Elements of fun and whimsy are all part of the game when you approach teatime in a playful way. Here, a blue-and-white china kitty bank looks on as oranges, grapes, and chocolate gather for a light tea. Johnson Brothers' Blue Willow and Arthur Wood's Traditional Floral (which comes with a filter basket that allows you to brew loose tea right in the mug) join with Royal Doulton's Old Country Roses for a fun, colorful setting. A pair of the season's first violets, just plucked from the garden, bring a touch of springtime indoors.

And speaking of cats... my own cat just loves teatime! Every time I put the kettle on, she hears it and comes running, knowing there's going to be milk around! While not every cat should have milk (so it's always best to check with one's veterinarian about such things), my feline friend adores her bit of nonfat milk that I share with her whenever I have tea. Tea with kitty -- it's every bit as much fun as tea with any other dear friend!