The exhibit of Downton Abbey Costumes at Winterthur is exquisite. There are a few samples. If you want to see the wedding gown, numerous gowns with hats, fur trimmed coats, the men's costumes and the artistry of haute couture tailoring in all of them, you'll need to visit Winterthur! The exhibit will be there until January 2015 and is the only site in the United States that will showcase the collection.
Winterthur is a treasure trove of enticements. Francis Dupont (1880 - 1969) was the visionary who created Winterthur,.The Dupont mansion expanded from the original 14 rooms to 250 to house his collectibles. There are 2500 American Eagles, a collection of soup tureens, ceramics, needle work, textiles, furniture and more, all of the highest quality originality and craftsmanship. The library contains over 100,000 items, featuring rare books on architecture, design, nature, children's books, women's magazines, and numerous other topics centering on the artistry of living life with beauty and grace.
The estate is situated on 1,000 acres, artistically planted with trees from all over the world, Among them are seasonal plantings that bloom from late January through November, providing an endless living mosaic of blooms. He was known for his artistry in combining colors and fragrant, ever changing landscapes are a testimony.
The Enchanted Woods boasts a Story Stones, a Troll Bridge, a Tulip Tree House, Acorn Tea Room, Forbidden Fairy Ring and a Fairy Flower Labyrinth.
Time spent at Winterthur will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized. I came home filled with inspiration and ideas to apply in my own space, admittedly on a much smaller scale. There are always opportunities to increase the beauty and sensuality in our world. The inspiration at Winterthur is endless.
Once upon a time, two experienced treasure hunters gathered their flashlights and headed out into the night to search for crabs on the beach. Instead, they found seven star fish! And so began my
Search for Stars
Won't you join me this month and actively begin to search for stars? August is known as the meteor viewing season, and the next event is the Perseid meteor shower, due to arrive on August 11 and 12, with potentially 20 shooting stars visible per hour if conditions are right!
You can find stars any time! They are everywhere! Those of us living in the U. S. find them on our beloved Stars and Stripes, and they can be found on flags representing companies, organizations, states and countries around the world!
There are stars through out museums, and antique stores, in traditional and modern quilt patterns, and mosaics and paintings. You'll find them in tiles on the floor, restaurant walls and the hardware store! The star fruit at the market is obvious, but don't miss the star hidden in the apple if you cut it from side to side instead of through the core!
Nature is abundant with stars right here on earth! The delicate blue flowers on the herb borage are edible and make a beautiful garnish on a fruit salad or in ice cubes with your favorite summer beverage.
You'll find stars on the shells of turtles, the leaves of the sweet gum tree, on seashells and squash blossoms!
There are the 'stars' that entertain us! There are sports stars, stars of the silver screen, you'll find stars on broadway, at concerts, There are local unsung heroes, working to make your community and our world a better place to live! They are stars!
And we certainly can't forget the sun! It is the ultimate star, giving life and energy to all of us! Our very existence depends on this miraculous golden orb!
Searching for stars is wonderful in and of itself, but there is an added bonus! Stars are for making wishes. Use your imagination and makes wishes on every star you see, then prepare to make all of your wishes come true!
And the most beautiful stars of all?
The stars in the eyes of those you love!
May you have an abundance of stars and may your every wish come true!
Coming in September!
Enhancing Your Life with Herbs E-books!
AND there will be a series of books on herbs created for the Enhancing Your Life with Herbs course I'm teaching this fall at the Renaissance Institute at Notre Dame University of Maryland.
I find beauty and value in plants that most people pull and discard or step on. At one time they were loved and valued. Join me as I reintroduce these hidden treasures of nature!
The herbal e-books will feature water color illustrations, nearly 300 in all, and a fascinating, fun, and sometimes funny look at symbolism, legend and lore. You will learn which herb to use to prevent baldness, predict the future, give you courage or stop bleeding. (All that from just one herb!)
You can learn about
Another first! The Dragon fruit! We found this treasure at the Asian market along with the prickly lychee nuts, crimson plums and elegant lavender eggplants.
The fruit doesn't have a lot of flavor, but it blends nicely with other fruits and the shells make a beautiful presentation. The salad is made from dragon fruit balls, melon, kiwi and mangos with a homemade poppy seed vinaigrette - recipe below.
The next time you go to a market or grocery store, find a fruit or vegetable you haven't tried and find a recipe for it, or better yet, create your own! You may find a new favorite!
History was made today with the Inauguration of the second term of our first African American president, Barrack Obama. Over a million people traveled to Washington D.C. to participate, an event even more meaningful as it took place on the day of the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Day.
Mycala and I celebrated in a different way, traveling into the heart of Baltimore to visit the Walter's Art Museum. It was the last day of the Revealing the African Presence in Renaissance Europe. The exhibit featured paintings, sketches, sculpture, and printed books depicting Africans and their descendants. "Artists, aristocrats, saints, slaves and diplomats" encouraged the viewer to consider a variety of roles as well as possible implications related to their varied roles. It was enlightening to see such a variety of scenarios. Snippets of information were included, enough to raise more questions than answer, but even knowing enough to ask questions that hadn't previously occurred to me made the exhibit worthwhile.
We viewed the Greek, Roman and Etruscan Art section as well as the Egyptian Art. We only saw a fraction of the displays. There are more than 35,000 one of a kind objects covering 55 centuries of art. The collection is even more remarkable when you consider that it was the vision and interest of only two men, William Thompson Walters and his son Henry Walters. There is no cost to tour the museum but there is an opportunity to make a donation in the lobby, and there are membership and donation opportunities.
Examples of Egyptian Art from the New Kingdom are below.
Lessons from Nature is a topic that has fascinated me for a lifetime. Even so, I was totally unprepared for the insights of Esther Krinitz, a holocaust surviver, artist and story teller, whose work was featured at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.
When I first walked into the museum I was captivated by the whimsy and humor. My guard was down. Had I heard this story at a holocaust museum or concentration camp in Germany I'd have been braced for horror. But I was at my most receptive - my heart was open and unsuspecting.
I glanced at the tapestries before noticing an accompanying video, and sat down in child like wonder, expecting only delight. The video began. "This was not what I came to see," I silently protested, but stayed, mesmerized and paralyzed, enthralled, captivated, stunned.
Esther weaves her mesmerizing story with a needle and thread, creating tapestries to depict her memories of the holocaust. Time and again she referenced the gifts of nature in her journey. She and her sister were hidden and sheltered from the Nazis by nature. A kind gentleman provided them with a garden plot to grow food for their survival. One tapestry depicts a Nazi soldier being attacked by bees when he began interrogating her. A cherry tree, laden with fruit, depicts 'money growing on trees' in America.
I'm still processing my lessons from Esther. My perceptions and understanding have been heightened and altered. She relived the nightmares and miracles, creating an unforgettable story of horror, survival, and gratitude, one stitch at a time.
We were asked not to take photographs inside the museum, but you can read more about her journey here - Art and Remembrance.
Since moving to Baltimore, my life has been a whirlwind! Taking classes at Renaissance through Notre Dame University of Maryland, taking trips to the Baltimore Museum of Art, local festivals, becoming a dedicated Baltimore Ravens fan, and Mycala and I attended the Festival of Trees last weekend at the Timonium Fairgrounds!
Loved all of the 'unique to Baltimore' trees - the
Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower. Natty Bo, Hairspray and the Orioles.
And if there was any chance that i might miss my little cabin by the creek, I've been introduced to the fabulous state parks in Maryland. I am in awe of the diversity of natural resources. As a dear friend noted . . .
. . . "Indeed, Maryland is America in miniature... oceans, rivers, bays, mountains and everything in between... and all accessible in just a couple of hours or less."
Late last night I took Zippy out following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. When I checked the mail, I was deeply touched to find a check from Pay it Forward Foundation to help me with the devastation from the loss of my home in the flood of 2011.
Lisa Bartoli, who attended an online class with me, and her daughter Shayla, opened an account for me through Pay it Forward, even though neither had met me at the time. (I've since met Lisa and so look forward to meeting Shayla!) Their kindness and generosity, culminating just as thousands of others are in need, seems God sent. I'm feeling guided to encourage others to follow their lead.
Many didn't have insurance, and even those who did will not be well covered. Flood insurance does not begin to restore living space as it was before the damage. At best, it is fractional. There is also no coverage for out of home living - hotel, meals, etc. Even if homes are not destroyed, there is often no electricity for months.
If you have escaped life altering damage from the Frankenstorm Sandy, please consider paying it forward. Reach out and make a phone call to let people know you care. A caring word from a friend can turn their day around. Send a cards - even if you don't know where they are, their mail will be forwarded. Cook extra food and take a meals to them. Many have no where to prepare meals and can't afford to eat at restaurants. If you know someone who needs their basement, yard or home cleaned, spend an hour or two helping. If you don't know anyone personally, find someone through your church, United Way or Red Cross. If you can give money, please do. Even $10, from thousands of people, can have a huge impact.
DO NOT call and ask what you can do to help. Just do it. During survival mode, it is difficult to know what you need next, and even more difficult to appear even more vulnerable and ask for help. Please, before you rest your head on you own pillow, in your own bed, in your own home tonight, first find a way to Pay if Forward.
Welcome!! I’m Mikell (pronounced Michael). If you love spicing up your life with herbs, recipes, decorating and crafts, symbolism and rituals like I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and free Enhancing Your Life with Herbs e-book!
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!