Thursday, April 1, 2010

Nutcrackers and Tudors

Dave's aunt and uncle from Alaska came to visit last weekend, so we took a day off work to hang out with them.  This caused annoyance from some co-workers, since we'd just been off for a week on the cruise...but oh well!  It's my vacation, and I"ll cry if it want to use it when i want to!  :)

Dave's dad had an activity planned, and was a little secretive about it until we were all together - so when he revealed it, I was a little apprehensive - we're going to visit the garage of a guy who makes Nutcrackers?  Really?  That was my first thought - but Aunt Louise collects Nutcrackers, and I'm pretty much up for most outings, especially if they involve a vacation day, so I was all in.  When we got there, I knew from the sign outside that I was in for a treat!

When we walked into the garage, I was overwhelmed at the sight of dowels, tools, computers, paint, and Nutcrackers in various stages of completion.  It was so cool!  The smell of wood reminded me of the White Oak True Value Hardware store, and the laser-engraved wooden Christmas ornaments sealed the deal.  Here's a project he was working on for a local church's upcoming fundraiser:

He walked us through the process of ordering the raw materials for the Nutcrackers, and showed us some one of a kind pieces he's made through the years.  Wow.  Never thought I'd get excited over this, but here I am...

After he explained the process to us, he took us upstairs to see his showroom where he has a few pieces of every item he makes on display, and some vintage pieces sprinkled in for charm.  We inquired about buying some pieces, but he directed us to his websites:  NutcrackersUSA or TCP Designs Inc.

Mr. Crider (the owner of the company) designed a Nutcracker stamp series for the post office:

Funny thing is, a few weeks ago, I bought one of his pieces at the Very Richmond store, without realizing it was made by a local company.  Who knew I'd be in his workshop soon after...small town after all, eh?

Here's my favorite Nutcracker - AARRRGGGH!

And, being a hopefully future Spider, of course I love all his UR Spider paraphernalia!  Not sure what this one's gonna be when it's done, but it's cool!

Good times.  When we left his place, we headed over to Agecroft - a mansion that was moved here from England, piece by piece, in the 1920's.  I can't believe I'd never visited, and I wish I could show you some pictures, but none were allowed inside.... :(  But I did take two outside that turned out pretty well:

We learned the origin of the phrases "burning the candle at both ends" and "chairman of the board" during the tour - learning quirky things like that are my favorite part of touring historical that weird?  Speaking of that, where did "reinventing the wheel" come from?  I know what it means, but I want to know if it has a cool, literal back-story like the others, or if someone like Michael Scott just said it randomly one day and it stuck.


  1. We went to Agecroft when we were down for Ashley's wedding and I loved it. Our tour lady was kooky but it was fun.

  2. It was cool! I felt like I was walking around on the set of "The Tudors" !!