Tea With… Winnie-the-Pooh

How about a lovely winter-time tea held right before Christmas decorating to celebrate all things Pooh? Yes, please!

Now I will be honest, the Pooh books aren’t my favorites. I do like them, but they can get a little repetitious and weird. (There is a lot of singing, lol.) I prefer to read Paddington, but I love the world and aesthetic of Pooh. It’s so outdoorsy and the colors are so soft. E.H. Shepard’s drawings are just a treat for the eyes and they give me all the feels of childhood! I think the drawings really make the books. Without them there would not be this Pooh universe we have today. I do not like the Disney version of Pooh. It seems very odd and Americanized. I much prefer the original art!

I made the “tree-house” from a huge Amazon box for my larger Pooh characters. I based it on the Gabrielle tree-house for my smaller guys. Rabbit is Steiff and Owl is Dakin.
These characters were created later, in smaller versions than Shirley’s originals and in cheaper fabrics. They aren’t as luxe, but they are still cute!

“My dear Piglet,” Pooh said, “the whole book is about you.”

-A.A. Milne

My Pooh collection is quite big, and it happened because I ran into some E-Bay auctions one night while staying in a hotel. I already had a passion for Gabrielle designs when I bought my Paddington bears from them. When I saw what the owner/designer Shirley Clarkson had done for Winnie-the-Pooh, I was enchanted. Tigger was absolutely fabulous and so was Eeyore. Pooh was okay (later versions would be better). Slowly, I bought all three. Tigger came first and I was head-over-heals for him. Corduroy is one of my favorite fabrics from childhood. It is the perfect thing for a Tigger!

A little Steiff mouse in Tigger’s arms.

Later I found Kanga and Roo in beautiful velvet. Finding Piglet was very difficult and I finally resorted to buying a whole set- just for Piglet! But when I got the set I couldn’t re-sell it- I loved it too!

Eeyore in felted wool and Kanga and Roo in velvet are masterpieces of the toymaker’s art.
Gabrielle Piglet (my favorite) and a newer Pooh with a little wee bee on his ear, squee!

These sweet incarnations of the Pooh characters led me to create much artwork and many journal entries.

This summer I de-cluttered a lot of my collections and sold them off on E-Bay. I used some of the money to buy some R. John Wright Pooh things. The rest paid off bills. I found the Wright things cheap- they had some damage and needed a little work- but nothing I didn’t think I could tackle!

I do not collect dolls, but I have always wanted this beautiful version of Christopher Robin. Just look at those cobbled English shoes!

Before the Pooh Christmas tree goes up in the studio let’s have a tea party! I brought out my Prairie Green Frankoma, made a big loaf of bread, and set up a picnic on the studio table. I have collected this color Frankoma since I was 17. The honey pot is one of my favorite things about this tea service. Here is the recipe for the bread- it’s very easy to make!

A Big French Loaf of Bread

6 Cups flour
1 Tablespoon yeast
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 & 2/3 Cups water

Mix together dry ingredients, then add in the water and mix until you have a big, shaggy mess of dough. Cover and let sit overnight in a warm place. The next day pre-heat your oven and a large dutch oven to 450 F for at least 30 minutes. Turn the dough out on to a piece of parchment paper. When ready pull out the dutch oven and place dough on parchment right inside, score the top and cover with lid. Bake for 30 minutes, uncover and let bake about 10 more minutes until browned on top. Tip out onto cutting board and enjoy!

I shouldn’t think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.

-Dodie Smith, author of 101 Dalmatians
The felt garland that runs through the table scene is by Primitives by Kathy. I have an obsession with felt.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and I was happy as a clam to sit and look at the Pooh books and have tea. I had recently finished Christopher Robin Milne’s memoir “The Enchanted Places” and I enjoyed it very much. It too inspired this tea. We are both only children and both loved nature and felt not quite so alone in nature. I am blessed to have a beautiful studio with large windows and plants so I can still surround myself in that comfort.

With a 100-acre love to you from Kansas Street,

-Jaime

Loving the bee skep honey pot with the bee handle from Frankoma!

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