Monday, August 14, 2017

Best and Horrible

I'm getting lots of emails
and questions about 
Z's Best Bags
So here are a few Horrible pics.
I snapped these very quickly for 
pal Annie last weekend
as she wanted to see a few.
There are more, many more, coming.
So what you see here is the 
main part of the bag and the gusset.
Most have a different fabric 
lining like this first one.
This red is the one Annie chose,
and she already has several.
She loves these so much she carries my cards 
with her so she can hand out 
when folks comment on her bags.
(she's also my best cheerleader)
I will take more, better photos, but right now
 I'm headed to 
a celebratory lunch with pal Sue 
who has officially retired from teaching today.
(of course she could not resist 
going over to help direct traffic this am,
because she is sweet like that ) 

This looks like I shot it from the roof. hehe
This is from a corner of the studio, I set therm on the half wall.
The living room is almost 3 stories high.

Please leave questions in comments or use this email.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Best Bags Are Back

Spent Thursday and Friday in the studio
 and I'll be up there all day today. 
Finally got the urge back
 to sew up some of my 
"Best Bags".

I've made and sold a lot of these puppies,
till I burned out on them.
Every time I use them at a store I get asked about them,
and I use them constantly.

Enough time has passed
that the joy of sewing them finally returned.
My only issue is my stash of home dec
is dwindling down and my go to store
went out of business.
It may be hard to find great fabric 
at a great price like before, and each bag is 
lined/reversible and the handles are triple folded
so I go through the fabric quickly.

Here is one that I use. These Bags hold A LOT!

Back to the studio I go!
Perhaps I'll just sew till there is no more home dec
and then start on something else.

Hot and Humid here
Hurry Fall Hurry

Sunday, July 30, 2017

At The Market

Went to my Smiths yesterday
and as I walked by the magazine section noticed
 Flea Market Decor, and so feeling silly, 
I stopped, opened to 
one of the pages of my house and snapped this. 
Couldn't tell you why?
I just did.

Shortly after I ran into a father and son
searching for hot dog sauce.
The son taunted the dad saying "you're making that up!"
Standing next to them I nodded to the kid and said
"I think he is pulling your leg."

An extended conversation ensued and 
a prolonged hunt for the sauce, since my Smiths 
recently remodeled and no one can find a damn thing.
Lo and behold
Wolf Hot Dog Sauce!

It's a no beans chili sauce.
Since he had been kind enough to introduce
me to hot dog sauce I showed him my favorite
Private Selection basil aioli sauce.
I use it on grilled sausage with grilled pepper
sandwiches. Heaven
So we each bought the others sauce and 
ended up leaning on our carts and talking the Steelers.

I love those kind of interactions.
Gives me hope that all is not lost.
Though you wouldn't know it by the nightmare 
in Washington

Going out to the market is the extent
of my social life most weeks.
This week I added
three full car runs to a donation center and 
dropped off over 50 books to the library for their 
fund raising. I use this library weekly,
 to the tune of about 12 novels so 
I want to give back.
When I go to the reserve shelves, often  
I am the entire shelf.
The shelvers know my name

I had accumulated a massive tower of  stuffed bins
and boxes in the garage for a future sale in cooler weather
but I just could not stand it, and out nearly all of it went.
Sorry Annie, no garage sale likely.

Hibernation begets even more intense purging.
Although to walk through the house it appears the same,
it's the guts that have changed.
Empty closets, drawers, hallway shelves and cabinets.
Empty shelves in the garage.
Everything stored is either holiday or storage 
from childhood for kids and not much of that either.
I emailed my list of gal pals and 
they came and bought scads also. Thanks Ladies.

I may never get my wee house I covet or 
even get to move to CA but I can do what I can
to simplify and lessen my footprint.
Wish I had never made such a big footprint to
begin with. Ah but we learn...
I've learned I like 
Hot Dog Sauce
A lot


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Popping UP

My home has popped up in another magazine.
The shoot was a while back so those
 of you who follow regularly know
that there are many changes since then.
The stylist made some obvious changes that day,
and of course I've purged scads since then.
Regular visitors will think oldgreymare in a COLOR issue?


That's the way of publishing, but either way
it's fun to see your home as it was that day,
and have a permanent record.

A thank you to Flea Market Decor
and to Kathryn Drury Wagner for the story.

To any who have come over for
 the first time from the article,
the easiest way to view my home is by
searching the words, decorating, design or organizing in
the search box upper left. 
You can also just search a room, as in living room, 
and the word holiday or Christmas 
will give you a snowfall of photos.
The word Gatherings takes you to some classes.
Or click on the links in the right sidebar
but even those are somewhat out of date.

I am keeping my personal journal/journey on here,
so you're just as likely to see
a garden as a pretty room,
a political rant as some pooch stories
or any gobbeldy gook that pops into my head.

Thank you for coming by and please let 
me know you were here so I can visit you back.

To my kids I'm mama and mom, 
to strangers I'm Suzan
to close friends I'm just 


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

GRRRRRRR and Yin Yang

SO for the past couple of weeks,
I have been battling these guys.
I've tried organic, homemade, and
could "decimate the world products",
but I still have these critters.

Oh they might toy with me and disappear 
for a few days only to return in greater numbers.
Here, there and *^%@$*& everywhere.

I've been out of sorts, I know
it's probably just the heat, but still.

It's SO bloomin' hot,
Something like 25 straight days over 105.
Many of those days are in the 114-117 range.

I've lost a few of my new plantings $$$,
and I have jury duty coming up.
I don't mind the jury duty, but I don't like the 
difficulty in getting to the courthouse
 and parking issues, and walking downtown
on scorching days.
I haven't been downtown in over a decade.
On purpose.

Dearest son and friends were here
over the weekend for the UFC.
Because of a canceled fight,
they were upgraded to a private box.
Not my cup of tea, but pretty cool for them.

Funny, after his 17 years of living here,
Ben seems to have forgotten how
 miserable summers can be.
He complained about the heat constantly.
He's CA spoiled. I get it though.
Oh, do I get it!

I splurged on a spiralizer and 
made squash noodles
over the weekend.
Quite good actually.

So, yin and yang
Go with the flow
 dry and hot,
but monsoons are a comin'.

"oh I wish it would rain"
get out of this funk.

Anybody know where I

can get one of these?



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Hard Work Rewards

The kiddo's apartment interior is adorable but I think my 
girl chose this place because of 
this outdoor space by her back kitchen door. 
No one else in the house walks or uses 
this area so they decided to take on the project 
and make an extended living area for themselves.
My girl had a vision, like her mama does.
The apple landed on her head not just close to the tree.

This is how it looked when I went down 
a couple weeks ago. They had moved in about a month prior.
My car was filled with vintage ladders, pots, rakes, 
soil, shovels and a blower. It was to be a working trip.
Those two dug and leveled and cleaned 
and worked their A's off. I washed walls, cleared ivy, planted
and reorganized all the cupboards inside.
I got permission first, I didn't just commando re-do.

I split the paver cost with them but the rest 
they did on a very modest budget.
My girl dragged the table home after
finding it on the street. The chairs Ben 
discovered for them at 13.00 each.
I provided an umbrella stand that I had extra 
from home, and Hannah just snagged the umbrella
on July 4th clearance.

They still have that small section to
 finish with turf in front of the fence. 
There are industrial edison bulb lights,
(extras from mom) and they plan to hang pots
 and more lights from the clothesline posts.
 (there are two, I cropped one out)

They sent me this yesterday as they 
completed the turf on the 
right side. Dirty knees and hands 
and so pleased with themselves.

Just out of site is an enormous tree,
providing all this pretty dappled light.
In early afternoon I would sit out there
and watch the many squirrels leaping through
the branches and pelting me with debris.

I loved it, but my son thought I was crazy to be so
happy to see squirrels. I grew up with squirrels
and found them frustrating as they ravaged my feeders in PA;
but after 30 plus years in the desert,
 I am enamored of their antics.
One last look.
Yay Tom and Hannah!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Crotch Dew

So my pal Ronda sent me 
this and thought I should add it to 
my latest post.

Good idea as I was going to revisit
the topic being remiss in 
not mentioning 
Crotch Dew
in the earlier post.

Yeah, yeah,
we all go through it
and a lot of us feel we're the only
ones aging out faster than
blue cheese.

I love my age, I do.
The only reason I would wish to be young again
is to have more flexible joints. 
I'd like not to make noise when I sit down
or stand up, no pops, or grinds or groans.

My poor mom used 
to make "other" noises as she sat and arose
 and especially when she climbed stairs.
Thomas the Tank Engine was not a thing yet
or I'm sure the nickname "toot" would have happened.

Anyway crotch dew is just 
as unpleasant as boob sweat,
or swoob as I saw in an article yesterday.
I have switched to gowns to sleep in, 
spend the day in,
garden in,
Ok drive thru Wendy's last night in.
(I throw a shirt over top and it's a block away)

Crotch Dew is averted with  
soft sleeveless cotton gowns.
I got 4 this summer at Kohls.
50% off with addtl 30%


There is a reason that the ads for 
Poise and Always and such
are so much more prolific than before.
Baby Boomers are united in many, many ways.
Leaking, sweating and dewiness are just a few.

Laugh about it, talk about it.
We're all blue cheese.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017



(  (

I have always envied woman with 
small breasts. I believe that they
look better in clothes ( so does the entire
modeling empire) they can jog without harnessing,
after breast feeding, many do not then 
resemble tube socks with a tennis ball in the bottom.
They don't have an "under" ledge to them per se.

Yeah, yeah men like boobs.
So what, I say.

Right now at 113 degrees, even with my air conditioner 
in competition with every other one in the city,
and waiting for the afternoon brown out 
surely to come...

I have sweat.
BOOB sweat
 that then runs down 
where gravity takes it 

They predict 110 -116 at least,
they say at least
for the next 7 days.

I cannot afford a high summer power bill so I keep 
the thermostat set at 80, it still runs constantly,
and run fans directly in front of me,
or behind me, depending on the room,
and whether I am vertical or horizontal.
Even so my Energy snapshot shows I'm over 
$200 with 15 days yet to go.

If even one of you says 
"But it's a dry heat", 
I'll have to throw Howie in the car
and head your way to live with you for the summer.
AS long as you live somewhere cool, or at least
on the ocean.

Believe me, you did not want a 
photo on this post.
There are 599,000 google
responses to sweaty breasts. Go there.

(  (

Thursday, June 15, 2017

CA Road Trip

Howie and I headed to CA on Saturday 
to see the kiddos and help with a few projects.
  It was a perfect couple of days 
filled with planting, yard work, great dinners and 
lots of talk and laughter.

Ben had been thinking of an herb garden for his porch,
so we found a good set up at Lowes and viola!
Hannah has a small dirt area out her back door
 perfect for a patio and garden, so we spent a day,
 clearing and cleaning off the ivy wall 
and Hannah pulled out about 10 lawn bags of debris.
Then Tom and Hannah went back to the store for pavers
and Tom began laying 54 of them perfectly level. 
Ben and I watched while Ben also cooked and 
I organized some cupboards. 

David and Howie were helping?
Hannah has promised pictures upon completion.
I also repotted and potted new plants for a lovely little corner.
Industrial lights will be strung and it will be a cozy retreat.

THEN there was THIS...
One of the most delicious meals ever.
Roasted Potatoes.
Horrible photo, just trust me.
Prepared by our favorite cook Ben.
He uses a sous vide first for hours 
and then the magic of his 
seasonings and skill.
We made yummy noises throughout the dinner.
We raved so much that Ben said he now 
doubted our sincerity. 

These three are so incredible. 
I adore them and miss them.
My last night they took me to the cutest 
Irish bar up the street.
I have declared it my bar.
The vibe and fish and chips were perfect.
I can't wait to go back.

I am blessed and never take it for granted.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Not sure how else to identify
this beautiful guy
He is the beloved dog of Hannah and Tom.
They brought him up to meet me
this past weekend.
Ben was also here a couple days ahead of them
and we had some great long chats and as always
he looks around to see what he can help me with.
Such a wonderful son.

We were all a bit concerned if Howie 
could handle an intruder but he was a champion.
David hardly ever makes a sound but the one 
time he play growled to play, 
Howie leapt onto my lap then up 
over the shoulder and tried clinging to
the top of my head.
I have the nail punctures in my scalp to prove it.
He was searching for the highest point of escape
in the room. It was funny and sad at the same time.
They never played but slept pretty close
 together for 3 days without incident.

David is the mellowest dog I have ever met,
and of course he is adored by his folks.

I love having my family all home 
and it is sad to see them leave,
 but we try to get together often and
 Ben has new plan for me to make it easier.

The rest of the world is sad and horrifying and 
basically a cluster/you know what.

dog love
mama love for her kids
It's all I can focus on right now.

Oh I hear I'm in Flea Market Decor
coming out in July.
I'll let you know when if you wish to take a peek.

the 100's are here.

Keep writing me folks.
I love it.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tomatoes and a Pooped Sunflower

Well that title should have gotten your attention

I am beaming with pride
Look what I made!
Tonight is caprese with my own
 home grown tomatoes, and basil.

So I'm out watering this morning and I see
a bit of green in one of the fountains and assuming it 
blew in there with all this horrible wind,
I bend over to pluck it out,
but it doesn't give?

So I pull a little harder and move a rock and the dang
thing has roots and is growing in there!
So a bird flew over the front gate after
 gorging at the feeder,
(I'm a good bird mama)
then it stopped in for a drink, AND 
pooped out a sunflower seed.

Ya just gotta be constantly amazed
and awed by nature.
Wherever you find it.

I was recently treated to lunch on 
two back to back days by two gal pals-
 what fun! Great food and lots of chat.

I do not go out often these days,
staying on budget if I can,
so it really was very special to me.
If I could retell the vast array
 of topics we covered you would not believe it.
Well maybe you would, as you probably have the 
same conversations with your lunch pals.

It's turned hot here finally.
Time for me to hibernate.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bee Bubble Butt

This photo is from Twisted Sifter's Shirk Report
unfortunately no credit was available.
I've told you before how much I love this site,
and I loved this photo.

I feel this bee and I are kindred spirits.
Covered in life's goodness, we have
food to eat, shelter in our hives, a community of 
other bees to support us.

 we travel with an enormous bubble butt.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Blessed Are My Days

From the time I was very small I knew I wanted to be a mother.
Life happened and I ended up having Benjamin and Hannah later than
I thought I would. I was 33 with Benjamin and 38 with Hannah.

Our family made many sacrifices in order for me 
to stay home full time with my children.

Each child had 5 years of all day alone with Mom time.
I cherish every single one of those days.

My son and daughter are happy, strong, kind, productive adults,
who have never given us a moment of trouble.
Oh I've worried some, but found
 they always make the right choices.

Every visit, every phone call or text ends 
with I love you Mama
I love you Mom

and then
from me

I love you more

Blessed are my days.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


A fun visitor at the restaurant this morning.
That is what it has become, a bird diner.

I try to linger for awhile after
 I fill up the feeders and scatter seed
so they get used to me.
This guy got very close, no problem.

A robin came by after bathing in my backyard fountain
 and proceeded to fluff, primp and dry off. 
I got a video on my phone
but I'm having trouble getting it to transfer.
I'll put on IG when I figure it out.

Those who have followed awhile
 know I go crazy when I see a robin.
Robins scream home (PA) to me.
I want to believe this is the same guy or an offspring
that has visited me off and on over the years.
The longest living banded robin 
survived almost 14 years
so it is possible. 

Speaking of quail 
The insane dude is channeling QUAYLE

"We shouldn't have to be
burdened with all the technicalities
 that come up from time to time 
with shrewd, smart lawyers interpreting
 what the laws or what the constitution
 may or may not say."
Dan Quayle

Need a laugh among the madness?