Friday, May 24, 2019

More Changes at the She Shed

My She Shed sits off by itself in a more remote and fenced in area of
the backyard.  While I have a sink and a place to pot plants on the 
veranda, it's not so convenient as having a designated place to store
everything I need for working in the She Shed garden.  So I went on
a hunt for a potting bench.  I wanted one that will fill my needs and yet
not be too expensive.  

I found this one produced by Better Homes and Gardens and sold 
through Walmart. The price was right, it suited my needs and there
was a two day free delivery to my home.  Sold!

One of the features I love about this potting bench is that it has a 
plastic pan underneath a removable lid.  This is handy for adding soil to
pots and can be rinsed out later.  

So, I am very. happy with this new purchase and it is already getting
a lot of use!  BTW, as I was walking around the corner, I happened to
glance at one of my tomato plants and noticed that I already have two
small tomatoes just hanging on the vine waiting to ripen.  There is one
one my other tomato plant too.  On top of that exciting news, I also
stopped to check on my new rose bush and noticed that I have three
new buds.  What a great afternoon it's been.

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!  Have fun and stay safe.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ Interior Finishes

The weather here has not been very conducive for gardening, so I have
been focusing my She Shed thoughts on the interior.  As in all standard sheds,
the walls are plywood, and really need to be covered in a finish of some 
kind.  I am leaning towards bead board because of it's ease of installation,
and it's cottage charm.  I may consider shiplap too, but not sure.  I am
not a big trend follower as you know.

It's hard to tell from this photo because of the stacked pictures in the
way, but that black square between the two chairs is an electric stove. 
Looks like an old fashioned wood stove.  Yesterday it occurred to me
how much I would love stone in those two areas marked above.  Faux
stone of course, which appears to be readily available in all types of
styles.  The faux stone would run ceiling to floor.  I think it would 
really draw the eye to this end of the room.  Everything else will be
painted white, walls, beams, and ceiling, so the stone would really
pop!  We also will be installing longer arch top windows on 
either side of the stone.

The other reason I like stone so much is that many of my favorite
movies from the 1940's utilized it in their interpretation of cottage
and farmhouse interiors.  This is true of Christmas in Connecticut,
Bringing Up Baby, Dear Ruth, Skylark and more.   All of these homes
use lots of interior stone with detailed trim work and beams, all in
white.  This has always been an ideal look to me.  One that
exudes country charm.

I am excited about all of this coming interior work and plan to
get some samples this weekend.

A weather update.  We have been fortunate to have escaped the
nasty weather that was headed for our area.  It just stayed above
us and headed east.  We only had light rain, while from Fredericksburg
to Austin, and on to Houston, there were high winds, and large hail,
and many lightning strikes along with the heavy rain.  Poor
Sugar Land, a large town west of Houston has flooded once again.
It was flooded after Hurricane Harvey and many,  including our
friends, had to evacuate their homes.  David checked in with our 
friends last night and they were getting very nervous.  Please 
keep everyone in these paths in your prayers.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ Rain Day, Working Inside

I had hopes of doing some gardening around the She Shed today, but 
the weather is so threatening.  One minute the skies turn dark gray, and
the next they are clearing up.  The weather channel is predicting a lot of
rain for us, so we shall see. 

I have been going through closets and hutches looking for things to
add to the interior.  I am amazed at just how much I have squirreled away!

I am going for all white for the walls and exposed beams.  I am not 
certain what kind of treatment I want on the walls.  I still love the cottage
appeal of bead board.  I am not sure if I want to go to the trouble of 
putting up shiplap or not.  

At the far end of the shed is an electric copy of a wood stove.  I just
had an idea of putting up faux stone around the back of it.  I hadn't thought
of that before.  I'll be doing some research for sure!  More about that later.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, May 6, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ Windows Installed

The new windows, shutters and window boxes arrived last week.
David installed them for me on Saturday.  I'll tell you what ....
I am loving them!  They even have little screens.  Honestly, I feel 
like a little girl with a play house.  Can't remember when I have had
quite this much fun.

It's raining now and will be for days and days and I had to remember to
run out and shut the windows!   This may be the last outdoor shot I will
be able to post for a bit.

After the windows were finished, I went inside and decorated one of the
window sills.  I know it's premature, but that's my playful nature.  I just
want to be inspired to get busy with all the inside work too.   I have
also decided to add two more windows at the far end of the shed.
These windows will be longer and have arched tops.   They are from the
same company, and I wanted to make sure that I liked their products 
before I went hog wild ;-).   Still so much more to do, but it is truly a
labor of love!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, May 3, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ New Use For Old Teapot

I was going through the hutch in my breakfast room and discovered this vintage
electric kettle.  I found it at a thrift shop long ago, and have never used it.  In
fact, I was afraid to even try it out.  It is the kind that has a small electric
heating element at the bottom and plugs into an electrical outlet.   I
remember buying it just because I thought it was cute, and I still think it
is in that thrift shop cute kind of way.  Since I knew I would never
use it the way it was meant to be used, I thought I would put it out in the
herb garden and add a spot of color with a vinca plant.  It seems right at
home in this spot.  You will have to wait a bit to see what else is happening
in this garden pot, because I have plans!

Have a great weekend y'all!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ New Windows, Shutters, Flower Boxes

The new windows, shutters and window boxes have arrived!  Hopefully
these will be installed this weekend.  The wicker edging for the herb
and tomato garden is scheduled to arrive on this coming Monday.
Progress is being made.

These mums are from last fall.  I planted then in a galvanized container
and never transplanted them.  Now they are blooming once again
this spring.   

I am thinking about what kind of flooring I want inside the shed.
Let me know if you have any suggestions.  Slate, or a slate look 
might be nice.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ Happy May Day Flowers

To the right side of the She Shed there is a stand of ginger plants.  
They are quite thick and getting tall once again.  This past winter we
did not have a hard freeze, so the ginger did not have to be cut back 
down to the ground as it did for the past couple of years.  When we
don't have a hard freeze, the ginger will flower, and that's what is
happening right now.  Large clusters of buds.

This morning these buds began to open up.  Aren't they beautiful!

Vinca in pots hanging just above the herb garden.

At the end of the herb garden, a lovely plant with the sweetest clusters of

Yet more in pink.

The garden around the shed is coming along nicely, although never quite fast
enough.  I get so much enjoyment from this garden.  I had to move the bird
feeders because the tree man trimmed our crepe myrtles, and it took the
birds a full day to rediscover them.  Now they are back singing in the background
while I work in my little garden.  This is truly my happy spot!

Happy first day of May y'all!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ Garden Patch

At the back of my She Shed, I planted my tomato plants.  This is the same spot they were
in last year, but this year I added a few herb plants and two new perennials.  I added more
garden soil and a nice thick layer of mulch too.  I found a place where I could order some
wicker edging like they have in English gardens, and it is on its way now.   I am very
anxious for it to get here!  I will share it with you when it arrives.

The herbs I planted are, chives, lemon thyme, Italian parsley, oregano,
rosemary and sage.  Back in Idaho I had an herb garden right off the back
porch and I loved being able to snip off fresh herbs for cooking.  After a
chive plant is in the ground for a year, it will start producing lovely little
blue flower clusters in the spring.  So pretty to see.

Saturday I went to Lowe's to pick up more garden soil and mulch.  I
slid a bag of the soil onto my flat bed cart.  As I did this, a very nice
man (who was not an employee) came up to me and asked if I needed
any help.  I thanked him and said I got this one, and then he asked if I
needed anything else.  I admitted that I wanted some bark mulch and
he said fine, what color?  We had to walk to the back of the lot for the
mulch and he loaded up two bags for me.  This was not a pick-up either,
he was just being a great guy helping out a lady.  It made me so happy
to know that chivalry is not dead!  I'm not a girl who wants to do 
everything myself.  I know my limitations, and I am also a girly girl 
and know that men love to help out a girl in need.  Viva la difference!

Bit Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, April 26, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ A New Rose Bush

I purchased a rose bush for a small garden plot next to the shed.  It's 
a Marchessa Boccella rose.  It will be a smaller bush with perpetually
blooming pink buds.  It was grown at the Antique Rose Emporium 
up in Brenham, but I purchased mine from my favorite nursery here
in town, Four Seasons.  I decided to put it in a large pot, and so far
the Marchessa seems content.

I have never been to the Antique Rose Emporium, but I have seen
photos and must head up there one day soon.  It's my kind of place,
that's for sure.  They do have a website and you can order from there
if you like.  I will say, they sell a lot of roses, and several are already
sold out.  Here is the link:

This weekend I am headed back to Four Seasons.  I want to purchase
another Jasmine plant.  I love the fragrance so much!  I need mulch
and more garden soil too.  The weather outside is currently so lovely
that I hate to go indoors.  Have a wonderful Friday, and I will check
back in with you over the weekend.  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ Tomatoes, Herb Garden, New Swing

I planted two tomato plants in the shed garden.  They are Better Boy's.  I only
planted two because while I love fresh tomatoes, David does not.  I have high hopes
for these plants, and we will be tracking their progress in the coming weeks.  I
will be planting some herbs in this plot too, thyme, chives, parsley and sage.
 I already replanted some rosemary that wintered over from last year.  

I want to add a dwarf Meyer lemon tree and a dwarf fig too, just across from this
garden patch.  I plan to head over to my favorite garden center to pick these up
this weekend.  

The exciting news is that I received a notice that the windows, shutters and
flower boxes for the shed have been shipped.  I can hardly wait for them to
arrive!  The other thing I ordered was a new porch swing for the veranda,
to replace the one we have which has been well used and well loved, but
has seen better days.  I am replacing it with an all weather wicker one in 
white.  It's really charming and I'm excited that it too is on it's way to

Here is a pic of the old swing.  You can see a dark spot on the back of the
swing, left side.  This is where the rot developed and then continued to
spread.  So, bye dear swing.  You certainly gave us a great deal of

More tomorrow!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Daily She Shed ~ Volunteers Welcome

Petunias are supposed to be annuals, but this little petunia had other plans.
Last spring and summer, I had two hanging baskets filled with petunias
on either side of the doors to the She Shed.  They were stunning, but 
since they are annuals, they just have a short life span.  However, this
pink petunia has planted itself in a pot that was once empty.  It seems
determined to grow, and I am so happy it is here that I will give it all
the tender love and care it needs to make it through a few more
seasons.  I will keep you posted on it's progress!

 Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Daily She Shed

Welcome to the first edition of the Daily She Shed.  This spring I have
decided to spend all my energy on my She Shed.  I have been gathering 
up ideas for quite a while and now is the time to put them into action.

Here is an early morning photo caught between the rain drops, of the
jasmine I planted last year.  It has come back very vigorously and the 
fragrance is heavenly.  I am so excited about this.

I ordered windows and shutters and windows boxes.  It will be so
wonderful to have light and fresh air streaming into the shed.  The
windows come with screens, so the bugs can stay outside, thank you
very much.  I am planting an herb garden too.  

You are welcome to follow me along each day as I share all of my
work with you.  It will be a labor of love, and I am hoping the 
garden fairies will provide assistance.  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Breathing Well Again and Blue and White Eggs

I want to thank everyone for all the kind words of encouragement and
get well wishes.  It's been a very rough couple of weeks, but within the 
past few days my breathing has become far less labored.  I was so afraid
to sleep at night because my breathing became even more difficult when
I would lay my head down on my pillow.  I spent so many nights pacing
the floor.  My breathing isn't 100% yet, but it has greatly improved and 
I am able to walk around and not feel winded.  I cannot begin to express
the relief I am feeling right now.  I plan to do all I can to sustain this 
lung capacity and to continue to improve.

Enough about my health issues, let's discuss something more light
hearted.  Here are the decoupaged eggs I have been working on.  I
took paper cocktail napkins by Caspari, carefully cut out the designs, 
and pasted them on the wooden eggs with Mod Podge.  It was time
consuming, but fun too!  While I have also decorated eggs in the
more traditional pastel colors, it was fun to branch out and find a 
new way to express my love of blue and white.

This project seemed daunting at first, but as usual, practice makes
everything easier.  The tough part was the flimsiness of the paper and
I had to be careful to work with a light hand because the Mod Podge
made it easy to tear.  

I am happy with the way they turned out and I think these eggs will
remain in this little dish all year round now.  I am joining Susan over
at Between Naps on the Porch for the last Tablescape Thursday.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Recovering From a Serious Illness

It's been a while since I logged in.  Unfortunately, I have been quite
ill and just had enough strength to get through a minimum of 
social media.  While I won't go into any of the details now, I will
tell you that my breathing became more difficult and I started to have
some heart involvement.  To be honest, I was scared.  There are things
I still want to accomplish in this lifetime and I am not ready to give
them up.  We are getting this situation under control, but I will be
taking things easy for a while.   Consequently, I will be taking a few
more days off to heal and restore.  Frankly, my whole life will be 
changing.  I will be back and I will be checking in with Facebook
and Instagram.  Sometimes life can throw you a curve and you can 
either give into it, or you can fight back.  I choose to fight back.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

I Love Vintage Cookbooks

A few weeks ago I was researching on the internet about a restaurant
in Winnetka, Illinois, where my parents and I used to enjoy dinner out.
It was a well loved restaurant called the Indian Trail.  If you ever saw the
movie Ferris Bueller's Day off, you saw the principal standing in front
of this restaurant, looking for Ferris. 

Here is the scene from that film:

Sadly, the restaurant is now gone, but the memories live on for
me and for others.  I did manage to find a recipe for their delicious 
salad dressing.

While hunting for this particular restaurant, I also started to look
for others.  That is when I discovered The Ford Treasury of Famous
Eating Places.  There are two volumes printed back in the early 1950's.
The Ford Motor Company produced these books and naturally also 
showed off their vehicles in the process.  The books are divided into
regions of the US, and are beautifully illustrated.

Of course, all the old inns of the northeast are prominently displayed.
So fun to see and to read the recipes too.

I was thrilled to see Pocono Manor listed.  This is where my beloved
parents spent their honeymoon.  I have the brochures they saved too.
The Pocono Manor is still in business today.

I always loved the Pump Room in Chicago.  It has always been in the
Ambassador East Hotel, just a couple of blocks away from my Aunt's
house.  So many famous people have dined here.  David and I flew to
Chicago for a visit back in 1995 and celebrated our anniversary here.

This is another of my favorite Chicago area restaurants, Fanny's in
Evanston.  I was born in Evanston hospital, so it's a town dear to my
heart, and is also the home of Northwestern University.  

Fanny's was a beloved restaurant too.  Like the Pump Room, it was
visited by many, many famous people.  Unlike the Pump Room, it had
a more homey atmosphere.  The spaghetti and meat sauce was very
memorable.  Kraft foods tried to buy Fanny's recipe for her sauce, but she 
would never sell it.  Here is a link about Fanny's I hope you will enjoy.
It tells the story of Fanny's humble beginnings and her great success.

Some of the recipes in old cookbooks may seem boring by today's 
standards, but we can make new discoveries of recipes long
forgotten.  I have only been able to find two of these treasuries and
I am not certain if there are more, but these two have been fun to
read and to enjoy the colorful vintage graphics.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Celebrate April!

I love April!  It's always been one of my favorite months.
I am so happy to see the sun shining today, knowing there are some
flowers waiting for me to plant.  I stopped at my favorite garden
center on Saturday and picked up some Vinca for pots on the patio,
a new rose bush, and a large rosemary bush too.  Don't you just
love the aroma of fresh rosemary?  I sure do.

Although some of the venues up at Round Top, and Warrenton, and in
between have been up for over a week now, this is the opening week of
Marburger Farm and the Big Red Barn.  I will be there with camera in
hand so you can follow along and see what I find.

I am hoping that we are now all out from under the clouds and the cold
weather, and that the sunshine treats us to many happy days ahead.  It's
a whole new month, a blank canvas, so let's make it a great one!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, March 29, 2019

What I Have Been Doing Lately

I have been decoupaging eggs recently.  It's just so much fun and I have
been having a great time.  I think it's been good for me too because I have
been able to stop worrying about the asthma attacks.  The last couple of
days have been so much better for me, and I am so relieved.

I have been cutting out designs from these pretty Caspari cocktail
napkins and decoupaging them onto wooden eggs.  It's a bit time
consuming, but fun too.

I am planning a Spring tablescape with these eggs.  I will probably
show you the results next week.

 I also used Caspari napkins for these blue and white toile eggs.  I have
so many blue and white pieces in my dining room, and I think that all
the eggs grouped together in a big crystal bowl filled with magnolia
leaves will make a nice centerpiece for the table.

I still have several more eggs to complete.  My next project is a grouping
of hand painted eggs.  I have to sharpen my skills again.  Years ago I 
hand decorated furniture and sold it at various shops.  It was so labor intensive
that I gave it up.  Painting Easter eggs seems like a lesser undertaking, so
I am up for it.  

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  It is 80 degrees here today, but it 
looks like we will be having rain and thunderstorms over the weekend.
More indoor projects in the future.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 25, 2019

Blast From the Past Easter Decor

Every seasonal holiday I dip into my archive to see what decorations I have
used.  After a couple of years, I forget.  Let's take a look and see what I have
created for past Easters.

Bunny on the mantel.  Mantels are alway convenient spots to decorate.
We all seem to gravitate to them as a back drop.

Of course there must be bunnies somewhere!

And Easter chicks too.

Bunnies found in my studio ....

and bunnies on trays.

Popping out of my cereal bowl.

But this one is my favorite one of all!  Thanks for taking
a tour down memory lane with me.  This will help me 
decide what to do for this Easter.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring At Last!

Happy first day of Spring!  It is sunny outside today too.  What a bonus!
I was getting so tired of the gray, damp, and windy days.  I just stopped
in to say hi, and now I am back outside to do more yard work.  There is
nothing like playing in the dirt to lift one's spirits.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 18, 2019

Planning for Spring and Easter Decor

I have not been doing any big tablescapes lately, and now I am in the
mood to do something fun.  Wednesday is the first day of Spring and I
am so ready for it, and know you are too.  What better way to usher in
Spring than with a table all decked out and celebrating the season.

I found these darling Caspari beverage napkins when I was in Brenham
a couple of weeks ago.  My plan is to take white wooden eggs from
Hobby Lobby and decoupage them with the images.  I think it will be 
bright and cheerful, looking like Spring but not necessarily Easter.

The eggs in the carton are paper mâché.  I base coated them with happy
spring pastels and will be hand painting them next.  I am looking forward 
to a big scene with these eggs as a component.

The tree trimmers and the plumbers are gone.   Our yard man came to
cut the grass and pick up the leaves.  Hopefully most of them are down

The inflammation in my bronchial tubes has improved.  Now I am
having an issue with anemia.  It's a problem I have battled most of 
my life.  When it hits, I feel like staying in bed all day because I am
too exhausted to do much else.  I have added iron, B12 and C into my
diet in larger quantities and hopefully will be my usual self once again.
I am normally so healthy, but this Fall and Winter have been tough on
me.  I am looking forward to warmer and sunnier days more than 
ever before.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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