A Peak at Lizette Gueco’s Unique Hobby of Collecting Tea Cups

Photo credits: wattlelane.wordpress.com

by Lizette Barretto-Gueco, via FoodfindsAsia.com |

Since I was a young child, I have been a collector of one thing or another.  I guess, “hoarder,” in a milder sense of the word is apt to describe me. (Maybe collectors are really just glorified hoarders.) From Barbie dolls to buttons to coins and stamps and anything with a sunflower on it, I have enjoyed hunting down, owning and growing. It’s something My Lola rubbed off on me, as she was a notorious one herself. She had a large collection of salt and pepper shakers from all over the world, which I loved to look at and occasionally play with when she was not busy guarding it from her mischievous grandkids.

My cousin Gretchen and I share the same passion when it comes to setting a nice table. She got me started collecting depression glassware when our kids were young to complement the little tea parties we love hosting for family at home. We would scour the antique shops in Baguio and find the best deals whenever we could together.  Baguio was (and still is, I guess) a haven for all these old little knick-knacks.  Lots of sentimental folk up in Baguio city.

Then my interests expanded to teacups and I grew my collection through purchases at flea markets and estate sales during trips to the States and Europe and thoughtful gifts from family and friends. Gretchen gave me a Royal Albert set one Christmas and this further encouraged my growing passion.

The author's personal collection.
The author’s personal collection.

What I have put together through the years, gives me so much joy!  Each one has a story and a special sentiment attached to it. I love looking at them displayed in my china cabinet. I endlessly arrange and rearrange them every time I put back those that I’ve just used. When I have a new one to add, I feel my heart triple in size and my cup runneth over. Excuse the pun!

My 2 daughters have already placed dibs on which of my teacup sets they will inherit when I die!  Heaven forbid the chaos it would cause when that time comes. Not that I have so much of them, only that they like the same ones.  I also tell them that they can have whatever is left of these fragile things after they survive the wear and tear of everyday life.  This is because I will definitely use them to my hearts content!  The survivors of the lot will be all the more precious because of the memories attached to each one from frequent and loving use. Sort of like the Velveteen Rabbit, my teacups will probably be faded and some of them chipped, but loved to perfection.

Having ample space is a big consideration when starting a collection.  But if you don’t have it, you make do, even if it’s an itty-bitty space.  Of course, like everything in life, moderation is always the key. You really just can’t have it all. Be choosy in what you decide to keep.  Make sure you absolutely love it and make sure you use it.

I know of some people who have a houseful of nice things but refuse to enjoy them for fear of wearing them out.  Their furniture are wrapped in plastic or covered in old curtains and their best china and glassware locked in the display cabinets gathering dust.  Why? Where’s the fun in owning all these nice things if you restrict your use of it? I don’t believe in keeping things that serve no purpose except to be admired. I say, put everything to good use!

Dab on your most expensive perfume everyday if you feel like it before it evaporates. Use your best linens before it yellows with age. Don’t wait for occasions to wear your special clothes and shoes. How many of us have experienced shoes that we’ve not worn for a long time, disintegrate right under our feet and at the most inopportune time? This has happened to someone I know while walking from the parking lot to a party. Good thing, she always brings an extra pair in the car fearing for that exact eventuality. Hello! I’m getting a bit off topic. That’s certainly for another story.

And yes, your fragile fine bone china collection? Please take it out of your cabinet and use them often and without guilt or fear of breaking them even if you have to wash them yourself. Do yourself a favor and start enjoying the beautiful things in life that you are so blessed to own before it’s too late. There’s never a better time than the present.

Unfortunately, we do live in a material world. No doubt about that! It does not always have to be a bad thing as long as everything is put into perspective and it does no harm to anyone. If you find joy in the things you own and not averse to sharing and spreading the love around, how wrong can that be? Your worldly things can be a source of happiness not only for you but for others as well if you make it your mission to contaminate everyone with your joie de vivre! Be happy in all that you do and don’t forget to share!  The secret to a happy life is not a secret. It is a decision to live it.

“Life is like a cup of tea…it’s all in how you make it.”

tea cups1

So from my collection of recipes, it gives me much pleasure to share with you one that is guaranteed to always put a smile on anyone’s face when they take a bite. It goes perfectly with a nice hot cup of your favorite tea in your best teacup.

“BRIGHT AS THE SUN” LEMON BARS

Lemon Bars
Lemon Bars

For the base:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup ground almonds

For the filling:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Zest of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend together butter, flour, sugar and ground almonds.  Press into bottom of ungreased 9×13 baking pan.  Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the filling, whisk together sugar, and flour. Add eggs, lemon juice and zest.  Pour over baked base.

Bake for another additional 20 minutes. Bars will firm up as they cool.

Cut into squares and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.

Enjoy and have a bright sunshiny day!

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About the Author

Lizette Barretto-Gueco

Lizette Barretto Gueco is a regular columnist at FoodFindsAsia.com.  She writes about her life’s passions which are family, home, food, relationships and how they fit in perfectly in her scheme of things and in the circle of life.

Lizette is now a busy home based mom after working in marketing and the travel industry for some time. She also ventured into jewelry design while she was a partner at a prestigious jewelry store at Greenbelt 5. Aside from juggling family schedules and managing the home, she also finds time to bake and sell her sweet offerings from her home as well as indulge in her other hobbies like jewelry making and arts and crafts.  She is an amateur filmmaker, traveler, foodie, dreamer and lover of life.

Lizette is a graduate of AB Communication arts from the Ateneo de Manila University.  You can email her at lizbgueco@gmail.com

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