Cottage Decorating for Valentine’s Day, Romance and Spring …

by Trenda

After seeing the first coral blossoms on a Flowering Quince … a row of blooming daffodils … and a bluebird in our backyard hunting for a nesting spot, it’s time for the interior decor of our cottage to shrug out of it’s winter garments and get “dressed” for Valentine’s Day, Romance and Spring!

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My decorating transformation began on our mantle … using a collection of blue and white porcelain pieces … a favorite over-sized clock with a Carolina Wren painted on it’s face … and two matching crystal decanters (bought near the Czech border) and serving as bookends on either end of the mantle.  Then I took a swag that was covered with roses and eucalyptus and wove two strands of twinkle lights between the flowers – to add a little glimmer and magic (;  before draping the swag across the mantle.  I tucked in a few more grape clusters and moss covered bird nests “here and there” for additional cuteness!

A bird stands near his nest amidst the delightful setting of roses.  A stack of gardening books is a base for a collection of blue and white porcelain pieces and a Delft Ginger jar bought and brought all the way from Holland!


Atop a porcelain box and tucked at the base of the clock are little nests filled with ferns, prickly statice, Scottish heather, and green speckled eggs.

Large Ginger Jars in blue and white porcelain.

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I love the patina of this mirror!  It used to be a gaudy-gold until Richard and I painted the entire mirror frame with white paint.  After it dried, we “distressed” the surface with sand paper to let a little bit of the gold “peek through.”  Now, it’s “one of my favorite things” and one of our keepsakes – it’s been with us since we bought our first home! (P.S. I love this picture showing the beautiful patina of our mirror and the reflection of our dining room chandelier and our kitchen in the background.)

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Now, for the hearth!  Same colors and spring mood are reflected in both the mantle and hearth.  More blue and white porcelain and the “outside is brought in” with a green wreath bursting with white blossoms and sheltering an intricate obelisk.

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       A tiny birdbath is filled with mossy stones and more speckled eggs … a chunky white urn holds a white gardenia on a bed of moss … and two antique books serve as a base and staircase to a blue and white peacock plate.  I love the blue and green book on the top of the stack; everything about is darling! … from it’s jacket covered in dainty flowers and blue and green striping, the green oval “cameo” of a ladies profile encircled in gold, and it’s charming title … Haps and Mishaps Blackberry Jam  ❤

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Well, here in East Texas, the ground hog did not see his shadow.  It was 80 degrees today with warm weather predicted for the next 10 days!  Here on the lake it definitely “feels like” spring and adding to my list and sighting’s of spring harbinger’s … today I saw Saucer Magnolia blooming … a beautiful red-violet blossom unfolding on my Encore Azalea … and my White Lady Banks Rose Bush is covered in buds!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

 

I’m delighted you read my blog today!  Please click on FOLLOW in the post above or on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com to have all posts delivered directly to your email address.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave those in the COMMENT section!  (:

 

Score with these Super Bowl Snacks … “Pass Interference Pinwheels” and “Peanut Cluster Blitz!”

by Trenda

With the Super Bowl only a week away, I’ve been making finger foods and snacks to see which will “make the final cut” for this last football game of the season.  Here are two delicious recipes, one savory and one sweet, that will “score” with your family and friends.  Pass Interference Pinwheels made with bacon, cheddar and cream cheese, topped  with Salsa Verde and Peanut Cluster Blitz a decadent candy made with 3 chocolates … semi-sweet, milk chocolate and white chocolate.  You’ll love how quick and easy this candy recipe is to make … in a crock pot!

Pass Interference Pinwheels with Salsa Verde …

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 10 pieces of bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 4 oz softened cream cheese (Tip: How to soften Cream Cheese – place unwrapped pkg. of cream cheese in microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on high for 10 seconds; repeat if necessary, until softened.) 
  • 1 cup shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese (plus extra for topping)
  • 1/4 cup diced green onions
  • 1/2 cup Salsa Verde – or more according to taste! (Salsa Verde is found on the same aisle as other Mexican hot sauces/salsas)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Unroll crescent rolls on parchment paper or foil covered cookie sheet and press perforated seams together to make one sheet of dough.
  3. Spread softened cream cheese over entire sheet of dough.
  4. Sprinkle grated cheese, bacon, green onion and Salsa Verde over entire surface, and roll up dough, lengthwise.
  5. Cut into 3/4″ slices and place 2″ apart on parchment paper or foil lined cookie sheet.
  6. Top with additional cheese, if desired.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees, for 12-17 minutes, or until edges are deep golden brown.
  8. Cool slightly before removing and serving.

Peanut Cluster Blitz …

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Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz jar of dry roasted peanuts with salt
  • 1-12 oz pkg of semi-sweet chocolate morsels (I used Ghiradelli)
  • 1-1 lb.8 oz block of chocolate flavored almond bark (I used Plymouth Pantry)
  • 1-12 oz pkg of white chocolate (I used Wilton Candy Melts)

Instructions:

  1. Lightly spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Put in the peanuts first, then add all the chocolates.
  3. Cook on low for 1 hour.
  4. Stir, bake 1 more hour.
  5. Spoon out candy on parchment paper or wax paper.
  6. Cool, until hardened (mine were firm enough to place on serving dish in less than 1 hour)

blitz.pngRegardless of the team you’re cheering for, or if your favorite team didn’t make it to the Super Bowl … I know you’ll enjoy these easy and delicious snacks!  Hope you have a “super” Game Day!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Romantic Valentine Table for Two

~ written by Trenda

On a day celebrating L-O-V-E, there’s no limit to the amount of lace, flowers, hearts, or pink I use in setting and decorating our table for Valentine’s Day.  Richard and I begin our celebration of Valentine’s Day on February 13th and go out that evening for a special dinner.  Then, the next morning I make omelettes and “Berry Sweet Valentine’s” (recipe and pictures in a subsequent post!) and later “when twilight descends and evening begins”  we have a lovely dinner seated at a romantic “table for 2” at our favorite “getaway” … Cottage Green on the Lake! (; 

pink setting.pngA little table right next to the fireplace seems like the perfect spot for our Valentine reservation with the coziness of a fire, the glimmer of twinkle lights and the romance of candles.

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 Nestled next to  the fireplace, I wanted our Valentine table to blend in and be a part of the little nook and romantic backdrop I decorated and wrote about in my last post. (click here to see)  I love the way the mantle decorations look like they’ve tumbled over onto the table!

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The whimsical piece that visually ties the mantle and table together is a cement statue of “Cupid.” The same roses, eucalyptus and twinkle lights I used on the mantle, wrap around the base of the angel, entwine the statuary and encircle his wings.

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For our dinnerware, I chose Kaiser Porcelain in the Marseille pattern that we bought when we lived in Germany; it’s a fine  porcelain china and the white background trimmed with pink floral garlands and rosebuds is named “Romantica” and seemed the perfect choice for a day all about hearts and flowers!

I love these white scalloped plates with their painted garlands and rosebuds and the Valentine look of the pink, doily-like charger beneath each plate.  White napkins with a bit of crocheted lace and a sweet pink flower and Kaiser Porcelain roses are scattered about the table and adorn each place setting.

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Crystal “King Edward” Waterford glasses and pink blush stemware.

The King Midas touch … gold chargers and goldware add “gleam” to each place setting.

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The drape of roses, eucalyptus, grape clusters and twinkle lights adorning the mantle and Cupid, adds subtle lighting and enchantment to the table.

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Ready and waiting for a party of two … our Valentine table is set.  All that is needed is to light the fireplace and as Neil Diamond sings, it’s time to  … “Turn down the lights.  Turn up the music.  Let’s just be together tonight.  And turn down the lights.” ❤

lights dimmed.png“Love is patient, love is kind …”

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From my cottage to yours  ~ Trend

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I’m delighted you read my Blog today!  Please click on FOLLOW in my post above or FOLLOW on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com to have all Cottage Green on the Lake news delivered directly to your email address.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave those in the COMMENT section!  For some other great ideas, please join me (click here) for “Share Your Style Link Party #104 with host Lisa from Feathering My Empty Nest.

 

 



 

Lakeside Picnic and Recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup …

by Trenda  

I already have “spring fever!”  I “caught it” from the birds who have been “twittering and flitting about” hunting for the perfect place to raise their little families! (:  Friday and Saturday were “zip-a-dee-do-dah” days with spring-like temperature’s … “My oh, my, what a wonderful day” … and  taking our cue from the birds, we took advantage of our warm day with …”Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way” and worked outside and enjoyed a picnic by the lake.

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Welcome to our lakeside picnic!  Everything always tastes better when dining al fresco (: and our lunch of Turkey & Swiss Wraps with roasted red peppers, Red Delicious Apples and spiced tea, was no exception!


After our picnic we were “energized” … we sat a little while longer, enjoying the sunshine and the day then we were ready to get back to work.  By late afternoon the wind started picking up and the water started getting choppy.

Dark blue-gray clouds began rolling in … 


And we began to hear rumbles of thunder, as we hurried to finish our work …

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We finished … just in time with thunder distinctively warning us to get inside, as the first raindrops began to fall!

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Later … feeling cozy and clean and hearing the gusty wind and the sound of the waves crashing against our retaining wall, our “gift” of a spring day in January was over and our stormy night seemed the perfect time for some homemade soup … Stuffed Pepper Soup.

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 Stuffed Pepper Soup Recipe …

recipe final.pngLater, as I drifted off to sleep, the last lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Under A Spreading Chestnut Tree” came to mind.

“… Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night’s repose.”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I would love to read any comments or questions you may have!

 

 

Winter Weather and Outdoor Tablescape and Picnic for the Birds

by Trenda at Cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Seeing snow in East Texas is always an anticipated occasion, like a circus or carnival coming to town!  Everyone dashes to one of our two grocery stores and stocks up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

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So .. with a forecast of possible snow on Friday, there was expectation in the air as the temperatures hovered below 30 … and by afternoon, our hope of seeing some snow was rewarded when the first tiny flakes appeared!

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I wanted to make sure our “furry friends and feathered folks” had plenty to eat to keep themselves warm and I decided to set up a winter picnic for them with some extra special treats… birdseed ornaments!   I chose a recipe that Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributor submitted on Pinterest (click here for Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributot’s recipe for birdseed ornaments) During the entire process I was apprehensive that my ornaments wouldn’t slip out of their molds or remain intact and I was happily surprised when each of the ornament’s “held” their shape and slid out easily from my plastic cookie cutters (part of an extensive collection my dear daughter in law (DDIL)(:  gave me.

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Assorted ribbons and twine added to the birdseed ornaments …

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I love these “woodland” tags and thought they would add a little whimsy, hanging amongst the branches with my birdseed ornaments.  This is a free printable I downloaded from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John (click here for free printable woodland tags) They printed off beautifully and I made extra’s for package tie-on’s and other ideas, yet to come!

Free downloadable gift tags from Decorator's Notebook 14 designs

I also made some extra tags using a die-cut label maker and some rubber stamps that fit right in with my woodland/lakeside theme: a clump of oak leaves and acorns stamp, a single leaf stamp, and a bird nest with eggs stamp … the bird nest is my favorite!  I used a hole punch to make a hole in each tag and then slipped ribbons through the hole.  To add a little variety to my paper ornaments, I used several different ribbons and  either knotted the ends of the ribbon and slipped the labels over a branch or clipped them to my little fir tree, using mini-clothespins.

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Then I had the fun of creating my winter tablescape and putting out “picnic fare” for our birds and lakeside critters. (:  I covered our outdoor table with a Coleman blanket in a buffalo plaid in navy, khaki and forest green and placed a tall Fir tree (one of our Christmas decorations) in the center of the table … it worked great for hanging my birdseed ornaments and woodland/lakeside tags on!   A sweet little birdbath that Richard gave me (usually a part of our cottage decor inside) is filled with fresh water and I used chunky urns and “woodsy” platters to offer a buffet of different seeds and peanuts.

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A Hairy Woodpecker “heard it through the grapevine” that there were peanuts on the menu! (: A little Red-breasted Nuthatch, native to Ontario Canada perches on the side of a “new favorite”  … a rough blown-glass bowl, a special gift from our daughter’s boyfriend, that is  perfectly suited for Cottage Green with painted pine boughs and a “sprinkling” of snow.

img_0284Look how adorable my cookie cutter letters spelling B-I-R-D came out!  I loved how charming these letters looked all together so I just lined them all up on a forest green plate edged with leaves and acorns and set them out for the birdies to enjoy!

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A Cardinal surveys the winter buffet …

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The “piece de resistance?” … sunflower hearts!

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Today’s Menu …

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A House Finch awaits his turn “in pecking order” on the downspout …

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Well, we didn’t have any accumulation of snow, but we did enjoy our beautiful snow flurries … our whirling, twisting, dancing flakes and we enjoyed 3 cold winter days.  But 3 days is just enough … and we were ready for the return of our usual, mild Texas winter weather.  Happily, today’s temperature was in the mid 60’s and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday … it’s going to be in the 70’s!  Ahhh … now, that’s more like it!

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But next time there’s a chance of snow or snow flurries in the forecast for a little town on Cedar Creek Lake in East Texas, you can be sure that … everyone will once again dash to one of our two grocery stores and stock up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful  that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace. (;

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

faith

 

 

 

Thank you for spending some time with me today.  Please leave any comments or questions you may have, in the COMMENT section.

“Easy Potato Soup” Recipe with Garlic, Parmesan & Cheddar topped Crostini – revised edition

Trenda

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Downshifting from the accelerating month of December, I’m going to “ease” into January by giving you the delicious recipe for …”Easy Potato Soup” that I wrote about in my last post, “Love and Joy Come to You” (click here)and our dinner for two on New Year’s Eve.  This soup is so easy … no prepping is necessary and it is just a matter of opening cans, stirring, seasoning, and warming! (:

  • Easy Potato Soup by Trenda at CottageGreenontheLake.com 
  • Makes 4 – 6 servings
  • Level of difficulty – Easy

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Ingredients:

  • 1 – 10 oz. can Diced New Potatoes (drained)
  • 1 – 10 1/2 oz. can Cream of Celery
  • 1 – 10 1/2 can Cream of Potato
  • 1 and 3/4 cups Half & Half
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients into large saucepan, stirring to blend.  Warm over low to medium heat, stirring often.  Be careful not to scorch soup mixture, but heat thoroughly.  Serve soup in bowls and garnish with desired toppings.  I top our soup with grated cheese and cooked and crumbled bacon.

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I love soups any time of the year but this soup is a wonderful “comfort food.”  I first “created” this recipe when our son was sick and he asked me to make him some “Magic Soup” and I searched our pantry, seeing what magic there was to be found. (:  Now, it is one of our family’s favorites and it is so easy to put together!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  AND … if tomorrow is your first day back to schedules, car pools, work, and life in general … I hope your day is “gentle.”

saltAnd tonight, thankful for another day the Lord has brought us safely through … “On my bed I remember you;  I think of you through the watches of the night.  Psalm 63:6

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time with me today.  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave any questions or comments you have under “COMMENTS.”

 

Recipe for “Easy Potato Soup” with Garlic, Parmesan & Cheddar topped Crostini

by Trenda
birch.png

Downshifting from the accelerating month of December, I’m going to “ease” into January by giving you the delicious recipe for …”Easy Potato Soup” that I wrote about in my last post, “Love and Joy Come to You” (click here)and our dinner for two on New Year’s Eve.  This soup is so easy … no prepping is necessary and it is just a matter of opening cans, stirring, seasoning, and warming! (:

  • Easy Potato Soup by Trenda at CottageGreenontheLake.com 
  • Makes 4 – 6 servings
  • Level of difficulty – Easy

nosalt.pngIngredients:

  • 1 – 10 oz. can Diced New Potatoes (drained)
  • 1 – 10 1/2 oz. can Cream of Celery
  • 1 – 10 1/2 can Cream of Potato
  • 1 and 3/4 cups Half & Half
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients into large saucepan, stirring to blend.  Warm over low to medium heat, stirring often.  Be careful not to scorch soup mixture, but heat thoroughly.  Serve soup in bowls and garnish with desired toppings.  I top our soup with grated cheese and cooked and crumbled bacon.birchtucked.png

I love soups any time of the year but this soup is a wonderful “comfort food.”  I first “created” this recipe when our son was sick and he asked me to make him some “Magic Soup” and I searched our pantry, seeing what magic there was to be found. (:  Now, it is one of our family’s favorites and it is so easy to put together!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!  AND … if tomorrow is your first day back to schedules, car pools, work, and life in general … I hope your day is “gentle.” (; salt.png

 

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you for spending some time with me today.  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave any questions or comments you have under “COMMENTS.”