Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Crossing of a Milestone...

One of my brothers recently had a significant birthday, and with all the celebrations of the holidays I thought I would share the party with you. Below is a video of the event made for him to look back and enjoy the moment.

It should give an idea of the wild and crazy family we happen to be...

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Magic of Christmas Lghts

As a child I always loved this time to year because it was a feast for the eyes with all the Christmas decorations. To get into the spirit we went to view the display of a local store and were not disappointed. There were several little kids present, eyes full of wonder, and I hope to transmit some of that excitement with the photos I've chosen. As always, click on each photo for a better view.

The baby Jesus display was excellent in highlighting the significance of the season. It really gives the impression that something very dynamic has happened!

And angels were everywhere!

And, of course the Christmas tree... It was more exciting than any Christmas tree we ever had and I just loved the way the bulbs are suspended in the air. You could almost hear the Nutcracker playing in the background!

I could not resist taking this shot of one of the bulbs. The darkness behind it is mysterious and hints that Santa and his elves are probably back there working hard getting ready to make deliveries!

Speaking of Santa Claus... there was Mrs. Claus with the elves. I love the little elf coming out of the box and you can barely see his head and eyes!

There were Carolers

a snow man

a golden deer that seemed to come alive for the occasion,

a little village,

and even a group of Christmas mice.

But my personal favorite was a group of teddy bears looking down on all the activities.

And finally, a small video clip of all the animated festivities:

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Falling Leaves...

There is something about this time of year that makes you take stock. New Years Eve is right around the corner and you are looking at the leaves fall and family members who only yesterday were small children or adults that seemed somehow younger.

That said I am devoting this post to the changing of leaves and faces of family on Thanksgiving Day.

For those of you who think there is no change of seasons in Florida... there is and it can be amazing if not as dramatic as in Colorado. Oh did I mention this is poison Ivy? It always seems so inviting this time of year!

Talk about the change of seasons. It was only yesterday that this young lady, who is the daughter of a niece, was in diapers.

Alex got this shot of me sharing a laugh with someone. It must have been funny!

Daddy seemed pretty happy and told us he plans to live until 100 just to make us mad!

My nephew and his family. I can remember taking him to the zoo as a little boy and now he has children that are the age I always remember him being.

And finally a new leaf for a different season, with a smile for a great meal!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Queenie in Danger !

The internet is loaded with all kinds of things, some funny and some not. So you can only imagine my surprise when I ran into this YouTube Video "Queenie in Trouble." The creator is a cinematic genius! It also helps if you are a dog lover. It is too cute and sooo funny that I could not resist including the little melodrama on the gallery. I did a little research and discovered the Queenie movie was made during the 1930's and is an MGM classic short film!

I hope a little laugh will lighten your day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Light at the Lightner Museum, Part II

I am always amazed when you go looking for one thing and find another. I mentioned in Part I that Alex and I were simply looking for an afternoons entertainment and decided to go to the Lightner Museum to take pictures. We discovered one entire floor is dedicated to all types of glass and in particular the stain glass of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Born into the wealth of the Tiffany diamond family, he was an interior designer who wanted glass to transmit texture and rich color. When he could not get them he opened his own foundry to create them from 1848 to 1933. His inventiveness both as a designer of windows and as a producer of the material to create them caused him to develop a type of glass he called Favrile. The trade name Favrile was derived from the French word, fabrile, meaning handcrafted.

Favrile glass possesses a type of iridescence which causes the surface to shimmer as well as a degree of opacness. This iridescent effect was obtained by mixing different colors together while hot. The result would make him renound the world over for some of the most beautiful stain glass windows ever to be produced.

I call this piece "angel" because I forgot to take pictures of the actual names which allowed me to keep track of the titles. There was simply so much to see you almost become overwhelmed.

I like how it seems to float in the black background and the colors are both soothing and amazing.

Next is an Art Nouveau window that would have provided any parlor of the time a great deal of light and was what we would have considered very fashion forward.

For the music lovers of the time you could have Beethoven providing a bright shining light just above the piano for inspiration.

And the piece that everyone fell in love with when I used it on the other blog. The sight of it almost forces you to take a moment for restful contemplation.

A little side note to history. In researching Tiffany and of course the Tiffany Lamp I discovered Clara Driscoll who was the Director of the Tiffany Studio's Women's Glass Cutting Department. It has recently been discovered that "The Tiffany Girls", led by Clara Driscoll, chose the colors and types of glass used in the Studio's famous glass items which gave them more life and movement and ultimately more popularity.

Also as the creative force behind the Tiffany lamp, she was the designer and craftsman of more than thirty famous lamps. Sadly as a widow she worked for Tiffany for more than 20 years but once she remarried in 1909 her career ended because married women were not allowed to work at the foundry.

The following two stain glass windows are so beautiful they almost take your breath away. It is a feast for the eyes as you find yourself visually roaming each piece.

And finally the lovely Marie who works at the Museum and gave us tips on where to find some of the wonderful items you see here.

Despite the fact it was Sunday and late in the day, she was cheerful and full of information. And, she seemed to genuinely want to make sure you enjoyed your visit.

All in all this was one of the most difficult posts I have ever had to do. There was so much to see and most of it was so amazing that the hardest part was deciding what to include and I still did not come close to giving you a real feel for the place. If you are ever in Florida and near St Augustine it is truly a "must see."

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Light at the Lightner Museum, Part I

Alex had been telling me we should go to the Lightner Museum during our many trips to St Augustine but some how we never seemed to get around to doing it. So this last weekend when we were at a loss for something to do, the subject came up and this time we decided to go. As always, click on each picture for a better view.

Before you visit the Lightner you have to understand it's history. All of the pieces were created during what would be classed as the Victorian period but really it is a celebration of what is called the Gilded Age in America. This was the period of the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, and men such as J. P. Morgan who were financial tycoons who collected great wealth due to the birth of the industrial revolution; and used that wealth to search all over the world for art and objects to outdo one another. Social competition was fierce and one-upmanship was the order of the day. They collected from everywhere but seemed to prefer France. For the literary among you, this was the time of Edith Wharton and "old money".

Living in Florida I have nothing against "The Mouse" but walking into the Lightner you feel like Alice in Wonderland or at least can understand how she felt. Each corridor invites you to a place that truly seems magical. The facility serves a two part function of City Hall and Museum.

The garden is soooo inviting!

and the little pond is loaded with Koi that are a multitude of colors.

From the moment you get off the elevator on the third floor (which is the beginning of the self tour) you realize just how wonderous and huge the place is.

And there are magnificent things that fill every corner of the huge hall, like this Mahogany Vase...

Or this 1842 vase from St Petersburg, Russia...

Or this green vase that was such a deep green the photo does not do justice to the dept of the color.

This desk is said to have belonged to Louis Bonaparte who was appointed King of Holland by his brother Napoleon Bonaparte in 1806. I particularly like this shot because if you look closely you can see both me and Alex giving it the full photo treatment.

There is an entire floor dedicated to different types of glass that I will develop more in the second blog. But, each of these pieces is fabulously beautiful. This vase and the one below were created in Nancy, France.

There are some American artisans among them. Some are very delicate pieces like these produced in Connecticut...

and some strangely fascinating, like this chair that highlights the Easterners love of the western frontier.

This recreated parlor screams wealth but also illustrates the coldness that comes across in Edith Wharton's novels as she describes the stiffness of high society in "Old New York."

I saw this piece from across the balcony and thought it was an oil painting, but was pleasantly shocked to learn on closer inspection it is a collage of cigar bands. I took a close up just so you would see I was not joking!

Some things are timeless, and I marveled at the haunting beauty of this photo taken in 1910 of a camel driver.

This shot is somewhat ordinary in relation to some of the other things featured, but I just liked the way the shot came out.

And finally Alex' favorite... the shrunken head. He ran to it like a five year old school boy on a field trip. What turn of the century household would be complete without one!

I have to admit there is so much to see and the Director of the facility calls it Florida's Smithsonian. I took over 300 pictures and still did not capture everything (I know that because Alex had several shots I did not get) and decided to do a two part feature just to give you the full tour.