In the Cottage Greenhouse … DIY Plant Markers and Propagating Hydrangea

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:

  1. seedling trays or other container w/good drainage
  2. Potting Mix (I used Miracle Gro)
  3. pruners
  4. container of water
  5. rooting hormone (I used Garden Safe Rooting Hormone)
  6. 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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Thanksgiving Ideas, Tablescapes, Decorating Tips, DIY Projects and Recipes plus … Autumn in the Ozarks

I’ve gathered an assortment of Thanksgiving ideas, decorating tips, recipes, tablescapes, centerpieces, and DIY projects from “Thanksgiving’s Past” at Cottage Green. For the full instructions and details about each, click on the highlighted links. I am so sorry, some of these older pictures are really “grainy” and are not very clear.

A Welcome Home for Thanksgiving has some ideas on how to “dress up” your front porch and a simple DIY project using grapevine around your front door frame.

Click on Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece for one of my favorite ways to create a centerpiece. It assembles in minutes!

Here’s an easy appetizer to enjoy while awaiting the feast Easy Caramel Toffee Cream Cheese Dessert Dip served with apples. It’s harder to say than it is to put together! (;

Decadent ruby red Apple Cranberry Salad is the perfect mixture of cranberry tartness mixed with the sweet fillings of jello, pineapple, crispy apples and pecan pieces.

Click on autumn-napkin-rings for these charming, grapevine napkin rings. The silk autumn leaves and sprig of bittersweet brighten each table setting and they are so easy to make!

An Autumn Tablescape gives tips and how to’s for creating your own beautiful table for Thanksgiving.

Click on Easy Thanksgiving Favors to learn how to make these sweet little favors. Miniature Kraft bags are tied with colored twine and topped with a whimsical acorn and assemble in minutes.

Plus, on the same blog … learn how to make this decorative bow and this beautiful autumn wreath filled with glittered stalks of wheat, purple clusters of grapes and autumn leaves. Both the favors bags and the autumn wreath instructions are on Easy Thanksgiving Favors & DIY Autumn Wreath.

Now for a re-cap and some pictures of “all things autumn” from our recent trip to Missouri. Autumn is our favorite season to travel and we love seeing the beautiful colors of the Ozark deepen each day we’re there. Look at this blazing Maple Tree!

Chrysanthemums in rustic pails perched above squat-y pumpkins.

Fuchsia colored Coleus that almost glowed.

Short pumpkins, tall pumpkins, Cinderella’s and Baby Boo’s gathered beside more gorgeous Coleus.

Dark green, light green, orange, and white pumpkins contrast beautifully with a huge decorative pot of flowering Kale and burgundy Coleus.

Look at these amazing pumpkin displays we saw at Silver Dollar City.

Pumpkins stacked to the treetops …

And my favorite … a darling little pumpkin cottage with a fern lined roof!

This spot was so enchanting, Richard and I walked along the creek bed and the only sounds were the burbling creek and the evening crickets.

A lone Sycamore leaf drifting along in the crystal clear waters.

Look at this perfectly charming cafe … Sugar Leaf Cafe & Bakery where we had lunch one day.

… and came back for dessert on another day! (:

We loved the beauty and mystique of “Pumpkin Nights” at Silver Dollar City in Branson … with owls dangling from the treetops.

One King Owl ruling over his parliament of owls.

A camp site with glowing pumpkin flames.

And the last picture … this “Chapel in the Woods” we were thrilled to find.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our vacation and the Thanksgiving ideas will inspire and motivate you as you begin planning your own Thanksgiving.

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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May Day Gift Cones … DIY Project

by Trenda

“Dear old world … You are very lovely, And I am glad to be alive in you.”   ~ from Anne of Green Gables

white blossoms and steeple

It’s May!  The darling month when everything seems possible.  Look at this sweet description of May Day from The Old Farmer’s Almanac established in 1792.

“With winter’s retreat, colts and calves kick up their heels and frisk over fresh grass, seedlings seek the sun, and birds call for mates….And we humans join their revels for one day: during spring’s “May Day” festival, even serious-minded folk put work aside to enjoy Nature’s exuberance!”

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Still quoting The Farmer’s Almanac … “Here are some joyful May Day traditions marking the return of spring and the renewed gift of life.

  1. Neighbors may leave baskets of flowers on each other’s doorsteps or doorknobs.
  2. Kids can go barefoot on May Day for the first time.
  3. People will crown a “May Queen” for the day’s festivities.
  4. Beekeepers will move bees on May 1st.
  5. Fishermen expect to catch fish on May Day.
  6. On May Day morning, if a maiden gathers dew before sunup and sprinkles her face with it, she will enjoy luck and youthful beauty for the rest of the year.
  7. Farmers often plant corn, cucumbers, and turnips on this day.
  8. Villagers may hold theatrical battles between “summer” and “winter” that banish the winter.
  9. The Kentucky Derby starts off the month of May (the first Saturday of the month).
  10. On May 1st, people in Britain welcome spring by “Bringing in the May,” or gathering cuttings of flowering trees for their homes.
  11. May 1st in Hawaii is called “Lei Day,” and people will receive prizes this day for wearing the prettiest handmade leis.”

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Hanging May Day baskets is an enchanting custom that is fun to incorporate into your own family traditions.  Sweet paper cones made from stock card paper with scalloped edges and ribbons are easy to make and are a delightful surprise to find. 

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  Supplies Needed:

  • stock card paper (double sided paper if you want a pattern on the inside and outside of your May Day cone)
  • scissors
  • scalloped edged scissors
  • ribbon
  • shredded paper or tissue paper
  • craft glue 
  • florist vials, if using fresh flowers
  • candy, flowers, little gifts, etc.

 

Instructions:

  1. Cut stock card paper into a 7-inch square (I used double-sided stock paper to have prints on both the outside and inside of my May Day gift cones
  2. Use decorative scissors to cut scallops around the top edge of the square
  3. Place pencil tip at the bottom of the paper and begin rolling paper around pencil tip to form cone
  4. Secure outer flap of cone with glue 
  5. Punch holes along scalloped edge approximately 1″ apart, beginning at the top front center
  6. Thread a 22″ – 24″ length of 1/2″ ribbon through the holes
  7. Tie ribbon into bow in the front … leaving a 6″ loop at the back of the cone for hanging
  8. If using fresh flowers, use florist vials and fill with water and flower stems  to tuck into the cone, or fill with shredded paper or tissue paper and fill cone with silk flowers,candy, little gifts, etc.

instructions

What a lovely surprise to find hanging on your door … a May Day gift cone filled with silk flowers, a package of “Ferrero Rocher, fine hazlenut chocolates” and Unicorn Sparkle Nail Polish. (:

May Day Basket 2

 This sweet little May Day cone is filled with silk flowers, a tube of lipstick, and a small bottle of perfume.

May Day basket 1

Hope your May Day is filled with lots of sunshine and happy surprises!

From my cottage to yours May Day

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

dogwood scripture

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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Spring Celebrations … DIY tips for making centerpieces

by Trenda 

With the coming of Spring there are a lots of opportunities for celebrations.  Whether you host a Spring Luncheon, a Tea Party, a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, a Kentucky Derby Party, a Mother’s Day Brunch, a Graduation dinner, or wedding buffet (whew!) one of the first things you’ll need is a centerpiece to “anchor” your tablescape.  Putting together a centerpiece can be daunting task.  Recently, I was asked to make the floral arrangements and decorations needed for a Mother/Daughter Tea for the Women’s Ministry at our church.  Today I am going to share some of the tips I used when I made the 25 centerpieces needed for the Tea … tips that helped make this job easy and fun!

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1.  The first thing that you need to decide in making your centerpiece is what color and type of flowers you are going to use.  Unless your arrangement is all roses, the general rule of thumb in flower arranging is to use at least 3 different sizes of flowers for visual interest.  Do you want your centerpiece to be elegant, rustic, casual, playful, spring-y, lush, or whimsical?  These questions will help you decide what type of container to place your flowers in.  The theme we wanted to portray for our Mother/Daughter Tea was a combination of three themes: a springtime/rustic/casual elegance theme.  Springtime flowers were chosen … daisy’s, daffodils, tulips, narcissus, and wisteria (none too fussy!) in a profusion of spring colors!

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2.  Mason jars dispel any hint of stuffiness and had dainty embossed filigree on the fronts and added just the right touch of casual elegance.  Then, to add texture and a hint of rustic flair, I hot-glued a strip of burlap ribbon edged with lace around each Mason jar.

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3Whenever you work with flowers that are a part of a bouquet, cut each stem from the bunch and trim off all the leaves to make them easier to arrange.  To determine the length I wanted my flowers in the centerpiece to be, I gathered the stems of my largest sized flowers (the Daisy’s) and bent the heads of the flowers so they looked natural.  Then I cut the stems so my flowers would stand upright in the Mason jar, with the blooms gently draping over the rim.

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4.  The Mason jars I used will be used again for other events.  For ease in changing out arrangements, I wrapped clear packing tape near the flower heads (so the tape wouldn’t be seen) to keep each arrangement together and so they can be easily removed.

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5.  The smaller flowers … the tulips, narcissus, and daffodils had much smaller stems and were easy to tuck into the arrangement of larger flowers already taped together.  These smaller flowers extended beyond the tops of the daisy’s so they would “peek” over the top of the arrangement, adding dimension and interest to the bouquet.

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6.  The last thing to add to any centerpiece is the “filler.”  The filler ties the whole arrangement together.  Like the name suggests, filler “fills” in the gaps of the arrangement and  “softens” the look of all the separate flowers and unites and blends them into one arrangement.  The filler can be … small flowers … baby’s breath … grasses … decorative filament … eucalyptus … seed pods … or any variety of decorative picks.

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The filler I used for these centerpieces were tiny flowers and buds with leaves.

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Look at all these sweet little arrangements … jars of Spring ready to be placed on the table!  Wouldn’t they look charming dangling from a shepherd’s hook lining the walkway to a woodland wedding or filled with sunflowers along the way to a bbq and barn dance?  Hmmm … perhaps another DIY on a future post! 🙂

burlap trim

Wishing you “beaucoups of bouquets” and many happy Spring celebrations! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda 

scripture Solomon flowers

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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Elegant Rustic Woodland Tablescape … DIY Centerpiece & Rustic Napkin Rings

I enjoyed doing some tabletop decorating last week and I combined two different decorating styles in my table setting.  I love the look of fragile crystal and goldware mixed with chunky pottery, natural grapevine napkin rings and woven baskets.  “Elegance meets Rustic” and “opposites, do indeed attract” (; … as this duo is lovely together and the contrast of styles makes a cozy woodland tablescape.Elegant Rustic Woodland TablescapeTo make the woodland centerpiece I took the plastic covering off of 2 blocks of floral foam and hot glued them into the bottom of a woven basket I had.  Then I began filling the basket with a collection of grasses, cattails, pine cone floral stems, pheasant feathers and birch twigs I had “amassed” over the years.  The tallest part of any arrangement should be in the center, so after anchoring my tallest pieces I began “fanning down” both sides from the center of the arrangement, inserting my filler into the florist foam.  The last addition and focal point I added to the arrangement was a metal art piece … a copper stag among metal fir trees. woodland cpiece.jpgFor my place settings I used pieces of vintage Hull and Pfaltzgraff pottery, a treasure that Richard found and bought for me at an auction he went to with his brother, Bob.  The dishes are a sweet remembrance for both of us since Bob passed away this past October. ❤  The pattern on this stoneware is known as “Brown Drip” pattern, a favorite of both the Hull and Pfaltzgraff Stoneware Companies during the 1930’s.tilt place settingThese simple, rustic napkin rings are made using mini-grapevine wreaths.  I downloaded my free woodland tags from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John.  After printing and cutting out my tags, I punched a hole in each tag using a standard hole punch.  Then I inserted a moss-green satin ribbon into the hole of each tag and tied the ribbon into a bow to the grapevine, making sure the tag was facing out as I pulled my knot of the bow, tight.trio napkin ringsI love these darling little  bean pots and keep collecting them whenever I see them at antique stores.  side view leftThey look charming holding BBQ beans for autumn wiener roasts … filled with  Chili con Carne on cold winter evenings … brimming with Stuffed Pepper Soup  on breezy Spring picnics … or in the summer, filled with colorful Cajun Beans (recipe coming at a later date!) alongside grilled steaks!bean pot.jpg Crystal glasses and little goblets from Germany are etched with grapevines and are rimmed in gold and have golden bases.  I love the look of the fragile crystal contrasting with the heavy pottery and the comparison makes the crystal seem even more delicate.  crystal And this hand painted canoe makes a darling caddy for sweeteners!cattails and fishA mixture of metals … the copper stag and the goldware add gleam to all the forest browns, moss greens and the deep brown dishes.  For a final touch of coziness, I added this little lamp that looks like it was made for my woodland tablescape!  The golden lampshade matches the carved canoe and also highlights the goldware and golden goblets while the dark silhouettes of the spruce trees and moose on the lamp shade adds more “depth” to my rustic theme.canoelampYou know how I love using every day objects in unusual ways?!  I pulled Richard’s cashmere muffler from the closet and thought it made the perfect table runner for my woodland tablescape!  The softness of the muffler contrasted with the rough basket centerpiece and it’s color … the same browns and moss-green colors found in the forest!juxtaposed crystalJuxtaposition/definition by Merriam-Webster:  the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast or to create an interesting effect.  Hmmm … crystal next to pottery, textured, woven centerpiece sitting atop soft, luxurious cashmere, and rustic grapevines mixed with elegant goldware???  I love juxtaposition decorating! (:Elegant Rustic Woodland TablescapeP.S. We saw 2 Bald Eagles, yesterday!!!  Neither Richard or I had ever seen one except in books or film!  Then, we saw 2 in one day!  The first eagle we saw around noon just nonchalantly sitting in a tree and the second one we saw in a totally different area, near sunset, also perched in the top of a huge Sycamore Tree. Bald Eagles After our second Bald Eagle flew off, our “Blue, Super Moon” was just begin to rise and it was gorgeous!  I couldn’t help but think of the scripture I had just read that morning …“Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” Psalms 104:1-3scripture

From my cottage to yours ~ Trendacropped-cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.pngThank 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

I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

Carol from The Red Painted Wagon

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.

chalkboard art

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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Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece and Autumn in November

cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.pngby Trenda

Today was a cool day with gray skies that made the autumn colors so vivid, they almost glowed!  I went outside to “gather” some cuttings from our yard to make our Thanksgiving Centerpiece and afterwards, I walked around just taking pictures of beautiful Autumn in November at Cottage Green on the Lake! (:  And those yard “gatherings” I clipped and snipped from our yard made a lovely and grand arrangement on the dining room table that only took minutes to make; my only cost was the fresh Eucalyptus I bought from Trader Joe’s, for $2.99!

Thanksgiving Cpiece cover

If you want to keep this arrangement on your table throughout the Thanksgiving season you will need to use soaked floral foam (protect your table by placing the floral foam in a container!) or use floral vials to insert your live clippings into.  Both the floral foam and the arrangement vials are available at your florist or any craft store on the flowering arranging aisle.  However, this arrangement is so easy to assemble, you can do it the day of your Feast! 

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Much like setting out and marking your serving dishes with what you will be serving in them … set the preliminary stages of your arrangement.  I placed my table runner down the length of  the table, set my candlesticks where I wanted them, then interspersed my pheasant and pumpkins down the length of the runner so I could easily come back and tuck in my Loropetalum and Eucalyptus, later.  fresh eucalyptus.jpg

Any time you want to make an arrangement like this, just clip your branches the morning of “your event” and keep any live branches or flowers in a vase of water until you are ready to make your arrangement.  Then dry the ends of your branches before placing and tucking them along your table runner and light your candles!

Fresh Eucalyptus in a vase filled with water awaiting placement on table runner. closeup eucalyptus.png

Here is a great picture showing how I mixed the “faux” garland with autumn leaves with the live burgundy leaves and branches of the Loropetalum and the fresh Eucalyptus.  Even as I look at this picture I have a hard time distinguishing what leaves are real and fake!  I love making arrangements and since we serve our Thanksgiving meal buffet style, we only need enough room on our table for the plates and glasses, our Fitz and Floyd Pilgrim salt & pepper shakers, a basket full of yeast rolls, and a beautiful Golden Carnival Glass compote filled with ruby colored Apple-Cranberry Salad

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A brass pheasant matches the brass candlesticks I used in my arrangement and looks at home among the autumn foliage.

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Tiger striped miniature pumpkins are nestled among the burgundy foliage of the Loropetalum branches.

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Carved wooden pilgrims bring gifts of vegetables to the gathering.

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 Nestled among the real and “faux” flora and fauna, this miniature pumpkin looks so perfect, it almost looks unreal and reminds me again what a Master Artist and Creator the Lord is!

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Candles glow in the lengthening shadows and “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart.” ❤

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AND those pictures I told you I took after gathering my clippings for my Thanksgiving centerpiece … I’ll share with you in my next blog, but here’s one I particularly love, this sweet moss-covered cherub pondering in our birdbath.  

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

 

Thank you for reading my blog!  To have all my posts delivered directly 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

This week I’m joining:

Carol from The Red Painted Cottage 

Courtney with Feathered Nest Friday

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Halloween Treat and Favor Bags

by Trenda

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It’s almost time for our porch to be filled with ‘little feet’ and I always enjoy making special treats for everyone that ‘calls out, “Trick or Treat!”  These cute Halloween favors are fun to make and should cause all your little ghosts and goblins to break out in toothy grins that would rival any jack-o-lantern! (:

all treat bags

 

Supplies Needed:

  • Treat bags
  • Roll of “Cling Ons” (*picture below) assorted holiday trims w/self-adhesive backs on a spool 
  • Black tulle
  • Assorted Halloween ribbons
  • tag punch or a package of plain tags
  • standard hole puncher
  • Assorted Halloween stamps
  • alphabet stamps or black marker for lettering
  • black ink pad
  • scissors

Recollection tag punch and Halloween stamps …

pics of punch

 

Directions:

  1. If you are making your own tags, punch out gift tags using a die-cut punch or use a pattern to trace a tag for your treat bag.  I used a Recollection punch for my smaller tag and I traced a pattern out to make my larger tags.  Each of my treat bags had 2 tags; a larger white tag and a smaller orange tag.
  2. Stamp or write the words or design on your tags.  I stamped the word “BOO!” on each of my smaller, orange tags and I stamped “Happy Halloween” on the larger tag.

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3. Choose the trim *(“Cling On”) that you want to decorate your bag.  I used a different trim for each treat bag.

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4. Adhere the trim to the top of your favor bag.  Begin on the side so the final cut and matched ends will not show.

trim 5. Cut a 9″ length of tulle and a 8″ length of Halloween ribbon.  Place the tulle and the ribbon together. 

6. Slip both stamped tags onto the tulle and the ribbon (the larger tag beneath the smaller tag.)

7. Tie the tulle and ribbon into a simple knot on the left, front handle of the treat bag.

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8. Stuff treat bags with Halloween candy and favors.

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I had fun stuffing my treat bags with Halloween candy, “Boo” notepads, pencils, and erasers, bubbles, playing cards, and stickers.  For more treats (click here for “No Tricks just Treats”)

final treat bags

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine

 

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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  Thank you for taking some time to read my blog today!  To have all my posts delivered directly 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

 

 

 

 

 

Al Fresco Dining in Autumn … Easy Caramel Toffee Cream Cheese Dessert Dip by Trenda

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Autumn, sunshine and al fresco dining are, like the song says … “a few of my favorite things!”  Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day with a light breeze that “ruffled” the lake and teasingly tugged at the chimes taunting us for staying inside.  By noon, we happily “gave in” and I made lunch and served it “al fresco” on the deck.

img_6439118184And for lunch …

 

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Caramel & Toffee Cream Cheese Dessert Dip is delicious and takes longer to say, than it does to fix!  You’ll love how easy it is to “assemble” and the autumn flavors are perfect for afternoons snacks or unexpected guests! (:

Caramel & Toffee Cream Cheese Dessert Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 block (8oz) cream cheese
  • Caramel Ice Cream Topping
  • Toffee bits or chocolate covered toffee bits
  • Apples

Instructions:

  1. Unwrap and place entire block of cream cheese onto a plate.
  2. Spoon enough caramel ice cream topping over the cream cheese to cover and  “pool” around the base of the cream cheese.
  3. Sprinkle toffee bits liberally over the caramel topping.
  4. Slice apples, brush sides with lime or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  5. Arrange apples around dessert dip.

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Apples on embossed leaf plates and miniature pumpkins sit atop silver chargers and a reed woven basket.

closeup of apple dip

 Rugged, textured tabletop with autumn leafed runner and  DIY Autumn Napkin Rings

 

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Tuscan Tomato Soup … another easy and delicious recipe I’ll include in another blog. (:

“All things are ready” … Buon appetito! (:

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“Apples of gold, in pictures of silver … “

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for taking some time to read my blog today!  To have all my posts delivered directly 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

 

Tablescape details:

Green leaf embossed plates – Pier 1 (several years ago)

Sage green napkins – Kirkland’s (available during the Christmas season)

Soup spoons – Oneida, Louisiana pattern

This week I’m joining Marie-Helene with Kingsbury Brook Farm

Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween DIY Napkin Rings …………. by Trenda

Look who suddenly appeared, looking like he flew straight from the pages of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem and obligingly perched, right next to me.  While I slowly reached for my phone, my mind began the recitation of these remembered words …  “Once upon a midnight dreary, when I pondered, weak and weary …” . 

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I love decorating the table for any occasion and for HALLOWEEN … I use all kinds of  “fol-der-ol and fid-dle-dy dee” to set the mood for a magical night that’s filled with possibilities and imagination!  During these next 3 weeks, I have several fun projects that I am going to be sharing with you that will help you create your own “boo-tiful” Halloween tablescape!  Today, I am going to show you how to make these spook-taular Halloween napkin rings!

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Supplies needed:

  • glue gun
  • glittered spiders 
  • copper wire (10 yds/20gauge)
  • beads (glass seed bead mix “Scream”)
  • assorted ribbons matching beads (I used Halloween polka dot & spider ribbon)
  • wire cutters
  • needle nose pliers

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Instructions: (see pictures below)

  1. Cut 4 pieces of copper wire, each approximately 12 inches long
  2. Lay the 4 lengths of wire together and pull the wires up and around your fingers to form a circle large enough for a napkin to be inserted into the opening.
  3. Twist where the wires cross at the top of the circle 1 or 2 times to secure the circle in place.
  4. Splay out the 8 wires above the now-formed wire circle.
  5. Begin threading beads, creating your own color pattern.
  6. Leave enough wire at the top exposed to bend the wire with your needle nose pliers, forming a small closed loop to secure the beads in place.
  7. After each wire is filled with beads and the wire is crimped, wrap the beaded wire around your little finger to “coil” your wire. 
  8. Remove your finger and bend each of the 8 coiled “legs” into desired shape.
  9. Using your hot glue gun, place a small amount of glue on your ribbon and begin wrapping the copper circle.
  10. Continue wrapping until the entire wire circle (the napkin ring) is covered with ribbon. 
  11. Cut the ribbon and hot glue in place, at the top of the napkin ring.  Shape and adjust beaded “legs” how you like them, then hot glue on glittery spider.

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Just look what a glitzy napkin ring this makes … perfect for all things “outlandish” for Halloween!

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Pumpkin patch and harmless spiders …

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Even just stacked in a pedestal votive cup “the eensy, weensy, spiders …” look frighteningly festive!

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“Candy-Coated Ghost Peeps” click here for instructions

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Little Ghost “Peeps” wearing “coats of chocolate” adorned with sprinkles and non-pareil’s make charming favors to take home or tuck into Halloween bags. 

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Click on the links below for all things “HALLOWEEN” 

Halloween DIY Treat Bags

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… DIY “Jolly Jack-o-Lantern” Halloween Wreath

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Have fun getting your home ready and making these Halloween napkin rings!  Before you know it, while your nodding … “nearly napping, suddenly” there will be “a tapping, as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door” … shouting “Trick or Treat! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Trenda

 

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

This week I’m joining Courtney with Feathered Nest Friday

Chloe Crabtree at Celebrate & Decorate

All the supplies I used for making these Halloween napkin rings were bought from Hobby Lobby.