Christmas Tablescape “Not a Creature was Stirring”

This year we bought a real Christmas tree a “Noble Fir” for our downstairs living room! It is the first real tree we’ve had since we lived in Bad Kreuznach,Germany back in 1983-1986. Now, a brief visit from “The Ghost of Christmas Past”… When we lived in Germany, the boy scouts had an annual Christmas tree sale and fund raiser in December. The boy scout troop leaders (who were also soldiers in the Army) took the boys and a military cargo truck into the Black Forest where they spent the day cutting down Christmas trees. When the truck was filled with trees, they would drive back to the military base in Bad Kreuznach and set up a temporary Christmas tree lot where the American families could come and buy their Christmas trees. It was enchanting having a tree straight from the Black Forest, the storybook setting of many of the tales I’d read when I was little. The trees were so fragrant and the boughs were so dense, I always thought I might find a bird nest or something else “furry” hidden within the branches.

Porcupine nestled within the branches
A wise old owl perched high atop the Christmas tree
Little rattan angel made in Germany

I love having a real tree again, and didn’t realize until we brought the Noble Fir into the house that we were bringing in much more than a tree. As Richard slid fragrant, evergreen branches past the door frame, nostalgia and remembrance squeezed right in with them, and my mind was filled with sweet memories. Precious memories of a Christmas’ long ago: a memory of love I could actually see shining in my mother’s dear face when she showed me the doll Santa Claus had brought. just for me, when I was only 5…memories of our parents taking us to the Christmas parade in downtown Fort Worth where I shivered in my coat, waited and watched, and was thrilled when I saw Santa Claus high atop the last float, sitting in his sleigh loaded with toys, smiling and calling out “HO,HO,HO”…memories of Daddy bringing our Christmas tree in after he had been soaking it overnight in a bucket of water in the garage, and the wonderful way it filled the house with the fragrance of Christmas…memories of painstakingly hanging icicles 1 by 1 on the tree until my older brother showed me how fun it was to blow the icicles haphazardly all over the tree, much to the chagrin of my older sister…memories of trying to go to sleep when our “eyes were all aglow” on Christmas Eve and “there arose such a clatter” of crinkling paper and smells of celery, cornbread, and turkey wafting through the air which made “it hard to sleep that night. “Christmas memories of happy years gone by.”

"Christmas memories of happy years gone by
They come back to me and keep me warm inside
Still those memories make me cry"

Christmas Memories by Alabama

Well, it’s late on Christmas Eve and all this cheer-y tartan tablescape needs is a plate of cookies and a visit from St. Nick!

Open shutters look out into a midnight blue Christmas sky and draping patio lights…while inside, all is merry and bright. This antique minnow bucket, a gift from Richard goes perfectly with the rustic theme of the tablescape and the metal chargers under each plaid place setting. To make this simple arrangement, I cut the top part of a gallon milk jug off, filled the jug with water, and placed it into my minnow bucket. Then I simply filled the bucket with leftover boughs that Richard trimmed from our Christmas tree.

Plaid dinner and salad plates are stacked on top of metal chargers and Fitz & Floyd Christmas mugs are ready for hot cocoa. Remember when I dried these ferns and leaves ??? They made sweet woodland place cards and add to the cozy feel of the table. Bright red napkins are circled with jingle bell napkin rings.

Waiting for Santa.

A Santa boot planter is filled with buffalo check red and black straws. Red and white toile napkins in a rustic pine cone napkin holder add a nice contrast.

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

Wishing you all a blessed and Merry Christmas!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Christmas at Cottage Green

What a special season Christmas truly is.  It’s not just one day, but a culmination of days.  Days of … cookie making, shopping and wrapping, decorating the house, watching Hallmark movies, drinking hot cocoa, setting up the manger, being with family and friends, caroling, and worship . Then, hanging up stockings, putting out cookies for Santa, sprinkling reindeer food on the lawn, and finally (there’s a sermon in here!) “joy, comes in the morning.”  It’s a season of busyness, frenzy, stress, wonder, love, sadness of “memories of happy years gone by” gratitude, reflection, and marvel.  Here’s a last tribute to our Christmas season and moments at Cottage Green.  There’s lots to re-cap and lots of pictures, so get yourself a “cup of cheer” and make yourself comfy!

Silent night, holy night.  All is calm, all is bright …

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“Not a creature was stirring, not even a …” porcupine! Christmas porcupine

… or a hedgehog! (:

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“Away in a manger, no crib for a bed.  The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.”

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“The stars in the sky look down where He lay  The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”

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“Angels we have heard on high, sweetly caroling o’er the plains.”

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“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays”

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“O Christmas Tree, o Christmas tree how lovely are thy branches …”

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“Rockin’ around the Christmas tree …”

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“Santa Claus is coming to town …”

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“It’s a marshmallow world in the winter …”

ff cannisters.jpg“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you …”

 

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“The holly bears a prickle, as sharp as any thorn, and Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ, on Christmas Day in the morn”

kitchen bar.jpg“Here we come a-wassailing …”

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“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire …”

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Then … family photos with little and big kids! ❤

“When it’s Christmas time in Texas …”

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“It might just look like a summer day  There may not be snow in San Antonio  But it’s a Texas Christmas to me.”

HONEYWREATH

“Thank God for Kids”

“Thank God for kids there’s magic for a while …

(grand son <3)

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A special kind of sunshine in a smile …

(grand daughter <3)

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Do you ever stop to think or wonder why?  The nearest thing to Heaven is a child.”
KIDDOS“Daddy, how does this thing fly?”

 

 

Father Son.jpg“And a hundred other where’s and whys …”

(dear daughter-in-law DDIL <3)DDIL2

 

 

You really don’t know but you try, thank God for kids …”

(grand daughter and daughter <3) 

MOMMYBABYGIRL “When you look down in those trusting eyes that look to you, you realize …”

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It’s a love that you can’t buy thank God for kids.”

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Thank God for kids, there’s magic for a while …

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A special kind of sunshine in a smile …

laketime fineDo you ever stop to think or wonder why?  The nearest thing to Heaven is a child

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When you get down on your knees tonight  To thank the Lord for his guiding light  And pray they turn out right, thank God for kids  Thank God for Kids”  ~ songwriters:  Edward Futch/Edward G. Futch

(our kids <3)

son daughter   Oh, I hope you enjoyed seeing our Christmas at Cottage Green and I hope you had a wonderful, blessed Christmas filled with moments that will warm your heart throughout the year.  Our grand daughter told me, “Grandma, I’m sad Christmas is over” … I’m sad Christmas is over, too, but I promised God I am keeping Christmas in my heart, all year long! ❤

His Prescence

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Barbara from 21 Rosemary Lane

 

 

 

Christmas Tablescape “Up on the Housetop Reindeer Pause …”

The table is set and ready for a Christmas Brunch with Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas White Stag Reindeer” dressed and ready for their important flight on Christmas Eve! Saddles are trimmed with holly and tassels and lie cushioned on the reindeer’s back atop cheery red and green blankets (that look like they were made by Santa’s elves!)  Encircling their necks are pine branch harnesses festooned with pine cones, holly leaves and bows.

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Antique snack sets are stacked and ready to be filled with finger foods.  Christmas punch or Percolator Spiced Tea will fill the matching cups that set in special compartments on the glass trays.

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A gauzy runner with beaded edges weaves around a pine garland with tiny twinkle lights that add a touch of Christmas magic.

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 Shimmering gold is repeated in the brass stand holding a carafe … a shiny picture frame, … and a line of dessert spoons.  The colors in the picture “Noel” are a perfect match to the colors of the reindeer and serving pieces, so it became a bit of “whimsy” and a part of the tablescape, propped on a golden easel.  Nearby, a sweet little creamer and sugar bowl are nestled close and adorned with Christmas bows.

.    NOEL … From Church Latin in reference to the birthday of Christ, from natus, past participle of nasci “be born.” 

NOEL

Gold forks and linen napkins edged in lace are lined up for easy buffet-style serving.

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This Fitz and Floyd “Florentine Christmas” Canape Plate will hold Peanut Cluster Blitz-ens!  (; topped with Christmas sprinkles!

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Fitz and Floyd “Snowy Woods” stacked serving platter is waiting to be loaded with Cheesy Bacon Pinwheels  shortly after the Christmas guests, arrive.

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Fitz and Floyd “Jolly St Nick” platter awaits Delicious Yuletide Appetizer – Chicken Enchilada Dip

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Everything is set and ready …

“Ho-Ho-Ho who wouldn’t go …” ??? (:

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From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda

 

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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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I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day … “Wearing of the Green” Lakeside Lunch

written by Trenda

 

Today was a delightful spring day with the sun intermittently shining and sparkling off the lake or hiding behind dark clouds.  The warm breeze pleaded with us to come outside and tempted us with bird song, gentle peals from our wind chimes, and distant rumbles of thunder.  We happily acquiesced and I made lunch for us to enjoy out on the deck.

PicCollage[3561]Luncheon Menu … Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites, Crisp Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, Tomato & Cucumber Salad, Chicken Salad, Spiced Iced Tea, and Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting  … Yum! (:


To make my Tomato & Cucumber Salad I used a seedless English cucumber.  English cucumbers are also known as “seedless” cucumbers and they are longer than the regular garden variety cucumber.  Their flavor is milder, the peel is thinner, and they have smaller, less noticeable seeds than their American cousin (;  After  peeling my English cucumber,  I used my favorite kitchen tool from The Pampered Chef which slices cucumber effortlessly into rounds with decorative ridges.  I then de-seeded and chopped up a tomato, added sliced red onion, salt and pepper to taste, and Marzetti Classsic Ranch Dressing.  I didn’t measure any of the ingredients; I just adjusted the amounts of each ingredient to “our liking” or as a dear uncle would say … “By guess and by golly.” (;

One item I always keep on hand is Italian whole wheat bread loaves.  I buy a package of 12 inch loaves in the Bakery Department and then re-wrap each loaf individually in foil and place them in our freezer.  I love having these available to pop in the oven to “dress up” a simple meal and they are delicious with soups or to munch on with any salad. To make my recipe for Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini, I take a loaf from the freezer, unwrap it, place it on a chopping board and immediately begin slicing it with a serrated bread knife, “on the diagonal” into thin slices, while it is still frozen.  TIP:  Slicing bread while it is still frozen makes it easy to slice into precise, even pieces that are not misshapen, which happens when slicing “soft” bread.  I only cut as many slices as I think we’ll want from the loaf, then I re-wrap it and place it back in freezer.

  1. Slice bread and place on a baking sheet lined with foil
  2. Brush each piece lightly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, being careful to cover entire surface.
  3. Sprinkle each slice evenly and lightly with garlic salt and pepper
  4. Add grated Parmesan cheese (enough to cover entire surface and “flavor” bread, but not so much that it “oozes” over the bread, when melted)
  5. Then, add a smaller amount of Cheddar cheese on top for additional flavor “depth” and color.
  6. Sprinkle each slice with a dusting of paprika
  7. Cook in a pre-heated, 325 degree oven until cheese has melted and edges of bread are a deep golden brown.

Parmesan & Cheddar Crostini with Chicken Salad Cucumber Bites

Now, for my delicious and super easy dessert … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting!  Make a batch of your favorite brownie recipe from scratch or use a boxed mix, if you prefer.  Tip:  You will probably have to double your homemade brownie recipe – or use 2 boxes of brownie mix – to fill a 13″x 9″ baking dish.  Make brownies according to directions.  Place in oven.  When brownies are done, take them out of the oven and immediately pour a 12 oz. bag of Nestle’s morsels – or other candy morsels – over the brownies.  (I used chocolate chip and mint morsels)  After candy has “rested”and softened on warm brownies, use an off-set spatula to spread candy smoothly over the brownies.  Let cool completely and slice with a sharp knife.

clover morsels

The candy hardens into a smooth, perfect glaze with no mixing or additional recipe required for frosting! (:

clover borde

Fitz and Floyd Autumn Harvest Grapes & Leaves Pitcher with matching creamer and sugar bowl …

ffpitcher.png “Stressed spelled backwards is desserts.  Coincidence?  I think not!” (:  Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting look especially festive when presented in shamrock cupcake liners and under a domed spring green pedestal plate.

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Desserts under a dome … Chocolate Brownies with Chocolate Chip & Mint Frosting

domed brownies

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Hope your day is colored “in green” and has moments tinged with “shenanigan’s and malarkey!” (;

Irish blessing

 “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”  Psalms 34:8

Taste and see ...

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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DIY Jingle Bell Napkin Rings and Christmas Parade at the Lake

written by Trenda

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Merry Christmas Eve! I found this post from 4 years ago in the archives that somehow was back in drafts.  I’m posting it again since I’m using these DIY Jingle Bell Napkin Rings in a tablescape I am writing about now, and I want to share with you how easy they are to make!

I first saw these merry jingle bell napkin rings displayed  in one of my favorite stores and loved them.  However, their cost was more than I wanted to spend … especially knowing how many sets I would have to buy for there to be “jingle all the way” and one at every place setting! (:

After inspecting  them a little more closely, I realized how simple they would be to make myself!  So “over the fields” I went and bought the materials needed (only 3 things!) … got out my scissors and started to play!  “Laughing all the way”… I was delighted how simple they were to make!

Materials needed:

materials

Instructions:

  1. cut 6″ of elastic cord
  2. begin threading jingle bells on cord, threading so bells are”packed” and bunched together so cording won’t show when your napkin ring is holding a napkin.
  3. continue threading on bells, leaving enough room on your cord to tie both ends into a tight knot.
  4. knot and tie your choice of ribbon into a little bow for a finishing festive touch!

Picture of napkin rings in 3 stages: 

3stages

I made two different sets of napkin rings – 1 set of napkin rings is made with silver and gold jingle bells tied with a green checked ribbon and 1 set of napkin rings with gold jingle bells tied with a red satin ribbon.  Look how cute and festive they are wrapped around these napkins! (:

Napkin rings with silver and gold bells and a green checked ribbon trimmed in red …

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Napkin rings with gold bells and red ribbon …

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Our cold “snap” only lasted 2 days and yesterday I set a festive  table out on the back deck.  Snowmen, jingle bells, and colored sugar made our “spirits bright” while we enjoyed  munching on sugar cookies and listening to the Chickadees … “chi-chi-chi-ing!”  (:

Smiling Snowmen mugs and a sweet little snowman under a cloche …

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Annual Christmas Parade on Cedar Creek Lake …

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We love all our our little town’s celebrations and this past weekend was our annual Christmas Parade.  Through the years, our son and daughter, my husband and I have either … been spectators … been participants … or helped decorate the floats in the parade and it is still an extended family tradition for us “to gather together” for this special  event.

rudolph

The time before the parade starts is always a magical time, worthy of one of Norman Rockwell’s depictions of “small town life.”  At 5:30, Main Street is blocked off from any traffic and parade viewers are parked in local establishments and sit along the sidewalks on lawn chairs or tailgates … blankets and hot chocolate in hand … everyone visiting with one another while the children run about (with no worries of traffic) laughing and playing! Street vendors add another element of excitement and walk by selling cotton candy, neon light saber’s and fairy wands!  Then, just as darkness settles, the faint strands of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” is heard as the high school band begins leading the Christmas parade toward Main Street.  Kids begin squealing while parents round up their “little crew” … and everyone turns to see.

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town!”

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To the delight of the kids … candy is thrown from each of the parade floats, as they pass by.

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 After the last … horse cantors by … band member marches away … gleam of Christmas lights and floats are in the distance, there is a finale at the City Park with a be-dazzling firework display.  A perfect ending and the signal for our family to head to the house for some Chicken and Cheese Ravioli in Alfredo Sauce (that has been cooking in the slow-cooker while we were away!) tossed salad, and a tray of Christmas cookies and chocolate brownies with peppermint frosting! (:

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“Good tidings of comfort and joy …”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you may have, under “Comments.”

Part 2 – A “Welcome Home” for Thanksgiving 

by Trenda

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Anticipating and looking forward to our family coming home next week, I love decorating and creating a “welcome home” for each dear person that will be here for Thanksgiving. Last week our “welcome home” to Thanksgiving began with decorating the front door.  Today, we’re going to take a peek behind the front door.

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As you walk in our front door the first thing you see is our antique buffet.  It’s a beautiful piece of furniture; I was giddy when I found it hidden away in a dark corner in an antique store in Tyler. (:  The interior cabinets and drawers are as beautiful as the outside and sometimes I imagine the buffet’s “past life” … and different hands than mine putting away carefully stitched napkins and tablecloths, or special Christmas dishes, into it’s confines.

Come on in!  I’m so glad you’re here! (:  On Thanksgiving, all desserts and pies are displayed out on the buffet; it’s a tantalizing spread for everyone who enters!

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The buffet is filled with autumn’s bounty and has a woodland feel with birch pillar candles, squirrels posing on oak leaves or peering into logs, little nests filled with acorns, and perching birds near their feeders!  A beautiful Fitz and Floyd harvest platter and charming squirrel dish.

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The Friendly Village dishes by Johnson Brothers are ready on chargers for the Thanksgiving tablescape and another stack of dessert plates are stacked on a plate server ready to be loaded with everything delicious!

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Woodland friends … 

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A favorite “souvenir” from a vacation spent in Italy … an inlaid wooden tea cart is stacked and ready to stand-in as a portable side table.  The tea cart is filled with necessary items for the feast … plus a few additional items for a little “glitz and glow!”(:

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Below … more Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dishes, a turkey platter, a stack of antique silver “nut” trays, a crystal biscuit barrel and a silver coffee service.

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Our fireplace is questionably (since it has to compete with the view outside!) the focal point of our living room … and is all “decked out” for Thanksgiving. 

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 Harvest has “spilled out” onto the mantle with pumpkins, clusters of grapes, bittersweet, and walnuts all accenting an autumn swag.

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clock3Our “Beau” Pilgrim (I told you we like to name things around here!) made by Fitz and Floyd resides over the Mantle Harvest and has his own thanksgiving offerings … some maize and a pumpkin, in his hands.

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A Thanksgiving wreath (DIY instructions in a subsequent post!) trimmed with a bow and ribbon that says … Count Your Blessings, Fall Harvest, Thanksgiving Tradition, and Give Thanks.

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Before I have the fun of setting our table for Thanksgiving, I keep a simple setting on the table with all the essentials needed for an cozy autumn meal enjoyed with any friends and family that arrive before “the day.”  A part of the tablescape and ready to disperse are  … a stack of Villeroy & Boch (design Naif) dinnerware, napkins encircled with mini grapevine wreaths (click here for instructions for DIY Autumn napkin rings) silverware in a ginger jar, etched glasses, and a creamer and sugar bowl for after-dinner coffee. 

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Gorgeous view beyond the window … twilight on the lake.

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An autumn ginger jar holds silverware …

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I love these etched glasses from Germany and they are particularly enchanting when filled with ambrosia or holding a miniature compote  …

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Little pumpkin showcased under a cloche …

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Looking around, I love how our “Cottage Green” looks festive and says “welcome home” to all for Thanksgiving.  Now, I have to get to the shopping, cleaning, and cooking done!!!  But, like the ribbon on the wreath says … during this “Thanksgiving Tradition” and the blessing of our “Fall Harvest”  …Count Your Blessings” and “Give Thanks.”

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.