We received the following email from one of our newsletter subscribers, Ruth Chidley, and it was so precious we just had to share it with everyone. This is the story of one very determined lady, six grand-daughters, and one very special day. It’s also a story about love and the ties that bind. Enjoy!
The idea of having a tea party with my granddaughters started in 2001 when I was shopping at a major department store in Sacramento, CA. What gave me the idea was seeing a darling silver plate children’s tea sets on sale for 50% off…a mere $10. That’s right they were regularly $20 (believe me you cannot find a tea set like those for $20 now days). I quickly bought one, with visions of having a tea party with a granddaughter. That evening, as I shared my find with my husband, we decided, I needed to go back to the store the next day and buy 3 more. You are probably thinking at this point, we must have 4 granddaughters and thought it would be nice to give a tea set to each one. Sorry to disappoint your deducing powers but we had no granddaughters nor even grandsons. Our four children weren’t even married yet! As a matter of fact, our youngest two still had two more years of high school! Believe me, I wasn’t even considering any of them getting married any time too soon. Although, I was praying that when the time came for them to marry, that each child would find the spouse of their dreams thus giving us some grandchildren just not right away. So how does my buying gifts for future grandchildren figure in? Well let’s see…hmmmm…I’m crazy?!? Naw! I just like being prepared! ; ) My thoughts were that since we had four children and most likely they all would marry, that might equal at least 1 grandchild each which could translate into maybe a granddaughter or 2 or 4. Did you follow all of that?! Anyway that is how I came up with buying four tea sets. Little did we know what the next 12 years would bring…are you ready? Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Three of our children married within 7 months of each other and the fourth child married 2 years later. They have blessed us with 12 earthly grandchildren and 2 heavenly grandchildren. Do you want to guess how many granddaughters? Well, as of this last December 3, 2012, we now have 7 beautiful, funny, talented, and sometimes goofy granddaughters to love. The 5 grandsons are equally a great blessing with all the testosterone thrown in but they aren’t part of this story today. : )
You may be trying to figure out how Maggie fits into our picture. Yes, I’m going to tell you.
About 2 1/2 years ago I started to subscribe to Maggie’s Crochet Needlework and Crafts. As I looked over many of the patterns she was selling, the one that caught my eye was the Ladybug Dress and Purse pattern. Within a short time I ordered it with the idea of making one for each of my granddaughters. Ladybugs have a special place in my life in that I am known by several people as “Miss Ladybug”…that’s a story of its own. : ) I will say this much…after being given this name, I became the recipient of many items which are ladybugs or have ladybugs on them. Upon seeing Maggie’s ladybug pattern, I knew I had to have it.
I wanted to start crocheting right away but I needed to have a bone removed from my left wrist and after a year of physical therapy I was finally able to start my crocheting project last September. I knew at that point I had 6 outfits to make because December’s granddaughter was an unknown…don’t you love surprises!
Now you are probably asking how does children’s tea sets and crocheted ladybug outfits fit together? You all remember, at the beginning, when I said I had thoughts of a tea party with a granddaughter or two? Well, last Fall as I was crocheting away, I had the vision of all my granddaughters wearing their look-alike ladybug dresses to an English Ladybug Tea Party where they each would receive, as one of their gifts, one of the tea sets, engraved with their names on the platter. Yes, I’ve been hauling the tea sets around through five moves since 2001. Since December 2012, I spent many hours on the Internet frantically searching for and bidding on three more tea sets. I met two wonderful ladies through my online experience and after sharing with them about my need, they helped make it happen for me. I am so very appreciative of their kindness.
I knew I had to have everything done and ready to go for our tea party by the last of March 2013 because our youngest daughter, Heather, and mother of five of my grandchildren, was leaving in May to live in England for four years (her husband serves in the USAF). Plus, my two oldest granddaughters are now 10 years old and will soon be out of the age group that enjoys playing tea party with their dolls…fortunately the other five have several years to really enjoy their tea sets.
March 26th was the date set for our big English Ladybug Tea Party event. Seeing five of my granddaughter’s in their ladybug outfits sitting at my dining room table was amazing! I cannot find the words to completely express how much fun we all had but I’ll try to share a few. During the tea party I took the opportunity to teach the girls the proper way to serve tea and how to carry on a time of sharing/conversation with their guests. It was absolutely delightful to watch them take it all in and then turn and mimic it to each other in such a grown-up voice and manner. We all ate with our best manners with only a few “oops” sprinkled in. Our food was eclectic taking in several cultures. This means, I found foods I knew the granddaughters liked and served them. My oldest daughter, Amanda, did make some delicious English scones with lemon curd to bring some authenticity to the “English” part of our party.
After finishing our tea with lemon and raspberry sorbet and ladybug cookies, the girls were given their gifts. As the girls were excitedly opening up and unpacking their tea sets, my oldest granddaughter, Anika, snuggled close to me and said, “I really like this tea set, Grandma. It is something really special. I want to keep it really nice so I can pass it on to my little girl someday.” Ahhhh! Can a grandma’s heart be touched with love any greater than that? It reminded me why we mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers do things for our children. We are passing on a legacy, a legacy of many things, ie: tea sets, how to serve tea, how to carry a conversation, how to have good manners, how to share your love and heart with others for many generations to come. What an awesome yet sometimes frightening responsibility.
We all had so many wonderful Memory Making Moments throughout our tea party, so much so, that my granddaughters asked if they could have a special tea party every year at this time. I assured them that Pop and I would see that it happened. Probably not all the granddaughters wearing matching dresses but a fun tea party will be planned never-the-less. : )
The only disappointing part of our day was that my two Georgia granddaughters (their dad also serves in the USAF) and their mom could not be here for the tea party. Pop and I are hoping to make a trip their way before the end of the year and are looking forward to having an English Ladybug Tea Party with them too! We really love our Georgia “peaches.”
I want to encourage all you wonderful crocheters and knitters that you cannot go wrong with one of Maggie’s patterns. The Ladybug T-Shirt Dress and Purse pattern is so very easy to follow. As you probably noticed from the pictures, I did not use the plain tee shirt but a polo shirt. That was just my idea and the pattern worked very well. That is the fun part of using Maggie’s patterns, they are so well written that you can make little changes and have it turn out great. It’s amazing how just using a different type of yarn, color of yarn, or different shirt makes your creation unique to you…one of a kind…or in my case 7 of a kind! : )
Pick out a pattern and see what vision comes to mind for you and then give your family a Memory Making Moment too!
Wasn’t that a wonderful story? Thank you so much, Ruth, for sharing your special tea party with us.
If you would like to make a Ladybug T-Shirt Dress for that special little girl in your life, click here for more details.