DIY Autumn Leaf Drink Markers …… by Trenda from Cottage Green on the Lake

It’s time to hang our autumn wreath on the front door; time to put out “Hal” … our wooden scarecrow with a green trellis backdrop and spunky black crow perched on the railing, and time for home fragrances and candles in mellow, spicy scents of autumn.  It’s time for the magical transformation of our home, putting “touches” of the season on tabletops, mantles, and throughout each room that reflect the warm, cozy feeling of autumn. <!–more–>

So far, the chandelier is dressed for autumn with leaves, grape clusters and a draping of golden acorns.

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And … summer decor on the buffet is slowly being replaced with pumpkins, bushy-tailed squirrels, and glittered acorns.

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Dressing our home for the fall season includes how I set my table … which dishes I use, which napkins I match up with what napkins rings, and all the other “accoutrements” I have to accent my table … “4theseasons.”

I made the cutest autumn drink markers that I want to show you how to make today.

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I bought all the supplies I needed at Hobby Lobby on the bead/jewelry-making aisle.  The wire loops, tube of assorted beads and cards of autumn leaf buttons were all on this aisle.  The only other item that I used in making these drink markers was a pair of needle nose pliers, which I used in bending one end of the wire loop to slip and secure the drink marker into the eye-hole, after all the beads and leaf were in place.

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These are so easy to make … Just take the size wire hoop that you want to use for your drink marker and begin “threading” beads in whatever order  you choose.  When you have half of the ring filled with beads, put on the size and color of leaf that you want to use for your drink marker and continue threading on the other half of your beads, matching the sequence you used on the first side.  Make sure you leave room at the end of your wire loop to make your fastener.  After all your beads are threaded, bend the very end of your wire hoop so it will slip into the wire eye on the other side of the hoop, and fasten. (Notice how the end opposite the “eye” of the wire hangers are straight before I bent them to make a fastener.  I’ve also turned some of the leaves over so you can see that they are just buttons!)

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Our family get-together’s range from small to large gathering’s so I made lots of drink markers and had fun using all different bead color combinations and sizes of leaves.  We always reserve the biggest leaf for my husband and our youngest grandchild gets the smallest leaf … and everyone remembers which glass is there’s by the color and size of their leaf!

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Now that you know how to make your drink markers, it’s fun to pick out different buttons and beads to make markers for every holiday and occasion. I’ve even bought block letters on the bead aisle and have made one-of-a-kind drink markers for our family using the first initial of every family member. I’ve also made drink markers and added them to wedding gifts as a little “bonus” gift for newly-weds … with their “love” names for each other, spelled out on the drink marker.  Halloween pumpkins and ghosts … Christmas trees and candy canes … Spring flowers and bunny’s … the possibilities are endless!  I hope you have as much fun making these as much as I do!

From my cottage to your’s  ~ Trenda

“Fall” … in love & Harvest Moon Pies by Trenda from Cottage Green on the Lake

“Fall” … in love with the autumn season, colored leaves, cooler days and all things cozy.  Here in Texas, September is just the prelude of the overture to come, but change is in the air; hayfields are filled with freshly baled hay, the little winter coots have returned and last night a gorgeous “harvest moon” rose slowly over the lake. <!–more–>

Now, I think you are going to “Fall” … in love with these darling treats … Harvest Moon Pies.   This idea is from a past addition of Southern Living Magazine and I was delighted to find that these desserts were easy to assemble and  almost too cute to eat!  I know we’re going to need more Moon Pies for Halloween  … to decorate with all things spooky!

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These decorated Moon Pies are a fun addition to any holiday and are a wonderful project for you and your children to enjoy doing together.  Have fun decorating each Moon Pie differently and you’ll finally have a use (if you’re like me!) for all those adorable holiday sprinkles, that seem to amass in your cabinets! (:piccollage1085342.png

I used a wire Maple leaf basket I had tucked away in my “4 the seasons” closet – my sweet hubby built for me!  I put a block of florist foam in the bottom of the basket to anchor and display my Harvest Moon Pies and covered the foam with some shredded black and orange paper I had.  Then, I wrapped each of my decorated Harvest Moon Pies in a cellophane favor bag. (I bought my cellophane bags from Hobby Lobby, they were located on the candy-making aisle along with the Wilton Candy Melts and “lollipop” sticks) and added autumn-colored ribbons around each handle.

I love the novelty of this charming and creative centerpiece, but I also love that they can be given as party favors, since I individually wrapped each of my Harvest Moon Pies!

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HARVEST MOON PIES/ LEVEL: EASY/  YIELD: 1 DOZEN

INGREDIENTS AND ITEMS NEEDED:

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INGREDIENTS & ITEMS NEEDED:

  • 12 lollipop sticks
  • 2 packages Chocolate Flavor Moon Pies (6 to each small package)
  • 1 package vanilla candy melts – orange colored (I used Wilton’s Candy Melts)
  • 1 zip-type plastic bag or cake decorator bag  
  • scissors
  • wax paper
  • assorted sugar cake decorations (I used Wilton’s leaf shaped decorations)
  • assorted seasonal sprinkles
  • ribbon in autumn colors
  • Decorator Icing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Insert 1 lollipop stick, 2 to 3 inches into marshmallow center of Moon Pie
  2. Microwave candy melts in a glass bowl at Medium (50 percent power) 1 minute or until melted, stirring once. (read detailed instructions on the back of candy bag) Spoon into your plastic bag or cake decorator bag, push air out and seal.
  3.  Snip a small hole in 1 corner of the bag; pipe melted candy around where the lollipop stick meets the Moon Pie to hold it securely in place.  Lay flat on wax paper and let stand until firm.  *SEE NOTE BELOW
  4. Pipe a fun border of melted candy around the edges of the Moon Pie or pipe squiggles across the top; then add sprinkles, cake sugar or attach candy decorations (ie: candy corn, pumpkins, etc.) using melted candies or frosting

*Be sure and help your little ones insert the candy stick into their Harvest Moon Pie and pipe melted candy around lollipop stick for them. 

I hope you “Fall” … in love with these Harvest Moon Pies  and enjoy making and eating them, as much as we did! (:

There are so many thing to love about Fall!

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“Fall … in love with all things pumpkin!

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“Fall … in love with harvest moons and breezy nights

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“Fall” … in love with hay bales gleaming.

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 “Fall” … in love with yellow leaves, lying on the grass.

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“Fall” … in love with children playing … laughing, giggling.

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“Fall” … in love with FALL!

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda 

Garden-themed tabletop caddy … hold and “plant” your silverware and napkins.  

My husband, Richard, bought this darling Verdi Green planter for me from T. J Maxx, 2 weeks ago, during the hottest part of our “Dog Days of Summer” here in East Texas.  We had 8 days in a row with temperatures in the 100’s and the heat index being anywhere from 106-109 degrees!  

The following week we were blessed with much cooler weather and a week of rain! (a cause for celebration in August, typically our hottest and driest month here in East Texas!)  I was so tickled with my new planter, I couldn’t wait for cooler temperatures, or for the rain to stop, before I filled it!  

Instead of scooping up potting soil and filling the charming pots with flowers, I “planted” my silverware and napkins in the metal pots and made the planter the focal point of my garden themed tablescape and set it atop our dining room table!

 I didn’t want the top bucket to appear top-heavy, so I filled that flower pot, with napkins.

There, under the sweet little spigot and “blooming” like flower petals, I tucked in white embroidered napkins trimmed with a simple lace corner and a single, pink flower.  

Then I “planted” a few sage green napkins to match the green of the flower pots.

In the lower bucket, I “softened” the look of the metal before adding my silverware by lining it with 2 napkins, one sage green napkin and one white embroidered napkin.  

Then I randomly placed my cutlery in a seemingly haphazard way … some handles up, some down, to create a casual, but elegant display.  

I love the embellished and intricate ends of the silverware, but I also love looking at the gleaming, shiny, blades, tines, and scoops!

A crystal vase holds additional pieces of silver to the right of the cascading flower pots and keeping with my garden theme, I placed two tiny antique books and topped them with a teeny bird and a piece of bark I found in the backyard that was covered in a lovely colored lichen that blended perfectly with the green tones of the flower pots, books, and bird.

I tried out a different look and added a little color while still maintaining the garden theme.  In lieu of the crystal vase filled with cutlery, I displayed two of my favorite bird books … “A Complete Guide to Bird Feeding” and “Beyond the Bird Feeder” both wonderful books illustrated with pictures and written by John V. Dennis. 
Which display do you like better?

To balance out the left side, I placed a silver coffee pot, a silver creamer, and adding some height, I stacked some miniature silver chargers and placed the silver sugar bowl on top. 

My garden themed tabletop, a perfect backdrop for a cool summer lunch of chicken salad croissants, cucumber salad, and deviled eggs … all served with sweet Southern tea!  (:
Hope your enjoying these last days of summer and that you are managing to beat the heat, wherever “home is” for you!  I’m anxiously awaiting to see the first violas, snapdragons, pansies and flowering kale of the season … and my favorite chrysanthemums and purple asters!

Then, I’ll transform my flowering tabletop flower pots and “dress them” to go outside for autumn! (:

Thank you for spending a part of your day with me!

From my cottage to yours ~   Trenda

Cottage Green on the Lake … Sand Pail Ice Cream by Trenda

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!!”

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Back when our kids were in elementary school we began this family tradition of making, what we later name … “Sand Pail Ice Cream.”  It became our tradition to make this ice cream when the last school day of the year was over; a happy and fun beginning to summer vacation!

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Now, with all our family and their children going to different schools and having different schedules in different cities, we aren’t always able to make it together at the beginning of summer, but it remains a fun family tradition we still have every summer.  This summer we made it for our Labor Day celebration, signifying summer’s end, rather than it’s beginning.  Fun and equally good, whenever it’s served!

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First, you need to invest in a brand new plastic sand pail … to avoid the grit of sand in your ice cream! (:  Wash your new pail in warm sudsy water.
Then set out 1 or more half gallons of ice cream, depending on how many people you will be serving and how much your sand pail will hold.  (It’s hard to tell in this picture, but the sand pail I have can hold 3 half gallon cartons of ice cream!  We have also used additional sand pails when we have larger crowds to serve and for different flavors and mixes!)  When the ice cream has softened, scoop the ice cream from the cartoon and into the sand pail.

The rest is simple … just chop and stir in your family’s favorite ice cream “add-in’s” and toppings … or dish ice cream into separate containers for each person to individualize with their choice of toppings and add-in’s!

Some suggested add-in’s (but not limited to!)

  1. candy
  2. ice cream syrup’s
  3. marshmallow topping
  4. cookies
  5. fruit – cherries, pineapple, banana
  6. cool whip 
  7. sprinkles  … the more sprinkles, the better for your little ones!

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Other suggestions …

  • make sure all your candies “compliment” each other (don’t mix sour candies with chocolate candies!)
  • my family’s favorite ice cream is Bluebell’s Cookies and Cream – I used that flavor of ice cream and already had 1 “add-in” … cookies!
  • do not use candies that might harden in the ice cream and be difficult to bite into! 
  • have 2 or more sand pails for additional or different flavor combinations! 

Have fun setting your table and using all your festive bowls, glasses, soda fountain glasses, straws, spoons, and decorations!  I added a centerpiece of giant pixie straws, cupcake liners to hold extra add-in’s to nibble on, and little plastic animals to adorn each ice cream serving!

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“We all scream for ice cream!”

From my cottage to your’s ~  Trenda

Cottage Green on the Lake … “Feathering the Nest” by Trenda

Living on the lake, the scenery just beyond our window panes is always the focal point. The beautiful views outside make decorating “within” a challenge.  So, rather than compete with God’s artistry outside … I try to enhance those views by bringing the outside … in!


Thinking about the “feathering of our nest” … I took pictures of all things “birdie” throughout our home.  I wanted you to see how easy it is to incorporate items that are typically associated outside of the home … in our decor.

1) Using garden statuary  …
A cement cherub, playing a fife, looks “at home” and as angelic atop our hall tree, as he does in the garden. 


A bird, made of cement, looks quite content sitting at the base of a crystal vase, among a selection of nesting materials.


2) Using miniature birdbaths and filling them with birdseed, instead of water … 

A rustic bird stands near a crystal ice bucket and a tin bucket covered in moss … nearby, an unusual birdfeeder!


A little silver bird is perched on the edge of his nest, that’s filled with millet.  Above him is a darling cake-plate, adorned with 4 sweet birds and a collection of salt cellars. 


3) Perching teeny birds in unexpected places …
A bird dangles from a pine-flowered swag.  Clutched tightly, he holds a tiny offering of pinecones.


Sitting high above a music armoire is a little bird, just outside his antique cage … and a collection of all things “birdie.”
 4) Tucking bird nests in floral arrangements or peeking out of almost-hidden niches …

A moss-covered nest with a sprinkling of flower buds looks “sweet” in an ornate sugar bowl.


Tucked among some greenery in a silver bucket, a nest adds visual interest to a stack of plates and moss-colored napkins.

What do you enjoy collecting?  Whatever your passion is, use those items to decorate and “cozy up” your home.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing our “feathered nest” and the unexpected ways you can bring “the outside” into your home!

Home is … the perfect nest!


From my cottage to your’s! ~ Trenda



Cottage Green on the Lake … Labor Day Weekend on the shores of Cedar Creek Lake and 2 Favorite Picnic-Fare Recipes by Trenda 

By Friday afternoon our little town’s population began to increase with the number of people coming for their last summer outing at the lake. The waves began to bob as the lake slowly filled with bright, neon rafts, jet-skis, speed boats, and sailboats … and laughter could be heard from backyard decks and docks.
It was a quiet weekend for us, relatively speaking (what a pun!) with only our own dear little family coming to visit for Labor Day.

However, no matter how small the gathering, getting ready for “our gang” is always labor intensive … and after all, seemed apropos for Labor Day weekend! 😉

TO DO LIST:

Edging & weed-eating  … ✔️✔️

Lawn mowed … ✔️

Decks cleaned with blower … ✔️

Floats & Water Toys aired up … ✔️

Canoe checked for “sea-worthiness” … ✔️

 House cleaned … ✔️

Grocery shopping … ✔️ Menus Made … ✔️


BBQ BEANS made & crock pot filled … ✔️




Salad prepared … Teas made … all chilling in the refrigerator … ✔️✔️✔️



TIME FOR FAMILY & FUN! … ✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️ 


And afterwards … everyone is ready for dinner!
Below, I’ve included 2 of our family-favorite recipes!  Both are easy and delicious and we enjoyed both of these sides on our Labor Day picnic.

The first recipe is my own recipe for DELICIOUS BBQ BEANS.  We love the smoky flavor of the bacon that intensifies as it cooks in the  the crock pot and the enhanced layering of flavor that the bell pepper adds!  I also love that it is baking in the crock pot while I’m away or other dishes are being prepared, freeing up the grill and oven!

The second recipe I have included is Paula Deen’s Frito & Corn Salad.  This salad is so quick and easy to “put together” and so far, we have never had anyone who doesn’t love it!  Cold salads are always a favorite during our hot summer months and the spicy, crisp addition of the Fritoes adds just the right amount of crunch to the sweet flavor of the corn.


And … always a sweet ending to any celebration is our Sand Pail Ice Cream Dessert.  It is our family tradition that we have been enjoying and making together, since our chidren were small!  We still look forward and include making it together in our summertime traditions, every summer!

I’ll include pictures and instructions for that fun & easy treat … soon!

The last rays of the day …  ending another Labor Day.

From my cottage to your’s!  ~ Trenda

Farewell to Summer by Trenda @ CottageGreenontheLake.com   

Summer’s leaving; it’s bags are already packed, as September, the long awaited guest, arrives!  “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!”  We had a wonderful time while you were here!

Days of poting and puttering …


Red, White and Blue …


 Squirt guns and Swimming …


Boating …


And Fun!!!


So long, Summer!  We’re going to miss you!

From my cottage to your’s  ~  Trenda