Are Ya Smitten With the Abbey, M'Lady?

I don’t often watch a lot of television. Not content to sit still too long, I’ve recently joined the ranks of those simply smitten with the drama, Downton Abbey! The show not only has me glued to the television for each entertaining episode, it’s inspired me…

It’s almost impossible not to have heard of Masterpiece Theater’s drama, Downton Abbey…it’s buzzing everywhere. Centering around an aristocratic, post-Edwardian family living in a castle, the show’s in its fourth season and an international hit. Many of my friends here and abroad watch it. One of my daughter’s ‘tween’ shows even made references to Downton Abbey. I found it by accident last summer through our local library. It only took two episodes before I was totally hooked. Apparently, all of Newtown was just as enamored. By the time I got to the third season, over seventy people were on the waiting list before me to rent it! What’s not to love, m’lady? The fabulous clothes, the English scenery, the relationships between the wealthy family and the less-fortunate servants…it’s a vacuum that sucks you right in!

Facebook is awash in “Which Downton Abbey Character are you?” quizzes. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a servant, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to be a Crawley, either… too “important” to even dress myself? Ugh! And then there’s the witty Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith – saying what everyone else may be thinking but dares not say out loud. We’ve all known someone like that. She’s an absolute hoot.

My husband scored “Brownie Points” big time this Christmas when he snagged me a boxed set of the first full three seasons on DVD. So, after Christmas and before the premiere of season four of Downton Abbey, I watched each and every episode (just not all at once). Many an episode was viewed while waiting for home repair service calls. In one month, my double oven blew, my washing machine broke, my garage door opener spring “sprung”, and my dishwasher went kaput! I wasn’t a total couch potato, though…I was inspired to knit up a felted hat, complete with “vintage bling.” It reminds me of some of the hats worn by Lady Sybil.

Then there was a “Downton Abbey Tea”, hosted by our local library. Everyone was to bring their favorite teacup, a baked treat to share, and were invited to dress in period dress. On the way, dressed in head-to-toe 1920’s style, I prayed I wouldn’t have a “Bridget Jones’ Diary” moment and show up as the only one dressed in costume! Relieved to see I wasn’t, the tea was almost cancelled altogether as just as we all arrived, the library suffered a broken pipe, with flooding and a part of the roof collapsing. (With my streak of bad luck, I wondered if it was because I was on the guest list)! We ended up moving the tea to a resident’s home and had a great time.

Born in the wrong era… my “costume” was put together from my actual closet.

My farmgirl sisterhood chapter thinks it will be fun to hostess a similar “Downton Abbey Tea”. We’ll dress up and drink tea like the Crawley’s, then make “Lavender Bath Sachets” like the servants! (I found mini muslin cotton drawstring bags that we’ll fill with dried lavender).

If you’d like a good book on Highclere castle (where Downton Abbey is filmed), check out Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by the Countess of Caravon. I’m enjoying reading about the real-life history of the castle and the inspiration behind the show.

Now it’s time for me to be Mrs. Patmore, as it’s almost time for dinner. Tell me, M’Lady, are ya a Downton Abbey fan, too? Leave your “calling card” in the comments section, then!

Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  1. JULIE says:

    OH YES**** I Love Downton Abby** I relate to all the Women….upstairs and downstairs. It shows that things can change –in a moment, all people have responsibilities even with $$money and how we feel for all that Help us….loyality, ethics, & more.
    Thanks for your share…. Reality is always adjusting!
    JULIE jw

    Hi Julie, I agree.  I think we all can relate to many of the characters in one way or another.  They are all so well-written.  Thanks for commenting! – Nicole

  2. Lisa H says:

    I am a HUGE Downton fan, Nicole. Knowing there will be a season V now I think I will plan to host a season premier party. Wouldn’t that be fun? The only kicker is you never know what the weather will be like then around here. This winter has been BRUTAL. I read where another club was having a tea cup exchange. I am going to suggest that my craft club do this and then make the tea cups into candles. My sister bought me Downton jewelry for Christmas. It is so beautiful. I just pre-ordered Season IV on DVD. Amazon had a special price for it and I couldn’t resist. I am curious, in episode 2 of this season, were you pleased with the way they handled the Anna situation? I couldn’t help but think if the show had been filmed here in the U.S. how graphic it would have been for shock and ratings. I hope that American television will take a hint here and realize the point can be made without the graphics. Are you smitten with Sherlock as well? I got hooked on that one because my host daughter (exchange student) from Czech Republic loved it. It is FABULOUS too. Downton is still my fave though. Have you found with going back and watching them again that you missed things the first time through? I sure have. The post office came out with Harry Potter postage. I wonder how long until Downton? It could pull the postal service out of its financial woes. Ha ha ha! Can’t you just see the potential? Have a great week!

    Hi Lisa!

    Love your idea of turning tea cups into candles!  I use some of my smaller, vintage cups as tea light holders.  With the smaller cups, the tea light just fits right inside!  I think next year I might hostess a "premiere party" too!  What a fun idea!  I remember when I was younger and "Friends" had its last show.  I hosted a dinner party then. 

    I also agree with you on the way the violence was handled.  It was not too graphic, as it would be here.  Have you noticed, as well, that there is not a foul word to be heard?  I can’t stand mainstream movies anymore.  There is a lack of creativity when all you can write is raunchy language, I think.  Love that there are no characters with cuss words coming out of their mouths constantly.

    Did you happen to catch the actor who plays Matthew on the "Today Show" last week?  I thought it was quite comical that he has husbands coming up to him asking him to apologize to their wives for leaving the show!  🙂

    Thanks for commenting!  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  3. Rebecca says:

    I am totally addicted to Downton Abbey. I was a late comer also, I started watching last season but I did view Seasons 1-2 before so I could be caught up. Love your outfit. Especially the hat.

    It sounds like an awesome town you live in. I don’t have access to anything as exciting as a Downton Abbey Tea. But it was fun reading about yours.

    Hi Rebecca!  Thanks!  It was fun to dress up.  Our library is still closed, several weeks later.  I think our town is very lucky, they’ve always done such interesting, fun programs for as long as I can remember, usually free or very low-cost.   It was the library that got me hooked on the show, too.  One of the librarians gushed that I just had to watch it.  (Our library has free DVD rentals, too).  Like Lisa said in her comment, I catch all sorts of things seeing the episodes again.  Thanks for stopping by!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  4. Adrienne says:

    Downton Abbey is a wonderful show and I think because I’m now the eldest in my family, I would be the dowager countess saying whatever I wanted whenever I please. I have one special teacup and brew some of the Downton Abbey English Rose tea from the Republic of Tea while I watch. Then I can really appreciate the yummy Lord Grantham.

    Lady Adrienne, thank you for your comment.  You made me chuckle.  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  5. Lisa H says:


    I had not seen the interview on the "Today Show". I bet I can find it online though. It sounds priceless and comical.

    You know I hadn’t thought about the language. I guess because of the period of time this takes place. It is refreshing though.

    By the way your outfit for the tea was AWESOME! You said you made your hat. I am soooo impressed. You look like you stepped out of a magazine for that era. Very cool.

    I have had many discussions with friends and family and I think it is very likely that should I have been born in those times I would have been downstairs rather than upstairs. I love the pride they have for the work they do that today would often be considered unrewarding and not a "real" job.

    Have you seen the Downton cookbook? Oh my! I had no idea something like that existed until my birthday came along and my mom got it for me. I don’t know how anyone could like blood pudding. LOL.



    I didn’t see the today show interview when it first ran, but saw it first on the Today Show link on Facebook.  Worth watching. 

    Thank you for the compliments (blushing).  I did make my hat…it is knitted with one strand of worsted weight wool and one strand of mohair, then felted in the washing machine.  I was smiling at my daughter; she snapped it on our way out one day. 

    I have not seen the Downton Abbey cookbook!  I will look for that, sounds interesting.  Although I agree with you on the blood pudding…ick.  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  6. Debra says:

    I have been wanting to watch the show for awhile and finally was able to catch the first 3 seasons on amazon prime video. I am enthralled! I have also wanted to start knitting again and just received an e-mail you and others might be interested in. Look for Knit Picky Patterns from AllFreeKnitting, they have a collection of patterns for Downton Abbey fans. I can’t wait to get started!

    Hi Debra!  I see you have been inspired, too!  I love that a little glamour is back in style!  You’ll have to pop back by and tell us what you decided to knit as a first project!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  7. Terri says:

    Nicole, My dear friend hosted her second annual Downton Abbey premiere party at the opening of Season 3 and all the ladies came in fancy dress. Her Victorian house was aglow with flickering candles and shining silver and the dinner would have made Mrs. Patmore proud.

    It is a marvel that this television series has entranced so many people from all over the world. Julian Fellows and Downton cast, hats off to you!

    Terri, oh your friend’s party sounds wonderful!  How fun!  Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  8. I am indeed a fan, from the first moment of the first episode. I recently acquired a new cloche hat. And luckily for me, I was already a fan of all things Victorian/Edwardian, so I’ve got the tableware and linens, more than enough teapots and teacups to open a shop, some of the clothing, and a few other elegant items. Everything has to be kept from the reach of two active dogs and a curious, three-legged cat! I’m not a knitter (oh, I’ve tried and tried), but I am good at thread crochet so I have a lot of doilies, placemats, and lace-edged bedding. Now I just wish I had a staff to manage it all.

    Hi Lexie!  I hear ya!  I’ve been a a fan of all things Victorian/Edwardian (who am I kidding – 1920’s through to the 1940’s, too!) even before those items were considered "in" .  When I was fourteen, I wanted to dress like Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink.  No staff here, either! Great comment, thanks for stopping by!  Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  9. Ulla Christensen says:

    Dear Nicole
    In Danmark are we seeing Downton Abbey now. I like this series too.
    Love farfar og farmor Dk

    Hej Farmor! 

    Won’t it be fun when we see each other again…tea, knitting, and Downton Abbey in the afternoon!  Love you! – Nicole

  10. Debbie Brozanic says:

    Great article Nicole on Downton Abbey! I enjoy watching Downton Abbey while I am sipping tea and loom knitting. So relaxing!!

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Debbie! Sounds like a fun to me! Season Four was released today here in the states on DVD/Blue Ray…Farmgirl hugs, Nicole

  11. Kimberly Komar says:

    I’ve been a fan from the 1st episode! Love everything about the show from costume & set design to how well each actor was cast in their specific role. We’ve done tea in our family from before I was born as my Great-Grandmother Scarborough was from England. It’s very relaxing at the end of the day to sit whilst dinner cooks and catch up on everyone’s day. Your “costume” is great but even more so because it’s comprised of things you already wear. Me too! I’ve always been enthralled with everything British and even read UK versions of Country Living & Country Homes along w/ my MJF every other month! Cheers to a great blog and fellow DA fan & MJ sister!

  12. Jan Hubbard says:

    I love the idea of bringing your own fancy tea cup and enjoying old and new friendships.
    One place I lived had a Mother’s Day Tea Cup Brunch in May. We each bought a ticket that was used to choose tea cup and saucer to use at the brunch. The tea cup went home with the user as a special way to remember the morning.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Jan! What a great idea! When my daughter was about seven, we attended a Mother’s Day and Dolly tea where we dressed up, and Audrey brought her American Girl doll. It was held at a local church. I didn’t see that they hosted another one (or we missed it) but I have such lovely memories of our special day together. I love the teacup idea of the tea that you went to. Thank you for sharing. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  13. Doreenlee says:

    I love this show. It is so neat to see how that era of England lived. I can’t wait for more episodes. And I love your hat by the way.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Doreen! I find how that era lived to be fascinating, too. Thanks for the compliment on my hat. I really enjoyed wearing it this cold winter, and it was fun to make. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

  14. Claudia says:

    I have watched Downton Abbey for a couple of years now, just love it. Ran across it quite by accident, meant to be kind of thing. I have watched seasons 1, 2 & 3. Have 3 shows from season 4 on my DVR but have not gotten round to watching them yet. I really need to prioritize.
    I just love your tea cup. What company made it? I have really gotten into tea cups and have started collecting. It is great having all different cups for tea parties. We girls, and I use that term loosely of course, in the family have had great fun having tea parties. I would love to see if I can find a cup like the one you have.

    • Nicole Christensen says:

      Hi Claudia! Thank you! I just checked on the bottom of both my teacup and saucer. Unfortunately, that one has no markings whatsoever! I can tell you that it is very old, with a taupe lusterware-like sheen. Maybe check eBay for lusterware cups and saucers. In the meantime, I will see if I can do some research too. If I unearth anything, I will be sure to let you know. I’ve found all of mine at tag sales, flea markets, thrift and antique shops, and on eBay. Happy hunting! Oh, and I do love a good tea party, too! Such fun. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole

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