Friday, December 21, 2012

Giveaway Winner & First Day of Winter

Oh this is exciting! From the nearly 600 entries we received by comment, email, and phone, we randomly selected a number, and the winner of our antique turkey red tablecloth is: 

Deborah in California! 
This beautiful tablecloth has been sent off with loving Christmas wishes to Deborah and her family! I know they will cherish it.

Thank you ALL for participating and for your generous, inspiring comments. It was an absolute heart-warming joy to read the stories of your families, traditions, and the ways Tasha has inspired you. Thank you for sharing. I wish we had 600 tablecloths to give away to each and every one of you!

On this Winter Solstice, we offer you the best of warm Christmas cheer this year. Only a few more days, so savor each moment and take joy in the little things. 

~Natalie & Tasha Tudor and Family, Inc.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dundee Cake and St. Nicholas Day

 Did you enjoy your St. Nicholas Day last Thursday? We sure hope so! I heard from many of you that you included Tasha's traditions of the first appearance of Dundee Cake at tea time on December 6th, one of my personal favorite traditions!

This time of year, amdist all of the hustle and bustle, it is even more important than ever to stop for a cup of tea. The Tudor family traditionally has tea around 4pm, which is just about dusk this time of year in colder climes. This means the candles shine brilliantly beautiful, illuminating faces and the glow seems to add a special ingredient to the Dundee Cake as the candied cherries glisten in the light.

Dundee Cake is a special treat for teatime during December. Tasha took time to make everything special, and the Advent season is no different. From hand-painted Advent calendars, the handmade Advent wreath, and Dundee Cake teas, December remained significant the whole month through.  

Tea and Dundee Cake are necessary companions for writing out Christmas cards, don't you think?

Come to think of it, Dundee Cake inspires many a Christmas tradition and bolsters many a dark afternoon full of knitting, sewing, and baking.

Don't forget to enter our December GIVEAWAY (click on the link to be directed to the giveaway post!)! We are giving away a real treasure: an antique Turkey Red tablecloth, a beautiful addition to any tea table. 


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Giveaway: Turkey Red Tablecloth

Happy St. Nicholas Day to you all! We hope you'll be celebrating with your Tasha Tudor advent calendar, maybe writing out your Christmas cards, enjoying Tasha Tudor tea, and Dundee Cake! We'd love to see pictures. 
After you enjoy your tea, be sure to enter our Christmas Giveaway:

We are thrilled to announce our December giveaway: this antique turkey red tablecloth! 

Turkey Red tablecloths from the 1800s are a signature Tasha Tudor item, and they set the stage for every tea time (winter or summer) and every holiday gathering. They look especially striking with Tasha's trademark Blue Canton chinaware making a visual impact that feels so significant with the glow of candles and fireplace reflecting warm light over all.

We will be giving this beautiful antique tablecloth (sized approximately 48" x 72", though we're sure you can find a use for it even if this isn't the size of your main table) to one lucky winner. Granted, this tablecloth has its imperfections, being an original from the 1800s. It has its fair share of stories to tell. The small stains, small rips, and wax drips to help tell them. We think it is all part of the charm, and will encourage you to actually use it like Tasha used her antiques, to continue gathering the marks of holiday and year-round memories.

How to Enter: Leave a comment on THIS blog post with your email address or link to your blog (so we can contact you!). One entry per person, please, open to US and Canadian residents. We are also accepting email entries for those who don't have access to the blog (sorry, posts on Facebook or other blog posts do not count as entries). Just drop us a line saying you'd like to be entered! Deadline for entries is midnight on December 19, 2012. Winner to be randomly drawn.

Please spread the word, tell your friends, and reblog so everyone can have a chance to win this real beauty! 
To help you, we've created this button to put on your blog: 

You can grab the code on the sidebar (at right) to add it to your blog! 
Good luck to you all, and we'll announce the winner here after December 19th! 
~Natalie & Tasha Tudor and Family, Inc.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Winter Kitchen by Winslow Tudor

By this time of year the garden has been weeded for the last time, cleared of dried stems and brown leaves, and compost spread upon the beds. The ground will soon be frozen, and the long shadows that shield the frost on the grass for much of the day, arrive late and depart early. In between it is dark, for winter is here.

Winter was the time Tasha got most of her artwork done. She sat in her art chair against the north wall by the window, and in between drawing and painting kept the fireplace going and made lunch. Invariably a corgi took advantage of the warmth from the fire, and lay by the settle chair, quiet but with ears moving from time to time, listening to all the quiet sounds in the house; the grandfather clock ticking, birds talking outside by the feeder, the snow on the roof making the rafters creak, the murmur of the fire, and the clink of the paintbrush after Tasha swirled it in the glass of water to the right of the art stand and tapped it on the rim. The telephone ringing or visitors’ approaching footsteps warranted a deviation from the day, but in time Tasha always finished her projects.

Tasha called the room in which she did her artwork the winter kitchen. It was adjacent to the regular kitchen, but with the fireplace going throughout the winter Tasha did more cooking in that room. A primary use for the fireplace was roasting the Thanksgiving turkey. Her tin kitchen, acquired when she was in her twenties, roasted all the turkeys eaten by Tasha, her family and friends this past half century or so. As an aside, the spout for pouring off the turkey drippings is missing from the tin kitchen. Tasha remarked it had broken and subsequently disappeared during her move from Redding, CT to Webster, NH. As a result Tasha left a bowl just under the location where the spout had been, as the spout on tin kitchens angle up and keep the drippings in.

During the winter where snow, cold and short days endure for half a year, Tasha kept the stove and fireplace going, the candles lit during tea and in the evening, painted, drew, read, welcomed visitors, milked her goats, walked her dogs and cared for her many other animals. She perused flower catalogs, and gave considerable thought to next year’s garden. She was excited about every season, and welcomed the variations they brought.

-Photos and story by Tasha's grandson, Winslow Tudor.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Autumn Greetings

The path to Tasha Tudor's house...the field has been mown and laid to rest for the year.

We have arrived at the middle of Autumn. I've been drinking apple cider by the bucket full, admiring the foliage on bright sunny days and misty foggy days, and relishing the opportunity to wear my shawl and wellies again. I sure was layered up for our September 29th Corgi Cottage Tours. It was a cold & rainy day, but we all had a wonderful time, I do believe. 

The fall tours always require some Tasha Tudor-style layering, which I adore. This time I wore two cotton scarves (around my head and tucked around my neck) and a gray thermal with ruffle sleeves that peeked out of the heavy cotton mint & pink dress that Marjorie Tudor made (and used to wear when she was my age!). I wore my large wool scarf as a shawl, tucked into the apron made by Amy. Of course, my wellies were a must for the on and off rain, and braids make me feel youthful and happy. We had the fires going in the Rookery and at Tasha's house--a special treat.

Last week I wended my way through the Vermont hills on a misty, gray morning. The foliage was stunning in Southern Vermont, I must say. The strange weather this year had us all waiting in anticipation to see what foliage season would bring, but I think it has been a really lovely year. 

Dear Elizabeth Tudor (Ellie) celebrated her third birthday this month, where she was greeted with a vintage children's pinafore, a daisy cake, and lots of pink girly things. She is such a light in all of our lives, full of happiness, spirit, and sweetness.
Happy Birthday, dear Ellie!

I have safely arrived in Minnesota, where I will be working. It began gently snowing as my family helped me unload my belongings. What a beautiful start to a new season of life. I have already begun carving out my niche here: exploring the late-season farmer's market, enjoying local apples, and carefully rationing the pure Vermont maple syrup I brought with me!

I've been hinting at a few new projects on Twitter...we are launching our NEW shopping cart soon, as well as new Fall & Winter apron and pinafore fabrics, new Tasha Tudor-style scarves, and more.
Stay tuned, dear friends!

Take joy, 

Giveaway Winner

Oh the glory days of autumn! 

We are pleased to announce that the winner of our Autumn Giveaway of TWO bonnet patterns from Lisa Cruse AND the Tasha Tudor's Heirloom Crafts book by Richard Brown is:

Congratulations, Laura! We'll be contacting you soon! 

Thank you so much to everyone else who participated, and keep your eyes pealed for our Christmas giveaway coming soon! Happy crafting!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Autumn Giveaway!

 We are pleased to announce an Autumn Giveaway! We have so much fun picking things we think you'll love. This time, we've partnered with Lisa Cruse, who makes stunning knitted & felted bonnets and patterns for children and adults. The spirit of Lisa's creations very much echoes Tasha's own interests in heirloom crafts, bonnets, and beautiful delights. Take a look below:

Isn't this wool bonnet so marvelously old-fashioned?  It looks adorably cozy. The detail and colors are oh-so-lovely.

While Lisa also makes and sells these beautiful bonnets, she, much like Tasha, encourages everyone to try their own hand at creating.The end result is so worth the effort! Lisa has created patterns to help guide you through the process.

We're pleased to be pairing two of Lisa's bonnet patterns AND the out-of-print classic Tasha Tudor book, Heirloom Crafts, by Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown. These items are certain to get your creativity flowing for the colder months ahead (and Christmas gifts, of course!).

To enter,  all you have to do is leave your name and an email address or link to your blog in a comment (so we can contact you)!  Entry closes at midnight on October 10th. Tell your friends and spread the word! We'll choose one winner at random.

Good luck and Happy Autumn!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tasha Tudor's 97th Birthday

A few weeks ago, on August 28th, we celebrated what would have been Tasha Tudor's 97th birthday. It is a day to fill with special little remembrances, sharing, and a celebration of the many gifts Tasha gave us all.
I began the morning with Corgiville Fair and a handmade mug from Harrisville, NH, the town that Tasha modeled Corgiville after.

I admired the beautiful morning light on the Turkey Red tablecloth...

Then there were preparations for a tea party at the Tasha Tudor Museum...

And making tussie-mussies with flowers that Amy & Ellie cut from the gardens.
  (Instructions are in the back of the out-of-print All for Love)

We had such a lovely group of guests, with folks from Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Japan!
 (Can you spy a Cricket corgi puppy in the corner? Carolyn took her home this summer from our garden tours, and of course she wanted to join in the birthday festivities)

Leigh, Museum Curator, with Melinda, wonderful Museum Volunteer!

We ended the special evening with tea, birthday cake, and a reading of Becky's Birthday. Everyone shared special memories of Tasha, and we all seemed enthralled with the happiness that stems from flowers, projects, tea sandwiches, birthday cake, and several cups of tea each. 
No one wanted to leave this magical time of sharing, but alas, the night was dark, and we all had to journey home. 

Tasha's inspiration stays alive in our hearts and memories, and we felt so blessed to share with everyone who attended our event, the Tasha Tudor Museum Society event in Pennsylvania, and everyone who joined us online and in their own special ways in their own homes. 
Thank you!

Take joy,

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hollyhocks by Winslow Tudor

Beyond the grape arbor and to the south of the greenhouse resides Tasha’s hollyhock bank. Its proximity to the herb circle subtly unites it with the rest of the garden, but by late July when much of the color in the garden has faded it is the focal point, for the hollyhocks are in full bloom. Ranging from pure white to varying shades of pink and yellow, the hollyhocks are a wonderful presence, particularly very late in the afternoon when the sun sets beyond the field and for a moment casts its light across the entire garden.

Tasha’s old fashioned hollyhocks originated from an ancestor of hers who lived in Nahant. Where they came from prior to that is not known. Tasha was fond of her hollyhocks due not only to the connection with her past, but for their unusual longevity and resistance to rust. Typically hollyhocks are biennial, and tend not to cope gracefully with rust, puccinia malvacearum. Tasha did not rely solely on the merits of her hollyhocks, but diligently removed infected leaves, mulched around them to prevent rain from unduly spreading any fungus, cut back and removed from her garden all stems and leaves in autumn, and generally took good care of each plant. She also collected the most promising seeds and stored them for future use. It was not unusual to see little terra cotta pots in the spring sitting on the bench of her greenhouse, labeled and sprouting hollyhocks.


Despite all Tasha shared about her garden, and despite all other people learned about it in an effort to preserve its historical and cultural significance, it seems to long for her presence now and then, and to fade slightly at moments when she does not come out with her shovel and cheer to spend the day among the plants. The hollyhocks, once so numerous, diminished from hundreds to dozens several years ago. The hollyhock bank turned to lupine. This spring several hundred hollyhocks were started from original seeds, and they have grown well. In addition to replenishing the hollyhock bank, eighty plants took up residence in grow beds south of the vegetable gardens. While hollyhocks do not bloom their first year, their green leaves are hopeful, and next year should be spectacular.

                            -Photos and story by Tasha's grandson, Winslow Tudor.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cupcakes & Dreams

{Cupcakes baked by Natalie for tea, August 2012}

It is that time of year when things are shifting and changing. The light tilts its head, projects and garden work are done with vigor as we anticipate autumn, and a hot cup of tea is a welcome change of pace from iced. I think things within us shift and change this time of year, too. We seem to be ready for change, eagerly awaiting new things.

 {Ellie enjoys licking the frosting off her cupcake while her daddy, Winslow, animatedly tells a story.}

I, too, am anticipating new things, and digging in to new projects.  I will be moving "back home" to Minnesota, a place that holds a very large piece of my heart and childhood memories, to begin working towards my lifelong dream of owning a bakery. Yes, my heart feels a bit unsettled about all of it, more than a little bittersweet, but utterly excited and glowing with the promise of what is to come. Vermont is a very difficult place to ever want to leave! But dreams beckon loudly within us, don't you agree? What a place of inspiration to jump from, this place of beauty and wonder here in the Green Mountains, with the inspiration of a true dreamer, Tasha Tudor.

From the time she was a little girl, Tasha Tudor has known exactly what she wanted: to live on a secluded farm where she could surround herself with a garden and a menagerie of household pets and barnyard animals, and to illustrate children’s books.
~Introduction to The Private World of Tasha Tudor, by Richard Brown

 Tasha Tudor fulfilled her lifelong dream of moving to Vermont, and creating a place that suited her every sensibility...animals, fields of flowers, stone walls, gardens, a pond, a secret garden, and, of course, the house that Seth built. Tasha encouraged everyone to continue working towards their own dreams wholeheartedly. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the feet of Tasha's rocking chair, soaking up the atmosphere and filling myself with the imaginative creativity, love, and generosity exuded here. I, too, have known what I wanted to do from the time I was a little girl: own a bakery and write children’s books. I have notebook upon notebook filled with bakery ideas, stories, and carefully copied recipes; stacks and stacks of cookbooks I collected; and several report cards that mention how I was constantly reading those cookbooks under my desk in school! There have been many new creations brought in to the Rookery for the expert tasting opinions of the Tudor family! Indeed, I have been a baker as long as I can remember and have held these dreams in my heart. Now seems to be the time to give those dreams wings.

{The first cake Natalie baked in Vermont, for Fourth of July on Tasha's porch, 2006}

 I am happy to say I will still be working for Tasha Tudor and Family, Inc. in a more behind-the-scenes role. Tasha's messages of self-reliance, beauty, simplicity, and the ability to make one's dreams come true are so pertinent for today's world. We must not let that flame dim. They are even more alive to me as I strive to make my own dreams come true! Exciting things are happening here, and I just couldn't bear to leave them behind. Vermont, the Tudor family, and of course you, our dear fans & friends, also hold a very large piece of my heart. It has been the utmost pleasure of mine to spend the past six and a half years getting to know you on the phone, via email, in person at garden tours and events, and through this blog and Twitter. Technology does have a wonderful way of broadening our friendship circles! Not much will change around here, except a few tweaks for the better, and I will continue to edit the blog and Twitter. I do hope you'll continue to connect with me and the Tudor family!

Take joy,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seeds in the Hay Loft

On a partly-sunny day, when the skies are heavy with impending rain, but the sun refuses to be entirely hidden, the greens around Tasha's house are stunning. The leaves offer a hundred shades of green when the sunlight teases us and catches the dew.

Continuing on the path around the herb circle, and down a few stone steps to the vegetable garden, you can see the saturated colors of the late-summer garden.

There, you'll also find Annie, Ellie, and Amy carefully collecting Sweet Rocket seeds for next year. The dried, browned tops are where the seeds are, and Ellie knows to clip just below them. The sunflower in the foreground "volunteered" (as Tasha said) in the Sweet Rocket bed.

Ellie was quiet and carefully focused on Mom's instructions of proper handling of the garden shears.

The seeds are collected from Tasha's garden and the Tudor property and dried in the hay loft of Tasha's barn. The air movement and temperature in the hay loft are ideal for drying seeds--and I like to think that maybe the air in Tasha's barn lends an extra something particularly uncommon and special.
 Seth made the screens to hold the drying seed pods. As they dry, the seeds fall and drop through, ready to be gathered.

Ellie loves to hear the noise the seeds make, and is seen here shaking out some foxglove seeds while Amy checks their progress.  

From the hay loft, you can spy a box of cupcakes waiting on the grain barrel for tea time (along with the water jug and a few leftover paper cups from the garden tours). At the thought of cupcakes, Ellie becomes overjoyed, and seed collecting is paused for a tea break. We all climb down the hay loft built-in ladder steps, which Ellie loves to practice climbing with Mom's help. Safely on the ground floor of the barn, I slip off my shoes, mentioning they are a bit wet from the dewy grass. Ellie carefully takes them and sets them on the goat stand. She says, 'They're here drying for you, Natalie." What a sweet spirit, that dear girl.

More about tea time and cupcakes in the next post... 

Until then, 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Local Honey & Teatime for One

A vintage gold-edged tray in the garden by the stone path...
Turkey red napkins...
Blue cantonware...
Emma Bridgewater tea mug...
Multi-grain toast...
Organic, fair-trade chocolate...
Honey fresh from our wonderful graphic designer's bees in Northern Vermont.

That sound like tea for one (me!).

A day or two ago, I posted on our Twitter feed that I was enjoying some nice dark chocolate with my tea break. Our graphic designer, Kirsten, shared a photo of her tea break...toast with homemade butter and her own honey. When I mentioned that I had just run out of local honey, she handed her husband a jar fresh from their first harvest and rushed it down to Southern Vermont for us (how lucky that he was headed our way already!). 
There was much excitement in the office at the arrival of this light gold liquid tonic. So beautiful!

Kirsten told me that the honey goes very well with chocolate. Knowing that Kirsten designed our seed packets and goat milk soap boxes, I know she is a smart and creative woman, so I had to try her suggestion.

She's absolutely right. Look at that light, lovely  honey on dark chocolate.

Now I must find an extra jar or two to share this golden goodness with the rest of the family. Some things are just too good to keep to oneself :-)

Take time for tea! It is a wonderful refreshment for the spirit and mind.
What will YOU have with your tea today? I'd love to know on Twitter or in the comments!