Magnolia Pearl

You might be surprised at first glance at the title, but don’t be fooled. This shop is exclusive, and not to be confused with Magnolia Market.

On our Texas trip, I was determined to check out this beautiful structure I had seen before on Hwy 290 E. out of Fredericksburg. This shop was built of reclaimed wood repurposed into a German-style grain barn. It was all hand hewn by Amish craftsmen over a hundred years ago.

The textile artist is Robin “Pearl” Brown who founded Magnolia Pearl in Texas Hill Country. Robin was born in the 1960’s and was raised in California and gives credit to her artist father and gypsy mother for her talent. She has been designing for over thirty years and Magnolia became a LLC brand twenty years ago.

Rusty old trucks are part of the decor in Texas.

“Magnolia Pearl is more of an umbrella term for a philosophy of living and looking. In one sense it refers to my fashion designs, interior pieces and accessories, but, in another, Magnolia Pearl is a choice, a decision to look on the bright side of life, and if you can’t see it, go ahead and create it for yourself. What I want to see is beauty in abundance.” ~Pearl



Each one of Robin’s creations is a limited production, and designed as a single size. All fabrics are of natural materials, and the highest quality. Robin creates new designs on a monthly basis, rather than twice a year, which is the norm. In this way, Robin can keep her creative juices flowing.

If you want special attention you may want to call ahead for an appointment and try on her creations. The colors are subtle when you walk in the door, but don’t let that fool you. The whole décor is well planned out, and spoke to me of simplicity.

The shop girls will greet you kindly and give you plenty of time to ask all your questions. Tara was sincerely friendly and gave me a wealth of information about the designs.

The Pearl is so interesting; it wakes up your own artistic genes!

Check out their website here and see all their beautiful photos:



LBJ Ranch: National Historical Park

Have you ever heard of Air Force ½? This is one of the many interesting facts we learned when we were on the road in Texas. Beyond Luckenbach, we traveled to the Enchanted Rock once again, (to prove we could still climb it), and to visit a few places we missed last time.

We had intended to only drive around the LBJ ranch on National Park Property, but changed our minds and took the last tour of the day. We were greeted by a winter volunteer that took her job seriously and answered any questions she was asked.

The ranch once belonged to family, and when Johnson’s uncle Frank Martin died, the “dilapidated” ranch was given to Johnson, with lifetime use of the house for his widow, Johnson’s aunt.

With endless energy, Johnson grew the ranch to 2,700 acres with 400 head of Hereford cattle. As you drive around the ranch you will see herds of cattle grazing. The show barn is where the animals are primped for competition. They still take great care in breeding and showmanship at the ranch.

Deer grazing with cattle
Showman barn

Hereford Cattle

Just outside the ranger station, there sat the Air Force ½. We were able to look inside and it is smaller than anything I have been in, except a bush plane. I wonder how well Johnson fit into the plane.

Air Force 1/2

The garage housed several cars, including two Lincoln convertibles, a Thunderbird and a “floating” car he drove on the Pedernales River on the ranch property.

In the house we saw the office where former President Johnson worked. No photography was allowed, but the walls were covered in brown panels. I found it interesting that several people worked in a rather small room together. There were two things that fascinated me: probably the first “radio” phone, or old mobile phone with a box. A 60’s television set with old turn dials was built high up in the wall, across from Johnson’s desk. How did he turn it on? I know he was a very tall man, standing 6’ 4”, but this TV was very high up. Johnson had a remote! Who knows, but it might have been the first one invented.

Sometimes referred to as the Texas White House
Johnson’s favorite place to sit.

Each room was tastefully done, 60’s style, but a welcoming house. It was comfortable and lived in. We toured the kitchen with its large appliances and its colors took me back to my childhood. The Johnsons entertained their guests in the family room, which they made a cozy place. I was pleasantly surprised it was not a huge overdone mansion proving the wealth of the successful rancher/Senator/President. All of the rooms had that family lived-in look.

One of LB’s favorite places was to sit under the huge live oak in front of the house. Many times he would arrange meetings there with officials from Washington, D.C.

The Johnson family loved the ranch and added on to it, eventually putting in a pool and pool house after he had a heart attack. It seemed that Lady Bird, his wife used it more than he did.

When LB was sworn in after President Kennedy died, suddenly the ranch was surrounded by security. A building was built to house the personnel. They began calling the Johnson home the “Texas White House.”

During these times, a war was on in Vietnam and many times Lady Bird would wake to find officials talking to the president at 5 am in the morning while they were still in bed. Lady Bird put a stop to that and had her own bedroom built across from his.

Johnson never stopped while he was awake. He was a man full of energy and worked long hours. Even his bedroom had three televisions in it, and they were all on whenever he was there.

While he was president he signed into law 60 education bills, and almost 300 bills of environmental and other conservation issues.

Lady Bird cofounded the wild flower preservation with the actress, Helen Hayes. Together they planted and preserved the native plants of Texas. Lady Bird had a large flower garden in her back yard. I remember seeing native plants along the highways of Texas when Johnson was president.

We visited a Wild seed farm in Fredericksburg earlier in the day. You could purchase wild flower seeds for climate zones all over the U.S.A.

Out back there is a brick patio with cement bricks that hold the names of famous people who attended the Johnson’s famous BBQ’s. Here are a few of them:

As for why his plane was named Air Force ½: as a Senator, Johnson had his own plane to fly to Washington. Later when he came president, there was not enough room to land Air Force One, so they continued to use his plane, which they renamed Air Force 1/2.