21 December 2014

History of the Poinsettia

28 Elliott St., Charleston, S.C.
You see them everywhere at Christmas time - lush red poinsettia plants. I knew they had a Charleston connection and the sign caught my eye on my walk yesterday. This brick building was the Poinsett Tavern. It looks like it was Elisha Poinsett's descendant who became the Mexican Ambassador who loved plants and brought the Poinsettia back to the U.S.  It does seem like the red flowers in the window box should be poinsettia's shouldn't they?

The poinsettia got its name, not from a horticulturist or plant person, but one of Americas notorious and outstanding Congressmen and physicians, Joel Roberts Poinsett. Mr. Poinsett was appointed as the Ambassador to Mexico by United States President John Quincy Adams in the early 1820s. Joel Poinsett had an interest in botany, and as a result, he would introduce plants into Mexico during his travels there as ambassador.

During his visits to Mexico he would wander the country looking for new plant species.On one occasion he was walking along the side of a road and came upon a rather interesting shrub that had large beautiful red flowers. He took cuttings from the plant and took them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. Even though Joel Roberts Poinsett was very dutiful in his appointment as Ambassador to Mexico and Congressman, he will always be remembered for introducing the Poinsettia to the United States.

20 December 2014

There's No Place Like Charleston

There Is No Place Like Charleston, Charleston, S.C.
This is cool! Fess up artists, who did this? I did a looooong walk (10,291 steps - thank you smart phone step counter) about town in the drizzle this afternoon. I  took a detour on George St. to pick up my favorite "naked kale" salad at Caviar & Bananas and spotted this poster in the now closed Jack's Restaurant. I'm not the only one who stopped in my tracks.

It was a baking and cooking day. I made a pear almond tart and the stew for wee pot pies. My house warmed up with delicious smells. I even made more pralines - for gifts, I promise!

Edit: I tracked down the artist. The internet is a wonderful thing. The artist Jeff Fitzharris who already had a fundraiser for the Charleston Autism Academy.  Jeff will be selling shirts with the image as well as framed prints for $100. He is on Facebook and setting up his Facebook store this week so stay posted. I suspect the poster will be a big hit for a good cause! Good luck Jeff.

19 December 2014

Gingerbread Contest

Santa's Workshop, Charleston, S.C.
I helped coordinate a Gingerbread House decorating contest at work today and once again was left amazed at people's creativety. Look at these amazing creations! Each one was submitted by a different hospital department.

It's been a busy week. I've had volunteer recognition luncheons at all three hospitals. The warm hugs I've received this week leave me feeling very fortunate.
Manger scene with Gingerbread Inn
The healthy version!

17 December 2014

Before - The Westendorff

The Westendorff, St. Philip St., Charleston, S.C.
The Westendorff building has been empty as long as I remember it and it has seemed a shame. I took pictures back in 2010 when there was talk of turning it into a hardware store themed restaurant but that never happened. This time it looks like it will be completed. I am sure construction is further along than when I took these pictures. I was fascinated by the writing on the walls that I had never noticed before. Can't wait to see what they do with it.

From Eater Charleston site: During the process of approvals and construction, owner of upcoming The Westendorff (at 114 St. Philip St.) has had some time to think about his establishment's concept. What started out as a diner-type eatery, will now be a brunch every day place and switch into dinner service in the evenings.


16 December 2014

Polar greeting

Goat Island, S.C.
What an odd sight to find on Goat Island! A polar bear and a kayak in the same scene make for a good December shot even if I did take it earlier this year.

How did it get to be 11 pm already? I need a few more hours in my day, no doubt. I made a few stops on the way home from work and spent a lot more money than I had intended. By the time you add pretty little holiday gifty bags and tissue paper to a present it costs more than the original gift and postage is a killer. All good stuff.

Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish friends!

15 December 2014

Casual Santa

Casual Santa, Seabrook Island, S.C.
My friend Linda asked me out to Seabrook Island this past weekend to take a picture of Casual Santa for Island Life newspaper. Long braid, tattoos, khaki shorts and his dog, Santa looked quite comfy relaxing by the fire. Ask for what you want but I suspect you are going to get something beach related.

14 December 2014

New murals - North Charleston

Mural - North Charleston, S.C.
I had brunch at Madra Rau in North Charleston this morning and walking off my meal, noticed these splashes of color I'd never spotted before. It took me a minute in the morning glare to realize what I was seeing in the painted windows below. Well done artist!

The weekend has been filled with happy holiday chaos in Charleston but I have managed to skirt most of the crowds and still enjoy myself. I hope you did as well. I had recently purchased a new fire bowl for my back yard, put it together, bought firewood and my semi-annual hot dog and enjoyed a little back yard campfire. It was a real treat. I have a small but heavily wooded back yard and it was my reward for raking pile after pile of leaves.

12 December 2014

Bottle Cap Portrait

Bottle Cap Portrait, Charleston, S.C.
I reckon you really are famous when someone takes the trouble to do a portrait in bottle caps. I have featured a few of these giant portraits before. This one was in the window of Michael Mitchell gallery on King St. 

I know Molly B. Right was the artist on ones I've seen before and it looks like she did this one as well. I happened upon a web site featuring images of her other pieces and am blown away! Check this out.