Happy Saturday, My Lovelies!  It's time for the Tenth Annual Mad Tea Party hosted by the Lovely Vanessa @ A Fanciful Twist.

The table is set, the food is arranged, and the tea is steeping.  Your timing is perfect!  The timing is also perfect for a Mad Tea Party because the world has truly gone mad as the Hatter himself!  Fun parties like this are a super-fun distraction from the madness (and the rain), don't you agree?

Sit wherever you'd like!  There's plenty of room.

Serve yourself some delightful delectables while I pour your tea.  Here is our afternoon tea menu:

We have a lovely selection of teas, however our daughter wanted Typhoo, also known as builders' tea.
Just keeping it real.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland

I must be mad because I've started a series of art perfect for the March Hare and Mad Hatter's tea parties.

Tea for Two
18" X 24"
Oil on Artist Board

That 70s Show Teapot
6" X 6"
Silverpoint on wood panel

I have a third painting almost finished.  I will share it here on the blog soon.

Everything on the table is MacKenzie-Childs except the following:

Silverware: Horchow
Napkins:  Shabby Chic
Napkin rings:  Pier1
Tiered server:  Mosaicwares
"Let Them Eat Cake" Vase:  Molly Hatch via Anthropologie
Placemats:  Vintage Italian

Baked goods:  All the baked goods except the Madeleines came from the Continental Bakery in Mountain Brook, Alabama.  The finger sandwiches were varied, and I forgot to put little flags on them: We had no idea which one we'd chosen until that first bite.  *hostess failure*

The Giveaway

I will be giving away the little silverpoint drawing of a 1970s silver teapot. Silverpoint is different from graphite.  Silverpoint pens use a silver (yes, real silver) stylus.  For more information on silverpoint click HERE.  All you have to do for a chance to win is leave a comment telling me your favorite macaron flavor.  A winner will be chosen randomly on August 7, 2021.

Thanks so much for your visit!  Please visit Vanessa and thank her for hosting this Blog Hop;  she also has links to other parties you can attend!

It's always tea time!  

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


It's Friday, Y'all!  Today I won't be posting a Literary Friday post.  Instead, I need your help in the name of science.

I would appreciate it if you would take a quick survey where you look at four photos and determine which one is the best at representing the phrase.  I made a sample at the top of this post.  The phrase is "hot coffee."  In your opinion, which photo best represents this phrase?

I volunteered you to participate because most of y'all are creatives, and I think you can help the scientists in their research.  They will choose the most popular photos for the study explained below.

Take less than two minutes to click a few pictures and help promote science! Images used in studies need to be high-quality; you can help be quality control! By clicking through this survey, you can help the Speech Neurophysiology Laboratory (and my daughter, who is a postdoc with them) begin a new study to research brainwaves in children who stutter.

Do you live near southern Michigan and have a child aged 7-12 years? See the poster below for participation information. The lab is actively recruiting participants, and you can help! Travel may be compensated. 

Here is a LINK to learn more about the University of Michigan's Speech Neurophysiology lab.

NOTE:  There was an overwhelming response to the picture survey.  There might be a sentence survey or something else in its place.  Please feel free to participate!

Thank-you for your time, and if you know anyone in the Southeastern Michigan area who might be interested in participating in the study, please send them a link.  

Thanks so much in advance!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


Happy Mid-Week, My Lovelies!  I hope you're having a wonderful Wednesday!

I've been looking back at previous Mad Tea Parties to inspire me for this year's, and I wanted to share some of my favorites with you.

One year I had fun with Daphne's Diary papers and crafts.

One time, I decorated with neutrals:

and I've also decorated with brights, too.

I've served a variety of treats including:

Something cool and refreshing;

berries and cream with sugar;

and warm scones or muffins straight from the oven.

But perhaps the most daunting question is this:  What kind of tea is the best to serve for afternoon tea?  I've served several varieties at past parties.

How do you take your tea?  With milk?  With sugar or honey?

Visit A Fanciful Twist and sign-up!

In the meantime...I will be decorating,  fluffing, and baking!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


Happy Monday, My Lovelies!

Don't leave just yet!  I promise you're in the right place.  Yes, I did change the name of my blog.  Again.  The truth is, I've never been thrilled with either of the previous names of my blog, and I had a friend tell me she thought I should change it because she doesn't like the connotation of the word "sketchy."

So I changed it in a self-deprecating kind of way.

But that's the beauty of owning your own URL with your name in it:  You can change the name of your blog at will.

Enough of that, let's talk about the important stuff:

Beautiful Vanessa @ A Fanciful Twist is hosting yet another Mad Tea Party on Saturday!  I am so pumped.  Her parties are fun, and I can't wait to meet new blog friends.

Use THIS LINK if you want to participate!

I've been looking around for some inspiration.  I just might have found some at our local farmers' market.

The peppers won't be on the menu.

Zinnias are looking extra vibrant this summer.

So I need to decide if I want to go with a vibrant theme,


or something simple.

But the most important thing will be the menu!  What will I serve?



And what kind of tea?

I've definitely decided on an afternoon tea rather than high tea, but it will be served in the dining room.

Stop by Saturday for my tea party because it won't be a party without YOU!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  Today I'm reviewing Life in the Studio: Inspirations and Lessons on Creativity by Frances Palmer.  Frances is a talented ceramic artist, but she's also a Renaissance woman.  She truly lives a creative life, and I think all women, especially bloggers, should be inspired by her.

Please visit Frances Palmer's website to see more of her art HERE.

According to Goodreads:

“Roll-up-your-sleeves advice on throwing pottery, growing dahlias, cooking her tried-and-true recipes, and everything in between.”
—Martha Stewart Living

“Suited to any type of creative, offering up lessons on inspiration and creativity that are sure to bring out your inner talent.”
—House Beautiful, Best New Design Books

What makes a creative life? For an artist like Frances Palmer, it’s knitting all of one’s passions—all of one’s creativity—into the whole of life. And what an inspiration it is.

A renowned potter, an entrepreneur, a gardener, a photographer, a cook, a beekeeper, Palmer has over the course of three decades caught the attention not only of the countless people who collect and use her ceramics but also of designers and design lovers, writers, and fellow artists who marvel at her example. Now, in her first book, she finally tells her story, in her own words and images, distilling from her experiences lessons that will inspire a new generation of makers and entrepreneurs.

Life in the Studio is as beautiful and unexpected as Palmer’s pottery, as breathtakingly colorful as her celebrated dahlias, as intimate as the dinners she hosts in her studio for friends and family. There are insights into making pots—the importance of centering, the discovery that clay has a memory. Strategies for how to turn a passion into a business—the value to be found in collaboration, what it means to persevere, how to develop and stick to a routine that will sustain both enthusiasm and productivity. There are also step-by-step instructions (for throwing her beloved Sabine pot, growing dahlias, building an opulent flower arrangement). Even some of her most tried-and-true recipes.

The result is a portrait of a unique artist and a singularly generous manual on how to live a creative life. 

My review:

The Goodreads blurb does a great job explaining the gist of the book: Clearly it's the perfect gift for the creative in your life, and your home library needs a copy.  I always enjoy reading about other artists' processes, and Frances describes her daily schedule and how she adjusts it occasionally (almost a third of the book is dedicated to her routine).  Most successful creatives stick to a routine that works for them, and Frances goes into detail about how she balances her family life with her business.  It's also fun seeing creativity in other aspects of artists' lives outside of their chosen medium.  Frances shares many of her other creative pursuits in this book.

Frances reminds us that inspiration is everywhere, and I find her studio (set in a garden) extremely inspiring.  It reminds me of my friend Dorothy's studio at the Tallapoosa School of Art.  I think it would be fun to have a separate studio, but for now, I'm grateful for my little space in our home.

Here are a few reasons I think you might love this book.

Interesting topics:

  • Comprehensive guide to throwing pots
  • How to grow dahlias
  • Beekeeping tips

Of particular interest to bloggers:

  • Flower arranging tips
  • Photographing still life vignettes

Delicious recipes include:

  • Goat cheese and leek tart
  • Fresh, homemade pasta
  • Tarte tatin
  • Roasted tomato sauce
  • Honey peach preserves
  • Date-nut bread
  • Almond cake
  • Perfect roast chicken

I've accomplished how to roast a chicken.
Just having one thing in common with this amazing lady has made my day!   
Frances's recipe includes a few veggies, and I will try it in the fall.

Her pottery is simply stunning.  I would love to be able to purchase one of her beautiful vases one day. She is very gifted with gazing, and she understands color.  I was fascinated with her creative process for designing her ceramic art.

In spite of all the helpful (and interesting!) information in this book, the photography makes it:  It's truly eye candy.

Currently, Frances Palmer's photography is on display at Wave Hill through mid-August.  I would love to see her beautiful photography in person!
"Martagon Lilies, Celadon and Ash Glazes", 2020

Doesn't this one look like a dutch master?
"Autumn Cornucopia", 2016

Her stunning photography and prints can be purchased through her website.

I bet you know someone who would love and appreciate this beautiful book.  I highly recommend it!

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

IndieBound affiliate link

What are y'all reading this weekend?  

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


Vanilla strawberry hydrangeas

 Happy Wednesday, Friends!  You notice I didn't say vanilla strawberry FOR breakfast in the title, LOL!

I've been taking notes of all the pretty shrubs and other plants we'd like for our front garden, and I really love the vanilla strawberry hydrangeas.  These are from the entrance to our neighborhood, and they are so pretty, especially with all the rain we've had!

When I'm not at the lake or doing chores, I'm spending time at the pretty nurseries in our area.  I need to focus on landscape plants, but I've been distracted by houseplants.  I really liked the plant I found, below:

It's called Tahitian bridal veil

I don't know if you can see, but this plant has tiny little white flowers on it.  I think its so sweet!  There aren't many blooms yet, but there are tons of buds.  I can't wait to see what it looks like in a few days!

MacKenzie-Childs was having a flash sale a few weeks ago, and I bought some placemats.  I set the table for breakfast and included a few fun M-C pieces.

This place is set for eggs and soldiers.
Two of the places are set for muesli.  

We're enjoying the new placemats.

On the menu:

Eggs and soldiers

Also, I want to invite you over to the other blog starting in August as we begin a guided journal:

Click HERE for more information.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill

the favorite

Happy October, My Lovelies!  You're invited to a Nancy Drew Tea Party kicking off a month of Literary Fridays featuring my favori...