“The Cottage Series”…….. by Trenda

cot·tage /ˈkädij/ noun

  1. a small simple house, typically one near a lake or beach.
    • a dwelling forming part of a farm establishment, used by a worker.  “farm cottages”
synonyms: cabin, lodge, bungalow, country house, shack, chantey

Cottage decorating is an unpretentious approach of displaying collected treasures and keepsakes that have been accumulated over the years, or that have been passed down through the generations.  Each objet d’art in our home is reminiscent of our family’s lives together and reflects cherished memories.  Tucked away in kitchen cupboards, displayed on bookshelves, or in free standing vignettes, I love and display these memories in what I call … “the Cottage style.”  Periodically, I am going to be writing posts about “the Cottage Style” with pictures of cottage decor … simple cottage recipes … how to fill cottage shelves, cache’s, and cupboards with collections and keepsakes … that I am calling “The Cottage Series.”  Let me know how you enjoy this new series!

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To display my collection of dishes and other keepsakes, Richard removed some of the doors from our kitchen cabinets.  I have a passion for cubby’s and shelves and just hearing the word “cupboard” my mind conjures up delightful visions of stacked plates, old creamers in the shape of cows or thatched roofed cottages, and folded piles of embroidered tablecloths, cup towels, and napkins edged in carefully stitched crochet!  I painted the interior of these cabinets a deep mulberry color and instantly loved the charm it added and how it made the cabinets look like a built-in hutch.

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I topped my shelves with a grape swag that reminds me of the picturesque vineyards we saw on the hills of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain (a surreal “thrill” from our years of living in Germany!) Among the thatch roof cottage dishes and under the grape clusters seemed the perfect setting for Beau and Belle with their bare feet, wide brimmed hats and a basket of  “just picked grapes” in Belle’s hands.

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The whole cupboard is filled with crystal stemware and different sets of dishes and cookware “at-the-ready” to be used or placed on the table.  Villeroy and Boch dishes are  are a special keepsake and gift from Richard when we visited the little town of Bacharach, Germany located on the Rhine River.  The dishes and cookware shown here are in the “Naif” collection and are designed by Gerard Leplau from Corsica, France.  His paintings feature charming family and village scenes and occasionally biblical motifs, like “Noah’s Ark” pictured on the top shelf.

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 Intermingled among the dishes and adding some whimsy to the cupboard are sweet little gifts given or made for me by our children.  A cherished collection of Boyd’s Bears collectibles, “Words of Wisdom for Mothers” complete with a tiny easel for display, a beloved birdhouse painted by dear little hands, and a miniature tea service.

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A mixed collection of antique thatch-house sugar bowls and creamers look right at home with my village scene dishes.  This cottage creamer is filled with a treasured collection of silver baby spoons, some still bearing sweet indentations of little teeth … and this exciting find at an antique store, one little fork embossed with the word Baby.

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On the bottom shelf are stacks of Kaiser Romantica (I even love the name!) porcelain china in the Marseilles pattern. Pink and blue flowers rim delicate scalloped plates and are sprinkled with tiny pink rosebuds.  Richard and I hand selected each piece of this china from the German Kaiser Porcelain factory, near the Czech border.  I was 9 months pregnant, with our daughter and we didn’t realize so much effort was going to be required, picking out our china. The porcelain pieces were displayed in stacks on shelves of planked wood which were propped up on cinder blocks.  We both began the treasure hunt, but after much bending and the stooping required to find the perfect pieces, I had to finally sit down.  I “passed the baton” on to Richard who finished the selection with precision and zeal!  He finished choosing all of our dishes, a service for 12 complete with all the serving pieces, a coffee and tea service with warming cache’s, a soup tureen with 12 darling soup bowls, a pedestal cake plate, a covered vegetable bowl, platters, serving trays, porcelain napkin rings, and decorative roses to place upon the table.  Every time I set the table with these dishes, I remember his endearing effort and patience while performing the task. ❤

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 An elegant coffee server with a clock is standing in  “good company” with some cabbage-leafed teapots, just the right size for tea parties.  Also, tucked under the cloche is a cherished souvenir glass in a brass stand with an emblem saying “San Francisco Cable Car.”  My father gave this keepsake to me when he came back from a business trip to California, many years ago. ❤

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Displayed in a vignette under the glow of lamplight and basking beneath the golden gleam from the picture frame is a recent “find” at a flea market that was unbelievably priced at only $1.50!!! … a set of silver antique bread and butter knives from England!  I “fell in love” with the little clasped case they came in before I even saw the price!

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From Richard’s and my research, the silver markings on these knives and their deep blue Bakelite handles helped us conclude that they were made around the 1930’s.  However, the age and silk lining of the case and silk “hinges” indicate, they may be even older.

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Hope you enjoyed seeing how I display some of my collections.  Have fun looking over your collections and thinking where you can “showcase” them to enjoy every day in the “Cottage Style” – and yes, I do have folded piles of embroidered tablecloths, cup towels, and napkins edged in carefully stitched crochet … perhaps they’ll be featured in the next “Cottage Series!” (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time reading my blog today!  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: Trenda @cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’ll be joining Kelly from The Essence of Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer at Cottage Green on the Lake

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”  – Sam Keen

“4 the seasons” … Summer Season at Cottage Green on the Lake

On the dock … ‘WELCOME TO THE LAKE’

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From the back deck …

1backyard.png“Whiskers” (a Great Blue Heron) a long time resident at Cottage Green strolls each morning and evening along our retaining wall and dock.  A few evenings ago Richard and I were sitting outside watching Whiskers as he stood poised, watching intently the water below.  Suddenly, we saw his neck straighten as he nimbly struck at a passing fish.  When he straightened back up, he had a 5-6 inch perch, “shis-ka-bobbed” on his beak … “bon appétit! (:

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My very own “play house” and potting shed under the canopy of trees and near the water …

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Backyard … Encore Azaleas are performing their second act, re-blooming and brilliant against a backdrop of ferns.

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A delightful spot to bathe!  A birdbath surrounded by Holly, Dwarf Nandina and a Japanese Maple …

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In the front yard … perfectly named for it’s blooming time and “firecracker red” blooms our ‘Firecracker’ Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstromia) blooms each year in our front yard around the 4th of July. 

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Strutting across our driveway is a new resident at Cottage Green … a white crane I named “Sassy Pants!” (:  He visited our front yard one day and decided he likes perching on our front deck and dining on worms he finds between our brick pavers!

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The sideyard … Impatiens on a cherished cement bench my sister stained and painted.

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I love and cultivate this moss that grows along these brick pavers.

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Lazy summer afternoon’s on the lake …

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Remembering Mr. Keen’s words … I hope you have many “respectable” days during these last days of summer! (:

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank  you for reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: Trenda @cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow me on Pinterest.

This week I’m joining Lisa from Feathering My Nest and Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

 

 

 

 

 

 

“To Market, to Market” and Garden Tablescape …….. by Trenda

In the summer, I love to go to our Farmer’s Market, appropriately and cutely named … “Sugar Acres” … to buy fresh vegetables and fruit. Once home, I rinse and pile all of our fresh produce in a vegetable tray and create a “still life” over the kitchen sink. Look how beautiful this is!  I can’t help but marvel at God’s artistry every time I look at soft, fuzzy peaches colored in golden yellow and ruby red and never get over the delight of discovering the meticulous rows of sunny kernels carefully packaged inside the outer husk of corn and tucked beneath the protective silk.  There’s a sermon to be found in that sentence! (;

final.pngI keep a little book of the precious, witty, funny things our grandchildren say and call them “Sabrina-ism’s” and “Preston-ism’s.”  Here is a cute “Sabrina-ism” she said on our way to the Farmer’s Market … I was brushing Sabrina’s hair (something else I love to do!) and told her we were getting ready to go to the store.  She sweetly asked, “which store, Grandma?”  I told her, “well, you and Grandma are going to the Farmer’s Market and PawPaw is going to the hardware store.”  Sabrina is well-familiar with and likes going to “The Farmer’s Market” but she had never heard that “other store” mentioned before and asked … “what’s that store, Grandma?”  I explained that it was a store where PawPaw buys hammers and things that he needs to work with on the house.  Later, when we were on our way into town, she happily said, “PawPaw … Grandma and I are going to go to the Farmer’s Market while you go to the “hard work” store! (: 

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 Just 2 weeks ago, we went to Alabama and on our way home we stopped to visit with some dear friends in Mississippi.  After a delightful evening together, we hugged goodbye and they sent us on our way with our trunk loaded with garden goodness … 12 garden fresh tomatoes, at least 3 lbs. of just plucked Rattlesnake snap beans, a huge jar of canned bread and butter pickles, and a jar of homemade salsa … Christmas in July!  Their generosity and my expeditions to the Farmer’s Market were the inspiration for my whimsical garden tablescape befitting summer meals and ingredients from the garden (or from your friend’s garden!) … meals of  crook-neck squash, fresh corn on the cob, broccoli and tomato salads, snap beans with new potatoes and desserts of peach cobbler.

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Since my “theme” was garden-centered, I covered our table with a garden fresh tablecloth covered with pictures of seed packets.  Then I “gathered” a collection of garden books and cookbooks by Mary Englebreit featuring outdoor meals and home cooking and stacked them and uses them as a pedestal for my trio of “canning jar” tealights.

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A ceramic “bunch of carrots” makes a charming caddy for “carrot cutlery” (click here to see “Carrot Cutlery” also used for Easter) and a little terra cotta planter covered with chicken wire (a new “favorite”) holds darling rustic shovel and rakes and is a cute addition to my garden themed centerpiece .

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Fiesta plates in bright colors match the seed packets on the tablecloth and “an extra” bandanna napkin (more substantial for covering laps and needed for corn on the cob and buttery fingers!) is slipped into a wooden napkin ring, along with a miniature garden tool and a set of corn skewers and is placed atop each place setting.

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Purple, orange, green, and yellow … “la fiesta!”

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I love antique dishes and love collecting beautiful antique salt cellars. (click here to see other salt cellars in my collection) I was delighted when I found these unique salt cellars (one is a duo, the other is a triplet) at an antique shop.
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Antique salt cellars with tiny silver spoons are set between plates and are perfect for sprinkling salt liberally on corn on the cob.

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Now, the table is set … time to start cooking!  Hope your days are filled with the beauty and bounty of summer!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Easy Summer Desserts … Scoops of Ice Cream in Gourmet Cones & Cream Cheese Tartletts by Trenda

“Stressed backwards spells DESSERTS.  Coincidence, I think not!” (:   ~ Author Unknown

Perfect for lazy summer afternoons or evenings spent on the deck, these summer desserts are refreshing and so easy to “put together” you’ll want to make them whether you’re “stressed” or not! (;  

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Supplies needed to make gourmet ice cream cones.

  • full cabinet.pngWaffle ice cream cones
  • Ghiradelli Chocolate Melting Wafers (Almond bark or other melting chocolate can be used)
  • microwavable bowl and spoon to spread additional chocolate
  • assorted sprinkles, colored sugars, nonpareils, crushed candy bars, nuts, American flag picks, Wilton Fun Pix or other decorations

Instructions:

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave according to directions on the package; stir until smooth.  
  2. Dip the top of the cone into the melted chocolate and turn  to coat entire top of cone.  (I used the back of a spoon to help spread the melted chocolate around the cone.)  
  3. When the top of cone is completely covered and the candy coating is still warm, sprinkle colored sugars, nonpareils and decorations over the candy.  
  4. Place the cone in an upright position until candy hardens.  I have a metal tray for grilling Stuffed Jalepeno Poppers (a gift from our son and daughter-in-law <3) that was a perfect rack to set my ice cream cones in! (:  After all my cones were made and decorated, I slid the whole tray into the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes, until the candy hardened.

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I had so much fun making and decorating these!  I made some of my cones “2-toned” using different colors and decorations on the outside of the cone vs. the inside of the cone. 

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I filled our cones with scoops of Blue Bell’s Cookies and Cream … our family’s favorite!  Top your gourmet cones with whatever delicious ice cream you prefer, or carry out the patriotic theme enjoying Blue Bell’s Patriotic Ice Cream (click here to see!) “Red, White & Blue Bell!”

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This next “Easy Summer Dessert” Cream Cheese Tartletts … are so cute and in “miniature” no one seems to ever feel guilty when they indulge in 1 or 2! (;   I either top these tartletts with Cherry or Blueberry Pie filling and when serving a crowd, I have both selections available!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package of 6 Keebler mini Graham Cracker crusts
  • 1 – 8 ounce package of Cream Cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice or “Real Lemon Juice” (*I’ve adapted this recipe to our tastes and add 1/2 cup of “Real Lemon Juice”)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 – 21 ounce can Cherry Pie or Blueberry Pie Filling (chilled)

Instructions:

  • Cream softened cream cheese in a electric mixer until light and fluffy.  (If you do not soften your cream cheese, your filling will be lumpy!)
  • Slowly pour condensed milk into cream cheese in mixer and stir until well combined.
  • Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice (*see note above) and vanilla to cream cheese mixture and stir until ingredients are incorporated with the cream cheese and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour mixture into individual tartlett pans and refrigerate, until set. (1 – 2 hours, up to overnight) I place a small sheet of wax paper over each of my individual tartletts, when refrigerating overnight, to prevent the top layer from getting “tough.”
  • Top tartletts with chilled pie filling just before serving and insert “fun pick.” 

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These Cream Cheese Tartletts, with their patriotic colors and festooned with an American flag always “find their way” to our 4th of July table!  However, both of these fun summer desserts can be adapted for any festive occasion by switching decorations and picks.  Next time, I think I’ll dip my cones in white chocolate melting wafers that are tinted green, fill my ice cream cones with scoops of raspberry sherbet, and “push in” chocolate morsels (pointy end first!) to simulate watermelon seeds.  Or … I’ll dip my cones in milk chocolate melting wafers, sprinkle them with crushed Butterfinger candy bars, and fill my ice cream cones with scoops of Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Or … ??? (:

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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The 4th of July!!! ~ by Trenda

The 4th of July … America’s biggest, grandest party of the year!  

Around our town … a giant ferris wheel!

ferris wheel.pngMerry-go-round, Fun Slide, Funnel Cakes, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and Fried Oreos! (:

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And at Cottage Green … tablescapes, favors, treats, and decorations for our 4th of July celebration “from the dawn’s early light” … until “the twilight’s last gleaming!”

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A simple tablescape apropos for July 4th on the Lake!  A metal rowboat filled with all “accouterments” needed for lakeside meals and desserts … both “stars” and “stripes” plates in assorted sizes, plastic cutlery, napkins, straws, with miniature flags and sprays of  “bling!” (:

boat tablescape background.pngOutside, the table is covered in a quilted tablecloth and a “God Bless America” centerpiece of fireworks and stars.

final 2.pngRed, White, and Blue baskets await hamburgers, a cluster of red grapes and brownies.  Striped, paper bowls are perfect for individual portions of potato salad and make clean up, easy.  A blue wired basket holds cups, plates, cutlery, and patriotic straws.outdoor table setting.png

Scalloped-edged bandana boxes (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby) are filled with “fun things” for the 4th of July weekend … fans, balloons, bubbles, “USA” and star colored beads, sunglasses, pencils, flag pins, and Chinese yo-yo’s!

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… and special star headbands for the grand kids!

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Fireworks exploding and reflecting over the lake.

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Hope you had a wonderful weekend and just enjoyed being FREE … free to gather in your own home or backyard with family and friends … free to pray over your hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and homemade ice cream … freedom to “hoot” and holler” as you exclaim over beautiful fireworks, in the sky.

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After looking at a display of  flags from all over the world, our 8 year old grand daughter, in her endearing and profound way, said … “Grandma, don’t you think we have the prettiest flag of ALL?”  “I certainly do!”  I quickly agreed.  Then she solemnly said … “Grandma, wouldn’t it be so sad if we ever saw another flag flying over our country,  instead of our flag?”  Oh my, my heart felt sick as I pondered her question and tried to imagine seeing another flag other than our “STARS and STRIPES forever” … being flown over our country!  With a grateful heart, I want to thank all our military and their families, throughout the ages, for the sacrifices they have made and given for our freedom so … “the prettiest flag of ALL” continues to fly over our great nation. “GOD BLESS AMERICA, LAND THAT I LOVE.” ❤

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you spent so me time reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts.  

 

 

 

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie “Skillet Dessert” ~ by Trenda

I love making “Skillet Desserts” because they are quick to make and clean-up is easy!  I mix all my ingredients … add them to my cast iron skillet … then slide the skillet into the oven to bake.  After that, all that is left to do is to turn on the coffee pot and voilà! … dessert and coffee are ready to serve, as soon as we finish eating!  This Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert is yummy and it is the easiest dessert I make!  Just use “pre-made” chocolate cookie dough (found in the refrigerated “baked goods” section in the grocery store) or … if you’re not in a hurry, you can make this dessert using your own favorite cookie recipe.

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I was thrilled when my mother lovingly gave me her cast iron skillet, several years ago!  I cherish the memories I recall of Mom using it and remember watching her make Goulash … “Gravel Gravy” … fried chicken … fried okra … and all kinds of delicious gravies in it.  I can still see her dear hands, on the same handle I now hold, while I make Italian frittatas, golden cornbread, a yummy cobbler, or a Skillet Dessert!   Fun Fact: I recently read that cast iron skillets are being “willed” like other valuables to family members and are being passed down through the generations!

Now, back to the Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert  … Our daughter and grand daughter surprised us and came to visit, for a few days.  Before they had even unloaded the car, our little grand daughter asked, “What special dessert did you make for us, Grandma?”  Well, I hadn’t made a “special dessert” and you can imagine, after that sweet query Grandma was immediately on task to create some “special dessert!”  I went into the kitchen and took out my Pillsbury tub of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (I keep a large tub of this in the freezer or in the refrigerator when “company’s coming” … or for a dessert crisis like this!) (;

Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Dessert:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray cast iron skillet with cooking oil.
  3. Press cookie dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, about 1″ thick.
  4. Slide skillet into the oven and baked for approximately 19 minutes (or until done.)  Note: Directions on the side of the tub of cookie dough say bake cookies for 10-14 minutes. I checked my “cookie” after 14 minutes and could tell the dough was still “shiny” and “runny” so I continued baking it for 5 more minutes.  The thickness of the cookie will determine how long it needs to be baked.  I took our cookie out when the edges were golden and the center no longer “jiggled” and looked “set.”
  5. Let cookie cool, 5-10 minutes before loading scoops of vanilla ice cream in the center of the cookie.
  6. Drizzle Hershey’s chocolate syrup in a grid pattern across the cookie and ice cream.
  7. Then add Hershey’s caramel syrup, turning your pan, to make a crisscross pattern across the dessert.

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While the cookie was baking, I placed colored bandana napkins and spoons on the table … ready for our dessert centerpiece! (:  In less than 25 minutes, before their suitcase had been unpacked and our “grand dog’s” water bowl had been filled … our warm, decadent dessert was ready for everyone to “dig in!”

bandanas.png I felt like I’d gotten a ” gold star” when I saw the astonishment and delight on our grand daughter’s face and she asked, Grandma, how did you make that sooo fast?” (: ❤

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Hope your weekend is “scrumptious” and is filled with “sweet delights!”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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 I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts.

 

 

Father’s Day Tribute and a Special Father’s Day Tablescape

~ Trenda

Today is FATHER’S DAY!  I was so fortunate and blessed to have a wonderful and loving father.  I’ll always miss my father, especially on days like this, but oh, what a blessing it was to be his daughter!  I remember … Saturday morning wagon rides he would take us on, telling us the names of the trees as we “rolled by” and how to identify them by their leaves.  I remember … picnics Mom packed for the family to take to the park and my father whittling long sticks for us to roast our wieners on and throwing a rope up into the tall trees with a wooden seat he’d made and attached to the rope for us to swing on.  I remember … Daddy pitching a tent for us in the backyard and frying bologna in a skillet over a small campfire.  I remember … being scared the first time I held a Roman candle, my apprehension stilled when his large hand  closed over mine and the golden fireworks shot out of the end and into the sky.  I remember … that he taught me how to make and fly a kite, how to swim, how to fish (though he always baited my hook and took the fish off for me!) ❤  My father was a Pastor and I remember … watching his unwavering trust and faith in God.  I remember … seeing him sitting in his recliner and reading his Bible.  I remember … how he loved the Lord and worshiped HIM.  My father’s love for us made it easy for me to understand the great love my heavenly Father has for me … and also taught me what I wanted and needed in my husband when it was time for me to marry.

My father and mother …

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Richard, my husband, personifies all those same traits my father had.  He is the loving father of our children; he is my best friend; he is my soul mate.  I love his giving nature, “can-do” attitude, thoughtfulness, quiet strength, playfulness, spontaneity and faith.  There is no sweeter feeling than him wrapping his arms around me and praying for me.  He “makes me happy, when skies are gray.”  When we married and we were “oh, so young” … he taught me how to write a check and how to add Downy to a wash load.  He put up with dinners of pancakes and Swedish meatballs (the only 2 things I knew how to cook, besides homemade bread, fudge, and pumpkin pies!)  He wordlessly cleaned up “spitup” when our children were sick … he made every meal for us when I broke my foot and ruptured a tendon that required surgery and I was in a cast for 3 months and had to keep my foot elevated … whenever it is raining and we are out, he thoughtfully drops me off at the front door, then he goes and parks … he brings me my coffee every morning … he makes me feel beautiful even when I’m just wearing (as Conway Twitty sang) my “faded cotton gown” and as my “auburn hair has faded and silver takes it’s place.”  Waking up … and going to sleep next to him makes every day “a good day.”

Richard and Trenda …

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Richard … “Dad” … “Daddy” … “PawPaw” 

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Today, I want everything to be special … starting with the table!  A woven runner decorated with pheasants and Mallard ducks “anchors” my collection of all things “masculine” for our special guest of honor.

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Many of the items I gathered up to use on this tablescape are treasured gifts from our dear son and daughter, picked and chosen for “Dad” from Father’s Days, past.  A stack of favorite books, sailing and basketball trophies, a special DAD plaque, antique dog figurines and a pair of binoculars are all part of the centerpiece.

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A collection of crystal decanters and antique trophies add to the “Polo Club look” I wanted to achieve with this tablescape.

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The dishes are a mixed collection of Hull and Pfaltzgraff that Richard bought for me in the “Brown Drip” pattern.

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Sage green napkins are inserted into wooden napkin rings.  The elegant DIY place cards from my “Hello June” blog … add a personal touch to each place setting.

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Sparkle and glow … crystal stemware and handled mugs (ready for after- dinner coffee and blackberry cobbler!) and a ship’s decanter add sparkle … and a woven grass lamp, a gift from our daughter, shines cozily over the table and goldware adds more “glow.”

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Now, all that’s left is to fill these seats with loved ones and these plates with a menu  especially selected by the guest of honor!  Hope you have a special day shared with dear ones you love!  Happy Father’s Day!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts.