Thursday, January 31, 2013

Valentine Vignettes

Tomorrow is the 1st of February and it's time to start thinking about
Valentines.  I made these two from felt scraps and some embroidery floss.

Making Valentines makes me feel like a little girl again.  Such fun!
It has always been my favorite February project.

I found this adorable sachet at a local shop.  An elderly woman
makes them.  Isn't this just the sweetest little sachet?  I cut out a felt
heart and put a lace doily, the heart and the sachet together for 
a little Valentine vignette.

Thank you for all of your prayers for my mom.  She and I were both
so strengthened by this.  Mom visited her doctor this past Tuesday.
While there is no cure for her heart failure, we are taking each day
as it comes and are just so thankful that we have each other.

Happily joining ~

All the snow is melting outside and it is one big sloppy mess in our
yard.  Bentley will have to have a bath tonight.  He won't be too happy
about that!

Susan and Bentley

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quilting and a Prayer Request.

I love quilts.  Love to look at them.  Love to curl up with them.
Love to make them.  I am going to share some charming quilts
with you that I have found on Pinterest.  I wish they were my own
creations, but they are not.

I am going to be gone for a couple of days.  My mom has some
health issues that need to be addressed.  We will be visiting
her doctor tomorrow.

So while I am gone, I will leave you with these sweet images.
Please keep my mom in your prayers.

Big Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Warm It Up With Chili and a Winner!

I am really getting cabin fever.  I am finally feeling better after being sick for a week.
I have stayed indoors all weekend because it has been so cold and miserable outside.
Seems like perfect weather for a big pot of my all day chili!

I will give you my recipe in a minute, but first I want to congratulate
Judy of 20 North Ora for winning my giveaway of the little rusty bird
and birdhouse.  Email your address to me Judy so that I can fly that bird
down to Tulsa!  And thank you to all of you who participated.  I have
another giveaway in mind that I hope you all will enjoy.

Susan's All Day Chili

1 pound of beef stew meat
EVOO to coat pan
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced green pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
Chili seasoning blend
2 cans diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can of drained black beans

Pat the stew meat dry.  Heat oil in dutch oven.  Add meat a few pieces at
a time.  Make sure that all of the meat browns well.  Remove meat from 
pot and add onions and green pepper.  At this point I add some Kosher salt
to make sure the onions and the pepper sweat.  After a few minutes, add the
minced garlic.  Now add the chili powder blend.  Let this heat up a bit to
bring out the flavor.  Add some of the juice from the tomatoes to deglaze the
pot.  Add the rest of the tomatoes, all of the juice and the meat.  Cover and let
the pot simmer for at least one hour.  I like the meat to be really tender, so 
take your time with this.  Then remove cover and let the chili simmer for another
45 minutes.  I like the juices to condense and to intensify the flavor.  Just before
serving, add the drained and rinsed black beans.

I usually serve my chili over cooked brown rice, and I garnish the bowls
with shredded cheddar cheese and chopped scallions.
Love some homemade cornbread with this too.  

Happily Joining

Bentley has been smelling the chili cook all afternoon.
His daddy gave him some popcorn as an appetizer.  
What a lucky dog!

Susan and Bentley

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Am A Romantic

Debbie has challenged us once again to copy cat a magazine and put our
own twist on it.  So here is Pottery Barn's contribution to Valentine's Day.

And here is mine.

Theirs is a bit edgier.

Mine is a bit more romantic.  But hey, that's me!

Happily Joining ~

Bentley ~ your momma is starting to feel better now.  Let's see if we can
get your daddy to help us assemble my dollhouse.

Susan and Bentley

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mrs Daffodil

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

I am currently crazy about Gladys Taber.  On these cold winter days there is nothing 
better than to curl up with a cozy read that will make you feel like you have a new
best friend.  Here she is. Isn't she adorable?  I love this pic of her in her kitchen at Stillmeadow.
Dogs at her feet, flavorful aromas coming from her vintage kitchen.  Everyone's
perfect grandmotherly type.

If you have not met Gladys Taber you are in for a treat.  Gladys was a well educated woman
who graduated from Wellesley College in 1920 and earned her Masters from Lawrence College
in 1921.  Although she authored more than 50 books, she was probably best known for her
magazine columns.  Her Diary of Domesticity in the Ladies Home Journal began in 1937 and
she wrote Butternut Wisdom for Family Circle magazine from 1959 to 1967.   There are some
that compare her to Elizabeth Lane's character in the movie Christmas in Connecticut, except that
Gladys really did live on a farm ~ Stillmeadow ~ and she really could cook.  Yet, the same 
charm and fascination is instilled in her writing as she safely guides the reader into a gentle and
often humorous look at country life.

I checked out every copy of her books currently available at our local
library.  She is still popular and I think that part of that popularity is attributed
to our friend Susan Branch who is a big fan of her work.

And here it is, Mrs. Daffodil.  She is adorable, a tad forgetful, funny and
a complete delight.  It's my current favorite book.

Here is a scene from Mrs. Daffodil's excursion to purchase a much needed girdle.
After much struggling to assist Mrs. Daffodil into her new girdle, the sales clerk utters ...

"Now, Gussie," said the clerk to the fitter, "isn't Moddom a perfect stylish stout?
Look at that figger.  You could model for us, Moddom."

"I wish I were dead," said Mrs. Daffodil to Kay as she leapt onto the escalator.
"I am a stylish stout, do you know that?"

I can't wait to get back to reading more of Mrs. Daffodil this evening.  It will be
hard to put down and I know that when I reach the end I will be yearning for more.

Happily Joining ~

Favorite Thing Friday

Bentley ~ have you ever noticed that your momma always reads books
where dogs are important characters?

Susan and Bentley

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oh Darlings Its Just Pinkalicious!

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

I just can't seem to help myself.  I mean ~ I just keep finding these 
perfectly precious pink pins on Pinterest and onto the pin board they go!

Everyone knows that a pink cupcake solves everything, and if they
don't know, they must give it a try!

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

And of course serving pink cupcakes on adorable pink plates only
makes the experience more memorable!

I love this chair ~ ooh la la tres chic!

And speaking of ooh la la ~ I am swooning now!

From little girls ...

to big girls, pink is perfection!

Wishing you all happy pink dreams!

Happily Joining Beverly, the Queen of Pink for ~

Pink Saturday

Bentley is a very open minded dog.  He likes pink too.
His newest favorite toy is a little pink squeak dog.

Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Let's Dish

After spending three days in bed with the flu, the fever has gone down and
I feel like I am living again!  How about a hot cup of coffee and let's dish.
What's new with you?  Are you getting excited about Valentine's Day?  I am
 You don't have to have a sweetheart to love Valentine's Day.  Everyone
has someone they love.  

It's such a good feeling to bring a bit of cheer into someone's life.  Some homemade
cookies.  A little card to let a special someone know you care.  Valentine's Day is 
one of those holidays that everyone can enjoy.  I think I will take some flowers over to
my neighbor.  She is in her 80's and does not get out much anymore.  

I am always on the hunt for cute vintage Valentines.  Now that everyone uses email,
it's just so nice to receive a card via snail mail.  If I don't find any I love, I will
make my own.

I am thinking cheerful thoughts on these frigid January days.  I hope
you are too.

Happily Joining ~

Home Sweet Home
Feathered Nest Friday
Be Inspired
Dear sweet Bentley ~ you deserve some special Valentine's Day
homemade dog biscuits for being a little angel every day!

Susan and Bentley

I Heart Miniature Cottages

I have been home with the flu for the past three days.  I am starting to feel better now and
am happily pinning away to my Pinterest boards, especially the board I have for miniature
cottages.  I am stashing away ideas for my dollhouse just as I do for my full size house.  I am
continually amazed at the creativity and talent of miniaturists.  Just look at this sweet little
kitchen nook!

And this adorable tea set!  It's so sweet and so much like something Cath Kidston would

I am so in love with this!  Love the sack of Idaho potatoes too.

And this one too.  Totally charming!  Every detail is so perfect it is
hard to believe that these are all miniatures.

Look at this sweet table and chairs and the cute tablescape too.
Kim is so talented!

Is this not the cutest Hoosier cabinet ever???

I feel so much better after looking at all these cute minis.  Miniature cottage pinning
is the perfect prescription for the flu!

Happily Joining ~


Wasn't that fun Bentley?  We need to look for some pics of miniature dog
houses too.

Susan and Bentley

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tweaking a Cabinet for My Studio and Giveaway Reminder

This vintage cabinet that is in our old office and what is now my studio,
is full of old college textbooks.  I really need to go through this cabinet
and decide what we want to keep and then sort through this mess.

But in the meantime I got a wild idea to tweak this piece to give it
a more shabby cottage look.  So guess what ~ out comes the
paint.  I love the scalloped edges on the bottom.  They never
really showed up before.

I decided to leave the top stained as well as the trim work in the
glass door.  I think I like this fabric remnant behind the glass.  I have
not properly attached it yet and may go with a toile or ticking instead.
I will decide that when I make a slip cover for the world's ugliest
swivel desk chair.  The chair has a high back and is really comfy,
but it is hideous!

I am going to keep that vintage radio.  It does not work, but it is oh
so charming.  The Harvard Business Review text book and the golf books
and stars and stripes box are off to hubby's new office.

That's my tweaking for today.  Don't forget to sign up for my 
giveaway! You can read all about it on the previous post.

Happily Joining ~

Bentley ~ what do you think about the fabric?  Do we keep
the vintage floral or replace it with either ticking or toile?
He has no idea, but he would like a treat.

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, January 20, 2013

An Anniversary and a Giveaway

It's hard to believe that three years have flown by so quickly!  At Ash Tree Cottage
we have been serving up tea ...



Cooking up pots of soup 

Repainting hutches


And yet more tablescaping

Making fairy gardens

Planting flower boxes

Decorating pumpkins

And decorating tool boxes too!

Bentley and I have so enjoyed and have treasured your friendship and visits
to our little cottage!

So on this our third anniversary, we have a giveaway.

It's a cute chippy birdhouse and ...

a sweet little bird too.
Leave a comment if you would like a chance to win.

Blessings to you all and thank you so much for making this
a very memorable year.  We look forward to many more days together!

Big Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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