Sunday, January 31, 2016

Dear Daughters: Entertaining Yourself

Dear Daughters,

In order to understand this letter, I'd like you to go back in time with me to the late 60's and a ranch in deep South Texas.

There you'd find me , home from Saint Mary's Hall for the holidays or summer, driving around the ranch, or driving down the highway to Santa Elena,or San Isidro, or even Hebbronville, if I was really restless.

You see I was entertaining myself, and exploring, and thinking, and day dreaming, and above all listening to music.


I still do the same thing today.

I was so blessed to have parents who understood and trusted and expected the right things.

Living 'in town' for many, many years hasn't provided the same context, but I smile and do it anyway.

Translation:  this may not make sense to others.

I know you have this in you.


I've been in the back seat while you were driving.

I love you, Mom

PS:  Adele's When We Were Young has been my latest driving go to.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Finds and Favorites

Dansk Blue and White Platter

Friday Finds and Favorites

is a chance for me to show and share the amazing (to me) things I found at the flea market, or online in blog land, or out in the world at large. 


Flea Market Finds

I found the Dansk blue and white platter (above) at the flea market and I fell in love.  Why?  It is cobalt blue

and white, I never met a platter I didn’t like, it is heavy, and it reminds me of hand painted pottery from


And here is the amazing thing.  It was at the bottom of a box , it wasn’t chipped, and it was $1.00. Yes!


Two of my favorite blogs , that echo an all-time message about enjoying simple things are

My Messy Thrilling Life and Assortment.

The first time I found these blogs, I read for hours.  They are that good. Enjoy!

And you must check out this appetizer recipe at Blondie’s Journal.  It sounds delicious. Jane is just the best, isn’t she?

And finally, I am obsessed with the thought of a light weight denim shirt , white boyfriend jeans, and an

animal print scarf for spring.  There is no one that does that look better than Cassie at Hi Sugarplum.


In other random news,  in the last 2 days I have lost 30 Google Friend Connect followers.  Yes… 30.


Any ideas?

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Few of My Favorite Home Accessories

Blue and White Vignette


The good news in bringing anything into our homes,

is it is all in the eye of the beholder.

What ‘calls’ to me may not call you, but it is all good. 

We are all just enjoying our homes and our own


Favorite Home Accessories 2015

Here are a few of my favorite home accessories.

*Blue and White

That is probably not a surprise. I use blue and white everywhere.  It is one of the single most unifying elements

in my home. It has the ability to look classic and timeless and just a tad modern all at the same time.

For blue and white pieces to call to me, they obviously do not have to be expensive or historical.

True to my personality, I would much rather find pieces digging in a flea market box or at Ross- the best retail

flea market on the planet.


Every room in my house has multiple mirrors in it.  Our 1950’s ranch fixer upper  (understatement)

has eight foot ceilings. 

The remedy?  Larger pieces of furniture and mirrors that sparkle and move the light.

Brass Trays

*Brass Trays

I should correct that to say all trays.  Everyone talks about how trays anchor a grouping, but in my home

they also do something else. 

They hide what is underneath (scratches, imperfections).

Guess what else I use to do the same thing?

Mirrored place mats. It is all about moving the light.

Black Lamp Shade


Over the years, I have stockpiled a collection of flea market lamps and lamps from Ross.

I am not a fan of overhead lighting. 

My favorite way to dress up a tired lamp is using a black lamp shade.

It anchors a lamp and stops the eye and the room from fading away by seeing too many white ‘hats’ on all of

the lamps.

Favorite Home Accessories


Books are the great pedestals and hiders in my decor world.

I have to have them. They elevate things in a grouping and provide a touch of classic color that

appeals to me.

What do they hide?  Whatever needs hiding.

Do you have any items in your home you can’t live without?


Linking to

The Alder Collective

Home Sweet Home

Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop

Your Inspired Design

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Collecting

Copper Hutch 

Disclaimer:  I have thought about this list since I wrote this post earlier this evening .

I enjoyed all of the adventures connected to this list because they involved my mother or my daughters or
trips to Round Top or many, many early morning trips to the flea market.

That is what the list is about-

it is not about the things on the list.


I started collecting flea market, garage/ estate sale finds, thrift store treasures, and

hand me downs from family and friends about 40 years ago.

Pause… that’s a long time…

That’s long enough to say- a la Reba McIntire-

“I collected milk glass before milk glass was cool.”

During all of that time I have collected ,

milk glass

hammered aluminum serving pieces


Department 56 houses

vintage cooking utensils

cobalt blue glass

Franciscan Platinum Renaissance china- and Grey Renaissance, and Gold Renaissance (for my daughter)

Spode Blue Italian

Johnson Brothers Old Britain Castles 

champagne flutes

Blue Danube china (for two of my daughters)

Woodland Spode

silverplate flatware

silverplate serving pieces

King’s Crown goblets

cake pedestals

Franciscan Madeira Goblets

Noritake Hemingway and Fitzgerald china

Ruby Red octagonal goblets in all sizes

sets of Mexican pottery from Puebla, San Miguel de Allende, and Dolores Hidalgo

vintage Mexican pottery

vintage Mexican silver jewelry

beaded evening bags

soup tureens


floral frogs

community/auxiliary/junior league cookbooks

small vases for my zinnias

In fact, I have had some of these collections long enough , and as my interests have changed, I have given

pieces to my daughters,

given pieces to friends, sold pieces at market days, or donated pieces.

I love using my collections , which is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

(I never pay high prices.

I prefer digging with my head stuck in a box at the flea market and La Bamba playing in the background.)

What do you collect?


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ranch Recipe # 18: Caldo de Pollo For What Ails You

Caldo de Pollo Recipe

This soup will cure what ails you.

I know because I made it this afternoon.

You can only take so much cough medicine, right?



Caldo de Pollo  (Chicken Soup)

Slow boil a chicken that has been cut into pieces.

Add one large onion cut into chunks and a teaspoon of minced garlic.
Remove the chicken once it is done.

To the broth, add cut Mexican squash,

cut carrots,

2-3 potatoes peeled and cut into chunks,

a can of whole tomatoes,

and a bag of frozen whole kernel corn.

While that returns to a boil, shred the chicken.

Return the chicken to the broth.

And now for the most important part.


Begin by adding a teaspoon of Knorr Caldo de Pollo bouillon.

Stir and taste.

Add about a teaspon of ground cumin.

Stir and taste.

Add about a teaspoon of Knorr Caldo de Tomate.

Stir and taste.

Continue adding these spices until the soup tastes just right.

Yes! These are the instructions.

I promise you it will be worth it.

Once it tastes just right, top with chopped, fresh cilantro , and serve.



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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Papa’s Zinnia Seeds

Papa's Seed

I have added a sentimental journey to my zinnia seed planting this season.

Oh, how I pray it works.

I have pulled up all of the dead zinnia plants in my father’s garden, and my prayer is I can harvest the seed.

Papa's Zinnia Seeds

The stakes are a little high, and I may have already made a

mistake by pulling up the entire plant.

I have absolutely no clue about how to do this,

but I grew up hearing advice from him like

“Get after it”,

so that is what I intend to do.



He is giving me a zinnia planting lesson here, pointing with his homeade cane made from a lemon tree branch.


If this works, it will be a miracle.


Because these seeds that I hope to harvest were taken from the zinnia plants below that he grew from harvesting his 2014 crop seeds.



OK friends.

I can talk big about this project , but I do need some help.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Gardening 2016: It’s time to get to work


In about 6 weeks, the experts say that zone 9 gardeners should be able to start their spring planting.

In South Texas that falls around Valentine’s Day.

The key is the temperature, and as hot as it is most of the time in the Rio Grande Valley, it is often too cold to

plant in February.

Last year I planted my zinnias and tomatoes at the end of February.

Zinnia seeds and baby tomato plants do NOT like to be cold.


I really doesn’t matter because I have so much work to do and

that makes me smile.

It is going to take a great deal of time and elbow grease to
get back to this


when things look like this.


Gardening To Do List #1

*Find zinnia seeds.

Last year I bought seeds in every small town hardware/feed store while on trips to Montgomery to see our

grandsons. On our drive home, that included stops in Montgomery, Navasota, Brenham, and Cuero.

I found wonderful gardening supplies at a hardware store in Cuero.

This year I may have to order my zinnia seeds.

* Turn the soil in all of my raised beds.

It is too early to amend the soil .

I am just going to ‘air things out’ a bit.

*Clean out and organize my garden shed .

I am going to completely empty the shed, hose it down, and organize my tools and supplies.

* Clean the patio by my raised beds.

Oh dear- what a mess.

I will probably need to use my high pressure washer with just a little clorox.

On second thought, maybe clorox isn’t such a good idea.

Any suggestions?

It looks like mildew from the rain and moisture we have had this winter.


Come along with me as I get things ready for spring!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Dear Daughters: You Didn’t

Papa and His Girls
Our daughters and my father (Papa), 1984.

Dear Daughters,

You ‘came by it honest’ as Papa would say.

This new year’s business of planning and sometimes thinking you have been doing things all wrong the

previous year may have been learned at my knee.

So here is what I know.

You didn’t.

You didn’t do everything in a way in 2015 that needs to be changed or improved this new year of 2016.

You walked tall, suited up and showed up for work and life and family, and juggled as many balls in the

air as you could manage.

You laughed and cried and sat on the front row of a funeral, when all you wanted was to be was a little girl


You were gracious and understanding and you greeted people and you ran interference for me, when all I

wanted to be was a little girl again.

So here is what we are going to do in 2016.

We are going to do everything we did in 2015.

I love you.

Call me!

Love, Mom

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