It’s almost Halloween, and this week I’m getting ready for our family’s traditional chili fest…always a fun, pumpkin filled evening with lots to eat, and festive treats. Our dinner menu for this special evening is always the same…steamy bowls filled with Chili con Carne served alongside a topping bar, a large salad, and a crockpot filled with delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte. No tricks are allowed, but it’s, “all about the treats” for the grandchildren. There will be Candy Corn Sugar Cookies and Harvest Moon Pies. For the adults, there’s cheesecake covered in a caramel and toffee drizzle, and for toasting, later, there’s Ghost Peep S’mores…all treats worthy of a night reserved for goosebumps and thrills.Continue reading “Getting Ready for Halloween…DIY “Not So Spooky” Halloween Wreath”
~ by Trenda
It’s that cozy, all things pumpkin, sweater weather, cider sipping time of year…and time to decorate Cottage Green for autumn. Seeing the shadows of autumn sunshine coming through our shutters, while smelling the apple cider fragrance in our diffuser, I was inspired to make a woodland swag. A swag that looked like it was made with treasures found during a walk in an autumn forest…some bittersweet, wild blossoms, red, golden, and orange leaves, pinecones, wild grapes, and hawthorn berries, all weaved into a fir garland and mixed with discarded pheasant feathers and antlers shed from the deer in autumn.
Continue reading “DIY Woodland Swag and Autumn Tablescape”
Where the heart is the mind works best.
Louisa May Alcott
“I saw this darling, heart-shaped mirror glimmering and beckoning to me before I even got to the booth where it was hanging, and felt my heart quicken. The antique floral embellishment at the top of the mirror and the sweet, scalloped edges around the heart spoke to me, and told me, “You are taking me home.”
Recently Richard, my dear Huckleberry Friend, and I went on a trip and had a great time stopping at different antique shops and flea markets along the way. Frequently, I am asked (particularly about the wide assortment of items I use to decorate the Cottage Greenhouse) where I find the items I use in decorating. So, today I’m sharing some of the treasures we “two drifters, off to see the world” found on our trip, and what each item cost.
Moon river, wider than a mile I'm crossing you in style some day Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker Wherever you're going, I'm going your way Two drifters, off to see the world There's such a lot of world to see We're after the same rainbow's end Waiting 'round the bend My Huckleberry friend Moon river and me Moon River ~ written by Johnny Mercer and Henry ManciniContinue reading “Antique and Flea Market Finds”
It was a delightful day to be working outside in the Cottage Greenhouse. In my cozy shelter, I was protected from the cool, north wind…surrounded by smells of earth and growing things, soothed with a background of birdsong, and the greenhouse door was opened to the lake beyond.
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”Charles Dickens
It was a delightful day to be working outside in the Cottage Greenhouse. In my cozy shelter, I was protected from the cool north wind…surrounded by smells of earth and growing things, soothed with a background of birdsong, and the greenhouse door was opened to the lake beyond.
It was a balmy evening, the perfect evening for the last night of the year and the festivities we had planned…a wiener roast…another Family Corn Hole Tournament with red, white, and blue ribbons with York Peppermint Patties dangling as medals to be awarded and worn around the necks of the 1st and 2nd place winners…watching the fireworks on the lake…and sitting around the fire pit popping campfire popcorn, and making s’mores.
It’s that cozy time of year, again…time for stocking caps and mittens…time for steamy cups of cocoa…and time for sitting around the fire, toasting s’mores!Continue reading “Making Fun S’more Favor Packs #3 of the Series “The Gang’s All Here””
A white lace table runner against the rugged-y table was striking on the potting table that usually held potting soil, terra cotta planters, and trowels…and Buttered Almond Cookies tucked inside an antique sugar bowl and Gingerbread Thins looked especially festive in a cut glass, pedestaled bowl for our Christmas Tea.
I hope you had a wonderful season of Christmas! Some years ago, Richard and I decided we were going to celebrate the whole month of December and truly relish each part of the season: the beautiful decorations, the holiday music, the tastes and seasonal treats, the divine Christmas-y smells of evergreens, cinnamon, sugar cookies, orange pomanders, and gingerbread…and most important, amidst and amongst it all, we would reflect and ponder each day on God’s gift to us…Jesus.Continue reading “Christmas in the Greenhouse”
In the laundry room’s transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, Richard covered the walls with tongue and groove, beaded board that he painted a deep sage green to match the walls in the hallway.
Today I am excited to show you our renovation of the smallest room here at Cottage Green on the Lake, the cottage laundry room! Richard transformed this work horse room into such a cute little place, I inwardly sigh with contentment when I open the door.Continue reading “Cottage Laundry Room Renovation and Easter Giveaway Winners Announced………by Trenda”
"At these times, the things that troubled her seemed far away and unimportant; all that mattered was the hum of the bees and the chirp of birdsong, the way the sun gleamed on the edge of a blue wildflower, the distant bleat and clink of grazing goats." ~ Allison Croggon
Moss covered anything makes me a little dreamy and after I wrote the post showing our moss covered pathway and this sweet moss covered cherub in our birdbath, I had so many comments and questions asking how I get my moss to grow, I thought I’d write about it.
Some things you need to know about moss before you try to propagate it. Moss likes shady to semi-shady places, acidic soil, and moisture. Moss can grow on almost anything and doesn’t require dirt to grow. If you are trying to grow moss in an area where there isn’t any moss, you will need to have a moss “starter” since moss grows from spores, rather than roots.
Redbud blossoms sprinkled on our pathway of moss
Instructions How to Grow or Propagate Moss
- It’s fun hunting for the moss you’ll need to begin propagating your own moss. Collect moss from areas that already have live moss growing on them…from your yard, a park, moss that is growing on trees or structures, or ask friends or neighbors for a moss starter.
- Gather your moss in any container that is easy to clean and rinse out. I use a shallow terracotta planter.
- Break up the clumps of moss, using garden tools or whatever else you have handy. I use an antique pastry blender that I keep in the Cottage Greenhouse to break up and blend my “moss pies. (See picture below)
- To the collection of moss in your container, add equal parts of buttermilk and water, and mix together until your moss, buttermilk, and water is the consistency of a milkshake.
- “Paint” or pour your moss milkshake on the surfaces you want to cover with moss.
- Keep your new moss moist and “weed free, since weeds rob the moisture that is needed by your moss.
- It will take approximately 6 weeks before your new moss begins to spread
Terracotta planter and antique pastry blender I use for mixing moss
Cherub statuary in birdbath covered in moss
I just began re-growing this moss on our courtyard pathway this spring after we power washed off the moss that had been growing there. When moss needs moisture it starts looking dull and dried (like in the picture below.)
Now, look at the color of the moss in this picture. Notice that the moss is brighter and greener, but also that the moss is spreading, since it is getting more moisture.
Raccoons and other furry folk have a habit of overturning new moss beds, or pulling up chunks of moss to look for bugs. Don’t fret if this happens, just smoosh your moss back into place, and water.
More Redbud petals sprinkled on the moss beneath the tree
Lush moss bed along our garden path that I propagated.
To transplant moss…find and dig up the moss you want to transplant…keep it moist until ready to transplant…press the moss into the surface where you want it to grow (remember, moss doesn’t require soil to grow, but can also grow on other surfaces.) I spied this little clump of moss while Richard and I were gathering some walnuts along an old ferry road down by the river. Dear Richard dug up the moss for me to take home and the sweet little wildwood fern that was growing right in the center, came along with it! I kept the moss damp by wetting some paper napkins and wrapping the moss in it, placed the wrapped moss inside a plastic bag, and tied the top of the bag together until we got home. I can tell by their vivid green colors that the moss and little fern love their new location where I pressed this little patch of forest-floor into our gravel bed! (:
Let me know if you try propagating your own moss! And for more moss enchantment…click on Carrot Patch Cupcakes with edible crumb “moss” made out of graham cracker crumbs! (:
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
P.S. This past 6 weeks has been a series of emotional peaks and valleys for us. I had a wonderful and miraculous report from the doctor…then we got the heartbreaking news that my dear, youngest sister had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Every step of the way, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” Psalms 23:4 Oh, I am heartbroken that during this short lifetime on earth, I will never see my sister again, but I am overjoyed knowing we will be together again in heaven, since she and I both know and believe in Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus and do not have a personal relationship with Him, He is just a whisper away. The Bible says, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 If you long for that security and relationship with the Lord where you “fear no evil for Thou art with me,” please go to the top of my blog and click on the page ABOUT ME …then click on My Faith in Jesus Christ. If you have any questions, or you would like me to pray with you about anything, please let me know in the comment section below, or write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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It was a delightful day for working in the cottage greenhouse.
Breezes from the north swept past the greenhouse door and I could see the lake winking at me while I worked at my garden desk.
I love hydrangeas and each spring I look forward to the gorgeous purple-blue blooms that fill our bushes. However, between the weather and furry folks, my hydrangea hedge has dwindled down to one lone bush. When I looked on-line to order more hydrangea’s, the nursery selections were limited and costly. With both those incentives, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to propagate some hydrangea cuttings from my Mophead Hydrangea … something I’ve wanted and meant to do every summer. It was a delightful day for working in the cottage greenhouse. Breezes from the north swept past the greenhouse door and I could see the lake winking at me while I worked at my garden desk.
Before beginning my propagation project I ordered a set of peat pot trays, though I could have used a pot or any other container for my cuttings, provided they had good drainage. My seedling trays came with a set of bedding plant markers. I was disappointed when I opened my package and saw the plant markers were made of plastic and were stark white. I had envisioned something a little more “earthy” and rustic for my first greenhouse project. Undaunted, I went out in the yard, gathered up some twigs, and whittled my own set of charming plant markers!
These plant markers made from twigs are just what I had envisioned, they are so rustic and winsome … AND so simple and fun to make! The only thing you’ll need for this project is twigs, a pocket knife for whittling, and a permanent marker. Are you ready? (: …. Go outside and pick up some twigs that are all about the same length and diameter, and that are reasonably straight (though some crooks and knot holes in your twigs add character!) Then sit down and begin whittling away the bark at the wider end of your stick. Carve enough bark away on your twig to expose the smooth wood underneath. You’ll only want to whittle away enough of the rough bark so you can easily write the names of the plants or seeds on your twig marker for identification. In the little red pail below, are ALL of the twig plant markers I made. I wrote Hydrangea and Morning Glory on 2 of them and I left the other markers with empty “nameplates” for future projects. Before I made these plant markers, I had never whittled anything in my life. I found the task mesmerizing and had to stop myself from carving away too much of the twig! P.S. – See the white plastic marker that came with the seedling trays that I placed next to my twig plant markers! (:
PROPAGATING HYDRANGEAS … SUPPLIES NEEDED:
- seedling trays or other container w/good drainage
- Potting Mix (I used Miracle Gro)
- container of water
- rooting hormone (I used Garden Safe Rooting Hormone)
- Sharp stick or pencil
The best time to take “cuttings” from a hydrangea is around the first day of summer. The first day of summer is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and is also known as Summer Solstice … and this year Summer Solstice is today, June 20th! Around this time is when the leaves of the hydrangea are lush and green and it’s also the fastest time for the hydrangea to begin generating roots. Starting your hydrangea cutting’s at this time allows enough time for the cuttings (also known as strikes) to develop root systems before the hydrangea’s go dormant in the fall. Look for new, tender green limbs, known as “soft wood” on your hydrangea, as opposed to the brown, rigid woody sticks known as “old growth.” Cut 3″- 5″ stems, making the cut right below a leaf node (leaf nodes are horizontal segments on the stem where the leaves grow out) and include 3 leaf nodes in the stem you cut.
Carry a cup or container of water with you as you make your cuttings and place your hydrangea cuttings in the water so they won’t become taxed or wilted.
After you have as many cuttings as you want, trim your cuttings, taking off all the leaves except for the top 2. If your leaves are very small, you can leave them whole. However, if you are propagating large leaf hydrangea varieties, cut these leaves to about 1/4 of their original size so the cutting won’t be strained trying to supply water to the large leaf. Return your cuttings to the water after cutting the leaves. Fill your seedling trays or other container with potting mix and use a pencil (I used the the sharp end of my new whittled twig plant markers!) to poke a hole into the potting mix … 1 hole for each of your cutting’s, then dampen your potting mix before inserting your hydrangea cuttings.
Dip each wet hydrangea stem into the rooting hormone and insert cutting, coated with rooting hormone into your prepared potting mix. At least one set of leaf nodes, preferably 2, need to be covered in the potting mix since the nodes and stem are where the new roots will begin growing.
Gently push the potting mix around the cutting to hold it firmly in place, and continue until all cuttings are planted, then water thoroughly until the water flows freely from the drainage hole. If you use peat pots or trays like I did, I watered my cuttings until the sides of the tray were sodden. Keep your cuttings in a bright, warm place, but out of direct sunlight, and make sure your potting mix is moist at all times.
Don’t disturb your hydrangea strikes and continue to let them grow in your container or trays, making sure they are kept moist; I watered mine once each day. In 4 weeks your hydrangea cuttings, or strikes, should have produced new roots. At this time you can transfer your hydrangea’s to a bigger container. When you feel like your new hydrangea plants have become strong enough, or they have outgrown their container, they can be planted in your yard. This method of propagation works for all varieties of hydrangeas. I planted 10 hydrangea cuttings which hopefully will grow into 10 more Mophead Hydrangea bushes for our yard. Did you know a 1 gallon plant of Endless Summer Mophead Hydrangeas cost $29.99 on Amazon?!!! Go get on your garden gloves! (:
I love puttering around in my cottage greenhouse and below I have included some pictures of some of the knick-knacks I’ve added for some greenhouse charm. This wrought iron chair under my garden desk ~ is 1 of 4 that belongs with a beautiful glass topped garden table that my grandmother always had on her covered front porch. My mother gave the cherished table set to me and Richard sweetly sanded it and gave it a new coat of white paint. Now, I keep the table inside and use it in my music/craft room. I have dear memories of my grandmother and me sitting on her porch as she worked with her plants, sitting in this very chair! ❤
An Angel Wing Begonia looks beautiful tucked in a planter until I have the time to transplant it to an antique washtub outside my Potting Shed. See the sweet antique planter with the little bear sitting on top of the log? I love to find and collect these whimsical planters when we go antiqu’ing, and I have them in all kinds of unexpected places, not only in the greenhouse!
A grapevine wrapped pencil cup holds carved colored pencils and a chunky votive burns citronella and vanilla candles when I’m in the greenhouse. Here’s another one of my antique planters … a sweet little birdhouse with a red roof and a little birdie perched by the front door.
An old handmade wheelbarrow holds a spool of jute and scissors ready for tying up plants and other garden projects.
I love this tiny little flower vase with the kissing birds and I love to tuck tiny flowers inside. The colors of the birds and the coral-orange of the impatien’s bloom match perfectly with the box of wildflower seeds.
This is the canvas I told you about in my post “Charcuterie Charm” (click here to see) that my dear friend, Patricia made from the picture I sent her of the metal table I covered with broken pieces of blue and white pottery. Patricia told me she had this canvas made for me to hang in my greenhouse. I love it (and the giver) ❤ Doesn’t it make a great backdrop for my folksy handmade windmill with adjoining planter that holds an Asparagus Fern?
This miniature bistro table belonged to our daughter when she was little. ❤ The tabletop was always set with her Beatrix Potter tea set, ready for impromptu Teddy Bear Tea Party’s. I couldn’t think of parting with it, or the memories of sweet days gone by. Now, I love seeing it on my garden desk with a nest propped on one of the bistro chairs, a little bird keeping watch from the feathery fronds of a Plumosa Asparagus Fern, and another planter topped with little frogs, and filled with carved colored pencils.
Hope you enjoyed your day … your Summer Solstice, and the beginning of summer! Look who obligingly walked right into the picture below as I was taking our beautiful sunset. A Great Blue Heron we’ve fondly named Whiskers. He comes to our backyard buffet every evening, looking for dinner!
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda
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Here is a quick and easy side dish that “dresses up” any meal! It’s especially delicious with grilled steaks and chicken and it makes a wonderful filler when you’re making frittata’s, fajitas, omelettes or quesadillas!
*BELL PEPPER, ONION AND MUSHROOM MEDLEY
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons steak sauce (I used A1 steak sauce)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
- 1- 4 oz. can of sliced mushrooms, drained (or fresh)
- Add olive oil, soy sauce, your favorite steak sauce, and garlic powder to a medium frying pan; begin heating mixture on medium heat.
- Cut 1 medium onion and 1 bell pepper into thin strips and add to skillet
- Add mushrooms to the onions and bell pepper in skillet
- Stir vegetables in the skillet, incorporating all the vegetables into the sauce
- Sauté until peppers and mushrooms are tender and onions are translucent
- Serve warm; delicious with grilled steaks, chicken or as a filler for frittata’s, quesadillas, fajitas, omelette’s …
This past week Richard and I headed down to the Texas coast to the romantic seaside town of Rockport to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. Since we were going to be travelling on our anniversary, I decided to surprise Richard the day before we left, with breakfast served “out of bed.” (; I made a breakfast Frittata using the veggie medley above.
Though a frittata sounds fancy and hard to make, it’s a simple Italian dish that is made with eggs and enhanced with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables. It is similar to an omelette or crustless quiche. Just about anything can be added to your egg base, but to reduce excess moisture and baking time that makes your eggs dry or spongy, your ingredients should already be cooked. Below is the recipe I created for the frittata I made, using the *bell pepper, onion and mushroom vegetable medley from above.
- 6 eggs, beaten slightly to blend whites and yolks
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
- pepper “to taste”
- 1 1/2 cups *bell pepper, onion, and mushroom medley
- 6 strips of bacon cooked and cut into bite size pieces (I used pre-cooked)
- 1 cup grated Colby/Monterrey Jack cheese + additional 1/2 cup cheese for topping frittata when it comes out of the oven
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Grease a cast iron skillet for a traditional frittata
- Place cast iron skillet on burner turned on medium heat
- Add already cooked *bell pepper, onion, and mushroom medley (recipe above) to skillet or baking dish
- Stir together eggs, milk, chicken bouillon, and pepper
- Add cooked bacon and 1 cup grated cheese to egg mixture
- Stir egg mixture, meat, and cheese together gently and add to vegetable medley in the skillet or in your baking dish
- Cook mixture without stirring, just until the edges begin to”set”
- Place skillet or baking dish in oven
- Cook for 15- 20 minutes (in cast iron skillet) watching closely the last 5 minutes.
- Cook only until knife inserted in the middle of the frittata comes out clean, but center still has a glossy appearance
- Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup of cheese on top of the frittata
While the frittata was cooking, I filled a diamond shaped antique dish with a mixture of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and gave them a sprinkling of sugar. Then came the fun of finding a cozy corner in the bedroom. This seemed the perfect spot … like sitting in a treehouse that overlooked the lake with a low table waiting for setting, a rustic little bear lamp for a little glow, and seating with lots of pillows. You’ve heard of breakfast “in bed.” This was breakfast served “out of bed” … just for two. ❤
A whole lot of cozy.
I love combining rustic and elegant pieces. Crystal, china, and crocheted lace napkins mixed well with my rugged cast iron skillet, miniature braided fish rug, and frayed patchwork napkins circled with wooden napkin rings.
Even though we cooks are usually our own worst critics, the frittata was delicious, and the setting was perfect.
We had a wonderful time on our anniversary. Here are just a few pictures of the picturesque seaside towns of Rockport and Port Aransus on the Texas Coast.
Beach at Rockport, Texas
Port Aransus Ferry, Harbor and Beach
Then the rugged beauty of the Texas Hill Country we traveled through on our way back home AND the awesome and incredible “Jacob’s Well” an artesian spring with an underground cave system and crystal clear waters that allow you to see the layers of bedrock and strata in the depths of the water in Wimberly, Texas near New Braunfels. Look it up; my pictures don’t do it justice and Richard was getting nervous I was getting so close to the edge! (:
Hope you are enjoying some adventures on these dog days of summer! Try the Breakfast Frittata and set a cozy table in a “new spot” to enjoy it in. You’ll be surprised at the sense of adventure and the fun it adds having your meal in a different place!
From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda