Thursday, March 22, 2018

Wake Up to a Bunny Breakfast Tray

The weather has been so lovely lately here in South Texas.  We have warm breezes
and sunshine.  The azaleas have been in full bloom all over town.  It's that time of
year when the white flowers of the Ligustrum fill the air with their perfume.  When
I open the door to my back porch, their fragrance is the first thing I notice.

The hummingbirds have returned.   I am late getting the feeders ready because
we were out of town.  Today they will all be washed and filled with nectar.
This is just the sweetest time.  The ginger that froze and was cut back down to
the ground is suddenly growing by inches overnight.  This is nature's time for
rebirth and there is a sense of joy and peace everywhere.

At the start of each new season, I think, ah .... this is my favorite.
Summer means flip flops and a sense of freedom.  Fall is when we get
back to business and get cozy and warm while we do it.  Winter is
a glowing fireplace and the Christmas season.  It's a time for deep
sleep.  But Spring, glorious spring, wraps us in warm breezes, sweet
fragrance and the belief that all is new and fresh once again.

Happy Spring Y'All!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

At Long Last Spring!

The breezes are warmer, the days are longer and the world seems
to be awash in pastels.  

Spring is here at last!

Happy Spring everyone!  I am headed back outside to get my planter
boxes ready for some more caladium bulbs.  So happy to be digging in
the soil once again.  In just a few short weeks my patio and my
back porch will be ready for it's 2018 Spring reveal!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, March 15, 2018

My Azaleas

Despite the battering of Hurricane Harvey last August, my azaleas 
are back in full force.  This is the north side of our house where they
get bright light, but not as much sun.  This long bed of azaleas stretches
from a window in the living room (that's the window with the shutters)
to below the large window in the dining room to under the window
in the kitchen, to the doorway to the breezeway.

See that shuttered door next to the coach lamp?  It's the doorway
that leads to the breezeway between the house and the garage.  
This gives you an idea of how tall these azaleas are!  As you can
see in the photo ~ there are still lots of buds left to open on the
branches in the right corner.  

When I walk out the breezeway headed to the driveway, this is what
greets me.  So pretty!  I wish they would last forever.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Lot's of yard work to do.  The live oaks are
still dropping leaves in preparation for Spring, and I am busy doing 
lots of leaf raking.  A real calorie burner for sure!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Mini Floor Lamp Makeover

I found a miniature floor lamp for the little girl's room in the dollhouse.
I decided to paint it to fit the decor.  It also came with three shades, and
I choose the plain white one and added a bit of trim.

Here it is fully tweaked.  Now the cozy reading corner is complete.
Dollhouse decor needs to be tweaked just like full size decor does ;-)

Bunnies and Easter decor is appearing too.

Y'all are welcome to visit, but sorry, no boys allowed!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, March 9, 2018

Thoughts About Springing Forward and Other Things

Good morning and happy Friday from my studio.  Actually, it's going
on noon already, but time does fly by when I am busy.  Bentley and
I have been in the studio for several hours this morning.  I have been
busy curating my English cozy cottage kitchen for the new dollhouse
I am working on.   I have found some wonderful things for this new
project and will be so excited to share with you when I am farther
along.  However, this morning I would like to chat with you and 
share my thoughts about daylight savings time.

I love the longer light filled evenings of the spring and summer.  My
problem with springing forward is that I don't seem to adapt very 
quickly to the change.  Every time we switch, I try my best to stay
positive and go with the flow, but I end up dragging my heels a bit.
Jumping an hour forward is the hardest for me.  My internal clock is
shouting life goes by fast enough as it is, why force to me to lose an

Of course I realize that I will get that hour back in the Fall, but 
that is months away, and I want it now.  I might need it for sleep
or something, and I do value my sleep.

Which brings me to another topic ....  thankfully I have been 
sleeping much better lately.  I attribute this happy gift to the fact
that I have been very diligent about working out and also
walking at least 10,000 steps each day.  I have been doing
aerobics, pilates, and Ballet Beautiful ~ which is a killer
by the way, but gives great results.  I have also been avoiding
sugar and have been focusing on a healthy diet.  I started this 
program in January, and the results are really kicking in now.

I think I probably told y'all this, but I have been plagued 
 with painful Fibromyalgia.  I was diagnosed with Chronic
Fatigue Syndrome some years ago and suffer from flare ups when I
am under too much stress.  When I have flare ups, my joints hurt
here, there and everywhere.  It's as though the pain travels all over
my body yet doesn't stay in one place for too long.  It is exhausting
and in the past I was inclined to just want to curl up and nap all

This cycle of pain really increased following Hurricane Harvey.
I tried to ignore it at first, but eventually I knew I had to learn to
control it.  Now, after two months of this new regime, I am pain
free and more relaxed too.  The other bonus is improved sleep.
I wear a FitBit on my wrist and it tracks my sleep at night.  
I used to suffer through multiple periods of restlessness during the
night.  Now, I close my eyes, fall asleep and have no restlessness
at all.  Amazing!!!

If y'all want me to go into more detail about this new exercise and diet
program, let me know.  I am hoping that I will just breeze through the
loss of an hour during the wee hours of Sunday.  I feel so good right
now that I think it will be a snap.

I have probably rambled on long enough and should get back to work.
I have the dollhouse project, as well as some others.  Oh, and I am
putting some pork ribs in the oven to slow bake.  I will be sharing that 
recipe with you too.  Let's not forget the pics of azaleas starting to 
bloom in my yard and all over town.

Have a great weekend!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Have Breakfast With a Bunny

I have a large bag full of cupcake decorating picks, and though to myself,
hmm ... why not use them for other things too???

So I stuck a bunny pick in my bowl of bran flakes and it made me smile.

We are never too old for a little breakfast cheer :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Fabulous Antique Dog Finds

Last weekend we were in Houston to attend a wedding, but I also found
the time to visit one of my favorite antique malls.  This particular mall
has some fabulous vendors.  There were a number of pieces that caught
my eye, especially those with dog themes.

The fabric on this French arm chair is stunning!  I can envision this
chair in a man's study or library.  Beautiful warm colors and such
handsome hunting dogs.  

I would love to find this fabric, and I will be on the hunt.

I also found this wonderful floor cloth.  I have never seen one like this
before.  I sure would love to have this in our master bedroom sitting

Look at the adorable face on this framed needlepoint of a 
Wire Hair Terrier.  Beautiful frame too.  I really should start
some needlepoint projects again.  I used to love it.

Cute Pug on a waste bin.  

Vintage Scottie complete with monogrammed brushes.  

And finally, this adorable vintage tin covered with Wire Fox Terriers.

The antiques at this mall are fabulous, but pricey.  I did purchase a Toby
Jug lamp here a couple of years ago.  I am glad that I did because I do love
it so.  This time I walked away empty handed because I am saving my
antiquing money for Antique Week in Round Top that starts in a couple
of weeks.  It sure was fun browsing, and I will certainly come back again.
Hope y'all enjoyed a brief tour.  Have a great Wednesday!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 5, 2018

Hopping By To Chat From The Heart

We just returned from a long weekend in Houston.  It was an
eventful couple of days, but I am very happy to be back home.

Have you ever had the feeling that your guardian angel is
tugging your sleeve?  Little signs that you chose to ignore are
suddenly catching up to you and demanding your attention?

For a long period of time I have struggled with a particular
relationship.  I gave in and tried to forget the past to
protect the heart of someone I love.  This was not an easy
thing for me to do, and I wrestled with the past to move on to
the future.  When we lived in Idaho, I never believed that
I would have to confront that tumultuous past again, but 
when we returned to Texas, I realized that there was not
much I could do to avoid it. 

So here I am, in the midst of it once again.  It's not my
battle, but I seem to be collateral damage.  I realize that
what I am saying is terribly vague, and I am not giving you
any details you can cling to for understanding of this
situation.  I apologize for that, but do so because while
the details of this predicament are explosive, I won't exploit
them to protect those who are innocent. 

What I can tell you is this ~ there are two types of people
who respond to drama, those who create it, and those who
feed on it.  I don't want to be in either group.  When a
situation becomes uncomfortable, and my guardian angel
starts tugging on my sleeve, I pay attention.  I put on God's
armor and I retreat to the safety of His love.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Welcome March 2018!

Happy 1st day of March y'all!

What a lovely morning!  The sun is shining!!  I was beginning to 
believe that we would never see it again, but here it is in all it's glory,
and I am so thankful.  I feel as though I just had an injection of
pure joy, and that joy is running through my veins.

As I am sitting here in my studio, the sun is streaming through 
the windows and it makes everything look so sweet and happy.
I plan to carry this sunny happiness with me throughout the day.

We are one day closer to the first official day of spring.  It's been a long,
hard winter, but we have survived.  I think we all deserve some sun,
and warmer breezes and flowers.  Lots of flowers for our future.
Wishing y'all a bless day!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Southern Cooking Adventures With Susan

I have always been very adventurous when it comes to different 
cuisines.  I have eaten and enjoyed my share of pad Thai and a 
variety of curries.  I like Middle Eastern food and Mexican too.
Beef Wellington is a favorite, and so is Welsh rarebit.  

When it comes to real down home comfort, I always gravitate
to Southern cooking.  It's almost impossible for me to pass up
a hot buttermilk biscuit and I love green beans and bacon.

So I am going through lots of old issues of Southern Living
magazine and reading all the Southern recipes I can find.

Starting next week, I am going to start sharing some of these recipes
with y'all so that we can learn together.  Oh, and by the way ~
Southern cookin' makes you good lookin' ;-)  Or so they say!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, February 23, 2018

Spring Fashion 2018 Ideas

A very "in" color for Spring of 2018, is a pale, petal shade of pink that
is referred to as Blush.  I found a top on the J Crew website that I could
not resist.  The fact that it was on sale also sweetened the deal for me.
It's a sleeveless top with a stand up neckline that drapes so beautifully.
It is soft, pretty, and feminine and can be dressed up or down.

The back of the top ties in a soft bow.

When I saw it online, I knew that I could wear it with my off white
slacks, some pink kitten heels from my closet, and my Mom's vintage
pink clutch.  I added a triple strand pearl bracelet because I am 
a girly girl.  

Here is the link to the top ~ J Crew.  This top is currently 40% off.
This is NOT a sponsored post.  I just love to share cute things I
find that I think you might like too.

Now if Spring would only hurry up so that I can wear this :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Blue and White ~ Collecting and Loving It

Blue and white china is timeless and versatile.  It can be humble or
grand. It's been favored by generations.  My Mama both collected and
loved it, and passed down her collection to add to my own.  

In my breakfast room, my blue and white collection of this and that,
looks fresh and welcoming.  I can set a table that suddenly looks
crisp and clean and as fresh as a daisy.

It has a quaint and simple look that I just adore.

Ireland has their green, but Holland and Scandinavia have their 
blue and white.  

Yet the beauty of blue and white is that it can rise above it's humble
nature and hold it's own in a more elegant setting too.  Surrounded by
deep red walls, touches of black, and crystal, it is suddenly sophisticated.

It's oh so collectable too.  We can find it in tureens and ginger jars.  It
comes in lamps and endless plates and bowls too.  The other thing I
love about it is that different patterns of blue and white all work 
together somehow.  It's magic!

Unique pieces with slightly different patterns, yet all
are holding their own in this niche.  

This basket is full of my very first collection of blue and white
transferware.  These are the child size dishes that started me on
my path to further collections.  Thank you Mama for giving me such
a good start.  I am missing you today on the fourth year of your
passing, but you left me with so many happy memories and I 
honor the life we shared.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, February 19, 2018

Cozy in My Country Cottage Kitchen

We have been having days and days of gray days.  Dark clouds rolling in and
out.  Some days have been quite cool and some have been warming up and
leading us to believe we are flirting with spring.   I don't mind the clouds, but
it's nice to see the sun once in a while too.  I know it's still out there because
every once and a while it peeks through just to tease us into a false state of
sunny security, and then poof ... it vanishes.

Even my cozy country cottage kitchen gets bathed in gray light.
That's okay, because I turn on lots of lights.  The under cabinet lights
are on, and all the little lamps are lit too.  This weather makes it so 
easy to imagine that I am living in a little cottage in the English
countryside.  That's not a problem for me ~ I live in that little cottage in
my mind quite often :-)

This weather has been just what I needed though.  I have some projects
that I have been putting off and putting off forever.  The biggest project
that I have begun to tackle is closet cleaning.  It is my least favorite thing
to do.  Here is how I have been tackling it ~ reluctantly, lol.  I started with
my bedroom closet because it was in fairly good shape and I wanted to
start on a good note.  I won't even think about tackling David's closet
right now, so I moved on to my studio/office closet.  That is the worst
mess ever, except for the linen closet in our master suite.  Both the 
craft closet and linen closet became catch alls for things I didn't know
what to do with when we moved into this house.  

Well ~ we have lived in this house for over four years now and I have
run out of excuses as to why these great storage places are such a mess.

Before I progress any further with this tale of shame, I must inform
you that I am what is classified as a better save that, because I don't 
know when I will need it type of girl.  This is a polite way of stating
that I am a pack rat.  However, I gathered all of my strength, 
forced myself to be ruthless, and started two piles ~ toss and give

Was this process painful?  Yes!   Did I have regrets?  Yes!  Were the sentimental
strings of my heart tattered?  Yes!  But, so far I have soldiered through.  
There have been fun moments when I discovered something great I had
completely forgotten.  Then there were the what was I thinking moments ;-)

Last weekend, a pile of things went to a local consignment shop.
Yesterday another couple of bags went to Goodwill.  We treated
ourselves to fruit smoothies afterwards.  

I think I will live through this ~ I really do.  The weather is
cooperating because it's too crummy to want to do yard work,
so I may as well take advantage of the mood to purge!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An Unrequited Love Story

Last September, I flew back to the Chicago suburbs to catch up with 
some very dear childhood friends and to also spend some time with
my cousins and my college roommate.  It was several days and
evenings full of fun and lots of talking and reminiscing about old times.

I ran into so many people from my past.  Some I knew instantly,
despite the passing years, and others I did not recognize at first.
One of my friends, a former neighbor of mine, remembered how I
wanted to be a child movie star just like Shirley Temple.  I truly had
forgotten that at the tender age of nine, I wanted to be an actress, lol.

I was mingling and talking and met up with a group who I
remembered from junior high.  One of the men told me that when
we were both twelve, he had the biggest crush on me and that he
always thought I was so pretty.  I felt a bit sad when he told me this 
because I had no idea that he felt that way about me.  I'm not 
even sure that I knew who he was back then.  This is not in any
way a reflection of him.  This is a reflection of who I was
when I was twelve.

At age twelve, I was a very, very, shy and introverted young girl.
My Mom had been very ill for a couple of years, and I spent time
living with relatives and friends of my parents while she was in the
hospital.  The only constant for me was my love of horses.
I rode most days after school, and when I wasn't riding, I was 
mucking out stalls or cleaning tack.  I liked boys, but I could not
imagine how any boy would like me.  I was so tiny and quiet and
did not dream of flirting or trying to act older like the other girls.
Most of the time I wanted to fade into the background and prayed
that no one noticed me, except my beloved horse.  The whole time
I was and would forever be, totally unaware that some boy thought
I was pretty and had a crush on me.  If I had known, I probably
would not have done anything about it because I would have 
blushed and blushed and blushed.  Yet if I had known, it would
certainly put a little smile on my face and made me feel a lot
better about myself.

Young love, and sadly unrequited.  Thanks, Patrick, for
thinking so highly of me once upon a time.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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