Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Samovar Saturday

On a warm November afternoon my older daughter and I took a short drive across the river (the Mississippi River for those of you not familiar with my location) to The Museum of Russian Art. I very much wished to see the exhibit about samovars. Up to this day I had only read about them and was delighted for the opportunity to see some.

The first thing we noticed was the painting shown below.

This painting is titled, The Homemaker Serving Tea. It shows the place of samovars in the culture. The painting is the work of Stanislav V. Shlyakhtin.

Next we viewed the painting, Samovar and Vessels.

This painting is the work of Geli M. Korzhev. But right beside the painting was the real samovar shown in the paiting.

During his life Korzhev was the owner of this samovar and often incorporated samovars and other articles from his home into his paintings.

Next we saw a variety of small samovars.

We saw samovars that looked as if they were made with gold.

They truly glistened. However, they are made with a copper-zinc alloy that is called Tombac. These samovars originally were sold by the Mure & Merilise Department Store in Moscow and were produced in factories in Tula. Tula -- really? I have one Russian friend and Tula was her home in Russia.

But what happened next was equally surprising. Did you know samovars were once made in Warsaw, Poland?

Above is an example of an electro-plated silver-plated samovar. This was made by the Fraget Brothers.

The above samovar which is designed to look like a steam engine was also made in Warsaw. The accompanying signage for this samovar said it could move around the table. Apparently the samovar produced heat to warm the water to make tea as well as energy to move the samovar about.This particular samovar is attributed to Roman Plewkiewisz and was made sometime between 1900-1914, a time when Warsaw was the center for making the silver-plated samovars.

We saw another painting by Korzhev.

Next we walked to the gift shop. It was fun to see a bit of Poland. 

This was a great afternoon at the museum.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Visiting the Christmas Market

Last year a Christmas Market was started in Saint Paul. This year it was moved to the East Plaza of the Union Depot. Last Saturday my older daughter and I took the light rail station two stops from my nearby 10th Street station to the Union Depot station. We both rode for 75 cents on Saturday. I can ride in non-rush hours times for that price because I'm a "senior." My daughter can ride always for that price because she has disabilities.

I had no idea where and what the East Plaza was when we arrived. I've only been in the Union Depot a couple of times since it has been renovated, and both of those times what I wanted to do were events held in the Great Hall.

We walked into the Depot and found a decorated tree at the door.

 Taking a closer look at the lights I decided they would be called Hidden Mickeys if this tree was at Disney World.

Walking through the Depot we noticed families with small children excited to be boarding a holiday train called the Polar Express.

We continued to follow signs for the Christmas Market and finally found ourselves walking outdoor to a plaza over the train tracks. In our warm winter there is no snow outside.

. We enjoyed hearing music.

My daughter had quickly spotted a booth selling crocheted neck scarves and of course purple took her eye. I suggested she wait until we had looked everywhere before making a purchase. After we did that she went back and selected a multi-color one with purple as the dominant color.

I particularly wanted to find the Polish booth. We were sitting down for a moment when I noticed a booth over on the side so we headed there. Yes, it was full of beautiful ornaments and some Polish pottery. I selected Santa Claus ornament, done beautifully as they are from Poland.

 I learned the products and the staff for this booth had come from Chicago.

It was a lovely afternoon to be out and about at a Christmas Market.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Lights 2015

Recently my older daughter and I drove through Summit Avenue and River Boulevard in Saint Paul to see the Christmas lights . We are glad to share with you all.

Usually in Saint Paul people put the lights outside in a warm day in November because December is a cold month in Minnesota. Then the lights are lit after Thanksgiving. But this year December is also warm.

The first one we saw was very colorful.

Across the street was one different.

And yes the houses on Summit Avenue are very large.

 Above are the lights from a small triangle park. Last year when I stopped there for a picture the temperature was way below 0 in the Fahrenheit system for temperatures. This year the temperature was about 35 degrees in Fahrenheit.

Here is an apartment house with very nice decorations.

Above is a tree that I admire every year. And perhaps I should have taken a video rather than a photo because the light colors change several times each 2-3 minutes on this tree. But I also admire how the house is outlined with lights.

About across the street is the Minnesota Governor's House. And no Minnesota did not build a house for the Governor. This house was giving by a family to Minnesota. Once I was there for a dinner.

Further down the street we found another house with colorful lights.

Mostly lights go onto evergreen/pine trees, but some homes don't have those kind of trees. Lights look good too on deciduous trees.

And the final picture is another house outlines with lights.

I hope you enjoy to see lights from Saint Paul.