DIY Jingle Bell Napkin Rings and Christmas Parade at the Lake

written by Trenda


Merry Christmas Eve! I found this post from 4 years ago in the archives that somehow was back in drafts.  I’m posting it again since I’m using these DIY Jingle Bell Napkin Rings in a tablescape I am writing about now, and I want to share with you how easy they are to make!

I first saw these merry jingle bell napkin rings displayed  in one of my favorite stores and loved them.  However, their cost was more than I wanted to spend … especially knowing how many sets I would have to buy for there to be “jingle all the way” and one at every place setting! (:

After inspecting  them a little more closely, I realized how simple they would be to make myself!  So “over the fields” I went and bought the materials needed (only 3 things!) … got out my scissors and started to play!  “Laughing all the way”… I was delighted how simple they were to make!

Materials needed:



  1. cut 6″ of elastic cord
  2. begin threading jingle bells on cord, threading so bells are”packed” and bunched together so cording won’t show when your napkin ring is holding a napkin.
  3. continue threading on bells, leaving enough room on your cord to tie both ends into a tight knot.
  4. knot and tie your choice of ribbon into a little bow for a finishing festive touch!

Picture of napkin rings in 3 stages: 


I made two different sets of napkin rings – 1 set of napkin rings is made with silver and gold jingle bells tied with a green checked ribbon and 1 set of napkin rings with gold jingle bells tied with a red satin ribbon.  Look how cute and festive they are wrapped around these napkins! (:

Napkin rings with silver and gold bells and a green checked ribbon trimmed in red …


Napkin rings with gold bells and red ribbon …


Our cold “snap” only lasted 2 days and yesterday I set a festive  table out on the back deck.  Snowmen, jingle bells, and colored sugar made our “spirits bright” while we enjoyed  munching on sugar cookies and listening to the Chickadees … “chi-chi-chi-ing!”  (:

Smiling Snowmen mugs and a sweet little snowman under a cloche …



Annual Christmas Parade on Cedar Creek Lake …


We love all our our little town’s celebrations and this past weekend was our annual Christmas Parade.  Through the years, our son and daughter, my husband and I have either … been spectators … been participants … or helped decorate the floats in the parade and it is still an extended family tradition for us “to gather together” for this special  event.


The time before the parade starts is always a magical time, worthy of one of Norman Rockwell’s depictions of “small town life.”  At 5:30, Main Street is blocked off from any traffic and parade viewers are parked in local establishments and sit along the sidewalks on lawn chairs or tailgates … blankets and hot chocolate in hand … everyone visiting with one another while the children run about (with no worries of traffic) laughing and playing! Street vendors add another element of excitement and walk by selling cotton candy, neon light saber’s and fairy wands!  Then, just as darkness settles, the faint strands of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is heard as the high school band begins leading the Christmas parade toward Main Street.  Kids begin squealing while parents round up their “little crew” … and everyone turns to see.

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town!”


To the delight of the kids … candy is thrown from each of the parade floats, as they pass by.


 After the last … horse cantors by … band member marches away … gleam of Christmas lights and floats are in the distance, there is a finale at the City Park with a be-dazzling firework display.  A perfect ending and the signal for our family to head to the house for some Chicken and Cheese Ravioli in Alfredo Sauce (that has been cooking in the slow-cooker while we were away!) tossed salad, and a tray of Christmas cookies and chocolate brownies with peppermint frosting! (:


“Good tidings of comfort and joy …”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you may have, under “Comments.”

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


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!


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 …


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.


(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 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





A Woodland Christmas Tablescape

by Trenda


“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.

woodland collage.png

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!


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!


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!


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.


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