Thursday, June 28, 2018

Where Has Susan Disappeared To???

No, I have not been playing in my She Shed :-)  I have actually been 
writing my book.  I promised my Mama that I would get it done, and
although she never saw it's fruition in her lifetime,  I certainly want to
get it finished in her memory, and Daddy's too!

Writing a book is all consuming.  It's hard to focus on much else.
Scheduling is tough too.  A writer hides out in their own little world,
and few understand that kind of solitude.  Some people think I am
a hermit, a loner.  I would say they are partially correct.  I actually
enjoy my own company.  That's not all of it though.  I have to spend
time alone to get into my character's heads.  

Little interruptions during the day disturb the cadence.  Charlie, who
sprays for mosquitos outside.  The plumber.  John who sprays the
inside and outside of the house to keep the roaches away.  You 
should see the size of the tree roaches in the street when Bentley
and I take our nightly walk!  David texting from work because he
wants me to research something.  The normal kind of interruptions 
of life that are typically acceptable, become major ones for 
a writer deep in thought.  

I could write late at night and then sleep during the day, but I 
don't think that will work for me.  I have been faithfully getting
in a workout everyday and I now sleep very soundly all through
the night.  No more insomnia!  So now that I have a good
sleeping pattern established, I hate to disrupt it.  So I grab
parts of the day to work, but my routine is not yet firmly

If it seems as though I am ignoring you, well, I am.  If I 
chatted with you all of the time I would never get any work
done.  Forgive me.  I still love you and have not forgotten you.
At the moment I am trying to make everything run smoothly.
It will, I promise, it will.  Then I'll be back and we can have
lots of long chats.  In the meantime, there will be little
chats about what is ever floating around my mind.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 25, 2018

DIY Birdhouse Chandelier

I had a metal chandelier that belonged to my Mom.  I didn't have a
good spot for it in the house, so I decided to hang it in the potting
shed.  It has seven arms and a spike in each one to hold a candle.
No way wax candles will stand up to the heat in the shed, so I thought
of an alternative.  I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased five small
unfinished bird houses and painted them in fun colors.

This is not an original idea, rather it's a take off from a MacKenzie-Childs
chandelier that is much more stylish, but also costs $595.00.

I had fun painting the houses while watching old movies.  The 
chandelier will have a better backdrop when I decide what I want
to do with the walls.

I have been thinking about putting up peel and stick wallpaper between
the studs, and painting the studs white.  Whether I decide to paint and
or apply wallpaper, that will have to wait until it gets a bit cooler.  Of
course, that may not happen until Fall, but I can always hope for a
stray cool day.   Whatever I decide to do, I will share the application
with y'all.

The other project that will be happening sooner, is to install windows.
I found just exactly what I need and am putting in an order now.
David has promised to install them and add the trim around the
windows too, so I am excited about that!

This little shed has been both a labor of love, and is giving new life
to odds and ends I don't have a place for.  These are things I love and
didn't want to give up, so this little shed is providing a new home for
them.  It's my shabby chic she shed.  A project full of old treasures
and happy memories.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, June 22, 2018

Sharing Summer Recipes

Today starts the first weekend of summer.  Time to start thinking about
menus and recipes for the hot, sultry, evenings ahead.  Hopefully the 
smoker outside will be command central rather than the kitchen.
I am always hunting for new ways to marinate chicken and beef.
David doesn't like fish.  That's a real shame since we live on the 
Texas Gulf coast where fresh fish and large shrimp are plentiful.
I still plan to grill some shrimp, even if it's just for me.

I am going through cookbooks, back issues of Southern Living magazine, 
and scouring the internet for new ideas.  

I would like to keep things fresh, fun and flavorful.
So, I was thinking, let's start a recipe sharing post each week.
Let us know what new things you have tried and what your
family enjoys.

Starting next Friday, I will start posting some of our summertime 
favorites and new recipes too.  I hope y'all will join in and keep the
party going!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Come and Get Your Coziness!

It's been raining here for the past couple of days.  It rained all night,
and has kept up through the morning.  As I was telling my friends on
Facebook, I stepped out onto the veranda to check on the yard when 
I stepped on a long squiggly worm, got bit by a mosquito, and received
an emergency flash flood warning on my cell!  Time for coffee!!

And, it's time to get cozy.  So that's what I plan to do.  In the meantime,
I have some images of coziness that will get you in the mood to get 
cozy too ....

I think I will make some barbecue chicken, sweet corn, coleslaw, and
biscuits with honey for dinner.  Comfort food.  

Stay cozy!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 18, 2018

My MacKenzie-Childs Bird Feeder Project

You may well have seen this MacKenzie-Childs cup and saucer on
this blog before.  I found this set at antique shop back in Idaho quite
a few years ago.  It sat on a wicker table on my front porch back there,
and on the veranda here in Texas.  

Several days ago, I had a brainstorm about turning this lone cup and
saucer into a bird feeder for the garden surrounding the potting shed.
I remembered that I had a walking stick that had lost it's top and
realized it would be perfect to be the stand for the feeder.  All I
did was to paint the stick and use industrial strength glue to hold
the cup and saucer in place.  Now it looks just perfect in it's new home.
On Saturday, I purchased 40 more pounds of bird seed, so my little
tweeties will be content for a while.

I finished painting a vintage chalk board for the shed, and five little bird houses 
too.  These bird houses will be used for a chandelier project currently in the

No outdoor projects for a while.  We have received the first bands of rain from
Invest 91L.  That is meteorologist talk for a very big weather system sitting in
the Gulf of Mexico just starting to come on shore.  The rain so far has not been
too heavy, but is expected to get much heavier and bring thunderstorms along
with it.  It never organized enough to be a hurricane or a tropical storm, but
different forecasts have predicted either 3 to 5 inches, or 5 to 8 inches of rain.  
Hopefully there will be no serious flooding with this system, but quite
frankly, we really need the rain, so I am not complaining.  The next few days
will be inside projects of all kinds, and I won't have to worry about watering
the plants twice a day.  It's a housebound vacay!  

Bentley and I are staying dry and snug indoors and wishing y'all a 
happy Monday!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sure Do Miss My Daddy!

Dear Daddy,

There is not a day that goes by that I do not think of you.  You were a strict daddy,
but a fun one too.  You purposely changed the words in all my favorite bedtime
stories to keep me guessing.  You helped me build forts and put a hardwood 
floor down in my backyard tent.  Is it any wonder that I grew up to be an
interior designer.  

You watched all the old scary movies with me on TV.  Back then, they
were not all that scary, so we giggled through most of them.  

When you and mommy had a cocktail in the evening, you made me
my own non-alcoholic one with ginger ale and a cherry in one of
mommy's champagne glasses.  I felt so grown up!

You built a big igloo in our front yard for me and all the kids in 
the neighborhood after a big snowfall.

You taught me to love and appreciate history and the lessons it
teaches us.   Your love of ancient Egypt instilled that same passion
in me.  In college I went on to study Art History and took many
classes in ancient philosophy.  

You set boundaries that I now appreciate, while encouraging me to
explore and grow.  You always told me that I could achieve anything
I set my mind to, and being a girl did not mean I couldn't 
accomplish me goals.

Happy Father's Day, dear Daddy.  Thank you for everything!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, June 15, 2018

Very Exciting News!

This may not seem like big news to you, but it sure is to me!  If y'all
read my blog earlier this week, I was formerly known as .... 


I have been reforming myself slowly, but surely.  This is my latest
success story.  I planted some sunflower seeds recently, and now they
have sprouted.  So excited!

I know that most kids can do this, but for me this is major botanical
accomplishment ;-). This little guy is almost 1 and 1/2 inches tall.
I will be measuring him every Friday.  In the meantime, I will be
checking on him a couple of times a day to see if he needs anything
at all.  

Grow tall little seedling, grow tall!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Flag Day 2018

We are proud to display the American flag every day of the year.
We are especially proud to do so today!

Even the potting shed is celebrating!

Happy Flag Day!!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Confessions of a Former Plant Assassin

I was not born into a family of plant assassins.  My parents were meticulous
and creative gardeners.  Daddy was always especially fond of growing roses.
He would nurture them and then take photos of their beauty.  Mom had a
green thumb too.  Some neighbor would give her a cutting and Mom would
work her magic and the garden would be full of whatever it was she had received.
Our yard was always a showcase.  

My grandparents on both sides always had thriving vegetable gardens.  They
had rain barrels and would use the water to keep their gardens moist. 
Composting was what they practiced and preached.  Grandmother Marie,
my Mom's mom, would go out into the garden in the late afternoon and 
collect greens for a fabulous salad all summer long.  

So what happened to me????  I never intended to be a plant assassin.
I always had good intentions.  In the early spring, my enthusiasm would
run high and I would head to the nursery.  When I look back at my life,
I realize that while I wanted to have a lovely garden, I truly never had the
time to devote to it to properly nurture and maintain it.  My work and other
responsibilities kept me so busy.  Gardening became what my Mom would
call, an after thought.  When a plant came home with me from the garden
center, it's days were numbered.  Sad, but true.

Now that I have more time to devote to a garden, things have changed.  I fuss,
and I nurture.  While I am out in the early morning with my mug of coffee and
with Bentley, I inspect.  I check soil moisture.  And .... hopefully no one can 
hear me when I do this .... I talk to them too.  

I read garden books now.  I check out the internet for care tips.  My family
up in heaven must be pleased.  Their offspring has finally learned her lesson.
Plants will no longer need to fear for their lives when they come home
with me.

There is such a sense of contentment in a garden.  It is a place to visit 
where the problems of the world just don't take root.  The birds are singing,
the bees buzzing, and I can hear my neighbor's wind chimes softly
ringing in the background.  The atmosphere is soft and welcoming and
so very therapeutic.  It's my happy place!

While I have become more comfortable with my ability to sustain
flowers, I have a new challenge ....

Tomatoes!  I have two tomato plants!!  They are growing and so far
they seem to be thriving.  I keep encouraging them.  When I talk to
them I whisper ~ grow strong and healthy and produce lots of tomatoes.

Hopefully, they are listening.  

I have spent some time on YouTube checking out gardening
tips.  I found this video about petunias that I found helpful.
Hope you enjoy these tips, if you don't already know them.

Have a wonderful day y'all!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Golf Widow Soup

Many of you know, my hubby is an avid golfer.  He plays, reads about, and
watches most of the tournaments on TV.  We plan vacations around his
ability to play golf.  We belong to a country club here in town, and we
also belong to a golf organization that allows him to play at other clubs
around the country.  It's his passion.  

I understand passions too.  I have many.  When I was younger, I rode
horses all the time and always smelled like a stable.  Therefore, I 
respect his love for golf and don't gripe too much when he wants to play.

On Tuesday nights during the spring and summer, David heads directly
over to the club after he leaves the office to get in several holes of golf
while it is still light.  On those nights, I don't have to be concerned about
dinner for him, and I can eat whatever I want.  I usually eat something
that I love, but that he does not.  David will admit, he is a picky eater.
He doesn't like fish and a laundry list of other foods.  One of those
on the "don't like, won't touch" list is mushrooms.

I have always loved mushrooms.  Once when I was a little girl, my
Mama scolded me for eating all the mushrooms in the fridge.  She was
planning to use them in a recipe and when she went to look for them,
they were gone.  I was a strange little girl.  When other kids were 
dreaming about cake and ice cream, I was dreaming about meat loaf.
My best friend from childhood still thinks that is hilarious!

Sometimes I really want a bowl of mushroom soup.  Usually when that
urge hits, I make it from scratch.  But the other day, I wanted some and
didn't want to take too much time away from gardening, so I jazzed up
canned cream of mushroom soup.  That's something I always keep in the 
pantry so that I can make King Ranch Chicken.  

Here's what you do.  Slice and saute some mushrooms.  I used button ones 
because that's what I had, but creminis would be nice too.  After the 
mushrooms have softened and turned golden, turn off the heat, add a few
splashes of sherry wine and then turn the heat back on.  Let the wine reduce
just a bit.  Add this mixture to canned cream of mushroom soup prepared
with milk.  Simmer slowly and then ladle into a bowl.

I reserved a few mushroom slices for the top, and then added some snipped
parsley from my garden.  You may choose to leave out the parsley if you
prefer.  This soup is quick, easy, and won't taste like canned.  It's just
perfect for a golf widow like me :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 11, 2018

More Potting Shed Updates ~ They Keep Coming

Happy Monday morning from the potting shed garden.  This is truly
my happy place and I hope I am not boring you to death with each
and every little change.  I feel like a kid again with a playhouse!

The flowers are happy.  I generally water twice a day to keep them
from totally wilting and drying out in the hot afternoons.  This area
gets both some morning sun and afternoon sun too, so everything
planted here must be sunshine loving.  Petunias and vinca love
it, as do the herbs.

I found two trellises on sale at Hobby Lobby this past Saturday.  I
placed them opposite each other as an entrance to the garden,  along
with a couple of pieces of flagstone.  

Just around the corner from this entry is the back of the shed, and that
is where my tomatoes are planted.  I sprinkled sun flower seeds in the
area too.  So excited.  Watching for new growth every day!

Let's take a peek inside ....

The inside of the shed is filled with some old and beloved pieces of furniture
and odds and ends.  While the interior walls of the shed are not yet painted,
I am still having fun arranging and bringing the look into focus.

While y'all know I am not an "all white" loving girl per se, there is a lot
of white inside the shed.  Of course there is a lot of pink and green too.
This child size wicker rocker is one of my prized possessions.  I found
it at a wonderful garden shop back in Boise.

Little bits of this and that.  Somehow I think it all works.

We plan on having the shed electrified, so this little electric
fireplace will add some heat on chilly days next winter.  Until then,
I just had to decorate it's top.  

Over the weekend I found some adorable shed windows that my
sweet hubby has agreed to install.  I am very excited about this!

There are three bird feeders on one side of the shed and the birds
are so happy and have made themselves right at home.  All in all,
the whole area has taken on a tone of enchantment.   Hope you
enjoyed this little update!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, June 10, 2018

I'm Listening

I have questions, and you my dear readers have the answers I am longing to 
hear.  I have been blogging since 2010.  My blog has changed since then, and
my life has changed too.  While I still enjoy decorating, it's not my only
interest in life, nor is it the only thing I want to see on other's blogs.  

I tend to like to read chatty blogs.  I like writers who give the reader a more
intimate look at their lives.  My question to you is:

What do you want to see and read about when you visit me?
Do you enjoy the evolution of my potting shed, or are you getting
bored with it already?

Do you want more recipes?

What about book reviews?  I am on Goodreads.  I have slacked off a
bit in recent months, but I am back in full force now.

I have a minis blog, but it has been dormant.  I want to get back
to that.  Is that of interest to you?

More than anything, I want to be entertaining.  I want to be a
bright spot in your lives.  Think about these questions and please get 
back to me.  I'm listening!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, June 8, 2018

Poofing the Pillows Today

I have a wonderful day planned ....  I am poofing the pillows.  I'll be inside
in the cool air conditioning,  tidying up and freshening up all the little
nooks and crannies.  I would love to be outside working in my garden, but
I have to take a break once in a while, and honestly, it's just too darn hot
out there anyway.  

I don't know what has happened to me lately.  I used to dread housework,
and now I am actually enjoying it.  I keep wondering ....  did some strange
housekeeping entity enter my soul one night while I was sleeping?  I can
hardly wait to get out the lemon scented furniture polish and start polishing
and shining everything in sight!  The other day I cleaned out one of the 
linen closets.   I was so pleased with myself.  Trust me, closet and drawer
tidying has never been my specialty before.  Yesterday I spent two hours
cleaning out the inside of my fridge.   I pitched everything with an overdue
expiration date.  I took the insides all apart and washed everything.  I could
hardly wait to show David when he came home from work!  It was
gorgeous, just gorgeous.

If there's a cure for this, I don't want it, don't want it!

Those are lyrics from an old disco song.  I will probably be singing 
this tune to myself all day as I happily dust, vacuum, and poof! 
Crazy, but crazy in a good way.

That's all I have to say for now.  I need to get back to my poofing.
Have a wonderful Friday everyone and a happy weekend too.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

PS:  Bentley needs a bath too ;-)

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Dear Kate Spade, You Will Be Missed

I never knew you Kate, but your style appealed to my girly nature.
Always feminine with a sense of sophistication.  While many loved your
darling purses (I did too),  I also loved your shoes.  You always created
just the right shoes to make me feel special!

A simple pair of Keds were suddenly transformed into a fashion eye
catcher, which make me smile every time I wear them.

Perfect little packables in bright pops of color.

I wish I could have helped you.  I didn't know you were so sad.  
May you now rest in peace and somehow know that you were loved and
that you had the unique capacity to make every girl who wore your
creations feel ever so special

Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 4, 2018

Little Tweaks Here and There

Hi from your potting shed obsessed friend!  I can't help myself because
I am having so much fun with this shed and the little garden surrounding it.
Let me show you the newest additions.

Yesterday afternoon, David was playing golf.  I don't know how he can play
in the retched heat we are having, but he does.  I worked a bit in the garden
in the morning and then spent the rest of the day inside and enjoying the air
conditioning.  I started a new project .... a wreath for the door of the shed.
I found cute little minis and got busy with the glue gun.

When I hung this up and took some photos, I didn't realize that here was
a bit of feathery glue still stuck to the wreath.  I need to go back and
take it off :-)

I also planted some creeping thyme and portulaca between the stepping
stones leading to the shed.  I know it will all fill in, but I think I will 
add some more thyme.

I was in Houston and found three of these adorable kalanchoes at my
favorite nursery.  I think they look so sweet in this wire holder.

I added three zinnias to the patch of Mexican heather.

I have been watering almost twice each day to keep everything going,
but so far it all seems happy.  I moved the bird feeders back to this area,
so in the morning and early evening, this little secret garden is full
of bird song.  I love it!

I cleaned out the inside of the shed and have plans for lots of projects
in here too.  It will be filled with old chippy and well loved pieces like
these.  And best of all, this little cottage now has it's own name ....

Sweet Tea Cottage

That's it for now.  Hope you enjoyed the mini tour and I also hope I
am not boring you with all the excitement I have been feeling about this
little cottage and garden.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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