Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Beautiful Blizzard of 2009

I love snow. 

I lived in Boulder, Colorado, in 1981 and loved every minute of snow--except when it lasted until May 1st...I moved in June.

But here, in Little Washington, Virginia, the snow is a little different. It's lovely, soft, fluffy and fun. At least this time. And yes, I am in Heaven. The blue, is very blue.  The white, is brilliant. And at night, the stars can be a reading lamp...I think I was a happy Russian in Siberia in a previous life.

Driving into work this morning, after being plowed-out of our driveway in Amissville by a happy drive-by snow-plow-guy, I was giddy with delight at the site of barren, white, frozen fields and mountains that are my home in Rappahannock County. I was so happy, so in love with the peace that snow inherently brings to me. It's quiet. It's tranquil. There are only a few cars on the slushy roads.

We drive up to the shop, and voila! Not so bad. Easy to shovel out the front for our customers (not many around, but I don't care because it's gorgeous!).  We settle into the shop, check all the vitals, and start to work.  There is always something to do, even on snowy days when hardly anyone is around. I finish our Christmas cards, answer some emails, post a few things online, and do a bit of work on some display ideas. Love this day.

Thought I'd share some images of our shop & town. I hope to add a few more images tomorrow, for as you know, I love the snow.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stylist Joanie Ballard on WUSA TV Channel 9

I had a great time at WUSA TV Channel 9 Studios in Washington, DC, working as stylist for John MacPherson's segment on how to create an elegant party with easy to make party dishes.  

I chose my favorite Le Jacquard Francais Tablecloths and Napkins from the shop (Sari Paprika and Ispahan) and also brought in some lovely white French serving dishes, platters and contemporary martini glasses to display the delicious food. It was a blast! 

John MacPherson did a wonderful job showing how easy it can be to put together a delicious and hassle-free event with simple yet tasty dishes and drink using several recipes from his Foster Harris House Cookbook. He was interviewed by Andrea Rowen, from Channel 9. 

Here area few backstage photos from the TV segment, taken by Diane MacPherson (you'll also see the MacPherson's cutie-pie son Finn, who had a good time playing on set with dad). 

Check out John's recipe here:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas in Little Washington Celebration and Parade!

This was an amazing, fun and celebratory day for us and for so many people who came out for the Christmas in Little Washington Celebration & Parade, sponsored by the Washington Hospitality and Visitors Association (WHVA). 

The parade started near the Inn at Little Washington, wrapped itself down Main Street and then over to Gay Street. It was loud and joyous. Even Chef Patrick O'Connell got involved, waving to the crowd from his own Christmas float, which was decorated with a large old stove and several Inn at Little Washington employees dressed in their signature Dalmation pants!

To let you all see what a small town parade really looks like, I am posting some pictures I took from in front of our shop on Main Street. We had a great view!

At the R. H. Ballard Shop & Gallery, we also had some special goodies for parade goers available from delicious Red Truck Bakery. We made sure people knew where to pick up some of these tasty treats!

Starting the parade was our honored Grand Marshal, "George the Bear" (aka John MacPherson from the Foster Harris House B&B)! How cute is that?

Our special guest to our little town was U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. They were the highlight of the show!



So many events were going on all day. The Artisan Markets were full and bursting with activity, all businesses up & down Main & Gay Streets participated with delicious Open Houses, and there was Lunch and Gingerbread Decorating going on at the Washington Baptist Church.

Inside our shop on Parade Day
Elves and Donkeys on Parade

Miniature Horse & Big Elves



There were Llamas too!
12 Singers Singing....

Beautiful Horses & Riders

Come on out next year for a fun time in a small town!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Red Truck Bakery at Ballard's!

On Sunday, Dec. 6th, to celebrate "Christmas in Little Washington," we will feature delicious Red Truck Bakery goods for sale and for tasting!  Doors open at 10:00am.

Because of high demand, we are unable to take any phone orders for Red Truck items, so it's first-come first served. Come in early for best selections and get a free cup of Ballard Coffee along with a Red Truck "Mini Rum Cake with Brown Butter Frosting," a yummy treat to enjoy while watching the parade go by!

The following Red Truck Bakery items will be for sale: Brian's new "Moonshine Cake", made with Wasmund's Whiskey of Copper Fox Distillery, plus amazing Cranberry-Orange-Walnut Quick Breads, Muffins, and deliciously packaged Red Truck cookies.

Come on down and enjoy the festivities of the day, which will include the amazing U.S. Army Fife and Drum Corps marching in the parade down Main Street!  Should be great fun. Hope to see you all there!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lotto Rugs at R.H. Ballard

In searching for unique new rugs, I found the Lotto Rugs, produced in Armenia by Megerian Rugs.  These rugs are faithful renditions of the historic Lotto rugs.  Named for the Venetian painter Lorenzo Lotto (1480-1556), who used these designs often, as pictured here, the Lotto rugs constitute a transitional stage between the first Ottoman period and the floral art that would dominate the rugs of the 16th and 17th Centuries.  These rugs are cherished holdings in major museums throughout the world.

In the Lottos the field is activated by angular arabesques forming rows generally octagonal or rectangular motifs resembling grillwork.

The arabesque, though created by an Islamic artist after the 7th Century conquest, did not make an appearance in Turkish carpets until the beginning of the 16th Century.

These rugs, with their overal designs and limited pallet are ideal for both modern, rustic and elegant situations.

Megerian rugs are the finest reproductions of these four century old designs using ecco friendly dyes and time honored hand knotting techniques. Emmett Eiland, in his book "Oriental Rugs Today" states:  "...Megerian is among the most respected of all rug makers today."

These fine rugs connect up with the important reproductions of the Mamluk Rugs as well as the Sultanabad rugs, carried by R. H. Ballard, all produced by Megerian and representing true collectable antiques in the making.  To view a large selection of designs click here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Le Jacquard Francais Tablecloths are Ready for the Holidays!

The best thing about the holidays is setting your dining table for family and friends. Finding the right tablecloth to set the mood can be difficult unless you have access to a variety of choices. Well, you can find exactly what you need right here!

At R.H. Ballard we stock Le Jacquard Francais and Garnier Thiebaut tablecloths, napkins, placemats, runners and tea towels.  We have everything needed to create a stunning table, and starting with Le Jacquard Francais Tablecloths and Napkins you can't go wrong.

This year, Le Jacquard Francais came out with some stunning designs perfect for holiday entertaining. Let's start with the best, Siena in Ruby Red:

With an intricate Italian motif throughout, this Siena in Ruby is a 100% linen tablecloth that will last for generations to come. This linen cloth will endure through countless dinners with friends and family. Imagine your lovely china, glassware, Christmas displays, and of course lots of candles! It's just a beautiful statement of elegance.  Siena also comes in two other colorways: Pearl (grey, silver and ivory), and Ivory (creamy ivory, taupe and eggshell), as seen below:

Other holiday options I recommend include Kabuki in Lacquer Red, which is a 50/50 blend of cotton and linen, with Asian motifs and a complex jacquard weave with a striped border inspired from kabuki designs. This tablecloth feels very luxurious to the touch, and the kabuki motifs are artistically rendered:

For a really hot and contemporary statement, I love the Rajasthan in Pomegranate, in 100% cotton, which has a delicious mix of fuschia, eggplant, hot mustard, and pink. This is an Indian inspired design with architectural images and a contemporary twist. It also comes in Curry, Ginger. You can have a lot of fun decorating a Christmas table with this bright tablecloth!

The Marche Chinois in Saffron, is probably our best seller over the years.  It is versatile, can be used throughout the year for many different occasions and looks lovely in any setting. It is 100% cotton, and has an intricate display of a Chinese Market all around the border:

If you have a more neutral dinning space, and you enjoy a more contemporary look, the Tanger tablecloth in Alabaster is for you.  This cloth is 100% cotton and is woven in white, taupe, grey. The motifs are Moroccan tiles with large graphic foliage as a background. It also comes in Bougainvillea and Colbalt:

Lastly, our ever popular Sari in Paprika, easily sets the mood for your Christmas Table.  With a deep red center and Indian-inspired Sari motifs along the wide border, you have a stunning statement.  This cloth is 100% cotton and also comes in Muscaris and Graphite:

There are so many Le Jacquard Francais tablecloths that will suit all of your holiday entertaining. Go now to R.H. Ballard to see all tablecloths available for you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

American Realist Patton Wilson Joins R. H. Ballard

R. H. Ballard Gallery is proud to represent Patton Wilson.  This American realist recently was the recipient of the prestigious Pollack/Krasner Foundation Grant, and has been exhibiting his sophisticated realist paintings for over two decades throughout the United States.  His still life paintings are carefully constructed compositions painted from life, taking  months to finish. Wilson creates work in oil, egg tempera, casein, and egg oil emulsion. Going back and forth between these media and the appropriate painting surface keeps him intrigued with the creative process.  Each of these allows him to interpret ideas in different ways. 

Come visit the gallery and View Patton Wilson's most recent painting "Flutter" pictured above.

For more information or to view new works as they become available, please contact Robert H. Ballard at 540-675-1411.

Click here to see the artist's Bio. and larger images

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

6 Artists of Rappahannock

On October 31st an exhibition of the work of six artists working in the county will go on display at the R. H. Ballard Gallery in Washington, Virginia.  The artists to be shown are Kevin H. Adams, Robert H. Ballard, Jim Conaway, Viviane deKosinsky, Nina Moore and Thomas Mullany.

A gallery reception will take place on Sunday, Nov. 1, from 2-5 pm with the artists present. Light refreshments will be served. 

This group of six artists represent the diverse nature of work being produced in Rappahannock, from interiors, to landscape, to European images. The mediums shown will be paintings in oils, watercolor, acrylic, as well as etchings and sculpture.

Kevin H. Adams will be exhibiting paintings from his recent trip to Cuba with images of that fascinating island nation.  These works include tobacco plantations, Cuban architecture and local color.

Robert H. Ballard will be showing more work from his ongoing series of chair images, which are vehicles for his interest in form, texture and color using a common theme.

Jim Conaway will display his very recent series of paintings taken from aerial views of the country, displaying an almost abstract pattern of color and form.

Viviane deKosinsky will be represented by recent hand colored etchings of animals as well as European and locale scenes, exhibiting her meticulous and unique style.

Nina Moore will be displaying her handmade paper landscapes that give a mysterious and subtle rendition of local mountains, sky and mist.

Thomas Mullany will present both new paintings and sculpture, giving his usual twist to both local landscape and other imagery.

The exhibition will run through November 22nd, and will be part of the 5th annual Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour November 7th-8th.

To see more of this exhibit go to  The gallery is open daily, 10 am - 6pm.  Please call 540 675-1411 for more information.