Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Holiday

I traveled to South Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with my son, daughter in law, granddaughter, grandson and his wife. I paid my first visit to their new, one story house, met my new little granddog (a Cavalier King Charles terrier) and thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the southland.

One of the highlights of my time in the south was a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC. Built by George Vanderbilt and officially opened on Christmas Eve 1895. In 1898, he brought his bride, Edith, to the Biltmore. In 1900, their only child, Cornelia, was born there.

Today, the estate remains in the family. A grandson, William A.V. Cecil owns the home and his son, A.V. Cecil, Jr. serves as the CEO. The enterprise employs 1800 people.

The house was lavishly decorated for Christmas, with lots of huge, trimmed Christmas trees, luxurious, trailing pine mantle piece garlands. Sadly, no cameras were permitted in the mansion. Therefore, all my pictures will be of the outside of the home.

During the depression, in response to requests to increase tourism in the area and raise funds to preserve the estate, the Cecils opened the house to the public in 1930.

During the time the first generations lived in the home, the estate was completely self sustaining. Farming, viticulture, hunting, and fishing were all part of daily life at the Biltmore. The house, itself, was run by 30-35 servants. In the servants domain, you'd find vegetable pantries, walk-in refrigerators, pastry, rotisserie, and main kitchens, kitchen pantry, laundry and drying rooms.

For the pleasure of the guests and the home's residents, there was 70,000 gallon heated, tiled pool, a bowling alley, gymnasium, dressing rooms. There were 43 bathrooms when (in 1895) most homes did not have one indoor bathroom.

George Vanderbilt kept his valet busy laying out clothing for his various activities. Different attire was required for each activity and may have necessitated 4-6 changes of clothes a day. (Sounds like my granddaughters). A specific outfit was required for horseback riding, another for tea, and yet another for formal dinner.

The outdoor areas - gardens, bowling green, parks, trails, ponds, etc. were designed by famous garden architect, Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed Central Park in NYC, the U.S, capitol grounds and Highland Park in Rochester, NY. He was a personal friend of George Vanderbilt and spend much time at Biltmore. John Singer Sargent visited Biltmore to paint portraits of the Vanderbilt mentors, among them Frederick Law Olmsted. His portrait hangs in the salon at the Biltmore.

Automobiling was an outdoor activity that the Vanderbilt's and their guests were fond of. It required it's own attire including a linen motoring duster, touring cap, gloves, and goggles. Most of the Biltmore guests probably traveled to NC on the railroads that an earlier Vanderbilt built (Cornelius).

There is so much more to see on a visit to the Biltmore. If you have an opportunity to visit NC, this is a "must see".

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I ♥ Handmade Marketplace - Part 2

Still reeling from the I ♥ Handmade Marketplace. I have been to many, many craft shows and have never seen one like this one. It was just a 6 hour show, from 8am until 2 pm on a Saturday in November. By the time we were ready to wrap up, 900 people had visited the show. This is thanks to Angel's amazing ingenuity in planning this show. It was totally bathed in prayer from beginning to end, including all the vendors gathering in a prayer circle minutes before the show began.

Angel plastered the entire Chambersburg area with flyers, had lawn signs (like the election signs) all over town, had several  radio spots the day before the show, had alerted the press, had professional pictures done, had a facebook I ♥ Handmade Marketplace event page with daily buzz about the show, including pictures of what shoppers would see there and the many door prizes that would be awarded.  One of her friends even made a YouTube video for the event.

She distributed beautiful shopping totes to the first 100 shoppers. There was continuous coffee for both shoppers and vendors.

This is my stall. You can see the shelf unit and the clothes tree that I rescued at estate sales.

I am probably forgetting some details. To see more pictures, visit the castteam chat thread. Angel has posted the link on page 264.

One of my personal highlights was meeting several castteam "sisters", and having a nice leisurely dinner with them.

Left to right:  Becky, Angel, Sheila and me in the room called "the library" at Chambersburg's Orchard Restaurant.

Looking forward to I ♥ Handmade Marketplace II

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I ♥ Handmade Marketplace - Part 1

In just a matter of hours, I'll be heading south to participate in BamCrafty Momma's (Angel's) first ever craft show. She is such a "natural" at strategy, publicizing, arranging, spinning so many plates, that I think she should add this to her repertoire.

Since I'll be participating, I've been doing a little planning myself. First thing I thought about was designing my booth. It needs to look like a little store or shop. It has to be attractive in order to be charming to shoppers.

I prayed and asked the Lord for a couple showcase pieces that I would like. I asked for a shelf unit and a "hat rack" sort of affair. I wanted both these items to be collapsible since I am traveling several hundred miles by car - with a friend - our personal luggage - tons of product and Bianca (my mannequin), etc. I needed these items to fit snuggly into the trunk of my little car.

So, off I went "estate saling". At house #1, after snooping all throughout the first and second floor of the house, I descended to the basement. The first thing I saw when I hit the floor was a strange looking stick on a tripod - about 5' tall. At the top it had two swinging sticks coming out of each side. Silvery in color and covered in cobwebs. I knew it was the Lord's answer to my prayer, though I had never seen anything like it.

I went over to it. The two sticks on top snapped into place on either side of the shaft. They were for holding clothes hangers. The tripod did, indeed, fold up. The shaft telescoped together so that it came apart and could be used in a shorter version. It had no price tag on it. I brought it upstairs and asked the price. $1.00. Sorry I don't have a picture of it but you'll see it in next week's post.

Onto house #2. Again, scoped out the entire house before my final discovery of a screened porch behind the garage. From that vantage point, I saw a three shelf, metal item holding a potted plant. I went out into the yard to look at it. Sure enough, each shelf folded up, the sides folded in and the whole thing now looked like a fire screen. It had a $15 price tag on it but today was day 2 of the sale and everything was half price !!

I spray painted both of these treasures with back spray paint. They are now happily ensconced in my car trunk.

Still waiting to be packed are the tons of product plus smaller showcase items.

Finally, my friend and I plus our personal luggage, handbags, snacks and drinks will be off to join Angel and other precious castteam sisters for this adventure.

Part 2 coming next week......................