Friday, September 30, 2016

The American Girl Cafe: Dining With Dolls - Eating Outside the Box, Epis...

An American Girl doll holds the heart of my 8 year old Granddaughter, Abigail.
She requests American Girl doll paraphernalia for Christmas, her birthday and any other time she can sweet talk her Grandmas.  Her doll is Caroline Abbott, a beautiful blond with blue eyes representing the War of 1812.  who is now retired. These dolls run in her family as her Momma, Mary, has Felicity from her childhood. When Michael Truly posted this on YouTube my Granddaughter and I sat together to watch it. Michael grew up with our middle son, Andrew, so we've known him a very long time. His parents are our best friends that we go sailing with. I had such fun watching this as an American Girl doll lover myself that I wanted to post it here for your enjoyment.

Nagle Warren Mansion Bed and Breakfast, Cheyenne, Wyoming

I had always wondered what it was like to stay at a Bed and Breakfast. I had never done that and it was something on my Bucket List. The wonderful opportunity presented itself when my niece, Julia, had her bridal shower at the Nagle Warren Mansion Bed and Breakfast in Cheyenne, Wyoming this year. A short history on the Nagle Warren Mansion is available here.

This lovely Victorian Mansion hosts twelve available rooms to choose from. Each room is uniquely dressed to recreate the splendor of the 19th century old West. The ornate staircases, fireplaces and authentic period decor made every room a delight to enjoy. 

My sister, Janet, and I couldn't resist climbing the rich cherry wood staircase to the third level. Plush carpeted stairs and stained glass windows on the landings made the trip a pleasant adventure.The tower on the third floor was a delightful destination. It was a luxurious, furnished reading room. The rattan furniture gave it a garden-like feel to the room. Five windows with soft draperies allowed for views all around. A separate door to the outdoor balcony tempted us to step outside.  It was a lovely sunny day and we had so much fun checking out this charming feature of the Mansion. 

The two fireplaces below are cast brass with mirrors to the ceiling. It was truly splendid elegance that I marveled at. The black fireplace is in the parlor and the one below is in the sitting room. 

The sitting room makes for quite an impression when signing in for one's stay. 
The impressive ornate woodwork throughout the house, the green and white wallpaper, parquet floors and prim furniture whisks you away into the year of 1888 when the Mansion was built. At that time, Cheyenne was the richest city of it's size in the world. The Mansion was built to showcase the riches of the time. The grand piano is the focal point in this room. 

Walking through the sitting room you will enter the library. Antique books, history books, newspapers  and scrapbooks offer hours of reading. This cozy corner offers a place for your unique reading pleasure. Other comfy chairs welcome you to sit and relax in front of the fireplace. The room is decorated with burgundy striped wallpaper and various paintings. There is also space for an intimate tea party in the library and a table to spread out the piles of books you plan to read. 

Looking back through the sitting room, through the vestibule, you see the parlor. Before we tour the parlor, I want to point out that this entry way boasts an original Moroccan chandelier and cherry paneling. The textured wallpaper just beckoned me to reach out and run my fingers over it. 

While waiting for the bridal shower to begin, my Mom Rosemary,  and my Sister Janet, relaxed in the parlor. I had a great time taking their portraits. Aren't they pretty? 

At the other end of the parlor is this magnificent Victorian buffet. To the left of it is the dining room where we had the bridal shower. 

The dining room was a cheery, bright, welcoming place for a bridal shower as well as morning breakfast for the patrons of the bed and breakfast.  The golden wallpaper made a lovely background for the sun shining through the stained glass windows of rich gold and red tones. I enjoyed watching the sun dancing through the colored glass on the white table cloth as I enjoyed a delicious breakfast each morning. 
After the festivities with my family and friends, I headed to my accommodations on the first floor of the attached carriage house.  The room was quiet and offered Wifi, TV, phone, bathrobes and ......

my favorite antique claw foot tub complete with a yellow Nagle Warren rubber ducky! 
I might have scandalized my dear Mother by having these pictures taken. I told her that maybe I staged them with my clothes on!  

My room was named the Frederick Warren room after the son of U.S. Senator Francis E. Warren. It had a Belmont king size bed, a period-style desk with rose printed stationary and a guest book to sign. The decor was soft gold with wainscoting. 

A gas log fireplace with a fossil fish on the front from South West Wyoming. My husband, the geophysicist knew that. I learn a lot from him. There was also a huge armoir in the room (not pictured) that held the TV and other amenities such as ironing board, iron, etc. Behind the chair were French doors opening out onto the patio. They were covered with beautiful rose patterned lace curtains. I kind of wanted to bring them home with me. I did use the French doors on my visit. Not like you might think though. In the evening I went out for a night cap with my three nieces and when I came tip toeing back to the door of the Mansion late at night I found the Mansion to be locked up tight. I felt like a prowler walking through the side yard and  crossing over another patio to get to my patio French doors. I quietly knocked on the window to ask my dear husband to come around to open the outside door for me. The nieces were waiting in the car watching to make sure their errant auntie got into her room for the night. I was grateful for the back up. 

 The carriage house where my room was located is pictured here. It's attached to the main house.  The French doors on the right is where my room was. 

To walk from the main part of the Mansion to the carriage house, a trip through the Butler's Pantry entices one to raid the cookie jar or to grab a cup of tea or coffee. The stocked pantry offers cold water, juice, soft drinks as well.  Along the way you might pass the resident kitty who quietly keeps herself out of your way. 

There are many other amenities that I didn't partake of. Downstairs are meeting and conference rooms and an exercise room.  Back on the main level is an enclosed hot tub and an outdoor garden area to enjoy when the Wyoming weather permits. 

Our host and innkeeper, Jim Osterfoss, was ever ready to visit, tell us stories of the history of the Mansion and to over see whatever we needed. To schedule your own visit you can call:
307-637-3333 or 800-811-2610.  The Nagle Warren Mansion Bed and Breakfast is located 222 East 17th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 82001

Traveling Tea Lady

It started with a tea cup. 

I inherited some lovely registered English bone china tea cups from my husband's side of the family. Each cup and matching saucer was different from all the others. The collection was too exquisite to use but I had fallen in love with them. I soon discovered that other English bone china tea cups could be purchased at reasonable prices from various stores, including places like TJ MaxxMarshalls, Ross' and even garage sales. So my collecting began. Soon I had many beautiful cups and saucers. I displayed these on a wall rack and loved admiring them. A few favorites I used,  for coffee, not tea. I was not a tea drinker.

However, one night inspiration struck. I was laying in bed when it occurred to me that I could start a business bringing old fashioned tea parties to the elderly and homebound. I was very excited with this possibility and set about doing exactly that. I got copyrighted and trademarked for Travelling Tea Lady. I had brochures made and started my business.

My table settings were gorgeous. I used the hand made quilts I had sewn for the table coverings. This set the color scheme or holiday theme for each party. I had a variety of two and three tiered plate racks and my menu was luscious and loaded with both savory and sweet treats. 
Autumn themed tea party
Christmas themed tea party

 I had a very popular business with compliments that my tea parties were outdoing the Savoy in England and the Brown Palace in Denver. I offered a complete package of entertainment. Background music, colorful arrangements of food and decorations, lovely tea pots with the best teas available were brought to the homes of those who wanted to entertain but could no longer do it themselves. I had one faithful customer that booked me every month. She delighted in inviting her neighbors, church ladies, card group ladies, relatives and friends for a royal tea party. 

My business was as much of a ministry as it was a lucrative career. Eventually, to the dismay of my customers, I closed up the tea shop and got a "real" job. However, the name continues and many of the precious little ladies I served are no longer with us but I hope I was able to bring them the joy of celebrating with their friends.