Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's New Year's Eve and We Are Back!

Y'all might think we dropped off the face of the planet.  We did not! 
Bentley and I have been enjoying some time off with David and
friends.  David took some vacation time and Bentley and I have
been spending some quality time with him and it's been a real

We also managed to take a little trip and visited one of
our favorite cities ~ San Antonio.  We had a wonderful time.
We stayed in a fabulous suite, ate lots of great food, took
long walks and relaxed.  Here is a video of our suite in the 
Omni Hotel on the Riverwalk.  

Wishing y'all a safe and Happy New Year's Eve!

Loads of Love,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's Bentley's Birthday!

It's our darling Bentley's 11th birthday today.  He is such a precious
boy.  I think of him as my heart with four legs.  He has always 
been so sweet with everyone and such a good boy too.  

He fills our home with love and laughter and he is our 
little treasure.

He's going to be cuddled and loved and he'll
receive lots of birthday treats today.  He has
already had two of them!

Happy Birthday dear boy.  Mama and Daddy love
you very much!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Finding Comfort in Old Christmas Ornaments

This is the first year that I have decorated a Christmas tree in the
living room.  For the past couple of years we brought in a big tree
and I managed to get lights on it, but that was all.  When I brought
out the big box full of family ornaments I found the ornaments so 
carefully placed in large zippered bags organized by size and 
color and style.  This was the last task performed by my Mom 
before she passed away.  She was a very meticulous person and
was so careful to save and preserve the family's memories with
ornaments, little cards and notes about the age and history of 
these treasures.

Opening this box and removing the ornaments from each bag 
was like opening a doorway to a past filled with happy Christmas
memories.  Each ornament came to life bringing with it friends
and family treasured moments.  

The date on the back of this Santa Christmas card is December 25,
1916.  The card is 100 years old and hung on my great grandmother's
Christmas tree on her farm in Pennsylvania.  There is a little tear 
across the beard that someone repaired, but otherwise it is in very
good condition.  I never knew my great grandmother, but I know
that her name was Emma Rose Nelson and that she was a very 
petite woman who loved animals and children.  I think that there
were six children in all, two girls and four boys.  She and my
great grandfather lived on what is called a "gentleman's farm"
in a small town not too far from Penn State University.

Apparently my great grandmother was a very cheerful person
with a good sense of humor that she passed down to her children.
I am sure this is true because her daughter, my grandmother had
a very good sense of humor and I loved listening to all of her
amusing stories and jokes.  Now that I think about it, great
grandmother needed to have a good sense of humor with six
children and four of them boys!

The little angel has been on the Christmas tree for as long as I
can remember.  There are three of them.   The little banjo was 
one of Mom's favorite ornaments.  She always liked a lot of
variety on her tree and would always find a few new and special
ornament to add to her collection each year.

Being a horsewoman, this little circus pony is a favorite of mine.  There
are two of them and I think they are precious.

I am glad that I finally I decided to open that big box filled with family 
Christmas ornaments.  I thought it might make me feel sad, but if fact
it was comforting and fun to bring all those memories back to life.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, December 19, 2016

Our Fireplace Christmas Mantel

Last night I finished decorating the mantel.  Our fireplace is in the living
room which in addition to our dining room, are the most formal rooms in
our house. 

With the exception of the glitzy reindeer, everything is either vintage, 
antique and/or inherited.  The vintage Italian bisque planter was on my
Mom and Daddy's mantel for years.  It's been decorated for every season,
many, many times.

David is not too crazy about the reindeer, but I think they are 
a fun addition.

The tole planters are favorites of mine.  I love just about
everything that is tole ~ trays, planters, lamps,  you name it.
I am still decorating the tree in the living room.  It takes a 
long time for me to get that done.  Lots of memories.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I'm Ready to Bake Christmas Cookies

Today I went to my local grocery store to get everything I need to start 
baking Christmas cookies.  The log jam in the baking isle was enough to
make me think I might just sit down on the floor and start crying, or 
head over to the wine section where two sweet ladies were handing out
samples ;-)  It was crazy!!!

I managed to keep myself together without any tears or wine and I
believe I purchased everything I need.  At least I hope I have everything
because I am not looking forward to facing any more crowds for at least
a day or two.

Tomorrow afternoon I will start baking the cookies.  I give almost all of them
away to neighbors and friends.  I really look forward to putting the trays
together each year.  I have come to know who likes what, and so I set up
each tray depending on preference.  For example, Dr Fred loves my 
chocolate chip walnut cookies, so I always make sure he gets extra.

It has been really, really warm here today, but the temps are 
supposed to take a nose dive.  If it does get as cold as predicted, 
tomorrow will be a perfect day for lighting a fire in the fire place,
baking cookies and watching old Christmas movie favorites.
I am looking forward to a happy and cozy baking day.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, December 16, 2016

Christmas Dollhouse Minis

No Christmas season decorating is complete until the miniature dollhouse 
rooms get some Christmas cheer too.  Here is the first room complete.  It's the
little reading room.  Let's take some closer peeks inside.

There is a little tea table set up with some tea and treats and a tiny tree too.
Everything is all set for an afternoon of chatting and reading :-)

Even the dishes are decorated with little Santas.

The tree is up and there are lots of wrapped packages all ready to
open on Christmas morning.

Are y'all getting the impression that I have never grown up???
More Christmas minis to come.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Merry Texas Christmas Y'All!

It's a beautiful day in South Texas.  Not too hot and not too cold.
The sun is shinning and the Christmas cheer abounds!  
So for those of you who are not lucky enough to live in Texas,
here is a big Merry Texas Christmas Y'All from Asleep at the
Wheel ....

Now how about some pecan pie???

We already had a teeny, tiny slice.  Couldn't resist!
As you can see, I am pretty proud of my adopted state of Texas
and am thanking my lucky stars that I live here.  I will however,
always remain a Cubs fan.  Sorry Astros ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sadness At Christmas

I read a post on Facebook today written by someone who had just
recently lost a loved one.  This Christmas is a sad one for her and it
is for many who have recently and not so recently lost someone who
was dear.  

I left an encouraging note for her because I know and understand the
pain she is feeling right now.  While writing that note, it occurred to
me that many blog readers are experiencing the same loss and 
perhaps I can be of help with those readers as well.  You may well
be one of those readers, and if this is so, this post is for you.

The first Christmas I spent without my Daddy was in 2010.  He had
passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's just 6 months before.
I spent most of those months leading to Christmas comforting my Mom
who was devastated by the loss.  As a consequence, I buried my grief
because I knew I needed to be strong for her.

When my Mom passed away four years later I felt twice the 
grief.  It hit me like a heavy weight and I suffered both 
emotionally and physically.  It was the kind of heartache and
pain I had never known before.  

That first Christmas without both of my parents is a bit of
a blur to me.  I remember we had a big tree and I had every
intention of decorating it, but only managed to put on the
lights.  Hanging ornaments on the tree that had once been
theirs was more than I could handle. 

We invited a co-worker of David's who has no family to
come and spend the day and to have dinner with us.  That
was helpful because it gave me something and someone
else to focus on.  A couple of days later, we headed up to a
resort in Austin to spend what would have been my Mom's
birthday on the 29th and to celebrate New Year's Eve.  It
helped to be away from home that year.

Last year my Aunt Susan died and it was another Christmas without
a beloved family member.  We spent that holiday with friends and
David's family and it helped me to cope with the pain of her loss.

This is the first Christmas that I am not overwhelmed by grief.  It's
been six years of a teary Christmas, but this year is far less teary and
I am actually able to enjoy myself without feeling like I want to climb
into bed and skip the celebrations.

If you are in the beginning stages of the mourning process and this
is your first Christmas without the one you love, I will not tell you
that it will be easy.  We each suffer grief in our own way.  Be kind to
yourself.  Don't push yourself and pretend to be happy when you 
are not.  

Life is never the same after losing a loved one, but it can be
different and you can and will find a way to celebrate their 
memory while allowing yourself to also create new traditions
of your own.  It will get better and next year will be easier and
over time you will treasure their memory in your heart without
too many tears.  From my own experience, I know this is true.
I promise.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday Afternoon At Home

The last few weeks before Christmas can be very busy, it's fun but
it's hectic too.  Parties, shopping, decorating, crowds and everything
associated with the season can over charge our internal clocks.  On 
Sunday, all I want to do is shut out the rest of the world and climb
into our cozy cocoon and that is exactly what we are doing today.
There is no schedule and we are just doing whatever we feel like
doing.  What a treat!  I hope y'all are having a restorative Sunday 

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Bit Of Christmas in My Studio

Since my studio is the spot where I spend many hours every day,
I like to bring some soft focus Christmas cheer into this special
spot.  This space has a much different look than other rooms in
my house that are decorated in tartans and lots of red.  The 
colors are soft and muted here.

Most of the Christmas elements are vintage and hold many
happy memories of Christmas past.

Little angels that once belonged to my grandmother displayed happily
on this vintage children's hutch that sits on top of my desk.

You will be seeing more of my studio in the coming days.  The 
miniature dollhouse rooms are being decorated this afternoon
while all my favorite Christmas music will be playing in the
background.  I know it will be a wonderful afternoon and I hope
that yours will be as well!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas in a Train Case


When my sister Robin ~ aka The Decorating Tennis Girl told me
my Christmas gift was on it's way, she specifically told me to
open it early because she just knew I would want to decorate
with it.  When I opened it, she must have heard me squealing in
delight all the way up to Illinois, because it's the most
adorable vintage tartan train case.  It's something I have wanted
for the longest time, and yes, I just had to use it in a Christmas
decorating vignette.

It's a Christmas joy for all ages vignette designed for the 
child alive in all of us.

Never too old to enjoy a little magic at Christmas!  Thank you Robin, 
you are the best sister ever!!

Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Last Day of the Cozy at Christmas Tour

This is the last day of the Cozy at Christmas Blog Tour.
It has been so much fun visiting the homes of our friends.
Everyone has a decorating style that is uniquely their own,
yet each home is filled with cozy Christmas cheer.

Bentley and I have finished decorating the tree in the family
room and we are now beginning to start decorating the tree and
the mantel in the living room.  Bentley is so sweet, he follows 
me from room to room as I gather the decorations and I talk to
him while I am hanging the ornaments on the tree.  Sometimes
he is interested, but often he's not all that interested in what
I am saying and he curls up and goes to sleep.  

We will be sharing more with you in the days ahead, but in the
meantime, please stop by and visit our friends on today's tour:

I hope y'all have enjoyed this tour as much as I have!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Have Yourself a Cozy Little Christmas

In my house, cozy begins in the kitchen.  When most of our
neighbors and friends come to call, they enter through the back
door and since the kitchen is the first room they see, I like it to
be really festive for the holidays.  Come on in, and I will give 
you a tour.

I always keep an apron or two hanging up because I love them
and because cooking can be messy;-)  At Christmas I like to 
stuff their pockets with good cheer.

My kitchen island works overtime all year, but at Christmas it
is cookie baking central.  

The child in me is alive and well and I like to keep things 
looking whimsical.

I set up the tea cart with Christmas dishes and mugs and
napkins and berry napkin rings.

A terrier cookie jar and doggie dessert plates.

Santa mugs flank my vintage scale.

The farmhouse table in the breakfast room is decorated in

The lantern lamp in the corner gets some ribbon too.

Thanks for stopping by and remember that backdoor friends
are the best kind!

I am excited to be joining day two of the Cozy At Christmas
Blog Tour.  Today's participants are:

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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