A Little Porch Chat and Answers To Your Questions

It’s so beautiful outside today!

Build a Screened Porch


Grab that glass of iced tea and let’s head out to the porch!

Garden Seat with Red Geranium


I had several ideas about things I could share with you today, but then I had a better idea. I’m always a little worried that I’ve missed a question you may have left in a comment. It would be easy to do because if I’m away from my home on an errand during the day, I’ll often pull out my phone to read and post comments that have been left here on the blog. I love hearing from you!

Wicker Swing with IKEA Pillows 2


If someone asks a question in a comment and I can’t respond right at that moment, I do my best to remember to respond as soon as I return home. But I always have this nagging worry that I’ve overlooked a question or forgotten to get back to someone. 

Wicker Swing with IKEA Pillows 3


So if you have a question for me, leave it here on this post and I’ll answer! Maybe you’ve wondered where something I used in a table setting came from–or maybe something you saw in a room of my home. Maybe you’ve been trying to find an older post or tutorial here on the blog but haven’t been able to locate it and would like the link. Or, maybe you have a question about some project I’ve done. Whatever it might be, leave your question in a comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

If you don’t have a question, leave me a comment and tell me about you! I know blogging can be kind of a one-way street sometimes, but I’d love to know more about you! Don’t be shy! Tell me what state or country you live in, where you last traveled, which posts you enjoy the most here at BNOTP and would love to see more of–anything you wish to share about you!

Also, if you ever leave a question in a comment and you don’t get a reply within a day or two, you can always e-mail me at [email protected]. It may take me a day or two to reply since my Inbox gets away from me at times, but I do reply to all emails, albeit sometimes a bit later than I would like.

Looking forward to learning more about you, dear Friends!

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. I just noticed the plant you have on the coffee table is a shamrock. I love shamrocks and have not been able to find any here in Puerto Rico where I am at the present. My house is for sale and I plan to return to Georgia where I have lived twice before. I do not often comment, however, I enjoy your posts and your inspiration. Blessings

    • Thanks, Nancy! Yeah, that’s an older photo from a couple of years ago, I don’t actually have that plant now. I purchased a couple at Home Depot and they lived for several years. I’m not sure what happened to them, but they got sickly at the same time. I wonder if Shamrocks just don’t live more than a few years. I should look that up. I love them, too. I love their sweet, understated white flowers. When you’re back in the states, check Home Depot near St. Patrick’s Day…that’s when I found those.

      • Shamrocks are so easy to grow and maintain. If you keep them in a cold place over the winter they go dormant but will come back in spring w/warmer temps and regular watering. They like fairly moist soil w/filtered sunlight. The purple shamrocks w/the delicate pink flowers are fabulous. They are even simpler to grow and will even grow in your garden outside. I have a plot that’s probably more than 10 years old! That all came about by mistake but it turned out to be a good mistake!

        • Oh, that’s where I goofed then, I kept them in the kitchen near my bay window. I got away with that the first year and they were great in the spring again. It was the second year of doing that, when they got really spindly and eventually croaked on me. So they can even be planted outdoors and will survive a cold winter? That amazing! I need to start planting them after I buy them! Thanks, Sheree!

    • Nance Greenwell says

      I’ve grown Shamrock plants for 28 years! My son was born sick and was hospitalized for 17 days, finally was healthy enough to be released on St. Patrick’s Day; Someone had sent us a Shamrock plant and I have divided many times!! I love this plant, I keep several in my kitchen near a window, the stems lean to the sun light, I turn them around when I notice. Must water when dry and don’t let it sit in water, the pods grow out of the soil sort of looks like (but not exactly) miniature ears of corn, they are pink. After repotting they will look sad but will recover quickly! I use quality potting soil, feed once a year in the Spring. Almost daily I pick away any of the dying stems. My plants are all green, I not opposed to the purple, just don’t have any. Look for them around St.Patrick’s Day.

      • Nance, thanks for all those great tips! I will have to try them again. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good place for wintertime, for indoor plants that need light, other than on my breakfast table.

  2. Carolyn Price says

    Don’t know if you saw my remark about the Marietta Farmers’ Market in the square downtown re: goat cheese. One of the vendor’s there has a four-pack of cheese for $8-$9-ish and they will probably be able to customize your goat cheese to avoid any gastro issues.
    Good luck!!

    • Thanks, Carolyn! I need to visit that market more often. I’ve actually completely stopped eating goat cheese for right now. I purchased some plain goat cheese about a week or so ago, and was still having issues with itching/hives, so I just quit eating it altogether.
      I’m also suspicious that milk could be an issue. I’ve noticed the rash being worse after drinking regular cow’s milk. I didn’t drink any milk today, and so far, it’s been much better. Hope I don’t have to give up milk. I may wait a bit and then try the plain goat cheese one more time.
      Thanks for reminding me about that market. I haven’t been in a very long time. 🙂

      • Silk’s Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk is wonderful!!!

        • I may also have a nut thing going on. I gave up almonds for now, too. I need to get tested but my doctor said that it’s $65 for every single item they test for. I need to see if insurance will cover that.
          I really love just regular ol milk. I tried almond milk once and just couldn’t get used to the taste, unfortunately.

          • I also can’t give up regular milk. I do use almond milk in smoothies and have tried it on cereal, but it’s just not the same. I cheat by using half milk, half almond milk on my cereal. I’m trying not to eat so much dairy – I love ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, etc, so I cut back a little by using almond milk in my daily smoothies. It’s really good with any fruit.

  3. Hi Susan,

    No shamrocks live a looooong time. I am Irish on both sides, and for my father’s funereal in Feb. 2000 there were many shamrocks at the funeral parlor for his showing. His five children all were given shamrocks from that sad day- and I STILL have my father’s shamrock alive, and it has been 16.5 years already. (But then again I still have my first plant ever, given to me 50 years ago.) Shamrocks like a LOT of direct and indirect bright light and need to be watered almost daily if in bright sun. I feed mine in early spring and mid summer, that’s about it.

    You know I am from a suburb of north Columbus, Ohio and when you are in this neck of the woods I would LOVE to have you over for tea and a hug and some happy chatter. Hopefully by then I will have my dream back porch, still not a reality. So I live vicariously through your awesome blog to keep that dream alive. Hugs. ♥

    PS I told you that I am a grandmother now, right? My baby girl had a baby girl just a little over a month ago. I am in HEAVEN.

    • Oh, that’s wonderful, Michele! Congratulations! I know you are over the moon! Grandbabies just melt your heart, don’t they?!
      My hat is off to you, I’ve never been able to keep any indoor plant alive that long! Wow! You don’t just have a green thumb, you must have 10 green thumbs! I do well with outdoor plants but have never done very well with indoor ones.

    • Oh, and that would be so much fun to meet you! I’m always so short on time when I’m there but I may just move there one day. 🙂

  4. Could you give me the dimensions of your porch? We are building a farmhouse in Texas and your porch has been an inspiration! I have shared your site with countless friends and enjoy every post. Thank you!

    • Thanks so much, Cynthia! So appreciate that! The screened porch is 18 feet wide and 14 feet deep. I wish it were about 2 feet wider to give a little more space between the dining area and seating group, but it works pretty well at that size.
      Here are two posts that you may find helpful:
      How Much Does It Cost to Build a Screened Porch
      9 Great Features for Your Screened Porch

      • Thank you. My architect comes Thursday. The features article was especially helpful. I’m so looking forward to sharing the holiday season with you. As l said, you are an inspiration.

      • joan clanton says

        we are building a “party porch” right this minute! no kidding! the outside is done and today it’s being wired. it’s 18 x 20– and the biggest room in our small house. we are replacing the deck that i have eaten breakfast on for the past 3 years (warm weather only since we’re in the middle of new york state). the bugs were awful and the floor needed to be replaced. i suggested a screened in room. my husband said why not a sunporch. i came back with if we get a pellet stove, we can use it all year. we decided there’s no place to put pellets, they’re too heavy and we’re too old, lol, so our gas fireplace will be installed next tuesday. we are over the moon excited! i love your porch– i got much inspiration for our planning– and your table settings and your blog.

        • Joan, your porch sounds wonderful! Oh if I could, a fireplace is the one thing I would love to have had on mine! That’s a wonderful idea! Send me some photos of it when it’s completed…would love to see it!

      • We built a screened in porch 2 years ago and I always kept in mind a comment you made in your article referenced above… to always build the biggest porch you can. You will never regret that decision. And you were right!

        • I’m so glad you went big, Sandy! It’s hard to explain the joys of a screened porch until you’ve had one, isn’t it? I would love to have gone just a little wider when I built mine, but it just wouldn’t work on my house. No one ever said, I wish my porch was smaller! 🙂

  5. Thank you for responding to my query. I wanted to revisit the study/office makeover. I could not believe its been 4,four…..years. I mentally started to negotiate the time line. Maybe I read this several years AFTER the initial post,surely it hasn’t been 4 years already. Thanks again!

    • Wow, Mary…you’re right! I just looked to see when I first started taking my son’s old bedroom apart to make the office and it was in January 2011! Where has the time gone?!
      I think this post is probably the best one to view most of the transformation in the office: Designing & Creating a Home Office, The Journey
      Also, you’ll find lots of individual posts about all the updates/changes I’ve made in those last 5 years linked here: Office
      Just click on any of the picture links on that category page and it will open up the post for you to read. I should take a photo of my bookshelves here in the office. They are almost completely full! I’m going to have to donate some before long. lol

  6. I truly enjoy your blog. So many wonderful ideas.
    Keep up the good blogging.
    Sharon from the Ozarks of Missouri

  7. Rhonda Ysusi says

    Hi Susan,
    You’ve probably shared this before, but I would love to know how you store all those lovely items you use to create your table settings? How to you keep them safe from damage and how do you organize everything? I enjoy every post of yours, whether it’s about your home, your travels, entertaining, or anything else!

    • Thanks so much, Rhonda! Here are links to a couple of posts that show some of my china storage.
      China closet
      Wishing for a Butler’s Pantry
      To summarize, I have it stored in the kitchen cabinets, laundry room shelves, a hutch in my dining room and a hutch on the porch for the dishes I like to use out there. I also have a little hutch that was my mother-in-laws that holds some glassware and one set of dishware.
      I’ve seriously been thinking of adding shelving down one wall of my garage, since my garage is right off my kitchen. Would be great to have it all in one place instead of so spread out.

      • Rhonda Ysusi says

        Thank you, Susan!

      • Susan, I bought 2 metal cabinets from Costco to put in my garage. One holds all my flatware, cake plates, trifle bowls, other decorative serveware pieces, silver things and lots of trays and my oversize square woven placemats. I wish I could put my chargers in the other one, but it holds many Christmas decor items. We’ve tried very hard to get all our Christmas things out of the attic and in the garage. We have 2 large wire racks that hold 12-14 bins each. They house lots of Christmas decor. If we didn’t have 2 cars, I would definitely have several more of those wire racks to hold my fall and summer and spring decor items. The bins are the perfect size not to be too heavy for me to handle. I think I prefer the tall wire racks to shelves. And you can take them with you if you move!

  8. Hello Susan!
    Well you are costing me a fortune! Lol…..just read your posts re back porches…love the look of yours and the articles are great! Tuned in first time in June to the Sakura David Carter Brown Coastal dishes…eBay and your site are two dangerous places! Am. Slowly getting small sets for kids and grandkids..Lighthouses are popular in our family. You have great taste and brilliant ideas to make that porch where I would live year round! Keep up the good work..my end of day treat read.

    • lol Sorry about that, Nancy! I hear that a lot from my friends! 😉
      Aww, thanks! The screened porch is my favorite room for summer. I think the paneled family room is my fave for winter, though.
      I LOVE lighthouses, too! It’s been all I could do to not buy the lighthouse dishware by him. Have you seen his Christmas Valley pattern? OMGosh! It may be my favorite of all of his! You can see it in this post: A Winter Table Setting, Tablecloth by Mother Nature

  9. I just love reading your blog! And I’ve even copied the hutch that you have on your porch. I now have one on my porch but it’s blue! Ha. Well my question is where can I get those sheer napkins that you use on top of another napkin on your tablescapes. I have looked everywhere and can’t find any. I’m down in Naples Fl where I thought it would be easy to find one. Any ideas? Thank you and keep up the great work!! Mary

    • Thanks so much, Mary! Oh, I bet your hutch is beautiful in blue! The first hutch I ever looked at for the porch was already painted blue and I almost bought it. I waited about a week and went back to look again and it was already sold.
      I purchased those at a little antique/gift type store in Marietta, GA called The Magnolia Room. Here’s their website: http://www.magnoliaroomantiques.com/
      I may be remembering wrong, but I think another BNOTP reader called them a couple of years back and ordered some right over the phone. I’m not sure if they still carry them but you may want to give them a call to see.
      I just Googled “Organza Napkins” and found some other sites online that appear to carry them. So, google that phrase and you’ll see a few other sites, as well. Hope this helps!

  10. Sondra Moore says

    I’m live in Alabaster, AL. It is a suburb of Birmingham. I have a son who is a senior at Alabama and a daughter who is a freshman there as well. Roll Tide!

    • Sondra, you and I are neighbors, almost! 🙂 My son was born at UAB Hospital. My husband was stationed at Ft. McClellan and so we had him at UAB. 🙂

  11. I purchased a small shamrock plant in March from a nearby grocer. Summer on my deck has been very favorable for it growing to gargatuan size!! Somehow I’m now determined (after reading these posts) to winter it in my garage, if I can figure out how to transport the huge planter I put it in!!! Love your blog–someone needs to hire you!! Your fan from NW Missouri–near Nell Hill’s 😉

    • Awww, thanks Jeri! So jealous you get to shop at Nell Hill’s! I hope I make it there at least once before Mary Carol retires or sells it one day. lol

  12. Deborah Ferguson says

    I loved this story and information on the Alice Party! Can you tell me where to find the head bust of Alice?


    • Debbie, do you mean the teapot in Elena’s Alice in Wonderland tablescape that I just recently posted? I know it looked like a head/bust of Alice, but it was actually a teapot. I believe Elena told me she found it on eBay.
      I just looked and found several on eBay here: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=Alice+teapot&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR1.TRC0.A0.H0.Xcardew+alice+teapot.TRS0&_nkw=cardew+alice+teapot&_sacat=0” target=”_blank”>Alice Teapot
      Scroll down that page and you’ll see several for sale. I noticed some say “miniature” so double check the size before you buy one. If you don’t see one that’s full size on eBay right now, check back. Bet one will eventually turn up on there.

      • Hi Debbie, Susan has got it right as usual. :0)

        Yes, the Alice “head bust” is actually a teapot and the designer is Paul Cardew. They come in a couple of sizes. I bought two of the big ones on on eBay. Ditto with the Mad Hatter “head bust”–actually a Paul Cardew teapot. Again, I bought two of the big ones on eBay.

        Susan, you are so right about diligently and regularly hunting for something on eBay. Good things will be put up for sale and be gone in a single day, sometimes in a matter of hours or minutes! I’m still looking for two gold and white porcelain “Be Our Guest” Beauty and the Beast dinner plates. They cost $25.00 each if you’re able to buy them from a shop in Disneyworld Fantasyland. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to buy them through any other Disney store or web site–impossible.

        There is an eBay gentleman who has a set of 8 of these plates for which he wants $155 per plate plus $18 per plate shipping costs. I’ve tried to get him to come down on price, have been watching these plates for nearly 18 months now. I’ve been checking eBay every single day on the outside chance someone else on eBay will have the same plates and be willing to sell them for less than $155 each.

        Like the true OCD engineer maniac (LOL) that I am, I have been checking eBay every single day for these plates and–voila!!!–I was rewarded for my relentless hut. I actually was able to purchase 6 of the dinner plates for $20 apiece (about 4 months ago). They all popped up on eBay one morning and I bought them on the spot. I continue my daily hunt for two more of these dinner plates so I’ll have a complete set of eight.

        Because I love bargains and turnover of great finds is lightning-fast, I do a daily browse of eBay for things I’m looking for (have a mental and written list going LOL). I also try to hit 2 or 3 Phoenix Homegoods stores at least once a week–so much good stuff there, but the really good stuff gets bought up in a flash.

        Great post today, Susan. I’m loving all the questions and answers.

  13. Susan, I always love every post. Thanks for all of the inspiration! Pam @ Everyday Living

  14. Hi there. I live in TX and recently moved into a new home. I’ve followed you for years, but now I’m really looking at your tables apes because I plan on having dinner parties and want my tables to look good. I’m wondering tho – what is your process to remove food stains from table linen? Thanks.

    • If it’s just a single spot on a table cloth, I will try to spot clean it with Shout or with Oxi-Clean. I try to avoid washing the entire table cloth for just a spot because they tend to fade. Of course, if it’s white, you don’t have to worry about that.
      Most stains will come out of napkins if they are washed the same night. I usually toss them into my hand-wash basket that night after the party. I spot treat them with Shout and typically wash them in Tide Free and Gentle. I always look them over when I take them out of the wash because if a stain didn’t come out, you don’t want to toss it in the dryer because the heat tends to really set the stain and makes it harder to get out. I typically don’t dry my napkins in the dryer though, because I’ve had them shrink badly when I’ve done that.
      If I have an especially stubborn stain and the napkins are white, I’ll use a Clorox Bleach pen directly on the stain, then immediately wash. I love those pens! If it’s a colored napkin and the stain didn’t come out with a pretreat of Shout or Oxiclean, I’ll just repeat the process. Sometimes it takes a few times to get it out.

  15. I just love your posts. The photos are especially fun and I really appreciate you sharing where you get the fun items you showcase. Also love the seasonal and holiday ones you do.

  16. Hi Susan , I just want you to know that I love your blog and look forward to reading all of your posts about tablescapes, home decor decisions , fashion , travel and bits and pieces of everyday life…. I almost forgot the garden and home tours !!! My grandmother often said that variety was the spice of life and I think your lovely blog has just the right mix of interesting topics .
    My son just started his first job in Rome , GA . He graduated from NC State University in May and then traveled to Spain and after that trip he visited Alaska . He is enjoying living in GA and I’m sure he will start exploring the many outdoor activities near him soon .
    I hope you have a wonderful week on the porch ! – Donna

    • Thanks so much, Donna! Rome is such a beautiful part of Georgia. It’s a pretty small town so I know he’ll want to venture into Atlanta and some areas for fun eventually. I love Rome, though.
      That is so awesome that your son took time to do some traveling! I bet he had a blast! I would love to see Alaska and Spain. My son is actually in Spain right now. He’s on the island of Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. He’s there for the week to be the Best Man in a friends wedding. He texted me some photos today and it’s gorgeous! They are hiking a volcano tomorrow and I’ve been promised more pictures. Definitely has me wanting to visit Spain!

  17. Hi Susan, I’m Brenda and I live 10 miles from Gettysburg, PA! I have been following you for a long, long time. I don’t always comment, but I always read your posts. I lost your blog for a while when I had to get a new computer, but I found you again. I blog as well, but I have a crafting blog where I make cards, scrapbooking and home decor from paper, vinyl, glass, etc…Nothing earth shattering but fun for me. My 52 year old husband passed from colon cancer last Oct. I’ve been trying to “find” myself since and so I visit a lot of blogs, but yours is one that I find myself at a lot. I love your porch, home projects, table scapes and your trips. I live through your trips as I know I will never leave this country in my lifetime! So I dream….with your trips. I do hope some day to get to some of the US places you have been, like the house from Christmas Story. I also dream of having a beautiful screen in porch one day, but it is mostly a dream. Thanks for sharing your talents with us!!! Hugs, Brenda

    • Brenda, I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I know you were never expecting that at 52. I hope you do get to take some trips, there are so many beautiful places to see right here in the U.S. Do you have a friend who likes to travel. I could kick myself for waiting so long to get going. Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Appreciate so much that you’re out there reading! XX

  18. Kathy Parathyras says

    Hi Susan, I live in Queens, NYC. I just love your blog and have been following it for a few years now. I always save your new posts to read with a cup of tea or coffee. You have a beautiful home and I have learned so many things from you. I really admire all the energy you put into your projects and all of your attention to detail. You seem to have unbounded energy. I really love to travel and have gotten some real inspiration from your travel posts. I am taking a Viking River Cruise this Thanksgiving to see the Christmas markets of Germany and Austria. Looking forward to hearing about your future travels. — Kathy

    • Oh, wow…that is a trip that’s on my bucket list! Grand Circle Travel does the Christmas Market tours each year and I’m promised myself that I’d take one some year when my son and dil are spending Christmas with her parents. I don’t like cold weather but I think I could brave it to see Germany and Austria at Christmastime! Kathy, please leave me a comment and tell me how you liked it! I’ve heard very good things about Viking River Cruises so I know it will be spectacular!

  19. I’ve been obsessed with the William Sonoma tartan bedding you use at Christmas so I just got done ordering the sheets, duvet, and shams. I love the contrast of the matelasse and shams that you use on your bed with this and with your spring bedding. Can you tell me where the matelasse came from?

    • Oh, I hope you love yours as much as I do mine, Laurel! I was totally obsessed over that tartan too, so I totally get it! 🙂
      Well, I have kind of a funny story about that. I use that same matelasse with my summer bedding, so I got lucky that it works with both. I purchased the matelasse you see on the bed many, many years ago–it’s been about 14 years.

      At first I reluctantly purchased one from Dillards, I say reluctantly because it was pretty expensive. I can’t remember the exact price but it was well over $100, which seemed like a lot back then. But before I actually took it out of the package to use it, I decided to check HomeGoods, you know that section of the store where they always have sheets, pillows and such.

      I found an even prettier matelasse (the one you see on the bed) and it was only around $30! I was so thrilled, I purchased two in case one got damaged or stained by one of my kitties. I’ve been using those same two matelasses all these years. They have a few small picks from kitty claws, but I just pulled those through to the other side so they are hidden. Otherwise they have held up beautifully.

      I haven’t shopped for a matelasse since then, so not sure what’s out there now. But I would definitely check HomeGoods, Marshalls and TJ Max. If that fails, I used to see them in Macy’s and Dillard’s may still carry them, too. I bet you can find them online, as well. Just buy the best quality ones you can find. I prefer the ones that have a scalloped edge like you see in my master.

      The one in my Guest Room (seen in THIS post before I added hard wood flooring to that room) has a straight edge. A straight edge matelasse probably works best in that room since the prints on the bed are so busy. I bought the white matelasse in my guest room in Macy’s about 15 years ago. Again, it has held beautifully through many a wash!

  20. How are the curtains hung on the porch? Are you using pic pipe or curtain rods? Are the curtains sheer panels or cotton? Your porch is always so inspiring. It is an area in the home that can evolve with the season and yours is lovely.

    • Thanks so much, Missy! The curtains are hung from inexpensive curtain rods I found in Walmart back in 2008. You can see a close up of them in THIS post.

      In that post, I said they were wood, but actually they are painted metal. They almost look like wood, though. They were super easy to hang. I purchased the sheers in Walmart for around $5 each. I had to let the hem out and re-hem them (they were a little shorter than I wanted) to get them the length I needed for the porch, but they may work as is for your porch.

      The sheers are either nylon or acrylic–definitely not cotton. That’s perfect because I’ve used them on the porch for around 6-7 years and they have never once mildewed or shown any signs of mold.

      I removed them last year to wash them and never got around to putting them back up. I may buy new ones if I rehang them because mine are now 8 years old and not quite as white as they once were. At $5 a panel, I don’t mind replacing them every 8 years. 🙂 The rods still look great. I may repaint them just to freshen them up, if I do hang the sheers back up next summer.

  21. Hello from Missouri! I enjoy reading your blog where I get so many great ideas. We are currently building our retirement home and I can’t wait until it’s finished so I can start cooking, sewing and decorating in our new space!

  22. martha murphy says

    Hi Susan I love everything about your blog but I’m dying to know if you watched Romance on the High Seas the other night. One of my favorite movies!
    Thanks Martha

    • You knows what’s funny, Martha…I popped it in to watch and after a few minutes, I realized I had watched that one years ago. I can’t remember exactly how it ended now, probably should have kept watching. I remember loving it, though! I ended up watching Calamity Jane and Please Don’t Eat the Daisies while I made the shell chargers. I need to watch Romance on the High Seas again so I can remember how it ends. lol

  23. Love your blog. Your tablescapes are beautiful and I always love seeing what you’ve created. Love your porch, you’ve given me many ideas! The article on the different styles of flatware was especially helpful! Thanks a bunch!

  24. Hello, Susan. I love your blog. You are wonderful about sharing information! I was wondering about the color of your front door. It is lovely. Thank you!

    • Thanks, Bille! The color is “Heritage Red” and it’s a Benjamin Moore color. They only mix it in their Aura line and not all BM stores carry it. So, it’s best to call around to the various BM stores in your area first to see who has the Aura paint before driving there.

  25. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    SF Bay Area here–the mysterious Quing. I have a question: Do you think you’ll ever get another kittycat? I found that after my last two went to that great catnip patch in the sky, it became much easier to travel; because I didn’t have to make arrangements for pet care. I’d had cats (and a dog or two) all of my life, so it took a while to get used to being pet free. Now, I’m content without them.

    • Hi the mysterious Quing! 🙂
      No, I don’t believe so. I’ve never not had a cat (or 3) my entire life, so this is a big change for me. I have definitely found it much easier with all the traveling I did this past year.

  26. Regality (aka The Quing) says

    Oh, shoot! I also meant to say that I love, love, love your blog.

  27. Jill from Southern New Hampshire says

    Hi Susan. Your table settings are the best I’ve ever seen! When you’re creating one, do you ever get stuck trying to find the perfect finishing touch before you get them just right? If something seems to be missing, how do you figure out what it is for it to be complete? Is it trial and error, adding another layer of color/texture, etc. ?

    • Thanks so much, Jill! Yup, I definitely do sometimes. Every tablescape is so different, that it’s kind of hard to explain. I usually have a starting point, be it some really cute plates I just purchased or an idea for a cute centerpiece. Sometimes it’s a holiday that sparks an idea for a table. Once I have that starting point, I evaluate what I have already that will work. Sometimes I’ll get the whole table together and as you mentioned, something will be missing.

      That happened today as I was setting a table for tomorrow’s TT. I have some new plates I’ve been wanting to use so they were my starting point. Without giving tomorrow’s table away, the new plates have a really strong aesthetic or feel about them so I based my centerpiece on that. The first centerpiece I chose was just too brown and the table felt/looked blah. Then I searched around the house for something else, found something, but there was still something missing. The centerpiece felt too empty, too stark. I asked myself what was wrong and I realized it needed to be softened up a bit and it needed more color, so I added that via some pretty fall leaf garland I already had. The minute I saw the garland in place, I knew that’s what was missing.

      Every table needs a little something in the centerpiece to soften it. I like to use a lot of lanterns, but I like to soften the hard edges they create in the centerpiece. If I can, I’ll find a way to do that. It is a bit of trial and error. When choosing the glasses for the table, I brought 2-3 different ones to the table and the minute I saw them on the table, I knew which ones to use. Same for the flatware and for the napkins. It’s almost impossible for me to plan a table in my head. I usually have ideas about which plates I’ll pair together or what napkin rings I might use, but until I actually see them paired up on the table, I have no idea if it will work. Once I see them together, I know instantly if it will work, so that’s definitely the easier way to go.

      I find the best thing to do is to just dive in and start putting it together. One idea will spark another and another and before long, your table has created itself. If I’m having a dinner party, I’ll often set the table 3-4 days in advance and once I’m satisfied, I’ll remove the glassware and cover the table with a sheet to keep any dust away. Then that’s done and you’re not stressing the day of the party when you realize you need just one little thing to make it perfect, yet there’s no time to go get it.

      Whenever you’re in doubt, go for flowers in your centerpiece. I should use flowers more often in mine, but since I’m creating so many tables throughout the year, I try to use what I already have and get creative. But you can never go wrong with a beautiful bouquet of seasonal flowers, especially paired with real lit candles.

      I hope that helps a little. Just dive in and start playing and you’ll quickly see what works and what doesn’t.

  28. Hi Susan! My name is Karen, and I live in West Virginia. I absolutely LOVE all (and I do mean ALL!) of your posts and blogs. You have truly inspired me to do pretty tablescapes, and I am thinking right now about how to redecorate my home office. (Using your pictures and ideas from your own home office redo.) I think you are so gifted in your creativity and design. I look forward to seeing more of your ideas and talent on BNOTP!!!

  29. I love all of your posts too. I recently purchased a tree like your tree for the shamrock tree centerpiece and am anxious to put cookies on it. I would have never thought of cookies but thanks to you that is what I will be putting on it. BTW Send Me No Flowers with Doris Day will be on the Turner Classic Movies channel on Monday 9/12 in the morning. Thanks for all of your hard work.

    • Thanks, Barbara! So glad you found one of those trees, they are hard to find now! Oh, I love that movie! Thanks for the heads up about when it will be showing! 🙂

  30. Hi Susan, Your blog was the first I found when I started wondering if other people loved dishes as much as I do. I haven’t participated on Thurs like I used to b/c we are in the midst of a major remodel. We are expanding our front porch. It will be 40 x 14 feet. I realized that they only way I would use this porch is if it was screened so even though it’s on the front, we are screening it. There are just too many bugs in the South to not have screens. Love your blog and read regularly. Getting ready to order satin thread bulbs for our new chandelier!

    • Your porch sounds amazing, Dianne! You will want to live out there with those screens in place. Yeah, definitely gotta have those screens here in the south. I love our warm weather but not so much the mosquitoes.
      I love those satin thread bulbs, that and the realistic-looking resin candle covers were such a huge upgrade for both my chandeliers. I know you’ll love them!

  31. Sandie Preston says

    I love English Cottage and Oriental Decor as a combination. I have several Oriental pieces but none of the English Cottage .I love the Shabby Chic look,so can you help me in integrating this look? It would be greatly appreciated.Thank you.Sandie Preston

    • Hi Sandie,
      A chest would be a great way to bring a bit of shabby chic in. You could look for a chest that has an English cottage feel or style, but painted in a shabby chic paint style. Or buy one that’s in rough condition and paint it. Or, you could look for a secretary and paint/distress it for a shabby chic look. I don’t like to see pieces that are in good condition painted but if the finish is damaged or in rough condition, you would get a great price and can paint in an easy-to-use paint like Annie Sloan Chalk paint and get that distressed shabby-chic look.
      Take a look at the secretary I have in my guest room HERE. I found it in an antique/thrift shop and I think it still has its original paint finish. It fit right in with my guest room which has more of a cottage feel and I love that it’s a bit chippy in places. So it is possible to find pieces already painted, as well.

  32. Hi Susan! Barbara from Baltimore here.

    Your blog is my absolute favorite mix of lifestyle. You have such a charming way of writing; your warmth is so genuine and something I look forward to every day.

    Just wanted to share that Tuesday Morning had a number of the Alice Through the Looking Glass sets today. There were several teapots, sets of the dinner and salad – sized plates as well. Somehow I resisted. We had planned a small mud room/laundry/powder room addition with storage for all the entertaining items, but plans have changed and I will just enjoy using the large number of sets I already have rather than buying more. Choosing salad plates, as you have suggested, provides lots of opportunities to mix and match. So I am rethinking dish storage.

    When I first found your blog I was struggling with anxiety and depression. You have really brought sunshine to my days!

    • Thanks so much, Barbara! I wish I had kiss emoji on this keyboard, I would blow you a kiss for those kind words! You made my day! XX

      I need to visit a TM sometime soon, It is hard to resist the AIW sets, they are so cute, so much whimsy!

      Yes! You definitely know the secret of just changing out the salad plates. 🙂 With a set of white or cream dinner plates, you can create endless table settings just using different salad plates. Really saves on storage, too. I can always find space for a few more salad plates. 🙂

  33. Hi, I love to read your blog! I particularly enjoy the posts about your favorite things, cute fashion finds, packing for travel and tour pictures, and historical home tours.

    A while back, you posted about different options for white everyday dishes, comparing ironstone to porcelain and featuring several different patterns. I would like to re-read that column, but can’t find it. Could you please send me the link?

    I know that you put a lot of work into the blog – it shows! We are a very appreciative audience!

  34. I can’t think of a question right off but if it makes you feel any better I killed my shamrock plant too! I feel like I can grow most anything but I managed to kill that one!

    • lol That does make me feel better! I was so proud of myself when it lasted through the winter and looked beautiful the next spring. But I think it was the second year that it croaked. I could see both of them going down hill, but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Glad to know I’m not the only one, Liz. 😉

  35. Your website is like a breath of fresh air. Everything is a such a joy to see. Another website is so over stuffed with things and the one color is just to much. Your site is open, clean and the beauty with such class. It is a joy to sit and have tea in the morning while looking at a number of great things. It’s like sun light on a cold winter day. All of us race to see who can be the first in the morning to get on your site. I thank you so much for the class and grace of your site. More sites should be like yours instead of looking like a junk yard. Then on the other hand we would not have you. We made a promise to tell others about you. Please never close your site. Thank you, Rachel and many friends. We love anything Victorian. Love Downton Abby.

  36. What is your favorite thing or two about your porch? And what do you wish you could do or had done differently? (other than a forever spring/summer zone!)

    • Umm, well other than the obvious part being the screens keeping mosquitoes at bay, I’d say my favorite two things are the height of the ceiling which makes the porch feel much bigger than it is, and the wood floors that feel so cool underfoot in the summer. I also like how the wood floors make the space feel like just another room in my home.

      If I could choose one more thing, it would be the reaction from friends when they come over. The porch is like a magnet, even in the dead of winter. When I’ve hosted Christmas parties, I can’t keep the porch door from the kitchen closed, no matter if it’s 35 degrees outside. I remember during one Christmas party, the door was wide open the entire time from folks going in and out and it was freezing out! 🙂

      I can’t think of anything I would have done differently for this porch because I made it as big as I really could and there wasn’t a good place for a fireplace. If I were building a porch on a different home and could do it, I would love to make it a couple feet wider and include a fireplace if possible.

      You know, if I invested in some of those tall outdoor heaters like you see on restaurant patios, I could almost make if forever spring/summer zone. lol

  37. Hi, Susan! I live in the north GA mountains, a couple of hours north of you, but I grew up in Marietta. I really enjoy your blog, I don’t really have a question but I do love your “Summer Breeze” sign on your porch. One day I hope to screen in part of my deck, it has a wonderful view but I don’t enjoy it as much as I should due to BUGS. 🙂

    • Joy, I feel your pain, the bugs are terrible here. I spend about 15 minutes in the yard today and got eaten up! I think they are especially bad this year, or least they seem to be around here. The house behind me has a large pond so I wonder if that’s why they are so bad some summers.
      I love, love, love the north GA mountains…so beautiful there!
      I found the Summer Breeze sign in A Classy Flea back in 2009 but I’ve also seen them online here: http://amzn.to/2c9oyTa and here: Sawdust City
      They appear to make them in a ton of different colors!

    • Joy, not sure that second link worked so here it is again: Sawdust City

      • Thank you! I have visited A Classy Flea after reading about it on your blog, what a fun place. I’ll check online for the signs, thank you for the link. 🙂

  38. Hi Susan! I’m new to the blogging world and have been blogging for almost 3 months. I love your blog and enjoy reading every post! I adore all of your tablescapes, and I think you should make a book of them. You are very talented! Also, thanks for hosting Metamorphosis Monday and Tablescape Tuesdays. They have allowed me to meet a lot of nice people in the blogging world, and I enjoy seeing all of talent.

  39. Hi Susan,

    I’ve followed you for years, and you bring such sunshine into people’s lives. Thank You!

    Few questions:
    – Where did you get the yellow doll house in one of your spare bedrooms?
    – Would you consider doing more “favorite things” blogs? Perhaps by season or category.
    – Does your friend, The former Govenor’s wife, decorate for each holiday? If so, would love to see more.
    – Any thoughts on organizing/decorating the interior of a car?

    You’re a treasure!

    • Thanks so much, Mo! XX
      I came across the yellow dollhouse in an antique store in Marietta, GA called DuPrees. It belonged to one of the dealers there. She told me that her father had made it for her, along with several other dollhouses, when she was young, and she had decided to part with some of them. I never had a dollhouse growing up so I was so smitten by it. You can see a couple of posts I’ve done about it HERE and HERE

      Sure, I love doing those type posts! Do you have a particular favorites that you like to hear about, or do you like a variety? I’m always into so many different things that I tend to post a variety from books, to clothes to dishware to homegoods to techy stuff to whatever I’m loving and using at the time.

      Yes! Marie decorates for every holiday, inside and out…and it’s AMAZING! Periodically if she’s done something different than in previous years, she’ll call me to let me know and that’s normally when I take pics and post about it. I’ll let her know that her fans want to see more! 🙂

      Ummm, I hadn’t thought much about the interior of a car. I do decorate the outside of my car for Christmas most years. I love doing that, especially when I’m going on Christmas home tours with friends and I’ll be the one driving. You can see those decorations here: Decorate Your Car for Christmas with Garlands and Lights

      • Hi Susan,

        Thank you for taking the time to respond to everyone. You are indeed a treasure!

        Following up on your suggestion asking what kind of favorites…..you’re right, a variety sounds terrific. What do you think about your favorite for the month. It could even be a recipe, beauty item, etc., the world is your oyster. You’re taste is impeccable & you seem to cover the spectrum in price.

        Truly mean how you light up people’s lives over the years! Thank you for filling our minds with beauty, art, gardens, homes, travel, family, etc.

        Continued blessings to our Susan…..

        • Thanks so much, Mo! lol I do tend to cover the price spectrum. I am an equal opportunity shopper! 🙂 I love finding cute glasses or holiday items in the dollar store, but I do like to save up and splurge every now and then on something fancy or more “luxury” oriented. Life is too short to not treat ourselves occasionally. Or, our love ones.
          Thanks so much, Mo…really appreciate that! I think I’ll try to do a favorites post at least twice a month, especially now that were entering the holiday season. I’m going to try to do a few gift-giving idea posts and I’ll include things in all price ranges and for all types of folks. I always like gift-idea posts when I see them on other sites, so hopefully folks will enjoy those, too.

          • You continue to amaze me! The time, effort & patience you give to us readers!

            Not sure if you had a P.O. Box, so that fans can send some treasures to extend our gratitude. I have a few vintage Lenox plates that my mom left me & wanted to share. It would be an honor…

            Long Island, NY

            • Awww, Mo…that is so sweet of you! I can’t let you do that, but what a lovely, lovely gesture! You are such a love and I really appreciate it, but I can’t let you part with those special plates. Thank you so, so much though for such an incredibly generous offer. I absolutely love blogging, I quit my job back in 2008 to do it full time and I love every minute. I always joke with friends that I’m going to keep blogging until I’m so senile, my son has to take my computer away from me. 😉 I hope that day never comes but you guys may be sick of me by the time I’m 104 and making no sense! 😉

              • Dearest Susan,

                It would be my pleasure to send you some pieces, as I have plenty. In fact, my son who will inherit the bulk would be pleased for you to have some too. He knows you’ve delighted me over the years with your artistry. If you change you’re mind, send me your PO address. It’s the Lenox Morning Blossom set. Please enjoy….xox Mo

  40. bobbi duncan says

    No questions because I have a BNOTP file kept on my favorites, but just want to say you are the sweetest, most caring person and it always comes across in your posts…just the way you have an interest in all your readers and always doing your best to respond to our comments and questions shows you are a top-notch blogger. Your posts have always been informative, interesting, beautiful, and soooo much fun. Thanks for all the years that I’ve been fortunate enough to look forward to opening your posts in my e-mail! Hugs!

  41. Hi Susan- I’m from Chicago (by way of getting married but I grew up in Durham, NC. I love all the details you painstakingly evaluate and think through with whatever topic you decide to write about (shopping, packing, traveling, decorating, tutorials, home tours). I am not into tablescaping, but you one time had a shark themed tablescape that I had to point out to my sons. The knives and forks and spoons all looked sharky! Very funny. We went on a carnival cruise for the first time ever this past March. It was fun but cruising (especially on big ships) has its pros and cons. I love your travel planning links and how you find such great deals and then you share them with your readers! Thank you! I learn so much about the world through your travels. I love hearing about your son and his wife and I think they must have a lot of interesting content to share with their animals and stuff. I admit I do not remember to check out their blog that much. Maybe bc they don’t post consistently so I don’t read consistently? I just forget. Well, I guess that’s it for now

    • lol I know just the flatware you’re talking about! That is a fun pattern. I can see how your sons would get a big kick out of it. I should think about ordering a set for my grandsons, bet they would love it, too. 🙂
      Thanks so much Legia for your sweet words! Appreciate your visits and that you’re here reading each day! XX

  42. Hello from Midlothian, VA! I hail from Austin, lived in New Canaan, Ct for many years, moved to Alpharetta, VA (now Johns Creek) lived there for eight years, and here we are in VA. You and Mary (Home is Where the Boat Is) are my favorite bloggers. Both your tastes and mine are similar. My question is this: what kind of camera do you use? Your photos a really nice!

    • Thanks, Yolie! Most of the time I used my Nikon D7000, but sometimes I’ll use my Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge+ phone. The phone has a wider lens and I can get more in. I need to invest in a wide angle lens for my Nikon camera sometime soon.

      The most important thing I’m discovering more and more everyday, even more important than the camera, is the lighting. I don’t have expensive editing software, so I have to try and get a good picture from the get-go and lighting is everything!

  43. Hi Susan, I’m from Connecticut but have deep roots in Georgia! Thank you for sharing your beautiful tablescapes, decorating ideas, favorite things, home tours, and travel/packing posts. Love it all!

  44. Hi Susan – I read you blog every day but rarely comment. No question just wanted to let you know that I bought three products you wrote about for a vacation to Alaska I just returned from and they all worked great. The Nikon Monarch binoculars were used a lot when I sat on the cruise ship balcony. Spotted humpback and killer whales, sea lions and eagles. J Travel pillow helped with getting some sleep on the plane, no stiff neck! Travelon Anti-Theft, RFID Safe, Cross-Body Bag was the other purchase and really held all I wanted to take each day well. Oh, make that 4 products, just remembered I bought the Lewis N. Clark Luggage Rfid Neck Stash as well. Geez, you are costing me $……but all great suggestions so thank you.

    • lol I cost me $$$ too! 🙂 Your Alaska trip sounds amazing! It’s definitely on my bucket list!

      Those binoculars are the bomb! As soon they arrived, I immediately donated the older two pair I had…and one of those was a Nikon. I guess binoculars are a lot like cameras and other technology, they’ve come a long, long way over the last few years.

      So glad the other items worked well. I like the J pillow so much, after I left it on a plane during one my trips, I purchased another one as soon as I got home. Unfortunately, when I lost/left it, I was en route to my destination, so I had to do without it on the trip back home, and that was miserable. I hope they never quit making them because they really work well on those long overnight flights.

  45. Hi Susan
    I look forward to reading your blog. I enjoy your humor, enthusiasm, the way you use color textures and patterns and your splendid ideas. Very excited when you share your source. I have seen your before and after photos of the guest room. Can you give me any ideas on lighting, lenses, when to use flash. Your photography is crisp and bright. I have a Minolta 35 mm camera. Favorite blogs are, The painted secretary in your guest room and the painted hutch on your gorgeous porch. Your readers enjoy you and your home very much.

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! Appreciate you!

      Well, you may not like this answer but basically you don’t ever want to use the flash, unless it’s one of the more expensive professional type flashes that you purchase and attach to the top of camera. Those flashes bounce off the ceiling or elsewhere and don’t wash out whatever you’re photographing. I would never use the built-in flash on your camera, unless you have no choice.

      I’m going to leave a few links here for you to posts I’ve written that I think will help. But if I had to summarize, it would be bring as much natural light into the space as possible and be sure to use the “manual” mode on your camera, adjusting the aperture and ISO as needed. Those things may sound a bit intimidating but they really aren’t, I promise. It took me a bit of practice and learning how to use the exposure meter on my camera, but it gets easier the more you use the manual setting.

      Check out these posts:
      Photography Equipement: What I Use and Love

      9 Tips for Better Blog Photos

      Photography Tips for Better Blog Photos

  46. Hi Susan. I introduced myself to you last week, or maybe earlier in the week….can’t remember. (Old age, I guess!) I’m Karen, from West Virginia, and I LOVE your blog!! Anyway, I have a question and need your opinion. I am redoing my sunroom. I just bought a couple of wing back style chairs in a large red and blue upholstery print. I need an end table between the 2 chairs. I found a wonderful bar cart table with 3 removable trays from Ballard Designs, which I absolutely love. But, I think it will be too tall. The bar cart is 35″ tall, but the arms of the chairs come to just 25″ tall. What do you think? (I have some nice primitive antiques throughout the house…..a pie safe, jelly cupboard, hutch.) I have read that an end table should only be 2 ” below or above the arm of a chair. I really value your opinion. Maybe I should just keep on looking for the right end table. Thanks, Susan!!!

    • Hi Karen!
      Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it does sound a bit tall. I just measured and the side tables I have in my family room are mostly 1-3 inches above the arms of the chairs they are near. The exception is a round pie-crust table that I have beside my sofa. It’s around 5 inches above the sofa arm and I don’t think I’d go any higher than that.

      I think the only reason it’s that high is because it’s a tilt top design that’s modeled after the antique pie crust tables that folks used to sometimes pull out into the middle of a room to serve tea on in Colonial days, otherwise it would probably be a bit shorter. It’s fine at five inches above the arm of my sofa, but 10 inches above the arms of your chairs sounds a bit too high.

      Maybe you can find another spot for that cute bar cart, like under a window with a lamp on top. You just want whatever table you put between them, to be a height that comfortable to place a drink or a book on when you’re sitting there.

      • Thanks, Susan! Yes, I’ve decided it really is too tall. I’m thinking I might put it in a corner of the sunroom. Not sure yet. Your opinion really matters to me, and I thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Have a great day, and I’ll continue to look forward to your posts on Between Naps on the Porch. 🙂 Hugs!

  47. Sherry McMasters says

    Hey Susan, I enjoy your blog so very much! Great inspiration and beauty! Sherry from Asheboro, NC Home of the North Carolina Zoo

  48. Cynthia L Wolford says

    Hi there!
    I am a magazine editor, publisher and writer, and I was just “turned on” to you. I am beginning to join and follow where applicable, and I am happy to discuss reviews or profile piece. OR any ART submissions for a current piece.
    MORE IMPORTANTLY….my own needs. have a question about the porch swing photo… Where are the solid color green box-design swing cushion AND the floral pillows from?? I actually HAVE the stripe cushion on two birch benches commissioned in Tennessee. Your box green, tho, has the daybed cushion look I am converting to EVERYWHERE. Need the info….:)…….and would love to discuss other…

    • Hi Cynthia, Thanks, Cynthia! I found the green cushion in Pier 1 back around 2008. They periodically carry those in different colors. These have held up really well considering they have been out on the porch through all kinds of weather for the past 8 years. Never dreamed they would last so well this long!

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