Thoughts from Laurel Ridge

Excitiment over new releases

Charlotte Georgiou
Friday, February 05, 2016

Many people have said to Barbara and I over the last year, that as much as they adore the Christmas craziness that is Laurel Ridge, they would also love to have sneaky looks at the really special, beautiful Christmas things that we have throughout the year.

 

 Radko Tree 2015

 

(Our Radko Tree in 2015, such a beauty!)

 

So we put our heads together (OK, so maybe we bashed our heads together!) and decided that we would begin to release our special Christmas products in February, one at a time, for Pre-Order.  

 

As with everything we do, there are limited numbers of these available, so grab them while you can!

 

Today's early release is this beautiful Radko ornament "Frosty's Guiding Light". This is a sensational snowman with a beautiful blue coat, and reminds me to take advantage of this slightly chilly weather while we still can!!!

 

 Frosty's Guiding Light by Christopher Radko

 

(Frosty's Guiding Light, by Christopher Radko)

Wow, what a season!

Charlotte Georgiou
Saturday, January 09, 2016

 

Happy New Year!

 

So... for everyone that makes a New Year's Resolution, here is mine... be better organized when the end of the Year craziness comes around!

 

 Laurel Ridge F M Fly House Gonzales In January

 

(Laurel Ridge today, post-Epiphany)

 

 Laurel Ridge F M Fly House Gonzales during Christmas

 

 (Laurel Ridge decorated for Christmas!)

 

You may have noticed that I just took a near-on 4 month hiatus from the blog, due entirely down to the intense demands of the store during the final months of last year! It was frantic and wonderful, and we all thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. We are hugely blessed to be able to share our treasures with you all year, and when everyone steps up their shopping game in preparation for Christmas, it is fantastic to see and speak so many delightful people.

 

Now, with Epiphany observed and the Christmas decorations down, we have set to work sorting, and sorting, and sorting and... well, you get the idea. It never ceases to amazing me, that whenever one clears through that which one has been putting off ('One' in this case is not just me!), something wonderful is inevitably unearthed.

 

Michael Vintage Cards 

 

 (Cards Laurel Ridge carried that I received when I was just a little dot of a girl, found in our 'January Sort Out'!)

 

This year, that 'something' has come in the form of 'Vintage' cards, unused. I remember as a small girl having been sent those same cards, from Laurel Ridge, and the images on this stationary holds joyful nostalgic memories of early Christmas celebrations.

 

In addition to these wonderful memories, I also found what the Art Historian in me believes to be the 'most amazing cards in the history of forever'! (Or Christmas has made me a little delirious! A possibility!) To the casual onlooker, they are a replica of a beautiful classically realist painting, but on the inside, dry, almost British, humor! I LOVE THEM!

 

Gossip Vintage Painting Cards OutsideGossip Vintage Painting Cards interior

 

(The most amazing cards in the history of forever! (In my opinion, of course!))

 

So as Barbara and I are planning what this year and the future holds, and choosing all the stunning 'adornments' for Laurel Ridge (Watch this space for more 'personal adornments', they are coming and they are amazing!) we will also be reflecting on that which has, in years past, given us joy, and will be sharing it with you (And of course, feel free to share with us!).

 

Weird weather and festive fun!

Charlotte Georgiou
Friday, October 30, 2015

Good Witch Minerva by Lynn Haney 

 

('Good Witch Minerva' by Lynn Haney - our last Halloween Witch remaining, with her complimentary Radko Halloween Ornament - don't miss out on this one, call me on 830-672-2484 to order!)

 

Captain Jack O'Lantern Radko 

 

Barbara has said to me countless times this year that I brought the weird weather back from England with me when I moved home to Gonzales... maybe there is some truth to that, but as I hunker down at our desk in the office, feeling untouchable thanks to "Tornado Alley" (which is what the children have named the hallway on the ground floor, that used to be the ice bunker, so is probably the safest place in town!!!) I am drawn to thinking about the safety and nostalgic comfort that people have for this time of year.

 

 Halloween Cards at Laurel Ridge

(Nostalgic Halloween Cards at Laurel Ridge)

 

 

There is something soothing about the cooling temperatures and the changing of the leaves that everyone seems to cleave to. Maybe it is the pies and treats that our mothers would bake at this time of year (Pecan pie, YUM!) or maybe it is the sheer joy we all had as children, dressing up in our carefully planned costumes, and visiting our neighbors for 'Trick or Treat' to gather a stash of candy...

 

 

 Sophie as Hernione Granger

(Our Sophie as Hermione Granger for her school Halloween costume day!)

 

 

I know that this year, with my children back in Texas, where Halloween (and all of the festive holidays) are a much bigger deal than they were used to when we lived in England, they have been planning their costumes for months, and the fact that they were able to wear a different one to school, and that we are having a big Halloween party with all the family tomorrow night, just makes everything so magical.

 

 

Fall Wreath at Laurel Ridge 

(Beautiful colors in our fall wreaths)

 

 

The weather might be reflective of the 'weirdness' of Halloween, but the joy and magic of the season is certainly not lost on me!

Making merry during the season

Charlotte Georgiou
Friday, October 16, 2015

 

 

 

 (A Year To Display, 2015 Radko Ornament hanging on our Radko tree!)

 

With the Holiday season, fast approaching, or already upon us here at Laurel Ridge, it seems very easy to get swept up in the frenzy that everything has to be perfect, and trying to juggle too much at one time.

 

There is so much pressure put on us to get everything 'right', be it our children, homes, meals ... that sometimes we forget that what really matters is not perfection, it is happiness and being a good person. What makes us happy is not the same for everyone, or if you are anything like me, is not the same on one day as it may have been the day before!

 

 

 

 (Our love, Antiques and Christmas!)

 

I hear many people, women mainly, coming through the store with such admiration at the beautiful decorations that Barbara and I have put up this year, and chastising themselves for not putting out as many, or not having a theme, or mixing the brand of ornaments on their tree... to you all I would like to remind you that this is our passion, for Barbara and I, this is one of the many things that makes us happy. For Barbara and I, the level of decorating in the store gives us as much joy to do, as our customers get from coming in to visit.

 

What we do is as much to help each and every person that walks through our doors, be it to find a gift, gather great decorations or discover a stunning antique table, as it is because we love it. We both adore customers coming in with problems and allowing us to help them solve them, in our way. We may not be perfect, but we aim to be happy and good every day. The days we believe we have fallen short, both Barbara and I are the first to admit it, but we do try (obviously the operative word!) to grow and learn.

 

 

 

(Can't decide on one Lynn Haney Chef Santa.... some have bought two!)

 

Some days, I want things, lovely beautiful, things (I have a list if you are interested!) and I don't want to wait for my husband, mother or anyone else to get those things for me. Other days, I want to curl up with my book, and not worry about the outside world, and others, I just want to go and jump in the leaves with the kids (this has the added benefit of making them happy too!). None of those activities is right or wrong, none of them is perfect, and that is OK.

 

 

 

(Oliver has always loved to jump in the leaves!)

Working out the kinks!

Charlotte Georgiou
Friday, September 04, 2015

 Radko Snowmen Glowmen

(Radko Snowmen Glowmen is up in the Snowman section of the upside down tree!)

 

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, which for so many heralds the end of summer and the lead into Christmas through Fall, Barbara and I have been busy little elves in the store trying to work through the niggles that we may have in our seasonal decorating.

 

 Red Birds on Tree

(Still have a ways to go with the red birds on the bare branch trees!)

 

Fall is already up in the hallway, with wreathes on the banister and a 'Pumpkin Explosion' at the foot of the stairs! Although the first reaction of all who enter the store is still "WOW, this smells AMAZING!" (Candles and potpourri, it is a very badly kept secret!) the fall floral and the Pumpkins are garnering significant elation, the heat is subsiding and Fall is on its way!

 

 Fall Berry Wreath

(Wreathes on the banister)

 

 Velvet Hot Skwash Pumpkins

(Our velvet 'Pumpkin Explosion' at the foot of the stairs!)

 

Everywhere we look, there are signs of the changing temperatures, and the darkening days, and the festivities that co-exist with this change in the seasons. With each ornament that we hang, or floral arrangement we change, the seasons are changing with us, and we love it.

 

Pale Woodland Bird Ornaments 

(Small birds are being hung on our woodland tree in the Dining Room.)

 

 Peacock and Locket Ornaments

(Our Paris Tree is gathering ornaments on its lower branches.)

 

 Santa Glitter Vintage Ornament

(Everywhere there is glitter!)

Giddy excitment in preparation...

Charlotte Georgiou
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Barbara has said to me all year, that when the light first starts to change at the end of August, the store and the people that walk through it, take on a whole new demeanor. As I came home last year right in the beginning of the Christmas period (a week before Thanksgiving), this is not really an experience I have had yet at Laurel Ridge, so I have been anxious to see this transition from year round, top class American Antique and fine gift store, to the winter wonderland that has become part of so many families Christmas tradition.

 

 Russian Santas on the mantle

(The Russian Santas have begun moving to their Christmas home around the mantle piece in the red room)

 

It began yesterday, bringing out a few Christmas ornaments as we begin to really think about starting to get the Christmas decorations out in readiness for our Exclusive Preview on September 26th followed by the Gonzales 'Come and Take It' Celebration the weekend after that.

 

Lynn Haney 2015 Laurel Ridge Exclusive Santa Loaded Up for the Season 

 (Loaded Up For the Season - 2015 Laurel Ridge Exclusive Lynn Haney Santa is now surrounded by the first of our Christmas Cards!)

 

Stationary, Tins and Cards out ready for Christmas 

(Some of our lovely Christmas stationary being put out as we consider 'the lay of the land'!)

 

With this change of light and with Barbara and I bringing out pieces that indicate the cooling off of the latter part of the year and the festivities associated, there has been an incredible alteration in the atmosphere within the store.

 

Prairie Claus by Radko 

(Prairie Claus - by Christopher Radko, new for 2015, feeling at home among the crystal!)

 

Barbara and I are wandering around the store covered in glitter from all the wonderful ornaments and decorations we are trying to find a place for, and our customers simply love it. Apparently the act of us getting ready for the season, and appearing as confused by where to put everything as everyone is in their own homes is intensely reassuring. Even in 'Christmas Land' it takes us a while to figure it out!

 

 Glitter Santa Plaque Ornaments

(Glitter Santa Plaque Ornaments sat by some beautiful period crystal)

 

 Beaded Hummingbird Clip on Ornaments

(Stunning beaded hummingbird clip on ornaments hovering by some of our antique china)

 

 Peacock Ornaments creating a corner aviary

(Glittery pearly pink peacock ornaments put with other beautiful bird to create a corner aviary

 

Siberian Sensations

Barbara Crozier
Monday, August 17, 2015

 

(Our newest addition to the incredible Russian Santas we have in the store, a gem encrusted red Santa)

 

The addition of Russian Santas into Laurel Ridge's Christmas collections has been met with great enthusiasm and joy.  These pieces are clearly hand crafted, carved and painted beautifully. Each is an individual, unique work of art. In the first year of stocking these extraordinary pieces, Barbara bought in a small collection, which has steadily grown as more and more of our friends and customers have steadily fallen in love with these incredible pieces.

 

 

(A group of our Russian Santas)

 

This year, we have had a tremendous collection, which has included two of the largest and most incredibly detailed Russian Santas we have seen to date. The first of these two master-artisan made Santas, has already left us for pastures and holidays new, but the second, which is also the larger and more detailed, being encrusted with over 200 semi-precious gemstones, has only just been made and provided to us. At over 16 inches high, he is the largest that we have ever had, and is the pinnacle of our sumptuous collection, and we genuinely cannot wait for him to find his new home and be enjoyed as is proper for such a phenomenal work of art.

 

 

(Close up detailing on the red, gem-encrusted, master-artisan Russian Santa)

 

And for those of you who are looking for a little more whimsy in your holiday decorating, we have some of the funkiest looking Russian Santas!

 

 

(Funky Red Tall Hat Russian Santa)

 

Delightful Desks

Charlotte Georgiou
Monday, August 03, 2015

Something amazing happened on Saturday. I was away from Laurel Ridge, spending the day with my mother, who has been visiting from England, and when I came back to the store in the late afternoon, Barbara had waved her magic wand, and a beautiful 'new' (although actually antique) desk had appeared in the Dining Room!

 

 Rosewood and Satinwood Rococo Revival Desk

(Lovely Rococo Revival Desk)

 

I was rather taken a'back with how lovely it was, and it got me thinking about the cyclic nature of fashions and trends. Take leggings, big in the 80s and then again thirty years later, worn a different way but still, bang on trend.  The same is true for furniture, as is evident in the revival styles that were typical of the American craftsmen of the 1800s.

 

Rosewood and Satinwoon Rococo Revival Desk Top 

(The top of the Rococo Revival Desk)

 

However, we now have a different cycle being added into this wheel, usability. Antique writing desks, which for a while had become functionally redundant, due to the large sizes of computer monitors and towers, are now perfect once again, as our small laptops and tablets have fueled a revival in the popularity of beautifully designed and made, high quality antique desks.

 

Rosewood and Satinwood Rococo Revival Desk Writing Surface 

(The writing surface of the Rococo Revival Desk)

 

This part of the trend cycle makes me particularly happy as I look at this beautiful piece, and wonder who will end up with it in their home or office, and what life will it lead from now on. Antiques, be they furniture, art, jewelery, crystal, china, or any other antique sub-category, are intrinsic parts of our history, that yearn to continue being part of our future.

Gorgeous Glass

Charlotte Georgiou
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

 Prairie Floor and Table Lamps

 (Prairie Glass Floor and Table Lamps at Laurel Ridge)

 

The glass at Laurel Ridge is something that everyone who walks through the door, admires.

 

From the glass Christmas Ornaments (Radko, Old World and others) to the beautiful Waterford and Period crystal, to the stained glass panels and lamps, our glass pieces are a collection which garners attention.

 

Although we do have a few Antique pieces of stained glass in their original wooden frames, these are not the pieces that take center stage in the windows of the house. We proudly hang stained glass made today by a subsidiary of the Tiffany Company, using the original designs from the early 1900s, and it is these same original designs that are used in the beautiful glass lampshades and bases of our floor and table lamps.

 

 Stained glass filled window in the front room at Laurel Ridge

(Stained Glass filled window, in the front room at Laurel Ridge)

 

These stained glass panels have been a god-send. Barbara was completely right, the Texas sun does make it hard to see and the rooms hot, so having these beautiful pieces of stained glass in the windows not only is aesthetically pleasing, they are also hugely functional, blocking out a large portion of the light, and making the rooms pleasant to be in. Love a good multi-function piece, like a 'spork' for the windows!

 

Lighting at Laurel Ridge is an art form. Barbara has an innate ability to have the right light, in the right place, with stunning effect, and the glass lampshades of our  floor and table lamps are intrinsic in that process, casting a beautiful muted light on the surrounding area. My current favorite glass shaded lamp is this lovely Victorian oil lamp that was converted to electricity in the 1950s. I adore the reverse painting in the shade, which has a subtlety not usually found in Victorian pieces.

 

 Victorian converted glass shaded floor lamp

(Victorian converted Glass shaded Floor Lamp)

 

Glass at Laurel Ridge, truly remarkable.

Fun, Frolics and Paper Products!

Charlotte Georgiou
Thursday, July 16, 2015

We have spent the last two weeks up to our eyeballs in the wonderful Crystal Theatre Summer Children's Workshop, which really is the culmination of all the amazing work that our talented 'Shakespeare Ninja' Troupe have done throughout the year, and into which, we add additional participants, some of whom get enveloped into the next academic years' Ninjas! This year, the workshop has been so popular that we have a total of 27, yes, that is TWENTY SEVEN, students!

 

 During Dress Rehearsal

(During Dress Rehearsal!)

 

In the calm before the storm of the performance tomorrow evening at 7pm, I am reflecting on the tremendous energy that the Workshop students, and the Shakespeare Ninjas, have brought to the last two weeks, and in some cases, the whole academic year.

 

A few months ago, we discovered a book by a wonderful author and actor, and have used this first book in the series, 'The Land of Stories' as a platform to inspire the Ninjas to write their own script for the Summer Theatre Workshop. This is the first time that these students have created their own script for performance, and they couldn't be more proud of themselves and their accomplishment. In addition, two students have created the music for the 'Witch's Song' and again, this is a first for these talented young performers.

 

 Our Shakespeare Ninjnas, at our afternoon 'Performance Party'!

(Our Shakespeare Ninjas, at our afternoon 'Performance Party'!)

 

This had naturally led to a desire to discover more about their own capabilities and the books that the script is inspired by, which, although leading to a failed attempt to get them up to a book signing (but that is a story for another day!), has taken them on a journey of theatrical development which has meant that they will present their performance tomorrow night as more capable and well-rounded performers.

 

I had to laugh the other day, but one of our Ninjas, who I am certain knows what Barbara and I 'do' when we are not at the Crystal Theatre, said to me "Miss Charlotte, do you have any idea where I can buy or find Thank you cards?" This really put it all into perspective for me... these amazing students we have, really do have no idea that Barbara and I, thanks to decades of hard work on Barbara's part, have a whole other world that we are involved with away from the Theatre, where we happen to sell Thank you cards! I feel blessed everyday, that I am part of an organization that includes Laurel Ridge and all the beautiful pieces that we sell, and also allows us to be a part of growing the next generation of theatrical performers, where Barbara and I began our training in the first place!  And yes, I know where you can get Thank You Cards!

 

 At Laurel Ridge, we even have Thank You cards in different languages!

(At Laurel Ridge, we even have Thank You Cards in different languages!)