Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Velveteen Rabbit with Marjorie

Marjorie Tudor has been working diligently all summer and fall to create these incredible Velveteen (and wild) Rabbit puppets for a very special project: they will be gracing the stage of the Boston Children's Theatre's Christmas production of the classic children's story. It is quite the project, with many rabbits and other creatures to create. These are also hand-puppets (with a few rod puppets), but they were a departure from Marjorie's marionette expertise. She is becoming quite adept at the workings and creation of hand puppets! Here you can see the pieces before they are sewn together, and her beautiful 1950s hand-crank Singer that she so dearly loves:
And here the rabbits are 'becoming real' with their velveteen pieces so beautifully and intricately made (Marjorie lines each piece and they are almost seamless) in a basket, ready to be sewn together to come to life:
The children are just falling in love with the rabbits! They are so life-like and cozy. Marjorie searched high and low for some of the best velveteens and fake furs you've ever seen, it is truly amazing.
The play opens in Boston the first weekend in December 4th. You will certainly want to come see this mix of imagination coming to life with puppetry AND live actors. Marjorie is quite impressed with the caliber of talent in the young performers as she has been in Boston quite often to work closely with the cast and director. In fact, myself and Marjorie went to one of the Theatre's summer productions and were simply astounded at the professional level of production. Here's a picture of ready for the show (we got to go behind the scenes and had V.I.P. seating....very fun!):

Purchase tickets NOW as they are sure to be very popular!!! Click here to go to the Boston Children's Theatre website

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Apron Fabric Coming Soon!

It's that time of year, dear ones, for cooking and baking! In fact, a friend just gave me some lemon squares and butterscotch bars she'd baked up :) I'm about ready to tie on my apron and make some more goodies myself (though we've all been baking apple things right?).

New apron fabric is coming soon! We have two beautiful dark prints for fall and winter. They are 1800s reproduction fabrics, and we chose with Tasha in mind. Let us know what you think!

It's also sewing and knitting season again, with all of those projects we've been putting off for Christmas presents! What sorts of projects are you working on?

Besides whipping up aprons, I've got some other personal projects up my sleeve (with that pretty green and yellow almost byzantine-honeycomb fabric, isn't it lovely? The green print is my notepad, always handy to have nearby for quick calculations and ideas while sewing!) These are just a few pics from my sewing studio, which I straightened up this weekend. When it's chilly outside but still sunny, I love a productive sewing day!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Elizabeth Rose

Ellizabeth and I had a great time together at the office today while Amy caught up on a few emails. She likes to be swayed to sleep, and here she is, asleep after a good sway with me! Amy took this picture! More pictures to come...and the Early Bird Post is flying out soon :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lovely Name

I am sure you have all seen on the website that Amy and Winslow have named their little one:

Elizabeth Rose Tudor

and we are so blessed. Just wanted to let you know in case you hadn't heard.
Still waiting for photos!

From a sunny and (amazingly) warm Wednesday in Vermont,

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Welcome Baby!

Baby Tudor (it's a GIRL!) arrived safe and sound yesterday (October 3) and all are doing well. I stopped by to see them and what a PRECIOUS family. There aren't words!! Oh my goodness, we are all so blessed and excited.
Amy and Winslow haven't settled on a name...they need to get to know the most adorable little one first.

More news and pictures to come soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Booties for Baby!

Oh my goodness, our good friend Sarah from Japan sent Amy the prettiest little package of things for baby! You wouldn't believe how luscious these colors are, the picture doesn't do them justice. Sarah sent the sweetest little leather booties in pistachio green, and a darling little handmade dress. The dress is from a famous designer in France, and Amy had admired a scarf of Sarah's by this designer. Sarah is such a selfless person she gave the scarf to Amy as a gift, and now baby Tudor can have a little outfit to match mom. Isn't it gorgeous? We have the best fans!

P.S. We don't know for sure it's going to be a girl!

Baby Shower Blessings

Can you believe baby Tudor is due almost any day now? We are so excited and I'm sure you are too. We had a baby shower at the Rookery for Amy and Winslow a few weeks ago, and boy (or girl?!) was it fun! Bright pinks and greens decorated the Rookery, with crepe paper flower streamers hung from the ceiling, balloons tied up, colorful tablecloths and beautiful bright flowers everywhere (thanks, Jenna!).

Our dear friend Kate (those of you on the September tours met Kate working the marionettes in Marjorie's theatre) made this lovely flower crown for the guests of honor! And our other dear friend, Kathleen (whom you can meet if you come to the Hildene or Newfane craft shows coming right up) knit this beautiful little sweater set. I think Amy is going to use this as the "bringing home baby" outfit. You can see some jars of baby food in the foreground...yes, we made Amy and Winslow taste-test some baby foods. They didn't get a single one right, but I think they decided it's going to be natural foods for baby instead of unidentifiable jarred food.

Overall we had a splendid time preparing for the new baby and are just so excited to meet our newest office staff member. We'll have another little one calling out to you when you place your phone orders!

On a chilly Vermont (almost-Fall) Monday,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Office Hours

Most of you probably notice that recently our office hours have been changing somewhat sporadically...I just wanted to clue you in on the reason, dear friends! I, Natalie, have been commuting up to Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, to get my Master's degree in Creative Writing! But Dartmouth has this funny quarter-term system, so my class schedule changes every two or three months.

Since I'm the one in the office most days, answering your emails and phone calls, I am SO grateful to Amy and the rest of the family for allowing my schedule to be flexible. We really are a family business here (even if I'm not quite family!). Thank you so much for your patience and support!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Naturally Clean Home

Dear Friends,

Have you seen our great new little book of interest, The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier? It's bright, cheery, modern cover is so refreshing, as are the recipes inside. I never liked breathing in so many chemicals, and certainly neither did Tasha! Why did we have to do so much damage to our bodies and the environment just to keep things "clean"? I love how Siegel-Maier says that cleaning naturally is actually--gasp!--a pleasure!

I gave a few recipes in her book a go, and I must say I'm impressed and rather addicted to natural cleaning. With only a small investment (mostly in the essential oils--even the book itself is only $10.95) and common household ingredients, you can clean every surface in your home. I do mean every surface: your septic system, your delicate laundry, your wood floors, your mini-blinds, your tools, the leather upholstery in your car, wicker furniture, your barbeque grill....and of course, the kitchen sink! Phew. Good thing all that cleaning is fun :)

I used one of the simple recipes on my old, stained porcelain sink. It turned out beautifully and I didn't have to plug my nose and open the windows after scrubbing. I did have to use a bit of extra elbow grease compared to the 'chemical' cleaners, but it was worth it. The lavender and lemon essential oils I used made the kitchen smell so fresh and comfortable at the same time.

Porcelain Sink Saver, by Karyn Siegel-Maier
1 part sage, rosemary, lemon balm, thyme, or mint, fresh or dried
1 part water

Brew a strong infusion by steeping the herb in hot water for 2 to 3 hours. Strain, reserving the liquid. Close the sink drain, pour in the liquid, and allow it to work for several hours or overnight. If the stain persists, place 4 to 6 drops of your favorite esential oil directly on the stain and then scrub the spot with a baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge.

Simple Sink Cleanser, by Karyn Siegel-Maier

Bon Ami brand cleanser is made of grated detergent and feldspar and is nontoxic and nonabrasive. Sprinkle it freely in the sink basin and add 5 to 6 essential oil of choice. Scrub and rinse well.

Recipes used with permission: The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn SiegelMaier © Storey Publishing, pgs 37–38. http://www.storey.com.

Both Siegel-Maier and I are fans of Bon Ami cleanser. Have you tried it? It's an old-fashioned favorite, and here in Vermont, I pick it up whenever I visit the Vermont Country Store. If you haven't heard of the Vermont Country Store, you'll love it, I'm sure! They are "Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find." Here is their website: Vermont Country Store.

Truly, this little book will change how you think about cleaning. Snap up a cute little copy and indulge your senses in the process of cleaning. You'll feel so connected and satisfied...and Tasha would be pleased! You can view and order the book by clicking on this link to our website. Let me know what you think of this book! Tried any recipes? Have any of your own to share?
Greetings from Vermont!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Whale of a Good Shelf

Dear Friends,

First off, thanks so much for the great response to the blog! I received so many wonderful emails, notes, and comments (and followers!). We're off to a great start.

I just wanted to tell you about Seth's Whale Shelf today. A dear woman just ordered one and I'm sure she'll love it when it arrives. Seth makes them from pine on the family property, and they are just like one on the wall in Tasha's winter kitchen. The silhouette on the side is that of a whale. It has so much old-fashioned charm!

Tasha had hers painted blue, but the one we just sent out was unfinished. I'm telling you, the wood was just a thing of beauty. Creamy white, smooth as can be, I wanted one myself right then and there! I think they'd be perfect for a nautical-themed little boy's room (or an adult study, for that matter!), or any room in a country home. Bathroom, kitchen, living room, hallway?

You can find Seth's Whale Shelves and other items by clicking on this link to our website: Seth's Furniture. Do you have one of Seth's Whale Shelves or an antique one? Tell us about it!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baby Goodness

Dear Friends,

Isn't the excitement and anticipation of a new baby wonderful? With the announcement of Amy and Winslow Tudor's baby arriving this fall, we have lots to celebrate. A few days ago, Christina and I were able to feel baby Tudor kick! It was such an uplifting moment and we were all smiling the rest of the day as we took your orders and answered your emails. What a wonderful existence we have.
This weekend I held a baby shower for a friend who happens to be named Marjorie. Everyone was asked to bring a favorite book for baby, and I chose "Around the Year." This book just seems to capture all Tasha's lifestyle so well, in an easy to read (and memorize) form that both kids and parents love. I also had her choose a print for the baby's room. She and her husband Jimmy chose "Bathtime" which I think was an excellent pick!

That has been my standard gift for the past few baby showers I've attended--a Tasha Tudor book and a print for the baby's room. What do you like to give for baby gifts? Do you have a favorite Tasha Tudor book you give? There are so many to choose from, it is fun to pick one that fits the family's personality.

Take joy, always, and greetings from Vermont on a rainy Tuesday.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Potpourri Ponderings

Dear Friends,

We are gearing up for our summer tours here, and that means making a few batches of potpourri. I love this task; it is so satisfying to all of the senses. The mixes of dried flowers have such wonderful hand-feel, the scents are uplifting, and the sight of a finished row of potpourri bags makes me smile.

Tasha's potpourri starts with wild-crafted herbs and flowers that are free from pesticides, dyes, and preservatives. They hold their color and scent amazingly well. Since it happened to be a sunny day, I set up production on the picnic table (that Seth Tudor made) in front of the Rookery. With a giant Canton china bowl, and glass measuring cups, the rose petals, lavender, lemon peel, cinnamon sticks, and hibsicus flowers got mixed into our four potpourri scents: Citrus Spice, Golden Flowers, Lavender, and Garden Rose. We then add pure essential oils to help the scent last in your home. I kept thinking of dear Tasha, using nature's gifts to craft something to share. I think she would be pleased that I used the giant Canton bowl on the picnic table like she used to.

The Rookery smelled soooooo good when I brought all the labeled paper bags inside. But poor Jenna came in from the garden and started sneezing---she's allergic to the cinnamon sticks! Can you imagine? For the finishing touch, we set out tiny Canton bowls with samples so visitors can see and smell each variety. What a great day's work!

We now have these in stock online. It's just one of life's little pleasures that Tasha always loved. Which scent is your favorite? Do you have a new suggestion for us? Let me know!

Greetings from Vermont on a sunny potpourri-making day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sophia Turns One!

Dear Friends,

I hope you remember our shipping department extroirdinaire, Christina, had her baby a year ago. We were all so excited, and have gotten to know our sweet Sophia over the past year. You've probably heard her laughing or shrieking in the background when you call--she's lucky to be able to come to work with her mom!

We held a small lunch party for Sophia's first birthday. Christina's turkey-spinach meatloaf, rolls, and salad filled us all up but we had to save room for dessert. Winslow baked a vanilla cake with marshmallow frosting, and it was so high that it didn't fit under the dome of the cake plate!

Christina made a ribbon banner that she is going to add to each year. She asked all of us for colorful ribbon scraps (Jenna brought in a big bag!) and strung them together, with a flower made from Sophia's birth announcement in the center. It's going to be used every year, with new ribbons and photos added. Isn't that a great idea? I just don't know where she finds the time for such endeavors, though!

Sophia and her daddy blew out the candle on the impressive cake, and then she dug into her cake and ice cream with abandon. She loved it! But when she tried to put the entire scoop of ice cream in her mouth at once, she had such a surprised look on her face at how cold it was!

We love having Christina and Sophia here in the office, and thank you for your continued support of our family business. It is wonderful to be able to be family-friendly.

Best wishes to you and yours for the month of May!