Christmas Tablescape “Up on the Housetop Reindeer Pause …”

The table is set and ready for a Christmas Brunch with Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas White Stag Reindeer” dressed and ready for their important flight on Christmas Eve! Saddles are trimmed with holly and tassels and lie cushioned on the reindeer’s back atop cheery red and green blankets (that look like they were made by Santa’s elves!)  Encircling their necks are pine branch harnesses festooned with pine cones, holly leaves and bows.

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Antique snack sets are stacked and ready to be filled with finger foods.  Christmas punch or Percolator Spiced Tea will fill the matching cups that set in special compartments on the glass trays.

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A gauzy runner with beaded edges weaves around a pine garland with tiny twinkle lights that add a touch of Christmas magic.

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 Shimmering gold is repeated in the brass stand holding a carafe … a shiny picture frame, … and a line of dessert spoons.  The colors in the picture “Noel” are a perfect match to the colors of the reindeer and serving pieces, so it became a bit of “whimsy” and a part of the tablescape, propped on a golden easel.  Nearby, a sweet little creamer and sugar bowl are nestled close and adorned with Christmas bows.

.    NOEL … From Church Latin in reference to the birthday of Christ, from natus, past participle of nasci “be born.” 

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Gold forks and linen napkins edged in lace are lined up for easy buffet-style serving.

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This Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas” Canape Plate will hold Peanut Cluster Blitz-ens!  (; topped with Christmas sprinkles!

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Fitz and Floyd “Snowy Woods” stacked serving platter is waiting to be loaded with Cheesy Bacon Pinwheels  shortly after the Christmas guests, arrive.

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Fitz and Floyd “Jolly St Nick” platter awaits Delicious Yuletide Appetizer – Chicken Enchilada Dip

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Everything is set and ready …

“Ho-Ho-Ho who wouldn’t go …” ??? (:

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From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

 

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A Woodland Christmas with … White Chocolate and Cranberry Dessert Dip

The buffet is set and ready for Christmas with a woodland scene starring a Santa or two from my collection of Old World Santa’s. This dapper Santa looks like a well-dressed woodsman with his fur rimmed hat, flocked buttoned vest, coat with brocade sleeves and draping chains, and a pack filled with surprises flung over his shoulder.  Snow flocked and copper colored bottle brush trees and gilded holly with berries create a magical Christmas backdrop.

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A birdhouse frosted with snow is tucked among “the holly and the ivy” and a little winter nest is filled with glittered acorns and glass copper pine cones.

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A pedestal cake plate with birdies perched on either side holds woodland treasures cushioned on a bed of moss … a wee lantern with a flickering light looks like it came straight from the set of Amahl and the Night Visitors and a tiny glass jewel box with a bird perched on it’s lid.

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Nestled under the cake plate is a little mercury glassed birdie near clusters of purple grapes tumbling out of an antique sugar bowl.

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Another Woodland Santa wears a wooly coat and carries a wooden staff encircled with twigs.  Pine cones and berries wreath his furry cap and white doves perch on a brim-filled pack and on his coat.

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A grove of bottle brush trees, a miniature bird bath filled with millet, mercury glass mushrooms and copper pine cones resting on their sides add storybook whimsy to the woodland setting.

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Another Santa perches on the tea cart waiting for some Christmas refreshment!

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An ornate silver bowl with brass interior holds a moss-lined nest and little brass bird and is decked “with boughs of holly.”silver bowl.jpg

Click on the following link from the “Cottage Chronicles” to see …

  A Woodland-Christmas Tablescape

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And a Christmas snack fitting for a woodland setting on the buffet … a delicious White Chocolate and Cranberry Dessert Dip formed in the shape of a hedgehog surrounded by a layer of Triple Ginger Cookie Thins and Butter Waffle Cookies from Trader Joe’s.

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I made this dessert dip for our Church Life Group Christmas Party this weekend.  The amount I had remaining in the refrigerator was just enough for one baby hedgehog! (:

 

White Chocolate & Cranberry Dessert Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8oz) package softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 (3.4 oz) package Cheesecake Instant pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Nestle’s white chocolate morsels
  • whole almonds or slivered almonds to cover dip

Instructions:

  1. Beat the softened cream cheese and butter together in a mixer on medium-high speed until well blended. 
  2. Add the pudding mix and powdered sugar.  Beat on low to medium speed until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and beat on high until filling is mixed.
  4. Stir in dried cranberries and white chocolate morsels; mix well.
  5. Scrape the dessert dip into plastic wrap and gently mold into the shape desired for the hedgehog.
  6. Unwrap, place hedgehog shaped dessert dip on a serving platter.  Begin inserting almonds (at an angle and in staggered rows) into the dip to resemble the “body” of a hedgehog.  
  7. Place a chocolate morsel on the “face” (the dip that is not covered with almonds) of the hedgehog  to resemble the nose and use two mini-morsels for the eyes, or chop regular sized morsels into smaller pieces for the eyes.
  8. Refrigerate to “set” almonds in place, until ready to serve.  (NOTE: for traditional shaped dessert dip, after mixing, wrap dessert into plastic wrap and form into ball.  Refrigerate until ready to serve, then unwrap, place on serving plate and cover surface with slivered almonds.)
  9. Serve with gingersnaps, butter waffle cookies, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, animal crackers …

Baby hedgehog

Here’s a sweet little woodland poem about small gifts gathered from the heart; I think it’s the perfect way to end today’s Woodland themed blog!

Small Gifts

He gathers gifts for his dear friends
Searching among the forest trees
And only from his heart he spends. 

For Squirrel, an acorn split he mends
And with a quiet joyful ease
He gathers gifts for his dear friends. 

To Bear, a blueberry he sends
With tender care that it won’t freeze
And only from his heart he spends. 

For Deer, green leaves he subtly rends
Although found sparse in wintry breeze
He gathers gifts for his dear friends. 

To Bird, he gives a branch that bends
A perch to rest her tired knees
And only from his heart he spends. 

For all the creatures at Earth’s ends
As Christmas joy in time he sees
He gathers gifts for his dear friends
And only from his heart he spends. 

~  by Benjamin Oldham

Wishing you joy during this blessed season and that … only from the heart you’ll spend!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site:  cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Countdown to Christmas! DIY Christmas Advent Calendar

“Haul out the holly; Put up the tree … Fill up the stocking.  I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now.  Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry.”  I am in a hurry!  I planned on showing you how to make this charming and nostalgic Advent Calendar on the first day of December!  However, the countdown to Christmas continues and this Calendar is so easy and fun to make, you’ll be able to enjoy it for the rest of the season and psssst! …. your “kids” of all ages “from 1 to 92” will love playing catch-up when you finish making it and opening several envelopes at once! (;

Santa envelopes

Click on the following link Ella Claire Free Printable Vintage Christmas Advent Calendar for complete instructions and a free printable for making the envelopes and cards.  I love these miniature envelopes and the little pine cone sprig on the card insert.  I’m already planning other “fun” ways to use them!  The printable is free and I chose a creamy 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock paper from Michael’s to print my envelopes and cards on.

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 This is a sample of what the envelope looks like after I cut out the pattern.  I’ve penciled in dashed lines to show you where to fold your envelopes.  Note: The vertical fold-line on both sides is where the rounded slope of the paper meets the straight cut!  The card stock paper I used was thick and I used the plastic grip of my scissors to firmly crease each fold. (Hey, I just thought of a stocking stuffer I need … a bone folder! (: ) I didn’t want to wait for my envelopes to dry so instead of using glue, I taped my envelopes together with clear Scotch tape.

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After you finish making all your envelopes, write different Christmas activities you would enjoy doing on each of the 25 cards and slip the card into a corresponding envelope. e.g. pop some popcorn and watch a Hallmark Christmas movie … make hot chocolate, top with Cool Whip, decorate with lots of sprinkles and sip with a peppermint straw! … put the kids in their pajamas and go for a drive to look at Christmas lights!   I wrote my activity on the card that wasn’t dated, so it will be easy to use the same calendar next year and I can easily re-arrange my activities. cards and envelopes snowman.png

 I also tucked a little “trinket” in each envelope. Little gifts of candy, Christmas cookie cutters and tiny ornaments for a special tiny Christmas tree for little folks!

Miss Mouse

I nailed my ribbons (needed for hanging the envelopes) to the frame of my “4 the seasons” chalkboard I love this rustic chalkboard with it’s natural cedar frame that a dear friend made for me.  I added some “chalk art” before nailing in my ribbon … with the heading “Countdown to Christmas” and a border of holly leaves.  Ella draped her calendar over a vintage ladder; you can hang your advent calendar across a mirror, on a bulletin board, or on a door in your family room.

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And … all the envelopes “were hung by the ‘chalkboard’ with care.” (;

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I set up our Advent Calendar on a little table in our screened porch where Richard and I sit and have our morning coffee.  Our Texas winter’s are so delightful, we enjoy sitting out here every season, especially since we have an electric reproduction stove with “pretend” flames for the coldest days! (;

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A little “Holly Jolly” cuteness to start the day!

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 Daisy, our little grand dog … waiting for Santa!

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You know one of my favorite decorating “tricks” is using every day objects in unusual ways.  I filled this wrought iron planter with Christmas books and a basket of poinsettias … handy, and “at the ready” beside our chairs for reading!  I think it’s a perfect book cache for our outdoor room!

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“Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year …” 

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“I don’t know if there’ll be snow but have a cup of cheer …”

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Sweet little envelopes all pinned up on a ribbon clothesline … Countdown to Christmas!

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Get your paper and printer ready, make yourself a large “cup of cheer,” put your feet up and have fun making this Advent Calendar … 

“For we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute,

Candles in the window,

Carols at the spinet.

Yes, we need a little Christmas

Right this very minute.

It hasn’t snowed a single flurry,

But Santa, dear, we’re in a hurry;

So climb down the chimney;

Put up the brightest string of lights I’ve ever seen.

Slice up the fruitcake;

It’s time we hung some tinsel on that evergreen bough …”

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As this Christmas season of busy-ness begins, my desire is to have my heart “tuned” to focus on Jesus, the reason for the season!  These words from our Choir Christmas Cantata written by Sue Smith haunt me.  “There was no room in the inn.  No room for Heaven’s amazing gift of love.  No room for the long-awaited Messiah.  No room for our only hope of salvation.  No room.  Time and again these two simple words stir our hearts, and we vow to make sure it never happens with us.” 

These words are a solemn reminder; my prayer this Christmas is … Lord, whatever I do or don’t get done during this Christmas season, let my focus be on YOU!  I want Him to know … I have a room reserved just for Him; there IS room in the Inn! ❤

“O come let us adore Him … Christ the Lord!

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“Come, let us bow down in worship. let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker …”  Psalm 95:6

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com

FOLLOW ME on Pinterest!  Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

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“There’s Still My Joy for Christmas Day”

by Trenda

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Another blessed Christmas Day.  As I sit in a now silent house and gaze at the twinkling lights on the tree, I reflect on the day.  Memories, past and present … watching sweet little grandchildren with their “eyes all aglow” and remembering, remembering, remembering not so very long ago, our own dear little ones leaving carrots for reindeer and cookies for Santa, their little feet scampering about, their joy, and the delight of them jumping in bed with us on Christmas morning … missing dear ones no longer with us while trying to sing, through lumps in our throat, the poignant words of the Christmas melody “through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.”  Another blessed Christmas Day with recollections and moments filled with  every emotion.  Through it all …
“there’s still my joy for Christmas Day” and that joy comes from Jesus!  God’s gift to us that very first Christmas in Bethlehem.  His very own Son!

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“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

At the close of this Christmas Day, you may have one more gift you haven’t opened.  It’s the gift that God gave to each of us, His Son, Jesus and the gift of eternal life He has given to you, if you believe in Him.  I love these words from the movie “Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas.” ‘You may feel alone again this year, BUT you know you’re not, you never are; no matter what you’ve lost. Christmas is an opportunity to remember that LOVE came down to find you, right here, where you are – with or without a perfect delivery record, or a perfect marriage, and it happens year after year in a hospital lobby, or a post office, in the woods, or on a mountaintop, or on a rock by a tree, at the beach. Christmas is a gift, but it’s your choice to accept it.’

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It is as simple as ABC …

  • A – ADMIT admit that you have sinned (done things that are displeasing to God) Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” 
  • B – BELIEVE – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • C – CONFESS – “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

The best gift you could ever receive … the gift of eternal life!  It’s your’s, God Himself has already “Signed, sealed, and delivered for Christmas” … for you!  “One tiny Child can change the world, one shining light can show the way.  Beyond these tears for what I’ve lost … there’s still my joy, there’s still my joy … for Christmas Day.    ~ Melissa Manchester(click here for song)

Merry Christmas!

From my Cottage to Yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you may have n the “COMMENT” section.

Delicious Yuletide Appetizer – Chicken Enchilada Dip

by Trenda

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Here’s a delicious appetizer that takes just minutes to assemble and is ready to pop into the oven for a hearty snack after an “intense” day of shopping … after looking at Christmas lights … or to share after candlelight service and before hanging your “stockings by the chimney with care.”  Put your feet up and dip your chips into this creamy, melted goodness of cheese and chicken.

Chicken Enchilada Dip Ingredients …

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Directions:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Shred chicken. (I stewed 6 chicken breasts and made a double recipe of this dip, and still had 1 1/2 cups of chicken left over to make chicken salad! (:  but you could use a 13 oz can chicken breast or use a rotisserie chicken)  Place 13 oz. cooked chicken in a medium bowl and mix in softened cream cheese,  8 oz. (1 cup) Miracle Whip, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and 1 small can diced green Chile peppers.  Transfer the chicken mixture to a lightly greased medium baking dish.  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until edges are golden brown …

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Before serving sprinkle top with paprika and garnish with cut bell pepper, for holly leaves.  Drain and roll small pieces of roasted red peppers, for berries.  Sprinkle top with grated cheese.

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Enjoy these last few days of hustle and bustle … “in the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas.” (:

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“O come let us adore Him …”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you have in the “COMMENT” section.

 

Texas-style Winter and the last of Thanksgiving … Recipe for Delicious Thanksgiving Soup

Trenda

It has been another delightful autumn here in East Texas but today’s temperature never “got out of” the 30’s and tonight, December 8th, we are finally expected to have our first freeze!  Fall is certainly a Southerner’s reward for surviving summer!

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Just a peek at Cottage Green on the Lake during the winter … 4the seasons!

leaves.pngPresuming it will freeze tonight, I gazed a little sadly at our still blooming Encore azaleas, roses, begonias, impatiens, coleus, and ferns.  However, Richard (forever surprising me) brought in one last winter rosebud he found blooming in our yard, put it in an antique vase that belonged to my grandmother, and set it on my vanity, where I happily discovered “it” after I showered! (imagine a picture of a heart, here!)

rose.png  Getting ready for “winter-on-the-lake” comes with a long to-do list … filling bird feeders, decorating the outside of the house with Christmas decorations, putting the potted begonias and impatiens away in their winter residence -our cedar greenhouse (: and last, covering the boat and draining our sprinkler system (which our son came over and helped his father with. PLUS … he also helped his father with our latest DIY project, the remodeling of our upstairs bathroom (pictures upon completion!)

Winter Twilight on the Lake …

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Thanksgiving Soup …

A delicious and easy soup that is made with Thanksgiving leftovers!  After enjoying our Thanksgiving leftovers for several meals, one of the simplest things we enjoy is making a big pot of comforting soup that uses all the “bits and pieces”still left from our Thanksgiving.

Instructions:

(So simple and delicious!)  In a Dutch Oven, add the last of your Thanksgiving leftovers.  (You’ll want to add only those leftovers whose flavors will compliment each other, when combined … no dill pickles from the relish tray or pumpkin pie!)  The leftovers I had which blended perfectly together were … dressing, a little turkey gravy, squash casserole, some leftover Rotel and Velvetta cheese dip (from football snacks!) and some turkey, I diced into smaller pieces.  To this mixture I added 6 cups of water and 6 teaspoons of dried chicken bouillon granules, stirring to mix.  Turn heat to high, until broth boils, then add uncooked pasta (I used 8 oz. from a 1 lb.box of Fideo Spaghetti.)  Return to boil, then lower heat “to simmer” until pasta is done.  That’s it!  Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated mild cheese and buttered breadcrumbs (leftover from my squash casserole!)  Delicious!  My husband and son had 2 bowls!


I ladled our soup into these favorite Fitz & Floyd “Tis the Season” mugs.  These mugs are “jumbo size” and hold 4 cups of liquid, each! Since they are so large, I only filled each mug, half full, topped with grated cheese and buttered bread crumbs

Wherever you are while reading this, I hope … you are nice and warm … have lots of sweet birdies twittering around your bird feeders … a pot of soup is simmering on your stove, beautiful Christmas carols are playing in the background!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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A Woodland Christmas Tablescape

by Trenda

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“Christmas in the Woods” ~  by Frances Frost

Tonight when the hoar frost falls on the wood,

And the rabbit cowers, and the squirrel is cold,

And the horned owl huddles against a star,

And the drifts are deep, and the year is old,

All shy creatures will think of Him.

The shivering mouse, the hare, the wild young fox,

The doe with the startled fawn,

Will dream of gentleness and a Child:


The buck with budding horns will turn

His starry eyes to a silver hill tonight,

The chipmunk will awake and stir

And leave his burrow for the chill, dark midnight,

And all timid things will pause and sigh, and sighing, bless

That Child who loves the trembling hearts,

The shy hearts of the wilderness.

Thinking of this sweet poem, I created a tablescape that is a little forest haven where woodland creatures … The shivering mouse, the hare, the wild young fox (:  can gather among snow sprinkled bird nests, glimmering candlelight, and fir trees.

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In keeping with the woodland theme, deep green “forest” plates, bought from Pier 1 years ago have embossed edges of leaves and are resting on a “snowy bank” of Battenbug lace place mats … a surprise gift Richard bought for me from a little boutique, aptly named “Waldenwood.”plates2.png

I love the juxtaposition of this rustic twig basket lined with the white luxurious Battenburg lace and filled with silver cutlery … an enchanting and charming caddy for a woodland picnic!

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Christmas fantasies are easily imagined while dining among this forest scene; a woodland “critter” perches at each place setting, lace napkins are tied with red and green plaid ribbon and are adorned with glass pinecone ornaments (a favor your guests can take home in remembrance of their picnic amidst the woods!) and individual salt cellars are placed at each setting for a “light dusting” of seasoning.

critters.png Look at these darling, tiny, sterling silver, salt cellar spoons!  I love using these “fairy spoons” and it feels so elegant adding salt in this old-fashioned and queenly way!

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Each crystal salt cellar is as unique as the pattern of the spoons; I can never decide which is my favorite!  The larger cellar is used for pepper and is placed on the table where several people can share it.

Well, my woodland table is ready and set but before decorating any more I am going to “O bed!  O bed!  Delicious bed … that heaven on earth to the weary head.”    ~  Thomas Hood 

And as I nestle down in my feathered nest, I’ll close my eyes and I … “will pause and sigh, and sighing, bless … That Child who loves the trembling hearts.”

Have a blessed week while you are busy preparing for … the birthday of the King!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments, below.

Come join me on a Christmas Blog Hop “Celebrate #55” with hostess’ Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate and Decorate and Sandra from Sweet Sensations for more Christmas tablescapes.