PREVIOUS ENTRY HERE — “You’d better be careful with that book my dear. There’s quite a bit of history within those pages and it’s a history you cannot un-know once you know it. And when you know it…”
At the sound of the shop-keep’s breathy voice Emily jumped, startled, and immediately closed the book’s cover. She stood there stupidly staring from the ornate book to the even more ornate gray haired woman standing before her. She waited for her to finish her last sentence but Etta Diem, ever one to keep a person in suspense, left it there as she gave the teenager a good looking over.
Finally Emily couldn’t help herself. “When you know it what?” she asked.
Etta smiled, or rather smirked. Her eyes were heavy lidded and it gave her a resting stern face. The smirk took away some of that sternness and in its place gave her a look of mischief. Given the nature of her shop and what little reputation Emily had gleamed from her aunt, she was positive if there was a character description for Etta it would be that of the chaotic neutral who enjoyed stirring the pot. Flossy had been quite accurate in her description of the woman: “Picture a long lost Addam’s family aunt who deals in strange objects and stranger things. That’s our Etta.”
Etta moved casually across the dark polished wood floor and ran her hand over the top of the ornate book. Her fingers were lined with silver rings that came to an end in very neatly shaped long oval nails. They were painted a soft gray color with black delicately lining the ends. She tapped these neatly painted nails in succession against the book. Finally she continued.
“When you know, they’ll know you know. Then you’ll start seeing things. Well…” here Etta offered a very bright and sincere smile. “You’ll start to see things even stranger than what you’ve probably already seen at Miss Emma’s boarding house. This is a book of dark nights and long shadows.” Read the rest of this entry
he book was as beautiful as it was dark and haunting. It’s rather strange design suggested it was a handmade creation and most likely one of a kind. It was covered in a very rich material, with a collage of images on the front that almost looked like a shallow shadowbox. When looking at the book standing up it almost appeared to be an eclectic theater hosting a Halloween play and all manner of costumed and bewitched characters were taking part. At the very bottom of this scene were metal letters that spelled: The Frightener’s Society. Read the rest of this entry
“Mab wanted to know how to get to the town but I wouldn’t hear of it in that weather. I brought her in and set her down in the kitchen and got some warm tea and food into her. I pretended not to notice as she sneaked little pieces of fruit under the wet hat she wouldn’t take off. I let her tell me the pedestrian version of her story as she warmed up. When she was done I think she finally realized she had come to an end point in her adventures. This hit her particularly hard. Mab broke down in tears. I let her have a good cry. I pretended to not see the little hand that came down from under the hat that started to softly smooth the woman’s eyebrow in an effort to comfort her.”
Happy Friday to you! So who is Mab and was that a fairy that Emily saw? What is Minerva Mox’s secret? Just a few of the highlights of Snapdragon Tea, Chapter II. Read all about it here, or take a moment to catch-up with Chapter I here.
1802. During the course of this year Ludwig van Beethoven will publish his Piano Sonata No. 14 in Vienna and Marie Tussaud will for the first time exhibit her wax sculptures in London. Much is going on in the world and there is beauty and creation all around while at the same time many countries are caught up in wars. Lydia Monroe knows very little about these things. She prefers to be blissfully unaware of what the rest of the world is up to.
Lydia is happy to walk through the field of wild grass behind her parent’s home. It’s a wonderful and unkept place where the wild flowers have colorfully exploded over the land and made it look like nature has painted the scene with its rainbow of brilliant colors. The air smells delicious and fresh. And today there is just a light breeze, enough to blow her hair about and keep her from getting too warm. It is a very nice spring day indeed.
In Lydia’s hand is her favorite basket that holds the pieces of her traveling tea party. From party to party she never knows exactly where she’ll find the perfect tea table in nature. She’s always thoughtful to bring enough to serve three extra people just in case one of these days someone comes to join her. This is the only thing that makes her sad some days: The lack of people to share this beautiful time of the year and her tea with.
While walking through a particularly thick bit of wild grass something hidden within it is disturbed and rushes up into the air as the little girl moves through it. Quite suddenly there is a haze of white floating wisps that Lydia is happy to believe are pale fairies, at least until they gently move on the breeze and find the little girl’s nose. The nose is not humored by these tickling pale fairies one bit and decides to give her sinuses a good kick. The little girl’s face scrunches up and a massive HA-CHOO! explodes out of nowhere. The sneeze is comically large and loud, almost knocking the poor little girl onto her bum.
Lydia’s eyes blink back against her threatening tears and she takes several deep breaths to make sure all the nose annoying wisps are gone. Quickly she moves out of that patch of upsetting wild grass and into a small clearing. Obviously there is something in there that has a vendetta against the little girl’s nose and she will not allow it to cause her afternoon to be spent sneezing. Sneezing has no place at a tea party.
As the little girl steps from the clearing she hears a strange noise low to the ground. Grrr! Grrr! it sounds like in a very small and squeaky voice. Lydia looks all about and sees no one there. “Excuse me?” she calls out to the empty clearing. No one answers back so she turns back to her flat patch and continues walking. There again comes more grr’ing and this time it is louder.
Lydia stops and sets her basket down. The noise is vexing and she doesn’t like to be vexed. “Alright now.” the little girl calls out to the unseen noise maker. “I don’t have time to play games with anyone or anything. I have a tea party to set up.”
Behind her there is rustling in the tall grass and there she sees what looks like a small pair of yellow eyes watching her. This is a strange thing to see and the eyes are like no wee furry creatures she normally comes upon out there. So the little girl kneels down so that she’s at eye level with the mysterious gazer. “Who are you then?” she asks it. Read the rest of this entry
1956, February 23rd the woman born Norma Jean Mortenson legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe and her life, for better or worse, will never be the same again. Just a few months later on June 5th a man set to be just as iconic takes the stage on the Milton Berle Show and scandalizes those looking on with the way he moved his hips. His name was Elvis Presley. Neither a watcher of films or a listener of popular music, Olivia will not take notice of either event. Her mind in squarely focused on the task at hand.
In front of her a table is laid out with countless small glass bowls filled with a variety of herbs, dried flowers and clippings from her garden. The herbs have been carefully selected from the overwhelming number of glass containers lining the shelves of her tea work room. The flowers have also been thoughtfully chosen from the drying flower field that hangs from the ceiling above. The clippings from her garden don’t have as much important except to keep the tea maker’s stomach from rumbling. This thought crosses her mind as her tummy gives her a small groan, which prompts her to reach for a carrot and begin nibbling on it in her best impersonation of a rabbit.
This day, May the 12th, she woke up and knew it was the day she would finally succeed in making her grandmother’s fabled arcanus circumpono tea. She didn’t know how she knew this, the knowledge was just there beating at the sides of her waking mind. Get up! Go to your tea room! Grab a little of whatever feels right! And play little Olivia, play! It was a wonderful feeling. All morning she had thought lovingly of her grandmother as she worked. Read the rest of this entry
1789, there was a great many things taking place during this year so long ago. The United States would elect its first president on February 4th while many months later on July 14th the French Revolution would officially begin with the storming of the fortress of the Bastille. But on this day, May 9th, a strange little man, who didn’t care about either thing, would find himself walking on a lonely path that cut through a very old forest. He wasn’t quite sure why he was walking on this particular path as it wasn’t one he could ever remember taking. Perhaps that was why he had taken it, he reasoned to himself, it was something new. And though the old man was a fierce creature of habit there was just something about that particular day that said to him something new is needed for a change.
The path went on for quite a long while and the strange little man kept wondering if the path would ever lead somewhere, but more importantly he wondered how on earth his short legs were still happily taking steps. Typically he did little more than walk around his very small house and now and then he’d make the short trip to the well for fresh water. By the end of the day he was always quite tired and his short legs felt as though they had run in mad circles for days. Yet here he was! Walking and walking and stepping and he thought perhaps skipping might be fun, so he started skipping along.
This was all very odd for the strange little man. There was something like a small itch in his thoughts that asked him to consider how strange this situation was. The itch was small though so he choose to ignore and besides! The forest air smelled fine, didn’t it? It was probably being around all of the trees and fresh air that was giving him the extra umph! in his steps. And didn’t that just feel fine? Oh yes, the strange little man was feeling quite fine. So fine he decided to move from a skip to a slight run and on he ran for what amount of time he would never know. Until… Read the rest of this entry
1910, eyes were pointed towards the sky as Halley’s Comet made its return on April 20th. It won’t be seen again until 1986. Many months later in October Professor Robert Williams Wood will publish the first infrared photographs in the Royal Photographic Society’s journal. However, Caleb Castell cares nothing about what has passed or what is still to come because he is on a quest to find the most precious and rare of flowering teas. A quest that started many, many years earlier.
Tea had always been a big part of Caleb’s life as tea was a very important thing to his mother. His father had died when he was just a little boy and left him alone with his mother. She worked very hard and long hours as a seamstress for an uptown men’s suit shop. It was barely enough to get them by so treats were few and far between. When his mother wanted to treat them it was always with tea.
Now his mother and tea were almost like a sacred experience. She kept a small tea cabinet that held the very best pieces of china that she had either inherited or managed to purchase over the years. On their tea nights she would make a special setting at the small table where they took their dinners. She would light candles and drape everything in beautiful scraps of material she had managed to sneak from her work. It was all about atmosphere for her and creating a warm and intimate setting for her and young Caleb. For each one of these special teas she picked a different flavor. She would brew the tea and put it in her special silver tea pot and go through great dramatic gestures serving her son. Then she would sit, serve herself and together they would slowly sip their special tea. Then, with the tea warm in their bellies and the air smelling richly of its aroma, his mother would tell him old fairy tales that had been told to her in much the same way by her grandmother and mother… Read the rest of this entry
“The moon has different names?” Emily asked as she looked up into the night sky. Miss Emma nodded her head slowly and looked towards the full moon shining down on them. A smile slowly passed over her lips as she thought about the many, many full moons she’d seen in her days.
“Oh yes. A different name for every month of the year. This was how people in very old times kept track of their seasonal times. For those who lived here in those distant days they often called this the Milk Moon or the Full Flower Moon for this was the time when you’d see your spring flowers bringing color back into the world.” Miss Emma grew quiet for a moment as her thoughts traveled elsewhere. She looked towards the dense line of dark that was the start of the forest and a very old memory came to mind. “I once knew it by a different name though…” Read the rest of this entry
“Emily stepped through the back door of Etta Diem’s Attic Shoppe and was greeted by a very intriguing sight: She wasn’t quite sure if it was a good intriguing or bad intriguing at first blush.
“The backyard that spread out behind the eccentric woman’s equally eccentric home and shoppe was a visual example of one gardener’s dedication to flowers that chased after the color of a bruise. There were all manner of nature’s opulent takes on the color black, rich wine, the deepest of dark purples, and the occasional lush violet to highlight the depth of darkness the other colors portrayed. The young woman had never seen such a dark garden before. And despite such darkness of blooms their colors only served to make all the greenery around them seem so much more lush and alive. It even highlighted the pale color of the large collection of stone lunar moths that were spread out among the neatly organized flower beds.
“It was like the fabled woman that hid behind the veil of the night needed to have her own space to belong to when the sun was keeping the shadows at bay. This place was like a whisper and breath of midnight no matter the hour of the day. Emily decided she liked it. It suited the shoppe-keep well…” – Snapdragon Tea – Introductions to Etta Diem
Newly unveiled for our Tea Bats IGG Campaign: Batnip Tea! Enjoy the taste of black tea, mango and mandarin orange in this fruity tea delight. Learn more here!
“‘Is that bat… is that bat drinking tea?’ Emily asked as she stared at the little creature dangling upside down over a very delicate tea cup. The woman of the bat emporium, Flora Von Tree, casually looked back over her shoulder and nodded her head. ‘Of course he is dear. It’s tea time and Tips is a gentleman first and a bat second. Would you care for a cup? It’s Batnip. Quite the rage around Orange Moon Downs these days.’” -Snapdragon Tea, Chapter III
May we introduce to you the very fine gentlebats who are apart of our sponsor a tea bat program? That’s right! You can help out our little tea shop by sponsoring one of our eight tea bats. Not only are you helping our business get the little boost small businesses need in the start of things, you’ll also get a swanky tea bat sponsor pack full of all kinds of lovely things! More information can be found here.
Snapdragon Tea Snippet: “The Crinkle Society became a joke name; parlor humor born from a conversation at one of the end-of-the-century affairs. One of the founding members and thus one of the oldest members was sitting at a table of new comers. He was known for his rather dry sense of humor and he’d finally gotten to a point where his age was beginning to disagree with him. He said ‘we here are so old that there are no longer any slick names for us. Where once we were lush of skin and soft features, now we are dried out paper molds of our former selves. Our skin no longer glides over our bones like finally oiled leather. Our skin now crinkles like the stiffest of starched crinolines. These days we are the Crinkle Society; long in the tooth and powered by dried blood…” Read the rest of this entry
There is a little place set outside of the everyday world and we call it Orange Moon Downs. Time doesn’t stand still here honestly, but it does seem to lag or… skip a beat every now and then. We enjoy those things that other people consider vintage. We’re not always aware that something groundbreaking and new-styled has come out. We like our past and enjoy visions of the future, though we’re very comfortable in our today. But beyond all of that… we embrace a very strange and enchanting part of our everyday.
Our small town of Orange Moon Downs has more than one thing that suggests it’s unique -those of us in the Orange Moon Tea Society, while hiding behind our mask of tea drinkers and tea makers- we explore these unique avenues of our world and document them. We tuck them away in this little corner of the aetherweb and reach out to the rest of the world to see us. Oh yes, you can get a very tasteful and unique tea flavor from us, but you can also get a very entertaining story behind each of those flavors.
Our society meets each week and we go over the stories of our town and take notes. When something strikes us as interesting we add them to our wee journal here. Our tea brands are always available in our shoppe. So please! Visit us with the prospect of incredible and unique tea flavors, but stay to hear the gossip we have to tell, the eccentric tales we bring and… you know… to find our what the Urban Fairy Rescue League really is. Whatever your preference, our stories can be found here.
Artwork by Alphonse Mucha.