Okay-I will admit it. I have a lot of Santas and again,the collection began while living in Zurich and driving up to the Black Forest with all of my American friends. They are so dear to me that the architects actually built the mantle in the Family Room to fit all of them at Christmastime.
The deer seemed a little large when the huge boxes arrived from Frontgate but I loved them on the table.
Judy and I decided to keep the windows clean and simple and just tied burlap squares around white poinsettias and finished them with red organza ribbon.We had a baking station, as if someone in the house were making cookies that day.
Judy did such a beautiful job with the Dining Room table. She took white roses and greens and put them in 6 of my Waterford “Lismore” brandy glasses. She then weaved in a serpentine shape the mixed greens,gold ribbon,white pine, cedar, seeded eucalyptus and magnolia leaves in the center of the table. We used my antique Johnson Brothers plates,Waterford “Lismore” wine and water glasses and my Cristofle flatware.
These beautiful bubble trees are from Simon Pearce.We used mixed greens,winter berries and pine cones to surround my silver tea set. The little trees I made in a pottery class in Zurich.
The family tree is very special to me. All of the ornaments have a story behind them. Interests the kids had-hiking boots for Kate’s days at Dartmouth,scrubs for Phil in Med School,Bud Light can for Peter’s favorite,computer screen for Chip,horses for Susan. We also have an ornament made by my Mom for when we got engaged-complete with the teddy bear with a ring around his neck as Bill did. I also have many handmade ornaments by me and by many members of our family.
The brass reindeer I purchased this fall from Gerard’s in Lincoln MA-love them! Judy surrounded them with beautiful balls of moss and boxwood that she created, mixed greens,gold ribbon and magnolia leaves.
These are our pyramids-each of the kids has one and I also have my Mom’s. I bought all of them either in the Black Forest in Germany or at The Christmas Haus,located in New Oxford,PA. I used to go to the Christmas Haus when my two boys were at Gettysburg College.
I just visited a friend in HarwichPort who is not a professional decorator but definitely should be! Her choice of fabrics,art work and little details amount to a very warm,beautiful and welcoming home. She tends to find fabrics at Zimman’s and is constantly looking for items on sale-I love her creativity and old Yankee ingenuity. She has a great eye for putting it all together. She also is lucky enough to have inherited many beautiful pieces of furniture and artwork and has used them perfectly as well.
Pictured below is her Living Room:
Her beautiful bedrooms:
I think my favorite-just love the fabric choices:
It’s all about the attention to detail……..
We got moved in for Christmas and had such a great time with everyone home. It was incredible to me that we even got the Santa and Snowmen collections out and the little dog tree. Our new kitchen table worked great-wonderful for our large family.
It was great to get the art work unpacked-especially the 5 black and white photos of our kids that were taken 20 years ago. I also always feel like it is home after I get the needlepoints with our kids names up too-my sister did those as each child was born. We also hung the paintings that our daughters each did as gifts to us over the years.
And it was great to see the ping pong table again-it had been in storage for 9 years as it never worked in our old house on Main Street.
While we used all of of our existing furniture there were some “news” which was a lot of fun too!
I love how words come and go. A few years back I said the word “fink” and my kids just stared at me. “What is that?” they said. I was shocked-that was such a big word in my youth-“rat fink” or just being a plain “fink”. Another phrase they laugh at me about is “hunka munka”-I mean, didn’t everyone use that phrase for a good looking guy???
Now all of a sudden we are “ubering” and “googling”-these names have become verbs in our everyday language. I got a new iPhone this week and all of a sudden I have the ability to use emojis. I was excited but my kids were not as I sent many the first two days! I was very curious where the word “emoji” came from and no one seemed to actually know so I googled it and this is what I found:
Emoji (絵文字えもじ? are the ideograms or smileys used in Japanese electronic messages and Web pages, the use of which is spreading outside Japan. Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji literally means “picture” (e) + “character” (moji). The characters are used much like ASCII emoticons or kaomoji, but a wider range is provided, and the icons are standardized and built into the handsets. Some emoji are very specific to Japanese culture, such as a bowing businessman, a face wearing a face mask, a white flower used to denote “brilliant homework,” or a group of emoji representing popular foods: ramen noodles, dingo, onigiri, Japanese curry, and sushi. The three main Japanese mobile operators,NTT DoCoMo,au and Soft Bank Mobile have each defined their own variants of emoji.
Although originally only available in Japan, some emoji character sets have been incorporated into Unicode, allowing them to be used elsewhere as well. As a result, emoji have become increasingly popular after their international inclusion in Apple’s iOS in 2011 as the Apple Color Emoji typeface, which was followed by similar adoption by Android and other mobile operating systems.Apple’s OS X operating system supports emoji as of version 10.7 Microsoft added monochrome Unicode emoji coverage to the Segoe UI Symbol system font in Windows 8 and added color emoji in Windows 8.1 via the Segoe UI Emoji font.
The exact appearance of Emoji is not prescribed but varies between fonts, in the same way that normal typefaces can display a letter differently. For example, Apple Color Emoji font is proprietary to Apple, and can only be used on Apple devices. Different computing companies have developed their own fonts to display emoji, some of which have been open-sourced to permit their reuse Both colour and monochrome emoji typefaces exist, as well as at least one animated design.
These are just some of the most popular emojis:
- 😉 Winking Face
- 😊 Smiling Face With Smiling Eyes
- 😋 Face Savouring Delicious Food
- 😌 Relieved Face
- 😍 Smiling Face With Heart-Shaped Eyes
- 😎 Smiling Face With Sunglasses
- 😏 Smirking Face
- 😐 Neutral Face
- 😑 Expressionless Face
- 😒 Unamused Face
- 😓 Face With Cold Sweat
- 😔 Pensive Face
- 😕 Confused Face
- 😖 Confounded Face
- 😗 Kissing Face
- 😘 Face Throwing A Kiss
- 😙 Kissing Face With Smiling Eyes
- 😚 Kissing Face With Closed Eyes
- 😛 Face With Stuck-Out Tongue
- 😜 Face With Stuck-Out Tongue And Winking Eye
- 😝 Face With Stuck-Out Tongue And Tightly-Closed Eyes
- 😞 Disappointed Face
- 😟 Worried Face
- 😠 Angry Face
- 😡 Pouting Face
- 😢 Crying Face
- 😣 Persevering Face
- 😤 Face With Look Of Triumph
Straddling the Adige river in Veneto, northern Italy, you will find Verona which has approximately 265,000 inhabitants. It is the second largest city municipality in the region and the third of northeast Italy. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy, owing to its artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena, the ancient amphitheater built by the Romans.
Three of Shakespeare’s plays are set in Verona: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Taming of the Shrew.
Piazza Delle Erbe(above) is a good place to start a visit to Verona. Originally the Roman Forum, the rectangular piazza is in the heart of the historic center and is surrounded by beautiful medieval buildings and towers. In the middle is a 14th century fountain with a Roman statue.
This is Verona’s market square- where vendors come to slice and sell whatever’s in season. People have gathered here since Roman times, when this was a forum. The whale’s rib, hanging from an archway for 500 years, was a souvenir brought home from the Orient by spice traders. Today Piazza Erbe is for the locals, who start their evening with anaperitivo here. It’s a trendy scene, as young Veronans fill the bars to enjoy their refreshing spritzdrinks, olives, and chips.
Verona’s Roman Arena is the third largest in Italy (after the Roman Colosseum and the arena in Capua). Built in the 1st century and still retaining most of the original stone, the arena holds up to 25,000 spectators. Since 1913 it has been the venue for a prestigious opera festival and a top setting for other theatrical performances. Although part of the seating is in bright orange and red chairs, it’s easy to imagine the original look of the amphitheater.
Ancient Romans considered Verona an ideal resting spot before crossing the Alps so the city has a wealth of Roman ruins. Corso Porta Borsari was the main drag of Roman Verona. A stroll here makes for a fun, ancient scavenger hunt. Remnants of the town’s illustrious past — chips of Roman columns, medieval reliefs, fine old facades, and fossils in marble — are scattered among modern-day fancy shop windows.
Verona’s most popular site is the balcony said to be Juliet’s in Romeo and Juliet. The house said to be Juliet’s house is in a courtyard off Via Capello. You can see the balcony and the bronze statue of Juliet for free .The 13th century house is a good example of Gothic architecture and inside is a museum with period furniture. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet made Verona a household word. Locals marvel that each year, about 1,600 Japanese tour groups break their Venice-to-Milan ride for an hour-long stop in Verona just to stand in a courtyard. The House of Juliet, where the real-life Cappello family once lived, is a crass and throbbing mob scene. The tiny, admittedly romantic courtyard is a spectacle in itself, with visitors from all over the world posing on the almost believable balcony and taking snapshots of each other rubbing Juliet’s bronze breast, hoping to get lucky in love.(this is supposed to happen within 7 years!)
On his gravestone at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson chose to be remembered for three things: the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia statute for religious freedom, and the University of Virginia.
Though 100-year-old S. Prestley Blake of Somers, Connecticut, has not yet shuffled off this mortal coil, he wants to be remembered for just one thing: his devotion to Thomas Jefferson. The centenarian has, in fact, summed up a lifetime’s admiration of Jefferson in one parting gesture—he has built a $6 million replica of Monticello next to his own Connecticut estate.
Like the real Monticello in Charlottesville, Blake’s replica sits on a hill, commanding a view of the surrounding area and commanding the attention of passersby. Near the door of this dream home, which he plans to sell to a “worthy buyer,” he has placed a plaque with a quote by Jefferson—taken from a 1787 letter to George Gilmer: “I am as happy no where else and in no other society, and all my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello.”
Blake—who never attended U.Va. or lived anywhere near Charlottesville—sees the just-completed project as his gift to posterity.
“The last sentence in my book that is coming out this spring is ‘I am 100 years old and this is my swan song,’” he said.
Blake will, of course, be remembered for other things besides his Monticello. For one, he is cofounder of Friendly’s Ice Cream, an iconic restaurant chain in New England.
For another, Mr. Blake’s just-completed Monticello is not his first architectural tribute to Jefferson. In the 1990s, he and his wife, Helen, donated the funds for a Monticello-inspired building to house the middle school at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass. Five years ago, they funded the construction of the president’s residence at Springfield College in Springfield, Mass., a structure that also contains echoes of Monticello.
It was while the Springfield College project was under way that Mr. Blake began to conceive of “his” Monticello in Somers, located just over the state border from Springfield.
“Monticello is the most prominent private residence in the United States. You see it reproduced everywhere,” says Blake, who has visited Monticello many times. “Five years ago, I went down to Charlottesville to see it again. I love good architecture and Jefferson’s is the best.”
When the property next door to his own came up for sale, Mr. Blake reached his Rubicon. He purchased the land, about 10 acres, tore down the structures that were on it and began to put his signature idea into action. Then he hired Bill LaPlante, who owned the contracting company that built the president’s house at Springfield College.
“When we learned he wanted us to build Monticello, I was shocked. I dismissed it, thinking, ‘This isn’t going to happen,’” LaPlante says.
And yet, Mr. Blake called back soon thereafter, saying he had plane tickets ready for LaPlante and his father, Raymond, founder of the company, to Charlottesville.
At Monticello, the LaPlantes met with various officials who spent six hours answering their questions.
“They were extremely gracious. “It was interesting to see the progression of Monticello,” LaPlante says. “Jefferson would build something, then tear it down, and put something else up. He spent his life obsessed with architecture and this house.”
For the actual architectural plans, the LaPlantes consulted Monticello in Measured Drawings, a book of plans compiled directly from the Historic American Buildings Survey. While most of the exterior of Mr. Blake’s Monticello conforms to Mr. Jefferson’s original, only some of the interior retains the Jeffersonian touch, including the dining room, tea room, main foyer and hall and the use of a Monticello pattern on the parquet floors. Jefferson tinkered away on his house for 28 years, and spent about $100,461 (roughly $1.3 million in today’s dollars). The LaPlantes, meanwhile, working in a more technologically-advanced time, different time, needed only 18 months.
And while Jefferson’s house is roughly 11,000 square feet, Blake’s is a streamlined 10,000 square feet with modern amenities like geothermal heating and three helicopter landing sites on the property. There are also small touches to adhere to local ordinances, like railings on the front door entryway.
“We re-created the front façade to scale, which is 95 percent accurate,” says LaPlante. “The original porches on the sides are now enclosed and the rear of the house is 50 percent accurate.”
Blake is particularly proud, albeit amused, by the attention to detail.
“I wanted to have the house as close as possible to the original, and this one has the exact same footprint as Jefferson’s,” he says. “Bricks normally cost 50 cents apiece, but ours cost $1 apiece because they’re handmade. It took 95,000 bricks, exactly the same as Monticello, even down to artificially cracking them to look like Jefferson’s. LaPlante had ten finishing carpenters who were minutely fussy, and excellent sub-contractors who all had the same attitude. “I want Bill LaPlante to put a plaque up so that future generations will know he built this,” Blake says.
Blake does not regret the expense of this project.
“I spent a fortune to build it but I don’t care if I get my money back. That’s not why I built it. I built it for posterity, not to live in it. It’s done wonders for the community. The house is lit up at night and people drive by and take photographs and are so proud of it.”
Perhaps what makes Blake happiest of all is that the house was completed by the holidays, allowing him to declare something few ever get to these days: “We had Christmas dinner at Monticello.”
(article written by Alan Bisbort)