Sunday, 5 October 2014

Meeting Sharilene Over Tea

Tea has loomed large in my hat life this year. I named my bridal collection "Tea and Iced Cakes". I use tea as dye sometimes. And several clients found me to make fascinators for their tea-themed showers.

It was one such client who brought me to the attention of Sharilene Rowland, and vice versa. Sharilene's business, Tea Celebrations, catered Chandra's shower. I made fascinators for Chandra and several members of her family, and Sharilene took care of the festivities.

She was among the very first to specialize in tea catering in the GTA. The photos Chandra shared after her shower showed the work of someone who knew what they were about.

What I didn't realize was that there are so many other occasions beyond wedding or baby showers that can and do choose afternoon tea as their theme. Tea Celebrations' website will tell you its own story quite nicely, as does this great blog post Sharilene just shared with me.

Two things I loved about Sharilene before I met her: She says "afternoon tea", not the frequently misunderstood and misused "high tea." (One of my favourite pet peeves.) And she gets her teas from Pippins, a lovely shop in my own Beaches neighbourhood. Sharilene used to be a Beacher, too. It's so great to support local businesses. One thing I loved upon meeting her: Devonshire cream is a must at her events. I share that priority. (Without Devonshire cream, a scone is underdressed. Like it's missing its hat.)

It took a while for Sharilene and me to meet face to face. When we finally did, she took me to the Toronto Antique & Vintage Market, where she was blogging for Torontonicity. I am such a sucker for vintage shows! And, amazingly, I had never been to the Queen Elizabeth Building in the Exhibition grounds! It's mid-century cool, full of light, and, appropriately, it's wearing a crown.

Cool vintage photo of cool vintage building care of Robert Moffat/Toronto Modern

Sharilene worked the room, chatting up various vendors in her easy-going, friendly way, and I mooched for jewels for fascinators and whatever eye candy came my way.

From the iconic Lock & Co. hatters in London. Mysterious Mr. J.E.B.'s loss will be someone's gain.

I loved this charming painted straw cloche.

My haul. Fascinator bling!

I took lots of photos, in case Sharilene could use them for her blog post -- call it a hostess present.

After a thorough scrounge, on our way out I ran into an artist acquaintance. Patricia was there with Toronto Urban Sketchers, well, sketching. No sooner had I introduced her to Sharilene than they found they had much in common and would be in touch with each other about all of it. I love helping people connect, especially when it's with such serendipity!

I also met Patricia's sketching colleague, Helen Wilkie, who allowed me to take this photo of herself and her à propos sketch:

That's Patricia behind her, deep in conversation with Sharilene.

So I hope that Sharilene and I will be much in touch from now on. And look no further if her kind of celebration is just your cup of tea.

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