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March Blog Party: My top secret project revealed

Posted Jul 01 2011 1:29pm

March 20, 2011 by Danielle Charles

The theme of this months blog party, hosted by Lucinda over at Whispering Earth, is “Herbal Creativity.” She has given much leniency to what we might choose to fall into this category, saying we should select something which, “inspires us or encourages our creative side.” So, after much pondering, it occurred to me that it might be the perfect opportunity to reveal a top secret project I’ve been working on – something which involves creativity and inspiration both. Are you ready? Drum role, please….

Over the past few years, I’ve had this thought milling around in my head of starting a tea company (which I also dream, may someday lead to the opening of a tea house with delicious cakes and lots of beautiful China teacups, but more on that some other day…). I have always delighted more than anything else in the process of blending a tea – feeling the herbs in my hands, seeing their vibrant colors and smelling their fragrances. It is a magical blend of  instinct and knowledge, aesthetics and the art of flavor that shape the development of a tea. The process has always bewitched me, and touched something very primal and ancient within me.

Anyhow, a handful of basic formulas have been shaping themselves for years in my kitchen, apothecary and mind. As these teas have shifted and shaped themselves they have developed a sort of inertia of their own – and have each become some little offering or sacrament to those aspects of living I consider so fundamental to health. And thus, Teacup & Co was finally born – a collection of 7 teas that each celebrates/strengthens/tones all those things so imperative to our sense of well-being.

There is Love of course (the aphrodisiac tea to share with a sweetheart), and Celebrate (to uplift the senses and honor the joy of living). There is Root (to honor and nourish those vitality imparting roots of ours), Digest (to soothe and support that activity most central to our health), Nourish (to nourish the body with minerals and vitamins) and Dream (a tea for soothing us into that healing dream state of sleep), and there is Breathe (to support our respiratory tracts during cold and flu season).

What has really surprised me with this project is that aside from giving me a chance to work in a strictly creative and hands on way with the herbs, it has also re-infused my life with artistic creativity – designing labels and graphics and all of that. I hadn’t realized how much I’d been missing that aspect of art in my-nose-to- the-books herbal life these past few years. So I’ve had lots of fun recently  (if you call fun tearing your hair out at midnight after moving a word half a centimeter back and forth for 4 hours) developing labels and graphics for the company. I must admit that I’ve had all my supplies for nearly a year now, and I have worked on my labels for THAT long. At least. It is called being a neurotic perfectionist – but I hope also – that it also has some semblance of  wanting to get something just right.

So there is my big projected unveiled. I’m nearly (hold my breath) done with the labels – and they should be off to the printer by the end of the week. Then, I’ll be setting up shop on Etsy and selling around town here in Vermont. It’s all very unbelievable and quite terrifying that this little dream of mine is soon to happen.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to share some of my labels and the process of my design with you, as a tribute that wonderful creative process that has blessed my days this past year or so. It is a strange thing to look back and see how an idea and a glimmer of something materializes into something real, takes shape of its own and develops its own personality.

My first step was looking at LOTS of packages. I spent hours at the grocery store looking at boxes and canisters. I spent countless hours researching packages, fonts, images – anything that took my fancy, really – and collecting them. It made me look at the world in such a different way - I have a new-found appreciation for labels that I never could have before fathomed. I will never go to the store and look at the shelves in the same way again!

After all that research, I had some clear ideas of what I wanted to create. The next step was to create a color palette to work from. I wanted something vibrant and pastel with a sense of groundedness to it, with each tea complementing the other as to emphasize their concept as a “set.”  I  wanted the psychological/symbolic associations of the colors to pertain to the concept of each tea also (ie red for love, yellow for digest and the crown chakra, etc), because I am just like that. This took far longer to get right than you would ever believe. Here is the final result:

After toying with many ideas; too many fonts to mention and too many text boxes, highlights and dots to count, the first basic format materialized (note that the descriptions aren’t quite right yet – digest would not make a very sexy name for an aphrodisiac tea, would it!):

And then – a new font, a few little snazzy slants and details, and I said what I (nor my husband who has been so patient in helping me) ever thought I would. “I’m happy!” and with trembling hand, put down my virtual paintbrush.

And some photos of the teas:

So there is a small taste of my creative endeavor. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted as to when I get my Etsy page up and running. Here’s to unexpected creativity, and to dreams blossoming into things you can hold!

Posted in blog parties | 15 Comments

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  1. This so perfect!! So you! (Well from what I know of you from your posts and photos!) Brava!! Whooo woooo! Lovely company name. It will suit your tea shop..ha, to a T.

    “dreams blossoming into things you can hold.” Yes! Cheers Danielle!

    Love the chakra colors, the names, the tins. I do know how hard it can be to get the right color (I have an art past) but you’ve done brilliantly. That top yellow of the digest trio, for example is exact- soothing, warm and clean, just right for the solar plexus. Oh, this is just the beginning isn’t it? Just today I FB’s that rasp. trifle cake up there, as being exactly what I was yearning for in my hankering for an afternoon tea. Pretty cake and a lovely cup, surrounded by trees and fresh air. You’ll be splendid.

    xoxo
    Carey

  2. Love it! Congratulations!
    xok

  3. What a fantastic idea…….well done!

    Just love your creative colours, simple and visually appealing label compositions and the pretty canisters-you are selling a wonderfully ancient remedy for all that ails us. Remember that old adage “A cup of tea and a good chat” cures all?

    All the very best for your success.

  4. on March 21, 2011 at 9:20 am | Reply Danielle Charles

    Thank you all! Your encouragement and compliments have warmed my heart and strengthened my courage in bringing this little dream of mine out into the world :) Tea really is best, ins’t it! Some days I wonder at myself for the idea of selling such a simple thing – but in the end I always come to the conclusion that it is what the world needs most of all!

    Thank you again for your lovely support :)

    XOXO D

  5. Oh wow Danielle, this is so wonderful! Congratulations!
    I agree with Carey, it’s so you!
    Let us know when we can order, I’m already imagining those beautiful canisters adorning my kitchen shelf. So lovely.

    The art of a good cup of tea is no simple matter, nothing is more disappointing to me than an insipid cup or a blend in which the flavours don’t quite balance. I know yours will be just perfect. :)

    The photo of the herb blends inside their containers is gorgeous, they look lovely and vibrant.
    I love that this post is creative on many levels, the blends themselves, the labels, the ideas. How wonderful to see such a dream project come into fruition.
    When the tea shop opens I’m coming to visit!
    xxx

    • on March 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Reply Danielle Charles

      Lucinda,
      Thank you for all your enthusiasm and kindness! It really means so much, especially coming from a fellow tea blender whose incredibly delicious and vibrant concoctions are some of my most favorite! I can only hope to live up to your confidence in the perfection of my blends :) I am still tweaking a few of the recipes – indeed I will probably never stop unless someone makes me! But I hope they will bring delight and all the delicious gifts of the herbs into the lives of those who take them home.

      I so agree with you about a bad cup of tea – the worst thing in the world is that tasteless liquid made from a glued together tea bag full of pulverized, stale herbs, and how sad that is all that so many people know of tea! If I can improve on that and show people what tea can be like I should be very happy! And loose teas are so superior in my mind because they bring the visual, tactile elements of the herbs into the tea making process, which really connects the person with the plants on a deeper level. Yay for tea!

      It will be a wonderful day indeed if I can one day welcome you to my tea shop!

      Thanks for all!
      D

  6. [...] From Danielle over at The Teacup Chronicles we have a very exciting announcement for her new herbal tea company! She talks about the creative ideas that formed her tea blends, the colour palettes and design for her labels and gives us an enticing snapshot of her lovely new products. Read her inspiring post here. [...]

  7. WOW! Before I continue can I just say “WHAHHHH!!!” How soon until we get to be able to get to taste some of your wonderful new teas in the UK? I wish you all the luck in the world with your new herbal venture Danielle, let me know when you’re up and running and I’ll add a link to my blog and the UK Herbarium blog.

    I love the way we’ve all come to the Herbal Creativity party with different and unique ideas and such wonderful imagery, your labels are wonderful, kudos to you for your designs and colours.

    We need to get back into organising a ‘brew to share’ with the blog parties, we started off doing that but if fizzled out, I enjoyed putting the kettle on and making the latest suggested tea recipe in the knowledge that I would be sitting down and sipping the same tea as my fellow bloggers and taking the sharing experience to another level. Keep us posted…

    Herby hugs – Debs xxx

    • on March 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm | Reply Danielle Charles

      Thank you Debs! I appreciate your offer to put a link on your blog and the herbarium site, too. You are too sweet! It’s funny that in some blog parties, we come up with such similar ideas, and in others – we each bring a completely unique perspective or idea. Both instances are very rewarding – and it continually blows me away at how creative, inspiring and knowledgeable everyone is in their own unique way!

      I love the idea of having a brew to share! It is a fun thought knowing all of us would be partaking of the same herbs as we read and write (our own herbal blog ritual!) – and I think would make the blog parties feel even more connected. Let’s revive that tradition at once!

      XOXO D

  8. Hi Danielle
    I followed the link to your blog from Whispering Earth and just wanted to write to wish you the very best of luck with Teacup and Co. I think your teas look and sound wonderful and your packaging, with its beautiful colours and elegant design, has obviously been a labour of love. I hope all your hard work pays off and congratulations on the fruition of your dream! R xx

    • on March 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Reply Danielle Charles

      Thank you so much, Rachel, for all your well wishes and kind words :) You have very much warmed my heart! It is a truly lovely thing to have all your hard work honored and rewarded by so many wonderful comments, it really makes every minute so worth it.

      Thank you again!
      XOXO D

  9. Good timing for new endeavors, what with the Sun recently crossing into Aries. Good luck! :)

    • on March 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply Danielle Charles

      Oh I didn’t know that! How wonderful! I love it when things work out well astrologically without my even knowing :)

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment!

      XOXO D

  10. How absolutely wonderful! And how perfectly you! I love everything you have done to bring this dream to fruition. Can’t wait to taste them…you just made my Christmas shopping a lot easier to think about…Much love to you…

    • on March 28, 2011 at 10:38 am | Reply Danielle Charles

      Many thanks Kim! I was actually thinking of you quite often when I was choosing the colors for the tea “celebrate” – which is the pink label. I’m not sure why it is, but for some reason I have you very in entwined with pink in my mind – I seem to remember you always wearing vibrant pinks and purples, though I can’t recall if that is true or not! I miss you lots, and it makes me very happy and so honored to have your approval.

      XOXO D


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  • The Teacup Chronicles is a seasonally minded blog about health and wellness, written by a clinical herbalist and self proclaimed kitchen witch. It contains herb-lore, delicious recipes, dietary suggestions and more to encourage vibrant health, balance and delight in every season. Grab a cup of tea, pull up a chair and join me in exploring just how gratifying and delicious cultivating good health can be.
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