Blog Archives

What a Busy Christmas Season 2016!

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but highlights of our Henson Family Christmas activities during the last month or so included:
πŸŽ„ Black Friday Shopping!

πŸŽ„ Loads of Lights on the exterior of our house and lawn!

πŸŽ„ Older two daughters’ Band concert!

πŸŽ„ Younger daughter’s elementary party!

πŸŽ„ Handmade & custom gifts for husband & kids!

πŸŽ„ New Christmas tree and wreaths!

πŸŽ„ 12th Annual Egg Nog Competition at the Historic Arkansas Museum!

πŸŽ„ Driving around looking at lights!

πŸŽ„ Visited AR Capitol building to see decor and take family photos!

πŸŽ„ Hosted Dinner for 8 in our home, including Pop, Grammy, & Gram!

πŸŽ„ Attended a Dinner for 8 with husband, daughters, & nephew that my sister cooked for us all!

πŸŽ„ 3 daughters baked Cookies for Santa!

πŸŽ„ Stockings & unwrapping gifts!

πŸŽ„Christmas morning homemade Sticky Bun Cinnamon Rolls from scratch by Mitch!

πŸŽ„ Dec 26th Clearance Shopping!
Here are a few of my Favorite Photos from these activities:
















We hope you had a festive Winter Holiday Season, too! I’ll be back with more posts, soon! ❀️

Your Friend,

–Amber Hamilton Henson

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My Kitchen Update!

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So, our old kitchen wasn’t terrible.
However, it was tired.
It was outdated.
It had been working hard for ten years, and it showed.
The family that owned the house before us raised teenage sons in it for five years. We have been raising three young daughters here for five years. Countless meals, lots of large gatherings, and endless craft projects have taken place in this kitchen for over a decade.
The construction of the ivory painted wood cabinets was sturdy, but the finish was worn.
The granite and hardware just weren’t my style/preference.
It had never really been a “finished” kitchen, to my eye, because there wasn’t a proper backsplash, just painted sheetrock between the countertop and upper cabinets.
We updated it according to MY style, MY preferences!
Bonus: We did it without breaking the bank, and because this is an open-concept floor plan, the WHOLE house feels updated! Love it!!

Want to see LOTS of photos of my newly updated kitchen?
Do you like “before/after” photos as much as I do?
If so, here you go:
(Click on photo to have it enlarge into a new window.)
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The detailed before/after photos:

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CABINET HARDWARE:
Before:
The ivory paint was chipped.
It was dirty.
It had been retouched.
It had chipped, again.
It got dirty, again.
I HATED the cabinet pulls.
Hated them soooooooo much.
The cup style constantly broke my fingernails.
The design was outdated.
The finish was rubbing away.

After:
Clean, fresh, satin enamel paint.
Two coats of said paint.
Simple, updated stainless pulls.
“Fingernail friendly” drawer handles, not cups!
Clean. Clean. Clean. Yay!!
What do you think of my bubble glass knobs?
I adore them!
To me, they’re like the jewelry of a kitchen!

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Next, the sink area:

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KITCHEN SINK:
Before:
Tired.
My patience had run out.
I was tired of dealing with the inefficiency of
removing crumbs and spills from counters.
The big lip on the top mount sink was
terribly impractical.
Every. Single. Scratch. Showed.
This black sink was showing its 10 year age.
The thin black granite had several stress
breaks and cracks around the sink.
It was a really dark work surface.
I’ll keep this stone on the island, where I
serve dinner buffet-style, but it was way
to dark for my work areas.

After:
New! Efficient!
It is so much simpler, now, to be able to
easily wipe crumbs directly into the sink!
Yay!!
The mottled color is stunningly gorgeous!
The granite is literally almost twice as thick!
The fabricator/installer did a perfect job
smoothing and polishing the edges!
I am so pleased with the transformation
to the quality of the functionality of our
kitchen since making this change!

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Next, let’s talk GRANITE:

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Specifics about our NEW Granite Countertops:
“Thank You!” to Kaufman By Design -West!
Our experience with Kaufman By Design was fantastic!
Their showroom is amazing! When designing for new construction, a remodel, or an update, like my project, it is amazing to be able to visit a well stocked showroom and be able to handle a spectrum of tile sample options ranging from earthy, tumbled natural stones to shiny, metallic dichroic glass and every option in between. Their sales rep and install team maintained perfect communication with us from day one through completion. The process was very straightforward:
1) I visited the showroom & selected a sample.
2) Their fabricator/installer came to my house to measure.
3) I gave approval for the specific slab to be used.
4) Two weeks later, their fabricator/installer team arrived with the pieces ready to install. They were able to remove the old counters and install the new ones on the same day. For me, a mother in a family of five that cooks most meals at home, that was a HUGE factor. Swapping countertops generally means being without a sink and cooktop during the swap, so the fact that they were able to remove the old and install the new in one day was exceptionally awesome! Sink= I need it! Cooktop= I need it! They made sure we weren’t without either overnight. Same day!! How cool is that? πŸ˜ƒ Their team kept the area neat as they worked, vacuumed and wiped the area before they left, and were pleasant to have in the house all day while I and my youngest daughter were also home.

If you see this post, and you’re in Central Arkansas, I highly recommend that you visit Kaufman By Design for any home maintenance project, repair, remodel, update, or new construction.
Find the Kaufman By Design website: click here
Find the Kaufman By Design Facebook page: click here

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Also, in our Kitchen, we lined the open upper cabinets:

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We purchased 4′ x 8′ sheets of a thermoplastic material in an antique bronze finish (looks Copper to me,) and then we cut the pieces to fit each cabinet! Easy!

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Last, but not least, we installed under cabinet l.e.d. lighting and completed the DIY tile glass backsplash! I love how they glitter in the light!

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There is another Fun detail I almost forgot to tell you about!! Lining the open shelves! I didn’t want to use the rolls of antiskid material sold at big box stores, because I really dislike the raw edges and how it slides around when casserole dishes are moved, but I did want a cushion to keep dishes from chipping and paint from getting scratched. Solution? We covered thin pieces of plastic with vinyl! Yes, it was a bit time intensive, but once it was done, it’s DONE. It’ll be durable forever!

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Yay! Here are some overall view of our finished space!

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Yay! That’s my kitchen update!
Whatcha think? πŸ˜ƒ
~~AmberHH
PS Love Ya, but love you even more if you share this link! πŸ’žπŸ˜Ž

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Our Nest has a Few New Treasures!

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Our Home really is my favorite place in the whole world, and it just became a bit cozier!

We purchased an amazing room size rug from Kaufman by Design (on Cantrell, here in Little Rock, Arkansas.)
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The whole room feels larger, brighter, more interesting, and infinitely more comfortable! I am so pleased! If you’re local, I highly recommend that you check out the store Kaufman By Design!

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I also purchased some gorgeous, shiny new cable knit sweater pillows at Michael’s today! They’re a great addition, aren’t they? Yay!

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I also picked up a few of these glass/brass boxes and filled them with reindeer moss and some of my crystals and gems! It’s nice to have them on display in a way that I can fully see them, yet they’re less accessible to our cat, 3 kids, and guests. You understand, I’m sure!

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In other news, I recently saw this amazing agate perfume bottle on Pinterest. New goal: acquire stone perfume bottles, preferably of a wearable pendant size! Source of image

So, tell me: What’s new in your world? I’m going to hop around blogland and explore this evening! I bet you’re all creating some amazing things!

If you even mildly liked this post, you might also like these posts of mine even better!
DIY perfume storage using a premade frame
Master Bedroom Tour
Up-cycled NECKTIE Upholstery Vanity Seat

If you might want to try one of my projects, enjoy my post, or like a photo, please consider Pinning it to Pinterest! There is a gray PINTEREST button at the bottom of each post! Thank you so much, friends!

Love Ya Lots and Lots,
~AmberHH

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Yay!! Cooler Temps, Finally!

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(In celebration of the cooler temps, how about my Selfie photo blended with art found on Pinterest? 😊 See my Pinterest account for links to more about the art.)

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The 3 girls and I went “Vintique” hunting for a few hours. I was looking to buy some sort of gaudy, intricate wall cabinet to store my perfumes and EOs. Instead, we came home with a modern chrome & glass X side table for the living room. (Pretty typical shopping pattern for me. lol. Next time, I’ll shop for garden statuary and find the perfume cabinet I want?) haha! Love the table, though!

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Gorgeous View from my front door, huh?
πŸƒπŸπŸ‚

More Later!
Your Friend,
AmberHH

ProjectSTIR

#PhotoChallenge #October #2015
#ProjectSTIR

Use your social media to share your family’s cooking traditions!

Details about the project, prizes, and so forth can be found by clicking here –> http://www.sarahshotts.com/projectstir/

In addition to posting my photos on my personal fb page, IG account and Pinterest, I’ll update this blog daily to add new photos to THIS post!

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Day 1: kitchen tool
(Yes! I have a kitchen utensil or two! Here is one of many drawers that house my kitchen utensils.)

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Day 2: recipe card
(Yes! I have LOTS of cards. My favorites: those that family members have filled out for me and my extensive collection of cards that I used to pick up for free in the @WalMart produce section years ago. I have like 100 of them in this square basket. It’s not hard to tell that I’m born and raised in Arkansas!) β€ͺ

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Day 3: Mixing Bowl.
FireKing Jadeite. I don’t have a complete collection. My first one was passed to me from my great grandmother via my Gram. I’ve purchased several at antique stores to accompany it. I use them all the time. They’re the best for cheese dip. They’re fabulous to serve salad. They’re my “go to” mixing bowls.
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Day 4: Memory
I remember my great grandparents (my dad’s mother’s parents.) I have vivid memories of sitting at their kitchen table drinking a malt, picking up pecans in their backyard, and so many more. They were amazing. These are photos of them as I remember them, one of her recipe books that my grandmother has trusted me to care for and pass to future generations, and a glass juicer from their kitchen. You can read quite a bit about the amazing life of my great-grandfather, Bill Seiz, at: http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?search=1&entryID=2719

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Day5: Globe
πŸ’žπŸŒπŸŒπŸŒŽπŸ‡¦πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡§πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΉπŸ‡·πŸŒŽπŸŒπŸŒπŸ’ž
I have 100 or so #cookbooks. Here are a handful of favorites representing various cuisine. Chinese, Spanish, Italian, American (specifically, Southern,) English. 😊

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Day 6: Ingredients
🌿🍐
I like using seasonal ingredients and prefer to include at least one ingredient a day from my garden.
Today, I made scones using Rosemary, Pear, Asiago cheese, and Eggnog! They turned out great! The Rosemary is from my 15 foot long, evergreen Rosemary Hedge! Love it!
Get my recipe for these scones, here: https://whatamberloves.com/2015/10/07/scones/
Read more about my love and uses for Rosemary on another post:
https://whatamberloves.com/2014/06/23/rosemary-water/

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Family Updates!

Hey, y’all! What’s up? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
Wow, I could write a bajillion updates (or at least 8 posts) at this point with all of the photos I’ve taken in the last month or two!

I will show you a few highlights, though; it’ll be a condensed overview of what could be 8 individual updates.

(I may double back at a later date to show you actual step by step tutorials on each of the 8 the projects and step by step recipe details, in individual posts.)

1) We made a fun, colorful “puff quilt,” by following this tutorial link: http://handmade-europe.com/2011/11/22/tutorials-quilts Remind me to tell you the backstory of these fabrics sometime!
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2) Garden:
a)My garden, especially the pepper garden, has been flourishing!
b) I submitted one of photos of my peppers to P. Allen Smith’s #ArkansasGrown photo contest and was selected as one of the weekly winners. I received a great prize package in the mail shortly thereafter!
c) I sure enjoy late season rose blooms and playing around with photo editing apps!

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3) One of my favorite herbs this year is Pineapple Sage! I bought it as a little starter Bonnie plant, and it has grown to 3′-4′. I’ve especially liked using it in “Brown Butter Sage Chicken!” I cook it until the Sage gets crispy! Yummm! I follow this recipe link: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/5-minute-brown-butter-chicken-and-crispy-sage.html

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4) In house decor news, I’ve purchased a new pair of long sofas for the living room and a new coffee table. I posted our old sectional sofa on Craigslist and Facebook to sell, and it sold the first day. However, it’ll be 6-8 weeks until the new LaZBoy sofas arrive! Oops! Haha! The coffee table has arrived, though:

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5) We also decided to paint the ceilings in the foyer, living room, and office a dark green! It doesn’t darken the room, but it does make the 10′ ceilings seem even higher! The Living Room has windows that are almost floor to ceiling spanning one wall, lights in the ceiling fan, and a pair of wall sconces, so it is sufficiently bright! Here it is:

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6) Our 3 girls are all flourishing! We received their benchmark standardized test scores from Spring testing; Caroline and Abigail have “Wow’d” me again! They both scored hundreds of points above state averages in Literacy. They also BOTH scored in the upper 90-99th percentile in every subject, nationally. Amazing, just amazing little girls they are! Caroline, 7th grade, has been invited to participate in Duke University’s talent identification program (TIP!) YaY!! Veronica, 3, stays busy playing with building blocks, puzzles, and her Nabi tablet, patiently waiting to be old enough to take standardized tests, too! Love:

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7) What else? Oh, yeah! We reupholstered another chair! I asked Baby Veronica to me find something green in Hancock Fabric Store, and she picked this green butterfly upholstery fabric, so we went with green butterfly fabric for the chair that sits in the foyer. It’s kind of an entry way into the library. We also covered the desk shroud! See:

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8) This morning, Mitch got up early to make Cinnamon Sticky Buns from scratch for us girls! Lucky, lucky girls we are!! I sure love him! He used the recipe from this link: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/21461/ooey-gooey-cinnamon-buns

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So, that’s what’s been going on around here!

I hope autumn is going well for you and yours, too!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

“Newsworthy!” It’s HOT outside!

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With temps in the mid and upper 90s and heat indexes beyond that, everyone wants to talk weather! Whew! It’s hot out there!! #arkansas
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While I may be grumpy about feeling like I’m melting in the heat, my pepper plants are absolutely LOVING this weather! We’re having a bumper crop from our pepper plants! (These are all from Bonnie Plants that we planted in early spring and babied through late frosts!) I see red mexibells, golden cayenne, lots of cowhorns, lots of serranos, and few jalapeΓ±os. LOVE!

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In other news, Veronica, age 3, unbothered by the heat, weather or pepper, continues to entertain us all with her antics. Tonight, she put on quite the fashion show by dressing up in ALL of her jewels and parading around through the house whilst declaring herself to be “fancy!” LOVE!

We also finished our quilt! New post, soon! I promise!

Love,
~Amber

Linked:
http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/sunday-link-august-31-2014

Roadside Watermelon

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I’m a pretty content chick.
I stay pretty happy and just go with the flow.
But, one thing makes me EXTRA happy every year!
Do you know what makes me so happy?
Roadside WATERMELON sales!!
Love, love, love summer in Arkansas!
I’m in the Capitol city of Arkansas, Little Rock.
This time of year, farmers from more rural counties bring truckloads of watermelons into the city to sell, and I. LOVE. IT.
Love it, love it, love it soooo much!
I love how fresh and flavorful the melons are.
I love how friendly the farmers are.
I love the big hand painted signs that get used year after year.
I love all of it so much!
I know, Arkansas grows lots of rice, soybeans (edamame), peaches, pecans, pumpkins, and more here, and I love them, too, but it’s the WATERMELONS that get me really excited!
Right now, as I type, I know of multiple locations that are starting to sell Arkansas watermelons and I’m SO EXCITED!
As a family of 5, we’ll eat one or two a week every week until the season ends and my beloved watermelon trucks are replaced by my also beloved pumpkin trucks.
It’s officially watermelon season in Arkansas!
I Live it!

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PS
This post will link with some great blog hops this week!
Pop into the parties at these links:
ArkansasWomenBloggers ~ Sunday Link Up
SavvySouthernStyle ~ Wow Us Wedsnesdays #181

Abigail’s Room, 100 yards of Fabric Later!

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It’s been really hot (for Arkansas) during the last few days with heat indexes over 100* and intense humidity, but we’re having some sort of unusual cold front today and tomorrow with temps only in the 80s. It’s so nice! I’ve turned off our AC, turned on fans, and opened the windows for the day!

My 100 yards of sheer “butterfly” chiffon/voile fabric that I ordered online from Ronnie Home Textile for daughter Abigail’s windows and canopies arrived. (Abigail is nine years old.) The fabric is even better than I anticipated it to be from the photos online! It’s soooo soft and drapes splendidly! Abigail LOVES the vibrant butterfly design that repeats up both sides of the fabric!

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Then, our project began! Lol! Oh, my!! I totally underestimated just how much time it would actually take ME to cut and sew all of these panels! (We covered one big wall of windows, and made floor to ceiling canopies for the two daybeds in her room! = 15 white butterfly panels that are floor to ceiling length, 4 solid hot pink panels of the same length, and 4 turquoise butterfly canopy panels at 27′ each!) Wow! Not having a proper studio space, I scooted our dining room and laid it all out on the floor and then took to sewing on the kitchen counter. We were destined to eat fast food for dinner a time or two, but the outcome was worth the sacrifice! I made pretty good time, though, and got it all done in less than three days only working sporadically with three daughters underfoot. That three day time period also included making the three long wall curtain rods!

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I used glass doorknobs and electrical conduit as curtain rods to mimic the ones I liked at a Bedding and Bath big box store. Theirs were like $129 each for the lengths we needed; we made them for about $12 each! The conduit came in ten foot lengths, we left one full length and trimmed two of them to eight feet, spray painted black satin (in our driveway) to cover the steel and brass, then epoxied the door knobs into the conduit! Yay! Easy, peasey, and saved hundreds of dollars!!

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Her room is actually painted a vibrant purple, which only shows here and there. Her room is mostly fabric, now! It’s amazing! I told her it reminded me of the inside of Jeannie’s bottle. She had no idea what I was talking about. Apparently, she’s never seen the show “I Dream of Jeannie!”

In her room, she also has a few other neat features, particularly her neon sign from my dad’s (her Pop’s) sign shop, a purple dollhouse that we’re still working to complete, shelves of photos, … πŸ™‚

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So, what do you think of our new 100 yards of fabric we’ve added to her room this week?
I think we’re going to add l.e.d. twinkle lights to the canopies next, and add a few big plants on either side of the white shelving. I’ll update this post with photos when we do!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

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This post will link with some great blog hops this week!
Pop into the parties at these links:
ArkansasWomenBloggers ~ Sunday Link Up
my1929charmer ~ Sunday’s Best Par-Tay #64
SavvySouthernStyle ~ Wow Us Wedsnesdays #181
FromMyFrontPorchToYours ~ Treasure Hunt Thursday
SweetBellaRoos ~ Pin It Thursdays
MyRepurposedLife ~ Catch As Catch Can #175
FunkyJunkInteriors ~ PJ 259

Mad Tea Party 2014!

“There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one day for a Mad Tea Party.”

We’re serving lots of sweets, milk in martini glasses, juice in champagne saucers, and tea! There are plenty of seats left at the table, so please join us!
If you’re hosting a Mad Tea Party of your own, I’d love, love, love it if you left a link in my comments!

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Prose:

A Mad Tea Party about me for my un-birthday?
Just follow the rabbit, he’ll show the way!

Once upon a time, in a mansion on a hill up high,
Where a lady, a man, & three girls love quiche and sweet pie,

They all tinkered and played for many, many days
At a glance, they lost and found time in so many ways!

See, within the new big mansion, there are so many rooms;
There are baubles, gadgets, treats, and perfumes.

And, Inside of it there are three more little houses
Since the structures are new, there aren’t any mouses!

Miss Caroline Daisy has a house that is pink;
She stores lots of treasures within it, I think.

The purple house belongs to Miss Abigail Rose;
It fits in her purple room, where she and friends doze.

The third house of gold, is owned by Veronica Lily;
We try to take her photo, but she’s silly, silly.

We make handmade yarn and jewel flower fairy dolls,
We repurpose windows and doors to hang on our walls.

There are collaged mirrors and frames and gilding galore
with lots of belt chairs and globe lamps sure not to bore!

Each day when the clock says six, it’s time for our tea;
By then the lady has baked and prepared, busy as a bee!

She serves trifle, and cookies, and RUSSIAN tea cakes,
Since the three girls help her whenever she bakes.

Please come join us at our blog, we’ve plenty places for peacocks to sit,
Or gather with us for parades, if you won’t pitch a fit!

We can take tea in the garden, where vegetables grow,
Or inside in chairs, that my man did upholster and sew!

Big or small, indoors or out, we make gypsy style,
and craft lots of jewelry to surely bring a smile.

Lots of baubles and jewels, of the insect variety, too.
For, what good is a garden party without bugs to “boo!”?

If y’all click back through the poem, check out our blue links,
You’ll have toured our whole little blog website! “Wink-Winks!”

********************
What do you think of my poem? It rhymed! YAY!! Perhaps the poem will make more sense with photos? Try the links to see! (Some links in my poem are our fun projects, some are our recipes, and others are just bits about us and our family life. All are our photos and all are true!)

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
The Mad Tea Party Hostess with the Mostest, Vanessa Valencia, has THE loveliest “Mad Tea Party” happening now, and links to other tea parties can be found in her sidebar and comments, too! A HUGE, “Thank You! Thank You!” to her for organizing this fun blogland event! Her amazing, fantastical, wonderful, whimsical, fanciful tea party:
http://afancifultwist.typepad.com/a_fanciful_twist/2014/07/mad-tea-party-2014.html

PPS
Through the Looking Glass