Amber in Wonderland: A whimsical tea party reconnected me to a sense of magic
What was your hypothesis?
I started with a task from The Artist’s Way to give my artist some love by letting myself have a small indulgence. I never spend money on magazines (even though I was a magazine journalism major in college!), and when I spied a crafty mag at the drugstore, I picked it up. In its pages was a photo story about how to have a “whimsical tea party.” This tickled my fancy, and I was soon gathering supplies.
What did your experiment entail?
While shopping at Goodwill for a tea set, I ran into a creamer and a dish with a rose pattern on them that shocked me. It was the same pattern as my plastic tea set as a child! Suddenly, I remembered that I used to love having tea parties as a kid. I had completely forgotten about this.
I texted my mom a picture of the dishes and asked her to confirm the pattern. She did, and went a step further to send me pictures of my guest book (circa 1995) which chronicled each tea party I hosted. Often the guest list was short: “Mom” or “Dad.” A few pages in, the guest list grew: a few friends, their siblings and parents, everyone at my 10th birthday party, pretty much anyone I could rope into it. I didn’t actually like tea, so that part was make-believe, but there often were real cookies.
Then an incredibly sweet memory: I was at an out-of-town shop with my parents and spied a real, ceramic dish that had the same pattern on it as my little plastic play set. I was super excited to show it to them. Months later at Christmas, I unwrapped that dish. They must have distracted me, bought, and hidden it to surprise me. I was thrilled.
What was it like?
I hadn’t even had it yet, and this little tea party had already turned into something much more: a reconnection with my childhood and my parents. I felt so grateful and like something magical was happening.
I invited my friend over, baked cupcakes and set the table. (This time, I served real tea.) When she walked in, her eyes lit up! I told her about all the tea party connections, and we talked about creativity, folk tales and more. Ordinary humdrum conversation about work and problems just didn’t suit us at that splendid table.
What were your results?
I have fallen right back in love with tea parties. They are such a simple pleasure, an easy way to make any day feel special. I have them when it is rainy or I am sad, when I want to have a little celebration or treat a loved one.
I love hunting mismatched little dishes to complete my set. Every time I find one, I feel like there is a bit of Wonderland poking through to this world.
I have learned that it is SO worthwhile to follow the thread of what you love and let it lead you right back to your own sweet heart.