I was never a tea or coffee drinker growing up, though I was introduced to the joys of a local coffeeshop when I was in high school. I came to tea drinking later in life, but I’ve certainly been making up for lost time. I’m always cold, so I love a cup of tea by my side, but I also love the ritual of tea.
Let’s forget for a minute that my “ritual” is filling the electric tea kettle with water, waiting for it to warm, throwing a tea bag in the water, carrying it upstairs to my office — usually spilling hot water on myself in the process. It’s still a break in my day, a moment when I’m reminded to take a moment, forget about work for a minute, check in with myself and how my day is going.
Never mind coffee breaks; I have tea breaks.
Tea Breaking with #AmericasTea
If you’ve ever gone shopping for tea in the United States I’m sure you’ve heard of Bigelow Tea. It’s found in supermarkets everywhere — from Walmart to the corner store — and is pretty well a household name even if you don’t drink tea in your household. (I bought mine at Walmart and you can see the whole story unfold in my Google+ photo album.)
What you might not know about this company is that it was founded by a woman nearly 70 years ago and has remained a family business now into its third generation. Ruth Campbell Bigelow was a big tea drinker, too, and she thought that people would be interested in more full-flavored teas that were available on the market back then.
She found a Colonial recipe for tea that included orange peel and other spices and called it “Constant Comment.” It’s now one of around 120 different varieties offered by the company, including green and herbal teas, black tea, flavored tea and organic teas.
Unfortunately I can’t find their organic teas where I live (though you can buy them by the case online) but I do enjoy their green tea with lemon, which is a simple but delicious drink for the afternoon. I also recently tried Constant Comment for the first time (still no idea why it’s called that) and though I’m not sure I would drink it every day the chai-like flavors are nice. Clove dominates the scent of the tea but when you taste it you also get a taste of the citrus rind you can see in the tea bag.
Even though I can’t partake in their organic options I was interested to learn that the company is interested in sustainable production methods and protecting the environment as much as possible. Several of their teas are Fair Trade certified, and the company works with ethical tea gardens in Asia that practice sustainable farming techniques.
They have solar panels on their headquarters, and the company’s production facilities in the states have been certified as zero-waste-to-landfill facilities. I love a company that sees all of that as important and worthwhile — add in being family owned, having a long tradition of women in leadership positions and a yummy product, and I’m sold.
I decided to combine these ideas of sustainability and using tea to create a special moment for yourself by making a little gratitude journal that I can write in or read over when I’m taking a tea break. The best part: I actually used one of the tea boxes as the cover of my journal!
What You’ll Need
- one empty box of tea
- decorations for the cover (optional, I used gesso and acrylic paint, washi tape, some stickers and a gold pen)
- 8 sheets of scrapbook or printer paper
- Flatten the box and cut so that two of the long panels are together. I used a green tea box and kept the front and bottom panels.
- Decorate as you like. I gessoed the box expect for the mountain and pagoda on the front (though you could probably skip that step), then painted the rest of the cover red. I added strips of washi tape along the top and bottom, a sticker of a flower and another sticker that I wrote “Gratitude” on in gold pen. I also outlined some of the features of the art from the box with gold pen. (You could also just cover the whole box with washi, or leave it plain.)
- Use the cover as your template and cut out 8 pieces of paper. I used scrapbook paper from Walmart, but you can use plain printer paper, construction paper or whatever you have on hand. This will give you a book of 32 pages, enough for a month of thanks.
- Fold the pages in half. I turned half of mine so that the printed sides of the paper were not all facing. Align in the cover and staple down from the outside in (so that the nicer looking part of the staple is on the outside). I used three staples.
- Put a heavy object on the book overnight to help flatten it out.
Using Your Journal
Pour yourself a cup of tea. Write in the journal for a few minutes about things that happened that day that made you smile or things you’re grateful for. I bought myself flowers along with my tea, so my first entry was easy.
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Bigelow Tea #CBias #SocialFabric #AmericasTea. But I really do like their tea.