Christmas Tablescape “Not a Creature was Stirring”

This year we bought a real Christmas tree a “Noble Fir” for our downstairs living room! It is the first real tree we’ve had since we lived in Bad Kreuznach,Germany back in 1983-1986. Now, a brief visit from “The Ghost of Christmas Past”… When we lived in Germany, the boy scouts had an annual Christmas tree sale and fund raiser in December. The boy scout troop leaders (who were also soldiers in the Army) took the boys and a military cargo truck into the Black Forest where they spent the day cutting down Christmas trees. When the truck was filled with trees, they would drive back to the military base in Bad Kreuznach and set up a temporary Christmas tree lot where the American families could come and buy their Christmas trees. It was enchanting having a tree straight from the Black Forest, the storybook setting of many of the tales I’d read when I was little. The trees were so fragrant and the boughs were so dense, I always thought I might find a bird nest or something else “furry” hidden within the branches.

Porcupine nestled within the branches
A wise old owl perched high atop the Christmas tree
Little rattan angel made in Germany

I love having a real tree again, and didn’t realize until we brought the Noble Fir into the house that we were bringing in much more than a tree. As Richard slid fragrant, evergreen branches past the door frame, nostalgia and remembrance squeezed right in with them, and my mind was filled with sweet memories. Precious memories of a Christmas’ long ago: a memory of love I could actually see shining in my mother’s dear face when she showed me the doll Santa Claus had brought. just for me, when I was only 5…memories of our parents taking us to the Christmas parade in downtown Fort Worth where I shivered in my coat, waited and watched, and was thrilled when I saw Santa Claus high atop the last float, sitting in his sleigh loaded with toys, smiling and calling out “HO,HO,HO”…memories of Daddy bringing our Christmas tree in after he had been soaking it overnight in a bucket of water in the garage, and the wonderful way it filled the house with the fragrance of Christmas…memories of painstakingly hanging icicles 1 by 1 on the tree until my older brother showed me how fun it was to blow the icicles haphazardly all over the tree, much to the chagrin of my older sister…memories of trying to go to sleep when our “eyes were all aglow” on Christmas Eve and “there arose such a clatter” of crinkling paper and smells of celery, cornbread, and turkey wafting through the air which made “it hard to sleep that night. “Christmas memories of happy years gone by.”

"Christmas memories of happy years gone by
They come back to me and keep me warm inside
Still those memories make me cry"

Christmas Memories by Alabama

Well, it’s late on Christmas Eve and all this cheer-y tartan tablescape needs is a plate of cookies and a visit from St. Nick!

Open shutters look out into a midnight blue Christmas sky and draping patio lights…while inside, all is merry and bright. This antique minnow bucket, a gift from Richard goes perfectly with the rustic theme of the tablescape and the metal chargers under each plaid place setting. To make this simple arrangement, I cut the top part of a gallon milk jug off, filled the jug with water, and placed it into my minnow bucket. Then I simply filled the bucket with leftover boughs that Richard trimmed from our Christmas tree.

Plaid dinner and salad plates are stacked on top of metal chargers and Fitz & Floyd Christmas mugs are ready for hot cocoa. Remember when I dried these ferns and leaves ??? They made sweet woodland place cards and add to the cozy feel of the table. Bright red napkins are circled with jingle bell napkin rings.

Waiting for Santa.

A Santa boot planter is filled with buffalo check red and black straws. Red and white toile napkins in a rustic pine cone napkin holder add a nice contrast.

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

Wishing you all a blessed and Merry Christmas!

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Tartan’s and Tea … A Scottish Tablescape “Donning the Plaid”

The Scotch in me loves using tartans in our home year round, but the warmth and cheerful “feel” of these plaids is especially pleasing on dreary days. Last week we had several cold, gray, “drizzly” days just the sort of day that was perfect for “a spot of tea.” Suddenly, I was inspired and the low table in our family room beckoned and glowed and seemed the perfect spot for a cozy, afternoon tea. A bright red tartan tablecloth was my backdrop and the transformation and fun began.

I gathered a basket full of “accouterments” for my tablescape that reminded me of Scotland … a beautiful antique Saint Bernard to sit atop tartan napkins looked stately in front of a pair of Scottish books.

Purple Statice, placed in a little nest mimicked the purple heather and thistle that thrives in the Highlands and a clump of prickly cedar tucked beneath the candlestick represented the spiny gorse that covers the Scottish crags and glens.

“From Scots bluebells to bog myrtle, bell heather to the iconic thistle, the flowers of Scotland thrive …”

Flowers of Scotland

Since Scots are renowned for their love of dogs … another pair of sweet antique doggies for my tablescape; a ceramic Cocker Spaniel stands beside a glass Scottish Terrier that’s perched on a pedestal of tartan plates.

I love this whimsical “Scotty” dog cream pitcher! His perky tail is the handle of the creamer and the cream “spout” is his snout! (:

A pair of ornate candlesticks with scarlet tapers match the tartan cloth and a glazed pottery vase filled with pheasant feathers and faux antlers conjures up more Scottish flavor. Then, my favorite red thermoses add height, a perk of interest, and another layer of plaid, plus they’re perfect for keeping the tea hot … with two crystal mugs for “supping” close by!

I keep Scottish Shortbread cookies in the pantry, so I placed “just enough for two” under a domed dessert tray.

And another teatime treat, Almond Thins, circle a cheery plate rimmed in plaid.

Then the last adornment’s to my tablescape … a leaded glass lantern (a loved gift from our daughter) and an antique crystal cream and sugar service glisten like jewelry atop a little wooden chest.

The welcome glow and ambiance from the lantern, candlesticks and votives add sparkle to our cloudy afternoon.

All set and ready!

The calendar proclaims that it’s almost Spring and just the other day I saw a flock of Robins in our backyard … but today it feels like “winter” so we’ll stay inside where it’s warm, indulging in our Highlander Tea! Embrace the last of the “cozy season” put on something comfy and have some tea! (:

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda

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Author: cottagegreenonthelake

I hope you will be charmed and delighted when you read and look at the pictures of tablescapes, home decor, seasonal decorations, floral arrangements, landscaping ideas, “potting about the shed” and the unexpected ways I use everyday items to decorate my home; I hope all will be an inspiration for you as you make your own little haven and nest … 4 the seasons!From my cottage to yours ~ TrendaView all posts by cottagegreenonthelake

Lakeside Picnic and Recipe for Stuffed Pepper Soup …

by Trenda  

I already have “spring fever!”  I “caught it” from the birds who have been “twittering and flitting about” hunting for the perfect place to raise their little families! (:  Friday and Saturday were “zip-a-dee-do-dah” days with spring-like temperature’s … “My oh, my, what a wonderful day” … and  taking our cue from the birds, we took advantage of our warm day with …”Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way” and worked outside and enjoyed a picnic by the lake.

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Welcome to our lakeside picnic!  Everything always tastes better when dining al fresco (: and our lunch of Turkey & Swiss Wraps with roasted red peppers, Red Delicious Apples and spiced tea, was no exception!


After our picnic we were “energized” … we sat a little while longer, enjoying the sunshine and the day then we were ready to get back to work.  By late afternoon the wind started picking up and the water started getting choppy.

Dark blue-gray clouds began rolling in … 


And we began to hear rumbles of thunder, as we hurried to finish our work …

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We finished … just in time with thunder distinctively warning us to get inside, as the first raindrops began to fall!

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Later … feeling cozy and clean and hearing the gusty wind and the sound of the waves crashing against our retaining wall, our “gift” of a spring day in January was over and our stormy night seemed the perfect time for some homemade soup … Stuffed Pepper Soup.

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 Stuffed Pepper Soup Recipe …

recipe final.pngLater, as I drifted off to sleep, the last lines of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Under A Spreading Chestnut Tree” came to mind.

“… Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close;

Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night’s repose.”

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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I would love to read any comments or questions you may have!