Spring Release & A Tea Blending Picnic at Chanticleer Gardens
This spring season has been an incredibly busy one for Cottonbook! After much trial and error, we finally have the Little Ida's Flowers collection available for made-to-order! What I love the most about this print is that it looks like an allover floral at first glance, so it doesn't seem too out of the ordinary to wear to a local garden party or summer wedding. But! Up close, you can see that hiding in the leaves and flowers is a little tiny lady who lives somewhere nearby... This touch of magic makes it feel like a secret I have when I wear the print!
The cuts are also very easy to wear and elegant - the shirring makes it easy to fit into, the opening on the sleeveless version is an unusual and elegant style, and the flutter sleeves on the one piece really make me feel like a fairy. The chiffon lined with a super light cotton makes this perfect for summer, and I know I'll get a lot of use out of it when it's too hot to wear anything else. It was really comfy without the petticoat pictured in these photos, feeling the material swaying around me.
My friend Pen and I got some lovely shots of the dresses at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in the end of winter, but I was excited to wear the dress to a real meetup. My friends Bonnie and Abigail were planning a tea blending party, and had included me in the planning stages, but quickly they had said they would buy all the containers and bring all the supplies, and I was extremely busy with work and Cottonbook planning. So, I volunteered to make labels, not knowing exactly what we would put them on yet, and suddenly it was the day of the picnic!
This picnic was a real dream come true, because I had always wanted to do something like this: a tea-blending party! I had dreamed of getting a group of friends around a table to mix sweet smelling dried herbs to our own personal tastes, all in an aesthetically pleasing setting, but I never thought it would be quite so lovely as this! Bonnie staked out the greenhouse at the Chanticleer Garden as soon as it opened, and I quickly joined her to help set up and claim the area for our get-together. The weather was amazing, everything was blooming, and light was gently pouring in through the glass walls.
Everyone brought such delicious food: macarons, finger sandwiches, onigiri, salads, crustinis and tapenade, falafel and tzaziki, and even a homemade violet syrup with seltzer to make a violet soda from Lily of the Valley designer Tyler. Abigail explained the tea setup - Bonnie had hot water and individual bags, so everyone could taste a blend they made right then and there! I forgot to bring a teacup, so I filled up on the violet soda.
Before we could spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the garden, it was on me to lead Bonnie away from the group for a minute. Abigail had planned a surprise for her birthday, a beautiful cannoli cake from a local bakery and some sparkling drinks. I had no idea how to do this without being awkward, but Abigail suggested that I ask Bonnie for some outfit shots, and luckily, instead of saying, "We're going to walk around the garden later, why don't you just wait until then?" Bonnie happily obliged. Not one to like a lot of attention on herself, she was very gracious when we got back and everyone was waiting for her and the happy birthday singing commenced.
Everyone was basically too stuffed to eat anything more, so Bonnie took home a whole cake, and the three of us hosting spent the rest of the day being pretty much exhausted. Nevertheless, it's not often that I get to see Chanticleer, so I spent plenty of time walking around and taking it in.
Chanticleer Garden is about 40 minutes outside of Philadelphia, in Wayne, Pennsylvania. The medium-sized garden is actually perfect for a day trip, since you will get to see the whole thing, but won't finish up too quickly. You can easily sit in the patio chairs or on the lawn or at a picnic table for ages enjoying the flowers. We saw everything from forget-me-nots to kale, and since it was early May, everything was in bloom for us. The staff also recommended September, when it's still beautiful, but not as crowded.
Now, here's my Little Ida's Flowers jumperskirt in action! Definitely come join us next time!