Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ash Tree Cottage Has a New Look ~ Almost

After several cups of tea (to keep my nerves steady) and some pencil chewing,
I managed to get up the nerve to change my blog's template.  Now this may
not be a big deal to many of you, but it was a big leap for me.  This tech
challenged chickie has been posting on the same template since my first post.

Oh sure, in the past I have changed my blog's banner and have played around
with some fonts and colors, but essentially that's it.  I got so bored looking at
my blog when I opened it up and I thought that if I am bored then you all
must be yawning when you pay me a visit.

So, here it is ~ the big new reveal.  Of course it's not without it's flubs.
There is a bit more tweaking to do, but the biggest flub is that I have lost
my BlogHer Tune-in Bar in the process.  I was not expecting that and don't 
know how to fix it, so I have sent an urgent message to the BlogHer ads team.
Of course they are all in New York at the big 2012 conference.  Martha Stewart 
and Katie Couric and a visit from the President will no doubt have them all
busy and I am sure they are not too worried about little old Ash Tree Cottage
and the missing Tune-in Bar.

That's all I plan to do today.  I probably should start thinking about
dinner because if I don't pull myself away from the Mac, I will be here
all evening and David will have to go pick up some take out.  If that 
happens, I know that Bentley will be voting for pizza!

I am joining Brenda's new party
Be sure to stop by and visit all the tweaking going on over there!

Right Bentley?  You know Brenda has two adorable Yorkies too!!

Susan and Bentley

Monday, July 30, 2012

Under Construction

I have been working on some ideas for changing the look of my blog.
I'm going to try them out first and if I'm still not happy I will hire
someone who knows what they are doing :)

I'm baking some cookies so that Bentley and I will have a treat
while we burn the midnight oil giving our virtual cottage a facelift.

See Y'all Soon!
(we hope)

Bentley ~ Momma is ready to start the demolition and re~building.
I hope I don't make too much of a mess.

Susan and Bentley

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Little Cabin Turns Into Mr Blanding's Dream House

Last fall we bought a lot in a lovely golf course resort community up in
the mountains.  We were very excited because not only is it beautiful in
this area, but it is also just three lots away from our friends Juli and Patrick's cabin.

We immediately started looking at plans for a simple cozy cabin.
Nothing fancy.  Something small, simple with a nice front porch and
a stone fireplace inside.  Something like Jack Hanna's cabin shown here above.

We started to draw up our plans.  

I said I really wanted a nice rustic stone fireplace just like the one in Jack's cabin.
Since David is a contractor he contacted our stone mason about it.  
Rudy said he would build it for us.

Great!  That will be a perfect fireplace.

Then we started to talk about the bedrooms and we decided that we needed
two bedrooms on the first floor and a loft on the second floor that would include
guest sleeping and a studio/library.  The insanity begins!

Our tile subcontractors and plumbers asked us about the bathrooms.  We
decided we needed two full baths and of course a powder room.  "You will 
need a bidet", said the plumber.  "Can't build a decent bathroom without a bidet."
Oran, our tile man said, "I want to build you a stone walk in shower large
enough for two with dual rain heads and body wash."

Of course I said that I wanted a claw foot tub. 

David wanted a walk in bar and I said I wanted an Aga for the 
kitchen.  It would be so charming, and cozy and oh the wonderful soups
and stews simmering on the stove!

The appliance salesman said I was crazy.  Just buy another Viking like
the one you have in town.  Much cheaper he said.

We visit our architect with our wish list.  He starts drawing up
the plans and keeps adding our suggestions.  
A dutch door in the kitchen.
A window seat with bookcases on either side in my Mom's bedroom.
Don't forget that walk in bar for David.
And a big island in the kitchen ...

And what once was a cozy little cabin began to evolve into
a mountain mcmansion!

Lots of windows across the back to take in the mountain views.
Post and beam construction just like the house in the movie
Christmas in Connecticut too!

A two car garage too. Oh, and don't forget the radiant heat in the floor.
Blah, blah, blah ...

Then the visit from the excavator ...

"Yep, you're going to need a walk-out basement", he says.

Suddenly David and I looked at each other and said ~

"What are we thinking?  This is insanity!!!"
We were living through scenes from the movie
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House.

Whatever happened to that simple, sweet and cozy cabin we originally
dreamed about?  

Something like Jack Hanna's cabin seems like the perfect and practical
get away once again.  We have regained our senses at last!
I'm drawing up the plans.  Keeping a lid on my fantasies. Unless of we should
happen to win the lottery of course :)

Bentley ~ sometimes your Momma and Daddy just get carried away. 
Thankfully, you have more sense than we do!

Susan and Bentley

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ready for a Change

I am sending Happy Birthday wishes to our friend Beverly who hosts
Pink Saturday each week. 

After celebrating my own birthday just last week I have been thinking about
the changing years.  I feel restless and itching for a change.

I have been wondering ~ what should the change be?  A haircut?  New clothes?
Repaint all the rooms of my house?  Plastic surgery?

What, what, what???

Finally I realized that my blog needs a facelift.
I am bored with it.  I have not been coming to the page with the
same enthusiasm I once had.  So ~ it's to shake things up a bit.

Change is on the wind and Ash Tree Cottage will be getting
a facelift and a new lease on life.  

Well Bentley, your Momma feels excited about the 
changes ahead.

Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas in July Tablescapes

I am having so much fun celebrating Christmas in July.  My Christmas things are
all packed away, but I did save some pics from some of last year's Christmas meals.

So let's take a trip down memory lane.  This was from a Christmas tea.  I really
need to have another one this coming December.

Last fall we bought a lot up in the mountains and I was so excited about building a
cabin up there that I started to purchase woodland theme dishes and accessories.

The tartan napkins just make me want to snuggle up by the fire with a cup of
cocoa or tea.

I love these plates!  I purchased them from Dee Dee at Forget Me Not Antiques.
Dee Dee is very aware that I have a plate addiction and she shares that addiction.
I promised her that she can borrow them sometime.  Of course when she comes to
visit me up in New Meadows, we will use these plates for dinner!

Birch bark candles from Pottery Barn.  And now let's go visit my Mom's house.

We set up this tablescape together last year.  I bought the glass holly napkin
rings for her at Lord and Taylor in Houston years ago.  I wish that I had
purchased more of them!  I only bought six, and I have never seen them again.

We had a lovely Christmas dinner last year at Mom's house.

This was the fondue table.  We always have cheese fondue while we are opening our
Christmas gifts. 

Wonderful memories!

Let's keep this party going and visit ~

Bentley ~ do you think we have time to publish a post of your
Christmas toys?  You were playing with your Rudy Reindeer squeak toy
earlier today.

Susan and Bentley

Christmas in July Crafts

I love the idea of Christmas in July parties.  After all of the hot weather
it's fun to pretend to be wearing a warm and comfy sweater and drinking
a hot cup of cocoa.  Okay ~ let's get into the Christmas mood with some 
reuse, recycle crafts.

This little Christmas cottage was made from a Ritz Cracker box.  Just
added some paint, some cotton and some glitter.  

I made this skate from the remainder of that Ritz box.  I added some
white felt, sequins and more glitter.   I took a pic of the skate and emailed 
it as a Christmas card to a friend who is an avid ice skater.

I plan to make some more skates this year and give them to Juli for her 
Christmas tree.

Every year my Mom spends hours decorating her Christmas packages.
It's hard to compete with her creations, so I just decided to recycle a brown
grocery bag and paint it to look like a mountain white Christmas scene.

I tied the package up with some left over yarn from a project, added some
white spray painted twigs, a painted pine cone and a little tag.  

I always seem to get started on Christmas crafts so late, but perhaps 
this year I will start much sooner.  I certainly am becoming inspired by all
of the wonderful Christmas in July posts!

I am joining ~

Bentley ~ we are posting twice today so that we can show some
Christmas tablescapes too!  And how about that Christmas music?
That really gets us in the mood don't you think???

Susan and Bentley

Monday, July 23, 2012

Baby Talk Cloche

Don't you wish that we could keep childhood memories 
under glass and store forever?  Well, since we can't really do that,
we can always create a baby cloche.

The innocence.

The sweetness.

The joy.

Now who could ever forget the Poky Little Puppy?

I am joining Marty's Summer Cloche Party.
Can't wait to see the other cloches because quite frankly
I am cloche challenged!

Bentley ~ next time will you help Momma dream up a cloche?

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bentley and I Are Back!

Bentley and I are back from our mini blogging break.  We escaped into our own
little world!

We just had fun together and took a well needed 
retreat from reality.

There's nothing like kicking off one's shoes and just
relaxing and playing house!

We have lot's of fun things in store for the week ahead and hope
that you will be joining us. Right Bentley?

Big Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reflections on My Birthday

Today is July 18th and it is my birthday.  While some like to make resolutions
on New Year's Eve, I like to reflect on the past year on my birthday.  I ask myself
what I have achieved in the past year?  What goals did I achieve and which ones
did I miss?

Are there any lifelong dreams that have yet to be fulfilled?
Have I been a good and kind person?  

Every new day brings another chance to be the person I really
want to be.  I will be taking the next couple of days off to greet this
new year of my life.  Until I see you all again I will be joining ~

Vintage Thingie Thursday (because I am vintage)

Bentley ~ I think it's time to start working on another backyard
camping theme!

Susan and Bentley

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hubby's Birthday Dinner

Today is David's birthday and I am home this afternoon making
his birthday dinner.

We are having ~

Hot Artichoke Dip with Tiny Toasts
Filet Mignon with Ree Drummond's Whiskey Cream Sauce
Twice Baked Potatoes
Sauteed Baby Peas
Fresh Garden Salad with a simple Vinaigrette
 and champagne of course!

This Wednesday is my birthday and David has VIP tickets for us to
see Chris Isaak on Friday!  I am a huge Chris Isaak fan and have gone
to see him twice.  He puts on a really great show.

Excuse me while I listen to Chris, dance around the kitchen and do more
prep work for David's B~Day dinner!

Joining ~

Bentley ~ don't forget to give your Daddy a big kiss as soon as he walks
in the door!

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hey Love ~ What's for Dinner?

Well the weekend is over and it's time to start planning the 
menu for the up coming week.  Here is what is on the menu for Monday.
Now remember ~ if you don't like it here's the phone. You can
always call for take out!

Salad with Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

white wine vinegar in a bowl
chopped fresh garlic
salt and freshly ground pepper
crumbled blue cheese
whisk these together with extra virgin olive oil
toss with fresh salad greens and croutons

Grilled Corn on the Cob

pull back corn husks
carefully remove silk
place husks back over corn
soak in husk covered corn in water for 30 minutes
grill over hot coals 15 to 20 minutes
serve with butter

Stove Top BBQ Chicken Breasts

boneless skinless chicken breasts
seasoned flour
BBQ Sauce

dredge boneless skinless chicken breasts in flour seasoned with
salt, pepper and garlic powder
preheat EVOO in skillet till hot
add flour dredged chicken breast
sauteed on both sides until well browned
add favorite BBQ sauce
cover and cook 30 minutes

This is a very easy recipe that will produce a very tender chicken breast
and the BBQ sauce will cook down to be very sweet and tasty.

And that's what is on the menu for Monday

Let's go visit Yvonne for more recipes

Hi Bentley ~ did we wear you out driving around in the jeep
with the top down today?

Susan and Bentley


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