Saturday, October 21, 2017

Dead giveaway

QOTD: Big Frog: You know how people can tell we're Americans?
me, silently thinking: sooooo many ways!
Big Frog: We switch our knife and fork as we eat.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Knit faster!

Pretty, innit?

And providentially completed.  Been working on it since this spring with no particular completion date required.

And then we flew to Germany.

More specifically, Big Frog & I flew to Germany, from Greensboro (NC) to OHare (Chicago IL) to Frankfurt (Germany), an adventure that included some surprising twists starting with unexpected free checked bags.  

Big Frog & I don't fly all that much.  Him more than me of late, with business travel, but still not too often.  But when we do fly, it's just carry-on luggage.  And we have to search flights out of GSO (Greensboro), CLT (Charlotte), and RDU (Raleigh/Durham), weighing time in car and plane and airport, number of stops, and price.  Thank goodness for Hipmunk!1

1 In days of old, although still in internet times, we searched MDT (Harrisburg PA), BWI, and PHL (Philly).  One time we flew super cheap out of Trenton, but that one really felt like a cattle call.  Mostly I miss HIA (Harrisburg International Airport, the colloquial name for MDT, which actually stands for MidDleTown where it's technically located.).  That was a small airport that was beautiful, well-run, clean, and community-friendly.  Their plane-spotting room was outside security.  And security itself was often a line of 3 people.  Also, they held and continue to hold open houses to board planes including cargo planes and military planes and ride helicopters.

We also maintain a reasonably wide circle of what we consider drivable, about a 9h comfortable radius and a 12h reasonably hard-line radius.  But Germany is simply not an achievably drivable destination for us.  It has been on our bucket list for as long as we've been together, though, a consequence of Big Frog having served here as activated Army Reserves the year before we met. 

So last spring, when his work posited a trip for him to their Speyer, Germany location, we got excited.  Even when it got pushed back and pushed off, the idea lingered.  And suddenly it was here.  It may be back to back weeks with his most recent trip to Mexico (He was literally home for 11h and 2 loads of wash Friday night.), and it may be during High Point Furniture Market and we have AirBnB guests living in the basement studio.  Never mind that, away we go!

There may be a million things hovering in real life but there's a certain unreality to travel.  The hurry up and wait starts at checkin, where for the first time I can remember, since childhood perhaps, certainly since 9/11, I checked a bag.  It was free.  And I gave in to the allure of not schlepping (as much).  So, I retaining my yarn & chargers, and Big Frog retaining his laptop, we proceeded.  

We didn't get far before security flagged us.  Snacks look a lot like explosives, evidently.  Then on to the gate to wait... And wait...

A 30min delay cropped up and I asked the gate attendant what our best alternative was for our newly foreshortened stop at O'Hare.  She presented a 2h later route I was glad of, and all the more when her next guest realized she'd missed her flight by minutes and burst into tears, and the following would have a day's delay, stranded at O'Hare. 

30 minutes became 90 minutes delay, and every person in that section queued up to see best options for rescheduling.  Glad I was to have a plan in place.  All would be well.

And well it was, despite a "We've gotta OJ!" skid thru the terminals.  We did get to see what to me is the visual touchstone of air travel: the rainbow neons as we walking-sidewalked our way from one gate to the other.   Also a dinosaur with Wi-Fi.  

Once at the next gate we dutifully checked in as a reroute from a different flight.  The gate attendant asked if we'd checked anything... as glad as I'd been to not haul thru O'Hare with everything, now I was wishing I had.  Then on the plane we learned that weather in Chicago was delaying all travelers to the northeast.  Even routed around it, we could expect turbulence throughout the flight2.  Maybe we'd be on the ground long enough for our bags to join us?  Of course!  We'd made it with time to spare, surely they would too.
2 Time for a turbulence reread of Spirit of Steamboat by Craig Johnson, a standalone Christmastime novella in the Longmire series!  Great book.

They did not.  

The Lufthansa lost luggage lady, a genuinely delightful individual, kept cheerfully apologizing on United's behalf as she printed claim forms and linked our hotel info with our original, defunct, and rerouted tickets.  And she even gave us sleep shirts and gender-specific personal supply bags as an additional "well we don't have your stuff but we will give you the cheapest roll-on deodorant known to man and a hairbrush that will break the very first time you use it" consolation prize. 

It took until nearly 8pm the next day for our clothes (and real deodorant) to return to us.  I finished up my knitted drape (see first image), ran a load of sink-laundry, and... well, all you can do is all you can do.  But once reunited with our belongings (I love you, navy gym bag that I won as a door prize at a Whitaker Center staff meeting!  Never leave me again!)...

me, after Big Frog has showered and changed: Clean undies on a clean frog.
Big Frog: A dweam within a dweam.  So cherish your luggage...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

TWG (Token White Guy)

In wedding setup assignments, Big Frog graciously volunteered for something and wasn't heard.

me: No one notices the white guy.

After a query went up for someone to draft into the role, Big Frog made direct contact.  And got the desired responsibility of carrying 20 pies.  I have no doubt he can do that with aplomb, but if only 19 pies show up... or 18... 17... that means Big Frog is having a free for all with the other pies and a really big fork somewhere elsewhere.

Friday, September 1, 2017


So our epic roadtrip opened with a left turn out of our own neighborhood.  I said, "Wait, where are we going?" and the answer I got was, "Wait, where *are* we going?"

North.  The answer is north.

(And in a Jeep, for this leg of the journey.  Later there will be planes.  Also trains.  But probably no Steve Martin.)

Friday, July 28, 2017

Curling in Charlotte?!

TIL you can take a 2h Learn to Curl class in Charlotte!

Yelper Jess L (whom I don't know personally) says about it, "Have you ever woken up one morning and been like "Hm, I wonder what olympic sport I'll try today?" and then you think of the most random sport you could think of and you research where you can learn it..."

This we gotta try!  Curl away, Big Frog!

Monday, July 24, 2017

What the HELL is a Hufflepuff?

If you haven't watched A Very Potter Musical on YouTube, you should.  It's a full-length fan-made fanfic musical by UofM (Michigan) kids led by Darren Criss, who has since found fame on Glee and recently on Broadway, but who definitely was discovered because he wrote and composed AVPM, and starred as Harry Potter.  It has also two immediate YouTube sequels.

One of its many quotable lines is Dumbledore on sorting new students into the houses:
photo source: Tumblr

And with Harry Potter's (& JK Rowling's) birthday coming up this week, Bookmarks, like all good indie bookstores staffed by Potterphiles, is hosting a birthday party and encouraging dressing up.  But I don't HAVE any wearables from that fandom, except for my Super Megafoxy Awesome Hot tee, which if you don't know that quote, you didn't watch AVPM yet.

But fortunately, in last week's Central Carolina Yarn Crawl, I acquired some lovely chunky yellow wool as a door prize.  I wound it and searched the internet for yarn flowers.

My first attempt failed for scale.  I'm sure it's a lovely pattern but in bulky yarn this was just huge, and this pic was taken at 4 1/2 rows into an 8-row monstrosity.

I ended up modifying this double-layer chain flower to have its second layer slip-stitched onto the DCs of the first layer instead of being two separate flowers sewn together.  And I unpicked the enormous multilayered stacked one outright.

I'm ready for the party now.
Go team Badger.

PS Here's a Hufflepuff episode of Emily McGovern's My Life as a Background Slytherin.

source: My Life as a Background Slytherin

Also, for no particular reason, my favorite of all the Background Slytherin comics:

Sunday, July 23, 2017

At the New Lowe's

Anywhere in the US you go to Lowe's and get hardware.  Or lumber.  Or power tools.  Or if you're me, paint.

But in NC there's a grocery store chain, I believe locally owned, also called Lowe's.  Lowe's Foods.

And today I looked up from the seating section by prepared foods and realized something.

Me: Is that a bear with antlers?
Big Frog: Of course.  It's not a bear den and it's not a deer den.  It's a beer den.

Friday, June 30, 2017


"I was hoping the new sign would say "GRAPEFRUIT", but it says "Loose Gravel"."

Big Frog & I have a road sign dug into our front yard now.  We're not sure why it's there or even quite when it arrived.  And there's been inexplicable loose gravel on the road for months now, to the point where it's mostly been scattered.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

PCA General Assembly 2017

If we were Messianic Jews, we would use a shofar1.  But Presbyterians, it turns out, use a sonnet.
1 I miss worshipping at MJAA's annual conference -- 1st week of July at Messiah College, Grantham PA.)

Come to the Table
Our pastor, Randy Edwards, had the honor of opening up the worship session the first night of the 2017 PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) General Assembly with a sonnet he composed. 

Come to the Table
“Come to the table my son, my laughter,
Take wood and knife and let us walk away
Up into His provision.” When Isaac calls after,
“Without a lamb? Do we only go to pray?”
“Come to the table;” stand packed and waiting
Holding your staff, eating pilgrim’s bread
List’ning to the stories of God’s emancipating
Which leaves the darkened kingdom’s firstborn dead.
“Come to the table; long have I waited
To celebrate this Passover with you;
Which I give and pour in love consecrated:
The meal of my body, my body to renew.”
“I am the narrow door, the ram provided, the lamb, slain;
Come you humble, to my table, be filled, rejoice, and reign.”

Randy's blog about it: Backwards Mutters

The video is of the audience (<1/8 of the audience; it was a reeeeeeeeally big room) and the back of Randy's head because I was in the choir loft.  So apologies for recording quality.  It was much more majestic and Mufasa-like in person, both powerful and welcoming.

Hubs and I also were privileged to sing in the "mass choir"2 for General Assembly. Using a playlist and some .pdfs shared by the worship leader on Dropbox, with one rehearsal last month and one last night with orchestra, we prepared 13 songs for two nights of worship. And literally, with the opening strings bit of Agnus Dei, I was all over goosebumps. It's no Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, it's just 45 voices and 10 instrumentalists, plus 5 praise team leaders, but there's nothing like the feeling when God shows up.

2 Spoiled by Heart of the Triad Choral Society. But I invited them too!

Tonight was fun. I'm excited to see what's in store tomorrow.

EDIT: Randy also managed to grab a pic of us onstage. I'm in the back row of altos, next to the upright, and hubs is in the 2nd row of guys, right in front of the other post.

Monday, June 5, 2017

TIL: Russian Join

Thank you, internet!  Craftsy had this tutorial for a Russian Join, which can be used with any kind of yarn, even those that don't felt up.  Since my current project is in cotton yarn, I'm excited to have a method that leaves me with no joins to weave in at the end, because they'll already be woven in as I go.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Big Carrot

Big Frog's colleague, with whom Big Frog travels to Mexico on occasion, knows that when we go away for the weekend we leave the girls alone (in their 120 sq ft runaround space) with enough boxes of hay (multiple Kleenex boxes full) and a BIG CARROT.  Nilla & Mocha know that when a big carrot comes out they get some alone time without us around.  We like to think they don't like that we’re leaving them alone, but we know they like BIG CARROT

The most recent time Big Frog traveled, his colleague inquired after the girls and their big carrot, which unfortunately they didn't get because I was staying home.  But the colleague's new idea is a full-length film called BIG CARROT, which is about ANYthing and nothing, a drama, a romance, a comedy, but the scene cuts are carrots (like how Law & Order has that bum-bum & suddenly you're somewhere else and some when else) and the final scene is the girls, working away on their bonus nibbles.  It's the next Love Actually.  Or Henson's Timepiece.  I know one thing for sure, the girls would love every minute of filming and all the veggies they can get their teeth on.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Village Social

Mmmmmmm, therapeutic brussel sprouts.  Is that weird that I called brussel sprouts therapeutic?

The brussel sprouts with pecorino, a side dish at Village Social in Biltmore's Antler Hill Village, are amazing.  We get them and a she-crab bisque and a seafood newburg, share all those items, and it's pretty amazing.  Who needs entrees?

Art of Biltmore House Tour

Hubs & I belong to a wonderful Facebook group called Fans of Biltmore House, which is currently nearing 9000 members who share a passion for Biltmore, George Washington Vanderbilt's summer home in Asheville NC.  We share photos and factoids, have a book club, ask each other questions, and spring and fall (November, once the Christmas decorations are up) have a big group meetup.  The most recent meetup was May 20, and I was fortunate to take two tours, this one and the Landscape Architecture Tour, or Olmstead Tour (both my nomenclature). 

My photos from the day are here

FOBH Exclusive Art of Biltmore House Tour 2017 0520 

Leslie Klingner, guide

Other Biltmore employees contributing: Tracy ______ and our own Jean Sexton.
(Leslie celebrates 11 yrs at Biltmore next week)

(Apologies -- these are rather scribble-scrabble notes, but I was writing as fast as I could!  And I’m more than willing to share what info I jotted down, just recognize their limitations.)

QOTD (quote of the day): “I have a vote for a sleepover...?”

Winter Garden - heart of the home - conservatory in home - new idea at that time.  
Aural input -- fountain running, probably music playing somewhere in the home

Bitter statue - Boy Stealing Geese
Bitter (Austrian) - also did the frieses in the banquet hall & sculptures in the garden… also some household implements (“that andiron looks like Bitter”... it probably is)
Conservators’ goal: to get fountain running again
But historic bronze - must protect the patina (also some plumbing leaks)
Water in a single stream out of beak
Fantastic water pressure, that’s not the issue

Biltmore Blooms uses themes so the idea of garden parties was used in this instance
Chinese Lanterns
Cornelia’s birthday

Rafael Guastavino arches between Winter Garden and Banquet Hall
Catalan artist
Mediterranean system of vaulted architecture
Acoustic qualities -- reverb if standing below center of arch
1100 places have arches done in Guastavino style, inc Carnegie Hall, Boston Public Library, and the elephant house at the Bronx Zoo
Self-supporting - no scaffolding needed in construction
Quickset mortar -- can lay in a set and kneel on it to do the next set
Most places it's structural; at Biltmore it's just ornamental.
Guastavino is buried in St Lawrence Basilica, at Haywood and Cherry, by Civic Center
Guastavino is buried in St Lawrence Basilica, at Haywood and Cherry, by Civic Center
Black Mountain - temp (traveling) exhibit Palaces for the People display in Swannanoa Museum

Anne Bastion (sp?) - Biltmore upholstery conservator
Responsible for dressing the costumes
Reupholstered ALL the Banquet Hall chairs -- usually that’d be a lifetime project; they did it in 2 ½ years
Banquet Hall table collapses to fit the size of the group -- can sit 4 to 64
13 antique chairs - those with arms
Common to love a look, then work with a company to reproduce it
To reupholster, first de-upholster from 1970s redo (how do we know 1970s?  The latex foam found in it)
Based on the fabric on the chair backs, planned a color scheme and fabric.  Then in process, on one chair, found some traces of original fabric!
Found some original mending
Fabric from Lyon, France
Evidence of use -- found internal reinforcing wood on some chair fronts where they’d broken at some point
(my uncouth thought: WWE in the Banquet Hall, a little after-dinner tussle… “The chair!  Use the chair!”)
Brass bits were age-darkened to black, some popped off
Styrofoam replacement cushions - not stuffing, because bugs don't eat it, and it's stable material and lightweight.  Also can sculpt shape.
Put in structural support so could use the chairs for sitting on if the family chose to.
Hand-sewn "underwear layer" made of linen -- can sew fabric to it, not stapled

Reproduction tacks on the side use the same holes.
Silk fabric
25 years breakdown in the light
Birds get into the house and like it
Cost per yard "I can't tell you".
Factory still had swatches of original in their factories so they could match it!  so setting up the looms was less than if from scratch.  Still astronomical $.  And the day the 64th chair was finished ans returned to the Banquet Hall, a bird came in and liked it...!

Different size chairs
Arm chairs probably for show, not for sitting, so displayed usually to the side
In a banquet, might use arm chairs as end seats but difficult if along the sides of the table
GWV and Edith, rather than the image of nobility sitting at the far ends of the table, sat at the center, opposite each other.
Most titled (or important) guests sat with them
Edith's dinner book lists who came to dinner
Man-woman-man-woman seating
Cultural norms to talk to the person on one side of you and when indicated (by lady of the house) would switch to next discussion partner -- not like today's talk to whomever, carry on multiple convos. -- hosts' responsibility to set the seating to match interests with talking partners 

Cathy Bernhart (sp?) - blooms - 31 years at Biltmore, retiring this year
Tinkerbell hidden in the tablescape (in the conservatory) (my pic here)

Long-term goal to get the flags down (light damage) & put up reproductions (the service flag is already a reproduction)

Breakfast Room
Return portraits to original placements
John Singer Sargents in Oak sitting room -- in 1920s were here!
Photos show which FRAMES were original to paintings -- even Commodore was swapped

George was influenced in art by his father, William Henry Vanderbilt -- a different experience growing up than his siblings had because WHV was amassing historical narrative paintings

George was interested in contemporary art... contemporary in that time was Renoir, Monet, Manet, Whistler
Also prints of 15th century Renaissance masters

Renoirs were recently moved back to the breakfast room
Renoir, from Limoges France, started in porcelain painting -- then used the money from porcelain to go to L'Ecole des Beaux Arts.  Get up close and see the brushwork!  (& if there's a Renoir exhibit, go!)

Original wall coverings - core double pressed leather

What's on the other side of the door?
Butler's pantry -- access for back of house duties

Butler would typically stand just inside or just outside the door to keep an eye on things

Hand cut velvet fabric on chairs.
Redone ~1991
Imagine terrycloth towel loops.  Then imagine each loop was cut by hand.
To weave 1yd of fabric takes 2 1/2 weeks

Book loops on mantle (my pic here) - are they connected to the paper wigs?
Different department, but goal was to see books as decor in keeping with the Designed for Drama (my term: Fiction to Cinema) exhibit.

Desk was previously in 2nd floor sitting room
Marquetry - inlay work - puzzle pieces of wood, cut and inlaid.  Also layers of brass and pewter.
GWV's prize possession -- how do we know?
Inside drawer is label "Alphonse de Lamartine", who among other things ran for president of France.  Was of the upper class but fighting for the people.  Napoleon III beat him out and offered him a cabinet post; de Lamartine declined because he wanted still to fight for the people.

Albrecht Dürer prints
Look at the level of line work -- remember, these are WOODCUT prints
All, including writing, is done in reverse
Up to this point, prints were of religious settings and rather stiff
Look at range of tones

Dürer never saw a rhino -- took description from a friend who had seen one
Rhinoceros were almost like mythical creatures, but ones that actually existed
The actual rhino pictured here (previously seen by Dürer's friend) was being gifted to the pope, but in transport was shipwrecked... the rhino drowned.

Tapestry Gallery
George Singer Sargent - both American and British, kind of -- born in Europe to American parents with strong Philly & Connecticut connections
Studied Rembrandt, VanDyke, and Velasquez.
Portraits commissioned 1890
Very modern, out of Spanish portraiture - dark backgrounds, poses, props
GWV has book in hand and is above the door to the library -- has always hung there.
Also Maria Louisa (GWV's mother)

Edith painted by Giovanni Boldini, who was known for painting the "It" girls
Drama, fashion, and movement
All his portraits were beautiful, whether or not the subjects were
Show who the person is

Library Den
aka Scriptorium
aka Chamber of Silence (perhaps because eccentric Uncle George, who loved his nieces and nephews and would have them over and sometimes would need some quiet -- as in "this is the place where we have to be vewwy, vewwy quiet", etc)
St Peter the Martyr (with hand to lips) on the library side of the door

Previously held writing tables
Bookshelves were not in here
In George's day, different mantle -- perhaps the music room mantle was here?

In 1914, George had a financial hardship and sold many Rembrandts and Dürers to the Morgan (NYC museum)

Ceiling grand vault, similar to French chapels

George's original books, 10,600 of them
Not handle with gloves because in losing the tactile sense, might rip it -- but don't hold long or oils in hands might transfer, and don't touch the gilding
Cohesive look to books because GWV had them sent to custom bookbinder for endpages and binding
Lamp of knowledge bookplate
As Wharton was writing new books, George was reading them -- same with Thomas Hardy

Ivory and Gold portrait by Whistler (in Tapestry Gallery)
1898 portrait of Edith
Probably not finished with her sitting because she got pregnant
Special relationship between George and Whistler -- George was one of Whistler's pallbearers
Transcription of their correspondence is at Univ Glasgow

Darren (chief curator) is working on a lighting project for Sargents of Hunt and Olmstead
2nd floor Living Room was both a gathering place (prior to going down to dinner, for example) and a gallery
The feature portraits had moved because with the Louis XVI room finished, they wanted everyone to see the room and it needed a way out, but that cost the place for two of the favorite paintings in the house.
The portraits were painted in Biltmore -- would love to know which room.
Because of Sargent's painting style, up close they are very abstract; have to move back for the paintings to come together
Both subjects were very old at time of painting
Hunt's [family member] said, "I can hardly look at the portrait because it exposes how sick he really was."
Olmstead was so ill he sat for the face in the portrait, but for the body, Olmstead Jr (who was working here) put on his dad's clothes and stood for him.

Andrew Zorn "The Waltz"
Swedish artist
known for capturing the feeling of the moment
newly lit, but may yet change the lighting

Sitting Room (between George's and Edith's bedroom)
Mrs Bacon portrait - frame related correspondence with Sargent - he made custom frames and sometimes cut down frames. 
In this case, antique frame was cut down, but then was still too big, and the framemaker didn't gild all the sections, so correspondence re portrait is finished but waiting on frame.
Mrs Bacon was a cousin of GWV, a trained musician, and loved Spanish music

Sargent had a retrospective of his work done while he was alive (very rare)
Requested one particular painting for it, the portrait of Mrs Benjamin Kissam (GWV's mom's SIL), even though it was widely panned at its release as "ugly" and as though she were "going to do laundry". 

Edith's room
Edith's desk is again marquetry, brass inlay, ormolu (a gold-colored alloy), & bronze 
Initially little corner caps were used to protect corners, but then they got increasingly ornate and ornamental

Tortoiseshell inkwell - currently under conservation

Louis XV style clock - every leaf and swirl recently conserved -- the magic of saliva!  an effective cleaning agent without corrosive effect

Any questions?

Was Cornelia lonely, being an only child all the way out here?

Cornelia played with the estate kids. 
And she had a playground with seesaws out by Diana
She was part of the first women's polo team
Active-Sporty-Tied to the estate
At her wedding some of the gifts the estate workers gave her were fishing gear such as a creel, and a fishing outfit and boots

THANKS, Leslie!

And thanks to Jamine for all her work in putting together FOBH day activites and coordinating with Biltmore to give us such amazing access.

And thanks to all our wonderful admins, Jamine, Melanie, Tor, and Christopher!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Biltmore Landscape Architecture Tour

Hubs & I belong to a wonderful Facebook group called Fans of Biltmore House, which is currently nearing 9000 members who share a passion for Biltmore, George Washington Vanderbilt's summer home in Asheville NC.  We share photos and factoids, have a book club, ask each other questions, and spring and fall (November, once the Christmas decorations are up) have a big group meetup.  The most recent meetup was May 20, and I was fortunate to take two tours, this one and the Art of Biltmore House Tour, after hours. 

My photos from the day are here

Landscape Architecture Tour 2017 0520 

Jane Giudici, guide

(Apologies -- these are rather scribble-scrabble notes, but I was writing as fast as I could!  And I’m more than willing to share what info I jotted down, just recognize their limitations.)

(Caveat: this is technically named "Garden Tour", but I think a better descriptor is Olmstead Tour, or Landscape Architecture Tour because it's located in the gardens but isn't at all about the horticulture, which is what I think of when I hear "garden".)

Book rec: Genius of Place re Olmstead

Hunt Fountain is so named because that’s where he stood in his portrait, in which you can also see the staircase exterior.

Collaboration of GWV-Hunt-Olmstead

60x GWV crossed the Atlantic!!

QOTD (quote of the day):
from Jane, our guide, to the security guard ready to check our bags before we went on a house tour:
“We’re going in the gardens so you don’t need to check bags.  These are all Fans of Biltmore House and SO AM I.”  (brandishing the button she had just received from Jamine)

Every garden steps down, and every garden has a windbreak.

“A walk needs a destination” -- Olmstead’s reason for insisting on the Tea House at far end of South Terrace

125K acres extends to 1mile past Pisgah Mt

“Deer parks” in Europe were to beckon animals close, to make hunting earlier.  Name borrowed for Biltmore, but hunting wasn’t the intention here.

If Olmstead had his way, 9miles of arboretum.  GWV not so excited about it -- over the course of 5 years (and Olmstead aging) the plan dissipated.

Olmstead had a vision of a kitchen garden, but GWV wanted garden for “sight and sense”.  (And GWV was footing the bill, so he won)

Italian Garden is probably named for its statues and urns; really it’s a French formal garden in layout.

6 weddings on estate today!  (pics of chandelier tent in the Italian Garden)

(my fav statue real name) “The Dancing Lesson”

Pergola initially built of pine, replaced with cedar.

In the wall of the brickwork by the pergola is NATURAL growth; it wasn’t planted!

b/c of windbreaks, three from house to conservatory, soil is 10F warmer in walled garden than Italian

Everything here was hand planted and designed

Olmstead had the vision to see what would be down the road

Ridge view -- overlooking walled garden -- steps rescued from a basement entrance
(people in that era walked all year round, and had special outfits for going out walking)

Conservatory is 7400 square feet!
Only conservatory designed with a basement
Hunt’s design
Includes basement heaters to keep temps right in different areas

Florists don’t cut flowers from the estate (they order out) b/c the flowers are for guests -- but they do cut greens!
Back in GWV’s day the conservatory flowers were for the house

Olmstead put in input on the Stables b/c windows, etc -- another windbreak

Book of Olmstead letters (rec by Jamine)

Olmstead noticed in Europe that if there was a patch of green, people visit and feel calm, therefore was insistent on green space

Olmstead was also an abolitionist and a transcendentalist

More ornate chimneys on this side b/c viewed from garden
Opposite side plain chimneys so eye is drawn to Winter Garden

Walled Garden 400’x400’

Espaliered fruit trees - form of pruning
Fan shape & chandelier shape
Therefore broad but thin
Can grow lots of fruit trees in small space

200 varieties of roses

Edith loved roses
1930s added 1000 plants b/c opened it to the public

(my pic) Clematis - climbing vine - easy to grow

“Pebbledash” - exterior of Conservatory and Biltmore Village

Conservatory is 900 feet from the house & 90 feet down

Olmstead had the workers place rocks in the dirt & partly cover them so it looked natural

Olmstead didn’t know the horticultural side, just the visual, so he relied on Chauncey Beadle for the horticulture.
Olmstead Jr trained under Beadle to get that side, and took over from his dad after his dad passed away in a sanitarium that he designed.

(my pics)
Amorpha phallus (pointed out by Plant Junkie)
Stokes Aster - easy to grow - will look for some for our yard!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

2 purses

1, 2 purses stand before you
That's what I said now
Purses, purses who... adore... you?

Eve's reversible tote bag 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wait, what?

yo, sl1, k2, psso2
Which, written in words instead of abbreviations, is yarn over, slip one (knitwise), knit two, pass slip stitch over the two knit stitches.

Say what?

Today I am glad for knitting friends who encourage, and for lifelines, and for youtube.

This wonderful cotton yarn (Araucania Arco Iris) will become a summer poncho... eventually.  I've gotta either get speedier at knitting or else choose my projects a few more seasons ahead!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

-ety jig

1000 pieces, 7 lighthouses. Saw 2 of them in person (Bodie Island & Cape Hatteras).
Over mom's 3 week stay we put together 2750 pieces of 3 puzzles in their entirety : Disney World, candy hearts, Coastal Lights of NC, plus we got the castle part of Neuschwanstein put together but not all the forest or sky of that 550, then deconstructed it because of EOPS and needing the table space.

It was a beast to do, though, because of the same edging on the real edge pieces and the internal blue/white edge. Also, I thought doing the b&w lighthouses would make picking out the pieces easy... nope!

But the pieces TOUCH wonderfully and are the most beautiful irregular shapes. Which makes for a different challenge.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

We always say we're going home whether bound for NC, MD, or PA. Sometimes even MI or on rare occasion CA. But in this case, it's all based at Credo, where unlike at an airbnb, we can break out a jigsaw puzzle. MIL always has one going at her apartment, so why should her visits here be any different?

12h from start to finish on the 750 piece Disney World puzzle.

The candy hearts took longer, about 4 days, but it's 1000 pieces and all candy hearts look the same.

Next up, Neuschwanstein Castle. Big Frog was there when he was in Germany, and it's always been towards the top of our world tour list.