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One of a Kind American Made Santas
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Ino Schaller

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)


Delightful Desks

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

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!

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...)