The Gentle Caress of Autumn Comes to the Cottage ………………… by Trenda

“… the gentle caress of autumn steals the sultry heat of summer …” author unknown

Autumn comes gently in the South with the days slowly becoming cooler and just the tips of burnished leaves can be seen shining in the golden sunlight.

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Our Beauty Berry Bush is laden with brightly colored berries in a gorgeous shade of purple … autumn delicacies for our “feathered friends.” 

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A little birdhouse tucked among the leaves and blooms of an Encore Azalea that is putting on it’s “final act” with brilliant autumn blooms.  A flying squirrel, while house-hunting, decided this little house was going to be his new home with it’s green roof, lichen covered walls, and view of the lake.  Without waiting for “a showing” he gained entry by nibbling his way into the opening and took up residency! (;

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The sunlight in autumn highlights the green of the grass and leaves against the azure blue lake and sky.

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Lantana with harvest gold and red blossoms, red periwinkles, and Marguerite (ornamental sweet potato vine) “glow” in the autumn light.

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“The gentle caress of autumn” can also be seen inside our cottage as I add some touches of the season.  

Copper glittered ACORNS rest on golden leaves …

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Are tucked into moss-lined nests …

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… dangle from a display stand and top a Fitz & Floyd “trinket box.” 

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An array of soaps in scents of pumpkin “and spice and everything nice.” 

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Glossy pumpkins perch on chunky urns …

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And contrast strikingly with blue and white Ginger jars …

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And in the kitchen … a Swarovski crystal squirrel “gathers” provisions! (:

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I love adding whimsical touches and reminders of the season to our home … and for all of us, this is just the beginning of all things pumpkin and harvest to come!  Have fun using your imagination and “putting some autumn jewelry” on your house!

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From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

 

Trenda

 

Thank you so much for reading my blog today!  This week I’m joining:

Lynn of the Vintage Nest

Courtney with Feathered Nest Friday

Scarecrow Themed Tablescape – perfect for autumn get-together’s … plus DIY paper favor cones

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by Trenda

This fun scarecrow-themed table sets the playful mood for any of your autumn get-together’s, wiener roasts, or autumn evenings spent around the bonfire, toasting s’mores!  While I set my “scarecrow table” the scarecrow’s song from “The Wizard of Oz” kept going through my mind!  The scarecrow’s lament (sigh!) was that his head was stuffed with straw.   If  he only had a brain, he stated  “Oh, I — could tell you why –the ocean meets the shore.  I could tell you things I’d never thought before — and then I’d sit — and think some more!” (: 

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Keeping with the theme of the scarecrow and his “patched” clothes, I covered my table with a “patchwork” quilt that a dear neighbor made and gave to me, set the table with cheerful Fiestaware, and tucked cutlery into a bright basket make of straw (:    Look at these cute paper favor cones!  They are so easy to make and … simply using different paper and trimmings, can be used for so many different occasions!

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To  make these favor cones, I chose stock paper in bright harvest colors (I bought mine in a packet at Hobby Lobby) Roll the colored sheet of paper to form a cone and glue the edge down with white craft glue. I used a hole puncher to punch 1 hole on either side of the glued edge and knotted different colors of raffia to trim my colorful paper cones (line favor cones with parchment paper and fill with candied popcorn or pumpkin flavored Chex mix! (click here for pumpkin-spice Chex mix recipe)   The raffia replicates the look of the straw stuffing of the scarecrows, but it is actually a product of the native Raffia Palm Trees, from the tropical areas of Africa!

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Generous sized napkins with frayed edges (like the tattered clothes of the scarecrow!) are slipped into my DIY mini-grapevine napkin rings (click here for DIY autumn napkin rings) and have a charming little scarecrow adornment, tucked among the layers of napkin.  Remember the cute DIY autumn drink markers we learned how to make?  See where I have clipped them around the base of each stemmed glass to add some seasonal flair to my autumn setting.  (Click here for DIY Autumn Leaf Drink Markers)

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The centerpiece is just a collection of different sized scarecrows gathered together to  ward off any unwanted “critters” that might want to attend the party! (;

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If the weather cooperates, our tabletop of scarecrows will be presiding over a wiener roast and a tray full of these individualized s’more packets!  (Click here for printable S’more labels)

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As I finish this post, I’m still humming the scarecrow’s song from “The Wizard of Oz” and I have to smile as I remember his last words … “with the thoughts I’d be thinkin’ I’d become another Lincoln, if I only had a brain …” (:

Hope You Have A … ”  by Trenda

 wonderful weekend!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.   Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.

A “Welcome Home” … for Thanksgiving

by Trenda at Cottage Green on the Lake

The slow progression of autumn here in East Texas has suddenly quickened and the sights and sounds of  the season have become tangible.  The crickets are softly droning (a decrescendo to their summer song!) as they sing their final chorus … there is a hush in the air that is marked by a distant caw of a crow or the occasional rustle of leaves as an acorn descends through the branches … a muffled “plop” heard, when it hits the ground … and the leaves of our Ash tree, that drape over the lake, are transforming into a beautiful shade of yellow.

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The view beyond our windows reminds us that the “season” of Thanksgiving is upon us, though, like Thoreau … “I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

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 As I “dress” our home and get it ready for the holidays, I am going to start with our front door … it is the first thing that welcomes and greets our family and friends when they visit.  The front door sets the stage of what people can “expect” to find inside your home and should be a reflection of the warmth and welcome you want to portray within your home.

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I began decorating our door by hanging this beautiful wreath that a dear friend of mine made.  Then I took a bundle of wrapped grapevine (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby in the section where grapevine wreaths are hanging) and cut the coil of grapevine in half with wire cutters – this gave me 2 sections of grapevine for each side of the door.  After cutting the 2 sections, I pulled the grapevine to loosen the taut coils.  My husband hammered nails into our door frame for me to impale the grapevine on.  At the base of the door, where the tension was greatest, I added a pipe cleaner and wrapped the grapevine around the nail, using the pipe cleaner to firmly hold the grapevine to the door frame.

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Then I began inserting leaves that I cut from an autumn swag into the twigs of the grapevine.  I also wired some pumpkins, squash, and chrysanthemums to the grapevine to add interest and fullness  … but left enough of the grapevine bare, so it wouldn’t become too “visually heavy” or overbearing.

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I placed a pumpkin (leftover from Halloween!) next to this quaint basket that I found years ago.  I’ve always thought the wooden duck looked
“right at home” here at the lake and it is always handy, near our front door and holds walking sticks, any dripping umbrellas, and a fragrant “bouquet” of eucalyptus.  Tip: Eucalyptus makes the entry to your home smell wonderful, and it is also a natural deterrent for spiders!

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Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim greet all Thanksgiving visitors. (:  We ARE … grateful, thankful, blessed!

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Our deck has several built into benches and on this one, next to the front door, I’ve “tipped my hat” to the season and added a little whimsy with these 2 Pilgrim door greeters!  I love this chalkboard a friend made for me, with it’s rustic look and cedar framework; I use it all the time … “4theseasons” to write holiday messages on, or for keeping track of horseshoe scores! (:

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I hope these ideas will help you and that you’ll have fun creating and making your entryway and door a “welcome home” for Thanksgiving!

“I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

In everything give thanks.”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte with Candied Spoons & Decorative Autumn Chocolates … by Trenda

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I love “the tastes of autumn” … yummy pumpkin pies and apple crisps, spicy chili’s and homemade stews, creamy hot chocolate’s and pumpkin latte’s!   This weekend you may be raking leaves, carving pumpkins, going to a Harvest Festival, or enjoying a hayride.  Whatever you’re doing, wouldn’t you love knowing you have a delicious pumpkin-spice latte simmering in your slow cooker, to enjoy after you’re finished?

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Here is the recipe for Betty Crocker’s Pumpkin-Spice Latte that is prepared in a slow cooker!

Pumpkin-Spice Latte

Ingredients:

5 cups strong brewed coffee
4 cups milk (2% or whole)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Garnish: whipped cream topping, cinnamon or pumpkin spice, cinnamon stick

Directions:
1) In slow cooker, mix all ingredients except whipped cream topping. Beat with whisk until well combined.
2) Cover and cook on High heat setting 2 hours, stirring once after 1 hour.
3) Serve in mugs, top with whipped cream, add a cinnamon stick and sprinkle whipped cream with cinnamon or pumpkin spice, if desired.

Autumn Drink Station with White Chocolate stirring spoons and decorative chocolates …

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White Chocolate Dipped Stirring Spoons for Pumpkin-Spice Latte’s …

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I love adding little “touches” that make every occasion special and memorable.  These decadent treats will add a festive touch to any get-together!  The chocolate spoons and candied stirrer’s look charming “gathered” and waiting in a container where your latte is simmering!  They’re delicious stirred into a mug of pumpkin-spice latte or scatter the candied leaves and pumpkins on a autumn platter to nibble on!

Candied Leaves and Pumpkins …

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Instructions to make … Chocolate-coated Stirring Spoons

Supplies and ingredients needed … plastic spoons, wax paper, Wilton Melting Candy, and assorted sprinkles.  Optional: cellophane candy bags, ribbon in your choice of colors.  Pick colored spoons in your choice of colors.  I wanted my colors to be in autumn shades, so I used orange, yellow, and lime-green plastic spoons.  Pour your Wilton Melting Candy Discs into microwaveable containers. I bought my candy at Hobby Lobby on the candy making aisle and chose white chocolate colored in the same autumn colors as my spoons … orange, yellow, and lime-green.  Follow the melting directions on the back of each bag of candy.  After the candy has melted, stir until smooth and dip the colored spoon into the candy, coating the bowl of your spoon.  Set your candy-coated spoon on wax paper with  the candy side facing up.  You can leave your candy plain, or sprinkle the chocolate with your choice of decorations or colored sugars.  After my chocolate had hardened, I slipped a cellophane favor bag (found on the candy making aisle) over each spoon and tied a ribbon around it.

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To make white chocolate autumn leaves you will need a candy mold.  I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, on  sale for only $2.00!  The package I bought had 2 sheets of molds and made 16 leaves and 12 pumpkins.  Instructions for molding candy are on the back of the package. Melt your candies according to directions on the back of the bag and spoon your candy into your mold.  Note: This is not an exact process and any over-filling or spills can be trimmed away with a sharp knife, after the candy has hardened.  After you have filled your molds, tap your sheet of candy gently on the counter to help the candy settle and remove any air bubbles.  Place candy sheet in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.  Release hardened chocolate by inverting mold and gently tapping it on the work surface.

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The leaves with lollipop sticks were made using another candy mold sheet. These special candy mold sheets have slots to insert your sticks in, before pouring the candy into the mold.

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I hope you enjoy this last weekend in October and that you have as much fun as I did making these special treats!  I’m looking forward to my cup of Pumpkin-Spice Latte! (:

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.

 

A Sunday Drive in Autumn …… by Trenda at Cottage Green on the Lake

It was a beautiful autumn day here in East Texas.  The gray-blue clouds had been hiding the sun for most of the day and kept our temperature’s in the lower 70’s.  It was a perfect day for a Sunday drive … a Sunday golf cart drive!

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Lately, our lives have seemed more harried than usual and we were way overdue for some relaxation … “gazing and cruising, along the lake and the lane.”  Our only regulations for the day …

  1. to stop for any ducks crossing the road 
  2.  no speed over 20 miles per hour!piccollage

I grabbed all the essentials for a lazy Sunday drive … a jacket, a soft buffalo-checked blanket, and my vintage plaid picnic satchel – a favorite gift Richard surprised me with, reminiscent of my favorite lunch box and affection for anything in red plaid! (: (You’ll be seeing it, from “time to time” so I decided to add a full description here, for you to visualize!) The zippered picnic bag and contents were made by Aladdin in the 1970’s; the red plaid bag has two tall, red plaid thermos’ inside and a cherry red sandwich keeper. All had never been used and still had the original advertising tags when Richard gave it to me! 

I’d just made some chocolate chip cookies, so I wrapped up some of those (still warm from the oven!) grabbed our thermos’ and headed out the door.  Are you ready to go?  Let’s go together… “gazing and cruising, along the lake and the lane.” (:

Up the road we go and around the Pumpkin Patch …

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A neighbor’s house where … like the banner says, pumpkins, mums, and the people within, make everyone feel welcome!

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A lovely stone entry draped in autumn leaves …

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A scarecrow standing sentinel and greeting all, with the lake beckoning in the background …

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A lovely spot to “sit a spell” by the water …

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Grinning Jack-o-Lanterns line the curvy lane leading to this house.  We couldn’t help but smile back, as our cart whizzed by!

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Let’s stop here for a little while, enjoying our cookies and looking at this beautiful view of the lake from our peninsula.  We were thrilled when this flock of double-crested cormorants flew in chasing a school of minnows and decided to share our picnic spot!

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As the Cormorants swam away, we brushed the crumbs from our laps and headed our golf cart on up the peninsula road.  The lake is on either side of our road and can be seen in this gap between the trees …

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On further down the road, something you wouldn’t expect to see near the lake … this quaint little barnyard with llama’s, goats, and chickens.  These little goats are enjoying their evening meal …

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The owner scatters pumpkins about his charming barnyard and atop his fence posts …

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Rounding a corner we came upon this miniature lighthouse “guarding” the coastlines of our gentle lakeshores … I love the beautiful Fan Palm flourishing beside the lighthouse!

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Another sunset … (we can never resist!) and had to pull over to gaze at this gorgeous sight of the deepening shadows in the sky, as the sun slipped below the horizon …

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Last surprise of our tour, a little Tuscany at Cedar Creek Lake, a vineyard on the sloping bank leading to the waters …

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It’s getting chilly, for this Texas chic and the evening shadows are deepening.  Last bend in the road and time to head home …

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Did you enjoy our Sunday drive and our views along the lakeshore?  This is just the beginning of our “autumn show” here in Texas.  I love all the different sights, sounds, and smells associated with every season and look forward to sharing each with you … 4theseasons! (; 

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.

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

“A Halloween of Memory Past” by Trenda  In just a little over a “fortnight” we will have a host of little ghosts and goblins coming to our doorstep.  Once, not really so very long ago, I was one of those happy “trick or treater’s” … traipsing down the streets, I peered to see out of my plastic mask that was always askew, had eye slots that were cut too small to properly see and was held in place by a thin rubber band that pulled my hair and I was always afraid would snap and pop me in the face!  I made sure I stayed close to my strong, broad shouldered father and seeing his comforting silhouette outlined in the shadows was particularly assuring on a night called All Hallows’ Eve!  My father carried a railroad lantern to lead his little band and family of mix-matched character’s … a hobo, a skeleton, 2 gypsies, and a clown … and I remember the red glow cast by his lantern, added to the mystique of the evening. (to be continued)piccollage

 

Remembering that feeling, I love to make our home as welcoming as possible on Halloween and enjoy creating an expectant atmosphere, befitting the night, that the children can sense as they climb up each step to our door.

Now with all that in mind … today I am writing the DIY instructions for this Jolly Jack-o-Lantern Halloween wreath that you can make and hang on your front door to welcome each of your little visitors!  The “jewel and sparkle” a wreath adds to your door, is like adding a necklace to your outfit! (: 

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Below, is a list of supplies you will need to make your wreath.

Materials needed:

  •  metal wreath form
  • up to 3 rolls of mesh in your choice of Halloween colors
  • pipe cleaners
  • glue gun and glue sticks
  • assorted Halloween decorations
  • scissors & wire cutters

Instructions:

First, make a simple loop hanger using a pipe cleaner and wrap it around the back of the wire wreath form.  This is the hanger you will use to display your wreath on your door, but it is also convenient to use while constructing your wreath.  TipI always use  pipe cleaners that match the colors I am using in my wreath.  Then, when I am finished they aren’t easily seen and “blend” right into the decorations and colors of the wreath.   Take your first color of mesh and go around the form of your wreath, bunching the mesh loosely.  To form a “poof” or segment, wrap a pipe cleaner around the mesh and wire wreath form to secure the mesh to the form.  I trim my pipe cleaners off at this point to keep things neat and so they won’t get “in the way” and snag my material.  Continue bunching and securing mesh around the perimeter of your wreath form.  Don’t be timid!  There’s no wrong way to do this! (:   

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Then, do the same thing again with the next color you have chosen for your wreath.  Gather and bunch your mesh and secure it with pipe cleaners to your wreath form.  Be sure and “stagger” where you bunch and secure your mesh, not conforming with the same pattern you used with the first color.  This will make your wreath fuller.  See picture below.

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Repeat the same procedure again, using your last color of mesh and making sure to weave and bunch your mesh in areas you see that need more fullness.  Note:  It is up to you how many colors of mesh you use.  Sometimes, I use only 2 fabrics or even one color of mesh or burlap.  Just make sure when you are using fewer colors that you bunch your fabric tighter, so you have a full wreath.

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Now, the fun part begins!  Take your decorations and just hot glue them to your wreath.  I add my biggest items first … next, any smaller items I have.

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Then … I add my “filler” last.  Filler is added to your entire wreath and “pulls” the look of your wreath together, unifying and blending all your colors and decorations on the wreath.  Filler can be any material – it adds texture and conformity.   In the photo below … see how I’ve used my neon green curly twigs as filler.

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Then, I added a few “bursts” of accent with a ribbon that incorporated all the colors of my 3 different mesh … a purple, orange and black plaid.  Wherever I wanted a little more color, I cut some random lengths of my plaid ribbon and “wove it” into the mesh ribbon, and hot glued the ends to hold.  The final step was gluing some sparkly wrapped paper candies … table confetti, that I found at Hobby Lobby for only $1.50 … in just my colors of purple, orange, and neon green! 

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Now when …

“Silent phantoms

of the night

In their robes

of ghostly white.

They are always to be seen

On the night of Halloween.”

come to your door, they will be delighted to see the wreath you made welcoming them to your haunt! 

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Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave a comment, below.  Don’t be alarmed when your comment doesn’t post, immediately.  Word Press makes sure each post I send or that I receive hasn’t any SPAM attached … “it’s a good thing!” (: 

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

 

 

 

 

Along the lake shores on an autumn afternoon by Trenda

It was a glorious afternoon for cruising around the lake in our pontoon boat.  The water had just the slightest ripple from the autumn winds that would randomly “sigh” … just to playfully stir and rustle the leaves and the water. <!–more –>

Before we “set sail” we carried a picnic down to the dock and couldn’t help but marvel, once again, at God’s artistry as we gazed at the panoramic view of the beautiful, blue lake in front of us.

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Our lunch (always delicious when served … “a la dock!”) was Ham & Swiss cheese/spinach/& roasted red pepper wraps … homemade chicken soup … and crisp apples with a creamy dip of peanut butter and honey.

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Look at this spectacular show we were thrilled to have front seats for … dinner and a show!  These black, point-y beak “diving waterfowl” are Double-crested Cormorants and though some reside here permanently (choosing our lake to be their “forever home”) … most migrate here and arrive in large numbers in autumn to enjoy our delightfully mild winter’s!   Their departure in late spring always makes me a little despondent, so their arrival is always a welcome sight and another reminder of autumn’s return!  Yesterday, they swooped in unexpectedly, right in front of our dock, chasing a school of minnows and enjoying an “all you can eat” buffet!

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After we finished, we threw some saved tortilla pieces and brushed the crumbs from our laps into the water (to the delight of some waiting ducks!) and climbed aboard “Bentley”[yes, we name all our transportation conveyances! (; ] … adjusted our American flag, and backed up into the waiting blue.

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Our first stop was to visit our goose friends who immediately recognized our boat and eagerly came to greet us with friendly honks and flapping’s!

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As we threw each tidbit from our bread supply (a collection of heels, stale croissants, and an occasional half-eaten sweet roll we keep frozen for just this purpose!) our feathered friends rushed and fought to nab each morsel. They often over-stepped their neighbor’s personal zone and weren’t bothered a bit when they batted “their brother” in the face with their wings or greedily grabbed their portion. (:

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Shaking the last of our bread offerings into the lake, the geese honked their disproval … or was it their thanks? (: … when we headed out and away from their cove.

Sights along the shoreline…

The Loch Ness monster of Cedar Creek Lake …

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Towering Oaks and majestic Bald Cypress’ along the water’s edge …

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A gorgeous setting  for this white heron posing in front of burnished Bald Cypress Trees that are just beginning to show their tinges of autumn splendor.

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A mermaid, ready to dive into the waters below, appears mystical and believable in the magic twilight hour.

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 Heading back home in the pink and golden glow of an autumn sunset.

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“Then sings my soul …”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda