Thursday, December 12, 2019

I Want to Get Well for Christmas

I have been ill once again.  I want so much to be well for Christmas.
I haven't done any decorating.  I want to, I really do.  I will try to
get something up soon.  This is an archived photo from years past.

This situation makes me so sad.  I love decorating for the season.
I never thought I would be so ill.  I am fighting this with all my
determination, yet I seem to be fighting a losing battle.  

I am going to take a pic of a little area that I recently decorated.
Maybe that will cheer me up.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan  and Bentley

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Waiting for the Season 3 Premier of The Crown

Those who follow me now that I am a devoted Anglophile.  So when I 
decided to binge watch Seasons 1 and 2 of The Crown, I just had to
decorate my space for the occasion.  A few months ago I found this 
quilted Union Jack tea cozy at the British Isles Shoppe in Houston.
Now it lives with me and is a great addition to all of my other  British

While I truly loved the first two seasons, and am anxiously awaiting the 
third, I am a bit skeptical about the change of cast.  I'm not sure why
the producers thought it necessary to change The Queen, Prince Philip
and Margaret's actors.  May take a while to adjust, but let's hope that it
doesn't take away from the viewing pleasure.

It certainly has been fun so far and I have spent some extra time reading
up on the real lives of the main characters.  So fascinating!  Hope you
enjoyed my little tablescape to put us all in the mood.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, November 4, 2019

Bentley's Long Goodbye

It's with a very sad heart that I tell you about Bentley's current condition.  As many of you know,  
two years ago he lost his sight.  I took took him up to the Veterinary School up at 
A&M University to speak with an ophthalmologist.  Between the two of us we decided that
given Bentley's advanced age, it was safer not to perform any corrective eye surgery.  She also
assured me that he would adapt quite well and that we should just carry on as usual.

She was right about his vision.  He has coped quite well.  Recently, however, he
has been losing his hearing which makes is tougher for him, but we are doing
what we can to manage that as well.  The latest development is his sense of
confusion. Out in the backyard, he walks in circles as if he doesn't know where
he is.  He doesn't always know me or his Daddy either.  My own Daddy 
developed Alzheimer's in his later years, and Bentley is now much the same.

He's not in any pain.  He still eats his dinner with delight.  He knows when
he needs to go outside, which is more frequently now.  Some days he will
want to cuddle as much as always, other days not so much.  

Bentley will be 14 on his next birthday which is this December 21st.
I just can't believe that it's been 14 years of such joy having him
with us.  As you know, David and I never had children, so Bentley is
our baby.  He's always been so much fun, so loving and sweet with
everyone.  He's such a huge part of our lives.  

I don't know how the end will come, but I know it is coming much
sooner that I want.  I am hoping that he will just go to sleep at home.
Of course, if he is too miserable that may not be an option.  David and
I are committed to keep him as comfortable and as happy as we 
possibly can for as long as we can.  We both know how this goes.  We have
lost two others and know that we will be totally miserable.  I suppose that 
is a big part of the reason I want to make such a big production out of
Christmas this year.  Bentley is my Christmas puppy.  My dearest little
love.  I want everything around him to be continued in love and joy
and great happiness because he deserves it.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Favorite Fall Through Winter Dishes

For several years now, I have been switching my dishes to Fall and Christmas
favorites beginning on Halloween.  The change is fun and festive.  It adds another
layer of excitement to the season.

I am a big fan of blue and white dishes and will through in some red too, but
I never have been a big fan of brown.  My Mama loved brown and tan.  Her
whole house was done in those colors, but I often found it to be depressing, so
I stayed away.  Yet I have always liked the Friendly Village pattern from
Johnson Bros.  Maybe it's the pop of red that shows up in the different scenes the
sets it apart.

The red in the covered bridge makes me want to step inside and to go beyond
it to see whatever other pops of red will turn up,

It's a cheerful pattern too.

The colors in my centerpiece refer back to the colors in the

The Friendly Village will be around until the day after Thanksgiving.  For
Christmas I plan a little something different, yet with that same homey feel.

Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Dollhouse Miniature Resources Guide, Part1

Before starting a big project like my English Country Cottage Kitchen,
I knew the I would need some statement, quality pieces that would anchor
my room.  Two miniaturists immediately came to mind, both of whom have Etsy 
Shops.  The photo above, shows a big stove surround and an Aga stove. 
These were both created by Rebecca of Tiny Dwelling.  She sells original
hand rafted designs that are unique and memorable. All of the pieces can
be purchased in various color ways, which makes it quite easy to stay within
your own design needs.  I also purchased the Aga stove from her.

This vintage looking standing sink is one of Rebecca's designs too.  Both 
pieces were investments, but the results are so worth the means.  If you
would like to see more of Rebeccca's creations, look here:

Another one of my favorite artisans on Etsy, in Matthew Weston of
Weston Miniature.  He created this lovely arm chair in the photo
above.  Matthew sells splendid furniture, but also fine and one of a kind
accessories too. 

This little porcelain hen sitting on a basket is one of his.  A piece like this,
gives charm to a room and adds character.  I have more of Matthew's 
porcelain pieces that I will share with you later.

Here is an example of a find quality piece of furniture at a very affordable
price.   Don't overlook craft shops like Hobby Lobby where you can find
some nice unfinished pieces that you may paint and make your ow.

This is another favorite miniaturists, Cynthia Lauren Sperin.  I met Cynthia
through blogging and we have been friends for years now.  She enjoys creating
mostly food items and her work is beautiful.  Here she created the
jars of jelly, the dessert, the coordinating towel and book. Everyone wants to
see food on the table, and here items are so yummy looking!  Cynthia's son was
just married, so her shop is empty at the moment, but will fill up again soon.
Stop by and see her at

In the days ahead, I will have more vendors to share with you.  Stay tuned!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, October 7, 2019

I'm Saving Myself for Christmas

As much as I love Fall, despite the fact it has not arrived in South Texas
YET,  I'm not that crazy about decorating for the season.  The season I 
really love to decorate for is Christmas!  Little lights strung everywhere,
beloved Christmas tunes, Hallmark movies, etc.  All of it is magic to me.
I long to put it all up, and when the season is over, I am sad to see it go.
Below are just of a few of the reasons I am saving myself for Christmas:

Between now and Thanksgiving, I may sneak in a few Fall season pics,
but mostly I will wait for the real fun to begin.

Have a happy Monday everyone!

Big Texas Hugs, 
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Tablescape on a Porch Swing

Having a porch swing is so much fun.  It's a great place for a cup of coffee
or tea.  I can just put everything on a tray and bring it out to serve as we
gently swing away.  Ideal for a tablescape!

I adore a vintage thermos and have a hard time passing one up when
I see one!

Don't let this Fall scene fool you.  The sun is still high in that big old
Texas sky, and while the calendar may show that it's Fall, it sure does
feel like summer.  Oh well, give it time.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Two Super Easy and Cheap Projects

I love those little inexpensive pocket size ruled notebooks.  I have them
for keeping track of a variety of things, passwords, etc.  I'm not always
crazy about the covers, but buy them anyway.  

I had some left over scrapbook paper, and it was just enough to cover the
notebook's front and back.  Cheap, super easy and fun!

I have always loved little things.  You must already know that because
of my love of miniature dollhouses.  I also love little sketches and small
graphics.  If I come across one in a magazine, I will cut it out and save it.
I found these little images in a "save it" box and wanted to display them.
I found an inexpensive frame at a thrift shop, painted it white, used
scrapbook paper for a backdrop, and there you have it.  It's sitting on my
office deck next to my iMac.  It makes me smile and smiling is healthy!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, September 23, 2019

English Cottage Kitchen in Miniature

For some time now, I have been gathering pieces for an English Country
Cottage Kitchen.  At first I though I would add them to a dollhouse, but my collection
has such large pieces that I knew would be too big for the typical dollhouse size
room, so I decided to go with a room box instead.  Here it is, and it's a big one.
It was easy to assemble, and the rest is the fun part ~ decorating.

I put down faux brick flooring, but decided to paint the walls an off white.

The surround of the Aga range is the focal point of the room.

I love this French Market Basket filled with sunflowers.

Copper and the braided garlic.

This little hutch is one of my favorites.

The farmhouse worktable.

The farmhouse sink with storage below, and a plate rack above filled
with daily dishes.

As with any home, miniature or real, it takes a while to settle into a 
a new home.  It's a process that begs the question, what could I use in
this blank spot, etc?  After moving in, I had a thought as to what to do
with all those blank walls?  It's coming soon.  In the meantime, I will
be sorting through my stash, and scouring the marketplace!

Today I am joining:

Thanks for stopping by.  Have a fun week!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Transitioning into Fall

I promised myself no decorating for fall until September 23rd.  So far I
have been staying the course, yet I also feel like I need to make a smooth
transition between the seasons.  While I still am using a summery gingham,
I have added apple/cinnamon candles and more berries and more apples.

Apples are fall to me.

Still hanging onto to the basket of fruit.

So there you have it.  A simple changing of the seasons tablescape
that has one foot in summer, and one in fall.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Next week, let the decorating begin!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Spa Day for My Garden

The landscapers were here last week to trim and clean out all of
the garden beds.  It was a huge job and took a few men several
days to complete.  I don't know how they stood it during the 
miserable hot and humid weather, but they were cheerful throughout
the whole process.  The window washers come in next, and they will
also power wash the front porch.  Next comes a painter to brighten
up the trim around the door and repaint the post.  Finally,
after that is finished we will install a new front door.  I'll be
so happy when that's done.

We didn't have a freeze last winter, so all of the tropicals are happy and hardy.

On the other side of that large window is my office.
This is an eastern exposure, so the sunshine is bright
in the morning.  Love it!


There is a camellia bush in there that you don't notice until the spring.

Here is the end of this wing of the house.  This house was custom built in 1948 by
a lovely woman who somehow thought of everything.  You can see the
mid-century modern elements infused with the colonial ones.  

Those cut outs in the brick are very a mid-century look.

This wing of the house faces the side street.  The large window in the middle
is for the dining room, the one next to it is over the kitchen sink. This is
followed by a side entrance that leads to the breezeway separating the house
from the garage.  

There is a whole other wing of this house on the other side for the 
master bedroom suite.  If I had a drone shot, you could see that the 
whole house is shaped like a widened U form with the patio and the
veranda in the center.  They don't build big ranch houses like this one
anymore.  They are just not cost effective.  Back in 1948, however, the 
war was over and everyone was positive and enthusiastic.  I collect
lots of vintage home design magazines from the 1940's and I can
see a lot of the same design elements used in this home.

Here's a shot of the backyard.  So many tropicals back there.  The ginger is over 
ten feet tall and the cast iron plants are very thick.  Thanks for stopping by!

I sure am glad this project is finished!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, September 6, 2019

The Big To Do List

This is the side of our house.  The window with the shutters is in the
living room, and the large picture window is in the dining room.  This 
entire row of azaleas will be trimmed and excess leaves and debris will
be removed.  It has gotten away from us recently and now needs a
bit of TLC.

With temps soaring into the 90's and 100's for weeks now, cleaning up
garden beds has become a monumental task.  In this picture,  you can
see the side entrance through that louvered door leading to the breeze-way.
The azaleas are even bigger now than what you see here, and a volunteer
pecan tree has begun to grow in the midst of them.  The tree no doubt
took root when a squirrel decided to bury his pecan nut right there.  

This is an old photo of the front of our house right after we closed on the property.
We have managed to improve the lawn, and the tropicals on the right are much
larger now. This area will be cleaned up also.

The trim around the front door will get a fresh coat of paint, and the door will be replaced
with a new one.

I want a door like this one.  I think it will be attractive on our
house, and I love all the windows.  Our foyer is very dark, and this
style will bring in lots of light.

Our backyard is an absolute jungle!  Huge beds of ornamental ginger
that stand over ten feet high.  Deep beds of cast iron plants that need to 
have all the dead leaves removed, and the leaf debris removed from the
ground beneath it.  Just an over whelming amount of work to be competed
So my hubby surprised me and spoke to a landscaper.  She gave him an
estimate of what the job will cost, front, back and side yards. We agreed to
her price, and she arrives next week with a team of five men to start
the job, or as she calls it "spa day" for our garden.   I can't wait.  We will
also talk about some new plantings around the front door and get that
area all designed, but will wait until the weather cools off before we tackle
that project.

We are also taking bids to have our electric panel increased in capacity 
that will permit all the equipment needs for the pool and spa.  He
will also give us a quote for a full house generator.  Our next door neighbor
has one and loves it.  If the power should go out, the generator will get the
message and turn itself on.  So, even if we go out of town, and we have a
bad storm and lose power, our generator will automatically click on
to keep everything up and running.

We are getting a new Bosch dishwasher and removing the current
engineered flooring in the kitchen and replacing it with antique
brick.  Where there is still carpeting in the house, it is going to be
pulled out down to the original hardwoods.

Lots of projects, but it's time to get going on making our dreams 
a reality!  Stay tuned.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley 


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