Thursday, December 21, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to the party, ladies! Grab a cup of cheer and find a warm spot beside the fire. The elves will finish our Christmas shopping and gift wrapping. The kitchen elf will bake and clean up the mess.
Well, we can enjoy the idea of an elf army while we sip eggnog and eat pie.

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Small Change in the Dining Room

In this house, small changes can take longer than a massive overhaul. Around Thanksgiving, I decided to work on the dining room. I removed heavy, green-gold draperies that had come with the house and replaced them with airy, store-bought blue-and-white curtains. The plan was to recover the chair cushions in 2018.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

 Is it just me or is December moving at a breathtaking pace? Today, we'll slow down just a bit and enjoy the beauty of the holidays--and you are a big part of this beauty.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas Comfort

Christmas is a season of magic.
Time moves in all directions--past, present, future. 

I stood on my tiptoes, hanging a wreath on the tall mirror, and glimpsed my reflection. I didn't see a 64-year old woman. Looking back at me was a brown-eyed girl with curly hair and a snub nose, a kid who loved pecan pralines and make-believe. And I remembered that Christmas makes us all time travelers, pulling us backward into childhood.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas in the Breakfast Room

Last Christmas, the house was completely decorated by early December. I'm taking an unhurried approach this year, and I'm enjoying the process. Over the weekend, I drank hot cocoa and watched Season 2 of "The Crown," which I highly recommend. Then I puttered around the breakfast room.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Gone to the Dogs

My 90-year old mother claims that I was raised by a dog--a Weimaraner named Cindy. Mom wasn't kidding. During my childhood, Cindy was my protector and companion, and if I whimpered, she'd dash off and find my mom. Dear Cindy bestowed a life-long love of anything with four paws (even three--in the 70s, we adopted a Chihuahua who'd lost her leg in an accident). So it's no wonder that I chose a dog theme for my Christmas tablescape.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Christmas Notebook

 I'm way behind on decking the halls. Tyler and I couldn't agree how to hang the live garlands on the windows, so we looked at last year's photos. We decided to wire two garlands together for a fuller look, then we set up the tree. 
So far, that's our progress. We "only" have 2-1/2 trees to go.

Monday, November 27, 2017

My Dining Room: Two Years Later

I've lived in the ranch house for two years, and I've just now started working on the dining room. In my old age, it takes me forever to pull the trigger. I'm less willing to start over with new furniture, mainly because of the memories associated with certain pieces. Yet the fallow interim can seem like a big, fat stall. We all know that stalling can lead to self doubt, and self doubt can make you question every idea.
Despite the caveats, I'm glad I waited.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Happy Thanksgiving to you from Rattlebridge Farm.
May your tables be full, your conversations merry, and your hearts filled with gratitude and joy.

Monday, November 20, 2017

InStyle Parties: The Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining All Year Round

The editors of InStyle Magazine are celebrating the publication of their beautiful guide to chic, effortless gatherings--Instyle Parties: The Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining All Year Round. The 192 page book includes menus, signature cocktails, tabletop inspiration, hostess tips, wine pairings, a moment-by-moment timeline, and more. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else, where good recipes and great ideas are always on the menu. I'm pleased to share highlights from last week's party.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Slice of Life

Simplifying and minimizing are the key words for 2018, but I'm not waiting for January1st. The last six weeks have been filled with household organizing and purging: I'm bringing order to every cupboard, closet, and drawer. Today, I'm getting the kitchen and pantry ready for heavy duty holiday cooking, and this weekend, I'll focus on the garage, creating zones for garden equipment and bird feeding supplies. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Thanks for stopping by Foodie Friday and Everything Else. 
As the year hurtles to a close, I keep circling around two goals: simplifying, and self-nurturing. The new year will mark a decade of blogging, and already I am reviewing the journey, taking note of lessons learned and focusing on new paths. I'm excited about the possibilities.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Lessons from Nature

"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The speed of modern life makes it easy to overlook mysteries and magic in my own backyard. But when I bend close to the rock wall, I am amazed by the pluck and perseverance of moss. It is rootless, yet it grows in the most inhospitable places, on rocks and rooftops, impervious to the elements. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

When I wasn't looking, November arrived. It's a feast month, a time to fill our hearts with gratitude, and yet, December always seems to be the boss. Even if we want to savor the last moments of autumn, the 12th month reminds us to sweep away leaves and pumpkins and bring out pine swags and Yule cakes. As the year winds down, I'm thinking about lessons learned and daring to look ahead to 2018. It's good to know that I'm not alone--we inspire and help each other every day.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November Notes

"November comes
      And November goes,
      With the last red berries
      And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
      And dawn coming late,
      And ice in the bucket
      And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
      And the kettles sing,
      And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."
-- Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893–1986)

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thanksgiving Tablescape Blog Hop

This week I'm participating in a week-long Thanksgiving tablescape blog hop, organized by Chloe at Celebrate and Decorate, and I'm looking forward to a daily dose of inspiration. You'll find links to the participating bloggers at the end of the post.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Howling

Like many Terrier owners, I'm a tad obsessed with our Scottie . . . and smitten.  

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else
Welcome to the last party in October. November is creeping ahead, and it won't be long until we're thinking about Christmas. I was in HomeGoods the other day, and the aisles were filled with holiday goodies. And people were filling their carts. Me, I made a beeline for the pet section.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I hope you're enjoying October's whimsical temperatures and beguiling sunlight. Before we know it, Halloween will be here. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Edge of Wildness

I know a place on the edge of wildness, where brambles twist up from the ground, green and alive, welded to the barbed wire. Just beyond the old fence, you'll find a world untouched by developers.

Friday, October 13, 2017

She Shed Diaries: The Ugly Wall

I've always liked exterior brick walls. They are downright pretty, adding texture and subtle color, creating a pleasing backdrop to vines, hydrangeas, or trellises. Also, they can be wonderfully neutral. Never in my life did I think about sprucing up an exterior wall, not until I began working on the She Shed.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I'm looking forward to your ideas and recipes. I'm working on the She Shed--this time, the makeover centers around an ugly exterior wall--and I'll have an update this Saturday.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Along the Path

I've been meaning to paint inside the She Shed, but it's just too hot. Still, there's plenty to do outside the little house. Want to join me for a brainstorming session?

Monday, October 9, 2017

October Evening in the Butterfly Garden

I love October's temperature extremes. A hot-as-blazes day can turn into a crisp evening, prompting me to reach for a lightweight sweater. This is the month to play in the yard, to relish the pure joy of being home on a sweet night. What could be better than a marshmallow roast?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Autumn Casts a Spell

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October." 
-- Nathaniel Hawthorne
The slightest breeze sends great drifts of leaves falling in the back yard. I wouldn't dream of sweeping them away--that's the same as sweeping away charm. I am enchanted by October, hoping to savor every leaf.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to our first party in October. I'm glad you're here. Pull up a chair, grab a cinnamon donut and a mug of hot apple cider.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Room of Your Own

I haven't had a dedicated writing room since the late 80s and early 90s. It was a narrow space with a built-in desk and white cabinets. Through the north-facing window, I saw chips of blue sky. Tulip-covered wallpaper gave me the garden I'd always craved, and long Formica counters offered plenty of space to spread out my papers. In this quiet spot, writer's block didn't exist. Words broke loose like ice sheets from a glacier, falling into a warm, bubbling cauldron.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Spiders and Pumpkins: A Halloween Party

Every October, I pull out the Halloween goodies and decorate the house with childlike delight. When the boys were small, I put up spooky trees and iced spider web cookies, loving every moment. One year, I froze punch in surgical gloves, and when I peeled them, icy fingers adorned the punch bowl. On Halloween night, I always made chili--with chili dogs for the boys--and we'd watch a movie marathon. All these years later, I still enjoy the playful side of Halloween. I'm not the only one--this week, I'm partying with a group of darling, talented bloggers for a Halloween Tablescape Blog Hop.

Monday, October 2, 2017

One Pot Meals: Southern-Style Pinto Beans

When crisp, chilly October days arrive in Tennessee, I start dreaming of one-pot meals. They're for homebodies. However, one-pot meals aren't for exhausted cooks. When you are frayed and weary, the thing to do is have food brought to you--pizza or take-out Sweet and Sour Pork. But for cooks with a tad of energy, a pot of pinto beans can be a salvation. Dress them up with a loaf of deli bread and a tossed salad. Serve a cobbler and red wine if you'd like a fancy touch. Either way, you can't lose.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Part 2 of A Pool House-into-a-She Shed: 1 Week Later

A week ago, I was in the middle of a long overdue DIY project: transforming a 70s era pool house into a She Shed. I plodded along, working diligently and passionately, if ineptly. The rest of the little cottage is waiting for another coat of paint and brainstorming, but I wanted to share my progress.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else
The other day I looked at the calendar, and I couldn't believe that September was on the wane. I don't know about you, but I've barely had time to adjust to the new season--my favorite season, I might add. Just yesterday, the temperature inched up to 90 degrees, and I set aside plans to cook hearty soups. The next time I see you, we'll be in the golden month of October. . . I hope the month takes its time, 31 long, meandering days.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Barks and Recreation

Last weekend, I grabbed the camera and followed Jasper and Tyler around the yard. My goal is to create a puppy journal, but it's a challenge to take photos of a fast-moving Scottie. Usually, after a long "walkie," he's ready for the puparazzi. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Pool House into a She Shed-- The Beginning

For a long time, I'd had my eye on the pool house. It was private, yet close to the house. Best of all it was self-contained, with heating, air, sinks, a fridge, and a bathroom. It felt like a quiet, simple retreat, a place to write and tinker. In 2015, we added cedar shingles, white trim, and bronze gutters. But it would be two more years before I turned my attention to the interior.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

It's always a pleasure to see you at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. Can't wait to see what you've brought to the party! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Autumn Lessons

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree."

-- Emily Brontë, English Novelist and Poet 

After a few days of chilly weather, the trees took notice. It's easy to miss these early signs if I'm not alert. But this year, I'm paying attention. At first, the world around me seems unchanged, lush and green, as if summer will last forever, but I wouldn't want that. All year, I wait for autumn, and the equinox arrives on September 22nd. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

As the warm, golden days of September blend into chilly evenings, I start to crave spicy foods. Last weekend, time and energy collided, along with crisp weather--it was the perfect moment to make chicken enchiladas.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Fall is in the air at Foodie Friday and Everything Else. I'm looking forward to seeing your ideas.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Five months old, and Jasper is a comedienne in a fur costume.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Apple Diaries

 The smell of freshly peeled apples defines early autumn. As a result, when September arrives, I begin my search for a just-right apple cake. On Labor Day weekend, I finally had time to experiment. Unfortunately, I veered far away from Betty Crocker, into Dr. Frankenstein territory.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hilltop Trellis Garden

This post really should be titled, In Praise of Raised Beds or Gardening for People Who Don't Have Muscles. Otherwise, you'd be reading about one of my failed apple cakes. Luckily, our home came with an established yard, which included three raised beds in a trellis garden. I never realized how much they would change the way I garden.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Autumn Garden Goals

The mild, sweet days of September have awakened my gardening soul. I drove to the greenhouse and picked out a few mums and replaced my ragged gloves. I'm not quite ready to buy pansies, but soon. They look so girly and cute with their fat faces and vibrant colors. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Foodie Friday and Everything Else
September 7th through September 8th

With all of the dire storms in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, I hope this week finds you safe and dry. Sending positive thoughts to everyone who is in the path of Hurricane Irma (and also Jose and Katia--a triple threat). Harvey blew through our area, and lightning knocked out our Internet for many days. I did a little baking and organizing--and playing with Jasper.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. 
Before we begin, let's send up prayers for Texas and all other areas that were in Harvey's deadly path. In past years, when we lived on the Gulf Coast, we experienced tropical storms and hurricanes, but the devastation in Texas is beyond reckoning. I'm hearing reports that Louisiana is in a dangerous situation, too.
Our prayers will keep coming.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Early Autumn Pasta Salad

September is almost here, but I'm not quite ready to cook hearty meals. Warm, muggy evenings call for something light and refreshing--and easy. What's more perfect than a colorful, flavor-packed pasta salad? 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fall Tablescape Blog Hop

I'm delighted to join an amazing group  of bloggers for a fall tablescape blog hop, organized by the talented Chloe Crabtree of the popular blog, Celebrate and Decorate. You'll find links to the participating bloggers at the end of the post.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Foodie Friday and Everything Else

Welcome to Foodie Friday and Everything Else. The next time I see you, it'll be September. Judging from last week's party, many of you have one foot in August and one in Autumn, creating a fun-filled, creative party. I'm eager to see what you're linking up today.