Friday, March 30, 2012

Primping the Front Porch For Spring

I am always so anxious to decorate my front porch when spring arrives.
Unfortunately it has been very breezy and it has been raining most every day.
So all I have been able to do so far is gather up the elements.

I painted and decoupaged this old TV tray.  I showed you that a few days
ago.  I think it will be fun to use for serving iced tea, etc.

Birdcages and cachepots.

I painted my Grandmother's old cranberry scoop and filled it with some
artificial ivy for now.  I need to get to the garden shop for the real thing.
Oh, and I added this little thrift shop plate too.  I plan to hang the scoop on
the wall behind Grandma's old rocker.

Several years ago I hand painted this little bird house.  It has weathered and aged
and I think I like it better now than I did when it was freshly painted.

That's all for now.  Can't wait to put all the elements together and present
the reveal.  Have a great weekend!

It's time for my favorite party of the week ~

Bentley, let's stay inside and clean the house today.  Maybe if the 
rain lets up this afternoon, we will walk over to that new flower shop
called Blooms.  I am so anxious to see it!

Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Bunny Breakfast Tray

Bunnies abound in the spring and I love them.  I also seem to be
focused on breakfast trays these days.  Remember my Rise and Shine
Breakfast Tray from a recent post?  

Maybe I am hoping that someone will serve me breakfast in bed (hint, hint).
So I was inspired to create a bunny tray for a happy breakfast to get you
hopping out of bed.  I used a floppy eared bunny bookmark to keep the
vintage silver in place.

I love this pale blue hobnail glass.  I found it for pennies at a garage sale a
few years ago.  I am glad that someone decided to give it up because
it has become a treasure in my cottage.  It will make a great vase for the
lily of the valley popping up in my Mom's garden too.

Here is Mrs. Rabbit rocking her babies.

Stay tuned for more spring decorating.  You never know where more
bunnies will be turning up.

Hopping over to visit ~


Bentley does not want any bunnies in his yard.  He chases them just
like he chases squirrels and cats.  So all of the bunnies around here
are just for show.

Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tools of the Spring Trade

A couple of weeks ago I found this adorable vintage tool box.  I don't
think that there is a vintage wood tool box that I don't like.  So, of course
this one just had to come home with me because I knew I could find so
many ways to use it.

I could not wait to fill it with bunnies and chicks and Easter eggs for a
spring centerpiece.

After Easter has passed, I think I will fill it with little pots of 
herbs and flowers and put it on the front porch.  

Or ... maybe the back porch.


This vintage tool box would work for some of your dog toys
too Bentley.  Your toys are scattered in every room of the house!
Now if I could just teach you to put them away.

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saved From the Trash Bin!

An old TV tray, rusted and forlorn and about to be picked up
by the trash collectors.  But ... I just could not let that happen.
It called to me.

I washed it and sanded away the rust.  Brought out some paint, some vintage
seed packets and some buttons.  My Mom gave me a big box of old
buttons recently and they have been working their way into various craft projects.

So now this sad and forlorn tray has been turned into a cottage garden
tray that will be used again and again.  Don't you love finding old junk
and giving it new life?

I know some other bloggers who love to breathe new life into
old junk too ~

Watch out Bentley ~ Momma's in a salvage mood.  You never 
know what she might drag home!

Susan and Bentley

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cocktail Shakers Ready ~ Mad Men Season Premier

We are getting our cocktail shakers ready for Sunday night's season premier of
Mad Men.  I even made an avatar of me (courtesy of AMC) so that I 
can be with the guys of Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce.

Love that show.  Although I am a professional interior designer, I have also
worked at a couple of advertising agencies in both New York and Houston.
Let me tell you, it's a wild and crazy business.  One guy wanted a job
at an ad agency in Houston.  He wrapped his resume around a rock and
threw it through the agency's window.  He got the job because of his
ingenuity, but the cost of the window came out of his paycheck.  

As fun and creative as the ad world is, you better be able to soar like an
eagle to keep up.  Sixteen hour days are not uncommon.  No wonder the guys
at Sterling, Cooper, Draper and Pryce need a cocktail.

So we will be glued to the television on Sunday night.  I will be watching to 
see what everyone is wearing.  I love the fashion on that show!

Oh ~ and the music too.  In case you have not noticed (perhaps you always
have the sound turned down on your computer) I am a huge music lover.
All kinds ~ jazz, pop, classical, even some country.  Just can't live without it.

This was my mother-in-law's favorite cocktail recipe book.  It came from the
Mad Men era.  Oh and these cute little cocktail napkins too.

I did some research about popular appetizers from the 1960's.  Oysters Rockefeller,
Chex Mix and of course, deviled eggs.  

So before the season premier begins, let's go visit ~

No Bentley ~ I don't think you should have oysters, but you can have a
deviled egg!

Susan and Bentley

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bunny Pocket Pillow

I made a pocket pillow in pink and green.  Happy spring colors.

It's perfect for stashing some favorite items like an Easter bunny and
a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit.

Easter is just a couple of weeks away.
I better get hopping!

On my way to visit Beverly for

I should make a pocket pillow for you Bentley.
You could stash your favorite bone there!

Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Rise and Shine Breakfast Tray

I don't know about you, but I am not a rise and shine kind of girl.
I can get up early and do, but it always takes me a while to fully wake up.
One morning I put frozen blueberries in the coffee grinder.  To say that
I wake up slowly is an understatement.

Hubby on the other hand, is not only an early riser but a cheerful and
an energetic one.  So here is a rise and shine breakfast tray just for him.

A wicker tray, a vintage tea towel and juice glass.
A vintage scale and hen.

And a farmer's fresh cream pitcher filled with carnations.
Rise and shine!

I am joining ~


Bentley ~ thank you for making sure that Momma gets up on time
every morning.  You are my dear little alarm clock.

Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcoming Spring

Gathering up all of the garden elements to welcome spring.
It snowed (as predicted) this morning.  The snow did not stick, but
the wind was howling and it was a miserable day.

But I am staying optimistic.

Just look at this wonderful round, chippy and vintage wicker table
I found.  Can't wait to use it in garden vignettes!  

Bentley ~ I am off to bed.  I am still recuperating from the flu.
I am more tired now than I was a couple of weeks ago.

Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 19, 2012

I Love to Make Soup

Yesterday morning it snowed ...
and I made soup.  I did not have a recipe, but then I never do.
I just threw things in a pot, some cut up chicken, carrots, celery, parsley,
and onion.  I let the broth simmer for a couple of hours.  I strained the
broth and returned it to the pot.

Meanwhile I sauteed some mushrooms and sliced carrots and added
them to the pot with some leftover brown rice.  I put it all in jars and
put them in the fridge.  I always think that soup tastes yummier the next day.
So ...

We had it for dinner tonight.  It was warm and comforting.
We will need it.  Tomorrow morning it is supposed to snow again.

Back in January we were saying "What happened to winter?"
Now it's March and we are saying "What happened to spring?"

Bentley had soup too.  He's already in bed under our down comforter.
What a life!

Susan and Bentley

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Decorating the Man Cave

For the men in your life ~ husband, father, son, son-in-law, boyfriend, etc.
Each one of them wants a man cave.  You know what I'm talking about,
a room focused on a flat screen, plasma or LCD HD TV.  That great big 
60 to 72" or more black rectangle sitting on the wall.  To them, it is
heaven.  To us, well not so much.

Every time my hubby goes shopping with me at Costco, he is mesmerized by the 
biggest flat screen available.  I won't even mention the remote because that's a whole
other topic.  I swear that men are born with a channel scanning gene that we are
somehow missing. 

But, I can't complain too much.  My hubby lives with shabby chic furniture and lots
of floral prints.  He never complains.  So here is my suggestion for bringing a bit of
vintage coziness into that masculine domain.  

Vintage books.  I found mine at a book sale at Catholic University in Washington, DC.
A vintage looking clock from a thrift shop and a vintage sketching of a couple of 
dogs from an antique shop in Leesburg, VA.

Oh and this cigar smoking bull dog.  You get my drift ...

Bentley ~ I caught you watching golf with your Daddy.  Just don't start 
channel scanning too!

Susan and Bentley

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Y'All Stop By for a Cup of Tea

Spring is on the threshold and you know what that means ~
tea on the Ash Tree Cottage porch, both in miniature and full size.

Tea in the garden both shabby and chic.

Tea served on wicker.  After all, what's a cottage without a few vintage wicker chairs?

Now that's an "out take".  Bentley was digging in the dirt, he has some in his
hair, but he still wants to see what we are doing.

We drink tea even while camping in the backyard.

And when we go over to my Mom's house, we drink tea in her 
solarium.  Y'all come join us, you hear?

Bentley ~ I am still working on your "special feature", but maybe we
should also do a post about your "out takes".

Susan and Bentley

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Bit O' The Blarney

Sadly there is not one drop of Irish blood in me.  My Grandmother made
sure that I was always proud of my Swedish heritage.  But growing up in
the suburbs of Chicago, one day a year I longed to be Irish.  After all,
what other city dyes it's river green?

Some of my very best friends were Irish ~ Kathleen Feagan, Anne Marie O'Hara.
Then I lived abroad for a while and met Denise McGrath from Belfast.  We
instantly became great friends.  So I may not be Irish by heritage ...

But for one day each year I am Irish in my heart.
We'll be having corned beef and cabbage for dinner and maybe a pint
or two.  

And little pots filled with chocolate and shamrock petits fours for dessert.
Isn't this vintage shamrock cute?  I printed it off of The Graphics Fairy.
Karen just posted a lovely vintage bird print too.  I must think of a way
to use it.

Sorry ~ couldn't quite wait to dive into the chocolate pot!

Be sure to visit Beverly for more St Patty's Day fun.
Before I leave you, here is an Irish Blessing ~

May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!

Bentley ~ let's go see if there are any Irish Setters in the neighborhood!

Big Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ladies Who Lunch

What can be more fun than to invite a group of your best girl friends over
for a lady's lunch.

I am bringing out all of my favorite luncheon plates and cups covered in

They remind me of the wild violets that are starting to appear in my garden.

Someone once told me that they are weeds and I should pull them out
before they over run the yard.  I am sure her advice was well meaning ~
but I ignored her.

The sweet violets and tulips welcome spring into the garden.

I found this little print in an antique shop several years ago.  It was very inexpensive.
The frame is plastic.  Technically not very valuable, but to me it is a real
treasure and I love it dearly.  Just as I love the wild violets that grow all over
my garden.

Please join me in visiting ~


Bentley ~ have you noticed all of the little violets, tulips and daffodils
popping up in our garden while you are busy chasing the squirrels?

Susan and Bentley


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