Monday, July 16, 2018

New Addition to the She Shed



I ordered a cute vintage looking postal box for the she shed.  David 
hung it for me.  I love this shed and garden.  I want to be out here all
of the time, but honestly, it is so very hot that being out here for more
than a few minutes to water is just unbearable.  The birds love this
area because I have four feeders and try to keep them full.  When I 
come out to fill them, the birds sit up in the trees and watch me.




Today is David's birthday.  It's Monday,  not many restaurants are 
open, so we are eating at home.  We are having filet mignon, stuffed
baked potatoes and a salad.  No veggies because he's not wild about
them, so I don't want to make him eat something he doesn't like on his
big day. 

Other than that, I am just trying to stay cool.  It is so very miserable
outside.  Hope it's better weather where you live.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

A Project For Our Cocktail Bar


Here is the bar in our kitchen butler's pantry area.  When friends stop by,
they know where to go to pour themselves a cocktail.  I try to keep it
fully stocked for them, and for ourselves.  My hubby and I enjoy a
cocktail, sometimes it's wine for me, while I am cooking dinner, and
we discuss our day.  

There is something new here ....



I ordered this vintage sherry decanter from Nancy's wonderful
transferware shop.  If you have never been there, and you love
transfer ware as much as I do, it's a place you need to visit.
Here is the link.

My plan is to make a lamp using this decanter.  I am ordering the 
parts, and when it's finished, I will show it to you.



That's it for now.  Our AC guy was here this morning because the
unit that runs the master wing was out last night.  He will be back
later to fix it.  Thankfully, we have a three part system, so if the
air breaks down in one part of the house, it's surely on somewhere 
else.  Trust me, in this heat, we really need the AC to be working
day and night for months.  On Friday, the plumber is coming again.
The washing machine is backing up into the guest room bath tub.
Yuck!  Thankfully, there are different clean outs and I am 
guessing some tree roots are the culprit once again.  The plumbers
know this house so well and have been here many times since
we have lived here, and while the previous owners were here.
Such is life in a 70 year old house.  

Have a great day!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Monday, July 9, 2018

A Retro Summer Cucumber Salad Recipe


One of my readers asked me if I had a cucumber salad recipe,  
Well, yes I do, and this time it's a bit of a twist on my Mama's old
recipe.

I can remember lots of dinners on the screened porch in the summer.
One that was served quite frequently was marinated and grilled Teriyaki
flank steak, fresh corn on the cob and cucumber salad.  Cucumbers are
so abundant and so refreshing in the summer, and I sure did love this 
salad.



My Mama's cucumber salad was very straight forward.  Thinly sliced
and peeled cucumber, thinly sliced onion, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper,
and a touch of sugar.  Mine is much the same with a couple of
changes.



In Mama's original recipe, she used either a white wine vinegar, or 
perhaps an apple cider one.  That was prior to her discovery of 
rice vinegar.  The rice vinegar is slightly sweeter and light, not at
all overpowering.  I also add a bit of dill weed which I think really
compliments the flavor of the cucumbers.



Don't forget a pinch of sugar!



Whisk it all together in a cute bowl, and ....



serve!  This salad is a great accompaniment to any grilled meat or
chicken, or just on it's own.  

Who wants to see my Teriyaki Flank Steak recipe???


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Friday, July 6, 2018

It's My Mama's Three Bean Salad Recipe


I miss my Mama and Daddy every day.  One of the ways I bring them
closer is to do things, and cook things from my childhood.  One of 
those dishes is Mama's Three Bean Salad.  She loved it, in fact, she
loved to marinate cooked veggies of all kinds.  While this particular
salad is old fashioned, and I would probably put a new twist on it,
I am sticking to her style today.  It could not be any easier!




1 can Wax Beans, drained
1 can Green Beans, drained
1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 thinly sliced sweet onion
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
Salt to taste

Mama was not a big fan of pepper, so she rarely used it.
Toss all the ingredients together in a pyrex or stainless bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours.





I transferred the salad to one of Mama's crystal bowls.  Toss the
salad before serving, and plate on some pretty salad dishes.
I feel closer to Mama already!

What favorite salads do you remember from your childhood?

I have a new post up on my dollhouse miniatures blog today.
I have not posted there for ages, but for those of you who
love minis, you can visit it here.  Happy Friday everyone!


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Bentley's 4th of July Pool Party Cancelled


I had planned a little backyard pool party for Bentley, but it looks like
rain, and we can hear thunder.  No worries, we will reschedule for 
another day.  In the meantime, here are some blast from the past
4th of July day pics.







Wishing y'all a safe and happy 4th!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, July 2, 2018

Super Simple Side Dish Recipe


During the oppressive summer heat of South Texas, we don't want 
heavy meals.  I try to keep things light and simple, but I still try to
keep things full of flavor.  When I find something that will appeal to
David's taste, and my own, I am thrilled.  

Here is a quick and easy side dish that will work well with grilled
chicken, beef, or fish.  It's base is one of David's favorites .... corn.  
Remember, this recipe is for two of us, but you can easily double up
the ingredients to serve more.  Here we go ....

1 & 1/2 cups of frozen corn
1 scallion, sliced
5 cherry tomatoes, sliced
3 fresh basil leaves, rolled up, then sliced
olive oil to taste
red wine vinegar to taste
salt and pepper to taste
crumbled feta cheese



I just rinse the frozen corn under some hot water and drain well.  I want
crisp, not mushy corn.  Place in serving dish, add tomatoes, scallions,
basil, oil and vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix well, and
place in fridge until dinner time.  Toss well and add the feta cheese,
toss again and serve.




It's both pretty and full of flavor.  David will pick out the tomatoes,
but that's okay because there will be more for me!  Later this week, I will
be sharing a jazzed up three bean salad.  Stay tuned.

We are also planning a little pool party for Bentley on the 4th.  Every
year we go to Barton Creek Resort in Austin for the 4th, but they are
in major remodel mode until November, so we won't be up there 
until the remodel is complete.  I have promised Bentley his own 
pool day, so y'all are invited!

Big Texas Hugs and Stay Cool,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Where Has Susan Disappeared To???


No, I have not been playing in my She Shed :-)  I have actually been 
writing my book.  I promised my Mama that I would get it done, and
although she never saw it's fruition in her lifetime,  I certainly want to
get it finished in her memory, and Daddy's too!

Writing a book is all consuming.  It's hard to focus on much else.
Scheduling is tough too.  A writer hides out in their own little world,
and few understand that kind of solitude.  Some people think I am
a hermit, a loner.  I would say they are partially correct.  I actually
enjoy my own company.  That's not all of it though.  I have to spend
time alone to get into my character's heads.  

Little interruptions during the day disturb the cadence.  Charlie, who
sprays for mosquitos outside.  The plumber.  John who sprays the
inside and outside of the house to keep the roaches away.  You 
should see the size of the tree roaches in the street when Bentley
and I take our nightly walk!  David texting from work because he
wants me to research something.  The normal kind of interruptions 
of life that are typically acceptable, become major ones for 
a writer deep in thought.  

I could write late at night and then sleep during the day, but I 
don't think that will work for me.  I have been faithfully getting
in a workout everyday and I now sleep very soundly all through
the night.  No more insomnia!  So now that I have a good
sleeping pattern established, I hate to disrupt it.  So I grab
parts of the day to work, but my routine is not yet firmly
established.  

If it seems as though I am ignoring you, well, I am.  If I 
chatted with you all of the time I would never get any work
done.  Forgive me.  I still love you and have not forgotten you.
At the moment I am trying to make everything run smoothly.
It will, I promise, it will.  Then I'll be back and we can have
lots of long chats.  In the meantime, there will be little
chats about what is ever floating around my mind.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 25, 2018

DIY Birdhouse Chandelier




I had a metal chandelier that belonged to my Mom.  I didn't have a
good spot for it in the house, so I decided to hang it in the potting
shed.  It has seven arms and a spike in each one to hold a candle.
No way wax candles will stand up to the heat in the shed, so I thought
of an alternative.  I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased five small
unfinished bird houses and painted them in fun colors.



This is not an original idea, rather it's a take off from a MacKenzie-Childs
chandelier that is much more stylish, but also costs $595.00.





I had fun painting the houses while watching old movies.  The 
chandelier will have a better backdrop when I decide what I want
to do with the walls.



I have been thinking about putting up peel and stick wallpaper between
the studs, and painting the studs white.  Whether I decide to paint and
or apply wallpaper, that will have to wait until it gets a bit cooler.  Of
course, that may not happen until Fall, but I can always hope for a
stray cool day.   Whatever I decide to do, I will share the application
with y'all.

The other project that will be happening sooner, is to install windows.
I found just exactly what I need and am putting in an order now.
David has promised to install them and add the trim around the
windows too, so I am excited about that!



This little shed has been both a labor of love, and is giving new life
to odds and ends I don't have a place for.  These are things I love and
didn't want to give up, so this little shed is providing a new home for
them.  It's my shabby chic she shed.  A project full of old treasures
and happy memories.


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley








Friday, June 22, 2018

Sharing Summer Recipes


Today starts the first weekend of summer.  Time to start thinking about
menus and recipes for the hot, sultry, evenings ahead.  Hopefully the 
smoker outside will be command central rather than the kitchen.
I am always hunting for new ways to marinate chicken and beef.
David doesn't like fish.  That's a real shame since we live on the 
Texas Gulf coast where fresh fish and large shrimp are plentiful.
I still plan to grill some shrimp, even if it's just for me.



I am going through cookbooks, back issues of Southern Living magazine, 
and scouring the internet for new ideas.  


I would like to keep things fresh, fun and flavorful.
So, I was thinking, let's start a recipe sharing post each week.
Let us know what new things you have tried and what your
family enjoys.



Starting next Friday, I will start posting some of our summertime 
favorites and new recipes too.  I hope y'all will join in and keep the
party going!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Come and Get Your Coziness!


It's been raining here for the past couple of days.  It rained all night,
and has kept up through the morning.  As I was telling my friends on
Facebook, I stepped out onto the veranda to check on the yard when 
I stepped on a long squiggly worm, got bit by a mosquito, and received
an emergency flash flood warning on my cell!  Time for coffee!!

And, it's time to get cozy.  So that's what I plan to do.  In the meantime,
I have some images of coziness that will get you in the mood to get 
cozy too ....








I think I will make some barbecue chicken, sweet corn, coleslaw, and
biscuits with honey for dinner.  Comfort food.  

Stay cozy!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley








Monday, June 18, 2018

My MacKenzie-Childs Bird Feeder Project


You may well have seen this MacKenzie-Childs cup and saucer on
this blog before.  I found this set at antique shop back in Idaho quite
a few years ago.  It sat on a wicker table on my front porch back there,
and on the veranda here in Texas.  

Several days ago, I had a brainstorm about turning this lone cup and
saucer into a bird feeder for the garden surrounding the potting shed.
I remembered that I had a walking stick that had lost it's top and
realized it would be perfect to be the stand for the feeder.  All I
did was to paint the stick and use industrial strength glue to hold
the cup and saucer in place.  Now it looks just perfect in it's new home.
On Saturday, I purchased 40 more pounds of bird seed, so my little
tweeties will be content for a while.



I finished painting a vintage chalk board for the shed, and five little bird houses 
too.  These bird houses will be used for a chandelier project currently in the
making.



No outdoor projects for a while.  We have received the first bands of rain from
Invest 91L.  That is meteorologist talk for a very big weather system sitting in
the Gulf of Mexico just starting to come on shore.  The rain so far has not been
too heavy, but is expected to get much heavier and bring thunderstorms along
with it.  It never organized enough to be a hurricane or a tropical storm, but
different forecasts have predicted either 3 to 5 inches, or 5 to 8 inches of rain.  
Hopefully there will be no serious flooding with this system, but quite
frankly, we really need the rain, so I am not complaining.  The next few days
will be inside projects of all kinds, and I won't have to worry about watering
the plants twice a day.  It's a housebound vacay!  

Bentley and I are staying dry and snug indoors and wishing y'all a 
happy Monday!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sure Do Miss My Daddy!


Dear Daddy,

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of you.  You were a strict daddy,
but a fun one too.  You purposely changed the words in all my favorite bedtime
stories to keep me guessing.  You helped me build forts and put a hardwood 
floor down in my backyard tent.  Is it any wonder that I grew up to be an
interior designer.  

You watched all the old scary movies with me on TV.  Back then, they
were not all that scary, so we giggled through most of them.  

When you and mommy had a cocktail in the evening, you made me
my own non-alcoholic one with ginger ale and a cherry in one of
mommy's champagne glasses.  I felt so grown up!

You built a big igloo in our front yard for me and all the kids in 
the neighborhood after a big snowfall.

You taught me to love and appreciate history and the lessons it
teaches us.   Your love of ancient Egypt instilled that same passion
in me.  In college I went on to study Art History and took many
classes in ancient philosophy.  

You set boundaries that I now appreciate, while encouraging me to
explore and grow.  You always told me that I could achieve anything
I set my mind to, and being a girl did not mean I couldn't 
accomplish me goals.

Happy Father's Day, dear Daddy.  Thank you for everything!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, June 15, 2018

Very Exciting News!


This may not seem like big news to you, but it sure is to me!  If y'all
read my blog earlier this week, I was formerly known as .... 

THE PLANT ASSASSIN!

I have been reforming myself slowly, but surely.  This is my latest
success story.  I planted some sunflower seeds recently, and now they
have sprouted.  So excited!



I know that most kids can do this, but for me this is major botanical
accomplishment ;-). This little guy is almost 1 and 1/2 inches tall.
I will be measuring him every Friday.  In the meantime, I will be
checking on him a couple of times a day to see if he needs anything
at all.  

Grow tall little seedling, grow tall!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flag Day 2018


We are proud to display the American flag every day of the year.
We are especially proud to do so today!




Even the potting shed is celebrating!

Happy Flag Day!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Confessions of a Former Plant Assassin


I was not born into a family of plant assassins.  My parents were meticulous
and creative gardeners.  Daddy was always especially fond of growing roses.
He would nurture them and then take photos of their beauty.  Mom had a
green thumb too.  Some neighbor would give her a cutting and Mom would
work her magic and the garden would be full of whatever it was she had received.
Our yard was always a showcase.  

My grandparents on both sides always had thriving vegetable gardens.  They
had rain barrels and would use the water to keep their gardens moist. 
Composting was what they practiced and preached.  Grandmother Marie,
my Mom's mom, would go out into the garden in the late afternoon and 
collect greens for a fabulous salad all summer long.  

So what happened to me????  I never intended to be a plant assassin.
I always had good intentions.  In the early spring, my enthusiasm would
run high and I would head to the nursery.  When I look back at my life,
I realize that while I wanted to have a lovely garden, I truly never had the
time to devote to it to properly nurture and maintain it.  My work and other
responsibilities kept me so busy.  Gardening became what my Mom would
call, an after thought.  When a plant came home with me from the garden
center, it's days were numbered.  Sad, but true.




Now that I have more time to devote to a garden, things have changed.  I fuss,
and I nurture.  While I am out in the early morning with my mug of coffee and
with Bentley, I inspect.  I check soil moisture.  And .... hopefully no one can 
hear me when I do this .... I talk to them too.  

I read garden books now.  I check out the internet for care tips.  My family
up in heaven must be pleased.  Their offspring has finally learned her lesson.
Plants will no longer need to fear for their lives when they come home
with me.




There is such a sense of contentment in a garden.  It is a place to visit 
where the problems of the world just don't take root.  The birds are singing,
the bees buzzing, and I can hear my neighbor's wind chimes softly
ringing in the background.  The atmosphere is soft and welcoming and
so very therapeutic.  It's my happy place!



While I have become more comfortable with my ability to sustain
flowers, I have a new challenge ....




Tomatoes!  I have two tomato plants!!  They are growing and so far
they seem to be thriving.  I keep encouraging them.  When I talk to
them I whisper ~ grow strong and healthy and produce lots of tomatoes.

Hopefully, they are listening.  




I have spent some time on YouTube checking out gardening
tips.  I found this video about petunias that I found helpful.
Hope you enjoy these tips, if you don't already know them.

Have a wonderful day y'all!


Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley



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