Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wood Violets

May I introduce to you my Wood Violets? They appear to be shrinking violets but however they make their entrance into the gardens, they are another welcome sign of Spring.

These violets are one of 100's of off-spring from the first gifted plant almost 18 years ago.

They are perennials, grow from small bulblets that will form cluster bulblets over time. Their heart shaped leaves measure 2" to 3" across. They show their lovely purple blooms from early Spring until late Spring.

Mine prefer shady areas of the garden with limited early morning sun. They naturally grow into a cluster of plants that resemble a mound of leaves and in reality there are sometimes more than 20 plants within each mound.

Mine are used as natural borders in and around all the flower beds. The plants may be thinned anytime after the blooms have faded. Use a strong shovel to dig them up as their bulblet cluster can measure over 12 inches across however they are shallow growers. Shake off the dirt from the roots and separate at least half of the bulblets off the cluster. Not to worry, just break the bulblets off or cut them off with sharp knife. I return the Mama plant to her original place in the garden. Often I just toss the removed bulblets with wild abandon into shady areas of the gardens that need a little something to fill in voids. They also can be carefully planted in the soil. Use your discretion in replanting...but I love "WILD ABANDON" in my garden!

During the Summer, Fall and early Winter months they provide a beautiful garden plant with bright green, dense foliage measuring up to 6 inches in height however if not managed properly they will multiply to take over a garden.

About mid-Winter I cut the foliage back to the ground and patiently wait until the first few violet flowers appear...knowing Spring is upon us.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Place of Dreams

Do you have a place deep within the recesses of your mind, somewhere between reality and your dreams? This place for me is a place of serenity, simplicity, based in religion, made by man, adorned by Nature, with a rich history and a future full of promise.

While treasure hunting one day, Miss M was looking through a large bin of framed pictures when she asked me to come see what she had found. We lifted the framed picture from the bin. Not a word was spoken by either of us and yet between us...we shared that look. You know that look don't you? It's the look of a treasure hunter finding that one perfect piece whose sole purpose is to fill the void in your mind's eye left by your dreams.

Unsure of where to hang what was now "our picture" I placed it ever so carefully on my antique dresser. As I walked out of my bedroom, I turned for one more glance and realized it belonged right there...leaning against the round beveled mirror surrounded by more of my treasures

Friday, February 26, 2010

Treasure Shopping at Goodwill!

Have you ever had that funny feeling...something is calling your name from your local Treasure Haunts? Well, for several days I've been having that special feeling. So this morning Mr. B and I headed out to a couple of local Goodwill stores - just to satisfy that funny little feeling.

I found this grapevine with grapes and two hydrangea flowers at the first store. Everything cost me $2.00 and they still have the Hobby Lobby price tags on the stems! They're going in an existing floral arrangement in my bathroom! Okay! I'm very happy but that feeling is still gnawin' away at me. So we head to the second Goodwill store.

When I walk in the second Goodwill store, I get a cart without any forethought this is always a very good sign! So I head over to the corner where I always find wonderful items and then I see it...Could it be? I open the lid. It is...just like the OLD Royal Typewriter I sold in a yard sale about 8 years ago! Could it be the same one? I bet it's priced at $35 or $40. Upon closer inspection, I see a price tag of $3.50. It's mine! I put it in the cart and then I see Mr. B..."Honey, look what I found!" He looks at me, smiles, shakes his head and walks away. Hmmm...I love him but he simply does not understand the importance of a GREAT bargain!

Well, by this time I know I'm on a roll and then I see candlesticks and votive holders! Well, here I go looking for just the right ones...matching the votive holders (or in this case 1 votive holder and 1 monogrammed lead crystal glass) to just the right size candlestick...Mr. B walks up again..."What are you doing now, don't you have enough of those things? Remember, our home is small." To which I reply in my sweetest voice, "Oh, honey you can never have enough candle sticks with pretty votive holders! Besides all these need is a little touch of bronze paint to lift the detail and glue for the votive holders! How easy is that?"

Total spent today: around $10.00! A rousing success if I do say so myself! And don't you know Mr. B is equally as thrilled as I am...I know he is ...well he should be ...look at how much money I saved him!

We'll see where everything ends up later because for now I am savoring the thrill of victory and besides...I'm gonna have to move some stuff around to fit my new treasures into our loving little home! Mr. B and I will be discussing the placement of the typewriter because I distinctly heard him say he knew exactly where he wanted to put it. I just love it when he participates in home decorating! Don't you?

See you later, I've got to go wash bronze paint and glue off my fingernails!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

We have Sunshine!

Today we were blessed with Sunshine! I went wandering about the flower gardens...checking on several plants. Some of my plants were not so healthy looking and may not survive this Winter but being the eternal optimist...I always give them until early June to recover.

During my wanderings, I noticed my "Double Knock Out" rose bushes and their new growth. Now mind you, these are babies and this is their first Winter under my care. They are hardy enough for our blazing hot summers. They are prolific bloomers from late Spring until the first freeze. I've seen this same rose growing around the DFW area and some reach a height of over 4 feet tall with the same diameter! These are the first roses that have survived my hyper TLC. They appear to be thriving even with all the snowy, freezing cold weather we've had.

I include them today for your enjoyment and we'll keep an eye on their development this year.

Well, since it's such a beautiful day, I'm off to play in the sunshine!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recipes / Cheaters Chili with Sweet Cornbread

So do you ever have one of those's cold outside, you're busy, the family is hungry and someone needs to get something on the table that's tasty, quick and economical to make?

Here's my solution...Cheaters Chili...I know chili purists will not be pleased with this recipe but that's why we have diversity in the kitchen. Right?


1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 - medium onion, minced
1 - 14.5 oz Can of Ranch Style Beans
1 - 14.5 oz Can of Pinto Beans
1 - 14.5 oz Can of Diced Stewed Tomatoes

salt to taste - I use 1 to 1 & 1/2 teaspoons
pepper to taste - I use 1 teaspoon
Chili powder to taste - I use 1 & 1/2 tablespoons
Cayenne Pepper - to taste - I use 1/2 teaspoon
Comino seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Minced Garlic - to taste - I use 1 tablespoon


Brown the ground chuck, rinse off any fat from the meat and the pan. Then put the cooked ground chuck back in the same pan.

Add the minced onion and cook on medium heat until the onion is translucent.

Add the Ranch Style beans, the pinto beans and the diced tomatoes...including the liquid in each can...not to worry it won't be thickens up just great.

Next, add all the spices. Stir, cover the pot with a lid, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer for 20 minutes or up to an hour. Keep your eye on it, stir once and awhile and then....


I serve ours with dollops of sour cream and sprinkle on grated cheese. I also serve another family favorite with the Cheaters Chili... my "Sweet Fluffy Cornbread" will find the recipe below.

If there's any chili left over...I freeze it and when I need a SUPER QUICK MEAL...I pop it in the microwave and TaDaa...dinner is served!


I guess it's a Texas thing but my family loves sweet cornbread. If you're's here we go!


1 package of cornbread mix
1 package of biscuit mix OR 1 Cup of Biscuit mix
2 tablespoons sugar (more if you like it REALLY sweet)
1 egg
Milk...the cornbread package defines 2/3 cup

Now with the additional biscuit mix added to this recipe, the milk measurement will this is how I calculate the amount of milk to add...After adding the egg to the dry ingredients...I add 2/3 cup of milk and carefully add one tablespoon of milk at a time until I get the mixture to the right consistency. Similar to a thick cake batter but definitely not runny...clear as mud right? If it gets too runny just add some more biscuit mix a tablespoon at a time until it thickens up.

Then pour the mixture into a greased pan and bake according to the cornbread package directions.

My oven cooks really hot! So, I heat the oven to 400 degrees while I'm mixing the cornbread up. Then when I put it in the oven, I lower the baking temp by 375 degrees. It bakes till the sides are turning light brown and the center is firm. To be absolutely sure it done, I check it by sticking a toothpick in the center of the cornbread...if it comes up's DONE! Can you see the hole in the center of the cornbread?

We love's light, fluffy, sweet and delicious...and compliments the HOT of the chili! I hope you like it too!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Daffodil Buds!

Today is cloudy and cold and we've been told to expect more snow Tuesday morning through Tuesday evening.

So...rather than focusing on being TIRED of Winter, I decided to focus my camera lens on my daffodils.

Daffodils are my first whole-hearted sign that "Spring is around the corner". Although I have to admit, I've seen these same plants in full bloom while blanketed by we'll see. I am forever the optimist!

I would love hear about the signs that tell you "Spring is around the corner".

Damaged Components, What To Do?

I was gifted with a large turquoise focal bead, unfortunately there was a visible crack on one side. However, I loved it even more because I thought no one else would. So, I embellished it by wrapping a copper stamping from top to bottom and I wanted the "crack" to show. Then I added two strands of turquoise nuggets and two strands of turquoise rondelles.

I liked it but it just needed something...then I remembered another necklace in my jewelry chest! The second necklace is made with bright orange seed beads, glass stones in different colors and a rescued focal bead. I layered them together and then it was perfect! I love this necklace and I wear it often.

What do you do with "damaged" art components?

Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

May I Introduce Miss M!

This is my youngest daughter, Miss M! I wanted to share some words of wisdom, she and one of her friends wrote...from the mouths of babes!

I love how they typed has a young person's whimzy...yet the words are so powerful and so true. She is wise beyond her years.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Treasure Drawer Collage

This is my treasure drawer, filled with items that ignite so many memories.

This is my beloved Maw Maw and Paw Paw.

This is an antique photo album from my oldest daughter's Great-Great-Great Grandmother. I'll allow it to speak for itself.

I can find no evidence this photo album was ever used. Perhaps it was deemed too pretty to use.

Other items include Paw Paw's; shaving kit, several of his knives, a lighter, a working pad lock and key to his tool shed, a snuff bottle, a wooden mallet, metal shears, a wooden box for boned salted codfish and his "Ft. Worth, Texas Livestock Commission Company-AT ALL MKTS" medallion on the original leather strap. There is also an old glass jar from where - I do not know.

All of these treasures are a part of my past and when I look at them I remember...oh how I remember.

Destination - Decatur, Texas!

I love no destination drives! Today, Mr. B and I went on just such a drive. However, to be totally honest...I had a definite destination in mind for this drive...


This is a photo of the courthouse...I love Texas Courthouses...the character, the masonry work, the color of the stone...the majesty of it all!

We were walking around the town square, I was in sensory overload because I love town squares! I was busy taking photo after photo when I turned around to cross the street, I looked up and stopped dead in my tracks! I love everything about this exterior wall...the flow of the stone, the blue of the oblong window and the dome glass with the rusty stain on the stone work below. So I snapped away!

This is a collage of more sights from in and around the town square. The photo with the "Simple Pleasures" arrow is from a very special shop "Fleur de Lis"!

The top photo in this collage is a metal finial on a gate post at the Waggoner Mansion aka El Castile. The bottom photo is a carved wood headboard from "Fleur de Lis".

We had a limited amount of time to spend in Decatur and I just had to browse through every shop! So much fun and the people of Decatur are so kind. We plan to go back again soon! Real soon because I found lots of "treasures" just callin' my name!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Favorite Things - Quilts

I love quilts! My childhood memories include visits with my Maw Maw and Paw Paw where each night I was tucked into bed with one of her many hand sewn quilts. I would stare at the different fabrics remembering a family member's article of clothing and the memories therein helped me drift off the sleep.

The quilt top in the photo was gifted to me from a dear friend. It was originally hand pieced by a woman who is now in her 90's. I have no idea when it was made but the fabrics appear to be very old. The stitches are uneven, the points don't quite meet and yet those imperfections endear the quilt top even more to me.

Originally I planned to complete the quilt but each time I picked it up, touched the fabrics, looked at the lovingly sewn design...I knew it was perfect as is. So now this quilt has a prominent place in my living room to be enjoyed by all, used by none and thorougly loved by me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ultimate I Love You!

Almost twenty years ago, I was a divorced, Mother of two Deaf children, working full time and fed up with the “dating scene”.

Then Mr. B came into my life. We had known each other for a number of years and I knew he was honest, fun, hard working, handsome and kind. Little did I know...Mr. B. loved to dance and he romanced me while teaching me to “Two-Step”.

My kids were enrolled at Texas School for the Deaf, in Austin, Texas. Spring Break was upon us, I was filled with excitement, planning time-off to be with them and how to initiate an introduction between my kids and Mr. B.

As so often happens there was a work related meeting I could not reschedule…what to do? Mr. B and I discussed the situation and he said he would watch the kids. “That’s kind of you but how will you communicate with them?”, I asked. With his usual calm and always in control voice, “Don’t worry we’ll manage.”

After calling Mr. B all day checking in on the three of them, I came home from work, to a house full of happy people. I looked around for scraps of paper with written communication…there were none. My kids and Mr. B were smiling and laughing. So I just had to know…”How did y’all communicate?” My kids signed to me, “He knows Sign Language!” I turned to look in Mr. B’s eyes...and I asked, “What, How, When, Where, Why?” His response, “I saw your Sign Language books and just started studying on my own because I love you and I want to be able to communicate with our kids as a family one day.”

At that moment, I knew Mr. B would be a part of our lives forever.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gardener's Journey

Yesterday, I was looking at my favorite Iris plants and I decided to document their life cycle.

The flower bed looks messy with a few patches of melting snow but that's my winter garden.

This Iris grows to a height of 18-24 inches, blooms April to May and the BRIGHT yellow flowers last almost one month. During the hot summer months the plants wither to the bulb and rest until the cycle begins next Fall.

So, I'll check on them again in a few weeks and let you know how they are doing.

This is a photo from last year of the same flower garden as the opening photo.

I plant my gardens so there are blooming plants from early Spring until the first freeze of Fall/Winter.

I never got around to making any photos of the yellow Irises last year but I will this year.

I hope you enjoy going on this journey with me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Does This Happen to You?

Do you ever make something and during the process you fall in love with it? Well, it happens to me all the time...and here we go again!

What is one to do? My solution is to place these much-loved pieces in what can only be described as "PROTECTIVE CUSTODY"...they are packed away...never worn...and they wait...until I can emotionally release them to post in my Etsy shop.

But I have a feeling this necklace may become mine...soon...verrrrrry soon!

So what do you do?

All assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated...even if it is to commiserate about our shared dilemma.


Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Some of My Favorite Things - Part 1

Is it true that we are defined by those things we surround ourselves with? My little home is an eclectic mix of all the things I love. As time goes by, I’ll introduce you to some of my favorite things and why I cherish them.

This is the main wall and the top of my entertainment center in my living room. I love anything dealing with time….and yet I don’t wear a watch. I have an affinity for architecture…therefore the little sconce-like thingy. I love mirrors…not to look in but to reflect the world around me. I love being a Mother…so the picture of Mother and child. The Tuscan-style print…need I say more? The wrought iron plant holder with flowers…I simply am a garden gal. Brass candle sticks…I love the glow of candlelight. My little lamp and decorative pieces…give me stone, glass or metal with textures and I’m happy. Last but not least my little angel in a crystal box with a tiny wooden engraving to the side…I have one special angel in my life and I always ask for blessings for my home and family.

Thank you for taking the time to share one small part of my world.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Early Morning in Black and White

I love early morning and this morning brought stunning glimpses of Mother Nature’s beauty and power.

Everything beckons me to capture the moment in my view finder…so I did my best…and of course these photos beg to be posted in black and white.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ahhh...Perfect Silence!

This is my first blog and my first posting...I have followed other bloggers for almost 18 months and I am always inspired by their blogs. Hopefully you will enjoy what I have to offer. Please feel free to respond, offer advice or ask questions...

This morning I awoke not to startling blare of my alarm clock but to the perfect muffled silence of what I just knew to be a winter snow covering everything around my little home. I went to the window, peeked out and there it was...huge snow flakes falling softly to join what had fallen earlier this morning...the trees are wearing a white covering on their barren winter limbs, my yards are covered in fluffy white blankets, my daffodil tips are standing strong in their freezing covering and my world is quiet and peaceful.

I want to thank Dawn at "The Feathered Nest" for all your encouragement, you are my mentor!