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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Winter Woodland Tablescape with Birches, Bottlebrush, Birdies, and Burlap

After filling up our bird feeders with suet and seed, I was “inspired” to set up a Winter Woodland Tablescape that looked perfectly suited for my feathered friends.

I had fun gathering a little of “this” … little birdhouses, nests, bottle brush trees, and … “that” a collection of metal bird baths, interesting little urns, cloches, and gold sprinkled votives for my woodland tablescape.

Sparkly bottle brush trees and twiggy nests covered in glitter added depth and gleam in their bronzed hues of nature.

A delicate blown glass cloche with a bird finial sets atop a bed of moss and adds another layer to my woodland table.

A little bejeweled acorn fits snugly inside a moss lined nest and rests in an ornate silver bowl.

While a chunky little bird rests beneath a twiggy winter nest trimmed with winter berries and holly leaves.

A burlap runner runs down the length of the table with another gauzy, runner on top of it which softens the rough burlap and blends the rustic and elegant elements together. “The Friendly Village” dinnerware by Johnson Brothers seemed the the perfect choice for this wintry, woodland tablescape with it’s snowy village scene and earth tone colors.

Moss green napkins are tucked into mini-grapevine wreaths and make charming napkin rings with tags tied on with bows of green satin ribbon. Click on both of these links to see these napkin rings I made in a “Rustic Tablescape” and the woodland tags I used in a “Winter Tablescape for the Birds.”

This pedestal-ed cloche is a favorite of mine and holds a ceramic owl next to a teeny tiny nest with a soft little feather from a Downy Woodpecker I stuck into the top of it.

A little bird tea light and a golden votive completes this birdie vignette.

You know I love to use items in unexpected ways and these little bird baths and urns I collect look darling used as salt cellars for this Woodland Tablescape.

Birch candles on rustic candle holders complete the tablescape and add a winter glow to the scene.

Twilight on the lake highlights the winter tablescape.

There was a beautiful full moon shining on the lake tonight and we saw some white pelicans floating, like large bars of Ivory soap, lustrously highlighted by the moon. Hope you’re taking some time each day to enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of this glorious season.

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

“There’s Still My Joy for Christmas Day”

by Trenda

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Another blessed Christmas Day.  As I sit in a now silent house and gaze at the twinkling lights on the tree, I reflect on the day.  Memories, past and present … watching sweet little grandchildren with their “eyes all aglow” and remembering, remembering, remembering not so very long ago, our own dear little ones leaving carrots for reindeer and cookies for Santa, their little feet scampering about, their joy, and the delight of them jumping in bed with us on Christmas morning … missing dear ones no longer with us while trying to sing, through lumps in our throat, the poignant words of the Christmas melody “through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.”  Another blessed Christmas Day with recollections and moments filled with  every emotion.  Through it all …
“there’s still my joy for Christmas Day” and that joy comes from Jesus!  God’s gift to us that very first Christmas in Bethlehem.  His very own Son!

a-child

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

At the close of this Christmas Day, you may have one more gift you haven’t opened.  It’s the gift that God gave to each of us, His Son, Jesus and the gift of eternal life He has given to you, if you believe in Him.  I love these words from the movie “Signed, Sealed, Delivered for Christmas.” ‘You may feel alone again this year, BUT you know you’re not, you never are; no matter what you’ve lost. Christmas is an opportunity to remember that LOVE came down to find you, right here, where you are – with or without a perfect delivery record, or a perfect marriage, and it happens year after year in a hospital lobby, or a post office, in the woods, or on a mountaintop, or on a rock by a tree, at the beach. Christmas is a gift, but it’s your choice to accept it.’

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It is as simple as ABC …

  • A – ADMIT admit that you have sinned (done things that are displeasing to God) Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” 
  • B – BELIEVE – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • C – CONFESS – “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  Romans 10:9

The best gift you could ever receive … the gift of eternal life!  It’s your’s, God Himself has already “Signed, sealed, and delivered for Christmas” … for you!  “One tiny Child can change the world, one shining light can show the way.  Beyond these tears for what I’ve lost … there’s still my joy, there’s still my joy … for Christmas Day.    ~ Melissa Manchester(click here for song)

Merry Christmas!

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!  Please leave any questions or comments you may have n the “COMMENT” section.

Texas-style Winter and the last of Thanksgiving … Recipe for Delicious Thanksgiving Soup

Trenda

It has been another delightful autumn here in East Texas but today’s temperature never “got out of” the 30’s and tonight, December 8th, we are finally expected to have our first freeze!  Fall is certainly a Southerner’s reward for surviving summer!

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Just a peek at Cottage Green on the Lake during the winter … 4the seasons!

leaves.pngPresuming it will freeze tonight, I gazed a little sadly at our still blooming Encore azaleas, roses, begonias, impatiens, coleus, and ferns.  However, Richard (forever surprising me) brought in one last winter rosebud he found blooming in our yard, put it in an antique vase that belonged to my grandmother, and set it on my vanity, where I happily discovered “it” after I showered! (imagine a picture of a heart, here!)

rose.png  Getting ready for “winter-on-the-lake” comes with a long to-do list … filling bird feeders, decorating the outside of the house with Christmas decorations, putting the potted begonias and impatiens away in their winter residence -our cedar greenhouse (: and last, covering the boat and draining our sprinkler system (which our son came over and helped his father with. PLUS … he also helped his father with our latest DIY project, the remodeling of our upstairs bathroom (pictures upon completion!)

Winter Twilight on the Lake …

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Thanksgiving Soup …

A delicious and easy soup that is made with Thanksgiving leftovers!  After enjoying our Thanksgiving leftovers for several meals, one of the simplest things we enjoy is making a big pot of comforting soup that uses all the “bits and pieces”still left from our Thanksgiving.

Instructions:

(So simple and delicious!)  In a Dutch Oven, add the last of your Thanksgiving leftovers.  (You’ll want to add only those leftovers whose flavors will compliment each other, when combined … no dill pickles from the relish tray or pumpkin pie!)  The leftovers I had which blended perfectly together were … dressing, a little turkey gravy, squash casserole, some leftover Rotel and Velvetta cheese dip (from football snacks!) and some turkey, I diced into smaller pieces.  To this mixture I added 6 cups of water and 6 teaspoons of dried chicken bouillon granules, stirring to mix.  Turn heat to high, until broth boils, then add uncooked pasta (I used 8 oz. from a 1 lb.box of Fideo Spaghetti.)  Return to boil, then lower heat “to simmer” until pasta is done.  That’s it!  Ladle soup into bowls and top with grated mild cheese and buttered breadcrumbs (leftover from my squash casserole!)  Delicious!  My husband and son had 2 bowls!


I ladled our soup into these favorite Fitz & Floyd “Tis the Season” mugs.  These mugs are “jumbo size” and hold 4 cups of liquid, each! Since they are so large, I only filled each mug, half full, topped with grated cheese and buttered bread crumbs

Wherever you are while reading this, I hope … you are nice and warm … have lots of sweet birdies twittering around your bird feeders … a pot of soup is simmering on your stove, beautiful Christmas carols are playing in the background!

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

matthew