Monday, June 30, 2014

Table Top Vignette Elements

At one end of our living room there is a tea table and two 
Chippendale arm chairs.  This grouping is right next to a large
window and it is a delightful place to sit and look at a magazine
because this north facing spot is bright but not too sunny.

Right now this spot looks bare, but not for long.  Let's add some
cozy elements.

There is quite a bit of red in this room so I added a Chinese tea box filled
with a floral arrangement.  This arrangement both brightens and softens
the top of the table.

I love to add books to arrangements because I love the texture, but also
because I love to read.

This quail figurine belonged to my Mom.  She bought it when my parents
used to live in Scottsdale, Arizona because there were flocks of quail that
gathered on their property each day.  I always like to add elements that
have special meaning.  It personalizes a space.  I cringe every time I hear a
designer on TV tell the audience not to personalize their space.  This may
be of importance when selling a home, but if you are staying in your home
I say personalize it.  It's your home ~ your nest.  Make it your own!

Y'all know that pillows soften a design and this girl loves them.

Add a couple of tea cups and a tea strainer.  It is a tea table after all.

Don't forget to invite a friend to share a couple of hours with you.  The best
design is wasted if it can't be shared with the ones you love.

I could even bring Bentley's fancy water dish in here with
a little treat for him.  He hates to be excluded :-)

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Left My Heart In Bandon, Oregon


Eight years ago David and I had the last vacation that we would have for many,
many years.  After that we would be spending all of our free time caregiving
elderly parents.  But fortunately for us, this was a very memorable vacation.
It all happened because David wanted to play the beautiful Scottish Link style
courses at Bandon Dunes.  It was heaven for him and for me as well because
we rented a cottage on a cliff overlooking the breathtakingly beautiful
Oregon Coast and the Pacific.


Bandon is a small town sometimes called Bandon-by-the-Sea.
It is nestled between a mountainous rain forest to the east and the
Pacific Ocean to the west.  It's a small town of around 3,000 residents.
The weather is almost always cool and often gray.  It is tsunami
country.  The little cottage where we stayed had a sign over the
fireplace warning us of it's dangers.  But despite the gray skies
and cool temps it seemed like heaven to me.  It was like being on the
west coast of England or Scotland on the moors.


The view from our cottage was just like this one.  None of the cottages are
directly on the beach but on a cliff about 80 feet above.   It was a long walk
down the steps to the wide sandy beach, but one that Bentley and I took
happily every day.  For the entire week we walked for uninterrupted miles
along this beach often being the one ones there, but sometimes we met up
with other humans and their dogs.  Bentley was quite a young pup at the time.
He was so curious and happily discovering shells and seaweed.


While Bentley and I happily explored the beach every day, David was here
enjoying these spectacular links.  I don't know how he was able to
concentrate with all of this beauty in the way.


I always felt so small and insignificant walking alongside these giant
monoliths.  It was one time when I can honestly say I did not mind
being a "golf widow".

I leave you with this beautiful video by Cody Cha of winter in 
Bandon, Oregon.  It is a solitary kind of place.  So lovely to me.
I have a dream to one day be here and although I am happily
living in Texas right now, Bandon will always own my heart.

PS~ Click on the full screen option for the YouTube video
to fully appreciate it's beauty.

What a glorious country we call home.
Don't you agree?

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentleyy

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Do You Have Real Friends?

Do you have any friends?  Everyone knows others on a 
superficial basis, but how many of those people are really your

I have lived long enough to know that there are always people who will be
friendly when they can get something they need from you.  After they get 
what they want they are gone.  

Or those who are nice to your face, but then talk behind your back.

Or those who are always aloof no matter how nice you try to be.

Do you try too hard to get that person's attention or do you just move on?
It's never fun to be left out, but at what cost?

What I know for sure is this ~ we are all entitled to some dignity.  
Don't chase after those who don't want you around. 
Have a little pride and I think that someone who wants to be 
a real and true friend will notice you and extend a hand of friendship.

Right Bentley???

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

South of Broad

It's hard to believe that the 4th of July is just a little over a week
away.  We are having one heavy thunderstorm after another and
the dark clouds are making it nearly impossible to get any good 
pics of my house and projects, so I decided to devote the next
week taking y'all on mini visits to some of my favorite cities and
towns of this great land.

I have been so very fortunate to travel to so many far off lands
and I have enjoyed so many different cultures and styles, but for
me there is only one place I call home and that is right here in
the USA. Our nation is so diverse in climate, culture and fashion.
There is truly something for everyone to enjoy here.  So let's
start celebrating the beauty we have right here at home.

First stop ~ Charleston, South Carolina in an area known as
"South of Broad".


Charleston is the quintessential southern city.  Live Oaks dripping
with moss, palm trees, brick pathways, verandas, long narrow and
shuttered windows.  A city where tradition is revered.  Horse drawn
carriages, sweet tea, delicious sea food.  A city that is both hip and
historic.  Perhaps the most charming area of this city is the section
south of Broad.  I am going to stop talking and let you enjoy this
area on your own.  It is one of our nation's treasures.








Charm, elegance, historic significance.  I could go on and on.
One of our treasured southern cities.  From sea to shining sea,
this is a truly great land.

Stay tuned for more special places to love in the USA this
week leading up to Independence Day.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 23, 2014

Here Is The New Look

A bit of a change to my blog header and background was way over due.
I finally set aside a bit of time to make some changes.  

My life is so different since I created the old blog header and chose a
background.  I wanted the new one to reflect the new "me".  It's not the
complete blog overhaul that I would like.  I would still like some
professional help, but with everything that is going on in my life
right now, this is enough of a change just to freshen up things a bit
until I have time for that major over haul.

I played around with a lot of different images, colors and fonts and came up with 
this one.  I sat on it for a couple of days to see if I still liked it and I did.  I thought
about keeping the background white because I do like the clean look, but I 
just fell in love with these little dots, so here they are now in the background.
Most importantly though I wanted to reflect the fact that Bentley and I are not
in Idaho any more.  We are living large down in Texas and it is our new home.
Hope you like the new look!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Need to Re~Group

Blogging is a big part of my life.  It has become very 
important to me.  But I am suffering right now.  I have
lots of loose ends to tie up.  Each day that passes is one
filled with reminders of those who I love and who are
now gone.  

I am in the process of settling my parent's estate.  I 
have to put my emotional self aside and take care of
business.  While it is a bit tedious, it is what I have to
do right now.  The worst aspect is having to listen to
people say "sorry for your loss".  It is kind of them to 
do so I know, but every time I hear those words it is
like taking the scab off a wound.  I will get through it,
but I just need some time.  The last thing I want is for
this task to color my words to you.  Y'all have your
own problems and don't need to listen to mine.  So 
I will take care of business and get back to you when
all is done and a new chapter of my life unfolds.

I treasure each and every one of you!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Monday, June 16, 2014

You Too Can Happily Embrace Change

When a beloved family member dies, one often opens up the old family albums.
That is certainly what I did after my Mom died recently.  I poured over the
pictures of those who have shaped and colored my entire life.  My Aunt Susan
is the only elder left and she is now very frail and has spent the last couple of
years in and out of the hospital.  I speak to her quite often and she keeps 
reminding me to savor every moment of my life because it all goes by too 
fast.  Every time we chat she always asks me "are you having any fun?"

When I was young I thought about having fun all of the time. Everything was so new
and every trip no matter where it led was an adventure. I was very good at
creating fun things to do. I was an only child born to older parents who indulged
my creativity. I don't think I ever said "I am bored" or "What can we do?"

That's me on the right next to my friend Barbie.  Those were carefree happy
days.  My biggest problem in life back then was coming home when my
Mom called me.  I was just having so many adventures with my friends
and I was always late because I didn't want to leave them.

My dreams for my future included the possibility of being the next Annie
Oakley, following a rabbit down a hole like Alice or being whisked up in
a tornado with my little dog Bonnie just as Dorothy had done. I never 
dreamed about marrying a prince charming. I was always dreaming of
doing interesting things in far off magical lands.

Of course I did all of the typical things that young girls do.  I went to elementary,
high school and then college.  My roommate and I joined a sorority.  I survived the
scrutiny and the hazing because I wanted to wear one of the cool jackets with our
sorority letters and go to all the parties.  All of that was fun, but the little girl who 
wanted to live an adventurous life and travel to exotic places stayed alive in my heart.

In my twenties I had a big adventure.  I moved to a middle eastern 
country and I became a First Primary School Teacher to forty-five 
little six and seven years old at the local Sacred Heart School.  It 
was so much fun and the holidays gave me the chance to travel and 
see much of our big wide world.  Notice the great tan.  It was so hot
in Bahrain that the school hours were from 7:30 am until 12:30.
I used to run home after school, have lunch and prepare the next
day's lesson before heading to the beach.  Life was grand.

Next came more schooling. Meeting my future husband and getting
married. The responsibilities started piling up. Career, mortgage, car
 payments and caring for elderly parents. My adventurous and fun days
 were tempered by life. A whirlwind of duties that kept me busy from
early morning until late at night. It happens to all of us and we hardly
notice the time slipping away. With that passage of time our dreams
are put aside too.

Just as quickly, life changed for me once again. We are
living in Texas now. My care giving duties are over. My
husband told me I only need to work if I want to. It's a new
era of my life. A chance to add new photos to our family
album. It's time for me to have new adventures and the
possibilities are endless. I am looking forward to the
ride, but even though I now live in Texas, I am not so
sure that I want to be Annie Oakley anymore ;-)

Perhaps you are at a new stage in your life and are
uncertain of your future path. My suggestion to you is to
embrace new opportunities. Dig deep into your heart and
renew old interests or attempt the ones you were afraid to
try.  With age comes wisdom and a depth of strength just
waiting for you to embrace. Toss away fear and doubt
and always remember, I will be right here to cheer you on!

Wishing Y'All Big Dreams and Happy Trails,
Susan and Bentley

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

So Bored With My Blog Header

I am so bored with my current blog banner.  I really need a change.
David is out playing golf right now and I am playing with PicMonkey.
I should upgrade and while I have not done it yet, I suppose I will.
Brenda wrote a post recently about the designs you can purchase on
etsy.  She shared some good ideas.  Whatever I do it just needs to be

Maybe a new color scheme.  Have you ever seen my Tumblr blog?
I have not been very active on it recently, but what I have enjoyed about 
it is that is is so simple.   I created that blog principally for my own
enjoyment.  A creative outlet where I am not concerned if anyone
reads it or not.  If you want to see it here is the link.

I think it's about time for the calico background to go too.  I loved it
when I first put it up and now I am tired of it.   One of these days
when I have a spare moment and when I have the nerve, I will make
some big changes.  Until then, y'all will be looking at the same old
header and the same old background.  Hope you don't mind too much.

I hope all the dads had a happy Father's Day.  I sure do miss my
own Daddy.  This Wednesday will be the fourth anniversary of
his passing.  He is never out of my thoughts or my heart.

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Teeny Tiny Beach Cottages

When we first moved to Texas I had my heart set on buying a cute
little cottage in Rockport.  Something within walking distance
of the water.  But then we went up to Fredericksburg for our
anniversary and I fell in love with the town and wanted to buy
a little vacation cottage there.  However ~ the two and one half
hour drive back home to Victoria broke an important and long
standing rule for David.  

Years ago while David was still in college he had a part time
job as a cold caller at an investment firm.  His boss coached 
him on selling stocks, but also his rules for living.  One of 
them was that one day when you have saved enough money to
purchase a vacation home it should be no further away than a
two hours from your primary residence.  He said that if it was
any further away, you would seldom use it.  Fredericksburg
breaks that rule.


Rockport is a little less than an hour away.  That means we can
throw a bag in the Jeep, put the leash on Bentley and be down there
in time for dinner on a Friday night after work.


So I looked and looked on the internet for cute houses not too far
from the water and just a bicycle ride into town.  This one was on
the market last year.  So cute with the pink shutters and picket fence.
Hurricane shutters too ~ so important on the coast.  It looked like
 a grandmother lived in it and needed just a bit of tweaking but it
was full of potential.  Sadly it is no longer on the market.


 I kept looking.  My sister Robin The Decorating Tennis Girl (y'all
know we are not sisters by birth, but sisters by choice) has been
looking for me too.  She's such a sweetie and knows exactly what
kind of house I love.  She found a really, really cute one but it is
too expensive.  I talked to my neighbor who is a real estate agent
here in Victoria and she checked to see if the owners would come
down in price ~ but to no avail.  Then Nelda (my neighbor) said
that I should check with our insurance agent because the rates have
really jumped for wind coverage on the coast.  I was about to
give up hope when I discovered these little cottages ...


This is one of a group of cottages.  They are really tiny, about
350 square feet each.  They are all have different layouts and
there is a tropical pool and a private lighted pier for the property.
There is on site management and they rent out.  I tried to get
a reservation but could not.  They are pet friendly and it is a
really popular place to stay.

Here are some pictures of the pool area ...



This is so inviting don't you think?


I am just intrigued by these tiny cottages. They range in price
from $109,000 to $139,000 which is pricey for the small square
footage, but then you can rent them out too.  Rockport is a
vacation destination town in both the summer and winter.
We could use it when we want and then rent it out to defray
the costs.


I am picturing myself with my glass of diet Dr Pepper or sweet tea
lounging on one of the beach chairs in the shallow side of the pool.
Y'all know it gets really hot here.  What a way to cool off!  And ...
most importantly Bentley can be here too.  It would be like
playing in a dollhouse in one of these cottages.  Let me know
what you think about the idea.

BTW ~ I still have my cold but am feeling better than
yesterday.  I did find two different places that ship homemade
soup and cookies and they are:

Grandma's Chicken Soup
Spoonful of Comfort

They are both a bit pricey, but would be a nice option to
sending flowers.  I am also thinking that for all you good
cooks, this could be a business opportunity for you.  Or
maybe me.  I love to make soup and Bentley could help
me deliver!

Big Texas Hugs,
Susan and Bentley


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