Tag Archives: Downton Abbey

Time for Tea


The day had finally arrived for Gracie’s 18th birthday celebration:

A Downton Abbey Victorian tea party.



My mom made reservations for us to hold Gracie’s tea party at The Zimmerman Bury Octagon House in Marshallville, Ohio. This Queen Ann style octagonal house was built in 1883 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It now serves as a museum of the middle class Victorian way of life.

Taken from their website:

“Victorian Holiday High Teas at the Historic  Zimmerman-Bury Octagon House:
Enjoy an authentic Victorian Holiday Pink High Tea at this unique National Historic Landmark, located 6 miles North of Orrville on state route 57.  Drink in the ambiance of the Victorian era while savoring a buffet of tea sandwiches, pastries, fruit salads & always English Trifle, plus more.  Your hostesses will greet you in 1880’s clothing, provide a history of the house, and serve the period foods created from original family recipes.”

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Our tea party was scheduled for 1:00 pm. After a relaxing morning we began dressing for this special occasion. We gathered in the guest room and had fun doing each other’s hair and make-up as we dolled up for this special event.

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When we were all done getting ready we went outside to get some pictures before we left for the Octagon house.

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When we arrived were greeted by the butler who was waiting outside to escort us in.

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The home was charming and reflective of the Victorian style common at the turn of the century.


The lady of the house sat us in the parlor where she shared with us some of the history of the house and the Victorian customs of that time period.

As she spoke a little kitten wandered into the room to say “hello.” She told us that the kitten was a stray that had been found under the front porch of the home. When they took her in the decided that if the cat was a boy it would be named “Downton” and if it was a girl it would be named “Abbey.” It turns out they are also fans of the show. 🙂 The kitten ended up with the name “Abbey.”

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The head housekeeper then announced that tea was served.

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We were led into the dining room. The table was covered in delicious food including: three different types of tea sandwiches, scones, welsh rarebit, tomato aspic with dill sauce, fruit compote, trifle, and desserts. For our drink we were offered three different tea choices or strawberry lemonade.

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We were seated in the parlor to enjoy tea time. We had so much fun feasting on delicious food, admiring the décor, but most importantly visiting and making special memories that we will be able to look back and reflect on in the years to come.

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Having her birthday tea at the Octagon house was a special gift from my parents that I know Grace will all look back on with fondness in the years ahead. It was such a special way to celebrate a special birthday with a very special girl!

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Our tea party ended with birthday cake as we all sang to the birthday girl.

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“The most treasured heirlooms are the sweet memories of family.”

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Downton Abbey Chic



This past Monday we celebrated Gracie’s 18th birthday in style…

Downton Abbey STYLE!


A few months ago, as we neared Gracie’s March birthday, we began discussing what she wanted to do for this milestone birthday. After all 18 is a big deal! She informed us that what she wanted more than anything was to have a Downton Abbey tea party with Molly and I, my mother, my sister and my niece.

Needless to say I embraced her birthday vision with enthusiasm.

I couldn’t think of a better or more fitting way to celebrate Gracie’s special day. As lovers of the historical period drama, Downton Abbey, the females at Patchwork Farm began planning Gracie’s birthday tea with creative enthusiasm.

I love a good theme-party and knew at once what Gracie’s 18th birthday gift must be:

A Downton Abbey tea dress!

Having absolutely no skill to bring to the sewing table I knew I would need outside help to bring my birthday gift vision to life.

This is where my dear friend, Wendy, came into the picture. She is a seamstress and owns a sewing business where she does everything from custom dresses to alterations. She is incredibly talented and when I approached her about hiring her to create a custom tea dress for Gracie’s Downton Abbey tea party she happily agreed to take on the project.

We decided that instead of surprising Grace with a finished dress for her birthday we would surprise her with a birthday card informing her of what her gift would be, thus allowing her to help in the design and creative planning of it.

When Grace found out what she would be receiving for her 18th birthday she was thrilled!

Over the next month she exchanged many emails with Miss Wendy. She sent pictures of different Victorian styles she liked and Miss Wendy guided her through the process of picking fabrics and colors.

When decisions were made Miss Wendy went to work, meeting up with us a few times for fittings along the way.


The end result was enchanting,

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 and so very “Gracie!”

I’ve always said Grace was born in the wrong era. With her classic features and period clothing she looked like she had stepped right out of Downton.

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This past Monday was her 18th birthday celebration.

My parents’ gift to Grace was to generously book her Downton Abbey tea party at a historic Victorian home in Ohio. I will post pictures of her special 18th birthday celebration soon,

but first here is a peek at the birthday girl:

Lady Grace

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Stay tuned for pictures of the special memories we made!

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Grace is an A*D*U*L*T!


My Dearest Grace,

The hour is early…4:00 am to be exact, but I am wide awake on this special day. Today you are legally an adult. (Where have the years gone?!)  Today you turn 18 years old, and as I sit in the darkness of my room, lit only by the screen of my computer, I can’t help but reflect back on the past 18 years.

Because you have been a part of Daddy’s and my life together from almost the beginning  I have a hard time recalling a time in my adult life when you weren’t there. I wasn’t too much older than you when I married Daddy at age 19 and you eagerly arrived fresh from heaven 9 months later.

I grew into the person I am today as you grew in my arms. I learned how to be a mother as I cared for you (making many mistakes along the way, I’m sure!)

I remember vividly that day you made your appearance after 13 hours of labor. Mimi and Daddy were by my side as I struggled through the effort of helping you enter the world. I was so tired and felt I couldn’t give anymore and then there you were…so precious with your full head of dark hair.

I remember holding you in the dimly lit room of the hospital, after everyone had gone home for the night, marveling at your perfection, and marveling at this new overwhelming feeling of love that left me breathless. In that darkened room, as I  lay there overcome with love for you, I finally really began to understand the love my Heavenly Father has for me and it left me feeling incredibly humbled.

You were a typical first born child…with all the blessings and burdens that role carries. Beginning from the time you were a wee little thing you were obedient, social, responsible, dependable, and a caretaker to those smaller than you…in particular your siblings.

You have managed the responsibility of eldest child with remarkable grace, truly living up to your name. I have watched you work your way through challenges and struggles, disabilities and heartbreaks, and do so with a sweetness, humility, and strength that far exceeds your age.

I know that it was with great purpose that God sent you to earth first, knowing what a strengthening force your example would be to your younger siblings.

You have truly been a joy to parent!

Today you turn 18. And although you still have another year at home (which I am so grateful for!!)   know that Daddy and I have no doubt that you will do amazing things in your adult life. Heavenly Father has a great plan for you and I am just thrilled to get to watch that plan come to fruition as you continue to blossom.

I love you Miss Grace!

Love, Your Momma

It is a BIG day at Patchwork Farm as we witness our first child becoming an adult…EEK! The day began, as all our birthdays do, with the birthday girl being awakened by a birthday serenade and cake.


The process began early due to it being a co-op day. Grace asked if she could open her birthday gifts before co-op and we agreed. All of her sibling put great thought into their gifts for their big sister.


Toby and I gave Grace a token gift, reflective of the real gift she will be receiving for her 18th birthday. Grace is a HUGE fan of Downton Abbey, and her birthday request for celebrating her 18th birthday is a Downton Abbey tea party with Molly and I, my mom, my sister and Lydia, her younger cousin. The planning is in the works but it won’t happen for a few months. Our gift to her is a handmade Downton Abbey tea gown for the occasion. A friend of ours who is a talented seamstress is making Gracie’s birthday gift from us. The gift she opened today is a token of the real gift that is on the way.


Downton Abbey rose tea and fan magazine.


Because of the timing of Gracie’s birthday this year (with it being on a Wednesday) it played out differently than a “typical” birthday day in our house. Today we went to co-op where Gracie’s ongoing birthday surprise from Olivia continued. (That grand gift is deserving of its own blog post….which I will post soon.)


Then Grace shared a birthday treat with her co-op friends. Typically the kids bring cookies or cupcakes to share, but Grace wanted to do something different this year. After all 18 is a BIG deal! Check it out:


A bowl of 6575 jelly beans for each day of her life. We brought a ladle and cups so everyone could scoop some out for a treat.


When we returned home from co-op and Ozzie’s OT we had about two hours before we had to leave for church activities in the evening. Gracie decided last week what she wanted to do on her birthday…and it was SO fitting!


Every Monday (for the past few Downton Abbey seasons) the girls and I go into my room during lunch break and watch Sunday’s Downton Abbey episode together. This Monday we decided to postpone watching THE FINAL EPISODE *sob* until Gracie’s birthday. With the theme of her 18th birthday party and gift being Downton Abbey themed it was sweet serendipity that the final episode was released on her birthday week. We brewed some of her Downton Abbey rose tea and watch the lives of the characters we have come to love play out for the final time.


(PS- It was amazing!! Everything we had hoped for tied up with a nice little bow.)

Then it was off to our final stop for the night: swimming at the YMCA for my boy scouts who are working on their swimming merit badges, and church activities for the other three.

It was a special day, for a special girl, on this very special birthday!

“Happy Birthday, dear Gracie. Happy Birthday to you!”