Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Fall Porch Swing Chat

Today is a really happy day for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, my sweet
husband David has been away on business in west Texas for the past
two days and is arriving back home this evening.  Bentley and I really
missed him!

Secondly, tomorrow I will be headed up to Round Top ~ I will be
wandering and enjoying every minute of the fall antique week.  
I will be taking lots of pics, so be prepared for me to share all of
it with you.

In the meantime, I will be fluffing up the cottage for the rest
of the afternoon.  Thanks for stopping by and see y'all again
very soon!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Equestrian Style

If you come to visit me, the one thing you can't help but notice as
you walk through the rooms of my house is my love for horses.  This
love is reflected in many corners and in various ways.  

From a little bar set up on an antique commode in the family room
decorated with a vintage horse print and a very old shot glass with
a horse's head on the side.

To the horse brasses hanging on the wall.  Horse brasses became
popular in England during the reign of Elizabeth the First.

You can learn more about collecting these basses here

Equestrian scenes depicted on toile.

Hunt masters and horses tucked into bookshelves.

And hanging on walls.

On the antique gate leg table in the entry way.

On tables and ….

In hutches.

It's part of who I am.

Bentley ~ I bet you know what your mama will be looking out
for at the Round Top Antique show!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fried Green Tomatoes

My BFF and Best Sister Ever ~ Robin, theDecorating Tennis Girl, learned
that I was longing to make some fried green tomatoes, but could not find any
down here in south Texas.  So what does she do???  Bless her heart, she
has her husband Dan, box up and mail me a big ole mess of the most
beautiful green tomatoes ever!  She would have done it herself, but she is
in Vermont visiting her daughter and her adorable grandson River.

When I opened that box, I knew I was in "high cotton"!

To recreate this plate full of yumminess, here's what you do:

slice the tomatoes ~ not too thin now
dredge in flour seasoned with a bit of S&P
whisk together an egg with some buttermilk
(yes buttermilk ~ I use it in everything now!!)
then coat with bread crumbs or cornmeal
get a bit of oil bubbling in an iron skillet and
drop in the tomato slices.  

Remove when golden on each side.

Well darlin's they are just the yummiest things you ever tasted!

And don't forget your sweet tea!

As an added bonus, remember ~ southern cookin' makes you good looking'

Thank you Dan ~ you're a peach!!!
And you are too Robin, but you already know that :-)

Bentley had a taste too.  Fried Green Tomatoes have now
been officially Bentley approved!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mums and Musings

It is beautiful outside this morning!  Slightly lower temps and slightly lower
humidity, but I will take it.  There is talk of some little disturbance in the 
Gulf of Mexico but I am not going to worry about it and just take advantage
of the glorious weather we have at the moment.

Yesterday I put a few fall decorations on the front porch.  I added
some mums and some pumpkins.  Mums always remind me of 
my college days.  I have probably told you that before.  Let me 
know if I am repeating myself, I have a tendency to like to retell
my favorite memories ;-)  Since seeing a big pot of mums whisks
me away to happy times, I always grab a couple as soon as they
arrive at the market.  They are instant joy!  

I have decided that I need to purchase some bird feeders.
My neighbors across the street hung up two of them recently and
my Cardinals are now hanging out over in their yard.  Any
suggestions on good feeders?  

One of the things I love most about fall is comfort food.  For the
past several months we have been grilling and serving lots of 
salads.  Delicious, yes, but I love to make big pots of stew and
yummy soups too.  The kind of cooking that fills the house with
wonderful aromas.  Lots of scented candles burning inside too.
Scents of apple and cinnamon and pumpkin spice.  Autumn is
the season of cozy.  

Well friends, that's it for today.  I better get to work fluffing 
up the cottage before the weekend.  If I don't get busy, I'll
just end up chatting away all day :-)  Have a wonderful

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Butternut Squash Soup

I love squash.  Let me restate ~ I love, love, love squash.  All kinds of 
squash, acorn, butternut, patty pan, and more.  Every time I see a new
type of squash at the market, I have to buy it!  

David tolerates squash, but left to his own veggie choices, squash 
would not be on his plate.  However, I can get him to partake in some
squash soup with a chaser of Pumpkin Ale :-)

To me, nothing says Fall quite like a bowl of squash soup, sprinkled
with a bit of nutmeg and served in a hollowed out pie pumpkin.
Major yumminess!

One of my favorite recipes for Butternut Squash Soup
is from Alton Brown and you can find his recipe 
here.  It's simple to make and sure to please all of
the squash lovers in your family and you too!

Share Your Cup
Share Your Style

Bentley ~ I never have to bribe you into eating
your squash do I?  You eat it all gone like a
good boy!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bless Your Heart

Bentley and I are both feeling great and are up to our chins with 
projects around the cottage today.  But, we want to stop for a 
moment to say ….

Bless Your Heart!

All of you are so sweet to come to visit us and always have 
such kind comments.  Y'all really brighten our days and we
so appreciate and love you!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

One Table, Three Fall Centerpieces

Sometimes I get into the vignette creating zone and I have a 
hard time pulling myself out of it, so I just let it flow.   I'm just a
girl who wants to have fun :-)  

I had a little brainstorm and came up with a new centerpiece for my
breakfast room table.  My late mother-in-law made this little quilted
square for me years ago, before David and I were married.  She 
put it in a sweet basket and filled it with biscuits and sherry to 
bring along in the car to for us to enjoy while David's dad drove us 
to the airport in Houston to get on a plane to visit my parents for
Thanksgiving in Arizona.  Too bad Leila didn't live long enough
to watch Downton Abbey because it was so "her".

Anyway, this little quilted square is a favorite of mine and I often
use it in vignettes because it is red and I love it.  So here is a simple
little Fall centerpiece ~ apples, berries and a gingham pitcher.

Or how about this one ~ more apples, a vintage enamel coffee pot,
and a big rooster.  A bit more rustic with burlap, wicker and
the round wooden bread board.

This one pays homage to my love for roos :-)

And of course, a more traditional theme for a Fall centerpiece.

I could keep creating these all day, but now that I am finally feeling
better after recovering from my virus, I have laundry and housework
to do.  That's life.  We can't play all the time.  

Okay Bentley ~ let's get this show on the road and see how 
fast your mama can get her chores done!  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, September 21, 2015

Give a Hoot About Crafting

I have a basket on the door to my studio ~ my creative hang out,
and just look at what I found nesting there ….

some wise old owl gives a hoot about crafting ;-)

I think I have relapsed.  Back to resting on the sofa with a 
good book.  If any of you have caught this same virus,
take it easy and don't do too much too soon, because it will
come back to haunt you if you do :-(

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Cozy Sunday At Home

I wasn't feeling up to going to church this morning.  Although I am feeling
better, I am still coughing and a quiet church is a guarantee that coughing
will begin.  So I stayed home while David threw his golf clubs in the back
of the Jeep and took off for eighteen holes with his friends.

I happily stayed home, and after brewing a cup of tea, headed back to 
bed, with Bentley by my side of course, and opened up the book I 
have been reading.

It's A Fine Romance by Susan Branch.  I am a big fan of hers and have
been particularly looking forward to this book because it's about her
trip across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary II with her husband to spend
glorious days in England.  Although all of the charming little English
villages, tea shops and gardens just carry one away to a happy place,
the high point,  especially for me, is her trip to visit Jane Austen's house 
and Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Farm. 

I am a huge fan of both Jane and Beatrix, but it is Beatrix who holds
the most special place in my heart.   

So much so that I have a little vintage shelf just devoted to her!

Susan Branch tells some fun tidbits about renting a car and driving on
the wrong side of the road and through tight little cottage lanes lined
with stone walls and hedgerows.  I particularly enjoyed those
passages because of my own experience driving on roads such 
as those in England.  It can be quite unnerving to say the least.
The last time I did it I was with my Mom and Daddy.  I was the
one driving the rental car through the English countryside while
Daddy navigated and Mom sat in the back seat periodically
yelling ~

  Susan, slow down!  We are going to die before we
even get to Oxford!  

Having been to England several times before, I knew about
the little narrow lanes and the chaotic roundabouts, and I 
had driven on the wrong side of the road in other 
countries before.  Daddy was fine with me driving,
Mom ~ not so much ;-)

I highly recommend this book.  It is a delight!

Bentley wants to know when we are going ~ he
loves to travel.  I am explaining to him that he would
have to go into quarantine and he would not like that.
How about Paris instead Bentley?  We can both go
there and the French just adore petit chiens!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar The Miracle Worker

This falls into the what was I thinking??? And the how did I ever
forget this category.

As many of you know, I have been suffering from a nasty virus
all week.  I hate being sick.  I'm not good at it and that's why I
tend towards preventative rather than reactive.  But recently my
immune system has been stressed and I easily succumbed to the
fever, cough and runny nose virus.  

Suddenly I had a brainstorm this morning and a little voice
inside me shouted ….


I have used this remedy in the past and it has been so effective.
Although I am feeling better this morning, I still have some
lingering side effects from my illness, and I want them out
of here fast.  Here is what I am doing:

2 Tablespoons unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar
One Cup of Hot Water
Honey to taste.

Stir and drink.  It's better than you think!

Did you know all the other things that Apple Cider
Vinegar can do?  They are amazing!!!

Put some Apple Cider Vinegar on a cotton pad and
place over spider veins.  Do it every day and in a few
weeks, the nasty old spider veins are supposed to 
disappear!  Hmmm...

My late mother-in-law used Apple Cider Vinegar
mixed with some water as a final rinse after 
shampooing her hair.  My sister-in-law Cindy
still does this.

Apparently, it is also used to treat poison ivy.
My husband David got into some poison ivy
recently and was miserable for weeks.  He used
the standard Calamine lotion treatment and it did 
offer some relief, but in researching this blog
post, I discovered an article about treating
poison ivy with Apple Cider Vinegar.  You can 
read it here.

There are more and more things this vinegar is rumored
to help resolve, high blood pressure, weight loss and
more.  But for now, I'll be happy if it just cures
me of the last stages of this nasty old bug!  Have a
wonderful weekend everyone!!

Disclaimer ~ I do not claim that apple cider vinegar
can cure any of these ailments.  Hope that satisfies
any attorneys out there :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Best of Autumn

Autumn is such a lovely season with it's golden hues, warm sunny afternoons
and crisp cool evenings.  

It's nature's last hurrah before the cold and often gray days of winter begin.

It's a time when we all begin making our nests cozy.

When the simplicity of a lone pumpkin fills us with awe.

Charming cottages in the Texas Hill Country ~ so friendly and 

A plant sale at a pretty little garden shop in Goliad.
Just look at those beautiful mums!

Brightly colored gourds and squash are at farm markets everywhere.

And crisp apples for pies or crumbles or sliced up with some
wedges of cheddar cheese.

When branches with brightly colored berries fill little jars and vases.

I just want to hang on tightly to every glorious moment.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Autumn Tablescape on the Patio

As you can see, it's very green around my patio.  No fall color here,
nor will there ever be.  The azaleas stay green all year round.  So any
touches of fall have to be brought in from other sources.

The heat and humidity have returned.  Our brief respite lasted two days
last weekend and now the steam bath has returned.

I am trying to recover from what I thought was a cold but has turned into
a much nastier virus.  I really hate being sick and I am a lousy patient.
I would really rather be up and around and busy doing things instead
of being a couch potato, but that is all I can handle right now.
Hope everything is well with you.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Feeling Left Out

It's tough when you feel left out.  It happens to most all of us at
one time our another.  It's happened to me and I imagine to
each of you at one time or another.

It's never a happy time and one tends to wonder 

Is there something wrong with me?

It stings to be excluded.  So what do you do to help yourself
get over the hurt?

I have learned that the behavior of kids on the playground does
not change all that much as kids become adults.  We all want to 
be included in all the games and all the parties.  Sometimes we 
are not.  It does not have to diminish our own self worth.   

Each of us have value.  Just because one person does not like
you does not mean that no one does or will, if you give them
a chance.  It does not mean that you have no value.  

When you are excluded the best thing to do is to dry your 
tears and move on.  In the heat of the moment that is easier 
said than done, yet that is all you can do.  Give yourself a
short time to grieve over the slight and find another group 
of friends.   There are others who will gladly welcome you
into their circle.  Trust me, they will.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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