Thursday, January 8, 2015

Ring Carson for Tea:Welcome back Downton Abbey

Perhaps we can credit the Abbey's scenic grandeur, elegant settings, or edge-of-your-seat intrigue, both above and below the stairs (really Thomas?), with its unprecedented popularity both stateside and across the pond, but for me, it's also the magnificent costumes which keep me utterly enchanted by this series, season after season.
Naturally I was more than delighted to receive a gift of tickets to Winterthur Museum's exhibit, the Costumes of Downton Abbey in nearby Delaware, and it did not disappoint. 
Photos CPaul2014
Former estate of the du Pont family, the gracious Winterthur Museum displayed the costumes and accessories in elegant vignettes with information on the designs, historical context, sources, and stills from the show. It was fascinating to see how the clothing, textures and subtle details translated from screen to reality.
 
This exhibit has closed but others are popping up around the US and Canada- (Biltmore in N.C. will welcome the costumes in February) or for an interview with Downton's talented costume designer pop over to downton-abbey-costume-queen For more on Winterthur's exhibits and events visit winterthur.org 
Sadly my camera decided to misbehave that of all days, so I came home with limited photos but lots of inspiration. I thought I'd share some whimsical DIY projects to bring a little Downton into your everyday
*Historians and purists please note, these ideas are purely a fun nod to the era so please forgive the glaring historical inaccuracies 

Edwardian Costume Choker

 While I'd love to don one of the great outfits from the exhibit, I'll settle for a fun DIY accessory with basics from my closet to help set the tone for a Downton tea at home with friends. An online search found a myriad of jewelry items and accessories inspired by the show including this fabulous tutorial for a lace one by love Maegan. Loving the look but lacking much sewing prowess, I thought I'd come up with a simpler temporary party favor version to put together in minutes.

You'll need
wide black lace or edging with interesting details
velcro dots
printable-accented with metallic pens
faux jewels or accents 
images, CPaul, graphics fairy, Dearestgeeksof earth.com
simply measure and cut lace for neck size and glue velcro dot on each end. I then spritzed the image with clear varnish and once dry attached with hot glue. Accent with some sparkle and stick-on jewels.

While the show spans a decade of transitions in fashion, Dowager Violet still prefers the high necklines popular in her day.


Petite "Faux" Charlotte Russe
Created for the Czar Alexander' s daughter Princess Charlotte by famed french Chef Careme, and popular in Downton's day, this elegant dessert can be complicated to create. Since my kitchen staff consists of several curious feline friends rather than the able Mrs. Patmore and her crew, I thought I'd opt for a simpler no fuss recipe, in the spirit of the confection. This, perhaps healthier, adaptation uses light cream cheese and Greek yogurt in tune with January's resolutions.

You'll Need
Lady Fingers 
(I used 12 but will depend on size)
1 8oz regular or neuchatel cream cheese (softened)
1 container Greek yogurt (5.3 oz) 
(any fruit flavor)
2/3 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp orange or other flavored extract
berries, whipped cream, mint for garnishing
This is adapted from a recipe for Couers du Creme on my Valentine's day post 
or makes a nice fruit dip as well
Line a 6" round or square container with plastic wrap leaving extra hanging over edge
*If using a larger container you can adjust ingredient amounts as needed
Blend cream cheese, yogurt, sugar and extract
arrange Lady fingers around edge, pressing together where they meet
Fill with cream cheese mixture and smooth evenly
cover with Lady fingers, tearing pieces to fit if needed
(this will be the bottom so no one will see it anyway)
Cover with plastic and
Chill several hours or overnight

Invert onto decorative plate and carefully remove plastic
garnish as desired
Set the table and serve with tea of course
I added props like silk flowers and "family photos
(images found online,  printed in sepia tone and popped into frames)


Grama-iphone
Carson gets an earful, scene from Downton Abbey
With much of the show dealing with Downton's residents adapting to the "modern" world, (who can forget the Dowager wrestling with a swivel chair) the gramophone becomes one of the symbols of the new age. I've seen modernized versions of gramophones which connect to smartphones in chic home shops but thought I'd make a more humble DIY version in homage to this retro now hip icon.
I used:
mini speaker for phone or iPod 
(I got one from the store Five below)
small cardboard box, paper tubes, 
plastic cup, lid, straws and paper bowl
faux wood shelf paper
black, brown and metallic spray paint
Printable labels and accents
printed from fun site normanfield.com featuring labels from 1898-1926
This project channels your inner kindergartner by simply assembling boxes and odds and ends until, through trial and error, you're happy with the result. Here's a brief run down of what I did. 

I cut out an opening to fit the speaker and then covered the box with "wood" paper. 
I hot glued the bowl and cup together, adding an angled cut piece from the cardboard roll, and sprayed it gold.
An old lid painted black makes a record with a printed out vintage label
I then hot glued it all together, adding supports where needed 
add some details like some gold painted craft sticks and labels found online
My husband , taking this literally asked where the handle was- so I quickly painted two bendy straws and voila!
You can here a snippet of it playing on PennWise's facebook page
Turn on some old fashioned tunes and dance the night away!

 For more Downton DIY's visit our previous post 
Tea Time at Downton Abbey
Downton Masks, DIY Abbey votive, Earl grey shortbread spoons

44 comments:

  1. I'm a fan of DA, and I LOVED every word and image in this post! I'm drawn to the tablesettings--and I have a small stash of long dresses and skirts, mainly for summer. Can't wait for Sunday night!

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    1. Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the post- No matter how old we get it's still fun to play dress up sometimes! So glad you popped by
      Cheers!

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  2. The charlotte russe sounds delicious...will make it in the near future. You have ½ orange or other extract, I am assuming that is teaspoon?
    Have a great rest of the week, Christina!

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    1. Hi Marigene!
      Thank you , yes that should be 1/2 teaspoon of extract (oops!) It's not really a true "charlotte" (I believe that usually uses gelatin and whip cream) but this is so easy to put together and can be made in so many flavor combinations.
      So glad you stopped by
      Cheers!

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    1. Thanks! it was lots of fun to put together!

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  4. What a fun exhibit! I agree-the costumes are incredible. I haven't caught that show in a while, but I loved the pure eye candy of the interiors, landscape, and clothing. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Nicki! Eye candy is the perfect word - The exhibit was fabulous - my mother (who's never seen the show- gasp!) even loved it just for the design
      Cheers!

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  5. Hi Christina,

    So lovely to meet you!

    What a delightful and delicious dessert, inspired by the dramatic DA version, and tweaked for a trimmer waistline, this creamy, strawberry temptation can be enjoyed without guilt!

    Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2015!

    Poppy

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    1. Thanks so much Poppy!
      So glad you stopped by- the dessert really is so easy to make (-although I'd love to try the fancier version one day.)

      A Happy 2015 to you!
      Cheers

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  6. Very nice tutorial and amazing dessert. It looks like it will melt in your mouth. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you’ll join us again next week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

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    1. Thanks so much! and Thanks for hosting your delightful blog hops! I always pop over even if I have northing new to share that week :)
      Cheers

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  7. What fun pictures! and your dessert looks lovely. :)

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  8. What a fabulous posting, Christina! The photos of the costumes, the tea and dessert, your creative gramophone, are all delightful. Thanks for sharing with Tea Time and have a splendid day. Happy New Year!

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Thanks so much Sandi! I had such fun putting this together- Happy 2015 and thank you for hosting your fun parties!

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  9. So many great ideas. Thank you for sharing!

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  10. Thanks for sharing images of the costumes. Speaking of fashion, Joanne Froggatt looked beautiful when she accepted her Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series, or TV Movie.

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    1. She did look wonderful! So glad she won - well deserved- It's funny how completely different they all look out of character :)
      Thanks so much for stopping by
      Cheers!

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  11. Aren't you clever with this DA tea!! I love your copycats that you did and the dessert looks divine and so easy, too. I would love this with a cup of tea. Fun!!

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    1. Thanks so much Kitty!
      This was such a fun theme to work with- and the dessert is almost embarrassingly easy lol
      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words :)
      Cheers!

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  12. Beautiful! Everything looks perfect. Blessings, Martha

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    1. Thanks so much Martha! I love being part of your tea parties! :)

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  13. Christina, you are so very creative and imaginative! Love it all!! I too adore the clothing they wear at Downton. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks so much Jann!
      This was such fun to put together! It's such a fun show to plan a party around
      Thanks as always for hosting your lovely teas!
      Cheers!

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  14. Christina, what a terrific post! Maybe I can catch the exhibit at the Biltmore (it's about a 5 hour getaway from where I am). Your art themes in the related projects here are fantastic. Thank you again for the tip on the Netflix program from my post on the Flapper Girl (I updated the post and credited you with a postscript). I watched my first of many episodes to come, and I am really enthralled with the costuming (and the strong character of Miss Fletcher). Consider me your newest follower. :)
    Rita

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    1. Thanks so much Rita!
      This was such a fun post to put together. If you can catch the exhibit it's wonderful (and they have a great gift shop) My camera wasn't behaving that day so I wish I had better shots of the costumes to share-
      Hope you enjoy the Miss Fisher series- I just loved your flapper post and thought you'd appreciate the costumes- sometimes it's hard to find really good things to watch on tv lol
      Delighted you'll be following PennyWise :)
      Cheers!

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  15. What a creative post! Thank you for joining HSH!
    Sherry

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    1. Thanks so much Sherry! and thanks for hosting HSH!
      Cheers!

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  16. I never saw DA until the summer when we picked up the DVDs from the library and binged watch the entire thing! Great show and awesome costumes! Knowing the Biltmore will have the costumes in February is tempting. We are in Florida until February 23rd then going back up to Mass. Maybe we need a side trip?! ;)

    (I've made a dessert very similar to that a few years ago and everyone loved it and it makes such a lovely presentation,)

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    1. Hi Doreen,
      Isn't Downton addicting? Lucky you to be in Florida!- I've never been to Biltmore but it is on my someday must-see list- it's a bit of a hike from Pa.
      This dessert was so easy- I was a little surprised it came out so well- I may try a larger version later on.
      Thanks so much for popping by
      Cheers!

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  17. How fun! That was a perfect gift! LOVE your gramophone! How clever! And ebverything must have been such fun! Back from break with a feeling-better-Honey!
    Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!
    Ruth

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    1. Thanks so much Ruth!
      I did have a lot of fun putting this together
      So glad the Honey is feeling better and thanks as always for hosting Tuesday cuppa tea!
      Cheers

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  18. Fun post! Now you've got me hankering for a cup of tea and dessert, with the wireless on for entertainment!

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    1. Thanks so much Vickie-
      Seems I'm always hankering for tea and dessert :)
      Cheers!

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  19. What a wonderful post for Downton Abbey lovers! I'm so happy to be invited to tea....and you have so many great ideas! Beautiful....from start to finish! I'll go back and read it again! Enjoy your week! Hugs, Diane

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    1. Thanks so much Diane!
      It was such fun to put together - thanks for stopping by- nice to know there are so many fans of the show :)
      Cheers!

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  20. Two thumbs up. I'd give more but I've only got the two. Sharing.

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    1. LOL! Thanks so much Susan!
      This was such fun to put together- even without a butler and footmen (sigh) maybe in my next life

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  21. Oh my word! This is so fun!!! That dessert looks delicious! OH MY! And, that "gramaphone"... oh. my. goodness!!! SO much awesomeness in one post! LOL! It is all wonderful! :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by Stringtown Home, and for visiting my little baby shower tea.

    Hope you have a wonderful (rest of the) week!
    -Heather
    www.stringtownhome.net

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words!
      This is one of my very favorite shows and a fun post to put together :)
      Cheers

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Love to hear your comments and suggestions!