“The Cottage Series”…….. by Trenda

cot·tage /ˈkädij/ noun

  1. a small simple house, typically one near a lake or beach.
    • a dwelling forming part of a farm establishment, used by a worker.  “farm cottages”
synonyms: cabin, lodge, bungalow, country house, shack, chantey

Cottage decorating is an unpretentious approach of displaying collected treasures and keepsakes that have been accumulated over the years, or that have been passed down through the generations.  Each objet d’art in our home is reminiscent of our family’s lives together and reflects cherished memories.  Tucked away in kitchen cupboards, displayed on bookshelves, or in free standing vignettes, I love and display these memories in what I call … “the Cottage style.”

 Periodically, I am going to be writing posts about “the Cottage Style” with pictures of cottage decor … simple cottage recipes … how to fill cottage shelves, cache’s, and cupboards with collections and keepsakes … that I am calling “The Cottage Series.”  Let me know how you enjoy this new series!

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To display my collection of dishes and other keepsakes, Richard removed some of the doors from our kitchen cabinets.  I have a passion for cubby’s and shelves and just hearing the word “cupboard” my mind conjures up delightful visions of stacked plates, old creamers in the shape of cows or thatched roofed cottages, and folded piles of embroidered tablecloths, cup towels, and napkins edged in carefully stitched crochet!  I painted the interior of these cabinets a deep mulberry color and instantly loved the charm it added and how it made the cabinets look like a built-in hutch.

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I topped my shelves with a grape swag that reminds me of the picturesque vineyards we saw on the hills of Germany, France, Italy, and Spain (a surreal “thrill” from our years of living in Germany!) Among the thatch roof cottage dishes and under the grape clusters seemed the perfect setting for Beau and Belle with their bare feet, wide brimmed hats and a basket of  “just picked grapes” in Belle’s hands.

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The whole cupboard is filled with crystal stemware and different sets of dishes and cookware “at-the-ready” to be used or placed on the table.  Villeroy and Boch dishes are  are a special keepsake and gift from Richard when we visited the little town of Bacharach, Germany located on the Rhine River.  The dishes and cookware shown here are in the “Naif” collection and are designed by Gerard Leplau from Corsica, France.  His paintings feature charming family and village scenes and occasionally biblical motifs, like “Noah’s Ark” pictured on the top shelf.

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 Intermingled among the dishes and adding some whimsy to the cupboard are sweet little gifts given or made for me by our children.  A cherished collection of Boyd’s Bears collectibles, “Words of Wisdom for Mothers” complete with a tiny easel for display, a beloved birdhouse painted by dear little hands, and a miniature tea service.

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A mixed collection of antique thatch-house sugar bowls and creamers look right at home with my village scene dishes.  This cottage creamer is filled with a treasured collection of silver baby spoons, some still bearing sweet indentations of little teeth … and this exciting find at an antique store, one little fork embossed with the word Baby.

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On the bottom shelf are stacks of Kaiser Romantica (I even love the name!) porcelain china in the Marseilles pattern. Pink and blue flowers rim delicate scalloped plates and are sprinkled with tiny pink rosebuds.  Richard and I hand selected each piece of this china from the German Kaiser Porcelain factory, near the Czech border.  I was 9 months pregnant, with our daughter and we didn’t realize so much effort was going to be required, picking out our china. The porcelain pieces were displayed in stacks on shelves of planked wood which were propped up on cinder blocks.  We both began the treasure hunt, but after much bending and the stooping required to find the perfect pieces, I had to finally sit down.  I “passed the baton” on to Richard who finished the selection with precision and zeal!  He finished choosing all of our dishes, a service for 12 complete with all the serving pieces, a coffee and tea service with warming cache’s, a soup tureen with 12 darling soup bowls, a pedestal cake plate, a covered vegetable bowl, platters, serving trays, porcelain napkin rings, and decorative roses to place upon the table.  Every time I set the table with these dishes, I remember his endearing effort and patience while performing the task. ❤

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 An elegant coffee server with a clock is standing in  “good company” with some cabbage-leafed teapots, just the right size for tea parties.  Also, tucked under the cloche is a cherished souvenir glass in a brass stand with an emblem saying “San Francisco Cable Car.”  My father gave this keepsake to me when he came back from a business trip to California, many years ago. ❤

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Displayed in a vignette under the glow of lamplight and basking beneath the golden gleam from the picture frame is a recent “find” at a flea market that was unbelievably priced at only $1.50!!! … a set of silver antique bread and butter knives from England!  I “fell in love” with the little clasped case they came in before I even saw the price!

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From Richard’s and my research, the silver markings on these knives and their deep blue Bakelite handles helped us conclude that they were made around the 1930’s.  However, the age and silk lining of the case and silk “hinges” indicate, they may be even older.

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Hope you enjoyed seeing how I display some of my collections.  Have fun looking over your collections and thinking where you can “showcase” them to enjoy every day in the “Cottage Style” – and yes, I do have folded piles of embroidered tablecloths, cup towels, and napkins edged in carefully stitched crochet … perhaps they’ll be featured in the next “Cottage Series!” (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time reading my blog today!  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: Trenda @cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’ll be joining Kelly from The Essence of Home

and Courtney with French Country Cottage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father’s Day Tribute and a Special Father’s Day Tablescape

~ Trenda

Today is FATHER’S DAY!  I was so fortunate and blessed to have a wonderful and loving father.  I’ll always miss my father, especially on days like this, but oh, what a blessing it was to be his daughter!  I remember … Saturday morning wagon rides he would take us on, telling us the names of the trees as we “rolled by” and how to identify them by their leaves.  I remember … picnics Mom packed for the family to take to the park and my father whittling long sticks for us to roast our wieners on and throwing a rope up into the tall trees with a wooden seat he’d made and attached to the rope for us to swing on.  I remember … Daddy pitching a tent for us in the backyard and frying bologna in a skillet over a small campfire.  I remember … being scared the first time I held a Roman candle, my apprehension stilled when his large hand  closed over mine and the golden fireworks shot out of the end and into the sky.  I remember … that he taught me how to make and fly a kite, how to swim, how to fish (though he always baited my hook and took the fish off for me!) ❤  My father was a Pastor and I remember … watching his unwavering trust and faith in God.  I remember … seeing him sitting in his recliner and reading his Bible.  I remember … how he loved the Lord and worshiped HIM.  My father’s love for us made it easy for me to understand the great love my heavenly Father has for me … and also taught me what I wanted and needed in my husband when it was time for me to marry.

My father and mother …

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Richard, my husband, personifies all those same traits my father had.  He is the loving father of our children; he is my best friend; he is my soul mate.  I love his giving nature, “can-do” attitude, thoughtfulness, quiet strength, playfulness, spontaneity and faith.  There is no sweeter feeling than him wrapping his arms around me and praying for me.  He “makes me happy, when skies are gray.”  When we married and we were “oh, so young” … he taught me how to write a check and how to add Downy to a wash load.  He put up with dinners of pancakes and Swedish meatballs (the only 2 things I knew how to cook, besides homemade bread, fudge, and pumpkin pies!)  He wordlessly cleaned up “spitup” when our children were sick … he made every meal for us when I broke my foot and ruptured a tendon that required surgery and I was in a cast for 3 months and had to keep my foot elevated … whenever it is raining and we are out, he thoughtfully drops me off at the front door, then he goes and parks … he brings me my coffee every morning … he makes me feel beautiful even when I’m just wearing (as Conway Twitty sang) my “faded cotton gown” and as my “auburn hair has faded and silver takes it’s place.”  Waking up … and going to sleep next to him makes every day “a good day.”

Richard and Trenda …

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Richard … “Dad” … “Daddy” … “PawPaw” 

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Today, I want everything to be special … starting with the table!  A woven runner decorated with pheasants and Mallard ducks “anchors” my collection of all things “masculine” for our special guest of honor.

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Many of the items I gathered up to use on this tablescape are treasured gifts from our dear son and daughter, picked and chosen for “Dad” from Father’s Days, past.  A stack of favorite books, sailing and basketball trophies, a special DAD plaque, antique dog figurines and a pair of binoculars are all part of the centerpiece.

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A collection of crystal decanters and antique trophies add to the “Polo Club look” I wanted to achieve with this tablescape.

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The dishes are a mixed collection of Hull and Pfaltzgraff that Richard bought for me in the “Brown Drip” pattern.

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Sage green napkins are inserted into wooden napkin rings.  The elegant DIY place cards from my “Hello June” blog … add a personal touch to each place setting.

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Sparkle and glow … crystal stemware and handled mugs (ready for after- dinner coffee and blackberry cobbler!) and a ship’s decanter add sparkle … and a woven grass lamp, a gift from our daughter, shines cozily over the table and goldware adds more “glow.”

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Now, all that’s left is to fill these seats with loved ones and these plates with a menu  especially selected by the guest of honor!  Hope you have a special day shared with dear ones you love!  Happy Father’s Day!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow the prompts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day DIY place cards and napkin rings

~ Trenda

 

tablescape .png“Tra la! It’s May! The lusty month of May!” Julie Andrews sang in the Broadway musical, CAMELOT. The charming but now archaic definition of lusty, according to Merriam-Webster is merry and joyous.  Looking out our open screen door to blue skies and hearing the birds joyously “tra-la’ing” as they go merrily about picking up choice “bits and pieces” to line and feather their nests, it is definitely “the lusty month of May!”  The month of May is filled with promise, celebrations and events. One of the preparations I enjoy the most before any holiday or get together is getting the table ready and “dressed” for the occasion. Look at these darling place cards I made with matching grapevine napkin rings; perfect for a woodland theme Bridal shower, a Spring Tea Party or Mother’s Day Brunch!

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I bought a package of plain white place-cards and my mini grapevine wreaths from Hobby Lobby.  Then I took my scalloped die-cut punch and punched along the bottom of the place-card.  To decorate each place card I hot glued “a bit” of ivy in the left hand corner of the place-card, placing it so the greenery “peeked” over the top and softened the corner of the card.  On each piece of greenery, I glued a single blossom from a silk hydrangea and some tiny pink flower buds.  For the final touch and to “blend” the look of the tiny posy … I glued individual pieces of assorted “fillers” I had from making other floral arrangements.  ie: tiny ivy leaves, eucalyptus, birch twigs … Then I wrote the name of each of our “guests” on the place-cards.

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After I finished all the place cards I needed, I started making my mini-grapevine napkin rings. I used the same technique and materials making these that I used making my place cards, so all would match.

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“Tra-la!”  (:   All done!  Time to set the table with all these charming “accroutements!” for an enchanting, Mother’s Day tablescape … pictures on my next blog!  (;  

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“… let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you read my blog today!  Please click on FOLLOW in my post above or on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow prompts to have all my blogs delivered directly to your email address.

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

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