Piece of Cake Party: Tea Time

Whether you are throwing a tea party for your mother or for your friends, here are some tips and tricks to take it to the next level.

Tea Garland:

Add ordinary rocks to the bottom of 2 jars or vases. Secure 2 branches from your yard or garden in each, then attach a piece of ribbon or string between the branches. Use mini clothespins to pin tea bags to the ribbon. To distinguish between different flavors of tea, use bags that come in different colors or attach small paper flowers from a craft store to the tea bags, using a different color flower for each flavor.

Teapot for Flowers:

Add water to a decorative teapot, then add flowers of your choice and use as a centerpiece.

Honeydew Teapot:

First, slice a thin piece off the bottom of a honeydew melon with a serrated knife. Flip the piece over and cut out the center with a biscuit or cookie cutter. Cut a bunch of toothpicks in half and attach 3 of them to the melon piece. This will be the base for your teapot.

Next, slice a 1/2-inch piece off the top of the melon to make a lid. Then slice off a 3/4-inch circle and set aside for the handle and spout. Scoop out of the flesh of the melon with a melon baller and reserve. To make the handle and spout, first cut the melon circle in half, creating 2 semicircles. Cut away the inner flesh of one of the semicircles to create the handle. Cut the other semicircle in half, then cut away part of the flesh of one of the pieces to make the spout. Attach the handle and spout to the teapot with toothpick halves. Decorate the top of the lid by attaching a grape or another piece of fruit to it with a toothpick half.

Fill the teapot with the melon balls and other fruit. Top the fruit with champagne for a boozy fruit salad.

Floral Chandelier:

Use a large wooden embroidery hoop from your local craft store and start with the inner hoop. Cut 2 pieces of ribbon the same length, fold them in half and attach them to a key ring at the fold. Attach the 4 ribbon ends to the inner hoop at equidistant positions using a glue gun. Tie pieces of ribbon to individual flower stems, then tie the other ends of the ribbons to the hoop. Continue tying until you have a circle of flowers. Attach the outer embroidery hoop to hide the ribbons. Hang the floral chandelier from a patio roof or tree.

Pan CAKE:

Using any pancake mix, make pancakes in 3 sizes: small, medium and large; it's easiest to use 3 different size pans for this and allow the pancake batter to spread to the end of each pan while frying. Assemble a stack of large pancakes on the bottom, then medium pancakes on top of those, then the smallest stack on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. You can also add frosting, maple syrup or jam in between each layer of pancakes. Or serve them on the side so your guests can choose their own toppings.