Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Pairing Wine and Acrylics

Recently, Casanel Vineyards hosted an event that made for a perfect little get away for my husband and I – an afternoon of wine and painting.

While painting classes have always been around, they seem to be growing in popularity lately, and I have seen numerous online deals for art studios that are hosting such events. Virginia wineries are also seeing the trend and, as they have the perfect setting, are joining in on the fun.

Dan and I were very excited when we arrived for the event. Our tickets included a canvas, acrylic paints, paint brushes, and a glass of wine from Casanel’s classic wine menu. After saving two seats in the event area, we walked over to the tasting bar to pick up two glasses of Chardonnay.

The painting area

The event began with the instructor, a local art teacher, showing us a completed painting and explaining how she would walk us through each step of the painting. We then loaded up our paint plates with the first few colors and put brushes to canvas.

The instructor guided us through the project by starting with general outlines, filling in each large area of canvas, adding shading and details to the background, and finally, adding a bottle of wine and a glass to the picture. Alternating between instruction and individual tips, the instructor was very friendly and helpful.

Filling in the large areas

Background is almost done

We got a short break about halfway through the painting, during which Dan ran over and got us a bottle of the 2014 Cab Sav to refill our glasses with. :)

As the event drew to a close, the whole group spent a few extra minutes adding final flourishes and admiring each other’s finished paintings. Everyone agreed that it was interesting how we each added some little twist to our painting, making them unique even though the same subject matter.

Some other finished canvases

As we cleaned up, Dan and I had a chance to visit with Kathy and Erik, two of the tasting room educators who are friends of ours. Kathy told us about her recent Rose education event, and Erik mentioned that they might do another painting event in the fall, as this first one was so well received.

Kathy and I

Erik, the painting instructor, and I

Overall, it was a wonderful afternoon. The painting was fun and challenging; the wine delicious; and the company entertaining. If you are interested in attending a future wine and painting event at Casanel, check out their website and contact information and be sure to mention that you read about it on AtTheLamppost!

My finished painting

Friday, June 5, 2015

Desert Rose Winery

On a beautiful spring day, my little family drove out to Hume, Virginia for a friend’s birthday party at Desert Rose Winery.

The tasting room is a beautiful log cabin with wide-plank wooden floors and bright sky lights. When we walked up to the bar, we were warmly greeted by the staff, and even the owners Bob and Linda stopped to say “Hi” to us and our son Jax. (Everyone really just wants to say hi to Jax. Haha)

Desert Rose has a mix of red, white, and rose wines in their tasting. Among our favorites were the Fiery Run Cab Franc and Ole Moo Moo (a crisp white wine named after one of the owners’ cows who lived on the property for 26 years).

Jax trying out the beautiful wooden rocking horse in the kids corner

After our tasting, we bought a few bottles and moved outside to have a picnic and share cupcakes that I made for my friend. As the birthday girl is a big horse fan, Bob brought down a few of his beautiful horses for us to see and pet. When Jax saw the first horse (a big, black Arabian), his little mouth fell open and he whispered “dog”. Haha!

Jax meets horse

There is one other thing you should know about Desert Rose Winery, and that is that it is the newest winery to join the VA Wine Trail of geocaches! You can find the new cache listing here. We hope you are able to stop by, find the new cache, and enjoy this beautiful Virginia winery.

Jax enjoying his visit to Desert Rose

Monday, February 2, 2015

Remembering Grandma Miuccio

This post has been a long time in the writing. Indeed, I have not written a post since the day that my grandma passed away, last Veteran’s Day 2014. Life always chooses the most inopportune times to throw everything at you, and because of the different life events I had going on, I decided to wait on posting anything. But now I feel ready to send a few thoughts and memories of my grandmother out into the world, so here they are...

My grandma was one of those amazing people you always feel privileged to have known or met. She lived through the depression and many wars. She raised NINE kids (that alone should get her some kind of medal!), and she loved to spend time with all of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

Grandma, my dad, and I

I am very lucky to have known my grandmother for so long. I remember all our family road trips to upstate New York to visit her and my other relatives. I remember hearing her in the kitchen making up delicious meals (she knew that the secret to a happy life is good food), and I especially remember her cheering me on in basketball, and in life in general.

After a basketball game

Just before she passed, I got to introduce Jax, my first child, to her. This experience really drove home just how much I loved, appreciated, and learned from my grandma. It was something I had always know, but what made it so impactful was that, for the first time, I saw my grandma from an adult’s eyes, and not just that of a grandchild. It felt like I was now officially a parent. It was a really proud moment for me, and as I watched grandma smile at him, I saw her legacy to us all.

Grandma and Jax

After grandma passed away, I felt a deep sorrow, but not emptiness. Grandma had filled me with years of amazing memories, stories, and laughter. So, my sadness stemmed from the fact that Jax would grow up without that. I talked a little with my mother-in-law about it, and she told me how Dan, my husband, had not known his grandparents on her side of the family. However, if you hear my husband talk about his grandparents, you would not know that this was the case. My mother-in-law told him so many stories about his grandparents that Dan remembers them as if he had seen them himself. It is a beautiful thing, and one that I plan to do with Jax as well.

One of my favorite pictures of grandma

For Grandma Miuccio’s funeral, I put together a small speech that summarized some of her wonderful qualities and how meaningful they were to me and to many others. I will end this post by sharing it with you all:

Grandma’s Crossword Puzzle

When trying to condense my feelings for my grandma into words, I kept envisioning one of her crossword puzzles. My grandmother loved crossword puzzles. You could always find books of them stashed around the corners and bathrooms of her house. So, what better way to express both who she was and what she taught me? I would like to take a few minutes and fill it out with you all.

Number 1 is six letters long and means “full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky”.
The answer is “feisty”.
Grandma was a feisty woman – she had to be to keep up with nine kids and all of us grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. Seeing Grandma’s feistiness taught me to enjoy each moment of life and to live with spirit.

Number 2 is nine letters long and means “possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, and so forth”.
The answer is “beautiful”.
Grandma was beautiful – both inside and out. I especially remember her love for bright, colorful earrings. She taught me to have a good heart on the inside and to wear what made me feel beautiful on the outside.

Number 3 is eight letters long and means “a small ball of ground meat often mixed with bread crumbs and seasonings before cooking”.
The answer is “meatball”.
As all the grandchildren know, Grandma’s nickname was “Grandma Meatball” because she made the most delicious meatballs – as well as many other yummy foods. Grandma Meatball taught me the importance of good food and how it can bring all kinds of people together.

Number 4 is ten letters long and means “providing sympathy or encouragement”.
The answer is “supportive”.
Grandma was very supportive of those she loved. I remember her cheering me on at basketball games and always showing an interest in whatever life event I was going through. I saw her do this for many people, and it encourages me to do the same.

Number 5 is six letters long and means “feeling a warm, personal attachment or deep affection for another person”.
The answer is “loving”.
Grandma loved each and every one of us, and she encouraged others to love each other, even in times of difficulty or disagreement. She showed love in singing, in sharing moments and memories, and many other ways. Most recently, I picture her love in the way she smiled when my young son gripped her finger during his last visit with her.

Number 6 is ten letters long and means “to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods. Originality. Imagination.”
The answer is “creativity”.
Grandma was always creating. She loved to craft new trinkets and decorations. Growing up, I had a beautiful bunny that Grandma had created a lacy dress for, and as an adult, one of my favorite Christmas decorations is a snowman head that Grandma made for me. I will always attribute my love of crafts to her.

Now the crossword is complete, and at the center you will see the word “family” – this is what Grandma was and meant to each of us. Even though we have lost an important member of our family, we all carry pieces of her with us. We may feel less without her, but she has left us with more. Some of us have her eyes or her smile, and some of us have her humor or caring spirit. All of us have her love and memories that will keep her with us always.

I will love you always Grandma, and you will always be in my heart! <3