Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Puffy Heart Love My Friends

At the beginning of January, I was lucky enough to have my friend Tiana come visit me for a few days.  I hadn't seen her in person since before she had her second daughter, so like five years?!  But we talk on the phone usually at least once a week and discuss the latest happenings on TV shows like Supergirl (love!!!!) and NCIS (Tony can't leave!!!).  So anyway, while she was here, my mom suggested we visit Hillwood Estate, which belonged to Marjorie Post (heiress to the Post cereal fortune).  She was married several times, once to the ambassador to Russia, and amassed a collection of French and Russian art, and then she designed Hillwood Estate to showcase her treasures.

We did a guided tour of the house, but had some time after lunch before the tour started so we looked through the greenhouse first.  And wouldn't you know, it's full of orchids.  Love orchids.

I also think this is a great picture of Tiana : )

Just a few pics of the orchids, and then we went in the house.  Of course you can't use a flash when taking pictures inside, and my camera doesn't like low-light conditions, so most of my pictures are blurry (or at the very least more soft-focused).

In the dining room.  You can see a couple of dresses behind the table; they were doing an exhibit on Marjorie's fashions called "Ingenue to Icon" and so they had dresses in quite a few rooms inside, plus an entire exhibit of them in another building.  You'll see some close up later.

Our tour guide's name was Nina (Nine-ah, not Neena), just like my mom.  This chandelier was in a smaller room adjacent to the dining room, I think it was 18th century?  It's colored glass, which doesn't seem like a big thing now but this was when they had just discovered how to make beautiful colored glass.  And you know I love me some green.

Marjorie had a real thing for collecting china; there are two small rooms specifically for displaying it, one for French pieces and the other for Russian.  Plus there's a giant pantry with tons and tons of different sets, and she believed in actually using the china and not just displaying it.

Nina told us that Marjorie had a lot of her dresses made, and she would often have the same dress made in more than one color.  Which seems eminently sensible to me.

Since it was not too long after Christmas, they still had Christmas trees and decorations up.  In the theater there was a gorgeous purple wreath on the balcony but try as I might I couldn't get a clear picture of it.  I would have needed a tripod and a remote.

This piece came from Russia, and originally had cameos of Russian royalty in it, but of course when Marjorie was collecting Stalin was in power and before they would ship this out of Russia they removed the cameos because Stalin was big into obliterating the Romanovs' legacy.  So Marjorie had some new pieces made to put where the cameos used to be, I want to say these are lapis but I could be making that up.

In the exhibit of her dresses.  The top of that one in the front is actually deep purple, not black.

And there's the back of the house.  The grounds are pretty, even in wintertime, though I'd like to see them in bloom in the summer.

There's a pretty sizable Japanese garden.

And shi shi dogs!

This is the weirdest thing ever, is it not?  It's like a sphinx mated with a French courtesan a la Madame de Pomadour.

And this is 200-year-old Leo the Lion, which you are not allowed to climb upon.

Tiana's visit also overlapped (by design) our friend Sarah's business trip to DC, and Sarah is a huge huge huge fan of polar bears so we made...

Polar bear cupcakes!  And that cream cheese icing is SO amazing, I love it.  Next time I see Missy, we'll have to make Baylor bear cupcakes.

And here's all three of us when we picked up Sarah at the airport, we brought her a new polar bear and Starbucks.  Because we love her.  Had we been smart, we would have taken a better picture of the three of us when Sarah wasn't jet lagged and we weren't all standing in winter coats in the airport.

But anyway, as Lee's and my birthday presents this year, we're joining Tiana and her family in California for a week at Disneyland in a couple of months.  Can't wait!  Too bad Sarah and her family can't join us, but it would be an awfully long flight from Germany...

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Birthday to My One True Love!

This was last night at dinner.  Really it was an accident...we were discussing dessert and the waiter heard me say "birthday" and the next thing I know there's a saddle and a lot of hollering and Lee is glowering at me and threatening not to share his brownie sundae.

I love you honey pie!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rain Blossoms, Part 6

Well, look who's back with a cross stitch update.  And also a Snowmageddon update:  it rained all day long yesterday and it was in the 60s, so probably 85% of the snow is now gone (including our snowbear).  Aaaand now we're knee-deep in mud.  Yay?

Anyway, back to cross stitching.  January's project was Rain Blossoms:

And here is what mine looks like now:

I did 7,159 stitches last month, which is lower than I wanted but that umbrella was slow going with the confetti, so what can you do.  Plus I was so busy with baby shower everything that I missed several evenings of working on this.  Still, I'm at 45,609 stitches out of 60,300, so I'm over 75% finished.  I'll take it.

Closeup of the umbrella where I spent most of my time last month.  I still have that one umbrella in the back to do, and the trailing vines are a lot of confetti as well, so this will take another couple of months to finish.  But it will have to await its turn in the rotation.

It's almost lunchtime here so that's it for me today.  Cheers, y'all!