Friday, March 31, 2017

Garden Daydreams

The weather has been so lovely with warm and fresh mornings and
cool, pleasant evenings.  It's the not too hot, not too cold weather of
late March in South Texas.  Oh if only I could capture this weather and
replay it throughout the rest of the spring and into the summer.  
Technology has not been able to produce an app yet that will do just
that, but maybe one day.

Until then, I have full blown spring fever and it is coloring my attitude
a fresh crisp green with touches of pale pink.  It's such a happy, no
cares in the world type of attitude.   It's the kind of weather that 
encourages day dreams and trips to the garden center and wanting to
spread joy where ever I go.

I feel so blessed.

I am learning more about which plants die and which ones thrive
throughout spring and summer.  Mexican heather is a great perennial
that can stand up to the heat that looms ahead of us.  I purchased two
plants last spring and will be buying some more.  I checked on my
bottle brush and it is about to bloom again.  It was so spectacular
last year and am anxious to see if it repeats the show.  I have two
knock out rose bushes that suffered last summer but seem to be 
coming back so I will be babying them along now.  All of the ginger
that froze during a cold snap is coming back now.  It seems to grow 
several inches per day.  Amazing!

I suppose I should go inside and start fluffing up the house so that
it looks good for a while before we mess it up again over the
weekend ;-)  Yes, we can be messy on the weekends!  I hope your
weekend is wonderful and full of fun.  I know that mine will be.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bunny Plates for an Easter Brunch

I found these bunny plates at Hobby Lobby a few months ago and could 
hardly wait to use them.  Such a cute little guy peeking out through the
flowers!  I added the rattan chargers because my Easter basket has a
rustic theme and I thought these chargers would be a good compliment.

I wrapped the flatware up in a napkin, added a tulip, and tied 
the whole little bundle up with a pink gingham ribbon.

I love these frosted floral glasses too.  Just perfect for a tall glass of
sweet tea.   Hopefully the weather will be as lovely as it is today.
We are having the most glorious Spring morning and Bentley and I
will be spending all of our time outside.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cozy, Cozy, Cozy

I have some very exciting news to share with y'all.  For a while now I
have been taking notes and making outlines for a series of books.  These
books are going to be cozy mysteries.  I am a reader of all genres of fiction,
but when I want to settle in with something light and fun, I always opt for
a cozy.  

So here is how the reader evolved into the writer.  In the deep recesses of 
my mind, I have been storing away plot lines.  Plot lines are not sufficient
for a good story, the characters need developing too.  I have been focusing
on the main recurring character and she has really come to life.  In fact,
I almost feel like I now have an alter ego and she is dictating how she wants
to be written.  

Of course, since it's a cozy mystery, the setting needs to be cozy too
and it is just that until a murder happens.  Then the story begins to have
twists and turns and lots of tea drinking to solve the crime. 

I just had to drop in and take some time out from my notebook and
fill y'all in on the busy activity around here.  Poor little Bentley is
exhausted by all the research.  He is taking a nap while I get back
to all those plot twists and turns.  I hope David realizes that dinner
may be late ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 27, 2017

Easter Basket Ideas

I just can't help myself ~ I love decorating Easter baskets and I am sharing
some of my easy creations with you.  I decided that I wanted a woodland 
theme to accent this cute little bunny.  I took a fairly large basket (I collect
baskets because, well just because) and filled it with excelsior and eggs,
carrots for the bunny and a couple of cute chicks.  

I think these are the sweetest little faces!  I just love looking at them.  
As I was walking through the house yesterday, carrying this little chick 
with me, David laughed because he knew I was playing again.  

Now this next basket is one of my vintage wooden tool boxes.  Y'all
know how much I love them.  For this look I used a cute painted wood
chick and some vintage plates because this little chick looks like an
antique lover.  I can just imagine her roosting in her little nest outside
a sweet little Victorian cottage.  

This cute bunny has lived with me for several years now and I have
used him in so many Easter settings.  This year he is standing at attention
in a basket on the window seat in my office.  

I set a baby bunny in a galvanized pail for a Texas theme.

So there you are, four easy and cheerful baskets that are bringing
some fun and frivolity to our cottage.  Thanks for stopping by to take
a peek!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring On My Porch and Patio

Spring comes early here in South Texas and the season is a short one of
beautiful warm days before the heat and humidity comes and lasts for
months and months.  It's the time of year that we really enjoy our back
porch and patio.  It's also the time when I can play around with decor
that I love.  

My back porch is blessed with a potting sink and I make good use
of it all year.  

It changes from season to season, but it really comes to life in the 

Because our house is shaped in a widened "U", the family room,
breakfast room, guest bedroom and our master bedroom, all look
out at the porch and the patio.  The outdoors are a big decorating
feature in all these rooms so I like to keep things looking pretty.

The colors are mainly green with touches of pink and yellow.  My
home is very traditional and the wicker furniture on the porch,
the wrought iron furniture on the patio and the brick flooring give
the whole area a sense of old Southern charm.

We have wicker rocking chairs and a porch swing.

A step down takes you to the patio where there is yet more seating
and a table and chairs for outdoor dining.

The huge old live oaks, the everblooming azaleas, and the park like
setting is the perfect spot for dinner on a spring evening.  I will warn
you though, you'll need some insect repellant because the mosquitos
are already out in force!  Thank goodness the Mosquito Squad comes
to spray today before the weekend.

Thank you Katie for including me on including me on this
fun Hello, Spring Blog Tour.  Be sure to visit the other bloggers
for more fun spring decorating ideas.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Skip and Go Naked

Hi and welcome to my porch.  Y'all are invited back here after you
take a tour of all the pretty homes all decorated for spring.  Take your
time and enjoy the tour and then head back over to my house because
I have a yummy cocktail to share with you ...  I teased y'all with that
blog title, but I'll explain after the tour.

Here are the links for today's tour ~

Welcome back!  Did y'all have a good time visiting all the talented
bloggers?  I had to rush back and get the blender going because I have
a surprise for you ~ we are all going to ~ Skip and Go Naked!

Not really, there is no nudity on this blog :-)  This is a summery cocktail
courtesy of Susan Branch and it comes from The Summer Book.

It's super easy and it is a pink and yummy drink for a warm South Texas
afternoon.  This recipe will make 2 big drinks.  Don't worry, I have 
enough for everyone.

2/3 cup cold beer
2/3 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate
1/4 cup vodka

Fill your blender 1/2 way with ice.  Add the beer, lemonade and vodka.
Turn on the blender and mix well.  Serve in some cute little glasses
and add straws or umbrellas to make it even more festive.  Thank you,
Susan Branch for this delicious recipe!

Okay ~ the first batch is ready.  Have a seat and let's enjoy the warm
Spring afternoon together.  I am so happy you are here!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Bunnies and Baskets Welcome Spring

I cannot imagine anyone who does not like spring.  Everything is sweet,
tender, and pastel.  The deep rich colors and chilly breezes of fall have
past.  The stark and hibernating days of winter are behind us.  It's the
season of hope and renewal.  No matter what our age, we all feel
like kids again. 

I hope y'all stopped by for the first stops on the Hello, Spring Blog Tour.
If you missed it, you can return to visit our hostess Katie and she will 
link you to three bloggers' homes.  

And there are three additional homes to tour today:

Bentley and I are putting on the finishing touches at our cottage
to prepare for our tour on Thursday, but we will be back tomorrow
with more links to more spring homes.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hello, Spring Blog Tour Starts Today!

If you are in need of any great ideas to decorate your home for spring,
I have the answer you are looking for.  It's the Hello, Spring Blog Tour.
15 plus blogs over four days.  You will find so many wonderful ideas
and inspiration and have fun too!

Who doesn't like spring?  Who doesn't want lots of great
decorating ideas?  

It's free (no nosebleed magazine prices here) and all you have to
do is click on the following links.  How easy is that???

On today's tour are the homes of these talented bloggers:

I'm off to make another pitcher of Sweet Tea and start hopping
through the blogs!  Happy first day of Spring everyone.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, March 17, 2017

Oh For A Wee Irish Cottage

Oh for a wee Irish cottage way out on the moors.  Something snug and
cozy where we could celebrate this St Patty's Day.  A place that is safe
and warm, protected from the winds of the sea, but with windows that
we can open to hear the ocean waves.  A fire aglow and a cute pup 
with its wagging tail as we sit in comfy, overstuffed, down filled chairs
while we raise our glasses of Irish coffee and toast to St. Patrick and to our
friendship too.

A wee Irish cottage with a roof covered in moss and shamrocks for 
shutters.  Gold coins leading up to the door and to the pot of yet more
gold.  It's a magical place and only select friends who want to share 
good times and happy stories can enter.  Friends just like you!

It's a day for the wearing of the green and for jokes and good cheer.
Thanks for stopping by our magical wee Irish cottage and Bentley and
I wish you all a ~

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

With Loads of Love,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, March 16, 2017

It Is Cruel to Wish Suffering For Someone Else

I read a very disturbing post on the Facebook newsfeed this
morning.  This person, who shall remain nameless, is obviously
very upset with our current president and went on to say that
she hoped he would suffer a massive stroke or a heart attack.

I do not generally discuss politics on this blog, nor do I intend
to start now.  I want this blog to be a cozy space and a safe haven
from the woes of the world.  While I realize that at one time or 
another we all have become discouraged or angered by the things
our leaders have said or done, I certainly have, must we sink to
cruelty to express our opinions or desires?  I sincerely hope not.
And if so, where does it end?  

My Christian faith teaches to forgive and turn the other cheek.
Karma teaches that what you put out comes back to you. 

Have you ever seen someone you love suffer from a massive stroke?
I have.  My Mom had one three years ago.  There was no chance of
saving her.  She spent the remaining nine days of her life confined to
a bed, unable to speak, unable to swallow.  She did not respond to 
anyone.  At times she would grimace and her hand would grab onto
the bedrail and shake in extreme pain.  The only thing that could be
done was to give her morphine via an IV and essentially wait for her
to die.  It was shear agony for me as I spent virtually every hour of 
those nine days sitting by her bedside knowing there was nothing
I could do to save her.   I would not wish this fate on anyone.

Or what about a massive heart attack?  My Daddy had one.  He was on
a business trip in Asia and passed out in the airport in Seoul, Korea.
The doctors had very little hope.  My Mom had to rush to the doctor
to have required vaccinations for an unexpected trip across the Pacific
to get to the hospital where he had been taken.  Can you imagine her
terror being alone and flying for hours across the ocean and not
knowing whether her husband would still be alive when she arrived?
When she did arrive, the prognosis was grim.  The kind staff at the
hospital arranged for her to stay in an adjoining room.  She spent six
weeks in that room while Daddy struggled to regain strength and stamina
to be able to return to the states.  It was truly a miracle that Daddy
did survive the attack and I am forever grateful to the wonderful
doctors and staff who looked after him and my Mom too.  Such lovely
people they were.

Not long after they returned to the states, my Grandfather, my Daddy's
father, died from a heart attack.  Daddy's doctor would not permit him
to make the trip hundreds of miles away to his father's funeral.  Daddy
lived with the regret of not being there to support my Grandmother 
when she needed her only son the most.  

Heart disease runs in my family on both sides.  My maternal
Grandmother died of a heart attack.  My Aunt had open heart surgery
in her 80's.  It was not an option despite her advanced age because
she had a heart valve prolapse and would have died a slow and
painful death had it not been repaired.  As it was, she was never
quite the same after the surgery.  Her valve was successfully repaired
but she had a sort of brain fog from the anesthesia that never left
her feeling whole ever again.

When one wishes ill health on someone they are also wishing the pain
and suffering for this person's family.  As one who has experienced the 
suffering of ill health of my loved ones, I would not want anyone to
experience the heartache I have known.

This being said, let us think carefully before we speak so harshly.
Our country gives us the chance to vote in or to vote out a president
every four years.  Whether one agrees or disagrees with the policies
and actions of a sitting president is their right.  To wish that
president to suffer a massive stroke or a devastating heart attack
is cruel and uncivilized.   That is my opinion and I stand behind it.
Treat others as you wish to be treated.  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blue and White Tea Party For One

Years ago, when I was living and working in Houston and before I
married David, my office was very close to the Galleria.  If I did not
have a business luncheon I would often spend my lunch hour shopping.
At that time Marshall Field's was still in existence and both Field's and
Lord & Taylor had large stores in the Galleria.  Both stores were old
favorites of mine.  I loved Marshall Field's from my youth while 
growing up in a Chicago suburb, and Lord & Taylor from my time 
spent in NY.  

This particular shopping trip I was looking for a gift for my Mom and
found this adorable blue and white teapot and cup for one and a
matching salad plate.  It was the perfect gift for my Mom since she
collected blue and white pieces and knew she did not have anything
quite like this.

The cup sits on top of the teapot for storage.

It also has its own lid for steeping the tea.  

Such a sweet design and a bit of a departure from her usual Asian
style porcelains.  

I found napkins from Williams Sonoma recently that I think work very well
with this ensemble.  I just never get tired of blue and white.  It's so fresh and
crisp and clean looking.  Timeless.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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