after the storm

after the storm
After the storm, this little one started to drink the rain gathered in the ribs of the fallen saguaro.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

on a search ...

West Elm came out with the cutest plates for the holiday season in 2013.

I was recovering from surgery and wasn't allowed to do much of anything. We don't have a West Elm here but once I was able to sit at my computer again, I started having fun just window shopping. (Is there a comparable expression for when you are doing it on your computer? Windows shopping?) Well, by the time I realized I could not resist the Dapper Animal plates, Mr. Bear was no longer available.

I had a very friendly, helpful West Elm employee on the phone trying to track them down for me. A couple of times, I thought I had it but realized the clerk I was talking with had confused the badger with the bear. I became ridiculously obsessed. I needed Mr. Bear. My original thought was to get some for my son's girlfriend because they had several bear encounters while camping. I couldn't find even one so sending her a set wasn't going to happen. I sent requests to West Elm to carry them again. My husband had business trips in cities that were lucky enough to have a West Elm and he checked. No luck.

All the other animals would be in stock for a while and then disappear, only to show up again so of course, I keep looking. Mr. Bear is the only one who has not done this. In my desperation, I even tracked down talented artist, designer, Rachel Kozlowski's email, asking her if she knew if any were available ANYWHERE. She was very gracious to me despite the fact that as I am typing this, I realize that I was behaving like a stalker. No luck.

They even came out with Mr. Bear tea towels but I wanted the plates. No luck.

Last year, they had a Dapper Animal set all dressed up for the holidays in black, white and gold. No luck.

Still no Mr. Bear with his adorable hat that always makes me think of my brother. It's even my favorite, a buffalo plaid. I wish this story had a happy ending but it doesn't. I check eBay and Etsy regularly. I check West Elm obsessively.

A few weeks ago, West Elm came out with a new set of Dapper Animal plates.
There is a bear but it is not Mr. Bear. He just isn't the same. I am sure a few of these will find their way to my table. We are University of Arizona Wildcat fans so the wildcat dressed up in his reindeer sweater may be hard to resist. And look at the moose!

I am a West Elm fan. I have many of their dessert/salad plates. They always seem to have ones that have a little something extra. I have always had excellent customer service from West Elm too. I have had orders that have gotten mixed up and they have always made it good and quickly. I so appreciate their helpful employees especially ones who are patient with a bear-plate-hunting crazy woman.

I have to say these are probably my West Elm favorites, by Shanna Murray, for Thanksgiving or any time we want to celebrate around our table. I have two of these, for each of my children. I hope they will be home to see them this year.

I have enough of these to have one for everyone else, at least for now. It is so hard to decide how many plates to buy when the family keeps growing and growing.

I have some extras of the original Dapper Animals if anyone wants to make a trade. I promise I will give Mr. Bear a very good home.

Mr. Owl looks ready for fall!

(Disclaimer: Pictures 1,2,4 and 5 came from the West Elm website. The rest are mine.) I am joining Susan and others at Between Naps on the Porch.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

finally, a tablescape ...

In my absence, I've still been having fun with my tables. Somehow they just haven't gotten photographed other than a quick shot or two with my phone. My dear friends joined me this week for our every two weeks gathering. This week was my turn. After I washed the linens, the flatware and the dishes, I stacked them on the dining room table to put them away. When I saw them this morning, I remembered that today is Tablescape Thursday. So, everything went back in it's place even though the actual gathering was on Tuesday.
We are so lucky. We have been friends for years and try to meet every other Tuesday. Sometimes life gets in the way, but it has been easier since our children are grown.
We are in the hottest part of the year. Although many of our meals here are eaten outside, this wasn't the day for it.
Blue and white always feels cool and calm to me but I did add the orange napkins.
There are lots of colors to pull from these dishes.
This group of women is so important to me. We have been through a lot together. There have been heartbreaking times and times of complete joy. Through it all, we keep meeting every other Tuesday.
They have wisdom and insight. They know when all another needs may be a nod of understanding or a hug. Other times, we talk and talk and talk it out.
Every Tuesday there is a lot of laughter. A lot of laughter.
There are Tuesdays that have been filled with tears but even on those days, we still laugh. It is so very healing.
Our opinions can be diverse but it doesn't matter. We solve the problems of the world. We debate the issues, all with respect and love.
I am so blessed to have these women in my life. So very blessed.
As you can tell, I set a simple table. Sometimes I like to fuss and make it more elaborate but for the most part, I am most comfortable with simple.

Joining Susan and everyone else (finally!) at Tablescape Thursday, with Sherry at Home Sweet Home, Southern Savvy Style, Rustic and Refined, The Scoop and Your Turn to Shine.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

oh, my, it's been a long time...

My blog has been "broken" for quite a while. User error, I am sure. Every time I would find a moment to work on it, my frustration won. Yesterday, WB sat down with me, working on two computers, we were able to get things figured out. I only lost one post that I am aware of and hopefully, all will be well from now on.

There is no way to update what has happened since I was here last. Let's just say there were incredible joys and deep sorrows. As always, I try to be grateful for the joy and learn from the sorrow.

I hope to post more regularly from now on. I know a lot of you have enjoyed the photos of the bobcats who like to hang around here. I will start there. Mama and her two babies came to visit. Like many siblings, one was a dare devil while the other was cautious. Mama found a dove for dinner while one baby climbed a tree and the other looked nervous about it. Baby managed to get down and they all enjoyed dinner. Luckily, my kitchen window was clean enough so I was able to shoot through it. I am constantly distracted from the work at hand when I look out that window.

Thank you to all who are still even checking Among the Saguaros. I look forward to catching up with you all.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

decorating today...

A very kind man at the tree lot gave us greens so the house already smells divine, a week or so before the tree is brought home. We're celebrating my mother's birthday with dinner and a play, "A Christmas Carol". What a wonderful way to start the season! Here's hoping a bit of holiday is finding its way to you too!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

we gather together...

When I was a little girl, my favorite church hymn was "We Gather Together". There is some distant memory of standing with my family, next to my father, singing that song. Gathering the people I love around our table is one of the happiest things that I can do. This year has been difficult in many ways but oh, we have so much for which to be thankful.
Our celebration for Thanksgiving will be a little small this year but we have some big birthdays to celebrate a week later.
For those interested in the table, I was surprised to find myself putting my brown plates on a turquoise tablecloth. We had a big soup party last week. I used my turquoise cloths with pumpkins and bittersweet. I just couldn't get beyond how much I liked the turquoise and orange together.
This is just the kind of table I like, mixing styles and elements. I always like having some nature on my table. This time, pumpkins and bittersweet. We don't have bittersweet in the desert but etsy does.

I like having the linen tablecloth rumpled but mixing it with the Delamere china. I have used a haphazard collection of vintage silverplate flatware.
When I saw these "Gather Together" plates at West Elm, I could not resist. They brought back such wonderful memories. Shanna Murray, I am a fan.
The weather tomorrow is supposed to be perfect. There is nothing I like more than enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner outside.

I can't wait for a taste of the stuffing. We may have to get a fire started in the fire pit by dessert time.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. I will be counting my many blessings and be grateful.

Joining Kathleen at "let's dish" and Susan at "between naps on the porch" for more holiday table inspiration.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

wrap it up...

When I was a little girl, I thought it would be so much fun to be the person in the fancy department store who did the gift wrapping. Do stores even do that anymore? I was nosy enough to want to see all the gifts. I would imagine the recipients surprise and of course, awe at the amazing wrapping job I would provide. I haven't changed much. I still love to wrap presents.

These days, I know I wouldn't make it a day as a department store gift wrapper because I am not too excited by sparkly ribbons and flashy paper. I tend toward the simple. For years, I have wrapped most packages in brown kraft paper. When my kids were small, we would decorate the paper with their drawings. One year, after a way too ambitious apple picking day, we used the very small ones (gathered by very small hands), cut in half as stamps to decorate the paper. With a sharpie, I added a few green leaves and black seeds to their stamps and we called it good.

Today, I am wrapping a gift for my daughter. She lives too far away. I miss her. She misses us and the desert. This video came out this year and it is wonderful.

I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the desert or is curious about the desert. I have already bought 3 copies and I imagine I will buy more. Take a moment to watch the trailer.

I decided to wrap her present in kraft paper stamped with images of a tortoise.

We have desert tortoises that hang out around here and I know she will like this. I stamped with more intent than I usually do.

I liked the idea of lining up the images rather than the randomness I usually use.

I should have placed the present a little differently on the paper but then it left me with the perfect place for the ribbon.
Then I switched to twine. You can't beat "brown paper packages tied up with string".

I just have to give you a peek at my roll of paper. After years of picking it up here and there, I finally committed to a huge roll. It makes me happy to have it at my disposal for everything. I can't get over how often I use it. I bought my roll and the dispenser at
Love their ribbon too.