Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Another Look at The Nutcracker at the Paine

It's been pretty chilly here and we've had quite a few unexpected visitors, like Mother Nature who showed up in full force weilding the Polar Vortex! Naturally, this led to some other visitors like our friendly and very competent plumber, a conscientious electrician and the furnace repairman. So, for a much needed break from reality, I decided to make the best of the situation and get to work on a post where I could finally use all those photos I took at last year's local Christmas extravaganza. 

For the past ten years The Paine Art Center and Gardens in our town has decorated their 1920's mansion using the Nutcracker for inspiration. Each room highlights a specific scene and the story unfolds throughout. Specially commissioned illustrations of certain aspects of the story depict the actual room itself and it's furnishing. Here in the Library, the left hand page shows Clara asleep on the settee in front of the fireplace with the shadow of the seven-headed Rat King looming over her. On the right is the Nutcracker doing battle with him while swinging from the chandelier overhead. 

These cute mice figurines are everywhere.
They echo the themes and give a sly wink at the opulence, too!

There are three trees in the library, all decorated similarly but this is the most spectacular. The clock is set at midnight because that's when Clara woke up and saw the attack of the Rat King begin.

Across the grand hallway from the Library is the Dining Room.
You can probably guess which part of the tale inspired these masterpieces.  

The array of treats on the table and sideboard changes from year to year.

It's hard to imagine how they could possibly top this sugar coated opulence!
Some photos from 2014 can be seen here. Those cakes looked fantastic, too.

Next door is the Breakfast Room. The all white scheme makes it definitely wintry. Burrrr....!

Off the Great Hall the sitting room is laid out for tea. It's done up in pinks and lavender florals.

Due to it's relatively diminutive size (by comparison to the grand areas, yet it's still bigger than my living room!) only three trees adorn this space. Two of them are the upside-down design and feature motorized glass teardrops and flowers that resemble Angel's Trumpet. They sparkle as they rotate! 

On the second floor, just outside of the Gothic Gallery, the nutcracker maker has set up a workshop. It's all pretty standard military stuff, I think a little diversity is in order, 

Good to see the mice population is thriving and happy to help out with painting and lighting. I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through The Nutcracker tale, I can't wait to see how it looks this year! 

A few steps from the workshop is the magical finale. Taking a walk through the enchanted forest of golden trees in the Gothic Gallery is the perfect way to end our visit on the longest night of the year. 

Happy Winter Solstice!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Gloomiest Snowfall of All!

Winter surprised us by showing up on Sunday. It's not like it wasn't inevitable, in fact it's actually a little late. Luckily, the white stuff didn't arrive in any great quantity, just enough to cover up any signs of dormancy. The heavy cloud cover cast an interesting, if slightly eerie light on the snowy street. 

It definitely put an end to the growing season.
Good thing I picked the final crop of the tomatoes last week.
Who says climate change is a hoax?

In honor of the first snow fall, His Madness decided to put up the Christmas lights.
With a nice coating of ice, a few inches of snow and a steeply pitched roof, what could go wrong?
We could use a wreath on the front door and a little sunshine would be welcome too.

The Oak trees always look wonderful with a touch of fresh snow.

I can't say the same for the pansies.

There was a scattering of roses on the arbor until just a few days ago. Having roses blooming in December was a first for my garden but then so was being able to pick tomatoes in November!

The fairies look a little out of place, not to mention inappropriately dressed for the weather!

Several projects kept me busy over the summer and I completely neglected my garden. So Mother Nature decided to step in and take charge. She got a little carried away and I may have to take a machete to the path before I can shovel off the snow. Next summer I'll try to pay closer attention.

Back inside Burt and Kibitz have started decorating for the holidays by putting up the tree and adding the lights. Even if we're not quite in the spirit of the season yet, the tree makes the house smell great!

Meanwhile, Spenser just can't understand why he's not allowed to climb it!

Thanks for stopping by! What gets you into the holiday spirit?