Outdoor Tablescape and Garden Drink Station

Yesterday, while I had on my “rose-colored glasses” I saw this charming spot winking and beckoning from the shade of our Oak Tree. The secluded corner and the panorama view of the lake kept enticing me until I was inspired to set up a drink station for the big pitcher of lemonade and pineapple punch I’d made for our hot summer afternoon.

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.

Iris Murdock

This little drink oasis looks so refreshing and is aesthetically pleasing “amid and amongst” the surrounding landscape. It makes me smile just looking at it.

Doesn’t this make you want to grab a punch cup and put it under the spigot? It’s just what I had envisioned in my “mind’s eye.” (:

This little desk once set in our son’s bedroom. When I gaze back at remembered times, I can still see him bending over his desk drawing pictures, gluing airplane models, or working on homework. ❤ I could never bear to part with it, and now it’s keeps me company inside my greenhouse. It was so convenient to open the greenhouse door, pull it out and transform it into an impromptu beverage cart!

I love the juxtaposition of the chunky little desk setting against the cedar fence background mixed with the crystal and delicate lace. The lace and ferns soften the look of the cement bird bath and angel statuary.

Beautiful visual textures … the smooth clay of the terracotta planter, feathery wispy ferns, the grooved lines of the punch cups and crystal biscuit barrel, and the woven lines of the lace.

This miniature birdbath nestled between the Plumosa and Asparagus Ferns usually sits under our Japanese Maple Tree. If you look carefully you can see the last line from the song “His Eye Is On the Sparrow” inscribed around the edge of the birdbath, “And I Know He Watches Me.”

A terracotta duck planter filled with Creeping Jenny sits below a desk drawer that has a bit of lace and an Angel Wing Begonia tucked inside.

The whole time I was arranging this garden drink station, the melody of Ricky Nelson’s song, “Garden Party” was wafting through my mind. I had so much fun putting this all together and the punch seemed to taste even better in it’s garden party setting! I can tell we’re going to be using this little spot for all kinds of al fresco enjoyment … serving hot apple cider in the autumn … pumpkin latte’s in winter(click here for recipe) … even holding a tureen full of soup for cozy afternoon’s spent around the bonfire! (click here for Stuffed Pepper Soup recipe) (click here for Tuscan Tomato Soup recipe) … and (click here for Easy Potato Soup recipe)

"I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again ..." 
 ~ Garden Party by Ricky Nelson 

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“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Isaiah 61:11

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Charcuterie Charm … the tips and how to’s of charcuterie arrangements

I hoped to be inspired by the view and listening to the birds tweedle-dee-dee’ing … however, just the opposite happened; clever words are much harder to conjure up when surrounded by such bliss.

~ by Trenda

Today a sweet neighbor slipped into our garden gate and left a beautiful bouquet of roses and a get well card on our table outside. That was the only invitation and incentive I needed to fill a vase for my posy, grab my computer, and sit outside to write. The roses left by the sweet neighbor and their perfume kept me company while dear Richard worked on our garage door pulley that had broken … the nerve of the pulley breaking on such a day! I hoped to be inspired by the view and listening to the birds tweedle-dee-dee’ing … however, just the opposite happened; clever words are much harder to conjure up when surrounded by such bliss. So away from the dreamy pondering’s and on to “strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff”

Earlier this spring, Richard and I were sitting outside and it was time to start thinking about dinner. I didn’t really feel like “fixing” anything and I was reluctant for our evening outside to end. I went inside and started rummaging around in our cabinets and refrigerator to see what I could put together that would be quick and easy, substantial enough for a meal, and convenient enough to carry outside to eat. Hmmm … I pulled crackers and pretzels from the cabinets … pickled okra and cheeses out of the refrigerator … one apple, some deli roast chicken … a little of this and that. Then, I got out a platter and started arranging “my collection of foods” so they looked appealing and appetizing. I was pleased how quickly and easily it all came together … a platter of finger foods, a thermos for hot tea, and voila … dinner was ready! A charming charcuterie platter, just the perfect thing for a beautiful spring evening outdoors!

Charcuterie (pronounced shar-cute-uh-ree) is a French word and in Miriam Webster’s time was … “a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes.” Today, the trendy word charcuterie is a reference to any foods (appetizer’s, finger foods, or dessert’s) that are arranged on a cutting board or actual charcuterie board. The charcuterie boards available in the stores are vast and the selections range from elegant to rustic … marble slabs to knotty boards … and come in all shapes and sizes.

However, I love being enterprising and using items I already have. Platters, different sized chopping boards, and casserole dishes all work well for arranging and displaying charcuterie. Look in your kitchen and re-purpose items you already have for your own charcuterie display … any flat and “food safe” surface can be used. A 13 x 9 casserole dish makes an excellent base and helps keep accouterments in place. I use pretty, ruffly, “Loose Leaf Lettuce” to camouflage the sides of my casserole dish and the lettuce adds dimension to my charcuterie display. click here

Our Simple Charcuterie Platter

  1. Roasted chicken
  2. Pepperjack cheese
  3. American cheese
  4. Pickled okra
  5. Honeycrisp apple
  6. Stuffed peanut butter pretzels
  7. Wheat Thins crackers
  8. Zesty bread & butter pickles
  9. Pimiento cheese
  10. Celery

Charcuterie arrangement tips:

  • Roll or fold deli meats
  • Cube or cut cheeses into smaller squares
  • Cut fruits and vegetables into bite sized pieces
  • Arrange foods with contrasting colors and textures to compliment each other and make your charcuterie look more appetizing
  • Incorporate smaller dishes on your board or platter to create different heights and to add interest. Pictured Below … Crackers that tend to “spread out” and look messy on a platter I have contained in a miniature pedestal bowl. Now they stand upright, and look “fetching.” (: Another low oblong dish holds a mound of pimiento cheese. Celery sticks are on one side, ready for dipping while Zesty Bread & Butter pickles encircle the golden cheese. Small dishes are also a clever way to contain “wayward” foods … like my pickled okra! The okra, grouped together and standing upright in a glass creamer makes them look more appealing and urges in an “Alice in Wonderland” kind of way … “EAT ME!”

With my charcuterie platter ready, I gathered up a few more pieces of charm … an antique table runner trimmed in red, sprinkled with red daisy’s, and dear little cottages … a red plaid thermos to hold our tea … and tartan red napkins fit perfectly in our grand daughter’s miniature wicker picnic basket.

Variety is the very spice of life, that gives it all it’s flavor

William Cowper

Richard loved our impromptu dinner! The informality of the charcuterie platter added a subtle charm and carefree feeling to our al fresco dining that evening … and we stayed outside until the sun slipped away and tinged the sky and lake a beautiful pink.

More April “rambling’s” around our cottage

Encore Azaleas, Purple Iris, and Woodland Ferns in the rain … I went out while it was still dripping to take these pictures. The canopy of the trees shielded me for the most part, except when an occasional drop of rain would land on my shoulders … which only added to the loveliness.

Our Japanese Maple with a tiny birdbath I love tucked beneath it. Inscribed around the rim are the words, “His eye is on the sparrow.”

Our carefully cultivated moss-lined path and Japanese Maple almost glow in the light rain.

Easter was different this year since we couldn’t be with our kids and grand kids or have our traditional Family Hunt because of COVID – 19, but it was still a glorious day. “It was not about the bunny, it was about the LAMB.” After our Sunday Service on-line and Easter lunch, I made these decoupaged Easter Eggs using 2 different sets of napkins. “Let’s Go on an Easter Egg Hunt” by Meri Meri and Beatrix Potter’s dear little ducks, butterflies, pots, and pails alongside Peter Rabbit, and Jemima Puddle Duck look darling on these hard boiled eggs. It was a fun and sweet project on a reflective Easter afternoon.

This was just a forlorn and plain metal table that I covered with broken pieces of blue and white pottery. I love the look of the mossy enchantment and eclectic blend of the treasures I keep on this table. Shells gathered from the beaches of Texas, Florida, and Virginia … a collection of glass frogs that peep out of crevices … terra cotta planters with scrolls, frilly lines, and rusty iron rings … a bunny weather vane … and a little trough for thirsty birds inscribed with these words … “Life’s greatest treasures are life’s simplest pleasures.” A dear friend of our’s had a canvas of this picture made for me to hang in our greenhouse. ❤

Setting below the table a little Frog Prince can barely peep above the spring flush of Wandering Jew (Tradescantia Fluminensis). He clings to his crown trying carefully to balance the blue and white pottery ball that perches there.

Hope you enjoyed seeing spring around our cottage and you are ready to have fun, assembling your own charcuterie board!

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 on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: cottagegreenonthelake.com  

Follow me on PINTEREST at Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com