Monday, February 28, 2011

Music Mondays!

Every Monday evening Louis Dean hosts a musical jam session here in our home.
Mondays are his favorite days!
He spends the afternoon gathering his music and setting up the stands and  getting his instruments tuned.
Tonight we had a nice fire in the fireplace......

a real mood setter on this chilly last evening of February.

The candles were lit in the dining room......

And dinner was served! A simple meal of bean soup, homemade cornbread,
 a 'fluffy' salad, and iced tea.
Tonight I used the napkin rings my children made many years ago.
Cardboard tubes with copper wired ribbon wrapped and tied in a bow!

Then it was MUSIC time!!!
I am NOT a good photographer and my camera is a bit temperamental!
These three musicians make great music together.

If you are ever in the neighborhood on a Monday evening......
feel free to drop in and enjoy some good country music!
Better yet! If you play an instrument.....why don't you come join us?

You don't need any brains to listen to music.

Luciano Pavarotti

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Cats Visit!

Amber brought her cats back for a visit!
They arrived on Friday afternoon and just left a little while ago.
The cats! How we have missed them!
Amber and Mike had many social events to attend so HIS parents had their two Labs over.
We got the cats! They 'lived' with us (the cats) from June to December while Amber and Mike returned from a year in Scotland and then getting settled back in Katy with a new house.
Both cats grew up here in Amber's the guest room....when the cats aren't using it!
July is 18 years old and Snowball is 13.
They both have illnesses which require medication.

July gets a thyroid pill morning and night.

Snowball receives an insulin injection twice a day.

They EACH receive a lot of TLC from Louis Dean!

We may be visiting the SPCA or a pet adoption agency in the near future.
We are thinking perhaps it is time to have our very OWN c.a.t.

Cats never strike a pose that isn't photogenic.
Lillian Jackson Braun

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wine Bottle Lights

I am loving these Wine Bottle Lights!
We are celebrating our daughter in law's birthday tonight and I decided to make one as a gift!

Every one I make turns out a little bit different.

This particular bottle actually held one of my favorite wines.
It is from France....and has been unavailable in the United States for the last few years.
I don't know why...but I am sure there must be a reason.
I was thrilled when I saw a bottle in the wine department of Tom Thumb recently.
We have been known to buy and drink a bottle of wine simply because we liked the label and wanted to make a wine light from it!

For this gift I used a 20 count strand of lights threaded down the open top.

I thought making a 'still life' in a basket would be pretty so I stopped by Hobby Lobby and picked up some  fake cheese and bread and a fresh cluster of grapes.

Arranged in a flat basket with a little crinkled filler....
I think it makes a nice little gift!
I do so hope she likes it!
One COULD add REAL bread and cheese and a larger basket with some additional fruit!
That would be even nicer! Especially if you add a FULL bottle of the wine to go with it!
Perhaps a couple of beautiful wine glasses as well?
The possibilities are endless!
A unique one of a kind gift without breaking the bank!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Simple Abundance

This has been one of those weeks when I have simply enjoyed the simple abundance of my life.
It started on Sunday when I hosted a family dinner and had all four of my grandchildren here...
as well as my oldest two children.
I basked in the glow of that good day all week!
I am STILL basking in that glow.
It has been a GOOD week!
A creative week.
I started several art projects.

I worked on these again last night since I have had my art table set up all week.

I like to have several projects going at one time.....
The little boy and girl is from a snap shot of my grandson and granddaughter.
This was taken a few years ago but I have enjoyed looking at the photo so much...
I got the idea of painting it!
They were actually walking across a parking lot but I think I will take artistic license and
paint them on a beach.

This will be a companion piece to the one I did of two daughters.
(Idea taken from a 'Mama Says' calendar page.)

I also finished up my coffee collage.
Just need to paint a coat of Modge Podge over the whole thing.
I can  'see' my pantry door covered in coffee themed collages.
I am working on the third one now!

Tuesday my sister in law and I saw The Tourist.
We had so much fun!
I LOVE Johnny Depp and have a big poster of him on my guest room closet door!

I sent Louis Dean to Home Depot Tuesday evening as Ruth Ann and I were doing art.
The turpentine was SO dirty we could not even begin to clean our brushes with it!
My husband is so sweet. Whatever I need he is willing to do.
He spotted this outdoor fire pit on sale!
Wednesday he put it together.

It rained before we could build our first fire in it....
so that is something we look forward to doing this weekend!

I spent yesterday afternoon cleaning out a flower bed as well as this little 'pond.'
A bird feeder hangs close by and we have several bird houses hanging along the roof edge.
I love the music of bird song!

Last year this flower bed was over growing in MINT!
That was my first ever post back last January when I started my blog.

This year it is the Rosemary!! As severe as the winter has continued to grow!
The air was perfumed with the fragrance of herbs as I raked all of the leaves out of the bed.

I wanted to go out here to the back pond and clean up around it this morning.
The rain arrived before I even got up so I will content myself with sprucing up the front porch.

And since it is a mellow kind of hurry or urgency to it at all....
I think I will be spending a little time at the puzzle table.
This sits just to my left as I am at my computer.
I will light the scented candle.....

and perhaps open this bag of .....
Cajun Crawtater Chips in Dark Chocolate
by Blue Frog Chocolates
5707 Magazine St.
New Orleans, LA

My neighbor gifted me with these yesterday.
I am having the very best week!
My daughter, Amber, will be here tomorrow afternoon when I return from Fort Worth.
(If it is Friday it is BEAUTY SHOP day for my Mother!)
Amber is bringing the cats to visit us while they attend several social engagements!
We have been missing those CATS Amber and can NOT wait to see those CATS her!!

Simple Abundance:
Finding the Sacred in the ordinary,
realizing that all you have is all you need,
welcome creative choices,
and savoring life's small moments.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Wreath a Month

This year I am making- or Remaking a wreath a month.
This is in lieu of the small Christmas tree I usually keep up all year round and decorate for the seasons.
I have wreaths in every single room in my house......except for my bathroom which is currently (STILL!!) under construction! Oh!! There is not ONE wreath in Louis Dean's music room!

I decided to walk around the house and COUNT the wreaths in each room!!
There are 49 wreaths!
4 in the sewing/computer room
6 in the dining room
2 in the living room
2 in the foyer
4 in the den
5 in the kitchen
9 in the hall
1 in our bedroom
2 in the guest room
1 in the gazebo
1 on the wall outside wall of the house
7 on the front porch and window wall outside
1 HUGE Texas wreath on the front of the house
3 on the west outside wall

Now these wreaths also include the ones I use as table centerpieces as well as a group of small grapevine ones hung on pegs in the hall. Some are plain.....most are not.
Some are old and have seen better days.
This winter I  actually burned some in the fireplace as kindling!
These are the 49 left!

SO! Instead of decorating my little tree which was showing it's age and was sent to the trash after Christmas-
I decided I would re do an existing wreath - one each month.

This was the one I did in January.
I tore off the old stuff on this 18 inch grapevine wreath and wired it with these small candle rings. At least I think they are candle rings. I got a whole slew of them at Goodwill for 10 cents each and have had them piled in a brass container ever since. I added the grape clusters because I didn't want a bow.

For February's project I started with a 20 inch straw base. I cut leftover quilt batting in strips and wrapped it around.

 I then wrapped strips of white sheeting...again leftovers from a quilt backing.
No glue.

Next I pulled out my lace/ribbon basket of trims from past projects.
I used some strips of lace and wrapped the wreath and tied it with ribbon or small lengths of lace.

Keeping with the cream colored palette I used eyelets, lace, tulle....anything I had at hand!

I thought it need just a bit something MORE!

So I tied on a strand of garland I picked up at Hobby Lobby in the after Christmas sale.


I made this having NO earthly idea where it would 'live.'
I carried it all around the house and then back here to the sewing room.
I love my lace curtains which I picked up at a garage sale for a few dollars!
Even though they are not all matching I scrunched them up and hung them together.
I think it is a perfect backdrop for my newly redone lace wreath which I made with materials I had on hand!

There was a convenient nail already in the shelf above the window.
By the way.....Summer and I saw that shelf on the curb in the neighborhood one day and could not bear for the trash men to haul it off. It was old and dirty and apparently used to hold nails and other hardware.
It EXACTLY fit over my window area!!
I use a piece of jute to make a hanger and was pleased to see the pearly garland I added matches the color of the magnolia swag hanging above it

I don't know about YOU but I LOVE redeeming things!!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Family Sunday Dinner!

Today was absolutely lovely! Start to finish!!! My two oldest- Summer and Jesse- came to Sunday dinner with their families today. We had the BEST time!

No fancy dinner party! Simple white plates and paper place mats, plastic cups and a fork!
All very kid friendly! Plain home cooking.
Meat loaf.....with a topping of ketchup, mustard, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce
Company mashed potatoes....potatoes mixed with cream cheese, sour cream, butter and seasonings.
Topped with grated cheese and garnished with parsley flakes or cilantro.
Green beans...cooked with some ham pieces and minced garlic.
Candied carrots.
Home made rolls.....made by Louis Dean, of course!

If you have had dinner with children lately you may have noticed they do NOT linger at the table!
It is all about eating and then getting on with the program!
The kids loved my menu and made me feel good by asking for seconds!

Dessert was Peach Cobbler which Faith made all by herself! (nearly!)

The afternoon activity was LEGO'S!
The weather was perfect for hanging out in the gazebo.

I still have my son, Benjamin's, entire Lego collection!
A BIG plastic tub filled completely!
He and the neighborhood boys would play for hours and hours on top of his fort in the backyard.
The grand kids all enjoy playing with well as of my favorite young neighbors.
I am keeping these for the day Benjamin has HIS children
 and they can play with the same blocks HE played with!

After the kids tired of those we turned to the tried and true game of Checkers!
Faith takes this game very seriously!

I had a great time with the GRANDS today!
Nothing fancy and no electronics.
A good meal, toys, games and we ended with a walk in the neighborhood.
I don't try to compete with all the modern technology.
When the grand kids come it is people and relationship building time.
My daughter in law, Leigh Ann, gave me a book--
'The Grandmother Principles'
back in 2004.
It has some sound advice and good information in it.
I tried hard to be a good mother.
I should try just as hard to be a good GRAND mother!
Of course the GRAND kids are so wonderful it makes all effort so easy!!

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.

Lois Wyse

Saturday is DONE!!

We had a Saturday filled to the brim with activity! Pretty much ALL our days are that way though!

My first order of business - AFTER our morning coffee - was to spruce up the gazebo in anticipation of my grandchildren (and their parents!) coming to visit tomorrow.
The checker table is set up with the Legos on the other side on a low tub. 
Grand kids have nimble joints. Grandparents must use the chairs!
It felt good to be outside!
It was SPRING all day long and into the night as I write this! I picked a section of liriope to trim, cut back the mums, raked up dry leaves and discovered some ground cover all bright green and thriving!

This is how it looks tonight. I strung up all new lights. Louis Dean loves the colored ones and we keep them up year round. My NEW computer sits on my desk just inside the French doors which are open to this beautiful Texas night. I walked Lucy and a BRISK walk it was! She gets so excited! It is her most favorite thing to do and when she sees me get my shoes on she goes crazy! Her tail knocks into stuff and gets her in trouble as I snap her leash on. She was SO ready for bed when we got back. Louis Dean is out there in the gazebo waiting for me. He has poured us each a glass of wine. White for me. Red for him.
What a perfect ending to this Saturday night!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tuesday Morning on a Friday Afternoon!

That's where Mother and I found ourselves..........

AFTER we had lunch at Chili's!
We usually get a combo of some sort that has soup.....
SHE gets the soup and I get whatever else in 2 mini burgers today!

Tuesday Morning is in the same shopping center as Chili's........
AND there is a Guitar Shop a few doors down so Louis Dean was all for our little shopping spree!
He headed one way and we the other!

I have been purging my closets for months now. Every week I haul out another bag FULL to the Goodwill.
This morning as I got ready to go to Fort Worth I thought......'I wish I had some new comfortable clothes for spring.' COMFORTABLE is the key word here. At this point in my life....if it is not comfy enough I could SLEEP in it.....I am NOT going to get it!! That's the rule I have been using as I have combed through closets and drawers FULL of clothing. It is HARD but I am doing it! No matter how pretty the piece is! And I have quit telling myself that if I lose just a couple of pounds it will fit loose enough in so I can BREATHE!!!

I am amazed at how God answers some prayers even BEFORE they are spoken!
Mother helped me make my selections.
She told me once, "Linda, you would look smaller if you wore clothes that FIT instead of being so baggy!"
I admit....I love LOOSE clothes!
I hit the jackpot! I spent MORE than Goodwill prices but everything I got was extremely good quality.
A pair of Bill Blass jeans
A pair of short white pants
A white camisole
A really stylish leopard print top with black belt
(It has a kind of POOFY hem)
A white shirt - pictured above- that feels GOOD!
A black top with leopard print cuffs with a black belt
(no poofy hem on this one!)
A pair of black leggings
A green 2 piece outfit-- slinky pants as comfy a pj's and a nice long tunic type top!
Add to this a black fitted shirt and black pants I bought recently...
I am all set!!!

I DID notice the fabric content in several of these garments include 'Spandex'......

AS we headed to the check out Mother spotted the candy! She has always loved sweets...
So I bought her very own box of chocolates!
As you can see from the photo....
she was HAPPY!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This is a word I have not thought a lot about in my lifetime.....but this IS where I am in my life!
I am SO surprised! I thought 'retirement' was what OTHER people did.....what OTHER people had at the end of a long career. I NEVER thought about it in reference to ME! But here I am at the age of 62 and......retired! I am LOVING it! I have no work schedules or social obligations. Every morning I wake up and the day belongs to ME! Now, how COOL is THAT?? We get up when we want, go to bed when we wish and eat when and what we like.

All this is not to say I have not done my share of work in my life. As a wife, mother, home educator and business partner......I have been busy! And busy is a good thing. I do not regret any of the 'work' I have done in life. I have four gifted and professional children I hold in high regard. They are the jewels in my crown. At the end of my life THEY are the reason for my being. However, they are all thriving in careers and families of their own. And I am SO blessed to live to see this! THEY were the purpose of my life.

Now they are all successful and on their own......and here I am. Enjoying 'retirement' with the man of my dreams. Someone who loves me with all his heart. He is the man I will love until my dying breath.

Louis Dean has had several careers in his lifetime. He was in the Army (a cook), worked for the county, was a professional baker at Rainbow Bread Company, put himself and his wife through college while working full time and then taught school for 25 years. He returned to work after we married by getting a job at Home Depot. He has been one busy man! He says retirement just means you get tired all over again! Perhaps he is right.

I am so blessed to have found such a wonderful man! We take care of each other and THAT is a full time job for BOTH of us!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My 'Work in Progress'......

I have had so much fun playing around in mixed media on this project! This is NOT my ordinary style of painting....but I LIKE it!! I first glued on a bunch of clippings from an old issue of Victoria magazine. Then I cut out a coffee cup and glued that on. NOW it was time to paint! I used oils but may try acrylics on the other two projects I am working on. I have to clean up the art table now in preparation for a dinner party tomorrow night. Come Tuesday......I shall pull it all out again and start the embellishments! I can see adding buttons, trims, perhaps dimensional paint......whatever I find! This will hang on my pantry door. I used the same piece of Masonite I had painted a duck on maybe 25 years ago. Times have changed and I am finally trying some different things!!!

Today has been good day all around! We served in Hospitality at Fellowship church today. 18 of those HUGE pots of coffee were brewed and every last drop consumed! It was AMAZING! There was Creme Brulee as well as Honey Hazelnut and the regular Cafe Blend. 

I wore COMFY clothes and this fancy necklace my daughter, Amber, sent me from Scotland.
I also wore my Sketchers! Louis Dean and I walked a LOT!!! Filling and refilling the urns, raw sugar packet bowls, ice water pitchers and creamers. It felt good to be serving!

Louis Dean worked more in my bathroom this afternoon and I am getting excited!
That was my new target date since we passed Thanksgiving, Christmas and
New Years as well as Valentine's Day!

We will spend a little time in the gazebo this evening. It feels like spring in Texas!
I  have WRR 101.1 classical radio on out there and brewed up a fresh pitcher of orange herbal tea .
A perfect ending to a perfect SUNDAY!