Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Never Enough Time

I wake up in the morning with plans that are never going to fit into
a 24 hour day.  So many things I want to do, make, read about and
explore.  If I ever hear someone say that he or she is bored, I 
just can't wrap my mind around that problem.  

How can anyone ever be bored?

I seem to have an assortment of projects going at any given moment.
I am currently designing a pattern for a rag doll.  I saw one recently that 
was so cute and just knew I wanted to make one.  I have the perfect
excuse now.  My cousin and his wife just had their first granddaughter. 
She is a precious little peanut named Teagan, and since I never had a 
little girl of my own, I now have the perfect excuse to make all sorts
of things for this little one.  What fun I will have!  

Speaking of projects, my granny square stash is growing daily.  I
can hardly wait to bind them all together and complete my first 
granny square blanket.  I already have plans for a second one.  

I always have a stack of books to read.  Here is my latest.  This is the
second mystery I have read by Katherine Hall Page and I am really
enjoying this author.  

What have you been up to???

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, August 29, 2016

I Am So Ready for Fall to Arrive!

I am oh so ready for fall to arrive!  It's been so hot here.  I'm just worn out
by it.  I used to cheer myself up by wearing cute outfits.   I would wear my
Lilly Pulitzer tops and shorts with cute sandals and brightly colored polish
on my fingers and toes.  We would go out and soon afterward I would feel
like a limp, soggy mess.  My normally fairly straight blonde hair gets all
wavy, but not the cute kind of wavy ~ just the untamable kind of wavy.
I don't know why I bother to put on make~up because it all wears off in
no time at all.  I wear self tanner because I don't spend hours tanning
like I did when I was younger and I grow tired of trying to get the tanner
to look just right.  

Complain, complain, complain!

I sound like a whiney baby, and that's just what this heat and humidity 
does to me.  But there is a light at the end of this heat wave tunnel ~ 
the temps have dropped ever so slightly.  I am beginning to have hope
once more.  I can hardly wait for the fall season to officially start!
I am going through photos from last year to get myself in the spirit
AND ....
to look for inspiration for this year's fall decor here at home 
because, we Texas gals are having another blog hop from 
October 3rd through October 7th and I know it is going to
be a great one that y'all won't want to miss! 

I love the rich, warm colors of fall.  I love wearing sweaters and plaid.  
Love mums and apple cider, tailgating and football games.  The whole 
season is full of color and festivity and fun!  

We are so busy here in Texas too during these next several months.
Round Top Antique Week begins at the end of September.  

Here is a gorgeous quilt I saw last year at the Big Red Barn.  

Also, this fall we are planning to go up to New Braunfels for Wurst Fest. David and
I went there with friends years ago, before we were married.   I saved our Tyrollean
hats!  They have moved with us everywhere we have lived since originally 
leaving Texas just after we were married.  Wurst Fest is the 10 day
celebration to sausage.  Lots of sausage, beer, German music and dancing ~
especially the Chicken Dance.  You can read all about it HERE.

We also plan to be up in Cherry Spring (north of Fredericksburg) for another
one of their Big Band nights at the Hill Top Cafe.

So ~ bring on Fall!  I am ready for cooler days and nights, sweaters and plaid,
pumpkins and mums.  We are going to have lots of fun and I will share all 
the activities with y'all, so get ready to party!  And don't forget the Texas
Fall Blog Hop from October 3rd through the 7th.  Bentley and I have
already started decorating :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bentley and I Are Taking A Short Break


Bentley and I will be gone for just a few days catching up on
life and hanging out.  We will be back next Monday with all kinds of
new things to show you, crafting ideas, cooking and recipes and
lots of chit chat.  See you then!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, August 22, 2016

Missing Home ~ But Where Is Home Now?

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you are once again in
your childhood home?   After you wake up from that dream, are you
sad to see that it was only a dream and not really true?

I sometimes have that dream.  I am in that first house that I ever called 
home.  It's such a magical place to me.  No other place I have ever lived
can quite compare with that first place that I remember so well and 
miss so much.

I have lived so many different places since becoming an adult.  East 
coast, west of the Rockies, down South and abroad.  I have felt 
happy in many of those places yet some of them I do not miss at all.

Although it's not my childhood home, I miss New York.  I loved the city
and it felt so comfortable to me.  It was as though it was the only other
city that could be in second place in my heart after the North Shore
of Chicago.   

I also loved Virginia.  I loved everything about it.  Perhaps it's 
childhood happy memories of trips to Virginia, I don't know, but
when David and I lived there out in the horse country, I knew
I was as close to heaven as I could get.

Whenever I visit England and Scotland it is also like coming home.
Whenever I am in London, people will stop me and ask me 
directions as though I have lived there all my life.  I am always
flattered when that happens.

Oddly, I hardly miss Idaho.  I miss my friends there, but not the place
we called home for many years.  I thought I would, but I don't.  

This is the second time I have lived in Texas.  I love my house here
very much and I like my neighbors, but I often wonder if I will
ever feel as at home here as I have elsewhere.  I hope so.  

Where is the place you call home?

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, August 19, 2016

Love Notes

It's been a wonderful week.  Lots of cloudy days with much needed rain.
I spent time doing things I love.  Cooking, crafting, reading and yes, some
writing too.  The whole week was like a love note to life.

I am progressing with my granny squares.  I am finally comfortable enough
to crochet a square without having to refer back to the YouTube tutorial.  Now
I can sit and crochet while we watch the Olympics on TV.  

I found another tutorial and I am teaching myself how to make scalloped edges so
that when all the granny squares are completed and sewn together, I can create a more
finished look.

My next crochet project will be to make another granny square afghan but
this time I will use extra soft baby yarn.  My cousin and his wife recently had
their second grandchild, a little girl named Teagan.  I want to make a rag
doll for her too and maybe a busy book that she can take to church with her
when she gets a bit bigger.  This should be fun!

I am reading a mystery that I am enjoying.  It is The Body in the Boudoir by
Katherine Hall Page.   I have not read any books by this author before,
have you?

Today I am getting my chores done.   Laundry is in the washer.
The family room needs to be dusted and vacuumed.  We live in that
room on weekends, so I want it to be all fresh and ready for us to
settle in and be comfy.  I am guessing that there is some kind of golf
tournament (there always is) that David will want to watch.  I am
yearning for some Cajun food, so I want to make some shrimp 
etouffee and maybe some red beans and rice with the andouille 
sausage in the fridge.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tea Carts and Transferware

Years ago I found a sad little tea cart in a consignment shop.  It was painted
a variety of colors and it's previous owner had attached one of those cheap
metal (aluminum I think) paper towel holders to it.  Of course I immediately 
snapped it up and painted it white and removed the towel holder and
I revealed it's cottage charm.

Today, I set it up with one of my blue and white tea pots.  It came with
a set of dishes that I purchased in London and had shipped back to 
Houston when I was living there.  It was the first set of dishes I had
in my little apartment.  I have always loved it's sweet charm charm.

I like to mix and match my blue and white.  The patterns may be different,
but they all seem to work together.

I bought this little tea sandwich tray in London too.  Mom and
Daddy were with me on that trip and Mom bought one too.  It
was one of her favorites.

Be sure to stop by my other blog, 
I am featuring Claudia Hill's fantasy filled
dollhouse and you won't want to miss it.

Today I am linking up to these parties ~

Feathering Your Nest
Vintage Charm

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A Cozy At Home Kind of Day

This has been the most wonderful day!  It has been dark and rainy with the
occasional thunderstorm rolling through.  Not the big scary kind of 
storm, but storms out in the distance where I can hear the thunder rolling
but no frightening flashes of lightning.    

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours trimming a beef tenderloin we
purchased when we went to Costco last weekend.  It takes a while to
remove the silver skin and the excess fat, but I was able to get fifteen
good sized filets, so I was happy.  I had some end pieces left that I 
decided to use for beef bourguignon, so I put that together today.
Of course, the kitchen smells so good with the aromas of bacon, garlic,
onion and red wine.

While I was in the process of cooking all the elements of the stew, David
called.  He was in Houston today on business and called to ask me if I 
wanted him to bring home BBQ from Otto's.  We thought Otto's had closed and
we were really sad to think it was gone.  It was one of the first BBQ 
places David took me to when we were first dating years ago in Houston.
It was an old shack on Memorial Drive near the park.  Not fancy, but 
really good.  David learned that the Stafford location was still open, and
since it's on his way back to Victoria, he offered to pick up dinner.

Of course I said yes!  My stew could cool, spend the night in the 
fridge, and we can have it tomorrow when it will taste even better.
Tonight we can dine on Otto's BBQ and relive precious memories

And then,

that gave me some time to get back to my granny squares.  

I think I have a new addiction ;-)

Bentley ~ Daddy's brining home smoked brisket.  I think there
will be plenty and you can have some too.  Bentley is willing to
get up from his rainy day nap for brisket!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Sound of Rain on the Roof

For much of the day yesterday and during the night and early 
morning hours of today, we were blessed with the sound of rain 
on the roof.  We have not had any rain for some time and all
the trees and plants have been suffering under the relentless
hot Texas summer sun.  I have been deep watering our many
trees for weeks now, but there is nothing that can duplicate the
miracle of long soaking rains.

I have not minded the gray skies and the wet windows.  

We are feeling blessed today.

I have a new post up on my Dollhouse Minis Blog today.  I am 
featuring the work of Kim Saulter, a wonderfully talented 
miniaturist.  You won't want to miss it.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, August 12, 2016

Red, White and Charming

I was looking for a different sugar bowl and I found a red and white 
transferware one on eBay.  I think it looks very sweet (whoops that's a pun,
sorry) on my butter slab.  It all looks so English cottage to me now.

It came with a creamer, but I am using it elsewhere.  I will show you
that on another day.

Now this little corner of my kitchen is all smiles.

Happy Friday everyone.  I have several projects that I am working on,
so next week should be a full blogging schedule.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Take a Peak Into My Pantry

Here's the door to my pantry.  If you are thinking that I am going to show
you a beautifully staged pantry, think again.  I am showing you this because
life is not perfect, and I am not either.  My Mom was a master organizer and
all her cupboards, her pantry and her drawers were neat and tidy.  Sadly, I 
did not inherit this tendency.  You will not be seeing a pretty pantry 
(although I would like one).

Do you still want to take a look inside???  Still with me???
Okay ~ here goes, but don't say I didn't warn you ;-)

It's not pretty ~ no lined shelves.  It's not organized ~ items are placed here 
and there and who knows what can be found???

Too much of some things, not enough of others.  Take these cute little condiment jars.  Every 
time we stay at an Omni Hotel and we order room service, our sandwiches and hamburgers 
always come with them.  I can never resist bringing one or two home with me.   I keep 
thinking how great they will be to bring along on a picnic.  It's been so hot, there is no
way we want to picnic, so it's time to use a few of these up.

This shelf is a miss mash of stuff.  coffee, parsley flakes, EVOO, a new bottle 
of soy sauce, hummingbird nectar, Cream of Wheat, red pepper flakes and a
vintage Saltines tin.  

Oatmeal, Cheerios, peanuts and Ritz crackers.

Hot sauce, maple syrup, mint jelly and our favorite salsa.

Chips, tonic water, Bentley's crunchies (dry dog food) and potatoes.

A box full of assorted light bulbs. 

And lastly ~ this pitiful little storage rack the previous owner attached
to the back of the pantry door, that currently stores straws.

I both want and need to make better sense of this space.  It will help 
to make my shopping easier when I can see what's missing.  It will
be more uplifting to open up a pantry that is both pretty AND organized.
Oh and one more thing, I want to paint the pantry door with chalk 
board paint so I can easily write my weekly shopping list.

There you have it ~ my imperfect pantry.  Life is not always
perfect, although I wish it were.  However, I am determined to
make this space a pretty, cheerful and practical one.  

Stay tuned!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Susan Versus the Granny Square

On Saturday, I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up some craft supplies and added this
book to my cart.  I have wanted to learn to make granny squares for a long time, and 
I decided that this book was just the inspiration I needed.  

Take a look at that granny square slip covered chair.  How fun is that!!!
Well, perhaps it's a bit soon to think of such a huge project, especially since I 
can't even make one square, however,  I am not one to back down on anything 
I set my mind to.  Swedish stock ~ in other words, I am determined and a 
bit hard headed ;-)

In looking through the book, I decided that what I needed was to see someone
making a square.  I find it is easier to watch someone knit or crochet in 
addition to reading the instructions.  So, I head over to YouTube and start
watching beginning granny square videos, just take a look at this next
picture of my one and only completed square ....

Pretty awful isn't it???  I should be embarrassed to show you this.  It looks more
like a blob than a granny.  I almost hurled it across the room, but I restrained
myself (just barely).  

So I went to another and another granny square tutorial on YouTube, 
but finally ....  I found one that was easy to follow and I actually had some

Here is my first granny square in two colors even.

I need to work on my tension, but I suppose that will come with practice.
At least now it is more recognizable as a granny square.  Bentley thought I was
crazy because I was jumping up and down with glee!  It only took me all
afternoon, and I think we will be having sandwiches for dinner, but to me it
was worth it.  

Here is the tutorial I followed if any of you are granny challenged like me.

Persistance pays off and it's no longer Susan versus the 
granny square, it's Susan AND her granny squares!  
Stay tuned for more craft battles :-)

Okay Bentley ~ mama still has to get in 45 minutes of
pilates.  Whew, hardly enough hours in a day!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


Monday, August 8, 2016

I Spent The Weekend in the Kitchen

On late Thursday afternoon, my shrimp gal arrived with a freshly caught
batch of shrimp from the Gulf.  I bought ten pounds from her and then 
spent about three hours on Friday removing the shells and veins and 
bagging them up to go into the freezer.  Of course I saved some for shrimp
cocktail that evening.  

We stayed home Friday evening to watch the opening of the Olympics.
I had shrimp cocktail and a martini.  David had his usual Bourbon and 
diet coke, but no shrimp.  He doesn't eat any kind of fish at all except
canned tuna.  I have tried my best to get him to at least try fresh tuna
lightly grilled, but to no avail.

The shrimp cocktail server belonged to my Mom.  I have seven of them,
one of them broke years ago.  They are vintage and lovely.  Etched crystal
with a crystal insert for the sauce.  So elegant.  Mom served shrimp cocktail
often at dinner parties and on Sundays at the family dinner.  

Saturday we ran out to get the grocery shopping done as fast as we could.  We tag teamed it.
David pushed the cart and I ran around gathering up everything on the list and tossing it in
the cart.   We were very anxious to get home and not have to leave our house again.  The 
weather has been brutally hot.  105 to 109 heat index every day.  It is exhausting!  

I decided to try a recipe I saw in the latest issue of Southern Living.  Party Poppers
are jalapeƱos filled with chopped cook chicken, mixed with softened cream cheese,
finely chopped cilantro and a splash of lime juice.  Then you wrap with bacon and 
bake for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  Place them under the broiler to crisp up
the bacon and then let them rest a minute or two before serving.  

Make sure you remove the membranes and seeds before filling, unless of course,
you like things really hot!!!


Then I made fajitas for dinner.

We just stayed inside inside the house for the whole weekend with the exception
of grocery shopping.  I can hardly wait for fall.  It's going to be hot all week 
again this week too.  

What did you do over the weekend?

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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