Friday, October 31, 2014

Miniature Furniture and Accessories

Kathleen's beautiful dollhouse was an inspiration.  The house itself is
beautiful and her furnishings and accessories are fabulous.  For anyone
who is starting out with a new passion for miniatures, her house is
something we all aspire to, but unless you have unlimited financial 
resources, it won't happen overnight.  Kathleen in fact has been 
collecting miniatures for over 25 years now.  

I started collecting with one room in mind ~ the heart of the home ~
the kitchen.

I'm going to give you some suggestions for resources so that 
should you want, you will be able to start collecting too.

I purchased the Bar Harbor rocker, the little wicker table and the
potted geranium from New England Miniatures.  The rocker came
without the pillows.  I made the seat cushion and the Vintage French
Roses pillow came from Hobby Builders Supply.  More about this
supplier later.

Here is a better pic of the little table and potted plant.  What I like about
New England Miniatures is that they carry some items I do not see
elsewhere.  Their prices are competitive on many items and their service
is excellent.  

This little hobnail lamp came from them as well, as did the little
upholstered chair.

This dollhouse (still in the construction phase) was purchased from
Hobby Builders Supply.  This is a bigger shop than New England
Miniatures.  They have a large selection of dollhouses, furniture and
accessories.  Like New England Miniatures, they are always adding
to their inventory.  The are one of the very few dollhouse suppliers
that offer a catalog through the mail as well as their online catalog.
I have found that when you first start collecting, a physical catalog
that you can leaf through is helpful.  It gives you a good overview of
everything that is available.

My Mom purchased this sweet little hutch from Hobby Builders
Supply.  It was one of the first miniatures.  It's so sweet.  All
the drawers and doors open too.  Great for mini storage.

Don't overlook ebay.  I have purchased some nice minis
from Manor House Miniatures.  Great items and good service too.

 My friend Cynthia of Cynthia's Cottage Design has inspired me
with her beautiful dollhouse miniature designs.  She has an etsy shop

And Kim's fabulous pastries and cakes.

And Maritza Moran's swoon worthy minis.  So French and so gorgeous!
Truly museum quality pieces.  Here's another one ….


Cynthia, Kim and Maritza have teamed up and created this wonderful
magazine for mini enthusiasts called …

Check it out ~ so much inspiration here!

This is just a sampling of the many, many resources for dollhouse
miniatures.  I am continually inspired by talented artists from the United
States and all over the globe.  It is such a fun hobby.  Once you start,
your family and friends will always be able to find a gift for you for
birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas!

If you have any questions on minis, please let me know and I will 
be happy to answer them, or direct you to friends such as Kathleen
who will surely know the answer.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Not Cookie Cutter

I have always considered myself a free spirit.  If everyone is turning
right there is a good chance I will turn left, just to see what I might be
missing.  That also describes my decorating style.  I think of a house like
a movie or stage set.  I paint the picture I want to live in.  

My home is unique.  It reflects my interests, my passions and my

For me that means combining the old and beloved.  The inherited.  
Just the right piece for a certain spot.  I usually have something in mind
and then I go on the hunt.  Hunting includes antique and thrift shops,
decorator shops and boutiques.  In my continued effort to be unique I
also haunt consignment shops.  I have found wonderful things at great
prices at consignment shops.  What I especially love is that there is such
a wide variety of stuff.   Utterly unique stuff.

Back in Idaho I often visited a great consignment shop and I think I
must have been one of their best customers.  I have not found a shop
that compares in Victoria.  The closest ones are all 100 miles away.
I am certainly not going to make that drive a couple times a week.

But then this happened ….

I learned about Chairish.  An online consignment store!
Now I can shop from the comfort of my little Texas town and
find all sorts of furniture and decorating accessories to complete
my own stage set.  Look out checkbook!

Something like this ~ a French  armless settee.  Ooh La La!
Vintage furniture can make a home so interesting.  Even if all of your pieces
are more contemporary, a one of a kind piece like this can make a real
statement in a room.  I'm really starting to think I need this for my French
guest bedroom.  You know how I already have these brocante accents.

I could just see that settee angled in the room.  Might be just what I 
need to give the room that little "something something".

I have a little obsession with maps and globes.  Love this vintage
bronze globe.  Can't you just see this in our family room?  I sure can.
It's from Chairish!  Wonder what else they have I could use???

That globe would fit in perfectly in a room where you will often find
Turner Classic movies playing :-)  That globe makes me think of the
movie Casablanca.  Does it for you too?

My daddy used to have a desk very much like this one.  My Mom sold
it because when they moved from Arizona to Idaho, Mom thought it
would be too crowded in her music room with her baby grand piano.
Daddy never said much, but I know he really missed his desk.  If he
were still alive I would buy this one for him!


Now this might surprise you about me, but there is my alter ego that longs
to own a mid century modern home in Palm Springs.  Fondue pot, Frank
Sinatra on the stereo and martinis at 5 pm sharp.  David and I have
discussed this idea many times.  We both love the idea.  Of course we
would have to win the lottery first, but if we did ….

We would need this a vintage George Nelson clock.
Way cool.  My great uncle's name was George Nelson
too, but he was not a mid century designer.
C'est dommage :-(

I am sure this vintage piece was used as a server, but I could see
a flat screen TV on it as well.  We always need to keep the men
in our lives in mind when we decorate.

So that's it ~ my newest online shopping discovery.  I am not being
paid to tell you about this site.  I just like to be helpful in creating
the home of your dreams.

I'll leave you with an old tune to put you in a dreamy mood ~

Happy Thursday everyone!

Home Sweet Home
Feathering Your Nest

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dreaming About Christmas Decorating

I just received the Pottery Barn "Welcome the Holidays" catalog and
now I am dreaming of Christmas.  Friday is Halloween and you 
would think that I would be focusing on fall and Thanksgiving, but
instead I am crushing on Christmas decorations.

I want to really go all out this year because we are planning two big
parties and frankly, any excuse to decorate is a good one for me.

One good thing about being a blogger is that I always have pictures 
from the previous year.  It gives me a chance to say ~ "oh I like that" or
"won't do that again".  

I love to add little touches to every room.  

Yet some years after the holiday is over I think that the following 
year I will keep it really simple.  I hate packing everything back up
again.  So far that has never happened.  Once I open the first box
of Christmas decorations the flood gates open and good intentions
fly right out of the window!

Everything ends up being decorated.  Inside, outside, all the porches.
I just can't seem to help myself.

Do you remember the year I made the Sun Valley ski cloche?
I used a big outdoor lantern from Pottery Barn.  Unfortunately
I left that lantern up in storage in Idaho.  

Do any of you remember when I created the Christmas in Texas
theme on my front porch back in Idaho?  Little did I know then 
that we would actually end up back here.  I must be psychic ;-)

Thanksgiving comes late this year.  So now I am wondering,
do I start decorating early and go big?  Or do I keep it 
to a minimum this year?  

Well I will just wait a bit and see how inspired I become.

Okay Bentley ~ you and I have goofed off long enough.
Let's get outside and wash some windows before it gets
too hot again.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall on the Southern Porch

I spent part of my morning sprucing up the front porch.  I wanted to get
it ready for Halloween.  I decorated the two wrought iron chairs on
the porch.  I'll show you a couple of pics of my efforts before I tell
you a story about our neighbor's first impression of us when we moved
in based on these chairs and two other wrought iron pieces in the
front yard.

I kept the decorations fairly simple.  Since we don't have any children, I 
don't decorate for this holiday as much as the rest of y'all.

Here is the story of the neighbor's first impression.  We all do this ~ a
new family moves into the neighborhood and we are all curious about
who they are and if we will like them.  Our neighborhood is very tight
knit.  It is very unusual for a family from a different city to move in let
along from a different state ~ especially somewhere as foreign as Idaho!

But we were later told that the gossip was that since they saw white wrought
iron garden furniture coming off the moving truck, they all knew that 
although we spent some time in the Northwest, we must be from the 
South originally because Southerners have white wrought iron furniture.
Imagine their relief ;-)

Of course we are Southerns now and I can prove it ….

When I am not drinking sweet tea, I'm drinking diet Dr. Pepper and
I now only use Duke's mayonnaise!  Look what has happened to me
in just over a year living back in Texas ;-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Daddy

October 26 was my Daddy's birthday.  I have been going through
old albums and found photos of him I don't remember because I was
too young.  He lead such a fascinating life.  He was was the 
president of a major international corporation and was fortunate enough
to travel first class around the world many, many times.  

He travelled extensively for three decades to every sophisticated and
exotic location one could imagine.  How times have changed!  In
almost every photo, someone is smoking a cigarette.  It was the 
era of James Bond.  

These are some of my favorite pics of Daddy.  Daddy and one of his
business associates ~ Harold "Hutch" Hutchison often had dinner at this
restaurant in Paris ~ La Table du Roy.  Chef Georges was quite a sociable
chef and loved it when Daddy and Hutch came to visit.  They were both
treated like royalty and each were given a 10% discount on their tab for life!

They put a mustache and goat tee on Daddy in this pic.   
Apparently Chef Georges loved to treat his regulars like "royalty";-)

Here is Daddy in Baghdad.  He actually did quite a bit of business
there.  His company manufactured farm machinery and heavy duty trucks 
that were used in the vast agricultural areas of Iraq.  Fertile crescent you know.
That's Daddy down on the far right.  He's the one who looks like
President Eisenhower.  

Daddy really enjoyed spending time in Iraq because of all the ancient
history and artifacts there.  We often had long discussions about the
ancient Sumerian civilization.  He was fascinated by ancient history.
How the world has changed since his day.

Here he is in Beruit.

And in Rome.


Visting a coffee plantation in Columbia.

He was on the board of directors of the International Road Federation 
in Washington, DC

And when he retired from international business, he went on to
teach international business at the graduate school level.

And when he wasn't busy with that ~ he was a great husband to my
Mom and a great Daddy to me.  

Cheers Daddy ~ to a life well lived!
Thanks for indulging my memories of him today.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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