Friday, July 31, 2020

Focusing on the Big 5 Happy Anniversary to My Blog

Guess Who Is 5 Years Old?

My blog, that's who!  Five years ago today I launched my first blog post and the rest is history!!  I've already written a big recap about my blogging earlier in the month so today I'm just going to celebrate. Let's have some fun by focusing on the number 5 with lots of fun information about me and the blog. Think you know all about me? Hmmm...Let's get started!

 5 Favorite Foods
pizza, chocolate, bread, Italian, salads

 5 Favorite Movies
Sound of Music, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Casablanca, The Original Star Wars Trilogy, The Star Trek Next Generation Movies
(Yes, can't separate some of the movies!)

5 Books That Have Influenced My Life

Top 5 Color Families I Love To Wear
blues, pinks, grays, blacks, whites

5 Authors I Highly Recommend
Miss Read
Lillian Jackson Braun
Sofie Kelly 
Jacqueline Winspear
M.C. Beaton
Alexander McCall Smith
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Agatha Christie
Catherine Marshall
Jan Karon
Debbie Macomber
Robert Frost
Emily Dickinson
Rosamunde Pilcher
Rhys Bowen
Henry David Thoreau
(Sorry, sorry, couldn't stop at 5!)

5 Things You Don't Know About Me
My guilty pleasure is eating chocolate chip cookies
I wear a size 8.5 shoe in most styles
My favorite baby doll when I was little was named Bonnie
I'm a Trekie (see favorite movies!!)
I pierced my own ears (and my mothers) when I was 13

5 Things That Make Me Laugh
The Mr. 
Cassie and Garden
Late Night TV Shows
Arnold The Pig on Green Acres
Whose Line Is It Anyway?

5 TV Shows I Hate To Miss
Perry Mason
Hogan's Heroes
General Hospital
British Shows (As Time Goes By, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, etc.)
(Yep, I like old TV shows. A true fan of MeTV and PBS!!)

5 Things You Might Find Me Doing If You Knocked On My Door
Playing A Musical Instrument
Watching TV
Petting A Cat (or two!)
Working on the Blog

5 Places I Loved Traveling To Visit And Would Go Again
Fundy Bay Canada
St. John Canada
Cambria, California
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Beach/Charleston, SC

Important Things In My Life That Came In 5's
I am the youngest of five sisters
The Mr. and I dated for five years before getting married

Top 5 Favorite Blog Posts That I Have Written
(This is hard to choose but here goes!)

(I love thinking aloud through this Furball's mind!)

(I still think this was the prettiest tablescape I ever did)

(Oh, what I would give for a "normal" day these days!!)

(This was so much fun to do a photo shoot in Biltmore Village. I felt like a "real" model!)

(This was the very first Match Made in Seven challenge and I totally went all out to achieve what I thought would be a modern "Punk" look!  What a fun time I had with this post!! Sadly, our collaborative group has disbanded so there will be no more monthly challenges.)

And Finally.....5 Things I Love Most About Being A Blogger


That's You!!

Hugs and Kisses and Here's To 5 More Wonderful Years!

Until Next Time

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Romantic Ruffle Top and Tin Cup Tablescape

Fashion and Literature

A Little Bit of This and That

Posing on my "thinking" rock by the stream
Hello everyone!  Today's post should have something for everyone I hope. If you like fashion you're in luck. If you like tablescapes you're also in luck! I'm honoring my original blog name "Debbie This and That" as my five year blog anniversary is the end of this week, by including a "little bit of this and that" in today's post!

Still a little work to do on this sitting area
I fell in love with this romantic, feminine ruffled top when I saw it online. There are ruffles on the sleeves and along the bottom which are so fun to wear. The sleeves are elastic at the wrists. I decided to style the top with my long black skirt today, but this top would also look good with a shorter skirt or even jeans. 

I really like the loose and flowy aspect of this top and the tassels can be tied like I did here or left undone to hang loose. Usually, I wouldn't wear a necklace with the tassels but today I decided, why not? I like the blue necklace and decided to add it to bring out the blue in the top. I also felt the Boho aspect of this top could handle not only the necklace but also the chunky silver bracelet and my big hoop earrings. 

ruffled feminine top

As I look at this outfit, I find myself wondering if Maisie Dobbs, the psychologist and investigator in my favorite Maisie Dobbs mystery series, might have worn something similar in the 1930's? 

Wikipedia Image Listed As Public Domain
Here's a public domain image of a lovely lady from the 1930's wearing ruffles and lace. Isn't she lovely? Perhaps Maisie Dobbs did wear ruffles and lace. If she didn't, I'm sure her good friend Priscilla did! One thing I do know about Maisie Dobbs is that she always liked to drink her tea from a tin mug that was issued to her when she was a nurse on the battlefield during WWI. So today I found something that reminded me of Maisie and her tea mug....

Found this cute mug at the Farm and Tractor store
Behold this enamelware tea mug that I immediately turned into a flower holder in order to create a tablescape on the foyer table. 

I've just been looking for an excuse to use the flour sack tea towels that I was gifted when I retired. Rather than "saving them for good" it's important to use and enjoy them! So, I'm doing just that by using them, in this case, as the base for my table vignette. I added the enamel mug filled with flowers, some more flowers surrounding the mug, a glass candle holder and, of course, a Maisie Dobbs book! 

Perhaps I should call this the Dining Room Foyer Table?
I find it rather fun to feature my favorite books on the Foyer Table. And, yes, the table is still in the dining room. Do you think I should change it's name? Anyway, featuring books is a whole new way to decorate in my opinion. What do you think?

I hope you have enjoyed today's post. Sometimes fashion leads to home decor and vice-versa. And good literature can lead to both fashion and home decor. For those of you who are interested, I am including the link to Mademoiselle Miss which are letters from an American Nurse who served in France during WWI. Just like Maisie, she faced long, hard days of caring for wounded soldiers. I was amazed to find this site when I was doing research for this post, really looking for styles of that era. These letters are included in an online WWI Medical Encyclopedia and if you click on the red Medical Front sign in the upper left corner it will take you to that site with a lot more info about WWI. My grandfather served in WWI so I am interested in reading more about what his life may have been like during that time. 

From Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear-Book 1 in the series...
"Maisie went to the stove, poured boiling water from the kettle onto the tea leaves in the brown earthenware teapot, and allowed it to steep. She took two large tin mugs from the shelf above the stove, stirred the tea in the pot, then poured tea for them both, with plenty of sugar and a splash of milk. Since her time in France, Maisie had preferred an army-issue tin mug for her private teatimes, for the warmth that radiated from the mug to her hands and to the rest of her body." 

Until Next Time,

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Wearing Tan and Black in the Summer and More

Tan and Black and Catching Up

Hello everyone. Here's a question for you. Do you wear colors like tan and black in the summer? I really have never designated certain colors unwearable just because the temps are warmer. I've always worn color combinations I like if I found outfits that fit the season. So today, I'm styling tan and black together which, for me, is a favorite color combination.

I have owned and worn this outfit for several years but I don't believe I've shown it on the blog before. The top is a sheer tunic that is longer in the back and sleeveless. I wear it over a thin black nylon top with short sleeves. It gives the impression of a seamless one piece top. The pants are skinny leg and soft. I own these in several colors and prints. They are one step above a legging and I like this fit better. I bought them several years ago at K-Mart and I'm sorry to say K-Mart is no more, so when these pants are gone, they're gone. 

This was such a comfy outfit to wear around the house the other day. I've been going through my summer closet taking note of tops, bottoms, dresses and skirts that I am wearing this summer. And it doesn't matter that I don't have a particular place to go to, I'm still enjoying outfits around the house. For instance, I went to the store this morning and I wore jeans and a shirt. I tend to change clothes when I get home if I have been inside a store. That seems to be my personal Covid rule. I also wash hands, face and glasses. Anyway, I looked through my summer closet and saw this dress. Remember when I styled this little black dress three ways?

It was such fun to style this dress three different ways
Well, this LBD is what I'm wearing right now as I type this. Although, I'm not wearing those beautiful heels. I no longer own them, sadly. They were just too high. I'm wearing my navy blue flat Skechers and a white sweater. I still love this dress, though!

And true "this and that" is the more I mentioned in the title of this post. 

I've been working on some more paper crafting. I created these pretty stationary cards using scrapbook paper, stickers and calligraphy stickers. I find an hour or so of this artwork to be relaxing and allows me to do my own thing with being creative. If you are like me and you don't feel like you have found a way to be creative, keep trying. Don't give up. I truly believe that everyone can be creative once they find the artwork that feeds their soul. I hope you keep looking for yours. 

And speaking of beautiful is God's creativity with this gorgeous zinnia on my back porch? The pansies that I had planted last April or May were looking really spent in the summer heat, so I decided to replace them. 

So now, instead of this...

It now looks like this with pretty pink vincas to compliment the zinnia, marigolds and lantana. 

And look at my garden plants! The cucumber, tomato and squash plants are growing tall and blooming, but still no sign of fruits as yet. Fingers crossed that it will happen! Please take a moment to admire the garden frame that the Mr. built so no critters could get in to my plants. It has done an amazing job keeping them out! I look each day to make sure that my plants are continuing to prosper and grow. 

And speaking of growing....I hope you find inspiration in the following scripture.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

Until Next Time
May You Feel God's Peace and Blessings,

Thursday, July 9, 2020

How To Style A Tee Shirt Dress and Tea Time

Tee Shirt Dress and Tea Time

Hello everyone!  You know tee shirt dresses are everywhere online and in the stores these days. They are easy to wear and oh-so-comfortable so when I saw this one at Walgreens today I decided to splurge. 

Yes, you heard that right.  Guess who's shopping for clothes at the drugstore again!  Me, that's who.  Today felt almost normal as I ran into Walgreens to pick up a few necessary items and stopped long enough to browse through the clothes they had on display. I didn't browse for long, but I instantly loved the flowers on this very simple dress. Plus, it has a V-neck which I have discovered (and read) is very flattering. So, I decided to splurge for this very economical dress and I'm glad I did!

Although tee shirt dresses tend to be a bit on the shorter side, the length is no shorter than a pair of longer shorts would be. How's that for a sentence?!  In other words, it's long enough for me to feel comfortable wearing it as a lounge around the house, run errands type of dress. I chose to wear my navy blue Skechers for these pics but a pair of sneakers or sandals would work just fine, also. I read a lot of British blogs and I love how they call running shoes or sneakers "trainers." So, loving all things British, I will say that a pair of trainers would look just lovely with this tee shirt dress, as well! 

And speaking of British, I enjoyed a little afternoon tea today.  I think that making a pot of afternoon tea and having a snack with it is the epitome of enjoying retirement! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this tea with a Wasa crisp topped with hummus. Yummy!

I was even inspired to add a little milk to my tea a la Maisie Dobbs style. I'm re-reading the second book in the Maisie Dobbs series, "Birds of A Feather," and she was preparing tea for Detective Inspector Stratton and she added milk to his tea calling it the "old London way." Maisie says, "Never put the milk in first because you might waste some. If you put it in last, you can tell exactly how much you really need." Well done, Maisie, for being frugal! 

The nice thing about tee shirt dresses is that they can be multi-seasonal. When the weather becomes cooler, I can pop on a pair of leggings and add a sweater and continue wearing it. I think black leggings will go well with this dress. 

How about you? Are you a tee shirt dress fan?  Are you doing any clothes shopping at drugstores or elsewhere?  Drinking any tea?  Reading any good books?  Hope you'll let me know in the comments. 

Most of all.....please, please, please wear a mask, stay six feet apart from others and wash your hands!!  I want you to stay well. 

Until Next Time,

Monday, July 6, 2020

Philosophy 101 from My Backyard

Finding Wisdom As I Walk

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:7-10

Hello everyone!  I took a walk around my yard today and snapped a few photos.  As always, there was some wisdom to be found as I walked and thought. So, I'm calling this post "Philosophy 101 from My Backyard."  Of course philosophy is not the same thing as wisdom but, I think you get the idea. So, grab yourself a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy the walk. 

The ferns I planted on our front porch way back in May are finally starting to look full and pretty and green. I almost pulled them out of the planters a few weeks ago to toss them over the hill and wished I had not bought them. They had brown fronds in them that stuck straight out like a bad haircut and they looked weak and sickly. I had to do a bit of pruning on those brown fronds. Just goes to show that lots of water, the summer sun and the passage of time is what they needed to grow and flourish. Oh, and a little pruning of the fronds that weren't supposed to be there. Kind of like humans when God needs to do some pruning of our hearts to get rid of the fronds that don't belong there so that we, too, can grow and flourish. 

And these ferns didn't even need to be bought and planted, they just appeared!  Now, if I had planted these in that spot I bet they wouldn't have grown at all. Sometimes, when we least expect it, new growth happens in places we would never have dreamed. As always, God is the very best gardener! 

There isn't much left from the trunk of our huge "sacred tree" that fell over from the force of hurricane winds that blew through the mountains several years ago. We were told by a Cherokee tree climber that the tree was sacred because it had been hit by lightening and survived. When we bought this house we admired this giant tree with a big scar down the side. It stood as a sentinel in the woods close to our house for many, many years. Now, its jagged remains stand tall reminding us that life can leave a few scars and even blow us over. But, if our foundation is strong and secure, we can still stand tall and the jagged edges become part of our story and our beauty. 

These weeds haven't been found yet by the Mr.  He pulls the heads off dandelions when he finds them so they don't propagate all over our yard. I kind of like dandelions, though. When I was a little girl I would look for dandelions that had gone to seed. I would pluck them, make a wish and blow the seed head as hard as I could, hoping that all the seeds would blow away in one breath. Because, of course, that would mean I would get my wish! Wouldn't it be wonderful if blowing dandelion seeds was all it took to make wishes come true? But, then again, perhaps we would make lots of silly and frivolous wishes that wouldn't end up being good wishes at all. Like, if we wished for a million dollars and it happened. But, then we still wanted more. And so we wished again. And yet, we still weren't happy. 

There was a story that I used to read to my kids when I was teaching called, "The Fisherman and His Wife."  It was a fable about a poor fisherman who catches a magic fish. The magic fish talks the fisherman into letting him go, promising him anything in return for his freedom. The fisherman doesn't ask for anything and just lets the fish go and then goes home and tells his wife what happened. The wife is angry that her husband didn't ask for anything in return for sparing the fish's life and demands he go back to ask the fish for a better house. The poor husband does his wife's bidding and the fish is happy to give them a better cottage. But, you guessed it, the wife continues to be unhappy and keeps asking her poor husband to go back time and time again, asking the fish for more and more riches until....she finally goes too far and asks to rule the sun and the moon, at which time the fish sends the husband back to his wife to find her living in their original hovel. So, the moral is to be happy with what you have. 

And, I'm kind of happy to have these yellow dandelions blooming among the weeds right now. I think they are pretty. And don't tell the Mr. but I might....perhaps....pick one once they go to seed and then close my eyes and make a wish and then blow with all my might. never know. 

This is my new rock bench next to the stream that runs through our property. The Mr. asked me if I would like a bench made from some of the stones that were unearthed during our driveway building and I said yes. I think it will be my thinking bench. I can sit there and let my thoughts tumble like water over the rocks. I am prone to getting lost in my thoughts and imagination. This can be either good or bad depending on what direction my thoughts take. I love it when my thinking leads to creative, imaginative ideas. Or when I focus on happy thoughts, memories and plans for the future. I don't like it when I find myself dwelling on the negative, however. Because when that happens it can be hard to shake that black cloud hanging over my head. So, it behooves me to remember the following scripture and what it means for my thinking.

As someone thinks within himself, so he is.
-Proverbs 23:7
So, I want to control the thoughts flowing through my mind and not let them head to the negative. Easier said than done sometimes. Especially in today's world. So to help with this, I am reminded of the following familiar scripture:
Whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
-Philippians 4:8
This scripture will be a good one to focus on while sitting on my thinking bench. How about you?  What wisdom did you glean from today's post. Or...from a walk in your own backyard?
Until Next Time, Debbie

Thursday, July 2, 2020

4th of July Table Decor and Red White and Blue Outfits Replayed

Getting Creative With Table Decor

Hello Everyone!  I can't even believe that the 4th of July is this coming Saturday! It just seems like June has flown by in the blink of an eye! Anyway, I decided to look for a way to create a little 4th of July display on the foyer table and found that I had to get really creative and think outside the box on this one! 

I think I mentioned that I had done a major clean out of many items I had used previously on the foyer table. And truth be told, I didn't have much in the way of 4th of July decor to start with anyway. So, I began looking around at what I do own and how it might come together for a display. For instance, this candle holder/bottle  is filled with a patriotic looking bandana that I had in a drawer. It fills the space nicely with a little red, white and blue!

And then on top, I started the display with the red, white and blue balls on two picks that I had kept from previous years. I then decided to add the mesh candle holder that has white stars around it and then came up with an idea of finding red, white and blue books to stack. The white "R" topped it all off. 

This is how it looks all together.  And you may notice that the foyer table is not in the foyer. It is in the dining room. The Mr. is putting a few finishing touches on the stairs still and there really isn't room for the table in the foyer when he has all his tools laying everywhere.  So, for now, the foyer table is living in the dining room. 

Just an aside about the red book I'm displaying. It is "Betsy's Wedding" by Maude Hart Lovelace and is one of my all-time favorite books EVER!  This book is actually the culmination of a series of children's books about three friends named Betsy, Tacey and Tib who lived in Milwaukee in the late 1890's to early 1900's. They had all sorts of adventures together and "Betsy's Wedding" is the final book of the series in which Betsy marries her longtime love, Joe Willard, and they settle into a life of being writers before Joe is sent off to World War I. Just like the Maisie Dobbs books that I enjoy, there is historical accuracy in this book that describes what life was like for young adults in the pre-World War I years. I have read and re-read this book many times over the years and although it doesn't hold the interest it once did when I was younger, it still is a book I would never get rid of! It's funny because I found this book long ago at a book sale of discarded books. It had been discarded from a school library and was old looking then. The pages are yellowed and some pages have stains on them. To me, that only adds to the "patina" of a well loved book. While I may be reading some on my phone now, books on a device will never replace the feeling of holding a book in my own hands and turning page after page with delight!

And...a few red, white and blue pics to close out the post!
On replay  from past posts...

And Finally....

I'm wishing each of you dear readers a happy, healthy and peaceful day....and for my USA readers, may you enjoy a happy 4th of July this Saturday!

Until Next Time,