Thursday, June 22, 2017

Retro Cocktails

I mostly drink wine these days if I am having an alcoholic beverage,
but there is something to be said for the retro cocktail.  I inherited these
great 1960's era cocktail glasses from my parents.  They used to love
inviting friends over for cocktail parties.  Everyone dressed up in their
party clothes and stood around with a glass that always seemed to be
garnished with a slice of citrus, cocktail onions, olives or a cherry.

Mom passed around little silver trays filled with canap├ęs and hors d'oeuvres.
There was always music in the background and lots of laughter.  As a young
girl, I was allowed to say my hellos to everyone and then disappear up the
stairs to the TV room on the second floor.  I dreamed of one day being so
grown-up and sophisticated :-)

As an adult, I don't know if I have ever felt quite as sophisticated as my
parents and their friends used to be, but I still enjoy pulling out some of their
cocktail party ware and living the old school life for an evening.  In fact, I 
think it would be really fun to plan an evening like that with our new friends
here in Texas.   Until then, I think I will prepare some retro appetizers for
our weekly appetizer Saturday night.  Let me know if you want me to
share the recipes.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Adorable Pup All Grown Up

Do you remember the adorable little lost puppy that Bentley and I found
on one of our nightly walks last fall?  The poor little guy was hiding behind 
a bush in a neighbor's side yard.  He was scared and lonely and 
came running out and clung to my leg for protection.

We took him home.  Bentley wasn't too thrilled about it, but the
dear little guy needed the safety of a home and some food in his little
belly until we could find his owners.

I named him Andrew.

Of course, Andrew stole my heart.  We learned he had not been micro-chipped
and we asked around the neighborhood and no one knew anything about
him.  Trust me, I wanted to keep him, but I knew it would not be fair to
Bentley who is an old dog now.  I didn't want Bentley to think he was being
replaced by some cute young pup.  The answer was to find this little guy
a new loving family.

Look at this face!  Honestly, how could you not fall head over heels for him???

With the help of my friend and neighbor, a potential family was found.  They
came over to meet the little guy and they were just as smitten as I was.
Karen and Jacob are dog lovers and received a good review from friends.
It was time for me to say my goodbyes and send little Andrew off to his 
forever home.  

Tears, tears, tears :-(  I had to be brave and kept telling myself it was the
best solution.  

Andrew's name was changed to Chewie (Chewbacca) after the Star Wars
character.  And here he is now, all grown up ....

 He is happy in his forever home with his loving family.
That family is about to get bigger any minute now because Karen and
Jacob will soon be first time parents of a little girl.  

Don't you just love happy endings?  I sure do!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cowgirl Up Metamorphosis

I am changing the decor of my little shed from garden/potting shed decor 
to cowgirl decor.  I felt the need for a change and also to embrace my
inner cowgirl.  

I have been gathering up the elements to make the transition.  I already
have many of them, but I am adding to the pile.  The only time I have
enjoyed myself as much is when I have been working on my miniatures.

It's going to be a amalgam of country, western and farmhouse elements.

I'll be sharing the progress with y'all.  Until then ....
Happy Trails to You!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I Was Daddy's Little Girl

Today is Father's Day and it was seven years ago today that my Daddy passed
away.  He was the center of my universe.  I adored him and his memory lives
forever in my heart.

Most little girls think their daddy is the best one in the world.  That is how it
should be.  My parents were a bit older when I was born, and since I was the only
one, I always had their full attention.  My Mom was always the practical and more
serious of the two.  My Daddy, while a very successful and prominent business man
had the heart and soul of a child.  When I asked him to read me a bedtime story, he
gladly did so, but with a twist.  He knew that I had memorized the plot and all the
words of every story, so he would change all the words to keep me guessing.
Bedtime at our house was an hour filled with giggles and story line exaggerations.
I never knew what to expect, but knew it would be fun.

Daddy loved dogs and taught me to both love and respect them.  I received a 
puppy at age five, and she became a very important member of the family.
Daddy told me all the stories of all the dogs he had before I came along.
Our little Scottie, Bonnie was added to the list of VIDs ~ Very Important Dogs.

He was also a perfectionist and loved architecture.  When I asked for a tent
in the backyard, I not only received a tent, but one with a hardwood floor.
It was the coolest tent in the neighborhood :-)

Daddy also constructed a huge igloo out in our front yard one winter
that was big enough for me and all my friends, and of course, Bonnie too.

Daddy never thought that I was limited because I was a girl.  He told me that
I could do anything I put my mind to.  He encouraged me to follow my dreams
and to run my own race.  

Thank you Daddy!  I miss you so much and look forward to the day when
we will be together once again.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A New Little Herb Garden

Hi strangers!  We are back home in Victoria after a wonderful and restful
trip to Austin.  We always have such a great time there.  This time, I made
a stop at the Red Barn Garden Center.  I was in heaven!  As I strolled along
with my garden cart I kept thinking how much will I be able to fit into our
vehicle???  I had to account for David's golf clubs and our luggage and 
Bentley's luggage.  None of us ever seem to travel light.  

Speaking of packing .... why oh why do I bring so many outfits and pairs
of shoes?  As I was packing to go home I realized just how many tops
and skirts and pairs of sandals I did not wear.  So silly to bring so much.
I should know better by now :-)

Back to herb gardens ~ the Red Barn had so many varieties, and everything
looked so healthy.  I was designing in my head where to put everything I
purchased.  I love fresh herbs from the garden.  I love the glorious fragrance 
they emit and so yummy in cooking and salads.

I remembered that I now have these cute little spatterware pots.  I gave these to my Mom
years ago to put on her kitchen windowsill over her sink.  I used a vintage coffee pot for
my Ice Plant.  Hopefully it will not be long before this blossoms out.

I put some sedum in a hanging pot along with a tiny birdhouse.  Y'all know I
am crazy for succulents!  Next time I am in Austin I will head back to the
Red Barn for some more.  Their selection is fabulous.

I'll tell you what I did to get a little more space for, my pots.  I had an
old kitchen cart that was sitting in the garage.  I was thinking of either
selling it or giving it to Goodwill, but then I had a brainstorm and 
decided that it would be perfect for my herbs.  Since it's on wheels, I 
can roll it around to get more or less sun as needed and I can keep snips
and trowels in the drawer and watering cans and more on the shelves
below.  Here it is ....

Isn't it handy?  I picked up another hibiscus too.  I have one in the front
of the house that has lovely ruby red blossoms.  This one is yellow.  These
do very well in this climate, so I will be planting this on on the side of the 
shed.  I will be showing you more later.  

We had a wonderful time up in Austin but now we are glad to be
back home again.  That's it for now.  I hope you are all well and happy!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 5, 2017

Planter Boxes and Quiet Garden Spots

In my 1948 ranch style house there are lots of planter boxes in various spots
in the garden.  I have been busy filling them up.  We had two days of frost
last winter and we lost lots of plants.  The caladiums were particularly hard
hit, so I planted new bulbs and they have been filling in so quickly.  The 
planter box for these caladiums is about 18 feet long.   Just below this long
stretch is another lower planter box just at the edge of the patio.  It's a
quiet and peaceful spot and you can hear the trickle of water from the wall
fountain just above.

This spot can be enjoyed from both outside and inside too because the
windows in the family room over look it.

These little steps up to the guest bedroom are decked out in floral
arrangements now too.

I finished off the succulent planter.

This little trio is tucked away on the steps.

But before you reach the steps you must pass the Buddha.  It's a peaceful
figure in a shaded and quiet spot.  This garden Buddha belonged to my Mom
and Daddy.  They were both fascinated with Japanese gardens.  

We have hung three hummingbird planters and I am trying to keep them
happy by providing some of their favorites, Lantana and Vinca along with
the nectar.

Summer has arrived in South Texas.  The hot and humid days have
returned.  I need to take lots of breaks from gardening now, but it 
does not stop me completely.  The garden is my happy space and I 
can't stay away for long.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Our 28th Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 28th wedding anniversary.  I am stunned at how fast the 
years have passed.  We have survived many good times, and many sad
ones too.  We have lived through good economic years and some rough 
ones.  We have lived in Virginia, Idaho and now back to Texas.  All of
 our moves were big ones we managed to build a happy and healthy
home in each state.  

We held each other up as our parents passed away.  We cried together
through our miscarriages.    

We have enjoyed some really great travels together.  Summers up in 
David's family cottage in New Hampshire.  Winter visits to my parents
in Arizona.  Many, many trips during our years in Virginia to Williamsburg
and up and down the eastern seaboard.  When we moved to Idaho, we 
vacationed in Sun Valley and McCall and Seattle, Washington and 
Portland, Oregon.  We also spent a lot of time on the Oregon Coast.

We made trips to California, San Francisco, La Jolla and Palm Springs.
Now that we are back in Texas, we often travel to Houston, San Antonio
and Austin.  We have always traveled with our Yorkies, first Bitterman,
then Binkie and now Bentley.

I can't imagine my life without David.  Our lives have settled into one of
happy contentment and I love him dearly.  

I read that the divorce rate has dropped in recent years.  It's still high, 
but it's an improvement.  Here is the link to the article.  To young marrieds
I have these words of wisdom.  Cherish your marriage.  Laugh and enjoy
each other's company.  Hold each up when times get rough, and they will.
Build a solid nest to share and enjoy each moment, because the years go
by so quickly.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I'm Crushing on Succulents

Every time I go to the nursery I see more and more wonderful succulents.
I picked up a couple last weekend to put into this cream and sugar set
I picked up at a thrift shop years ago.  Now they are at home on a wicker
table on the veranda.

I moved this bowl of succulents to a place that has more protection 
because they were getting too soggy.   Hopefully they will be 
happier here.

I bought a hen and chicks plant for this shell above.  I need more plants now!
I also did not realize that I need cactus soil, so that is on my list now too
along with some sand and more pebbles.

I found this YouTube video and I want to plant by dough bowl like this
now too.  It's a great project and a good video, but you will need to wait
for a short commercial for it to begin.

Don't y'all want to try this?  I sure do!
Happy planting.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My Shabby Chic Teacup Wreath

Hi ~ it's been a while!  I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day
weekend.  We did.  Lots of rest and relaxation and some great time
spent with friends.  I did some more shopping for the garden.  I 
planted two knockout rose bushes and am adding some ornamental
grasses to a new bed.  But I am most excited about the shabby chic
teacup wreath I created for my office/studio door.  

If you remember last Thursday's post, I showed you the little tea set
I purchased with the idea of incorporating it into a wreath.

Well .... here it is.

I had so much fun hunting for the right flowers and looking for ribbon.

I bought a new grapevine wreath too and sprayed it off white.

I had so much fun putting this together.  I hope you like it as much as
I do.

Can't wait to show you my succulent planter too.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, May 25, 2017

An Idea for a New Craft Project

I recently had an idea for a wreath to hang on the door of my office/studio.
I decided to use tea pots and teacups as my theme, so I started hunting for
tea cups and then it dawned on me that a child size tea set would be ideal.
I went onto eBay and found this adorable set.  It arrived in the mail today.

This gardening wreath is what really got me dreaming about theme 
wreaths.  You may recall this one I shared on the blog a few weeks ago.

I spend so much time in my office, especially since I have been hard at
work doing research for my book ~ which by the way is a mystery ~ and
I am completely caught up in the personality of my protagonist and the
murder she attempts to solve.  Everything I have in this space is meant
to encourage my creative pursuits and it's truly my hideaway and I only
share it with Bentley.  I always have music playing in the background, and
I often have a cup of tea by my iMac, and Bentley is usually curled up
in his favorite chair by the window.   It's a shabby chic, cottage style 
type of Zen.  

It's a good spot for reading too and I keep a stack of some of my very 
favorite mysteries in the bookcase.  

For many years, I wondered and searched the answers to my longing to find
the true meaning of my life.  Now I know, and my my mind and my heart is
just over flowing with ideas.  I believe that this little room in my house has
been a conduit for all this creative activity and I treasure every moment I
spend here.

I hope to gather all the supplies I need to create this special wreath over
the weekend.  I plan to share it with you next week.  It will be a signal that
once you pass through the doorway and it's teacup wreath, you will be
entering my special creative Zen Zone where hopes and dreams come
to life.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, May 22, 2017

Sometimes Life Can Be Bittersweet

Recently, David and I were talking about a couple who we knew years ago
before we were married.  We met this couple while sitting around the pool of
our apartment complex.  The four of us instantly hit it off and we started doing
lots of things together.  Their names were Ken and Kathy.

They were a well educated, professional couple who had been living
abroad with Marathon Oil and were now back in the states and living
at this complex full of upwardly mobile and mostly single twenty somethings.
There were barbecues and parties around the pool every weekend and 
Ken and Kathy just fit in and had fun for a time.  

They were married and we were engaged, so our days at the swinging
single apartment complex were numbered as we were all looking to put
down more permanent and stable roots.  They were looking for a house
to buy in the West University area and we were looking there too.  Kathy
found a house first and we spent Saturdays going to tag and garage sales
looking for things to fill up their home.

We still managed to do fun things together as a couple and I have
very fond memories of the time we all rented a condo down in Galveston
for Mardi Gras.  We stood in a huge crowd of people and listened to
Otis Day and the Knights sing the iconic song Shout.

Kathy and I sang our hearts out along with Otis.  It was so much
fun and I will never forget it!

Kathy is the one who helped me find this wonderful hutch that lives
in my breakfast room.  We found it at a garage sale in West University,
and it has been with me at our homes in Virginia and Idaho and now
back in Texas.  Kathy bought a vintage car for Ken and had it restored
as a surprise for him.  When it was finished, we all got dressed up and
drove the car on our way to dinner.   Fun times, great memories.

David accepted a new job in Virginia and after our wedding we took off
for our new life there leaving Ken and Kathy behind in Texas.  We managed
to stay in touch and visited with them the first couple times we came 
back to Houston for a visit.  Then they moved again and we moved to
Idaho and unfortunately, the four of us loss touch.  

A week or so ago, David and I were sitting around talking and the
subject of Ken and Kathy came up.  I was determined to find them and
discovered an address for them in one of the coastal towns on the
Texas Gulf coast.  We found a Facebook page for Ken and so David
sent him a message.

Ken responded, but the news he shared was sad.   He lost Kathy a couple
of years ago.  He lost a wife, and we lost an old friend.  Oh how I wish we
had searched for them sooner.  

I have been thinking of Kathy since I heard the news yesterday.  She was
a sweet, cheerful and fun loving person.  I have such fond memories of
her.  Kathy, if you can hear me now, one more time, this one is for you ...

Till we meet again.  I hope that we can sing to this song
together in Heaven.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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