Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Baby Blues Have Left the Nest

My husband checked the nesting box of our baby Blue Birds this afternoon. I posted here about our five sweet little Blue Birds here and I expressed my concern that they might be attacked by predators before they were ready to fly.

I noticed when I discovered them in their nest this past weekend that they looked to be about ready, judging from the looks of their feathers and when my husband looked in the nesting box this afternoon they were not there.

As can be seen in the picture below, the nest does not appear to have been disturbed or torn up in any way. Better still, the pine needles the Blue Bird parents placed at the entrance to the entrance hole was still in place and undisturbed.
Baby Blue Bird Intact and Empty Nest
We are very relieved to see that the Baby Blues must have flown from the nest. There were no feathers on the ground near the nest. That was a good sign too, we thought.

There were, however, a few feathers out near the woods where my husband's main bird feeder is placed. Here are some pictures of the tiny feathers, which look suspiciciously like those of a baby Blue Bird.
Baby Blue Bird Feathers
 Do you notice the blue tint on the tiny feathers?
Baby Blue Bird Feathers
Still, we are heartened to find the intact nest and only a few of the tiny feathers. We feel therre is a very good chance that at least some of our little bird family has survived. Maybe they will grow up and come back again to nest with us!

Hopeful Happenings in Our Garden


My husband and I have often exchanged these words:

Me: "I am going to be optimistic about this."

Him: "I'm going to be realistic."

Me: "You sound like Mariah Popham from Summer Magic." 

Him: "You are too hopeful. You need to be more realistic, so you don't get dissapointed."

Of course, we are usually just kidding around and, just for the record, I know we all must sometimes be realistic. However, I think it is just part of my being.  Eternal optimism must be in my DNA. Mind you, I don't wear rose colored glasses all the time and I understand that things will not always be "La Vie en Rose"around here. I am not blind to the fact that some things are not going to always go according to plan. Still, I choose hope over no hope most every time!

Gardening is one of those things--for me anyway, as my thumbs are less than green. I plant with high hopes that pests will not invade and destroy. I hope that weather conditions will provide just that balance of sunshine and rain. I add a few nutrients and a little compost and have great aspirations for success. I do this knowing that things may not go acccording to plan.


Currently, what is going on in my garden (for the most part) gives me hope that very soon we will enjoy some good things at our table. Here are a few pictures of the things happening out back:
My Spring Garden 2016\

Sugar Peas

Sugar Peas
The promise of more to come in the Sugar Pea blooms:
Sugar Pea Blooms
Tomatoes are coming out and starting to ripen on my plants. Lots of "hope" in those plants! In the meantime, I am "hopeful" that none of those spine chilling Horned Tomato Worms show up, like something out of a horror movie! It drives me crazy how they get on the plant and totally destroy it before you even know they are there. I am trying to be a little realistic by slowly checking things out on a daily basis and trying to stay a step ahead of those green monsters.
Tomatoes in  Our Garden

Tomatoes in  Our Garden

Tomatoes in  Our Garden
Here is a picture of the many tomato plants, in several varieties, I planted in this one bed. There's "hope" in those yellow blooms!
Bed of Tomato Plants in  One of  Our Garden Beds
Beets are growing next the Sugar Peas.
Beets Growing in the Garden

Many people enjoy Bell Peppers in tomato dishes, sauces and salads. We certainly do enjoy them at our table!
Bell Pepper Plants

Bell Pepper Plants in Our Garden
I have stuffed something into pretty much every square inch of the beds! I am a believer in growing herbs. They lend fragrance to the many aspects of our lives. Some herbs deter pests. Others, like these that were planted in one special corner of my tomato bed are especially good for cooking with tomatoes and other vegetables and meat dishes:
Oregano, Basil and Cilantro Growing Alongside Tomatoes
Also, a random and volunteer in the tomato patch--an ornamental gourd!
Ornamental Gourds in the Garden
One of my Oregano plants decided to take over one of the beds next to our house, some five years ago. I gave pretty much allowed it to do its thing and just trim it back, once in awhile. There are a few Day Lilly, Gladiola and Irises that continue to pop up around and through the oregano. Yes, it is a bit wild and free flowing in that bed. So what, I love it!!
Our Enormous Oregano Bed

Cilantro planted alongside Broccoli.
Cilantro in Our Garden Beds
Here and there, in ground and in pots are some Sage, Rosemary and a little Thyme.

Sage
We enjoy the way Sage gives our Thanksgiving turkey and cornbread dressing so much flavor. I will be drying these herbs for using this fall and winter!

Rosemary

Sage and a Bit of Thyme with More Basil in Pots
One of our most loved friends, Mickey Mouse. Mickey is standing guard with his hose, just in case things get too hot and dry in the garden! See you next month at Walt Disney World, Mickey!
Friend Mickey Mouse in Our Garden
I miss our precious Jimmy so very much and every time I plant something in the garden beds he and grandson Glenn built for me my heart fills to the brim with beloved memories of him. He brought so much inspiration and joy to my life and was always encouraging and helping me with whatever made my life easier and happier. Thank you, my beautiful son-in-love for being so good to me! I love you and I miss you!

Most of you know, we love our Blue Berries down here and the Blue Berry bushes are certainly hold promise for a summer of Blue Berry picking and eating!
Blue Berry Bushes in Our Garden

So far, except for some tiny green worms who are overly fond of the Broccoli plants, things are looking quite good. My heart is filled with optimism and hopefulness for some good things from the garden this year!

Sharing things here on my little space in Blog Land brings me such joy. To everyone who visits here, I appreciate your taking time out of your busy day to spend a moment out of your life with me! Thank you so very much!

Perhaps you would like to hop over to some of these awesom link parties for other thoughts and inspirations:
The Inspiration Board Creative Party @ Homework
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Who's Got the Blues?

Who's got the blues? We've got the blues. Blue Birds, that is! We look forward to seeing those sweet little Blue Birds every spring in our yard. For the past several years, however, something or the other, has been raiding our Blue Bird house and eating the eggs. If the eggs survive long enough to get to be hatchlings, something attacks them, sometimes even before we realize they have hatched.

As a result, Blue Birds seem to have been reluctant to even build new nests in our Blue Bird nesting box. As I walked around out back yesterday, I opened the top of the box to see if, by some small chance, there might be a nest in there and maybe even a few eggs. We had not seen any Blue Birds flying around out there lately, so I was a little doubtful as I opened the box to peer inside.

To my great surprise, there was a nest in the box! An adorable little nest, with a little "mattress" of green moss layered underneath it and topped with what appeared to be a downy little "feather bed" of sorts, which I think had been made with some lint from where I had emptied my vacuum cleaner canister in the wooded area at the very back of our yard. The green moss "mattress and feather bed" were encircled in a wreath of brown pine needles. It had been constructed with utmost care and thoughtfulness!

Inside that precious little nest were five sweet little Blue Birds! They looked to have been there for some time. Perhaps a couple of weeks from the amount of feathers they had acquired already.

We are hosts to a beautiful family of Blue Birds, once again!
Baby Blue Birds in Our Nesting Box
Aren't they cute?

When cleaning out the box in the past, I have never seen a Blue Bird nest built quite like this one. Not only is it built in separate layers. It has been built as far back in the box as was possible, away from the entrance hole in the front of the box. 

In the past, when the box was raided, I would find pine needles and parts of the nest hanging from the entrance. I have read that cats and raccoons gain access to the eggs or babies by jumping straight up on the roof of the box, lean over the front and stick their paws inside the box and drag out the nest and babies. 

I took these pictures from the top of the box, looking down in to the box. You will notice when you see the next picture, how far the nest is from the little entrance hole in the box. It may not work. A determined cat or other predator might still manage to reach far enough in to get to the babies. Still, I think it was purposely placed in this manner by some thoughtful birdie parents. Here is another picture in which the little entrance hole can be seen at the bottom of the picture as I was looking down from the top of the opened bird box.
Blue Bird Babies in Our Nesting Box
I do hope that these sweet baby Blue Birds can survive until they are able to take flight. Who knows? Perhaps, some of these babies will return next spring, all grown up, to raise families of their own! 

If anyone knows of any good ways to keep the predators from getting the Blue Birds, I would love to hear them.

I hope you enjoyed my short post about our new guest family of birds.

Thanks ever so much for taking a moment of your time to stop by my blog! I hope you will come back to visit again!

This post will be linked up to these great parties going on at the links below:
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

More From Biltmore House and Gardens Fashionable Romance Wedding Gowns in Film Collection

In an earlier post, I told you a little about our trip to Biltmore House and Gardens in mid-March. Currently the Biltmore has an astonishing collection of costumes on display throughout the estate. Fashionable Romance Wedding Gowns in Film is truly a smashing event.

Some of the films featured in this collection were nominated for prestigious film awards. Some were actually winners of the Academy Awards for Best Costuming.

Being the old-fashioned soul and possessing a hopelessly romantic heart, I was totally smitten with this collection of spectacular costumes from romantic films!

In this post, I will continue where I left off in this previous post with some additional wonderful costumes from a number of other great films.  The last part of this post will take us to Biltmore's Antler Hill Village for some history on the Biltmore family marriages, honeymoons and other interesting family ties and connections!

On a previous visit to Biltmore to see the fabulous collection of costumes from the hit television series Downton Abby (Dressing Downton). we were not allowed to take pictures inside the house. We did not expect to be allowed to take pictures of this current collection of costumes. The only cameras any of our party carried with us on this trip were the ones on our cell phones. Visitors were not supposed to use flash photography within the house. Therefore, some of the pictures, especially those taken in the more dimly lit and darker surroundings, are somewhat on the dark side. We did not expect to be able to take pictures of the collection and the only cameras we took with us were our cell phones

This first photograph is this understated and demure wedding dress worn by Gwyneth Paltrow when she played the role of Emma Woodhouse in the movie Emma in 1996.

Wedding Dress Worn by Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma in the Film Emma
The below photo shows better the sweet and demure design of this dress. Isn't it simply lovely? Again, I am in awe of the wonderful settings at Biltmore for the presentation of this collection. The house is perfect, absolutely perfect, for displaying these costumes!
Wedding Dress Worn by Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma in the Film Emma
Another dress worn by Paltrow, as Emma,  for the movie is pictured here:
Dress Worn by Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma Woodhouse in Emma, the Film
I took the following photo of the display introducing the Emma collection. Paltrow is wearing the dress in the photograph. The dress is in Regency fashion, which was popular in the early 1800s. The dresses from the Emma collection speak to my style, soft, comfortable and simple!
Display at the Costume Collection for the Film of  Emma at Biltmore Fashionable Romance Exhibit
This next wedding dress is from the movie Christabel from 1988. During the period in which this movie was set, the style had become more form-fitting to accentuate a woman's body. Plunging necklines were also in vogue!
Wedding Dress Worn by Elizabeth Hurley in  Christabel
I took a photo, however out of focus, of the display at the Christabel film collection. Hurley is wearing the dress in this picture. The costumes in the Christabel collection are the most modern of the film collection at Biltmore..
Display at Biltmore Fashionable Romance Weddings in Film Collection
The Aristocrats, 1999 is a film in which Geraldine Somerville portrayed Lady Emily Lennox. The film is based on a true story about the four Lennox sisters. I have never seen Aristocrats. I must say that after doing a little internet surfing and finding this article from the LA Times, I am inclined to think I would enjoy it. Geraldine Somerville wore the wedding dress pictured below.

The gown is typical of the style that would have been worn by ladies of means during the period from 1740-1750. The beautiful and elaborate embroidered detail on the inset of the dress can be seen in the photo.  
Gown Worn by Geraldine Somerville as Lady Emily Lennox in   The Aristocrats
In Madame Bovary, Hugh Bonneville played the part of Charles Bovary. Frances O'Connor played the role of Emma Bovary. The styles and fabrics of the costumes worn in the film are indicative of the mode of dress that would have been worn during the mid-to-late 1850s. The styles and materials were more delicate and simple. This simple and understated style are evident in the wedding gown worn by Frances O'Connor as Madame Bovary shown here:
Wedding Gown from Madame Bovary in Fashionable Romance Collection
Here is the purple silk suit worn by Frances O'Connor as Emma Bovary.
Costume from Madame Bovary in Fashionable Romance  Collection  at Biltmore House
I think the following gown, worn by actress Billie Piper in the role of Fanny Price, one of Jane Austen's best loved characters is one of my favorites in the collection. The movie in which Piper wore this gown is Mansfield Park, 2007. Note the simple lines and high-waist of the dress.
Wedding Gown from the Film Mansfield Park in the Fashionable Romance Collection at Biltmore
 The understated elegance of the bodice of this gown can better be seen in the photograph below.
Wedding Gown from the Film Mansfield Park in the Fashionable Romance Collection 
The manikin bride looks almost ghostly in the photo. I think I may have taken one too may rides through Disney's "Haunted Mansion," as she looks a lot like the ghost bride at the end of the attraction's ride!

Helena Michell and Pierce Brosnan were the principal actors in a film called The Deceivers, 1988. Set during the period of the 1820s, this gown, embellished with roses, exemplifies a style of decorating dresses with three-dimensional elements popular during the period. 


The Magnificent Ambersons, 2002, was made for A & E and somewhat of a remake of the original from 1942. Costume designer, John Bright, designed the costumes for 2002 film. The part of Isabel Amberson Minafer was portrayed by actress Madeline Stowe. Isabel's wedding took place in the 1880s in the Victorian style of the day. Her wedding dress was a cream colored silk with an hourglass waist and embroidered skirt, much in keeping with the Victorian era.
The next couple of pictures are from the film
Wedding Dress from The Magnificent Ambersons Film
As Isabel during a later time period in the movie, Stowe wore a beautiful beaded evening gown more in keeping with that time setting. What can I say? This dress had me at black and white! In my opinion, this exquisite gown with its lavishly beaded bodice is positively stunning!
Evening Gown from the Film The Magnificent Ambersons on Exhibit at Biltmore House
After finishing our tour of Biltmore House, eating a fabulous meal at  and a visit to Biltmore Gardens & Conservatory, which I wrote about here, having a delicious meal at Biltmore's Stable Cafe, we made our way over to Biltmore's Antler Hill Village & Winery for the Biltmore Legacy- the last leg of the Fashionable Romance collection.

The Biltmore Legacy portion of the Fashionable Romance tour highlights 60 years of weddings in the Vanderbilt family, including the couple with whom the Biltmore House & Gardens history began. George Vanderbilt, the man who envisioned and built the magnificent Biltmore House married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser in Paris, France on June 1, 1898 in a civil ceremony, as was customary. They also had a church ceremony the next day on June 2, 1898. Apparently, without the great fanfare that might have been expected for a wedding involving the Vanderbilt family. You can read about the weddings of George and Edith Vanderbilt at the Biltmore House & Garden's blog site. There were apparently no photographs of the actual ceremonies, but various newspapers gave accounts of the union.

This is one account of the couple's union and their attire for the event. Edith was quoted by a reporter as stating "We mean all our marriage arrangements to be simple and quiet." 
Photo of an Account of  George & Edith Vanderbilt's Marriage
Attached at the bottom of this display was the tiny prayer book that Edith carried at the wedding. This is a picture of the bottom of this display--Edith Dresser Vanderbilt's little prayer book.

Picture of Edith Stuyvesant Dresser's Tiny Prayer Book
The couple enjoyed a four month long honeymoon in parts of Europe. These are some accounts of their honeymoon which were on display.
Account of George & Edith Vanderbilt's Lengthy Honeymoon in Europe
From what I have read about the Vanderbilt wedding and how low key and unassuming Edith seemed to be, it is not hard to imagine how overwhelming it must have been for her when George Vanderbilt brought her to Asheville, North Carolina after their honeymoon. Can you imagine how it must have been to see the servants, grounds keepers, attendants and so forth all lined up all the way up the driveway to welcome the newlyweds? Can you imagine, as well, Edith seeing the palatial structure of the Biltmore House, beyond them in the distance? The Biltmore House, her new 255 room home! I believe that I probably would have fainted, dead away, right then and there.

This is a cropped version of the photograph that was on display showing those people lined up along the way to the:
Biltmore Staff  Lined Up to Greet the  Newlyweds and Welcome the  New Lady of  Biltmoreo House
The couple passed through a huge floral horseshoe shaped arch as they approached their new home. I cropped out various portions of this display and the following shoes the enormous horseshoe.
Picture Showing the Horseshoe Arch the Newlywed Vanderbilts Passed Through on the Way to Biltmore
George and Edith Vanderbilt had a daughter, Cornelia, whose marriage in  April, 1924 to John Cecil was widely publicized. Pictures and details of that the couple's grand wedding can be see at Biltmore's website. Cornelia's beautiful wedding gown and veil were meticulously reproduced by costume designer John Bright. Bright also designed the costumes for the film The Magnificent Ambersons, one of films whose costumes are in the Fashionable Romance Collection exhibited at Biltmore House.

Here is a picture of John Bright's reproduction of Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil's gorgeous wedding gown and beautiful long veil on display at Antler Hill Village.
Designer John Bright's Reproduction of Cornelia Vanderbilt Cecil's Wedding Gown
For her wedding day, Cornelia Vanderbilt, wore custom made shoes. Apparently,  the shoes, because of comfort and simple elegance, came very much in vogue for brides after Cornelia wore them for her wedding. Similar styles remain popular until this day. This picture shows Cornelia's shoes in a glass case on display at the exhibit!
Cornelia Vanderbilts Wedding Shoes on Display at Biltmore
There is a connection between the Vanderbilt, Cecil, Ryan, Bovier and Kennedy families where weddings are concerned.
Family Tree Illustrating Family Connections for Vanderbilt-Cecil-Ryan-Lee-Kennedy Families
Jacqueline Bouvier'Kennedy's grandmother, Margaret Merrit Lee wore an exquisite rose point lace veil when she married John T. Lee, a prominent New Yorker. In 1953, her granddaughter, Jacqueline Bouvier wore the same veil in 1953 when she wed then Senator John F. Kennedy.

In 1957, Jacqueline Kennedy's cousin Mary Ryan, also the granddaughter of Margaret Merrit Lee , wore the same rose point lace veil when she married William A.V. Cecil. William Cecil was the grandson of  George Vanderbilt. Thus the connection!

The following picture is from Biltmore's blog and is of Jacqueline Bouvier wearing the rose point lace veil when she married the future president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

Source
This next photo is of Mary Ryan Cecil with William A. V. Cecile on their wedding day. She is wearing the same veil that Jacqueline B. Kennedy wore on her wedding day. It is simply draped upon her head, rather than with the circled garland on the head.
William and Mary Cecil wedding photo
Source
To read about the veil's story and family connection, just go here.

This is the picture I took of the fabulous rose point lace veil, which is still being traditionally worn by some family members today!
Rose Point Lace Veil Worn by Jacqueling Bouvier Kennedy and Mary Ryan Cecil
The day we spent at Biltmore House & Gardens and Biltmore's Antler Hill Village and Winery was so much fun! The amazing collection of costumes and memorabilia will remain on exhibit until July 4, 2016. I hope you have enjoyed my post about the most enjoyable day we spent at Biltmore House & Gardens and Biltmore's Antler Hill Village & Winery!

I have not received any compensation for posting about the Fashionable Romance Wedding Gowns in Film at Biltmore House & Gardens. 

Do you enjoy cooking, crafting, redoing furniture, travel other fun things? If so, you will find lots of inspiration and fun ideas at the following blog party links:
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