Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Rainbow of Ribbons

From Victoria:
Marking moments with a wisp of organdy or a length of velvet is a way of life for Annabel Lewis. Her popular London boutique, V V Rouleaux, offers a breathtaking array of ribbon, tassels, braids, millinery accents, and more. Annabel began as a florist, operating shops in southwest and central London. But by 1990, the mother of four had grown weary of waking in the wee hours of the morning to prepare flowers. The affluent borough of Westminster was growing into a haven of specialty businesses, so she decided the time was ripe for shifting her focus from blossoms to embellishments. (Read more.)


The Pumpkin Papers Revisited

From The Carroll County Times:
Growing up in the 1940s on the family farm, a few miles north of Westminster's city limits near Union Mills, one of John Chambers' responsibilities was to take produce remnants from the porch to a compost heap some 50 feet from the house. Inevitably, seeds from discarded pumpkins took to the soil and grew into a patch of sorts, with some two dozen pumpkins at various stages of ripeness by late 1948.

From that unintended pumpkin patch came a moment of inspiration by his father, Whittaker Chambers, that turned into the biggest news story in the country and thrust the Chambers family, a cast of characters that included future President Richard Nixon, and, indeed, Carroll County into the national spotlight like never before or since.

Nearly 70 years later, it's still a common occurrence for John Chambers to be asked about the Pumpkin Papers, so named because his father hid inside a hollowed-out pumpkin five canisters containing microfilm of sensitive documents that implicated a prominent government official named Alger Hiss. (Read more.)

Restoration London

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
Charles II's reign is known as the Restoration in English history. This is because Charles was restored to the throne in 1660 after the Commonwealth period during which Oliver Cromwell and his more repressive Puritan views had set the moral tone. When the King came back from exile he brought with him a Court which had taken on the laxer morals of France and was determined to impose them. Charles II himself was a womaniser and reveller, and soon he gathered a coterie of wild and dangerous young men around him.They could do almost anything they wanted and get away with it, very often under the protection of the King himself, which is why their behaviour was tolerated, even if it was outrageous or repellent by usual standards. (Read more.)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Napa Soap

I really love the artisan soaps and cannot have enough of them around. From Victoria:
Sheila Rockwood finds her muse in almost everything in the picturesque Napa Valley. It’s not hard to see why. From rolling hills dotted with winding grapevines to a dazzling array of flowers and wildlife, the area of northern California known for its stunning vistas and delicious wines is effortlessly inspiring.

In January 2000, with two young sons and another on the way, Sheila longed for a more flexible career that would allow her to spend time with her children. As it turned out, the encouragement she needed lay just outside her back door. Fragrant lavender grew abundantly in her yard, and Sheila says she knew she could make something wonderful with it. “I got a bee in my bonnet to make lavender soap, even though I had no idea how to do it.” Her first few attempts, although inspired, were far from perfect. “Soap is tricky to make until you get the hang of it,” she says. “I botched many batches in those early days.” After almost two years of experimenting with the precise combinations of just the right ingredients, Sheila perfected her formula, and the soaps were an instant success. (Read more.)

How Journalism Turns Into Propaganda

From The Federalist:
Undercover Project Veritas interviews exposed how Clinton operative Robert Creamer bragged about inciting violence at Trump rallies, operations that had the apparent consent of the Clinton campaign. None of this was investigated by the media. The mainstream media’s coverage imputed this violence to Trump supporters, while ignoring incidents of fire-bombing against Trump headquarters in North Carolina.

On other fronts as well, particularly in defense of Planned Parenthood, the media colluded with the powers that be. Media compliance with Clinton’s campaign turned the recent re-opening of the FBI investigation of her email server into a media investigation of FBI Director James Comey. (It worked, as Comey did a 180 with a second “exoneration” of Clinton.) Then there was the utter lack of media interest in looking at the Clinton Foundation’s highly questionable operations, including its money-laundering and pay-to-play schemes.

Of course, the list could go on and on and on. Today’s media is hopeless at independent reporting or thinking. Most people can see this. A recent USA Today poll revealed that people believe—by a 10 to 1 margin—that the media wanted Clinton to win the election. In a Suffolk University Boston poll asking 1,000 people what they thought was the primary threat to election integrity, 45.5 percent named the media, followed by 27 percent claiming it was the political establishment. (Read more.)

Catholicism, Science and Meridian Lines

This is an interesting article, except for the part on Galileo. The Church did not persecute Galileo for heresy; rather he was penalized for disobedience. Faith and science have never been antithetical; one of the oldest observatories is at the Vatican. From Atlas Obscura:
Easter, a Christian holiday commemorating Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is defined not only by Church liturgy but also by astronomical circumstance. As specified by the First Council of Nicaea, Easter is not a straightforward anniversary, always recurring on the same date from now until eternity. Instead, it is to be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox—an occasion already laden with astronomical significance. The equinox, after all, is a day when time is split equally into 12 hours each of light and darkness, of illumination and obscurity.
The stakes of getting the date right were unusually high, Heilbron writes. If the faithful were to worship Easter on the wrong Sunday, out of sync with the rest of Christendom, then their very souls could be at risk. This was not merely an academic concern: at the height of the Church’s calendar problem, in the second half of the 16th century, the eastern Church and the western Church were an incredible ten days out of sync with one another. This was only reconciled in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII implemented what has become known as the Gregorian calendar reform.

Gregorian reform eliminated, at a stroke and literally overnight, ten entire days from the western European calendar. People going to bed on October 4th, 1582, when the reform was implemented, would have woken up the next morning to find it was October 15th. Although this disorienting reform was intended specifically to put the calendar back on track for reaching the next spring equinox on March 21st, March 21st is not always the true, astronomical spring equinox. To determine exactly when the equinox would be, in the future—and, thus, when Easter should properly be celebrated—a more subtle and astronomically precise tool of measurement was required. A meridian line. (Read more.)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Poetry of Passementerie

From Victoria:
Scalamandré’s timeless trims, tassels, and tiebacks weave a legacy whose fine silk thread runs through the world’s most famous and fabulous homes. From frilly French fringes to bold beaded braids, we revel in the romance and see history in the making, one stitch at a time. Scalamandré’s history is as rich and intricate as a floral-shaped curtain tieback. The company has been making luxury trims, fabrics, and wallpapers for designers, preservationists, and architects ever since its founder, Franco Scalamandré, set up shop in this block-long factory in 1929. The family-owned company, with factories around the globe, also makes vintage reproductions for virtually every historic house in America, including the White House. (Read more.)


Christian Persecution in America

From Life Site:
Jack C. Phillips, a baker in Denver, Colorado, was asked to create a wedding cake by a gay couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, in 2012. Phillips refused, citing his Christian beliefs, but offered to serve them any other baked goods. Mullins and Craig opted to sue him instead, claiming that he had treated them in a “dehumanizing” way, and two courts ruled that Phillips should be coerced to make the wedding cake for the couple. Instead, in order to remain loyal to his conscience and his faith, Phillips stopped baking wedding cakes entirely. According to him, this has cost him 40% of his business revenue.

Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin were forced by a court in New Mexico to pay more than $6,600 in fines in 2012 after they declined to use their business, Elane Photography, to photograph a lesbian “commitment ceremony.” (Read more.)