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Tea fundraiser offers a taste of the Victorian
by Sarah Cooper
Nov 28, 2008 | 1494 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune/Nathan Orme - Victorian enthusiast Dusty Rhodes had this angel hung from her living room ceiling on Friday just in time for Saturday's Victorian tea party and fundraiser for the Sparks Heritage Museum. "That's the one I've been wanting for years," she said of the cherub.
Tribune/Nathan Orme - Victorian enthusiast Dusty Rhodes had this angel hung from her living room ceiling on Friday just in time for Saturday's Victorian tea party and fundraiser for the Sparks Heritage Museum. "That's the one I've been wanting for years," she said of the cherub.
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Tribune/Nathan Orme - A statue of Santa Claus in a guest room at the home of Dusty Rhodes in Sparks. Guests at Saturday's fundraiser tea party can tour Rhodes' home and see her entire collection of Victorian items.
Tribune/Nathan Orme - A statue of Santa Claus in a guest room at the home of Dusty Rhodes in Sparks. Guests at Saturday's fundraiser tea party can tour Rhodes' home and see her entire collection of Victorian items.
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Tribune/Nathan Orme - Dusty Rhodes with her dog Mandy will host a fundraiser for the Sparks Heritage Museum at her home on Saturday. Rhodes' home is decorated from top to bottom in Victorian-style ornaments, collectibles and reproductions.
Tribune/Nathan Orme - Dusty Rhodes with her dog Mandy will host a fundraiser for the Sparks Heritage Museum at her home on Saturday. Rhodes' home is decorated from top to bottom in Victorian-style ornaments, collectibles and reproductions.
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Tribune/Nathan Orme - Christmas tree ornaments at the Sparks home of Dusty Rhodes will give guests at Saturday's Heritage Museum fundraiser plenty to look at.
Tribune/Nathan Orme - Christmas tree ornaments at the Sparks home of Dusty Rhodes will give guests at Saturday's Heritage Museum fundraiser plenty to look at.
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Pink painted flowers cascaded down an assortment of tea cups in Dusty Rhodes' dining room as the lights from her Christmas tree casted soft light on the nearby tea service.

She was almost ready to host a Victorian inspired holiday tea party.

Rhodes is welcoming ticket holders into her Victorian-themed home today in an effort to raise money for the Sparks Heritage Museum.

Rhodes has been collecting vintage and Victorian era antiques and collectables for almost 30 years, filling her two-story Sparks home from laundry room to office to bedroom with a classic theme.

"It has to be romantic," Rhodes said of her collection. "I like anything that smacks of old."

Rhodes has been putting on traditional Victorian tea services with her vast collection at the Sparks Heritage Museum for several years, sponsoring parties for red hat societies and others.

"I have given tea parties for friends and for bridal showers," Rhodes said.

However, this is the first year that the Sparks Museum will be coming to Rhodes' home.

The tea party fundraiser will feature Rhodes' delicate china, a variety of tea sandwiches and three different teas.

"It takes us back to a softer time," Rhodes said, noting that with jobs women always seem to be in a hurry. "Then people take that time out to just feel like a lady and enjoy all the teas … it just makes women feel special."

Rhodes, who works at Split Ends beauty salon on Rock Boulevard, said that the best part of her day is coming home to her collection.

"There is no place I would rather be than my home," Rhodes said. "When I am done working, I come home as fast as I can."

Although most of Rhodes' extensive collection decorates her house year round, she has added some special touches for the holidays. One of her favorite newer pieces is a Victorian style music box that reads the chimes from holes in a piece of music paper, just like the original music boxes from the 18th century.

Rhodes also has a collection of vintage dresses that she wears for her more elaborate tea parties.

"The people who come (today) will not need to dress up," Rhodes said. "But when I do the bigger tea parties I ask that people dress up. If they don't, I will at least give them a hat."

Rhodes' collection has been through several moves, settling finally in her Sparks home two years ago.

"It just got bigger and bigger," Rhodes said. "I outgrew the house!"

When asked to describe her elaborately decorated home, Rhodes used one word — romantic.

"I guess I was born in the wrong century," she said with a laugh.

Tickets are $15 and are available for purchase at the Sparks Heritage Museum located at 820 Victorian Ave.

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