardian era- (in fact Downton fans will remember how the opening episode announces the news of Titanic's sinking). History buffs take heed, as with the Downton Tea, this post is more of a fun, whimsical nod to the glamour of an era, and not in any way an  accurate portrayal.

Titanic Teacup


Many companies currently create fine Titanic inspired china, reproducing with exacting detail, the ship's famous patterns. Of course these can be quite pricey; I spotted one tea cup and saucer selling for over $150. So wanting first class china on a steerage budget,  I popped out to the thrift store for some more economical wares to spruce up easily with some china friendly paint. 

You'll need:
teacups and saucers- check they are not priceless heirlooms
china friendly paint
carbon paper
printable logo
small paint brush
 In the interest of time, I simply painted the recognizable White Star's logo onto simple but elegant gold edged serving ware, fitting somewhere in the middle of the pattern class hierarchy
 I found this basic white and gold almost complete china set at a thrift store- 
they just needed a bath
Using carbon paper I transferred the logo to the center of the plate and on cup
just paint in design- mistakes can be easily wiped away while still wet

Authentic White Star china patterns according to class






Menu


While actual Titanic dinner and luncheon menus have survived, I was unable to find much detail about what was served for afternoon Tea on this grand ship. Since first class passengers affectionately referred to the ship's elegant dining rooms as the "Ritz", I borrowed menu ideas from the tea served at the landlocked version of the very luxurious namesake.

The tea menu is based on an image from an actual dinner menu which survived the sinking in a passenger's purse. Employing a bit of computer magic I replaced the grilled mutton and potted shrimp with some classic tea time fare. Visit huffingtonpost.com to see the original menu, what it sold for at auction and more fascinating facts.
With no staff of culinary masters on hand in my kitchen, I simply gave some"supermarket" eclairs a dusting of powdered sugar and served with berries


Tea in the Reception Room

reception room: sister ship Olympia


My own house boasts less than Titanic proportions but I added a bit period grandeur using some free samples of plastic ceiling tile I had from a project yet to be started eons ago.
I simply gave them a quick dusting of ivory spray paint to enrich the plastic finish and attached with tape to a display board.



Of course one needs a porthole, or in this case a round craft store mirror. After a few attempts at painting a sea view (the paint didnt cooperate) I settled for a few swipes of paint to simulate a reflection.
Tea is served

fun fact: the Titanic set sail with 800 lbs of tea and 3,000 tea cups!


Greetings from....

A fun way to reinforce the Titanic theme is by setting up small vignettes in different areas of your house. Imagining a passenger quietly writing letters to fill the long days at sea, I used some vintage postcard graphics to create cards that might have relayed a travelers adventures to those back home.
Some ladylike touches help create character
http://www.simplonpc.co.uk

just love this touching early 1900's postcard from The Graphics Fairy

playing with the Sepia effect again- instant antiquity

Fun Fact: 3 dogs survived the sinking.  Although considered good luck and great rodent control, no cats had been aboard the Titanic

Titanic floating Lantern in a Jar

I love adding little touches of light to a setting even in the afternoon. This is an easy and unique project to accent a table or entryway. In January I created a Polar Bear Party party and used plastic wrap and water to simulate an icy arctic sea: an ingenious idea from Big Red Kitchen. Here the addition of a miniature floating Titanic image and a flameless votive create an iceberg laden tabletop seascape.

You'll need:
Titanic image (there is one on our printables page)
clear plastic cup
flameless votive
plastic wrap
water
clear jar or container

These instructions are similar to those of my Chinese floating lanterns
Cut out image of ship.
 Trim cup to about 1" height being careful of sharp edges. 
I cut two small slits in sides of plastic and slid in ship so it stood upright
Pop in a votive as close to center as possible to water test. If it is seaworthy continue.
 using a pin I created "windows" for the votive light to shine through


by day
by night



Crumple plastic wrap and submerge in water to create an icy sea
If you are hosting an evening event several votives will create a nice glow

Experiment with different containers-
At left I used an apothecary jar and at right the Titanic sets sail in a trifle bowl



PennyWise Titanic Tips

It doesn't take guests in full costume to set the elegant mood. Provide a box of hats, jewelry and gloves to add some Edwardian glam to your event and supply fun photo opportunities.

The Titanic orchestra was said to heroically continue to play while the ship went down. Adding period background music is a fun and easy way to set the tone. Light classical, popular show tunes from the day and even the "new" ragtime and jazz were popular. Check this delightful site for authentic music http://www.melodylane.net/whitestar.html


52 comments:

  1. Oh, my heavens! So many delicious details to make a Titanic Tea Party the height of the season's social engagements! Your detailed china painting was just lovely. How fortunate to find gold rimmed china! And all the other details? Well, I am smitten and now am your newest follower! If you get a moment do drop by mine as I would love to have you over for a visit! Always love making new friends! Thanks so much for sharing all your details.. you deserve a round of applause!

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  2. Gesh Louise! I already am a follower!!! No wonder I wanted to sign up again.. I love the things you share!! :-)

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    1. You're too funny- I tried to follow a blog I was already following last week- lol-
      Thanks so much for following-and almost reflowing- and for your kind words - so glad you enjoyed it! I am lucky to find the china as I initially bought two $1 teacups to use- but kept thinking I should "splurge" on the whole set of gold rimmed-the next day I hightailed it back to the thrift store and it was still there-:) I'm so fascinated by this era I may have gone "overboard" (sorry)
      I will definitely pop over for a visit!
      Cheers!

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  3. Wow! You did a fantastic job! This should be in a magazine!

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    1. Thanks so much! I had such fun playing with this theme :)

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  4. After selling the book at my store years ago, a friend did a party at her house which was great. I made the barley soup which was quite good, a sherbert inside oranges, a rose punch with real rose oil and asparagus something. It was fun as we all "played a role" and wore costumes. I think your ideas are wonderful and you have been very creative!

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    1. Oh that sounds like such fun! You all really went all out!
      I've been wanting to try some of the recipes especially the rose punch!
      That is the most fascinating book!
      Many thanks for your kind words and of course for hosting your weekly parties!
      Cheers!

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  5. Just love your ideas and fun props, what a great book,

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting- so glad you enjoyed it-! The book was a fun inspiration :)

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  6. Very fun! It is indeed that time when we remember the Titanic. Your ideas are wonderful! Thanks so much for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!
    Ruth

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    1. Thanks so much Ruth!
      I just love your Tuesday Tea Parties!

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  7. Wow what a lovely tea party. Glad for the update about April 14th - sorry to say but I didn't realize it was on the 14th. What a nice tribute. I love how you updated the tea cups with the logo. The entire vignette is just lovely.
    I am your newest GFC.
    Have a great week,
    Bev
    @ Eclectic Red Barn

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    1. Thanks so much Bev!
      So glad you liked it and delighted you'll be following Pennywise-
      A friend mentioned the date otherwise I wouldn't have know either :)

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  8. Love this post. You have some really great ideas! What fun it would be to have a Titanic themed tea party. I'm gonna have to be a follower, now.

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    1. Thanks so much Cynthia- and I'm delighted you'll be following :)

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  9. Hello Christina,
    What a wonderfully creative post! I love all your ideas for celebrating Tea on the Titanic. I did a Tea last year to celebrate the 100 year Anniverary using my own china and ideas I gleaned from my son's Titanic book. I really enjoyed your post and I'm so happy you shared it at my HOME. Have a wonderful weekend.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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  10. I thought I was following you but I couldn't find myself so I have linked up. Enjoy your evening!

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Thanks Sandi!
      I'm delighted you'll be following- I missed the Titanic 100th anniversary-but just looked up your Titanic post from last April and it was absolutely Amazing! I'm so jealous of your divine silver tea service!- loved all your details and images and how you included the stills from the film!
      Thanks also for hosting your wonderful weekly linky parties!
      Cheers!

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  11. Christina,

    I want to be your friend and come to your house. LOL You really know how to do a party with a capital P.
    Thanks for visiting my blog. I am your newest follower.

    All the best,

    charlotte

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    1. Thank you so much Charlotte-
      I'm so delighted you'll be following- and you're welcome to my parties anytime lol :)

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  12. Oh My Gosh Christina! How on earth can you say your muse left you and went on vacation?! This is an amazing post and I love, love, love all the photos, especially the sepia one's you played with! I have a thing for sepia, I guess for the very reason you made one... the vintage look and feel it gives! You did an outstanding job on this post... and I love those plastic ceiling tiles! I would love to find some paper versions to put all over my studio ceiling - I think that would look so awesome and shabby chic! :D
    Hugs and thanks for popping by my blog and leaving your sweet as always comments!
    Beth P

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    1. Thanks so much Elizabeth!
      You're too nice! I had those ceiling tiles forever waiting for a project hahah- paper ones would be wonderful!
      I love sepia too -there are so many fun effects on the computer I'm still trying to figure out-
      So glad you liked the post - I always enjoy visiting your blog!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  13. Oh boy, I love how you created a perfect Titanic china!! This setting is amazing, you are so talented..I am very impressed! Thank you for sharing. Have a lovely Sunday.

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    1. Thanks so much - this was such fun to put together- so glad you enjoyed it:)

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  14. Fabulous post and creative genius! We were fortunate to see the Titanic exhibit when it was in Nashville a few years ago.

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    1. Thanks so much - so glad you enjoyed it-!
      I'm so jealous- the exhibit is came to Philadelphia- and I've been trying to get to see it
      Cheers

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  15. Wow, beautiful post! Your blog is an absolute delight, I love your photos very much. New follower here!!!! Greetings from Spain :D

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    1. Ola Sopa--
      Gracias- so glad you liked the post! and so happy you are a new follower! :)
      My husband was born in Spain :)

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  16. Hi Christina, Oh I just loved this post and every detail you share. The china you painted turned out gorgeous. I have painted on china and I can appreciate the work involved. You are so talented!! The setting is stunning. Love your pics and all the info you share.
    So enjoyed this post and my visit.
    Thank you for stopping by and your kind comment. Have a wonderful week.
    Hugs, Celestina Marie

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    1. Thanks so much!
      I'm so happy you enjoyed it-
      the china painting was pretty simple but now I'm excited to try more complicated designs :)
      Love visiting your blog!
      Cheers
      Christina

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  17. I'm so glad I came to check out your blog. I love everything you created and your story. Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting- so glad you enjoyed the post!
      Hope you stop back soon :)

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  18. What a fabulous tea and I love the story too. Thanks for joinig Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

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    1. so glad you enjoyed it Marty!
      I'm so glad I found your lovely site and thanks for hosting!
      Cheer!s
      Christina

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  20. Christina, even though it was such a sad day in history. I love the movie and learning about it. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have lived through it. Your dishes are amazing. Never would have guessed that you painted the image on. Loved the facts about the tea and teacups on board. Now, that's alot of tea! Thanks so much for sharing this with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks so much Jann-
      so glad you enjoyed the post and you're right that was a lot of tea!
      The dishes were actually fairly easy and quick to paint!
      Thanks for hosting your wonderful parties-
      Cheers!

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  21. What a fun idea! Those Titanic plates are really amazing and your tea table looks very refined. Maybe this will catch on as an event every year in April?

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    1. Thanks so much Rhissanna!
      The plates were really pretty simple to paint-
      It would be fun to make it an annual event-:)
      Cheers!

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  22. Hi Christina,
    I saw your post featured on Sandi's HOME party and had to look at it! Your plates are wonderful, Wow! Your vignettes and photos are very nice. Thanks for sharing. I just joined Sandi's party for this week and I have my Titanic post on there with my Titanic plates and dinner table. I hope you stop by Sandi's and take a look. Gina at Victorian Wanna Be

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    1. Thanks so much Gina-
      So glad you liked the post! it's such fun to see so many bloggers posting Titanic themes :)
      I'll pop over and visit your site!
      Cheers

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  23. A lot of intresting reading about the Titanic THANK YOU!!I´m glad you like the earrings...if you win I send them to you in a nice little parcel from Sweden. Have a nice weekend /Maria

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    1. Thanks so much Maria!
      So glad you liked the post and I really enjoyed visiting your blog :)

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  24. Wow! You did a great job painting the tea cup and plate! I think a Titanic tea party would be fun. And I've never had a cucumber sandwich, but that sounds so yummy right now! Thanks for sharing at Submarine Sunday!

    T'onna

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    1. Thanks so much-
      this was a fun post to put together-
      so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for hosting your wonderful parties :)

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  25. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com


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    1. Thanks and thanks for hosting! I always find fun ideas at your parties :)

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  26. Love the fabulous plates! They look wonderful. The Titanic party and recreating the menu sounds like a wonderful tribute. Thanks so much for sharing this gorgeous post.
    Hugs,
    Patti

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    1. Thanks-
      I'm not sure how often I'll use those plates but they were such fun to paint-
      Thanks for your kind words and for hosting your lovely parties!

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  27. Wonderful post Christina. The plates and cup are gorgeous. Wishing you a wonderful day, hugs, Wendy

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  28. What a clever idea! When the Titan exhibit was at the Denver Museum of Natural History we saw it and all those mementos were amazing to see. I love all things tea so this really caught my attention. Thank you for sharing.

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Love to hear your comments and suggestions!