Friday, March 29, 2019

What I Have Been Doing Lately

I have been decoupaging eggs recently.  It's just so much fun and I have
been having a great time.  I think it's been good for me too because I have
been able to stop worrying about the asthma attacks.  The last couple of
days have been so much better for me, and I am so relieved.

I have been cutting out designs from these pretty Caspari cocktail
napkins and decoupaging them onto wooden eggs.  It's a bit time
consuming, but fun too.

I am planning a Spring tablescape with these eggs.  I will probably
show you the results next week.

 I also used Caspari napkins for these blue and white toile eggs.  I have
so many blue and white pieces in my dining room, and I think that all
the eggs grouped together in a big crystal bowl filled with magnolia
leaves will make a nice centerpiece for the table.

I still have several more eggs to complete.  My next project is a grouping
of hand painted eggs.  I have to sharpen my skills again.  Years ago I 
hand decorated furniture and sold it at various shops.  It was so labor intensive
that I gave it up.  Painting Easter eggs seems like a lesser undertaking, so
I am up for it.  

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  It is 80 degrees here today, but it 
looks like we will be having rain and thunderstorms over the weekend.
More indoor projects in the future.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 25, 2019

Blast From the Past Easter Decor

Every seasonal holiday I dip into my archive to see what decorations I have
used.  After a couple of years, I forget.  Let's take a look and see what I have
created for past Easters.

Bunny on the mantel.  Mantels are alway convenient spots to decorate.
We all seem to gravitate to them as a back drop.

Of course there must be bunnies somewhere!

And Easter chicks too.

Bunnies found in my studio ....

and bunnies on trays.

Popping out of my cereal bowl.

But this one is my favorite one of all!  Thanks for taking
a tour down memory lane with me.  This will help me 
decide what to do for this Easter.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring At Last!

Happy first day of Spring!  It is sunny outside today too.  What a bonus!
I was getting so tired of the gray, damp, and windy days.  I just stopped
in to say hi, and now I am back outside to do more yard work.  There is
nothing like playing in the dirt to lift one's spirits.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 18, 2019

Planning for Spring and Easter Decor

I have not been doing any big tablescapes lately, and now I am in the
mood to do something fun.  Wednesday is the first day of Spring and I
am so ready for it, and know you are too.  What better way to usher in
Spring than with a table all decked out and celebrating the season.

I found these darling Caspari beverage napkins when I was in Brenham
a couple of weeks ago.  My plan is to take white wooden eggs from
Hobby Lobby and decoupage them with the images.  I think it will be 
bright and cheerful, looking like Spring but not necessarily Easter.

The eggs in the carton are paper mâché.  I base coated them with happy
spring pastels and will be hand painting them next.  I am looking forward 
to a big scene with these eggs as a component.

The tree trimmers and the plumbers are gone.   Our yard man came to
cut the grass and pick up the leaves.  Hopefully most of them are down

The inflammation in my bronchial tubes has improved.  Now I am
having an issue with anemia.  It's a problem I have battled most of 
my life.  When it hits, I feel like staying in bed all day because I am
too exhausted to do much else.  I have added iron, B12 and C into my
diet in larger quantities and hopefully will be my usual self once again.
I am normally so healthy, but this Fall and Winter have been tough on
me.  I am looking forward to warmer and sunnier days more than 
ever before.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Calgon ~ Take Me Away!

Do y'all remember that ad from Calgon Bath Products?  Well, at the
moment I would love to be soaking in the tub and just letting the bubbles
take me away to a magical place that is peaceful and quiet.

For the past two days, I have been listening to the sound of chain 
saws and big chunks of oak tree limbs hit the ground.  The tree
trimmers are here to clip off all the suckers from the limbs and
to clean out the dead branches.  They started at 8 am yesterday 
morning and didn't quit until after 5 pm in the evening.  They 
shout from the ground ... "take more off there, a little to the right".
Many of the limbs hang over our roof, so I can hear the sound of
boots walking around. The same thing is going on today.

No tree is left untouched.  The crepe myrtles are getting a
haircut too.  There are five or six guys on the crew and they
are working really hard.  

Coincidentally, we have another plumbing problem no
doubt caused by the same huge trees.  I think that our
plumber has my cell phone number memorized.  Years ago,
before we bought this house, the same plumber convinced the
owners to install clean outs to make it easier to clean out any
roots that were making their way into the line.  So today in 
addition to all the chain saw noise, I am also hearing the 
roto rooter machine humming away.  It's turning out to 
be a bigger problem than originally thought, so don't know
when they will be done.

Meanwhile little Bentley is a bit confused.  He can hear all
of the commotion, but he just can't see it.   He has not been
able to freely explore his yard, and of course that does not
make him too happy.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Are You Ready to Roux?

The basis for most cajun cooking is the roux.  It's easy to make, but
it cannot be rushed.  

Gather two simple ingredients, a fat, and flour, equal portions of
each.  Melt butter over medium heat and slowly add the flour.  Keep
stirring to gently blend these two ingredients together.

You can use a whisk or a wooden spoon.  I generally switch to a spoon
once the flour and butter is combined.  As you can see in the photo above,
the roux is at a blonde stage.  This stage can be a base for cooking veggies
for a soup.

If you want to make a gumbo or another cajun dish, a darker roux will
add more depth of flavor.  It's not hard to get to this stage, but it takes
time and patience.  Keep stirring over a low heat.  This process will
generally take at least 30 minutes, and is dependent on the temperature
of your burner. The darker the roux, the more often it needs to be
stirred, so don't walk away and forget it.

At this point, add the "trinity" which is chopped onion, chopped
green pepper, and chopped celery.  You may add garlic too and a
cajun spice mixture.  It's your choice if you want to add shrimp, 
chicken, sausage or all three.  Make it your own.  Enjoy!

Have a safe and happy Mardi Gras!

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, March 4, 2019

Road Trip to Brenham, Texas

This past Saturday, David and I were getting tired of sitting around
the house.  We had a serious case of cabin fever.  Our little town has been
stuck in one weather mode ~ cold, windy and rainy.  Too miserable to
do anything outside.  

We decided to take a little one day vacation and head north up the 
road to Round Top and then on to Brenham.  It really didn't seem like
a very good day for a road trip to Brenham because the weather was the
same as here, but sometimes just a change of scenery is uplifting.  So,
David, Bentley and I climbed into the SUV and headed up north.

Once you get to the outskirts of Victoria, you are in the country all
the way up route 77 to Round Top.  No bluebonnets yet, too cold,
but still the rolling ranch land I so enjoy seeing.  It was fairly foggy, but
that seemed to make the landscape all the prettier.

In a few weeks the towns of Warrenton and Round Top will be 
filled with tents and shoppers.  We decided it would be a good time
to take advantage of the lull, and stop at Royer's for some pie!

After collecting our pie for later in the evening, we headed on to 
Brenham.  I will warn you, this next portion of the blog post is photo
heavy, so I will stop chatting so much, and just let you enjoy.

We stopped at Hermann Furniture.  This is a wonderful store that has
been in business since 1876, and continuously run by the same family!
This store sells furniture, and fabulous accessories.  I just wanted everything!

Beautiful tablescapes.

Special bunnies for Easter.

Darling artwork.

Just look at this adorable watering can painting.

Lots of items in the blue willow motif.  Y'all know I love that!

Wonderful trays and accessories for entertaining.

A great selection of Caspari paper plates and napkins.

Cute tray.  I was tempted, but I am loaded with trays right now.

Check out this darling wrought iron cart.  Perfect for serving 
cocktails and wine on the veranda.

Adorable lamps, and well priced too.

Bed and table linens.

Love this wreath!

Look at these cute carrots!

Easter table accents and place cards.

What a fun store!  It was my first visit, but sure will not be my last.
If you want to learn more about this historic treasure, here is
the LINK.

Thanks for stopping by.  I will be back tomorrow to share a
Mardi Gras recipe with you.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Friday, March 1, 2019

Happy First Day of March!

It's been very cool and very wet.  The kind of weather that drives us all
inside into our cozy homes.  Yet, Spring is on the way and is starting to
give us little glimpses of it's glory.  My azalea bushes around the patio
are beginning to slowly open their blossoms.

What a glorious sight!

Happy March 1st everyone!  Let spring be renewing and hopeful for
each of us.

Sparkle and Shine and Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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