Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Trip to 'Stan Hywet Hall' in Akron

Yesterday, Mom and Dad took us out for our birthday. It wasn't actually on our birthday, but the weather yesterday was much nicer. We ended up going to Stan Hywet Hall in Akron. The two of us had been dying to go up there for ages now. We had gone on a field trip with TLC about ten years ago, but that was a long time ago. So, Mom figured that this would be a great surprise. Elizabeth actually didn't figure out where we were going until we pulled in! :)

They let you take self-guided tours now. That was really nice as we could go through at our own pace. Mom and Dad got a year-long pass up there, so we are really hoping to go back soon. It was nice and inspirational for our novel, so Lizzy is going to take her sketchbook next time.

The house was built by the co-founder of Goodyear Tires for his family to use as a Summer home. They began construction in 1912 and finished at the end of 1915. It is a Tudor-Revival style Hall furnished with reproductions of Tudor style furnishings --- most of them made around 1915. The family that built the place was keen on British style, so they paid for an architect, interior designer and gardener to reproduce what they liked in England. They actually bought much of the furnishings and decorations in England and shipped them to Ohio.

One of my favorite things in the house was the carved trim work in one of the front rooms. It was made of a dark wood and carved like forest leaves and berries. Squirrels and birds were all over the trim eating the berries. We couldn't take a picture of it, so that's one of the things that Elizabeth is going to sketch next time. Another of my favorite things was a spot in the library. Mr. Seiberling (the man who built the place) sat in this certain chair by one of the bookshelves to read. All the while he would be smoking a cigar, so he would lay his burning cigar on the edge of the shelf. There was a whole little row of burnt shelf edge. It was kind of cool to see it. Sounds funny actually writing it down, but it kind of made the house more "real".

One of the things that was so cool about the whole Hall was the fact that it was so "lived in". All of the furniture had obviously been well used and loved, so it gave the feeling of real people living there --- not just a showcase house that you can't imagine anybody living in. As far as rooms, the Breakfast room, the Billiard room, the Office and the "Older Boys'" room were my favorites. I just love the dark wood that was so common in Tudor style --- not to mention the leaded glass windows. In the Billiards room there were the most amazing window seats that were probably almost three feet deep. Window seats were actually all throughout the house. They had gorgeous velvet pillows on them that have faded over time. It made them look nice and inviting.

It was quite interesting to tour a house that was lived in from the 1910s through the 1950s. We owned almost all the same "things" that were in there, particularly the framed prints and the kitchen utensils. Quite funny really to see so many things that we take for granted displayed as old "museum" pieces.

The weather turned out to be just perfect, and we walked in the garden for a bit --- and took some pictures. Mom and Dad had found a perfect place to take us to Dinner. It's called Mulligan's Pub and Grill. Very much like a Ruby Tuesday or Applebee's. The big difference was that this place had a vegetarian menu! Wow. It was really fun. We had fried mushrooms and cheese sticks, french fries and loaded veggie burgers. Boy, was it fun.

That's Elizabeth in the photo on the left. Isn't she cute?! I don't know why some of the above photos appear out of focus. They look fine if you click on them to see them full size.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy 110th Birthday, Nelson Eddy!

Another year is half gone and it's Nelson Eddy's birthday again! He would have been a hundred and ten years old today.

Well, I'd write more, but we're going off for our birthday celebration today. Okay, so it's not really our birthday, but this is the nicest day of the whole week . . . and it is Nelson Eddy's birthday. Dad's taking a half day off of work and we're going somewhere. Mom and Dad are keeping it a surprise, so we won't know where we're going until we get there. ;) Can't wait! They are even taking us out to dinner some place special. Hey, it's not everyday that we turn twenty-four, right?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Needle Felted Doll (Gnome) Finished!

This one's named "Pat and Mike" --- after the old Irish jokes. "Pat" is the squirrel and "Mike" is the gnome! Together, they weigh 1.875 ounces and stand 7-1/4" tall (to the tip of Mike's hat). They took approx. 35 hours to complete. They are made from a mixture of wool that includes Corriedale, Merino and a "Briar Rose" blend. I used .40 and .42 gauge needles on them, and the feather is a real feather --- not a felted one! ;)

It looks like they are going down to the State Fair instead of the Hercule Poirot doll. I'm still not totally decided though, so we'll see. I started "Pat and Mike" about a month ago, so I'm really happy to have finished him by now. I don't think that I'll have the same amount of felting time this Summer as in the Winter. Ah, how sad. The next needle felted doll is going to be a present, so it will be a little while before pictures are up of that one.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

'Gnome Sweet Gnome' or . . . 'Gnomehenge'?!

The name is up for grabs, but Mom and I made a "gnome garden" today. We turned the area right out the back door from a weedy mess into a cute spot. This is an area of the yard that we've never really done anything to since we moved here over twelve years ago. Finally, Mom hit on this idea. I really wanted this big, metal garden gnome that was on clearance at JoAnn's, so this is his new home.We worked out there for about four hours with satisfying results!

I've been collecting rocks for a couple years to make a fancy garden, but we hadn't had a chance to use any of them, so this was perfect. I got Pop to help me haul them in from different areas of the yard (some of them were quite buried!), and we set to work. These pictures show the results. All of the bushes were in place. We bought the hostas last month and the astilbe just this evening.

Standing opposite the end of the garden (down by the little "gnome sweet gnome" sign) is a locust tree, so I'm going to clear out all of the grass from around the base and we'll continue the gnome look there. Pictures to follow, of course.

We haven't been up to much besides that. Mom and the two of us picked up a cold last weekend, so we've been fighting that off. These super bugs are pretty miserable. Hoping to feel better in time for our birthday next week. Dad's been getting this Winter's firewood stacked. It's beautiful! I can't believe that in four months we'll be using it. Wow . . . time flies.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reading 'Gone with the Wind'

The cool spell has arrived! In fact, it's been great since Saturday. We've actually had two nights that made it down into the high forties. That was pretty nice. We had a huge storm on Friday night that had to have a tornado or two in it. There was hail coming down and really, really strong wind. It was worth it though, as this has been great weather since. I just mowed the lawn this morning, and we're planning on working in the garden this afternoon. I got the cutest little sign to hang on the fence. It has a little gnome and mushrooms on it, and it says "Gnome Sweet Gnome". :)

We got a fan mail reply last week! This one was from Joan Leslie, the 1940s actress. We sent some sheet music to her which she signed for us. She also sent us each a large photograph of herself. Pretty cool.

I started reading Gone with the Wind a couple weeks ago. We thought that it would be something good to read to get ideas of writing style, as I am about ready to actually write our story. Though I am not necessarily a fan of the story really, I am certainly enjoying the novel. It's a fascinating look into the mindset of the old South and the consequences of the Civil War. I'll post more as I finish the book. I'm only about a quarter of the way through, but it's very good. We're going to see the film on the big screen this Summer in Columbus, so I'm hoping to be finished with the book by the time we go!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Nelson Eddy Paperweight. Cool, huh?!

We went out to Kohl's yesterday and I got the coolest thing: a "customizable" paperweight! Of course, there was no doubt in my mind that it should have a picture of Nelson Eddy in it. Logical, right? So, I finally picked out a picture and had Elizabeth print it off for me. Hooray! Here is a picture, though it's not too great a one. It's much cooler in real life!

Very hot weather right now. It feels more like July than the beginning of June. The peonies came out with tons of flowers, but they fried in the sun and got beaten off by rain, so no pictures of them this year. More later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Joys of Summer (i.e. A Cold Stone Creamery Milkshake!)

Time marches on . . . and I haven't been blogging. Hmmm. I just realized that I haven't posted anything all month! Oh no. It's been pretty hot this week, and we've been busy bees. Dad's been getting lots of yard work done, and I've been helping him weed. Most of the Spring plants are dying back already, so there aren't many flowers out right now. We had a lot of irises bloom this year --- this is the first time that we've seen some of them.

I finally got some of the upstairs closet cleaned out. Sorted through clothes, and we got rid of a ton of stuff that we don't need. We took Dad out on Sunday to Lunch. We figured to that we'd do our "Father's Day" thing on a weekend when everybody else isn't going to the same places. It was really a banner day, as we decided to get an ice-cream cake to take home. We hadn't bought one in ten years or more, so we remembered that someone had told us about Cold Stone Creamery. So, we went in and picked out the cutest little chocolate cake --- then it happened. Mom convinced me to get a milkshake. A chocolate milkshake. I was a bit skeptical as we getting a cake already. Never mind. Make Mom happy. I'll get one if somebody shares it with me. Take it out to the car and, reluctantly, try it. Joy! Wow! Amazing! Okay, so if somebody wants a drink out of it . . . I guess that I could spare one. Just one. That was the best milkshake ever. Wow! Can't wait to try an Oreo one next time!