Monday, November 12, 2018

Social Media Can Be Cruel


I am hard at work on my book right now, but I wanted to take a few minutes
to discuss hurt feelings that can be caused by social media.  Here is my
question, have you ever been unfriended by anyone on social media?  I
am not talking about someone you have never met personally, or
someone with whom you only have a limited friendship.  I am talking
about someone who you have corresponded with regularly, or worse yet,
a relative.  How did this make you feel?  Were you hurt, or were you
angry?  Did you have any idea as to why you were unfriended?  

This happened to me just last week.  I am curious to know your 
thoughts.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Monday, November 5, 2018

Why I Woke Up in a Panic!


Last night at about 4:30 AM, I woke up in a panic!  I had a very scary
dream.  In my dream it was Christmas morning, but I looked around and
realized I never put up a tree, or baked any cookies.  I walked around the
house saying to myself .... How could it be Christmas already?  I thought
it was still November!  


I noticed that David had already brought in the newspaper.  When I looked
at the headline it read ....

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


No coffee cake for breakfast and nothing for dinner.  I had not been 
shopping and the pantry was empty!


No fire in the fireplace.  No filled Christmas stockings.  Nothing at all
to celebrate the holiday.  

When I woke up from this very scary dream, I looked at the clock.  
I checked the date on my phone.  Yes, still November.  What a relief.
Falling back an hour on Saturday night has me all mixed up!  But
I am taking no chances.  I think I will head outside today and start
decorating the She Shed.  At least one spot will be ready just in 
case, lol.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Hallmark Christmas Movies Made Me Do It



I have always had a rule for myself, no Christmas decorating until
after Thanksgiving.  So far, I have obeyed my rule.  However, this year
I started thinking about Christmas decorating much sooner than usual.
It's hard not to notice the Christmas decorations that have been out at
Hobby Lobby for some time now.  I tried to avert my eyes as best I
could, but well, I caved, and a couple of things just happened to
creep into my decorating closet.  Partly it's because I don't want to 
miss out on the things I like if I wait until after Thanksgiving.  I am
quite sure that the marketing department has me pegged and is 
appealing to my weak nature.   What can I say,  I am putty in their
retail honed hands.

But it's not just Hobby Lobby is to blame.  A big source of 
of the problem is ....

HALLMARK CHRISTMAS MOVIES!





I will admit, I am an addict.  Some of these movies I have seen several
times.  It doesn't matter!  I love them and will watch them again and
again.  Pretty soon the Christmas theme and scenes are whirling around
in my head and I just have to start planning my own Christmas decor.

Today I was outside for a while with Bentley.  I walked over to my
She Shed and started dreaming of turning it into a Christmas Cottage.
The ideas started coming and now I can hardly wait to start the
transformation.



It's too late now.  Full speed ahead!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween Y'All!


Happy Halloween Y'All!  I have been having fun decorating the 
miniature English cottage kitchen for Halloween.  The really fun thing
about holiday miniature decorating is that everything stores in little
boxes and it's soooo much easier to clean up.

Are you all set for Halloween at your house???  David bought a big 
bag of candy at Costco last week.  We don't usually get many visitors,
and the kids who show up last get the biggest handful of candy. 



For some reason, it seems to rain here every Halloween.  Parents end
up driving the kids house to house.  David is coming home early from
work, so his first job will be sweeping off the porch and sidewalk because
our live oaks have been dropping acorns for days.  The walk was just
cleaned off, and it's nearly covered again.  I don't want anyone slipping on
a wet acorn!




I have been watching the Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.
They are always a bit corny, but I love them anyway.  I am adamant  
about not decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but those
movies are making me so anxious to do it!  Does that happen to
you too?

Have a fun and safe evening!  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Monday, October 29, 2018

Help! I Am in Desperate Need of Recipe Inspiration!!


It's been Fall now for several weeks.  I should be really enthusiastic about
cooking, but for whatever reason, I am not.  Lately it seems like I would
rather do anything but cook.  I never believed this would happen to me.
I am getting tired of all my tried and true favorites.  I don't even want to
go out to eat.  The restaurants in this town are pretty sad.  On Saturday
afternoon we were running around town doing some errands, and we
decided to stop at one of the few places we like for lunch.  The outdoor
patio over looking the river was packed, so we ate inside.  We had
worked our way through the menu several times in the past, and since
neither of us had ever eaten a hamburger there, it's what we both
chose.  How do you ruin a hamburger???  You can if you cook it until
it is dry as shoe leather.  

Aside from a deli in town we like, we are quickly running through
all of our other options.  Even our club, which was always a safe bet,
isn't as good as it once was.  This leads me to no other option ...,

I MUST COOK!





I need inspiration.  I need the fairy of cooking to land on my shoulder
and whisper creative cooking ideas into my ear.  I'm putting in a tall order.
I want tasty, but not too many calories.  I want it to be nutrient dense and
I want the portions to be just the right size, not to big or not too small.  I
want it to be simple, easy and with minimal clean up.  In other words, I 
want what seems to be the impossible!  

How will I find that???  I think what I will do is try one of the food package
delivery services.  You know the kind, the ones where you list your food
preferences and they send you a box filled with enough groceries to serve
two (or whatever number) of people for three or four days.  I have watched
a couple of YouTubers who like this service, so maybe it will work for me.



Yes, I do believe it is my only current hope.  I am quite sure that I will be
unable to convince, or to afford, Michael, Patricia Altschul's butler to come
work for me.  Michael is really good with dogs, and I am sure he would
prepare some lovely meals for Bentley too.  Have you ever seen Michael on
Southern Charm?  Of course, Mr Carson, or a Mr Carson clone would be
wonderful too, but then Mr Carson didn't cook.  Mrs Patmore would be
ideal, but then I would just want to hang out all day in the kitchen listening
to her charming accent.

I suppose a package food delivery is my only realistic option.  I
will let you know how it goes.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 22, 2018

It Feels Like England


It's gray, chilly and damp.  Just a couple of weeks ago I was hoping
for cooler weather.  Well, you know the old saying .... we got it!
It feels like England, but I have turned on the heat, yes, the heat.
I wore sweaters this weekend, and am wearing one again today.
We don't get the cool, crisp days here in South Texas, but I will
take what I can get.



David plays golf despite the weather.  He just puts on a rain shirt and
heads out to the links.  Bentley and I, being more sensible types, stay
inside and stay cozy.  

This cooler weather has forced me to ditch my shorts and sandals,
and go through my winter/fall wardrobe.  I love Fall clothes!  I have
also realized that I need some new jeans, so I spent all weekend 
scanning the online shops for some new ones.  I have a tough time
buying jeans.  It is always my least favorite item of clothing to buy.
I am super tiny, all 5' 1" of me.  Yes, I cling to that inch for dear life.
I am also thin with teeny tiny bones.  I probably should shop in the
kids department.  The clothes would be cheaper, but thank goodness
that many women's fashions now come in petite.  Yet, buying jeans
is always a struggle.  I like them to look trim, without being too
tight, but I certainly don't want to swim in them.  



A few weeks ago I ordered a pair of "girlfriend jeans" from Talbots.
I was apprehensive about my purchase after I hit the buy button, but
they arrived and I love them!  I will probably have to start a 
fashion feature to show you what I buy.  I ordered a second pair of
jeans from Talbots too, in a different style, and they fit well too.  Now
I know where to go.  I realized I have a couple of blazers too that have
been hiding in my closet.  I decided to send them to the cleaners and
start wearing them too.  

Working from home has made me very lax about my wardrobe.  I
tend to live in sweats.  Comfy, but hardly fashionable.  I need to step
up my game, if for no one but me.  Fixing myself up really changes
my attitude for the better.



That's all for now.  I am actually (hard to believe) in a organizational
mood today.  I have to take advantage of that mood when it strikes.
Have a great Monday, and we'll connect again later in the week.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

I Have a Soft Spot for Staffordshire


For those of you who visit me often, you know that when you stop
by, you will not find the latest trends here.  In fact, you won't find
much that is trendy here at all.  No fake fur pillows, no shiplap, etc.  
There is nothing wrong with any of that, but it's not me, and it will 
never be where my decorating dollars go.

My style is very much English Country Cottage.  I love the warmth
and coziness of it all, and I especially love Staffordshire.  It just
sings to me and it has for many years now.  When I go up to 
Round Top for Antique Week, I tend to spend most of my time at
Marburger Farm and the Big Red Barn.  I know from experience, 
that I will find something I love there.  




I don't even have to buy anything, I just love looking around and
appreciating all the beautiful displays of pieces I love.



These collections also make me think of lovely table settings.  I have
scrapbooks full of elegant tables.  I have saved these photos for years.
I know I have to polish it, but I still love silver, especially sterling.  
If you want to start your own collection, just remember that you don't 
have to buy everything at once.  You might think of beginning with
serving pieces that will work with the flatware you currently own.



Here some darling vintage dogs.  Oh how I love these.



What makes this hutch so interesting is that it is filled with a mixture of
antique books, candlesticks, binoculars and an old telescope.  It is
a fascinating collection of well loved pieces used in a different way.

Well, that's it for today.  The weather turned quite cold here, or at
least quite cold for South Texas.  I had to dig out some warm socks,
and a sweater too.  It's a huge change from the mid to upper 80's
we had last week!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley






Friday, October 12, 2018

Latching Onto and Trying to Hold a Memory


As I go about my day, I sometimes hear a song, or notice something 
that triggers a happy memory from the past.  The image may be a bit
foggy, like looking through a wet and humid window, and yet it
can seem so real that I can imagine I might reach out, touch it, and
hold onto all the joy of that special moment.  



The memory can be more recent.  A happy moment,
a beautiful sunset, a moonlit walk.  A little
treasure that is stored in my heart and pulled out
when needed.


Or perhaps it may be a fuzzy moment from the past of a loved one
who is now dearly missed.  



I often try to hold onto those treasured moments for longer periods of
time.  It's like looking through an open doorway.  I get a glimpse of 
what is on the other side, yet I have no way to get there.  I try to
grab the memory and hold on, but it slips away from me.

I once read that old episodes of I Love Lucy are streaming through
the Universe and perhaps other beings on other planets may pick 
up that signal.  Our thoughts are energy too.  Are they also 
streaming through the Universe to some unknown destination?

If time is an illusion and is limited by our thought, and God lives
in a different dimension that we cannot grasp, what will Heaven
be like for us?  Will we walk through a doorway and all the 
memories we collected on earth will be saved for us like a movie
is saved to a DVD?   I wonder about it.  Do you?

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Fall in Love With Texas Blog Tour, Day 4


It's the final day of the blog tour.  It sure has been fun seeing how the
other girls have decorated for the season.  Here is a list of the 
final participants.  I know you will love this!


Thank you once again, to Katie for both organizing and hosting
this tour!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley








Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Prayers for Florida and Blog Tour Day 3


It's hard to be cheerful and upbeat when our neighbors to the east are
about to be slammed by Hurricane Michael.  The Gulf Coast of Texas
lies to the east of the Panhandle of Florida.  The waters of the Gulf
are so warm and provide just the perfect environment for a hurricane
to become deadly.  I do hope that most of the residents have
evacuated.  Having lived through two major hurricanes that 
spawned on the Gulf Coast, I can tell you that sitting one out is a
very terrifying experience, and the aftermath is miserable too.

So I hope that you will understand that I just feel like praying
for the safety of so many in Michael's path.  I hope you will
join me.

Despite the upheaval in the east, we still have two remaining
days of the Fall in Love With Texas Blog Tour.  I hope y'all
will stop by these sites and enjoy all the Fall decorating 
inspiration!

Fall In Love With Texas Tour Day 3



Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley







Tuesday, October 9, 2018

My She Shed Named Sweet Tea Cottage


Sweet Tea Cottage is the name of my little She Shed and it's all
ready to show off for the Fall in Love With Texas Blog Tour.
Fall is officially here and it has even arrived in the mail box.
Such a welcoming sign with it's warm and cozy colors.  



I am so happy you are here.  



Despite the warm temps of the Texas Coastal Bend,  there is a lot
of Fall color in the garden surrounding the shed.  Mums, pumpkins,
and sun flowers are all blooming happily.



This little garden is a happy place.



From the wreath on the door ....



To the cozy garden chairs.



You will find something blooming all year here, and this spot
seems especially cheerful right now.



There is a little table and chairs all set for lunch too.


The weather has cooled off just enough and it is comfortable to
sit and chat.



Let's go inside.



Unfortunately, the plans to paint the interior last Fall were put on hold
after the tough days that followed Hurricane Harvey last year.  The
paint has been purchased to transform the interior walls and windows
will be installed too.  Despite it's rough look, it's still a cozy space,
and I am looking forward to the interior transformation that will
be starting soon.




This is my little stove filled with candles that give the space a warm 
and welcoming glow.



Vintage wicker furniture given a new and cozy look for Fall.



A little chandelier complete with pumpkins and leaves.



Sweet Tea Cottage is a tiny house with a big heart.  Thank you
for stopping by and letting me show you around.  Please stop by
and visit the other Lone Star Sisters who are participating in the
Fall in Love with Texas Blog Tour.  



Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley












Monday, October 8, 2018

Let The Texas Fall Blog Party Begin!


Hey Y'all ~ Let's get this party started!  The Lone Star Sisters are having
another annual Fall in Love With Texas Blog Tour.  Put on your best
party clothes and let's go!!

Today's participants are ...,

Let's Add Sprinkles
My Thrift Store Addiction
French Ethereal
Decor to Adore

Bentley and I are up tomorrow.  We have been hard at work all day
staging, taking photos, avoiding thunder and lightning, but we'll be
ready to roll early tomorrow morning.  Hope to see you then!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Sneak Preview of My Fall She Shed


I have been playing in my She Shed all week, getting her ready to
join my Lone Star Sisters for the Fall Tour.  I have been planting
around the outside of the shed, and poofing up the inside too.
This is just a little peek ~ much more next week!

By the way, although my blog is named Ash Tree Cottage, my 
little She Shed has taken on a life of it's own and is now been
officially named ....

Sweet Tea Cottage

I hope that you come to love her as much as I do.  More details
about the tour this weekend.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

At Least I Didn't Cry Today


I was shunned by my neighbor again today.  I came outside with 
Bentley.  My neighbor was out with his three big dogs.  Bentley
started to head towards the fence because in the past, he loved
to visit with the big guys next door.  As soon as my neighbor saw
us, he grabbed the dogs and headed back inside.  Bentley was
left by the fence, whining.  

Little Bentley is blind, as you all know.  I try to keep things
as happy for him as I can.  It's hard to know if Bentley
feels sad about not being able to visit with his doggie
friends again, or not.  I picked Bentley up and gave him 
lots of kisses and hugs and we spent more time out in the
yard.  While the whole incident made me feel sad, I 
did not cry this time.  I won't give the neighbor that
satisfaction.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 1, 2018

Shame on Me


I will confess, these past couple of months have been very sad and
sometimes stressful ones for me.  I have not posted about them, because
I didn't want to bore you with my troubles, but these problems have
kept me from living a good life.

I have lived here in Texas for five years and I must admit, the move
and the consequences of this move have been hard for me.  As you
know I lost both my Mama and my beloved Aunt Susan during this
time and both of those losses have been tough for me.  Deaths in 
families happen, and they are always hard for the loved ones remaining,
but they are also part of life.  The sadness I have been feeling is
different from the loss of family members.  It's one of not fitting 
into the community.

I have been very fortunate in my life to have made and to have
kept friends for many years.  I have friends I have known since I 
was ten, and am so blessed to still have them in my life.   For some 
reason, I have not made any good friends here.  I can get beyond
that, but what I have not been able to get beyond is that some
have been really rude to me.  This rudeness has caused me to
become very withdrawn and afraid to reach out to others.  
Fortunately for me, I love my house and can spend my days and
evenings happily enjoying the comforts of home and garden.  
What has concerned me is that the unhappiness I have felt from
the unfriendliness has been eating away at my soul.  

Over the past few days, something has shifted for me.  It was
as though a little voice in my heart said "SHAME ON YOU, SUSAN".
So I did some soul searching and decided that I cannot allow the
people of this little town diminish my enthusiasm for life.  If they
don't like me, so what!  I know from past experience that I can
both make and keep friends.  They can no longer rob me from
living a happy life, and it's not necessary, nor is it healthy for me
to feel crushed by their refusal to accept me.   I refuse to stop
being kind, smiling at others and shining my light, but I won't 
care whether or not they return the gesture.  I am holding my
head up and living each day being happy.  

Thanks for listening.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



Thursday, September 27, 2018

Another Fall Tablescape ~ I'm On a Roll




While I have been paying attention to the news, I refuse to discuss it 
here.  I have my opinions and I have chosen to keep them private.
So while the hearings are on in the background, I decided to play around
with some Fall decor to keep myself feeling uplifted and not
depressed.



I wish I had better light in my breakfast room, the dark clouds have
been in and out all day, and it's been hard to get the light I need and
want for these photos.   I know what's going to be on my Christmas
list this year ~ some big lights!



I wanted to show you this redware dish.  I have two of them and they were
given to me by a dear friend of my parents.  Jeanne had a lovely home filled
with many American antiques, and I was lucky enough to be on the receiving
end of some of her treasures.  

Redware Pottery is made with clay that has a high iron content that will
become reddish brown when it is fired in a kiln.  This type of pottery was
quite popular while our land was still under British rule.  As is typical
of many items from this time period and later, this pottery has a timeless
appeal, although it is not so common as it once was.  Like Shaker style
furniture, it has a simple and unique style that can easily blend in with
today's more modern looks.  It is earthy and can be a stunning accent for
simple pottery.



Of course, my personal style tends to lean toward the English county look,
I just had to mix in some red transferware too!

Enjoy these last days of September.  It's hard to believe that October is just
around the corner.  


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley








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