Monday, September 22, 2014

A Sucker for Silverware

It's time to start thinking about fall entertaining.  I am ready to set a new table after being outside most of the summer. I love setting a table and you need a good flatware set or two or three or better yet a set of silver that's been handed down over generations. We'll start though with a good set of stainless.   I love it as you can put it in the dishwasher and a good set will last decades. Don't go too cheap - it won't last.  Here are that I love:

This is from Horchow and reminds me of an old Tiffany pattern:

You can buy it here.

Here's another classic style:

You can find it here.

And I love this pattern by Juliska:

This is a Ralph Lauren pattern:

Bamboo is one of my favorites:

And this is just wonderful.  Expensive, but it will set a lovely table. Horse and Hound has this pattern made by Vagabond House.

Happy Monday! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Mellon's Upperville Farm is For Sale in Virginia

Got a cool $70M to spare?  If you do, you might want to consider touring the late Paul and Bunny Mellon estate in Upperville, Virginia.  It can be yours for $70M.  It's about an hour (without the dreadful traffic) from DC but you'll need a Downton Abbey-type staff to keep this place up.  The Mellons did not live in the Georgian manor house, it housed art, so you'll need to update the mansion.

A mile-long airstrip for the Lear:

You'll have one of the best views in Virginia:

All in, 2000 acres, a 10,000-square-foot Georgian mansion, a working dairy, two stables with 43 stalls, barns, more than 20 cottages, and extensive gardens.

Want to learn more?  Check out this one-of-a-kind estate here.  Maybe Larry (as in Ellison) is looking for a hunt country abode?

It's a Black and Gray Kind of Day

I'm still stuck on fall fashions this week and can't decide if I like the new "slouchy casual" look that companies like J Crew are promoting. I like my sweats, don't get me wrong, but I also like tailored outfits in fine fabrics, like Armani.  Less can be more but I don't want to look like I just got out of bed all of the time.  One dress I have my eye on is this one from Trina Turk, I'm a big fan.  You can order it here.  I'd put a big chunky silver necklace on with this or maybe just big earrings.  I like the black and gray look. It's dreary outside right now (but still no badly needed rain), so these picks fit the day.........

Do you like the new "Van" look that J Crew and also Tory Burch is promoting?  It must be popular as these are already sold out on Tory's web site.  You can still buy them in silver if you hurry.

I am still trying to get used to the "booty look."  I know it's in, but I am still trying to get there.  I do like these from Nine West.  You can find them here.

Also love this wool scarf from Kate Spade.  The pink adds a little bit of punch don't you think?

Hope your day progresses beyond gray and black.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Great Horse Battleship

Some of the great racehorses that came out of America did not race in the Triple Crown.  The somewhat unknown, Battleship was one of those.  He was the son of Man o' War, a small colt, just 15'1 and he is the only horse to have won both the American Grand National and the British Grand National steeplechase races.  Born in 1927, he made 55 starts, 24 wins, 10 placings. He entered the US Racing Hall of Fame in 1969. He began racing on the flat and changed to the jumps in 1933. Retired to stud in the US after the Grand National in 1938, he sired only 58 foals. He died in 1958 at 31.

Competing for his first owner through age four, he won ten of his twenty-two starts on the flat. An injury kept him out of competition for a year, and at the end of 1931 Walter Salmon sold Battleship to Marion DuPont Scott for $12,000. A member of the prominent and wealthy DuPonts of chemical manufacturing, DuPont had begun developing her Montpelier estate in Orange, Virginia, into what became one of the leading horse-training centers in the United States at the time. She developed a race course there that is still used each November, The Montpelier Races. Her brother developed the area around Fair Hill, Maryland.

Ms. DuPont had Battleship trained for steeplechase racing and entered his first competition in 1933. The horse showed promise, winning three of his four races that season. Then, in 1934, he won the American Grand National, the most prestigious steeplechase race in the U.S. at the time. Gentleman jockey Carroll K. Bassett rode Battleship in most of his major U.S. victories. Bassett was also an accomplished artist and sculpted a small bronze bust of Battleship in 1934.  Here is a horse made by Bassett.  Pretty good? You can learn more about this here.

In July 1936, Battleship was sent to England, where trainer Reginald "Reg" Hobbs began to prepare the horse, on the mend with a bowed tendon, for the 1937 Grand National. Battleship won several races in 1936 and 1937, but some critics remained unimpressed saying he "did not look like a stayer".
Hobbs was also convinced that Battleship was not ready for the Grand National in March 1937. He continued training and racing in England, winning five of his thirteen races and was entered into the 1938 Grand National. His competition in the 1938 race included Royal Mail winner of the 1937 Grand National, Royal Danieli, and Workman. Battleship beat Royal Danieli to win the race in a photo finish, completing the race in 9 minutes, 27 seconds. He was ridden by the young Bruce Hobbs who was the youngest rider to win the race at 17.  Battleship was also a stallion, unusual for a race like the National.  There have been only two winners and none since Battleship.

Here's a link to a video about his great win at Aintree.

In June 1938, Battleship returned to the U.S.

Following his 1938 Grand National victory, Battleship retired to stand at stud at DuPont's Montpelier estate.  Notably, he sired War Battle and Shipboard, steeplechase champions in 1947 and 1956 respectively, plus Sea Legs, winner of the 1952 American Grand National. He also sired the stakes winners Cap-A-Pie, Eolus, Floating Isle, Mighty Mo, Navigate, Navy Gun, Tide Rips, and Westport Point.

You can see Battleship's grave at Montpelier, a fitting place for such a fine champion not far from the main house once owned by James and Dolly Madison.  Retired racehorses also live on the estate, as was stipulated in DuPont's will.

Don't you love a great story? Battleship the movie?  Why not?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Favorites

I'm pleased to say that we're coming back, maybe not in full force, but when time allows, Horse Country Chic will blog.  I've missed it and I may have to get up an hour earlier every day to make this happen. Please be patient while we try to fit it all in.  There's much to catch up on but we'll start with fall fashions.  It's nippy at night, the horses are off night turnout and I think we can bring out the new fall clothes.  Maybe? I don't love fall like I do summer but here are a few picks from our end of the world.....

I bought a wrap dress when I was in New York a few weeks ago.  This is so retro but I simply love it and wore it very recently. So versatile, made of silk, can go almost year round.  And no I am not copying Kate!  This is not the one I bought but I know there will be more of these in my future.

 coat fetish did not go away.  Unfortunately.  There are two at J Crew that I adore.  There's just no room in coat closet for any more!  But somehow we'll find a way...

My love for Tory has not decreased either.  This one is the perfect size.
 And she's doing horses again this fall!

I tried this one on and loved it. It has leather arm patches and trim.  Very equestrian-like too! 

There's much more out there for fall, but at least this is a start.  Glad to be back but we'll be slower this time around. Less is always more.  Right?

Monday, July 14, 2014


Hiatus - comes from the Latin word, hiatus, hiare, meaning to yawn.

Wish I had time to yawn.  But I don't.  So Horse Country Chic is taking a hiatus, to regroup, reinvigorate, get rid of the things that aren't working anymore.  I don't know how long this yawn will be, if it will return and what life holds a month from now, six months from now. Right now there's not enough hours in a day. I hope we'll be back! Life's too short - and when it gets too hard to fit it all in, well, it's time for change. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Needlepoint Bag

It's finally finished.  An heirloom to pass down to someone special.  It took a lot of time, money and effort to complete but it is certainly a one of a kind.

I finished the background in a dark tan so it won't get dirty.  The handle and trim are in a brown leather.  The interior is a pink taffeta.  Love, love, love it.  It's not a big bag, perfect for my size.  If you want to consider ordering one for yourself to stitch you can do so here. I customized it a bit, changing some of the colors and I used wool thread.  My stripes are in a blue.  It looks somewhat purple here but it's a deep blue.  This will go with everything.  Have I inspired you to stitch? I hope so.
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