Friday, August 9, 2019

Playing House With My Stash

It's way, way, too hot to go anywhere, so we are hanging around the 
house this weekend.  The pantry is full, and we have no plans.  David 
will be glued to the golf channel as he always is when we don't need to
be anywhere on a Saturday of Sunday.  I doubt very much that he will
play at the club on Sunday afternoon.  He did that a couple of weeks ago
and came home feeling very poorly.  Heat stroke is real and it can be

I will be doing what I have been doing all day today.  A few light chores 
here and there, but mostly just fluffing the pillows and moving things 
around ever so slightly.  I find the whole experience so gratifying.  Since
I am not in the midst of redecorating, I don't look at things very closely.
I just walk through one room and on to the next one without much
thought.  Fluffing a room brings everything into perspective.

It's a good thing that I am a homebody because if I wasn't I would be
miserable.  I keep looking out the windows and wishing I could be outside
working, but what's the point.  It's miserable.  All we can do right now
is to keep everything watered.

Of course, there is always something to dust around here, lol.

David just came home.  I am thinking we will have pizza for dinner tonight
and just settle in and watch TV or read.  In my straightening up efforts today,
I found two pool tile books.  The idea for a pool is being tossed around again.
Hope the weather is kinder where you are and that your weekend is

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Personalized Touches for Your Home

Those of you who have read my blog for a long time know that I march to
my own drum beat and don't follow trends.  If I like something, if it
resonates with me, that's what I gravitate to, and that is what I do.
My home reflects my personality.  You won't find any signs that say
"Gather", etc.  There is nothing wrong with them, but they just don't 
appeal to me.  When I see something I truly love, I have a little chat
with myself.  Do I need it (most likely no).  Does it have a practical
function (probably not).  Is everyone in the "hood" doing this or using 
this?  Well the answer to that one is NO!  I don't do anything that others
are doing just to fit in.  

Here is a little stool I recently purchased from Nancy and her fabuous
transferware shop.   Here is a link if you would like to browse:

When I saw it I ran through my usual check list.  The one overriding
response was "I love it!"  The needlepoint top is so attractive and in 
excellent condition.  The wicker base really adds to it's charm.  In
other words it was screaming "Order Me Please!"

So, here it is in our family room and of course I loved it right away.
The final affirmation came from my hubby who liked it and thought
it was a perfect addition.  I didn't really need his approval, but it sure
was great to receive!

Here we have another expression of my personality.  At the far end of our
family area, rests a cozy seating area we lovingly refer to as our "library".
You will often find me in the evening lounging in one of the leather 
chairs, reading a book, and seeing Bentley cuddled up next to me.  Well one
day I decided it would be magical to have a miniature "library" within the 
big one.  I wanted it to have the same look as the big one, and I wanted it
to look like a "little person" could be enjoying the space.  I already had the
globe and the lamp and phone.  Now I just needed to find the perfect chair.
This is a Reutter "leather" wing back chair.  It's detailing is perfect.  I ordered
 three vintage looking books from a woman in Lithuania, and the whole
spot just came alive. 

My style suits me and reflects the little girl soul who lives within the adult
I have become.  I believe our homes can be far more than just for shelter and
efficiency.  They can remind us of who we are and shows others just
how unique and special we can be.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, July 19, 2019

Mini Tips for Staying Cool During a Scorcher

Down here in South Texas, we are used to hot and humid days.
Down here, it's a typical July, but for the rest of you who live in
more temperate climes, it's called a "Scorcher".

So for all of you suffering from a heat wave right now, here are a 
few "mini" tips to help you stay cool.  First one, stay inside and enjoy
a cupcake!

Tip #2 ~ relax with a good decorating book.

Tip #3 ~ lose yourself in a good mystery, like a vintage Nancy Drew!

Tip # 4 ~ Give into the urge to take a nap!

When you awake from your nap, have a nice tall glass of sweet tea.
That's what we do down South.  Stay cool y'all!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rediscovering My Authentic Self

What happens to us as we pass through the years?  Are we still the
child with hopes and dreams and great plans for the future?  

The passage of time has not been quite the way I expected.  I have
stepped back recently to take a hard look at my past and how it has
shaped my present.  When we are young, the days and the seasons
move by at a much slower pace.  I'm not sure at what age the days
began to speed up, but they did.  I suppose I was so busy being busy 
that I did not even notice the change.  I didn't realize that the laser 
like focus for my passions was slipping through my fingers.

I was always creative, yet somehow that creativity began to wain.
Once again, not sure exactly when it happened, but it did.  Slowly
my perspective became less about what I liked, and more about
what others liked.  Being a people pleaser began to cloud my
vision and my self confidence.  That spark for life, that passion I
once had was being stripped away, and I was doing little to
stop it.  

Not long ago, I shouted STOP!   It doesn't matter what others
think.  It matters what I think.  I started to eliminate what was no
longer benefitting me, and that included some people too.  Why
should I fill a minute of my time trying to get along with others
who were not putting any effort to get along with me?   I 
decided to let them go.  I wish them well, but I can no longer 
afford to waste my time trying to fit in with others who have
little interest with me.  Almost immediately, I felt a weight
lifted off my shoulders.   The next thing I did was to stop telling
myself I must do this or that.  We all have obligations that we 
can't avoid, but if you look closely at your life, you will soon
realize that many of these "obligations" are created in our
own minds and that nothing bad will happen if we let them go.
Don't procrastinate.  Get done what needs to be done and then
immediately begin focusing on what you want to do.  

Once you clean out the cobwebs in your mind, you will have
the space you need to focus on goals.  Start a plan to fulfill
the dreams you once had, but were shoved aside.  There is no
more "one day", that day is now!  Take hold of it!  It doesn't matter
what others think, in actuality it only matters what you think.

I'm on my way to rediscovering my authentic self, and it's a
long overdue journey.  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Too Hot for Spending Time in the She Shed

I would love to work on the inside and outside of Sweet Tea Cottage.  Two things are
holding me back though.  One, it is now so very hot and humid outside.   Oppressive is how to
describe it, extremely oppressive!

The next thing that is keeping me inside is aggressive bees.  Two men have been
killed by swarms of bees.  One man in Inez, another in Yokum.  Towns not too
far from here.  This past Sunday, a man was mowing his yard when a swarm of bees
came and attacked him.  He was screaming for help and his entire face and head
were. covered in bees.  Two men stopped to try to help him and were attacked too.
So three have been attacked and two have died from from bee stings.  

The last one was in Victoria!!!

David installed these two new arched windows.  I love them!  I am thinking
about adding a mantle surround to highlight the electric stove. We'll see
how that would look,

Here is the view of the exterior.  I have decided to order some shutters
and two more window boxes too.  It's a work in progress.  Thanks for stopping
by, and stay safe!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Fun Fashion for Summer

Now that summer is in full swing, it's time to start planning some
outfits to wear for parties and date night.  My hubby and I still like to
dress up when we go out for dinner.  I think that dressing up for any
occasion makes it special, and frankly since I love to wear cute clothes, 
it gives me an excuse.

The outfit above is dressy casual (casual because I am wearing it with
white skinny jeans).  The black top is crepe, which gives it a more
flowy look ( and cooler too).  The addition of the little white collar gives
it a dressier look.  Aside from white skinny jeans, I have added patent 
flats in a Mary Jane style with pearl closures, a three strand pearl
bracelet, and a faux alligator black bag.

I love Lilly Pulitzer for summer fun too.  The bright prints are always
memorable, and she changes them often.  This is an off the shoulder
top, with those skinny white jeans again, Jack Rogers gold sandals, a 
Lilly starfish choker, and Lilly clutch in gold.  

I'm planning the rest of my outfits for the long upcoming weekend, and
will share more later.  I also have more new windows added to the
She Shed, so I will be updating you on that as well.

Have a great day!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Some of Daddy's Treasures

In the living room,  I have a secretary desk that is devoted to some of my
Daddy's treasures obtained from his years in international business.  In the
1960's he had quite a bit of business in both Israel and some of the Middle 
Eastern nations.  Travel in and out of these countries was a bit tricky and he
would carry more than one passport so that he would get past country restrictions.
Don't ask me how he did this, but he did have a close relationship with many
in Washington.  

Over the years, Daddy was gifted with many treasures from business
associates.  He was given a tiger skin, which was meant to be used as a rug,
but none of us were okay with it.  Our dog especially hated it.  It remained
carefully packaged up in the attic, but was brought out only if the giver came
 to visit when he was in the states.

Daddy also did quite a bit of business in Israel.  He was invited into the home of
the Dobkin family in Jerusalem many times.  They had a son who was starting to
apply to colleges in the US, and expressed an interest in attending Harvard.   
Daddy has some connections at the University, and offered to write a letter of 
recommendation for the college hopeful.  I do not know what the ultimate result
of this letter was, but the Dobkin family was very thankful and presented my
Daddy with quite a nice gift of antique glass found on an architectural dig in

These artifacts were uncovered near Bethlehem from the first century 
 of the Common Era.  Daddy was an avid student of the history and the
architecture of the ancient Near East, so this gift had a very special 
meaning to him.

I'm thinking of Daddy today (as I do every day) and remembering
things that were special to him.  On this date in 2010, Daddy passed
away.  That year it was two days before Father's Day, and this year
it is two days after.  He led a fascinating life and died at the age of
93.  He sure was a great guy!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Good Morning From My Porch Swing!

Sometimes a tablescape can be a simple as coffee on the porch swing.

And sometimes it can be lunch in the garden with a friend.

The important thing is that it celebrate the joys of summer.  

And that it puts a smile on your face!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Lunch in the Sweet Tea Cottage Garden

It's not too, too hot today, and lunch in the Sweet Tea Cottage garden is
always a treat.  It's secluded, and quite, except of course for the lovely
little song birds who visit each day.  The table is all set and I think we
will have time for some lunch goodies and a chat before the rain drops
arrive later this afternoon.

By the way, if you have not been following me recently, Sweet Tea 
Cottage is the name of my She Shed.

The bright vintage floral and the gingham touches really pop against
the white bistro table and the greenery.  It's simple, uncomplicated, and
a brief blissful break from our hectic world.

I found these vintage gingham glasses with the ricrac trim recently.  It
was instant love at first sight!  

I wish y'all could join me!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, June 7, 2019

My New Lease on Life

Our new wicker porch swing is comfy.  It's best enjoyed early in the morning, or later
in the evening after the sun has gone down.  It's going to be a really hot weekend, and the
temperature will hit 100 degrees both Saturday and Sunday.  I don't think we will be
doing much outside.  I really wish we had a pool now.  Those plans got shelved when I
started getting ill last summer.  I have had some very strange kind of virus that zapped
every bit of strength I had.   It lasted for months and months.  I finally just started to
turn the corner this past April.  I feel like the virus has finally gone away.  Now
I just have to work on regaining my strength.

I have always been a high energy girl.  Months of living on a couple hours of sleep
each night, and whatever sleep I could get was disturbed by coughing, left me
very weak.  My muscle tone started to disappear and I was starting to look
like a live skeleton.  I tried working out, standard cardio and strength training,
but couldn't handle it.  Just this past Monday, I tried again.  So far I have
completed 30 minutes of cardio for five straight days, and three days of
strength training.  I can't begin to tell you how much different I feel.  I have added
an afternoon nap each day too.  Suddenly, instead of dragging around, I have
started to want to do things again.  

These past few months, my interests have been so limited.  I thought I
could just take it easy all day and read books.  For the first time in my
life, I couldn't even concentrate to read.  I was so restless, yet exhausted
at the same time.  Shepherds Abiding by Jan Karon has been sitting
unfinished on my nightstand for months.  I knew there was something really
wrong with me because I love the Mitford books.  

I kept working on Sweet Tea Cottage, but only for a few short minutes
per day. Despite the fact that it tired me, I knew I had to have something
to focus on other than this strange virus.  My poor manuscript has been
sitting on my desk, untouched too.

Now that I am getting that blood circulating better and getting more
rest, I am starting to to reinvest in life.  This afternoon I walked out into
the backyard and started focusing on the shape of the pool and exactly
where I want it.  Life is good once again.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

It Was A Great Weekend

As usual, the day following a long weekend usually moves a bit more
slowly.  Saturday afternoon, we drove down to Rockport to see how the
rebuilding is coming along, and to have dinner at one of our favorite
restaurants that just recently re-opened.  Rockport is a tiny coastal
village that was really hit hard by Hurricane Harvey.  Massive 
destruction was everywhere.  It will be two years since the hurricane
struck in August and it's taken a long time to get things back to
a new normal.  While there are still many homes, condos and apartments
boarded up, many restaurants have re-opened and were very happy to
see the crowds of people returning to kick off the Summer of 2019.

Our favorite little restaurant is Bellino's.  It's a charming little Italian
restaurant that serves great food in a very charming and cosy
atmosphere.  The place had to be gutted after the hurricane, but the
owners were determined to re-open and their patrons are very happy
about it.  

David and I have always preferred to dine at independently owned
restaurants.  We avoid the big commercial chains unless we are 
on the road and there is no other choice.  One thing we noticed on
Saturday night was that no one was on their cell and that couples were
actually speaking to one another.  I don't think anyone wanted to 
leave, the atmosphere was just that pleasant.

I'm always sad when a holiday weekend comes to an end.  It's so
nice to see more of David and just hang out together.   I hope your
weekend was a nice as ours.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

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 


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