Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Time For Tea And A Mystery

It has been really hot here.  So hot it's not any fun to be 
outside.  Every morning I get up early and finish all of my
must do's.  Then in the mid afternoon I carve out a bit of
time just for me.  On some days all I want to do is sit
down, put my feet up and have a cup of tea and pick up
a cozy mystery.

This past Saturday when we were shopping in Houston, we
stopped by one of my favorite shops ~ 
British Isles.  I am so glad this shop is still on Rice Blvd.
I used to shop there years ago while I lived in Houston and 
I used to save my money to pick up something there
whenever I could.  On Saturday I picked up these cute
cups and saucers by Roy Kirkham Tableware.  These 
cups honor the Mini Cooper.  We used to have one but we
sold it when we moved down to Texas.  

I love cups with saucers because it gives me a place to rest a
spoon and maybe a cookie too.  These cups are really big so
I don't have to refill with tea or coffee so often.  A big plus
when I am involved in a cozy mystery.

Over the years I think I have read all of the Agatha Christie 
mysteries and many of the Dorothy L Sayers too.  I will 
pretty much read anything that takes place in a darling little
English village.  I am a big fan of Aunt Dimity.   

I just picked up this Jennie Bentley cozy.  I have not read this
author before but was intrigued by her character of Avery Baker
who was a textile designer and is now renovating her aunt's 
vintage Maine cottage.

Wish you were here to join me.  

I have a comfy chair for you too.

If you enjoy cozy mysteries and need some ideas of what to
read next try this site Cozy Mystery.  It's a great resource.

A Bentley update.  My little peanut has been a very
good boy and has stayed out of cat poo in the backyard.
Some of you may be wondering if we have a cat.  No
we don't, but there are stray cats in our neighborhood
who wander in and out of our yards.  They are feral and
we all kind of look out for them.  My husband does not
like cats and neither does Bentley, but I like them.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bentley Gets Into Something Stinky

Bentley ~ what did you get into???  You are all stinky!

Bentley ~ did you roll around in cat poo in the yard???  
You are covered in it and you are stinky too!
Don't deny it Bentley.  Now off to the tub we go!

Yes Bentley ~ momma forgives you.  Try very hard not to do this again.

It took about a half and hour of soaking, shampooing and conditioning
to get him cleaned up.  I hope the bath deters him from doing that again ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and the now clean Bentley

Monday, July 28, 2014

Touring Through Blogland

Touring through Blogland continues and Brenda tagged me and I am
supposed to answer a few questions.  So here goes:

1. What am I working on right now?  In terms of decorating well that
question is not so easy to answer.  As many of you know, I moved from
Idaho to Texas last August.  It was a huge move both geographically and
a life style change as well.  My husband and I moved down here with my
mother and we consolidated our two households.  Then five months ago
my Mom had a major stroke and died.  I am still picking up the pieces after
her death.  It's been a tough year for me and I am just taking things day by
day.  I  do a little decorating, have a good cry and do a bit more.  I know
that it will eventually get a bit easier, but for now I just do what I can each
day and try not to push myself too hard.

2.  How does my work differ from others in this genre?  Firstly, my little
dog Bentley has been an important part of this blog from the very start.
As Dorothy had Toto, I have Bentley.  He is my beloved little companion
and I often involve him in my posts.  I have been writing this blog for a
few years now and I can see it evolving.  In the beginning I was feeling
my way through the process and now I feel more relaxed and easy about
my writing style.  I would like to get away from the self imposed
structure of my blog and start to incorporate more free thought.

3.  Why do I write/create what I do?  I want my blog to be a happy
respite from our stress filled world.  I like to show a few pics and tell a
little story and  have my readers leave feeling uplifted.  I am not a 
slave to decorating so that is not my main focus.  I want my readers
to feel like they stopped by to visit a friend rather than be reading
a glossy magazine.

4.  How does your writing process actually work?  I never know for
sure what I am going to write about.  It may sound corny, but my
spirit just moves me.  I can sit down at the keyboard and have an idea
in mind and suddenly the muse takes over and I am off in another 

Now I am supposed to pass the torch along to three other bloggers.

My first blogger is Robin the Decorating Tennis Girl.  Robin and I 
started blogging right around the same time.  We quickly became good
friends.   We have a lot in common.  We are both only children, have
a passion for old TV shows like the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bewitched
and That Girl.  We also are old movie fans too and watch our favorites
over and over again.  We consider each other to be sisters and always
know what the other one is thinking.  We love old houses and a
traditional decorating style and somehow always end up buying the
same thing without the other knowing in advance.  It is almost 

Secondly is Karen of Brayton Homestead Interiors.  Karen has a
little Yorkie just like my Bentley and her's is named Krumpet.  We
have known each other for several years now.  She is also an interior
designer by trade and loves France as much as I do.  

And finally my dear friend Sarah of Hyacinths For the Soul.  Sarah
is a fellow Texan and has been such a good friend to me 
throughout my move from Idaho back to the Lone Star State.
As with Robin and Karen, we always seem to be on the same
page and ours is an easy and comfortable friendship.  Also like
me, her dog is her constant companion as well.

What I love about all three of these women is that home and
family come first.  They all like to live simple lives with the
emphasis on quality and not quantity.  And most importantly
they make the truest of friends.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

My Hand Painted Tiny Table

Years ago I found a little round table at a thrift shop.  It was stained a dark
brown and was not very appealing in that color, but it had such pretty 
lines that I could not pass it up.  I decided to paint it a soft blue and added
some hand painted flowers and flourishes to compliment the lines.

I painted tiny little rose buds around the edges and added the flourishes with
gold craft paint.

I kept it for a while in my cottage and then gave it to my Mom for her
guest room back in Idaho after we decided to go with a blue theme there.
Now it is back again with me once more.

I love these pretty little turned legs.  It's such a feminine piece and
I think it's shape has such a cottage feel to it.  I am not exactly sure 
how I will use it yet, but use it I will because I think it's cute and it
holds lots of fond memories for me.

We had a heat advisory yesterday and I expect we will  have
one today too.  Bentley will be going out only very briefly today.
Too hot for the pup!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Houston Shopping Trip

Yesterday David and I drove to Houston for a shopping adventure ~ aka
browsing.  We went to Highland Village which is a lovely mecca for
shopping enthusiasts and big time browsers like me ;-)  We stopped in
Williams Sonoma.  I can never pass one up ~ and look what I saw …
a gorgeous LaCornue range in yellow!

Ooh La La!  

I own a Viking which I love.  In fact, my Viking and my kitchen back in
Idaho were featured in Viking Life Magazine.  I will never trade that 
baby in, but oh isn't this so pretty to look at!

And the hood.  I love the subway tile too.

What could possibly be better?  This range in red!!!

On a smaller scale and at a lower price point is this adorable range.

Don't let it's small stature fool you.   You will still have to come up with over
$8,000 for this diminutive darling! Sigh ...

But what I did order is this …

the Churchill leather chair from Restoration Hardware in Vintage Oxblood.  
Unfortunately I could not find a photo of this chair in oxblood.  It is a 
special order.  The leather here is called Vintage Cigar I believe.  The oxblood 
is more of a burgundy.  We won't have it until mid September.  It will be 
David's chair for the family room.  It is so comfy.  It's a perfect fit for him
and it swallows me up which I love.

And …

we ordered this ottoman to go with it.  Although I don't want to
wish summer away, I am excited about having this new chair
and ottoman in our home.  I think I will have to stay away from
Highland Village for a while until I refill my piggy bank!

Have a happy Sunday everyone!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, July 25, 2014

Y'All Stop By

I'm hanging around the cottage today fluffing, doing laundry, making
out my grocery list.  Friday tasks.  

I like to have everything done so that when David comes home
we can just have a nice, relaxing weekend.

We'll just walk past the living room and head through the hall into
the family room.  

Sit down and make yourself comfy.  I'll go get us some sweet tea.

You can watch the end of Mrs Miniver with me.  I love old movies.
Sometimes I will watch a movie just to see the houses and they way
the rooms are decorated.  I think I will go make some popcorn.  What
movie do you want to watch next?  Rebecca?  Mr Blandings Build His
Dream House?  Leave Her to Heaven?  Pillow Talk?  We have about
four hours before David gets home and teases us about watching 
movies all afternoon:-)

Have a happy Friday!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Christmas in July Tea Party

After days and days of 90 plus degree temps with high humidity our 
typical Texas Gulf Coast July weather makes it easy to think about
the cool days of December.  So I created a Christmas in July Tea table
out on the back porch.

Of course at the rate summer is flying by, it will be Christmas before
I know it.  I am already seeing back to school ads.  Do you remember
when you were little and summer seemed to last forever?  

I found this Christmas bird house at Hobby Lobby last fall.  It is so
adorable I am glad I had an excuse to bring it out again.  I do love that
store.  I am always finding something there.  David teases me about it.

I filled an old tool box with little boxes of red and green.  I think that tool
boxes are one of my all time favorite decorating accessories.  So versatile.

This teapot has been in the family forever.  It's one of my favorites too.

What fun it has been to think of the joyous Christmas season!  
Would you prefer hot tea or iced sweet tea?

Bentley ~ I think that lizards must take naps in the winter
because I don't remember seeing any last December.
Do you remember seeing any?  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Favorite Collectibles

I love to hunt for vintage photo frames.  I think they add a touch
of charm to a space and a chance to really showcase a loved one.

These two pics are of Bitterman ~ my very first Yorkie.  He was such a
little gentleman.  He stole my heart.  Then came Binkie and now
Bentley.  Y'all know how much I love him and have loved all three.

Another favorite collectible is the demijohn.  Because of their versatility and
probably because of retailers like Pottery Barn and Ballard Design, they tend
to be pricey.  You have to really hunt to find a good bargain here.

But their rich texture and old world look brings charm to any corner.

We seem to be collecting lizards out in our gardens.
I'm all for it because they eat bugs.  Bentley on the
other hand has no interest in collecting lizards ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Husband May Shoot Me ~ But ...

When we moved into this house I promised my hubby that I would not
paint the paneling in the family room.  Even though it is a dark room, I
have come to love it's men's club coziness.  Yet I still think there need
to be a few lighter touches in the room so it is not all stained wood

David had a last minute overnight business trip and I decided to paint
the vintage French country drum table that is between two comfy
slipcovered chairs in what we lovingly call the "library" section
of the room.  It's a pretty piece but never really showed up
against all that stained wood.  So …

Here it is now painted a soft sage green.  I still have to distress it, but 
decided to show it to you in this state because I have decided to paint
a vintage dresser in this room too.  I am painting it the same soft sage
and will distress both at the same time.  I hope that David does not
mind too much.  He's not into painted pieces as I am.  

Disclaimer ~ no he won't shoot me, but I can imagine there
will be some shoulder shrugging ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, July 21, 2014

Look What's New

A couple of weeks ago I was browsing on ebay and I found this cute
gingham pitcher by Crown Burslem.  It is still wearing it's little
Union Jack sticker which I plan to peel off but thought it would be
fun in the pic.  I love gingham and can never pass it up.  It was
a bargain too which always seals a deal.

Then I was in Hobby Lobby on Saturday on a completely different mission
when I saw this cute sign marked 50% off.  It was the last one ~ quickly
into my cart it went.

So now I  have a new vignette on the top of my old thrift shop dresser.
Sometimes things just come together by chance.  Or is it the little
decorating fairies that just put things in my path???

Bentley had a wonderful weekend!  He chased lizards and
squirrels.  Sat in his Daddy's lap and watched the British 
Open.  Ate some grilled skirt steak and scrambled eggs
too.  Pulled all of his toys out and enticed us to play with
him.  He cuddled and went on long evening walks with
his Momma.  That dog knows how to live life large!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, July 20, 2014

On A Misty Morn

Every morning I let Bentley outside when it's early and misty.
The high humidity from the night before still lingers in the air
surrounding everything on the porch with a hazy and magical
mist.  All is quiet except for the melodies of the birds.

I love this hour.  The day greets me with the promise of creative

With the promise of enjoying my family and friends.

With the promise of daydreams.

With the promise of fluffing the cottage and homespun pleasures.

With the promise of long walks with Bentley

With the promise of potting a new plant.

Simple pleasures.

And being thankful.

Have a happy and blessed Sunday everyone!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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