More Memories Of Victoria…

Some more memories of our trip to British Columbia. 🙂 Buchart Gardens is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful gardens we’ve ever visited and is highly recommended. The weather was just perfect and it was a cool, crisp Fall day. This is another place we’re planning on returning to.

In contrast to rainy Friday, Saturday dawned sunny and clear and we were going to take full advantage of it. First up, we headed out of Victoria to Butchart Gardens, located towards the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula. Leaving early to avoid the crowds, we arrived after a pleasant 45-minute drive. It was cool and crisp and you could see the mist coming off of the buildings and trees.


Butchart Gardens has an interesting history in that it was built on the site of a limestone quarry that had played out, leaving a very large pit. Afterwards, the wife of the quarry-owner, a one Jennie Butchart, decided to create a massive garden on the quarry site and this is the result, some 110 years later. Below are a number of pictures that we took on our stroll around the gardens. We didn’t photograph everything, but rather those views that we found particularly striking, especially from an aesthetic perspective.

First up, Toss Fountain:



The mist was incredible…

And then the sunken garden:




And to think that once upon a time, this was a quarry pit… 🙂 Here’s one of our most favorite views, kind of reminiscent of Giverny…


The views were amazing in the sunken garden and with the Ross Fountain but we liked the Japanese Garden best:




The fall colors of the various plants and trees were simply amazing and it was more art than mere vegetation. Finally, here’s the Italian Garden:



We ended our visit with a cup of tea at their tea room and we were soon off to our next stop.

Looking Back- Craigdarroch Castle

It’s been a little more than two years since we visited Victoria, British Columbia and the memories still linger on- it’s definitely one of those places we intend to one day revisit. Craigdarroch Castle was simply amazing and it’s a lot larger on the inside than one would suspect. If you’re up in that part of the world, it’s worth a visit- you’ll be amazed but prepare to do some walking (though it’s not as bad as Neuschwanstein!).

After a brief tea refreshment, we drive back to Victoria to pay a visit to Craigdarroch Castle. Nicknamed today as “Canada’s Castle,” Craigdarroch Castle was built in 1887-90 by the Robert Dunsmuir, a man who made his fortune from coal and railroads. Like many houses built by the nouveau riche of the late 19th Century, to expense was spared and it was built large, originally on a 28-acre estate (although most of the surrounding land was later sold off). For us, it was a fascinating peek into a world mostly only seen in pictures and the sheer massiveness of the house impressed us- one just doesn’t get an idea of the sheer size until they actually experience it in person. 🙂 Here’s few views of the exterior:



There was renovation going on so I wasn’t able to get the best pictures so here’s one from Wikipedia to help out:


And now for the interior…


The central staircase- there are four floors and a lot of steps…


Part of the entrance hallway.


Front Parlor

One of the most interesting things we learned was that in restoring the house, great efforts were made to track down the original furnishings and various other artifacts though auction catalogs and the like- after the death of the Joan Dunsmuir in 1908, the house and its contents were dispersed in a number of sales since none of the heirs lacked the means to buy the others out. Also, ironically enough, Robert Dunsmuir died in 1889 before he could occupy his new house. Moving along, here are some more views:



One of the hallways…

By now, you probably might have noticed that there were a number of garments on display. Unfortunately there were no signs or anything else that gave any information so it’s hard to know if these were original to the house or merely generic placeholders. But here they are:


This one is definitely late 1890s, especially with the relatively narrow sleeve caps.


Here’s a good view of the side profile.


The chatelaine is amazing.


This one was a bit far away to be able to view properly but it appears to be more of a late 1890s or very early 1900s.



Fairly generic ball gown/evening dress. The staging wasn’t the most optimal.

And for a something Chinese…we’re not sure how that fit in but OK. 🙂


We’re not sure where this fit in but it was fascinating to look at.

Here are some more views of various rooms:


One of the bedrooms.


The billiard room.



Early sewing machine.

The ballroom was closed due to issues with the soundness of the floor but there were a number of dance cards:  🙂



Overall, it was a wonderful experience and we highly recommend it for anyone visiting Victoria.

Product Endorsement Day!

Product endorsement day…I may have just found my new antique lace restoration magic. Today, I’m being brave and soaking some of my priceless figured lace pieces in “Retro Wash” in the kitchen sink (they’ll go sit in a bath of “Retro Clean” after this). First picture, swishing lace in warm water. NO smell, slightly oily soapy feel.

Second picture five minutes later, I’m holding the lace aside so you can see the rust and age stuff from the lace…this is after FIVE minutes.

Third picture, fifteen minutes later…check out how beautiful and “oyster white”( to me that’s the name for the perfect white) this tambour lace net collar is!

Friends, this is the “Wash” portion of the process…I am looking forward to the “Clean” one. I’m planning on a prolonged soak (depends on how long it takes, could be a few days) but I’ll post pictures. So far…recommended!!

And For A Little Early Christmas…

We normally prefer to reserve our Christmas-themed posts until AFTER Thanksgiving, this one was just too nice to pass up: Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC:  🙂

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For us, this is not just another pretty Christmas scene- we were fortunate to have been able to view this room (sans Christmas decorations) during a recent visit to Craigdarroch Castle; pictures simply doesn’t do justice to it. Of course, we’re also planning on our own take on Christmas at No. 11 when we once again participate in the Tombstone Historic Home Tour so stay tuned!

Inspiration of the Day…

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Fall colors have always been a favorite with us but we also like winter colors- colors that suggest a time of year when the weather gets cold and crisp. Having recently returned from our neighbor to the North, we’re been inspired by a more color palette more commonly associated with the Arctic Circle (OK, we’re reaching here) rather than Southern California and when it comes to styles, we found this c. 1900 – 1901 evening dress to be the embodiment of that:

Evening Dress 1900 - 1901

Madame Memot, Evening Dress, 1900 – 1901; Norsk Folkemuseum (NF.1962-0398A)

Evening Dress 1900 - 1901

Rear View

In terms of silhouette, this dress is consistent with c. 1900 styles with its slender, upright profile. However, it’s hard to determine if it was worn with the newly-emerging s-bend style corset or with the earlier style. The fashion fabric is a light turquoise/blue brocade with a floral pattern and trimmed with black embroidered and jeweled netting and a matching turquoise chiffon. Here’s a close-up of the bodice:

Evening Dress 1900 - 1901

Close-up of bodice

The above close-up gives a better idea of the color palette at work; here’s another way to look at it:

Color Palette_Northern Lights

It’s interesting that what we’d consider “turquoise” is termed “steel blue”…but in the end what counts is the color itself. We’ll close with a few more pictures just to stir the imagination:

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Image result for canada arctic colors