Boston to New York

Plane. Train. Bus. Car. There are ample modes of transportation for furrylittlegnome to choose from to get to “The Big Apple” this week. Pre-September 11th, flying was her first choice. The shuttle into LaGuardia was less than an hour. From there, it was a quick cab or chauffeured ride into Midtown. Gnome and a family friend would spend fifteen hours shopping and eating at the shops and restaurants of New York’s elite – back when dining at Tavern on the Green wasn’t for tourists.

Then, gnome went through a phase when she and a friend would take the cheap, Chinese bus that left South Station on the hour and ended up in the bowels of Manhattan – on the outskirts of the Lower East Side and on the edge of Chinatown. “The Lucky Star” bus was only $15 one way (it still might be). Looking back at it now, it was like being a can of sardines with the added detriments of being extremely unsafe and so sketchy.

Then, the Limoliner came into furrylittlegnome’s life. A limousine on big wheels, with a capacity of only twenty eight passengers, is the only way to describe it. Using Boston’s Back Bay Hilton and New York’s Hilton as its destination points, the Limoliner is comfortable, clean and has all of the bells and whistles one could imagine. The spacious black leather seats are roomy for gnome and also recline to be able to nap comfortably. (Unlike domestic flights these days, the Limoliner even provides a pillow). An on board attendant serves each passenger with food and beverages. Catering to business folks, there is WiFi, power outlets and actual work stations.

Furrylittlegnome will be on New York’s Upper East Side for eight hours. She will fill you in with all of the details about this quick adventure later this week.

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O Christmas Tree

One of the best things about the month of December is not the beginning of the winter season or furrylittlegnome’s birthday but the smell of Christmas trees!  Originating in Germany in the sixteenth century, the tradition of a Christmas tree has evolved over time.  Early Christmas trees were lit with candles.  The ornaments were not made of glass or plastic but were actually apples and nuts.  The most common Christmas trees are Balsam Firs and Fraser Firs – the latter found in the Eastern United States.

In America, the most photographed “Tannenbaum” – German for “Fir Tree”, is located in New York City’s Rockefeller Center.  Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City
While reading the news online this morning, furrylittlegnome learned some interesting facts. While 88% of Americans will have a Christmas tree in their homes this season, 83% of these Christmas trees will be artificial or “fake”!

The tree below made its way home yesterday.  From a tree farm in Colchester, Vermont, this Fraser Fir cost $35 and is seven feet tall.  It will be decorated later today and stay that way until Epiphany.

Christmas Tree from Tree Farm in Vermont

In Brookline, Massachusetts, this Christmas tree came from a tree lot in town.  Priced at $45, this six feet tall Balsam Fir is also from Vermont!Christmas Tree bought in Brookline, Massachusetts

In Dracut, Massachusetts, we find this decorated Fraser Fir that stands at seven feet!  The price for buying this Christmas tree at a local garden center?  Twenty-two dollars!  A steal!Decorated Fraser Fir Christmas Tree in Massachusetts

As is custom in furrylittlegnome’s family household, the artificial Christmas tree, that is seven feet tall, is erected Thanksgiving afternoon.   This year, gnome’s four year-old niece took charge and with the aid of her grandfather’s height, she decorated the entire tree herself!  We can blame gnome’s brother for the artificial tree due to an allergy at an early age…

Artificial Christmas Tree

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Completed Projects

It has been a busy year for furrylittlegnome’s fingers.  She is waiting for two projects to come back from the finisher, but take a look at what she has made in 2013!18 Count Needlepoint Vermont Ornament

18 Count Needlepoint Lobster Ornament

Charleston, South Carolina Needlepointed Button Pillow

18 Count Needlepoint Picture Frames

18 Count Needlepointed Dream Sign

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A Glimpse into the life of Isabella Stewart Gardner

The year was 1990.  Two men disguised as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum telling museum guards they were responding to a call.  Both security guards on duty on March 18th were handcuffed by the impersonators and brought down to the museum’s basement and not discovered until the next morning. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MALast weekend was furrylittlegnome’s first visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Located in the Fenway section of Boston, the museum is easily accessible by the subway’s MFA stop on the green line.  From there, the four-story building is a five minute walk.  While the Museum of Fine Arts has a wonderful John Singer Sargent exhibit, the Gardner Museum houses special Sargent pieces as well.  Fact:  Isabella Stewart Gardner and John Singer Sargent were close friends for over forty years.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA After purchasing a $15 ticket for admission ($12 for seniors), one walks down the hallway and instantly sees the famous indoor courtyard that is in the center of the building.  This photo is from the first floor and gnome’s only photo of the inside. Lots of security were present and signs posted throughout the museum stated no photographs were allowed.The Courtyard at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, MA The first floor is rather dark with the “West Cloister” and the “East Cloister” and “Spanish Cloister” outlining the courtyard.  It is in the Spanish Cloister where furrylittlegnome encounters her first John Singer Sargent painting – “El Jaleo”.

Moving up to the second floor, we enter the “Dutch Room” – a room wallpapered from head to toe in regal green.  Two empty and impressive frames hang on a wall.    This is the room where Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings were stolen in March of 1990.  It is the museum’s hope to one day hang those paintings back where they rightfully belong.The Dutch Room at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Another room of note on the second floor is the “Tapestry Room” – a dark room full of large tapestries that reminded furrylittlegnome of the Cluny Museum in Paris.

Going up our final set of stairs to the third floor (the fourth floor is closed to visitors), gnome encounters a free talk occurring in the “Gothic Room”.  The discussion is focused on Mrs Stewart and of a portrait of her by Mr. Sargent that is life size and in a corner.  Here, furrylittlegnome learns a few things:  Isabella Gardner Stewart came to Boston from New York and was the product of a wealthy family.  She was a fan of the Red Sox and a patron of the arts.  In fact, each piece in the museum was placed by the eye of Isabella Gardner Stewart.  In her will, if anything was significantly moved, the museum must sell the museum’s possessions.

Gnome cannot wait to visit in the spring to see the gardens outdoors in full bloom!

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The Day After Game Six

It is a quiet, Halloween morning in Boston, Massachusetts. A little before midnight, New England and most of America, watched the Boston Red Sox end a ninety-five year drought at Fenway Park with a decisive victory over the St Louis Cardinals in game six of the 2013 World Series clinching the title four games to two.

Although there have been three championships in furrylittlegnome’s lifetime (2004, 2007 and 2013), the Boston Red Sox had not won a World Series at home, in beloved Fenway Park, since 1918!

The city was preparing and hoping for this. After all, it has only been six months (that still seems so fresh in our minds) since the bombings at the Boston Marathon not only rattled this city to its core but also made it stronger than ever. During those dark days in April, the Red Sox became our distraction, and in return, they became our number one fans! We did not think we could love David Ortiz more than we already did.

Over the course of the baseball season, that seemed endless to some, Red Sox Nation was louder and prouder than ever.  As the team went from “last to first,” the pride and love its city showed them increased. For over a week, furrylittlegnome saw the “Boston Strong” banner hanging in front of the Massachusetts State House while walking to and from work.
20131031-082912.jpgLast night, it was the Prudential Tower’s turn to show some love.
While those of us have entered our buildings to start a day of work, bleary-eyed and tired, there is excitement in the air for another championship parade this weekend!

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Ahead of the Fashion Curve?

We have been hearing about it for a week now. Cold temperatures will hit New England in the next few days. With that in mind, on Sunday night, furrylittlegnome made the switch. Her summer clothes were placed in the back of her walk-in closet and her heaviness of wool and “bulky” winter wardrobe was moved to the front. In her bedroom, the Petit Bateau short-sleeve tops and bright Lilly Pulitzer pieces disappeared – replaced with ribbed turtlenecks and warm sweaters.

Gnome came across this sweater. A size 1 from Karen Millen she bought in January of 2013.Sofia Vergara wearing Karen Millen sweater on Modern Family

She had recently seen it somewhere and was shocked.

Besides being female, furrylittlegnome thought that was the only thing she and actress Sofia Vergara (of Modern Family fame) had in common. Apparently, there is one more thing…

“First Days”
Modern Family
The second episode of the season five premiere that aired on September 25, 2013 that aired in the U.S.

“Gloria Pritchett” is dropping her son “Manny” off at his first day of high school.

Sofia Vergara wearing Karen Millen sweater on Modern Family

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An Illuminating Sunday Drive

A tad under two hours west of Boston sits South Deerfield, Massachusetts. A small, quaint New England town, it is home to one of New England’s most popular destinations: Yankee Candle.

Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts

Yankee Candle Village in South Deerfield, Massachusetts
With over 19,000 retailers in the United States, Yankee Candle is one of, if not, the largest candle manufacturer in the country. With its first retail store opened in 1975, the company continues to expand.

The inside of Yankee Candle Village is like a maze. There are themed “rooms” throughout. Here, we come across a pumpkin patch in honor of the autumn season.

While there places where you can make your own candles, a restaurant to get a bite to eat or find exclusive scents like the one below, furrylittlegnome made a bee line towards Santa’s Wonderland!

That is correct. Gnome wrote something about Christmas. She cannot help it.  It is her favorite time of year.  We head into a dark part of the village called the Black Forest and enter an old Bavarian (German) village decked out for the holiday season. It is only October, but gnome was in a snowstorm and surrounded by Christmas trees!

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

After an exhausting forty five minutes and a developing headache from smelling too many candle scents, furrylittlegnome had had enough. As she exited the building, she saw not only Santa, but the “Yankee Candle Walk of Fame”.  Bricks line the walkway with long term employees names and start date. It’s a nice touch.

Before heading back to Boston, gnome stopped next door for a candle-lit meal at Chandler’s Restaurant. Here, furrylittlegnome and her posse enjoyed a home-cooked meal!

Yankee Candle Village in Massachusetts

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