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The Nutcracker and the Mouse King: A Classic Christmas Tale

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (German: Nussknacker und Mausekönig) is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann, a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, composer, music critic,  and caricaturist. In the tale, young Marie Stahlbaum’s favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. In 1892, the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov turned Alexandre Dumas père‘s adaptation of the story into the ballet The Nutcracker, which became one of Tchaikovsky’s most famous compositions, and perhaps the most popular ballet in the world. Classical Ballet Peter Tchaikovsky “The Nutcracker” (ballet in two acts)by the world famous Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet and Opera theatre Hoffmann’s story begins on Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house. Marie, seven years old, and her brother Fritz, eight, sit outside the parlor speculating about what kind of present their godfather Drosselmeier, who is a clockmaker and inventor, has made for them. They are at last allowed into the parlor, where they receive many splendid gifts, including Drosselmeier’s, which turns out to be a clockwork castle with mechanical people moving about inside it. However, as the mechanical people can only do the same thing over and over without variation, the children quickly tire of it. At this point, Marie notices a Nutcracker doll, and asks whom he belongs to. Her father tells her that he belongs to all of them, but (more…)
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Create A Regency Sachet

This sweet sachet is available in our giftshop! Our garden is putting in order…The shrubs which border the gravel walk, he says, are only sweetbriar and roses, and the latter of an indifferent sort; we mean to get a few of a better kind, therefore… Jane Austen to Cassandra February 8, 1807 Scented sachets are also known as “sweet bags” (an old name for a small sachet cloth bag). Since before recorded time, dried herbs, flowers and other scented materials have been used to   freshen and refresh. Sachets with herbs like hops and lavender can act as a sedative.  These type of sachets are often put in closets and dresser drawers the scent clothes and linens. Ram’s booklet Little Dodoen, printed in 1606 gave a sachet formula to take to bed to help one sleep: Take dry rose leaves keep them in a glass which will keep them sweet and then take powder of mints, powder of cloves in a grosse powder. Put the same to the Rose leaves then put all these together in a bag and take that to bed with you and it will cause you to sleep, and it is good to smell unto at other times. The following recipe, from How to Cook, a recipe and household book printed in 1810, reads much like this much older recipe, but with the addition of musk. In Jane Austen’s day, musk came from the east: India, Pakistan, Tibet, China, Siberia and Mongolia. To obtain the musk, (more…)