Oh, I love summer nights! The deep blue of twilight makes the lake almost glow in the distance and the stars grow brighter and brighter as nightfall deepens. Great blue heron squawk farewells when they fly by going to roosts high up in the treetops, ducks murmur goodnight as they come gliding by, and the tree frogs sing a craggy lullaby.
Oh, the summer night, has a smile of light, and she sits on a sapphire throne."
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.
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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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.
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.
Here is a quick and easy side dish that “dresses up” any meal! It’s especially delicious with grilled steaks and chicken and it makes a wonderful filler when you’re making frittata’s, fajitas, omelettes or quesadillas!
*BELL PEPPER, ONION AND MUSHROOM MEDLEY
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons steak sauce (I used A1 steak sauce)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
1- 4 oz. can of sliced mushrooms, drained (or fresh)
Add olive oil, soy sauce, your favorite steak sauce, and garlic powder to a medium frying pan; begin heating mixture on medium heat.
Cut 1 medium onion and 1 bell pepper into thin strips and add to skillet
Add mushrooms to the onions and bell pepper in skillet
Stir vegetables in the skillet, incorporating all the vegetables into the sauce
Sauté until peppers and mushrooms are tender and onions are translucent
Serve warm; delicious with grilled steaks, chicken or as a filler for frittata’s, quesadillas, fajitas, omelette’s …
This past week Richard and I headed down to the Texas coast to the romantic seaside town of Rockport to celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. Since we were going to be travelling on our anniversary, I decided to surprise Richard the day before we left, with breakfast served “out of bed.” (; I made a breakfast Frittata using the veggie medley above.
Though a frittata sounds fancy and hard to make, it’s a simple Italian dish that is made with eggs and enhanced with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables. It is similar to an omelette or crustless quiche. Just about anything can be added to your egg base, but to reduce excess moisture and baking time that makes your eggs dry or spongy, your ingredients should already be cooked. Below is the recipe I created for the frittata I made, using the *bell pepper, onion and mushroom vegetable medley from above.
6 eggs, beaten slightly to blend whites and yolks
1/2 cup of milk
1 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
pepper “to taste”
1 1/2 cups *bell pepper, onion, and mushroom medley
6 strips of bacon cooked and cut into bite size pieces (I used pre-cooked)
1 cup grated Colby/Monterrey Jack cheese + additional 1/2 cup cheese for topping frittata when it comes out of the oven
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a cast iron skillet for a traditional frittata
Place cast iron skillet on burner turned on medium heat
Add already cooked *bell pepper, onion, and mushroom medley (recipe above) to skillet or baking dish
Stir together eggs, milk, chicken bouillon, and pepper
Add cooked bacon and 1 cup grated cheese to egg mixture
Stir egg mixture, meat, and cheese together gently and add to vegetable medley in the skillet or in your baking dish
Cook mixture without stirring, just until the edges begin to”set”
Place skillet or baking dish in oven
Cook for 15- 20 minutes (in cast iron skillet) watching closely the last 5 minutes.
Cook only until knife inserted in the middle of the frittata comes out clean, but center still has a glossy appearance
Sprinkle additional 1/2 cup of cheese on top of the frittata
While the frittata was cooking, I filled a diamond shaped antique dish with a mixture of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, and gave them a sprinkling of sugar. Then came the fun of finding a cozy corner in the bedroom. This seemed the perfect spot … like sitting in a treehouse that overlooked the lake with a low table waiting for setting, a rustic little bear lamp for a little glow, and seating with lots of pillows. You’ve heard of breakfast “in bed.” This was breakfast served “out of bed” … just for two. ❤
A whole lot of cozy.
I love combining rustic and elegant pieces. Crystal, china, and crocheted lace napkins mixed well with my rugged cast iron skillet, miniature braided fish rug, and frayed patchwork napkins circled with wooden napkin rings.
Even though we cooks are usually our own worst critics, the frittata was delicious, and the setting was perfect.
We had a wonderful time on our anniversary. Here are just a few pictures of the picturesque seaside towns of Rockport and Port Aransus on the Texas Coast.
Beach at Rockport, Texas
Port Aransus Ferry, Harbor and Beach
Then the rugged beauty of the Texas Hill Country we traveled through on our way back home AND the awesome and incredible “Jacob’s Well” an artesian spring with an underground cave system and crystal clear waters that allow you to see the layers of bedrock and strata in the depths of the water in Wimberly, Texas near New Braunfels. Look it up; my pictures don’t do it justice and Richard was getting nervous I was getting so close to the edge! (:
Hope you are enjoying some adventures on these dog days of summer! Try the Breakfast Frittata and set a cozy table in a “new spot” to enjoy it in. You’ll be surprised at the sense of adventure and the fun it adds having your meal in a different place!
I enjoyed doing some tabletop decorating last week and I combined two different decorating styles in my table setting. I love the look of fragile crystal and goldware mixed with chunky pottery, natural grapevine napkin rings and woven baskets. “Elegance meets Rustic” and “opposites, do indeed attract” (; … as this duo is lovely together and the contrast of styles makes a cozy woodland tablescape.To make the woodland centerpiece I took the plastic covering off of 2 blocks of floral foam and hot glued them into the bottom of a woven basket I had. Then I began filling the basket with a collection of grasses, cattails, pine cone floral stems, pheasant feathers and birch twigs I had “amassed” over the years. The tallest part of any arrangement should be in the center, so after anchoring my tallest pieces I began “fanning down” both sides from the center of the arrangement, inserting my filler into the florist foam. The last addition and focal point I added to the arrangement was a metal art piece … a copper stag among metal fir trees. For my place settings I used pieces of vintage Hull and Pfaltzgraff pottery, a treasure that Richard found and bought for me at an auction he went to with his brother, Bob. The dishes are a sweet remembrance for both of us since Bob passed away this past October. ❤ The pattern on this stoneware is known as “Brown Drip” pattern, a favorite of both the Hull and Pfaltzgraff Stoneware Companies during the 1930’s.These simple, rustic napkin rings are made using mini-grapevine wreaths. I downloaded my free woodland tags from Decorator’s Notebook by Bethan John. After printing and cutting out my tags, I punched a hole in each tag using a standard hole punch. Then I inserted a moss-green satin ribbon into the hole of each tag and tied the ribbon into a bow to the grapevine, making sure the tag was facing out as I pulled my knot of the bow, tight.I love these darling little bean pots and keep collecting them whenever I see them at antique stores. They look charming holding BBQ beans for autumn wiener roasts … filled with Chili con Carne on cold winter evenings … brimming with Stuffed Pepper Soup on breezy Spring picnics … or in the summer, filled with colorful Cajun Beans (recipe coming at a later date!) alongside grilled steaks! Crystal glasses and little goblets from Germany are etched with grapevines and are rimmed in gold and have golden bases. I love the look of the fragile crystal contrasting with the heavy pottery and the comparison makes the crystal seem even more delicate. And this hand painted canoe makes a darling caddy for sweeteners!A mixture of metals … the copper stag and the goldware add gleam to all the forest browns, moss greens and the deep brown dishes. For a final touch of coziness, I added this little lamp that looks like it was made for my woodland tablescape! The golden lampshade matches the carved canoe and also highlights the goldware and golden goblets while the dark silhouettes of the spruce trees and moose on the lamp shade adds more “depth” to my rustic theme.You know how I love using every day objects in unusual ways?! I pulled Richard’s cashmere muffler from the closet and thought it made the perfect table runner for my woodland tablescape! The softness of the muffler contrasted with the rough basket centerpiece and it’s color … the same browns and moss-green colors found in the forest!Juxtaposition/definition by Merriam-Webster: the act or an instance of placing two or more things side by side often to compare or contrast or to create an interesting effect. Hmmm … crystal next to pottery, textured, woven centerpiece sitting atop soft, luxurious cashmere, and rustic grapevines mixed with elegant goldware??? I love juxtaposition decorating! (:P.S. We saw 2 Bald Eagles, yesterday!!! Neither Richard or I had ever seen one except in books or film! Then, we saw 2 in one day! The first eagle we saw around noon just nonchalantly sitting in a tree and the second one we saw in a totally different area, near sunset, also perched in the top of a huge Sycamore Tree. After our second Bald Eagle flew off, our “Blue, Super Moon” was just begin to rise and it was gorgeous! I couldn’t help but think of the scripture I had just read that morning …“Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.” Psalms 104:1-3
From my cottage to yours ~ TrendaThank 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