In the Cottage Greenhouse … DIY Plant Markers and Propagating Hydrangea

It was a delightful day for working in the cottage greenhouse.
Breezes from the north swept past the greenhouse door and I could see the lake winking at me while I worked at my garden desk.

I love hydrangeas and each spring I look forward to the gorgeous purple-blue blooms that fill our bushes. However, between the weather and furry folks, my hydrangea hedge has dwindled down to one lone bush. When I looked on-line to order more hydrangea’s, the nursery selections were limited and costly. With both those incentives, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to propagate some hydrangea cuttings from my Mophead Hydrangea … something I’ve wanted and meant to do every summer. It was a delightful day for working in the cottage greenhouse. Breezes from the north swept past the greenhouse door and I could see the lake winking at me while I worked at my garden desk.

Before beginning my propagation project I ordered a set of peat pot trays, though I could have used a pot or any other container for my cuttings, provided they had good drainage. My seedling trays came with a set of bedding plant markers. I was disappointed when I opened my package and saw the plant markers were made of plastic and were stark white. I had envisioned something a little more “earthy” and rustic for my first greenhouse project. Undaunted, I went out in the yard, gathered up some twigs, and whittled my own set of charming plant markers!

These plant markers made from twigs are just what I had envisioned, they are so rustic and winsome … AND so simple and fun to make! The only thing you’ll need for this project is twigs, a pocket knife for whittling, and a permanent marker. Are you ready? (: …. Go outside and pick up some twigs that are all about the same length and diameter, and that are reasonably straight (though some crooks and knot holes in your twigs add character!) Then sit down and begin whittling away the bark at the wider end of your stick. Carve enough bark away on your twig to expose the smooth wood underneath. You’ll only want to whittle away enough of the rough bark so you can easily write the names of the plants or seeds on your twig marker for identification. In the little red pail below, are ALL of the twig plant markers I made. I wrote Hydrangea and Morning Glory on 2 of them and I left the other markers with empty “nameplates” for future projects. Before I made these plant markers, I had never whittled anything in my life. I found the task mesmerizing and had to stop myself from carving away too much of the twig! P.S. – See the white plastic marker that came with the seedling trays that I placed next to my twig plant markers! (:

PROPAGATING HYDRANGEAS … SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  1. seedling trays or other container w/good drainage
  2. Potting Mix (I used Miracle Gro)
  3. pruners
  4. container of water
  5. rooting hormone (I used Garden Safe Rooting Hormone)
  6. Sharp stick or pencil

The best time to take “cuttings” from a hydrangea is around the first day of summer. The first day of summer is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and is also known as Summer Solstice … and this year Summer Solstice is today, June 20th! Around this time is when the leaves of the hydrangea are lush and green and it’s also the fastest time for the hydrangea to begin generating roots. Starting your hydrangea cutting’s at this time allows enough time for the cuttings (also known as strikes) to develop root systems before the hydrangea’s go dormant in the fall. Look for new, tender green limbs, known as “soft wood” on your hydrangea, as opposed to the brown, rigid woody sticks known as “old growth.” Cut 3″- 5″ stems, making the cut right below a leaf node (leaf nodes are horizontal segments on the stem where the leaves grow out) and include 3 leaf nodes in the stem you cut.

Carry a cup or container of water with you as you make your cuttings and place your hydrangea cuttings in the water so they won’t become taxed or wilted.

After you have as many cuttings as you want, trim your cuttings, taking off all the leaves except for the top 2. If your leaves are very small, you can leave them whole. However, if you are propagating large leaf hydrangea varieties, cut these leaves to about 1/4 of their original size so the cutting won’t be strained trying to supply water to the large leaf. Return your cuttings to the water after cutting the leaves. Fill your seedling trays or other container with potting mix and use a pencil (I used the the sharp end of my new whittled twig plant markers!) to poke a hole into the potting mix … 1 hole for each of your cutting’s, then dampen your potting mix before inserting your hydrangea cuttings.

Dip each wet hydrangea stem into the rooting hormone and insert cutting, coated with rooting hormone into your prepared potting mix. At least one set of leaf nodes, preferably 2, need to be covered in the potting mix since the nodes and stem are where the new roots will begin growing.

Gently push the potting mix around the cutting to hold it firmly in place, and continue until all cuttings are planted, then water thoroughly until the water flows freely from the drainage hole. If you use peat pots or trays like I did, I watered my cuttings until the sides of the tray were sodden. Keep your cuttings in a bright, warm place, but out of direct sunlight, and make sure your potting mix is moist at all times.

Don’t disturb your hydrangea strikes and continue to let them grow in your container or trays, making sure they are kept moist; I watered mine once each day. In 4 weeks your hydrangea cuttings, or strikes, should have produced new roots. At this time you can transfer your hydrangea’s to a bigger container. When you feel like your new hydrangea plants have become strong enough, or they have outgrown their container, they can be planted in your yard. This method of propagation works for all varieties of hydrangeas. I planted 10 hydrangea cuttings which hopefully will grow into 10 more Mophead Hydrangea bushes for our yard. Did you know a 1 gallon plant of Endless Summer Mophead Hydrangeas cost $29.99 on Amazon?!!! Go get on your garden gloves! (:

I love puttering around in my cottage greenhouse and below I have included some pictures of some of the knick-knacks I’ve added for some greenhouse charm. This wrought iron chair under my garden desk ~ is 1 of 4 that belongs with a beautiful glass topped garden table that my grandmother always had on her covered front porch. My mother gave the cherished table set to me and Richard sweetly sanded it and gave it a new coat of white paint. Now, I keep the table inside and use it in my music/craft room. I have dear memories of my grandmother and me sitting on her porch as she worked with her plants, sitting in this very chair! ❤

An Angel Wing Begonia looks beautiful tucked in a planter until I have the time to transplant it to an antique washtub outside my Potting Shed. See the sweet antique planter with the little bear sitting on top of the log? I love to find and collect these whimsical planters when we go antiqu’ing, and I have them in all kinds of unexpected places, not only in the greenhouse!

A grapevine wrapped pencil cup holds carved colored pencils and a chunky votive burns citronella and vanilla candles when I’m in the greenhouse. Here’s another one of my antique planters … a sweet little birdhouse with a red roof and a little birdie perched by the front door.

An old handmade wheelbarrow holds a spool of jute and scissors ready for tying up plants and other garden projects.

I love this tiny little flower vase with the kissing birds and I love to tuck tiny flowers inside. The colors of the birds and the coral-orange of the impatien’s bloom match perfectly with the box of wildflower seeds.

This is the canvas I told you about in my post “Charcuterie Charm” (click here to see) that my dear friend, Patricia made from the picture I sent her of the metal table I covered with broken pieces of blue and white pottery. Patricia told me she had this canvas made for me to hang in my greenhouse. I love it (and the giver) ❤ Doesn’t it make a great backdrop for my folksy handmade windmill with adjoining planter that holds an Asparagus Fern?

This miniature bistro table belonged to our daughter when she was little. ❤ The tabletop was always set with her Beatrix Potter tea set, ready for impromptu Teddy Bear Tea Party’s. I couldn’t think of parting with it, or the memories of sweet days gone by. Now, I love seeing it on my garden desk with a nest propped on one of the bistro chairs, a little bird keeping watch from the feathery fronds of a Plumosa Asparagus Fern, and another planter topped with little frogs, and filled with carved colored pencils.

Hope you enjoyed your day … your Summer Solstice, and the beginning of summer! Look who obligingly walked right into the picture below as I was taking our beautiful sunset. A Great Blue Heron we’ve fondly named Whiskers. He comes to our backyard buffet every evening, looking for dinner!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Summer Re-Cap …

“Another summer set into a glorious sunset and in the morning … September arose.”

“Another summer set into a glorious sunset and in the morning … September arose.”

Trenda

It seemed like a very busy and short summer, and before I can go on with
“all things autumn” … here’s a re-cap of our summer. I am so sorry I haven’t written any posts this summer, but now I’ve written about some of our summer highlights all in one “verbose” blog. Pour yourself another cup of coffee and enjoy the “this and that’s” of our summer. The smallest and most adorable “this” of our summer … our brand new grand baby! Our son and daughter-in-law had their 2nd child, and their first little girl! She is “sugar and spice and everything nice” and I can’t keep from smiling just looking at her precious face! ❤

Grand baby #3 … “our quiver is full.” ❤

June … The very first day of June we headed off to Branson, Missouri and spent a week there with our daughter and sweet grand daughter.

“Just a swingin'” …. Momma and daughter at Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri
Dear Grand daughter at White Water Water Park in Branson.

As soon as we got back, we began decorating for Vacation Bible School.

Sweet husband hanging beaded curtain for Pharaoh’s palace.

Our grandson was thrilled that he got to go to his first year of Vacation Bible School in a pre-school class provided for the teacher’s kids. He went every day with PaPa and Grandma and loved it!

VBS – “ROAR! When Life is Wild God is Good!” Little grandson playing “Pac Man” in the kid’s arcade at church while PaPa and Grandma were preparing for the next day’s lesson. (:

Then it was July … Happy 243rd birthday America!

Hubby, grand daughter, daughter, and Daisy all dressed up in red, white, and blue for the neighborhood parade at the lake for the 4th of July.
Favors for the 4th of July

July afternoon’s on the lake …

Floating Texas style!

… summer afternoon’s at the arcade.

3 Generations … PaPa, Son, and Grandson ❤

… and Spin Zone!

Family bumper cars!

… around Cottage Green!

Nesting under the fronds of nearby liriope (monkey grass) a terra cotta duck is filled with clover.
Wax leaf Begonia and Creeping Fig
Sunny Coleus and Marguerite vine next to a teeny tiny birdbath that is just the right size for little hummers.

July stretched into August … with happy days spent making chocolate chip cookies with Grandma.

Grandma’s happy boy!

… and homemade soap!

5 year old grandson opening flower petals to add to our soap
Didn’t he do good? ❤

Days of ‘tiquing and ticking …

Decorative tables are some of my favorite things to find whenever we go on our “treasure hunts.” Look what I found snuggled together in a cluttered corner of a favorite shop.

This charming duo from Italy will look perfect in our “almost finished” upstairs bathroom. (Reveal coming!) A pair of crocheted hand towels ribbon-ed together, a luxuriant bar of Gardenia scented soap, and a medley of dried rose petals, lavender, chamomile buds, lemon grass, orange peel, and hibiscus petals fill a crystal biscuit barrel and sit atop the ornate tables.

Florentine Nesting Tables from Italy

Then, on the next to last day of summer, I found this darling glass topped table with twiggy legs, and a little birdie perched on the edge of a branch.

Then, we ended our summer the same way we began … by heading back up to Branson with our daughter and grand daughter the last week before summer vacation was over.

Less than a week after our return, Richard and I drove up to La Crosse, Kansas for the Memorial of WO James Eisenhower, who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968.

After TAPS, a salute by military liaison, another military member, and 4 members of the 240th Helicopter Assault Company. Richard is the 3rd person from the left. Standing next to him is, Morris, Steve, and Ridge. The brother of the deceased is Mark Eishenhower, the last person on the right.

After the Memorial, Richard and I took the scenic route back through Colorado and we drove through Wolf Creek Pass … “way up on the Great Divide” (: passing ski slopes we used to ski on, not really so many winter’s ago.

Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado

That evening we stopped at Pagosa Springs, Colorado and checked into the cutest log cabin that Richard spotted alongside the San Juan River. We had a lovely dinner at a Mexican restaurant and sat outside on the patio where it was Colorado cool, even in August! (: Our table overlooked the San Juan river and natural hot springs that Pagosa Springs is named for.

Bath Houses and Hot Spring Spas in Pagosa Springs along the San Juan River.

The next day we crossed the border into New Mexico and drove past other familiar mountains we used to ski on: Red River, Angel Fire, and Taos, New Mexico. We stopped in Angel Fire to see a Vietnam Memorial and Garden located in a perfect spot for reflection on a peak overlooking Angel Fire and the mountains, beyond.

Vietnam War Memorial in Angel Fire, New Mexico. Huey helicopter with Richard and the American flag in the background. ❤
Vietnam Memorial Garden in Angel Fire, New Mexico

We stayed that night, high in the beautiful, secluded mountain mesa that is the town of Los Alamos. “Los Alamos is a town in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States that is recognized as the development and creation of the atomic bomb – the primary objective of the Manhattan Project by Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II.” The next day we went to the Visitor Center and saw a film on Los Alamos during WWII. Afterwards, we were given a map and we took a driving tour of the homes and work areas from that time period.

Our guide at the Visitor Center urged us,” if we had the time” to drive on to Valles Caldera National Preserve.

We did and driving through that preserve gave us a glimpse of a “land before time” with majestic Ponderosa Pines, Loblolly Pines, White Pines and natural grasses.

Valles Caldera

Hillsides were covered with groves of Blue Spruce and Junipers and “were home” to over 144,00 elk, the second largest elk population in New Mexico. Our brochure also told us that other residents of Valles Caldera included black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, golden eagles, wild turkeys, and prairie dogs. **ALSO … If you’ve ever watched the A&E Network series titled “LONGMIRE” … Valles Caldera is the location for a lot of the filming that takes place. We drove right up to “Sheriff Longmire’s cabin” that was originally built on this property back in 1917 – 1918.

Sheriff Walt Longmire’s cabin from the TV series – “Longmire”

The next day we crossed over the border into Texas and stopped at Palo Duro Canyon, the “little Grand Canyon.” Oh my, it was spectacular and neither Richard and I had ever seen it before! One of the many things we loved about this grand sight was that we could drive our car all the way down to the base of the canyon to see all the landmarks, caves, and rock formations.

Palo Duro Canyon, Texas
Cave at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas

From Palo Duro Canyon we were only 6 1/2 hours from home. Every mountain, mesa, canyon, tumbleweed, yucca, cactus and rock formation we saw on our trip was just a reminder of God’s artistry, and as I looked at each of these sight’s my soul sang … “My God how great Thou art!”

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

Between the Months of June and August … at the Lake

 It’s hard to believe it’s the end of August and our golden, lazy, summer days are waning.  Another summer filled with happy laughter, cannonball splashes. bobbing rafts, sunset boat rides, locust droning and warm breezes blowing against cooled bodies in wet bathing suits. 

~ Trenda

“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August.”   —Jenny Han

 It’s hard to believe it’s the end of August and our golden, lazy, summer days are waning.  Another summer filled with happy laughter, cannonball splashes. bobbing rafts, sunset boat rides, locust droning and warm breezes blowing against cooled bodies in wet bathing suits.  Here are some of the good and magical moments of our summer.

Days of boating …

Bentley

Feeding the geese and ducks …

5 geese

PaPa’s First Mate and Skipper …  This look on our little grandson’s face is priceless as he samples the duck food (pumpernickel bread) and tells me … “Grandma, this tastes yucky!” (: (: (:

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Days of floating …

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Precious lullaby moments …

lullabye

These white herons flew in from their day wandering’s to roost and “bed down” in the boughs of this tree for the night.

white herons

Deer grazing on the green grasses beside the lake at twilight.

deer

Watching summer sunsets tinge the lake color to shades of pink and purple.

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There were summer “Cousin Days” and playing hide ‘n seek …

Hide 'n Seek

Riding piggy-back …

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Riding skate boards … painting faces … climbing walls at the park … happy faces and happy hearts!  “Your cousin is your very first friend.”  

cousin collage

Enjoying fun family tradition’s … Sand Pail Ice Cream!

sand pail ice cream

“PaPa and Grandma’s House … where cousins become best friends.”  This is what king size beds were made for … sleepover’s with my grand babies snuggled next to me and sweet, little hands patting and holding mine in the night.  

bedtime at Grandma's

All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going …                 ~L. M. Montgomery

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Summer slips away in a lilac sky.
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It was indeed “a good and magical time.”  Goodbye summer, we’re going to miss you!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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This week I’m joining Chloe Crabtree with Celebrate & Decorate

 

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 …”

table for 2

“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

“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.

ferns

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.” (:

palm tree scripture

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

“To Market, to Market” and Garden Tablescape …….. by Trenda

In the summer, I love to go to our Farmer’s Market, appropriately and cutely named … “Sugar Acres” … to buy fresh vegetables and fruit. Once home, I rinse and pile all of our fresh produce in a vegetable tray and create a “still life” over the kitchen sink. Look how beautiful this is!  I can’t help but marvel at God’s artistry every time I look at soft, fuzzy peaches colored in golden yellow and ruby red and never get over the delight of discovering the meticulous rows of sunny kernels carefully packaged inside the outer husk of corn and tucked beneath the protective silk.  There’s a sermon to be found in that sentence! (;

final.pngI keep a little book of the precious, witty, funny things our grandchildren say and call them “Sabrina-ism’s” and “Preston-ism’s.”  Here is a cute “Sabrina-ism” she said on our way to the Farmer’s Market … I was brushing Sabrina’s hair (something else I love to do!) and told her we were getting ready to go to the store.  She sweetly asked, “which store, Grandma?”  I told her, “well, you and Grandma are going to the Farmer’s Market and PawPaw is going to the hardware store.”  Sabrina is well-familiar with and likes going to “The Farmer’s Market” but she had never heard that “other store” mentioned before and asked … “what’s that store, Grandma?”  I explained that it was a store where PawPaw buys hammers and things that he needs to work with on the house.  Later, when we were on our way into town, she happily said, “PawPaw … Grandma and I are going to go to the Farmer’s Market while you go to the “hard work” store! (: 

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 Just 2 weeks ago, we went to Alabama and on our way home we stopped to visit with some dear friends in Mississippi.  After a delightful evening together, we hugged goodbye and they sent us on our way with our trunk loaded with garden goodness … 12 garden fresh tomatoes, at least 3 lbs. of just plucked Rattlesnake snap beans, a huge jar of canned bread and butter pickles, and a jar of homemade salsa … Christmas in July!  Their generosity and my expeditions to the Farmer’s Market were the inspiration for my whimsical garden tablescape befitting summer meals and ingredients from the garden (or from your friend’s garden!) … meals of  crook-neck squash, fresh corn on the cob, broccoli and tomato salads, snap beans with new potatoes and desserts of peach cobbler.

green tip

Since my “theme” was garden-centered, I covered our table with a garden fresh tablecloth covered with pictures of seed packets.  Then I “gathered” a collection of garden books and cookbooks by Mary Englebreit featuring outdoor meals and home cooking and stacked them and uses them as a pedestal for my trio of “canning jar” tealights.

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A ceramic “bunch of carrots” makes a charming caddy for “carrot cutlery” (click here to see “Carrot Cutlery” also used for Easter) and a little terra cotta planter covered with chicken wire (a new “favorite”) holds darling rustic shovel and rakes and is a cute addition to my garden themed centerpiece .

tablescape and backyard

Fiesta plates in bright colors match the seed packets on the tablecloth and “an extra” bandanna napkin (more substantial for covering laps and needed for corn on the cob and buttery fingers!) is slipped into a wooden napkin ring, along with a miniature garden tool and a set of corn skewers and is placed atop each place setting.

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Purple, orange, green, and yellow … “la fiesta!”

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I love antique dishes and love collecting beautiful antique salt cellars. (click here to see other salt cellars in my collection) I was delighted when I found these unique salt cellars (one is a duo, the other is a triplet) at an antique shop.
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Antique salt cellars with tiny silver spoons are set between plates and are perfect for sprinkling salt liberally on corn on the cob.

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Now, the table is set … time to start cooking!  Hope your days are filled with the beauty and bounty of summer!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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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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Summer Boat Ride … plus Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Recipe

~ Trenda

At the top of our list of “summer chores” is getting our pontoon boat “sea worthy” and all cleaned up for the boating season.  Richard got out the power washer and surprisingly, only found 1 duck egg laying, like a prize on top of our boat cover! (:  After the cushions were sparkling and everything was wiped down, we loaded up the boat and headed “over the bounding main.” Climb aboard, put on your sunglasses and come with us!  We’ve got our Captain, First Mate (our darling grand daughter!) and myself … and we’ve got room for plenty more!  I’ve even packed a summer-y snack!  Let the wind blow through your hair and sweep your worries away for a little while!

 

 First stop … a protected cove where we can enjoy our snacks while “bobbing” gently on the water.  The warmth of the sun and the rocking motion of the boat dissuades any thoughts of worry!

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Look at my “new” picnic hamper!  I love it and found at one of our favorite antique shops!  I was thrilled when I saw it just waiting on the shelf for me!  I don’t think it’s ever been used!  It’s loaded with picnic style plates, cutlery, and plastic stemware and the bottom of the picnic basket is an insulated, zippered ice chest!

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I just had time to grab some quick “fix-in’s” before heading out to the boat.  A little wicker boat holds seasoned crackers for dipping into a creamy pimiento cheese spread.

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 I always love using my favorite wooden “Lake” serving board and it looks perfect for our lakeside picnic with a little oar spreader!

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A miniature creel fishing basket is filled with a Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack that is easy to “throw” together and is a great energy snack!  I tucked a tartan colored napkin in our little creel, then filled it with trail mix and added a fun scoop!

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix Snack:

  • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup sunflower hearts
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup cheese flavored “Whale” or “Fish” crackers (always a cute addition for lakeside snacks!)
  • 1 cup M&M’s

This recipe makes a big batch so I mix all my ingredients together in a large, air-tight container, to help keep it fresh.

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Okay, brush the crumbs from your lap, pick the seat you want to “lounge in” and settle back.  We’re taking off for some sight seeing!

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We love the rock jetty in front of this house!  The stone wall creates a private swimming area and the sandy beach beyond is strewn with grass covered umbrellas!

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Look at this massive labyrinth; it’s a homeowner’s private boat dock and party area!  If you look to the left and up the slight incline, there is another similar structure that is a playground for some lucky kids! (: 

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White Adirondack chairs are set out in anticipation of viewing beautiful summer sunsets!

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Charming stone boat house and little log cabin!

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Aww … I love his sweet smile and this picture I snapped of our cute Captain! ❤

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And … the darling First Mate with her sunshine-y smile that melts Grandma’s heart!

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The twilight shadows are changing from pinks to deep blues and purple and our flag almost glows in the fading light, as we head home.

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Another beautiful sunset on the lake.

Back home, the boat is docked and with picnic hamper and wet towels in hand, we disembark … and watch the beautiful twilight curtain descend upon the lake.  Hope you enjoyed our cruise! (:

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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Hello June! … Delicious BBQ Beans & DIY Place Cards for Father’s Day

~ Trenda

Hello June!  We’ve been looking forward to seeing you! (:

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“Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …” It’s time to slow down, kick back, and relax!

 WONDERFUL SUMMER!  ~ by Trenda

“It’s the beginning of another …

Snow-cone dripping,

bare foot skipping, 

iced tea sipping,

front porch sitting, 

flip flop plopping,

baseball watching,

mattress floating,

snorkel snorting,

pink nose glowing, 

green grass mowing,

warm breeze blowing,

hot dog munching,

cricket chirping,

sparkler waving,

firework gazing,

sunset blazing …

 wonderful summer!” 

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The days of June are marked off the calendar with the “procession” of different celebrations and “happenings.”  Flag Day – June 14th … Father’s Day – June 18th … and the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice – June 21st.  Keep the “red, white, and blue” decorations handy and get out those summer recipes and “Father’s Favorites!”  Two of our favorite’s here at Cottage Green are … my recipe for Delicious BBQ Beans and Sand Pail Ice Cream

bbq beans cover

We love the smoky flavor of these “Delicious BBQ Beans” and the enhanced layer of flavor that the bell pepper adds!  I also love that the beans are cooking in the crock pot while I’m away or I’m busy preparing other dishes.

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Now, for some elegant DIY place cards that are easy to make that will add an “air” of sophistication to your “Father’s Day” table.  If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I love “dressing” the table!  One of the easiest ways to make your table festive and make every guest feel important is by adding place cards to your tablescape.  I made these simple, but elegant place cards for a graduation party and they are perfect and serving “double-duty” … for our Father’s Day celebration!

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Here are supplies needed to make these place cards:

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I bought my miniature decorative tassels in the “Notions” section at Hobby Lobby (where the fabrics/buttons/ribbons are located).  I also bought my place cards and my clear stamp pads at Hobby Lobby, in the stationery section.

place cards.png Instructions:

  1. Punch a hole in upper left-hand corner of each place card, making sure you punch the hole through the front and back of the place card.
  2. Insert the opposite end of the tassel through the punched hole in the front of the card (insert, front to back) so that the tassel is in the front of the place card.
  3. Bring the looped end of cord over the top of the place card and insert (thread) the tassel through the corded opening and pull gently to secure the “tassel in place.  Make sure the knot is not taut, so the tassel drapes loosely down the front of the place card. * (see photo below)
  4. Stamp the front of each place card with a filigree frame of your choice from your selection of clear stamp pads.  Make sure you allow enough time for the ink to dry before handling.
  5. After ink has thoroughly dried, write each person’s name centered in the stamped frame.

*Close-up photo of #3 instructions:closeup tying

I love the elegant and “man-ly” look of these place cards and can’t wait to show you how they look “gracing” our Father’s Day tablescape!

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Now hang up your hammock, get out the ice cream maker, and drape your patio in party lights and “Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer … you’ll wish that summer could always be here.” ~ Nat King Cole

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From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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