Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Coping With Depression

I have not wanted to admit this to myself, but have decided that it's time
that I did.  I have been depressed for the past couple of years.  I keep
telling myself that it will pass and that I will be happy again, but things 
have happened that I won't go into right now, that have prevented me
from making progress out of the darkness.  

I spent Monday evening, all day yesterday and today crying.  
Something happened that set me back once again and now I feel
that I am now farther behind in my recovery.  I feel as though
whenever things start to look up, someone says or does something 
that sends me right back into that dark hole.

I don't want to feel this way.  I have lots of reasons to be happy, yet
I'm not rebounding as I should.

I don't want to start taking drugs.  I never have and I never will.  I have 
been able to overcome tragedy in my life without the aid of pills and
have managed just fine.  But this time it seems that circumstances appear to
be working against me and I am struggling.

I am working on it, I really am.  Just be patient with me.

Susan and Bentley

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Big Announcement

I was working in my studio the other day and playing around with some
ideas, when I got the urge to create something new and different.  

If you are a regular visitor to my blog, then you know that I have been 
working on a dollhouse miniature nursery for the past couple of
months.  I am having so much fun putting it together and it dawned on
me that miniatures have become a really big passion for me.  I love
curating mini rooms and have started to make some of my own minis

Years ago, not long after I started this blog, I created a dollhouse
blog.  I was too busy at the time to keep it up, so it just
disappeared.  Now that I am so immersed in miniatures, I decided
it was time to revisit a blog devoted specifically to minis.
While I will be maintaining this blog ~ Ash Tree Cottage, on a
regular basis, my new blog will give me a chance to share ideas
and tips for dollhouse lovers, without boring my readers who
are not interested in minis.  So ….

Coming soon will be the new Ash Tree Cottage Dollhouse Minis
blog.  I will be showcasing others who love minis, providing
resources, and sharing tutorials on this new site.  

Last fall, when my blog was featured in The Dolls' House Magazine,
I realized that my mini curated rooms were catching the eye of 
other mini lovers and their feature encouraged me move forward.
I was so excited that I framed the feature article and it is sitting
next to my desk.

Oh and by the way ~ I just purchased the Country Living Cottage
Style book you see above.  I had to laugh when I looked at the 
cover more closely and realized that the background is very, very
much like my fabric that I inserted in the door of my chest ….

See what I mean?

For you non mini lovers, Ash Tree Cottage will continue 
to bring you my cottage style, gardening, potting shed updates
and recipes as usual.  The minis will have their own home.
As soon as the site has been completed, I will give y'all the
link.  Until then, I am joining:

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, April 22, 2016

Those Sexist Robotic Designers

Have you seen the latest female robot from China?  She is very life like
and probably will fulfill many men's fantasies.  To me it's creepy, but it
apparently is the way of the future, so we will have to adapt.

I am jumping up onto my soap box to protest the sexist tendencies
of these male robotic engineers.  What I am seeing is that they seem to
be creating their dream girls who will do their bidding.  It is the return 
of the geisha.  

Well, what about us women?  Where are the female robotic 
engineers who will create robotic males who will bring us
happiness???  Where is that Mr Right robot who will say:

Where is that honey do list?  I will happily complete
all the projects you have planned.  You just sit back and
pin on Pinterest for a few hours while I take care of

Robotic engineers take note ~ I am putting in my order
for a robotic version of Mr Carson!


This is my dream robot ~ dignified, cultured, able to make sure that
the Ash Tree Cottage household will be running in tip top shape!
He will make sure that we have a proper breakfast each morning.
He will understand the importance of afternoon tea.  Martini glasses
will be chilled and ready at 5pm each evening.

Of course he will require a staff to supervise, so you robotic
engineers better get cracking!  And may I suggest the first
item on your list ….


Mrs Patmore of course!  I would feel so comfortable having
her in our kitchen.  In fact, Bentley and I would probably
spend a lot of time watching her prepare our meals and
chatting with her too.  And my hubby will be pleased to
have wonderful meals coming out of the kitchen each night.

Now, another request please.  David and I do not have
grandmothers anymore, nor does Bentley.  Therefore,
a grandmother figure will be an appropriate addition to
our little nest.  May I suggest the one and only, drumroll
please ….


The Dowager Countess of course!  We would happily look forward
to her visits and relish in her quick and witty quips :-)

Our Ash Tree Cottage is now perfectly appointed ;-)

Have a fun Friday y'all!  It is sunny and beautiful
outside and Bentley and I will be working in the
garden around the potting shed.  Mr Carson, would
you be so kind as to remind us when it's time for tea?

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Ginger is Blooming!

When you walk through the breezeway and start on the little stone path
headed to the potting shed, you will walk through some very high
ginger.  These ginger plants are at least 8 feet tall and grow like 
weeds!  I just finished cutting off quite a bit of these plants a 
couple of weeks ago.  Today, after some very big thunder storms
and a nearby funnel cloud roared through our town, I was able
to get out and take photos of the new blossoms.  Aren't they
lovely?  I am so pleased.  The ginger is very happy again this 
spring after all of the rain.  The plants in the front yard are 
blooming too.  By the way, as far as I know, the funnel did not
touch down, just scared us.

Do you see the potting shed in the background?  This is a very
private area, separated from the rest of the backyard.  It's like
my very own secret garden :-)

These buds are so pretty and will probably open up more tomorrow
when the temps will be about 84 degrees, sunny and no rain.
The storm today kept me off the internet and that's why I am 
posting so late.  I had a plan to post earlier, but Mother Nature
had something else in mind.  We are all safe and sound, although
everything is a bit soggy.

I need to go check on my banana trees in another part of the yard.
I have a total of five of them this year.  Maybe we will have little
bananas, my neighbor does.  That would be a real treat, especially
if they arrive in time for me to show off my quick and easy
banana pudding recipe next Tuesday!

Bentley is happy now.  He can explore his yard now that 
the dark clouds have passed.  He was sad looking out the 
window earlier when he saw all the rain.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Potting Shed and Cottage Garden Dreams

I would love to be out working around my potting shed, but it is
very soggy out there now with more rain and a thunderstorm 
expected in a couple of hours.  So, I am looking for ideas, both
to enhance the cottage garden area I am developing around the shed,
and the interior too.

Look at this sweet garden.  I love it.  It has the soft and cozy feel 
I like.  I realize that I am somewhat limited in my area because of the
sub tropical climate, but I want to get as close as I can to this sort of


I know that I have shown you this shed before, it's one of my all time
favorites.  I could just move in and live here forever!


Check out the interior of this shed!  Of all the sheds I have looked at,
I don't remember seeing this one before.  I can imagine how nice it
would be to lay out some garden sketches on this big table while
deciding what to plant next.


I could paint mine all white like this one.  Hmmm…


This is super cute.  Look how they added a birdhouse/gable.  Isn't that
just the sweetest idea?  I love it.  The hostas in the bird bath is a great
idea too.  I have one hosta planted in the little shade garden at the end of
the breezeway on the path to my shed.  Sadly, the snails are eating it!
I saw a video on YouTube about how you can grind up egg shells and
place them around the plants.  The snails can't get over them without getting
cut on the edges of the shells, so they stay away.  I know, sounds
mean, but what else can I do???  I am saving egg shells now.
Bentley ~ would you like a scrambled egg for lunch?  Bentley
will nod yes.  He loves scrambled eggs :-)


I am planning on having a carpenter put in a window at the far end of the shed.
That's a western exposure, so there will be a lot of light and sunshine coming
into the shed.  I am trying to decide on the type of window to buy.
I would love a bay, but that might be a bit pricey.  I love these
casement windows too.


Look at the interior of this she shed.  How cute is this???


My head is spinning with all these cute ideas!


I have an old wing chair that I could put out there.  I am going
to need a cozy place to sit while paging through gardening
books, don't you think?  It's big enough for me to share with
Bentley when he's not chasing squirrels or visiting Harvey
the Multi-Poo through the neighbor's fence :-)

I can't decide which is more fun ~ decorating with dollhouse miniatures,
or decorating a potting shed.  Love them both!

Praying that Houston does not get any more rain today!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pop Up Treats on Tuesday

I am not a big dessert eater, not because I don't like desserts, I think
it's too easy a way to add on calories.  So, I only serve them once 
in a while.  Lately, my hubby has been requesting desserts, so I
have had to think of ways to have a dessert treat, without the left
overs of a pie or cake.  And … I decided to share some of these
dessert creations with you.  I am calling them ~
"Pop Up Desserts" …
because they are in the kitchen for a limited time only;-)

Therefore, I will be having Pop Up Treats on Tuesday for
a couple of weeks to give you some ideas too.

Today's pop up treat is a throw back based on my Mom's
crepe recipe.  Mom often made dessert crepes for dinner parties.
She would spend an afternoon making lots of thin crepes and
then freezing them so that she always had a quick go to 
dessert for company.  She made the old standard with the
orange sauce and flamed them.  Sometimes she filled them with
fruit and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  They were always

My version is to fold the crepe over, drizzle with chocolate sauce,
sprinkle with almonds, and top with whipped cream.  I did taste
test it, and it's yummy.  

Mom's Crepe Recipe:

1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons melted butter

Beat all ingredients with a whisk until smooth. 
Then lightly butter a 8" non-stick pan with a pat of butter,
cook till hot and bubbly.  Pour about 1/4 cup batter into pan
and tilt to coat the bottom.  Cook until bottom of crepe is
light brown and flip to cook other side.  You can stack the
crepes as you make them and cover with a tea towel to
keep them moist.  Makes about 4 to 6 crepes.

Next Tuesday  I will share my individual banana pudding
cups.  My hubby loves them!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ash Tree Cottage Memories

The skies have been so dark here the past couple of days and
even darker this morning.  I decided there was very little chance 
for taking any good pictures in such low light, so I decided to 
raid my albums for some photos from the past instead.

Before I start bringing up memories, I just want to thank
God for sparing our little city from the violent and scary storms
that were originally meant for us.  We had so many warnings of 
severe thunderstorms and heavy rains, but we were spared when
those storms went to the north of us and headed into Houston.
Poor Houston is suffering from severe flooding today with more
rain on the way, so please pray for those in the metro Houston
area.  We are not out of the woods yet, as the skies are getting
darker and darker here as I type, but  I am on my laptop, so we can
proceed with the memories without the worry of having my
desktop Mac receiving a power surge.

So many things have changed in my life since I first began
this blog.  I was still living in Idaho.  My parents, my aunt,
and my mother-in-law, were still alive.  My husband's cousin
Jim was still alive before he was brutally murdered in his
own home.  For those who don't know, or remember this
tragic murder, you can read about it here.  The very last thing
anyone ever suspects is for a man of the cloth, a servant of
God and a loving family man to be murdered in his own home
by an intruder.  Life was so different for us before all the losses.

My new blog gave me another way to display my creative nature.
It was fun to create new posts each week and the lives of my husband
and Bentley changed with all the new activity around our cottage.

My camera was always in my pocket or my purse, ready to capture
any shot that seemed blog worthy.  Of course, Bentley was always
the perfect little model :-)

He's always been a big ham!

I set up vignettes and took photos in the garden, in the house,
in antique and consignment shops.  The world is a stage and I took
advantage of every prop.

And throughout this journey I met other bloggers, and blog readers
from all over this country and around the globe.

Most importantly ~ I made great friends!  Friends
who have helped me get through the deaths of five
family members.  Took the time to listen and keep me
company on our long move from Idaho to Texas.
Friends who watched my unpack and get settled in our
new home.  Friends who kept me grounded during all
the upheavals.  For that, I will be forever grateful.

Blogging has encouraged me to be creative.

It has pushed me to not only be more observant of the world around
me, but to also dig into the depths of my soul.  It's been a wonderful
journey and I appreciate all of you who have taken this path with me.
I am looking forward to the future and let's see where this little
cottage blog takes us next.  Right Bentley?

Thunder is in the distance,  the skies are dark and laden with
rain, but I see a sunny road ahead.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, April 15, 2016

My Bottle Brush Shrubs

I have never seen my Bottle Brush shrubs as full as they are this
spring.  I was not familiar with them until we moved back to 
Texas.  They were planted in a garden patch at the back of 
one wing of the house by the previous owner, and they are right
under one of the windows of the master bedroom.

The bush originated inAustralia and does well in warm climates.  It stays green all 
year and will thrive in drought conditions, but if it receives regular waterings,
it will bring forth these unique blooms in spring.

Isn't nature fascinating?

Have a wonderful Friday and enjoy the start of another

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Additions in the Miniature Nusery

I have added a few new things to the miniature nursery.  There is some
new wall art, an adorable baby afghan, a little rug and a dollhouse for 
the dollhouse ;-)

There is a new dresser and lamp, a changing table and stuffed giraffe.  The
little quilt on the wall is one I made years ago.

Here is what I have so far.  The are more additions to come.  I am
having so much fun with this!  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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