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.

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 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

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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.

 

Creating Yummy Looking Party Tray’s …………………… by Trenda

Are you “insecure” about arranging party trays that look appetizing or do you cringe in apprehension when asked to bring a veggie tray to a Church potluck dinner … a neighborhood block party … or a weekend at your Mother-in-laws?  With these simple tips I am going to share, it’s easy to create a “pièce de résistance” and a yummy looking party tray!

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I love creating party “trays” of all sorts … trays filled with red and green slices of apples served with creamy, caramel dipping sauce … cookie trays stacked with cut-outs, pressed, rolled, and dropped cookies … sweet candy trays for Christmas … and appetizer trays filled with a mixture of fruits, vegetables, cheese, and crackers.   In the first party tray I’m showing you, I used a colorful Fitz & Floyd platter to “build” my arrangement on. I love using items on my trays that add novelty and color and I did this, on my first tray I’m showing you, by using a “bowl” carved from a purple cabbage, which holds my vegetable dip.  I peeled away the outer leaves of the cabbage until it was just the right size and wouldn’t “tower” over my platter.  You can see by the heap of leaves on my cutting board how much of the cabbage I peeled away.

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Then, using a sharp knife, I scored deep grooves into the center of my cabbage, forming a circle.  After making my “perforations” I switched to a table knife (you’ll need to use a knife with a duller blade so you won’t cut yourself, while carving!) to cut out the scored circle, making sure the “hole” was deep and wide enough to hold a substantial amount of dip.  Red, green, or yellow Bell Peppers also make charming dip holders, and hollowed out halves of melons make wonderful containers for my fruit trays.

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After placing the hollowed out cabbage in the center of my platter, I start placing my washed and cut vegetables and fruits around the platter, contrasting and coordinating the colors and placement of each.  Other tips which make my platter look more “attractive” … I tuck the stems of my broccoli where the florets face out … I place the woody stems of grapes underneath, so the grapes show, instead of the wood …  I peel cucumbers in strips and then cut the cucumber into attractive rounds.  For those vegetables that I have more of, like the tomatoes and broccoli, I divide the amount of each into 2 groups and place them on opposite sides of each other, on the platter.

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After the platter is filled, I added the dip for my vegetables to my cabbage “bowl” and tucked in these darling servers with handles covered in grape clusters and fruit.  Miniature silver tongs are just the right size for picking up “cherub” tomatoes.

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The second appetizer tray I am going to show you how to “build” today is arranged in a 13 x 9 casserole dish and placed in a wicker serving tray.  The sides of the casserole dish, make arranging this tray, EASY! (: The first thing I did was to place a sweet little bowl with etchings of berries on it, in my casserole dish.  This “anchors” my appetizer tray and makes a great place for the crackers I want to serve, on my tray. bowl.png

After filling the bowl with crackers (I used Wheat Thins) I took freshly washed “Looseleaf Lettuce” with it’s pretty, ruffled edges and tore off pieces to line the outer edges of the casserole dish.

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Then I  begin adding the vegetables I wanted to serve on my tray.  Since I have a lot of celery sticks, I divided the celery into two different bunches and stacked them at an angle, on either side of the cracker bowl.  Carrots are placed in 2 opposite corners and grapes fill up the other two corners.

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Then comes the fun part … piling cubes of cheese in the remaining spots; Colby Jack on one side, Pepper Jack on the other and filling in any remaining “vacancies” with cucumber rounds turned on their side, acting as partitions.  Where extra color is needed or “gaps” need filling, I “tuck in” more ruffly edged lettuce, between veggies.

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Looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?! (:  And the woven basket with handles makes it easy to store in the refrigerator and transport to and from the table!  Hope these tips have helped and you’ll feel confident and enjoy creating your next party tray!  Before you know it, I’ll be making those autumn apple trays!

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Our last week in August and oh my, our hearts are heavy as we watch the catastrophic events in our dear Lone Star State, from Hurricane Harvey.  We love the charming seaside town of Rockport and I have been going there since I was “just a little girl” for summer vacations … and Richard and I have been going there since we married, for almost 40 years.  Seeing all the destruction of our beautiful, old, coastal towns, the flooding of Houston and the surrounding areas and the huge number of people suffering and loosing their homes is heartbreaking.  Houston, and it’s suburbs, is the 4th largest city in the United States with a population of over 6 million.   With astonishing realization … even if we were able to use every NFL football stadium in the United States for temporary shelter, there wouldn’t be enough room to “house” all the people that have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey!  I’m praying this scripture for all those affected and God’s watch care over them, as the rain continues and the flood waters rise … “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.”  Psalms 31:9

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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: cottagegreenonthelake.com  

This week I will be joining Marie-Helene of Kingsbury Brook Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello June! … Delicious BBQ Beans & DIY Place Cards for Father’s Day

~ Trenda

Hello June!  We’ve been looking forward to seeing you! (:

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“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …” It’s time to slow down, kick back, and relax!

 WONDERFUL SUMMER!  ~ by Trenda

“It’s the beginning of another …

Snow-cone dripping,

bare foot skipping, 

iced tea sipping,

front porch sitting, 

flip flop plopping,

baseball watching,

mattress floating,

snorkel snorting,

pink nose glowing, 

green grass mowing,

warm breeze blowing,

hot dog munching,

cricket chirping,

sparkler waving,

firework gazing,

sunset blazing …

 wonderful summer!” 

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The days of June are marked off the calendar with the “procession” of different celebrations and “happenings.”  Flag Day – June 14th … Father’s Day – June 18th … and the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice – June 21st.  Keep the “red, white, and blue” decorations handy and get out those summer recipes and “Father’s Favorites!”  Two of our favorite’s here at Cottage Green are … my recipe for Delicious BBQ Beans and Sand Pail Ice Cream

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We love the smoky flavor of these “Delicious BBQ Beans” and the enhanced layer of flavor that the bell pepper adds!  I also love that the beans are cooking in the crock pot while I’m away or I’m busy preparing other dishes.

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Now, for some elegant DIY place cards that are easy to make that will add an “air” of sophistication to your “Father’s Day” table.  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love “dressing” the table!  One of the easiest ways to make your table festive and make every guest feel important is by adding place cards to your tablescape.  I made these simple, but elegant place cards for a graduation party and they are perfect and serving “double-duty” … for our Father’s Day celebration!

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Here are supplies needed to make these place cards:

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I bought my miniature decorative tassels in the “Notions” section at Hobby Lobby (where the fabrics/buttons/ribbons are located).  I also bought my place cards and my clear stamp pads at Hobby Lobby, in the stationery section.

place cards.png Instructions:

  1. Punch a hole in upper left-hand corner of each place card, making sure you punch the hole through the front and back of the place card.
  2. Insert the opposite end of the tassel through the punched hole in the front of the card (insert, front to back) so that the tassel is in the front of the place card.
  3. Bring the looped end of cord over the top of the place card and insert (thread) the tassel through the corded opening and pull gently to secure the “tassel in place.  Make sure the knot is not taut, so the tassel drapes loosely down the front of the place card. * (see photo below)
  4. Stamp the front of each place card with a filigree frame of your choice from your selection of clear stamp pads.  Make sure you allow enough time for the ink to dry before handling.
  5. After ink has thoroughly dried, write each person’s name centered in the stamped frame.

*Close-up photo of #3 instructions:closeup tying

I love the elegant and “man-ly” look of these place cards and can’t wait to show you how they look “gracing” our Father’s Day tablescape!

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Now hang up your hammock, get out the ice cream maker, and drape your patio in party lights and “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer … you’ll wish that summer could always be here.” ~ Nat King Cole

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Welcome to the Lake … DIY Wreath for the Summer!

~ Trenda

 

I was delighted when I saw this rustic looking ribbon covered with fishing terms in bold fonts!  I had been wanting to make a wreath for our front door and the “discovery” of that ribbon set “the theme” for my whole wreath.  After finding the fishing ribbon, the rest of the coordinating ribbons were easily found.  A coarse textured, sage green ribbon, a loose weaved burlap colored ribbon, a rope-like ribbon, and a wooden fish and bobber finished my purchases and I was ready to begin making my wreath.  A wreath that would “say” …  “Welcome to the long days of summer at the lake!”

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Here are supplies I used making my lake wreath:

  • straw wreath form
  • floral pins
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • ribbons – at least 3 different colors or widths
  • wooden fish and bobber

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Only materials needed … scissors, a ruler, a straw wreath, floral pins, ribbon, and a wooden fish and bobber! (Note: Be sure to leave the clear plastic covering on your straw wreath to keep your wreath intact, and your straw from shedding all over your floor!)

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Instructions: (see pictures above)

  1. Measure a length of ribbon approximately 17″ long and cut.  (Note: When you cut your ribbon, make a “pretty” diagonal cut since this will be the “tail” of your bow!)
  2. Grasp the cut length of ribbon in the middle and put your thumb on the center of the ribbon.
  3. Make a loop on each side of the center point (where you are holding the ribbon) These loops are the 2 loops your bow.  Grasp where the 2 loops cross over each other, in the center.
  4. Bunch the center of the ribbon together and place a floral pin over the “bunched” ribbon  and push the “bow” into the straw form, pushing the floral pin all the way down.  (Note: the “tails” of your bow add fullness to your wreath!)
  5. Make your next bow, repeating the same steps but alternating the colors of the ribbon you are using.
  6. To make your wreath fuller, place your next bow so one side of the loop goes between the “tails” of the previous bow, then pin.   Switch the direction of your bow each time before pinning. 
  7. When your wreath is covered with bows, go back and fill in the sides and center where you see any gaps.

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I added my “rope cord” filler by going back after my wreath was complete and floral pinning just a loose cord around the entire wreath.  Last touch … I floral pinned my little wooden fish and bobber dangling on a piece of twine, near the top of the wreath so it would hang down in the center of my wreath.

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“Welcome to the Lake!”

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“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  Matthew 4:19

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Wishing you the best of summer’s!  

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you read my blog today!  Please click on FOLLOW in the post above or on my site cottagegreenonthelake.com to have all my posts delivered directly to your email address.  Also, I’m joining Kelly from The Essence of Home in a Share Your Style Link Party (click here to see other great sites)

Mother’s Day Tablescape and DIY favors

~ Trenda

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my  angel mother.”  Abraham Lincoln

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 Happy Mother’s Day!  It has been a beautiful weekend packed with time spent with all of our dear children and grandchildren … and today was a perfect day for a Mother’s Day dinner served outside on the deck!  Adding a touch of sweetness and “gracing” our table, I used the DIY place cards and DIY napkin rings (click here for instructions!) that I taught you how to make earlier this week! (:

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Crocheted Battenberg lace place mats match the “grid work” of the antique wrought iron chairs.  This beautiful table belonged to my grandmother … a cherished gift to me from my mother. 

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A bright floral napkin ensconces each white napkin edged with Battenberg lace – both are slipped into DIY Spring napkin rings (click here for instructions!) and a matching DIY place card, “reserves” each seat!

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I was delighted when I found these charming green bowls on one of our “antique-ing excursions!”  The bowls look like little cabbages and for this tablescape, I used them to hold Sweeteners.  Carrying out the spring/garden theme and adding some whimsy,  I placed some miniature cabbage teapots under a domed pedestal plate.

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Crystal glasses are ready to be filled with Southern iced tea and water.  The rose blush stemware is a beloved gift from a dear little boy … many Mother’s Days ago ❤  fulldeck view.png

Both tables on the deck are set … the round table holds all the “overflow” serving dishes and is used as a buffet with plenty of chairs and built-in benches to seat everyone.   A favorite Villeroy and Boch “Country French” covered dish waits for Homemade Chicken Florentine and Noodle Soup. 

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Ready for dinner!  Look how darling the napkin rings and place cards are!

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Now, one more DIY project to show you … I made these sweet little favor boxes to send home with each of our “guests!”  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love making favors or treat bags for our “get-together’s.

favors.png I bought a package of these little boxes at Hobby Lobby on the party aisle where the crepe paper and favor bags are.  They are called Gable boxes and they come 12 to a package for only $3.99. (Download the Hobby Lobby App to get 40 percent off  on one regular priced, that can be used each time you shop at Hobby Lobby!) Using my Recollection tag die-cutter, I punched out tags from stock card in a variety of Spring colors and stamped them with bird nests, “For You” and a filigree frame (I wrote each guest’s name inside the frame) and used my hole puncher to punch a hole in each colored tag. Then, I filled each favor box with a fine sparkly shredded grass, nestled in some individually wrapped chocolates, tied a ribbon around each box and added a “set” of tags (1 of each … a bird nest tag, a “For You” tag and a filigree frame with the guest’s name on it) and tied them on to the ribbon of each favor.

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 “FOR YOU” … favor boxes are waiting by the front door to be given with goodbye’s and final hugs; a sweet remembrance of another special day together.

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This is the second Mother’s Day my own dear mother has been in heaven; I miss her every day and continually think of her, particularly on this special day.  What a blessing it was to be her daughter!  Her love, inner strength, joy, contentment and faith in Christ continue to be an inspiration to me.  “I’ll love you forever, like you for always, Mom” ❤

” … her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done …”  Proverbs 31:28-31

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Sending you a bit of our lovely day!  Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

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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.