Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Russian Santas

When my cousin posted on Facebook a picture of her Russian Santa collecion, I was intrigued.


I have seen them before in passing, in various Christmas Shops (or should I type Shoppes?) but really didn’t give them more than a quick glance.

But today, I did some research and fell in love. Each Santa is carved from solid wood and painted in stunning detail with rich designs and beautiful scenes.

The Russian Santa also called Father Frost, Ded Moroz, and Grandfather Frost, looks like our American Santa Claus… but take a closer look and you notice a few differences. Yes, they both wear boots, a coat, and they both have white beards. However, The Russian Santa wears a long heel-length coat and is seen walking with a magical staff and his hat is  round and fur lined.

Just look at the detail. This one is paticularly pretty with a nativity on his gown.

And here is another nice display.

Santas are dressed in white beards and red coats and Ded Morozes are dressed in blue.

Other differences I found:
  • Ded Moroz rests on Christmas Eve but distributes gifts at the New Year and he rides in a troika - or sleigh - drawn by horses
  • Ded Moroz is accompanied by his attractive granddaughter --the Snow Maiden or Snegurochka instead of elves.
  • Although he is popular now, life was not always easy for Ded Moroz. He was persecuted under Stalin, being branded a 'priest's ally' in 1928. And according to the UK Daily Mail, still poop-pooed by Vladimir Putin

A few more....oh yeah, prices range from $20 up to $2000. Whew.




What do you think? Next time I see them, I may be giving more than a quick glance, if you know what I mean. (wink, wink)


Friday, October 10, 2014

Pioneer Woman Cooks

I was inspired to write this blog entry because of a Facebook post I noticed from my cousin. It was a Ree Drummond receipe and all he said in the post was "Cake." "Cake" the nickname for his significant other. I knew immediately that he was dropping a hint. It made me chuckle.

I am sure by now all of you foodies have heard about The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond.

She is one of my favorite cooks. I discovered her in 2006-07 when I was on a tear about reading blogs about ranch living. We had just been through Wyoming and I was fascinated--a quick google search and she pops up. I bookmarked her and have been following her for years.

Her cookbooks read like novels.

She has an interesting love story. So how did a self-proclaimed city girl wind up cooking for about 10+ people per day, three meals a day? She used to have the story on her blog, but she has written a new book Black Heals to Tractor Wheels and now you have to buy it. 

However, looking at this picture, I can see the appeal of country life.

Even though her recipes have changed a little over the years, her best ones (in my opinion) are the early ones. They are recipes of real food, for real working people. I like her “Cowboy Food” selection on her website.

Her photography is excellent and one of the reasons I kept reading her blog. 

The Confession section of her website contains her blog and in these entries she explains:
  • Why they burn their fields.
  • Why they brand the cattle.
  • How to Ship Cattle to Market.
  • What makes a bumper crop of hay.
  • What is softer than Cashmere.

So what is softer than Cashmere? Read this, but only if you have a strong stomach.

If you don't know the Pioneer Woman, I urge you to check out her website. The picture below is an early photo of her children. Her oldest is a senior now.

All pictures on this post are by Ree Drummond.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bucket List - Mobile, Al

We all have bucket lists. On my list is a nice visit to Mobile Bay.
I want to see Mobile and Fairhope, and spend a little more time on Dauphin Island. I just love that part of the world. Lots of history and lots of things to do.

So,  here is a list of the top 10 things to do in Mobile. From the blog: From Rome to Home: My Life in Mobile.  Even thought she doesn't blog much any more, reading her past entries is quite informative.

#1 Take a walk Downtown on Dauphin Street. 
There's a lot of great architecture and places to eat. Don't miss the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and the Bishop Portier House. Bienville Books is a favorite haunt and dinner at Wintzell's Oyster House is a must before leaving Mobile.

Photo: Fred Drew

#2 Tour Mobile's Greek Revival Public Buildings.
Buildings of note include Barton Academy and the Presbyterian Church on Government Street and Christ Episcopal Church at the corner of St Emanuel and Church Street (near the Fort Conde Visitor Center). The Mobile City Hospital and Marine Hospital on St Anthony Street and the Washington Fire Station on Lawrence Street are also worth a visit for the architectural enthusiast or history buff.

Barton Academy -

#3 Walk through the De Tonti Square Historic District
This is one of Mobile's oldest neighborhoods and includes architecture ranging from raised Creole Cottages to brick Federal and Italianate Townhouses. Just outside De Tonti Square, monthly jazz jambalaya's are held by the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed at the Old Gulf City Lodge.

Joachim Street Richards DAR House WIKI 

#4 Tour the Oakleigh Garden District. 
Stops should include a tour of the Oakleigh House Museum, a stroll through the camelias and under the oak shaded canopy of Washington Square, and dining at Callaghan's Irish Bar. When you need a break, stop by the newly renovated Cream and Sugar Coffee House.

#5 Visit Spring Hill College. 
The architecture and landscape of the southeast's oldest catholic university provide for a pleasant stroll through the grounds. Stewartfield is an excellent example of an antebellum home that is on campus but don't miss other notable homes in the area including the Marshall-Eslava house on Tuthill Lane, the Gaillard House on Myrtlewood Lane, and Carolina Hall on Yester Place.

#6 Travel along the Old Dauphinway.
On your return from Spring Hill, along Spring Hill Avenue, the Old Shell Road, and Dauphin Street you'll find many exceptional old homes. The Gates-Davy House on Dauphin, the Bragg-Mitchell Mansion on Spring Hill Avenue, and the Calef House on Old Shell Road are a few of my favorites. For a special treat, stop by the Visitation Monastery on Spring Hill Avenue where the nuns have been selling their delicious "Heavenly Hash" since the 1950's.

Bragg Michell Mansion -

#7 Go back in time in Church Street East and Fort Conde Village. 
Back downtown, make sure to check out the on-going renovations in Fort Conde Village and visit the Conde-Charlotte House Museum. Church Street East has a range of architectural styles including many turn of the 20th century shotgun homes. The replica Fort Conde includes great colonial-era artifacts collected at the site and the nearby Museum of Mobile provides additional insite into Mobile's History. No visit to Mobile would be complete without visiting the Mardi Gras Museum on Government Street which celebrates Mobile's oldest tradition.

#8 Take a Cemetery Tour. 
Mobile has many old cemeteries and three of them should definately be on any travel itenerary. The Church Street Grave Yard dates to 1820 and includes separate sections for the interment of catholics, protestants, and strangers. Yellow fever quickly helped to fill up the Church Street Cemetery so Magnolia Cemetery, 1838, and the Catholic Cemetery, 1848, were created.

#9 Go for a Bike Ride.
Mobile has a couple of very active bike groups with group rides available for the novice to the pro. The relatively mild weather through much of the year, flat terrain, street layout, and the many less travelled roads provide excellent biking opportunities. "Mobilians on Bikes" can be found on facebook and provides information on all the rides.

#10 Tour the Mobile-Tensaw Delta. 
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is the second largest delta in the United States and provides many opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and nature watching. Eagles, Osprey, and Alligators are some of my favorite sites. The Bottle Creek Indian Mound is a treasure hidden deep within the delta.

I am packed and ready. What about you?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

House Tour - Sully Historic Site

I love it when my brother travels. He often gets to visit interesting places. This last trip, he visited the Sully Historical Site in Chantilly, VA. I thought I would share some of his pictures with you.

From the website:

An oasis of the past, Sully reflects the history of Fairfax County. Completed in 1799 by Richard Bland Lee, the main house at Sully combines aspects of Georgian and Federal architecture. Richard Bland Lee was Northern Virginia's first Representative to Congress, as well as General Robert E. Lee's uncle.
On the National Register for Historic Places, and accredited by the American Association of Museums, Sully also includes original outbuildings, representative slave quarter and gardens. Guided tours highlight the early 19th century life of the Richard Bland Lee family, tenant farmers and enslaved African Americans. Programs reflect the history of Fairfax County through the 20th century.

All pictures taken by my brother unless otherwise noted. Not a lot of comments by me; let the pictures speak.

The house illustrates real colonial/plantation style. Simple, functional, elegant.

I do love the desk below:

I just love Windsor chairs and clocks.

 Could you cook in here? Not sure I would even know where to start.

Gotta love the DAR.

Do you like historic houses and house museums? I do.


Friday, August 29, 2014

Faces of Ukraine

A couple of years ago in a previous job, I met several wonderful young people from Ukraine. They are smart, educated, young and hard working.

They have dreams and aspirations. They run, bike, enjoy music, fashion, computers and video games just like our kids. They barely remember when Ukraine was not a country; Ukraine becoming an independent state in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Now their country is being torn apart and I do worry about these young adults. This is just a few of their faces.  I keep them all in my prayers.

No names for privacy.