23 December 2012

Christmas in the South.

We won't be having a white Christmas this year.
I know, some of you would love to say the same thing, but you know, I grew up in the North with real winters, and I kind of miss it.
There is something romantic and cosy about being home with the ones you love on Christmas, soft snowflakes falling outside and the world is quiet.
There are certain compensations that go with a Southern Christmas.
 We spent some time in Charleston South Carolina earlier this month.

 Charleston still blooms in December.

 Pink Rose.

 Stained glass inspiration.

 A typically friendly Charleston resident.

 Holiday transportation, red and green.

Our Christmas tree.

Mary in my Camilla's.
Taken this morning.
May all the peace and happiness of the holidays be yours.
Merry Christmas,

16 December 2012

Making Spirits Bright!

Last weekend my Sweet Husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in Asheville NC.
We toured Biltmore winery, grounds, and we took the candle light tour of the house in the evening.
It was lovely.

A display on the winery tour.
The gift shop has lots of tasty treats to offer.
 The winery tour was interesting.
Our guide was quick to point out that even though the sign says "Champagne" it is not Champagne unless it comes from the Champagne region in France.
We sampled some of their Sparkling wine and it was quite good.
After the tour, we spent some time in the tasting room.
Maisey did an excellent job and helped us to pick out a couple of bottles of wine for the holidays.
 Touring Biltmore's Winery reminded me of our touring the Heineken distillery last September while we were in the Netherlands. Heineken's colors are festively appropriate for a holiday blog post, don't you think?

Both tours were informative as well as fun.
I grew up with home made wine and my Sweet Husband has been known to make some very good home brew. It was interesting to see how the Pro's go about it.

 Back to our weekend.
This is the tree on Biltmore's front lawn.
It has thousands of lights.
It is pretty from a long ways off.

 Here you can see the house with the tree.
Biltmore is the largest privately owned house in the country so I guess the big tree fits.
The house is a grand old Victorian treasure and lucky for us,
it is open to the public.

Well, it was an Anniversary weekend after all.
I am a very lucky girl!
As for the Bright Spirits,
Our local "Total Wines and More" has a great selection of seasonal brews.

10 December 2012

Guest Blogger

Kat and her Sweet Husband are busy celebrating their wedding anniversary.
Kat says she has some great photos to post so check back next week.


02 December 2012

Miniatures in Amsterdam (September 2012)

Hope everyone enjoyed the Thanksgiving weekend.
The holiday season has me thinking of dolls and toys so I decided to do a post on the miniatures we saw on our trip to the Netherlands in September.
Here it is. 
In the eighteenth century, some dolls houses were designed to teach young ladies how to manage a household. Others, were the admired collections of adult women.
(Much like today)
These two dolls houses or cabinets, belonged to Petronella Oortman Dunois.
I was a little confused initially. One is labeled as belonging to Petronella Oortman and the other Petronella Dunois. Apparently one was collected before she married and the other after.
They are displayed side by side in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Both dolls cabinets are behind glass so photography is a little tricky.
If you look in the first photo, you can see that they had stairs set up in front of the glass so even short people like me (vertically challenged?) can see quite well.

 Here the maid is doing her ironing.
Not my favorite task,,,,,

 The baby doll in her walker is quite posh.

 Look at the tiny glassware on the table.

 Bedroom, with traditional Dutch built in bed.

 The entrance hall.

 I believe this would have been the parlour.
I love the painting o the walls and the ornate fireplace.
I am glad we went in September, it gets cold there in the winter.

 The Dutch are famous for their blue and white china.
This collection is wonderful.
 This is not really a dolls house, for one thing, there are no dolls and it is obviously not a house.
I would take it anyway!
This is The William Rex, a model ship, also in the Rijksmuseum.
I was entranced. The ship sits on a stand and my head came to just above the top row of cannon.
According to the sign, it was never a real ship.
I'm not sure what it's purpose was.
Look at the carvings on the right.

 Detail views of the William Rex model ship.
Can you see why I was so impressed?

 This is a much smaller dolls cabinet.
It is on loan to the Amsterdam City Museum.
This cabinet features miniature silver items made in the city during the eighteenth century.

 Apparently the Dutch like their miniatures.
This one is on display in the Heineken brewery. It features an early member of the Heineken family experimenting with ways to make their beer even better.
Apparently it worked.
Here is another Heineken display box.
If you have not seen it already, have a look at my post on the Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle 
Hope you enjoyed the tour.

20 November 2012

Catching up, photos from our September trip to the Netherlands. Canals and boats.

Remember in September, my Sweet Husband took me on vacation to the Netherlands?
Well, I posted the first set of photos and I promised more.
Here is another installment.
Canal Boats in Amsterdam.
 Look at how the light sparkles on the water.
Reminds me of an Impressionist painting.

 Under a bridge on a water bike.
 Boats range from simple, like this one to elaborate house boats.
Beautiful Canal scene. 
This one looks like it could use a little love.
An unfortunate occurrence. 
 Classic wooden boat.
Sight seeing boat, The "Pieter Heyn I" 
 House boat.
 Bridge details seen from the water.

Living on a boat doesn't mean you can't have a garden.
If you look closely, the one on the lower left corner has a greenhouse and a porch/


The Netherlands are famous for flowers.
You will see them everywhere.


Sailing anyone?

They come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
(Yes, that is the tip of a Venetian Gondola peaking out.)



Amsterdam is a beautiful city.
Anyone want to see more pictures?

and Spontaneous who is very glad we are at home.


10 November 2012

Autumn Faire

We attended the Annual North Carolina Renaissance Festival a couple of weeks ago and it was fantastic! The Festival is still on this weekend and next, so if this post inspires you and you can make it to the Charlotte North Carolina area, join the fun.
Your tour guide for the event (me).
I get the feeling this is going to be a little different...

 A Reaissance Festival (or Ren Faire) is a trip back in time.
This lovely old time traveler was parked near us.

 OK, maybe it is not 100% accurate Medieval Recreation, but it is fun.
We started with a trip to the Cappuccino Inn shown above.
Have a good look at the buildings, this festival occurs out in a field.
I do not know if the buildings are from previous years or not, but they were substantial.
We certainly met some interesting people.
Some of the people in costume are paid performers, but not all.
Some, like me, just love an excuse to play dress up.
Dressing up is certainly not required, but it is fun.

 I found a friend.

 Looks like My Sweet Husband found a couple of friends too.
(Hey, that is my Pumpkin Ale he is holding)
I am rather fond of Pumpkin.
There is music everywhere at the Faire.

Some performers have set stages.
This One Woman Band provided a very pleasant accompaniment to our lunch 
(I'll show you that later). 

I believe this is Twig, the Fairy (and yes, I do believe in Fairies, do you?).

I have added a new band to my list of favorites. Cu Dubh.
Awesome, how can you go wrong with pipes and drums?
Check them out Cu Dubh

There was plenty of food on offer.
The stuffed baked potato was an excellent choice.
(Although, once again, not really historically accurate. Potatoes came from the new world.)

 If you are looking for a new career, the Faire has many possibilities.
You could be a flower seller.

Or a target.
This young man hurls insults at the audience and some of them pay to hurl tomatoes back at him.
Tomatoes also originated in the New World.
I can't imagine what cooking was like before they became popular.

 These look like fun. Once again, options for everyone.
What sort of career requires the outfit on the right?
Then of course there is the Knight in Shining Armour.
This one was the bad guy.
Great show.

 This is one of my favorite photos!
Meet The Lady Christie and Widget.
I learned several things at the Festival.
My traveling companion.
My best friend.
The reason I am such a lucky girl!
or shall I say


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