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Thoughts from Laurel Ridge

A taste of country livin'!

Barbara Crozier
Friday, March 04, 2016

Talk about country living... Today is the Gonzales Livestock Show for the youth of the area. All the kids have the day off school and I think it is absolutely lovely to see the community supporting this event, from the businesses that donate for the raffle, to the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, who hosted an excellent "Cowboy Breakfast"!


Although my kids do not 'show', they thoroughly enjoyed seeing the heifers, pigs, goats and rabbits that their friends are showing, and I am in awe of the time and energy that goes into these animals. Remarkable children! Our wonderful Pilar, Ninja mentor and Laurel Ridge intern, showed three rabbits this morning, and we are so proud of her.



(Pilar and her rabbits!)


In honor of this wonderful, local event, and the cattle I saw this morning, our Weekly pre-order Early Release is an adorable, "Rodeo" themed Radko ornament.

'8 Second Nick' by Christopher Radko features Cattleman Santa riding a bucking bronco, and is really cute as can be! I just love him!


 8 Second Nick by Christopher Radko


('8 Second Nick' by Christopher Radko, in honor of the Gonzales Livestock Show being held now!)

Wow, what a season!

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!).


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)


Fun, Frolics and Paper Products!

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!)


Appreciating the Stories behind each piece

Saturday, July 11, 2015

 Rococo sterling silver and cut glass cruet set

(A beautiful Rococo Sterling Silver and Cut Glass Cruet Set...)


In my opinion, the most wonderful and exciting part of being around antiques, are the stories that are coupled to them. Appreciating the provenance of a bed, or a painting, for example, makes the antique more than beautiful old furniture, paintings or jewelry. An interest in the tales that are part of these pieces makes them into snapshots of history, and creates both a mystique and an understanding of nuances of the particular historical period, and of those who owned the piece.


We have recently had the pleasure of accepting in some silver pieces (pictured) from a fascinating lady from San Antonio, who, after the Blitz Bombings of Central London during WWII, bought several pieces of silver from the London Silver Vaults, and brought them back to San Antonio with her. It is an understanding not simply of the historical period that a piece was made, but the individual life it had in the proceeding years, that gives antiques such a wonderful allure.


Georgian sterling silver and cut glass cruet set 

(A stunning Georgian Sterling Silver and Cut Glass Cruet Set...)


 Victorian Lion's Head silver plate punch bowl

(A lovely Victorian silver plate Lion's Head Punch Bowl...)


Barbara Crozier
Monday, July 06, 2015

Laurel Ridge is truly the most amazing organization that I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. On the one hand, we are exposed to stunning antiques and pieces of estate jewelry, and at the end of every year, we become a Winter Wonderland and Christmas Specialty store.


But we are so much more than that.


On Stage at the Gonzales Crystal Theatre with the Shakespeare Ninjas 

(On stage at the Crystal with the Ninjas)


Barbara, trained in Theater and a wonderful actress and director, has been part of the Gonzales Crystal Theatre 'since time began' and five years ago, began a program, in association with the Gonzales Youth Center and the University of Texas Shakespeare at Winedale Program, called the 'Gonzales Shakespeare Ninjas'. So when I came back home with my acting and musical theatre training and experience, it made perfect sense for me to join her in this venture.


We work with a small group of around 12 youngsters, aged between 11 and 14 years old, teaching them to appreciate Theatre, performance and the written word through primarily the collected works of Shakespeare.  This incredible group of young performers meet on average of twice a week throughout the year, which culminates in a two week 'Theatre Workshop - More Stories, Please' held during the summer, which happened to have started today for 2015, and also welcomes a further dozen students for the two weeks.


These students have such a passion and are so committed to not only putting on a great show, but also having fun whilst doing it, that it never ceases to re-ignite my passion for the craft I love so much. I feel truly blessed to be a part of this program.


 Taking the Ninjas out of their usual habitat into the Gonzales Memorial Amphitheatre

(Taking the Ninjas out of their usual habitat into the Gonzales Memorial Amphitheatre)


They present their wonderful production of "More Stories, Please" on Friday, July 17th at 7pm.


 On stage with the Ninjas

(On stage with the Ninjas)


 More from the Amphitheatre

(More from the Amphitheatre)


 Why so sad? Acting at the Amphitheatre

(Why so sad? Acting at the Amphitheatre)

What is it they say about Diamonds?

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


 Antique Lavalier Necklace 18K White Gold with Diamonds and Pearl Pendant

(Antique Lavalier Necklace 18K White Gold with over 1 carat of Diamonds and hanging Pearl Pendant)


So it is truth time.... I am completely obsessed with jewelry, and in particular, Diamonds. I get the fascination, I really do. Of course I love other gemstones, Sapphires being a personal favorite and what is in the center of my engagement ring, which my husband and I designed together with our jeweler, but there is something about diamonds... big, small, single, clustered.... they are entrancing.


So when Barbara walks into the store last week, with a "Look what I have!", I became as giddy as a little school-girl! From her "English Jewelry Man" she had brought the store a whole bag full of AMAZING antique pieces of jewelry, and the diamond pieces , including an Antique 18K White Gold, Diamond and Pearl Lavalier and a Half Carat Diamond 14K White Gold Pinkie Ring, were just sensational.


 14K White Gold Half Carat Diamond Ring

(Deco 14K White Gold and Half Carat Diamond Pinkie Ring)


I have been a kid in a candy store, choosing each day what new piece of jewelry I am going to wear with the outfit of the day to best showcase the jewelry, and today I went back to the Lavalier and the Pinkie Ring on one hand, and a beautiful 2 and a half carat Deco 14K White and Yellow Gold Ring.


 14K White and Yellow Gold 2 1/2 carat Diamond Ring

(14K White and Yellow Gold 2 and a half Carat Diamond Deco Ring)


Maybe it is the colorless, go-with-anything quality, maybe it is the sparkle, but one thing is for certain, I am now, and always will be, a fan of DIAMONDS!