February 28, 2011

Maple Sugaring Season!

Harvesting Delicious Gold From the Maple Trees
Sarah and Tasha Corgi

With the coming of spring, with freezing nights and warming days, the sap in the old sturdy maple trees starts its journey up the trees. For generations Diane's family has harvested the sweetness of the maple tree. When she was a little girl Diane remembers peeking into her grandfather's sugar house at night to see her grandfather and uncles tending the fires and skimming the foam from boiling sap pans. Maple sugaring is a tradition in Diane's family.

Diane and her father continued the tradition by making maple syrup. They constructed a small sugaring hut, a simple shelter from the elements. Many days and nights of dedicated work brought forth delicious gold from the maple trees. Once you have partaken in the old fashioned task of maple sugaring you can sense in the warming of the weather that the sap is running and the urge to commence sugaring is irresistible!

The tradition has been carried down further as Diane has done maple sugaring with her own family. One year when Diane and her family were making maple syrup Diane drew and painted the pussy willows around the photograph of Sarah collecting sap with Tasha Corgi and used it as an early springtime card.

Some of the spiles that Diane's family have used through the years. The top spile has a patent date of 1877.

In 1865, in Diane's direct family line, George Deuel harvested 200 pounds of maple sugar, James Standish harvested 175 pounds of maple sugar, and Lynus Shepard harvested 100 pounds of maple sugar.

Diane's father built this simple sugaring hut. During sugaring season your sugaring hut gets to feel like home.

Sarah peeks under the bucket lid to find some of the sap had frozen. Although rusty on the outside inside the buckets are clean and shiny.

It is so nice to be out in the coming of spring collecting sap, tending fires, and seeing and hearing the birds! When Sarah was little, her friends came over to help and experience the art of maple sugaring as they helped bore holes for spiles. With spoons the girls tasted the sap as it came out of the tree. Diane explained to Sarah's friends though the sap was clear and tasteless now, when boiled and evaporated down it would become a thickened maple syrup.

The Johnsons held a party where they finished off a batch of syrup on their old cook range. After straining the syrup, Sarah and her friends made their own pancakes on the old wood cook stove and they were enjoyed with the delicious homemade maple syrup. It is very satisfying to make your own maple syrup!

What a pleasant sight it is to see the old buckets hung on the maple trees.

In "A Time to Keep" Tasha Tudor illustrates a sap house and sugar bush with a family partaking in the annual tradition of gathering sap. Pussy willows and red-winged blackbirds surround the drawings. Diane loves to hear the red-winged blackbird, it reminds her that spring is coming. As of yet, the red-wing has not returned. "Around the Year" is another of Diane's favorite Tasha Tudor books that illustrates the tasks and celebrations around the year. There is also maple sugaring in "Around the Year" by Tasha Tudor.


February 19, 2011

"A is for Annabelle" by Tasha Tudor, The Story of a Lovely Doll!

Annabelle's Favorite Things!
Annabelle M'liss, Amelia's sister, who lives at Corgyncombe.
She is wearing a cloak and a feather in her hat and holds a nosegay with a pink surrounded by forget-me-nots. Corgyncombe's Annabelle M'liss was named after Tasha Tudor's doll Annabelle because she reminds us so of her.

Valentine Tea through the looking glass at the Corgyncombe Tea Room.

"A is for Annabelle", illustrated and written by Tasha Tudor, is about an old fashioned doll and some of her belongings from A to Z, such as her quilt, her hat with a feather, and her nosegay. "A is for Annabelle" is one of Diane and Sarah's favorite Tasha Tudor books! Diane has placed real rose geraniums and forget-me-nots, some of the illustrated flowers in the border, on Tasha Tudor's illustration of Annabelle's skirt. If you love pretty things you will love this book as much as the Corgyncombe Courant does!

In the "The Golden Key", filmed by Nell Dorr, there are several music boxes featured playing. The film follows Tasha Tudor's dolls through different seasonal celebrations and the courtship and wedding of Tasha's lovely doll Melissa and Thaddeus Crane. Tasha's Melissa was also the model for the doll Annabelle in "A is for Annabelle" written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor.

The inscription that Tasha wrote to Diane in the "A is for Annabelle" book:
"To clever Diane, how I envy your spinning abilities! Tasha Tudor"

Tasha Tudor's dolls... A portrait of old friends amongst the roses.

Annabelle M'liss of Corgyncombe in her antique fur trimmed frock, hat, and muff. On her travels she takes along her valise. She reminds us of Tasha Tudor's illustration of Annabelle with her muff in the book "A is for Annabelle". She is collecting the things from Tasha Tudor's "A is for Annabelle" book from A to Z.

Annabelle M'liss of Corgyncombe at a special Valentine Tea.

Annabelle M'liss took a trip to acquire furniture and various other favorite things. She had a most enjoyable time! The chairs above were made by the talented woodworker, Seth Tudor, son of Tasha Tudor.

Here is a link to: Tasha Tudor and Family

where you can purchase the book "A is for Annabelle", the new "A is for Annabelle" fabric for quilting, and Seth Tudor doll furniture.

The Sheryl Williams kit for making an Annabelle inspired doll clothing and accessory collection.
The doll is not included in the kit. The kit contains material and patterns for making silk dresses, a bonnet, slippers, and accessories. Included with the kit are photographs of Sheryl's lovely completed doll.
Corgyncombe's Annabelle M'liss looks forward to new dresses and things made from the Sheryl Williams kit!

Diane and Sarah have always loved Tasha Tudor's "A is for Annabelle"! It was Tasha Tudor's "A is for Annabelle" and Tasha's dolls, and Sheryl Williams' doll and patterns that inspired Diane and Sarah to assist Corgyncombe's Annabelle M'liss on her journey to acquire all the wonderful things from A to Z! Diane was so excited, in her head she could see all the different photographs she could take!

We bought our Annabelle material and pattern kit, to make dresses and accessories, right from Sheryl Williams. If you would like contact information to get in touch with Sheryl Williams, email us at atthecottagegate@yahoo.com


February 18, 2011

Tasha Tudor Giveaway Cup Makes Debut at Valentine Tea!

Valentine Tea ~ Listening to the Kalliope!
Valentine Tea through the looking glass at the Corgyncombe Tea Room.

Diane was surprised and thrilled when she won this lovely pink lustre tea cup in the Tasha Tudor and Family Giveaway! 'Tis so dainty and lovely, 'twas the one that Diane liked the best!

Flowers for Valentine's Day!

Music for Valentine's Day!
Old music boxes were a cheerful old fashioned children's entertainment.

Viola came to tea in her best party frock. She brought Charlotte's goat kid Lucy.

The Christmas tree remains up in the parlour at Corgyncombe. Diane likes to keep it up at least until Valentine's Day as it is so lovely to have it lit at Valentine's Tea.

The music box in motion.

The music box has stopped and needs another crank up.

Gingerbread cookies with a pretty lacy edge were served for Valentine's Tea. The small heart cookie was made just for Viola. Some of Diane's favorite antique Valentines are on the table. The one with the kitten has written "To Mama" on the back. The smells in the parlour of the flowers, the gingerbread, and the Christmas tree are delightful!
The Tasha Tudor tea cup is exquisite!

Happy children dancing!

Winding up the old music box brings fond remembrances that we have of Tasha Tudor winding up her old music box after evening meals in her candle lit parlour. Very magical and delightful!

A Finch Post Box.
Finch Post serves the dolls at Corgyncombe with superb mail delivery service. Diane and Sarah were inspired by Tasha Tudor to have their own doll Post. Tasha Tudor's post was named Sparrow Post, where cards and goodies were delivered to her children.

The Kalliope music box has many discs with different tunes.
In the "The Golden Key", filmed by Nell Dorr, there are several music boxes featured playing. The film follows Tasha Tudor's dolls through different seasonal celebrations and the courtship and wedding of the lovely doll Melissa and Thaddeus Crane. Melissa was also the model for the doll Annabelle in "A is for Annabelle" written and illustrated by Tasha Tudor.

Sarah has loved the "pretty usic" of music boxes ever since she was a little girl and she would love to go the the shop that had music box music playing at Christmastide.

Postmistress Phidelia Finch's husband Bates Finch.
Diane made the rose wreath that encircles him.

An old glass slide from The Corgyncombe Magic Lantern Theatre.
The girls have gathered flowers, one lad is collecting butterflies, and if you look closely at the other lad you can see that he is collecting specimens in his vasculum.
Magic Lantern shows are presented at The Corgyncombe Theatre on Saturday night after baked beans and brown bread. Magic lantern shows are another old fashioned entertainment.

Purple violets, wild strawberries, pink violet, forget-met-nots, and sweet woodruff.
In the old days children would go out and about in the woods, fields, hills, and dales and gather plant specimens for studying botany. A tin vessel with a tight fitting lid would keep the flower specimens fresh. This tin vessel is called a vasculum and has a strap for carrying over your shoulder.
The pretty flowers in the parlour remind us that despite the huge snowbanks, spring might eventually come!

Corgyncombe Violas

A great big Thank you to Tasha Tudor and Family for such a delightful and generous giveaway!

Here is the link to: Tasha Tudor and Family
Here is the link to: Sweet Natalie at Rookery Ramblings


February 15, 2011

The Corgyncombe Herbary

Ahhh, The Delightful and Inviting Fragrances Within...
A rose, thyme, forget-me-not, and lavender tussie-mussie. We call this rose our Rhode Island Rose. It has such a sweet fragrance.

Herbs are hanging to dry at the Corgyncombe Herbary.

On the table is a delightful find found right after Christmas, a wooden implement for crushing dried herbs. It was found at an estate sale near where my early New England ancestors lived. Maybe they used it! After herbs are crushed, they are put in glass jars or packaged and put in the herb and spice cupboard for storage.

The Herbary at Corgyncombe.

The lavender sachet was made by Sarah. Along the border are whole stitch fans and spiders. The center square contains the roseground pattern. The pattern is from "Torchon Lacemaking, A Manual of Techniques" by Elizabeth Wade.

A pink Corgnycombe rose in an old vasculum.

In the photograph above, there is dried lemon verbena and lavender that came from Diane's Garden of Herbs. String is always saved from feed bags for tying herbs up for drying. Diane made the lavender wands in the glass container. On the art stand made by Seth Tudor, is an old copy of "The National Formulary" covered with rose patterned material. There are receipts for elixirs, confections, syrups, and infusions which use many ingredients, such as lily of the valley, iris, rhubarb, lavender, and rose.

The bobbin lace bookmark is like one that Sarah made for Tasha Tudor.

Diane and Sarah made old fashioned labels for the packages of dried herbs. The packages look and smell splendiferous in Corgyncombe's "Emily & Ethlyn's Potions & Perfumery".

According to the "American Dictionary of The English Language" by Noah Webster, 1828, a potion is: a draught; usually, a liquid medicine; a dose.

Tasha Tudor illustrated the book "A Basket of Herbs" written by Mary Mason Campbell.

Helen Allingham's "Happy England".
Helen Allingham was famous for her watercolour paintings of children in charming clothing, thatched cottages, gardens, stone walls, and lovely landscapes.

Nestled amongst the thyme, a basket filled with herbs and flowers gathered for fashioning a fragrant tussie mussie.

In several places Corgi Creek splits off and creates little islands. Diane and her husband took such a pleasant walk along Corgi Creek where the dame's rocket can be seen as far as the eye can see. The only thing one can hear is the babbling of the creek and birds singing. The rocket smells so sweet. It is a joy to the senses.... 'tis our own delightful paradise. Dame's Rocket, Hesperis matronalis, often found at lawn's edge and where field meets wood, are in full bloom at the end of May and beginning of June and are absolutely gorgeous. Their fragrance is lovely, especially at twilight. Dame's Rocket is Diane's favorite flower! They remind us of a Helen Allingham style painting...

One day in June Diane took along her bucket as she walked along the hedgerows and Corgi Creek. She filled it with lovely Dame's Rocket. It took awhile to walk back to the house so when she returned Diane placed the bucket of Rocket in her cellar where it would be refreshed by the coolness. The flowers sit in front of a large stone pier, which was built as the base for a center chimney with three fireplaces on the first floor and another one upstairs. The walls and the floor in the cellar are all beautiful big stones. After the bouquet was refreshed Diane brought it up into her old fashioned kitchen which also serves as Emily & Ethlyn's Potions & Perfumery. E. & E.'s P. & P. is the Corgyn's pretend apothecary. The fragrance is delightful and as the petals fall the doll family at Corgyncombe will also gather them to save for potpourri. Dame's Rocket has always been one of Diane's most favorite flowers.

Petals are saved and dried as they fall from the bouquet of Dame's Rocket.