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 

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Round Top is Coming!

In just a little over two weeks, the tents and other venues will
be opening up at Round Top!  Last year at the fall show, I told 
myself that I would skip the next fall, and go to the spring show
because the weather was still so very hot in September.  But
sadly, I missed the show this past spring because I was too sick to
go.  So even though I am still recovering from yet another relapse,
and the weather is still hot, one way or another I will be there!

Unless you have actually been to one of the shows, it is hard to
fully express the excitement it generates.  Miles of tents and 
thousands of visitors.  Music, food, libations and antiques all
join together to make the event spectacular.   I have lived here
for six years now, and it just seems to get bigger and better
each year!  I am going throught my photos of years past just 
to prime the pump.  The days have extended a bit, no longer
just a one week event.  This year's dates are September 19 to
October 6th.  

Treasures tucked away everywhere!  I hope you enjoyed these bits
of inspiration.  If I can make it to the this fall show, I will be happily
taking photos of all the things I love!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Rethinking My Patio and Veranda

This has been a long, hot summer, and it's been a tough one for me too.
Last year I battled a virus that kept me housebound for weeks at a time.  I 
finally turned the corner this past May and started to feel like myself once
again.  Then we went on vacation up in Austin for the 4th of July, and by
the time I returned home, I had relapsed.  Today, thankfully, I finally feel
like I am back on the road to recovery.

One thing I learned during this relapse, is that I need to keep things simple.
I had worked so hard on the garden around the potting shed, and for a while
it was really lovely and I was so happy.  Once the South Texas heat blew in,
the garden began to suffer.  No matter how much water I gave it, everything
eventually started to look ragged and tired.

At some point durning my garden glory days, and prior to my garden fatigue,
I found a woman named Linda Vater on YouTube.  She is an Oklahoma City
gardener with a great love of potager gardens, and topiaries.  She understands
the battle with relentless heat and was getting frustrated at the same time as I

Her suggestion is not to allow annuals to dominate, but to work with more
perennials.  When I look at what is still working in the garden around my
She Shed, it's the perennials that still look fairly good.  

She also suggests filling more big pots.  This idea has been perfect at the 
edge of my veranda.  I can move them as needed, and care is not a hardship.
So, more big pots filled with plants will be on the patio.  I can even grow 
little cherry tomatoes in a pot. 

I am also very excited about trying my hand at creating boxwood topiaries.
Linda has many in her garden rooms, and they are so attractive.  I also 
learned about Southern Living Plants.  I have a lovely big rosemary from 
Southern Living which I purchased locally, but did not know that I could
order online for home delivery too!  I am in zone 9a, so it's helpful to have
a resource that has may heat resistant options.

The link for these plants is Southern Living Plants

Here is a tour of Linda's backyard.  There are many great videos on this

Here is a link to her Instagram account:

So there you have it.  I am feeling better and more enthusiastic about 
my garden.  I'm itching to get going, so stay tuned!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, August 9, 2019

Playing House With My Stash

It's way, way, too hot to go anywhere, so we are hanging around the 
house this weekend.  The pantry is full, and we have no plans.  David 
will be glued to the golf channel as he always is when we don't need to
be anywhere on a Saturday of Sunday.  I doubt very much that he will
play at the club on Sunday afternoon.  He did that a couple of weeks ago
and came home feeling very poorly.  Heat stroke is real and it can be

I will be doing what I have been doing all day today.  A few light chores 
here and there, but mostly just fluffing the pillows and moving things 
around ever so slightly.  I find the whole experience so gratifying.  Since
I am not in the midst of redecorating, I don't look at things very closely.
I just walk through one room and on to the next one without much
thought.  Fluffing a room brings everything into perspective.

It's a good thing that I am a homebody because if I wasn't I would be
miserable.  I keep looking out the windows and wishing I could be outside
working, but what's the point.  It's miserable.  All we can do right now
is to keep everything watered.

Of course, there is always something to dust around here, lol.

David just came home.  I am thinking we will have pizza for dinner tonight
and just settle in and watch TV or read.  In my straightening up efforts today,
I found two pool tile books.  The idea for a pool is being tossed around again.
Hope the weather is kinder where you are and that your weekend is

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Personalized Touches for Your Home

Those of you who have read my blog for a long time know that I march to
my own drum beat and don't follow trends.  If I like something, if it
resonates with me, that's what I gravitate to, and that is what I do.
My home reflects my personality.  You won't find any signs that say
"Gather", etc.  There is nothing wrong with them, but they just don't 
appeal to me.  When I see something I truly love, I have a little chat
with myself.  Do I need it (most likely no).  Does it have a practical
function (probably not).  Is everyone in the "hood" doing this or using 
this?  Well the answer to that one is NO!  I don't do anything that others
are doing just to fit in.  

Here is a little stool I recently purchased from Nancy and her fabuous
transferware shop.   Here is a link if you would like to browse:

When I saw it I ran through my usual check list.  The one overriding
response was "I love it!"  The needlepoint top is so attractive and in 
excellent condition.  The wicker base really adds to it's charm.  In
other words it was screaming "Order Me Please!"

So, here it is in our family room and of course I loved it right away.
The final affirmation came from my hubby who liked it and thought
it was a perfect addition.  I didn't really need his approval, but it sure
was great to receive!

Here we have another expression of my personality.  At the far end of our
family area, rests a cozy seating area we lovingly refer to as our "library".
You will often find me in the evening lounging in one of the leather 
chairs, reading a book, and seeing Bentley cuddled up next to me.  Well one
day I decided it would be magical to have a miniature "library" within the 
big one.  I wanted it to have the same look as the big one, and I wanted it
to look like a "little person" could be enjoying the space.  I already had the
globe and the lamp and phone.  Now I just needed to find the perfect chair.
This is a Reutter "leather" wing back chair.  It's detailing is perfect.  I ordered
 three vintage looking books from a woman in Lithuania, and the whole
spot just came alive. 

My style suits me and reflects the little girl soul who lives within the adult
I have become.  I believe our homes can be far more than just for shelter and
efficiency.  They can remind us of who we are and shows others just
how unique and special we can be.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, July 19, 2019

Mini Tips for Staying Cool During a Scorcher

Down here in South Texas, we are used to hot and humid days.
Down here, it's a typical July, but for the rest of you who live in
more temperate climes, it's called a "Scorcher".

So for all of you suffering from a heat wave right now, here are a 
few "mini" tips to help you stay cool.  First one, stay inside and enjoy
a cupcake!

Tip #2 ~ relax with a good decorating book.

Tip #3 ~ lose yourself in a good mystery, like a vintage Nancy Drew!

Tip # 4 ~ Give into the urge to take a nap!

When you awake from your nap, have a nice tall glass of sweet tea.
That's what we do down South.  Stay cool y'all!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Rediscovering My Authentic Self

What happens to us as we pass through the years?  Are we still the
child with hopes and dreams and great plans for the future?  

The passage of time has not been quite the way I expected.  I have
stepped back recently to take a hard look at my past and how it has
shaped my present.  When we are young, the days and the seasons
move by at a much slower pace.  I'm not sure at what age the days
began to speed up, but they did.  I suppose I was so busy being busy 
that I did not even notice the change.  I didn't realize that the laser 
like focus for my passions was slipping through my fingers.

I was always creative, yet somehow that creativity began to wain.
Once again, not sure exactly when it happened, but it did.  Slowly
my perspective became less about what I liked, and more about
what others liked.  Being a people pleaser began to cloud my
vision and my self confidence.  That spark for life, that passion I
once had was being stripped away, and I was doing little to
stop it.  

Not long ago, I shouted STOP!   It doesn't matter what others
think.  It matters what I think.  I started to eliminate what was no
longer benefitting me, and that included some people too.  Why
should I fill a minute of my time trying to get along with others
who were not putting any effort to get along with me?   I 
decided to let them go.  I wish them well, but I can no longer 
afford to waste my time trying to fit in with others who have
little interest with me.  Almost immediately, I felt a weight
lifted off my shoulders.   The next thing I did was to stop telling
myself I must do this or that.  We all have obligations that we 
can't avoid, but if you look closely at your life, you will soon
realize that many of these "obligations" are created in our
own minds and that nothing bad will happen if we let them go.
Don't procrastinate.  Get done what needs to be done and then
immediately begin focusing on what you want to do.  

Once you clean out the cobwebs in your mind, you will have
the space you need to focus on goals.  Start a plan to fulfill
the dreams you once had, but were shoved aside.  There is no
more "one day", that day is now!  Take hold of it!  It doesn't matter
what others think, in actuality it only matters what you think.

I'm on my way to rediscovering my authentic self, and it's a
long overdue journey.  

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Too Hot for Spending Time in the She Shed

I would love to work on the inside and outside of Sweet Tea Cottage.  Two things are
holding me back though.  One, it is now so very hot and humid outside.   Oppressive is how to
describe it, extremely oppressive!

The next thing that is keeping me inside is aggressive bees.  Two men have been
killed by swarms of bees.  One man in Inez, another in Yokum.  Towns not too
far from here.  This past Sunday, a man was mowing his yard when a swarm of bees
came and attacked him.  He was screaming for help and his entire face and head
were. covered in bees.  Two men stopped to try to help him and were attacked too.
So three have been attacked and two have died from from bee stings.  

The last one was in Victoria!!!

David installed these two new arched windows.  I love them!  I am thinking
about adding a mantle surround to highlight the electric stove. We'll see
how that would look,

Here is the view of the exterior.  I have decided to order some shutters
and two more window boxes too.  It's a work in progress.  Thanks for stopping
by, and stay safe!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Fun Fashion for Summer

Now that summer is in full swing, it's time to start planning some
outfits to wear for parties and date night.  My hubby and I still like to
dress up when we go out for dinner.  I think that dressing up for any
occasion makes it special, and frankly since I love to wear cute clothes, 
it gives me an excuse.

The outfit above is dressy casual (casual because I am wearing it with
white skinny jeans).  The black top is crepe, which gives it a more
flowy look ( and cooler too).  The addition of the little white collar gives
it a dressier look.  Aside from white skinny jeans, I have added patent 
flats in a Mary Jane style with pearl closures, a three strand pearl
bracelet, and a faux alligator black bag.

I love Lilly Pulitzer for summer fun too.  The bright prints are always
memorable, and she changes them often.  This is an off the shoulder
top, with those skinny white jeans again, Jack Rogers gold sandals, a 
Lilly starfish choker, and Lilly clutch in gold.  

I'm planning the rest of my outfits for the long upcoming weekend, and
will share more later.  I also have more new windows added to the
She Shed, so I will be updating you on that as well.

Have a great day!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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