Posts Tagged ‘teacups’

Teacup Floral Centerpiece When looking for ways to decorate your home, look no further than your own collections. Whether your collections consist of books, copper molds, or vintage dolls, try incorporating them into your seasonal decorating. Two years ago, I wrote a post on Decorating With Egg Cups. Placing tiny sprigs of greenery and petite flowers into some of my favorite egg cups always brings a feeling of springtime into my home. Egg Cups As Mini Vases Having collected a lovely assortment of teacups, too, I decided to show them off by using some of them to create a floral centerpiece for my dining room table. My dining room table is long and wide, so I designed a centerpiece that is a little over 5-feet-long and about 18 inches at its widest point. After selecting a complementary assortment of teacups and a teapot to use as a center focal point, I went to a nearby nursery and looked for appropriate plants. Specimens grown for use in terrariums fit the bill; they come in many different plant varieties and are grown in small plastic pots that fit very nicely into teacups. Plus, at $2.95 each, they were relatively inexpensive. After tucking a little green moss here and there to hide the plastic pots, my easy teacup centerpiece provides a light and cheerful counterpoint to an otherwise formal room.

Teacup Centerpiece Table runner or piece of fabric
Small box
Assortment of teacups
Terrarium-sized plants, as many as the number of teacups you will be using
Bag of green moss
Teapot for focal point

1. Arrange the fabric down the center of the table. I used a sheer fabric and made it appear billowy by tucking the edges under and creating soft folds. I tapered the ends of the fabric to within 13 inches of each end of the table.

2. Place a small box under the fabric in the center of the arrangement. Place teapot on top of fabric-draped box for height.

3. Do a preliminary arrangement of teacups and saucers, evenly distributing colors, shapes, and heights. I fashioned an alternating right-left-right or zigzag pattern.

4. Temporarily place the plants, while still in their containers, in the teacups, evenly distributing colors, textures, and heights.

5. Once the arrangement is to your liking, take the teacups (leave saucers behind as place markers) to an area for assembling.

6. Stick whole potted plant in teacup (do not remove the plant from its plastic pot). Do the same to the other plants.

7. Arrange moss in between the plastic pot and the teacup and also above the plastic pot to hide it. Do this with all the other potted plants in teacups. Teacup Floral Centerpiece

1. I used 14 sets of teacups and saucers; seven on each side of the teapot.

2. Please note that because I want to reuse the teacups for their original purpose, I did not permanently plant the plants in the cups.

3. Working with moss is messy. You can cover your dining room table with paper, if you want to work with it there. I found it easier to assemble the pots near my kitchen sink, where I could wipe any dirt, moss bits, and twigs into the sink.

4. Don’t forget to water the plants. Because they are potted in small containers, they will dry out quickly.

5. When the time comes to dismantle this centerpiece, I will plant the plants in a terrarium.

Teacup Centerpiece

Enjoy your springtime centerpiece!

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All that was left of my grandmother’s teacups were an odd few. One-by-one each of her teacup and saucer sets had been adopted and taken home by relatives. Of the thirteen grandchildren, twelve of them being girls, I lived the farthest away. If not the very last one to choose, I was close to being one of the last ones to make my selection. As my eyes surveyed the shelf of the remaining teacups and saucers, I spied an elegant porcelain teacup sitting off to the side. Of the few teacups that I could have chosen, I was drawn to the imperfect one.

No saucer accompanied the eggshell-thin teacup, but it was still pretty enough with its softly painted flowers in full bloom and it’s dainty little pedestal. My mom remembered that at one time there was a matching saucer to the teacup, but thought it must have broken over the years. She asked if I was sure about my selection, since there were complete sets to choose from, but I said yes, I was sure.

I took the teacup home and stared at it. What in the world made me choose this one? It was very unlike me, a middle child who tried so hard to be perfect, to pick out something “defective.” I cherished the teacup, but felt sad for its incompleteness. I realize now it was the part of me that had hope – hope that I could find a matching saucer. Somewhere in this world was a cup-less saucer waiting to be reunited with its cup! So began my quest. As my husband and I browsed through antique stores, he would always find me in the back corners searching through stacks of odds and ends saucers. Then when eBay came into being, I scoured the offerings to see if there was a match. Finally I gave up.

Although I gave up actively searching for a matching saucer for my teacup, I did not give up hope. I had, however, reconciled myself to the fact, that if I never found the saucer, I would still be happy with the delicate porcelain reminder of my grandmother.

One day when I was visiting my parents, my mom pulled out a brown paper bag. She knew of my quest. “I found this in some of grandma’s stuff,” she said to me as she handed me the bag. I opened it slowly. Having grown up during the Great Depression, my grandmother threw away nothing. After she passed away and the family was going through her possessions, we found a bundle of pantyhose packages tied together neatly with string. Attached to the string was a note scrawled in my grandmother’s tiny, Parkinson’s-affected handwriting, “crotch too short.” As I gazed at the contents in the little brown bag, I thanked my grandmother for being the pack-rat she was. For inside the bag was the saucer I had spent years searching for – she had kept the saucer all those years even though it was broken into four pieces!

After my husband lovingly glued the pieces back together, I put my grandmother’s teacup and saucer in a glass curio case along with all my other teacup and saucer sets. As it turns out, in my search for the missing saucer, I never went home empty-handed. I managed to accumulate quite a nice teacup collection of my own to pass down to my grandchildren. So thanks, Grandma, for saving the dainty teacup, even though it had a broken saucer, and thanks for saving the broken bits of saucer, too. We never gave up hope, did we?

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Some things are too pretty to throw out. Cracked or chipped teacups fall into that category for me. Recycling or reusing them in different ways seems to be the best compromise and for years I have looked for ways to do this. After much thought and research, I have compiled this list of ways to reuse mismatched cups and slightly damaged teacups:

1. Teacups as Planters
Pack crocus corms tightly with point side up in water over a bed of tiny pebbles. Or drill a drainage hole into the bottom of a teacup and pop in an herb plant. Plant three or more of these and line them up along your sunny kitchen window.

2. Teacups as Storage Caddies
A teacup set in your guest bathroom makes a cute container for small guest soaps.

Teacups can also be used in a bathroom to store small items such as nail clippers and hairpins or used in your bedroom as jewelry sorters for earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.

What about using an old tea cup at your desk for storing paper clips, rubber bands, stamps, etc.?

3. Teacups as Pincushions
I’ve seen old teacups converted into pincushions with attached saucers used for holding buttons, bobbins, etc. Just make a compact ball of stuffing, cover it with fabric and hot glue it to the inside of the tea cup.

4. Teacups as Candy Dishes
Collect and group an assortment of teacups. Place different colored candy in each cup. This would be especially sweet for a springtime luncheon.

4. Teacups as Candle Holders
Put votive candles into an array of teacups for an instant candle-scape indoors or out. Varying the heights of each teacup and saucer set would add visual interest.

5. Teacups as Candles

I haven’t made these myself yet, but I plan to. Basically, a wick is attached to the bottom of the cup, wax is melted in the microwave and then poured into a tea cup. Complete instructions for this project can be found here: http://www.designspongeonline.com/2008/11/diy-project-kates-teacup-candles.html

6. Teacups as Bird Feeders

Check out this website for ways to convert teacups into bird feeders for your garden.

7. Teacups as Decorative Items

Broken pits of teacups can be used in mosaics and in jewelry designs.
Teacups have been converted into bangles, wind chimes, and chandeliers. Look at these clever ideas.

Now that you know what to do with those misfit teacups, don’t forget that tea leaves can be recycled, too. Throw loose tea leaves into your compost pile. Composting tea bags is a little trickier, depending on the type of tea bag fabric used. Used tea bags can also be placed in the bottom of plant containers, especially in hanging plants, to help retain moisture. And remember the old beauty tip of using them as eye compresses. Warm or cold, teabags can help to relax tired eyes. Lastly, donate dried, empty teabags to native artists who use them to create original artwork that they sell to raise money for themselves and their communities. Check out this company in Africa that makes art and useful items out of tea bags. Good for our planet and good for our souls.

Note: I created the photo mosaic teacup card at the top of this post for my Auntie Ella who is a lover of hearts and of tea, but more importantly, is a very special person to me.

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