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

From My Cottage to Your’s …

A little about my life and loves on Cedar Creek Lake …

 My husband and I live in the beautiful piney woods of East Texas on the banks of Cedar Creek Lake.  We love watching and being a part of all the seasons and changes that happen on the lake.

We moved here 25 years ago … and began the mammoth task of renovating our “tired” and “brown everything” lake house that was originally built during the early 70’s.

Slowly, with each wall we knocked down, each remnant of shag carpet we removed and the many gallons of white paint that we applied … our brown house began to disappear and the “Cottage Green” we had envisioned began to emerge.

It still seems like we are always working on our “nest” but we love seeing every result and improvement we make.

My love of decorating and crafts … 
When our kids were younger, I worked evenings for an Interior Design Company accessorizing and decorating people’s homes.  I also worked for a major hobby/craft store and gave classes on how to make wreaths, flower arrangements, seasonal door decorations, gift wrapping bows, and girl’s hair bows.

Through the years I’ve continued decorating, but mostly  for our own home or for custom orders.I was blessed with a full music scholarship to college and pursued a double major of both music and education before I left my Junior year to marry my sweetheart … or as Anne of Green Gables would say … “my kindred spirit and dearest of dear husbands.”  His name is Richard.

We have been married for 41 years and he still makes my heart skip a beat whenever I catch his eye across a crowded room.

We have been blessed with 2 children, a son and a daughter and we now have 2 dear grandchildren who are running in the same footprints our children did … and we’re still making memories at our cottage on the lake.

I hope each recipe, tablescape, decoration, arrangement, landscaping idea, and the whimsical way I like to decorate our home … Cottagegreenonthelake.com will inspire you … 4 the seasons!

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda