Musings over a cup of tea at PumpjackPiddlewick

This morning I was musing about a good cup of tea, over a cup of coffee.

Having lived in Britain, I can truly appreciate a good ‘cuppa’. But, why does living there equate to a good cup of tea, I hear you ask? Well, besides the synonymous links between tea and England (ok, and China and India and…) there is the simple and sheer quantity available. No matter where you go in the UK.

As a boulangerie is to France, a cafe serving tea is to the UK. Almost every (good sized) village has one. In the office you have your required by law ‘tea’ breaks. Okay, it is maybe not officially, on paper, a break for tea, but everyone thinks of it as a tea break. And, if you visit someone, you will always be offered a cup of tea, even if you end up being served a coffee. “You must come round for tea” is something everyone says (though they may not mean it, I discovered).

I remember when I first moved to the UK, almost everyone I met asked me round for a cup of tea. I used to respond with ‘okay, when?’ and was always met with a blank stare, like a rabbit in headlights. I soon came to learn it was more phrase, like ‘have a nice day’, than reality. Still, I did manage to enjoy the odd cup of tea with those who blinked and responded.

So why am I writing about tea? Are my meandering coffee morning thoughts actually taking me somewhere? Mais oui, to move us over to France (who do okay, but not brilliantly on the tea front), I have been thinking about re-using tea. As one does.

After all, my Mum taught me, before it was fashionable, about re-using, recycling, upcycling and all the other cycling genres. So, why not tea? I have already looked into re-using coffee. And have written about coffee. A lot. So why haven’t I looked at tea?

It’s actually my new shop, Taking Time Too, which sells digital ephemera, e.g. printables for crafting, that got me to thinking about re-using tea. (Hey, sometimes my mind works in a circular fashion, but hang in there.) I’m someone who loves ephemera, that is aged old paper things like tickets, receipts, letters, etc. I simply adore the whiff and colour of aged paper. Think old libraries, antique books. There’s even a hashtag for someone like me #paperaddict. Okay, weird, yeah.

But, one can fake it as well.

I like to watch a lot of videos on paper crafting, and inevitably someone (re)uses tea (or coffee, but this is about tea) to stain paper. It makes it look old. Easier than finding old paper if you already have your cup of tea to hand. Not to mention that whole second use thing to make you feel good.

Next time you spill a cup of tea, wipe it up with some paper

Do you need to tint your paper for crafting purposes? Of course not. I have made many a journal card that has a pretty new look to it. But if you are going for the aged, vintage look for something, then knowing how to age your paper yourself is actually really handy.

And besides paper… my musings have made me unearth a whole host of other uses for tea: refreshing carpets, rehydrating skin, soothing sunburn, polish wood surfaces, plant food, bath scrub, fire lighters, calming razor burn… the list goes on. Quite a surprising list, isn’t it? I was pleasantly surprised to learn so much from that primary thought about a cup of tea.

Now it’s time for a…

If you’ve just put the kettle on in consequence, here are some good examples I found to have a read through, should my tea musings have inspired you to re-use, recycle or even simply compost your tea.

Tea 101 – Tea uses

13 uses for tea bags

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