“Hooked on the Lake” … a Red, White & Blue Tablescape

by Trenda

Hang up your bunting, unfurl your flags and pull out all your red, white and blue … it’s almost America’s 242nd birthday!  I love getting ready for the 4th of July and this tablescape seemed to come together effortlessly as I went around the house picking up an assortment of lake-y, picnic items and all things red, white and blue.

Hooked on the LakeThe focal point of this tablescape is vintage minnow bucket that Richard found for me on one of our antique-ing excursions.  Some time ago, I told him I was looking a for a minnow bucket though I had a certain “look” in mind for that bucket.  I wanted an antique bucket with good coloring and with graphics that were still readable, but I didn’t want it to look all “beat up” so I could use it for arrangements.  I was amazed when months after I mentioned it to him, he came to me smiling with this perfect gift in hand, complete with both the bucket and the minnow strainer and with the added bonus of a little rust to enhance the patina!  Now, that my friends is a gift more romantic to me than a bouquet of roses! ❤

 

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Falls City  The Angler’s Choice …

These woodland ferns are from our own backyard and are particularly gorgeous this year and so lush, they almost come up to my waist!   They add color and “mood” and look charming tucked inside the minnow bucket. 

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 A blue and white buffalo check throw is bold and sassy and looks like the perfect tablecloth for a 4th of July picnic or BBQ.  Cobalt blue fish plates add to the lake theme and match perfectly with blue stemware, a special gift our son and daughter bought for me with their “pooled” allowances, many years ago. ❤

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These cute clear glass bowls, shaped liked fish were another antique find and are stacked next to a chunky star filled with some red, white, and table glitz! (:

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The metal rowboat is a great caddy for all accoutrements needed for a meal … star shaped dessert plates, straws, cutlery, plastic tumblers, and red, white and blue fans to stir up a little breeze in hot Texas weather.

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A lake sign in vivid red ties the tablescape all together … HOOKED ON THE LAKE! 

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Thinking today of all our military men, women and their families.  Thank you for the sacrifices you have made and given for our freedom and for our Country. ❤ 

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Have a wonderful weekend from the “dawn’s early light” until the “twilight’s last gleaming.” 

From my cottage to yours ~  Trenda 

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The Cottage Series – Part 3

~ by Trenda

Cottage Series Part 3

Cozy and cottage go together like peas and carrots and a way to add some “cozy” to your home is to display the things you love to collect.  In my  first chapter of  The Cottage Series and also in The Cottage Series Part 2  I’ve shown you some of the collections inside the crooks and crannies of Cottage Green and given you some decorating tips on how to add the “cottage look” to your home.  My kitchen cupboards display a lot more than just the usual dishes!  Nestled and peeking out among the plates and dishes of my kitchen hutch, you’ve seen an assortment of things I love to collect … salt cellars, silver spoons, Staffordshire creamers, thatched roofed sugar bowls, miniature tea sets, and Boyd’s Bear collectibles.

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I have a collection of “farmyard fowl” that all began after my mother-in-law gave me the rooster and hen set I’d always admired that she kept on a little shelf in her kitchen.  My husband said “as long as he can remember” this rooster and hen were displayed in their kitchen.  I love that she gave them to me and I now have them in a little cubby Richard made in our kitchen, that I fondly call “the chicken coop.”

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The coloring of the smaller rooster on the right, matched perfectly with the antique rooster and hen my mother-in-law gave me, so I grouped them all together.  I can never resist antique dishes in green and white and I loved this plaid plate when I saw it!  Though there was only one and I didn’t know yet, how I would use it … I bought it.  After Richard made my little “coop” I placed the plate in the back of the shelf and loved the bold background and the way it contrasted with the colors of the roosters and hen.

2 roosters and 1 hen

 

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The middle shelf is anchored with a quaint coffee mill, another cherished gift from Richard’s mother.  A music box we bought in Switzerland  – is not something you would usually find in a kitchen (;  It plays the sweet tune of “Edelweiss” and is wood carving of a young boy in overalls, holding his pet rooster in one arm and a pail of feed in the other … with a trail of chickens behind him.  The music box looks perfectly quaint, centered on the coffee mill and right at home in the kitchen with some smaller hens, ducks, baby chicks and geese I’ve collected and “scattered” for company on the shelf.  Another plaid plate propped behind the farmyard scene is another orphaned plate I found!

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Make sure your shelves don’t appear top heavy or out of balance.  Decorations on your top shelf should appear visually “lighter” and simpler than the items placed on your lower  shelves.  A French inspired hen by Villeroy and Bach and a Colonial Homestead plate by Royal China is a simple and sophisticated “finial”  perched above the other shelves.

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DT top heavy On the other side of the kitchen, Richard removed the doors from these cabinets so I could display my collection of antique green and white dishes and other cherished pieces.  The dishes are a mixture of patterns … Currier and Ives “The Old Curiosity Shop” … Old Colonial Homestead … and Green and White transferware from England but they’re lovely “mixed together” all in the same shades of greens.

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Stacking dishes in your cabinets not only creates visual interest, but also gives you more room … a double bonus! (:

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More roosters, ducks, chicks, and even eggs are a punctuation point on each shelf and a re-occurring theme.  Each season, I replace these accent pieces with different decor.  Red, white, and blue Americana is getting ready to replace the hens and roosters … which will later be replaced by autumn decor … which will be replaced by antique Thanksgiving turkeys … which will be replaced by Christmas treasures.

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A beautiful pierced aluminum antique ceramic casserole dish belonged to my mother and was a present, I was thrilled she gave to me.  The beautiful matching brass-handled casserole dishes on the top shelf  were a gift from Richard, 40 years ago. ❤ Sweet memories I get to look at every day that are easily reached and are practical and useful decor!

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Visually uniting my cabinets to my counter tops, I placed a Fitz and Floyd platter on the counter top that matched both the French Country cabbage serving bowl and the storybook, goat-topped dish in my cabinets. The canisters match the sugar and creamer set and the ceramic colander on the shelves.

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By the way, open shelves are easy to “create” in your home by removing your cabinet doors, filling in the holes left from the hinges with wood filler, and then painting.    Though open shelves definitely add a “cottage feel” to any home, I also use these decorating tips “behind closed doors.” (;   It is delightful to open a cabinet door and see a vignette made up of sparkling dishes, artfully arranged.

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

 

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Father’s Day Tribute and a Special Father’s Day Tablescape

~ Trenda

Today is FATHER’S DAY!  I was so fortunate and blessed to have a wonderful and loving father.  I’ll always miss my father, especially on days like this, but oh, what a blessing it was to be his daughter!  I remember … Saturday morning wagon rides he would take us on, telling us the names of the trees as we “rolled by” and how to identify them by their leaves.  I remember … picnics Mom packed for the family to take to the park and my father whittling long sticks for us to roast our wieners on and throwing a rope up into the tall trees with a wooden seat he’d made and attached to the rope for us to swing on.  I remember … Daddy pitching a tent for us in the backyard and frying bologna in a skillet over a small campfire.  I remember … being scared the first time I held a Roman candle, my apprehension stilled when his large hand  closed over mine and the golden fireworks shot out of the end and into the sky.  I remember … that he taught me how to make and fly a kite, how to swim, how to fish (though he always baited my hook and took the fish off for me!) ❤  My father was a Pastor and I remember … watching his unwavering trust and faith in God.  I remember … seeing him sitting in his recliner and reading his Bible.  I remember … how he loved the Lord and worshiped HIM.  My father’s love for us made it easy for me to understand the great love my heavenly Father has for me … and also taught me what I wanted and needed in my husband when it was time for me to marry.

My father and mother …

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Richard, my husband, personifies all those same traits my father had.  He is the loving father of our children; he is my best friend; he is my soul mate.  I love his giving nature, “can-do” attitude, thoughtfulness, quiet strength, playfulness, spontaneity and faith.  There is no sweeter feeling than him wrapping his arms around me and praying for me.  He “makes me happy, when skies are gray.”  When we married and we were “oh, so young” … he taught me how to write a check and how to add Downy to a wash load.  He put up with dinners of pancakes and Swedish meatballs (the only 2 things I knew how to cook, besides homemade bread, fudge, and pumpkin pies!)  He wordlessly cleaned up “spitup” when our children were sick … he made every meal for us when I broke my foot and ruptured a tendon that required surgery and I was in a cast for 3 months and had to keep my foot elevated … whenever it is raining and we are out, he thoughtfully drops me off at the front door, then he goes and parks … he brings me my coffee every morning … he makes me feel beautiful even when I’m just wearing (as Conway Twitty sang) my “faded cotton gown” and as my “auburn hair has faded and silver takes it’s place.”  Waking up … and going to sleep next to him makes every day “a good day.”

Richard and Trenda …

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Richard … “Dad” … “Daddy” … “PawPaw” 

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Today, I want everything to be special … starting with the table!  A woven runner decorated with pheasants and Mallard ducks “anchors” my collection of all things “masculine” for our special guest of honor.

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Many of the items I gathered up to use on this tablescape are treasured gifts from our dear son and daughter, picked and chosen for “Dad” from Father’s Days, past.  A stack of favorite books, sailing and basketball trophies, a special DAD plaque, antique dog figurines and a pair of binoculars are all part of the centerpiece.

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A collection of crystal decanters and antique trophies add to the “Polo Club look” I wanted to achieve with this tablescape.

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The dishes are a mixed collection of Hull and Pfaltzgraff that Richard bought for me in the “Brown Drip” pattern.

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Sage green napkins are inserted into wooden napkin rings.  The elegant DIY place cards from my “Hello June” blog … add a personal touch to each place setting.

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Sparkle and glow … crystal stemware and handled mugs (ready for after- dinner coffee and blackberry cobbler!) and a ship’s decanter add sparkle … and a woven grass lamp, a gift from our daughter, shines cozily over the table and goldware adds more “glow.”

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Now, all that’s left is to fill these seats with loved ones and these plates with a menu  especially selected by the guest of honor!  Hope you have a special day shared with dear ones you love!  Happy Father’s Day!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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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.

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

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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

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

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 “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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Winter Weather and Outdoor Tablescape and Picnic for the Birds

by Trenda at Cottagegreenonthelake.com

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Seeing snow in East Texas is always an anticipated occasion, like a circus or carnival coming to town!  Everyone dashes to one of our two grocery stores and stocks up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace.

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So .. with a forecast of possible snow on Friday, there was expectation in the air as the temperatures hovered below 30 … and by afternoon, our hope of seeing some snow was rewarded when the first tiny flakes appeared!

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I wanted to make sure our “furry friends and feathered folks” had plenty to eat to keep themselves warm and I decided to set up a winter picnic for them with some extra special treats… birdseed ornaments!   I chose a recipe that Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributor submitted on Pinterest (click here for Mavis Butterfield eHow Contributot’s recipe for birdseed ornaments) During the entire process I was apprehensive that my ornaments wouldn’t slip out of their molds or remain intact and I was happily surprised when each of the ornament’s “held” their shape and slid out easily from my plastic cookie cutters (part of an extensive collection my dear daughter in law (DDIL)(:  gave me.

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Assorted ribbons and twine added to the birdseed ornaments …

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I love these “woodland” tags and thought they would add a little whimsy, hanging amongst the branches with my birdseed ornaments.  This is a free printable I downloaded from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John (click here for free printable woodland tags) They printed off beautifully and I made extra’s for package tie-on’s and other ideas, yet to come!

Free downloadable gift tags from Decorator's Notebook 14 designs

I also made some extra tags using a die-cut label maker and some rubber stamps that fit right in with my woodland/lakeside theme: a clump of oak leaves and acorns stamp, a single leaf stamp, and a bird nest with eggs stamp … the bird nest is my favorite!  I used a hole punch to make a hole in each tag and then slipped ribbons through the hole.  To add a little variety to my paper ornaments, I used several different ribbons and  either knotted the ends of the ribbon and slipped the labels over a branch or clipped them to my little fir tree, using mini-clothespins.

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Then I had the fun of creating my winter tablescape and putting out “picnic fare” for our birds and lakeside critters. (:  I covered our outdoor table with a Coleman blanket in a buffalo plaid in navy, khaki and forest green and placed a tall Fir tree (one of our Christmas decorations) in the center of the table … it worked great for hanging my birdseed ornaments and woodland/lakeside tags on!   A sweet little birdbath that Richard gave me (usually a part of our cottage decor inside) is filled with fresh water and I used chunky urns and “woodsy” platters to offer a buffet of different seeds and peanuts.

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A Hairy Woodpecker “heard it through the grapevine” that there were peanuts on the menu! (: A little Red-breasted Nuthatch, native to Ontario Canada perches on the side of a “new favorite”  … a rough blown-glass bowl, a special gift from our daughter’s boyfriend, that is  perfectly suited for Cottage Green with painted pine boughs and a “sprinkling” of snow.

img_0284Look how adorable my cookie cutter letters spelling B-I-R-D came out!  I loved how charming these letters looked all together so I just lined them all up on a forest green plate edged with leaves and acorns and set them out for the birdies to enjoy!

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A Cardinal surveys the winter buffet …

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The “piece de resistance?” … sunflower hearts!

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Today’s Menu …

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A House Finch awaits his turn “in pecking order” on the downspout …

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Well, we didn’t have any accumulation of snow, but we did enjoy our beautiful snow flurries … our whirling, twisting, dancing flakes and we enjoyed 3 cold winter days.  But 3 days is just enough … and we were ready for the return of our usual, mild Texas winter weather.  Happily, today’s temperature was in the mid 60’s and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday … it’s going to be in the 70’s!  Ahhh … now, that’s more like it!

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But next time there’s a chance of snow or snow flurries in the forecast for a little town on Cedar Creek Lake in East Texas, you can be sure that … everyone will once again dash to one of our two grocery stores and stock up on groceries, hot chocolate and firewood … hopeful  that the possibility of the “flurries” predicted in the forecast will somehow materialize into towering drifts and days enjoyed in front of the fireplace. (;

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time with me today.  Please leave any comments or questions you may have, in the COMMENT section.