Cottage Laundry Room Renovation and Easter Giveaway Winners Announced………by Trenda

In the laundry room’s transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, Richard covered the walls with tongue and groove, beaded board that he painted a deep sage green to match the walls in the hallway.

Today I am excited to show you our renovation of the smallest room here at Cottage Green on the Lake, the cottage laundry room! Richard transformed this work horse room into such a cute little place, I inwardly sigh with contentment when I open the door.

Continue reading “Cottage Laundry Room Renovation and Easter Giveaway Winners Announced………by Trenda”

Easter Giveaway and Antique and Flea Market Finds

I love Depression Glass salt and pepper shakers: their colors, lined details, embossed flowers, and their ruggedy little tops that are dented and worn, whisper of days forgotten, if you listen………………

It’s almost spring and to celebrate I have 2 sweet bunny gifts to give away for 2 lucky winners, just in time for Easter! I’ll give you the complete set of instructions on how to enter, at the conclusion of this post. It seems so long ago since I wrote my last blog, on decoupaging terra cotta planters. A lot has happened since then and I’m sorry, I am just now writing again. Four weeks ago I had a terrifying experience when I was out in the cottage greenhouse.

Continue reading “Easter Giveaway and Antique and Flea Market Finds”

DIY French Flower Pots & Fun, Easy Valentine Gifts

I’ve always wanted to grow my own herbs and have fancied having a pair of those cute little herb scissors to clip fresh rosemary to sprinkle over hot plates of spaghetti or to cut a sprig of mint to add to tall glasses of ice tea in the summer.

Some Parisienne whimsy and a sweet Valentine gift, these chic French flower pots are charming and they are so easy and fun to make. I’ve always wanted to grow my own herbs and have fancied having a pair of those cute little herb scissors to clip fresh rosemary to sprinkle over hot plates of spaghetti or to cut a sprig of mint to add to tall glasses of ice tea in the summer. So when I saw these free, printable labels from The Graphics Fairy (click here for link and full size printable PDF) it was just the motivation I needed to get busy and make some sweet little containers to start my very own ‘herboristerie’ – French n. herbalist’s shop (; I’ve already used the labels on 3 terra cotta pots I painted and the look of the aged and vintage patina with the French labels peeking through is perfecto!

French labels from The Graphics Fairy

Supplies Needed for Making French Flower Pots using Labels:

  • terra cotta planters and saucers
  • Mod Podge (I used Mod Podge Matte – water base sealer, glue, & finish)
  • white acrylic paint (I used Apple Barrel “antique parchment”)
  • bristle paint brush (sponge brushes do not produce the desired texture and streaking effect)
  • scissors
  • paper to protect work surface you paint on (I used wax paper)
  • Graphic Fairy labels (click here for full size printable PDF copies of labels)
  • copy paper
  • printer

Directions:

  1. Cover work surface with wax paper or other protective covering
  2. Dip paint brush into the paint, wiping away any excess paint on the brush before applying the paint to the planter.
  3. Continue painting planter with this dry brush technique, wiping away any excess paint on the paint brush before applying the paint to the planter – paint predominantly in the same direction, except for some random strokes “here and there” to add dimension and depth – apply paint thicker in some areas than others – and allow the terra cotta color to show through in parts to resemble an aged pot
  4. Paint inside of planter for uniformity
  5. Allow paint to dry (it dries quickly)
  6. Cut out desired French label and apply Mod Podge to the back of the label and adhere the label to the planter
  7. Paint over the label with Mod Podge to seal and allow label to dry
  8. Brush white paint lightly over label in different areas to make the label “blend” into the pot
  9. Allow label to dry

Cutting out labels and adhering with Mod Podge

As soon as the Mod Podge was dry, I took my little pots out to the Cottage Greenhouse, sat down at my potting table and began filling them with potting soil. I did have a rosemary plant to plop into my first container for future plates of spaghetti, and though I didn’t have a peppermint plant, yet (I have one ordered) I was happy I had a snapdragon loaded with buds, and 2 golden orange pansies that were waiting for my new containers.

My sweet little rosemary planted in a Specialite De Patiences French Pot with a Queen Bee on the front.

This battered, old cubby holds all kinds of fun garden paraphernalia and the rosemary planter fits right in among my collection of floral frogs and antique salt and pepper shakers. The Depression Glass green shakers are my favorites with their shabby little screw caps that are dented and worn. They all look pretty and winsome sitting about, but they are dual purposed and make great containers for tiny things. I use them in the Cottage Greenhouse to store the seeds I gather from my flowers and trees.

In the greenhouse looking glass.

My plants winter residence. (:

The other evening I went out to my greenhouse after it was dark to turn the heater up, since it was supposed to get close to freezing that night. Richard put lights in the greenhouse for me, but I didn’t bother to turn them all on and only flipped on 1 switch, which left the corners and back of the greenhouse in the dark. I enjoyed seeing this new night-look in the greenhouse without the sun pouring in. I felt like a kid under the sheets with a flashlight peeking around at the looming shapes, while I walked to the dark back corner of the greenhouse. I have a bird clock hanging over my potting table that “sings” a different bird song each hour (See picture of the bird clock, 2 pictures above) Right when I was walking by my potting table “Once upon a midnight dreary” the bird of the hour, the Wood Thrush started trilling out his song! “Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear” it scared the wits out of me “filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before” and I hastily turned on another light. “Presently my soul grew stronger, hesitating then no longer” I turned the thermostat on the heater up, and after all…still thought my little cottage greenhouse looked enchanting by nightfall and I took a few pictures. I’ll let you see! By the way, the thermometer in there read 63 and my plants looked very cozy when I told them goodnight, turned out the lights and let myself out. (:

My shabby chic white-washed French planters that only cost me a $1.48 each! Fill them with fresh herbs and they would make delightful Valentine’s Day gifts for your friends and neighbors! To make things even easier for you, most grocery stores keep live herb plants stocked in their Produce Section. I ordered my live rosemary plant when I made out my Wal Mart grocery order and it was only $2.98 ! (P.S. I have already added the Mint and Basil live herbs to my shopping cart for my next on-line order!) Let me know if you make these French flower planters for yourself or for Valentine gifts! ❤

Au revoir! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

I am delighted you read my blog today and I’d love to hear from you! Please leave any questions or comments you have in the comment section below. Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment immediately after you write since all comments go through Word Press and have to be approved before posting. If you would like to read each new post I write and have it delivered directly to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above and follow the prompts.

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Winter at Cottage Green – Evergreen Centerpiece and DIY Bird Treats

Twilight was closing in which was a signal to the Loons to begin their enchanting love calls over the lake.

Auld Lang Syne and best wishes for the brightest and merriest of new years! You know I haven’t written you since last year (; so I need to write about the last bit of our 2020 before I begin writing about the new year. Get comfy and pour yourself something warm to drink, and as a dear friend and I say to one another, “Let’s drink some tea and talk of happy things.”

It was a wonderful Christmas season filled with bustling and busy-ness, yuletide cheer, and enough merry making “to make the season bright.” Then on the night of Winter Solstice we all had the added excitement and wonder of the celestial 2,000 year phenomenon of Jupiter and Saturn coming so closely aligned in their orbits they appeared as “a double planet” and were nicknamed the Christmas Star. All-the-while, our days were intermingled with the holiness and awe of the season as we reflected on what Christmas truly means and marveled anew that Jesus chose to come down to earth as a little baby to be our Savior.

A thousand times in history a baby has become a king, but only once in history did a King become a baby.

As usual I ran out of time to do all I wanted to do. However, one fun project I did have time to do was to make a beautiful evergreen centerpiece. I wish I could share with you the wonderful, heady, fir fragrance that enveloped my greenhouse while I was making it! The beautiful winter day was fading into twilight, but it was still warm enough outside to leave my greenhouse door open to see the lake and hear the birds twittering as they enjoyed their evening meal together at the bird feeders, while I worked.

The fir boughs I was using I had saved and kept fresh in 2 big buckets of water in the greenhouse ever since Richard had trimmed them from our Christmas tree. I had plenty of branches to work with, but I still needed a little texture and color to mix in with my fir branches. Out into the backyard I went to forage with pruners in hand. I experienced a little thrill of resourcefulness when I found the perfect filler I needed…pointed, deep green, holly leaves with bright red berries from our very own holly bushes! I couldn’t help myself and began humming “The Holly and the Ivy” while I was clipping.

The holly and the ivy, 
When they are both full grown 
Of all the trees that are in the wood 
The holly bears the crown.

I was back in the Cottage Greenhouse, ready to make my arrangement, still humming, now on the refrain…

O, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The playin of the merry organ
Sweet singing in the choir 

All done, just in time with the last light fading away.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as  lily flow'r
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our dear Saviour

My simple arrangement looked elegant on our woodland table and red tapers and red votive cups enhanced the red of the holly berries.

Then the Christmas season blended into New Year’s Eve and our son and daughter in law asked us to spend the festive evening with them and our 2 grand babies. ❤ Our DDIL had prepared a Mexican feast for us and we had corn and flour taquitos served with her homemade sausage queso and pico de gallo, Chicken Enchilada Dip (click here for recipe) served with chips and veggies, and a delicious Key Lime Pie. We spent the evening just enjoying each other’s company, watching the antics of our grand children, and toasting in the New Year with some sparkling White Grape Juice.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year…This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Then, this weekend SNOW was forecasted for us! It was the perfect time for another fun winter project I always enjoy doing, especially on a cold winter afternoon during NFL Wild Card Weekend; I made treats to decorate a tree for the birds! Click on the highlighted link to see another one of my posts about DIY bird treats… “A Picnic for the Birds” Since reading all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books when I was in elementary school, I’ve always wanted to string popcorn. Finally, after all these years, I decided to do it. Unlike Laura, who had to pop her corn over the kitchen fireplace, I conveniently got a bag of popcorn out of our cabinet and placed it in the microwave. While the kernels were popping, I set out some fresh cranberries I wanted to add to my popcorn string, found some cute red, green, and white cording to use for stringing, and a tapestry needle.

Helpful hints to make popcorn stringing easier:

  • Stale popcorn is easier to string than fresh, crispy popcorn. Pop your popcorn the night before and spread it out on wax paper so your popcorn will be easier to thread the next day.
  • Use a smaller needle and thread. A tapestry needle is blunt and much larger then a regular needle. It is a great choice if you have young children that are helping you that you don’t want to get hurt when working with a needle, however, it is harder for the large tapestry needle to go through the popcorn without breaking the popped kernel. After a few trials, I switched to a finer needle and just “doubled” sewing thread instead of using the thicker cording I had been using. I was amazed how much quicker and easier the stringing became!

After I got through stringing my popcorn and cranberries, I cut a grapefruit, an orange, and a lemon into thin slices to dry in the oven and hang as ornaments and treats on my bird tree.

Directions:

  • Slice your choice of fruits (I used 1 grapefruit, 1 orange, and 1 lemon) into thin rounds.
  • Pat both sides of fruit with a paper towel to dry and place the slices on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and bake fruit slices for 1 hour.
  • Turn slices over after the first hour and continue baking for another 1-2 hours, checking periodically to make sure the slices don’t burn
  • Total baking time, 2-3 hours, or until fruits are dried and transparent
  • Remove from oven
  • When cool, make a small slit in each fruit round near the rind to insert jute or yarn for hanging.

Next, I cut apple slices and used a mini cookie cutter to punch out heart in each apple slice. After the apple slices, I made sweet little orange cups and filled them with a mixture of peanut butter, corn meal, and bird seed.

Directions for Apple Slices w/heart cutout:

  • Cut apple in thin slices
  • Brush slices with lemon juice to keep apples from discoloring
  • Use a mini cookie cutter to punch out a heart in each apple slice
  • Insert yarn through heart and tie for hanging…or fill heart cut out with peanut butter seed mixture

Directions for Orange Seed Cups :

  • Cut orange in half and scoop out orange segments and pulp
  • Dry inside of both orange halves with a paper towel
  • Using a knife, make 3 holes near the cut edge of each orange half, making sure the holes are evenly spaced around the circumference of your orange
  • Insert jute or yarn into each hole and tie a knot to secure each strand to the orange, allowing extra length of yarn/jute for hanging (see picture below)
  • Knot the 3 strands of jute/yarn together at the top for hanging
  • Fill cups with birdseed or…I made a blend of peanut butter, cornmeal (adding cornmeal to peanut butter makes it easier for the birds to swallow) and birdseed to fill each orange cup

All the special treats for the bird feast were done and I hung them on what-had-been our Christmas tree. Strings of popcorn and cranberries, stained glass grapefruit, orange, and lemon slices, apple slices with little punched out hearts, and charming orange cups soon filled the tree. When I had finished, dear Richard, who always goes along with my whims, carried the whole tree up to the landing on our stairs where I could watch the birds from my chair. Just look how cute the tree looks perched up there!

“Bon Appetit!”

Sweet apple rounds underneath an appetizer of popcorn and cranberries.

Everything for the next day was done; the fruit ornaments and festoons of popcorn strands were hung. A winter feast awaited my feathered friends and the only thing needed was the predicted and unaccustomed snow for our area in East Texas.

After taking some pictures, I was sitting on the upper stairs hoping to see some late visitors, though I knew it was unlikely at that hour. [Side note: Did you know that by 4:30 (here in East Texas) most birds have quit feeding and are already tucked away, safe in their nests? The cardinals are usually the latest birds to arrive at the feeders. My guess is they use the evening shadows to help diminish the visibility of their bright red feathers which makes them more vulnerable and highly visible to predators.] Twilight was closing in which was a signal to the Loons to begin their enchanting love calls over the lake. While I was enthralled and still listening to the Loons, 2 bald headed eagles flew by right above me, only 25 feet from where I was sitting! My winter evening came with gifts. ❤

And the next day, even earlier than predicted, our snow came!

The birds lined up in pecking order [which is a very important social order and strictly observed at our feeders!] Woodpeckers, with their strong, swift beaks are given the highest respect, with the Blue Jays next in line since they are bigger than most of the birds we typically see at our feeders. Regal Cardinals seem indifferent to all, but their own mate and cautiously watched from the snow covered branches eyeing and picking out which treats they wanted before they approached. The Junco’s, or Snow Birds as they’re commonly called and the Carolina Wrens happily ate the treats that fell to the deck, thus avoiding the wait and the line. The rest of the crew, the sweet, smaller birds, the Carolina and Black-capped Chickadees, all the Finches (the American Goldfinch, House Finch, and Red Finch) Warblers, and Titmouse stayed close by, flitting in and out, and rested on the branches between courses.

Beautiful, beautiful snow! I couldn’t get over it’s loveliness and how it felt falling “on my nose and eyelashes.”

or… thinking how clever God is to imagine and be so creative that He made what usually comes down as rain in other seasons, into something soft, fluffy, and fun to play in, just to soften the landscape and mood of winter.

Look how enchanting my Potting Cottage looks in the snow!

Well, I think that catches us all up. Our snow was a delight for the day, and the next day the sun was shining brightly and only the bravest and most stalwart of snowmen remained. Bemusedly, when Richard brought in the mail yesterday there on top of the stack of mail was my Burpee Seed Catalog, filled with the promise of Spring, zesty-mix zinnia’s, and Gloriosa Daisy’s!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

I’m delighted you read my blog today! I’d love to hear from you! Please leave any questions or comments you have in the comment section below. Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment immediately after you write. All comments go through Word Press before posting. If you would like to read each new post I write and have it delivered directly to your email address, just click FOLLOW in my post above and follow the prompts.

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“On Days Like These” Pressing and Drying Leaves and Flowers

Summer's loss
Seems little, dear! on days like these.

~ Ernest Christopher Dowson

“On days like these” the leaves on our Redbud and Ash Trees glowed golden yellow in the sunlight and to our delight the double breasted cormorants that winter here glided into our cove by the hundred’s.

“On days like these” geese flew by in waves with the swoosh of their wings heard, before they were seen silhouetted against autumn blue skies.

“On days like these” leaves drifted by on wayward breezes and looked fetching against the green backdrop of grass.

Just look at all these glorious, autumn leaves I collected and preserved!

Scarlet Sweet Gum leaves, Burgundy Japanese Maple leaves, Burning Bush leaves, and yellow Redbud leaves
Burnt orange Sycamore leaves, yellow Redbud leaf, and burgundy Japanese Maple leaves

Our winter’s come delightfully late here in East Texas and our first freeze of the year wasn’t predicted until Monday night, the last night in November. That afternoon I carried my outdoor plants into the greenhouse where Richard was busy getting our heating system and thermometer all set up. After I got all the plants tucked away in their winter home, I went around the yard and clipped as many flowers as I could. Knockout Roses, impatiens, chrysanthemums, and Encore Azaleas were still blooming beautifully and the bouquet in my hands kept getting bigger and bigger, since I hated to leave any blossoms. I had lots to work with and made some sweet little arrangements to place around the house.

A cluster of azaleas drape over the edge of this pink and green sorbet dish. Richard bought this miniature violin for me. The strings actually pluck and are wound into the pegs!

Deep red-orange chrysanthemums look striking against the green of a Depression Glass sugar bowl. Look at this sweet little antique vinegar & oil caddy with salt and pepper shakers I recently found on a trip we took to Branson.

Take a detour with me for a moment and look at 3 more treasures I found on our trip…these green Depression Glass shakers! I’m keeping them in the Cottage Greenhouse; they’ll be perfect for storing seeds I gather from my flowers.

Back to leaf and flower pressing! (: The rest of my gathering’s I laid out on paper towels to press and dry beneath a pile of heavy books. It is so satisfying drying flowers, ferns, or leaves – and being able to use them later to decorate a tablescape, make a centerpiece, or use them in some other project adds another dimension of enjoyment.

How to Press Leaves & Flowers

  1. Choose leaves that are fresh and supple…and flowers that are NOT densely petaled
  2. Place items you want to press on a paper towel or newspaper, making sure the leaves/flowers do not overlap
  3. Place another paper towel or newspaper on top of the items you are pressing
  4. Place the sandwiched leaves/flowers inside a heavy book, or stack heavy books or objects on top of the paper towel “sandwich” and keep in a dry location
  5. In approximately 2 weeks the pressed leaves/flowers will be completely dry and ready to use

Next post I plan to show you a fun and easy project using some of my pressed leaves. Hope you enjoy these last days of autumn and have fun gathering leaves and pressing them.

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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In the Cottage Greenhouse…How to Propagate and Transplant Moss

"At these times, the things that troubled her seemed far away and unimportant; all that mattered was the hum of the bees and the chirp of birdsong, the way the sun gleamed on the edge of a blue wildflower, the distant bleat and clink of grazing goats."  ~ Allison Croggon

Moss covered anything makes me a little dreamy and after I wrote the post showing our moss covered pathway and this sweet moss covered cherub in our birdbath, I had so many comments and questions asking how I get my moss to grow, I thought I’d write about it.

Some things you need to know about moss before you try to propagate it. Moss likes shady to semi-shady places, acidic soil, and moisture. Moss can grow on almost anything and doesn’t require dirt to grow. If you are trying to grow moss in an area where there isn’t any moss, you will need to have a moss “starter” since moss grows from spores, rather than roots.

Redbud blossoms sprinkled on our pathway of moss

Instructions How to Grow or Propagate Moss

  1. It’s fun hunting for the moss you’ll need to begin propagating your own moss. Collect moss from areas that already have live moss growing on them…from your yard, a park, moss that is growing on trees or structures, or ask friends or neighbors for a moss starter.
  2. Gather your moss in any container that is easy to clean and rinse out. I use a shallow terracotta planter.
  3. Break up the clumps of moss, using garden tools or whatever else you have handy. I use an antique pastry blender that I keep in the Cottage Greenhouse to break up and blend my “moss pies. (See picture below)
  4. To the collection of moss in your container, add equal parts of buttermilk and water, and mix together until your moss, buttermilk, and water is the consistency of a milkshake.
  5. “Paint” or pour your moss milkshake on the surfaces you want to cover with moss.
  6. Keep your new moss moist and “weed free, since weeds rob the moisture that is needed by your moss.
  7. It will take approximately 6 weeks before your new moss begins to spread

Terracotta planter and antique pastry blender I use for mixing moss

Cherub statuary in birdbath covered in moss

I just began re-growing this moss on our courtyard pathway this spring after we power washed off the moss that had been growing there. When moss needs moisture it starts looking dull and dried (like in the picture below.)

Now, look at the color of the moss in this picture. Notice that the moss is brighter and greener, but also that the moss is spreading, since it is getting more moisture.

Raccoons and other furry folk have a habit of overturning new moss beds, or pulling up chunks of moss to look for bugs. Don’t fret if this happens, just smoosh your moss back into place, and water.

More Redbud petals sprinkled on the moss beneath the tree

Lush moss bed along our garden path that I propagated.

To transplant moss…find and dig up the moss you want to transplant…keep it moist until ready to transplant…press the moss into the surface where you want it to grow (remember, moss doesn’t require soil to grow, but can also grow on other surfaces.) I spied this little clump of moss while Richard and I were gathering some walnuts along an old ferry road down by the river. Dear Richard dug up the moss for me to take home and the sweet little wildwood fern that was growing right in the center, came along with it! I kept the moss damp by wetting some paper napkins and wrapping the moss in it, placed the wrapped moss inside a plastic bag, and tied the top of the bag together until we got home. I can tell by their vivid green colors that the moss and little fern love their new location where I pressed this little patch of forest-floor into our gravel bed! (:

Let me know if you try propagating your own moss! And for more moss enchantment…click on Carrot Patch Cupcakes with edible crumb “moss” made out of graham cracker crumbs! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

P.S. This past 6 weeks has been a series of emotional peaks and valleys for us. I had a wonderful and miraculous report from the doctor…then we got the heartbreaking news that my dear, youngest sister had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Every step of the way, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” Psalms 23:4 Oh, I am heartbroken that during this short lifetime on earth, I will never see my sister again, but I am overjoyed knowing we will be together again in heaven, since she and I both know and believe in Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus and do not have a personal relationship with Him, He is just a whisper away. The Bible says, If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 If you long for that security and relationship with the Lord where you “fear no evil for Thou art with me,” please go to the top of my blog and click on the page ABOUT ME …then click on My Faith in Jesus Christ. If you have any questions, or you would like me to pray with you about anything, please let me know in the comment section below, or write me at: cottagegreenonthelake@gmail.com

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Labor Day Weekend … “The Gang’s All Here!”

Hail, hail, the gang's all here, 
Never mind the weather, here we are together;
Hail, hail, the gang's all here,
Sure we're glad that you're here, too!

If you’re not barefoot, then you’re overdressed.

Unknown

Labor Day is the last big fanfare of the summer here at the lake and I’ve been getting ready for our weekend with “the gang all here!” I thought you might like reading and seeing some of the tips, preps, how to’s, menu’s, and recipes we use for our family get together’s and what we do here at Cottage Green preparing “4theseasons” and for our family celebrations. P.S. For those of you that don’t know … my Twitter and Instagram account is 4theseasons. (;

I love how summer just wraps it’s arms around you like a warm blanket.

Kellie Elmore

Since we’ll have several different areas set up for food and drink, I always like to have multiple caddy’s ready that are easy to carry and set up and hold all our cutlery and napkins. I use this rugged twig caddy often, since it’s so handy. (See it in the picture above when we had watermelon on the dock while watching the gorgeous sunset and (click here to see the same twiggy caddy in a Woodland Christmas Tablescape) I always tuck cloth napkins into the basket to line and soften the edges of the twigs, and to match the cutlery we’ll be using. Our color theme for Labor Day is red, white, and blue and a basket of red anchor napkins on a blue and white striped background will be whimsical setting on the dock table and will fit in perfectly with our lake theme, in just the right colors.

Next … this cute and showy rowboat caddy will be for our Farewell BBQ dinner. No frail paper napkins will do when finger lickin’ ribs and homemade barbeque sauce are on the menu! Red cloth bandanna’s are folded up to secure cutlery, then are wrapped around the bundle and festooned with red, white and blue wired tinsel.

Red, white and blue plastic sandwich baskets are lined with festive red and white checked deli papers. The baskets are sturdy and easy for small hands to carry even when their baskets are filled with ribs, cool pasta salad, and a little bean pot filled with (Delicious BBQ Beans – click here for recipe.)

Pictures and Instructions … How to Assemble Cutlery and Napkin Packages

1.Fold napkin into quarters. Place folded edge to your left side and open selvage of your napkin to your right. Fold up the bottom edge of your napkin, about 5 inches, if you are using larger napkins like these bandanna’s. If the napkins you use are smaller, fold up less material, according to size, but so you still have ample material left to pull up, cover and secure your cutlery.

2.Place a knife, fork, and spoon with the tips of the cutlery just beneath the left hand corner of your napkin and fan out so bottom of utensils are in line with the right hand bottom corner. FYI: Placing the cutlery beneath the edge of the material makes a prettier presentation and helps keep the utensils from getting dirty.

3.Now fold the left side of the napkin over the top of the utensils and fold the bottom right hand corner of the napkin straight up, over the top of the first fold. This secures your cutlery and keeps it from falling out when it’s picked up. Remember those unfortunate times all your silverware has fallen out when you were picking up your silverware bundle at a restaurant or cafeteria??? This tuck keeps that from happening!

4.Holding the left side of folded napkin and keeping the cutlery in place in the center (the cutlery will slide somewhat as you keep rolling your napkin, you can flare it out, again, if you need to, after you have secured the napkin bundle with your tinsel wire or cording) Just keep rolling your bundle to the right until all the material of the napkin is entirely wrapped around the bundle inside. When your napkin is rolled around in a concise package, hold or place the cutlery bundle down on the surface you are working on so it doesn’t unroll while you are getting your wired tinsel to secure the package. In the picture below I wanted you to be able to see how your bundle should look before securing. TIP: I usually have my tinsel or cording already cut and ready before I start my bundles so I can tie each place setting immediately, after I’m through rolling my napkin bundle.

5.Finished rolled cutlery bundle before cording.

6.I am not too exact when I am using tinsel wiring since I don’t like to pull out all the bends, plus any excess tinsel always looks cuter when there’s more! Each strand of tinsel wire I cut is approximately 13 inches long. Don’t worry if you don’t have any tinsel wire, I have made these bundles using colored raffia (click here to see Easter bundles made with smaller paper napkins and tied with raffia) silk red and green plaid ribbon with pine cone ornaments attached, rugged jute with white lifesavers dangling to mimic life preservers, and thin white macrame cording with anchor buttons; whatever tinsel or cording I’ve used, these bundles are always darling.

7.Center your tinsel or cording around your bundle so there is an equal amount of wire or cording on each side of the napkin to twist or tie.

8.Wrap the 2 strands of your tinsel or cording around your bundle to meet in the middle and twist together, or tie in a simple knot if you or using cording . When I use tinsel wiring, after twisting the tinsel to hold in place,I twirl first one end and side of the wiring loosely around my index finger, then I slip my finger out, which leaves the tinsel in loose coils. Then I gently pull the coils out to the desired length I want … then I do the same thing to the opposite side of the tinsel.

One more caddy finished and one to go for our Sand Pail Ice Cream Finale (click here for pictures of our Fun Summer Tradition)

Gotta go, the Gang’s Almost Here! Hope you have a wonderful and safe Labor Day Weekend … AND I hope you liked this post. I’m planning on this being a new series of blogs I share with you whenever “our gang” is coming! ❤

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I’d love to hear from you!  Please ask any questions you may have or post any comments, below. 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

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In the Cottage Greenhouse … DIY Nature Place Cards

~ Trenda

Look at the latest sparkle I’ve added in the Cottage Greenhouse! I found this quaint and quirky vanity tray mirror covered in a layer of dust at a local Thrift Store for only $1.00! When I found it, I had no idea where I was going to put it, but I couldn’t bear to leave it there forgotten and forlorn.

Now, look how perfectly charming it looks in The Cottage Greenhouse!

Instead of the usual cosmetics and perfumes that sit on a vanity tray, I loaded my Greenhouse vanity tray with a few of my antique metal floral frogs and a tiny silver platter with ruffled edges I topped with a chunky cloche. A crystal watering can fits in perfectly with this garden vignette.

Pretty DIY place cards are propped up on the prongs of antique floral frogs. They look fetching in this greenhouse setting, but they’re especially sweet when I use them in a Nature themed tablescape!

To make this flower place card I cut an image from an old garden book that I was lucky to find at a library sale for only $1.00! I cut the flower image into a smaller rectangle and rounded the corners of the card to soften the edges, then inked the edges. Complete instructions for all Nature place cards below.

To make this little card under the cloche, I photo-copied a favorite vintage green and white crocheted table runner onto cream card stock, then cut the paper copy into small cards. I punched out a round tab from an old book page and distressed it by inking along the edges. Then I stamped the tab with a letter “T” and stapled it onto a bit of lace.

I love the look of this unique and layered place card and made it by first laying a lace handkerchief on the copy machine. Then I placed a cloth napkin on top of the lace handkerchief, closed the lid on my copy machine, and copied the layered cloths onto cream colored card stock. Look at the beautiful texture on the card below and how the photo copied lace looks like actual lace overlapping the card.

Instructions for DIY Nature Place Cards

  1. Instead of using decorative papers or colored card stock for this project, I used an assortment of materials … a page from a garden book, a vintage green and white table runner, a lace handkerchief, and a floral napkin. I love the look and visual texture of materials photo-copied onto cream colored card stock. So use your imagination when making your place cards and have fun looking for the textiles or other images you want to photo copy for your place card backgrounds.
  2. After making your photo copies, cut the paper copy into the shapes you desire for your project. I cut my photo-copied paper into petite rectangles to fit in my antique floral frogs.
  3. For variety, I left some of the corners of my cards square, other’s I rounded using a corner punch I have. If you don’t have a corner punch, you can round the edges of your place cards with scissors.
  4. No inking is necessary, but if you want to add an antique or aged look to your place cards, ink the edges of your cards using a blending tool and stamp pad. I used Tim Holtz’s mini ink blending tool and Tim Holtz’s Distress Ink Pad, Color: Vintage Photo
  5. To add stamped images to your cards, you will need cling or acrylic stamps or wood block stamps. I used an acrylic bird image stamp, an acrylic bumble bee stamp, and a set of wood block miniature alphabet letters I bought at CVS for only $1.00. (Seems I’ve found a lot of good deals for only a $1.00!) I used the alphabet set to stamp the letters at the top of my card to spell PRETTY.
  6. Punch or cut out round tabs using old book pages and staple them to the card on top of a bit of lace … or use buttons and glue the lace to the button and attach both to the card.

A little embellishment for a lot of charm!

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In other news … my dear Richard cleaned out and organized his sprinkler pipes, fertilizers, and tools that were in the Cottage Greenhouse and he built two more sets of shelves for my bedding plants and greenhouse accouterments. ❤ Now I have twice as much room for planting and playing in the Cottage Greenhouse! Coming soon … pictures of my new addition, plus a Greenhouse tablescape using my Nature place cards!

WELCOME SEPTEMBER!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Pink Lemonade Pineapple Punch Recipe made for Outdoor Tablescape and Garden Drink Station

In my last post Outdoor Tablescape and Garden Drink Station I wrote that I’d made a big container of “punch … for our hot summer afternoon.” Since then, I’ve had requests asking what punch recipe I used. So … today I am sharing the recipe for Pink Lemonade Pineapple Punch! I first saw this recipe on “The Frugal Girl’s” and made a few changes. Now, it’s one of my favorite punch recipe’s! It’s so easy to make and really is just a matter of pouring and stirring all the ingredients together.

Pink Lemonade Pineapple Punch – Ingredients:

  • 64 oz Cranberry Juice 100% juice (not Cranberry Juice Cocktail)
  • 46 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 12 oz can frozen pink lemonade concentrate (thawed)
  • 2 liters Ginger Ale
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

Pink Lemonade Pineapple Punch – Instructions:

  1. Chill all ingredients, except sugar before making
  2. In a punch bowl or other large beverage container add Cranberry Juice, Pineapple Juice, thawed concentrated pink lemonade, and Ginger Ale
  3. Add sugar to juice and lemonade mixture
  4. Stir together until sugar is dissolved
  5. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve

This recipe makes a lot of punch (approximately 18 – 2 cup servings) and even a week after being made, tastes delicious when kept in the refrigerator. The combination of fruit juices and lemonade are so refreshing whether we’re working in the yard or playing on the lake.

I’ve felt indulgent every time I’ve drawn up 2 glasses of punch for us.

Remember in last week’s post this picture of my miniature birdbath? I wrote, “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.

Well … this little darling slammed into our window yesterday and landed in an unconscious heap, right below the window where I sit and write my blog! ):

At first we could see her heart beating very rapidly, then it got slower and slower. When her body began to twitch, Richard quietly told me, “you might not want to look any longer, she isn’t going to make it.” (.: I was dismayed and had already been praying, so I continued, knowing the Bible tells us that the Lord is aware of every sparrow that falls. At least 20 minutes went by and the baby cardinal still lay their unconscious, but Richard could still see her heart beating very slowly. All of a sudden and startlingly, the little birdie’s head popped up! We were thrilled, but since she made no further movements we were still concerned. Another 15 minutes went by when unexpectedly she spread her baby wings and flitted her tiny tail (which were hardly big enough for accurate navigation) and flew off! Our little fluff-ball blessing of the day and a beautiful reminder of this scripture, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31 Like my little birdbath says, “His eye is on the sparrow (and the baby cardinal!) and I know He watches me.”

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Look for all those benefit’s and fluff-ball blessings God gives us each day! Try the punch … serving punch any day, makes you feel like your having a party! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Outdoor Tablescape and Garden Drink Station

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.

Iris Murdock

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.

The whole time I was arranging this garden drink station, the melody of Ricky Nelson’s song, “Garden Party” was wafting through my mind. I had so much fun putting this all together and the punch seemed to taste even better in it’s garden party setting! I can tell we’re going to be using this little spot for all kinds of al fresco enjoyment … serving hot apple cider in the autumn … pumpkin latte’s in winter(click here for recipe) … even holding a tureen full of soup for cozy afternoon’s spent around the bonfire! (click here for Stuffed Pepper Soup recipe) (click here for Tuscan Tomato Soup recipe) … and (click here for Easy Potato Soup recipe)

"I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again ..." 
 ~ Garden Party by Ricky Nelson 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.” Isaiah 61:11

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Thank you for reading my blog. 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

Follow me on PINTEREST at Trenda@cottagegreenonthelake.com