Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Come See My New Lamp

After we visited the Big Red Barn up in Round Top on Saturday,
we stopped at another antique venue down the road.  In one of
the first booths I passed, I spotted a lamp.  If you look at the 
reflection in the mirror above, you can catch a glimpse of the 
lamp I saw.

I instantly fell in love with this equestrian motif lamp base.
I asked David if he liked it too, and although he said yes, I
guessed that he was thinking ...
Do we really need another lamp???

No, we don't need another lamp, but I do want this one.
Our foyer is a tribute to my love for all things equestrian, but
you already knew that if you follow this blog :-)

Poor David, he is a real sweetheart for putting up with my
lamp obsession.  When we turn off all the many lamps in our
house each night, he likes to say ....

Notify the power company of a power surge.  The Freeman
household is shutting down for the night.

It's true, and it makes me giggle!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, January 30, 2017

Meeting Carolyn Westbrook

On Saturday David, Bentley and I drove up to Round Top to
visit the Winter Show inside the Big Red Barn.  It was a beautiful
day and there was lots of activity in Round Top despite the fact
that not too many venues are open at this time of year.  It was
however, much easier to get around without all the typical
crowds of the Spring and Fall shows.

The show in the Big Red Barn was busy.  Lots of great vendors
from Texas and states beyond showing off their treasures.    I 
knew that Carolyn Westbrook would be there and I was anxious
to visit her booth and hoping that I would be able to meet
Carolyn in person.

I was in luck.  Carolyn was in fact present, although she was
swamped with customer questions and sales.  As you would
imagine, her booth was beautifully staged with all sorts of 
fabulous items as well as her signature bed linens.  

During a brief moment, while a customer was adding to her
already large order, I did get to chat with Carolyn.  She's
very open, friendly, energetic and full of fun.  

I was able to purchase two linen euro shams with down filled
pillows while I still had the chance.  Carolyn told me that she 
will be back for the Spring Show, so that I can see more of her
items then. 

She let me carry the shams outside in the daylight to make sure
that the color was just what I wanted, and it was perfect!  Here
they are.  I have placed them on the loveseat in the guest room
so that you can see how sweet they are.  I am looking for a 
queen size bed for this room and will be deciding what other
pieces I want to finish the look of this bed.  By the end of 
March, I should have all my decisions made and will be
ready to make my purchases at the next show.  Hooray!
I will be so happy to get this room completed.

More photos of the show later this week.  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, January 27, 2017

Quick and Easy Weekend Treat

Down here in South Texas, we love our Mexican food!  Our little 
city of Victoria has a very large Hispanic population and we all
benefit from the yummy food.  Our local HEB makes fresh tortillas
daily in flour, wheat and corn.  They also stock beautiful peppers,
both sweet and spicy, dried and fresh.  David and I love it!  

Since I always have tortillas on hand, it's really easy for me to
whip up a batch of quesadillas for a snack, for lunch, or with a
salad for dinner.  They are versatile and are accepting of anything
one wants to place between the layers.  Today I am going to 
tell you about one of our favorite creations ....

Caramelized Onion and Smoked Gouda and Bacon Quesadillas

This creation of mine is not a Mexican dish, but it is yummy 
and we really enjoy it.  So easy too!

Slice up a couple of sweet onions.  Saute in oil until
soft, then add a sprinkling of sugar to help the onions to
caramelize.  Don't rush this step because the caramelized onions
add a lot of delicious flavor.  

Shred or thinly slice the Gouda cheese.  Add a layer to 
the top of a tortilla.  Using a fork, add a layer of onions
to the top of the cheese, and then add another layer of
cheese.  Top with a tortilla.  Place this quesadilla in a 
non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Let the tortilla start
to brown and see that the cheese is melting.  Flip the
quesadilla and repeat the process on the other side.

Plate the quesadilla.  Cut into fourths and serve with
you favorite salsa and a dollop of sour cream.
Yummy!  Enjoy!

I am planning on visiting an antique show this weekend
and hope to have lots of great pics to share with y'all
next week.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Farmhouse Hearts

What is it about a farmhouse that we love?  To me, it's the
simplicity of the country.  The beauty of nature.  Chickens 
and goats.  Cows in the pasture.  A beautiful sunrise.  The
idea of returning to a simpler time.  

We can't all be fortunate to live out in the country, but 
we can make our homes a refuge from the stresses we
all face in a fast paced world.  

I added three little gingham hearts to this herb wreath
and hung it on an antique door to remind me of
a simpler way of life.

I think we could all use a bit of peace and tranquility now.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Love Is All Around Mary Tyler Moore

I had an entirely different post planned for today, but when I heard the 
news that Mary Tyler Moore passed away, I could not ignore her
passing and reflect upon the effect she had on my young life.

Mary Tyler Moore's character of Mary Richards was a very 
positive role model for young girls and young women.  Her 
level headed, spunky and sunny attitude was one that I 
certainly wanted to emulate.  Mary Richards proved to us
that a woman can handle a grumpy boss, an unprepared
newsman, and eventually the over sexed character of
Sue Ann, with grace, diplomacy and good cheer.

I have always been especially fond of the relationship between
Mary and her neighbor Rhoda.  Mary was the sweet small town girl,
and Rhoda was the bold and brash New Yorker.  Their first meeting was
when Mary went to look at the apartment Phyllis told her about.  Rhoda
insisted it should be hers, Mary stood her ground, but Rhoda knew
that Mary was a pushover, and of course, Mary being Mary, admitted
that she didn't have the guts to stand up to Rhoda.  This tiff didn't last
long because they soon realized that they could not stay mad at one
another.  Despite a shaky start, they became the closest of friends and
that relationship provided us with so many laughs and happy memories.
For me, it was the type of friendship that I would one day develop
with other women.

And of course, there was THAT apartment!  When I was young,
before the days of TiVo and DVD's, I had to watch the show so 
closely to take in every detail of the space I loved so much.  
The beautiful, large and character filled window, the beamed,
cathedral ceiling, the walls and accessories.  It was a space that
was so obviously put together with family hand me downs and
thrift store finds, yet it all worked together to create a cozy, eclectic,
and fabulous space.  I just knew I would have an apartment just
like it one day, but sadly my first apartment didn't quite live
up to that dream.  I quickly learned that architectural charm such
as this, is not easily duplicated.

The adorable tiny kitchen with the push-up window that created
an open space to share in the conversations with the steady stream of
Rhoda, Phyllis, Bess and the newsroom crew. 

Who could forget that horrible bridesmaid dress???  I still laugh so hard
every time I watch this episode.  Although Mary and Rhoda think the
dress is hideous, Mary, being Mary, tries to figure out a way to salvage
the dress and is willing to wear it for a former childhood camp friend's
wedding. Mary could never hurt anyone's feelings and was always kind
and generous, even when the dress was ugly.

I loved the episodes when Rhoda's mom, Mrs. Morgenstern came for a
visit.  Ida Morgenstern was the tiny, brash, Jewish mom from New York
who was an unforgettable, and lovable character.  Her mission in life was
to not only ensure that her daughter Rhoda got married, but that Mary
also find a husband.  She was the New Yorker, who like her daughter
Rhoda, always found something to complain about, while Mary always
encouraged them to find the silver lining.

The writing was excellent, the cast members played their roles
to perfection, and they entertained us every week.  It was and still
is, a beloved show.

In this tribute to Mary, I could go on and mention her performance
on the Dick Van Dyke show and her Oscar nominated performance
in the movie Ordinary People.  She proved to audiences that her
talent was broad and far reaching.  To me however, her role as
Mary Richards is her most memorable, as she gave young women
someone to emulate.  Mary Richards was good hearted, kind,
professional, cheerful, a true friend and a lady.  There is such a
stark contrast between Mary and the role models for young
women in the media today.  Perhaps it's just me, but it is my
hope that her values find a way of expression once again.

Mary Tyler Moore
1936 - 2017
Rest in Peace ~ You did make it after all.

Susan and Bentley

Monday, January 23, 2017

I Had To Unfriend Someone On Facebook

Facebook has been a very combative forum recently.
The election, inauguration and women's march have
stirred up some very passionate reactions on the daily
newsfeed.  I have no problem with others having a
different opinion than my own.  It is both a right and a
privilege to be allowed to express one's opinion 
openly and without censorship and I would never 
prohibit that right.  

I also believe that it is reasonable to listen to both sides
of an argument and as educated citizens, I believe that it
is our responsibility to be open to differing views before
formulating our own.  

Recently I have read some opinions on Facebook that
differ greatly from my own.  I have tried to be accepting 
and not engage in pointless arguments, but recently I 
have become quite disgusted by the depths some will
sink to in order to express themselves.

If someone starts to curse excessively and use some
really foul language to express their opinion or to 
use nasty terms to describe someone whose opinions
differ from their own, I will not only refuse to engage, I
will unfriend.

I have given this option some thought.  I don't like the
idea of clicking that unfriend option, but it's an option
I sadly had to choose recently.  If someone decides to use
crude and abusive language to describe a person, groups, or
situations, it lowers my opinion of their character.  
Before hitting the unfriend button, I saw several posts over
several days of the same crude and abusive language from
this "friend" and decided that I finally had enough.  

Variety is the spice of life and I accept and welcome differing
views, but let's be kind, not nasty.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, January 20, 2017

Visit A Miniature Spring Bake Shop

Now that all the Christmas decorations are put away, it's time to
start thinking about Valentine's Day and Easter in the miniature

Pretty cakes and cookies.

Time to put in some orders!
Stop by and visit my dollhouse miniatures blog.  I featured
Cynthia Lauren Sperin of Cynthia's Cottage Designs.
Her dollhouse minis have been an inspiration to me and if
you have not already seen them, or if it's been a long time since
you have seen here charming creations, go HERE.

It's raining again here and we just had another big storm
come barreling through our little city.  We are soggy, but
fine.   I'm sure we will find snails everywhere the next time
we venture outside ;-)  Bentley is curled up and he is taking
a nap.  He hates going out in the rain and will wait till every 
drop has stopped.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sunny Yellow Cottage Fabric

A few months ago, I purchased some yellow floral pillowcases from
an eBay listing.  I was looking for a way to incorporate more yellow
into my studio and was planning on using the fabric for decorative
pillows, but there was one that was so charming that I knew I
wanted to see it all the time while I work at my desk.  This pattern
reflects the little vintage doll quilt that hangs from the drawer of this
mini hutch, so I used it to back the shelves.

When I set it in place, I found it to be such a cottage sweet
backdrop for the bits of china etc.  

It gives the whole ensemble a sunny and cheerful look.  It's just
the happy glow that is needed on a cool, damp and gray
January day.

I want to have the studio walls painted this spring.  Originally
I planned on white walls, but now I am thinking that maybe
a soft yellow will be just the look I want.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, January 16, 2017

When Life Hands You A Lemon

The other night I was watching the movie The Devil Wears Prada.
For me, it's one of those guilty pleasure, chick flick movies.  I've always
loved clothes and shoes and my early style sense was developed by my
Aunt Susan who spent a couple of her early years in NYC working as
a fashion model.  While I was in college in Lake Forest, IL, I spent 
many weekends in the city visiting her at her apartment.  We would
pour over the latest copies of Vogue and Women's Wear Daily, and she
would teach me make-up tricks and how to style my hair.  As an eighteen
year old girl, image was everything ;-)

I'm giving you this background info about me, because I very, very seldom
discuss fashion on this blog, and you are probably wondering what on
earth this memory from my younger days could possibly have to do with
lemons, yet in a round about way, it does.  The character of Miranda
Priestly in the movie is a self absorbed, demanding, and driven editor who
makes every one of her employees both anxious to please her, and terrified
of not doing so.  Still, what does this have to do with a lemon?

This woman reminds me of a boss I once had.  Actually, I have worked
for two individuals much like Miranda, a man and a woman, but this
tale is about a female boss from hell, a very sour lemon.

Right after our honeymoon, David and I moved from Houston to
Northern Virginia, where he had accepted to new job. We were married
in June, and I took the summer off before deciding to look for a new job.
With it's easy access to Washington, DC, good jobs were plentiful, but
I was uncertain about the kind of job I wanted, so I signed up with a
temp agency who specialized in professional positions.  With great
enthusiasm and resume in hand, I met with them and the very next
morning I had an interview at a major company that distributed computers
to various retail stores throughout the US, Mexico and Canada.  That's 
when I met HER ~ the boss from hell!

I walked into a large corner office with lots of windows, which instantly
 expressed the power this woman possessed.  Thinking back upon this
initial meeting, I recall that her desk was actually raised on a small
platform that gave her the advantage of height over anyone sitting in
the chair in front of her.  This was a blatant power play and I found 
myself at the feet of the master of grand standing.

After I introduced myself and handed her my resume, she told
me to have a seat in the chair facing her desk.  I felt like a small
child sitting in front of the principal.   The room was silent as she
perused my resume for a while.  I did my best to calm my nerves
during the stillness.  Then she raised her head, lowered her reading
glasses, looked intently at me and said ....

I have fired the last ten individuals who held the position for
which you are now being considered.  What quality do you have
that should encourage me to give you a chance?

Trust me, at this moment, I felt like Dorothy standing before
the great, and all powerful Wizard of Oz.  I sensed that a long speech
voicing my previous accomplishments would be wasted on this
no nonsense woman, so I mustered up all my resolve and 
replied with one word ....


She sat back in her chair, looked straight into my eyes and
said ....

Okay, I'll give you ONE chance!

I accepted the position.  I came to work early, I stayed late.  I did
everything I possibly could to prove to this woman that I would
not only meet her expectations, I would exceed them.  

After working in this position for several months, she called me
into her office once again.  I could not imagine what this meeting
might mean and was a bit nervous, but once again I calmed my
nerves and sat in the small chair in front of the big, bad boss.
She informed me that the company was planning to relocate to 
Philadelphia and that she was offering me a permanent position

Of course I could not accept, my husband loved his job and
we were now entrenched in Virginia.  I thanked her for her 
faith in me, and turned down the position.

Sometimes life hands us a lemon.  Embrace the challenge.
Have faith in yourself.  Persevere.  You may just be 
surprised at what you can accomplish in the face of

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Let's Have Cake!

Hi y'all!  I sure am glad you stopped by.  I have two cakes in the mini
dollhouse cottage kitchen, and I already have a slice for you.  Now
while you relax with your cake, stop my dollhouse mini blog at
this link, because I have a big feature of Shelia's dollhouse minis.
We all know Shelia ~ she is the sweet blogger of Note Songs.
Shelia was bit by the miniature dollhouse bug and has created some
really charming rooms that y'all must see.

Prepare to be amazed by her creativity!

Bentley ~ did you know that Shelia has a cat named Tang who
lives in her dollhouse?  You be nice to the kitty now!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How Did I Not Know This?

This past Saturday I went to the library to return a book and look for
some others.  I enjoy reading and try to vary the genres, but there are
times when I am really in the mood for a cozy mystery.  I was having
a hard time deciding which titles, and which authors to choose, when
I took a title off the shelf...

Murder Gets a Life by Anne George.  The cover states that it is a
Southern Sisters Mystery.  While that description intrigued me,
what really convinced me to grab a few of her titles was that Anne
 is an Agatha Award winner. 

The Agatha Awards are named after beloved mystery writer
Agatha Christie and are handed out yearly to authors of cozy
mysteries.  After learning of this honor, I decided to give four
of her titles a go.

I started with Murder Gets a Life and I was already chuckling by page two.
I needed a chuckle too because I was stuck in bed with a fever and a sore 
throat all day yesterday.  In between naps, I reached for the book.  

I did a bit of research and learned that Anne was also a poet and her
her collection of poetry Some of it is True, was nominated for the
Pulitzer Prize in 1993.  She was also Alabama's 1994 state poet.
Sadly, Anne passed away in 2001 of complications during heart surgery.

How did it take me so long to discover Anne George?  I don't know
why it did, but I am happy that I have found her now.  

Today is my first day out of bed.  I am feeling better, but I don't want
to over do it and relapse.  I have to get better soon because my 
8 foot tall ginger was damaged during our freezing cold temps
and will need to be cut down.  It makes me sick, but what else can
I do?  It will grow back no doubt, but it will take a while :-(

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Faded Photographs

Going through old photographs brings back to life those I have lost.
It doesn't make me sad, rather it reminds me of happy moments and
gives me a sense of connection.  

I like to collect vintage photo albums too, when I can find them.  This one,
although very vintage, was just like new when I found it.  I imagine that the
previous owner had it stored away in a closet and meant to use it, but never did.
It's a sweet leather album with a floral motif and edged in woven leather lacing.
The pages inside are black paper and I was able to find some of those 
old fashioned photo corners.  I really should digitize these photos to
preserve them and it's a project I hope to complete this year.

While on the subject of nostalgia, I still love my Charles Faudree
decorating books.  I don't think I will ever tire of his French Country

I spent the morning raking up debris out of garden beds.  It's a never
ending job, but I do enjoy it.  I never feel guilty sitting back and enjoying
a cup of tea or coffee after I have put in a good morning's work ;-)

Tonight the temps are supposed to take a dive again.  I am actually
looking forward to it and am planning a big raging fire in the
fireplace.  That's a treat for us in South Texas.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Recipe For A Cozy January Afternoon

I always find that there is a bit of a let down after Christmas has
passed.  All the excitement and activities seem to come to a speedy
stop.  The days are often cold and gray, and spring seems like a 
very long way off.  It's the time when I just want to snuggle up
with Bentley and read a good book and maybe take a nap.  

Some books are cozy and bring sunshine to a gray day.  A good
mystery is always a nice way to loose oneself.  I just started a 
collection of vintage Nancy Drew books.  The graphics on the 
dust jackets are wonderful!  Claudia over at Mockingbird Hill Cottage,
has been collecting these vintage books and I have been so
enamored with them that I have started my own collection.

The dust jacket on this book is so enticing.  How could you not
want to know why that man is moving the painting?   Is there
a safe behind it?  A note?  What could it be?  And will Nancy
be discovered hiding behind the sofa?  I just must know the
answers to these questions!

The interior page is no less intriguing!

I never read any of the Dana Girls books.  Did you?

Of course a cold and gray January day is perfect for touring the
English countryside with Susan Branch.  Let's put the kettle on
and enjoy!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Saying Goodbye to the Holidays

Christmas was fun.  We decorated two big trees, baked cookies, went 
to a formal holiday ball, visited friends, and had a wonderful holiday
trip to San Antonio.  David was off for 10 full days, which was a real
treat for me.  

We came back to town just before New Year's Eve and spent 
the evening with our neighbors and good friends.  I have not blogged
much of late because I was trying to savor the holiday.

And now it's over.  David has returned to work and it's time for me
to take down all the decorations and pack them up for next year.  
I will be purging some things and that always feels good.

I have been thinking about making some changes too.  I really
feel ready to start fresh this new year.  Some new paint, some
new window treatments, and landscaping.  It's time to get the
old oak trees trimmed.  That will be a big project and will take
at least two full days.  We have been talking about putting in a 
pool and had some plans drawn up.  Lots of ideas floating

As much fun as the holidays were, it's fun to look ahead
and make new plans.  I'm anxious to get started and y'all
are welcome to come along for the ride!

I treasure your friendship and I pray that 
2017 brings happiness and good health and love
to all of you.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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