Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All! We have had a full house throughout the Christmas weekend. Our breakfasts have featured Egg Nog Smoothies, Strawberry Stuffed French Toast, Berries in Hazelnut Cream, and Mozarella and Sun Dried Tomato Omelettes! AND to top it all off, it is snowing as I write! I cannot remember ever having a truly White Christmas, so this is pretty exciting! One thing I really like about new snowfall is how quiet and peaceful it gets. A total absence of sound as everything is muted by a white blanket. Peace on Earth.
This year, Jeff decided to unpack and display his holiday paper houses on a mantel.He has eight paper or “putz” houses, they’re called, and they are in mint condition.You may not be able to tell from these photos, but the windows are the tiniest pieces of cellophane and Jeff’s “putz” windows are intact. He says most of the houses he sees in antique stores are missing the cellophane.There are avid “putz” collectors out there, it appears from googling, and many take the time and trouble to replace the cellophane, particularly if they are buying and selling their “putz.”Also called “dimestore houses,” paper houses date back to the early 1900’s, and according to at least one avid collector and putz historian named “Papa Ted,” they were manufactured in Kobe, Japan. Indeed, we checked, and all of Jeff’s putz houses are stamped on the bottom “Made in Japan.”Papa Ted’s is a colorful and updated website if you’re interested in “putzing” around.http://www.papatedsplace.com
As everyone knows, I have LOTS of collections, and many of them are related to holiday decor! Perhaps one of my most significant collections is my collection of German nutcrackers, which you can see in this selection of photos. My parents gave me my first one when I was thirteen, and I still have it! It is the soldier in the center of the close up photo. The nutcrackers are a mainstay in our holiday decor, and the soldiers look great on the mantel in our library. My Mom gave me one almost every Christmas, and I have other characters such as The Phatom of the Opera, Ebeneezer Scrooge, Pinocchio, a lawyer, and a Union Soldier! I tend to place them in other rooms at Maury Place. The nutcrackers are all made in Germany by Steinbach--some are signed limited editions, such as the Mouse King (one of my favorites!). Significantly, the first piece in my collection that my parents gave me years ago is marked as "Made in East Germany," which makes it even more unusual.
By the way, if you are still looking for the perfect gift for a friend or family member who will be visiting Richmond, consider a gift certificate from Maury Place! We can mail the certificate promptly for arrival by Christmas, and one size fits all!!
The Richmond Ballet’s "Nutcracker," considered among Virginia's most beloved holiday traditions, is resplendent with original choreography, lavish sets and costumes, and Richmond Symphony rendering Tchaikovsky’s score in full orchestral splendor. Choreographed by Richmond Ballet's Artistic Director Stoner Winslett, the production highlights include a 59-foot dragon created in China, a dancing butterfly, a Russian bear and mischievous lambs. Artisans from across the United States and abroad worked on the magnificent costumes under the direction of David Heuvel. The exquisite mouse and bear heads, which bring the characters to life with surprising animation, were created by craftsmen Robert Allsopp, from London, England, and Marvin Schlichting, from Toronto, Canada.
The original story, "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" by German writer E.T.A. Hoffman, was published in 1816. The one hundred eighteen year-old Nutcracker ballet was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892.
Tickets are available from both Ticketmaster and the Richmond Ballet box office.
Recently, Mac and I decided to take photos of Maury Place Inn Dogs Chico and Lucy so that we could use their picture on our holiday greeting cards. 45 photos later, we had quite a collection of pictures of dogs running out of the picture, dog noses in the lens, and one great photo that we can use for our holiday card! The final photo is shown here, but we also thought you would enjoy some of the out-takes from our session.
Most of the photos are with our largest Christmas tree as the backdrop, in our dining room. A couple of the photos are with Chico and Lucy on their beds.