Halloween DIY Napkin Rings …………. by Trenda

Look who suddenly appeared, looking like he flew straight from the pages of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem and obligingly perched, right next to me.  While I slowly reached for my phone, my mind began the recitation of these remembered words …  “Once upon a midnight dreary, when I pondered, weak and weary …” . 

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I love decorating the table for any occasion and for HALLOWEEN … I use all kinds of  “fol-der-ol and fid-dle-dy dee” to set the mood for a magical night that’s filled with possibilities and imagination!  During these next 3 weeks, I have several fun projects that I am going to be sharing with you that will help you create your own “boo-tiful” Halloween tablescape!  Today, I am going to show you how to make these spook-taular Halloween napkin rings!

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Supplies needed:

  • glue gun
  • glittered spiders 
  • copper wire (10 yds/20gauge)
  • beads (glass seed bead mix “Scream”)
  • assorted ribbons matching beads (I used Halloween polka dot & spider ribbon)
  • wire cutters
  • needle nose pliers

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Instructions: (see pictures below)

  1. Cut 4 pieces of copper wire, each approximately 12 inches long
  2. Lay the 4 lengths of wire together and pull the wires up and around your fingers to form a circle large enough for a napkin to be inserted into the opening.
  3. Twist where the wires cross at the top of the circle 1 or 2 times to secure the circle in place.
  4. Splay out the 8 wires above the now-formed wire circle.
  5. Begin threading beads, creating your own color pattern.
  6. Leave enough wire at the top exposed to bend the wire with your needle nose pliers, forming a small closed loop to secure the beads in place.
  7. After each wire is filled with beads and the wire is crimped, wrap the beaded wire around your little finger to “coil” your wire. 
  8. Remove your finger and bend each of the 8 coiled “legs” into desired shape.
  9. Using your hot glue gun, place a small amount of glue on your ribbon and begin wrapping the copper circle.
  10. Continue wrapping until the entire wire circle (the napkin ring) is covered with ribbon. 
  11. Cut the ribbon and hot glue in place, at the top of the napkin ring.  Shape and adjust beaded “legs” how you like them, then hot glue on glittery spider.

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Just look what a glitzy napkin ring this makes … perfect for all things “outlandish” for Halloween!

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Pumpkin patch and harmless spiders …

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Even just stacked in a pedestal votive cup “the eensy, weensy, spiders …” look frighteningly festive!

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“Candy-Coated Ghost Peeps” click here for instructions

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Little Ghost “Peeps” wearing “coats of chocolate” adorned with sprinkles and non-pareil’s make charming favors to take home or tuck into Halloween bags. 

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Click on the links below for all things “HALLOWEEN” 

Halloween DIY Treat Bags

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… DIY “Jolly Jack-o-Lantern” Halloween Wreath

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Have fun getting your home ready and making these Halloween napkin rings!  Before you know it, while your nodding … “nearly napping, suddenly” there will be “a tapping, as of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door” … shouting “Trick or Treat! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Trenda

 

Thank you for taking some time to read my blog today!  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site:  cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining Courtney with Feathered Nest Friday

Chloe Crabtree at Celebrate & Decorate

All the supplies I used for making these Halloween napkin rings were bought from Hobby Lobby.

 

Goodbye Summer! …………….. by Trenda

Goodbye Summer … we’re going to miss you!

It was another …

“Snow-cone dripping, bare foot skipping, iced tea sipping, front porch sitting …”

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“flip flop plopping, baseball watching, mattress floating, snorkel snorting …”

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“… pink nose glowing, green grass mowing, warm breeze blowing, hot dog munching …”

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“… cricket chirping, sparkler waving … “

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“firework gazing … “

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” sunset blazing ….”

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” wonderful summer!”

Poem “Wonderful Summer”  written by  Trenda 

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

 

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Thank you for spending some time reading my blog today!  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

 

 

 

Creating Yummy Looking Party Tray’s …………………… by Trenda

Are you “insecure” about arranging party trays that look appetizing or do you cringe in apprehension when asked to bring a veggie tray to a Church potluck dinner … a neighborhood block party … or a weekend at your Mother-in-laws?  With these simple tips I am going to share, it’s easy to create a “pièce de résistance” and a yummy looking party tray!

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I love creating party “trays” of all sorts … trays filled with red and green slices of apples served with creamy, caramel dipping sauce … cookie trays stacked with cut-outs, pressed, rolled, and dropped cookies … sweet candy trays for Christmas … and appetizer trays filled with a mixture of fruits, vegetables, cheese, and crackers.   In the first party tray I’m showing you, I used a colorful Fitz & Floyd platter to “build” my arrangement on. I love using items on my trays that add novelty and color and I did this, on my first tray I’m showing you, by using a “bowl” carved from a purple cabbage, which holds my vegetable dip.  I peeled away the outer leaves of the cabbage until it was just the right size and wouldn’t “tower” over my platter.  You can see by the heap of leaves on my cutting board how much of the cabbage I peeled away.

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Then, using a sharp knife, I scored deep grooves into the center of my cabbage, forming a circle.  After making my “perforations” I switched to a table knife (you’ll need to use a knife with a duller blade so you won’t cut yourself, while carving!) to cut out the scored circle, making sure the “hole” was deep and wide enough to hold a substantial amount of dip.  Red, green, or yellow Bell Peppers also make charming dip holders, and hollowed out halves of melons make wonderful containers for my fruit trays.

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After placing the hollowed out cabbage in the center of my platter, I start placing my washed and cut vegetables and fruits around the platter, contrasting and coordinating the colors and placement of each.  Other tips which make my platter look more “attractive” … I tuck the stems of my broccoli where the florets face out … I place the woody stems of grapes underneath, so the grapes show, instead of the wood …  I peel cucumbers in strips and then cut the cucumber into attractive rounds.  For those vegetables that I have more of, like the tomatoes and broccoli, I divide the amount of each into 2 groups and place them on opposite sides of each other, on the platter.

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After the platter is filled, I added the dip for my vegetables to my cabbage “bowl” and tucked in these darling servers with handles covered in grape clusters and fruit.  Miniature silver tongs are just the right size for picking up “cherub” tomatoes.

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The second appetizer tray I am going to show you how to “build” today is arranged in a 13 x 9 casserole dish and placed in a wicker serving tray.  The sides of the casserole dish, make arranging this tray, EASY! (: The first thing I did was to place a sweet little bowl with etchings of berries on it, in my casserole dish.  This “anchors” my appetizer tray and makes a great place for the crackers I want to serve, on my tray. bowl.png

After filling the bowl with crackers (I used Wheat Thins) I took freshly washed “Looseleaf Lettuce” with it’s pretty, ruffled edges and tore off pieces to line the outer edges of the casserole dish.

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Then I  begin adding the vegetables I wanted to serve on my tray.  Since I have a lot of celery sticks, I divided the celery into two different bunches and stacked them at an angle, on either side of the cracker bowl.  Carrots are placed in 2 opposite corners and grapes fill up the other two corners.

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Then comes the fun part … piling cubes of cheese in the remaining spots; Colby Jack on one side, Pepper Jack on the other and filling in any remaining “vacancies” with cucumber rounds turned on their side, acting as partitions.  Where extra color is needed or “gaps” need filling, I “tuck in” more ruffly edged lettuce, between veggies.

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Looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?! (:  And the woven basket with handles makes it easy to store in the refrigerator and transport to and from the table!  Hope these tips have helped and you’ll feel confident and enjoy creating your next party tray!  Before you know it, I’ll be making those autumn apple trays!

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Our last week in August and oh my, our hearts are heavy as we watch the catastrophic events in our dear Lone Star State, from Hurricane Harvey.  We love the charming seaside town of Rockport and I have been going there since I was “just a little girl” for summer vacations … and Richard and I have been going there since we married, for almost 40 years.  Seeing all the destruction of our beautiful, old, coastal towns, the flooding of Houston and the surrounding areas and the huge number of people suffering and loosing their homes is heartbreaking.  Houston, and it’s suburbs, is the 4th largest city in the United States with a population of over 6 million.   With astonishing realization … even if we were able to use every NFL football stadium in the United States for temporary shelter, there wouldn’t be enough room to “house” all the people that have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey!  I’m praying this scripture for all those affected and God’s watch care over them, as the rain continues and the flood waters rise … “Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.”  Psalms 31:9

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

 

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Thank you for spending some time reading my blog today!  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  

This week I will be joining Marie-Helene of Kingsbury Brook Farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“She put the lime in the coconut …” Coconut Key Lime Macaroons and Cool Key Lime Dessert Dip & Dippers ……………….. by Trenda

Summer Afternoon Tea on the deck:

“A table for 2, please.”

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Today’s Menu … 

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Haha … if you’re like me, after reading the menu above you’re already humming this catchy song!  “She put the lime in the coconut she drank ’em bot’up  She put the lime in the coconut she drank ’em bot’ up … “ (:  if you’d like to go a little further down “Memory Lane” I’ve included the song “Coconut.” Just click on the link below.  It’s a 4 minute and 31 second song (no wonder it got “stuck” in our heads!) and you can listen to it, while you read the rest of my blog. (click here to hear  “Coconut!”)

The Coconut & Key Lime Macaroons were so easy and I got this recipe from dessertnowdinnerlater.com

ingredients macaroons

Coconut Key Lime Macaroon Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest, divided (optional)
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:

  1. Combine sweetened coconut flakes, flour, salt and 1 Tbsp lime zest (opt) in a bowl.  Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk.  Mix well with a spatula.
  3. Using a small scoop (I used a melon ball scoop) scoop cookie dough balls onto a greased or lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle the tops of the raw macaroons with the remaining zest on top (if desired)
  4. Bake a t 350 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes or until the edges and bottom of the cookies are browned.  Allow to cool completely.  Enjoy!

Coconut & Key Lime Macaroons on Dessert Tray

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 Key Lime Dessert Dip & Dippers 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Key lime juice
  • 1 oz graham crackers, ground
  • dash green food coloring (opt)
  • 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 16 oz. block cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Instructions:

  1. Using a mixer, combine softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, sour cream, and key lime juice.
  2. Mix ingredients on lowest setting for 1 minute.
  3. Increase mixing speed to medium and continue blending dip for an additional minute, or until mixture is fluffy and creamy.
  4. Fold in green food coloring (opt)
  5. Transfer dip from mixing bowl to serving bowl.
  6. Sprinkle the dip with ground graham crackers, refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
  7. Serve with additional graham crackers, vanilla wafers, animal crackers or gingersnaps for *dipping.  (*For garnish on my graham crackers – I dipped the ends of my “dipping graham crackers” in melted (per instructions on package) vanilla almond bark; then sprinkled the almond bark with lime green nonpareils, before the candy hardened)

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Fitz & Floyd  dishes in lime green and lemon yellow put a smile on my face, with their cheer-y colors and images of “pucker- power” … a very unexpected and loved gift from our son and daughter-in-law. ❤

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A darling little sugar bowl with a lemon domed lid is topped with a lime wedge finial and holds sparkling colored sugar.  Under an antique cut-glass cloche is fresh cut lemons and limes for crystal glasses filled with tea.

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Bright yellow Fiesta plates rest on cherished white doily’s edged in green that Richard’s mother crocheted for us.  Bright yellow and lime green napkins, from a dear sister are tucked in with a Battenberg lace napkin and both are inserted into a wooden napkin ring and topped with a gold dessert spoon.

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A Key West “breezy feel” is easily achieved with fresh cut ferns draping over the table and limes and lemons piled high into clear glass-footed vases, that our daughter gave me, and I love. ❤ A crystal biscuit barrel holds ice and is ready for refills.

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Hope you have some time to sip on a glass of iced tea and treat yourself to some “cool” desserts as you enjoy these last weeks of Summer!  “I said, “doctor, ain’t there nothin’ I can take?”  I said, “doctor, to relieve this belly ache.” (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank you for spending some time reading my blog, today.  To have all of my posts delivered directly to your email address, click on FOLLOW above … or click on my site: Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com

This week I’m joining:

 Carol from The Red Painted Cottage

Courtney from Feathered Nest Friday

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer at Cottage Green on the Lake

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”  – Sam Keen

“4 the seasons” … Summer Season at Cottage Green on the Lake

On the dock … ‘WELCOME TO THE LAKE’

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From the back deck …

1backyard.png“Whiskers” (a Great Blue Heron) a long time resident at Cottage Green strolls each morning and evening along our retaining wall and dock.  A few evenings ago Richard and I were sitting outside watching Whiskers as he stood poised, watching intently the water below.  Suddenly, we saw his neck straighten as he nimbly struck at a passing fish.  When he straightened back up, he had a 5-6 inch perch, “shis-ka-bobbed” on his beak … “bon appétit! (:

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My very own “play house” and potting shed under the canopy of trees and near the water …

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Backyard … Encore Azaleas are performing their second act, re-blooming and brilliant against a backdrop of ferns.

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A delightful spot to bathe!  A birdbath surrounded by Holly, Dwarf Nandina and a Japanese Maple …

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In the front yard … perfectly named for it’s blooming time and “firecracker red” blooms our ‘Firecracker’ Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstromia) blooms each year in our front yard around the 4th of July. 

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Strutting across our driveway is a new resident at Cottage Green … a white crane I named “Sassy Pants!” (:  He visited our front yard one day and decided he likes perching on our front deck and dining on worms he finds between our brick pavers!

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The sideyard … Impatiens on a cherished cement bench my sister stained and painted.

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I love and cultivate this moss that grows along these brick pavers.

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Lazy summer afternoon’s on the lake …

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Remembering Mr. Keen’s words … I hope you have many “respectable” days during these last days of summer! (:

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Thank  you for reading my blog today.  To have all my posts delivered directly to your email address, just click on FOLLOW in the post above … or click on my site: Trenda @cottagegreenonthelake.com and follow me on Pinterest.

This week I’m joining Lisa from Feathering My Nest and Chloe Crabtree from Celebrate & Decorate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Summer Desserts … Scoops of Ice Cream in Gourmet Cones & Cream Cheese Tartletts by Trenda

“Stressed backwards spells DESSERTS.  Coincidence, I think not!” (:   ~ Author Unknown

Perfect for lazy summer afternoons or evenings spent on the deck, these summer desserts are refreshing and so easy to “put together” you’ll want to make them whether you’re “stressed” or not! (;  

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Supplies needed to make gourmet ice cream cones.

  • full cabinet.pngWaffle ice cream cones
  • Ghiradelli Chocolate Melting Wafers (Almond bark or other melting chocolate can be used)
  • microwavable bowl and spoon to spread additional chocolate
  • assorted sprinkles, colored sugars, nonpareils, crushed candy bars, nuts, American flag picks, Wilton Fun Pix or other decorations

Instructions:

  1. Melt chocolate in microwave according to directions on the package; stir until smooth.  
  2. Dip the top of the cone into the melted chocolate and turn  to coat entire top of cone.  (I used the back of a spoon to help spread the melted chocolate around the cone.)  
  3. When the top of cone is completely covered and the candy coating is still warm, sprinkle colored sugars, nonpareils and decorations over the candy.  
  4. Place the cone in an upright position until candy hardens.  I have a metal tray for grilling Stuffed Jalepeno Poppers (a gift from our son and daughter-in-law <3) that was a perfect rack to set my ice cream cones in! (:  After all my cones were made and decorated, I slid the whole tray into the freezer for 10 – 15 minutes, until the candy hardened.

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I had so much fun making and decorating these!  I made some of my cones “2-toned” using different colors and decorations on the outside of the cone vs. the inside of the cone. 

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I filled our cones with scoops of Blue Bell’s Cookies and Cream … our family’s favorite!  Top your gourmet cones with whatever delicious ice cream you prefer, or carry out the patriotic theme enjoying Blue Bell’s Patriotic Ice Cream (click here to see!) “Red, White & Blue Bell!”

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This next “Easy Summer Dessert” Cream Cheese Tartletts … are so cute and in “miniature” no one seems to ever feel guilty when they indulge in 1 or 2! (;   I either top these tartletts with Cherry or Blueberry Pie filling and when serving a crowd, I have both selections available!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 package of 6 Keebler mini Graham Cracker crusts
  • 1 – 8 ounce package of Cream Cheese (softened at room temperature)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice or “Real Lemon Juice” (*I’ve adapted this recipe to our tastes and add 1/2 cup of “Real Lemon Juice”)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 – 21 ounce can Cherry Pie or Blueberry Pie Filling (chilled)

Instructions:

  • Cream softened cream cheese in a electric mixer until light and fluffy.  (If you do not soften your cream cheese, your filling will be lumpy!)
  • Slowly pour condensed milk into cream cheese in mixer and stir until well combined.
  • Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice (*see note above) and vanilla to cream cheese mixture and stir until ingredients are incorporated with the cream cheese and the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour mixture into individual tartlett pans and refrigerate, until set. (1 – 2 hours, up to overnight) I place a small sheet of wax paper over each of my individual tartletts, when refrigerating overnight, to prevent the top layer from getting “tough.”
  • Top tartletts with chilled pie filling just before serving and insert “fun pick.” 

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These Cream Cheese Tartletts, with their patriotic colors and festooned with an American flag always “find their way” to our 4th of July table!  However, both of these fun summer desserts can be adapted for any festive occasion by switching decorations and picks.  Next time, I think I’ll dip my cones in white chocolate melting wafers that are tinted green, fill my ice cream cones with scoops of raspberry sherbet, and “push in” chocolate morsels (pointy end first!) to simulate watermelon seeds.  Or … I’ll dip my cones in milk chocolate melting wafers, sprinkle them with crushed Butterfinger candy bars, and fill my ice cream cones with scoops of Dutch Chocolate Ice Cream.  Or … ??? (:

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you spent some time reading my blog today.  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 and follow the prompts.

The 4th of July!!! ~ by Trenda

The 4th of July … America’s biggest, grandest party of the year!  

Around our town … a giant ferris wheel!

ferris wheel.pngMerry-go-round, Fun Slide, Funnel Cakes, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and Fried Oreos! (:

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And at Cottage Green … tablescapes, favors, treats, and decorations for our 4th of July celebration “from the dawn’s early light” … until “the twilight’s last gleaming!”

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A simple tablescape apropos for July 4th on the Lake!  A metal rowboat filled with all “accouterments” needed for lakeside meals and desserts … both “stars” and “stripes” plates in assorted sizes, plastic cutlery, napkins, straws, with miniature flags and sprays of  “bling!” (:

boat tablescape background.pngOutside, the table is covered in a quilted tablecloth and a “God Bless America” centerpiece of fireworks and stars.

final 2.pngRed, White, and Blue baskets await hamburgers, a cluster of red grapes and brownies.  Striped, paper bowls are perfect for individual portions of potato salad and make clean up, easy.  A blue wired basket holds cups, plates, cutlery, and patriotic straws.outdoor table setting.png

Scalloped-edged bandana boxes (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby) are filled with “fun things” for the 4th of July weekend … fans, balloons, bubbles, “USA” and star colored beads, sunglasses, pencils, flag pins, and Chinese yo-yo’s!

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… and special star headbands for the grand kids!

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Fireworks exploding and reflecting over the lake.

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Hope you had a wonderful weekend and just enjoyed being FREE … free to gather in your own home or backyard with family and friends … free to pray over your hot dogs, hamburgers, watermelon, and homemade ice cream … freedom to “hoot” and holler” as you exclaim over beautiful fireworks, in the sky.

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After looking at a display of  flags from all over the world, our 8 year old grand daughter, in her endearing and profound way, said … “Grandma, don’t you think we have the prettiest flag of ALL?”  “I certainly do!”  I quickly agreed.  Then she solemnly said … “Grandma, wouldn’t it be so sad if we ever saw another flag flying over our country,  instead of our flag?”  Oh my, my heart felt sick as I pondered her question and tried to imagine seeing another flag other than our “STARS and STRIPES forever” … being flown over our country!  With a grateful heart, I want to thank all our military and their families, throughout the ages, for the sacrifices they have made and given for our freedom so … “the prettiest flag of ALL” continues to fly over our great nation. “GOD BLESS AMERICA, LAND THAT I LOVE.” ❤

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I’m delighted you spent so me time reading my blog today.  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 and follow the prompts.