Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Pre Christmas Decoration Tour of My House

I just published an article on eBay the other day and took some pics of
my living room for the piece.  I have not decorated the living or dining room
for Christmas yet.  I know, I am so behind schedule.  We took an 
unplanned trip to Houston today, so tomorrow after church all the
decorations will go up.

I moved the tea table in front of the fireplace so that we could make 
room for the Christmas tree.  Would love to have a fire in the fireplace 
but considering that it's so warm outside right now I will skip that.

Our living room is so formal, but many of these things were inherited and
being the sentimental girl I am, I just can't part with them.  So the family
room is the kick up your feet room and the one we really live in all the time.

Our house is sixty-six years old and was built back when living and 
dining rooms were more formal.  I rearrange the mantel often.  This is
it's latest incarnation.

I love red dining rooms.  Our dining room back in Idaho was red too.
They say that red increases the appetite.  We don't have any 
problem with not eating enough ;-)

I have never made up my mind as to whether I want to hang those
horse prints or just leave them resting on the sideboard, so I have
just chosen to do nothing.

These pocket doors lead into the living room.  There are another set of
pocket doors that lead into the family room.  Both the living and dining
rooms can be completely shut off from the family room.  I am guessing 
that the woman who originally owned this house had it designed
that way so that she and her husband could entertain in these rooms
and the kids could be on their own in the family room.  I don't know this
for sure, I am only thinking that it's so.  The ghost who lives here has
yet to confirm that thought ;-)

I'll post some pics after the tree is decorated.  See you then!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Savoring the Season

When we were children the anticipation of Christmas morning
seemed like an endless journey.  We counted and crossed off each 
day on the calendar longing for the big day.  

Now, the minute December 1st rolls around there is a mad flurry
of shopping, parties, addressing cards, wrapping and mailing packages,
decorating and baking cookies.  The hours and days fly by at break 
neck speed.  

I just want to yell ~ stop!  Slow down.  Let's take a few moments to
savor the season.  It will be New Year's Day in a couple of weeks and
all the decorations will come down and we will be rushing towards
the Super Bowl and then Valentine's Day.  


Why are we in such a hurry?  Why this self imposed rush?

Come join me for a few moments of savoring the season.  Make 
yourself a pot of tea or a cup of hot chocolate.  Let's sit by our
Christmas trees for a few minutes and take in the beauty.  Go for a
walk around your neighborhood tonight and enjoy the Christmas
lights.  Slow down a bit and take it all in.  Call an old friend and take
some time to chat.  Just take some time to be in the moment because
it all goes by too fast.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Memories and a Little Lamb

These past few weeks leading up to Christmas have been a roller coaster
of emotions for me.  Some days I do quite well ~ better than I 
expected.  On other days I just don't even feel like getting out of bed.

Hospice of South Texas checks up on me offering me support.  I know
that the wide range of emotions I am experiencing are normal.

A few days ago I ran into someone who asked me about
my Mom.  She had not heard that Mom had passed away.
It was all I could do to hold back the tears because once
they start to flow they seem impossible to stop.

I am getting ready to decorate the big Christmas tree in the living 
room.  In the past, decorating the tree has been such a joy.
Every ornament brought back many happy memories.  This
year I have all of my own ornaments but I also have all of the
ones that belonged to Mom and Daddy.  Opening this large
box of carefully and lovingly packed ornaments has been 
bittersweet.  Mom died about six weeks after packing away
these ornaments last year.  The first Christmas without her ~
the fifth one without Daddy.

Yet I am also finding some comfort in the familiar.  Things that
have been treasured for a few years and those loved for so many.
Memories so precious and filled with the voices and images of
loved ones.  I don't think that there is any other time of year that
so filled with the past as is this time.

Yesterday when I shared photos of the tree in my studio, a reader
asked me about the little lamb on my tree that I treasure.  So
in response to that request, here is the back story.

When I was a little girl, I became very ill with pneumonia.  I was
hospitalized and when I reached the crisis stage of the illness, the
doctors let my parents know that they were giving up hope.  I 
remember the experience quite well.  I floated up above my little
body and saw my parents and the doctors below.  I did not know
why they were worried because I felt fine but could not communicate
that message to them.

Well, obviously I pulled through.  However, the idea of almost losing
their only child who was conceived after many years of a childless
marriage was terrifying to them.  My mother was now old enough
that no other children would be born.  She had also experienced
the loss of her own older sister and brother to illness while she
was a young girl and this early knowledge of death was very
real to her.  

As a consequence, she became what her friends said was
"over protective".  Every sneeze, every little cough became
a national emergency.  I missed going to lots of movies
and outings that all kids love because of the potential for
catching some kind of bug.  Crowds were strictly off limit. I 
spent lots of time at home with my little Scottie dog and my 
dolls and toys.  

I longed to be like the other kids in my school and my
neighborhood but understood that the freedom I would
have to participate in these activities would be limited.
As a consequence, any time I did get to join in on any
adventures became especially meaningful to me.

The Christmas season was a particularly guarded one because
Mom never wanted me to be sick for the holidays. But one year
she took me along with a couple of friends to a Christmas
pageant at a nearby church.   I was incredibly happy that day to
be with my friends and be in a roomful of other kids.  It was
truly a high point in my young life.  

There was a Christmas bazaar following the pageant and my Mom
and some of her friends were shopping for gifts.  Mom gave me
some money and told me I could pick out anything I wanted.  I 
was very careful to look through everything before I made my
decision ~ but then I saw him ~ this little lamb.  It was love at
first sight.  His little pink ears and the bell around his neck.
I paid for him and took him home and have loved him ever since.
He became a symbol to me that life could get better.  He
became a symbol of hope.  

So now, years later as I lovingly placed him on the tree in
my studio the memories that flood back are happy ones and
there is hope that life will go on and that it will be good.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Tree in My Studio

I added a little white Christmas tree to my studio filled with 
vintage Christmas memories.

Ornaments from many Christmas days gone by.

This little lamb is one of my greatest treasures.  I so look forward to
seeing it each year.  I have tiny teacups and teapots hanging from the
branches because I love tea so.

A sparkly snowflake and a pink bow on top.

The little caroling angels that once belonged to my grandmother.

Two of her reindeer too.

And a little card that came from her to me years ago.
All special treasures that I love.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, December 15, 2014

And Another Christmas Tool Box

This black tool box has been decorated for many different occasions and
it's latest incarnation is lined with burlap, filled with Christmas boughs and 
pinecones and is on display on the breakfast room table.

Tucked against the wall behind it is my vintage black deacon's bench.
See the Santa pillow?  He's wearing a ten gallon hat and cowboy boots
y'all.  My Mother-in-Law bought me that pillow after David and I got 
married and moved to Virginia.  Lee didn't want us to forget our
Texas roots.

I bought this tartan runner at Lord and Taylor's in Houston, back
when they had a store at the Galleria.  I bought it back before David
and I were married over 25 years ago and I used it on the same
farmhouse table back in my apartment in Memorial Creole.  I still
love it and use it every year. 

When David and I were in Houston for Thanksgiving we drove by
my old apartment on Memorial Drive.  Memorial Creole was a
wonderful place to live.  It was a short drive to my office on Post
Oak Boulevard and within an easy bike ride to my then future
in-law's home in Hunters Creek Village.  Sadly, David's parents
are gone now and the lovely big home where David grew up
has been torn down and a McMansion is now in it's place.  When
we went to David's sister's house in Piney Point I hardly recognized
Cindy's street.  So many of the older homes have been replaced by
enormous ones.  Cindy added on to her house, but I was happy to
see that I still recognized the exterior.  Time marches on, and 
things change.  Being the traditionalist I am, I feel a bit sad when
it does, but I was so happy to see that my old apartment complex
has retained all of it's creole charm.  

Bentley and I will be sharing pics of all the tartan in our
family room.  Don't be surprised to see Bentley on every
chair and sofa in that room.  It's his hangout :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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