Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece and Autumn in November

cropped-img_0452-e1510254818805.pngby Trenda

Today was a cool day with gray skies that made the autumn colors so vivid, they almost glowed!  I went outside to “gather” some cuttings from our yard to make our Thanksgiving Centerpiece and afterwards, I walked around just taking pictures of beautiful Autumn in November at Cottage Green on the Lake! (:  And those yard “gatherings” I clipped and snipped from our yard made a lovely and grand arrangement on the dining room table that only took minutes to make; my only cost was the fresh Eucalyptus I bought from Trader Joe’s, for $2.99!

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If you want to keep this arrangement on your table throughout the Thanksgiving season you will need to use soaked floral foam (protect your table by placing the floral foam in a container!) or use floral vials to insert your live clippings into.  Both the floral foam and the arrangement vials are available at your florist or any craft store on the flowering arranging aisle.  However, this arrangement is so easy to assemble, you can do it the day of your Feast! 

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Much like setting out and marking your serving dishes with what you will be serving in them … set the preliminary stages of your arrangement.  I placed my table runner down the length of  the table, set my candlesticks where I wanted them, then interspersed my pheasant and pumpkins down the length of the runner so I could easily come back and tuck in my Loropetalum and Eucalyptus, later.  fresh eucalyptus.jpg

Any time you want to make an arrangement like this, just clip your branches the morning of “your event” and keep any live branches or flowers in a vase of water until you are ready to make your arrangement.  Then dry the ends of your branches before placing and tucking them along your table runner and light your candles!

Fresh Eucalyptus in a vase filled with water awaiting placement on table runner. closeup eucalyptus.png

Here is a great picture showing how I mixed the “faux” garland with autumn leaves with the live burgundy leaves and branches of the Loropetalum and the fresh Eucalyptus.  Even as I look at this picture I have a hard time distinguishing what leaves are real and fake!  I love making arrangements and since we serve our Thanksgiving meal buffet style, we only need enough room on our table for the plates and glasses, our Fitz and Floyd Pilgrim salt & pepper shakers, a basket full of yeast rolls, and a beautiful Golden Carnival Glass compote filled with ruby colored Apple-Cranberry Salad

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A brass pheasant matches the brass candlesticks I used in my arrangement and looks at home among the autumn foliage.

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Tiger striped miniature pumpkins are nestled among the burgundy foliage of the Loropetalum branches.

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Carved wooden pilgrims bring gifts of vegetables to the gathering.

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 Nestled among the real and “faux” flora and fauna, this miniature pumpkin looks so perfect, it almost looks unreal and reminds me again what a Master Artist and Creator the Lord is!

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Candles glow in the lengthening shadows and “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart.” ❤

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AND those pictures I told you I took after gathering my clippings for my Thanksgiving centerpiece … I’ll share with you in my next blog, but here’s one I particularly love, this sweet moss-covered cherub pondering in our birdbath.  

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

 

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Our Week of Thanks-giving

by Trenda

After all the shopping, decorating, cleaning, and cooking … I hope your Thanksgiving was everything you hoped it would be!

For us … it was a wonderful, blessed week of our family “gathering together” again.  Days of mishaps and bruises … laughter and tears … “simmer’s” and smiles … indulgences and exceptions … understanding and camaraderie – all experienced with the blessed assurance that the emotions and remembrances shared were sheltered under the wonderful umbrella of Love … the halcyon days of our family!

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Beautiful autumn days …

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Park days & pizza …

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crafts with Grandma …

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A day at the zoo!

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 Feasting and football …

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golf cart rides … grandkid-time … and late night snuggles!

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and during it all … I was Thanks-giving! (: 

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Next … (:  I know you’re going to love this recipe I’ve included below!  It is one of my family’s favorite side dishes … Apple-Cranberry Salad and it is delicious, beautifully showy, and it is so easy to make!  I found this recipe years ago in the Gooseberry Patch Cookbook “Taste of Autumn” which was submitted by Carla Hyde from Fletcher, North Carolina.

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 I’m always collecting vintage dishes and planters and I love using them in unexpected ways in my home and on the table. This ruby colored salad is always the “crown jewel” setting on the table, but I think it looks especially beautiful in this petite Carnival Glass Punch Bowl that I was thrilled to find in an antique store, complete with 5 darling punch cups!

Apple-Cranberry Salad

  • 6-oz. pkg. of red colored gelatin (I use cherry)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 16-oz. can whole cranberry sauce 
  • 16-oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1 red apple, cored and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I use pecans and add more to taste!)
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (I omit these)

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.  Add cranberry sauce and stir until berries are separated.  Add remaining ingredients; chill until set.  Makes 12 servings.

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What a blessing it was to be “gathered together” once again …. “to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known;  The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing;  Sing praises to His Name, He forgets not His own.”  ~  Adrianus Valerius, 1597

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

I am delighted that you read my blog, today.  I’d love to hear from you!  Please leave any questions or comments you have, below.

 

 

“We Gather Together to Ask the Lord’s Blessing …”

scriptureby Trenda

As I woke and began preparing for the blessing of sharing “Thanksgiving” with our family, I kept recalling different events of our past year. My heart and soul couldn’t help but soar with thanksgiving as I began recalling all the Lord has blessed us with … helped us with … brought us through, and for His strength and blessed peace throughout the good and sad times of  our year.  This wonderful verse I read this morning “sums up” my feelings well.

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.  The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.  Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.  For you, my Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling …”  Psalms 116:5

Grateful for each of you; I hope you had a blessed …”Thanks-giving.” 

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda 

Part 2 – A “Welcome Home” for Thanksgiving 

by Trenda

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Anticipating and looking forward to our family coming home next week, I love decorating and creating a “welcome home” for each dear person that will be here for Thanksgiving. Last week our “welcome home” to Thanksgiving began with decorating the front door.  Today, we’re going to take a peek behind the front door.

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As you walk in our front door the first thing you see is our antique buffet.  It’s a beautiful piece of furniture; I was giddy when I found it hidden away in a dark corner in an antique store in Tyler. (:  The interior cabinets and drawers are as beautiful as the outside and sometimes I imagine the buffet’s “past life” … and different hands than mine putting away carefully stitched napkins and tablecloths, or special Christmas dishes, into it’s confines.

Come on in!  I’m so glad you’re here! (:  On Thanksgiving, all desserts and pies are displayed out on the buffet; it’s a tantalizing spread for everyone who enters!

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The buffet is filled with autumn’s bounty and has a woodland feel with birch pillar candles, squirrels posing on oak leaves or peering into logs, little nests filled with acorns, and perching birds near their feeders!  A beautiful Fitz and Floyd harvest platter and charming squirrel dish.

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The Friendly Village dishes by Johnson Brothers are ready on chargers for the Thanksgiving tablescape and another stack of dessert plates are stacked on a plate server ready to be loaded with everything delicious!

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Woodland friends … 

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A favorite “souvenir” from a vacation spent in Italy … an inlaid wooden tea cart is stacked and ready to stand-in as a portable side table.  The tea cart is filled with necessary items for the feast … plus a few additional items for a little “glitz and glow!”(:

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Below … more Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dishes, a turkey platter, a stack of antique silver “nut” trays, a crystal biscuit barrel and a silver coffee service.

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Our fireplace is questionably (since it has to compete with the view outside!) the focal point of our living room … and is all “decked out” for Thanksgiving. 

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 Harvest has “spilled out” onto the mantle with pumpkins, clusters of grapes, bittersweet, and walnuts all accenting an autumn swag.

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clock3Our “Beau” Pilgrim (I told you we like to name things around here!) made by Fitz and Floyd resides over the Mantle Harvest and has his own thanksgiving offerings … some maize and a pumpkin, in his hands.

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A Thanksgiving wreath (DIY instructions in a subsequent post!) trimmed with a bow and ribbon that says … Count Your Blessings, Fall Harvest, Thanksgiving Tradition, and Give Thanks.

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Before I have the fun of setting our table for Thanksgiving, I keep a simple setting on the table with all the essentials needed for an cozy autumn meal enjoyed with any friends and family that arrive before “the day.”  A part of the tablescape and ready to disperse are  … a stack of Villeroy & Boch (design Naif) dinnerware, napkins encircled with mini grapevine wreaths (click here for instructions for DIY Autumn napkin rings) silverware in a ginger jar, etched glasses, and a creamer and sugar bowl for after-dinner coffee. 

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Gorgeous view beyond the window … twilight on the lake.

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An autumn ginger jar holds silverware …

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I love these etched glasses from Germany and they are particularly enchanting when filled with ambrosia or holding a miniature compote  …

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Little pumpkin showcased under a cloche …

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Looking around, I love how our “Cottage Green” looks festive and says “welcome home” to all for Thanksgiving.  Now, I have to get to the shopping, cleaning, and cooking done!!!  But, like the ribbon on the wreath says … during this “Thanksgiving Tradition” and the blessing of our “Fall Harvest”  …Count Your Blessings” and “Give Thanks.”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

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 Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted reading what you have to say.  Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.  

A “Welcome Home” … for Thanksgiving

by Trenda at Cottage Green on the Lake

The slow progression of autumn here in East Texas has suddenly quickened and the sights and sounds of  the season have become tangible.  The crickets are softly droning (a decrescendo to their summer song!) as they sing their final chorus … there is a hush in the air that is marked by a distant caw of a crow or the occasional rustle of leaves as an acorn descends through the branches … a muffled “plop” heard, when it hits the ground … and the leaves of our Ash tree, that drape over the lake, are transforming into a beautiful shade of yellow.

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The view beyond our windows reminds us that the “season” of Thanksgiving is upon us, though, like Thoreau … “I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

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 As I “dress” our home and get it ready for the holidays, I am going to start with our front door … it is the first thing that welcomes and greets our family and friends when they visit.  The front door sets the stage of what people can “expect” to find inside your home and should be a reflection of the warmth and welcome you want to portray within your home.

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I began decorating our door by hanging this beautiful wreath that a dear friend of mine made.  Then I took a bundle of wrapped grapevine (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby in the section where grapevine wreaths are hanging) and cut the coil of grapevine in half with wire cutters – this gave me 2 sections of grapevine for each side of the door.  After cutting the 2 sections, I pulled the grapevine to loosen the taut coils.  My husband hammered nails into our door frame for me to impale the grapevine on.  At the base of the door, where the tension was greatest, I added a pipe cleaner and wrapped the grapevine around the nail, using the pipe cleaner to firmly hold the grapevine to the door frame.

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Then I began inserting leaves that I cut from an autumn swag into the twigs of the grapevine.  I also wired some pumpkins, squash, and chrysanthemums to the grapevine to add interest and fullness  … but left enough of the grapevine bare, so it wouldn’t become too “visually heavy” or overbearing.

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I placed a pumpkin (leftover from Halloween!) next to this quaint basket that I found years ago.  I’ve always thought the wooden duck looked
“right at home” here at the lake and it is always handy, near our front door and holds walking sticks, any dripping umbrellas, and a fragrant “bouquet” of eucalyptus.  Tip: Eucalyptus makes the entry to your home smell wonderful, and it is also a natural deterrent for spiders!

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Mr. and Mrs. Pilgrim greet all Thanksgiving visitors. (:  We ARE … grateful, thankful, blessed!

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Our deck has several built into benches and on this one, next to the front door, I’ve “tipped my hat” to the season and added a little whimsy with these 2 Pilgrim door greeters!  I love this chalkboard a friend made for me, with it’s rustic look and cedar framework; I use it all the time … “4theseasons” to write holiday messages on, or for keeping track of horseshoe scores! (:

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I hope these ideas will help you and that you’ll have fun creating and making your entryway and door a “welcome home” for Thanksgiving!

“I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.”

In everything give thanks.”

From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you and I am truly delighted, reading what you have to say.  Please leave any questions you may have or comments, below.  Don’t be dismayed if you don’t see your comment “appear” right away.  Word Press checks everything I receive for SPAM and all have to be approved, before posting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easy Thanksgiving favors & DIY Autumn Wreath

by Trenda

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Today our first dear arrivals are coming for a much anticipated Thanksgiving week of being t-o-g-e-t-h-e-r!  I still have too many things that haven’t been crossed off of my “To do” list, but I have finished some of those special projects that I love doing from my “wanna-do” list. (:

Look at these cute little favor bags!  They were so fun and easy to put together … I made them the night before everyone arrived!  I’ve displayed them in a dear, quirky, turkey wicker basket that my husband found and bought for me at a garage sale, years ago.  Tom has been a regular at our Thanksgiving get-together’s ever-since, and he looks adorable sitting on the counter, filled with Thanksgiving paper napkins, or today … filled with little paper favor sacks.

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Each little bag is filled with a sweet mixture of tiny maple cream cookies, some maple peanut clusters, Sixlets in sparkly autumn colors I found at Cracker Barrel and some darling maple leaf-shaped chocolates that Richard found for me at World Market … all in the “flavors of autumn!”

Materials and supplies needed: treat sacks, stamps, ink pad, twine, table confetti, scissors, hole punch, and ruler

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Instructions:

  1. Fill bags with treats before decorating.  Begin by folding over the top of each bag (I bought my treat sacks at Hobby Lobby – $2.49 for 24 count) At the top of each bag, on the folded area, I stamped For You and beneath it I used a Thanksgiving stamp with the words Give Thanks, Gratitude, Blessed, Hayride, Family, Tradition, etc. …  on it.
  2. I punched 2 holes in/and through the folded layer at the top of the bag, with a hole puncher.
  3. For each bag, I cut off 2 1/2 feet of twine (I bought my twine at Michael’s, on sale for only 50 cents!) and “threaded” both ends of twine through the front of my bag; crossed the twine in back and pulled one piece of twine back over the top of the bag and the other twine I wrapped around the back, to meet up with the twine in front.
  4. I bought a small package of table confetti with leaves and acorns (on sale at Michael’s for $1.00) and using my hole puncher, punched a hole in the paper acorns and added those to my twine before tying the two ends of twine, into a bow.

So cute … and these sweet treats all wrapped up and tied in these miniature Kraft bags seem reminiscent of the penny candies that were sold in the old General Stores!

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DIY Autumn Wreath

Now … the instructions I promised you in my last post, on how to make the autumn wreath that I pictured hanging over our living room mirror. (click here to see)

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This is my favorite spot to make my wreaths.  It’s in our kitchen over a little cookbook cubby that has a little counter for holding all my supplies and materials needed to make my wreath.  There’s also an outlet for my glue gun and the knob of the upper cabinet is the perfect height for hanging my wreath, while I work on it.  The first thing I do is to wrap a pipe cleaner through the back of my wreath, forming a loop to hang it from.  This pipe cleaner loop is also the hanger I’ll use to display my finished wreath.

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Making the bow …

  1.  The first step in making a bow is to pull out the ribbon needed for the “tail” of your bow.  I always “allow” a little extra ribbon since I can trim the length of my “tails” when the bow is completed and it is much easier than having to re-make my bow!  This is not a part of the bow you will be looping and twisting.
  2.  Begin working beyond the ribbon you have extended for the “tail.”  Grasp the length of ribbon (not at the end!) and loop the ribbon over your thumb and grasp the base of the small loop in your fingers.  This will be the center of your bow (the extra ribbon for tail will extend beyond this small center loop)
  3. Make your first bow loop.  This will determine how big your bow is. The larger the loop, the larger the bow.  Gather the ribbon together at the end of the loop and hold tightly in your fingers.
    Make sure your ribbon is facing right side up if you are using a single sided ribbon like mine, with printing facing up.  I slip a pipe cleaner into my center loop at this time.  It will balance there, resting on the twisted folds of ribbon, while you continue forming the bow.   bows.png
  4. Make your second loop on the opposite side, remembering to gather and twist the ribbon together in the middle where the imprinted side is facing up.
  5. Continue making loops, alternating sides until your bow is the size you want.  Make sure you have the same amount of loops on each side.
  6. When the bow is the size you want, allow extra ribbon length for your second “tail” before you cut the ribbon.  Twist the pipe cleaner in the center of your bow tightly (I use a pair of needle-nose pliers) several times to insure that it will hold your twisted ribbon; cut off excess pipe cleaner and push down the cut ends of pipe cleaner, so they won’t scratch you.
  7. Pull loops of bow to “fluff” to desired shape.

Hot glue your bow to your wreath.img_0006

I hot glued green leaves on first, as the “base” of my  wreath, making sure I kept both sides of my wreath balanced and “equal.”

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Next, I glued on my colored autumn leaves.

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Last step … I tucked in a few chrysanthemums and some grape clusters, then added my “filler.”  “Filler” is usually diminutive, compared to the rest of the arrangement, and is added to blend and unify the look of the whole wreath.  On this wreath, my “filler” is glittered orange stems and a variegated ivy.

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I hope while crossing off  all your “have-to’s” … you get to enjoy some time decorating and creating some fun special “projects” while you are getting everything ready for the ones you love!

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From my cottage to yours  ~  Trenda

Thank you so much for spending some time with me today!  I’d love to hear from you.  Please leave any questions or comments below.