French Tea at the Moss

Once upon a seven year old's dream, there was a party--not just any party mind you--a French Tea Party. With dreams of glitter and French deserts, where would we host such an event? After much thought and preliminary planning, The Moss Mansion was the perfect place indeed. With their grand staircase that takes your breath away, and all of the fabulously decorated rooms with original antiques, it really is elegant.

Weeks before the event, invitations were sent out. They were written in French then translated into English. Printed on pink paper ( go figure) and adorned with an Eiffel Tower ribbon.

Let us start with the party gifts. I love creating usable and reusable gifts for our guests. With these French hair pieces that is exactly what I did. These were super fun to make and I kind of just went with the flow. Jewels, feathers, flowers, netting, scraps of fabric, a hot glue gun, and a hair clip!

Next, my favorite part, the hand painted cups. Oh my, these were a labor of joy! The best part about these, after the set and bake, they are permanent ( even in the dishwasher). I'll give a tutorial on these later...

On to the goodies, treats and sweets. At a local grocery store I found strawberry tea imported from France. Had to have it! At a health food store I purchased lavender, to make lavender tea cakes (recipe below). Then I searched around craft stores for fun cupcake papers! I ordered boxes, bought the sugar, mixed the icing, and baked my little heart out. I was so ready.

Kelsey over at the Moss was ready and waiting for my stunning crew to arrive. The French Parlor Room is where our party was hosted. Now when we planned this party, the Moss was originally closed for Christmas decorating. It just so happened that we were the first guests to see everything set up. It was even more beautiful than it normally is. Inside the French Parlor Room, ( if you have never been you should go) the walls are embellished with pink silk, and there is a harp delicately sitting in the corner by the fireplace that demands a second glance. Elegant.

A table was dressed with dark chocolate truffles, lavender tea cakes, double dark chocolate cakes with a ganache glaze, chocolate cakes with a pink marshmallow butter cream, handpressed tea sugars, Eiffel Tower shortbread cookies and sequilhos (which are so not French--they are Brazilian, but I love them). I also served cheese and crackers.

Inside the parlor room sat three tables marked with name plates, heart shaped tea sugar, a personalized cup, a chocolate spoon and a satchel of strawberry tea. So pretty, so dainty, so perfect.

After the ladies arrived, and their coats were hung up, they danced about the tables with sugar sprinkles in their eyes. They were each given a hair piece as they sat down to tea. There were hints of ohhhhhhs, and ahhhhhhhs at the gorgeous tree sitting center in our room. And my Riley, my sweet birthday girl felt so special. It was so fancy and oh so French and very,very Riley.

After chocolate was licked off fingers tips, Kelsey led them on a tour. We heard secrets and stories, and were lead up the grand staircase.

Since we were so special to have this party during their decorating time, we got to feast our eyes on all of the beautifully decorated trees that danced throughout the house, simply stunning. After a perfect tour--thanks Kelsey you are awesome--we adjourned to the parlor for tea, treats and gifts.

Two months have passed and still my dear Riley tells me "it was a dream birthday".

The Moss Mansion is stunning, full of insight and visual harmony. Aside from visiting during "the most wonderful time of the year" it is a great place to tour or plan a party or special event, anytime. I know how special Kelsey made us all feel. To contact the Moss Mansion, call 406-256-5100.

A special thanks to the Moss for a magical birthday. To Minha Irma, I couldn't done it without you! To Renee for capturing these moments behind your tireless lens. To Kelsey, you Rock!

Now about that lavender tea cake recipe...

Originally adapted from a Pinterest post from www.eatingforEngland.com.

(I of course changed things around a bit.)

Lavender Tea Cakes

1 cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain or lowfat yogurt

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat granulated sugar, butter, and vanilla until well-blended. Add dry ingredients. Using a mini muffin pan, place papers or grease pan. Bake for 10 minutes. You can drizzle a little powdered sugar/ water glaze if you want. Let them cool 15 minutes in the pan. They have a lightly sweet, moist earthy taste. Perfect with tea or coffee!